Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Don't fear the salesperson!

Why did I used to fear the door to door salesman? I learned at a young age that you HIDE when a salesman or the Jehovah’s witnesses come around. Yes, hide. My family would hang out in a room away from the front of the house until they left! So I was taught to FEAR the salesman! It’s kind of funny to think about now. What an odd reaction! What is so scary about talking to someone and just listening and saying “I’m sorry, I’m not interested”?

Now that I am working from home and am “selling” an idea to people, I actually am NOT afraid of sales people and I find the various techniques and tactics fascinating! I love people watching anyways, so if you look at sales like an intricate dance or “mating ritual” it’s way more fun!

A salesman came to my door last night - poor guy. The humidity level around here is like 100%. He was wearing a "uniform" of khakis and polo shirt, looked “soggy” with sweat, and was holding a limp packet of papers in his hand. He asked if I was the homeowner. I copped out and said "no" - which is true, I rent from my dad who lives a block away but I didn't tell him that. All I said was "no" and he left. I am kicking myself now because I COULD have been a decent human being and offered the poor guy a glass of water, for one thing. Then I could have offered him my card, since what I do is SO much better then schlepping around in this heat going door to door and trying to sell windows! My parents didn't even answer the door for the poor guy. My point about this is - I legitimately feel bad for the guy. He was just a fellow human being trying to make a living and most people won't even open their door to him! He's sweating his butt off and meeting rejection after rejection after rejection. I could have at least given him some refreshment, and told him about how I have learned to work from home (and I think it is better than walking around door to door sweating your butt off!)

Another sales person I remember is a kid that struck up a conversation with me when I worked a retail job at an electronics store. He chit chatted for a bit, then complimented my communications skills, and mentioned that his company could use people like me! I made an appointment to meet with his boss that week. So we met at a coffee place, his boss looked about as old as he did (they seemed “fresh” like college kids!), and as the “interview” unfolded I realized they were trying to get me to sell dialup internet access! I was really depressed and felt sort of “tricked”. I thought it was a “job”. I was looking for a “job”.

Now that I think about it, I STILL remember that incident, and am actually impressed at how the kid worked that situation. I do not believe he was lying to me through the complimenting – I am a people person and I DO have good communication skills! I WOULD have been good at selling internet access to people. It’s just that – I was not open to that type of opportunity at the time. I wanted a “job”. I had never considered working from home! Now – well, I might have listened! It’s kind of funny that I am doing something so much like what he offered me back then, and I was horrified! Now I am impressed at his people skills!

You can always learn from sales people – good or bad. It’s kind of fun to realize what they are doing, let them take you for the ride, and see where you end up. It’s also fun to turn around and tell them how good they are at selling and you could use someone like them! I see it as a control issue – if you watch and learn and see every human interaction as an opportunity for something, you don’t have to be afraid about what’s going to happen. Whatever happens, you learned something. Let them sell!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Everything you invest your heart and soul into is your “art”.

As an artist by training and vocation, I did not choose an easy path. In fact, I don’t even remember making the “choice”. My true love was born before I knew it WAS a choice. I remember sitting on the thick oriental rug in my our den, watching cartoons and drawing my comics. I had characters named “Gruff” and “Fluff” (both dogs) who I drew a comic strip for. When I found these later in life I was amused to find that they were pretty much re-written Garfield cartoons that I had inserted my characters into! What does a child know of copyright infringement? In fact, in grade school, it had to be explained to me why I couldn’t use my natural talents to draw Bart Simpson and sell the pictures to other kids for a quarter!

Oddly enough, though, the Bart Simpson incident points to another aspiration that must have existed in me even back then, before I knew what it was. It must be the entrepreneurial spirit. So I have existed torn between two desires – to create and to make money. I have always found it difficult or impossible to join these two paths. I love to devote myself for as many hours as I can handle creating – sometimes crafts, sometimes illustrations, sometimes web design, sometimes sewing, hell, sometimes even cooking! I am at my happiest when I let the powers flow and at the end is something I can hold and see and know that I MADE that and no one else could have made the exact same thing. I emerge from that time happy and tired and complete. Yet I have had very little success finding ways to make this time I am creating result in money!

The sad fact is, I NEED money. Part of me wishes I could just create away and not worry about bills, but that will not happen unless I join a commune or something. Part of me enjoys consuming, so I don’t think that is a path I want to take. So I have tried my best to balance my art and my work, sometimes more successfully than other times. I had begun on a path at least mildly creative, doing graphic design for a sign company – not very fun but I became an expert in Adobe Illustrator during my employment! Then I worked at a small financial company doing web design, which was more fun and paid better. That was ok for a while, but then the company laid off our whole department, and I think they eventually sold out to a Canadian company. I had to work retail to survive, and that started to kill my spirit. Every job since then has just been something to provide me a means to survive.

Working just to survive STINKS. I do NOT assume that I am the only person who feels this way. We ALL must have aspirations and dreams that seem wasted while working at a meaningless dead-end job. We all have talents being wasted by an uncomprehending upper management echelon! I can’t be the only person who feels these things!

If you’ve ever been at a job where you KNOW you are smarter than your boss - I know how you feel.

If you’ve ever gone to work and returned home and just been TOO TIRED to do anything else – just to have to get up again in the morning – I know how you feel.

If you spend more time with people you barely know than with your family and friends – I know how you feel.

If you sacrifice so much and are still not getting ahead – I know how you feel.

If you feel like you’ve sold out and dreams are for kids – I know how you feel.

I KNOW so many people out there feel like this! And I am here to say YOU DONT HAVE TOO.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO FEEL ANYTHING YOU DON’T WANT TOO. No one else controls your feelings. No one spends your time for you. You wake up each morning and make your day.

What kind of day are you going to make? Is it going to be ART? It should be!

What do I mean? Everything you invest your heart and soul into is your “art”. You don’t just have to put a pencil to paper or brush to canvas to create something beautiful! The way you spend your time, the things you do, the people you talk to, and the success you get from these is a creation in and of itself! Make sure everything you do is towards your beautiful goals and your day, and your life, will be art.

Some people who see me working so hard for my home business say “but what about your art”? I am doing this FOR MY ART and also, this IS my art. I am creating something great every day – yes, I have lots of little things I do that aren’t sitting down and painting or whatever, but they are adding up to my success! I see my business growing and it makes me – proud. Satisfied. I am doing this so I know I can succeed. My creativity and ingenuity will help me do that! I will have the freedom to STOP wasting my time on other people’s goals so I can accomplish my own goals. I will have more time to do my other arts, more time for my family and friends, more time for what I love and what truly makes me happy!

You can’t waste your time, it is precious – get out there and find a business you love and put your heart and soul into it – I have! You will be creating your life which will be your masterpiece!
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