I’m sure you’ve been wondering what I get up to between penning the next best seller and jetting off to see the world’s most exotic scenery. (Hah! And even harder: HAH!) Here I sit, thinking longingly of the days when I could call my boss and convince them it would be best for the health of my coworkers that I not come in and start a pandemic.
Instead, I have been muttering as I try to coordinate transporting family members to doctors appointments and grocery shopping, church services, Bible study, visits to Mom at her nursing home and volunteer duties like calling Bingo games and chaperoning outings with her fellow residents, writing my next book, and now, because I am a compulsive overachiever, starting an online store.
I have previously designed and tried to sell teeshirts, because I figured if I was going to be constantly coming up with slogans I should try to make money out of them. But while design was easy, keeping track of inventory (not to mention finding the space for it!) and getting it to the buyers were definitely not. I told God glumly that it was a failed attempt and swallowed my disappointment because I really liked some of the designs He was inspiring in my mind.
Apparently, though, He has plans for those designs and while I was idly browsing through the Internet one day, I ran across an ad that trumpeted “Start your own teeshirt business in 20 minutes for free!” My natural skepticism, honed by a lifetime working in government bureaucracy and convenience stores, made me look it up just to see how their scam worked. It wasn’t a scam, and it was only free for two weeks, but set it up in 20 minutes? Puh-leeeze. Hey, there are YouTube videos you can watch that will take you through it step by step! There’s a Help Center with all the information you’ll ever need! You could even live chat!
Um, no. Not for all of it. I spent the last ten years of my career at IRS writing training material and proofing our procedural manuals (I didn’t even get asked to do most of that, I’m just pushy that way) so when it comes to missing procedures, I find them with ease. You wouldn’t believe how many times I had to point out there were some gaps in the set up instructions. Worse were the times I had to communicate with a linking website, only to discover that only a computer would speak to me, and it had apparently been programmed to pretend human customer service did not exist.
I THINK it’s finally done. I finally set up a print on demand shop on Shopify (https://words-are-my-life.myshopify.com) and loaded my first designs. The others are coming, hopefully at a minimum rate of two a week, and can be bought with credit cards, PayPal, and even Amazon. I set up a Facebook page for it. I blog on it. I have to keep track of advertising spending but hey, there’s an app for that!
It’s a whole lot more work than just writing my stories and uploading them to the publishing company for printing. (By the way, I’m hoping to start selling my books on my shop site…) But it is rather satisfying, in the same way working on the procedures and training material at IRS was. I think it has to do with bringing order out of chaos.
In the same way I tried to make my training classes (and my fiction) both entertaining and memorable, I’m hoping my products will amuse buyers and also make them think. There will be an entire line of faith based products showcased here as well as some humor just because I’ve always felt God had a sense of humor (really, when you look at some of His creations…).
The print on demand company that produces and ships the products have good reviews from merchants and buyers, which is a load off my mind. All I really have to do now really is come up with concept, send it to an artist who really seems to grasp my vision and doesn’t charge a fortune to put it in visual form, and handle the advertising. At least so far. We’ll see how it goes.
I hope you’ll take a look, and consider buying. I hope you’ll be inspired, entertained, and maybe even educated occasionally. I am shooting an arrow into the air, and hoping it doesn’t come straight back at me. But I really feel the Hand of God pushing me around through this, so I’ll let Him worry about the results.