Posts Tagged ‘Manzanita’

The Complaint Book

As I sat here this morning in my RV watching the hummingbirds six inches out my window, the sun shining, Edgar sleeping, I thought about my “old life”.

I kept a journal called the “Complaint Book”. The two things I did every morning were check my sales numbers from the day before and deal with Customer Complaints. I kept it separate from all my other paperwork and never carried it into a customer’s office, any meeting, it was a handwritten, stand alone, one of a kind living journal for my eyes only.

I believe complaints are the most important factor to happiness for yourself and a happy customer. You know a complaint… any sentence that starts with “This sucks” or your version thereof. Complaints are sacred in sales and life, writing them down gives you a good indicator of how your life, or sales, are going.

Along with customer complaints, I would write down my own daily complaints. When I found myself complaining enough about one certain thing – it was time for a change. If there were enough complaints to fill a book, you really got to look at your life…..

Customer complaints were usually easy to rectify. Some took a good explanation of the realities of supply and demand especially when a customer wanted a small supply of a paper that needed to be ordered by the big expensive case 🙂  I used to order in sample sheets for customers if they needed to do an order of business cards on a specialty sheet – I still hate business cards from a printers and paper suppliers point of view.

So this morning I thought about cleaning out my locker and finding the “Complaint Book” among my stored belongings. I left it at home when I started my journey, it was shredded, along with my other paperwork from xpedx and Clean Copy when the locker was emptied and I moved my entire life into the RV.

I no longer need a “Complaint Book”, I transformed my life into one where each day alive is certainly a good day on earth. Time to wake up Edgar, we are walking to Manzanita – about a 4 mile round trip, to drop off some mail at the post office and grab a nice coffee.

CathyImage

Maintenance

I was cleaning and doing a little maintenance on the RV today. We are moving from Ft. Stevens State Park near Astoria, OR to Nehalem Beach State Park near Manzanita, OR. Stopping at Skipanon Marine & RV in Warrenton on the way down to have the hot water heater repaired. Can I tell you how excited I am about having hot water!!!

Anyway, while spraying WD-40 on all the moving parts of the car towing equipment, I thought, if you maintain it, it will last forever. Then I weirded out.

That simple phrase “If you maintain it, it will last forever” applies to so many thing in our lives.

Your relationships – married people who have been together for years, and are still happy, say they take the time for each other. Relationships with customers, how many customers do you lose to price or competition that are really maintained? My guess is none.

Your body – anyone will tell you a few hours of exercise each week keeps you in better maintenance. How about brushing your teeth everyday, skincare, haircare, good food, and required medical exams all to better maintain the body.

Your car and stuff – wear and tear is inevitable, but you can change the oil, paint, clean – maintenance.

Your soul – that needs maintenance too, church, walking in the woods, volunteering at a homeless shelter or food bank, skiing down a mountain or climbing one, we all need to do things that make our souls soar.

Your kids – I don’t have any kids but I see all the time people spend maintaining their kids well being. Then when they have grand kids the maintenance is transferred through generations.

So much maintenance, so little time. We all have to make decisions on what is important enough for us to maintain. How much of our time we are willing to give to ourselves, our businesses, our stuff, our kids and our world. I’m making sure I put the important ones at the top of my list.

Cathy

Changes

My first post in three weeks. My life has taken some fun and unexpected turns. I got a job at Ft. Stevens State Park as a Host. My duties include keeping the new cabins clean in change for a free spot for my RV in one of the most beautiful places on earth.  Ft. Stevens is situated at the mouth of the Columbia River where it empties into the Pacific. Ft. Stevens Military Reservation guarded the mouth of the Columbia River from the Civil War through World War II.  5 miles of hiking trails and 7 miles of bike path through forests and dune grass opening to the Pacific on one side and the Columbia River on the other. The name of this blog “offthegridwithcathyherman” will still be appropriate as the Host position only lasts 3 months at a time, my next assignment is at Nehalem Bay State Park near Manzanita (I know, tough duty).

The most important lesson I took away from my road trip was my ability to adapt to life as it unfurled in front of me, all while enjoying the ride.

The other decision I made was to start my own business. American Woman Promotions. Travel with me as I start a small business in America, selling promotional products made in America to promote American companies and events.

The transition from travel and adventure to entrepreneurship is full of comparisons.  Facing new situations daily, making decisions on which direction to travel, navigating road blocks and government red tape, tracking expenditures and planning for the unexpected. The joy of launching a new business is terrifying, taking the leap of faith in yourself and your abilities. The same terrifying joy I felt when I hit the road last March and started this blog.

Cathy