Month: March 2021

Business 101: Screw the Instagram Marketing Gurus

One thing I would advise not to get worked up over is all these folks on Instagram that claim they have the follower and or like secret.  Most of these folks with hundreds of thousands of followers are frauds unless they are a real celeb, athlete, and or sell actual products/service.  If someone’s biggest claim to fame is being Instagram relevant walk away.  All you must do is look in their comments section to see what’s going on.  If someone’s follower to comments ratio is way off that’s indication of bought follows.  For example, if someone has 20K followers but can’t consistently get 100 likes on their posts something isn’t right.  Another indication of bought followers and likes is when you look in their comments section and the same 15 people post on every time (and they post multiple times) and half the times their remarks make no sense in relation to the content. Or maybe the comments will have a bunch of spam remarks (forex trading, conspiracy theories, etc).  Full disclosure, I’ve bought followers instantly to see how it works and you can literally by 50, 1000, 10000, etc. in less than a few days.  Once you realize the game that’s being played it liberates you and allows you to just make content without pressure of who’s going to follow or like it.  If you take nothing else away from this article remember this, if someone’s only claim to fame is being Instagram marketing relevant look somewhere else for help.  Take your butt online and look around for marketing assistance from people that do it in real life.

FIRE RANT: SICK of PARTISAN POLITICS? ME TOO!

Like most people I was somewhat satisfied to be blessed with another stimulus check on the way that would allow me to continue paying off debt, generating wealth, and investing in my entrepreneurial desires.  Additionally, I liked how the new bill provides support for small businesses and communities that need funding.  However, I was not in impressed to see that the bill only passed because my Soror, Vice President Kamala Harris, broke the 50-50 split with her vote.  I need the government to set better examples and to show the collaboration and compromise we teach are children at home and school.  The same negotiations that trade labor unions, athletes and owners, and employees at corporate America work thru should be displayed by the countries supposed “best leaders”.  Nobody is truly all conservative or all progressive with their views if we are being honest.  Congressional leaders are so scared to lose their position in office that they use group think at every turn which isn’t healthy.  Maximum benefit can’t be created in a negotiation and agreement when one side or person pretty much can push thru what they broadly believe independent of the other side.  I believe that fair deals where both sides get something, they think is important creates the best overall result because you stay away from extremes.  Rarely, is the extreme of anything the best decision short or long term.  Whether its food, sex, fun, work, or rest too little or too much of any of those doesn’t breed accountability and desirable results.  Why do our politicians think its acceptable?  Maybe the current system as it exists is too fear based to allow people the heart to speak their conscience without being censured by their party.  If that’s the case, shame on us for not demanding a more bias-less system.

Sports BLITZ!: The GLASS Ten, I Mean Big

So, I’m not a big NCAA fan regardless of the sport but I do passively pay attention to the Big Ten schools based in Illinois given that I grew up in Chicago.  Needless to say, I took notice that Big Ten had an extraordinarily strong conference for Men’s basketball and had record number of participants in the tournament.  However, my enthusiasm subsided as I saw teams get eliminated one by one like snowflakes in the summer.  I don’t care if some of the losses were good old fashion butt whippings.  The results were embarrassing.  They scream fraud, soft, and underachievement.  To have over 10% of the field be occupied by Big Ten affiliated teams and only have 1 team make it to the 3rd round or sweet 16 is a joke.  Have some pride!  Some of these fools were low single digit (highly ranked) teams like Ohio State and Purdue who didn’t have enough self-respect to make it out the first round.  Maybe Michigan will keep advancing and cover for the sins of their brothers.  UM probably needs to make it to final four to save the conference from ending the year with egg on their face in my opinion.  Additionally, Michigan has the chance to punch Alabama in the mouth in route to claiming a final four spot which would avenge what happened in football season to Ohio State during the college football championship game.  We shall see what happens.

Business 101: 3 Hard Lessons I Learned in the T-Shirt Business

So, during my journey to discover what areas would be part of my business empire I have dabbled in the t-shirt selling business.  While I haven’t spent a lot of time in this space, I’ve learned several lessons that can help anyone that is just starting out. If anyone else has additional hard lessons shoot them in the comments section.

  • Don’t buy inventory ahead of time.
    1. I had the grand idea of purchasing 3-5 t-shirts in several sizes of my first design so basically 20 shirts. Nearly 9 months later, how many shirts do I have left you ask, 19.  It you aren’t running a brick-and-mortar store and or don’t have an established demand it makes no sense to buy physical inventory ahead of time.  Just because you think your design is a good idea doesn’t mean the world will buy it.  I recommend putting in an application for Amazon Merch because they allow you to create designs and only manufacture the inventory when an order is placed.  Redbubble is the same way minus the requirement to apply to be a merchant on the site.  The downside to Amazon Merch is that if you don’t sell a given number of shirts by a certain time frame than you can get kicked off the site like myself.
  • Develop marketing plan for your product.
    1. I will admit that once I got up to maybe 10 different t-shirt designs posted between Amazon Merch and Redbubble that I didn’t do a whole of marketing. I created a web page on my website that linked to a lot of the shirts but that wasn’t enough to generate any sales.  I won’t pretend that I’m a marketing guru and with all the research I’ve done apparently others aren’t either.  No, buying followers and likes on Instagram doesn’t count as being a good marketer.  Know that if you are going to outsource someone to do marketing for your product that you’re probably going to end up paying someone up to thousand dollars a month for several months to see results.  The costs could be maybe several hundred dollars if you use overseas company or labor.
  • Avoid dealing with unproven overseas manufacturing companies.
    1. I called myself trying to find my own overseas manufacturer for t-shirts right out the gate with no experience on my end. Stumbled on site called Sewport.com and thought their database of potential vendors seemed like a jackpot.  However, when I tried to make my first purchase on there, they had some deal where the payment for the order was held by them and then released to the overseas manufacturer.  To make the payment though you had to make international wire transfer.  So, I placed the order, but the money took several weeks and still wasn’t in manufacturer’s hands.  Things didn’t seem right to me, so I demanded my money back and cancelled the order due to sketchiness of the site.  If you are going to use overseas manufacturer, I would recommend finding someone with industry knowledge to provide you tips.  Places like the small business administration, better business bureau, or asking around would be better starting points than my random web search.

FIRE RANT: Everyone Deserves Respect

Today I like to clear up the notation that everyone doesn’t deserve basic respect.  People are literally walking around everyday treating another person differently because of their race, age, class status, gender, sexual orientation, profession, political affiliation, clothes their wearing and much more.  Funny part about it is that most of the things we judge people on are things people can’t 100% control.  I won’t get into the debate of which ones because that’s besides the point.  I shouldn’t be treated differently when I walk in a room wearing a suit versus sweatpants and hoodie.  My blood pressure shouldn’t raise when I see a police car and or officer near me.  Aside from jobs that have physical requirements women should be able to have just as much representation for genderless jobs as men.  However, this isn’t the case.  Though everybody is their own unique person we seemed to want to focus on how quickly we can point out the difference between others and ourselves.  We use stereotypes to short cut treating everyone as individuals as if every republican is racist and every democrat is not racist.  Don’t tell anybody but I’ve twice been pulled over by cop and got away with a warning.  At same time, I’ve also been profiled by a cop on the University of Dayton campus on the same night I was going to do a planned ride along with same cops!  Point is we need to stop painting everybody with broad brushes.

We need to start treating everyone with dignity and like they matter.   Mark 12:31 says to “treat your neighbor like yourself” which is one of the two most important commandments.  Religious or not if we simply treated each other the way we wanted to be treated would folks still rape, cuss, harm, molest, kill, steal, and lie against another?  Essentially the concept of karma that folks are always throwing around is the manifestation of that scripture.  The world accepts folks giving random individual truths but doesn’t want to give basic respect to folks.  You can be from the hood and still share seat on a plane with a white woman from the suburbs.  A Christian pastor can volunteer and work with a gay man in the community or at his job.  Its okay to hold the door open for someone that’s transgender or service a bad cop in a restaurant if that’s your job.  Until we start giving people basic respect regardless of folks’ personal choices, appearance, lifestyles, affiliations, etc. humans will continue to waste energy on fake drama.

Sports BLITZ!: MIXED FEELINGS ON DESHAUN WATSON ALLEGATIONS

Like most fans I’m observing what’s going on with the Deshaun Watson situation and not quite clear what to make of it.  On one hand I find it fishy that out of nowhere allegation after allegation is be made against him.  Why now and not before?  The quarterback has been petitioning for a divorce from the Houston Texans the past several months.  He had a stellar reputation from the outside and now all the sudden on the eve of NFL free agency a week ago the first of many sexual allegations was made against him.  Plaintiff lawyer says that they approached Watson and his attorney recently before going public for a settlement, but they refused.  One would think that if a person wasn’t guilty that’s exactly the way they would approach a perceived extortion attempt.  Watson himself, even denied the claims when they first came out earlier in the week.  However, as each additional alleged victim comes forward, they chip away at the likelihood that Watson is completely innocent.  Could 7 or more women that came forward on this all be lying? At some point probability kicks in.  Could this really be who Watson is and Texans simply stopped protecting him as a retaliation for him trying to force his way out?  I’ve noticed that as the claims have piled up, we no longer hear him shouting denials though that could be for legal reasons.  My prediction at this point is we’ll hear some story about how Watson didn’t know he offended anyone or that the activity was consensual.  He’ll be apologetic for unintentionally offending the women.  Or maybe the women will get paid off to go away.  Unfortunately, lastly damage has been done.  Even if all the women were lying people will still find a way to use this incident to hurt his character.  The only people I’ve seen that appear to have shaken off sexual based crime allegations successfully is Donald Trump and Robert Kraft.  Success meaning the allegations not defining them.  Yes, Kobe Bryant went on to great things for example but even when the man died tragically folks made sure to remind people of the rape situation.  Whatever the consequences, I just hope the truth comes out.

Business 101: Patents 101

I just want to share some quick lessons I learned about patents.  If you want to find out whether your idea or product is patentable you will want to ask a law firm to conduct a patentability search.  This is when a law firm will ask you questions about your idea and do a search of prior art (existing patents/inventions) to see if anything similar is out there.  The goal of the search is basically to see if you have an idea or product that is unique to the world or a significant improvement over something that already exists.  After the search they will share the results.  If your idea isn’t unique, better luck to you next time.  If it is unique you will have a chance to review any prior art that could be like yours and verify yourself that you agree with the results that the idea is unique.  To protect an idea or product immediately you will want to file provisional patent.  Provisional patents will protect your intellectual property for up to 1 year.  A provisional patent puts you in patent pending state.  So when you hear someone say they are patent pending that means they have only chose to protect their idea for a year.   Once in patent pending state you have choice to file the regular patent that will last for 20 plus years.  If you do not have the long-term patent filed before the provisional expires someone else can slide thru and steal your idea.  A provisional patent can take a couple of thousand dollars depending on who you know and where you go.  A long-term patent can be anywhere from $5-$15K depending on what it is.  Remember that when it comes to patents not who created the idea or invention first that owns the right, its who files the paperwork first.

FIRE RANT: Celebrities Aren’t Automatically Good People, We Aren’t Either

Today I like to talk about our beliefs that celebrities have to be and or are good people.  People are always trying to cancel a celebrity, athlete, and or politician if they don’t agree with their own personal beliefs.  First, we must realize that once someone hits the public eye they are coached on what to say and not say at times.  So the chances you are really hearing what the person thinks are sketchy.  Athletes and celebrities seem to mainly state what’s the popular opinion at the time.  When they don’t the social media police or insert some random organization are quick to harass them until they comply and change their stance.  Politicians will sell their opinion for votes and or continued status in a political party.  I never understood why folks will protest a celebrity or athlete if they align themselves with something, they don’t like but will still report for work if their boss and or company does the same thing.  For example, someone will complain about teams support of Black Lives Matter or some conservative ideology and refuse to support it.  But they will continue going to work when their job starts pushing Black Lives Matter agendas and or work for leadership that has strong conservative views.  Just like the people and business around you in your everyday life that aren’t perfectly aligned with your morals and or flawed famous folks are no different.  If you not going to make a stand with the people and company, you encounter everyday sit down and reserve the high-level judgement.  Too many of us are holding famous folks and companies to standards we don’t live in our lives and businesses.

Sports BLITZ!: CAM NEWTON RUNS IT BACK WITH NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

I must admit that I was happy to learn that NFL free agent Quarterback Cam Newton was returning for 1 more year with the New England Patriots.  I feel that Newton has hit a string of bad luck the past few years.  The last time he was truly healthy was with the Carolina Panthers when Norv Turner was his Offensive Coordinator.  The Panthers had I believe a 6-2 record and Newton was playing well until his shoulder injury happened that he tried to play thru.  He followed that season coming off the shoulder injury while also dealing with a new foot injury which tanked his final season with Panthers before playing for Patriots during the 2020 covid football season.  Because of all the injuries he was trying to recover from Newton didn’t sign with a team until August meaning he missed most of the off season which matters for any player yet alone a quarterback.

Newton started off the year with Patriots looking pretty good but wasn’t the same after returning from covid19 illness.  Compound that with virtually no offensive weapons and it was perfect disaster for the Patriots.  Even with that the team still was only 7-9, a few more plays being made on final drives and they could have been 10-6 or at least 9-7.

I’m eager to see Patriots reload their offense and welcome back the defensive players that opt-out the season due to covid and see what Belicek cooks up this season.  No, I’m not a Patriots fans but I usually do like to see black quarterbacks do well and respect Belicek’s football IQ.  Side note that I used to play quarterback some in high school back when Kordell Stewart was the man.  So, Cam Newton, know that I’m praying for you to regain some version of the form you showed when you worked with Norv Turner.  If you regain superman, even better.

Business 101: Lock up Your Brand Name Across the Internet

One of the first steps I take when considering a new brand is verification that the name is indeed not already being used by someone else.  It doesn’t make sense to waste your time building a name that someone already uses.  I perform verification in a handful of steps which are all listed below.

  1. Search for the name online which entails going to your favorite search engine and seeing if the name pops up.
    1. For example, when I was thinking of the bizzy jimme name I looked it up online and found it wasn’t occupied. It was probably my second or third choice because other names I wanted were bands, etc.
  2. Search to see if the domain name you want is available for you to brand a website.
    1. If you can’t get a domain that you feel represents your brand it can hinder what you want to accomplish. I usually don’t select a brand name if I can’t align with a domain name.  Sometimes you will see that people will squat on domain names and not actively be using the website.  Its up to you if you want to explore trying to get the squatter to sell the site for affordable price.  Often a middle gets involved to try to make money off your dilemma.
  3. Have conviction to get a custom domain email.
    1. I must admit I lose respect for folks when I see them doing business with a gmail domain name. It costs less than $100 dollars, maybe as low as $60-84 a year to have custom email domain.  Spend the chump change to let folks know you’re serious.
  4. Claim the brand name across various social media platforms.
    1. You don’t need to secure every social media app known to man just the standard ones regardless of if you think you will heavily use it. I typically, will secure an account for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.
  5. Get logo created to represent brand.
    1. Once you’ve secured a name, domain, and social media accounts you want to get logo created to help make the brand name more recognizable. You can get some goods ones made at fiverr.com for under $50 dollars with all the fixings.
  6. Trademark name and logo.
    1. This is a long-term step you will want to take if your brand starts taking off. You will want to go online to get the name trademarked and get logo trade marked as well.   You can roughly do both of those for under $1000 including the government filing fees.