Friday, April 27, 2007

Update to a former Boss/ now friend

(He asked me in the latest email) How are the the kid and the hubby?

My email response which seems to be a decent update:
AHH I swear I thought I told you that "Yat " and I separated. Maybe I didn't. Who knows. We are good friends though and I'm very close to his family.
How much does a supervisor/manager make under you? Ha ha... no I am starting my own company, going after what I really want. I have no idea where and how I'm going to make lots of money. BUT I WILL!!! Hahahaha! I'm in a really good mood about it. I have my house/ mortgage payment, and Gwendolyn so I can't just up and leave for a job across the country... especially BUFFALO (What the hell would I do in Buffalo, besides freeze?) in addition to the fact that I want to be my own boss now.

I'm really excited about my new company. I'm calling it Savage Artists. Essentially It will be a consulting firm, providing creative solutions (connections) for all artists in the Northwest, specifically Portland, Grass roots. I have two clients right now, but I don't get paid until I produce for them, so I am scrambling! I'm currently working on a proposal with Umpqua Bank, for Savage Artists to present (and Umpqua, along with other merchants) sponsor a summer concert series for Local bands, it will be a fundraiser for 2 large local charities in which all proceeds will go to (other than my cut for organizing it).

I am also working as a gatekeeper, business developer for an outstanding but very small design firm based out of Bellingham Washington.

Once I have some projects completed with these guys I will be launching my website, which I am working with another small Portland design company on...
My goal is to create a website, similar to Craigs list..( well not QUITE so community based, but it will have a similar feel) - specifically for Northwest Artists. I will have a gallery for fine artists and photographers, I will have an events/promo and booking area for bands and links to designers and photographers. It will be a semi-community website, however, I have to make money somehow, so I will be paid commissions on services rendered, organized through me, products sold, events organized and booking and promoting of musicians and other artists. I will be promoting and fundraising for charities in Portland as well. I haven't figured out if I'm going LLC or non-profit yet....

My business plan isn't really off the ground yet, so as you can see I'm somewhat floundering my way through all of this... BUT I love it!!!! We'll see where this goes!!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Quit planning for a minute?

Business plan, SOFTWARE, set up, organization... contact list, database, estimated costs. Yeah Yeah yeah... So I'm trying to work on all of that simultaneously and I feel like I'm spinning my wheels. I think it's because my other two sources of income are STILL in question, so I'm freaking myself out a little.

I can liquidate a couple small stocks, BUT I really need that for the business as leverage... not living expenses. So yeah, I am trying to figure out two huge obstacles while getting this off the ground.

I talked to my brother the other day and he basically encouraged me to take a moment from the planning and setting up, to just DOING it... We are all brainwashed into thinking that everything has to be ready and perfect before we take action... but it doesn't. I still don't even have my website up yet! Yeah, I need to get on that. I honestly don't think I've put it up, because I am not ready to sort out the content yet, I'm getting a feel for how I'm going to do this.

I put myself out there, checked around on craig's list, posted some services and I already have my first client! Not a musician, but a small design firm in Washington. Now how do I produce something for them? They loved my "fabulous" resume as mentioned many times (HA HA). I'm a networker and sales person. I can sell anything I'm passionate about. This design firm has got amazing talent. I love their work and I can get a little critical when it comes to design. I know what I like. Well I don't have much time for this blogging, so I've got to get on this.

I'm hoping once my finances get sorted out a little more I will be able to be a bit more linear in my thinking (I hope?) We will wait and see!

Monday, April 9, 2007

My KEY to success???

Two of my sources of income, for the next six months are up in the air. I can go on believing that it will all work out, but reality is, I need to KNOW that my mortgage will be paid... etc.
I try not to think of myself as a control freak (try is emphasized here). It is very difficult for anyone to find out that what they thought was their plan... could disintegrate right before your very eyes! I really don't need that stress right now.

I can be that fluffy white cloud dreamer, but you can't pretend that it's not raining, when you are drenched...

Instead of hoping and believing for the best I decided to go on this Interview that ANOTHER bank was recruiting me for!! Ha, I know you're all rolling your eyes thinking, "What?! I thought she just went off on a tangent about not being stuck in banking!" I know, I know! I felt like I was betraying myself just by telling them that I'd come to meet with them. I didn't even know for what position!

I'll tell you why I did it though.
This bank actually has a phenomenal reputation in the banking and entrepreneurial industry, very unique, very simplistic. I have honestly NEVER heard anything negative about them (kind of odd for a bank) They are not aggressive. They seem to be the "silent, but deadly" type.

I was still skeptical... NO, I'm going after MY passions now. I talked to a couple friends Saturday night when I was out for a Birthday party. The couple was very supportive of what I was doing. One of them is a bank manager for Bank of America and the other a chick who has worked her way up the corporate ladder and travels around the west coast doing presentations and speaking for large audiences. They loved my passion. Then I mentioned that this other bank was trying to recruit me and the other bank manager just gave me this look. The "that is a really good bank, are you sure you want to pass them up?" look.

No! Don't do this to me "C"! He encouraged that I might be able to do both at the same time. I didn't really see it that way. I started getting worried that I'd go on this interview, get offered a good amount of money and give in, because I am currently worried about my two other sources of income.

I went on the interview. Amazing! They talked about all the things I really was passionate about. Community involvement, relationships, culture. The woman interviewing me came from the same company I just left. She understood! I don't want to be tied to my branch. I want to be involved in the community. I love coaching people, but I'm a net worker at heart. The management position they want me for is 50-70% networking. She told me some really personal stories on how they take care of their employees. Things that made me get warm fuzzy's.

I was still skeptical, I've heard some of this feel good crap from corporations before. I started asking for examples, ways they promote and measure these objectives. They actually had them. Management reviews were a qualitative approach, they actually measure my review for a large part based on how involved in the community I am, and the community's response to me. Of course there are some numbers in play, but they look at the other part first. I want accountability here guys, and I find it hard to believe that they would flat out lie.

It would be nice to have my benefits while I'm trying to get my start-up off the ground.

They already have a great location in mind for me... They confirmed my minimum offer for the job (which sounds like I may get)

I called my brother... what do I do?? I don't want to give in!
"B" made some great points- I am young, I am just starting out... I can create my business development for the bank surrounding the art fields that I need to build contacts with. I will have a flexible schedule. I can use volunteering in Gwendolyn's preschool (once she gets to that age) as my volunteer time through the company (which is required by ALL management!).

I already told this company that I am starting this up, and they loved it! It's not a conflict of interest by any means, and as my brother pointed out, I may be able to create banking relationships for this bank through the work I'm doing on my start-up.

After the last week, I've realized that I only want to start with bands and musicians, but I want to expand to all arts in Portland. I may even classify it later as an Non-profit agency.

I am still excited. I am also excited about the idea of a steady income and benefits. What was I going to do about that? (I put my blinders on for a few weeks, trying not to think about anything else) Am I a sell out? One part I was really bummed about was any time taken from Gwendolyn, I got excited over the idea of being at home with her more. Even the last two weeks proved that my work load was still similar to the other bank and I was still going to need help with her during the day.

So maybe I'm selling myself the idea? (Am good at convincing people of ideas.. including myself).
I just have to believe that my positive energy is only going to bring good, and what is right for me.

Well I have a ton to work on, Enough of this blogging. I am still working on my business plan and tweaking it. I'll probably post it on here for suggestions.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Day 2

So I've really got my work cut out for me.
The hardest part for me is not to get ahead of myself. I'm trying to get organized, research, and get started all simultaneously. Call me a kamakaze, I feel like the tazmanian devil sometimes until my brain turns off and I end up just blankly staring off into space while the left over caffeine from Java Nation is still vibrating through my body...

Today I went to what I thought was my ORIENTATION to pick up some bartending shifts at one of the largest venues in Portland. I need to supplement my income for the next 6 months in addition to what I've already got and I really need the tips.

Well I show up and realize its actually an INTERVIEW! Ha ha, I didn't even realize this until "K" says, ok, well we are interviewing all day and I'll call you Tuesday.
I'm thinkin "Huh?" I thought I HAD the job! Only because the communication was not clear and one of my closest friends supplements her income by bartending one night a week. Me and my assuming mind always get into trouble.

I told these guys how I was overqualified for the job, but earnestly explained that I don't want to be in banking anymore. Told them about my campaign work again... mentioned all the right Stuff on my "fabulous"
I then told them that I really need the in, because I'm trying out this start-up and I'm really excited. Ofcourse I would work hard, thats what I do- but I really need this.

I then sent him a polite email explaining that if I didn't get this position then I would bug them until I did get something. I'm very determined.

I hope I didn't piss them off. Ooops.

SOOO I left that venue and went to a few other large venues around Portland gathering contact names and phone numbers. Most of the people were surprisingly nice. The funny part is I finally grabbed a publication that listed alphabetically all the contact info I needed, so I didn't really need to stop by those places- but I figure this is business development (even though I don't even have a name or business cards yet) I just need people to like me!

I checked out some of my competitions websites and myspace - Pfsssshhh, I can do sooo much better and offer MANY more services. My biggest obstacle is one of these guys has been booking and presenting bands for over 10 years... I'm like a 2nd grader to him.

So you can see that I was pretty much all over the place today.

Tonight I'll be writing out my to do list such as the books I need, researching the software I need, a new computer, fax line etc... Setting up my database in google-
Analyzing my costs, then figuring out exactly how to add that into my budget which already includes a mortgage and too many student loans...

Deep breath,

I can DO This.. I need Organization!!! If I can manage a bank and lobbying teams, I can do this, right?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Today is first day of the rest of my life, or is that tomorrow?

I feel like some crazy person! I'm going to start my own business... yeah yeah, the chances of it being successful are one in a ten thousand, right? Most businesses fail in the first 2 years... or so many are brainwashed to believe.

According to Why not not start a start-up They blew those age (or maybe 20-30 year old) sayings out the window. Y Combinator, which hosts essay's from University of California at Berkeley claimed that 4 out of 8 start-ups they followed for nearly two years were successful. "So here is an even more striking statistic: 0% of that first batch had a terrible experience. They had ups and downs, like every startup, but I don't think any would have traded it for a job in a cubicle. And that statistic is probably not an anomaly. Whatever our long-term success rate ends up being, I think the rate of people who wish they'd gotten a regular job will stay close to 0%." -

So that guys, tells you a lot.
I have been a branch manager for (ahem) the 6th largest bank in the nation for the last year, and regardless of how great and admirable of a company it is, I can't stomach the thought of working "for the man" anymore.
A friend of mine said "M, you are going to find your dream job. I just know it" I argued with her, telling her no, I'll find another job that gives me valuable experience in a creative industry, but it won't be my dream job (I'm sorry guys but regardless of my enthusiasm, how excited can I REALLY get over direct deposit and overdraft fee income?) because it isn't out there, I don't want to work for anyone else anymore. I want to run my own consulting firm eventually, or just be an investor. In my perfect world I'd be heading my own campaigns for possibly non-profit or at least some cause that I really believed in. I'd still be the boss, but as any of my branch employees would tell you (and my former boss) My employees would have one helluvah fun time with me.

I got a little bummed, trying to figure out how I was going to make my break from banking in finance to pursue a more creative outlet. Other than writing, I am not an artist. I am not super talented in the fine arts (I can hold my own) I am not a musician (I can play piano, but playing by ear and no patience to practice isn't saying much). I do have an ear and an eye for beauty. I am an idea person and I can sell my ideas. I am passionate and I want to help people.
I knew deep down I was the creator of my destiny, I just kept being wishy washy about what it was...Law school? No, knowing me I'd pass the bar and opt to become a photographer. Writing? Thats a hobby, I have to make my money somewhere else first...

I even put together this fabulous resume. I designed it like a magazine article, or newsletter. I thought wow... who is this person? I want to meet her! I outlined my work in parliament's house of commons in london and lobbying in D.C. bragged about my leadership skills. I mean I was really full of myself in this piece of work. After sending it to a couple PR firms I actually called my mom a day later and said "umm.. yeah, why is no one calling me? can't they see how great I am, I mean whats there not to be impressed by?" LOL. My mom laughed at me.

I laughed too. I know I'm great. Not that great, but kinda. lol.

I felt like I had so much potential that I wasn't living up to! I mean... I remember being a college level student body president, working 30 hours a week for another bank, maintaing a full school schedule, a boyfriend and a fairly active social life. What the hell happened to me?
Life happened...I got recruited back into my "back-up" plan.

Well I'm done with that. At 26 years old, I'm too young to be working my "Back-up" plan.

I've helped people with PR and marketing ideas, hell I've volunteered free time for locals, non profit documentary, music etc.... I asked another band I knew of if they needed any PR help the other day and they jumped at the chance.
I love PR, I love image, I love music, I love helping others succeed.
I want to run a consulting firm, I want to own lots of real estate
I want to be an impact on the community...
Am I an idiot giving it all away for free?

DUh, so I'm going to put together my business plan, get ahold of my contacts (which of course there are many) get my fabulous software together and try launching my first of many business ventures. Grass roots booking agency for local bands. Aha! A hobby that I would love to do full time.

This is going to effect my life in so many ways that I really don't feel like talking about right now....
But I've decided I'm not going to waste any more time.

This "M" is the first day of the rest of your life.... muwhahahaha!!

I'll keep you all updated on this tulmultuous, but aspired ride.