Things Always Get Worse Before They Get Better

After finalizing my logo, I established a facebook and google+ page for Digital Whale.  I sent out invites to friends expecting mediocre results however I only got back a handful of likes and 1 comment.  Ok no problem I thought since my network isn’t really choc full of business owners it’s understandable that no body cares.  Over time my fan base will increase one person at a time.

I created some flyers and stopped by some local businesses that I thought would be good candidates for my services, expecting nothing more than doors slammed in my face because local businesses are constantly solicited by marketers and advertisers.  Instead, most business owners and managers were eager to talk to me.  Many told me to come back after the holidays and scheduled an appointment for this Thursday at noon.  Looking good.

What’s not looking good is my evening job and finances.  I had planned on making at least $500/week if worked 6-7 nights a week.  I worked the 18 nights in a row and even worked doubles on Sat/Sun a couple of times and I’m averaging just $300-$400/week.  I give excellent service but people just aren’t tipping.  Some highlights are $5 on $109 and $20 on $218.  I have to automatically tip out 3% of my sales to the bartenders, hosts, and bussers so even when I manage to eek out a respectable $70 on a shift I usually only walk with $50.  My boss even felt sorry for me and put me on Monday night even though I wasn’t scheduled or able to pick up a shift from anyone.  He gave me a rockin’ section and told the hostess to keep my section full no matter what.  The night ended up being unbearably slow but I was relatively busy.  Ended up with the best table of the night that racked up the previously mentioned $218 check but didn’t tip me well.  The whole restaurant wanted to see my tip and gathered around when I opened up to see $20 on the credit card slip.  They all went, “Awww” and it sucked the air right of the room.  My boss was going to put me on last night too as a favor but knew it was of no use.  So he told me not to come in and gave me a $50 gift card to Bonefish Grill/Outback.  Nothing like drowning your misery in a Kobe Beef Burger.  Although, it was nice to take the girlfriend out and forget about life’s worries for a bit.

Life’s worries were still there in the morning.  The first is tomorrow and I had to choose between the car payment and the rent payment.  I chose the car payment.  My girlfriend is obviously not happy because she has to drain her savings (again) to keep this shanty of a roof over our head.  I will pay her back this week and next week.  Moreover, Christmas is barreling down and we hope to go to New Orleans for family Christmas (both hers and mine) but that won’t happen unless I land some clients this month.  No pressure, right?

I was excited over the last few weeks because for a moment it seemed like things were turning around.  Although, I had been experiencing a bad run of tips at work (which happens), I kept telling myself it can’t be this bad for the rest of the month.  Eventually, I’ll have a good night or a good weekend to balance it out.  My break just never came.  Sometimes I feel like the universe is just punishing me.  For what I don’t know.  Other times I think maybe it’s just what I need to have the drive to succeed in this new venture.  After all, most successful entrepreneurs will tell you things always get worse before they get better.  Despite the issues I am making progress.

Create Online Presence:  CHECK

Create Flyer:  CHECK

Get Out and Sell:  CHECK

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Keeping Us Happy

I spent some much-needed quality time with my girlfriend yesterday.  We both had the entire day off.  First day off for me in at least two weeks.  I could have spent the day knocking out more tasks on my never ending lists of stuff to do around the house and stuff to do for business but didn’t.  Instead she and I went to the premature Thanksgiving dinner at the restaurant I work at and afterwords went to see the new Twilight.  I feel like everyday I have off I end up watching Twilight.  In fact, the last day we spent together Twilight was on tv and we ended up watching it together.  So at dinner I told my boss to not give me anymore days off.

Despite the Twilight, it was a good day. With our different schedules and my workload we sort of drifted apart the last few weeks.  I feel like now we’ve reconnected a bit and she seems to be so much happier.

Take A Day Off Once In Awhile / Remember There Are Other Important Things In Life:  CHECK

I Just Gave Birth to a Digital Whale and a Low Country Guerrilla

Need to create a name and brand…..how about name(s) and brand(s)? Decided that social media marketing and guerrilla marketing are two very different animals (pun intended) so it would be best to create a strong brand for each rather than a weak brand to encompass both. Digital Whale and Low Country Guerrilla Marketing. What do you think (if there’s anyone out there)? I really like Digital Whale because like a whale trolls the sea for plankton I troll the social media networks for fans. Corny, I know, but it’s better than some pathetic-attempt-to-be-edgy name like Connect’em or Innovanet or even worse, the vanilla insert your name here Marketing Concepts. For the logo I picture a cartoon whale that is sort of silly and laughable. I feel like I could really have fun with that.

For Low Country Guerrilla it’s obviously going to be a guerilla but haven’t fleshed out the specifics. I’ll probably hold off on the guerrilla until the whale is swimming. Wow just couldn’t stop myself…this is going to be fun!

Create a Name and Brand:  CHECK, CHECK, TRIPLE CHECK

Finding the Courage to Swing the Entrepreneurial Bat…Again

I have dabbled (and failed…man did I fail) in entrepreneurship in the past. It is my dream to start something, grow it, and retire young. I am convinced that the best way to ensure your success is not to wait for your dream job to land at your feet or to put in three decades at a Fortune 500 company but to instead create your own job. It sounds so good when I say it. Create your own job! That’s the future. Mechanization, virtualization, outsourcing, globalization, cost cutting, etc, etc are killing the $50K/year salaried desk job. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I just think it’s inevitable and temps, free-lancing, hyper-specialization, and entrepreneurship are the new norm. In the unskilled sectors I think minimum wage and systemically managed high turnover will continue to reign.

So I look at it as I have three choices:

1) I can go back to school to get an MBA, take on more debt, and hope that the Doctorate doesn’t become the new MBA in the next three years.

2) I can start another company on a shoe string budget of whatever tip you just left me on your two Chicken Marsala and two for one happy hour glasses of house Cabernet.

3) I can continue to hunt for a career opportunity that pays a living wage and won’t drain my soul.

I would love to go back to school but I simply cannot take on more debt. Finding a good job could take a year and likely will require a move. I have lots of ideas for number two and if I fail number 1 and number 3 will always be there.

The winner: start my own marketing company specializing in social media and guerrilla marketing for small to medium size businesses. Back to my passions. It’s what I think about it, what I read about, what I love. I’d do it for free if I could and I probably will a few times just to get the first few campaigns under my belt. It’s doable too. No need to LLC in the early stages. I can just be a sole proprietor until I generate the revenue to cover filing fees. All I need is a website, fb page, logo, ideas, contract template, and my first sale. Scratch that, I’ll need a lot more…like contacts to produce short videos, print materials, etc, etc but that won’t be difficult.

Create a business that you will love and will love you back:  CHECK

Paying My Half

My girlfriend is a server at a downtown pub and does well enough to pay for her half of the bills but how am I going to pay for my half? I have a degree in marketing from University of Missouri so perhaps I could find a sales or marketing job that pays at least $30K/year….WRONG!!! Unless I want to sell on a car lot or rip off small businesses with predatory merchant service agreements there’s not much else out there in this market. Seems most of the demand is for truck drivers, factory work, and accounting.

Ok, we can move. Spent a month sending dozens of resumes for various marketing and sales positions in Charlotte, Dallas, Atlanta, St. Louis, Jacksonville….nothing but silence and a hefty dose of you’re not that special, you don’t know anybody, and your degree doesn’t mean shit.

Back to serving. I always end up back to serving. In fact, it’s safe to say that that is my career thus far and my specialty is Italian cuisine. Real good at noodles and sauce…and wine….don’t forget the wine. But it pays the bills and where else can you work four hours a day and make a $100 (legally)? The best part is they are only open for dinner service during the week so I am not stuck working $20 lunch shifts and can devote my days to something better. Something that will get us back in a house, debt free, and a ring on her finger.

Find a job stat:  CHECK