My Real Family

None of my real family members are directly related to me by blood except my brother.

Before I begin sharing, I just want to let the readers know that I hardly share about my personal issues because I always think that for me to maintain my image as someone positive who can motivate others, I should always stay problem-free. But the problem here is that human beings are not problem-free. In fact, I realize that people tend to not take my advice seriously when they perceive me as someone who’s without problems. So, this is probably my first post that is going to shed some lights into my personal issues.

I heard from others about their family problems. Either one or more of their family members were so messed up that it stressed them out to the point of depression but yet they stick around because they believe “blood is thicker than water.” I think this phrase is very much applicable if your biological family genuinely love and care for you.

I, for one, do not have the luxury of that and therefore, I choose my own family members. I don’t want to bore you with the stories of my family drama because that’s not the main point here. The main point here is to give you another perspective of what a family really means to you. If you’re thinking of what the dictionary says about family, then you’ll probably not able to break free from whatever problems you’re facing with your family members because you’re bound by blood.

The true meaning of family to me are people in your life who genuinely or unconditionally love and care for you. They accept you without judgement, support you in all your decisions except those that harm you. They’re there for you during your happy times and most importantly, they’re there during your down times.

That’s why my friends are my family and their wonderful family members are like family to me as well. With this in mind, I’m grateful for the good life I’ve been blessed with. I don’t feel so alone even though my biological family members betrayed and neglected me after all the sacrifices I’ve made for them.

It gives me hope that people out there could really take care of you and in my case, more than my biological family ever could. For those of you who feel like it’s the end of the world when you’re disowned by your so-called family, I just want you to know there’s always hope. Break ties and move on to your real family and if you don’t have any yet, make some!

Joining the Creative Peeps in Etsy

Ever since I picked up the skills in Adobe Illustrator, I became obsessed with trying out with different designs. I started off with designing artworks for T-shirts under my brand, Conceptitude.

I actually opened an Etsy store some time last year to sell my T-shirt designs. I decided against selling the physical T-shirt because the postal charges by Malaysia National Post has increased over 200%. Besides T-shirt designs, I also put up some business card designs. Months have passed after I listed my designs and my sales was zero, so I closed the online shop. I thought to myself that I should just stick to my Zazzle store for my T-shirt designs, which is doing very well.

Last month, I was itching to start designing and making things that matter. I want to make something people can use and be happy about it. Then a thought came to me. I’ve been designing and making rubber stamps locally, so why not sell it worldwide? Rubber stamps are light and small so it wouldn’t cost a lot to ship it to my customers. They will think it’s reasonable to pay for it.

My partner suggested that I re-consider Etsy and so I did. On June 23rd, 2014, I opened my Etsy store which is specializing in custom-made self-inked, pre-inked as well as index rubber stamps. I named the store after my online paper and stationery e-commerce store, My Paperclip.

MyPaperclip

 Then I started spending time working on some designs and uploading it to the store. I barely had 4 products listed as I was still working on providing information on the shipping and return policy as well as coming up with more designs. On June 29th, 2014, that was when I heard my first “Ka Ching” from Etsy app on my smart phone. I mean, I’ve been hearing that sound from my partner’s smart phone but this is the first time I heard it from mine so I was pretty excited.

My first sale on Etsy was from a lady in Canada. She’s probably a handcrafter as she wanted her stamp to say Handmade with Delight. In July, more sales came in. One lovely nurse practitioner from Australia who ordered pocket stamps for her work use. After that, I received a custom-made order from a business lady from United States who wanted her stamp to be similar to her business card. It took me quite a while to re-trace the sunflower logo from her business card but it was all worth it because she loved it!

Another person from Australia ordered a wedding stamp and a baker from United States ordered a stamp that says Baked with love. Just two days ago, a lovely mother from Japan ordered two name stamps for her kids and one for her friend’s kid. Japan! I have never dealt with anyone from Japan before. I love Japan a lot. Their culture and technology just amaze me.

I’m sorry I took the time to talk about these first few customers but these are important people that trusted me even though they could see my store  was new and I had no sales and no reviews to prove if I’m trustworthy and reliable. First few sales are always the hardest and most people have no sales for months after putting up their store, just like what happened to me when I first tried Etsy.

Yesterday, my first customer told me that she has received the item and it works great. That was a happy moment for me and I look forward to more happy moments from my customers. It really pushes me to provide the best for them. Nothing means more than putting a smile on someone else’s face with your product or service. That’s precisely why I always tell myself that customer experience is my utmost priority.

If You Need to Fake the Web, Put it to Good Use

UPDATES: This website that I wrote about is no longer functioning. I think the creator realized that people have been misusing it big time so he shut it down.

A recent article on “The Most Dangerous Website in America Is Also the Easiest to Use” appeared on Time regarding a website, ShrtURL, where it allows you to customize any content on the web with the general look of the website remaining the same, thus allowing you to fool people into thinking of it as a genuine site. Picture speaks a thousand words. Here’s an example and if you can’t see it clearly, click on the image to enlarge it:

fakeforbes

Get it?

Unfortunately for me, I’m not a Forbes contributor and my article wasn’t published in their site but by using ShrtURL, I can fake it. So many people have been conned into believing stories that aren’t true because of those trolls who faked the stories. If you don’t check the URL properly, you’ll be conned too. Some stories might be harmless but they pose a big threat to businesses when it involves rumors of mergers and acquisition or business losses.

Anyhow, I prefer to use “invention” like this and put it to good use. I’m currently working on an assignment that involves online ordering for food delivery service. I’m hoping a more complete write-up with references will earn my team extra credits, so I wanted to design a mock-up e-commerce website for this. However, I don’t have the luxury of time to create this from scratch. That’s when I found ShrtURL rather useful for this purpose.

There you go! Use it to draft a website mock-up for your school assignments, business projects or just for fun as long as you don’t misuse it to fake serious news. I mean, I might one day try to fake a news that I’m named the Entrepreneur of the Year but well, my friends would know it’s a long way to go. So yeah, it’s pretty harmless when you use it this way.

Thanks for the great invention, Alexander Griffioen.

I learn from my success as much as I learn from my mistakes. Lessons from mistakes prove to be more powerful.