Tagged vending

My table at Message, Mingle, & Masquerade: Southside Church of Christ's Singles' Conference, June 2015

Confidence & Conferences: Day 1

My table at Message, Mingle, & Masquerade: Southside Church of Christ's Singles' Conference, June 2015
My table at Message, Mingle, & Masquerade: Southside Church of Christ’s Singles’ Conference, June 2015

I have a not-so-secret secret to share: I’m not very good at vending. This is not to say that I don’t sell things when I vend, but I’m still working on being the type of person who can sell people something they didn’t know they wanted when they came up to the table.

I find that I do best when I’m able to speak to a captive audience about my book, even if only for a few minutes. It doesn’t matter if I’m just introducing myself as a vendor and saying what I’m selling or speaking at the event, when I have an opportunity to tell people about the book, people will stop by and get a copy. But when it comes to someone casually walking up and glancing at the table, I’m not as good translating that into a sale.

For this conference, I wanted to try to improve on my “cold sales.” This is my target audience–single Christian women (and men)–and they’ve come to the conference to learn more about what God has to say to single Christians, so it’s not as if I don’t have an “in” with this group.

The first area I decided to focus on was making my table stand out with signage and by hosting a giveaway. Unfortunately, my banner didn’t arrive in time for yesterday’s table (and it probably won’t be in my mail until after I’m at the event for the day today–grr!), but my other signs are out and ready to go. I added a price list sign and a guestbook sign. Today I’ll make a sign encouraging people to enter the giveaway with the prizes listed. I’m hoping the giveaway will draw people¬†to the table long enough for me to begin a conversation with them.

The second thing that I’ve added was gifts with purchase. The gifts aren’t much and are while supplies last, but I thought it would be a good idea to have a little something to give to people who buy both the book and the devotional as a special thank you. They aren’t pictured with the table because they are behind the table.

The one thing that I’m still lacking is confidence. I didn’t call much attention to the table or to myself. You know how you’re in the mall and those pesky phone people call out to you? The really good ones, instead of asking if you’re happy with your phone service or yelling out free phones, get you to stop by complimenting you or remarking on a bag you have from another store. They know how to get you to linger at their display before they launch into their spiel. I didn’t inherit that gift of gab, and it’s not the easiest skill for me to acquire. As much as I love to talk, when it comes to selling things, I usually flake.

I know I can’t depend on my attractive book covers and signage to make all the sales, nor can I depend on being able to speak to a captive audience if I want to reach the people I should be reaching. Not everyone who would benefit from reading Altered before the Altar is going to walk up and plunk their money down on the table. I have to do better with reaching out to women and letting them know what this book is really about: being a satisfied single woman who’s open to love & loving God’s way, with an eye on eternity and Christ’s coming for His bride, the church.

Day one wasn’t a success for me because I didn’t reach my goal of engaging more of the people who walked by my table. I didn’t show my confidence in the product I was selling. It’s not about the numbers; I’ve been at events longer and sold less. While I have a monetary goal, my ultimate goal for this conference is to be more active in spreading the message of the book.

It’s time for me to grab breakfast and get things together for day two. Pray for me to have the boldness to share my heart for singles with each individual who comes by today.

XOXO,

Erica

dad and I

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to 30…

A friend of mine "accidentally" tagged me to this on FB.
A friend of mine “accidentally” tagged me to this on FB.

I spent most of my life pre-30 dreaming and drifting. I knew what I wanted to be and do, the type of impact I wanted to make on those around me, the kind of life I wanted to live, but I just couldn’t figure out how to get there. I was writing when I felt inspired, which wasn’t very consistently. I would get into cycles of reading my Bible and really getting into the word and then looking up Sundays and realizing I hadn’t picked up my Bible since Wednesday night Bible class. I went through cycles where I was really productive and times I was overwhelmed. I had a few days where I felt like I looked “fierce and fabulous,” but many more where I just felt fat and flabby. My mood swung like a pendulum between hopeful and depressed. I was in a relationship that didn’t seem to be going anywhere, at a job that wasn’t going anywhere, living a life that wasn’t going anywhere. There was so much on the inside of me that I wanted to get out, but I just couldn’t figure out how to start “walking in my purpose,” as people say. And not living out my calling was making me a less desirable person, even to myself.

When I turned 28, I was really struggling to get it together. Going into 28, I suffered some big disappointments and setbacks.

One of my setbacks in 2013
One of my setbacks in 2013

The first quarter of 2013 nearly wiped out all the progress I’d made up to that point, and it felt like my heart had been ripped wide open. When I tell you 28 tried it, I kid you not. But losing so much in so short a timespan allowed me to have so much clarity. It was like I’d removed a line of trees that was blocking my view of the horizon, and now I could see a path to it. So I stepped onto that path in faith.

 

 

 

 

In the next two years, I completed my first novel, found critique buddies, and did the million and one things it took to get Altered before the Altar and the Devotional study guide out into the world. I planned and executed my first book launch party:

 

Book Release table
The book table at my book release party

There were times I felt out of my depth and in over my head with all of this, but there’s always been help where I’ve needed it, even if that help was me covering everything in prayer as I tried to do it myself. I’m still far from truly living the life I know God has for me. I still have a long way to go before I can give up the day job, pay off my student loans, or write/speak full time. But I’m finding my way, learning a little more, doing a little better each time.

I’ve had a few events since I last wrote. I’ve been somewhere selling Altered¬†every month of this year so far. I’ve sold books at teas, women’s conferences, a march for marriage event, my dad’s appreciation banquet, and ladies’ days here in Florida. The women that I’ve encountered have been gracious and supportive of my efforts to get my book in the hands of as many young women as possible. There are still more conferences and events I hope to get to this year, and hopefully I’ll be invited to speak more as I prepare to release my next book.

march for marriage table
My vendor table at the March for Marriage event, March 2015

This week, from Thursday June 11th to Sunday June 14th, I’ll be a vendor at the Southside Church of Christ’s Message, Mingle and Masquerade Singles’ Conference. This weekend promises to be a weekend of firsts for me. It will be my first singles conference, my first singles’ conference as a vendor, and my first solo vending gig. Usually Mr. Perfect (my boyfriend) or ladies from my home congregation are around to help me, but this time, it’s just me.

I’m doing things differently this time around, adding signage, offering a giveaway, and doing a few other things that will (hopefully) take my presentation to the next level and get the word out about Altered before the Altar.

Brunswick Table
My table at the Facing Your Giant Women’s Conference in Brunswick, GA February 2015

 

It’s been my plan to add new voices and content to this site for a while now. So far, those new voices haven’t worked out. But I’m ever faithful that God will provide the right people to help me revamp this site and make it a place where single Christian women can come together in fellowship & share the trials and triumphs in their lives, as well as fashion tips and pop culture and everything else being a single Christian in today’s society entails. If you’re interested in working with me to create quality content for single Christian women, comment below or send me an email at: mz.zeyzey2@gmail.com (mz[dot]zeyzey2[at]gmail[dot]com). Stay tuned to see how it all unfolds.

Hope to meet many of you at the conference!

~Erica

dad and I
My Dad and I at his Appreciation, April 2015