small business owners

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Celebrating Mom and Pop Health Food Stores

Published May 15, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_7343Basil Bandwagon (Photo by Maryanne Mistretta)

I took a much needed day off today and went on a little adventure and ended up, for the first time at two amazing health food stores I was never in before! Big Bear Natural Foods (http://www.bigbearnaturalfoods.com/) in Pennington, New Jersey and Basil Bandwagon (http://basil-bandwagon.tumblr.com/) in Flemington, New Jersey.

Basil Bandwagon has been around since 1993 and Big Bear since 1971 (with locations in Pennsylvania too!)

Since the mid-1980s when I first became health conscious, I was all about supporting the local health food stores. Back then, they were a real novelty. You go to the Mom and Pop stores and find amazing items you couldn’t find elsewhere. Then fast-forward to modern times and now all the big corporations like Shop Rite, Stop & Shop, A&P sell the goods, even the goods you’d least suspect: grass-fed beef, Miracle Noodles, kombucha and non-homogenized grass-fed milk. And that is a good thing, but not for the Mom and Pop stores. So I like to continue supporting them as much as possible.

The thing with Mom and Pop stores though is that they do jack their prices up, so my game plan is to look for sales or very unique products that are not yet in supermarkets.

Both stores went beyond my expectations!

At Big Bear I purchased Brad’s Kale Chips which were on sale. These raw chips are my favorite, but extremely pricey. So kudos to Big Bear for having a sale!

Then at Basil Bandwagon my favorite score was Nick’s Sticks (http://www.nicks-sticks.com/), grass-fed beef snacks with no nitrites, no added antibiotics or MSG (and no sugar either, I might add). These treats were absolutely delightful! As a little girl I favored Slim Jims (an unhealthy treat) and I gave them up in my early 20s learning how bad they were for you. Nick’s Sticks is the first grass-fed beef snack I ever had that was just as fabulous as Slim Jims — but they are GOOD for you. With 10 grams of protein, a fairly low sodium content for a snack, zero carbs, zero grams of sugar and nine grams of healthy fat — you can’t go wrong! This brings me back to the day of eating beef snack sticks on the porch, reading comic books, while my Grandma and Aunt Sophie chatted. What a great thing to have a healthy version of a favorite childhood treat!

And I’m ecstatic to say, the service at both Big Bear and Basil was excellent!

At Big Bear, the woman who helped me went out of her way looking for other health food stores in the area to help me find a product I was looking for. That’s how I came upon Basil Bandwagon, which was huge — possibly the biggest health food store I was ever in, including those in NYC. They had a counter where I ended up having a bean burger without bread. They put it on a huge salad platter, accompanied with fresh salsa. The greens were super fresh too. They had Bragg’s amino liquids on the counter and balsamic vinegar, as well as pink Himalayan sea salt. It’s so nice when health food stores go the extra mile for you and you don’t have to ask for stuff. Everyone in the store was extremely helpful and I spent a lot of time there.

You can guarantee I will be back at both health food stores

(Even though they are not in my area, they are well-worth the trip!)

And I gotta be honest too. Even though I’m a Young Living Oils distributor, I do LOVE a diffuser that was being used at Big Bear by a company called NOW. So I will be going back to get that diffuser. (No disrespect to Young Living, but hey, you gotta love my honesty! I still spend over $100 a month on Young Living products and always will. I’m just madly in love with that diffuser. Tee-hee!)

KUDOS to TWO AWESOME MOM AND POP HEALTH FOOD STORES!

YOU GIVE NEW JERSEY A GOOD NAME!

SAM_7349Looking forward to eating my Sea Snax!

The Four Types of Clients You’ll Encounter

Published March 20, 2013 by Maryanne

home-based business

The Four Types of Clients You’ll Encounter

by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta(originally published in The Verona/Cedar Grove Patch, March 2013)

Bending over backward to keep each and every client is the biggest mistake small business owners make.

When you run your own business, having more clients doesn’t always mean more profit. In fact, some clients can be so detrimental to your business having them onboard can make you lose business.

The key to running a successful home based business is identifying which clients to keep and which to pass on. There is nothing wrong with having a “pecking order” when running your own business, putting the more desirable clients at the top.

In order to figure out which clients are worth keeping and putting before others, successful small business owners summarize their clients into four categories:
  1. High Profit/Low Maintenance. These are obviously the clients you want to keep because they pay well and are easy to work with. In other words, a small business owner’s dream! They are organized. They are easy to communicate with. They pay on time. They utilize your talents to the best ability. There is a mutual trust and respect. They may even give you a Christmas present or bonus! If you can develop a great relationship with these clients and keep them, you are so ahead of the game as you’ll be making money almost effortlessly.
  2. High Profit/High Maintenance. Whether you choose to keep these clients or not is up to you. The high profit/high maintenance client may drive you up a wall. There may be drama, unexpected phone calls when you’re on the beach vacationing, a ton of stress, disorganization and so forth. But the pay will be well worth it. To me, high maintenance can be amusing if you keep your sense of humor. Unless high maintenance goes too far by crossing the line of respect, eating up all your spare time, making you cry or reach for a glass of vodka after working with such clients, I say “go for it.” After all, sometimes big money comes with a small price.
  3. Low Profit/Low Maintenance. Sometimes a client may come along who doesn’t have a large budget or is asking for a task that doesn’t require too much skill or effort so the pay is lower than usual. But I say to keep these clients on board because it’s easy income. And you never know when you’re going to hit a slow period. Also note that sometimes a low profit/low maintenance client can eventually become a high profit/low maintenance client. That happened to me a few times. I did such a great job at a low profit level, a client willingly increased my rate!
  4. Low Profit/High Maintenance. I’m not afraid to say these clients are the worst and should definitely not to be kept. They will expect you to jump through hoops while paying you peanuts. There will always be stress, tension, misunderstandings, frustration and possibly tears. The hours will add up and you’ll have nothing to show for it but aggravation. You may find yourself passing up work from other clients because you are so wrapped up in this nightmare of a project, which isn’t fair to you, your other clients or your business. Just say “no” and move on.

By immediately recognizing a low profit/high maintenance client you can let him or her down easily by saying that you are currently over-booked and can’t take on a new client at this time.

Or just be honest and tell them their rate is too low. But try to keep the working relationship positive, as you never know what can change in the future.

And I am available for small business consulting! My rates are cheaper than competitive rates. Email me for more details at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is also available for blogging, ghost writing, writing. She is also available for book signings and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Be-Extra-Ordinary-Ways-Become/dp/1733546227

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

World’s Best Boss: YOU!

Published March 13, 2013 by Maryanne

World's Best BossThe other day my blog focused on having your own home-based business and how much fun it could be.

Today I want to share that I’ve been accepted to write a weekly business column at the Verona-Cedar Grove Patch online!

This column will come out once a week, probably early in the week, to give people a firsthand taste of what it’s like running your own home-based business.

Here is the first installment, enjoy!

http://verona.patch.com/blog_posts/starting-your-own-home-based-business

If you have any questions or topics you’d like to suggest, drop me a line. I’ll also be interviewing other home-business owners, so if that’s you, let me know and we’ll set something up! (Mind you, this is NOT to promote anyone’s business, or my own, just to inspire people!)

 

5-Star Work Day

Published March 12, 2013 by Maryanne

sdc128501Me, last summer, at an old fashioned computer

As some of you may have sensed, I love to work. And for some of you who have read the “About” section, know that for the past five years I’ve been running my own home based business, Pear Tree Enterprises (www.peartreeenterprises.com).

Running your own business always has it’s ups and downs, but nothing beats being your own boss, choosing when you have a day off or when to take a vacation and having your name on something official.

Five years ago I left a job in journalism, then briefly worked full-time in a health food store (big mistake) then decided to work for myself and have been happy ever since, combining all my talents into one home-based business: writing, proofreading, editing, managing musicians and promoting and marketing. And sometimes I work as a model too. At 49, I find that such a blessing!

Yesterday was totally one of those, “I love my career kinda days. I spent the day concentrating on my musicians and ended up getting bookings for all four of them! One of them will be visiting Australia for over a month and I was assuming I may not be representing her during that time. But we talked on the phone yesterday and she said she was paying me in advance so I can continue managing her career during that time!

Then I finished up a research project for an author and continued ghost writing for another author. It was one of those days where you go to bed completely fulfilled!

Now that I’m all caught up, I’m taking the time today to go to an “Email Marketing” seminar. I haven’t gone to a seminar for my business in a few years, so I am excited to go to this.

Last time I went to a business workshop I made a great connection with Sean Carroll (http://www.seancarrollspeaker.com/) and we are email friends to this day. I highly recommend getting on his email list because he offers so much wisdom in regard to running your own business.

Which brings me to … I was offered by an editor of an online newspaper to write a column on running your home-based business! I am seriously taking him up on that. So stay tuned, if you are considering starting your own home-based business.

It’s not always peaches and cream, but to wake up every day knowing you’re getting paid what you’re worth, being your own boss and loving every working day is well worth the ups and downs! That peace of mind you’ll have is worth GOLD!