Apprenticeship Week 5

It’s been a month and two days at my new job!

Current Projects:

I’m still working on adding Kayce’s old call notes to the Salespad CRM tab. I’m almost caught up with when she sent it to me.

Yesterday we had a meeting and next week Josh is going to show me APS so I can make sure all our contact information is up to date. We’re looking to expand our marketing efforts to include an email list, and I’ll be helping get the necessary information to make that possible.

Things I Learned:

Don’t convey uncertainty to the customer! We can figure out details on the back-end to ensure a great experience for the customer. We should not give them reason to doubt what we’re saying.

I had one call with a customer where I was explaining why we issue parts on a Net30. I mentioned that part of that was to make any returns easier. This made the customer uncertain about using our parts. Going forward I didn’t mention that and only said it was to make things as easy and smooth as possible for the bodyshop.

In a different call I mentioned that we LTL some engine cradles because of the weight. Herb told me to tell the customer we could get it to them 2nd day like our website promises and we can pay more for shipping to meet that if necessary.

Apprenticeship Week 3

It’s already been three weeks that I’ve worked at Original One Parts.

Projects this Week

Early in the week I finished the Hubspot/Salespad project I was assigned my first week. I have no more paperwork from old orders to deal with!

After I finished that, I was asked to sort a spreadsheet with all of our part numbers and descriptions indicating the type of part it is. Ever single item sku and number code was listed. I had to delete all but one of each letter code and change the description to just have the part that letter code refers to. There were over 1000 rows in the sheet initially and now there are fewer than 200. They were also all in lowercase, so I learned how to use =upper, =lower, and =proper in Excel to change that.

The next day, I was assigned a spreadsheet of Kayce’s previous calls to go through. I have to add the date, her initials, and her call notes to the Salespad CRM tab. When I finish this it’s possible I’ll do the same for old daily call logs but I’m not sure.

Things I Learned this Week

I’ve gotten more comfortable answering the phone and feel confident in doing so. This week I learned how to get information to process a return, pay an invoice, and send pictures of surplus parts.

Other Updates

Thursday on my way home from work traffic was backed up and it was very stop and go. I stopped in an exit lane to get from one highway to another, and the car behind me didn’t slow down fast enough. I got rear ended. No one got hurt, but the front of their car got bent up pretty bad, and my rear end needs replaced and the exhaust is rubbing.

I didn’t go in Friday so I could talk to my insurance company and the body shop that will be handling my repairs.

Next week because of Memorial Day I will be working Tuesday through Friday.

Apprenticeship Week 2

Yesterday I finished my second week at Original One Parts!

Learning Inbound Calls

This week I started learning how to take inbound calls.

Monday I read the training material but didn’t actually answer the phone. Tuesday I took my first couple calls. Wednesday through Friday I took more calls and got more comfortable. I still have a lot to learn but I’ve learned from listening to the rest of the team take and make calls and taking some calls myself.

I was not walked through our process for recording the calls we take, but I figured it out. Tuesday and Wednesday I hadn’t been told I needed to put the calls I take on the log, but Thursday and Friday I realized it’s a great way to show my work in addition to it being important for the team.

We put in our initials, the name of the person who called, the insurance company they’re associated with (if it’s an insurance company rep calling us), the part they called about, the price of that part, and any notes from the call.

Hubspot and Salespad Account Information Project

I continued last week’s project of going through old orders and updating accounts in Hubspot and Salespad accordingly. I’m almost finished going through the previous sales team member’s papers to complete this project.

When I find duplicate accounts in Salespad, which happens frequently, I was emailing Tim, who is able to merge them. There’s a high volume, though, and sometimes he is unable to merge accounts because they’re both/all connected to CCC (a parts ordering platform) and have different ID numbers. To make it easier for him to see what needs done and keep track of what’s been merged and what the new account numbers are, I made a spreadsheet. I have the company name, the new account number, the accounts that need merged, and a spot for notes about the accounts or why they can’t be merged if they can’t.

Other Places I See to Create Value

I found out this week that our marketing “team” is just Kyle. He was working in the sales office some this week and I learned that he gets anything somewhat marketing related put on his plate and he’s the whole department. Once I master my position and am great at taking inbound calls and possibly starting to learn outbound calls, I want to leverage myself to take up some of Kyle’s extra work. I wanted to find a marketing position for my apprenticeship and this could be a good way to get my feet wet and start learning while also freeing up Kyle to do more of his more important tasks.

Apprenticeship Week 1

Monday was my first day at in my new role at Original One Parts! I’m on inbound sales and data entry and I learned a lot about the company from working closely with the rest of the sales team.

My first week was crazy.

Monday I was logged in as a recently-moved-on sales team member. I had my own email address but it was a while before I had a login for the software we use – SalesPad and PartsTrader. So I spent most of my first day watching the Friday Fast Facts videos on the company’s Youtube channel, looking around the website, and practicing the PartsTrader orders on my manager Herb’s computer. After lunch I received login information for SalesPad and PartsTrader so I was able to work on my own a bit more.
PartsTrader is a website that car repair shops use to source refurbished, recycled, and OEM parts for their customers’ vehicles. Original One Parts is a supplier of refinished OEM parts. They’re parts that have previously been on vehicles, but we have a rigorous inspection process to ensure they’re the same quality as the original. Then we put a new finish on the part so it looks brand new. Our customers request quotes for parts, which go through automatically, and put in orders for parts.
When they put in an order for a part through PartsTrader, I check the VIN and the part number for a match with our customer service portal. Once I know I have a match, I pull up the repair shop in SalesPad, check that we have the part in stock, and write the invoice.
Between the PartsTrader orders, I learned how to enter information about contacts and companies in Hubspot and SalesPad so we have a database of our customers. I also figured out on my own how to merge duplicate companies in Hubspot, because that is a common problem with the information we have on Hubspot.

Tuesday I was set up with my own login to the computer instead of the old team member’s. I didn’t have SalesPad on my desktop at all. So I spent a few hours just working on updating the information in Hubspot from printed out copies of previous orders. After I got set up with SalesPad I caught up with the PartsTrader orders.
This was the first day I had a problem. I ran into some surplus parts on orders. These vary a lot more than other parts, so we typically send the customer pictures to verify that it is correct and they’re okay with the condition. I put an order through for a surplus part without knowing this. One of my coworkers, Kayce, informed me and then called the customer at my desk so I could listen in.

Wednesday I mastered processing orders from a different platform called CCC. These come in already partially invoiced, so I have to check for the part in the inventory and fill out the shipping information.
I had the first order on PartsTrader that I had to cancel because we didn’t have the part in stock. Herb had me listen in on a call to the customer letting them know that we were canceling their PartsTrader order for (part) on (vehicle) because we didn’t have any in stock.
I made a lot of progress on the customer details I was entering on Hubspot and SalesPad. I almost finished the file folder I was working through.

Thursday I finished the first stack of paperwork. Then it turned out all the other papers in the desk drawer were the same thing and I have a heck of a lot more still. I didn’t run into any problems that I remember. It went really well and I got a lot done.

Today, Friday, I had more than half the sales for the day! I had one order for two mirrors on a Chevy Tahoe that was around $650! We were slower and the other sales team members were not having much luck with their outbound sales calls.
The best part of the day was when Herb called one lady and she said she was going to transfer him to the voicemail of the person he needed to talk to. She transferred him to her own voicemail!

My first week was crazy. I learned a lot and got a lot of work done. Monday morning I’m going to show up and kick some more butt.

Learning Japanese with Duolingo – 1 Month

Alyssa Wright shares what she has learned in Japanese using Duolingo for just over a month.

I’ve been learning Japanese on Duolingo for about a month now. I’ve taken it slow, taking my time so what I learn sticks.

I’ve learned some handy basics so far, but the coolest thing I’ve done is make this meme:

I shared in on Twitter when I created it, and actually received correction to the text I had. I had a mistake before, but I also had a chance to learn from and correct that mistake.

I remember reading that Japanese fluency requires knowledge of about 2000 kanji the last time I started learning some Japanese. With Duolingo, in just a month a learned 19 to get me started.

  • 水 (water)
  • 食べ (eat)
  • 中国 (China)
  • 日本 (Japan, can be paired with 語 to be Japanese)
  • 飲む (drink)
  • 人 (used in constructions to say someone is from a place)
  • 学生 (student)
  • 先生 (teacher)
  • 私 (I)
  • 語 (language)
  • 何 (what)
  • 英 (English)
  • 名 (name)
  • 一 (one)
  • 二 (two)
  • 三 (three)
  • 時 (time)
  • 今 (now)
  • 分 (minutes)

There should be one more on the list but I forgot what it meant and how to use it. So I have some review to do to there.

Japanese is definitely a difficult language to learn, but I’m making progress. In one month I learned how to talk about being from certain places, how to talk about time, and how to talk about food. Now I just need to learn how to ask about the bathroom and I’ll be all set!

This was just my first month of learning Japanese using solely Duolingo. As I progress I plan to incorporate other resources such as Tofugu, Youtube videos teaching Japanese, and videos from Japanese people in Japanese.

Module 2 Project Wrap-up

This post will be updated on the 30th with any new information about my project.

It’s the last week of my portfolio project marketing my poetry collection.

I got my copies of Inside a Writer’s Head in the mail before expected, and I’ve sold three copies. I set up my sale page to direct people to last Wednesday, but haven’t gotten any sales through it yet.

I sold a copy to my boyfriend, my local library, and some long-time friends of mine. I’m sending a copy to Jacob Beman as a thank you for designing the cover.

I’m expecting more sales after I announce the giveaway winners, because every entrant is getting a coupon code for my sale page. If you haven’t entered and want a chance to get the ebook for free, check out the giveaway page. It explains how to get four different entries to maximize your chances of winning.

The main video this week is a reading of some poems from the collection. I’m editing the two short videos I made reading related poems today. They will be up by the end of the month for sure, but I’ll be working on getting them out today.

I started my Instagram at the beginning of the month. In that time I’ve gained 47 followers. I’ve posted once a day every day.

On Twitter:

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On Facebook:

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I posted every day on Facebook and Twitter as well. I shared the images from Instagram and most days I also shared my blog post for the day. This week that was poems from Inside a Writer’s Head.

At the end of this month I will have created 6 Youtube videos, hit 61 straight days of blogging, run a giveaway, increased my social media presence, and sold 3+ copies of Inside a Writer’s Head.

I structured my week fairly loosely. I created the blog post(s) for the week first, as they would serve as a base for the video(s). For most of the month, I didn’t plan my Instagram posts, and read through my poems to choose lines for the images every morning. This last week I had already selected which poems were going on my blog, so I shared those on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to tie everything together.

I typically spent 2-3 days shooting and editing video. It could have taken less time, but devoting time around my job it took that time. Some of the videos took less time, because I had less video to edit before it was done, but one week the video was 17 minutes to start, and one of my videos reading poetry was initially around 20 minutes.

I really learned how to make a single, coherent, focused product through video making and through the daily blogging exercises I’ve been doing. I have to keep a video focused on the topic of that video. I have to keep a blog post focused on the topic for that blog post. To do that, I have to center myself and my thoughts on that topic and focus myself on it so I produce content that stays with my chosen theme.

Next month is the writing month in Praxis, so I will continue my daily blogging. I also plan on running another giveaway, this time with more possible prizes including the Inside a Writer’s Head ebook, a pdf of my novella The Diary of Kaashif Sarwan, coupon codes for the poetry collection, the bonus content, and maybe another mystery prize. I’ll also continue making at least one video/week.

Module 2, Week 2, Project Update 2

The other day I shared that I had run into a problem with my project, specifically with the video for last week.

Yesterday I finished my edits and successfully exported and uploaded the video!

I have an older computer, and it was not cooperating with OpenShot long enough to export my video. I had to shorten it quite a bit before it exported the whole video. I cut out a lot of fluff while still getting my point across. Now that I’m aware this can be an issue, I can pay attention when I export this week’s video and not submit it late again.

Because I had this problem, I spent time solving it instead of working on other aspects of the project, such as sharing more on Twitter and devoting more time to writing my blog posts. The last couple days felt a bit thrown together, and I want to spend enough time on each post that it doesn’t feel rushed and like I didn’t give it 100%.

This week I shot the new video on choosing a self-publishing service to go with the written guide I wrote. I also posted on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter everyday.

I started out making the images I post with Vintage Font, which worked really well, until the app wouldn’t let me save my design. I hit their ten free design limit and they wanted me to get a paid version. It was really expensive for what it is, so I deleted the app and went on the hunt for an alternative. I’m not trying to sell the design I make, I just want to create designs for Instagram that I can share other places using images I own. I wanted something free and simple to put text on my photos.

Unsure what to do, and having been unaware of Vintage Font’s paywall, I reached out to my friend Justine. She’d made some text images for me before, so I asked her about it. She suggested Font Candy. That has worked great the last couple days, and hopefully it continues to do so. If it doesn’t, I’ll include that information and the new choice in an update.

I’m planning to do a giveaway of the Inside a Writer’s Head ebook, so be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram and like my Facebook page.

I started the giveaway, details in this post.

Become a Patron to get early access to blog posts, a free e-copy of Inside a Writer’s Head, or a signed physical copy of the collection!