Today, I’m closing a chapter in what has been my favorite blogging experience. I’m sad to say, that our beloved Poop (my dad) passed away in March very suddenly. Today would have been his 63rd birthday. To honor him, I’ve created, with the help of my family, the final Poop’s Scoop. So without further ado, I give you…
Allow me to introduce Jerry Geroulis, my dad! My sister and I have lovingly nicknamed him Poop. Poop owns an auto-body repair shop with his brother, Sam and lots of employees. I grew up watching the story unfold… from my parents not being able to afford junk food (my great-grandma would supply my mom with potato chips), carpooling with a station wagon that was lucky to make it up hills and my dad working all hours just to make ends meet. Today, my dad owns his dream home, buys trampolines on a whim for his granddaughter and is my #1 source of inspiration and advice.
We’re tackling a tough topic today. Quitting. Yeah, you don’t like thinking about it, but I just know the thought has probably crossed your mind. I talked with Poop tonight about his thoughts on quitting:
Q: How many times did you feel like quitting before you became successful?
A: I was eating lunch with my brother in the back of a Subaru and we talked about how we could make more money flipping hamburgers even after three years into the business. We never had that conversation again.
Q: And the next time you felt like quitting?
The fire department came in and let us know that we needed an air-system that would cost $300,000 to install. I replied, “I’ve never heard of a fire in a body shop in this county.” The response, “Well, we don’t want one.” That was a time that I was gonna walk out of that shop and never walk back in.
As it turns out, like everything else, you take life one day at a time and things work out. Don’t panic. Go with your gut.
Q: What if you go with your gut, but you feel like your gut is betraying you?
A: No, that’s not possible. Not possible. You just didn’t stick it out. Go with your gut. It will always work.
Q: What if your gut has put you in debt?
A: That’s okay. That’s what makes the world go ‘round. I was always in debt. Always. Starvation mode. To start the business I sold the Corvette I completely restored.
Q: Mom chimes in with a question: What about having supportive spouses?
Spouses are not necessary. Just kidding… gotcha there! (my mom pretends to hit Poop with a frying pan and calls him an ass, for a really fun interview party bonus!). But, sometimes the people closest to you can unknowing hurt you because they don’t have the same drive that you have. So be careful who you share your dreams with.
Q: What if you think you’re failing?
Stick it out.
Q: And while sticking it out… what should someone do to motivate themselves?
Well, I do believe that after you’ve tried everything there’s no reason that you can’t treat yourself to something, whatever that may be. There’s no one who’s going to come out of the woodwork and pat you on the back. You used to get a pat on the back at your other job… but that pat on the back is so expensive. You’ve paid dearly for somebody to tell you, “Good job, worker!” But you don’t need that pat on the back. You reward yourself by your achievements and they aren’t gonna come overnight. It’s so slow.
Q: What if someone does all the right things? Working hard, learning, rocking their business… but has no money to show for it yet?
Then I say to you, you haven’t done it long enough. We live in this world of instant gratification. Everything happens at its own pace. You have to wait for it.
You just work harder. You hit it harder. You go after this thing with a vengeance. You live and die by it. You’ve made this commitment to yourself. You don’t give up. Keep on keepin’ on. Make it happen. Because you’re smarter than that.
The easiest thing is to quit and throw up the white flag and go back to work for somebody else. But you’ll never be happy. You’re always gonna have that feeling that you let yourself down. But it’s out there. It’s out there. Keep plugging along even if it seems impossible. It will happen. Don’t give up.
Let me know what you thought of this post in the comments below and don’t forget to sign up for e-mail updates as well! Until next time…
Thirteen years ago, something awesome happened. I met Moby.
Now, I know we’ve probably all been lucky enough to have a brush with fame. I’ve had several myself living in New York City, working for a magazine and just getting lucky. I’ve got real pictures of George Clooney and Ryan Gosling to prove it. But whatever… it all means nothing… except for the night that I met Moby.
I’ll tell you the story and then I’ll tell you why it matters.
I was in college without a care in the world except for a few things:
1. I cared that my freaky makeup was perfect at all times. (Glitter eyeshadow? Oh yes, please!)
2. I cared enough to excel in design school.
3. I loved electronic music.
Enter Moby. I was obsessed with Moby’s music… still am. Moby is amazingly talented and nothing I can say in this sentence will sum it up… so go have a listen for yourself.
When I found out that Moby was touring and coming to a venue near me… I flipped out and rounded up a couple of friends to go with me. Bush was headlining, but I could have cared less.
Let’s jump to that night. I went to the show 110% positive that I would meet Moby. Seems realistic, right? In a crowd of thousands, I would somehow wind up one-on-one with this guy. I had no doubt in my mind and I’m even more sure that my friends thought I was crazy.
Fast forward… Moby’s show was over (amazing!) and I knew it was crunch time. We left the venue early and headed outside. And then, it started to happen… the magical series of events that would lead me to Moby.
I saw a group of people that just seemed “up to something.” I headed over to them and they informed me that someone was having Moby sign some of their stuff. I knew I was getting warm. I made myself part of this group. Then, that someone came outside and asked, “Would you guys like to come with me to meet Moby?”
I followed the group. I felt like an outsider, but I was not about to remove myself from them out of fear that I didn’t belong.
We headed backstage and there was Moby. Cue the craziness… “Can you sign this… Can you… Can you…!!!” The swarm had descended and it all felt very wrong to me. Who were these demanding people? Did they even care at all about the music or this man?
I decided that even though I walked in with this group. I didn’t want any part of it. I stayed behind, kept to myself and thought, “If I have to act like a crazy person just to get an autograph, no thanks.”
When the swarm was happy, they walked out. And there I was with Moby. Last in line with nothing but some kind words for him. “I’m honored to meet you,” is what I came up with and it took all I had to spit it out. Looking back, I could have come up with something a little more witty, but whatever!
Moby asked me if I had anything to sign. I pulled out my favorite notebook and he doodled a “Little Idiot.” for me. And then, he gave me a KISS!! Okay, it was on the cheek… but still. I’m lucky I didn’t die right on the spot. I have to believe that, for a second, Moby just kinda liked the awkward girl who came in with nothing but some nice words (and killer eye-makeup).
So, I know you are asking… What does this have to do with anything, Sara? What’s your point? How does this relate to business, me, design, anything at all.
The answer is everything.
I didn’t know it at the time, but this story is full of valuable lessons that I carry with me to this day. And they are:
1. Believe anything is possible without a shadow of a doubt. Wanting something is different from truly believing in something.
2. Follow the crowd, especially when they are on the right path, but don’t lose yourself. Don’t be afraid of breaking away and know when to do what’s best for YOU.
3. Good things come to those who are passionate and know their stuff. You’ll end up just where you need to be at just the right time. It’s probably not luck at all.
4. Be prepared for opportunity to strike. Make sure you have your “favorite notebook” equivalent ready at a moments notice.
5. This isn’t the ME show. Selfishness will get you nowhere. Doing nice things, saying nice things and treating everyone with respect will get you far. Smiles are good too.
6. One “little idiot” can make a big difference in someone’s life.
Does this post inspire you? Has something awesome happened to you just because you knew it would? Share your stories in the comments below and stay in the loop by signing up for my emails.
Allow me to introduce Jerry Geroulis, my dad! My sister and I have lovingly nicknamed him Poop. Don’t even ask how it came about because I totally forget. I love my dad and lots of people who know him think he’s QUITE a character. He also happens to be a pretty successful small business owner and the guy I can count on for awesome advice. And while it may take 3 hours of story telling to get to the heart of the message, it’s always something good.
So, I’ve done everyone a favor and asked my dad some questions in a new blog series I’m calling POOP’s SCOOP! Do you love it? Yeah, funny. I’ve interviewed my dad, tossed the fluff, and I’m sharing his advice with you. So here goes.
Q: What advice do you have for someone starting their own business?
A: Do something you love. Something you’re passionate about, but not your hobby.
Q: How do you know the difference between a business and a hobby?
A: Your gut! Go with your gut! You have to always go with your gut!
Q: How long do you give a business before you hang it up?
A: Your whole life! Everyone is cut out to do something that they’re good at. I truly believe that. You’ve got to be good at something. (insert stories of Thomas Edison and Colonel Sanders, which you can Google, but I’ll spare you)
Q: Is it hard work to have your own business?
A: Uhm. I think because you’re passionate about it, it is hard work, but you don’t think of it as hard work. If you’re watching the clock, you can’t do it that way. You don’t even think about it being hard, you’re just doing it because you’re passionate.
Q: How do you know if you have a burning desire?
Well, that’s something you have to ask The King (as in Elvis). I said a hunk-a-hunk of burnin’ love! Poop says burning desire! Even if you have 1,000 failures… you never give up on your dream. There’s probably a little insanity there. People thought Henry Ford was insane.
Q: How do you start?
Look at people who are successful. Success leaves clues. You’re not gonna start on top. If you’re gonna start a pizza company and you have a burning desire to do that… go to the best pizza place and start by sweeping the floors until you find out the tricks! Every business has tricks.
Q: What did you sacrifice to be in business?
Everyone in business has made a sacrifice. I sacrificed my time. That’s what you’re giving up. Time where you’re learning the hard knocks of what it takes to be successful. But if you keep putting out good, there’s no way it’s not gonna come back.
Q: Any other gems to share with the group?
You can’t take advice from other people when they’re squashing your dreams.
Let me know what you thought of this post in the comments below and don’t forget to sign up for e-mail updates as well! Until next time…
Saturday marked the anniversary of what I like to call “My First Day of Freedom.” So, I’m going to share with you some things I learned during the first year of taking the leap and leaving my full-time job.
1. It’s Thrilling!
If you’re dreaming of marching into your boss’s office to let them know that you are DONE, savor that moment. You may feel sick to your stomach, totally nervous, questioning everything, but feel the fear, and do it anyway. That’s kind of my mantra now. But the thrill doesn’t end there. Oh no! Thrills and emotion come with the territory of running your own show. Clients come, clients go, things change. Highs and lows.
2. It’s HARD WORK.
I have never worked for anything as hard as I work to make Cormier Creative awesome. When I worked for someone else, I would count down the hours until I got to leave. I know I’m not alone on that! I would drag myself to work for another day at the office. But now, I wake up early and I’m excited about the day. Time goes by super fast and I want to work later and longer. It’s tough to drag me away from the computer. I’ve said goodbye to the 40 hour work week and hello to working around the clock.
3. Trust. Your. Gut.
From clients to products to anything you want to do in your business… If it feels right, go for it. I recently threw a very successful networking party. I knew it was a good idea, trusted that it felt right, and followed through. Not only was the turnout AWESOME but I was getting amazing feedback about how great the party was. I’m glad I trusted in the process and followed through. The same goes for that nagging negative feeling. Ditch the negative stuff… fast.
4. Be Giving and Positive.
While you can’t give away services to anyone that comes a knockin’, you can share advice, helpful tips and tricks and possess a generous attitude. It will take you far. Everyone is grateful for a little help along the way. If you’re the one giving it, I promise it comes back times 10. Nobody ever failed in business from being a great mentor, a ray of sunshine or for going the extra mile.
5. There’s No Turning Back
I’ve had a taste of freedom and there’s no way I’m ever going to work in an office full-time again. That means a life full of the unexpected, constant game-changers, crazy taxes, and, as luck would have it… impromptu trips to the playground, coffee dates without time limits and answering to the only boss I know now… Me.
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Well hello there. This post is all business… in the best way. I’d like to tell you about a really great service that I just started using to create my design proposals. It’s called Bidsketch. I first discovered Bidsketch when a web developer that I work with sent me a proposal to review. I was so impressed that within a day, I was creating Bidsketch proposals for my business.
Bidsketch has helped me solve a few problems. With a little homework, my proposal now also serves as my contract. I can obtain my client’s signature online which is easy for everyone. There’s no printing and mailing of contracts… no waiting for the good ol’ postal service day after day. Bidsketch also saves me a lot of time. Since I do a lot of the same type of work, I can keep working off of the same template. It’s easy to save sections, add new sections, or just make slight changes to existing proposals.
The best part about Bidsketch is that it seems to seal the deal. Clients have been very responsive to my new, more profesional proposals.
If you’re a freelance designer, I highly recommend this proposal software. If nothing else, you should check out the Bidsketch blog which is full of really helpful information.
So there you have it. A hot little business tip from yours truly.
If you’re like lots of people, you might have made a New Year’s resolution that included something fitness related. I’m guilty, as usual. In fact, I just got home after re-upping my family’s YMCA membership. So I thought it would be very fitting to post a new logo design that I just created for Studio NT. It’s a home-based pilates studio located in Cincinnati. Nancy, the owner, is just about as nice as clients get and was great to work with. Well, when you mix nice clients and nice designers, you get awesome logos. Check it out! And if you’re up for some Classical Pilates Instruction, may I be the first to recommend Studio NT!
I don’t have anything super wordy to say about the advice I want to share today. People like happy people. People like happy brands. Whether your job is filing taxes or owning a candy store, at the end of the day your goal is the same: to make your client happy. With a polished, designed look, your clients will assume you’re pretty good at that. Does your logo need a happy make-over? I’ve got just the gal for you! Me!
If you’ve ever questioned where to turn to for help with your small business… look no further! Cormier Creative and other professionals dedicated to helping small businesses are now part of this super helpful Guide to Businessy Goodness!
Oh My! Handmade’s Guide to Businessy Goodness is the definitive* resource manual for growing your business pangalactically. OMHG editor, Jessika Hepburn, created the guide after seeing how overwhelmed many creative entrepreneurs were at the thought of getting professional help (not that kind of help, the businessy kind). The vast number of options for growing your business is dizzying and knowing how to access them can be even more confusing. The creative community needed a guide that made business more manageable & a lot more fun. Inspired by the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, she set out to build one, with help of course! Mixing practical content, a dose of silly + beautiful design, the Guide brings together some of very best services and supplies for growing a creative business. Using a magazine format the Guide packs articles, worksheets, checklists, prints & printables into a navigable package. Investing in fancy digital publishing software transformed the guide from a snazzy PDF into a space age experience worthy of Douglas Adams. True to the OMHG ethic of openness the Guide is offered as name your price. Choose between $2-20, pack your towel, and prepare for lift-off!
*Please note the OMHG clarification of the word definitive, borrowed merrily from Douglas Adams: “The Guide is definitive. Reality is frequently inaccurate.”