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Business Memoir

Running a small business can be hard—so hard, in fact, that something like 95 out of 100 new businesses fail in the first five years. Meaning, of course, that only five out of every 100 small businesses succeed—which is an intimidating statistic if you’re just starting out. So, exactly what makes running a small business so difficult? Well, consider just a few of the obstacles you’ll potentially face (or are already facing):

  1. Dealing with employees
  2. Marketing incorrectly (or not at all)
  3. Handling money poorly / Running out of money
  4. Making sure your customers are satisfied
  5. A poor or unpredictable economy
  6. Ruthless competitors

And there are undoubtedly hundreds of other things you could add to this list–many of which are under your control, and several of which are not.

(from 9 Common Mistakes That Most Small Business Owners Make)

Photography Marketing Book

Everyone knows the stereotype of the starving artist.

You know, living in a dingy one-room apartment, eating cold noodles 3 times a day, slaving away in the darkroom (or, these days, at the computer) until 4:00 in the morning… and struggling to make even a couple of hundred dollars selling their photographs.

This probably hits home for some of you—because it describes your life more accurately than you’d care to admit.

Now, there are a few deluded people out there who think there’s something romantic about being a starving artist. There isn’t—unless you’re Ernest Hemingway.

I know. I’ve done the starving artist thing… and it sucked. It wasn’t romantic, it wasn’t glamorous, it wasn’t soul-cleansing—and believe me…

Making a Couple of Hundred Dollars Doesn’t Impress the Ladies!

In my experience, those people who claim it’s romantic are usually just making an excuse for why they can’t make any money.

(from Photography Marketing Magic)

Kids’ Book

There wasn’t a single bear at Happy Cub Elementary School who wasn’t terrified of Bubba Bully Bear. This included most of the teachers.

Sometimes he walked down the halls completely alone, because nobody wanted to come within ten feet of him. If a bear did get too close to him, Bubba might do anything—punch them, give them a noogie, kick their books out the window like a football, or pour apple juice over their head.

Whether it was sticking chewing gum in the drinking fountains, tripping a bear who was running late to class, or pouring glue down a bear’s pants, Bubba Bully Bear always seemed to be up to no good.

(from Bubba Bully Bear: No More Bullying)

Young Adult Novel #1

Eddy Coletrane sat very, very still.

It was 9:37 on a school night, and Eddy sat cross-legged on top of the rusted blue mailbox at the foot of Canterbury Court, a quiet cul-de-sac lined with enormous old oak trees and nicely trimmed lawns. Other than the occasional barking of a dog or the distant hoot of an owl, the only sound Eddy could hear was the low, annoying rumble of his empty stomach.

Eddy hadn’t eaten since lunchtime, but that was his own fault. His mother had tried to feed him dinner—unfortunately, the lumpy green casserole she had served contained avocado, Eddy’s least favorite food. Although Eddy was polite and pretended to eat it, he had secretly fed it under the table to Roxanne, his silly, spastic golden retriever puppy who wasn’t at all picky about what she put in her mouth.

Eddy fished hopefully in his pockets for some candy—or at least some gum—but all he found were a couple of dimes and a piece of lint roughly the size and shape of a Hershey’s Kiss.

Oh well, he thought, I guess I’ll just have to wait.

(from The Cootie Kisser Convention on Canterbury Court)

Young Adult Novel #2

Josephine Jones had been principal of Roosevelt Elementary School for 23 years—and during that entire time, nobody had ever seen her smile. The students whispered that she had an ugly face and an uglier soul.

Principal Jones was a large, clumsy woman who wore several pounds of cheap, jingling jewelry around her thick wrists. She had a fleshy, wart-filled face that had given more than one student a screaming, wet-the-bed nightmare.

When she spoke it was in a loud, harsh voice—to prove she didn’t tolerate a single ounce of nonsense from anybody.

Not from her teachers… not from those pesky parents who were always begging for special favors for their kids… and especially not from the students themselves.

Josephine Jones liked to be called “Jo-Jo” by her close friends. But the teachers at Roosevelt liked to joke (quietly, of course, and far behind her back) that she could count the number of people who actually called her “Jo-Jo” on one hand and still have a few fingers left over.

(from A Very Strange Little Boy)

Garage Sale Manual

When I was a teenager my architect father found 200 decaying player piano rolls in a dumpster. He told me that if I could sell them, I could keep the money.

So I called the music store, which offered me $20 for the entire lot—a measly ten cents apiece. I declined—it was barely worth the trip downtown.

So the music rolls remained molding in the garage.

But 8 years later, I discovered eBay. So I (literally) dusted off those rolls and listed one, just for kicks.

It sold for $18, and I knew I was on to something. Over the next few weeks, I listed all 200 of those rolls, and pulled down around $2,300… or more than 100 times what they originally offered me at the music store.

(from The Tiny Book of Big Garage Sale Secrets)

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