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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Jeanne & Red Travel to Hidden Oaks Dog Park

This week I am highlighting a local dog park located in Wilkesboro, NC. Hidden Oaks Dog Park was opened in 2004 and has been a great asset to the community. This is a summary of the article that will be featured in my column for the Wilkes Gazette. Dog parks are ideal places for citizens and their pets to socialize. Usually, there are rules posted to keep the park enjoyable for all its visitors. As for my dog Red, he is good with some dogs and not so good with other dogs. If I visit Hidden Oaks Dog Park with him, we remain outside the fenced area where pets may roam off leash. We reside outside city limits on a farm. So, Red does most of his off leash roaming at home. However, for owners and dogs who do not have yards if they live in apartments or condos, the dog park is ideal for these pets to be able to roam free for a little while. Supervision is necessary as dogs can be unpredictable in new surroundings. It is probably a good idea to socialize your pets on leash first and then venture to off leash. Dogs in heat and dogs with history of agression are not permitted in the fenced areas for obvious reasons so as not to cause conflicts between dogs. Usually, water fountains and dog poop stations are available. Benches are located at Hidden Oaks for owners to socialize while still keeping watchful eyes on the activities of their pets. Please visit to learn more about our beautiful dog park.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Wilkes Gazette

Today I am pleased to let my readers know that my first articles for the Wilkes Gazette newspaper have been added to the online website at this afternoon. I am very happy to again be serving as a freelance writer for Teresa Maynor's newspaper published in North Wilkesboro, NC. It is currently a weekly publication.

I contributed a restaurant review for J. Armonk's Restaurant Reviews column. I reviewed the local Sagebrush Steakhouse in Wilkesboro, NC. I ordered one of the advertised Five for $5.00 lunch specials and was very pleased with the Grilled Chicken Tips. In this time of economic hardship, the restaurant exceeded my expectations as to ambience, cleanliness, friendliness, quality and value.

In addition to the restaurant review, I am extremely proud to have a new weekly column entitled Jeanne's Travels Around Wilkes County. I will be highlighting places and events in Wilkes County which are pet-friendly. I will be collaborating with my dog Red. I had previously mentioned Red in my blog posts regarding our travels around the Outer Banks, NC (OBX) earlier in this year. We will highlight Wilkesboro's local dog park in our column next week. So, please continue reading my blog posts here or please visit

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Jeanne's Travels Around Wilkes County

After a long month plus absence, I am blogging again. I have now relocated back to Wilkes County. I will once again be freelance writing for the Wilkes Gazette. In the time since I last contributed to Teresa Maynor's newspaper, I have learned that it has experienced increased circulation. The Wilkes Gazette is currently selling for a quarter a copy which is published weekly.

I will be writing a new weekly column entitled Jeanne's Travels Around Wilkes County. This will highlight places and events in Wilkes that my dog Red and I have or will travel. Red has been mentioned in my blog prior to now and he is a truly great traveling companion. For as large a dog as he is, being a chow rottweiler cross, he is completely adaptable to his surroundings. He prefers cooler climates, however with shade and a great deal of water, he can also take the heat of North Carolina. He has transplanted well from the bitter cold winters of New York/Connecticut to the balmy weather of Wilkes County. Today, for instance, has felt unseasonably high temperature for mid-November. Most of the leaves have fallen from the many beautiful trees and shrubs here.

So, now, Red and I will collaborate on weekly articles sharing our experiences traveling around Wilkes County. We are located here in the foothills to the mountains to our west such as the Blue Ridge and the Great Smokies. Also, we are nearby to the Eastern Continental Divide where US HWY 421 intersects the famous Blue Ridge Parkway. So, please continue reading our adventures either posted here at or at

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Entrepreneurship and Relocation

It is good to be blogging again after relocating to a new home in Catawba County, NC. Since I am a fairly new business woman, I think it appropriate to outline the steps needed for an entrepreneur to either relocate or branch out to other counties within the same state.

For JAE, my first DBA will reside in the Wilkes County, NC Deeds Office. Again, DBA stands for Doing Business As. I inquired about relocating my business and whether it will remain valid in Wilkes County. I was told by one of the clerk's that my DBA will remain filed with the Deeds Office there. So, the next item on my agenda is to inquire of the necessary requirements to file a DBA in Catawba County.

So, this is where research within available resources will ultimately save much time. The internet search engines are invaluable as to putting a plethora of data at one's finger tips. This is why I felt it was a good idea to add a search engine to my Blogger website here. Keywords can greatly facilitate one's search efforts and streamline the thousands of web sites generated by the search engine.

This is a point to reiterate, that keywords that highlight a web page's main points will bring about the greatest success as to bringing visitors to those sites. So, now, my goal is to locate the steps necessary to set up shop here in Catawba County for my freelance writing and resume service. My first point of contact is the County Offices and then the local government offices which are in Hickory, NC.

The beauty of a web office site is that it is open 24/7. This allows potential customers to access information and contact the office regarding potential projects within the customers time frames. Remember it is important to visit your own site / email server often to stay connected to potential customer contact and to respond in a timely manner.

In my next post, I wil outline the steps for relocating your business to a new county.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Advocating the Use of

Today, I would like to discuss a topic apart from writing and entrepreneurship, I completely advocate this website to aid in the search of an adoptable pet. Not only will they provide the closest listed pets to your home area, you can also post a free classified ad to adopt out a pet. I found 2 of my dogs on this website. One, Taz, who was the Manchester, Connecticut's Animal Shelter Pet of the Month back in September 2001, became my beloved Benny.

I already had a gorgeous shepherd - husky cross named Luc. Luc was a gift from my step-mother who went on to love and protect all those in his immediate family circle. He was a true pound puppy as his mother was turned in to the Mansfield, Connecticut Animal Shelter when her owner found she was pregnant. All the puppies, save for Luc, had been adopted. I asked about his mother and she too had found a new home.My parents went to see him on a very hot July day in 1999. Then, they brought him home and my step-mother placed the young puppy in my arms. He was my loyal companion, and hers, until the day he died.

When Luc was two years old, I began searching for a companion dog for him. That is when I saw Taz in a nearby town shelter who resembled Luc. Taz looked so cute and was looking for a second chance. Luc and I went to see him. He was the only German shepherd cross amongst many Pitbulls. I felt sorry for all those Pitbulls, yet could not bring myself to adopt one as I lived alone and did not feel I could stop any potential flare ups between my dogs. Luc was not receptive to a new brother and was quite jealous. I wanted to adopt Taz who was quiet and sweet. So, I persisted for an hour hoping Luc would give Taz a chance. He didn't, so I put Luc in the van and put Taz in the way back.

I went on to have Taz, who became Benny, for 6 more years. In between there I was surfing the website and found Maxx. Another dog, a full-blooded German shepherd who needed a second chance badly. So, I drove my big 2500 RAM VAN to Putnam, Connecticut near the Rhode Island border. I met Maxx who a woman on welfare had rescued from a man who allegedly left Maxx outside for 2 years with a barrel to live in, tied up and nearly starved. She could not afford him with her other dogs, but had badly wanted to save him.So, we took Maxx home. He was very thin and I took him to the vet that weekend for shots. The vet had an accusing look to me on his health. I said I had just adopted him and that's why he was at the vet.

In 6 months, Maxx did not really ever mind me. He put on weight where eventually he became strong and even jumped my 4'feet chain link fence. I realized he was not happy with me, however, he took to Benny. Luc ignored him. So, after 6 months, I made many phone calls to shelters and eventually, the Westport, Connecticut shelter said they had room. I paid a drop off fee after an hour's drive. He went willingly with the control officer. I asked about his chances of adoption. He said he had just placed out an 8 year old shepherd, so he should be able to adopt out a 2 year old one. I made one follow up call and he was still there. I hated to do it, but Maxx was a liability as I never knew what he would do with strangers in view of his background with the cruel owner in Putnam. I had said good-bye and told Maxx he was now in Fairfield County, Connecticut in the wealthiest state in America. So, after transporting him and taking care of him for 6 months, I hope he went on to a much better life.

I still had Luc and Benny. I also had rescued Tyson a Rottweiler and took in a stray who came into my yard in a snow storm in January 2002. I named my stray Red. It took 3 weeks for Red to be captured by animal control. I decided then and there to adopt Red. I had been putting out food and water in my front yard for 3 weeks and it was gone each morning. Then, one day it was still there and I later found animal control had the big, red dog.

Today, it's just Red and me (Mama) down here in North Carolina. However, if I were to adopt another dog some day, I would definitely turn to as my first resource.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

6 Tips for Starting a Business After Age 50

Today, in view of the economy and rate of unemployment here in the U.S., I thought I would post an excerpt from the following article taken from the website. The website invites one to share the article and so here I will share with all of you visiting my blog site.

I myself have started 2 new businesses this year after I turned 48. With 50 fast approaching and the slow economy here in Wilkes County, I decided to become an AVON Independent Sales Representative in addition to my freelance writing. The following article highlights individual entrepreneurs who have also opened online store fronts. I, too, have started an online store at I can see the tremendous benefits to an entrepreneur by lowering one's overhead costs. In addition, now one has a store that is open for business 24/7.

I commend Emily Brandon's article both for the examples of the types of entrepreneurial endeavors out there and the list of cities where such endeavors have the opportunity to flourish. So, please read this article if you have been considering a career change or relocation move or both.

6 Tips for Starting a Business After Age 50
Boomers' experience puts them in a better position than most to succeed

By Emily Brandon
Posted June 29, 2009

Starting a business is difficult at any age. Baby boomer entrepreneurs planning to retire soon need to be particularly careful that they don't gamble and lose their life savings. "You have more capital to invest, and at the same time, you have more to lose," cautions Dan Olszewski, director of the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship at the business school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. But baby boomer's accumulated knowledge and experience also put them in a better position than most to succeed. "Many of the most successful businesses are when the entrepreneur knows something about the industry and they are able to leverage that knowledge in some way and come up with a better solution," Olszewski says.

Here are some tips to help baby boomer start-ups boom:

Tap your network. A lifetime's worth of accumulated friends and acquaintances are essential to get a business off the ground. "We have this archetype of the lone genius, but that's not really how it works. It's more often a team effort," says Dane Stangler, a senior analyst at the Kauffman Foundation, a group that promotes entrepreneurship. "No one could build a company today in the absence of a network, and you can see how someone in their 50s is going to have a much deeper network to tap into to build their company." Many cities have business incubators, which provide start-up companies with affordable office and lab space and valuable mentorship and networking services. Local colleges also are a valuable resource for ideas and troubleshooting.

Use your experience. Many baby boomers have accumulated expertise in an industry that gives their business a head start. "You know a lot more and have an understanding of what your customers need because you may have been in that industry," says Olszewski. "You probably have a much larger Rolodex of connections that help you pull together different resources, such as funding and finding customers." Lyn Berg of Fayetteville, N.C., served in the military for 28 years and now runs a business designing quickly erectable 150-foot mobile communications towers, Mobile Tower Technologies. "My experience in the military and my experience in
undesirable situations was a great help" Berg, 71 says.

Find start-up funds. One of the greatest barriers to starting a business is coming up with the start-up capital. Dan McDonald, 57, a retired electrical engineer from Knoxville, Tenn., and his business partner, Ron Michaels, won a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop their plant X-ray system and start their company, Phenotype Screening Corp., in 2004. But even that did not solve their money worries. "We were very fortunate to have won a grant from the Department of Energy for $50,000, but my partner and I couldn't take a salary on that kind of money," says McDonald. "We mortgaged our homes, and you are always hustling and watching over your business." Some cities offer tax breaks to entrepreneurs and small-business investors. For example, North Dakota's Seed Capital Investment Credit gives investors in start-up companies a significant tax break, and new entrepreneurs in the state also get special tax deductions. And in Maryland, the state-funded Maryland Venture Fund provides financing for start-up technology and life science companies. To find out about tax perks in your state, contact your state's department of revenue.

Plan for longer hours. Just because you don't have a boss, don't assume you'll get to take long lunches and go home early. "Usually when you start your own business, you are on a shoestring and you don't have a lot of other people around to do the work for you," says John Challenger, CEO of Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "One issue for people in their 50s is: Do you want work to dominate your life?" Linda Remeschatis, 60, a former prosecutor in Madison, Wis., who started an online food and gift store,, now makes less money and works more hours than she did as an attorney, but she says enjoys her second career more.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Plight of the Wolves - Defenders of Wildlife

Today, I am posting a link to Defenders of Wildlife regarding the urgent issue now facing wolves in several states. I have been a supporter for this beautiful yet misunderstood animal since I was a young girl. I remember the first time I saw hunters running a wolf down to exhaustion and then shooting it from the air. I do not know now what show or news clip I watched decades ago, however, I felt very badly for the run in to the ground animal. I later learned that this type of hunting was banned. Now, in 2009, legislation is again allowing for wolves to be hunted down in this manner. Many wildlife groups, especially Defenders of Wildlife has championed the wolf's cause to be allowed to live in its natural state here in the U.S. Success was gained in allowing wolves in the Yellowstone area to sustain their family groups. Now, they are being threatened to have parents shot, pups orphaned and fragmenting of existing family groups. I feel it necessary to divert from my entrepreneurial and travel writing articles as tomorrow is the target date for wolf hunting to start in Idaho. Please click on this link to learn more about the plight of the wolves in the United States. General Information About Wolves - Defenders of Wildlife

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Small Business Center: A Resource for Local Entrepreneurs

The Small Business Center (SBC) that covers the Wilkes, Ashe & Allegheny Counties here in North Carolina is a continuing resource for local entrepreneurs. The SBC is offering diverse classes for this Fall Semester's curriculum. Classes can be taken at Wilkes Community College for residents here in Wilkes County. The first class being offered on September 2, 2009 is brought to the Small Business Center by the Wilkes County Chamber of Commerce. The course is one hour and tuition cost is $10. The course is designed to help one increase their memory potential.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Small Business Center Continuing Education - Fall Semester

Now that schools have returned to sessions, I want to encourage all adults that are considering starting a business to also return to school. Many small business centers work in conjunction with local community colleges to offer small business courses to assist area entrepreneurs with realizing their dreams of owning a successful business. Here in Wilkes County, NC at the Wilkes Community College these courses are offered at no cost. What a bargain in these difficult economic times!

These courses are taught by adults who are entrepreneurs themselves. Theses instructors gave valuable insight from their own personal experiences in starting up a new business. They had started by obtaining their dba (Do Business As) from their local governments to educating themselves on legal matters and then opening up their shops.

The courses offered at the Wilkes Community College vary each semester. There are also two nearby counties, Ashe and Allegheny, that are offering similar courses. So, if a day and time is not convenient due to scheduling conflicts, then the option of attending another class is possible.

I have taken classes this past winter and spring semesters at Wilkes Community College. I am still a fairly new entrepreneur myself, just obtaining my freelance writing service dba this past March. The course that I attended proved to be extremely helpful to a brand new entrepreneur in areas of obtaining licenses, accounting, inventory, marketing, taxes and many more. All instructors were knowledgeable regarding their curriculum and invited questions. Several gave out their business cards and said they were available in the future for additional questions.

I learned where to obtain free marketing tools such as business cards and post cards. In one 3 hour session, one instructor taught the class how to set up a free web page. One of the most valuable 3 hours I have spent in a long time! I set up this very website within a couple of days later. Of course, as with making fine wine, this site is continually updated. That class was like a window to the world of internet marketing. Again, a great value for simply arriving to class and occupying a seat with one focused on the instructor and taking good notes.

So, check with your local small business center and/or local community college to see what is being offered for the fall semester. Usually, the option exists to take just one class or all of the course schedule. I am looking forward to my first class on September 2nd.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Freelance Travel Writing Topics: Cape Hatteras Light Station

Here I continue with my OBX journey that I took with Red and Natasha this past January. We were getting closer and closer to our destination, the Cape Hatteras Light Station. As Red, Natasha and I left Serendipity in Rodanthe, we passed a small fishing village on our right. A little further on our left, we saw the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station featured in the film, Nights In Rodanthe. The station would not be open for the season until mid-April.

The daylight was waning as we drove on in the direction of the famous lighthouse as it was now mid-afternoon. Finally, I drove around a curve on NC Hwy 12 and there was the very familiar black and white striped lighthouse over in the distance. Excitement was building as I had not visited this structure since I was a little girl. This lighthouse is said to be the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States. It proudly stands at a height of 208 feet. As I continued along the highway, the lighthouse then went out of sight. I kept following the signs making steady progress to reaching my goal.

When we arrived, I walked the two dogs around the parking lot being certain to observe the pet leash laws. Then, I put the puppy back in the van. I continued walking with Red over to the lighthouse itself. I asked Red to climb up on a bench and photographed him in yet another Kodak moment! Red had one leg dangling over the edge of the bench and posed beautifully. The sun was setting casting shadows on the lighthouse. We then walked around a bit and I noticed one sign explainging that this was not the original site for the lighthouse. It was moved to this site in 1999. So, Red and I climbed back in the van and followed the road which led us to the original location. We arrived at a parking area in the dunes. I saw one couple also walking a dog. So,this was the site my family visited in the 60's when I was a little girl. Many thoughts ran through my mind as I reflected on the moment. So much of life has happened since that visit. Who would have thought I would one day return at 47 and with my big stray dog in tow? Red thoroughly enjoyed himself investigating what the sand dunes had to offer. I was very impressed with the large dog's adaptability from the city to the farm to the coast.

My father and step-mother had traveled with their 2 Chihuahuas (Taco and Bell), their poodle Niki and their Macaws (Baby and Miami) to the same spot. They traveled in a Chateau Sport RV they purchased in 2001 and had spent nights in many campgrounds from Maine down to Key West. In fact, my father, William G. Hynson III wrote and published a book based on their travels entitled So You Want To Own An RV? This was published in 2006. After walking around for awhile, I spent a few moments looking at my plethora of travel brochures and decided to head over to the ferry dock to board the Hatteras - Ocracoke free ferry. I needed to hurry if I wanted to catch the next ferry before the sun went down.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Freelance Travel Writing Topics: Nights in Rodanthe

We left Kitty Hawk and headed over to the nearby Walgreens to drop off my film. Next, I headed out towards Rodanthe. I was intrigued to see this town where film crews, actors, directors and spectators had been abuzz last year. As mentioned previously, Rodanthe was the town featured in the movie Nights In Rodanthe starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane. We passed by Bodie Light Station on Bodie Island. This light station is not as tall as the Hatteras Light Station, yet similar with its stripes of black and white. We did not stop to visit this lighthouse as the day was passing quickly. We needed to cross yet another bridge. There were caution signs on our side of the bridge with a lane closed up ahead. Natasha was resting in her seat. Red was sniffing the sea air through the cracked window. This trip was the first one in our 7 years together where Red and I traveled to the coast. I noticed he seemed to be enjoying himself.

Not a bad life for a dog who came into my life on a cold, snowy day in January 2002 up in Connecticut. He wandered into my yard and I noticed he was wearing a collar with no tag. He was very shy and would not come over to me. I already had one Rottweiler and two Shepherd Huskies. I saw the big red dog again that day resting in the snow in a neighbor's yard (neighbors who did not have a dog.) My instinct said STRAY. So, I put out food and water in my front yard under one of the fire bushes. Nothing happened. However, on the next day, the food was gone and there were crumbs in the freezing water dish. I proceeded to repeat this procedure for 3 weeks. The dog would come after dark and then disappear. I saw him walk past my hedge one night at 11:30 pm. I let him eat without disturbance.

Then, one morning, the food was still there. I panicked for Red. Since I did not know his name, I nicknamed him Red to keep it simple. I drove around my neighborhood for an hour and a half looking for Red. I could not find him anywhere I searched. Finally, I had to go in to my job which just happened to be located next to the local dog pound. I glanced over towards the kennel not really expecting to see the dog. Then, something red caught my eye. I drove in there and there he was. A very negative sign was posted on his cage. I told the big dog not to worry about anything.  He was shivering. He was staying in the outside run rather than being warm inside. On the one hand I felt very bad for him, and yet, on the other hand I was relieved that he had finally been caught. I tried to reassure him by saying I would be back on my lunch hour to meet with the animal control officer.

True to my word, I came right back on my lunch hour. My friend Linda, the animal control officer, was already there. She explained how she caught him after 3 attempts. I and another neighbor had both alerted her to the dog. She said he was a chow rottweiler cross and more than likely, no one would adopt him. She said the owner had 7 days to claim him. I kept up on his progress reports and visited him every day. He had whined to me that first day of his confinement. I pleaded for him on the 6th day. I offered to bring my Rottweiler Ty to meet him. Linda said it would be better for the dogs to meet on Ty's home grounds. She agreed to let me take him. First, we had him neutered as he was about 8 months old judging by his gleaming, white teeth. She dropped him at the veterinarian for me. I paid the proper fee for adoption and the next day went to pick him up. His back legs were bandaged and I inquired as to what happened. I was told he had dew claws on his hind feet that needed to be removed. The vet said he could rip one of those dew claws and could bleed to death. So, I put the dog in my van and drove him home.

Upon arriving home, I had Ty meet Red first. They bonded immediately. Probably because of three things, Red's young age, Ty's good nature, and their common Rottweiler heritage. On the other hand, my shepherd huskies did not like him too much. So, Red and I formed a trust right from the start of our association. He has not once ever tried to be alpha or rebellious with me or his siblings. He has grown into a loving, protective, beautiful, and most intelligent, companion. We have respect for one another.

I have always admired him for surviving for at least 3 weeks on his own as a half-grown pup just outside Hartford, Connecticut's city limits. So, due to life changes including divorce, career changes and relocation, Red and I have done a great deal of traveling together. Now, we have traveled out to the beautiful beaches of the OBX. Continuing on the highway to Rodanthe, we crossed over the bridge and went out to Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. This coastal refuge is home to many varieties of birds. We looked around as we were driving along, however, we did not make a stop here either.

Then, up on the left side of us by the beach, we came up to Serendipity. Serendipity is the house featured in Nights of Rodanthe. It was quite solitary now without all the activity of the film production or the seasonal visitors. I took a photo of the striking home and kept on traveling towards the Cape Hatteras Light Station. I was later able to obtain a copy of a local newspaper which featured an article on the film and the house. I have made a mental note to rent the DVD and see this film where the OBX and its beauty, charm, and especially its citizens, were highlighted.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Freelance Travel Writing Topics: Wright Brothers National Memorial

My dogs and I left the public beach in Nags Head and traveled over to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. It was still a chilly morning. I paid the entrance fee and once again inquired about the pet policies. I was told my dogs could get out to walk if on a lead. They could not enter the public buildings.

So, I adjusted my minivan windows, checked that the water bowls and treats were adequate and left Red to protect the van and his new sister. Red is very good-natured at 102 pounds. However, he started in 2006 to take it upon himself to guard our vehicle. So, Red was content to stay in the van and take on this latest assignment. Upon leaving the two dogs, I went across the parking area to the exhibition hall. When I went inside, I was pleased to find that a presentation on the Wright Brothers was just beginning in the auditorium.

It was very informative and I learned a great deal about the Wright Brothers and their planes. For instance, I learned that these two men originated from Dayton, Ohio. Also, and more importantly, why they chose Kitty Hawk for their test flights. Finally, on December 17, 1903, Orville Wright flew his 1903 flyer for 12 seconds in the air and it traveled 120 feet. The morning presenter made the point in which the flyer was later housed at The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. There the plane was displayed at a height greater than it ever flew at Kitty Hawk. A replica is displayed in the memorial auditorium.

After the presentation, I decided to check on the dogs who were doing fine. I walked them around for a minute or two, then again put the puppy in the van due to the cold air. I continued with Red to make the trek with me to the monument. I thought it would only be a quick walk from the parking lot, so I omitted to grab a waste bag for Red. Of course, not long after we started over to the monument, Red needed to let nature take its course. I asked him if he could wait, but nothing doing. After the deed was done, I turned him back towards the van to get a doggie waste bag. No sooner had we turned around when a security guard rode over in his vehicle. I explained that I was going back to my vehicle to get the needed bag. He nodded and let me proceed. I also asked him if the bag could be placed in a trash can? He said they preferred that I take it with me.

Once at the van, I decided to leave Red with his new sister Natasha. Then I went back to pick up after Red. As I had to return the bag to the van, I made the decision to leave instead of making a third trip out to see the monument. I learned my lesson and now keep a good supply of baggies on hand when traveling with my pets. I photographed the monument on the historic Kill Devil Hill and then we headed out to further explore the Outer Banks region.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Freelance Travel Writing Topics: Our Journey to the OBX

Today, I would like to address travel writing topics. The beach is one of my personal favorites. Here in North Carolina, this beautiful state offers many diverse beaches for a writer to hone his or her writing skills. From the coastline to the mountains, and all the places in between, each region offers its own unique beauty and attractions.

This week's blog will detail a trip I took in January 2009 with my two dogs, Red and Natasha. Red is a seasoned traveler at 8 years old. Natasha was 5 month old puppy that I had just adopted. That weekend I put her traveling prowess to the test. I decided to pack up my minivan and take my two dogs to the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina. It was a seven hour drive from Wilkesboro, NC to the OBX with one stopover in Tarboro, NC. The next day, we reached the welcome center in the early afternoon just across the bridge. There were several extremely knowledgeable individuals who assisted me with travel information on the OBX region.

In Plymouth, I had already made the acquaintance of a man from Massachusetts who gave very good insight into tourist spots and camp grounds. With a thanks to him, I made my way out to Rodanthe, and immediately recognized "Serendipity" from the movie, Nights In Rodanthe. This film was released last fall and starred Richard Gere and Diane Lane. I admit that I had not yet scene the movie on DVD, however, the house was impressive as it was the first on the left after the bridge from Nags Head. Later, a local magazine pictured a sketch of the house which was a very good likeness in deed.

My dog Red, an 8 year old chow rottweiler cross is an excellent traveler himself. Along with us was Natasha, a chow lab mix who was only 5 months old at the time. Her first weekend with us was memorable. We found the Travelodge in Nags Head to be pet-friendly and gracious. We were given a comfortable room on the ground floor facing towards the beach across the street.

The local beach likewise is pet-friendly complete with showers, drinking water and doggie waste bags. The puppy was reluctant to leave our minivan, so Red and I ascended the wooden walkway to the beach and the Atlantic ocean beyond. The wind was blowing and the air temperature was 35 degrees fahrenheit. Red dashed towards the water on his leash with me following with camera in hand. He stopped just short and circled back towards the dunes. Although cold, I felt he and I shouldn't miss this bonding moment. I walked into the water which was foamy and cold. I pulled Red over to me and photographed both our feet in the water.

This caused me to reminisce about another cold January day at a beach. That day was back in 1990, when my mother and I bonded in the cold Pacific Ocean in Monterey, CA along the famous 17-mile drive. We stopped just short of the water's edge and then a rush of foam swept across our feet. We laughed and laughed. One of our friends perched on a large rock above us photographed our Kodak moment.

As I scanned up and down the visible coastline, Red and I were the only ones on the beach. We stayed for a few minutes and then went back to the van. Natasha was asleep in the front passenger seat. I settled Red in the back seat and then we headed out to the main road to move along to visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial where aviation history was made on December 17, 1903.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Summer Savings Abound

Well, it's great to be back from a summer hiatus! Now, it is time to avail ourselves of the spectacular summer savings which abound in stores, in catalogs and online. As the season winds down from vacations and school breaks, it is a good idea to take inventory of office and school supplies on hand.

Many, many stores such as Wal*Mart, Staples, Office Depot, Office Max, etc. are offering deep discounts on their products. Laptops, computers, ink jet cartridges, paper, pens, and so on are on sale at great prices. I recently purchased notebooks at 15 cents a copy at Walmart. Taking some time to review catalogs, store notices and online websites may result in hundreds of dollars in savings. Well maintained offices should be well-stocked and ready to do business. As a special note, certain states i.e. North Carolina offer tax free days resulting in extra savings. So, shop, shop, shop and reap the rewards of end-of-summer clearances!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Office Stationery Supplies

Today, I would like to spend some time speaking about the various office stationery supplies on the market. A business, especially a new enterprise, should have an ample supply of letterhead on hand. The letterhead should include at a minimum, the business name and address. Also, the business logo (if applicable) along with the business phone, fax and email contact information.

There are numerous grades of office supply paper from which to choose for your office stationery. It is good to use matching grade paper for your envelopes. On the subject of envelopes are the windowed variety and the plain variety. Depending on the needs of your business, both these types of envelopes have their usefulness. It is good to have on hand plain letter and legal size paper for additional correspondence. One may choose to have business envelopes printed with the business name and address, One may also choose to hand-write, ink stamp, or use printed labels. In regards to this matter of choosing a return address format, it is often a matter of personal preference.

So, take a shopping trip to your local stationery store, discount store, office supply store, etc. and comparison shop. There are many options available to obtain the most cost-effective and useful paper products on the market today. Not to be overlooked, there is a plethora of office and stationery supply sites on the web! Then, you can carefully browse the online catalogs and take advantage of discount savings and/or free shipping options. As the summer season comes to a close, this is often an excellent time to replenish your office stationery supplies.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Local Library Resources

Today, I would like to direct attention to local library resources. There are many resources available to a new entrepreneur to use including (if available) internet, computers, typing, books, periodicals, magazines, seminars, etc. These materials are free with a user's library card. Also, cassettes, CD's and DVD's with entrepreneurship information may be available to check out. Some resources are labeled "reference" and may only be viewed while in the library itself. Most libraries today also have their own websites on which to access information.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Setting Up Shop

Okay, so now you have your business license and/or permits. You are ready to set up shop. What items are on your shopping list? Once you decide upon renting a space , or working out of your home, what office equipment is needed?

Depending up the nature of your business, the inventory may vary. Most every office will need a phone, computer and/or typewriter, paper, envelopes, stamps, pens, pencils, tape, paper clips and a stapler. This would also include furniture such as tables, desks, chairs, lighting, etc.

Where to obtain these items is the next question? Some items you may already have on hand. There are many office supply stores who sell in store, via catalog or online. Many offer discounts to new customers. Also, discounts are often offered depending upon the total purchase amount. Some offer discounts to customers who may sign up for a store credit card (if applicable.)

Some items may be obtained by shopping at local thrift stores and yard/tag sales. I myself obtained my fax machine and my Smith Corona word processor from these venues. I also obtained a nice desk at a very reasonable price at a local auction site.

It is good to make a list of items needed to complete services and products offered. For my business, writing paper of all grades and sizes is a must. Also, assorted envelopes for mailing purposes.

Keep receipts, especially for items under warranty. These will be useful at tax time when calculating your business expenditures. Also, for any items which may prove defective in some way. It will facilitate refunds and exchanges.

You will need to contact utilities if renting a space and these are not included with the rent. You will need to inquire about any necessary insurance not covered by the landlord. When I attended courses offered through the local Small Business Center, it was repeatedly stated that the number one reason new businesses go out of business is lack of operating capital. So, in setting up shop, the costs need to be estimated in advance. It would be sad if a new business opened and needed to be closed down due to lack of finances. So, prepare and calculate the needs and costs to set up shop and remain open for business.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Introducing Your New Business Via Business Cards

One of the best ways to introduce your new business to potential clients is via business cards. It is important to include all necessary contact information. There are printing companies today who advertise free business cards for just the cost of shipping and handling. For one example, I myself used to obtain my first 250 business cards. These cards were printed with a color image on quality paper. I was very impressed when the small package arrived. I received it in a timely manner, although I did not pay extra for expediated shipping. A word to the wise, verify all information including correct URL address if applicable.

I went on to distribute these cards to local businesses and acquaintances. This proved effective to introduce my business to other local entrepreneurs and residents. As my service includes resume writing, it was of interest to many who had not even had put together a resume before. My resume writing experience was first hand through many years of submitting job applications to diverse companies. Also, writing resumes for family members.

In today's difficult economic times, job seekers need to highlight their accomplishments and abilities. I am hoping to continue placing out my business cards, both directly and indirectly, to attract potential customers to my writing service. I keep a handful with me both in my bag and in my vehicle. I never know from day to day who I may meet who will be interested in enlisting a writing service. I might meet a vendor willing to display a card or two for me. I offer to reciprocate to advertise their business.

I have worked at several businesses in such positions as head teller, front desk receptionist, customer service rep and inside sales person. All these positions allowed for me to have business cards to hand out to customers. Now, I can clearly see the benefit of using business cards as a very effective marketing tool to introduce my new business to potential customers.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Marketing Strategies on a Shoestring Budget

Now you have obtained the necessary permits and/or licenses to start up your new business. Then you opened up shop and the necessary business banking accounts. You find you do not have much financing available for marketing strategies. What options are available when on a shoestring budget? Surprisingly, for new entrepreneurs there are options out there for very little cost.

One important way to market your business is through word of mouth. This is linked to networking your business through personal contacts. The more people to whom you mention your business products and services, the more people to whom they may mention your business. Of course, as you produce products and perform services for clients, ask if you may reference them and any testimonials they may give you. Keep a portfolio.

Some banks may offer free business checking accounts. There is one that even gives free checks and a free endorsement stamp for your new checks! Mention your new services and products to bank employees. You never know if they may one day be in need of your business services.

There are local online ad sites which may offer to list your business for free or very little cost. Same with local trade papers. Also, local businesses may agree to let you post flyers and business cards to advertise your business to their customers. You may want to agree to display ads for them.

There are printing companies online that offer free business cards, pens, and a host of other products for just the cost of shipping and handling. One company offers magnetic signs for your vehicle to display your business to all you pass by on the road. Again, just for the cost of shipping and handling. A bargain in today's world! I will speak more of the use of business cards next time.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Small Business Centers - Invaluable Resources

In the matter of starting up one's own business, small business centers prove to be invaluable resource. These centers are often affiliated with local colleges. They offer both printed information and courses. These courses range in topic from A to Z. The instructors are most often individual entrepreneurs who have started up their own businesses.

These instructors can be a resource in themselves as to answering the hows and whys regarding the steps necessary in starting up a new business. I attended several courses offered by the Small Business Center in Wilkesboro, NC which greatly aided me in starting JAE. I had decided upon a Sole Proprietorship, however, one instructor who taught 3 of the courses gave much of his insight into growing a business from a SP to a LLC or eventually incorporating. He also covered legal issues and marketing options.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Starting Up Your Own Business

Have you ever wondered if you had what it takes to start up your own business? I am living proof that it often only takes an idea and a small fee to apply for a Doing Business As (DBA) permit with your local city and /or county offices.

For many years now, I had contemplated various business ideas. For example, becoming a petsitter. I even downloaded trial software for a month, to see what would be needed to start up this type of business. I researched and read all I could find on the subject. I paid particular attention to the monetary costs and the potential pitfalls. The need for insurance and/or bonding held me back due to my financial circumstances at the time. Also, I became hesitate due to the responsibilities of entering clients' homes. Suppose a theft took place on my watch? It discouraged me from continuing. However, I would pet sit for friends and family.

So, I continued to work for employers rather than to become self-employed. Then, this year, I finally settled on starting Jeanne Armonk Enterprises. I was amazed at the relative ease of applying and paying for the DBA permit to get started. Writing and reading are passions of mine and it became an easy choice to decide on starting a freelance writing service.

Much assistance can be found at local libraries, the IRS, the local community college business center and the Small Business Administration itself. In April 2008, I attended a small business exposition in Poughkeepsie, New York. In speaking with local entrepreneurs, I was motivated to reach out to achieve my goal. I was able to attain it within 11 months.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

From City Sales Rep to Rural Writing Service Entrepreneur

My story, as with so many others who have found themselves unemployed, reflects the success that can be obtained despite unfavorable circumstances. Success obtained through the combination of old-fashioned hard work and ingenuity. This story begins when I relocated from the New York City area to rural Wilkesboro in the foothills of North Carolina. Last summer, I found myself unemployed after only three weeks at a local Fortune 500 corporation. This was followed by many weeks of submitting over forty employment applications at diverse companies in the area and getting little or no response. Finally, I decided it was time to start up my own business.

Owning my own business had been a dream of mine for many years. However, the ideas for the business had gone from opening up a craft store with my sister to pet-sitting to freelance writing. My interest with writing first began by composing poems about nature in my childhood. I also wrote a play in my 4th grade class at Trinity Elementary in New Rochelle, New York. It generated enough positive feedback that my class put on the play in the school auditorium. It was a very enriching experience for me at the ripe old age of nine! I was also fortunate to have a lead part.

Thus, I decided upon the freelance writing service idea and obtained my very first Doing Business As (DBA) this past March. This action has opened up a few doors to business opportunities that were previously not opened to me.

To further my dream of Jeanne Armonk Enterprises becoming a successful business, I realized I was in need of assistance. So, I utilized several internet search engines that lead me to a plethora of extremely helpful information. I am indebted to the local Wilkes Community College here in Wilkesboro, North Carolina for its very fine Small Business Center. I attended courses offered during the Winter and Spring of 2009 Semesters. What a bargain with free tuition costs!

The Small Business Center courses recharged my batteries. I was now very enthusiastic to begin marketing my new freelance writing service. My new business cards served the purpose of introducing me to an individual who just happened to be starting up a business of her own. A new paper in the county now named The Wilkes Gazette. She was in need of reporters, writers and sales people. She agreed to hire me on as both freelance reporter and writer. In essence, she gave wings to my dream in that now my articles appear on the printed page.

Thus, I have made the transition from city sales rep to rural writing service entrepreneur.

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Wilkesboro, NC, United States
My interest with writing began by composing poems about nature in my childhood. I also co-wrote a play in my 4th grade class when I lived in New Rochelle, NY. It generated enough positive feedback that my class put on the play in the school auditorium. I was fortunate to have a lead part. After my high school graduation, I entered the working world. For over 30 years I have been steadily gaining writing, editing and digital publishing skills. I began by composing letters and emails to company clients. I contributed to articles written for The Commuters Register based in Windsor, CT. Since 2009, I have added social media, digital publishing and blogging here in Wilkesboro, NC. Since 2010, I write ad copy for the listing descriptions for each of my 3 Internet shops open at In 2012, I entered a poem about my dog Red in the World Poetry Contest. The poem was chosen for publication. I have written articles for the Winston-Salem Frugal Living Examiner and Hub Pages. In 2012, I acquired The Wilkes Gazette digital newspaper that was renamed the Wilkes County Gazette in 2014. I write under both my own name and my pen name, Jeanne Armonk.

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