Lesson 3: Selling

The final lesson I learned as a first time vendor was all about selling. That’s including not having copies of my book, smh. So what happened was…

I made a last minute decision to become a vendor at the kids expo and ordered copies of Ella’s Greatest Adventures at the same time. The books were supposed to arrive day before the event (I knowww!) but there was a delay until the following week!

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>>>Fast forward, I went to the expo with two proofs and the setup for my table. I felt unprepared and did not deserve to be surrounded by other vendors with their organized tables. Anyhoo, I set my table, got out of my feelings, and smiled as people walked by.

In lesson 2 , the cookies had people stopping by the table asking about Ella. Eventually a family came to the table and they purchased a copy of my book. As they looked through one of the proofs I had on the table, I spoke to them about the purpose and goal behind Ella’s Greatest Adventures. The day before I made up order forms so I had those on the table for customers. After that first sell it actually gave me the confidence I needed in order to continue to sell that day.

Thanks to lesson 3 I learned (and am still learning) not to compare myself to others and trust God. I didn’t have a nice standing banner or copies of the book but I had a voice and I was creative. I also learned everyone isn’t for the brand. I made a few sales but smiled a lot as people walked passed. Even as I shared things I thought was amazing about Ella, I didn’t get the same response from some people and that’s okay. The last lesson I learned was to be prepared. The week leading to the event I was in a panic! I was praying and had others praying with me believing my books would come on time. Instead of focusing on when the books would arrive, I made order forms and dental related sheets for families. As an introvert, I do not enjoy speaking to groups of people so I prepared by practicing around the house.

Even though I have ALOT to learn about selling, what I’ve learned as a first time vendor was very valuable.

 

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Lesson 2: The Customer is Sometimes Right

“The customer is always right.” I never heard of this until I heard a complaint working at Subway. The person bought a salad and called minutes later not to complain about the taste but the presentation. Their food wasn’t cut small enough and they needed an explanation. As I listened to them complain over the phone, as if I made it I asked one of my coworkers what to say because honestly I wanted to hang up. I said what I was told and the person continued not being satisfied. Even though I had similar experiences since then, I think that Subway moment relates to my first time as a vendor.

The morning of the kids expo I decided to bake sugar cookies. Ideally, fruit would’ve been best to represent the fruit of the spirit in Ella’s Greatest Adventures but that was not in the funds. I wanted cookies to be in the shape of Ella so I used a Mickey Mouse cookie cutter ((lol)) and they came out horrible! Side note: This was my first time doing this so that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!  It kind of worked out because when the Mickey Mouse head wasn’t keeping its shape, I shaped it to look more like Ella. A lot of work for an amateur baker and professional creator!

IMG_5208So once my husband and I arrived and set my table up children started coming… especially for the cookies. One mother stopped in front of the table and said, ” Hmm, cookies and dentistry? dentistry and cookies?” I knew what that meant and for a second, ok maybe a minute, I got into my feelings. “She don’t know how I struggled to get here without having books.” “I know this book relates to oral health but it’s so much more!” Yada, yada, yada. Instead I gave a smile and said, “Yes mam, that’s right.” She ate a cookie and walked away.

giphy3 Just like the Subway person, it was about the presentation. Out of that moment I started getting ideas but I first had to get out of my feelings. Second, I was soo glad I listened. That mom from the expo represented a group of moms I’ll probably meet later down the road and I want to be able to respond in a loving way.

Lesson 1: Event Planning

Last week I had my first vendor event and even though it wasn’t how I imagined it to be, it was pretty successful. One of the lessons I was taught was how to have more than one event on the same day.

The first event I booked was for a baby shower. A few weeks later I bought a vendor table for a kids expo that same day and time (well it lasted longer than the first event). It didn’t make sense to do both but I prayed first before I made an investment for the vendor table. I felt at peace about both events so that’s how I was able to move forward with that decision.

I knew I couldn’t attend both, not the entire time at least, so the plan was to set up and have my husband sell at the expo that would allow me to attend the baby shower event for a few then return to the expo. Without my husband there I wouldn’t have been able to even consider having that as an option so having a team is important!

The morning of the events I was running a few minutes late but once we arrived at the expo we saw this line wrapped around the building and traffic of cars still pulling into the parking lots. I didn’t have copies of my book ( that’s another story, smh) and based on how long it took for me to get into the parking lot at the expo I knew I wouldn’t make it to the next event. Plans change all the time but I think planning strategically would’ve helped the situation.

Before you plan for several events in one day like I attempted to, I encourage you to seek God’s will by praying first, have a support team because it’s hard to do it by yourself, and plan strategically just in case plan-a to plan-g doesn’t work.

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“Ok, cool.” Type of Relationship

We’ve all been there at least I think. You know the type of relationship where you’ve placed the other person first and it wasn’t reciprocated. Or maybe you’ve sent text messages pouring out your heart and the other person just respond with “ok,cool.”  It’s so frustrating, annoying , and all the other words that’s similar.giphy2Well I’ve experienced it , a little too much actually.  I guess after it happened to me the first time you would think I learned my lesson. Instead I gave myself excuses when I wasn’t treated fairly. I wonder how God would feel in that type of relationship?

A relationship where he pours his entire being, blessings, encouraging words, into you consistently, and your only response is “okay, thanks.” A relationship where he made you a little lower than angels and crowned you with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:7).  I thought about this last week and I was like man I love God even more!

I think a lot of people wouldn’t stay in a relationship for too long if the other person didn’t acknowledge them, I know I wouldn’t. Psalms 94:14 says ” For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.” So does that include the moments we don’t acknowledge him as much? Yes! Well doesn’t he get upset when that happens ? Psalms 103:8 says “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

He knew what type of person we were before we were born (psalms 139:13)! Yet he’s committed and shows no sign of leaving. I knew this to be true but I guess after reading a devotion a few days ago it was like an aha moment. It’s like being in a relationship and you already know the person love you but then they do something extra like give you flowers or something and you’re like “Aww they really do love me!” So yeah , God is awesome and he loves you flaws and all!

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E.G.A Book Launch Behind the Scenes

It’s officially been a month since my first virtual book launch for Ella’s Greatest Adventures: Peace at the Dental Office! EGA Peace at the Dental Office1
I remembered feeling kind of overwhelmed, nervous, yet excited to finally share my book but before I talk about my feelings, what’s a book launch?

A book launch is an event where the book is presented to the public for the first time , either traditionally at a venue or digitally.

I chose to launch on Facebook live mostly because of timing and less preparation that was needed to set up. So that morning I met my friends outside of my apartment’s clubhouse and immediately after speaking we ended up moving around  furniture to quickly set up.giphy

Minutes before going live as we were eating icees and praying for a successful launch , I began to read over my notes. Clicked ‘live’ and no one was online. I waited..refreshed page..waited..refreshed page and couldn’t see anyone still lol. giphy1

At first I was using Ella’s Greatest Adventures Facebook page to go live (a page that did not have much traffic to begin with smh) and that’s when my friends suggested I used my regular account, so yayy for friends! It worked!
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Everyone started popping in and I was nervous! You would think because I was sitting behind a screen I would be comfortable but I still visualized being in a physical room with people coming in and out during my presentation. Eventually I was comfortable because I realized the ones that were watching were people that I knew.

This was a big step for me because it’s easier for me to express myself on paper without using my actual voice. Also the fact that I do not like ‘live videos’, ughh!

In spite of my feelings, Ella’s story was told, family & friends rocked, and I faced my fears of doing my first book launch!

** check out Ella’s Site by clicking HERE

Use What You Have

When I first got the idea for Ella’s Greatest Adventures, I asked myself so many questions. “Where can I find an illustrator?” “How can I afford this?” “How can I write a book and work on my other goals?” Everyday created a new question and I felt like I had to answer those nagging questions before I could start anything. On top of the questions I felt like I had to answer, I wasn’t overly excited about becoming an author because I knew it involved public speaking. I didn’t mind the writing part, I did that everyday in my journal but speaking to crowds gave me anxiety.

It reminds me of one of my favorite people in the bible that goes by the name of Moses. Moses had an assignment from God to go back to Egypt to lead his people out slavery. Like me, Moses was not excited about his assignment (Check out Exodus Ch 3 &4). Moses gave God so many excuses as to why he wasn’t qualified and yet received confirmation after confirmation he would not be alone. Moses was also reminded to use what he had in his hand, a staff.

Back to my story, I didn’t think I was qualified to write a children’s book because I thought I had to be well prepared. Like Moses and his staff, I used what I had available which was my pen and paper. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed and distracted by a long list of things to do when God just wants you to start with what’s in front of you.

If you ever felt how I felt, doing something out of your comfort zone, I encourage you to just start with the tools you have available and God will be with you every step of the way.

 

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Bloom Where You’re Planted

Have you ever walked on the sidewalk and noticed a flower growing through the cracks? I thought it was impossible but plant roots will grow anywhere there’s water and that includes being ‘oddly’ positioned between slabs of concrete.

When I accepted my position as a chemist I thought it was very odd. If anyone knew my background with chemistry they would know I struggled…ALOT! I took organic about 500 times and once I graduated I told myself ‘never again will I do chemistry’….untill 5 years later lol. I was shocked to get a callback but once I walked into the environment I felt like I was out of place. It only took a couple of weeks and I was ready to explore something else. I ended up addressing my concerns to God (even now) and he shared a few of his reasons to why I was placed there. I couldn’t understand why he would pick a place like that for me to grow. I already had plans for how I was going to grow… like a Hibiscus flower grown in the tropic environment, I was going to grow in my ideal career environment. Instead, this hard,dry- looking place was where I was supposed to grow.

So how do you bloom where you’re planted? Honestly, I fought this for a while lol but since the time I started I grown to appreciate all of the experiences I’ve had. I try to focus on the bigger picture to why he have me there including praying for others. Making the most of my time by helping others , learning new things , and pushing out of my comfort zone has been major keys to my growth, I believe.

Understand you may be positioned in a place that seem unlikely for you to grow but know that God has an awesome plan for you. So Bloom where you’re planted!

 

Dear 20’s

Dear 20’s,

We’ve been through so much together and It’s now coming to an end. I learned so much in our relationship and so before we depart I would like to share how awesome you were to me.

You taught me how to be independent especially when I decided going out of state for college would be best. I didn’t have any friends on campus and I didn’t have a car so you made sure I figured a way using the city bus.

I’m getting better at this but at the beginning it was ROUGH! I’m talking about speaking up for myself. I had a select few of roommates that were pretty awesome but the rest… WHYYY??! I learned what to tolerate and what not to tolerate, so thank you ladies 😉.

I got my first full time job with you! I learned how to prioritize in that season. You taught me it’s ok not being an open book to everyone I like. You taught me it’s ok to want more in my career and not get to a place where I feel stuck.

You taught me to think outside the 📦 box with my career goals. God tinkered with my vision so I could see a bigger picture of what he’s painting for me. I thought becoming a dentist was my final destination (you know how much I love dentistry😍). However, everything that I thought was random growing up actually served towards my purpose and now I’m actually going to publish a children’s book!

20’s , you were good to me. I got married to my best friend with you. Honestly, I didn’t think getting married would happen. I thought I’d be in my 30’s…

Speaking of 30’s, I’m looking forward to meeting them . I know we’re going to start our relationship on a good note this Friday but I hope they’re consistent like you with all the lessons I received.

I’m definitely going to miss you, but until then let’s make the last few days special .

Love you,

Ash

The benefits of stretching

Dance class and cheering had this one thing in common I did not enjoy, called stretching. I hated stretching! While it was easy for some girls, it wasn’t for me. I knew stretching had its benefits but I thought it was better to skip and move on to practice or performing. I would stretch my legs as far as I could with all my strength, then my instructor would come and push against my back to go further. This was done on a weekly basis I couldn’t avoid it. Stretch,practice,perform, repeat. Stretch,practice, perform,repeat.

 

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The last quarter of this year for me gave me that same feeling. I felt an uncomfortable ‘pull’ especially at work and though it didn’t bring me to tears it made me ask the Lord ,”Why?” After asking why I remembered how important stretching was for my body. Stretching improves my performance, helps my body move effectively, and decrease my risk of getting hurt.  I believe the benefits of stretching in the natural applies in our relationship with the Lord. He stretch us out of our comfort zone so our faith can strengthen in him and to become more flexible…adapting to his ways. Similar to my cheer/dance days, I’m always hoping the Lord would skip the stretching part of the process however, it’s necessary in order to fully develop. Don’t worry if you need help stretching he’s always there to help: Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

 

 

 

Write now not later

When I was a young girl I would write in my diary almost everyday. I wrote poems, short stories, but my favorite was journaling. I had friends and my mom to share things with but it was something about opening up to a blank sheet of paper. As an introvert I was considered the ‘listener’ so writing was my turn to vent. Overtime I wrote less and less because some of my experiences I didn’t want to remember the details of them if I ever were to reflect .

Time eventually revealed my love for dentistry. I was fascinated with it all and as I was planning to take the test for dental school my boyfriend (now husband) inspired me with the idea to share my story with others. I didn’t like the idea at first because blogging to me was like giving others access to your thoughts and I was scared. The name , IntrovertedFillings, came to me so clear I knew it was meant to be.

Last year, I went to a comic-con with my husband to be a supporter and we attended a children’s book workshop. I don’t remember a word they said but I left feeling inspired to do something. I played with the thought of writing a children’s book related to dentistry for a few days then asked myself,” why not?” The lord answered that question into a book series called, Ella’s Greatest Adventures.

Never would I have guessed that writing consistently as a young girl would lead into something bigger. So if you’re feeling prompted to do something , know that ‘write’ now is your best time!