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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Hiring for your Business


When you start a business, retail or service related, there comes a point (hopefully) that your venture becomes so large that you just can’t do it alone. Hiring employees can be daunting because human relations and character evaluation isn’t for everyone. Personally, I am a trusting soul and will probably have a number of missteps when I first start hiring talent. However; getting, keeping and managing good employees is worth your time and effort, and there are a few basic keys to getting started on the right foot.

Finding and Keeping Talented Employees

1) Be genuinely interested. Remember birthdays, childrens’ names and anniversaries. This doesn’t just make the people around you feel special, but it’s a push toward earning their loyalty and their family’s loyalty.  After you send the Mrs. flowers on her anniversary, her allegiance may make her more likely to push her husband out the door on the days he’s considering calling in sick.

2) If you have a labor-intensive business, the scientific approach is key. Find the EXACT way an employee should perform the task and teach them EXACTLY how it should be done. This not only helps you earn money in a shorter period of time, but it keeps up the worker morale. Nothing brings a person down faster than working tirelessly without making headway because their hard work isn’t refined or efficient.

3)  Feel free to delegate tasks to an employee without much instruction (if  is not labor-intensive or allows for creative interpretation,) “Why don’t you and Jen take care of the seating and table settings for the investors’ lunch meeting? $300 budget, practical but somewhat formal.” Something as simple as that would give any worker a sense of pride that you trust their judgement and decisions. PLUS, that’s one less thing you have to worry about and you’re left to prepare for the lunch meeting presentation.

4) Hire motivated people. It is far too arduous for a small business to extrinsically motivate workers. Find people who like to do well because doing a good job satisfies themselves internally. That’s not to say bonuses aren’t a good thing, but they should not be used as an incentive to simply do a job well– that’s what they should be doing in the first place. Look for someone who uses words and phrases like, “self-motivated,” “hardworking,” “provide the best service,” “put forth every effort.” These are big statements that people who always need a push are unlikely use.

5) Pay well. Granted, you don’t want to go broke due to your generosity. But pay more than labor unions suggest (if you aren’t a union shop.) Don’t pay less than what you would like to be paid for doing their job. It is not a good thing to go home at night thinking, “Wow, I sure can’t believe they are willing to do all that for $xx an hour.” Feeling like you’re taking advantage of your workers will always have you checking over your shoulder, waiting for them to quit or steal from you.

6) Deal with crisis calmly. Do not ever let your employees see that you don’t know what to do in an emergency situation because chaos and doubt will soon follow, or worse– they may lose respect for you and question your leadership abilities.

7) Learn your management style and stick with it. Whether you want to be democratic or completely authoritarian, choose a style and commit. People want to know what to expect from their manager on a regular basis. Do NOT let your mood affect how you interact with your employees.

8) Communicate well. Use more than one method of message delivery– maybe mention something at a meeting then follow-up with an email. Try to make it short; you don’t need 5 examples for every touchpoint. Read your audience. If they look bored, then they are truly asleep on the inside– speak quickly so as not to lose their attention.

9) Praise in public and discipline in private. No one wants everyone knowing the mistakes they’ve made, yet we would love for our boss to advertise when we’ve done good work. Be generous with praises, it will make others want to earn them as well. Be gentle with criticism, you don’t want your employees to feel that their efforts are unappreciated or are overshadowed by their errors. Persuade and convince them to do a good job, rarely order or demand top performance. 

10) Just be honest. Be honest in your words and be honest in your actions. If your business needs to eliminate a shift to save money, don’t hide that from your employees or let the rumors get to them first. I guarantee if you tell them that you need to let them go in 2 months, yet you will write them a recommendation so shining that their mothers would wish it were true, then you probably will get that last 2 months of work out of them. If you hide that fact? The rumors will have people quitting within weeks. People know when they are being lied to and they know when they are being cheated. Keeping it real and fair will foster trust and loyalty throughout the company. 

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Top 10 Mural Tips!


Hoot

I was recently commissioned to create a nursery mural for a baby boy’s room. I would love to give you a step-by-step guide on creating this, but it’s unlikely you will want this EXACT thing. Besides, creating something from scratch out of just a vague idea in your head is a lot of fun (also a lot of work, time, energy and second guessing.) But if you do decide to venture down the path of painting (as opposed to decals) then here are some hints to help along the way.

10 Mural Tips

1. Expect the process to take 60% longer than the time you have allotted for it. Straight lines are thoughtless and cruel time wasters.

2. Don’t be afraid to mark-up the wall while planning. Sketch with pencil or even tape an outline to help you visualize before your brush hits the wall.

3. Have a huge array of brushes on hand, even if you use just one. Options are the best and you never know when the oddball brush you NEVER USE will be just the thing you need.

4. Prioritize. Figure out your order of operations. I mix most of my colors so I know I have to finish those areas before my paint supply dries up (I do not have nearly good enough luck to mix that same color again.)

5. Mix craft paint with a little bit of white wall paint to get the smooth benefits of wall paint and the color of craft paint. When you are using several colors, paint can get expensive. Craft paint alone (even when it’s made for plaster or drywall) can be hard to apply and take several coats.

6. Use paper plates, newspaper or cardboard as your paint palettes when you need small amounts of several colors— it saves a lot of time at clean-up.

7. Start by painting items smaller/thinner than what you would like. It’s easy to make something bigger, but it’s a real pain to scale down.

8. For large areas of a solid color, don’t be afraid to use a roller.

9. Fill all of the color in on every part and then straighten the edges for the whole mural last. Granted it will take 5 hours to straighten them, but doing it last ensures that you’ve had an up-close look at every detail before you call it quits.

10. Don’t get discouraged when it’s not fun. There is a lot of leg work (and arm work, and back work) to get through before the creative details get added. Just soldier through the boring basics; the fun parts are worth a good foundation.

You can check out more photos of the mural progression on the Space-Lift Facebook page.

Glassless Tables


So HOPEFULLY you saw the cabinet demo video, now it’s time to show the finished product. With the weather being less than hospitable, I’m lucky I had three days to finish these before the freezing rain started…again.

Let’s check out this nonsense!

Bedside Tables

I had so much convincing to do in order for my friend to agree to these tables!

So I couldn't let her down by executing a half-hearted attempt. Seriously, COULD NOT!

So I couldn’t let her down by executing a half-hearted attempt. Seriously, COULD NOT!

First came the spray primer. There was such a thick layer of finish on the tables that I decided that priming instead of sanding was the way to go. Plus, the wood was SOOO dark that I would have had to prime anyway.

First came the spray primer. There was such a thick layer of finish on the tables that I decided that priming instead of sanding was the way to go. Plus, the wood was SOOO dark that I would have had to prime anyway.

After I primed the doors, I realized they just wouldn't do, so I "removed" the centers to replace them with something a little classier.

After I primed the doors, I realized they just wouldn’t do, so I “removed” the centers to replace them with something a little classier.

Next came the all over paint job. Nothing is quite as chic as glossy white, I don't care who you ask.

Next came the all over paint job. Nothing is quite as chic as glossy white, I don’t care who you ask.

Then came the "glass." My friend didn't want to get on her hands and knees every week to clean glass AND I didn't want to cut glass. So I lined a baking pan with petroleum jelly (gobs and gobs for texture) and waited for it to dry. NOTE: Bubbles are best removed by blowing on them with a straw.

Then came the “glass.” My friend didn’t want to get on her hands and knees every week to clean glass AND I didn’t want to cut glass. So I lined a baking pan with petroleum jelly (gobs and gobs for texture) and waited for it to dry. NOTE: Bubbles are best removed by blowing on them with a straw.

I used only one coat of rub on poly, popped the dried resin into the back of the door and glued around the edges with a combination of wood glue and Gorilla glue. Then I attached the hardware.

I used only one coat of rub on poly, popped the dried resin into the back of the door and glued around the edges with a combination of wood glue and Gorilla glue. Then I attached the hardware.

I painted the inside of the cabinets pink and used spray finisher to complete the job. We had discussed painting the inside gray, but I have a tendency to go rogue.

I painted the inside of the cabinets pink and used spray finisher to complete the job. We had discussed painting the inside gray, but I have a tendency to go rogue.

Finally I attached the doors and glued on my fleur de lis ornaments. I decided to make them asymmetrical because it reminded me of a broach...and for some reason that appealed to me.

Finally I attached the doors and glued on my fleur de lis ornaments. I decided to make them asymmetrical because it reminded me of a broach…and for some reason that appealed to me.

This is how my experiment turned out!

This is how my experiment turned out!

Love this little guy!

Love this little guy!

And I love this big guy!

And I love this big guy!

Dramatic sunlight view.

Dramatic sunlight view.

16 Minute Upholstery: A Video


 

 

 
Oooh lala

 

Need a quick step-by-step for a reupholstery job? Or even better, need a quick laugh at my expense? Check out the latest VIDEO!

Art You Can Wear


Close up!

My friend saw this idea with a wood-backed cork board on one of her favorite blogs. However, I am never one to throw money away uselessly so I took a lap around the craft store and decided we can just keep that extra $20 in our pocket.

Step 1: I took a cake board and cut it into my desired shape. Heck, I liked it so much that I did it with TWO cake boards and taped them together! I’m a madwoman, I know.

Good choice, right?

Step 2: I cut batting to fit exactly on top of the shape- no wrapping, just gluing.

Glue it!

Step 3: Once the glue dried I took my fabric and cut it to fit around the edges of the board.

Cut Cut Cut

Step 4: I snipped around each corner to make sure the fabric would spread evenly. I glued the board, folded over the fabric and secured it with a tack.

A tack attack...yeah I said that.

Step 5: I then glued a picture hanger to the back and waited for the mountains of glue to dry.

Oh snap

 

Step 6: I finally pushed decorative gold nails through the cardboard. Since there are two layers of cardboard the nails were able to go in AND stay in, like freaking magic!

Step 7: I just hung the board on the wall and her jewels on the board. Now she not only has a place to store her pretties, she can admire her gems even when she’s not wearing them!

Pretty!

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