Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Wanted: Your Marketing Genius

Ever have one of those good news/bad news kind of days? Yesterday was one of those for me.

Good news:
I still have a job
Bad news: Our company is struggling and we are all taking a fairly healthy pay cut

I know, this sucks big time. But as they say... it beats the alternative.

So, in an effort to recoup my lost salary, I've decided to try to leverage some of the natural skills I already have and see if I can make a little extra cabbage on the side.

Here are some of my options:
1. Street performer. I'm an experienced musician. There's no reason I can't set up a stool on the sidewalk and set a hat by my feet. I've heard these guys can make $200 on a good day. Especially if they perform outside of a busy event.

2. Blogger for profit. Why not put ads on my blog? Other people are doing it and making pennies per day! Or, why not write for 6 or 7 blogs at a time? Other people are doing that too and only spending 23 hours at their computers.

3. Stand up comic. I'm a pretty funny guy. At least in my mind. How hard could it be to cobble 20 minutes of clever stuff together, start performing in tiny little no-name clubs, get local attention and graduate to being the 3rd opening act for a headliner in Minneapolis, work my way up to being a regional success, go on the road around the midwest, finally get noticed by a major venue, become famous and make it big?

4. Maker of handcrafted yard accessories. Ok, if you haven't figured it out by now, I was being facetious about those last 3 options. But this one I'm actually serious about - and here's where I need your input.

As many of you long-term readers know, I enjoy building things for our house and yard. Over the years I've made a few things that people have told me I should sell. Here are some examples:

garden bench - cute daughter not included

potting bench - complete with hidden soil bin and running water in sink

available with or without swing - perfect for arbor day!

What I need from you are some suggestions on what to name my new business. I've come up with a few myself but there just seems to be something a bit off about the names.

I don't know, you tell me...
See what I mean? Not exactly the image I want to portray.

Considering I'll be selling these pieces at local garden centers on a made-to-order basis, I'd like the public to think my business is classy and professional, and that these items are high quality and something they can't live without.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure you can do better. In fact... go ahead and submit your entries and if I choose one of yours I'll send you a free Receders CD!

Good luck... and thanks!


mom said...

Oh dear----I am so sorry about the paycut---no one wants or needs that!!! But as you said--thankfully, you still have a job!I'm not too worried about you----you have so much talent you'll always do well!!

Kathy said...

If it makes you feel any better, we're not getting raises this year. But, yeah, glad to still have a job.

Well, as for names, if you were a Jack, you could call your business "Jack of All Trades." You wouldn't consider changing your name, would you?

Roger Miller said...

Stealing from Kathy, you can go with Jeff of all Trades.


Simply St Cloud = fine handcrafted woodwork.


Jeff's Garden Goulash(pretty boring, but simple)


Woodwork by Jeff, 100% Tic=free (not serious, just trying to play with your tic-infested mind. :) )


Woodworking that Rocks (a play on your two loves, maybe)

Okay, now you know why I'm not a "marketing guy." Let me know if you start up six or seven more blogs, I'd be curious to see them.

Ed said...

Off-hand I'm going blank. Happens a lot. But this I know---you gotta work the word Amish into your business name. People go nuts for that crap around here!

Heather said...

Garden Treasures
Garden of Eden
Natural Beauty

Ouch that hurt my head.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

mom - Thanks mom. You've successfully performed your required mom-sympathy duties. :-)

kathy - Sorry... there's an old college joke that has the punchline "jack of all trades" in it so I could never get past that.

roger - If I wrote 6 more blogs even *I* wouldn't want to see them.

ed - We have more "um-ish" people around here. You know, "Ummm... can I get a discount on that?"

heather - Nice entries, thanks. Now, take a Tylenol and try again in the morning.

Idaho Dad said...

Garden Gear
Yard Sticks
Outdoor Delights
Nice Guy Garden Furniture
Classy Creations
Lawn Spawn
Home Creations
Home By Hand
Olde Outdoors
J. Lee By Hand
J. Lee Creations
Beyond The Backyard
WOW! By Jeff

I make up in quantity what I lack in quality. :)

Babs-beetle said...

WOOD YOU LIKE...... a garden bench?
WOOD YOU LIKE...... a ?????
'Wood you like' being the actual name.

It's very late but I may have another go tomorrow.

yellojkt said...

Furniture From The Cloud

Elizabeth said...

That "Homemade and Homegrown" sign made me think of Marijuana, which would also be a way of making money, if you don't care about the law or anything.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

idaho dad - Excellent list. I like quantity. There's even one or two in there I may be able to work with.

babs - Clever. Maybe I could call it, "Wood you like to make me rich?"

yellojkt - Nice tie-in. Or the more extreme... "Loud and Proud and From the Cloud!" Or not.

elizabeth - Like, dude... is it possible the fact the font has pot leaves hanging off the letters had anything to do with why it totally reminded you of marijuana?

Unknown said...

I love the Handmade & Homegrown...minus the spleefage. Five pointy leaves...eek!

We have a Farmer's Market every Saturday in town. I think it's $10 a table/area. If you have something similar there, you could display your creations (handmade) AND sell plant cuttings/starters from what you already have - spider plants, jades - easily propagated stuffs(homegrown). CHA CHING!

I lust after the potting bench with hidden sink. Please relocate your business to NC so I can buy one.

Kurt Schroeder said...

Garden Variety

United Studies said...

I got nothing...everyone else has beat me with great suggestions.

Sorry to hear about your pay cut! But I guess that is better than not having a job at all.

I was rather saddened when Peter said he wasn't getting a pay raise or bonus this year (the bonuses average about $10,000/year alone), but then they cut his department in half (down to 7 engineers from 14) and I was so glad that he was one of the ones they kept.

Meg said...

Sorry to hear about your paycut. But you clearly have talent. I'm not good with names, but I think for marketing purposes the name should include a reference to what you're selling.

Also, you may want to add fun things to the benches to attract people with specific hobbies. For examples, adding a 3-D car for NASCAR fans, some dentures for a dentist, a cat for cat lovers etc.

Seriously, if I saw a bench with the head of John Lennon on it, I'd buy it in a instant.

cathouse teri said...

Just don't call it

Morning Wood

Hee hee

I liked a Roger's
Wood that Rocks

Although you will probably get orders for rockers (and I mean chairs)

cathouse teri said...

I left some words and punctuation out of my comment above. Hope you can decipher.

Will let you know if I have a moment of genius regarding your new biz.

Jessica said...

Hey, that's a bummer about the pay cut :( I'm glad you still have your job, though!! Right now I'm in my 2nd semester double majoring in PR and Advertising, and if there's one thing I've learned it's that you need to get your name out there (once you have one, of course). A great way to do that is to make a website, and I just happen to know someone who does such a thing! Check it out--
Family friends probably qualify for hefty discounts ;)
As far as a name goes...maybe something like Natural Inspirations? You could do a lot with that. Printing ads on 100% recycled paper and whatnot.

JD at I Do Things said...

I've been staying away because of the ticks . . . but if everyone else thinks it's safe, I guess I'll hang around for a bit.

First of all, why can't you incorporate all FOUR job possibilities? Write a blog about your awesome handmade wooden garden objects, do a standup routine, AND sing about it on a street corner.

That's the kind of marketing expertise most people pay MILLIONS for!

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

cathouse teri - I dunno... I think your first comment was your moment of genius. ;b

jessica - Say, you ARE a marketing wizard! I bet your mom is very proud. I like your suggestion and I like your web site. Keep up the good work Jess. Good luck!

jd - Love your suggestion. Four skilz for the price of one! I'm going to be rich!!!

Oh, and don't worry about the ticks... I sprayed the place with Deet. Of course just make sure you don't inhale while your here. Especially since I have all that weed growing on my page.

Rusty said...

How about...

"The Finer Things"

Okay, then...

"Pimp Your Yard"
No again?

What about....

"I Don't Want To Be Poor So I Make Stuff"
Still no?

Whaterver. Please send me my CD now.

Mom Thumb said...

Well, I would tell you to make some things and do a booth at a home show, but we know what happens to home shows.

If you're taking orders, though, we will be in your neck of the woods in July and I would really like a potting bench. If I can fit it into the van.

rick said...

If I were you, I would build a positive pressure "clean room", in the back of your garage. Then have Brandon show you how to do the computer fix they get hundreds of dollars an hour for. Or maybe start your own home service "Geek Squad", and go to peoples homes to clean out all the virus and cookies lurking in their home computers. It beats sucking saw-dust.

Bill said...

Think about it. You are one of the smartest computer men around, and you are thinking about making benches in your garage. My advise is to turn your garage into a computer shop, hire Brandon, and work on computer systems. Come to think about it, I should charge about $300. for that advise.

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

Alright, "Cloud Nine" or even "St. Cloud Nine" -- probably already taken.

How about "Cloud Mine". Hm. I don't know.

"Port-a-potter" doesn't really have the right ring to it.

"Getting Diggy With It" (Okay, that one's just funny, especially if anyone is a Will Smith fan.)

Alright, I give up.

bon bon said...

being an newly unemployed graphic designer, my logo rates are extremely reasonable! let me know when the winner has been selected! ;o)

Sandy said...

I think you should be a street performer who sings on the corner while he whittles away at a garden bench. I'm still working on the name of your business, but I really think I'm on to something here....

Ed said...

You joke about the comedy thing, but that is exactly what my cousin did. He was one of the five they selected from for Johnny Carson's job...Leno got it.

Anonymous said...

Hardwood happenings, the board room, clean sawdust, happy wife, etc

Michelle said...

Ugh, I feel your pain. No raises or bonuses this year at all... and three rounds of layoffs so far. I'm still waiting for the axe to fall on me.

And as for names...

Custom Crafts (probably taken)
Garden Built
Gesthemane's Accoutrements
Garden Delights

Yeah it's too late for me tonight. Good luck with it.