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  • Showing only topics with the tag "business". Back to normal view
    1. Update #2 - "Reopening", Advertising, and so on

      I picked ~misc and don't really have an idea of what tags would be appropriate. If there's stuff I can include in future posts like this I'll be glad to make sure they're there, just let me know....

      I picked ~misc and don't really have an idea of what tags would be appropriate. If there's stuff I can include in future posts like this I'll be glad to make sure they're there, just let me know. There probably won't be one for a long while but I'll remember. Technically I am advertising myself a bit, but I think I've framed it well enough that ya'll will see it's not really the point of the post. I'll never be bothering ya'll with offers and ads and shit.

      This is a continuation from a post I made a while back about how it's going with the endeavor I've set in front of myself. In some ways, things proceed as I'd hoped, while in others there's been need for flexibility/adjustment. I wanted to give an update because a few big steps happened this past week which hopefully mean moving into a busier phase of the whole thing, and to add to the corpus, create the proof of what this all was as it begins if that makes sense.

      The biggest thing has been an article published in our local paper. Two, actually, which were combined together into a front page spread I did not expect. Yes, there's a photo of us and our contact info in there, and yes, you're welcome to reach us if you've an idea for something you'd like to do. You'll be talking to me, and I'll be happy to go over details and land on pricing that actually does work for both of us. Primarily we are offering the space, with some ability to accommodate large groups and connections with folks who can provide stuff. It depends on what you want, how things will be priced. The less you need us to do, the less we need to charge. We don't want to regularly be a place where folks stay overnight, but I can probably swing that from time to time for someone coming from far away. If you aim to do something in the near term, do be aware it is hot as shit down here and very humid. The house is a-ok staying cool, but you'll want to be prepared for Mississippi in the summer. I have a dog too, so if you've got allergies you'll need to prep accordingly. She's gonna be 16 this year, she's nothing but friendly to people and sleeps a lot. Pets are welcome, provided they are house-trained and well behaved.

      I am intentionally avoiding the internet on the whole for reasons I'll get into, but I do want to extend an offer to this forum in particular, as thanks for allowing me the space for expressing my thoughts as they took shape. I'm aware the site is public facing - what I'm going to share here is public already. I have to bite the bullet on sacrificing some anonymity and just try to control how that anonymity goes away, is how I've come to see it. You won't find me on social media, and what exists for the house/my grandmother is wildly out of date/largely inaccessible - it's gonna stay that way if all remains up to me, so this is just about the only way for someone outside of Brookhaven to know of us at this time. I'd like for at least a few people to know what we were up to, in a form that serves as proof of my intent from its actual beginnings. While the plan took shape before I ever wrote about it, it was in writing about it that I was able to make it clear to myself, what I aim to be doing, so I feel like it's part of completing things to share this stuff here.

      The paper is very much a local thing, they got a few details wrong and you'll probably pick out how the quotes don't quite sound like me if you've read a lot of what I've posted. It's fine, the details in need of correction aren't critical. There isn't a lot in there about the more high-minded stuff I like to write about, because I'm not there yet. For now, it's simply building a business out of something, I have to make the something from which that business will spring. I'll think more about where it goes when I've got it moving. The article was free, which was pretty awesome. The paper is in a slow time, and it's mostly one guy doing a lot of the writing, they were just happy to have something to include. I think he did great.

      The articles worked, too. I got calls the day the print version went out, and am expecting some followups soon to set dates and square away payment. I go walking downtown every day in the afternoon, and got some extra attention. While it's possible, while the pressure is light, I've been taking advantage by trying to advertise almost solely through word of mouth and face-to-face interactions, fully aware it will take a while for that to have an effect and that I may need to branch out fast if pressures change. Thus far, it's been the local paper, a print ad in a different paper that goes out primarily to local businesses, and a radio ad. There's a couple of reasons I've stuck to stuff like that.

      The first is that I think it will provide a good foundation for sustaining the enterprise. If it's possible to have enough business to stay around purely from what exists around me, that means I can capitalize maximally if/when we do extend advertising outside our area, and it means security if for whatever reason those means can't be utilized. I don't want to be dependent on the internet for a livelihood if I can possibly manage it. It's not so principled a position that I'd refuse to do it at any point, rather it's like a back-pocket option, something to be engaged with strategically at what I determine to be either the proper time or because the needs have grown past what I can sustain without it, if that makes sense. My aim is to be a part of this town, to be of it, so I want to keep what we're doing as local and simple as possible. I have to be ready to constrain everything and take care of my grandmother too. I won't let that priority slip and will endure whatever hardship is necessary to fulfill it. It's easier to do that the smaller things are, a bit of a balancing act.

      The second reason is much more practical and kind of silly. My grandmother's computer is the biggest security risk I think I've ever encountered in person. I refuse to introduce new online components when such a risk exists, if that makes sense, and I will endure whatever hit to efficiency/development it means until I can get it corrected. Her usage habits are minimal which is a lucky thing - she sticks to old fashioned stuff for almost everything. But, a priority of mine is that she can see and understand everything I'm doing, so I need this machine to be in a better state before I can take some of the steps with that. The challenge of it isn't technical at all, I could get the thing in good working order in a day, probably.

      To give you an idea of what's difficult here, imagine for a moment you just ignored the internet as a whole since it began. You used it, you know how to do some stuff on it, but only by way of memorizing actions, the steps necessary to do a thing you wanted, a setup someone made for you. You never really engaged with what the stuff you use is designed for, you didn't follow how any of it developed, you're (blissfully, I'd say) unaware of pretty much that whole end of things. It's very difficult to explain the danger of something like an AI phishing scam, to someone who for all intents and purposes, never learned what phishing is, and further doesn't tend to believe in the shittiness of other people. That last part is one of the reasons I love my grandmother as much as I do, but it does make this task harder, and delays further action on my part.

      I've gotten the machine to as secure a state as I can, and have gotten the data backed up, so hopefully movement really gets going on this and I can feel better about spreading out our net, so to speak. I think what frustrates me about it is having been there across years of time - a lot of why this machine is the way it is, is because other people took it upon themselves to "fix it" and almost none of them knew what the hell they were doing. They didn't explain anything to my grandmother either. Their interactions mean misunderstandings on my grandmother's part, and the lack of a foundation of knowledge means it's starting from zero in a way I have never actually encountered before doing this kind of work. I've gotten close, seen some pretty absurd things, but the lack here is just of a different kind, more complex than it seems. I've been writing about it separately/on my own because I think the experience stands as a sort of ultimate test of a lot of the stuff I did before I got here.

      There is also health to think about. The priority, for now, is to set things up in a way which is compatible with what my grandmother can do. I'm trying to set up situations that let her do the things that make her happiest, and do all of the nitty-gritty shitty stuff myself. That means house maintenance, yard work, grocery shopping, cooking, arranging for stuff like an electrician when something breaks, learning how to do some of the fixing myself. I've only ever rented. I've never been in a position to maintain a house before, and as I'm sure plenty of you know far better than me, that's a good bit to learn all on its own. Especially with a home as old and complicated as this one with an owner who hasn't done a lot of that herself. Can't exactly tell me what needs doing when someone else was being paid to come do it for years. I feel good about it though, I like to learn and I like to fix things, and there's lots of opportunity. I've been able to eliminate a lot of costs and reduce regular expenses by taking on a lot of what others were doing and applying effective fixes to longstanding issues. It's very fulfilling, like getting to do the type of work I always hit a wall with in all my other workplaces, improve and optimize. That it's for my family brings together a lot of what matters the most to me, keeps me constantly motivated.

      The town is nice too. It's been a few months so I've gotten more acclimated, the slower pace of things and friendlier atmosphere really does a lot for me. Here are a bunch of images of downtown I took on some of my walks. Because of the slower pace, I can be measured, precise, take the proper time to consider things and work out problems without feeling like I'm in some inner state of siege/under the gun all the time. At first I missed a lot of what was available to me elsewhere, but as time went on I came to realize a lot of that just didn't matter as much as I thought it did. As much as I love a good Indian restaurant and a computer store, not having them is not the detriment my mind used to pretend it was. Along with that has come an explosion of creativity, I've done a ridiculous amount of writing and reading, and am slowly getting myself up to snuff drawing things. The house exists on an art school campus, and from what I've gathered reading local magazines the presence of that school has done a ton to really give this place character and variety. My hope is to really lean into that, support it and see if we can have our space be a place for folks to work their creativity. Connections are taking shape and that's made me real happy to see. I cannot tell you how heartwarming it is, for example, to talk about this stuff with the guy who does a radio show and then hear him on the radio a day later saying "this place is really good you should go see it!" Folks are really beginning to grasp my aims when it comes to the scale and type of stuff we want to do, and I haven't really encountered much suspicion/doubt/etc. Folks tend to just trust the simple motives. I can't ask for more than that, the sense of gratitude I wake up with every day is beyond my ability to capture here.

      So, there you go. Another step taken, one more further toward whatever comes, as precisely as I can manage to get to the goals. I wanted to post the followup because I said I'd do that and as part of the effort itself, share the vision and the way it plays out in the hope others spot what my eyes miss, and/or that they might take something useful for themselves from it. I'd love to read it if you have thoughts, opinions, advice, experience. Or if you just want to talk about the high minded stuff, I do like doing that. Helps me stay consistent. Anyway, i've said plenty, so off I go to walk around downtown again. I've got that phone on me all the time, call/text whenever (text if it's after 5pm CST, is my only request with that). As always, I very much appreciate you taking the time and giving me your attention.

      16 votes