"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Fear of Failure Week 4: Moving Forward and Looking Back

So last week I decided to make some sort of attempt at becoming an on-field announcer for a sports team. I sat down on Monday and thought about how best to do it. Surely there was something better I could do than to just say "Hi Mr Davidson, can you give me a job?" I decided to consult people I knew for advice. First on the list was my friend Skip, who works for the the NBL's Adelaide 36ers. I sent him a text message...

"Hey Skip :) I'm going to try and apply for the type of job you do, but in other sports. I'd love to pick your brain on where/how I should apply?"
"Hey mate, I just fell into it. Got asked to fill in at the last moment and it went from there."
"Of course, I should have seen that coming :P"
"I guess your best bet would be to just write to the teams themselves. What kind of software do you use?"
"Um, what do you mean by software?"
"What do you think I do at the 36ers?"
"...Announcer?"
"Haha no mate. I look after the music and audio."
"Right."
"Jarrod Walsh is our on-court announcer. He also does Adelaide United, Port Power, Adelaide Strikers and others."
I'd heard of him. Most people know him as a radio announcer for Nova 91.9. He sounded like the perfect person to ask for advice, although he seemed to have all the jobs taken already.
"Do you think you could ask him if it's okay for me to contact him by email or phone?"
I didn't get a reply to that. Sometimes that happens with Skip, I wasn't too upset over it. What I did get upset about was an email I received later that night...

I'd recently been accepted into a company that runs birthday parties for kids. I'd been very proud of myself for getting in, because initially I'd been told that they weren't really looking for new staff. They agreed to look at my resume anyway, so I wrote a new one up and sent it to them that afternoon. I got a call the next day asking me for an interview. I impressed enough at the interview that they asked me to attend an observation shift, where I did the apparently-rare thing of jumping straight into a dinosaur costume and joining in on all the games. The very next day they called me back to ask if I wanted to start training there properly.


That was a week ago. Then on Monday I got this email. It said:
"Unfortunately, we're unable to keep training you at this time. Looking ahead, we we just don't have enough boys' parties to offer you any work. Thank you for your time and if you send us your details, we'll pay you for the shift you've already done."

It was very disappointing, even though I'd been warned that this might happen from the outset. Parents don't like having men host girls' birthday parties, which means I would have been limited to just the boys' ones. And clearly, their clientele are mostly girls. It was strange seeing all the other employees marvel that there was a male in their midst. But anyway, it meant I was down a job and had to work extra hard to get a new one back. I came up with a new plan on Tuesday.

At Fresh - the radio station where I volunteer - I have a friend named Joel. He's the on-field announcer for the Sydney Swans - an incredible achievement considering that there are 4 million people in Sydney and Joel isn't one of them. They fly him in every second week to do the job. I sent him a Facebook message and sat back, eating a sandwich while I waited for a response. In the end I only had to wait for a day ;)
"When are you in the station next?" He said.
"Monday afternoon."
"I'll see you then."

Well... I guess that's that for now. I went to work in Rundle Mall, handing out Lindt chocolate to Woolworths customers. Yep, that's a job I have. I have to dress up in a big chef outfit and carry around blocks of chocolate on a tray.


I was in unusually high spirits that day, despite the setbacks I'd been having. I posted a picture of myself in the chef outfit on Facebook and told anyone who was in the area to come and visit. People did come and it made me even brighter. That's when I met Belinda. Belinda was a tall girl in a very smart-looking red shirt and black pants. Her hair black hair fell in neat waves onto her shoulders and she carried herself with the air of a successful business professional. I handed her a piece of chocolate with the usual friendly grin and she started chatting to me as she ate.

'So this is what you do for a living is it?'
'Yep!'
'You must love it.'
'Sure do.'
'How many hours do you do this for?'
'I've got four shifts this week.'
'The reason I ask is... Well, are you looking for a bit of extra money?'
The pain of the kids party place was still fresh in my mind.
'I am...' I said more seriously.
'Do you drink much coffee?'
The answer was no. I used to have it once a week when I had to get up at 4am to produce a breakfast radio show. Nowadays I just drink tea. I also thought of a time, very on in my post-high school working life, where I attempted to sell a new range of pod-coffee machines. I lasted a month, then got an email saying the campaign had been discontinued. I went back to the store the next weekend to find another girl doing that same job.

But on the other hand... I don't really like letting opportunities just slip by.
'Yeah, occasionally,' was my reply.
'Well, I've been selling this coffee for a while and it's helped me set up a passive income, so I don't even have to work for my pay any more. Tell you what, I'll give you a couple of samples of the coffee and give you a call tomorrow and see what you think. We can take it from there.'
She reached into a satchel that hung from her should and produced two brown sachets with the words "Organo Gold" printed on them.

Right now, I expect about three people to burst into laughter. I had an amusing experience with this exact brand a year ago, back when this blog only had three readers. I knew then that nothing would come of this meeting but of course, not wanting to look stupid, I thanked her, gave her my number and went back to work.

That night I saw Skip in person. He came to help me set up a quiz night in a venue I hadn't done in ages. I still hadn't gotten a reply from my last text, so I decided to put plan Don't-Give-Up into action.
'Hey Skip, did you um... get my text about getting in touch with Jarrod Walsh?'
'I did...' Skip's face dropped a little. He clearly wasn't keen to bother his friend. 'I think your best bet is to contact him on Twitter. He's a good guy, he'll reply.'
I wasn't so sure about that, but that was the best I was going to get. Being too insistent was going to put a strain on the friendship.

I sent the Tweet the next day. It said
"Hey Jarrod, I'm a friend of @Skip. Could I ask you for advice on becoming an announcer? :)"
No response, just as I feared. This was getting difficult. Not only that, I still had to take the call from Belinda. She called me at three o'clock that afternoon.

'Did you try the coffee?' she asked.
'I did.'
'What did you think?'
'It's good! Very strong. Left me buzzing for the rest of the night.'
'Is that good?'
'Um... yes.'
'Well I think the next step is to find out a bit about each other. You don't want to go into business with someone you don't know.'
'Fair enough.'
We crammed our whole lives into the next 10 minutes of conversation.
'Well Michael, it seems that you've found your passion in life and that's really impressive.'
'Thanks!' I said grinning.
'I'm definitely happy to work with you, if you're interested in working with me?'
'Well, the thing is, I'm still not sure exactly what my role would be here.' All I'd ever heard about was how amazing the product is and how rich people have gotten off of it. No one had ever talked about how I'm meant to actually sell the stuff.
'Okay, here's what I'll do. I'll link you to a video which explains it all in better detail. Then I'll call you again tomorrow and get a final answer from you.'
'Sounds fair, hear from you then.'

On Friday I turned my attention back to the announcing gig. Jarrod still hadn't replied to me on Twitter, so I had to look for other ways in. A quick search on Google led me to his LinkedIn account. I'd made a LinkedIn account ages ago, but I hadn't actually used it and it was sitting there neglected with vines growing through it and litter around the place. I spent the day making it look pretty and respectable so that when I got in touch with Jarrod, he'd take me a little more seriously. At three o'clock, I realized in a panic that Belinda would be calling back soon and I hadn't watched the video. So I saved my progress and visited the link she sent me.

The video was an interview with Holton Buggs, the man credited with making the brand what it is today. He explained why he was so passionate about his company and how well the people who work there are rewarded. Then at last he got to the part I was looking for - he explained exactly how it works in a presentation he called "Test-driving the business".

'Imagine you started working for the company,' he said to the interviewer. 'Do you think that in 30 days, you could convince just 10 of your friends and family members to start drinking Organo Gold?'
'Yes, I do,' replied the interviewer.
'Okay, so those are your first 10 customers. Whenever they need their coffee, they'll order it from you, which based on average consumption figures, will give you an extra $300 per month, just after your first month. Now the next step is, we've established how easy it is to convert 10 people. What if those 10 people became distributors and converted 10 people of their own? You would get a percentage of those sales, bringing you up to an impressive $3000 per month extra in your pocket. Now imagine if all those 100 people converted an extra 10 each? You can see how it multiplies until you get quite a substantial figure.'
'Wow, I'm convinced,' said the interviewer, and she seemed to be genuinely intrigued. I wasn't so convinced. I was still stuck at the first step - did I think I could convince 10 people to change coffee brand? No I didn't. I would feel soulless trying to sell something that I don't use myself in order to make money off of them. When Belinda called back an hour later, my decision was made.

'Well, that's a shame to hear Michael,' she said. 'Do you mind if I keep your number and get back in touch with you a few months down the track to see if you're in a different place?'
'Absolutely,' I said. 'I look forward to it.' I genuinely did. I still wasn't convinced it was a good idea for now, but Belinda had done well in showing me it had potential. This may not be the last we've heard from Organo Gold.

That left one final order of business. On Saturday I finished cleaning up my LinkedIn profile and it's ready to go. I sent a request to Skip to introduce me to Jarrod, because I felt I could bother him one last time. Let's see how this pans out.

37 comments:

  1. I can't say I trust those ten friends and then they'll get ten friends and so on and so forth things. I mean they must work, but they usually only work for the people starting the company. They are always the ones to get rich. Hopefully you'll hear something back, being determined is a good thing.

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    1. I think they work best for the people who care first and foremost about money :P

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  2. Don't get involved with Organo Gold. It's a pyramid selling scheme and you won't make any money at it. It's designed to suck money out of you, your friends and family.

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  3. Ah, the old pyramid scheme. It sounds fantastic until you realize it doesn't work at all. Well, not for you. It works great for them. As you said, "Whenever they need it, they'll order it from YOU." Meaning you buy a junkload of coffee from the company and now have to sell it. The company doesn't care; you just bought all their coffee. Sales are now completely up to you, and if you can't sell a single bag, that doesn't make one bit of difference to the company.

    I had an old friend who thought she was brilliant by quitting her full time IT job and selling diet pills much like this. "Each pack is $100. Sell only two per week and you'll make back your $100! Sell more and you'll be rich! Isn't it SO easy to sell just two per week? That's practically nothing! And whatever you don't sell you can use because you bought it for cheap!"

    Yeah... She shamelessly sold a few to her family and friends (not me), and alienated most of them in process by endlessly begging them just to buy from her to help her out. She didn't sell to one single stranger. Ultimately, she had to move back in with her parents because she went broke, and now she has no money and a shitload of diet pills. True story. :)

    I hope things pan out with the announcer gig, though!

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    1. That's the first real failure story I've heard. I bet she's now slim as a piece of paper though ;)

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    2. Ummm... no comment.

      But if you're ever looking to get even slimmer, have I got a sweet hook up for you...

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  4. Years ago, my then-husband and I had friends who called and invited us to a party at their new home. It turned out to be a very hard-sell pitch for all the guests to join a pyramid scheme. When my husband told our friend that he didn't want to participate and felt insulted that we had been intentionally misled about the "party," they exchanged words, and that was the end of our friendship.

    I'm sure you'll find something much better to do that won't cost you any friends.

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    1. That's what I was worried about, having to sell to my friends :P

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  5. Pyramid schemes benefit the person at the very top. And perhaps the two or three layers immediately beneath them. Further down? Selling your soul to strangers and pestering famiily and friends. Bleah.
    Good luck with getting in contact with Jarrod. I really, really admire your persistence and determination.

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    1. Thanks :) I don't think I'm going to get anything though, so I might have to keep going without him :P

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  6. I wonder why there aren't more boys' parties? That's really sad, actually. I would think that there would be a huge demand for what you were doing. Maybe when boys have parties they just sit around and play video games?

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    1. The business itself has a very girly setup, especially with the name. Maybe other companies would be a bit more even.

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  7. Only selling coffee? That's a really limited pyramid as well.
    Hope you can get in touch with Jarrod or somebody who can help you. Start friending every sports announcer you can find on Twitter and LinkedIn. Someone has to respond to you eventually.

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  8. Well, Michael, the others have given you the words of caution I'm inclined to impart. I won't. Sounds like Belinda's pretty cute, huh? Be extra careful. Smiles.

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    1. Haha she was twice my age, but I'll keep her in mind ;)

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  9. Finding jobs is sure frustrating! I think with your enthusiasm you would make a good announcer of some sort. If you like sports go for it. You may need to apply at a few different places in the same industry before you find the right gig.

    I got caught in a pyramid thing once to. It was supposed to be an advertising job. Nope it was sell things door to door. Not exactly what I call an advertising job.

    My husband is still looking for a job. He had an interview last Friday to be an art teacher for older people with special needs. I sure hope he gets it. I think it would be rewarding for him.

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    1. Yeah absolutely, that sounds very rewarding :) I got caught in that trap too, they were very vague about the position until late in the interview.

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  10. I congratulate you for your persistence, moral standards, and taking time to research, and assess your options. Those are big pluses.

    That said, that's obviously the wrong dinosaur costume for you. I bet your choices were limited, (smile). Next time, choose something in red or sapphire.

    The right door will open... because you are taking the right steps. You have a good heart. (I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers this week.)

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    1. Thanks Dixie :) There were only two dinosaur costumes and the other one was taken, so my options were limited there ;)

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  11. You said it yourself in what you posted last year, Michael: It's a system that certainly can work, but only if you're a certain type of person. I got involved in something similar a couple of years ago; it didn't go anywhere and took up way too much of my time trying. Just say no. And don't feel guilty about it either; this is practice for Belinda.

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    1. Yeah I agree totally. Belinda seemed to take it pretty well :)

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  12. I always tell you how impressed I am with all the career motivation you have!!! Be careful with the sales positions. Many times they turn out to only be lucrative to the company you are slaving for!! Not to mention, to make sales quotas you will end up bothering friends and family. I have seen a good friend go through this.

    Hopefully Skip comes through and you can start pursuing the announcing career. Maybe you can take a class on it and then ask your professor for connections???

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    1. It actually surprises me that so many people are impressed by this. I thought it's what normal people do all the time :P

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  13. Persistence will pay off. I know it will! I can't believe you can pass out those chocolates and not eat them all. They are my favorite!

    I am a terrible salesman, so when someone comes at me with a pitch, like the coffee chick, I immediately put a stop on it. I get a lot of people trying to get me to sell makeup and jewelry, hosting home parties for my friends to buy their junk. No thanks. I just had some lady contact me on Instagram about working with her to sell those body wraps that help you lose weight. Uh, I weigh 120 pounds. I don't need the wraps, so I can't vouch for them. Sadly, most of the women who sell them look like they don't use them either, and not because they are particularly thin.

    Fingers crossed you finally make your connection! I'll be rooting for you, looking for your update!

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    1. I appreciate it Theresa :) Although I think you do a great job of selling that Golden Blossom honey on your blog ;)

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    2. Why they asked me to do their photography is beyond me. I don't know squat about photography and just wing it each week. There are so many other more qualified bloggers, I don't know why they asked me. But as long as they keep paying, I'll keep posting until they realize the mistake they made lol.





      I

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    3. Hahaha don't be silly, it always looks amazing. You do a great job :)

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  14. I would give the same warning to avoid a pyramid scheme for the coffee as your other readers have given. It's too bad the birthday party job didn't work out. That sounded like it would be fun. Good luck making a connection with Jarrod!

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    1. So now I have less jobs than I did when I started this project :P

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  16. Michael, your story captivated me. Keep pushing and hold onto your dreams. Persistence will get you there or at least near where you intend to be.

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    1. Thanks :) I've heqrd a few stories of people who have tried super hard to achieve something and then found something very close that they hadn't even considered.

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  17. This Organo Gold reminds me of a religious cult or something. The whole scheme could backfire though... what if you now have to buy things from the family members that bought the coffee from you whatever it is (girl scout cookies, school callendars, candy bars)... that will eat up your profits very quickly.

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    1. Well theoretically I'd be rolling in millions of dollars, so I wouldn't mind ;)

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