Category Archives: Being funemployed

This Ginger is about to snap

Man, there has been a lot going on since I last updated. Oh well.

The biggest thing eating me right now is that I am once again without a job. It’s like a frigging roller coaster over here, either famine or feast. I can’t seem to figure out exactly what it is I want to do in life, other than be my own boss. There isn’t a lot of mercy for people like me.

I started working for this property “management” place for a while. Got my first promotion ever, bought a scooter (finally!) to help do showings, and I just left on Monday, only 4 months into the job. What a ride. Glad I am out of there though, it really just wasn’t working. At all. Shit money, shit hours and I was stressed to the max.

I never really learn my lesson, do I? I jump at the first opportunity that comes along and try to make a quick buck. Things I look down upon in other people, and yet here I am. Ms. Hypocrite, you may call me!

I am still working on my other projects and some are going better than others. But I still feel like a failure in the major areas of life. Still single, still no full time self-employment, haven’t traveled in a while, haven’t lost much weight, didn’t make it on the roller derby team this season.

Pooh, I say. Damn depression is back and has sunk itself in deep this time, insidious little bastard.

There are good things in my life, but it’s hard to appreciate them when you’re forced to view them through grey-tinted glasses.

If anyone is out there, how do you deal with constant disappointment? Especially when it’s yourself that you’re disappointing the most?

A B&B Without Guests

Woooowwwww. It’s so nice to have this place finally to myself! It’s the first time in months that I haven’t had guests and it feels strange and liberating. I just took a shower and not only did I leave the door open, I also pranced back to my room completely buck naked!

Don’t take the little things for granted! It’s so nice to have privacy for a change!

I love running the guest house but I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be on my own. I’m so used to having people around and needing to keep the place in tip top shape, use the bathroom at odd times and remain fully clothed… it’s nice to let that all go, if only for a short while.

Things have been going well in the land of hospitality for me. I met my income goals this year (surpassed, even!) and have repeat customers. I have a few weeks off between now and my next “regular” guest who returns mid-January. I like having her around, she’s a cool older lady and is never here, so therefore a very low maintenance guest.

Having time off is a double edged sword, however. It’s nice to have the freedom. But every day that I don’t have someone staying here means a day without income. Because January and February will be so slow, I think I’ll have to dip into my savings to cover rent. When I was an employee somewhere that wasn’t an issue, but now that I don’t have a day job it’s going to be a bit tougher. Thank the gods that I’m a Personal Finance blogger and know how to save for things like this!

I’ve been trying to make money here and there and also keep myself busy. I’ve done some volunteer work with the Toronto Green Community, and also have done a little bit of modelling for Fit Zone Plus and Curvaceous Consignments. I’m trying to reintegrate myself into the plus size fashion community. I have a pretty rockin’ wardrobe but nowhere to wear it, so I mostly just wear my PJ’s. I do get dressed up to the nines if I’m going out in public, which is kind of fun. I hope there will be more events in my future!

Here’s a shot of me (and a kitten!) from a Curvaceous Consignments event. I was there to offer style consultations for the customers.

You can’t see them, but I have amazing red boots on!

Anyway, instead of people guests over the holidays, I’ll be taking care of a little pug dog instead. LOL, I make almost as much money hosting him as I do with humans… Hopefully the $400 or so that I’m making will be enough to cover all the damn bed bug covers I’m buying for the beds in my house (yes, I take care of my guests!). I’ve spent waaaay too much time researching these things, but I’m so paranoid about bugs in the city. They’re in library books now! Ugh!

Back in the saddle

I missed this, I really did!

I’ve been composing blog posts in my head for weeks, perhaps even months but just never sat down to do anything. Life has been a whirlwind and I’m going through life & personal changes again. I think I needed that break from blogging to fully live my life rather than just be an observer. Now I can do both!

I’m unemployed once again. Sort of. I worked hard for Airbnb.com for just over a year, and this month they pulled the plug. They told us that they could no longer support Canadian employees, so all of us were getting laid off. Personally I think it was a seriously bad business move; but the company has changed quite a bit since it’s beginnings and I was thinking of leaving anyway. We were treated like second class citizens and frankly; if I’m going to put up with that it needs to be for way more than what they were paying us!

Hey Wimdu, are you hiring? LOL

So yeah, back looking for a job and ways to fill my time. The good news is that I’ve got until Xmas to find something, the B&B business is going extremely well (stay tuned for updates on that front, I am expanding my empire!) and none of my old corporate clothes fit! Yay! It’s the good kind of not-fitting, the I-lost-a-size-&-didn’t-know-it kind of not fitting :) That definitely cheered me up this week!

I’ve got to get through the huge backlog of emails in my Ginger email account (thanks y’all!) but I just wanted to drop by to say I’m back.

And also share this photo of my new hair with you:

That’s right! I chopped off 7″ of my hair & am rocking the short pinup look now

Apparently I was in the Herald Tribune, too

Look! They used a different photo! I kind of wish they had done it in colour…

And also told me I would be in this paper as well! Does anyone happen to have a printed copy of this hanging around that you could send me? I’ll pay postage!

Click for a larger image.

Reuters picked up the story and it ran in the international version of the Herald Tribune

 

 

Successful shopping for the store

Well today went fairly well despite the continuing heatwave.

I was lucky enough to stumble across a listing for the Big On Bloor festival on Friday night. Lucky because it was going on the following day, and was a great place for me to source some vendors for the shop!

I headed out there this afternoon and meandered along, alternating between mopping my brow and fanning myself. I felt like some kind of old Southern woman or something…

It was a cute little festival, and I had no idea it existed! A couple of bands performing, food vendors, lemonade stand and all kinds of little pop-up shops. I just love going to stuff like this. I find a lot of them can be hit or miss, with either too many people or too many of the wrong kind of vendors, or the opposite of both. Today’s seemed to be just the right amount of vendors and activity.

Anyway, I meant to go shopping for the store today (and I did!) but ended up doing a little shopping for myself.

My cute new necklace, and the earrings match!

At the end of the day I ended up with earrings & necklace set for myself, earrings for my mom’s birthday, a ceramic mug, a sun hat and a new wristlet for when I go out (HA. IF I ever go out again, that is…. *sigh*)

But I also made some valuable contacts for the shop, and will hopefully set up some meetings to talk business next week.

By the by, I’ve already had one meeting with a vendor. It went ok, but she didn’t really seem to have her act together yet, so it was hard for me to wade through things. At first I thought it would be cool to give guidance on the kinds of products I’m seeking… but now I think I’d rather just take a look through what they’ve got and commission just a few things. I guess my work is cut out for me… I need to find the crafters that are more inclined towards business as they’re much easier to work with.

Next week my plate is pretty full with more vendor meetings, and also my second try at the OSEB program. I wasn’t sure if I was going to go for it again, but this time it looks a little more hopeful. It’s at a different location and they seem way more helpful already and really seem to know what they’re doing. Now that I know the kinds of things they’re looking for I might be able to make it. If not, I got a chance to refine my concept a little more.

Sorry about the blog,

I know a lot of my posts lately are about the business, but you have to understand that my whole life is pretty much the business right now. I don’t have a whole ton else going on, plus getting all this stuff done is sucking up all my time. You should see my to-do lists, they’re behemoth. There are just so many little details to cover, decisions to make and people to talk to.

I’m not going to say I didn’t see this coming, I did choose to jump in with both feet. But it’s certainly a handful! I’m still confident that I can do this though. I try not to let the little monsters in me get too loud and bring me down.

Anyone have any organizational or productivity tips to share with me? I’m doing ok most of the time, but occasionally get overwhelmed. I definitely need some kind of system to deal with stuff. Suggestions???

Starting My Business

After another prolonged absence from the intertubes I’ve come back yet again, with developments this time!

Most of you regulars out there know that I have been planning to start an online business for some time now (historical posts here and here).

Originally I had applied for the Ontario Self Employment Benefit program via the Toronto Business Development Centre. It was a program for those on EI (unemployment benefits) to help them get a job… by starting a business for themselves. The government would provide a grant that covered your living expenses for 42 weeks as well as in-depth training on starting and running a small business. Sounded like the ideal situation to me!

Two months, about a million pages of paperwork and one presentation later, I heard back from the TBDC as to whether they were going to recommend me for the program.

I didn’t make it in.

Boy, was I ever crushed when I read that rejection letter. I had basically been pinning all my hopes on getting into this program, and had been waiting with bated breath. There was a limit as to how much “work” you could have done on your business already (if you were already doing well then you couldn’t get in the program, the government figuring that you don’t need their help if you’re already making a profit) so I twiddled my thumbs and didn’t get much accomplished.

Ok I’ll fess up and say that this may have been a bit egotistical of me. I didn’t want to do too¬† much work and actually get the business started because I figured I’d be successful right off the bat, losing out on this program and the income support it provided. Even with my Airbnb earnings I don’t have much in the bank right now so any additional cash would have helped. So yeah. I thought I’d be so great that I wouldn’t be accepted and piddled away time that could have been spent building my business.

But you know I really truly believe I will make this work. I’m pretty sure I was born for this and I’m passionate about it for so many reasons. I am confident, people!

So long story short, I was devastated. I spent about a week being bummed about this (during which I went camping with my bff and became jealous of her for 4 days, but I’m better now). I had to wait until this past week to go in and meet with the TBDC evaluation team to find out why I didn’t make the cut, and to get feedback from them.

Here’s the funny part: the government is unlikely to admit me into the program for two reasons:

One: The TBDC only has 8 months to help me get my business running at max capacity and generating a fulltime income for myself. Generally speaking a business like mine takes 10-20 months to break even, the average being 15. This means that they won’t recommend me because there isn’t enough time for them to do a good job.

Two: If I do get my business up and running to that level in less than 10 months (which I will, dagnabbit!), then I will be too successful for the program.

Wellsir, if that don’t beat all!

I’m really not sure how I feel about this. On one hand it’s awesome because the TBDC professionals think that my idea, presentation, etc. was great, viable and will be a success. On the other hand, I’m bummed that I won’t be getting the help that I really want, nor the money that I need to live on.

I’m trying to be positive about the whole experience and have spurred myself into action. In the past 3 days I have accomplished more than during the 2 months I was dallying around with that program. I can still apply for the next intake session in the fall, but I wonder if it’s even worth it.

I’ve been working like a madwoman and have managed to pick a name, incorporate, hire a designer, get a website (not done yet though!) and sign up for my very first industry-members-only tradeshow next month!

I’ve done a ton more in that span of time (you wouldn’t believe how many pesky little details there are getting a business together!) but it’s too much for one post. I really just wanted to get the beginnings of my story out.

Next up I need to start finding vendors (please tell me of any that you like, or if YOU would like to sell to me!) and get the logo/website crap done. I ordered some temporary business cards today so that I’d appear more legit while I get everything finalized. Yes, I am always the marketer!

As I go along I’ll do my best to post about this experience because it’s good for me to remember, and also makes a cool story for you to read. The birth of a business!

Also, I’m not gonna lie. I hope a lot of you will be my customers when I finally open!! LOL

Talk to my agent…

So there’s been a bit of interesting stuff going on in the Gingersphere lately.

I was interviewed by the New York Times for …something (not allowed to say yet). They may or may not publish it, but it would be cool if they did! The NYT! Cool!

I also might be on a Food Network TV show. I think I’ve talked about this before. My bff and I applied to be on Dinner Party Wars. We’ve done our audition and everything and now we wait to see if they want to use us. It’d be kind of dumb if they don’t, we’d make excellent TV.

I’m also plugging away at my business idea. Thanks to everyone that filled out the survey, it really helped. I especially loved the comments at the end! They were sweet, helpful and sometimes challenged my thinking, which was great.

I used the anonymous data to help me in my pitch to the TBDC. I’ll find out sometime next week if they’re recommending me to the ministry. After that the ministry has 3 more weeks to decide if they want me in the program…. *sigh* there is just SO MUCH WAITING!

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to find more things to do. I’ve been cleaning a lot and doing the whole Martha Stewart thing around the house. But after a while it gets boring cooking and cleaning for no one but yourself and your piggy cat. I’m trying to conserve money so I haven’t signed up for many cool classes or workshops that I would like to do. It’s a bit of a Catch 22 isn’t it? When I was working I had no time to do anything fun. Now that I’m not working I have the time, but no money to do those same things!

I hope that once I find out about this business program I’ll have a little more direction in my life. If I get in I’ll be nice and busy going to the classes and getting sh*t done. If I don’t get into the program then I will be doing the same thing anyway, figuring out how to start up the business, refine my idea and see if there are other programs to help me. It’s just the waiting that is really killing me. I want a reason to get up in the mornings so I can get back to a routine. I do well with a little bit of routine in my life. It’s hard for me to just drift like this.

Anyway, that’s the big stuff going on these days. I’ll try and update soon with something on my weight loss and Slimband… I’ve been getting some requests in for more info. Let me know if there’s anything you want to hear more about!