Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thrifty Thursday: Recycle to Save Money

When you are self-employed, you are poor. Whether or not you have money in the bank, you have to live like a hobo, because there's no telling if you'll get a check between now and Christmas. If you, like me, have a healthy methamshopamine habit, you'll understand my almost involuntary desire for something new. [Note: much of my "something new" for the last few months came from thrift stores, so please, no anti-consumerist ranting - don't think I've been out shaking down Saks.] Lucky for us both, the recovery process for this addiction can be completed in three steps, rather than twelve.

Step One: Cut Some Sh*t Up

Take an old dress. Cut off the too-tight bodice. Revel in your new strapless dress/skirt.

Step Two: Ghetto-Rig Your Broken Jewelry

Get some thin wire. Wrap it around the broken parts. Hide said broken parts under your hair. Slap on a gaudy pin. Presto: one-of-a-kind bauble delight.

Step Three: Glorify an Old Mess

Take an ugly old blazer that miraculously still fits you. Conceive of a design in your mind's eye, and begin to create it with safety pins. Realize that you are pinning a different design; adjust accordingly. Run out of safety pins. Hope for the best.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memory Lane Monday: Sleeping

In honor of Memorial Day, I would like to introduce “Memory Lane Mondays.” Every Monday, I will present you with the story of one of my most embarrassing moments in business. There are no profound lessons to be gleaned from these tales – just pure pointing-and-laughing-type humor. Enjoy!

I had been working at a hotel for about two months when the GM announced that the sales team had done such a great job that he was taking us on a special trip as a reward. Although I had nothing to do with their results, he insisted that I come with them. We went to a beautiful resort in the Rocky Mountains and proceeded to eat and drink our way up and down the mountain. After a spectacular dinner, bar-hopping, and nightcaps in a luxury suite, we all stumbled back to our rooms to pass out -- ahem, sleep. I have no idea what time that was.
I do know that I woke up to the sound of loud stomping. When I cracked open one swollen eyelid, I was surprised by a parade of hissing ski pants passing just inches from my face. Oh, duh – I was still asleep and having a booze-fueled dream. I was in a tee-shirt and panties, actually really cold – must have kicked the covers off – why isn’t this dream changing? Why are these skiers still walking by? Where is my pillow? Is the alarm being incorporated into my dream as laughter?
Well, no, as a matter of fact. While it was true that I was in my elegant tee-shirt and underwear pajama ensemble, and also accurate that I had been sleeping, I was not in my hotel room. I had instead spent the night atop a plywood table in the hall way of the resort, right by the door that led outside to the ski lifts. Moreover, I had neither my room key nor my glasses, and there’s a good chance I didn’t know my room number. I pulled my tee-shirt down as far as it would go, curled up, and went back to sleep.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Experiencing Uncomfortable Dryness?

My dad is an avid blogger. He suggested that I comment on more blogs as a way to drive traffic to mine. Great idea. OK, so I tried to Google blogs that I thought would be interesting and related.

Search #1 was "women starting businesses." The responses were: microgrants; $5K grants; federal grants; don't bother starting a business if you're a woman in Saudi Arabia [really? that was somehow a mystery to someone?]; and contemporary UK feminism.

Search #2 was "funny women in business." Here's what I got: behind the scenes at American Idol; the Winnipeg Harvest [a laugh riot, I've heard]; and Popgadget personal technology for women.

Search #3 was "anything not boring about women." Results: wrestling forum [certainly interesting]; cricket; and, my personal favorite, Ask a Cougar - Why Younger Men Prefer Older Women.

Why oh why are all these blogs so freaking boring and dry? Why isn't there a blog that talks about the funny parts of being a woman in business?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Advertising Is Dead

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Gentle Reader

Dear Ladies Who Ocassionally and/or Frequently Urinate:

I understand that you are a delicate flower, with skin as fragile as white petals and a nervous system held together by spiderweb-like tendrils. I know that your world is fraught with danger. I get your fear of dread disease. And I feel you on getting the gross-outs. But, just so we're clear, peeing all over the toilet seat isn't going to solve any of these problems.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Revenge Fantasies

Here are the revenge fantasies that I have:

1. My business is so successful that both local and global companies line up to hire me. The investors who made my life a living hell at my last job beg me to take their account. I, of course, decline, causing them to go bankrupt and resulting in their having to set all of their horses, cars, planes, and dogs free.
2. I lose 40 pounds, and a local magazine writes a cover story - featuring me, of course - on how eliminating stress and working for yourself results in dramatic weight loss. A generous plastic surgeon offers me a complimentary eye lift in celebration of the new era of work-life balance, and Jimmy Choo hires me as a spokes-foot.
3. I pee on above mentioned investors' toothbrushes without them knowing.
4. I am able to surreptitiously sneak into their offices and sew tiny salad shrimp into the seams of their curtains. Said shrimp are allowed to decompose undetected and the smell begins to haunt their dreams.

Of course, revenge is a dish best served cold, so I guess what I really hope is that they get what they deserve.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

File Mule

I decided to quit my job about six weeks before I actually did (OK, six months, but who's counting?). Because the circumstances were less than great and folks in my world usually get walked right out, I was nervous about being kicked in the face (metaphorically-speaking) the moment I announced my intention to go, and my pride couldn't handle the idea that my staff and co-workers might think I had been fired. Blah blah blah, ego ego ego.
I had a ton of stuff in my office: books, files, art -- ten years worth of the stuff you think you need. It would have filled a dozen paper boxes, way more than you could pack in 30 dignified minutes. Part of that was my set of permanent files - the stuff I've traveled with for years and years - and I was afraid that it would look like I were stealing them if I packed them up and carried them out on my last day. The files were mine; I brought them with me when I got there, but it would have looked so shady if I grabbed them when I left. To try to avoid looking like an office supply thief, I started carrying a big purse. Every night, I slid my laptop into my briefcase with two or three file folders and dropped one big red pendaflex into my purse. When I got in the elevator, I would sweat and twitch like I was carrying heroin in my cleavage, probably making the security guards laugh their asses off as they watched me adjust my bra straps and tug on my Spanx with a Tourette's Syndrome flourish. I was constantly terrified that I would become the subject of a bag check and have to explain that the red carboard folder in my purse was something I bought three cities ago and had dragged around with me ever since. Would it be more embarrassing to get searched or to have to admit that I had been hoarding all this crap for so long? Thank God there aren't mandatory prison sentences for file mules.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Why Professional Print Companies Exist

I tried to make some discount business cards at home. My printer printed the same file out four different ways in two days. Seriously?

So, I called a real printer.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Email etiquette

1. Don't send me an email that says, "Thank you." Or "thanks," or, and this is the worse, "thx."
2. Put something in the subject line, or I will delete your message without reading it. I will also think you are dumber than a fifth-grader.
3. Do not ever, ever, ever forward me a PowerPoint presentation that includes blurry pictures of roses or kittens and instruct me to send it to those I love.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ways to Save Money

OK, I quit my job, I'm starting a business, and I can sort of foresee a life of Ramen noodles and Colt 45. Well, I'm nothing if not organized, so I put together a list of ways to save money.

1. Change type of checking account to cheap one to get rid of fee.
2. Cancel Netflix.
3. Reduce temp on water heater to two-thirds.
4. Raise deductible on insurance.
5. Cancel long distance on home phone.
6. Use up all food and supplies we have.
7. Get library cards.
8. Sell clothes at consignment store.
9. Sell crap on eBay.
10. Get clothes altered instead of any new outfits.
11. Groceries only every two weeks and make a meal plan we stick to!
12. No more Starbucks. :(
13. Mo more wine. No drinking on weekdays.
14. Cash in our change jars.
15. Bake dog treats/dog food.
16. Make some gifts and cards.
17. Less heat, more blankets.
18. Turn off lights and unplug appliances.
19. Turn off computer monitor.
20. Cancel weird $12.95 thing on credit card.
21. Buy one last batch of cheap wine with coupon.
22. Ask friends to do potluck actovities.
23. Ask family to lower expectations.
24. Weatherstrip doors.
25. Don't throw away food - eat leftovers.
26. Line dry clothes.
27. Water down liquid soaps and shampoo.
28. Bring a flask when appropriate.
29. Don't eat out.
30. Steal gas from rich people.
31. Sell eggs/sperm to poor gay couple.
32. Cash Amex points for groceries.
33. Eat Oodles of Noodles Mon-Fri.
34. Pimp dog out for puppies and sell puppies.
35. Chop down trees in woods and sell as Christmas trees.
36. Drink vanilla and other extracts.
37. Dye old clothes.

Hmm. Cross your fingers that my client meeting in the morning is successful.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Starting to Start

Once upon a time, in a far off land, there lived a girl who got sick of working for The Man. She was talented (ish) and very hard-working, but she sucked at sucking up. So one day, after days and weeks and months and years of struggling to keep herself from poisoning her bosses, she threw in the towel.

Wait. She didn't poison anyone. She just quit her job and started a business. I swear.

This is her story....