Free Printable Career Assessment

As the year comes to a close, I feel the need to take a step back and assess my career and job situation.  I want to learn from the past year, by recognizing both my successes and failures.  One of the best ways to do this is by asking a series of questions and then answering them honestly, even if it’s painful at times.  After completing my 2016 career assessment, I found many insights and was able to forge a good plan of action for 2017.  I have a list of goals, and now have made a solid plan to achieve them.  See this post for the top 10 steps for achieving any goal to get started.

I also have a post and list of questions here for a self assessment of your personal life.  Live moves at such a quick pace that sometimes we forget to stop and smell the roses.  We slip into autopilot mode, just going through the motions.  I know this is how it is for me, at least.  It’s truly important to step back and evaluate where we are and what we have achieved.  We all have goals that we want to achieve.  That doesn’t usual happen when we are on cruise control.

So here’s my 2016 Career Assessment.  I genuinely hope that it helps you.  Maybe you can even use it as part of a review or career advancement discussion with your boss or supervisor.  Maybe it will lead you to pull your resume together and start looking for a new opportunity.

Bonbon’s Guide Career Assessment

Click here for the free printable version!

  1. Are you happy at your job?  On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you?
  2. Do you enjoy getting ready for work?
  3. How are your commutes, typically?
  4. What is your favorite thing about your job?
  5. What is your least favorite thing about your job?
  6. Do you like and appreciate your coworkers?  Do you have a good or best friend at work?
  7. Do you feel that you are contributing to the success of your group, department and company?
  8. What are some ways you contributed?
  9. Are you trying your best?  Are you motivated?  Do you feel passionate about your work?
  10. What are you passionate about at work and in general?
  11. What were your favorite tasks?  What did you like the least?
  12. Did you work on any special projects?  If so, did you enjoy them?  What did you like about them?
  13. Do you feel like you were recognized for your hard work and contributions?
  14. Do you want to be a leader? Do you feel like you are equipped to be a leader?
  15. Do you feel that you are a part of a team or do you feel more like you are on an island?  How is the flow of communication?
  16. Do you feel that you are fairly compensated for your work?
  17. Do you feel you have job security?  If not, why not?
  18. What new skills did you learn this year? What skills did you find you could improve on?
  19. What new skills would you like to acquire?  How will these benefit you in your current and future role?
  20. What are some ideas you have for improving processes or new projects?  Can you present these ideas for approval to pursue them?
  21. Do you trust your boss or supervisor?
  22. What are some things you would change about your workplace, boss, colleagues and company if you could?
  23. Are you willing to accept the fact if you can’t change any or all of these things?
  24. Do you have a mentor?  If not, can you identify someone who would be a good mentor?
  25. Where do you see yourself in 6 months?  Where do you see yourself in 1 year? 2 years? 5 years?
  26. Do you want a promotion?
  27. Are you ready for a promotion now?  If so, why do you feel this way?
  28. If you are not quite ready for a promotion, what do you need to learn in order to be ready?
  29. Do you like your industry?  If not, what industries are of interest?
  30. How familiar are you with your desired industry ?  Do you know of resources to learn more about your industry or industries and become more knowledgeable?
  31. If you are unhappy with your current job, are you willing to search for a new one?
  32. What skills would you need in order to attain another job?  Are you willing to put in the time and effort?
  33. How long do you plan to remain with your current employer?

Click here for the free printable version!

Please feel free to share with others who you think would benefit from it.  I would love to hear your feedback, so please comment below!

affiliate marketing

The First Challenges of Being an Affiliate Marketer

In an effort to make a little bit of side income, I’ve decided to try my hand at affiliate marketing – specifically with the Big A.  I am starting to generate some steady traffic and getting excited about my progress.  This is definitely not a method to getting rich quick and easily, despite what many out there will lead you to believe.  It is seriously hard work.  I have spent quite a bit of money and time advertising, so far.

I’m not a marketing guru by any stretch of the imagination, so it’s all a learning game for me right now.  I have sent them about 100 potential customers according to the logs, with three completed sales, but that’s not very much so far.

I have purchased three domain names to work this affiliate method.  Two completely different and unrelated niches.  I am pulling together some content, with embedded links, and the main focus on two of the sites is catalog style shop pages.  I have bought some good plugins and have a great theme.  My designs and customization need work, but I am getting positive feedback from any visitors I ended up engaging with.

The most challenging and frustrating issue so far is a few strings of correspondence with people who claimed they ordered one of the items on my website.  Three different very legit customers of another website.  I confirmed that they definitely did not get to their end purchase via my website by checking my Amazon reports.  I hadn’t had a single referral sale on this item.  I think these customers found me via Google, since I was ranking high for this particular item.  They just assumed that they placed their order through my website, and that it was my job to fix it.  It’s very hard to explain to someone who has no clue about internet marketing that you are an independent affiliate marketer with zero ties to the manufacturer of a product.  I am just referring people to items I like and recommend on the big A – you can’t even check out on my site because the shopping cart function is not active (no point since there was no commerce!).

Being a person with a strong conscience, I felt compelled to help, despite the fact that I had no involvement.  I’m also concerned about the website’s reputation, being brand new to this internet marketing world.

I started working in depth with the nicest one, and she gave me a copy of her invoice.  It turns out she did in fact complete an order, but on the manufacturer’s website.  Their customer service department was pretty much non-existent. I jumped through hoops to track down information about the company and after figuring out who to contact, I emailed the customer service department several times with no response.  Unbelievable.  They had a notice on their website that the item was back-ordered.  It was a toy and I’m pretty sure that these people ordered for Christmas gifts.  It’s a shame that the company let this happen.

I did what I could, but my hands were tied after those attempted communications with the shady toy manufacturer.  I left off on a positive note with each of the customers, and have not heard from any in a few weeks.  Hopefully it is over with.  Scary stuff.

The lesson I’ve learned is that I need to do some more due diligence with any products I’m recommending.  Check out the vendor thoroughly and make sure I’m willing to stand behind them.

I hope I will not be providing customer service to too many people for free anymore.  I honestly do love to help people and am great with customer service, but it’s not fair when I have no ties to the sale, whatsoever.

It’s got me thinking this may not be the best internet marketing model for me, so I’m at the drawing board now.  I am going to try my hand at the drop shipping/drop ship model.  I’m currently at the stage where I’m looking for fulfillment companies.  It has been grueling!  So many companies, so many directories, so many differing opinions.  I have spent hours looking around and haven’t landed on any one that I am fully satisfied with.  I’ve got one that I’m feeling decent about and now it’s just a matter of deciding whether or not I am ready to jump in and take a chance.  I will be posting updates about this foray as an affiliate marketer, so stay tuned!

If you have any advice and you are experienced in either drop shipping or affiliate marketing, please feel free to share in the comments below.  Thanks!

self assessment

Goodbye, 2016 – A Self Assessment

Here we are at the end of 2016.  It’s amazing how time flies and every year this time seems to sneak up on us.  They say it’s because time flies when you’re having fun – but I feel time also flies when you’re too busy to notice.  That’s the truth for me.  Don’t get me wrong – I have plenty of fun and life is good, but I don’t think I pause often enough.

Before ringing in 2017 with a list of resolutions I may end up breaking, I think for me it’s much more valuable to look back at 2016 and assess the year – to do a year in review.  I hope you will also pause and reflect on this past year.  These are the questions I am asking of myself.  I hope you find them to be valuable.

Bonbon’s 2016 Self Assessment

Don’t forget to be honest with yourself.  🙂

  • What is something you planned on doing this year, but didn’t get to start?  Why not?  Will it happen in 2017?
  • What is a project (home/personal/other) that you worked in, but didn’t complete? What stopped you? Will you try again?
  • What is your best memory from 2016?  What is your worst?
  • Did your views on anything change in 2016?  Do you feel more or less passionate about it?
  • Did you make any new friends?  How/where?
  • Have you drifted apart from any family members or friends? Is this a good thing?  Should you reach out to them?
  • What are your wishes and hopes for 2016? 2019? 2026?

For me there were many ups and downs, but they just serve to motivate me going forward.  Here’s to a happy, healthy, prosperous and joyful 2017!

I’ve also added a free printable Career Assessment here.

Top 10 Steps to Achieving Any Goal

Top 10 Steps for Achieving Any Goal

We are all guilty (well, I am, at least) of setting goals or making plans and failing at them.  Often times it’s the failure to prepare a good road map.  It’s equally important to have a strong commitment and to be willing to do anything it takes to continue working towards the goal, even in the face of perceived failure.

In this post, I’ll be sharing the top 10 steps for achieving any goal.  It all starts in the planning phase.  If you just haphazardly work towards a goal with no real plan in place, you certainly may get there, but it’s going to be a very rocky road the whole way there.   Conversely, it’s definitely possible to be very successful with good planning, hard work and determination.  You must stay focused on the goal and continually check in to evaluate your progress, especially when it’s a goal that will take a while to complete.

Top 10 Steps for Achieving Any Goal

  1. Write your goal down.  Start with a very short concise title and then build on that.
  2. Create your plan – the main and most important steps you will need to take.
  3. Be very specific, especially for the earlier parts of the plan.
  4. Define a timeline for the steps.  Use specific dates.
  5. Add these steps/milestones to your planner/calendar.  Make sure they are somewhere you will actually see them.
  6. Every day, strive to do something to work towards the goal, no matter how small.  If you’re a morning person, this will be pretty easy.  If not, you will need to convince yourself it’s worth it.  Either way, commit to holding yourself accountable and then set up your daily task reminder for every single morning.
  7. Complete your daily task every single day.  If you’ missed yesterday’s task, then do two today.
  8. Journal your progress.  There’s a lesson to be learned in nearly everything we do, and every problem we encounter.  Write down your successes and your failures.  Go back and analyze them from time to time and see whether you can apply anything you’ve learned in the past to your current situation.
  9. Keep on going no matter what.  You may hit some roadblocks or snags, and will have to make modifications along the way, but try not to get discouraged.
  10. Don’t give up! You’ve got this! ?

Best Makeup for Dry Skin Review & Tutorial

Welcome to my best makeup for dry skin review and tutorial! An awesome budget priced brush, foundation, serum and concealer combination.

Links to items are below the video.

 

Check out my first beauty video below. It’s a two in one, with a best makeup for dry skin review and a tutorial!. I’ve been using this combination of products for about three months and I am thrilled to share it with you. There’s honestly no need to break the bank with expensive everyday products. Personally I’d rather splurge on a night cream for wrinkles and some special masks/peels.

Just the other day I watched a Today show segment where they featured twin teen girls. They applied drugstore products only on one twin, and then luxury/premium makeup on the other girl. They then brought the girls outside and interviewed people on the street, asking who they thought looked better. The girl wearing the drugstore makeup was chosen almost every time! It was honestly not a big surprise to me.

I feel a little goes a long way, so I don’t normally where much makeup to begin with. I’m pretty frugal and love to save money, so most of my makeup either came from the drugstore, while the rest of the items were part of a gift or holiday set, or an occasional splurge (Ilove MAC eyeshadows)!  In this video, I cover items you can pick up relatively inexpensively, either at the drugstore, or online.

So I must forewarn you – I had a little blooper in the video. I didn’t really plan it out – the video was shot in one take with no cuts or anything. I applied the concealer and then realized I still had two more products to review before moving to the next step. I look pretty hilarious with my un-blended concealer on for what felt like 5 minutes! Enjoy!
&nbs

Items Featured In the Video:

E.l.f. Hydrating Serun

Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Roller

Real Techniques Makeup Brush

CoverGirl/Olay Simply Age-Less 3-In-1 Liquid Foundation

 

I hope that you will share what works for you if you use other products.  If you end up using these, I’d love to hear your feedback.  Please comment below!

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painting with acrylics

Acrylic Paint Supplies for Beginners – Everything Needed for Painting Your First Picture!

Check out my fun (and very first vlog/video blog) video about outlining how I scored everything I needed for my new painting endeavor for under $20.  I headed to the store with my acrylic paint supplies list and found everything I needed in under 10 minutes.  Full disclosure: This post includes affiliate links – I may earn a tiny commission if you click and make a purchase.

Items I Purchased – Found on Amazon

Acrylic Paint Supplies for Beginners List
2 oz Bottles of Apple Barrel Craft Acrylic Paint
Note: I bought 6, but this is a neat set that I will invest in next. It is generally less expensive to purchase in sets instead of by piece, but here are the colors I bought at the store:

– 20501E Bright Red
– 21884E Snow White
– 21384E Sunny Day (yellow)
– 21891E Marsh Green
– 20225E Bright Blue
– 21885E Jet Black

Five Piece Value Brush Set with Resealable Pouch (Identical to mine)

Acrylic Paper Pad (This seems to be slightly higher quality and weight versus the one I purchased, with 24 sheets instead of 10)

Small Canvas Panels – 8×10 – 3 Pack (Identical to mine)

 

Happy painting adventures ahead! Please comment and share your painting stories and successes below!

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instagram feed

Instagram Feed – Pictures

Check out my pictures from my Instagram feed. I’m an amateur photographer shooting with an iPhone, but I love snapping pics and sharing! I hope to continually improve!  Enjoy and let me know what you think!

code execution vba

Code Execution Has Been Interrupted- VBA Keeps Breaking – Solved!

How to stop code execution has been interrupted error in Excel VBA.

My Excel VBA Keeps Breaking: A “code execution has been interrupted” keeps coming up, but my Code is Not “Broken”

So I have to share this handy trick.  Sometimes when I’m running VBA code in Excel, it starts getting wonky.  The Break/Debug window keeps popping up during execution, for no good reason.  Code execution has been interrupted, over and over.    The code has run perfectly fine in the past, perhaps hundreds of times.  It’s almost as if something is stuck and hanging in the background.  Restarting Excel does no good.  It seems that the VBA interface itself needs a reset, but clicking reset does nothing.

Solution!!

code execution has been interrupted window

When you receive the code execution has been interrupted pop-up,  click Debug.

Then press Ctrl+Pause/Break twice.

Click on the Green Arrow or press F5 to resume.

You should be good to go, as long as there is nothing inherently wrong with your VBA code!

I’m not sure how or why this works,but it does. I think there may be some sort of bug in Excel, so hopefully it will be fixed at some point.  I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me!

Comment below and let me know if there are other issues you would like me to solve!

 

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Top 5 Copy Paste Functions in Excel – Values, Formatting, Special and More!

Top 5 Copy Paste Functions in Excel – A Detailed Guide

The copy and paste functions in Excel save time and effort, since there’s no need to retype information that already exists.  In  this post,  I will cover and explain the different copy and paste operations that Excel offers.

There are a million reasons under the sun to copy and paste in Excel.  You may want to duplicate information in one column, another sheet or even another workbook.  Perhaps you are copying and pasting data from another source, such as MS Access, your web browser, or a PDF document.  Maybe you are moving data around within a worksheet or workbook.

Copy vs. Cut in Excel

When you select copy within Excel, you are telling the program that you would like to duplicate the information.

When you choose cut in Excel, you remove the data from where it currently exists, and place it elsewhere.

How to Copy

To begin, you must select the data that you would like to copy.  This will move the source data to the clipboard, which is a temporary holding place in the background.

Highlight the data.  To copy using the mouse, right click, and select the copy option.   You may also use the keyboard shortcut – Ctrl + c.  Click in the destination cell.

Paste Options Explained

Copy Paste Special
Copy Paste Menu in Excel

PastePaste – If you would like to paste your data as is, with no changes, right click and select this icon.

Excel ValuesPaste Values – If you’re copying a formula, but only want to paste the results, select this icon, with the numbers.

Excel Paste Formulas Paste Formula – Say you wanted to paste just a formula or set of formulas, you would choose the option with the “fx” in the icon.  Note that depending on what the formula is doing, the result may be different from the original.

Excel Transpose PastePaste and Transpose – The transpose option allows you to change the orientation of your data.  Let’s say you had four items listed vertically.  Using the transpose option would allow you to paste the items horizontally, or vice versa.

Excel Formatting PastePaste Formatting – Excel gives you the option of pasting the formatting only.  If you had some nice shading, or conditional formatting and wanted to copy that, but not modify the formula or data of the target cell or range, then paste formatting would be the option to choose.

Excel Link PastePaste Link – You can simply paste a link to, or reference to the source as a formula or formulas if you are copying multiple cells.  Hint: If you are copying only one cell, by default, the reference will be absolute.  This means that you can move the formula around, but the cell(s) it is pointing to will not change.  When copying multiple cells, the result will be relative references.

 

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Microsoft Excel in My Life – How I Learn and Share

My Life with Excel – Learn, Grow, Repeat

Microsoft Excel has been a huge part of my life for over 17 years now.  It is an incredibly powerful application, with so many features and functions that are not fully utilized by the vast majority of users.  It’s amazing how different my creation and application of spreadsheets, formulas, charts and graphs is today, compared with years ago.  Back then, it was absolutely basic Excel for me.  There are certain functions that I have had to learn and relearn, due to some of the great advances in the software.

Microsoft Excel in My Life – Ever changing = Non-stop Learning

I learn something new every week!  My skills have continued to grow exponentially and I rarely have to spend more than a few minutes determining an Excel based solution for the business challenges, problems and opportunities I face on a daily basis.

“The Guru”

Colleagues often refer to me as the Excel guru.  After learning so much from some true gurus in the Excel domain, I feel the title is a bit much for me, but I definitely can (non-humbly, sorry) admit that I’m pretty darn good and well versed in the application.  Coworkers come to me whenever they are stuck, or trying to come up with a new way of doing something.  I even get calls for help from people in other departments, from around the world!  I love to share my wealth of Excel knowledge with anybody and everybody.  I am thrilled when I learn something new.  I’m doubly ecstatic when someone else does!  There are infinite possibilities with spreadsheets these days, when you roll in VBA, Power Query, PowerPivot, PowerBI and Azure!  It’s amazing, and I’m only just beginning to truly harness some of that power.  Everyone who uses Excel should learn about these!

Tutorials and Posts

My plan is to create tutorials and posts as frequently as I can manage.  I only want to provide meaningful content and information, and truly strive to be clear and concise in my delivery.  I welcome your questions and commentary on my posts!  I would love to help and teach as many people as possible.  I may even design a class!  Excel makes life easier!  That’s one of my mantras!

Please let me know if you have questions or feedback in the comment section.  I would love to hear from you!