Tenacity in an unusual economic environment should be the only virtue a small business should hold dear. Ride it out, hold on. Don’t let these moments sink your spirit. Find ways to adapt, be creative, think outside your normal limits. In order to survive the Prohibition, Yuengling Beer began to sell Yuengling Ice Cream. With whatever resource you have, find a way to keep your company alive.
I have started sending blog posts that I’ve written to various major publications, hoping they’ll not only find one they’d like to repost, but perhaps find my work tangible enough to hire me as a contributor. I’ve also taken on StoryTerrace.com, hoping to compete with them in ghost writing memoirs for anyone who wants their story told by offering a little more for about half the cost. I call mine, “The Book of Your Life.”
I’ve made my teddy bears larger so that their plump new size would add value without adding any more cost to the customer. I’m working on my next children’s book, “The Pillow Guardians,” with the hopes that the story will be so inspiring to young people that they will demand one of the teddy bear’s from the book. (If you already own one of them, can you imagine how much more they would be worth? WOW!) I’ve taken on embroidery, artistically exploring bouquets on the back of denim jackets, making hoop art with floss and any fabric I can find, punching towards a new way to succeed.
Everyday a new idea comes to mind on how I can hit my bottom line and maneuver my ship through a weary storm. Because everyday, every idea that comes to mind, could potentially be the one that wins, the idea that finally takes me to a higher level in whatever endeavor I choose.
Despite that, I still have my financial problems. Now, I do not view these problems as hindrances, but a challenge to the imagination. I’m still $200 short on rent, and today is the last day before it becomes a serious problem for Phillip and me. (Phillip is not at fault here. He paid his half on time).
I have to market myself more, put myself in front of more people, get more eyeballs to look at my blog, my bears, and my books. So, that’s what I’ve been doing today to drum up some interest in what I do, who I am, and how this all started. I’ve been reaching out across the great globe to anyone who has an email where they can be contacted. I could have spent the day knitting another teddy bear, but I felt the hours were better spent cold calling and knocking on virtual doors like an old school salesman would.
I would like to be paid for my work from now on. No exceptions. In order to do that, in order to get to the next level of success that I think I’m worth, I need to take down my donate button. I have one bear in the shop. I love the little thing, but selling him wouldn’t cover the money I need to finish paying rent. Selling “The Book of Your Life” project to my first client would! That’s in the shop, as well.
But more so, this blog has been up and running for 10 years. I don’t even think Carrie Bradshaw’s column lasted this long. This has been the longest memoir, the deepest kind of diary, of a man who shares everything he can about his own experience with life. And if this blog has given you pleasure and joy, if it brings you back to see the next chapter in my life, donate a little something. You’ve been with me since I was homeless, through my successes going viral, through my marriage, then divorce. You’ve lived every moment of this life with me.
If I am able to pay my rent tonight and put a little aside towards next month, then I’ll take down the donate button for good. I promise you that. You’ll never see it pop up on my blog post again, because it means I was able to stabilize and move forward, rather than swirl around in an eddy that’s headed down an economic drain. I was able to level out and begin to reap the rewards of selling my work, my talents.
And if the donate button is gone by the time you read this, then thank you for wanting to help, but I got what I needed to move ahead and won’t need more. I’ll be able to focus on imaginative ways to really start selling myself again.
I don’t want to be a starving artist anymore than I want to be a failed businessman. But, it’s time the two of those facets of myself begin to speak to each other. That businessman in me needs to start feeding the artist in me.