Hotel Amenity Pilot is a Go

It’s a go for our non-plastic hotel amenity pilot! While I won’t make a dime from this 1 month pilot (and will likely lose some money), it’s worth it to test the solutions that we are considering right now.

There are so many little things to consider such as how easy it is to dent our aluminium tins. About half of the tins from one sample pack that came in via Amazon.com.au showed up with dents or scratches.

I’m also considering the labelling requirements. I want to print right on the packaging from the start, but it costs a lot more to do this with small volumes. However, using a compostable paper labels isn’t possible because it’s not waterproof – a “no no” in bathrooms where they might discard unused tins only because the wet label makes it look used.

Right now, I think I’m going to have to order two lots of tins. Some that are blank, and then I buy plastic labels to hand place on them. And others that have the printing on them from the start. This will allow us to test the printing capabilities during the pilot itself.

The buzz of winning work

It’s strange that when I used to win multi-million dollar contracts back in my IT days, it never gave me a buzz like it gave other sales people. I was more proud of the proposals I turned in that solved a customer’s problems, and therefore it didn’t mater it we won or lost to me even though I would only be rewarded if we won.

For this hotel amenity pilot, I’m excited even though it will likely cost me more than I make to do this. It’s the fact that a hotel is willing to take a chance on my crazy idea that can really reduce the amount of single-use plastic in hotels locally and nationally if I move fast enough. It’s the potential impact down the road that is giving me a buzz. How awesome would it be to literally change the hotel industry’s practices to benefit the environment!

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?

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).