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A First Disaster

Sorry about the lack of postings. The holidays, combined with my own laziness, produced insufficient bloggings, not that many of you care.

My last post, an alarming 22 days ago, mentioned the possibility of a first sale. My bandmates expressed interest in what happened, since no update was available they were left clueless, as were the rest of you.

Anyway, a little refresher: A small convenience store needed some lights changed in their parking lot. After several hours I managed to get a truck to go out the next day.

I called Paul, the owner of the store, and told him we’d be there the next morning. I went to bed early, excited for newfound cash, and wanted to wake up early. The company with the truck, Lighting Maintenance, said they’d be there at 7am and would call me when they got there.

At 7:15 I hadn’t gotten a call so I headed out the door to see if they had arrived. The place, a Speedy Mart, was right around the corner, a few minutes drive at best.

When I got there the place wasn’t open so I waited across the street in a Home Depot parking lot. I thought that way when Paul showed up to open the place he wouldn’t think someone was there to rob him first thing in the morning. At 7:30 I called Paul to see when the Speedy Mart opened and he said the manager should be there at any minute. The manager showed up a couple minutes later. Lighting Maintenance still hadn’t arrived and I was beginning to think that I might be sitting here all morning. Luckily, I was wrong. (more…)

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Patesco’s Logo

A couple weeks ago, I contacted my friend Josh Clarke. He’s a twenty-something dude with some crazy dreds and he sings in this insane metal band, Seventh Seal. I highly recommend them. Also, Josh does some graphic design and me, being poor and all, asked him to design a logo for me. I told him to not work too hard (remember the whole “poor” thing) and he whipped up some designs in about a week. (For the record, he said it’d be a day, but you know guys in bands…  ; ) )

My wife said I should post them on Survey Monkey and make a little focus group. (Speaking of “focus” has anyone see Hellboy II? Fuk-uused. HA!) Anyway, I made a survey which shows how intelligent I am at operating computer programs made for absolute idiots. You should take my survey and let me know your opinions.

Click here to take my logo survey focusy group thingy-ma-bobber

It’s not hard and I have a good prize or two for you. I have lots of other stuff going on too, but I do not have time to post today.

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Week 4.

Money Made: $380.05

Money Spent: $167.73 (This week: Ream of Paper, Little notebooks)

Current Balance: $212.32

I’ve decided that this blog needs to be wittier. I don’t know what to do. I can be witty, see here. But perhaps because I look at this blog like a diary, jotting down notes and keeping track of what is going on I come off as boring and unfunny. I cannot keep that up if I want you to come back, right?

I guess $212.32 isn’t a bad total. But I need more money. Coming into week four I feel like I haven’t made much progress but, truth be told, I’ve been busy as hell this week.

On Wednesday morning I woke up at the unGodly hour of 6:15. What the hell, am I a farmer? I drove all the way to Pikesville for a BNI meeting at Fuddruckers at 7:30. When I got there no one was there except for a Mexican dude cleaning. The doors were locked and I couldn’t figure out what to do. But then I remembered there was another meeting about a mile down the road, so back in the Element and off I go! (Zoom, Zoom) (more…)

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I got ’em!

My cards did come in. Thank to VistaPrint’s cheap printing and quick shipping. I recommend them, their prices on cards are really good.

My Card

My Card

 

Also, I began making a catalog using Google’s Star Office Program. Tomorrow I am going to begin trying to add on sub-contractor’s.

In the meantime I have contacted numerous vendors to begin stocking their products. Halco Lighting, Westinghouse, Kimberly-Clark, Gojo, and a couple more. I’m waiting on people to actually call me back. I did get in touch with a broom and mop manufacturer who said I could sell their products. But, since they are based in Canada, it’d cost a lot to ship here. They also make curling brushes…for the sport of curling. How exciting.

Anyway, I am going to try to do something interesting again this week. Last week, of course, I saved some woman from being crushed by a refrigerator and won, for my effort, a lifetime supply of pretzels or something…

Oh, and the Ravens kicked the snot out of the Browns today. Joy.

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Waiting Unpatiently.

Money Earned: $380.05

Money Spent: $157.68

Balance: $222.37

 

I’m pretty good at patience. I’ll sit on hold for 20 minutes and not be bothered. Sometimes I’m too patient. I’ll be in a waiting room or something and people will forget about me and I won’t say anything. I just sort of go with the flow.

But I’m at the end of my rope. Three weeks in and I’m waiting on my cards from VistaPrint. They say they shipped them Friday. It’s been four mailing days since then and I’m just nervous. The mail dude always brings us the wrong mail. Every other day we get mail for the people up one block and I’m beginning to think he took my cards to the nice folks on Fleetwood. I can’t begin to sign up sub-contractors without them and this month is nearly gone. Every day I lose eats into my $100,000 goal, forcing me to make more money each day to make up for lost time.

Yesterday, I called a slew of vendors; Georgia Pacific, Kimberly Clark, Halco Lighting, Westinghouse…all to begin the process of allowing me to sell their products. I haven’t heard back from anyone.

Also, I called four different credit card processing companies so I could take credit card payments. In the end I went with Innovative Merchant Solutions. They are owned by the same company that owns Quickbooks, a really expensive book-keeping program. Part of the deal is you get a free copy of Quickbooks for using their service, that saves me about $300 bucks. Not too shabby. And their rates are pretty good too. Call Nick Schweitzer @ 410-905-3406 if you need merchant services of any kind. Innovative Merchant Solutions seems to have a terrifically priced product with some really advanced features.

Anyway, I’m going to post the rest of these New Age books on Amazon and hopefully make some money.

 

See you in the trenches,

Tim

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It’s not often you get to witness someone crushed by a giant cola refrigerator. Indeed, you see those little stickers on the sides of vending machines that say “Tipping can result in injury or death” and you kinda shrug it off.

There’s this place near my house, Philly Soft Pretzel Factory, which gives out three free pretzels just for walking through the door. Even if the suckers weren’t free they are still really damn cheap, $1.50 for 3 or $2.50 for 3 and a bottle of cola. Needless to say, my family goes to this place two or three times a week and gets loads of free pretzels. I honestly don’t know how they stay in business.

So I’m in there with my son and his friend John and we load up on pretzels. There’s a girl working, about my age, and a young man in his early twenties. They are staring at this Coke refrigerator, which stands about 7′ tall, and trying to move it from behind the counter to the front of the store. This monstrosity is on wheels but the ceiling above the counter is lower, sort of a bulkhead. They are talking about the best way to tilt the thing. At first, from the side, but I convince them to tip it back-side first, showing them the geometry of the operation would work better in this instance. I offer to help, not once, but twice, both times denied.

Anyhoo, Patrick, my son, and John clamber out to the car and we sit. We can see right into the store. I casually sip from my Coke watching the two employees attempt this operation. I’m thinking “Girls should not be doing this.” No offense ladies, but pound for pound we men are just a lot stronger than you. Not mildly stronger, substantially. Our PC world hates to admit this.

I witness the guy taking the top end as the thing is tilted and I can see he is struggling. The girl is on the bottom end making sure the bottom doesn’t slide out or something. I sip from my Coke and I’m thinking: “That thing is really heavy. That guy can’t do this by himself.” BOOM! It falls but hits the counter. The guy and the girl switch, I presume so she can get a grip on it and so he can lift the other end off the floor. She spreads her legs, her arms grab both corners. And, slowly, ever so slowly, she begins to push it off the counter. I sip from my Coke thinking: “Oooo, this is gonna hurt.” From the backseat of the Element, the kids ask me why I am not helping. “Because they told me not to.”

Then it happens. The girl manages to slide the fridge off the counter and without the counter supporting it the girl folds. The fridge is on top of her. Her knees are in the air, below the fridge. Her ass on the ground. Her arms spread trying to keep the thing off of her. Her head bowed to the side because she can’t keep it upright. The guy, God bless him, tries to run to the other side to get it off of her but the counter is in his way and he can’t do it. I was waiting for this moment.

I fling the car door open, run inside as fast as I can, and lift the fridge off of her. She slides out from under the machine and I lay it on the floor.

Somebody, somewhere, cue Metallica’s Hero of the Day.

It’s only now that I realize that they didn’t empty the damned thing before attempting the operation. When I saw it orginally I had seen the back. Now that I can look in it I can see there are more than 50 sodas inside. I ask the girl why she didn’t empty the fridge. She said that there were not that many sodas. I explain that 50 20oz sodas weigh no less than 62lbs. Add in the fridge, the glass bottles containing the juice drinks, the wire shelving, and the doors and I bet there was over 100 lbs of weight that could have been easily taken out. We begin the process, chucking the sodas out, we pull out the shelving, the doors come off easily. We lift the fridge minus all that stuff easily.

I was really shocked at a couple things. That the young man, after struggling with it, had no idea that a girl would never be able to lift it. Or that the pair of them didn’t empty the fridge. Or that she, after struggling to simply get it off the counter, didn’t know it would crush her. I guess we live and learn. Hopefully we live through it.

In the end she turned out to be the owner, as I guessed because she was in street clothes. She offered me some free snack trays and such. Thanked me a hundred times. Called me a “Guardian Angel.” Not too shabby. I like having my ego stroked.

See you in the trenches,

Tim

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I finally got my $70.05 from that horrible experience passing out fliers. Look, I don’t mean to knock any job, especially one that pays .15 per flier, but my foot still hurts. I passed up a corn maze because of it.

I also got my sales tax license in the mail. Remember I registered for it earlier this week, right after I bribed a parking garage attendant? Now I can do some accounting and pay the state 6% of other people’s money. OH JOY!

Also, I have my business’ website up and running, though nothing is going on there right now. I used Vista Print with mixed results. On the one hand, the site was super easy to set up, minutes really. On the other hand you can’t do much with it. I can’t edit HTML or anything and I’m pretty much at the mercy of VistaPrint’s pre-set websites. I can add pictures and such, but very little else. BLAH!

Also, I needed to get some software for invoices and logo design. I bought Small Business Advantage software from Office Depot. It was $20 and seems like I got my money’s worth. I wanted to get Quickbooks but at $400 it was beyond my price range. Right now, I have about $180 in the bank which seriously limits my purchasing power. In fact, I tried to use my brand new check card but it got declined… maybe I should activate it?

I thought that by now I would have more done. A catalog, brochures, my cards, a couple sub-contractors on board but it feels like it’s taking forever. I can’t do one thing until another thing falls into place and it’s like the dominoes are just toppling over in slow motion. Then again, if I want to start a business I guess I couldn’t ask for much more.

Speaking of cards, VistaPrint sent them out on Friday. I had them ordered on Tuesday and checked the slow shipping option. VistaPrint tells you that if you click slow shipping whatever you order will take 21 days. I expect my cards no later than Tuesday which is seven days. Not too shabby. Don’t pay more, unless you really cannot risk it.

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