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www.anniesgoathill.com swirled soap

Soap making – an art, an outlet – joy filled.

Alyssa Middleton and I recently put on our work boots and stomped through the trenches to revamp our first e-Book, Essential Soap Making. We added personality, reformatted several chapters, and sent our book to an amazing editor, Karen Bowlding. The front and back covers were beautifully and expertly designed by Jennifer Smith. We are so proud of the product, which is now in the proof stage, and will be available within a week in paper back. I can not wait to get the book in my hands!

This morning, as I worked on our second book, Advanced Soap Making: Removing the Mystery, which is forming up nicely, I came to realize that I am genuinely excited to share my know-how of  making great soap, especially the tricks to making goat milk soap.

Soap making, to me, is a mixture of art, creativity, and personal gratification – most soap makers are doing exactly what they love to do.

I encourage you to do that as well, express yourself, take care of yourself, do what makes you feel joy. You were given those talents and passions, run with them!

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comittment www.anniesgoathill.com

The most prominent virtue I gained in 2012 was the ability to be flexible without looking back.

Life and business thrives with an acceptance of change – one that allows us to merely become fluid any time it is necessary.

In 2012, I shut down my soap business and goat farm. It was not an easy shift, but to this day it is providing opportunities that I never imagined could exist.

I started The Creative Entrepreneur blog series in 2012. With the pivoting of business and writing gears, I found I could not devote myself to both my personal and series commitments.

In 2012, I also began writing several books, co-authored with Melissa Middleton of Vintage Body Spa. We published the first book of our series, Essential Soap Making, as an e-Book. We recently re-submitted the book to editing. It is being re-formatted as a book in print. The newly formatted book is within weeks of a publish date.

I have committed (myself) to publishing eight books in 2013. If you are raising your eyebrows at my lofty goal, trust me, so am I. Being flexible, as life continues to take amazing twists and turns, will lead to greater success. But committing to the writing goal, by just tying the knot that won’t come undone, is how it will be accomplished.

I hope you stay and witness my exciting journey ahead!

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h

Merry Christmas!

We hope the precious time that you have with your family and loved ones this Christmas is filled with peace, love, and warmth.

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Making the decision to stop selling soap and lotion was not easy, but it became easier as I realized it was part of a big picture, much bigger than myself.

Making the decision to sell the goats was not easy at all. I still cannot look at photographs of goats.  And I do not look at my barn, nor the empty fenced in pastures. I even feed the cats at the house now. My heart flip-flops when I walk inside the barn.

I was, and still am, excited about traveling, meeting new people, and writing, but recently something was not making sense. Something felt all wrong. Big chunks were missing.

Today, after many prayers, and after one comment my husband made to me (thank goodness we love each other and can work well together), all of the pieces began to fit.

I am not going to stop writing this blog.

Why would I?

My plan is to make Annie’s blog a DIY (Do It Yourself) type of product blog. I still will make soap occasionally, and I definitely make my own lotions and creams. And there are other products, including natural perfume blends, that I work on from time to time.

Not to mention the goats that I can write about (I have oodles of stories to tell), books to write, aromatherapy projects to do (I practice on myself and my husband only), and a huge interest (still) in country life. I have a lot to offer.  I have a lot to write about.

And, there will be goats again someday, just years down the road. And only two, just two! Someday, when I have kids again, it will not only be up to me, but it will be up to you too, to remind me, “Sell those kids!”

Just today, the last person that bought goats called.  He wanted to know how I was doing. I told him that I cannot walk, I have torn ligaments, a badly sprained ankle. He proceeded to tell me that he was on his way to the doctor, with what he thinks is pneumonia. He asked me, “Aren’t you glad I bought the last of your goats?” Yes, I am. When a person can only shuffle from room to room, they cannot walk down a hill and take care of goats. And then, he is a sweet young man, with a growing family. He needed the goats in his life. My time will come again.

For now, my time is here, and at the new site that I am still building, Pen And Ink Spot.

I told you, I am not going anywhere. Only the platform under my feet has changed.

Mary

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thank you www.penandinkspot.com

The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.

– Flora Whittemore

As the last hour of Annie’s Goat Hill approaches, and soon will pass, I cannot say thank you enough.

I have enjoyed making the soap that you love. I have enjoyed our connections.

The outpouring of personal cards, email, and messages have meant the world to me. What is truly good about my new path is, I will continue to be here with and for you, just in a different capacity.

Stay connected with me through email, or through my new site, as it develops, www.PenAndInkSpot.com.

I look forward to seeing you there,

Mary

www.penandinkspot.com

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open fields www.penandinkspot.com

Hello!

As you may know, I am shutting down Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps and venturing into (what I deem for myself as) uncharted waters.  If you missed my original announcement, and the newsletter announcement, my original blog post can be read here.

I am excited to announce that I’ve started a new site and business – Pen and Ink Spot.  One of my first blog posts at that site can be read here. Share, encourage, and grow is my motto. There is more substance to my mission, of course, but I am happily focused on my motto at this point!

So, I have recorded an audio message for you, which felt much more personal than writing a blog post. It is six minutes long (I do not script audio or video recordings), so you may want to listen to it when you have time to do so! It is located at this link:  Audio Memo.

If you do not have the technology resources to listen to the audio – in brief, my husband and I are embarking on an over the road business – with a newsletter, (five) books in the wings, and with plans to meet other small business people (including fellow Indie Beauty Network members!) and couples/people working over the road.  I am very excited at the prospect of seeing our country and writing about my experiences.

I am so enthused by the support that I have been receiving. I hope you continue to follow the journey with me! The possibilities are nearly endless.

See you there!

Mary

www.penandinkspot.com

P.S. Yes, I plan to get my CDL (commercial driver’s license). Look for the big 18 wheeler with the 5′ tall woman at the helm. It should be interesting, don’t you think?

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Unfortunately, as small business owners, situations that involve unhappy customers are bound to happen.

So, how do small business entrepreneurs handle unhappy customers? Is the customer always right? What if a business owner has done everything to correct a situation and the customer is still not happy? #HandmadeChat this week involved a discussion of all of these questions.  Red-hot tips from contributors spoke loudly of strength in handling these situations.  Here is a sample from the chat:

HOW DO YOU HANDLE IT WHEN A CUSTOMER COMPLAINS ABOUT YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE?

@PenAndInkSpot

  • Listen to your customers!
  • React ASAP and acknowledge the customer’s unhappiness.
  • Do not apologize for a problem until it has been researched.
  • Be honest, and definitely do not make excuses.  Customers can sniff out dishonesty.
  • Apologize where needed and offer to correct the situation.

DO YOU LIVE BY THE MANTRA THAT, “THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT?” WHY OR WHY NOT?

@PenAndInkSpot

  • It is up to you as a #smallbiz owner to determine if complaints are a one-time occurance, or if preventable.
  • Some customers are simply difficult to please.

@AlegnaSoap

  • They are not always right. But they always think they are right, so Im always polite. Polite is important

@INDIEbusiness

  • I don’t live by “Cust is always right.” Live by, “Cust always deserves to be heard, treated fairly.”

@NatGoodSoaps

  • Take a minute to breath before responding to a phone call or email

I believe in turning a negative into a positive, so I love this parting #HandmadeChat thought: Smile, knowing that you have experienced a new situation and have gained #CEO experience! (The best part of it!)

You may download the entire transcript of the discussion here.

The next #HandmadeChat will be held August 16, 8pm ET, lead  by La Shonda Tyree, “How To Prepare For The Holiday Season.”  It is right around the corner!

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps is winding down.  I facilitated this week’s #HandmadeChat as @PenAndInkSpot, my new Twitter and business name (Pen and Ink Spot).  My new (not quite in full service yet) blog is located here.  Soon, I will discuss the focus of Pen and Ink Spot.  I am excited that book writing is a big part of it!

 

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