Tag: business

500 Channel Subscribers and Next Week

500subs2

Very excited to tell you that I have 500 subscribers to my channel.  Thank you to any of you that have subscribed.  I really appreciate all the support I have gotten from this blog in so many ways. You have no idea what it has and will continue to mean to me.

Just wanted to let you guys know that I am going to be going on a business trip tomorrow. It’s the first time I will be meeting my boss and coworkers in person and I am really excited (and a little nervous if I’m honest!).  I got new suitcoats so hopefully I will fit right in.

business suitsAnyway, I am not sure how much I will be able to post but I will do my best.  If I go a week to 10 days sorry!  Love you guys and wish me luck.  I am so grateful for this blog that really gave me this job.  It got the ball rolling and has helped me reach my dreams so thank you to all of you!

We will talk next week!!

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Ingrid Michaelson

So today I am sick again.  Sick and trying to work and keep my mind off of being sick.  One of my strategies aside from using an entire box of tissues,  is listening to music.

(Isn’t it strange how such a sad song can make me feel so much better?  I don’t understand how that works but I love it.)

Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE music!  I have done many entries on various music groups and songs that I love, but today I found myself turning back to one of my favorite artists, Ingrid Michaelson.  In 2009 Anna and I saw Ingrid live and it was a fantastic experience.  This is true despite the fact that it was in a tiny club, with no seating- a situation I normally despise.  She was so warm, personable and her voice so wonderful that she won me over in spite of my circumstances.   It is exactly how I would wish to sound if I could sing well. Her songs are just what I would want to write if I could translate the thoughts in my heart adequately.

The way that Ingrid came to fame is emblematic  of the major changes that have occurred in the music industry in recent years.  With the near-death of album sales to the mp3 world of Itunes, there are basically two ways an artist can become well-known:

1.  He or she can get their music featured on itunes or amazon.com.  Usually this is after developing an internet following and being picked up by a major label.  Three examples of this that come to mind are Jack Johnson, Colbie Caillat and Priscilla Ahn.  All were popular on myspace or youtube and then featured as ‘free singles’ by Itunes.

2.  The second way is to be featured on a television show such as American Idol or the Voice, or to have your music used within a popular  show, movie or advertisement.  The examples of this range from the Fray being discovered as the theme song to Grays Anatomy, to Regina Spektor headlining a target ad, to Cold Play (and a million other artists) getting a start in an apple ad.

Ingrid Michaelson is no stranger to such promotion her songs have been all over shows like Greys Anatomy, One Tree Hill, Drop Dead Diva, and ads for Motts Apple juice and Old Navy.   You think the musical purist in me would have a problem with such a commercial thinning of my favorite most beautiful music but I don’t.  I think music has always been a commercial endeavor simply because of a need on the part of the artist to survive- and hopefully thrive! In some ways the commercial potential opens the doors to artists that could never have seen the album covers in the old days of dusty bars and agents.

This song was on a Greys Anatomy show but I still LOVE IT!

By placing her music where people are actually going to hear it, Ingrid not only entertains a wider swath of people and creates new fans, but she educates and widens their musical palate.   Even as a big fan, there have been times when I’ve heard a song on a show, and then realized it was on an Ingrid album I’d listened to a 100 times and never noticed it before.  I think it is great that people will hear a new song and think of the artistic director’s interpretation first, and then hopefully by listen 20 or 30, they have come up with their own views.  Ingrid’s songs have such depth to allow for such diverse interpretations.

Even her largest hit Be Ok has undertones of sadness if you listen to the lyrics and set aside the peppy melody.   One of the verses says:

“Open me up and you will see
I’m a gallery of broken hearts
I’m beyond repair, let me be
And give me back my broken parts”

I don’t know how many times I listened to that seemingly happy song before I realized there was another layer.  To me, such realizations are the beauty of art and music. Its what makes a painting profound every time you look at it, or a song touching each time you sing it- there is no end to the layers of thought and introspection beautiful things can provide.

What would it be like to write a line, a verse, a song, with that kind of power?  I marvel with envy at those with such talents.  When I was in college I had to write a poem for a class and it was rough going.  It took me almost 2 weeks to write a pathetic little couplet.  I think I was born to appreciate others gifts and Ingrid certainly fills me with such gratitude.

Not only does she write the words so achingly and beautifully well but she sings them perfectly also.  It inspires me in many ways.  All beauty inspires me.  After all, as a mantra of my faith I seek after anything “virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy”.

Anyway, I love Ingrid Michaelson.  Its tough to say who I love better Ingrid Michaelson or Sara Barrielles?  They are both fabulous!  Here are some of my favorite of her songs.  Go- check them both out and have even your sick days made lighter by beautiful music. 🙂

This is one of my current favorite Ingrid songs

I’ve never heard a version of this song I haven’t loved.  I have 13 different versions on my ipod!

Success in Work

“Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”

Harvey MacKay

I know I talk  a lot about work in this blog but that is partly because work is the biggest part of my life as far as time and effort.  I would love to say it is church (that’s the second) or family but sadly it is not the case.  Especially lately I’ve been working Saturdays, Sundays, all day every day.  It’s a good thing I love my work or it would be unbearable.  Even so it can be a bit overwhelming.  I think finding balance in life is the hardest thing and I for one am not good at it.

With so much time devoted to work you can understand why finding success in it is so meaningful to me.  In many ways my work is my great passion and it feels so good to accomplish my goals at work.  Recently there are two instances I will mention.  First, I was the manager for the Grabber Warm Team at the International Sportsmen’s Expo in Sandy.  This was a huge event that went on for 4 days (how ironic is that I am working at an event for outdoor sportsmen.  God must have had a good laugh at that one!)  Due to the long days I brought in reinforcements including my uncle Jim, Ashlee Emig and her friend Megan. We each worked blocks of time trying to make sales and give out free product.   Even though I worked less hours than anybody else on the floor I still lead in sales income!

I honestly believe that salesmanship is one of those gifts that you are either born with or not.  You have to have a killer instinct and an ability to read people for their likes, dislikes, needs and wants.  A look, a comment can be enough to point them to a product they would otherwise miss out on.  I am fortunate enough to be a good saleswoman both in managing the rental properties and selling warmers.  I don’t want to toot my own horn but I think I have a way with people and can easily build a repertoire with them.

The Expo was exhausting but very satisfying.  All of the salespeople worked very hard and we ended up beating our sales goal by over $300 and giving out 18 cases (over 8,000) samples.  Not bad!

The second success I’ve had lately is in my rental business. Up to this point my rental clients have included my dad (4 homes- long term and vacation rental) and Brian Matthews (him and his family used to be our ward).  As I’ve had a lot of my plate it has been difficult recruiting other clients.  Fortunately my friend Emily Whitman mentioned my management services to her friend Michelle who gave me a call a couple of weeks ago.  After some discussion she agreed to hire me to manage her condo in Provo.  This made me so excited because I would love to get into the Provo market and expand my client-base.  Last Wednesday I posted an ad for her place on craigslist, at BYU housing, and on KSL Classifieds.  By Friday I had 3 appointments set up and believe it or not the first appointment fell in love with the place.  I just left a meeting with them where they paid their deposit and first month rent and signed the contract!  It took me under a week to find tenants for this place! Wahoo!  I am excited and a little proud of my efforts.  It just feels good to have such success.

Finally, the last piece of success I’ve had lately is I was made a full-time employee by Grabber Inc.  I was already doing 30 hours most weeks.  Now it is official.  I have even been made salaried and will receive benefits (don’t worry I’ve already made an appointment to see a doctor on Friday!).  It is a little overwhelming to have so many responsibilities but exciting also.  I know I can do it!

Growing up I never felt like I was great at anything.  I knew I was good at a lot but never felt great.  Finally at 29 I feel great at something (at a lot of things really) and that feels GREAT!!  Thanks for letting me share my excitement with all of you!  I have the best support and friends in the world.  I hope you all have such success and find something in life that you LOVE to do- something you are great at too!

Labor Day- Work

This Sunday I was asked to read a quote by President Dieter F.  Uchtdorf of the the First Presidency of my church. He says:

“May I invite you to rise to the great potential within you.  But don’t reach beyond your capacity.  Don’t set goals beyond your capacity to achieve.  Don’t feel guilty or dwell on thoughts of failure.  Don’t compare yourself with others.  Do the best you can, and the Lord will provide the rest.  Have faith and confidence in Him and you will see miracles happen in your life and the lives of your loved ones. “

Easier said than done.  Why is this so hard?  At least for me, this is the great challenge of life.  I love my job, but I have always been bad at balancing the demands of work and life.   Especially as my business has begun to change there seems to be an unending number of projects and opportunities.  Just this weekend I got a new client, which is a tremendous chance to improve my standing as a property manager and make some good money along the way.  It is a connection and  opportunity  I need to add more clients besides my father.  As grateful as I am, it is also one more thing to balance in my life.

Right now there are so many things left undone.  I haven’t started real estate courses I’ve paid for.  I haven’t done much on sales tax for Grabber; and I still have tons of work on Grabber events.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  There are spaces this fall in the Anna and Madeline to get reserved, a client with 25 homes I would love to work with more, a guest blog I have committed to write and edit, and this new home I need to find tenants for.  I have agreed to all of these projects and I know they will bring in more money and  help my career.  In addition to work I have church responsibilities, temple work, family, and a million creative projects I would love to tackle.   I love entertaining, gathering with friends, cooking, swimming, community service, politics, singing, and reading.  With a few exceptions, I am afraid lately work has been trumping all of these noble endeavors.   I want to be better at balancing my life but I find it very challenging.

  My sister once told me I was a workaholic, and I think there is some truth to that.  I hate unfinished projects.  I think part of it is growing up with a little bit of dyslexia. This made projects and homework more difficult and time consuming than for my friends.  In college, I worked harder than most of my classmates and yet my grades were not as high as I felt they should be. I have a great memory and still recall lectures, books, teachers from college, yet in some of those same classes I scored Cs and Bs.  Isn’t that weird?  I clearly learned the required material and was impacted by it but my grades didn’t show?  This taught me that any assignment, task, job, responsibility I had was going to take twice the work from me as it did for anyone else for the same results.  I am not saying this to engender sympathy.  It’s just the way it is.   Even when I was getting my MBA other students appeared to coast when I spent hours on projects (at least in that case I got the A’s almost  every time for my hard work!).

The hardest thing for me is having true relaxation time.  This is particularly true since I work at home and am never far from the call of my cell phone or the ever present email.  I know there are reservations I have gotten because I was the first to respond and this keeps me constantly checking and rechecking.  Having the phone off for an evening makes me nervous.  In fact, just the other day I turned my phone on silence and missed out on a reservation for our vacation rental that would have been great.  My dad ended up taking the call, so perhaps they would not have agreed to rent with us anyways (if my dad can’t sell it, nobody can.  He’s a great salesman).  My brain is constantly going about how I can make things better, get more sales, satisfy clients and be more of a success.  I have had insomnia for over a year because I can’t stop thinking about work.

I don’t want to sound like I am complaining because one of  my greatest joys in my life is  work.  I love what I do.  I love how it uses all my talents and yet challenges me each day.  I love the people I meet, the freedom I enjoy, the variety of tasks, and flexibility.  I love the relationship I have developed with my dad through this job and feel we are closer than ever before (that is perhaps the greatest gift of my job).  I love feeling like I finally contribute to society in a meaningful way and help make people happy- either on vacation or in their permanent home.  Because I know what it feels like to be unhappy in work, I will do whatever it takes to keep my current job and be a success at it.  Maybe everyone who owns their own company goes through this?  Maybe it is the price to be paid? My dad said when he was self-employed in Maryland that he worked 70 hour work weeks.  He worked from home and worked very hard but it never seemed to be an obsession or over-powering influence on his life.  In fact, he managed to own his own business while my mother was bedridden when she was pregnant with Sammy.  How he was able to do that and remain so outwardly calm and collected I will never know.  It is amazing.

One thing I have to remember is I always find a way to pull things off.   I worry about getting projects done but then I always do.  It’s like with the Grabber Events.  I thought it was going to be impossible to get the calendar submitted by the end of August and yet somehow I made it (September 3rd to be precise)!  It was done and up to my standards.  I worked hard and the Lord did expand my capacity in the month of August, and I am so grateful for His help.

I would love to hear some advice from all of you- especially if you work at home or for yourself- on how you separate work, family, friend and time for yourself?  How do you know when to say no to projects?  How do you not “set goals beyond your capacity to achieve”?    I  don’t even know what my real capacity to achieve is.  I always think I can do more, be more, and make more of a difference. How do you truly relax and feel rejuvenated?  Even today, on this holiday, I feel a pressure to work that is hard to describe.   How do you turn that off?

Successful Renting!

Hurray! Yeah!  Super great! I have a simple post today.  One that doesn’t take too many words.  It is merely an exclamation of gratitude for a little success come my way.

I know I am a successful woman just for being me and living a good life but sometimes it feels good to have real concrete business success.  Today I had some!  As I mentioned in earlier posts I have been working hard lately on a variety of projects including managing 4 vacation rentals, finding long-term rentals for 2 of the homes, receiving training for sales tax work with Grabber, scheduling Grabber events, finding tenants for client with 25 properties, and trying to keep the maintenance and yard work up on the four properties.  Now I have not been alone in these various projects, but in the end the responsibility has been mine.  I have been working every day- even Saturday and Sunday.

It is because I have been working hard that today feels especially great.  It looks like I have found a long-term tenant for two of the homes! The second one has been tentatively reserved, and My dad will be making the contract and finalizing the deal in the next few days.  In addition, we had lowered the price from $2100 to $1950 but seeing the competition this tenant offered the rate of $2100! In this economy to be getting more for anything in real estate is pretty amazing!  This rate does not include utilities which are worked out with my dad.

Both families who are signing long-term contracts with us are fantastic.  They have kids, have good references and experience renting.  I think they will love the neighborhood and be happy in their new homes.  It’s funny because with 7 of my family members living up there (my uncle Jon and Aunt Carol, my uncle Tom and Aunt Jodi, my cousin Anne and her husband, and my Uncle Jim) they will probably hear more about me than I them.  I will certainly be aware quickly if any problem behaviors develop with the tenants.  (I have heard every landlord horror story over the last few weeks).

There is always the potential for problems, but I don’t anticipate any.  I am confident in the character and values of our tenants, and I think  I am doing a good thing finding them a house.  I wish I had houses for everyone who needed them.  I have given tours to at least 1o people in recent weeks and they all seemed very interested. In fact, I had 2 scheduled for tomorrow if things hadn’t come through. Someday I will hopefully be in a position as a property manager to find houses for all of them!

I don’t think there are many people who find 2 tenants for large properties before they even get their real estate license! I plan on taking my real estate classes starting in September, and  I will be able to start my new career as a property manager boasting success others can not match.  Plus, I will have the other work to stabilize my economics as I get things going.

The future looks bright and exciting! I know I will have to keep working hard, but a little success feels good.  With the crazy summer I have had- I need a little success.  The funny thing is I am not making any additional money with this sale, but I don’t really care.   It just makes me happy because I know what the success will do for me later on. The potential is great and thrilling!

In the meantime, I intend to work hard and put my faith in God.  I know any success is truly His and not mine. Hopefully days of success like this will keep coming! For now, I intend to let the little I have soak in.

success_key

I Love Nice People

Today I was grateful for happy people! (Even if they might have been a little annoyed inside)
Today I was grateful for happy people! (Even if they might have been a little annoyed inside)

So, I can’t write long but I just wanted to say how grateful I am for kind people who are understanding.  I am especially grateful both personally and professionally today.

It was a stressful day because we had three people checking into the properties, packing up my stuff, did the moving inspection, and finally moved a bunch of stuff into my new place.  It’s a long story but 2 of the houses the Benji and the Anna were rented.  The Benji does not have hot tub.  The Anna does.   Last month we decided to set up a housing swap with a family from Redondo Beach.  Since it was available I scheduled them in the Anna.  A week or so ago we got a call from a group called Signing Times (they do signing DVDs for babies learning sign to communicate early on).  Since they are paying customers I thought I should try to give them the house with the hot tub.  I called the other group and they were willing to make the swap.

So now comes today.  I was preoccupied with packing and as I headed over to sign my contract the swap group called.  Rushing I told them to go to the Anna, and Jim went ahead and checked them in.  I then signed my contract, did the inspection and moved a bunch of stuff in with the help of friends.  As I was eating dinner it hit me I had 2 groups expecting to stay at the Anna, one of them already checked in!  I panicked and called the other group.  I apologized probably 500 times and to my great relief they said “we don’t care which house we stay in”.  A few in the group were a little annoyed but as a whole they were unbelievably understanding.  I don’t know what I would have done if they had not been so great.  One of the ladies kept saying “Life happens!”.

This is a situation where I screwed up.  They would have had every right to be ticked off with me but they chose to be sympathetic.  I realize not everyone is so wonderful.   For a summer in college I worked for a hogi shop that also served teriyaki chicken.  At the beginning of the day we made all of the chicken for the entire day.  Occasionally we would run out of chicken and disappoint customers.  This one day we ran out of chicken and a lady came in wanting to order it.  Instead of ordering something else she proceeded to ream me out, calling me stupid and lazy.  The whole time I kept thinking- “What is going on in your life to make you treat me this way over chicken?”.  It was amazing.  I’ve also had moments on airplanes or in crowded places where people treated me and others like garbage.  It’s far too common.

Suffice it to say I am SO grateful the tenants I messed up today had a much better reaction.  It’s one thing to accept our friends, flaws and all, but when a stranger makes a mistake often it is easier to come unglued.  It reminds me of Jesus’ teachings when He said in Matthew 5 44-47:

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Not that I was an enemy of these people, but I was definitely not their brethren (or sister).  They had every right to be mad at me, but they chose a higher path and for that I am very grateful.   They certainly had more right than the chicken lady and nothing stopped her from unleashing her rage.

On a personal note I also feel grateful for Sunnie Bybee and my home teacher Josh for helping me move today and for whomever comes tomorrow.  Look at the nice note my fellow churchmembers sent out in my behalf:Hey everybody!
We are looking for as many people as possible that would be willing to gain a few extra blessings by helping out Rachel Wagner tomorrow, Saturday May 16th, to move into a new apartment within Adagio. We are all meeting at 13323 S. Pinnacle Point Dr. #3207 @ 11 am! Your help would greatly be appreciated!

Isn’t that nice?  Hopefully people will come!  I am sure they will and for that I am super appreciative.  I am not meaning to toot my own horn but I sacrifice a lot of my time to serving my friends and community, and it is nice to see others willing to serve me when I need it. I certainly can’t move by myself!  So, thanks everyone in advance!  Thanks for being so nice.

Thanks also to the understanding tenants who are the best!

I will update the blog next week and try to have photos of my new place.  I will be in a mad rush to get things unpacked before Hawaii!  Oh Hawaii!  That sounds so wonderful!!! I am all sore and tired, and will be near dead tomorrow.  Ahh I can feel that sun now!