Okay, so Jonathan mentioned to me that he opened up a can here on Style Forum and I thought, "Gee, i haven't been on that site since they kicked me off for shilling a couple of years ago". It's good to be back. Actually, I didn't know what the word shilling meant until Jonathan asked me if I had ever "shilled" on SF. So, I told him what I did and that they kicked me off and he told me that that was called shilling. So, yes, I shilled. I am guilty of that and I was wrong to do it. I suppose that would be a low point for me in my marketing. I'll explain more about why I shilled, about a half mile down this post. The low point in my customer service was back in early 2005 when a lady bought a bag on eBay and then later emailed me asking if she could return it. I told her no. I had already sent the money back down to Mexico to get a couple more bags made and so I didn't have it. I still feel bad about that one. I've since learned that that is another TERRIBLE business practice. Honestly, I think about it often. It would be cool if she were to ever get ahold of me because someone here knew her. That to say, I am learning about how to do business as I go, and I've learned a lot, but have a whole lot more to learn. As for the shilling, here's what happened. I hadn't even been married for a year yet, and my wife's dad needed work. He was living off of social security and was 72 years old and in horrible health and he needed money and needed to be needed. He was a really really nice and likable guy who was unhireable. Well, I had been planning on coming out with this small pouch for some time, but just hadn't gotten around to it. That's when the idea came up to come out with it and give that responsibility to my father-in-law. I figured that he would be responsible to list the eBay auctions, reply to customers, send out invoices and make a trip to the post office every few days to send them out. So, that's what I did. I got the pouches going and that brought joy to his life and to mine (my wife loved it that her dad had purpose, was needed and was helping out). And, he did a really good job at it too. So, things were going pretty slowly with it since no one was talking about it. A giant percentage of our sales come from folks who own some of our leather things and then tell their friends about it. Since no one owned them, no one was talking about them. That's when I got an email from someone who had bought one and said, "Man, if only people knew about these things, you'd sell the heck out of them" (that isn't an exact quote, but pretty close). That got me to thinking, "Hmmm... if only people started talking about these things". I looked up and to the left while rubbing my goatee and that's when the lightbulb came on. I got the bright idea of going onto a style type forum to get people talking about them and checking them out. It didn't seem like it was an evil thing to do like plucking live kittens or shoplifting from Goodwill or calling someone who used to be in the Marines, an ex-Marine (I've since learned that they're called Former Marines). Please keep in mind that I'm just a regular guy with zero training in marketing or business or sales. I just wanted to get people talking about them and this seemed like an innocent way of doing that. Otherwise, do you think I would have disclosed who I was in my profile so that they could give me the boot for shilling? If I thought it were wrong and didn't mind, I would have easily lied about all my info, right? Well, upon being kicked off of Style Forum, I got to thinking about it and came to the realization that I was being deceptive and so never did that again. I know I don't need to be deceptive and shady to be successful. There's something wrong in one's head if they think for a second that God needs them to be deceptive to help Him grow their business. So, that's the story of my shilling experience on Style Forum. I'm not excusing it, but rather just explaining that I made a mistake and was wrong. Hope to hear your thoughts. Even you AB. By the way AB, I love that you share your true thoughts on your posts. If you're ever in San Antonio, let's smoke a cigar. I like true thought people. In fact, so much so that I married one, which has its benefits and its drawbacks. BTW, I know this is off the subject, but my brother Jonathan is a really cool guy. He's not one to toot his own horn, so let me. He lived with me selling real estate around a golf course near Mexico City when he was 18 years old, was meritoriously promoted in Japan for being the best U.S. soldier in Japan, made Sargeant before 2 years, was flown around the world to guard U.S. Heads of State in South America and Europe, regularly made presentations to Ambassadors and high ranking officers, speaks spanish, plays guitar better than me and is an all around honest and transparent guy with wisdom beyond his years. Did I mention that the whole family would love him and completely accept him even if he were (he's not) an irritating drug addict loser in prison for beating up little girls at bus stops? He's a great guy.
post #106 of 176
10/23/09 at 2:29pm