Journey To Gift Baskets

85d2b-me1The next phase of my life is not about making money, but about making a difference in my life and other people’s lives. My passion and focus now is on how I can help my family, and professionally, to help my customers keep in touch with their clients. This will also help them improve relationships in their professional and personal lives. There were dual purposes for starting my business, Gift Basket Villas, to change the trajectory of my life from the mundane to the extraordinary and to help others become more successful in their relationships through the fun and creative art of appreciation.

If every morning Mon-Fri you go to work in a dreary 9-5,  stressing about work you don’t enjoy, this is not a way to live, yet we need to do it to have a roof over our heads and food to eat. Working 8 hours a day 5 times a week on something that at which you may be burnt out, or with people you don’t like is not the way to live life to the fullest. Though sometime we need to do this to get to where we want to be. We need to decide:

  • How much money can we afford to spend on traveling right now
  • How much time can we spend on our hobbies/passions?
  • How do we take care of ourselves so that we are healthy enough to enjoy the things we want to in retirement?
  • What should do it differently?
  • How can we carve out time out of our present circumstances to be happy now and prepare for the future?
  • What do we want to do now to enjoy our lives?

Is working for money a good enough motivation?

I received some advice as a young career woman starting off as a safety compliance officer. My Area Director explained that I have 3 choices in life:

  1. Make lots of money – hate the job, and that may be okay for you.
  2. Make little money – love the job, and that may be okay too.
  3. Make little money – hate the job, then it’s time to move on!

I used to really enjoy my job, but I’ve been doing it for over 26 years and it’s time to move on!

This is my day job.

One thing I did, starting in my 30s, was to travel. It taught me that I should have exercised more, gotten involved in physical activities. By the time I reached my 30s, I was not in the condition I needed to be in, to do all that I wanted – to hike mountains, bike though vineyards, rock climb etc. I was however, lucky to get a chance to do some of before I had to give up the strenuous activities. I’ve traveled quite a bit and I’m glad that I fit travel in when I was younger (and had the energy).

I often ask myself, what is the point of saving and not enjoying  your daily life, just so you can enjoy retirement?  My answer came years later when I was able to afford to live where I wanted to in retirement.

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I have saved all my life, and still work my day job, but am slowly transitioning into my role as CEO of my life and my business, Gift Basket Villas and this is my passion:

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I have learned that I need to find time to:

  • Take classes I enjoy that will lead to hobbies
  • Decide on a % of my salary that I can comfortably allocate as crazy money – for traveling, buying what I really want, spending on frivolous things.
  • Allocate a % of my salary for retirement and then not worry about retirement
  •  Create goals, develop hobbies so I have something to do in retirement and not wait until I get there to decide

Money over Health and Passion
I am finding that I no longer value money over my health and passion. When what we do no longer is a journey you want to be on, it’s time to get off that train, to start living fully and in the moment.

No obstacle should stop us from achieving success
When we really enjoy what we do, nothing should stop us from getting to where we want to be. Our working careers will consume our lives, if we let it. There is no other way around this, unless we are independently wealthy, marry rich or come from a wealthy family or work our butts off to make the money, then realize we’re OLD. Too old to enjoy life.

Next Phase: The Future 

I’ve pretty much lived by the 1st choice – good job, decent salary. However, I’m ready to move on. I am no longer that young woman and I need to  stay true to myself.

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Tips For A Successful Gift Basket Business

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Let’s have a heart to heart about your gift basket business. You’ve worked hard to get where you are and you’ve marketed and marketed, spent tons of money on reaching your market . You’ve given away baskets upon baskets, because everyone wants a free basket for a door prize or a charity or just because it’s beautiful and they think it’s easy, anybody can do a basket, right!  Your family and friends think it’s all play and no work. They haven’t seen the detail that goes into creative design or the long hours you spend creating beautiful handmade bows, adding the extra touch that makes someone proud to give the gift basket to their clients, employees, friends and family.

Finally, you’ve become successful, your clientele grows and the doubters have realized that you were not just playing – this is lucrative business. People don’t have the time or the interest in creating gifts, but gifting is one of the ways we create and retain relationships.

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Now that you’ve gotten those clients who would rather pursue their passions like hiking, biking, golfing, gardening than creating gifts, it’s  so important to keep these fantastic clients. Do you know what can you do to make sure your clients who have funded your passion and dreams stay with you over the long haul?

Tip #1

Become an advisor.

One way to keep your customers coming back again and again is to become an advisor. Help them figure out their needs. Ask questions – color, style, likes of the giftee and make yourself someone they can turn to when they run out of ideas. Offer advice and insight, but only if they ask you a question or for your advice. It is a bonus gift – your expertise as a gift designer.

Tip# 2

Follow through. 

People don’t wake up every morning thinking they need to call you. And if they do, it’s probably too late and they’re going to be in emergency mode.

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Tip # 3

Get Away from the Computer and Pop-By

Every heard of a pop-by or a drop-by gift?  It asks for the referrals, so you don’t have to. Use your skills as a designer to create memorable ‘Pop-bys’ which are small gifts given to clients face-to-face when you pop by or drop by their place. They help deepen your relationship and gives you an opportunity to connect. Most people add a  tagline that’s sometime cute, sometime corny but it has the impact that you’re looking for. It helps them remember you.

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The gifts make it fun, memorable, and unabashedly asks for the referral so you don’t have to. it can be an effective part of your marketing to promote your business or their business. They can become one of the favorite parts of your business. Pop-bys show your customers the true value of your dedication to them and the care you take to think about them.

Tip #4

Keep front of mind.

Sometimes clients drop-by away. Make sure they keep you in the front of their mind by touching base on a regular basis.

  • Connect with them on social media and send them information from which they might benefit.
  • Send them a hand-written note. Keeping your customer in mind will help them remember you and that they need your services.
  • Get away from the computer and visit your customers. Pass by and just say ‘Hi’ with a Pop-By gift. Here are some great options: Pop-by Ideas 25 examples from the Pros.  Surprise and delight your customers and they’ll come back for your services again and again.