Wednesday, April 1, 2009

48 moves in March

That's a new record.

The amount of money I made is also a new record, but for modesty's sake, I won't brag about it here. Besides, it's not THAT much money...

I have a roster of about 12 guys and -- get this -- one girl. She's an intern at a nearby organization. In fact, I got three interns from that organization. I have no idea why I'm paying them what I do. After all, they get to see a free market capitalism experiment up close and personal.

One of my guys--my main guy, in fact--just got a truck so he can be my first franchisee.

Another guy I had to get off of Craigslist (when all my regular guys were busy) is seriously considering getting a truck this weekend. I've worked with him twice, and I like his entrepreneurial spirit. His eyes lit up both times someone stopped us on the street while we were working to ask if we had any cards.

I have a good system in place for generating leads, scheduling, executing moves, pricing, processing payments, and processing contact info.

I've learned Web design.

I'm about to launch my newsletter, and I have several small businesses to feature.

And you know what? I'm tired.

I love what I do, but I'm tired. I'm at the point I've been working toward for a year and a half--the "too much business" stage. My marketing efforts are beginning to pay off, and I've only begun to implement them. And yet, it's almost more than I can manage by myself. This is a very good thing, but it means that long-worked-for time has arrived: I have to expand. Even with 48 moves, it's barely enough to support my family. A slight price increase will help, but I can't rely on that alone. I need to spread the work around.

One problem: I'm woefully ill-prepared. It's not a roadblock, though. I just need to figure it out like I've been figuring everything else out all this time.

As I write this, I have these work-related injuries:

* A bruised back from where I wedged myself into a doorway with a box. (Kind of hilarious, but painful too...)

* A sliced calf from where I didn't clear the trailer when I stepped over it--while holding a couch.

* A bruised torso of indeterminate origin.

* A stomach problem that feels like an ulcer.

* Miscellaneous hand-scrapes, cuts and bruises from various things.

And yet, I'm very, very happy. I don't think I'll ever have to work for anyone else ever again. I now realize how easy it is to create wealth on your own.

I knew that doing this would never pay all the bills, and that's why I've been working on Project B, or what I'm loosely calling my "Small business marketing plans." At first it just involved copywriting. But I quickly realized that small businesses need Search Engine Optimization, a complement of communication devices like newsletters, special reports and social networking updates. And I'm getting interested potential clients like crazy.

I helped a repeat customer move to and re-move her stuff from the Home & Garden Show in D.C. a few weeks ago. As an experiment (because I had the time) I wandered the cavernous convention hall and stopped at the booths of various business owners.

"How's your Website working for you?" I'd ask. Most said "Fine," and didn't want to pursue my obvious pitching. But a few were almost begging for marketing help. One guy liked my off-the-cuff suggestions so much he repeatedly asked for more consultation. (He needed my help, too. I can't disclose the domain name for his site, but it had the word "fart" in it so prominently that nobody could miss it. Totally by accident, too.) Another is interested in how I can help her sales copy.

And there are more...

Who knows where all this will lead, but I'm telling you, if you want something, it's there for the taking. Just go and do it. DO IT. "Waiting for your ship to come in" is for losers. Building your own damn fleet IS possible, and easier than you think once you get started.

Thank you, God, for teaching me the right things at the right time in this, what has turned out to be the right place. Thank you.

2 comments:

Googla Monster said...

Chris, Do be careful. It's not worth it to get seriously injured.

Christopher said...

Googla,

Oh yes, I know. I realize that one serious injury isn't just painful and debilitating, it would be the end of my business, my income, and possibly, my HOUSING.

Plan B (or C, D or E) is in full effect. I love helping people, but I'm past the point of realizing that it's time to quit being the mover and start being the boss.