Thursday, July 12, 2018

How to Stop Being Overwhelmed by Your Pictures (with a video tutorial)

I am SO excited to bring you this solution!!  Digital photos are a double-edged sword!  We can take as many photos as we want, but then it's easy to become so {overwhelmed from having too many photos} that we never do anything with those images.

One of my favorite solutions to getting out from underneath your photos is a family yearbook by Heritage Makers-- family yearbook because they're SO EASY to organize, and Heritage Makers because of the quality and flexibility, {among other reasons}.

I'm not the only one who loves this option.  Be sure you hop over and see 10 reasons from Candy May about why she prioritizes creating family yearbooks and what they do for her family:  {"10 Good Reasons to Create a Family Yearbook with Heritage Makers,"}

Here's one family yearbook style:

And what it looks like inside--two pages for each month:

I wrote a while back about what makes family yearbooks by Heritage Makers THE BEST SOLUTION I've seen to too many photos, and I included the best way I know to actually CATCH UP ON YOUR PHOTOS (the Two-in-One Plan).  You can read all about it and get all the tips and information you need right here at this link:

{One Solution to Too Many Photos:  Family Yearbooks}

Family yearbooks provide a great way to narrow down your mass of photos into your favorites from each month, so you can actually SEE THEM.  Have you ever thought about that?  Taking tons of pictures often means you never see them again!!  Why bother taking them in the first place?

Choose a year's worth of photos you'd like to preserve, then get started by following the five simple steps at the "how to get started" tab at the top right of this blog or by letting me guide you through the process step by step with this video tutorial I made just for LifeTales Books blog readers!

It's a pretty great way to completely change your life.

Pin and share with someone who would love this idea.

Friday, July 6, 2018

What Makes Heritage Makers Great: #friyay

It's another #friyay -- our monthly feature where we hear straight from Heritage Makers users why they use and love it.  Our #friyays will end at the end of 2018, so we need to double-up so we hear from as many people as we can!!

Our first #friyay comes from Elda, one of the most thoughtful people I know.  She hires me periodically to make special gifts for her friends and clients.  Elda sent me this thank-you after I made a special Heritage Makers book for a dear friend of hers.  I just love hearing things like this!

(By the way, my for-hire information can be found {here}.)

Our next #friyay comes from Catherine, a young mom of three.  She had always been a traditional (paper) scrapbooker but changed to Heritage Makers when she saw how much faster she could get her memory-keeping done.  One of the big draws of Heritage Makers, she told me, is that she can do it with her daughter without a big mess.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Being an Introvert in an Extrovert Direct Sales World

Thirteen years ago, I stepped way (WAY!) out of my comfort zone.  I was only willing to do it because it was worth it.  I did it because I KNOW there is a great power in something everyone has, everyone needs, but few people do anything with.

Here's the thing.  I'm a die-hard introvert, but I'm an introvert with a deep desire to make a difference.  

I had not one but three invitations to leave my comfort zone, and they came in the form of phone calls from friends in March 2005.  Three of my friends had discovered a new company called Heritage Makers, a digital storybooking company that doubled as an heirloom-quality way of preserving photos and memories, too.  One of my friends called it "a company made for" me, and I knew she was right--I had always been a journaler and scrapbooker--but this new, fabulous company had just one drawback.  It was a social selling company.  Heritage Makers was shared through direct sales, or network marketing, and I never even went to home parties!  That introvert thing really kicks in sometimes.  How on earth could I give home parties, ask people to host home parties, or close a sale?  I'm a low-pressure listener, not a high-pressure talker.  

Miraculously, it only took about three days.  I decided that taking the leap and sharing Heritage Makers was worth stepping out of my comfort zone because there is a power in photos and memories and stories that is too often left untouched.  Pictures are absolutely priceless because they can bring back people and moments that have gone.  Telling and owning your story, learning the stories of your grandparents and parents, and intentionally designing your own story now creates a sense of purpose and belonging.

And everybody needs it.  More and more, we need it desperately.

But first I had to learn how to be an introvert in an extrovert business.  At first, I tried to do things that were very unnatural to me--talk the direct sales talk, walk the direct sales walk.  It kind of worked sometimes, but I didn't enjoy it, and I wasn't very good at it.  I met another Heritage Makers consultant once over lunch.  She pointed to a guy sitting three Subway tables away from us and told me, "I could sell anything to that guy."

Well, congratulations.  But that's not me.  I'm not trying to just sell something.  I'm trying to share something that makes a difference in hearts, souls, and families.

Over time, I tried more out-of-the-box things like hosting low-key open houses, having a booth at craft fairs, starting this blog (over 8 years ago!), and creating a YouTube channel with video tutorials.  In recent years, I've listened to business coaches, joined networking groups, and gotten great advice and ideas.  Some are ME, and some are NOT ME.  (I will say that the "give away your best stuff for free" advice is something I was doing already!  Keep reading to find out how much free stuff I give away.)

In the end, though, I found that the most important thing for me to do was to listen to myself.  Recognizing--and then using--my own strengths and talents made me happier, more successful, and more genuine (which, in turn, made me even happier).  Am I good at selling things to a random guy at Subway that he may or may not want?  Not at all.  But I AM friendly, responsible, smart, experienced, dependable, funny, likeable, and helpful.  I'm a good listener, teacher, brainstorm partner, cheerleader, and coach.  Those qualities definitely have a place in business, too.

I still constantly step outside my comfort zone.  I can't have success by not growing or not trying new (and possibly uncomfortable) things.  But my best chance of success is being myself and letting people who are drawn to my style come to me.

It took a lot of hit and miss over several years, but eventually I came to this.  Here's what I bring to the world:

  • I solve photo problems.  Many people have too many photos and too little time.  I teach them how to deal with both.  I have many products and strategies that will help.
  • I help people understand the heart-and-soul benefits of preserving photos and memories in a tactile form (why jpeg files aren't at all the same thing).  I share scientific statistics about how memory-keeping increases a sense of belonging and well-being, lowers stress, and even increases happiness and self-esteem.
  • I introduce people to Heritage Makers and what makes it the best way to preserve photos and memories and life's stories. 
  • I teach people how to use Heritage Makers, from simple styles to digital scrapbooking. 
  • I share time management tricks, photo organization methods, detailed plans for catching up preserving photos, and memory-keeping's real-life benefits to families and individuals in blog posts and and videos I've made. 
  • I introduce people to Heritage Makers through online live or recorded classes as well as blogposts.  I also introduce Heritage Makers in person with small groups.  I show samples in person or refer people to my website,, to see all the products offered and how they fit various needs, styles, budgets, and preferences.
  • I teach people how to use Heritage Makers both in person and online.  I sit down with all new users in person either individually or through group workshops, plus I have several video tutorials online that show the same thing.  (I have clients all over the country, so I'm serious about having lots of detailed helps online.)
  • I hold workshops both in person and online.  Workshops help people who don't have time for their memory-keeping because it's a time to block off on their calendars for just that purpose.  

My best stuff is detailed plans, tricks, helps, directions, video tutorials, classes--all designed to get you from a photo hoarder to a memory-keeper.  It's all available online either at this blog or my YouTube channel,  These are things I've worked hard on to create, and in some cases re-create to update.

One of the things I love the most is getting e-mails (via the "contact me" tab at the upper left of this page) asking for specific helps.  I really and truly love helping people.  The blog is searchable, of course, and you can probably find what you're looking for that way, but if you don't know that my plan for catching up if you're behind on preserving your photos is called the Two-in-One Plan, then you might not know what you're looking for.  I LOVE getting questions and being able to point people to the right blog posts, printables, video tutorials, etc. to get them on their memory-keeping way.

One question I always wonder about small business owners or consultants or entrepreneurs who give away so much of their stuff for free is:  "Then how do you make money?"  I've been asked this question, too.  I do provide tons of free resources, but I get paid three ways:
  • I receive commission from everything made on my website,  As people follow through on my helps and advice and classes by creating family yearbooks or digital scrap pages or storybooks (etc.), I receive a small cut of the price of the item in return for my efforts getting them to that point.
  • Although my first hour with each client, showing them around the Heritage Makers software and answering questions, etc., is free, any additional work with clients is $35/hour.  (I'm always happy to answer quick questions for free, though!)
  • I hire out to do projects (or parts of projects) for people, help with photo organization, etc. for $35/hour as well. 
What talents or strengths do you have?  Sometimes, especially for introverts, it can take a while to actually pinpoint them--or even just recognize them for what they are.  If you are struggling to find out what you can bring to the world, I highly recommend this article, "How Learning about Differences Allowed Me to Embrace Myself."  There are several resources and quotes that really made a difference to me.  

Yes, stepping outside your comfort zone is usually required in business, but there's so much more to success than the ability to "sell anything" to a random guy at Subway.  Relationships, reliability, knowledge, compassion, the ability to listen, patience, and heart go a long, long way.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Overcoming the Memory-Keeping Obstacles of Time and Money

I've been a memory-keeping consultant and storybooking coach for over 13 years now, and I've talked to a lot of people who WANT to preserve their photos and memories, tell their family's stories, and create connections between generations using family history and stories.  I've found that the two biggest obstacles to achieving these goals are TIME and MONEY.

 (If you haven't been here before, memory-keeping means preserving your photos WITH your memories, not just throwing photos in a book.)

Last August I ran a series of articles on finding time and money for memory-keeping for a blog I am a contributor for.  I'd love to share them with you today!  You'll learn:
Leave a comment and tell me what struck you in these articles, what made you stop and think, "I could do that!" 


Thursday, June 21, 2018

How to Create a High-Quality Family Pedigree Fan Chart Canvas

I am a huge fan of family history and learning about my ancestors.  I am blessed to have ancestors who were also serious about genealogy, so I get to read a lot of what they already learned.  It's amazing!  The sense of belonging is palpable.

Last November I wrote an article about family-themed gift ideas for a blog I'm a regular contributor for called Evolve.  I kinda spent way too much time looking out for great ideas, and as part of my search for super cool gifts I reached out to several Facebook groups I'm in to see what I could learn.  You can see all the neat {gift ideas for the whole family} here.  There are a lot of great suggestions there!

I honestly wrote the blog post for my readers--I wasn't really thinking of trying one of those sweet ideas for myself.  But then {Family Tree Prints} offered me a lovely deal as thanks for sharing their business in the article.  So I went on to the Family Tree Prints website and created my own pedigree chart using their software.

I hadn't necessarily been on the lookout for creating my own family pedigree fan chart because I create so many family and ancestor things using Heritage Makers -- I've made {storybooks of my ancestors} and {collected stories of my ancestors who were pioneers} and written {my mom's life storybook} after she passed away.  I make 4-generation pedigree books for each of my kids on their 12th birthday so they can see their connection to their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. I've got things on my wall and things on my shelf that show our family connections and heritage.

However, I didn't have a pedigree chart on my wall!  I was so excited to try out Family Tree Prints' website and software and see what I could do.  I chose a template where I could fill in my pedigree chart as well as my husband's.  Then I downloaded the large, high-quality JPEG file.

Family Tree Prints offers the software and templates, but choosing how to print the file is up to you.  OF COURSE I wanted to try it using a {Heritage Makers canvas}!  Family Tree Prints told me that they don't usually recommend canvases, only prints (like from Costco) because the fonts don't usually look very good on a canvas.  I knew it was a risk (and I'm not usually very risky), but I went for it.

I could not believe how beautiful it was when I got it back in the mail from Heritage Makers! *swoon*

These are actual photos of my family pedigree fan chart canvas hanging on my wall, but they really don't do it justice.

(So, of course, I emailed Family Tree Prints right away to let them know that their pedigree fan charts look wicked amazing on Heritage Makers canvases!)

There are about 7 different sizes of canvases offered by {Heritage Makers}, but you'd probably want a square one for this pedigree print.  You can choose from 8x8, 12x12, and 20x20.  I went for the big 20x20 and it is beautiful!  As far as using Family Tree Prints to create your jpeg file, they offer lots of styles and colors.  I chose the 4 generation pedigree for both my husband and me (the complete circle), but there are lots of other options as well.

This video {walks you through creating a canvas with Heritage Makers}.  Be sure you check out the {best price information}, too.  

What a great way to SEE your family connections every day!

This would make a very special birthday, Christmas, or anniversary gift, so Pin it and save for later!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

How to Make Yourself Stand Out

Do you know anyone else who does what you do?  Are you the ONLY consultant, the ONLY advisor, or the ONLY company rep?  Probably not.  If your potential customers are meeting multiple Pampered Chef ladies or multiple social media advisors, what will make you different?  What will make them remember YOU and forget all the others?

I LOVE handing people something like this

It makes me different.  It makes me memorable.  It makes me impressive.

(shown:  tri-fold brochures, notepads, and a playing card deck used for thank yous)

Generally speaking, we are on information overload.  Everything in the world is on the internet.  You could literally spend an entire day finding out what friends are up to via social media, googling information relating to your hobby, and finding out how to install your own shower head from a YouTube video.  There's so much available information!

But how many personal touches?

You may have a great website, a great social media strategy, and great marketing tools.  But what is helping people remember YOU?  What is that special touch that makes you different?

I love these little objects I've created using Heritage Makers because in many ways they feel like a gift.  Getting something like this in the mail or at a booth is so different from just getting an e-mail or an invitation to something on Facebook.  It's a SOMETHING to set me apart and make me memorable.

Learn how to make yourself stand out! This Business Products Class shows you lots of impressive possibilities!  They're all DIY using your own private Heritage Makers account, so you'll get exactly what you want.  Small quantities and no need to pay a designer* keeps your car magnets, notepads, business cards, etc. affordable, too!  Get ready to be amazed right here:

*Thousands of pre-designed (yet still fully editable) templates are available in the Heritage Makers template gallery.  If you prefer, you can hire out the work of creating your project--just {contact me}.

Pin now to save for later!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Honest Review of "The Secret Ingredient to Self-Care and Wellness"

Remember when I gave away three copies of {"The Secret Ingredient to Self-Care and Wellness"}?  One of the first people to snap one up was Amy from Needed in the Home.  She told me she was really excited to read it because she really wanted to learn more about what pictures and memories really do for you and find out some helps and tips to get going preserving them again.

Amy enjoyed the booklet so much that she wrote a product review for it!  I loved finding out how my book was received, what she learned from it, and what really helped her look at things a little differently so that she can now DO things a little differently.

This was a totally unsolicited, uncompensated review, so it is very honest and right from Amy's heart.  Here are a few of my favorite things from the review:

"This little book is a must read for moms of the digital age, like me, who feel powerless and too overwhelmed to do anything about the years of photos stuck in digital storage." 

"Her book shows me that physical, tangible photographs are so important for children's wellness and self-esteem."

"After reading this booklet, I do not feel ashamed, or depressed, or too overwhelmed to tackle this great task.  On the other hand, after reading, I feel inspired and empowered to pick up where I left off and take care of my photos.  She gives a practical structure of how this time can be scheduled into your routine.  In the past, I thought I was 'being selfish' to want that time to 'do photos,' but now I can see that it is actually needed as a part of self-care and wellness."

Read Amy's full review here:

"I highly recommend reading this booklet.  It will change the life of your family for the better and is needed in the home!" ~Amy at Needed in the Home

To order your own copy of "The Secret Ingredient to Self-Care and Wellness," just {contact me}.  It's $16 including shipping.


Friday, June 1, 2018

It's a beautiful #friyay night!

It's #friyay once again--our monthly feature where we hear from actual Heritage Makers users what they think about Heritage Makers.  This month's #friyay comes from Alena, a dear friend of mine, who has some kind words about my own passion, my own WHY of being a Heritage Makers consultant and helping people get their stories told and photos preserved.