Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Love affair with Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation

Misty Hollow Carving
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Today’s Blog Post

My Love affair with Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation
When I hung up the telephone I shook my head. “Sheesh! What did I say yes to?? Why did I agree to that invitation?” was my inside head response. “You don’t have to be nuts to have said yes… YOU ARE NUTS!” I flat out told myself.

I will have to clean up my workshop now. Hokey Mokey where do I start? Worse yet, when will I start?

It has been a very good month and there are million chips of wood – EVERYWHERE! Added to the chips are stuff that needs to be sorted through, stuff that is piled in a hurry and then left to be dealt with on another day. Then there is stuff that I don’t need any more and stuff that I need to keep. And stuff that I enjoy and want to sit and simply look over.

With this telephone call I realize that I desperately need a “Stuff Manager”. In reality that would be an Inventory Manager. But at this time that is me!

I also need a cleaning crew that will come in after mid-night and clean up the mess that I left after my carving sessions. A Janitorial Manager would be great. But for now that is me.

I also need a Production Manager. There are requests and orders for the new items that I presented at the last three shows. Some of these have deadlines on them. They want the product now! They wanted the product at the show but I had sold out that kind and was able only to take orders and give a possible time line as to when I could ship it out. I am the production Manager.

About three more Craftsmen right now would be fantastic. But I need to train them to do what needs to be done. I need a Human Resources Manager who will be on top of it all the time, knowing just who needs to be hired and when they should come in. This HR person also must be in charge of training and preparation of all new staff members. But for now I am the HR Person for Misty Hollow!

I need to deliver two items this week. But that will require a personal visit and the evening with the person purchasing the new line. There is a possibility to sell a few more things that night and also take another order. Pure and simple that is the Sales Manager’s and the Shipping Manager’s jobs. But again I am the guy that fills the two positions – at the same time.

My Web Site is now getting older. It needs to have the new products that are selling so well published to the Web Site. But that isn’t the only problem. The brand new areas that have suddenly become really important in the Misty Hollow shop and sales need to be shown and presented to the world that is waiting. Calls are already coming from interested customers. They would like to see what is for sale. But at this point I am also the Web Specialist/Master and tech guys for Misty Hollow! When we launched this simple site the first few months were easy to deal with the 150 to 350 people per month that came to visit and interact. Now with the 10,000 or more that come each month leaves me shuddering at times.

The brand new products need to be produced now. There is no particular time line yet. But as was suggested by the company that I am partnering with that January and February could be very big months. In fact they would like a line of the new products done by the end of this month so that they can be presented when the other Web Site goes live.

The Brand New area of Misty Hollow creations is going to be even bigger than the first areas were. I could be looking at another three people to help in production of this line with a possibility of even more people being needed as this new area develops.

From my rough calculations of the people listed here… I should be looking at hiring about dozen people to start with. And that would be now!

So when the phone call came from the “Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation” folk to make a short video about Misty Hollow and the work that I do in my workshop… I should have said no… but rather I agreed. Double Sheesh.. that comes next week at the end of the week.

I am a graduate of the OSEB program. The Ontario Self Employment Business program run by our Provincial Government. The OSEB Program is offered through the “Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation”. I began the program at the beginning of October 2008 and completed it at the end of September 2009.
Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation staff became my mentors through all of this. For that first year they met with me each month. Then in the subsequent years they followed my progress. Through the tough times and the very good times they kept in contact with me.

In June 2008 I had kind of lost all hope. I was in my 64th year of working. I was planning to retire in 10 months’ time when I was given notice of my “early retirement”. I was simply dismissed, let go or fired from the job that I had been doing in many different places for 39 years. The reason was simple. There was not enough money to pay me. The entire staff that I had managed was also let go and temporary staff hired to fill in the gaps.

When I walked out of that place at the end of June I had a sinking feeling inside as I wondered what would come next. I had a lump in my throat as I entered the Employment Insurance Office to file for the E.I. money that I was going to need.

In one office a receptionist asked me. “How can I help you?”.

I gulped and was about to cry. I looked at her and said, “You can give me a little hope…”

She responded, “I think that you need to speak with Pat.” And that was my beginning of a whole new adventure. Pat introduced me to Wendy who worked for the Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation. Wendy helped me to apply for the OSEB program and then became my mentor and coach and my friend.

From there Misty Hollow Carving was launched. And from Misty Hollow Carving and the new things that have happened – Misty Hollow is being developed. Misty Hollow is a bigger and more encompassing description of what is happening. And Misty Hollow has become a place that is real.

The Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation folk are coming do a short feature video on Misty Hollow… and I said ‘Yes’.

How could I say ‘No’ to these folk that have helped me so much?

Enough already… I need to get to the Workshop this morning early. I have my weekly show at the Mall that takes all day. If I start this morning I can get a little bit done. I gotta make this place look like something is happening!

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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