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INTRO I think I might be in the Bike Lane

PapaGang

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Hey I'm Jeff, a lifelong slowlaner. Well, more like a dirt path. I graduated high school in the lower part of my class. I flunked out of college. Then I wound up without a place to live, so I had to crash on my brother's couch while I got a job working the graveyard shift at a factory that made electrical wire. I need to thank him for putting me up for those couple of months when I had no place to go. Anyway I somehow found a better job at an auto dealership and spent 4 years there. I went back to college on probation and paid my own way. I graduated with honors. But that degree just got me a better looking prison cell.

I acquired new skills, and have made a good success as a designer and marketer. I started my own design firm building websites when WordPress was just blog software. I learned to code and made a good business, I had several people working for me. I took on a partner, and found out that my bosses were my clients, and they weren't that great. I was really frustrated and was clueless and broke at 40. Then I read two books: The Millionaire Fastlane and Linchpin by Seth Godin. That flipped my world. From then on I was obsessed with decoupling my time from money. I also took a really hard look at my life and decided that shit needed to change. Like the very next day.

My problems:
• I had a ton of debt
• I was unmotivated
• I had a poor attitude
• I was bad with money
• I was out of shape
• I didn't know how to conduct myself in business (I didn't know how to run a meeting, I didn't know how to lead, I didn't know how to separate my emotions from my decision making, etc.)
• I sucked at sales.

I needed to earn some quick money to stay afloat while working on acquiring these new skills. That week, I told my business partner I was leaving the partnership, and he bought me out.

I spent a year learning sales. I read 20 books, I took over 200 pages of notes. I jumped into the deep end of the pool and got a gig as an outside sales rep at an exterior remodeling company. I spent my days receiving cold-to-lukewarm leads and visiting these people in their homes. The directive: Close them on the first visit. Average sale was around 5 grand. This was not an easy task. BUT I loved it. I loved every minute. Seeing people from every walk of life, every socioeconomic condition. Every situation imaginable. It was amazing. Over the few months I was there I learned more about people and the psychology of the sale than any degree could give me. My coworkers on the sales team were really great and supportive. I started working out. I felt a million times better about myself.

I then got headhunted by an auto dealer and sold cars for 6 months. I had 4 day workweeks, which allowed me to create a side hustle that went nowhere fast. Notebooks for home brewers. I learned there is a difference between a company and a product. I didn't have a company, I had a product. Vastly different.

Then one day I got several web design gigs that totaled 8 grand, and I left the dealer to push those jobs out and attempt to use my newfound sales powers to get more work. Could I do it? The first month I booked 20 grand worth of work. It was like magic. That was a great year. I took all my newfound knowledge, new attitude and new concern for the service of others to turn it into my most profitable year ever.

Things changed though and I ended up involved in a partnership that didn't work out. They weren't up to the task. I left.

Then I took a job as a marketing manager at an Italian deli. Why? The owner needed me. New website, he had e-commerce needs. He was also launching a culinary center that needed branding and marketing support to get it off the ground. I saw a 3-year project that would look great in my portfolio and get me more work in food/bev. I also wanted to find something that:
• Paid fairly well
• Gave me daily access to the owner
• Allowed me to observe how to launch a culinary center and manage a food / bev establishment
• Gave me something to fill my portfolio
• Allowed me to spend time working in something I love (food/bev, Italian cuisine, specialty foods)
• 40 hours a week, and no more
• Allowed my to save at least 30-40% of my pay and pay off debt / invest

Almost 3 years in and I've checked off the boxes. I'll grow out of the position in 2 or 3 years. I'm training a young designer / marketing person to take my place when I leave.

Also, I now have no consumer debt. I lost 10 lbs and added 10 lbs of muscle. I make more than I spend. I have a money system set up so that I'm doing smart things with it. I try to invest in appreciable assets. I try to stay away from buying status items. I'm really happy with where I am now, I just need to build on what I have.

In the meantime, I found I have a talent for making coffee mugs, bowls, plates, whiskey glasses, boxes, etc. So I'm making and selling pottery, thinking about how I can create exclusive designs and then producing enough numbers to make it a lucrative enterprise, while building something larger than myself. Something that delivers real value to people and solves problems. I have ideas.

I'm trying to figure out how to apply Fastlane / Unscripted principles to this business. It's not easy. I hope to connect with as many of you as possible, this place seems pretty amazing and I believe MJ has built something invaluable here and I have proof of it (I'll post more on that later).
 

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Primeperiwinkle

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This is a great story! You’re doing what you love and enjoying life and lifting up others and you haven’t been shackled to things that don’t fit your values.

I’m glad you’re here. Welcome to the forum!
 

Abrodos

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Hi! I'm a sculptor myself, and I've also been struggling for years with making handmade products profitable.

In this aspect, I wanted to share some possibilities I've come up with:

- Simplicity is key. Forget about intrincate details and patterns. Most craftsmanship takes hours to make, especially when ellaborate and detailed.
And you can price your pieces according to the time you spent making them, but people don't give a shit if you did something in an hour or in 30 hours. People buy them because they like how it looks, or what they feel when looking at it. So the price you can charge is totally dictated by the market. That also means you don't have to charge all the pieces the same. By luck, sometimes you make a piece that resonates more with the market. Feel free to repeat it, increase the price, etc, as this piece is really the one that provides most value.

And most times (as with graphic design) the simpler something is, the better it communicates something.

-Poetry, metaphor, an emotional connection, is a simple way to appeal the public, that doesn't need a lot of high level artistic training from your part. Think a big, white wooden block, opposed to a tiny black one. There's some message there, some story, it is open to personal interpretation, but the point is that it requires almost no time/effort to make. Take a look at the simplicity of japanese zen art (even though they take a lot of time for their pieces).
-The same is appliable to pedestal sizes: Making a 100cm tall statue: months of work. Making a 10 cm tall sculpture and mounting it on a 90cm tall wooden base: less than a week of work. Less material, less complications to fire the ceramic, you can fire 30-50 little pieces at once, you can outsource the pedestals to a carpenter/welder, etc.
And both can sell for the same quantity, as they are "the same size".

Other business ideas:
-Buy ceramic plain pots in a batch and paint them with 2-3 colour strokes.

-Find a way to replicate your ceramic pieces. Then, you will be able to profit multiple times from all the hours put on sculpting a single piece.

-Find some local association, town hall or club that values the fact that your pieces are hand made, preferably one that runs yearly events, and offer them to create some kind of ""reminder" gift for that event, a small trophy or sculpture. The fact that they "need" the pieces yearly makes for a kind of recurring source of income.

-Try to find something that you use in your pieces and that makes people remember you, preferably with some backstory. As in, "the guy who makes ceramic square fish", or "the guy with African roots that makes red, zebra-stamped pots".

-Also, if you're into sculpting, there are two basic skills you need in order to replicate your pieces and scale your business:
-Mold making (if going physical)
-3D modelling (for 3D printing the pieces, or even selling the 3D models for people to print at home, as digital products. Instead of modelling everything, you can just 3D scan a physical piece and polish/retouch the model.

Hope all that is useful and not too long!

David
 
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PapaGang

PapaGang

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This is a great story! You’re doing what you love and enjoying life and lifting up others and you haven’t been shackled to things that don’t fit your values.

I’m glad you’re here. Welcome to the forum!
Hey thanks for the welcome, I appreciate it!
 
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PapaGang

PapaGang

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Jul 10, 2019
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Milwaukee, WI
Hi! I'm a sculptor myself, and I've also been struggling for years with making handmade products profitable.

In this aspect, I wanted to share some possibilities I've come up with:

- Simplicity is key. Forget about intrincate details and patterns. Most craftsmanship takes hours to make, especially when ellaborate and detailed.
And you can price your pieces according to the time you spent making them, but people don't give a shit if you did something in an hour or in 30 hours. People buy them because they like how it looks, or what they feel when looking at it. So the price you can charge is totally dictated by the market. That also means you don't have to charge all the pieces the same. By luck, sometimes you make a piece that resonates more with the market. Feel free to repeat it, increase the price, etc, as this piece is really the one that provides most value.

And most times (as with graphic design) the simpler something is, the better it communicates something.

-Poetry, metaphor, an emotional connection, is a simple way to appeal the public, that doesn't need a lot of high level artistic training from your part. Think a big, white wooden block, opposed to a tiny black one. There's some message there, some story, it is open to personal interpretation, but the point is that it requires almost no time/effort to make. Take a look at the simplicity of japanese zen art (even though they take a lot of time for their pieces).
-The same is appliable to pedestal sizes: Making a 100cm tall statue: months of work. Making a 10 cm tall sculpture and mounting it on a 90cm tall wooden base: less than a week of work. Less material, less complications to fire the ceramic, you can fire 30-50 little pieces at once, you can outsource the pedestals to a carpenter/welder, etc.
And both can sell for the same quantity, as they are "the same size".

Other business ideas:
-Buy ceramic plain pots in a batch and paint them with 2-3 colour strokes.

-Find a way to replicate your ceramic pieces. Then, you will be able to profit multiple times from all the hours put on sculpting a single piece.

-Find some local association, town hall or club that values the fact that your pieces are hand made, preferably one that runs yearly events, and offer them to create some kind of ""reminder" gift for that event, a small trophy or sculpture. The fact that they "need" the pieces yearly makes for a kind of recurring source of income.

-Try to find something that you use in your pieces and that makes people remember you, preferably with some backstory. As in, "the guy who makes ceramic square fish", or "the guy with African roots that makes red, zebra-stamped pots".

-Also, if you're into sculpting, there are two basic skills you need in order to replicate your pieces and scale your business:
-Mold making (if going physical)
-3D modelling (for 3D printing the pieces, or even selling the 3D models for people to print at home, as digital products. Instead of modelling everything, you can just 3D scan a physical piece and polish/retouch the model.

Hope all that is useful and not too long!

David
Really great points David. I actually share some of the ideas you have on replicating successful designs (slipcasting for one). I will expand on my ideas in future posts, but I'm glad you replied to my post, it's good to hear from another artist, and get some feedback and ideas. Thanks for your time.
 

million$$$smile

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Welcome to the forum!
The CENTS principles are key to building something beyond your own personal efforts and abilities.
Creating a job isn't hard. But building a scalable business is.

Not only are we trying to create VALUE for others, but we have got to be aware that it needs to create VALUE for us enough to continue the effort that we put into the endeavor.

Good luck on your endeavors. Looking forward to reading more about your progress!
 

Hassan

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Welcome my friend!
 

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ZCP

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welcome @PapaGang ! what are your next three steps?
maybe get a progress thread going!
 

Entre Eyes

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I feel like the people that sat at the bus stop and listened to Forest Gump for a little while....wow. What a journey. So many I did not see that coming moments haha.

And you have great sense of humor.

Welcome and look forward to more "chocolates". :)

Never know what we gonna get!
 
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PapaGang

PapaGang

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Welcome to the forum!
The CENTS principles are key to building something beyond your own personal efforts and abilities.
Creating a job isn't hard. But building a scalable business is.

Not only are we trying to create VALUE for others, but we have got to be aware that it needs to create VALUE for us enough to continue the effort that we put into the endeavor.

Good luck on your endeavors. Looking forward to reading more about your progress!
Thank you, I love the CENTS framework, very utilitarian and no-nonsense.
 
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PapaGang

PapaGang

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I feel like the people that sat at the bus stop and listened to Forest Gump for a little while....wow. What a journey. So many I did not see that coming moments haha.

And you have great sense of humor.

Welcome and look forward to more "chocolates". :)

Never know what we gonna get!
Hey thanks for the support I look forward to connecting and contributing more.
 
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PapaGang

PapaGang

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Welcome to the forum, @PapaGang! How interesting that you are a sculptor, and @Abrodos had some great ideas.
Well technically speaking I'm more of a potter because what I do is considered more of a craft. Utilitarian things like coffee mugs, dinnerware, etc. But I was good at sculpture in art school, I love the medium.
 
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PapaGang

PapaGang

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This is a great story! You’re doing what you love and enjoying life and lifting up others and you haven’t been shackled to things that don’t fit your values.

I’m glad you’re here. Welcome to the forum!
That's absolutely right. I applied some design principles to my life and have straightened out a lot of things. I carry no debt, I found a job where I do what I love, which is easy and I can leave behind every day, and I can bootstrap my business idea in my off-hours. I'm having fun, making more than I spend, and having a great time with my kid. I can't wait for the next phase!
 

BellaPippin

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Papa: "I'm in the bikelane"

Also Papa:
  • Got a$$ off the couch
  • Graduated with honors
  • Was ahead of the curve when WP was starting and made a biz out of it
  • Switched gears and learnt to sell
  • Killed it selling
  • Books 20 grand worth of work first year of going back to web
  • Gets jacked
  • Obliterates debt
  • Is a potter

Give yourself more credit!

Also check @crashta.puglia on Instagram she's an artist friend that lives in Italy and makes these super cute cement-molded deco stuff.

Come to the Summit! And bring me a mug ~ n_n
 

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PapaGang

PapaGang

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Thank you for your support! That means a lot to me.

note: I booked 20 grand worth of work in one month.
I only want to set that record straight because that's one of the biggest moments of my life.


I would LOVE to go to the Summit. Sold out though.
If you give me your address, I'll send you a mug. On me.
I'd like to get your feedback on it.


Also,
I forgot to tag @MJ DeMarco on my intro post.
 

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