Saturday, September 29, 2012

Selling My Grandmother's Very Old Jewelry

Not too long ago I was cleaning out my grandmother's attic when I noticed some older looking boxes filled with antique jewelry. My grandmother was having some problems with her house so we decided to make some extra cash selling the jewelry. I wasn't too sure what to expect when selling these pieces of jewelry, the process, the amount that I should expect. I was in the dark and especially since it was my grandmother's I wanted to make sure we got the most we could get for it. I began doing research on the subject to insure we wouldn't be taken advantage of for our lack of knowledge. There are a few things to check out before selling.
What kind of jewelry do you have? Is it gold, silver, precious gems and stones? Depending on what type you have will drastically change who you will speak with for the appraisal and where you'll go to attempt to sell your jewelry. There are a lot of specifics concerning how to value all the different types of jewelry, so I won't go into it, you can find other articles that specify the details about appraising gold, silver and other types of jewelry.
First have your stuff appraised, it will probably be better to get a first opinion from a third party, this way you won't have to worry about any biased opinions. If you have the time and patience, check out a few different independent appraisers, then you can best judge what your selling price will start at.
After you have decided on your selling price and that's where and who you're selling it to. There are many places to go for selling jewelry. You can take your merchandise to any pawnshop but you'll most likely get the least for your sale. Going to auctions and conventions can bring in more money however it is never certain. If you want people searching for your product you can take out an ad in the local newspaper or use websites auctions or post your merchandise on a number of sites geared towards this exact market.
It is easy to sell your old and unwanted jewelry, the hard part is selling it at the price you want. The important thing is to have it properly appraised so you have a leg to stand on when selling, you don't want to get taken advantage of. After I gathered the information I needed, my grandmother and I were able to get an honest price for her old jewelry, and you can do it to.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Plan for an Unexpected Change in Plans

Saturday was supposed to be my big day. The first installment of my new radio show. I was so excited. Proud. Ready. For the past three months, I had eagerly awaited the moment when I would be in the studio, the producer would introduce me, and I would begin serving the local entrepreneurial community with weekly shows of inspiration, guidance, and expert guests to help them get the most out of their businesses and their lives.
Sponsors had made strong commitments to our listeners to support them on their journey. Guests were in the studio to share their stories. Friends and family were loyally perched on the edge of their seats in support of my new endeavor. I had pages and pages of notes and reminders to myself... that were intended to help me relax and not betray the anxiety I felt about my debut. The entire free world was waiting to hear my show, and I was not going to disappoint them!
... Oh, yes, I was prepared. I had notes for every possible event... What if the guests don't show up? Got that covered with an extra feature. What if the taped interview I did with a successful local business person was accidentally erased? No problem... I'll just talk about his book, and how much can be learned from his experiences. What if I get hungry? Protein bar. Check. Water. Check. Bathroom... already timed the trip so that I can fit it in during a break.
Nothing was going to shake me up... I was ready for anything... Bring it on!
And then, of course, the unexpected happened. About two minutes before we were to go on the air, the producer says that we will be cutting away to a live press conference from Aurora, Colorado, where the Governor, the local Police Chief, and the FBI will be giving more details about the horrible tragedy at a local movie theatre just a couple nights earlier. He tells me that he's not sure when the conference will begin, so that I should start the show, but that as soon as the press conference begins, I will be cut off.
Talk about a curve ball!!! I went from "all systems go" to mortified in the blink of an eye. Should I race through my intro and get as much of it out as possible? Should I introduce myself to our listeners--who have no idea who I am or why Glen Beck isn't on-by telling them that we have a new show, but they'll have to wait until the horrific details of a National Tragedy are replayed before we can start the fun? Can I run? Cry? Reach out for a lifeline?
I think the technical term is discombobulation. My cool was completely blown. How do I show my compassion for the victims and their families, while sticking to my plan to deliver an inspirational show? What do I do now? No time to regroup; this is live radio. I can't call a quick 20 second time out to check with the coaching staff. I have to call an audible... on the fly... for my first play in the game... ever! Maybe, if I'd had just a bit more experience, I would have been able to handle this better... or perhaps if I had given my plan some flexibility, I would have been ready for a detour.
Well, I'll save you the trouble of searching for a link to my debacle of a debut. Suffice it to say that I panicked. Kicked it wide right. Threw it right into coverage. Air ball. Whiffed it. Pick your sports metaphor... the bottom line is that I blew it. I had so overplanned, that I left no room for life to intervene.
Life is much more like jazz, with crazy solos and occasional detours, than a symphony where everyone plays their part according to a beautiful script written long ago. The great artists may have a general idea when they sit down to create, but the final result frequently looks or sounds completely different from what they originally had in mind.
Our businesses are like that, too. We don't live in a vacuum, and the events we encounter are frequently out of our control. Being prepared is important, but being flexible is essential for the times when your plan needs a tweak on the fly. Of course, you need a business plan. Absolutely. It will be your guide through good times and bad... as long as you remember that it is not written in stone.
So, the moral of the story here, is that you must, of course, be prepared... and be prepared to ditch your well thought out preparations when the market tells you that the wind has shifted.
Ok... So, it turns out there was another lesson for me here... and maybe it is one for you, too.
Just as I was about to wrap up this story, I received an email from the radio station, with a link to the show. Like craning your neck at a car accident on the highway, I had to take a listen. Guess what? It wasn't as bad as I thought. Fancy that! I was a little hard on myself...
Lesson number two for me... and maybe you... We are creators, and sometimes we let our inner critic overwhelm our precious creations. I call this my Loyal Soldier, a term I learned from Molly Young Brown... more on that in a future blog. For now, the message is-be kind to yourself during the creative process. As your business evolves-and you evolve with it-there will be times when you don't do everything right. You will make mistakes... be prepared for that... and be prepared to forgive yourself and move forward.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

From Victim to Victor, How to Get Off the Procrastination Highway

Today has been a brutal day. I've been fighting with myself just to accomplish the smallest tasks. This story was supposed to be written this morning, and it is now 3PM, and I have barely made a dent in my "to do list." Days like this used to completely derail me, and lead to more days that turned into weeks of just slogging through my life.
The road to depression is paved with the bricks of procrastination... Or is it the other way around? It doesn't really matter which came first, the depression or the procrastination. The important point is that both are unwelcome guests in your life... and by getting rid of one, you will have gone a long way towards giving the other one the boot, as well.
The more I procrastinated, the more depressed I began to feel. Sometimes the depression led to anger... generally misdirected... and that led to apologies, embarrassment, and shame. I felt totally out of control, and unable to reel myself back in. By the time I was able to pick myself up and get back on track, I was so far behind, I felt there was no way to catch up. Then, I would get so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work I needed to do, that I would collapse under the weight of it all,and sometimes the cycle would just begin again. Don't go there... It's a very dark place.
We all succumb to the seductive wiles of procrastination every once in a while, so the key is to have tools at the ready to get us back to productivity as quickly as possible.
As a matter of fact, I am using one of my favorite tools right now! Yep, I've been stuck all morning in the quicksand of "I'mnotinthemooditis." This is the technical term for that state where you just can't seem to get started, even though you have soooo much to do. Sometimes it is known by other names, such as, "I think it's time to really clean out my sock drawer." Or perhaps for you it is, "Maybe if I rearrange the furniture in my office (for the third time this month), I will feel more like working today." The old stand-by, "I'll get to it after I make some popcorn, pull out that family size bowl of candy, and watch just a little bit of Oprah," has been working for generations.
In any case, whenever your particular strain of this debilitating disease has you in it's grip, the most important thing is to just DO something. Productive. NOW!!!! While that may not be as easy as NIKE makes it sound, it is great advice. The longer you avoid the tasks, the closer you come to the road to nowhere... not to be mistaken for the Yellow Brick Road.
The tool I'm using today is this:
Sit with good posture, in a comfortable chair. With your feet flat on the floor, and your hands in your lap, close your eyes. Let your mind drift back to a time when you were functioning at your highest level. Remember how good it felt to be meeting your challenges head on, and accomplishing the tasks set in front of you? Remember the pride you felt when you finished a really big project, and knew you did a great job? Great...
Now, visualize the biggest task on your list today, and how satisfied you will feel when it is completed. See yourself fully engaged, enjoying the process, anticipating the smile that will fill your heart when you can check this behemoth off your list. See your pen making the check mark beside the task.
Sit with this feeling for a moment. Before you open your eyes, allow yourself to really feel the joy and the sense of accomplishment that you know will accompany your successful completion of this task. Forgive yourself for any self inflicted wounds your procrastination has caused you. Commit to take the first step as soon as you open your eyes. Breathe in your commitment to loving yourself enough to break through the challenges you face and get ready to play big. Open your eyes to the joy of being the biggest you you can possibly be. Inspire yourself to give yourself the gift of accomplishment!
As my old friend, Keith Morton used to say, "There is more than one road that leads to the Promised Land." This is just one of the tools I use to get myself back up and running.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Accentuate the Positive

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

Johnny MercerHaving little kids like I do, offers such an opportunity for my own learning every single day.Over the past few weeks, my older son, Quin, and I have been struggling with his younger brother Cade's behavior. The specific issues primarily take the form of Cade wanting to make older kids laugh. This can include using some inappropriate language (especially for a five-year-old) and being too aggressive with other people through his actions and words.
While this behavior is certainly unacceptable to me, one of the things I have noticed is that his older brother now focuses on what Cade does wrong, and runs to me to numerous times during the day to report on his brother's latest antics.
Now, I'm sure child behavior specialists could have a field day in what I'm describing here. But the thing that has become most apparent to me is how much we focus our attention on Cade's negative behaviors, instead of his many other wonderful qualities as a brother and a son. And we all know that universal law - where the attention goes, so there the energy flows. In other words, what you focus on is what becomes most pronounced.
I've noticed the same thing in my business and in my client's businesses. When the attention is focused on the negative outcomes, or the things that might not be going well for us, we get ourselves stuck - and we just keep getting more of the same!
It's as if the negative thoughts, beliefs and focus create more of what we don't want, instead of allowing us to focus on all the positive things that are going on around us in our businesses and lives.
So where is your attention focused? Are you feeling frustrated and stuck? Could it be you are focused only on the negative aspects of what is going on around you?
As an assignment, I like to challenge you to look at three areas where you find yourself feeling negative and frustrated and try to find five good or positive things about where you are. Write them down and read them to yourself each morning and evening. See if by focusing on the positive, it helps to bring more free-flowing energy and ease to the difficult situations in your business.
I'll be doing the same, as an entrepreneur - and as a mother!