Go big, or go home.
So I’ve been taking in a lot of Seth Godin for the last year. He’s a marketing guru a good friend turned me on to about a year ago. Some of his knowledge doesn’t really apply to my life, but a lot of it does. His general outlook on life is awesome. A reoccurring theme in his blogs that I subscribe to are that it’s okay to fail…not only is it okay, it’s necessary in order to learn from your mistakes, grow, and become amazing.
I’ve been taking this to heart a lot more these days, and embracing the odds that I might fail, instead of being afraid of it. I guess in a sense I’m finding that there aren’t any real failures as long as you learn something from it and are able to channel what you’ve learned into the process of growth.
I get nervous a lot…afraid that an idea is stupid or that it’s not going to work. Nervousness and fear are perfectly fine as long as you don’t allow them to hinder your progress. Fear tactics have been ingrained from us since birth if you happened to grow up with a television in your household. The news was a common thing my family would all watch together. Between that, and growing up pentecostal, fear is a common and natural occurrence.
I’ve been broke lately, but not the kind of broke that I’m used to…this is a different kind of broke, this is the kind of broke where you have just enough money to buy what you need to make more…I’m taking a financial risk in hopes that I can eventually land a stable income that is completely separate from what Dan brings home. I’m also making goals.
I’ve been selling and making buttons for almost a year now. In this time I have proved to myself that I can make enough to buy more supplies without Dan’s help, and sometimes have enough left over to take care of other things I need, like the studio time I used to record my next album and the gas to get me there. Also the sticker order that just came in the mail the other day…buttons paid for that. So I’m broke, but I’m still accomplishing goals little by little. This is good.
Next step…focus on gaining more repeat clientele. After doing a bit of math, I found that if I can sell 2000 buttons a week, I can make roughly $2000 a month. With the right amount of focus and effort, this is a very achievable goal. I’m not one to hold much of a conventional job, and I guess I never have been. The longest I ever worked at the same place for profit was 1 year and 1 month. It was my first job at Macheezmo Mouse at the Salem mall that I started when I was 17. Within’ that time I went from crew to Supervisor to Assistant Manager without the official title. I worked hard, I busted my ass, and I was good at it. So good that the regional manager overlooked my piercings and purple and blue hair-which was strictly against company policy-because she saw the way I busted my ass and noticed that my appearance made no difference on the books. When my Manager came back from a corporate meeting, he told me how she stood up for me and said that if anyone happened to be in the Salem store to not mention anything to anyone about my appearance.
My point is that if you bust your ass, your work will speak for itself. I take pride in what I do. Making the buttons, even though they seem like a trivial endeavor to most, is something I take a lot of pride in. I want to make sure that every order is perfect. I hand press every single one of them, and as I put them together, I inspect by touch and sight for flaws. I’m not saying that they are always perfect and that there’s no chance of an imperfect one making it into the bag that goes to my customer, but I always do my very best to make sure the image is clean, centered, and pressed nicely. I’ve always loved doing production work, and a job well done puts a smile on my face.
With the Pornsettias, I feel just as nervous as I did when I first forked out that $350 to invest in the buttons. I’m great at production, but pushing myself to sell the actual product is not as easy for me. In a perfect Becka land, I would just make and ship items, while I let someone else do the actual selling. I love going to the post office, the whole process makes me happy; stuffing the envelope, writing the address in perfect, legible form, filling out the delivery confirmation form, etc. This is something I actually enjoy doing and is all part of the process, but I am not a salesman. It’s never been my strong point, and no matter how good I may get at it, I don’t think it will ever be my strong point…but still…if I’m going to do this and take it seriously, there’s no just making 10 or 20 to see how they sell. Nope, gotta make 100’s and keep pushing them. I’m 13 shy of having 200 completed. I feel like I should have had 1000 or more before I started selling them, but I can only make so many with the limited funds that I have. It may be only 200, but I’m still all in.
I recently paid for an item on Ebay 13 days ago that I still have yet to receive, and after telling the seller that if the issue was not resolved I would have no choice but to report it today. I got sort of a nasty letter back telling me to be patient and that I was basically getting the item for nothing because they miscalculated the shipping costs and lost their ass on the sale. It really pissed me off. $51 is still $51, and to a girl who might be pulling in $100/week right now, that’s a lot of money. I’ve lost my ass on items I’ve sold on Ebay before because I miscalculated shipping, but I took it as a learning experience and the buyer never knew. I hate that kind of attitude. Own up to your mistakes, and learn something from them. Take accountability, and don’t be lazy just because things didn’t work out in your favor.
So yeah, the Ebay purchase is also part of my “all in” attitude with everything though, and because they supposedly shipped it parcel post 7 days after I paid for it, I have no idea when I’ll be receiving it, and I’m already missing out to see if this little endeavor is going to work. Patience though. I guess I just hate looking at product that I have no way of moving until a specific part shows up. It’s hard to feel pretty clever when you can’t even test it to see if it’s going to work. I bought a quarter vending machine (oh…now I get what she’s talking about).
Can’t put all of your eggs in one basket. In order to accomplish my goals for touring, I need to make $2000 dollars a month. Right now, I’m guessing that I make about $400 a month. I figure somehow between the vending machine idea, the Pornsettia Hair Flowers and the buttons, I can find a way to reach my monthly goal. If I’m lucky, all three will eventually take off and I can achieve the part of this plan where I only have to focus on the production/assembly line/repetitious part of everything. If I can successfully deal products that sell themselves, I can focus more time on music.
Welcome to DIY musician 101 or something.
Once I draw a bigger fan base, merch will pay for itself, and I won’t be sitting on the same tail end of 100 t-shirts I bought a year ago.
This is all part of the process…granted, I could get my liquor license and start bartending quite easily, I know enough people that would def. hire me if I was serious enough about it…and I have enough friends who would probably come out, buy my drinks, and slip dollars into my tip jar…and money would be had…but I’d also lose the freedom to leave whenever the hell I feel like it without adding unreliable employee to my resume. I work hard, I’m good at following directions, I’ve never been fired from a job, I’ve always made top level employee, but I don’t think many employers would want someone who’s only going to show up for a week to 3 weeks at a time before being gone for who knows how long. So…this is where I’m at now. Working my ass off, and sometimes feeling defeated or like I’m not getting anything accomplished, but $400 a month is better than $0 a month, and I know that as long as I don’t give up, I will achieve my goal of $2000 a month.
Every day presents new challenges with the combination of sobriety, limited social life, not touring currently, and working my ass off with no immediate payoff in sight…it takes it’s toll, but I will get there, and I’m not giving up.
I’m also working on a new song…
“But there’s life…after trauma, yes there’s life…after trauma, and you’ll grow as you go with the flow. Go with the flow.”
Haven’t really had the time to focus on finishing it, but I worked out some more of the music parts to it today.