Fall 2016 – FAQs for My Home-Based Businesses

Welcome to the first day of FALL 2016 – my favorite season! How are you doing? Any special plans for the upcoming first weekend of fall?

 

                         FAQs for My Businesses

[Source: morgueFile free photos]

One blog challenge I was participating in last year had a writing prompt that was  kind of fun and not something I had thought about before: writing FAQs for my businesses!  So I thought I would re-publish these FAQs, since there are several questions people have frequently asked me about both my freelance business and my quilt business. I should mention I have used just my first initial K (for Karen) and my middle name Lee, combined with my last name, for many years as my business and online persona.

 

So here we go!

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KLB-site-header

**FAQ for K. Lee Banks, Freelance Consultant Services**

1. Why did you begin your business?

I “came home” to work after a brief career as a speech and developmental therapist. I enjoyed working with the children, but traveling 350+ miles a week became too fatiguing and stressful, especially on Maine’s back roads in the winter.

I had enjoyed writing ever since I was a teenager, but had never considered it as a potential career. The combination of freelance writing and instructional design, following earning my Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree back in 2008, helped launch my business.

2. When did you begin your business?

I began my freelance business just  about 8 1/2 years ago, in February 2008, when I left my traveling speech and developmental therapist position and “came home” to work.

3. What services do you offer?

I began with basic freelance writing and content creation for a number of clients and content companies. Over the years, I have added instructional design, assessment and course writing, curriculum development, research associate, and English Language Arts Subject Matter Expert.

4. What is your preferred or specialized service?

Based on my M. Ed. degree and my current status as a doctoral candidate, within a couple months of earning my Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree, my preferred or specialized service is instructional design and curriculum development.

5. Has self-employment been successful for you?

Yes, I have found as I continue my education and gain experience, self-employment in these particular areas has become an even more successful career path. The available relevant  freelance opportunities and pay rates have all increased considerably since early 2008.

6. Do you have a LinkedIn profile?

Yes, you can find my LinkedIn profile HERE.

7. Where can I find your business online?

For now, I have my informal blog here and and my LinkedIn profile mentioned above. I am currently exploring options for a new primary freelance site– stay tuned!

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**FAQ for K-Lee’s Kreations**

1. What is K-Lee’s Kreations?

K-Lee’s Kreations is my home-based business featuring my line of handmade customized home decor and other items, ranging from pillows and quilts, to bags and stuffed “critters.”

2. What is your background for your “kreative” business?

My mother originally introduced me to sewing because she used to make clothing for my siblings and me. Then I took Home Economics in school and gained more skills, and just never stopped learning. Since then, I’ve taught myself or learned from others along the way to do a variety of crafts.

Now I can make anything from baby’s clothing to wedding gowns and tailored suits; and home decor items and various craft items.

3. How long have you been sewing/crafting/quilting?

I began sewing and crafting over 40 years ago as a young teenager, when my mother first got me started on sewing. Then about 25 years ago, I began quilting. I added the special feature of imprinted photos about 9 years ago.

4. What products do you make?

The majority of my products are home decor items, including quilts, pillows, wall hangings, and table runners. I also make bags of all shapes and sizes, as well as soft sculpture dolls and assorted “critters.”

I hope to add to my product line this year or next, as soon as I teach myself to do felting and rug hooking (the old-fashioned kind).

5. What is your specialty?

Most of my products are made-to-order customized items. My specialty is adding imprinted photos, for an extra special, personalized touch.

6. How does imprinting work on fabric?

Most people send photos as ‘jpeg’ attachments via email – some folks send photos via ‘snail mail’ and I scan them. I typically do a little photo editing: do some cropping, make them the right size, add different effects, add text, or whatever works for each photo.

I have a second printer set up with sublimation ink and dye sublimation transfer paper, which is what I use to print out the photos.

I then IMPRINT the photos onto a poly-poplin fabric using sublimation ink and a heat press. I started with one that my ‘handy hubby’ made for me, with a simple hot plate and base!  I now have an official heat press made by Gecko Heat Transfer Solutions.

My Heat Press for Imprinting Photos on Fabric

My Heat Press for Imprinting Photos on Fabric

These are NOT regular computer ink photos!

The combination of the sublimation ink and the heat press transforms the ink into a gas, which permeates the fabric. This causes the photos to virtually become part of the fabric, making them permanent, while the fabric stays soft and flexible (not the stiff ironed-on feeling!)

You can also wash and dry the items with the imprinted photos!

This is one of my newer designs–log cabin photo blocks in a quilt and coordinating pillows:

Log Cabin Quilt and Pillows

Log Cabin Quilt and Pillows

7. Where can I find your business online?

You can find my business online in three places currently (looking into adding some niche sites this year on specific themed items, such as only bags, only pillows, prim crafts, and others):

My primary K-Lee’s Kreation site

My Etsy shop

My Bonanza booth

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I hope you have enjoyed learning more about both of my businesses!  It was fun writing these FAQs; I plan to add them as their own pages on my blogs. The “consultant” FAQ will be here, and the “kreations” FAQ will be on a new KLK site–hopefully up and running before the holidays! Stay tuned!! 🙂

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What about you?

Do you have a FAQ on your blog or website to address common questions people might ask about what you do?

If so, feel free to share your link in your comment! 🙂

Collage showing some of the steps in the quiltmaking process.

                Collage showing some of the steps in the quiltmaking process.


Falling Into New Goals – Fall 2016

Falling into new goals for fall 2016 (and beyond)! Any time is the right time to reassess and revise our goals. Entering a new season, however, gives some special incentive to do so.

 

So this is NOT about the proverbial “New Year’s Resolutions” type of goals. We all know what usually happens to THOSE even before January goes by. I’m talking about proactive plans to reach goals.

 

I have divided mine into several primary categories, as you will see below. My personal list is much longer and more detailed, but I thought I would share a more general, briefer version here, just in case anyone is interested and/or it may prove helpful or motivational for someone else.

 

Freelance work:

I have one primary client right now, with a year-long contract and the potential for it to be full-time work (although the schedule is very flexible).  It is in my field of education, specifically,  assessment writing.

I still plan to keep my eyes open for other relevant work, especially once I achieve my doctoral degree.

 

Entrepreneurial Endeavors:

I want to put more effort into my K’Lee’s Kreations business – this includes building up an inventory of “ready to sell” items, as well as promoting my custom orders, and getting all my various sites up and running (in addition to Etsy and Bonanza). My initial plan was to have my main site feature the entire business, then use smaller sites to feature specialized areas or products.

For both freelance and entrepreneurial goals, I need to put more effort into promoting and marketing myself.

 

Professional Development:

I would like to take courses or otherwise learn more about grant writing, white papers, press releases, ebooks, and those types of specialized areas of writing that I see job leads for frequently.

 

Educational Goals:

I’m pursuing my ultimate goal of a doctoral degree, specifically an Ed.D. (Doctor of Education) in a dual concentration of Educational Technology and E-Learning. This is a fully online program through Northcentral University (NCU).

I am currently in the All But Dissertation (ABD) stage, awaiting approval from NCU’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) and sites where I plan to do my study. I should finally complete my nearly 7-year-long journey within a couple months. I want to use this degree to get better and higher paying jobs in instructional design, curriculum/course development, and online tutoring/course facilitation.

 

Personal Goals:

*Achieve better health – lose weight, eat better, get more sleep, exercise regularly.

*Write my next book, finally – my “fire story” from 1985.

*Allow for more “me” time to do whatever – or nothing – without feeling guilty!

*Stash money away in the savings account on a consistent basis.

*Do something “crafty-creative” every day – whether it’s working on an actual project, or skimming through magazines and books for ideas, or designing/planning the next project.

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So what about YOU?

Do you routinely reassess your goals?

Do you have goals for this upcoming fall season and/or through the end of the year?

 


Top 10 Things You May or May Not Know about Me, K. Lee!

Have you ever written a “Top 10” list about yourself? I have done this kind of list before, with 30 things, so choosing 10 shouldn’t be too difficult. So unless you’re a family member or close friend or a mutual Facebook group member…here are my “Top 10” things you may not know about me!

 

 

dave-me-desi

Hubby Dave and me, with our oldest pup, Desi!

1. I’m happily married (third time’s the charm) to the love of my life, Dave, and we live in Maine with our “fur babies.”

2. Our fur babies include our 4-year-old pup, Desiree Clementine (Desi), a beautiful Plott hound with brindle markings; Zoe Lee (Zoe or Zozo), a 2 1/2-year-old black lab/whippet pup; and EIGHT cats — yes, 8!  Five of them arrived as a litter of feral kittens about 7 years ago–and after socializing them, we just couldn’t part with any of them. Then after losing our oldest cat, Mack, last November to congestive heart failure at 10 1/2 years old, we adopted three more little ones who were rescue kittens. Our vet tech does rescue/fostering work on the side, and had rescued a pregnant mama cat from “death row” at a high-kill facility; mama cat had a litter of 5. Our vet tech found homes for two of them and we took in the other three! They just turned a year old on September 1.

Zoe on a cat bed by the picture window!

Zoe on a cat bed by the picture window!

 

 

Our formerly feral kittens in their "kitty condo" papa Dave made for them!

Our formerly feral kittens in their “kitty condo” papa Dave made for them in 2009!

 

Our three youngest kitty siblings, just turned a year old on 9-1-16.

Our three youngest kitty siblings, just turned a year old on 9-1-16.

 

 

3. I grew up in Gilford, New Hampshire within walking distance of Lake Winnipesaukee, and what is NOW the  Bank of NH Concert Pavilion. I was also within a few miles of Gunstock Mountain Resort and only about a half hour from what was THEN Bryar Motorsports Park in Loudon – NOW known as NH Motor Speedway.

 

 

4. I was NOT a NASCAR fan when I lived close enough to easily go to the races…NOW I am, since I’ve been with Dave, even though we have to travel about 3 1/2 hours to get there now!  GO DALE JR!! 🙂 (Well, go NEXT year – sadly, he’s out recovering from a concussion for the rest of this season! 🙁 )

 

 

5. I have four adult “kids” ranging in age from almost 27 to almost 35 (three of them have fall birthdays); my son is the oldest and then three beautiful daughters.  Three have spouses and one has a significant other in their lives, AND I became a grandmother in 2012 to my first precious granddaughter…and a second granddaughter in 2014… and granddaughter #3 is on the way in mid-December!

 

 

All My Kids and Grandkids (so far!)

                                            All My Kids and Grandkids (so far!)

 

 

6. Dave and I went on our first trip together – first flight, first international traveling adventure – in November 2013, to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, to attend my middle daughter’s wedding.

 

7. I am in my 8th year as a freelance writer and educational consultant; I have over 3,200 articles published online, and have helped develop about 15 courses for various clients.

8. I have written one book so far, a compilation of stories about my own Dad–gone since 2002–with contributions from others about their fathers. It’s called Fatherly Reflections, available at Amazon for only $2.99.  I also co-authored a second book, with Dr. Christine Mason of the Center for Educational Improvement, entitled “Heart Beaming.”

My first book.

9. I have a home-based business, K-Lee’s Kreations, specializing in adding imprinted photos for truly personal, memorable items. I make customized quilts, pillows, bags, and other fabric items.

Pillow made as a special gift for a young lady

who won her battle with cancer

(her mother is a fellow writer).

10. I became a doctoral candidate in March 2014 when I passed my comprehensive exams for my Doctor of Education (EdD) degree with Northcentral University. I am currently approaching the end of my nearly 7-year-long journey, as I await Institutional Review Board (IRB) and study site approval. Once I receive those approvals, I can conduct my study entitled “Identifying Online Graduate Learners’ Perceived Barriers to Their Academic Success Utilizing a Delphi Study.” Upon completion of my study, I can wrap up my dissertation manuscript, defend my dissertation in an oral presentation, and officially become Dr. K. Lee Banks! 🙂

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So there you are–my Top 10 list! 🙂

Did you know all these things about me?

Are any of them a surprise?

wordle-dissertation

 

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Pull Down Those Strongholds

Pull down those strongholds!  I re-published my entire blog series last month on Procrastination, Priorities, and Purpose (click on that link to check out the introductory post, if you’re interested in reading the series). One ongoing challenge I continue to face is the existence of strongholds in my life–especially in the area of procrastination. I’m not consciously CHOOSING to procrastinate, but it just seems to be a constant, unwelcome companion.

 

*Ongoing issues with procrastination indicate

an established stronghold or repetitive behavior pattern.*

 

Allowing a stronghold to remain in our lives is a risky situation that can hold us back from fulfilling our purpose.  Under normal circumstances, a stronghold–or a fortress–is a good thing, because it is set up as protection from attack.

 

However, mental strongholds, as the name implies, represent strong holds or influences over us that create a mindset that resists change. They become deeply ingrained or embedded in our minds due to frequent negative repetition.  Once they have latched on, they are very difficult to break down and remove, much like a fortress wall.

 

Such is the situation when procrastination becomes a stronghold in our lives, due to its frequent, repetitive use. It requires honesty on our part to first of all acknowledge the problem, and then it requires diligence to consistently and methodically pull down the stronghold of procrastination.

 

I think sometimes, though, procrastination is like a comfortable, familiar bad habit…and just as difficult to let go of, because we have become so accustomed to getting behind, running late, not meeting deadlines, justifying a bad attitude, and all those related events, that it takes a great deal of effort and a willingness to make the necessary changes in our lives to overcome the stronghold of procrastination.

 

It seems we need to make it a priority…yes, it’s all making sense now…we need to make it a priority to attack the stronghold of procrastination, tearing down one stone at a time.

 

Tear down strongholds! [Photo Credit: morgueFile free photos]

 

What about you?

 

Do you recognize strongholds in your life?

 

Is it an ongoing struggle to tear them down and replace them with better habits or strategies that will help you prioritize and pursue your purpose?

 

Is It Ever Too Late to Learn?

Have you ever pondered going back to school, and then thought you were too old–or that it was too late to learn?

I’m here to tell you from experience, as long as you’re alive, it’s never too late to learn!

 

 

Check out this interesting infographic a writer friend located for me.  Are we ever too old to learn and succeed?

                                  [Source: Funders and Founders; illustrated by Anastasia Borko]

I see some really familiar faces there – and others unknown to me – but how fascinating! In their 20s, 30s, 40s, and OLDER, before they ever began their journeys toward their now noted achievements in life.

 

I can really relate, because I was 50 when I earned my Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree back in 2008, which launched me into my current instructional design and curriculum development career. Now, at 58, I am within a couple months of finally achieving my highest academic endeavor: earning my Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree and becoming Dr. K. Lee Banks!

 

So what about YOU?

 

What do you think of this infographic? Did you know some of these people achieved their success later in life?

 

How about you? Have you recently taken steps to pursue a delayed goal in your life?