Monthly Archives: January 2012

Too Good To Be True…

And for the most part, those offers usually are.

How many times have you had an offer come up or presented and you thought “WOW! Just what I needed!” And there you go full force into the project only to find out it was not what it seemed to be? I know I have, one too many times. But it has left me more wary and probably a bit more cynical especially when dealing with companies that promise money for little to nothing. I am not saying that there are not legitimate ones out there, but for the most part, everybody if looking to make a dollar and there are those out there who are willing to steal from you just to make that dollar.

Every week I have offers from companies that claim to want to help me expand my product line, give me money or get me into a sweet corner of the world…all I need to do is give them some money. Now, we do live in a capitalistic society and you cannot expect to get something for nothing. That is all well and good, but let’s look to see what it is that they are offering and what it is that they want in return for that offering. When we do a simple Google search or even ask a trusted business mentor, we find out that the offer is no better than the proverbial bridge in Brooklyn and resort on the far side of the moon that is for sale. But what is worse, is that once we have been hoodwinked, we find ourselves very embarrassed and unwilling to share the experience for fear of being looked at by our business peers as foolish or ignorant. The truth is, these sharks are getting more crafty and you can be someone who does your research, but you are still only human and they do find ways of getting through and doing their damage. The thing is not to hide, but to expose them and to help other small businesses be wary of them as well.

I have had one Washington based company, Empower Your Dreams, hoodwink me to the tune of nearly $1,000.00. Unfortunately, even after contacting the Attorney General of Washington state, very little could be done because of my physical location. That was a very powerful lesson for me to learn. I did what I thought at the time was due diligence, I checked out their website and they even came recommended by someone who had helped me previously. But the set up was wonderful and the take down classic. Another came in the form of entry into one of the US’s top retailers, nation wide access. Again, the set up was wonderful. I was still reeling from the previous one and was willing to just keep my head in the sand and plow on ahead. But here comes a friend, or so I had hoped, who told me that a friend of her’s wanted to help take my products national! Was I willing to go forward? Of course I jumped at the chance.

I thought this was the opportunity that I was waiting for. I did my due diligence. Spoke with both principles of the company. Did my Google search and found very credible evidence on both of them. Found their websites and received plenty of documentation from both of them and thought, “Hallelujah! I have finally made it.” So I put my plans together. Get my business plan and financials all together. Begin looking for ground and seeking financing. But now comes the bump, the company now seems to be splitting. Irreconcilable Differences. No worries, the current “partner” I am speaking with is the true brains and money man. So we will continue. I thought, be careful, but all the proper paperwork came through, all the potential and just signed deals and now the product development contract comes through. Would you believe this scam lasted for one year! The time this one took was ridiculous. There was a answer for every question. There was a paper trail of the companies listed with the Florida State Licensing Bureau. But Photoshop and artful web design programs can do just as much damage.

Sometimes the scams that come are not so in your face that you can identify them. Sometimes they come from those who are close to you, either willingly or unwillingly. But always question, and never feel ashamed for questioning contracts and proposals. Especially if they seem too good to be true. Now, I let the scams work its way through until I see just how much money I have to spend to get something first. The high fees are seemingly  becoming a thing of the past. Now, they are asking for $500. But $500.00 from 10 people is $5000.00 and that is a good haul for one day’s worth of work. As a small business, you need to watch every penny you get. During this financial time we are in, we need to be careful of each penny we spend as well. True, I am sure there are great and trustworthy companies and people out there who are genuinely there to help small businesses such as myself and others. But with the high rate of unethical scammers out there, their voices are getting lost in the din.

If you fall victim, do not be ashamed and hide. It happens to the best of us. It has happened to me. It has made me question why I am in business. It has gotten me angry. But , it has made me a better person and taught me to look very carefully at what is being presented and to better scrutinize contracts and ask the difficult questions. If they are true, then they will allow the questions, (even though most scammers now allow you to ask and try to put you at ease). What these experiences have taught me is to trust my instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, chances are it isn’t and with good reason.

Let’s empower ourselves. This is a departure from my normal blogs, but I thought that this was important enough to discuss. I know if this has happened to me, then there are others this has happened to and may be happening now to at this moment.

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Hair, ACV and Mud! A New start for 2012.

I have been on a natural hair care journey for the better part of 15 years. And funny, I always wondered why my hair always seemed to be suffering so much. I tortured it for years with harsh chemicals trying to tame it and make it easier to control and then decided, one day after some real neglect, that I would wear my natural hair. Well, after doing that, I think I have finally gotten my hair to at least feel something close to healthy. And I am enjoying it now! 🙂 Late last year I discovered hair masks. That is not to say I have not heard of them before, but I frequently wore my hair in locs and just never thought I could use one. Last year, while my hair was still in the locs I tried my first hair mask and LOVED IT!  Now, one thing I will have to say before i go on is that I LOVE to change things up and will frequently cut my hair to suit a mood. I have worn my hair in cornrows, an afro and locs over the past 15 years. And for 2012 I decided to go back to an afro. We will see how long this lasts, but so long as my hair continues to feel this silky soft, I guess the natural afro will be the style for a while 🙂 Anyway, back to the mask. I tried the mask with locs (something I recommend if  you want to start to revitalize your locs) and I LOVED how my hair looked afterwards. Of course, it being locs there was more detail to washing to make sure that I got out all of the product I had just made, but still, my hair actually LOOKED ALIVE!

So now 2012 has rolled around, the locs are gone and I am nurturing an afro 😉 My hair was feeling neglected again so I continued with the monthly ritual of deep cleansing my hair and daily moisturizing and sealing. But for the purposes of this blog, I will focus on my deep cleansing routine. I had read up on ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) and Rhassoul or Moroccan Red Clay and their great benefits for the hair. Since I know was daily moisturizing my hair, build up would begin to occur and I needed to make sure that I did not begin to stress my hair so a monthly detox and cleanse for my hair and scalp is needed. So, to help my scalp along, I am doing a little detox! But first to remove the monthly residual and assist with the natural pH of the hair. One part ACV to three parts water. This is great and you can see immediately all the residual on the hair as it will turn milky white. Prepare this in a plastic bottle with a spout tip, easier to work into the hair this way. I applied directly to my hair and scalp, making sure that I massaged the scalp with the ACV/Water mix. I left this mix on for about 5-10 minutes to let it really help with clarifying my hair.  That will help to start the clarifying process and remove any and all build up on the hair. I should have rinsed out from my hair, but decided to leave on and added the hair mask. (If you are doing this I do recommend rinsing out before following with the hair mask).

This particular blend consists of Activated Charcoal, Henna, and Moroccan Red Clay. Mixed in the mask are Lavender Essential Oil, Rosemary Essetial Oil, Peppermint Essential Oil, Clary Sage Essential Oil, and Clove Essential Oil. I combined all and mixed with warm water and Baobab Oil. Olive oil is a good hair oil, VCO (Virgin Coconut Oil) is also another one I recommend. Use enough of the oil and water combination until it is a thick paste. Cover and let sit for about 10 minutes. After all this I put the mixture in my hair and cover with a plastic cap and left on for about 20 minutes. Rinsing this particular blend out is very important. And it is very important that you use a good clarifying shampoo. Or, any shampoo with SLS or that is sulfate based to make sure that  you get out ALL of the particles that will be there as a result of the henna. Usually I don’t use henna, but since I wanted to cover some greys and henna is a GREAT conditioning agent for the hair, I added it to the mask.  I shampooed until all the mud and particles are out of my hair. Until the water runs clean. My hair feels EXTREMELY clean at this point. Literally squeaky clean…and dry. This will happen once you have done the ACV/Water mix AND the clay mixture. That is why this next step is so important in taking care of the hair…CONDITION AND MOISTURIZE!

This next step is very important, you MUST deep condition your hair. So after a thorough shampoo and rinse, I condition my hair. Rinse this out and use a deep conditioner. I cover my hair with a clean plastic shower cap and left on for about 20-30 minutes. If you want to speed up this process you can sit under a hair dryer for about 10 minutes. Again, rinse until water runs clean. I make sure I dry out my hair and then I add a light moisturizer to my hair. This is important because the hair will be dry and the only way for the hair to feel and look lustrous is to make sure the hair is always moisturized. I moisturize my scalp and hair and then use a nice light oil to help seal in the hydration I just did. I made my own hair oil, a simple one of coconut and avocado oil with a touch of lavender essential oil. You can use whatever oil you want, preferably one containing coconut oil (VCO if possible) olive, essential oil Rosemary, essential oil of Lavender, or essential oil of Clove.

Lavender Flowers and oil.

I can honestly say that I have noticed a HUGE difference in the feel and even appearance of my hair since I started to treat it differently now. My hair is softer and more manageable. Definitely less stressed! Of course, drinking water helps with keeping the softness of my hair there, but also moisturizing and sealing my hair helps also. I chose the following essential oils because of their wonderful properties for hair, and I love the fragrance they leave. Lavender and Rosemary essential oils make great hair tonics. Also, both Lavender and Rosemary essential oils combined make great headaches relievers. Lavender essential oil aids in the stimulation of the hair follicles which aids in growth. Rosemary essential oil helps also with stimulation and circulation of the scalp and overall hair growth. A mix of Rosemary essential oil along with Tea Tree oil and Basil helps with most scalp problems and dandruff.