Small Business

Business Update: Progress and Frustration

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Sales have really picked up in February. January was dead and it brought me a lot of frustration. Towards the end of the month, I finally decided that I had to do something, so I used the keyword planner tool in Google AdWords to revise my listing titles and tags on Etsy. Sales increased soon after, although I don’t know for sure if that was a result of my revisions.

Another source of frustration has been missing meetings and events. I wanted to attend a monthly writers group at the library but decided not to go due to bad weather. Earlier this week I had strep throat and missed my coaching session at the WBC in Cleveland. This meeting had already been rescheduled from January due to car trouble. I am feeling better and we rescheduled for March. I’m hoping for better luck in the near future.

I lost my job at Harbor in January and have not yet found other employment. I’m excited to have the opportunity to try something new, but the uncertainty brings a lot of anxiety. With my employment up in the air, so is my business, but one thing remains constant – I will continue to work hard to make progress with Rahm Designs, LLC any way I can.

 

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Music School: Making Peace with My Past

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I recently brought my euphonium out of the basement after several years of not playing. The valves are stiff and the mouthpiece is tarnished, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed.

When I first went to college right after high school, I majored in music – something I had planned from a very young age. I’ve known since elementary school that I was supposed to be a musician, or so I thought. Throughout my childhood, I had private music lessons, played in band at school and summer camp, and had future plans set in stone. I was disciplined and rigid.

I was excited and over-confident when I finally got to leave for college. I attended an in-state school about two hours from my home. Everything seemed to be okay at first, but my situation quickly went downhill.

I had been struggling with undiagnosed mental illness for years. It had been bubbling underneath and was about to break the surface. College wasn’t what I thought it would be. After a year and a half, I dropped out. I moved away – or more like ran away – to the other side of the country. I felt like a failure, and it was devastating. Being a musician was the only plan I had, and I had stopped playing completely. My life felt pretty aimless.

After almost two years of being away from home, I reached out to my parents to get help for my mental illness. I moved in with my parents, and after several months of recovery, I returned to college and to my music studies. However, this time I was certain. Time passed as I tried to get back on track, but I knew being a musician just wasn’t for me.

This time I had other interests, but no real plans. I tried several different majors on for size and really racked up the student loans. I still felt like I was wasting all those years of music training.

It wasn’t until I transferred to a local community college that I really felt like my life had direction again. I studied commercial art technology and loved it. I graduated with an associate degree in 2014.

Today I have things I want to do, but my plans are much hazier and I’m okay with that. You’re probably not going to follow the plans you made in elementary school.

Unfortunately, my memories of music school are plagued by symptoms of mental illness, feelings of failure, and burnout, but I would really like to make peace with my past and enjoy playing my euphonium again.

Small Business · Toledo, OH

February: Toledo’s Worst/Best Month

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It’s probably pretty ironic that I am publishing this post today, an article about making the best of living in Toledo during the winter. My daughter’s daycare center is closed and we are all home – snowed in. I’m going to share it anyway because it’s important to know about all the great things going on in our city.

Many people consider February to be the worst month to be in Toledo. It’s true – February can be pretty harsh in the Glass City. It can bring our coldest days of winter. It’s probably not the best time to invite someone from out of town to come and visit, especially if they’re not used to cold and snow. But what if February was Toledo’s best month? Stick with me for a sec.

Besides getting an unexpected day off due to a level 3 snow emergency, there are other great things going on in February. Check out downtowntoledo.org. This website has an awesome daily events calendar, on which I counted 44 events this weekend. 44! This includes the Greater Toledo Auto Show, 3 Walleye games, and numerous events in the arts. Let’s make February our best month by showing old man winter what we’re made of. Let’s go out and enjoy our great city (once the roads are plowed and it’s safe to travel of course)!

Really anytime is a great time to be in Toledo, but hang in there – spring is right around the corner.

Small Business · Toledo, OH

Toledo’s Old West End

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Even though I’ve only lived in Toledo for four years, it’s definitely the place I call home. Toledo is a comfortably sized city for me – around 300,000 residents. We have a diverse population and each neighborhood has a personality of its own. One of our most well-known neighborhoods is the Old West End. Its huge Victorian homes and interesting buildings have captured the fascination of many. It’s been said that even Frank Lloyd Wright was inspired by the neighborhood.

Continue reading “Toledo’s Old West End”

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Learning from the Danes

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When I was a teenager, I spent a year living in Nykøbing Falster, Denmark as an exchange student. It was almost 20 years ago, but that experience still affects my life today. I still think about my time in Denmark a lot, especially with the current political climate in our country. My experience as an exchange student shaped how I feel socially, spiritually, and politically. Even my everyday life is influenced by my year abroad.

While in Denmark I felt a real sense of community. They really value family and that is reflected in their government and way of life. Their government truly works for its people. Many American politicians say they believe in family values, but their political actions speak differently. Universal healthcare, reproductive rights, paid maternity leave, and tuition-free college are no-brainers in Denmark.

I think if every American spent a couple months there, our country would be a better place to live – for everyone. Denmark has its ducks in a row – and it should. Denmark has been a country hundreds of years longer than us. There’s just so much we can learn from the Danes. Socialism is not a dirty word. It’s time for Americans to realize this and catch up with the rest of the world.

art · graphic design · graphics for shirts · Small Business

Be On the Lookout: Inspiration Comes from Everywhere

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Inspiration comes from everywhere, and sometimes when you least expect it. I’ve always believed that as an artist you need to be professional and have the ability to work on a regular basis, not just when inspiration strikes. However, it’s definitely a boost when it does strike. You constantly have to keep your eyes and ears open.

Continue reading “Be On the Lookout: Inspiration Comes from Everywhere”

Small Business

Decisions and Changes

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I apologize for my lack of posts in the last two weeks. There’s been some big changes. I lost my job at the mental health agency, and I’m not sure where I want to go from here. I was a little shocked when I lost my job, but really it was time for a change anyway. I had already been looking for another job. I had an interview this past week and I’m hoping for the best. I’m excited to start something new.

Uncertainty with my job unfortunately also means uncertainty for Rahm Designs LLC. This past week I met with SCORE mentors from Ann Arbor and Toledo, and received SEO training from healthyplace.com, the website I write for. I don’t plan on slowing down and I hope to have the business back on track soon.

Here’s to starting a new chapter!