That was the sunrise on Mt. Diablo this morning.

For the last month, I have been leaving the house before dawn (sometimes even in my pajamas) and setting up my camera to capture time lapse videos of the "golden hour" (or "magic hour"). While I film, I write in a few journals (yes, I keep multiple journals) and enjoy two hard boiled eggs and my fancy pantsy coffee in my rattlesnake mug.

If you want to see all the videos I have shot, they're here on YouTube.

Going out every morning has helped me get a sense of perspective, and daily journaling has helped me reflect on the stuff going on. It's really easy to get distracted and stop paying attention to the important things in business, so taking a little time is both good mentally and good strategically.

Another good strategy for small business survival is having friends.

I don't really feel all that interesting anymore. Like, as a person.

All I think about is the business. Not in a negative way filled with anxiety or worry (though sometimes that's the case), but just in terms of what stores I need to follow up with, what products we might want to make, or what packaging solutions might increase efficiency and reduce costs.

It's an exciting thing for me to think about, but the intricacies of running a business are, quite frankly, the most boring social conversation ever.

Except to other entrepreneurs. Other entrepreneurs (especially soaprepreneurs) LOVE talking about this stuff. And when our products aren't competitive, we can get together and talk and talk and talk and talk. It's wonderful! Not only do you actually get to talk with someone about things that are mutually important, but you get to connect with another person.

Being an entrepreneur is lonely stuff. A lot of time is spent in your head. It's nice to spend some time excitedly chatting with another person who knows where you are and has been there.

So last night, hanging out with Jean Chen of Bubble Farm was really delightful. And good for my soul. And good for business!

See, Jean is in tons of regional Whole Foods and we have just started investigating relationships with Whole Foods. We were able to chat about the pros and cons of being in such a huge chain, and also about how delightful it is to run a retail store (swoon).

Not only are we not competitive, when Whole Foods carries our products, her products sell better. And when they carry her products, our products sell better too. So we talked briefly about even using that information to help each other out.

Really neat stuff.

Customer Service Awesomeness

One of my big agenda items on yesterday's list was setting up Hali, our virtual assistant (and all around superstar), on Zendesk so she can help out with customer service inquiries and we don't drop the ball on communicating with people (like I did last year).

See that little "? Help" green dot in the lower right corner? That's brand new and connected to Hali. She receives an email when someone needs help. I wrote a ton of responses to very common questions and she's already used them to respond to a number of inquiries! So hooray!

Feel free to ask her anything!

Outlaws at Christmas!
(photo credit: Arlette Thibodeau)

I know I keep using the photos from this shoot, but you gotta admit they're hella adorables, right?

Today's Plan

Inventory, inventory, inventory!
Wrap all the Hair of the Dog and Unicorn Poops
Send tons of them to Amazon
Put the rest in stock and add them to our inventory tracking system

Marketing
OMG WRITE THE NEWSLETTER ALREADY
Re-write Fire in the Hole description
Photograph packaging since the packaging is awesome and no one knows it.

Hang out with Slinky, long-time friend who is driving all the way out here to deliver meth -- er, I mean, hang out and maybe help package some stuff.





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Danielle Vincent Danielle Vincent
After more than 10 years as a corporate Digital Product Manager for such sites as Oprah.com, ABC.com, and ABCFamily.com, Danielle quit her career and pulled up her rubber gloves to make a living making and selling handmade soap as Outlaw Soaps.





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