In the midst of decluttering our house I came across a phone book sized book of coupons. Like actual coupons you hold in your hand, not the type on your phone.
Did you know these books still exists? And businesses pay money to be in them.
I know because two years ago, in the summer of 2014 I attempted to be a coupon sales woman. I physically cold-called on any business that would let me inside and would say, “Hi, can I talk to your manager about coupons?”
I found the job on Craigslist (red flag #1.)
I emailed the manager and was hired without an interview (red flag #2.)
And then I set up a meeting with the manager at a coffee shop that was supposed to happen two days later. He didn’t show, but emailed me all the pdfs, and then sent me the coupon book in the mail. (red flag #9000.)
I feel like I need to say that at this time in my life I had held several “real professional” jobs prior to this coupon blip. It wasn’t as if I was fresh out of college or anything. I was simply at that point where my blog was starting to make money, but it wasn’t completely there, so I needed something to help me get by and I refused to work a standard 9-5.
And so I thought a “work at your own pace” coupon sales job was the answer. It wasn’t.
But never the less, I would put on my “work attire” and walk door to door, downtown Chicago, peddling my coupon books.
“Hi, I’m Taylor. Can we talk about coupons for a bit?”
Again, this wasn’t ages ago. This was in July of 2014. I did it because I had to pay rent. And the idea of going back to a cubicle and working a job that ate my soul was not going to happen. I wouldn’t let it. Every single morning I would get up and write in my goal notebook, “I WILL NEVER WORK FOR ANYONE BUT ME. EVER AGAIN.
I still write this today (every single day) just to be certain. Because when you work for yourself the feeling of someone sweeping the rug out from under you is always there.
I did this job for about three weeks (it was straight commission, no salary at all) and I was terrible at it. So one day I decided to take a chance and order 25 t-shirts with a phrase I thought might sell, “TALK HERBIE TO ME.” I put the first order on my credit card because I didn’t have enough in my bank account to cover. And I went back and forth about it for nearly a week before finally doing it.
I took my first 25 orders via email. They sold out in about an hour and I was just so thrilled I could pay my bill. I remember telling Chris, I bet I could sell 200 by Christmas. It seemed so crazy.
I’m about to hit 10,000+ orders for 2016. I feel boastful writing this, and perhaps I am, but really I’m just grateful.
So I’m not throwing out the coupon book.
I’m going to keep it because it reminds me to hustle. And then hustle more. I have about two hours of packing shirts to do tonight. I need to count inventory, come up with new marketing ideas, new designs, ext ext. And before I found that coupon book I was feeling just a little bit pissy about it all because I know I’ll be up well past midnight.
But even when I’m pissy, I am still grateful. I’m grateful I put that first order of 25 shirts on my credit card in late July of 2014.
However, I don’t want this post to come off as preachy or “if I can do it anyone can” because I know that’s not true. It’s easy(er) to take risks on a new business when you have a safety net under you. (Parents who will bail you out.) I knew that if I really found myself in a bind my parents would help out, as they always have. And so many people don’t have this luxury.
But the post about “giving myself a privilege check” whenever I feel too high and mighty will have to come at another time.
Because for now, this post is just about me feeling grateful I get to do what I do. And mostly that I get to spend my mornings on the couch with Harlow in my lap as I answer customer emails. I wouldn’t trade my mornings with Harlow for anything.
But enough chit chat, it’s time to get back to the hustle.
To each and every one of you, thank you for supporting my business. I really really appreciate it.