Saturday, July 30, 2016

Finding My way

As you may know I've recently started a small business called Lauren Kots communications. I have always wanted to start a small business but I have never been able to get off the ground... for no fault other than my own. You see it's a nice dream but I am not great at the execution.

Well, this time around I have the support of my family, my whole family, even the extended part. So far I am working on my website as well as my parents rental website. I have also started working with a doctor who my mother in law has worked with for years. Since I have been out of the marketing game for a couple of years I really want to make sure I understand the software updates before I jump in and promise someone something I can not deliver. Therefore, I haven't started advertising. I've been talking about it, and hoping for a word of the mouth type of thing, until September. September is the goal I am giving myself to complete my website, my parents, and work with my current client's website. I've also started talking to a former coworker about working with her on some projects. In many aspects of my life I've had problem's in the past stemming from poor planning. I will get really excited about something and jump on in with my clothes on and everything, not taking time to test the waters, so this time I want to test the waters.

I have also started taking weight loss and getting healthy, more seriously. I am tracking my food, I've got a fitbit, a gym membership and a personal trainer. I don't want to fail at any of my new endeavor's but it is harder than it seems to find a balance.

My husband supports me 100% and is helping me figure out how to navigate this crazy life. I'm so lucky to have him and our daughter.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Happy Hump Day

The last couple of months have been a blur. I have a 1 YEAR OLD! O my goodness I just cannot believe it. December and January were filled with family, friends and fun! With the holidays and the big 1! for our baby girl, I was swamped.

The business- I continued working on my temporary website, so  I have a basis, however, I have not yet begun development on my website. After working with Dreamweaver, Wix and Weebly, I am excited to start the tutorials for Muse - the middle ground between html from scratch and picking and choosing provided elements from online development programs. I plan to start my tutorials asap. The last couple months have been filled with lessons from American Business Technology University. In the fall I registered for a Social Media Marketing Strategist course through the military's MYCAA program. I will say, I was a bit disappointed by the class information, 98% is regarding the Microsoft suite and how to be a great secretary. While the lessons were well thought, and informational, I was under the impression the majority of this class would focus on social media and the best way to implement it into your business. I have been struggling through these lessons filled for months and have finally (!!) gotten to the social media aspect. The class concludes on Sunday and I will be able to donate 100% of my allocated "work" time to the business. I know this class is going to benefit my business, so technically I have been "working", however, i do feel like I've been wasting my time. Unfortunately, I need to complete every aspect of the course (obviously) to receive full credit. I am very excited to be able to focus on brand development starting next week.

Life- Life is fun! I have a great group of girlfriends, with wonderful babies (young and old), a wonderful husband, and a firecracker daughter. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely had it's downs, but overall I'm having a blast. Arabella took her first steps on Christmas day! It wasn't like the movies though; first steps on Christmas, running by New Years. It is funny; not having any experience with babies. I've never seen a baby grow and learn. I've never held them when they're sick. my poor little one was sick on New Years Eve. Now, for those of you who remember, NYE is her birthday! If you're thinking what we did, my mom said "Well, this won't be the last time she throws up on her birthday!!" Everyone laughed! In all reality though it was so strange, we didn't know what to make of it. Turns out, she had Roseola. Weird sickness. They have a quick onset, really high fever (for days), and then it vanishes and is followed by a rash which appears and disappears as quickly as the fever. Unfortunately for our little monkey, she was also vomiting, which is terrifying. Seeing an infant vomit, the panic in their face when they can't breathe, it was awful. She's a trooper though, I'm interested to see how she acts when she's older. She's definitely got to work on the sympathy though. She had 101+ fever and she was crawling all over, playing with the dogs, running with her push walker, drumming on her play drum set.... you'd never know the girl was sick.

Anyway... Once we were over that hurled she changed so rapidly!! Since her birthday she has learned how to walk so well, she practically runs. (It's really more of a really fast waddle and it is the cutest thing I've ever seen!) She's learned how to growl like a bear (on command), dip foods in condiments, get off the furniture without face planting and other things which seem like big developments to us. Instead of having to tear nutrigrain bars into pieces, you will give her the bar with the wrapper half down and she will walk around and eat it. She can put the coins in her piggy bank toy's slots. She moves her arms and legs the way they need to be to take off her clothes and brings her towel to the bathroom when it's bath time. She loves the playground and the slides, although she hasn't quote figured out how to turn around and sit down, unless I help her. It's like I went to bed one night with an infant, and woke up the next morning with a toddler.  She'll share her food and toys, and tell you no when you take her paci. She makes a face and says "ooo" when she does something bad.. This little girl is a firecracker and she's going to be an adventure. I can't blame her though, I know her parents ;).

I am so excited to see what the coming months have in  store for my family and my business.

*BTW I do love my husband and he's here too, but he prefer I leave his business, his business. He has started a video game channel though! For those of you who are interested or may know someone who is.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Getting Down to Business

Enough is Enough.( ;)

I have talked about starting a business for years! I'd even given it a shot a couple of years ago, but it didn't take off. I'm under the impression I simply didn't want it enough.

On my last go around I was a full time, salaried employee at a job I LOVED!!! (despite one or two... or maybe just the one, super annoying coworker.) I chatted with my folks about it and played with a logo idea in my down time but that is about as far as I took it.

I married the man of my dreams, moved from Nevada to North Carolina (enter culture shocked face here) and was thrust into the world of the Military. Now you can watch Army Wives as much as you want but that will not even remotely prepare you for life as a military spouse. It is safe to say I have had an extremely hard time getting my footing.

This year, 2015, everything changed. Ok, so maybe everything changed on the last day of 2014 in one of the last possible hours, (9:17 if you're picky), but regardless, everything changed. My husband and I welcomed our beautiful baby girl into the world. At this time in my career I was a Realtor with, in my opinion, the BEST company in Fayetteville. I loved working with my clients. I loved helping them buy new homes and even sell their old homes. It's a very special part of someone's life to be a part of. However, I found I'd spend more time than necessary working on open house and new listing flyers, I continuosly offered to help fellow agents with their websites and I wanted to learn more about how to grow my business through social media. I slowly began to realize I loved being a realtor but I would always love marketing more.

At 6 weeks old my husband and I placed our daughter into daycare and I went back to work. We found ourselves with two working parents, a daycare bill and only one income. That's the thing about real estate. When you receive a commission it is awesome, but in between sales it can be difficult. When it was just my husband and I, that was fine, but after being less active my 9th month of pregnancy and maternity leave I felt as if I was trying to build my business all over again and, unfortunately we couldn't afford to build a business and have our daughter in a full time daycare at the same time. So, we made the decision for me to be a stay at home mom. Best decision I've ever made! Watching my daughter grow and change day by day is such a blessing. Don't get me wrong, she gives me a run for my money, but she's a hoot.

Over the last 8 months I have done a lot of thinking about being a stay at home mom and whether or not I wanted to return to work after her 1st birthday. A couple months back, my parents asked me to build a website for their property management company. My father is fully capable of designing one, but with his full time job and me being at home, I am fairly certain they wanted to give me a task to help retain my sanity during nap time ;)

I began discussing it with my husband and my parents and decided I would give this "start a business" thing another shot. And here we are. I spent the whole day designing a website design for LAK Communications. I'm stuck between LAK Communications and NV to NC Media (or Marketing). Nevertheless, it's been an eventful day :). I finally feel like I have a plan!

I know I'm going to have to work on this, the blog, the social media posts, getting the word out there, but I also, finally, understand I can not and should not get frustrated when it doesn't happen overnight, or even in the first 6 months. Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Country Road; Radio Blasting.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been coming to a number of realizations. I know it seems cheesy since it's the new year and all, but for the first time in a long time I have an idea of who I want to be, what has been causing the down times in my life and what I need to do to change them.

Well today, for the second day in a row, after I woke up and brought the boys outside to go to the bathroom, I went back in my room to find out my terrior peed in my bed. Two nights in a row! Needless to say, this was kind of the straw that broke the camels back for me. I love my dogs dearly, but some days I just want to kill them, or give them up or something, but I know in my heart I can't do that.

I threw the sheets and pillow case in the wash, had a mini meltdown, put Dixie in the kennel and the boys in the car. I had planned on taking them for a walk and didn't want myself and the shepards to miss out just because I was angry with the little lady.

When we started our drive I wasn't quite sure where I wanted to go. I just drove. I decided to head towards Weymouth Woods, a park I take the dogs to sometimes because there is rarely anyone there. Once I got onto the backroad I rolled my windows down (even though it was pretty cold), tuned the heater on my feet, and blasted some of my favorite songs from highschool while singing at the top of my lungs. By the second song, my head ache was completely gone. I'd forgotten how relazing it is to sing at the top of my lungs, regardless of whether or not I know the lyrics; no cares in the world. It was amazing.

It's about a 30-40 minute drive to the woods, yet it still seemed like not enough time. We pulled into the parking lot, the boys went crazy and I put in my headphones, playing the same playlist I had previously been rocking out to. It is amazing how relazing the songs from my past can be. I started to jog down one of the many paths and felt free. Now, knowing me, my currently jogging skills have increased, however, I can't jog/run for more than 3 minutes without my lungs or knee acting up. If one of those hadn't stopped me, the boys innate need to sniff EVERYTHING definitely slowed things down. For the first time, I didn't mind. I didn't care how many calories I was burning and I didn't want to jerk them and yell and get frustrated with them sniffing everything and being on opposite sides of the trail. Normally this drives me insane, but I decided this was as much their vacation as it was mine.

On the way home I went the backway again. I love it. No stop signs, maybe 20 cars the whole time, 55 mph speed limit, and free.  It felt so nice to sing again. I felt carefree for that 2 hour period.

I hope throughout 2014 I continue to reevaluate and revitalize my life.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Good Old Fashioned Catholic Guilt

Growing up I was "that girl". I was shy. I was quiet. I was reserved. I wanted to be outspoken and crazy but it never seemed to fit quite right, so instead I was the "goody two shoes". I never really had a problem with it. I loved church. I loved God. I loved religion. I loved mass. I loved Catholicism. I loved singing. I loved me.

Being naïve was always a little bit annoying. I rarely had any idea what was going on after everyone hit puberty. Although I mastered he convincing laugh to inappropriate jokes, I didn't start getting them until I was about 19 and, well, lets be honest, I still don't know what people are talking about half the time. My "x-rated" knowledge seems to be a lot of peoples "PG-13 rated" knowledge. Just the other day some folks were talking and I asked a friend what something meant and she just laughed and said "Oh lauren." Most people seem to want to keep me as naïve as possible. There is the occasional person who resembles my high school ex-boyfriend's brother that wants to tell me every inappropriate thing in the universe, but those people seem to be dwindeling as we get older.

I didn't swear until I was in college, and even know, I say it out of habit, but I still feel guilty.

Many days I miss the girl I used to be. The thing is, I kind of like the girl I am now. I like being able to speak my mind a little more and not always blend into the wall. However, I can tell the self-conscious, naïve person is still with me.

Nearly everyday the thought crosses my mind "how do I get back to her?" How does sinner mesh with the do-gooder. Growing up I rarely sinned, in fact, I can't think of a time when I did anything more than lie to my mom about cleaning my room. I was so terrified of upsetting God and disappointing myself. My senior year of high school my life changed, everything changed. As much as I still loved the Lord, I lost faith in my church. I'm not sure I've ever written or said that out loud before, but I lost faith in my church. Instead of choir being led by a volunteer from the congregation they hired someone who wasn't even Catholic. my ex-boyfriend still participated in the band even though he no longer believed in the religion. People started wearing sweats to church instead of dresses or nice dress suits. Among these were a plethora of other changes and I started to realize the old fashioned Roman Catholic Church I grew up in, the one I knew and loved, the one that defined me, was gone.

I tried to hang in, but I was so strict and felt like everything was wrong. I sang in the choir an participated as an alter sever until I started at the university. I began attending church less and less. At school I was introduced to alcohol, I had more people willing to explain those things to me that turned my cheeks red, curse words were more popular than in grade school and I began to sin. I felt guilty about it at first, terribly, terribly guilty. After a while some things became habit. A night out with the girls with alcohol, a minor curse word here and there; I could feel myself turning, but every step of the way the quit, naïve, church mouse from my past was echoing through my mind.

I want to go back to church. I want to sing again. I want to feel care free and good again. When I go to a church I feel out of place, nothing seems quite right and I feel like a heathen. I know deep down in my heart that the two sides of myself could potential merge into one unified being and I could stop feeling so guilty, and start being more ... "me", but I often wonder "Have I strayed to far?"

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Real estate

For the past couple months I've been working on getting my real estate license. For the first time in my life I have actually failed something. Part of me thinks it may be due to Steven's training schedule, my mom visiting, my trip home and being sick for three weeks, but the other part of me just feels like a failure.

I have been taking tests and going to classes for as long as I can remember and never have I actually failed something. It may be due to having to pay for the test also. I want to start and there's this huge road block in my way... the stupid test. I knew it cost a bit to start real estate, I mean to start any career it costs a lot of money because of all the school, the problem with real estate is it's all at one time. I seem to be doing better and there aren't anymore big plans for a while so I think i'm going to trade in my study guide for the text book and start from square one.. there's got to be a way to pass this test and I want to find it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Lazy Day

Today has been a day of naps, cell phone video games and a burn notice marathon. I am not proud to say I only got out of my pajamas to go with my husband to get a new battery for his key. On Sunday I fell ... in my living room ... twice, not once, but twice. I'm not even sure how but I can sure say it hurts like crazy. Apparently my feet and hardwood floors do not get along well.

Last night was pretty rough because I found out my 11-month old German Shepard is afraid of thunder... yay! Thankfully, my hubby had the day off an slept through everything last night so I was able to nap and relax today :) I love him. lol :) I even overlooked his ulterior motive ... video games and top gear, two of my least favorite things haha. We are now getting ready for bed and watching episode 7 of Burn Notice Season 6 which apparently made it's debut on Netflix and is one of the hubby's favorite shows. Unfortunately it's better than I thought it would be and my concentration is not what it should be, so I think I'll pick up my blog tomorrow morning :)