I am originally from Tampa, FL and graduated high school in 1980 (yeah, I’m old!). I always loved flying, so to get as close to flying as I could, I thought I would enlist in the Air Force. Not a smart choice! No, never became a pilot, but I worked as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician while stationed in England for 2 1/2 years!
I did take flying lessons off and on during the often terrible conditions over there, but eventually ran out of money and never finished. One of my biggest regrets in life…hopefully one day I can get back to it…but life has a way of changing your priorities!
I did get to see lots of Europe before I left, one of the things many people never have an opportunity to do, so I am thankful for those experiences.
After serving my 4 years of service, I realized that a very structured life was not for me. I decided to get a college degree and study electronics and computers (those were the early days of computers back then!) Who would have thought that electronics was nothing but math and science! Physics did me in and made me realize I probably would not be very good in this career path if I could not handle the basics.
[su_spacer]So I left college at that point and decided I would go into business for myself. I foolishly bought into an auto detailing franchise, which, basically I bought an expensive job! I was going nowhere fast and quickly realized I did not know enough about business, so…back to college I go! This time, I focused on getting my Associates Degree and then enrolled in the business program at University of South Florida.
[su_spacer]This was more my speed and I really enjoyed most of it. I really liked marketing, so that is what I got my degree in, with a minor in management. But as luck would have it, the job market was not that good and I did not see myself going into sales – it just was not me (so I thought). I was not like the others. I was not outgoing, not good at meeting people or talking to strangers, etc.
[su_spacer]I was hired right out of college train in restaurant. Not exactly the kind of job I was expecting to get after four years of college! What’s even funnier, I had virtually no cooking experience or even the faintest desire to be a cook! But the potential earnings once you managed a restaurant were very motivating, so I moved to Orlando and gave it my all…for about a year…that was all I could take!
[su_spacer]I packed up and moved to Jacksonville, looking for opportunities with some of the larger companies. I worked with temp agencies hoping to get hired on full-time. After two years of that, they finally hired me…sort of. As luck would have it, we were being acquired by another company and our jobs were being re-located! So, my future boss not only could not hire me, but he was out of a job as well! Such is life with BIG (or even small) companies.
[su_spacer]Finally, I “fell” into sales through a family member who was working as an outside sales rep for Gulf States Beauty Supply company. When he had to have back surgery, he could no longer be on the road, so he encouraged me to interview for his job.
[su_spacer]Needless to say, I was not thrilled about selling beauty supplies. It was so foreign to me and I never pictured myself selling soap to women. After much prodding and proving to me what he was earning, I interviewed with the manager and was hired.
[su_spacer]Even though I did not know much about what I was doing, determination and hard work started paying off. My territory and sales started to grow, and after 5 years of being in the top five, I reached number 1 in sales for Florida!
[su_spacer]I was with Gulf States for about 10 years, at which point our company was acquired by our biggest competitor. They changed everything, especially our compensation plan. We went from being motivated commissioned-based salespeople to unmotivated salaried employees. Not wanting to jump ship too fast, I stayed with them for another 5 years hoping things would get better.
[su_spacer]In the meantime, I got married for the second time and we brought our wonderful son, Johnathan into the world in 2003. At around age 2, we found out he has mild autism, which basically changed our life forever. It has been a real challenge, but he is an awesome little boy with lots of potential. He loves to swim and surf and he may even perform in the circus one day! 🙂
[su_spacer]Things with the company never got better – they got even worse! We were acquired again by an even larger company which forced out many of the higher paid sales people in an effort to consolidate the companies. After seeing the writing on the wall, I had been selling a unique skin care product on the side to see how well I would do. Sales were great, so when I left the other company and I started my own company. I started selling specialty niche beauty supplies and did some consulting work for another beauty supply company.
[su_spacer]The day-to-day drudgery of running a distributorship was starting to take its toll. I had heard the old owners of Gulf States had gotten back in business with a new name, called The Salon Center, so I contacted them in hopes of starting distribution in Florida. After about a year, they felt like the time was right and we started building the Florida market with our brands. Things have been going great with this company – just like old times!
[su_spacer]Since I started with this company, we never really had much of a catalog to speak of, and customers would often ask if we had a website. I felt in order to be taken seriously as a real company, we needed a web presence. They already had the domain name, but never could justify the cost of having a website built.
[su_spacer]Frustrated, one day I decided I was going to build one for my customers. Up to this point, I had ZERO website experience! I had bought an inexpensive website editing software a few years ago that I never opened. When I installed the software, it was out of date, so I paid again to upgrade. When I went to use it for the first time, it looked like one of those graphics editing programs, only much worse! I had no clue what to do or how to start, except for an idea of what I wanted to create.
[su_spacer]I started playing with it and began putting the pieces together one-by-one, until I had a basic web page. I uploaded the page to the web…and then I got the dreaded error page! I could not figure out what I did wrong, so I called the software support hotline to see if they could help. Problem solved! I had my first website up, which grew into a pretty good tool for me and my customers. You can see it here at: http://www.uniquesalonproducts.com
[su_spacer]I showed the site to the owner of The Salon Center and he offered to buy the site and hired me to maintain it monthly! You can see that site at: http://www.thesaloncenter.com
. Since then, I built another site for one of my customers selling weight loss products. This was my first shopping cart site. Your can see that one here: http://www.hcgjax.com
[su_spacer]This blog is my first entry into blogging and my first experience with the WordPress platform. I think marketing is very important to the success of a business, and I think internet marketing is the future. My goal is to help my customers get better at marketing in general and teach what I do in my business. So far, this has been a very exciting time for me. I hope you will stick with me through this journey!