This is unimportant, but

I bought Halloween candy back in August when I was feeling hopeful on the future and hopeful that Halloween might actually be able to be a thing this year. The Halloween candy has remained, in my cupboard, unopened, since then.

I even bought the Halloween candy that I like, and can eat, so that I could steal some of it. Which, looking back was either a smart or a stupid thing for me to do. With each passing day it’s looking less and less like Halloween is happening this year. I might be eating all of it.

I’m just proud of the fact that I’ve had candy in my cupboard since August and it’s still unopened. That is my definition of will-power.

So much snow

It just won’t stop snowing.

It’s been snowing for days.

The roads are a mess.

Naively, I thought there were at least a couple, if not a few, more weeks until winter really began. I was a fool. A dang fool, I tell you.

I’m not feeling much better from where I was at on the weekend. But, the good news is, I’ve been staying away from people so, at the very least, I know I’ve not gotten anyone else sick.

COVID has spiked in this city. It’s basically doubled in the past couple of days. I did write about it yesterday but I took the post down because I felt I was a little too aggressive. Regardless, you know… you really don’t know if someone’s healthy or not. The only person you can vouch for is yourself.

I’m counting my lucky stars that I have this beautiful home to hide out in. It’s a shelter from the weather, from the virus, and from stupid people. And as long as I can get food delivered, I’m staying here for the forseeable future.

Please vote.

Just vote.

Vote early.

Vote on the day of.

Just make sure that you vote.

Don’t pass it up.

Don’t take your privilege for granted.

People all over the world are living and dying for the opportunity to vote in the future of their government and they may possibly never get it. People all over the world are taking to the streets. Opposition leaders are being poisoned and exiled. Elections are being overthrown. People are being thrust into poverty. Coups are being staged. Nothing in this world is certain right now.

If you have an ability to vote on, or before, November 3rd just do it.

Don’t miss this opportunity.

Let’s talk about Sales

Disclaimer: If you disagree with anything I’ve written in this post, please feel free to share your opinions with me in the comments section. My only ask is that you would be kind about it. Sales is a subject matter that is not one-size-fits-all, so if you read this and think something is a good idea, please make sure you adapt it to properly fit your good or service being offered. If anything doesn’t make sense, or you have questions, ask me in the comments below and I’ll try to clarify.

The past few months I’ve noticed a lot more people using their platforms (blog, social media, podcasts, etc…) to make sales. Whether it books, clothing, consulting services… whatever it is, there’s been a huge influx in people selling.

While I deeply admire those who are exhibiting the entrepreneurial spirit in the best way possible, showcasing their goods and creativity, I have noticed a lot of people could be being smarter about the way they’re selling.

Now, that’s not to say that anyone is doing it wrong. If you’re doing it, that’s one hell of a great first step. But, I think it’s important to keep in mind that, very much like life, you should always be looking to improve.

How many sales have you made this week? This month? This year? Are you satisfied with the sales you’ve made? Are you looking to make more? How do you make more sales?

WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?

Are you selling your products to a business? Are you selling your products to individuals? Are you selling to men, women or both? Perhaps you’re selling to Gen Z, or even Gen X. Whoever you’re trying to sell your products or services to matters greatly with respect to how you sell. Knowing your audience is so important.

WHAT IS THE STATE OF THE MARKET?

You know, I don’t want to be a debby downer here, but COVID has brought a lot of the world to a screeching hault. There are two things people don’t want right now… ‘nice to haves’ and commitments.

Unless you’re selling an essential good or service, you’re likely going to see some suffering in your ability to make sales. If people don’t need what you’re selling then a lot are likely going to skip purchasing it. This nothing against your product or service, this is a reflection of uncertain times and a desire to keep the money they do have for the things they need, or ‘just in case’ scenarios that could come up.

To speak about commitments… from a psychological perspective, very few people are signing up for something that requires a commitment because of the fact that no one knows where we’re going to be or what the situation will be in a week, two weeks, five weeks or more. If they can’t see that far ahead, the don’t want to sign themselves up for something that commits them to that far into the future.

WHAT IS YOUR VALUE VERSUS MARKET VALUE?

This is a controversial topic because a lot of people believe that if they lower the price of their goods or service they’re lowering the value they provide. When, in reality, it’s likely that your product is only valued at that lower cost anyway.

Take a house, for example. Your house might be appraised at $500,000 (hypothetical numbers). The housing market, while it hasn’t drowned in a COVID world, has taken a bit of a hit. The market value of the home might only be $400,000 right now. That’s not a reflection of the home itself, that’s a reflection of the market. The house is still the same. It’s not as though there’s less of it, or it’s damaged. It’s just a reflection of the market.

Pre-pandemic, people might have spent $50 for what you’re selling because they had the $50 to spend. During pandemic pricing can’t be a reflection of pre-pandemic life. People don’t have that extra $50 to spend right now. They might only have $10. You, selling your product or service at $10 does not devalue the product itself, it shows that you understand market fluctuations. Just let people who purchase know that you reserve the right to raise the price again in the future when the world becomes more stable.

Besides, selling 5 at $10 is better than selling 0 at $50. Maybe, for those 5 people who you’re selling at $10, work out a deal that they also provide you with an online review. Reviews are HUGE for making sales.

Selling a house for $450,000 is a lot better than not selling at all because you’re so damn stubborn. Sure, the housing market could bounce back… eventually. How long are you able to hang onto the house for before you go bankrupt? Sometimes you just have to accept the time the world is in.

ARE YOU PROVIDING CONSUMERS ENOUGH TIME?

This one is very important. In my corporate job, one of the things I’ve been teaching my team is that it takes time for a company to decide upon purchasing our product. It’s an investment. They need to think about it, discuss it, work it into their budget. This isn’t just the case with companies purchasing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of software, this is the case across all industries, platforms and audiences. See, unless your clientele is strictly people with the wealth of Bill Gates, they need to think about the purchases before they make them.

If you’re saying ‘Buy this, it’s such a great deal and it’s only on sale until Monday’… well, whether it’s Tuesday and people have six days or Sunday and people have one day, that’s not enough time.

If someone is very interested in your product or service, at the very least, they need time to budget for it.

When is a typical pay day? Are you factoring in that as a consideration? The first of the month is when rent is due and typically around the time a lot of mortgage payments are due. (Not everyone, just a lot) Often times the start of the month people have less money to play with in their budget then in the middle of the month. If you’re offering a ‘steal of a deal’ that’s only good until the 5th of the month, are you doing yourself any favours? Are you doing your potential customers/clients any favours? No, not really.

Whether your product or service is $10 or $10,000 dollars, you need to provide people adequate time to determine whether or not they can, want to, or should purchase.

DON’T OFFER PAYMENT PLANS

This is an entirely personal opinion, but just don’t do it. Not unless you’re selling a car or house. You’re not a debt collector and you don’t want to be seen as such.

Payment plans are in place for people who require a good or service now, but cannot afford the full price at this moment in time. Thigns like ‘Quad-Pay’ drive me crazy. Payment plans are meant for essential goods, not a purse or a lego set. If someone can get by without what you’re offering, then you’re doing them a disservice by putting them on a payment plan and adding another bill to their long list of bills each month.

If you’re not offering an essential good or service, but you’re offering a payment plan, you’re taking advantage of people by selling them something they cannot afford.

WHAT ADDED VALUE ARE YOU PROVIDING?

This is something we talk a lot about with my day-to-day job. People aren’t purchasing your product to purchase your product, they’re purchasing your product to purchase you. I truly mean that.

How’s your small talk?

How’s your real talk?

Do you care about the people you’re speaking with?

My work sells software. Everyone on earth sells software. If you’re reading this post, you’ve bought software and are using it right this very instant. What makes people buy from us? Not the software, that’s for certain. People purchase from us because of the customer service we provide. People buy from us because of the team of extremely intelligent people with masters and doctorates who line our support staff and are at their beck and call whenever needed. People choose our software because they know they’re not getting software, they’re getting the company too.

How does that relate to individuals, you ask? Well the same concept applies. If you’re an indie author, very few people in this world are just going to purchase your book solely for the reason that it exists. Very few people are going to purchase your book for the reason that it belongs to a genre they enjoy. People are going to purchase your book because of the connection it has to you, and because of the connection that you have to them.

LASTLY, IF YOU CAN, JUST GIVE IT AWAY

You can trial software for several weeks before determining whether or not you wish to purchase it. You can drive cars before determining whether or not you wish to purchase it. There are umpteen thousand things on earth that offer you the opportunity to try, test, read or view said good/service before purchasing.

Why? Because if your product/service is so superior, then providing a free sample of the product/service is going to hook people.

It’s not manipulative, it’s smart.

If you’re a graphic designer just starting out, offer the first design free to show someone what you can do. After that, charge them per design. Until you’re well established, this is going to be a good means for you to drum up business and increase awareness of your capabilities.

If you’re an author and you’re legally allowed, post the first chapter, or even just the first few pages, of your book. Get people excited about the content they wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.

If you’re a social media phenom, teach someone the strategy to one platform and they’ll come to you seeking the strategy to others.

I am in no, way, shape or form saying that you should give away everything that you do. I’m saying that you should give away a teaser. Give away a piece… something to excite people… something to get them talking. It incentivizes people.

TO CONCLUDE

Whatever you’re selling, however you’re selling it, just remember to put yourself in the mind of your ideal consumer. Think like they think. Do what they do. If you can truly understand the people you’re trying to make sales to, you’ll have a far easier time making connections and eventual sales.

Remember that sales is not a one-size-fits-all business plan. It differs from person-to-person, industry-to-industry. Do your research. Be flexible. Be confident. Lastly, but certainly not least, be proud. be proud of what you’re providing.

Why is bedding so ugly? (a rant)

Warning: the following post is my ranting about a problem that comes from a place of privilege. A ‘first world problem’ as the masses would call it. I know I’m a very lucky soul that these seemingly simple problems are problems of mine.

I just want a comforter. Just a warm comforter in a plain colour. Something that will keep me warm through the winter.

I don’t want a duvet because taking the cover off to wash is too annoying for me to tolerate, so I refuse to spend m money on it.

I don’t want a white comforter because I’m a human being and that comforter would not stay white very long.

I don’t want a thin blanket. I need a real comforter. It’s been snowing here for the past week and we’ve had a drop in average daily temperatures by probably 15 degrees. Thin blankets aren’t going to cut it.

I don’t need a ‘bed in a bag’. I’ve already got sheets. I’ve already got pillow cases. I’m a millennial so top sheets are completely lost on someone like me. I don’t want to spend 30 minutes making my bed every morning. These sets available aren’t worth it to me. I don’t need 5 or 9 piece sets… I need one piece. One comforter, that’s it.

I just want a basic, one coloured comforter that will keep me warm through the winter.

Is this too much to ask?

Apparently.

I’ve scoured Amazon, Wal Mart, Superstore, Bed Bath & Beyond, and even Wayfair (even though I have a strong dislike for Wayfair and do not wish to give them my money). I’ve found green and black plaid, red and white plaid, yellow with daisies, city skyline printed, navy with various shades of pink poppies scattered all over it. I found a pink and gold marble pattern, neon green strips, black and red checkers. What ever happened to just… simple?

Long story short, I can’t find a simple, plain comforter. I find stuff like this:

I mean no offense to anyone who finds these examples cute, or they are your style. To me they just look like they’d be a bit of an eye sore in my bedroom. And, for several hundred dollars, it should at least be something that fits my style.

If anyone has any suggestions of where to look for bedding please let me know. I’d prefer online at this point. I am quite sick and I don’t want to go out and about shopping.

Thanks for listening to me rant.

I don’t feel good.

My head feels like an anvil was dropped on it.

My throat is dry, sore and my pallet swelling.

I go between stages of being so cold that I’m violently shivering, and so hot that I want to take off all of my clothes and run out into the snow.

Sinus pressure is making it difficult for me to breathe.

I’m tired. So tired. I slept for twelve hours last night and then had a four hour nap today.

My vision is blurry.

My body feels so achy. I think I’ve aged thirty years in the past 24 hours. Touching any part of my body feels like I’m touching a bruise.

Aye yai yai.

I don’t feel good.

I know I’m whining. I just need to whine for a hot minute.

Happy Thanksgiving

More than anything this year, I’m thankful for people. The people who’ve kept our society going, the people who’ve proved to the world that the essential nature of someone’s job does not necessarily correlate with how much they are paid to do said job.

I’m extremely thankful for healthcare workers. Doctors, Nurses, Therapists, EMTs, Dentists, Surgeons, Counselors… every single health care worker who’s continued to do their work to look out for the health and well being of the general public through this weird, unprecedented time… in a lot of ways putting themselves in harms way to do so.

I’m thankful for bosses who were able to coordinate their employees working from home. I’m thankful for employees who turned into full time teachers and finally realized just how not easy it is to be a teacher. I’m thankful for a government that leapt into action to ensure that people had programs and funding options available if they needed it, even though they knew some could/would likely take advantage of the system. They knew that looking after the many was far more important than worrying about the few in the heat of the moment.

I’m thankful to my parent’s neighbours who continuously brought them food and necessities to try and make them stay home so that they didn’t have to go out and put themselves at risk. With my mom being in remission and my dad having surgery in February, the neighbours did all that they could to try and ensure my parents would stay put and stay healthy.

I’m thankful to the anonymous donor who gave $20,000 to a local women’s shelter about two months back and asked that it be used to pay for the expenses of as many families living there as it could. Whoever they are, wherever they are, that’s some serious generosity to give to a family in the middle of a crisis of their own in the middle of this pandemic.

I’m thankful to the oodles and oodles of people who read this blog and give me pep talks, send me kind words, leave me motivational notes or just reach out to see if I am okay. I think on some level everyone wants to know they’ll be missed if they were suddenly not to show up. The fact that so many people reach out to me, even if it’s just two or three days that I don’t sign on here, it’s a very nice feeling. So thank you to all of you.

I’m thankful for family and friends. Oh, my friends. They’ve heard me cry, they’ve helped me through some of the hardest times of my life the past year and a half and they never backed away once. I’ve got really incredible friends and I don’t tell them that near often enough.

I’m thankful to the person who gave me the dozen rainbow roses currently sitting in my kitchen windowsill. I’m thankful to the person who so generously, without question, paid my cell phone and credit card bills in February and March when I was so broke I didn’t know where to turn. I’m thankful to person who drove through the night to help me move, so that I didn’t have to do it alone. Some things, small gestures or large, they’ll stay with you forever.

I’m thankful to those who wear masks, who keep their distance, who say no to attending parties, weddings, vacations and who understand that precautionary measures are not about you, they’re about everyone. While the selfish might be one’s making the headlines on the news each night, there’s been a whole lot of selflessness this year that hasn’t been talked about. I see you, I appreciate you and I admire you. Thank you for what you’ve done.

In spite of all of the bad that has happened this year, there’s also been a lot of good as well. I’m going to have a new niece or nephew soon. I’ve got a new job, something that’s challenged me in ways I never thought possible. I’ve got a new home, a new car, a new life essentially. And hey, I may not have done much more than stay home the past eight months, but it’s been one hell of a ride.

It’s October 12th and it’s snowing.

Happy Thanksgiving, world.

Seeking your input

So, this weekend is Thanksgiving here in Canada. While I know it’s been a really difficult year for pretty much everyone on the planet, there is still good in this world. There is still a lot of things to be thankful for. As I sit here and compile a list of all that I am thankful for in 2020, for Monday, I am wondering… what are you thankful for in 2020?

(Yes, I know it’s not Thanksgiving around the world this weekend. But, I just want to hear what you’re thankful for. So come on, give a girl some insights!)

I’m rambling again.

Just because there are some things that I am unhappy about does not mean there isn’t good in my life. Just because there are some things that I am insecure about does not mean that I don’t like myself. Just because I have doubts does not mean that I don’t have certainties. Just because I’m an idiot when it comes to some things doesn’t mean that I’m an idiot when it comes to all things.

It’s okay to not have all of the answers. It’s okay if you don’t have a clear path. I don’t care what people say about trying not being good enough. Trying beats the hell out of being stagnant in life.

It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to screw up. What’s not okay is refusing to learn lessons from those times in life that seem so damn bad, you don’t ever know how you’re going to recover. Acknowledging your missteps and learning from them is literally the first step towards recovering, carving a new path and ensuring you don’t fuck up the same way twice.

Often times we treat these situations in life as though they’re rules. Rules we cannot break. We cannot possibly be insecure, unsure, uneasy or unhappy because if we’re any of these things it means we’re not secure, sure, easy-going or happy. That’s simply not the case. The world isn’t black and white. There are so many shades of grey and being able to understand that will bring a lot of peace, I promise you.

Don’t let people tell you how to feel, your feelings are warranted. Don’t let people tell you who to be or what to believe. You are who you are for a reason. That doesn’t mean that who you are is who you always have to be. Human beings are a work in progress and it’s well within you to change, if you want to. If you don’t, though… be proud of who you are. Flaws and all. Uncertainties and all. Insecurities and all. Uneasiness and all. No one else in this world is you.