Announcing some new partnerships

I am celebrating my two-year anniversary with Mary Kay AND my one-year anniversary with “Let Me Rephrase That” this month and VERY excited about what’s to come in 2014!

Changes are in store!

I am now thrilled to be working with three amazing and inspiring female business owners:

:: editor and ghost writer for Linda Stanfield of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing (based in the Phoenix east valley)

:: Content Strategist for Jasmine Holmes of 910 West (a marketing firm based in Gilbert, AZ)

:: Project Manager for Shari Braendel of Fashion Meets Faith (based in Charlotte, NC and pictured with me and my mom, below).

tabitha dumas shari b and mom

Supporting these women behind the scenes (and occasionally in front of, too!) is truly a dream come true and fulfills the mission I had when I began this journey two years ago!

You’ll be hearing more about it in the months to come and you’ll see me streamlining my offerings and services so that I can focus more on them and their needs. It’s going to be exciting!, and YOU will benefit, too! 

Back-To-School Supplies for Mom

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school for mom

Back-to-school supplies for Mom.

This may seem a bit premature for some of you (back to school?!? In July?!?) but my oldest son is on a modified year-round school schedule (two weeks off after each grading period and seven weeks off in summer) and starts 2nd grade on July 22nd.

My baby is starting second grade!! Eeeeeek!!

Back-to-school time is HERE for us and I realized that I—work-at-home mom and home manager—need to get myself ready!

For me, summer has been a mixed bag. Yes, we got to take a road trip to my home state of Florida at the start of summer and, yes, my older son has kept the younger one occupied during the day so I could log some billable hours, but…we’ve been doing the “stay up late and wake up late” routine but when the boys are up late, I can’t get “real work” done (I need total peace and quiet to write) and my mornings when they’re sleeping in are not very productive. I’ve been lax on housework and meal planning (don’t ask me how many pizza boxes were in the recycle bin this week) and I’m low on energy because of the wacky sleep schedule. Plus, I’ve had to postpone my usual meetings because it’s hard to get child care for both boys.

I’m ready to get back into the school routine.

This year will be unique because on August 5, my younger son will begin preschool so I will have nine hours a week to be foot loose and kid-free. I’ll keep the fancy.

So I need to be ready.

Here are a few tools I assembled to help ME prepare! The idea is to keep things running smoothly and to set yourself up for a wonderful school year. For yourself AND the kids!

Cookbooks and meal planning tools.

Pull out your favorite cookbooks, grab a shopping list and map out your meals for the week (I do pizza, taco soup and pasta almost every week). Mine have to be quick, easy, and kid-friendly (and when I say kid, I mean picky-eater-kid).

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school mom meal planning shopping list

New office supplies.

Why should the kids be the only ones who get fresh folders, markers and composition books?? Get some cute folders for filing all of the papers that will soon be coming in from school and treat yourself to some pretty pens and highlighters. Have a day planner handy, too, for writing down PTA meeting times and coffee dates. Remember to schedule in “me time,” too!

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school mom supplies calendar me time

Beauty time-savers.

I advise my Mary Kay customers to have an everyday makeup look accessible to grab even if they only have five minutes to spend on their face in the morning. All you need is one or two neutral eye colors, a soft blush, mascara and gloss. I highly recommend the Mary Kay 3-in-1 cleanser, too, because it cleanses, exfoliates and freshens in one step. My other favorite multi-tasking product is the Mary Kay Moisture Renewing Gel Mask. It feels almost like aloe and you can use it as a quick mask or wear it overnight if your skin is dry, inflamed or stressed.

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school mom beauty time savers

Designate a “mom zone” or “home management zone.”

This is the place to keep paperwork, calendars, to-do lists and things like greeting cards, wrapping supplies and bills all in one spot that is yours alone.

fantabulous women studio home office craft room

As you can see above, I am spoiled—I have a studio/office/craft room (nearly) all to myself but you can use a small desk, a corner of your laundry room or even a closet. For example…

Below is is my “drop and grab zone” between the front door and the garage where I can drop my keys or grab library books on the way in or out, plus a spot for reminders and papers.

fantabulouswomen mom command center

Take a moment to tweak your inspiration board, too, so that the things that inspire you or make you smile are where you can see them regularly.

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school mom inspiration board

If you work from home, you may want to reorganize your desk or set up new filing systems–whatever it takes to be efficient and productive.

If you’re a home school mom, now is the time to get your desk and teaching area(s) ready.

There are some fun ideas for work-at-home and home school moms on my Back To School Pinterest board.

And you can’t go back to school without books!

I have found a good many of these at Goodwill.

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school mom books

Two of my favorites: “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach and “Organized Simplicity” by Tsh Oxenreider.

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school mom books

For those with a business: “Love is the Killer Ap” by Tim Sanders, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins and “The Power of Uniqueness” by Arthur F. Miller, Jr.

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school mom books for business

And for personal development: “By Happy Without Being Perfect” by Alice D. Domar, Ph.D, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families” by Stephen R. Covey and “Take Time For Your Life” by Cheryl Richardson.

fantabulous women tabitha dumas back to school mom books for personal development

You may also need a new tote bag to carry your books in or maybe a pretty new purse for fall. You get a backpack for the kids, why not treat yourself?? 

Have some fun before the race to Winter Break begins and set yourself up for a wonderful new school year.

Remember to visit my Back To School Pinterest board board for more ideas, inspiring images and links!

The #1 Secret to How I Built a Business I Love In Two Years

Two years ago, I came home to the east valley of Phoenix when our little family packed up and moved into my parents’ neighborhood in Chandler, Arizona.

When we relocated, our mortgage payment increased along with our our living expenses. Our sons were ages two and five and quite independent.

My husband affirmed what I had been thinking: It was time for me to find a job.

I had been “working” from home since my first son was six months old, but mostly dabbling in various direct sales companies and even running an Etsy shop for a couple of years.

It was time to get real.

But…I didn’t want to get a “real job” in an office or in a retail store. Having one son still at home during the day, I determined in my heart to become a work-at-home mom. I wanted to create a small business all my own and work from home so I could earn money to help our family while also parenting our sons, managing our home and volunteering within the community…and enjoy every aspect of it.

So I set out to build a business for myself. Boy, oh boy, has it been a journey! 

I am being absolutely vulnerable and authentic when I tell you that only in the last two months or so have I moved past being a “hobbyist” to actually turning a profit.

But I did it all in two years and with virtually zero capital (along with a very supportive and understanding husband by my side and a LOT of help from my parents, friends, extended family and cohorts).

In a way, I wish I had started sooner or could have sped up the process…but looking back, each obstacle, phase and success was another perfectly timed and vitally important step of my journey. I can honestly say that I have no regrets. 

Whether you think building a profitable home-based small business from scratch in two years is impressive or pathetic, if you’re still reading, I bet you’re wondering how I did it.

What’s the secret, you ask? I can summarize it in one word: networking.

 

Anyone who works as their own boss or works on commission knows about the power of networking.

There is a lot of power in the use of marketing and sales strategies, social media, honing your skills, personal development and the myriad of other areas of growth for a young small business—but networking is the one that fuels and propels them all.

See these business cards? They are just a small sampling of the cards I amassed over the last two years.

fantabulous women networking

I didn’t, however, merely go from meeting to meeting collecting cards! These cards represent hundreds of connections, contacts and resources shared. Many of these cards belong to people that I now call “friend!”

In my opinion, networking is a key component of any small business’s success. It took me two years to build my network to the point that it buoyed a profitable small business.

 

Yes, I’ll be writing more about this topic in the weeks to come and revealing the actual secrets to effective networking. I have a lot to say on this topic! Stay tuned!

What about you? Are you a master networker, a newbie or something in between? What do you want to know?

 

Tips for New Direct Sales Reps

I have loved the direct sales industry since attending Tupperware and Mary Kay home parties with my mom back in the 1980s.

I loved eating the snacks, seeing the products, hearing the consultant’s presentation, playing the games and helping my mom fill out her order form.

fantabulous women direct sales tips

I have always been involved in at least one direct sales company for about ten years now and have hosted countless home parties for my friends and family.

I’m something of a direct sales addict. 

In fact, just this month, I became a Senior Consultant with Mary Kay when I added my very first active team member!

In advising her, I got to thinking about what I’ve learned over the years and I thought I’d share it here in case it can help someone who’s just getting started, or maybe give you a new idea if you’re an old pro.

Tab’s Ten Tips for New Direct Sales Consultants

1. Determine your target customer.

Who is she? What is her age group? What phase of life is she in? What are her hobbies and interests? Where does she hang out? What does she value? What are her spending habits?

While you can’t sell to your target customer exclusively, knowing who she is will help you narrow your focus and became an expert at finding her and servicing her needs.

2. Use your catalogs.

Keep one catalog for yourself to make notes on product information and questions people ask.

Give out catalogs freely. Treat them like business cards! You can even provide people with sticky notes so they can mark the items they want to buy. Tell them “If there are more than five, you should host a party!”

Ask a few friends and family members to mark their favorite items to give you an idea of what will be popular so you can educate yourself on those first.

Ask a friend who is also in direct sales if she would give out your catalogs when she delivers orders to her customers–and do the same for her. That’s great cross-promotion!

3. Have a launch party.

Make yourself the hostess so you can reap the hostess rewards to build your collection of samples or inventory.

Invite people personally, whether over the phone or in person. Emails, Facebook event requests and e-vites don’t mean as much as hearing your voice does.

Offer incentives to them when they bring a friend.

Keep the food and drinks simple so the focus stays on the products you’re selling. And eat first so they don’t think about the food during the entire presentation!

Have door prizes and multiple ways to earn entries. People love winning prizes, even if they just cost you $1.

4. Always tell your story about WHY you chose the company you are with and what your goals are.

People will connect to your story and want to help you accomplish your goals. It could also help you attract a new team member!

5. Showcase YOUR favorite products.

People will love what you love! Plus you’ll know all about them and can answer questions people have about them.

6. Remember that YOU are your best advertisement!

Wear your company logo shirts and your name tag.

Use or wear your products as much as possible or carry a bag with clear pockets so you can insert pictures of your products. Be prepared to give your “elevator pitch” when people inquire! (P.S. If you need help with your “elevator pitch,” contact me for a consultation!)

Give your products as gifts.

Hand out samples as much as possible.

7. Find “power partners” with compatible businesses (or people who work with or for your target customer).

These are people who will refer new customers to you and vice versa. This is how you build your customer base beyond your warm market.

8. Embrace the power of social media…but establish boundaries.

Social media is important for communicating with people, offering promotions and keeping your business “top of mind” for your customers…but don’t let it take over your life. Set time limits and eliminate lengthy back-and-forth exchanges with a phone call.

9. Keep it FUN!

Don’t get so caught up in SELLING that for lose your sense of fun in the process. Remember, people are drawn to YOU first, THEN to your products.

10. Lastly, be tenacious and keep at it.

Direct sales consultants are notorious for giving up within the first year, just about the time that business would have really picked up if they had just stuck to it. It takes time for people to be sold on what you do and for you to build your business.

Outlast the competition! Remember why you got started in the first place and never lose your passion.

There is plenty of business for you out there–you just have to go get it!

Do you have questions about direct sales success? Fire away and I will do my best to answer!

Fall Open House

Welcome! It’s in the 90s here in the Phoenix valley, so fall has definitely arrived!

Here is my front door in Chandler, Arizona (complete with leaves on the ground that had blown in from a recent rain).

fantabulous women tabitha dumas fall front door

This is in our entry hall table.

fantabulous women tabitha dumas fall open house entryway

And the cabinet you see as you come in.

fantabulous women tabitha dumas fall orange branch

I love the orange branch, it’s from Pier 1 and is just the right side for our 10 ft. tall ceilings.

fantabulous women tabitha dumas fall open house sideboard branch orange

And this is a typcial spread for when I have friends or clients over. My pumpkin muffins, some grapes and, of course, the candy corn harvest mix.

fantabulous women fall open house goodies

Thanks for coming by! See more on Hooked On Houses Fall Open House Party.

Do you decorate for fall? Do you go all out or just add a few touches here and there? Please share!

Office Makeover (full disclosure)

I love my home office.

Someday I may rent an office space but for now, I love the comfort and convenience of being home, especially because it affords me extra quality time with my three-year-old. Yes, I often play Crazy 8s with him while I’m using the computer or put him in front of the TV with a snack when I need to take a call.

The walls are turquoise, the pretty office supplies are plentiful and I get sunshine in the window all day long. Plus my husband planted roses right outside the window that I get to enjoy.

let me rephrase that roses outside my office window

This is the picture I use online of my desk/work space. I share the space with my husband for the time being. Naturally this is the cleaned-up version.

let me rephrase that desk where the magic happens

Here is the full disclosure part…THIS  is where I usually work: at my craft table on the laptop. I am involved in a LOT of projects at the moment all the time, so there’s no shortage of STUFF. This is actually the cleaned up version! Notice the crafting supplies and miscellaneous clutter that surrounds me while I work. I don’t mind it, but I would like it to be more…calm.

my work space letmerephrasethat

I admit it, I do dream of having an office like this…

office image on letmerephrasethat

…or this…

fantabulous women dream office

…or this.

office image 2 letmerephrasethat

So I have teamed up with my friend and colleague, Sherry, of Totally Transformed to help me de-clutter and reorganize my space, including my vast amount of craft supplies and Mary Kay paraphernalia. I am hoping to get myself super-organized so that I can work my business even MORE efficiently and with MORE creativity!

I’ll keep you updated on my progress but for now, it’s in the ‘way worse before it gets better’ phase. This is my desk currently, as I purge and sort.

let me rephrase that office makeover during

I am all about making your environment WORK for you, so I hope that some of what I learn from this transformation will help or inspire some of my readers.

Does your work space need a makeover? What do you LOVE about your space…and what do you dream about changing?? Please comment.

Staying True to Your Vision

Do you ever get stuck on something and can’t seem to let it go? Maybe it’s a vision of the future, a dream, a wish or an experience you hope to have. You get the idea and are tempted to just ‘get over it’ when it doesn’t happen, but it won’t go away.

That happened to me with this day bed from IKEA. I had my eye on it since at least September 2009 when I was dreaming of my future craft room in this post on my old blog. I saw it as more of sofa for me to lounge on and a comfy place for people to chill out during all-day craft-a-thons.

fantabulous women studio daybed

When we toured our current home almost a year ago (pictured below), I took one look at the bonus room in the front of the house (complete with tall double doors, right off the entryway) and said, “This is going to be MY room.” It was a playroom at the time but I saw the potential.

bonus room studio craft room before fantabulouswomen.com

At the time, I envisioned it as a craft room and a place to have some ‘girl time’ away from my rambunctious boys. A few months in, I was holding color consultations in there, too, and my boys had the back half of the room to themselves and sat on my daybed (MY daybed) to watch TV and play X-box. Their area is hidden behind the screen.

fantabulous craft room studio

Then I started my Mary Kay business and began using the studio to organize my inventory and hold skin care consultations. It’s a little hard to give someone a facial on a daybed. Plus my business started booming and I didn’t want kids in (what had become) my office. We even moved The Big Desk into the room and moved the boys OUT.

Tab's studio office after

But my vision persisted. I still wanted to meet with women on my daybed. I couldn’t let it go.

A few months ago, I got the idea for FanTABulous Women and I big part of that vision was meeting with women to talk about their needs and how we could help each other. I clung to my vision of having a ‘business meeting’ on my daybed even while I debated about moving it out of the room to free up the space. “Is anyone going to actually WANT to sit on it with me??” I wondered.

Then yesterday, I had a ‘meeting of the minds’ with one of my business partners who is a wellness expert (you will be hearing more about her and her offerings soon) and invited her into my studio. She moved toward the daybed and I told her, “You can sit wherever you want to.”

“Oh, I want to sit on your daybed, it looks so inviting.”

daybed for meetings fantabulouswomen.com

I felt my heart sigh a little. Then it got better.

She started to take off her sandals and I told her, “Oh, you don’t have to take off your shoes in here, the floor isn’t THAT clean,” and she replied, “Actually, I was thinking about sitting back and putting my feet up on the bed.”

I was thrilled.

We spent about the next hour-and-a-half both lounging barefoot on the daybed, talking, laughing and planning together.

She commented, “All business meetings should be like this.”
It felt a lot more like a slumber party than a business meeting. I loved it.

I am so glad that I didn’t abandon my vision. That meeting on my daybed was just a little affirmation that I am right where I belong.

What vision do YOU have that you can’t seem to shake, but hasn’t been brought to fruition yet? What’s holding you back? How can we help you? Please leave a comment and tell us.

Copyright Tabitha Dumas, online and in-persona image consultant Gilbert Chandler, Arizona. All right reserved.