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HardcoreUnemployable.com This is a forum to discuss issues on life and the pursuit of happiness. It's also a support group for those who need to be their own boss and canít work for anyone else. Learn the skills to be an entrepreneur and start your business. You can read more on these topics at my blog HardcoreUnemployable.com

Lessons from Metallica


HardcoreUnemployable.com

This is a forum to discuss issues on life and the pursuit of happiness. It's also a support group for those who need to be their own boss and canít work for anyone else. Learn the skills to be an entrepreneur and start your business. You can read more on these topics at my blog HardcoreUnemployable.com
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  #1  
Old 10-14-2009, 11:47 AM
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Default Lessons from Metallica

The other night I was watching a new documentary on Metallica called 'In Their Own Words'. It was a really fascinating show.

This is a band who has been able to stand together, work together and play together for over 25 years. They have traveled through time and space for a long time. Transcending through different waves of new music styles, Metallica has still managed to own their genre.

During the interviews, James and Lars talks about how at their first show, they called all their friends and got a bunch of people (75-100) to show up. In fact it was the most people they had coming to their shows for quite a while. Now you might say yea well, it's Metallica, so surely they must have rebounded quickly.

Fascinatingly enough, the show attendance declined not for weeks, not for months, but for years! This is a phenomenon I would suspect 99% of new bands find themselves dealing with when they get started.

During this time, most bands would probably get together and say, the writings on the wall. We have declining ticket sales. This band is going no where. I quit. Then you would see the band disintegrate.

Now I bet this happens with most bands, but Metallica stuck with it. They had a burning desire to perform, to express themselves and to make the dream come true.

I can think of countless bands I have known personally who just imploded because they didn't see an immediate attendance count grow. They gave up on one band to reformulate their sound with other members and started other new bands. This cycle continued until one thing or another forced them to quit and get 'real jobs.'

This same cycle exists in the business world as well. Ultimately bands are businesses and all the laws still apply. Musicians are entrepreneurs in a business that is their band.

When new entrepreneurs try to get a business started and it doesn't take off the way they expected it to, they tend to quit. They tend to give up. If they don't get an immediate sense of gratification, they throw their hands up into the air. They then may try to reformulate and try again, but I think the vast majority of them think to themselves, I just don't have what it takes to succeed.

Now my point with all this is, if you can look and see that even the great Metallica had declining attendance to their shows after their first one for years after, you can have similar issues as well with your new business. Don't give up. This doesn't mean you are a loser. This doesn't mean you don't have 'what it takes.' Stick with it, experiment more and see what you can do to attract more customers.

The longer you stay in the game, the more you will learn, and the better your chances will become for finding success.

Metallica - In Their Own Words Documentary 2009 Part 1 of 4



Metallica - In Their Own Words Documentary 2009 Part 2 of 4



Metallica - In Their Own Words Documentary 2009 Part 3 of 4



Metallica - In Their Own Words Documentary 2009 Part 4 of 4

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Old 10-14-2009, 02:53 PM
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I was just going through the thoughts of selling everything and getting a "real job". I know in my gut that I've never been happy working for someone else. I talked to myself for a whole day telling myself to not give up. One more year. Give it a chance to grow.

I've just got to figure out how to make it through the winter.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:56 PM
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I was just going through the thoughts of selling everything and getting a "real job". I know in my gut that I've never been happy working for someone else. I talked to myself for a whole day telling myself to not give up. One more year. Give it a chance to grow.

I've just got to figure out how to make it through the winter.
I know you are not alone on this. This is a HUGE battle ever business owner goes through.

I am sure there are many many readers in the same boat at you this very moment. Can you tell us what is going on in your mind at the moment? What is the battle? What is the doubt?
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:16 PM
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I'll go back to 2007. I had a great job in lawn care working for a local business. I was making a good living. Things got thin in the winter from time to time but I never had any worries as I budgeted well. I was never really happy working for the person I was working for though. He wasn't a bad guy and he always paid on time but we just had two different business philosophies. To him time is money, to me quality is money. To him the way to be there for your family was to not be there because being there meant not bringing money back. To me the way to be there for your family was to spend actual quality time with them regardless of the money not being made at the time.

I knew there was going to be a rift at one time or another so I saved up half a years worth of bill and food money. Just about mid-2007 my cousin begged me to come to work for him at his networking and technology business. I was to be the programmer (something I've always wanted to do as long as I was a 14 year old boy with his first computer). I worked out a deal with him and turned in my 2 weeks notice at the lawn care company.

For the first year the programming gig worked out fine and then the pay stopped coming in at regular intervals. I had been planning on starting my own lawn care company from the time I quit the last job but I signed a non-compete form that lasted 2 years from the last day of work in exchange for winter money. The non-compete applied to lawn applications, not mowing. So, the first pay I got from programming I bought my walk-behind mower and planned on outfitting my truck with a spray rig a piece at a time.

It was going well until October 2008 which was the last time I got money from the last job. So, in March 2009 I went all out and got my insurance and business IDs and basically prayed for jobs to come in. Praise God they did. The business almost immediately sustained itself but that was just about it.

This year has allowed me to get minimal equipment and truck repairs and pay for food for the family but the bills are another story. I've been late on a few, which I've never been before, and borrowed money from family for a few others.

I've added my fertilizing and weed control business to the mix and that ate up the rest of my savings and I still don't quite have everything I really need but it will do for now.

That pretty much brings me to now. The savings are gone, the bills are due, I've got a dentist appointment next week that I don't know how I'm going to pay for and people are canceling their services for the year already just because it got a little bit cold last week.

I keep talking to myself, saying "things are bound to be tough from time to time but it's much better than working for someone else, going nowhere making them rich". I've got to keep going. If for nothing else just to keep the old boss from saying "I told you so".
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Old 10-14-2009, 11:06 PM
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So, in March 2009 I went all out and got my insurance and business IDs and basically prayed for jobs to come in. Praise God they did. The business almost immediately sustained itself but that was just about it.
I am amazed that you got this going as fast as you did like this! It seems on average the first year is going to beat you bloody and really test your resolve. So the fact you got it to be sustained is an amazing accomplishment!

Last year or the year before, one of our members, Chuck ( I sent him a message to see if he could jump in here too), was in a similar spot. He made the jump to going full time in his own business and when winter rolled around, he had to pick up a (part time job) I think it was at a local lube shop. But he got through and the next year he was able to build upon his momentum from the previous year.

One of the things he later instituted was annual lawn care contracts that paid him all year long. This way, he was getting money coming in during the winter months. That is something that might be helpful for next year.

Have you thought of services you could offer for the Fall and Winter? Have you talked to your customers and asked them what else they might need around the house?

What are your thoughts on this?
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:17 AM
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... One of the things he later instituted was annual lawn care contracts that paid him all year long. This way, he was getting money coming in during the winter months. That is something that might be helpful for next year. ...
I've already sold one of these. I just have to figure out how to price it.
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:49 AM
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Would this blog article help?

The benefits of and how to sell annual lawn care contracts.
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:45 PM
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Hey Mark,
Steve is right... I was in a very similar spot. I would say don't let go. Do what ever you have to do to make it through that 1st off season. It is a b*tch but it can be done. I started up in June of 07 & the winter of 07-08 was a pain in the butt. Once spring hit I quit the part time job & 2 weeks later had to hire help for the same dollar amount per hour I was workin for 2 weeks earlier. My business more than doubled in 2008. 2009 is looking like I'll be up about 30-35% over 08's numbers. In 2.5 years I've gone from 0 customers to grossing well into the six figures. If you need help with contracts PM me & let me know what area/state you are in for starters....
I'll do what I can to help you out & give you the advise you need.
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:05 PM
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Thank you, Chuck.

I'm in PA (I just added that info to my profile in case it comes up again). Growing from nothing to six figures in 2.5 years is quite impressive. If I can get anywhere close to that then I can have my house paid off next year and be fancy living from there on out.

I truly appreciate the encouragement and any info you can give me on pricing contracts would be fantastic. Right now I'm on track to cut the lawns I've had for the full year (starting April 1) 30 times. Should I use that as the basis for figuring out the monthly contract price?

A $30 lawn cut 30 is $900 per year. Divide $900/12 months = $75/month. Should I boost it up to $80/month to pay for the extra office work or just keep it equal? I think putting the customer on a monthly payment will keep them from skipping cuts.

I also want to dump every other week cuts. Do you have any advice on that? Two of my customers also insist on 10 day cuts which has me driving to their yard on an off day every other time. I actually schedule them at 10 days and then 11 days to keep it on the same weekdays (such as mondays and thursdays). I've got to get control over this part of the scheduling, perhaps by only offering such schedules at a premium price.

Just thinking out loud.
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:22 PM
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Mark,
I am going to PM you for some of the more delicate information I don't want my local competitors reading.... But as far as the bi-weekly people, I charge it as 1.5 times the normal rate. Yes it saves you a trip there but you are cutting twice the growth. Instead of 1-2 passes it may take 3-4 to clean it up! that's extra time, fuel,labor, wear & tear on equipment etc. I explain to thm that I understand money maybe tight & they want to go economical, but that I cannot do twice the work for the same money. I will let them save 25% as I will save some time in travel by only going there bi-weekly. More than that I can not do. Anythng longer than 2 weeks.... I am not intrested. The 10 day guy should get a choice either every 7 days at say $30 or every 14 days at $45. Sir we are in yor area every 7 days, take it or leave it. Now I understand in that 1st year I had some folks that I allowed them to push me a bit as I needed the business. I am nearly to the point of not accepting per cut clients at all, though I'll be honest... those bi-weekly stops help keep my $ per hour average up as it's more dollars per stop & travel time is what can eat you alive in this business.
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