Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What's been up

Knowing I have 30 minutes at work and knowing that I have hours of work in the que that needs to be done I have decided to write a post because I am feeling withdrawn lately.
Over the last four months or so my posts went from content back to status checks and then dropped off. I have had a lot going on but I miss the encouragement of my peers and well as reading about other's life. This is a great way to have relationships for an introvert and I value them highly, more than some of you inspire me more than you will ever realize.

In May I started my 31 day freelance experiment. It has had decent results and led me have some "real work" and became a third job on top of my job at the prison and my Saturday morning job teaching karate for the non-profit at a rec center.

My web design freelancing has led to me updating some skills, but I am not where I want to be yet. I figured I would advertise some online and if I got enough bites to cover my cost of living I would just do this. It has not worked out quite that way. I got no referrals from online advertisement, in order to build word of mouth I offered a doctor friend of mine to build a site for free (pretty much free). It was something he had been shopping for anyway and I did not know it. This turned in to a chore as he didn't really know what he wanted and once we got going going he kept making revision after revision. He would sign off on a version as being good and as soon as I would make the changes he would change his mind and want something different. I have a contract I did not use with him since he is a friend, but it only allows for two revisions for most projects. Once we finally got it live he got a letter from another company's lawyer and as he did not trademark on his name, we had to redo a good bit of the site. Now its live again. I did this for the price of 2 hosting contracts and domain names before I thought it was going to be as complicated.

I also got a referral from a friend, they wanted a very basic store front site and a rush over a weekend, I completed the site and then got stiffed for $500 after dedicating over 20 hours over two days to it including logos, image editing, two revisions, and a bite more. The good new is there is a supposed referral from a different friend for an interior designer who wants a site. She has a budget between $250 and $300 so I should be able to do a simple site for her. I also realized web marketing is not how to get things done in my area and have started a targeted direct mail campaign to a some local businesses. I have abandoned the idea of living off this for the time being and any profits it nets I will put toward savings.

If you couldn't tell from a previous posts I am going through internal turmoil in terms of figuring out what I want to do. I put days and days of thought into not just finding a career I might enjoy, but following my dream business instead. A dream I can track on paper since at least 2004 is opening up my own martial arts school. I drew a very grand layout with my drafting board back then. It was my original intention when I move west (in NC) to live with my wife, but my agreement with the location did not pan out. I tried another option and realized I knew nothing about business and went back to work for the man.

Over the summer I became a lot more active pursuing this goal. I have written my first business plan with the help of SCORE (Thanks P!) and sought rental space. Unfortunately, the resources are not together to get my own space and the people who for years said they would back me- backed out, despite pushing me for two years because how good the numbers look.

I still wanted to purse this goal so went on the prowl again for existing dance studios and gymnastic gym's to see if any would sublet. I found one that would. She was very interested in adding martial arts to create a mutually beneficial relationship, she already had children's dance, Zumba, and yoga. This seemed great despite some other things....

I attended her open house and had 10 kids sign up. I held the first class on 09/01/11 and had ONE of those kids show up, this gave me a total of three students including my little sister-in-law and developmentally disabled adult who showed up at the wrong time. I was running a promotion for August that if you signed up you got reduced tuition and no registration, I learned the benefit of a registration fee. My bet is if there was a registration fee, parents would either not sign up unless they were serious and would come if they paid.

I have ordered some cards, placed an ad in a school directory, and have done a few other marketing things. With my two paid students I have not yet to make enough for my rent but I am still hopeful for the remainder of the month.

In order to fund the dream, as well as raise enough money to devote myself to this full time, I started a fundraising effort. For the first phase I found everything in my attic I was willing to sell. I put books on Amazon and everything else on ebay. What didn't sell after two rounds on ebay went to a yard sale. The total gave me about $600, and once I get my kayak sold I will gross about $1,000 to $1,100. However, I have used some of that to pay for business overhead (marketing, Thesis theme, misc. office stuff). Now that I have some momentum I am going to go through the attic again next week and see if there is anything else I can part with. Once I am out of stuff I can sell (or that CB will let me sell, because if it were up to me i'd sell everything in the house) I have another fundraiser scheme. Also, anything I make from web design will go directly to my saving for this purpose.

Hopefully, if I will find the right marketing recipe for my budget and my numbers will take care of the rest. I have long felt that part of the inability to monetize in martial arts is to lack of advertisement and with an increase in budget I hope to take care of that.

Unfortunately with four jobs seven days a week, training and diet fell off. I had planned to take a free week after my last race but it turned to three weeks.

Over that time I have eaten more fast food than I can care to recall and put on 11 extra pounds. After reading a few article I decided to try 6 weeks on the paleo/primal kick and see if it renders any results. I have read about it several times over the past two years and always thought it was NUTS. However, I read a few articles in the past two weeks about the connection between those eating habit with heavy lifting for lean results. They intrigued me and I thought it to be worth a shot. I have been on it since Monday and realized that other than kicking out grains and trying to find non-processed meats, it isn't that different from the low carb diet I originally used to lose weight. Two days of clean eating left me feeling great and seven pounds of junk/water weight shed.

Feeling better got me back in the gym. I eluded a few weeks ago to trying a new training method for the off season. I started today what I meant to start three weeks ago- Crossfit Endurance. When they changed their format a few month back I started making a spreadsheet of all of the the workouts for the 12 week program. so that I could start it once I was ready. After putting hours and hours toward long rides and runs during my training season I am looking forward to using shorter, harder workouts. However, I do plan to work in periodic long workouts just to keep a base. If it makes me faster or have more power- great! If not, I will enjoy shorter workouts and it will keep me active.  SEEMS win-win.


TriMOEngr said...

That is super tough on the career front. I started my own business when the good Lord decided to kick me out of the nest (layoff = no choice). It hasn't been a bed of roses, but I'm keeping my head generally above water. It is a frustrating process to get through though. Way to go on the business plan. I wrote mine in Dec/Jan. Will be interesting to sit down the end of this year and compare projections to actual. Hang in there. Sometimes the answers to our prayers are "Just not yet". Hard to wait, but keep the faith. Best of luck on your paleo diet/crossfit workouts.

Mandie said...

Hi, I came across your site and wasn’t able to get an email address to contact you. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me back and we'll talk about it.


Mandie Hayes