That Horse Trailer Full of T-Shirts

On my way home from work, yesterday, I passed a man selling eclipse T-shirts. He must have had a lot of them, judging from the horse trailer he’d dragged them in in, and I’ve seen him around town before. I stopped to talk, mostly because I was passing within ten feet of him anyway,  and he was looking straight at me. He pointed to the other guy, and said that he had designed the t-shirts and had a bunch made up.

So, yes, that’s more or less how it goes. They made eclipse T-shirts, and then plonked themselves down on the corner of Livestock Equipment and Big Box Store (Also Selling T-shirts) and hoped for the best.

Now, I’m really not sure where you’d go to sell t-shirts in my town, and maybe business will pick up, once the eclipse crowd gets here… any minute now…. any… minute…

But I do think you should have a pretty good idea before you buy a horse trailer full of shirts.

These are… well, they’re shirts. They’re blue, and say “Eclipse 2017” or some such, and have the Homestead National Monument printed on the back. (It’s a hideous picture of a hideous building.)

picture of homestead monument

Told You So. (Courtesy of the Parks Service.)

But there has been a lot of speculation surrounding the Eclipse, and that ranges from people letting out rooms in their house, to people trying to sell eclipse glasses on Amazon (From Utah!)… to people buying a horse trailer full of T-shirts.

And I don’t know how you sell a horse trailer full of T-shirts.

I don’t know how you sell eclipse glasses long-distance, after Amazon bans you for not having enough customer feedback for the number of sales on your new account. I don’t even know how you sell them, when it turns out that the local fast food places are giving them away with meals.

And the bed & breakfast thing? Well, I might just wait til closer, to see if you can get a look at the people in real life. It’s damn hard to get a drunken astronomer out of your waterbed. Especially after he gets out the snorkel.

There has to be more of a plan than just “I’m going over there and I’m going to sell (product).”

As of right now, I have seen more vendors than tourists.

Writer’s Business Cards

A while back, I had business cards made up. They’re not too bad. The Vista Print special for the day. Nothing that took a designer to build, but not exactly shabby, either.

They focused more on my website than on me as a writer, which is okay, I guess. I haven’t settled on a pen name (for real) yet, and at the time, I was still up in the air, even as far as genre goes. There are a lot of experiments rotting on my hard drive. I’m happy with some of them, and less happy with others. And maybe that’s just a part of sussing out what your themes–what your real, core stories are, and what the best way of telling those stories might be.

So, I have business cards.

Delightfully pretentious, n’est pas?

They don’t have my name on them, and they aren’t all that specific about genre, but they exist. They do highlight the website nicely, albeit as something I hope it will one day become. They do not, for instance, have my Twitter account on them.

I thought about taking business cards to the writers’ conference just a little too late to order new ones, and realized how… well, strangely not right the ones I have are. (Don’t worry, I ordered the smallest package of them.)

So, at some point , I actually saw a few writers’ business cards, and it turns out, they’re not nearly as difficult as I thought. Name, pen name, email, website, and some social media information. Maybe a genre, and maybe not. Maybe a tagline.

Obviously, my tagline would be Writing… Ask me what, when I make up my mind.

I’ll probably order replacements before I go out again.

So, do you have writer’s business cards? If so, what’s on them?

 

Businessy Me.

A couple days ago, one of my co-workers sent me a picture of everything that was going wrong in my absence. (Everything.) And also, I’m not supposed to mention the rat. (There’s a rat.) And apparently, people have been asking her to post my schedule so that they don’t have to deal with my new counterpart. (They would probably ask me, personally, but I am quite frightening.)

I don’t understand it. I mean… counterpart has been well trained. Somebody pointed at my work area and said “You’re doing that tomorrow” and everything.

I’m learning a lot about running a business from this job. Mostly by negative example. I’m seeing a whole lot of short-term choices being made, and a whole lot of higher policies that incentivize those short-term choices.

And I’m starting to see the effects of making short term decisions.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the company as a whole, but I have the feeling the writing’s on the wall for this particular town. (We’re in a downward spiral of cut jobs, lose income to bad customer service, cut more jobs to make up for the lost profits. I don’t really expect it to level out, and I know I don’t have the power to fix it.)

I could actually see what I’m learning being useful, if I could figure out a way to market it. Fabulous business advice such as:

  1. You can’t meet long-term goals with short-term solutions.
  2. If everyone who works with a manager thinks he’s incompetent, he probably is.
  3. Never mistake a retention problem for a hiring problem.
  4. More training, less hiring. (And less firing.)
  5. Don’t get in the way of peoples’ true passion. You’ll lose.
  6. Don’t expect everybody to share your idea of success.
  7. Understand other peoples’ personal goals, and help them meet them.

I’m not sure how those would relate to a writing business. I’m not likely to have an HR department. But you never know… I might find a use for them.