Don’t Be Nervous, It’s My First Time.
Hello there! Welcome to my blog with Lee Hamblin, me.
Hi! (I’m better face to face, this is different)
After 40 years of business experience with other companies and my own, this is my first blog. I know, it’s crazy, but here I am. I would guess that you’re asking me this question, Why now? The simple answer is, why not now?
As I look back to my beginnings as a manager in a company for someone else and owning our first business in 1987, there was no internet and there was no such thing as a blog. The old fashion way, still in many businesses, sadly, is face to face. Although, some still do mailers.
Our first company in 1987 was built upon a need. We wanted our children in dancing and singing venues. The only way we could do that was enter them into companies that were geared to talent search and the movie industry. (We lived in Los Angeles CA.) BEFORE they would consider you into their program, kids had to go through a trial or test. If they didn’t pass, well you were out.
We were not interested in that!
My sweet wife of 40 years just wanted her children to learn dancing and singing, without a tryout and without any judgement. There was NO such company there, that we could find. Her idea after that was simple.
I will start one!
She has a beautiful voice and plays the piano and in fact, that was one of the first few things I saw from her. I was hooked, it wasn’t long after that we were married! …and moving on…So the search began.
We looked and looked for opportunities that we could create our own dancing and singing program. We could not find any in California. Today’s search would be much easier with the internet. In those times all we could do was look in the yellow pages or start asking other people if they knew of a program like we wanted.
We came up empty. Once we exhausted our local resources, we started asking all family members that lived in various states in the western USA. Finally one day, we got a phone call from a family member. They had been in Utah and saw a group of children doing Broadway singing and dancing on stage. She gave us a phone number and a name.
We placed the call.
After the call to the owner of the company, my wife became excited because the company did all the dance routines and music for her. All she had to do was learn it, teach it and then get places for the kids to perform it. I became excited because I saw a huge potential to earn money. What furthered my excitement was, Sunshine Generation was an already established franchise with all the steps needed to move forward.
Yes, I have a Bachelors degree in business management, but I had never ran our own company before. Sunshine Generation had many children’s performing groups in many states, but not California. One of the questions asked was this…Do you have Business Experience…? Not needed, we will help you through it, came their reply.
Our next biggest fear, How Much?
What? You’re not asking for money?
The simple answer to an immediate upfront cost was… ZERO! (Mind-blowing…even then.)
We had to sign a contract that required us to follow franchise rules and pay out 10% to the parent company of all earnings.
WOW! that seemed so easy and simple. We had it all. Learn the routine, where to get costumes, cassette tapes with music, VHS videos with step by step dance routines, how much to charge people, where to market and what to say, location to teach the children, how to get back stage help, proper sound equipment to purchase and everything we needed.
We signed the contract and went to work.
Me excited for the business and Bonnie, my wife, excited to teach her children dancing and singing. NOW… remember why we started? It was to teach our children and at the same time we could teach others, WHO… did not have to try out! IF they wanted into the program, we took them in. We started at age 3 and ended at age 13.
There were no computers available to design and print an ad. So we went to community boards in stores and posted, hand made flyers, that people could read about the group, tear off a phone number and place a phone call for more information. That was the marketing. That is all we had. BUT that is what people did. It worked.
Before our first class, we had 10 other children sign up besides our own. With that earnings of $280.00 we started to purchase sound equipment and other needed business items. Our first dance studio was a large room in the back of our home. We kept everything open and allowed all parents to sit and watch. Later we found cheap dance studios to rent from.
Eventually we had the best business arraignment, Bonnie handling the teaching of dance and music, costume purchases and collecting money from parents. I had the sound system, marketing, setting up places to perform and of course the finance side of it.
We held on to that company for 18 years before we sold it. During our greatest peak with this company we had 186 children at one time, hired on two other teachers and we had three locations in LA California area. Bonnie ended up teaching over 2000 different children during that 18 years.
She touched thousands of lives and created thousands of friendships. Some of her students were so shy to even get on stage at first. One even became Miss Idaho in the Miss Idaho pageant. She attributed Bonnie for that first power to overcome stage fright. Others have written her letters of gratitude for helping them to stand with confidence and go forward in life with major life accomplishments. Even today, there are times in a grocery store or department store where a parent or past student will come to her and say, do you remember me? It is on many occasions with tears of gratitude and joy.
What was the greatest benefit and learning with that company?
Businesses can change lives. You can make a difference.
You have a enabling power to lift and support others who need you.
Did we make millions of dollars? No we did not. Our gross sales for the 18 years was around $990,000.00
Did we learn about people and life changing events? YES WE DID!
Did we learn a good lesson on HOW to build a business with no experience? YES WE DID!
What business experience did we have? ZERO
What money did we need to get it going? ZERO
Message today is, you can start a business. Do you have a desire? No experience is needed. You need to start at some place.
Since that first business that we started, we have had many companies. Some did extremely well making us well over into the 7 digit figure, some bombed and never did good at all. Which brings me to this NEW blog. Yes, it is another business.
I have a FREE Book offer for you.
All you need to do is get the book, read the book and then move forward. You will get the same as me on our first business and that is step by step instructions to do this or to do that. Once you have a successful business, you’ll never want to work for anyone else again.
Blog posts going forward is business lessons learned and lost. You will read about a few companies that we own now, AND this new company we have just started.
Thank you for reading. Please leave your comments below.