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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Shit, or get off the pot

When I was growing up my Dad used to say that a lot.  When I was a kid I thought it meant he wanted me to hurry up.  To get my ass in gear, etc.

He probably did.

Now that I'm a little older, 50, I'm starting to think that maybe...just maybe he also meant something else.  Make a decision.  Make a choice and live with the consequences of that choice; but make a choice and move forward.

For the last several months I've been playing around with the idea of starting my own independent insurance agency.   I would be the only salesman, all the responsibility of that company would fall on me.  My success or failure would rest squarely on my shoulders.

I've putted around and have not really pushed or made any true effort to succeed.  In fact, I have only made two presentations so far and have no sales for either presentation.  The first person was really not that interested, you could tell by their total lack of interest in what I was offering them...and the sad thing is that their family was pushing them to do it.  The second presentation was a disaster on my part...I wasn't prepared as I should have been...and that showed.  They even asked me how long I've sold insurance.  I have a third one coming up...and this one I will be ready for.

The thing is that I've been in customer service and sales all my life in one form or another.  I've worked for banks for twelve years, I've worked in insurance the last two and a half years.  I spent two glorious years with the IRS (and that was a job I should have never have lost #regrets).  The thing is I've sold everything from magazines to checking accounts to home loans.  Selling someone a small five or 10 thousand dollar policy to cover their final expenses should be child's play.

Everything I've done though has been over the phone.  I've never made a face to face sale. 

I've been so good at my jobs in customer service and sales that I've worked as a trainer and even as a supervisor.  I've managed my own distribution business for nearly eleven years now.   Although I just deliver, my partner handles the contract side of things and we just hired our sixth employee.

I'm an introvert...I do better over the phone and the internet, where my personality can shine through.  Just don't ask me to speak or talk or interact with you in public. 

Going this route, this independent sales route scares the hell out of me.  Of course, I know that I'm only doing it part time.  I want to protect Sue and myself from what coming.  I can see retirement hanging like a big black cloud on the horizon.  For her and I to do what we want to do (travel) then I'm going to need to be in a better position.  Independent sales, with its residual income, is the way to go.

Her pay is not going to increase much...and my job does not offer me advancement or much reason to stay.  Although I will stay there for now, for I am ugly but not stupid. 

To quote my father:  "Shit, or get off the pot."

Right now is the time.   I've some money saved up, about fifteen thousand, that will be used for advertising and buying leads.  God forbid if I lost my job that would carry us for three to five months till things really started rolling.  Nothing creates sales like fear of losing everything.

Shit or get off the pot.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

After thoughts on the election

This post originally appeared on my other Blog - Scooter Revolution - all the way back on Nov. 11, 2016.

I thought I should post it here as well.  I've not edited it in any away and I think I will be returning to this blog a bit more in the future.

I debated about posting something political.

I actually created a separate blog for political posts but gave it up after a short time simply because it became apparent to me that my chosen candidate, Bernie Sanders, was not going to be nominated.  Like many, I felt disappointed but I predicted a close election...however like many I expected Hillary Clinton to win.

Although in hindsight the same issues that I had with Clinton from the very beginning were the ones that doomed her in the end.  I'm not going to repeat what the pundits are saying because they got it all wrong...I'm giving my personal opinions on why she failed.

1)  The White House is not a prize to be given from father to son or from husband to wife. - The American people still remember what happened the last time that happened.  Well no pundits will admit to that part of the puzzle, I think Americans feel that their government is being controlled by only a small group of people (and it is).  When the public is feeling frustrated with many issues concerning our government, having someone nominated who seems to think the White House was her birthright was a bad idea.

2)  The Democratic Party was out of touch with it's own people. - The DNC email leaks showed a clear preference for Hillary Clinton.  Which lead to cries of voter fraud and "rigged" elections (remember that word for it's important).   When she accepted the nomination she should have clearly apologized for that, calling out the DNC leadership and reached out to the various Sanders supporters during the convention. Instead of doing that she was left facing a mass exit of delegates during the convention.  A group that voted for her in the end (most of them) or stayed home election day (some of them).  Or voted for Jill Stein and the Greens (like I did).  

When Sanders won states in the rust belt and Midwest he did so because his economic message was resonating.  Interestingly enough, his anti Trade speeches and Trump's anti Trade speeches were not that different. 

The DNC did not pick up on this.   Or other concerns that Sanders showed the American people were concerned about.  What little she did learn from the Sanders campaign she seemed she didn't believe.  This lead to an enthusiasm gap.  

3)  Hillary was running a conventional campaign during an unconventional time and against an unconventional candidate. - Against a more conventional Republican opponent, like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio she would have been able to point at her experience and successes.  She could have said basically "Are you better off than you were 8 years ago?" and got a resounding yes.  Because, like it or not, the Republicans really don't have a platform themselves.  They are in the process of redefining themselves and are having a small civil war in the party.

Hillary could have played against that weakness.  Trump was playing the fool and the media.  Knowing that everything he said would be picked up....your on the news more for saying something stupid than for policy.  If you break it down, Trump got more people talking about him than Hillary ever did.

Well some of it was clearly disturbing and often bordered on out and out racism.  He clearly got is message apart that the "swamp" needed drained...and that Hillary and her ilk were the cause of it. 

4)  Trump is a master of language.  No really! - or "it's not what you say but how you say it." - Let's take a look at the word "rigged."

Strictly defined it means to assemble or adjust.  The problem is that most of the media thought when Trump was saying the election was "rigged" they defined it as "voter fraud."  Which is not what Trump was saying.  He was basically saying "Those in power don't care about you."  or more specifically "Hillary Clinton doesn't care about you."

Given the email scandal, the issues of her trustworthiness, the various scandals real or imagined, the fact that she often seemed cold and calculating...the American people heard that definition.  Not the "voter fraud".  They heard that the powerful had "rigged" the election.  They were not going to put up with that.

He played off the fears, the anger, and yes...even the racism and hate in America.  He also attracted the intellectual, the gay, the mixed raced and yes even some Latino votes.  You don't get 59,937,338 people to vote for you if your only playing the racism card.  You get that many votes by using language that drives your points home.   Salespeople do it all the time...if your listening you will hear they are selling the need for you to have product X, and not the product itself.

5)  Don't believe the hype - The polls all showed Hillary winning.  So what happened?  How could the polls be so wrong.  Since is actually the second election in a row where polls have lead us astray.  So the question is why?

That I don't have an answer for, other than I think that pollsters are looking at the wrong sets of data.  That they are making assumptions that the data didn't bare out.

I've seen more Trump signs than Clinton signs as I rode about before the election.   I saw more anti-Clinton memes and posts on Facebook than I saw anti Trump memes...and most of those were posted by liberals.  Sometimes a pollster needs to get out and actually be in the field pounding on doors.

So What Happens Next?
A) The Democratic Party may be damaged beyond repair.   
I know that seems drastic but let me explain:  They alienated a large chunk of their future voting block with younger, more liberal leaning kids.  The old unions and northern states are no longer solidly blue due to aging demographics and the failure of the party to capture the rural white vote (which went solidly for Trump).
They lost the Senate, House, the White House and the courts.   The move to the Center Right that started with Bill Clinton will probably end with Hillary Clinton.  Not that the left of the party is looking that great.  Sanders is currently 75.  Elizabeth Warren is 67 and will be 71 in 2020, plus she lost much of her credibility in supporting Clinton.  
If the party is to move forward it needs to get back to it's roots and that is the poor working man.  While there may be one or two leaders waiting in the wings, there is no one particular name that stands out. 
B)  The Republican Party can't celebrate yet.
They are still fractured and Trump is a business man first and foremost.  He is not beholden to any political agenda other than his own.  He's already stated he will not touch Social Security or Medicare (something the Republicans have threatened to cut in the past).  He's more of an isolationist than having a strong military, again this goes against the Republican grain.  
He's more likely to work with the minority to get stuff done, that means compromise which the Tea Party wing of the party has stood against.  Many in the party railed against him both in the primaries and in the general that he is President the small civil war has calmed for a bit, but may flair up again.
Many in the Republican party were standing against Trump or flat out refused to endorse him, Trump may or may not be willing to push a particular agenda.  
so what should we do?
The damage is done.  2016 will go down in history as a watershed year for a lot of reasons.  All we can do is take a "wait and see" approach to things and hope for the best.  Personally I think that Trump is starting to feel the weight of the world about him...and is just as surprised as the rest of us.
In the end if he surrounds himself with staff that tell him what a "Great President" is and what a "Great President" does....he may surprise us yet.   He has so far.