This weekend, we celebrated our daughter’s recent engagement with a backyard party, inviting families from both sides and lots of friends. One of the first decorating ideas Maiya came up with was recycling wine bottles into pretty accents. We used them for vases, tiki torches, guest signatures, and a ring toss game. Who knew I’d end up with 20 Lessons Learned from 55 Wine Bottles!?!?
I have found that if you listen and watch you can find whispers of wisdom in just about any activity. These wine bottles taught and reinforced so many lessons that can apply to my direct sales business, my new crochet business, and life in general.
20 Lessons Learned from 55 Wine Bottles
1. Make a Plan and Visualize the Outcome
Maiya knew right away what she wanted and she communicated it to me by starting a Group Pinterest Board where we could both gather images of engagement party ideas. We had a clear path on where we were going. We chose a color palette, and talked often about our plan.
In my direct sales business, I take time every season (and every month, and sometimes every week) to make my plan, too. I visualize what the success will look like…is it an incentive earned, walking across stage at conference, or simply a certain dollar amount added to my bank account.
For crocheting, it comes down to planning what pattern to use, what color scheme to go with, and which fibers to work with.
2. Set a Timeline
We can all accomplish something if given enough time, however giving yourself a “hard deadline”, will set a flurry of actions into motion that are necessary to carry out your goal and hit your target.
In our case, it was the party date. As a self-employed business person it can be a little trickier because it’s easy to make excuses and push things back because no one else is watching. If this seems like a problem for you, simply tell as many people as you can about your deadline and ask them to hold you accountable.
3. Ask for Advice
Since I was not a professional wine-bottle scraper, I started gathering information about the easiest way to tackle the task. I visited many blog posts first, and then I asked my Facebook friends if they had any PROVEN recommendations. I didn’t want guesses or “I heard this was the best way”…I wanted actual experience to guide me.
In your home based business or creative arts business, it’s imperative to partner up with someone who has walked the path you want to go on, ask for advice, and listen to proven results.
4. Get Started
It was now time to dig in and start. Of course, I went in naive, expecting this to be a breeze…afterall, all of those bloggers made it look so easy!
Sometimes just STARTING can be our biggest hurdle, but once we have action then we can get momentum going. In your business, start making those client care contacts. Start offering home party dates. Start on that monster project that has been looming over you. Just get started!
5. Be Open to Learning
One thing I’ve seen time and time again in over 20 years of being self-employed is people feeling like they can figure everything out on their own. They don’t ask for help, they don’t attend trainings, conferences, or seminars, and they think things will just magically come together. When they don’t, then they just say “This doesn’t work for me”, and they quit.
With something even as simple as wine bottle label removing, I knew there was something to learn. New techniques, tips to make it easier, and how to pull this project off successfully. Same goes for business and life.
6. Gather Tools
Having the right tools makes any job easier. In the case of the bottles, I started off with hot water and my thumbnail thinking that would do it. As the process went on, I added baking soda, vinegar, and dish soap to the water. I also found I needed a little metal scraper, a knife for removing the thicker foil wrap from the necks of some bottles, a scrub brush, and a microfiber cloth.
In your direct sales business, I would equate this to gathering tangible tools like a datebook, and organizational system, the supplies you need for home parties or one-on-one consultations, etc. Along with the intangibles, like education on increasing bookings, tools to boost your sponsoring success, and the like.
And in my crochet business, I started out with one hook and one skein of yarn, but that has now increased to hooks in nearly every size, nearly enough yarn to open a store, organizational bins, stitch markers, lots of scissors, needles, thread, washable glue, felt, and the list goes on!
We don’t come into life or business with all of the tools needed for success, so pay attention to what you need and gather them as you go 🙂
7. Start with the Basics
Always look for the simplest way to get the job done, and then add on from there. Start with just hot water, and check your results. I found that the local winery’s labels seemed to just “float off”, but the national brands needed a lot more work.
In your business, try not to complicate things until the need arises. Keep it simple and get things moving quickly.
8. Keep Trying
When those simple methods only work for a few select tries, then you DON’T get to stop there. With the bottles I had to figure out what would get the stubborn ones off. I moved on to adding baking soda to the hot water. I brought out the scraper to help with the glue.
With your business, you probably flew out of the gate with sales and bookings from friends & family, but those were the easy ones…like the labels that floated off. After that, things may get a little sticky, but we need to keep trying.
9. Check Your Progress
Here’s the reminder to check your timeline to make sure you’re keeping up, and also to make mental notes of what is working and what isn’t.
10. Try New Methods
When those simple ones are done, and you’ve made it through the next batch that was a little harder, you’ll probably be left with another batch that is even more difficult. At this stage, for the super stubborn bottles, I now added vinegar and dish soap into my hot water with baking soda. After the metal scraper, I employed a vegetable scrubber to remove even more of the glue. I found I need lemon oil to cut the stickiness, a microfiber cloth to really get it off, and then rubbing alcohol to finish up the job.
In your home business, particular booking or sales methods may work for a while, but then you’ll need to toss in a few new techniques to get out of a slump. You can always go back to the old ways, so don’t be afraid to try new methods when you need a boost.
11. Group Like Activities
I tend to like instant gratification and get easily distracted, so at first I found myself scraping labels, then wanting to jump right over to decorating. By grouping tasks together, we accomplished more in an “assembly line” fashion rather than hopping from one job to the next.
In your home business, this may mean breaking down your week and designating one day to learning sales techniques, one day searching for new party ideas, one day booking parties, one day on self improvement, etc. Sales can take place around these daily focuses.
If you’re running a creative business, then perhaps it’s one day on project ideas, one day on designs, one day on supply purchases, one day on marketing, etc. Creating on your art can take place in addition to these daily focuses.
12. Ask for Help
This one’s easy…in most aspects of life, things are easier when you have help 🙂
13. Keep Going Until You Get it Right
If something doesn’t feel complete or right, then keep at it until it does! This bottle was nice with just the scripting, but we felt like it wasn’t done. So, we added the twine and beads of color & Voila!, we knew we had it 🙂
If your business feels “off” or you just don’t feel like your skills are up to par, then keep going. You only lose when you quit too soon.
14. Stay on Track
Yes, another reminder to check your progress, check your timeline, and check your attitude, too! When you start to veer off track it can be hard to get back on & catch up, so built in checkpoints are a must.
15. It Takes Time
It’s hard to pick the most important lesson, but the fact that any good thing takes time may be it. I envisioned scraping all of these bottle in one afternoon, then decorating and painting in another. If you’ve ever removed wallpaper and then painted a room, and thought you could do it all in one day, then you know what I mean. The decorations took time. Time to soak, time to scrape, time to let glue dry, time in between paint treatments, and even time to organize throughout our party display. IT TAKES MORE TIME THAN YOU THINK.
So does building a direct sales business. So does crocheting an afghan. Give yourself the grace of time to get the job done well.
16. Hard Work Wins
Quick fixes and short cuts won’t do it. Hard work, elbow grease, time, creativity, persistence, effort, and working the grind will…in life, business, & party decorating 🙂
17. Review Results
Once you’ve finished your project or task at hand, be sure to take time to appreciate what you’ve accomplished and to review what worked and what didn’t. Make notes on how to improve it the next time you do it…what to leave out and what to try again.
In your home business, keep written logs of what worked each month, what didn’t, what you need to improve, and who you need to help you make your next move.
18. Enjoy It
It was finally PARTY TIME, and Maiya & I got to enjoy the fruits of our hard work! Of course, when you finish a project like these wine bottles, you will be using them for their intended purpose, which should bring joy and satisfaction, but the lesson here speaks mostly to a home business. When you reach your goal, or you get that sale you’ve been working on, then be sure to enjoy that moment.
It will be much easier to move onto the next difficult task when you allow yourself to celebrate the current victory.
19. Share Your Experience
Remember back to lesson #2, “Ask for Advice”? Well, since you have now gained some skills and understanding, you can pay it forward by sharing your experiences. Try to be encouraging and uplifting, while also being honest. Notice I didn’t try to tell you that this label removing was simple like so many of the other tutorials I read. I like to give real-life practical advice. But who knows, maybe their labels were all those local winery ones that just floated off 😉
I also try to share what I’ve learned through my direct sales experience and through my crochet work with others because the more we share the better it can be for everyone!
20. Spread Happiness
This one speaks to all things in life and business. Try not to complain. Try not to point out the worst parts of a situation without offering a solution or upside. Share the positive. Spread Happiness 🙂
Whether you were actually looking for tips on removing wine labels, or a little inspiration for your home based business or creative arts business, I hope you found it here!
Oh, and the most often asked question I had from this project was, “Did you drink all of that wine?” The answer is no…the bottles were given to me by friends & family members…I drink most of my wine from a box 😉
Happy Wine Crafting & Business Building!~ Kim Denne
Please feel free to share this post with your sales team by using the social sharing buttons or copying the URL. Please do not copy & paste this post, in part or in whole.