Stray No More product line launching soon!

I’m very excited that I’ll finally be launching our first product line for the The Refoundry in October. We’ll be introducing our first product of the ‘Stray No More” line to be pre-sold via the crowdfunding campaign. These are essentially products created to prevent a pet from escaping a home or yard – an issue I knew well as the former CEO of RSPCA ACT.

Stray No More logo

Technically I could launch later in the year on a different date than all of the other social enterprises in this round, but I don’t see a point in pushing out the deadline as everyone just works to deadlines anyway.

However, we are still waiting for the prototype to arrive in Australia, and if it doesn’t get here next week, we’re really pushing the amount of time we have to film it in use. I know that my manufacturer would love more time to assemble and test it, but each time we push the date, the closer we get to Christmas.

Furthermore, I just submitted my package for another grant, and those were the milestones that I gave them. So, really I’m committed to the date at this stage.

Stay tuned for more info about our Stray No More product line launch soon!

The time consuming task of content creation

Lately I have been spending a huge amount of time preparing content while I’m waiting for my manufacturer to do their bits. The easy thing to do would be to share other news and articles from others which I have done a little bit. However, it’s more important right now to create original content too.

In my last job, I had a full-time person that basically did this for social media and some publicity. I supplemented that by writing position pieces and being the “talent” for media. Now, that I’m trying to do everything myself, I find that I’m spending on average from 6-8 hours a day on it.

Part of it is a personal branding exercise that I am working through at the same time. If you Google my name, it’s all associated with my last job. This makes it really, really hard to move into a new industry if people only know me for my past work. As such, I have been working on daily opinion pieces in various sources to try to move forward.

At the same time, I’m trying to build content for the Refoundry while still learning about the recycled industry myself. It took me two hours to finally make a 2 minute video because 1) my thoughts were not clear enough; and 2) I couldn’t find a good place in my home to shoot the video.

I need to find ways to speed up my process for content creation. I’m sure some of it will get easier as I become more knowledgeable, but right now it is very time consuming.

I’m heading overseas in the morning to spend some time with family. My blog posts will likely slow down a bit during that time, but I hope to also get a lot of work done on the plane.

Potential side hustle to my main hustle

One of the manufacturers is over a week late in giving me their quotes. Their tardiness delays the entire process including the ability for the company to bring in revenue.

These delays also impact my personal finances too since I’ve been working on The Refoundry full-time for a while. If I’m smart, I should try to find another way to bring in money while I have a little more time to do it now.

The challenge that I’ve shared before in this journal is: “What easy 9-5 job can a former CEO of an animal shelter do?”

Almost everything that has come to me so far have been 50+ hour a week jobs, and I haven’t been able to get past the recruiters for lower-level positions (not that I’ve tried for many).

An idea actually came to me before Christmas about doing digital marketing work like I used to do with my first business about fifteen years ago. I tested the market demand with some of my friends who own businesses, and no one expressed any serious interest – probably because they already have themselves sorted. So, I abandoned that idea.

But I still have other friends and contacts asking for advice about sales and marketing – twice in the last week in fact. These are not the medium size business owners that I asked previously, but sole traders with smaller pockets.

Knowing that there appears to be a demand from these micro-businesses, I think I figured out a less-time consuming, affordable way to provide it to them. I just need to do a little more market research to confirm that it provides enough value.

Wouldn’t it be funny if my side-hustle actually helps me pay for my main hustle rather than the other way around?

But I don’t want to do any marketing, I just want to make my product

I’m again at a writing conference today. There are some incredibly, talented people here – many that put me in complete awe with their imaginations and writing skills. However, the repeated thought that I hear over and over is that they don’t want to do any marketing. They just want to write their books.

It’s such a strange industry for that reason. I mean – how many people would create a product or service without considering the need to sell it at some point?

The publishers are “betting” on new and emerging authors much like venture capitalists bet on start-ups. Most of their investments will not pay off, but they’ll continue to add new talent to their portfolio as old ones die off in hopes of that one unicorn or new best-seller will pay the bills.

If authors want to increase the chances of their book being that best seller, they’d do themselves and their publishers a huge favour by accepting the fact that marketing is as much a part of the job as writing the book.

Milestone: Product #1 Design Complete

We continued to finalise Product #1 today. Between emails though, I spent most the day rereading the advertising classic “Ogilvy on Advertising.” It was written in 1983, in the days when television advertising was king. Nevertheless, many of the truths about advertising remain especially copyrighting.

While my To Do list is long, I think that it’s really important that I take some time out weekly (if not daily) to download new ideas and information. Fortunately, this is one good habit I enjoy.

Sales and Marketing

I attended a networking event last week where entrepreneurs can pitch to a good size audience for whatever they need. It was interesting to see how many businesses were looking for sales and marketing help, though I suppose it shouldn’t be too surprising.

Most of the companies requesting this support or to hire these types of employees had software businesses. The founders were coders – not business people. And all they wanted to do was code, not sell their own product.

At the same event, I heard a social enterprise accelerator saying that they too needed sales and marketing mentors.

It’s funny how people sometimes question my ability to get into the manufacturing business when truthfully, just about anyone can make a product. From my experience and the examples above, the hard part is selling it once it’s made. And it’s the lack of sales that can make a business insolvent.

Sales and marketing is the one thing that I do know how to do.

So, I offered that accelerator my skills in exchange for getting to know some of their investors. They liked this “out of the box” idea and offered to also pay me a fee for presenting at a workshop.

This is great since my company isn’t going to generate any income until closer to Christmas, and who knows when it can really pay me. Maybe I can supplement my income by helping others this way? It would be far more fun than taking a part-time job (if I can get one).