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How to Make Your 2020 Christmas a Meaningful One

The year 2020 has been a challenging one. The COVID-19 pandemic especially forced us to change the way we live our lives. From being forced to socially isolate to facing tough economic downturns, it's a surprise that we're still fighting our way out of it one step at a time.

This being said, this year's Christmas is going to be different for sure. We're probably not going to have many guests coming over and reducing our Christmas shopping adventures. However, this doesn't mean Christmas won't be meaningful this year. Rather, I do believe that it's going to be one of the best ones yet.

In this article, we'll take a look at 4 ways you can make your 2020 Christmas a more meaningful one, despite the adversity we've faced!

Share More

An important part of celebrating meaningfully is to share. As humans, it's part of our social nature to build relationships, and genuinely wanting to share is part of the equation. Whether it's sharing our happiness through stories that make us laugh or sharing food through Christmas food hampers, we'll feel a stronger connection with the people around us.

It's a win-win situation for both parties. The one who shares feels good about giving part of themselves away selflessly, while the recipient feels honored that you'd choose them over anybody else.

Serving Others

"Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others."- Booker T. Washington

Sharing between loved ones is one way to have a meaningful Christmas, but there is, perhaps, no greater feat of selflessness than serving others in your community. After all, Christmas is the season of giving, so it does make a little more sense to be charitable towards those around you.

If you can't afford to make a cash donation, you can donate your time and energy. Some of the many ways you can do this include:

  1. Volunteering at your local soup kitchen
  2. Go caroling around your neighborhood with your family
  3. Host a potluck for the vulnerable in your community at the town hall
  4. If there's an older couple living nearby, help them with clearing the snow off their driveway

Talk About What You're Grateful For

Most of us had a rough patch, but at the end of the day, there's always something to be grateful for that we overlook. The fact that you still have family and friends in front of you is a blessing and let it be known by them.

When you are able to lower your ego and count your blessings in front of them, you gain their respect as well as develop trust between the circle. It also paves the way for creating good conversations once everyone has something to chip in.

You can make a game out of it, too! If everyone's too shy to have a go, spin a bottle and see where it points to when it stops. You're bound to have a lot of smiles and laughter this way!

3 Min Read
Business

Five Essential Lessons to Keep in Mind When You're Starting Your Own Business

"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told at my dismissal, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Over the years, I've learned quite a few tough lessons about how to successfully run a business. Below are five essential elements to keep in mind, as well as my story on how I learned them.

Find A Need And Fill It

I gradually became successful at selling various products, which unfortunately weren't profitable enough to get me off the ground, so I asked people what they needed that they couldn't seem to get. One man said, "Honey, I need baler wire. Even the farmers can't get it." I saw happy dollar signs as he talked on and dedicated myself to figuring out the baler wire industry.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up.

Now forty-five years later, I'm proud to be the founder of Vulcan Wire, Inc., an industrial baler wire company with $10 million of annual sales.

Have Working Capital And Credit

There were many pitfalls along the way to my eventual success. My daughters and I were subsisting from my unemployment checks, erratic alimony and child-support payments, and food stamps. I had no money stashed up to start up a business.

I paid for the first wire with a check for which I had no funds, an illegal act, but I thought it wouldn't matter as long as I made a deposit to cover the deficit before the bank received the check. My expectation was that I'd receive payment immediately upon delivery, for which I used a rented truck.

Little did I know that this Fortune 500 company's modus operandi was to pay all bills thirty or more days after receipts. My customer initially refused to pay on the spot. I told him I would consequently have to return the wire, so he reluctantly decided to call corporate headquarters for this unusual request.

My stomach was in knots the whole time he was gone, because he said it was iffy that corporate would come through. Fifty minutes later, however, he emerged with a check in hand, resentful of the time away from his busy schedule. Stressed, he told me to never again expect another C.O.D. and that any future sale must be on credit. Luckily, I made it to the bank with a few minutes to spare.

Know Your Product Thoroughly

I received a disheartening phone call shortly thereafter: my wire was breaking. This horrible news fueled the fire of my fears. Would I have to reimburse my customer? Would my vendor refuse to reimburse me?

My customer told me to come over and take samples of his good wire to see if I might duplicate it. I did that and educated myself on the necessary qualities.

My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Voila! I found another wire supplier that had the right specifications. By then, I was savvy enough to act as though they would naturally give me thirty-day terms. They did!

More good news: My customer merely threw away all the bad wire I'd sold him, and the new wire worked perfectly; he then gave me leads and a good endorsement. I rapidly gained more wire customers.

Anticipate The Dangers Of Exponential Growth

I had made a depressing discovery. My working capital was inadequate. After I purchased the wire, I had to wait ten to thirty days for a fabricator to get it reconfigured, which became a looming problem. It meant that to maintain a good credit standing, I had to pay for the wire ten to thirty days before my customers paid me.

I was successful on paper but was incredibly cash deprived. In other words, my exponentially growing business was about to implode due to too many sales. Eventually, my increasing sales grew at a slower rate, solving my cash flow problem.

Delegate From The Bottom Up

I learned how to delegate and eventually delegated myself out of the top jobs of CEO, President, CFO, and Vice President of Finance. Now, at seventy-eight years old, I've sold all but a third of Vulcan's stock and am semi-retired with my only job currently serving as Vice President of Stock and Consultant.

In the interim, I survived many obstacles and learned many other lessons, but hopefully these five will get you started and help prevent some of you from having the same struggles that I did. And in the end, I figured it all out, just like you will.