For those of you who can’t wait to check out the Boot-Strap Expat Adventure Campaign:
An Update On Liquidations and Funding of the Boot-Strap Expat Adventure
For those of you who have been following the Boot-Strap Expat adventure from the beginning, the original plan was for the Liquidation of Assets to be the primary source of funding for the project with sponsors supplementing with equipment or other types of support. Unfortunately, most potential sponsors have been focused solely on Year-End and Holiday sales and marketing efforts over the last ninety days, which happens to coincide with the kickoff of the Boot-Strap Expat adventure’s foundational efforts. I expect that with the Holiday Retail season behind us it will be much easier to make progress in these regards. (More on Liquidations below)
Some Auspicious Signs Ring In the New Year and Launch the Boot-Strap Expat Adventure
Max, New Moon and I wish you all a Happy New Year and hope 2014 is your best year ever. Speaking of New Moons, for those of you who aren’t enthralled by gazing at the wonders of the night sky regularly, the New Year coincides with a New Moon (not the four-legged kind) which in many cultures is an auspicious time to begin new ventures. This conjunction of a New Year with a New Moon and a New Phase for the Boot-Strap Expat adventure feels like a great way to move forward into the future!
I Lied. Liquidation Sucks!
Back on 30 September I exclaimed, “Liquidation Is Fun!” as the headline of an article. It wasn’t untruthful at the time, but as weeks of liquidation efforts rolled on, it became less and less fun, gradually turning to drudgery and finally misery that sucked. How did liquidation go from “Fun” to “Suck?” Here is an approximate chronology with symptoms of Suck accumulating over time:
Moving in to the Gibraltar Trade Center was relatively easy and leisurely. A pickup truck full of antiques and collectibles on Thursday, another on Friday and yet another on Saturday that first weekend, followed by additional loads over the next couple months as stock was replenished.
Sales got off to a decent start with gross sales of about $700.00 the first two weekends; not a huge amount but it suggested that as we approached the holiday season sales would certainly improve. Interestingly most of our initial sales were to other vendors who were either enthralled with our unique offerings, or hoped to re-sell them at a profit, which is fine by me as long as I’m making some profit as well.
Hours of Operation – The indoor market is open from noon until 9:00 PM Fridays, 10:00 AM ’til 8:00 PM Saturdays and 10:00 AM ’til 6:00 PM Sunday, or 27 hours each weekend and you are contractually bound by the market to be present in your sales area for the duration. Once you add in the trips to and from storage with stock, sales and marketing and administration you are pretty much assured to spend 45-50 hours per weekend operating your little business.
October Sales plummeted after our initial robust start averaging just over $200.00 per weekend, or about $5.00/hour based on forty hours of effort.
When Bodies Revolt – Ever since I was rear-ended on I-75 in 1998 I’ve had intermittent, cascading back spasms. For those of you who haven’t experienced this particular April Fool’s prank a human body is capable of, here’s are the symptoms: There is usually no warning of onset. Once you’ve experienced the Sadism of back spasm, you tend to be pretty careful of any activities that are likely to injure your back, which means you are usually blindsided by some minor motion, or no motion at all that sets back spasms cascading.
My personal experience of bullshit triggers include – Bending over to pet the cat, scrubbing out a carpet stain (not caused by the cat or dogs) on hands and knees, stretching after awakening in the morning (seriously?), a particularly powerful sneeze. I usually feel a fist-sized ache in my lower back just to the left of my spine and just above my pelvis. This is the only warning I am ever allowed. If I don’t get off my feet, preferably horizontal with moist heat on this area, the cascading spasms will turn my spine into an “S” that has nothing to do with Superman, I’ll be unable to walk for days and the simplest movements can set off a cascade that will drop me right then and there.
You Cannot “Walk It Off” That’s how I earned my first (and hopefully last) ambulance ride. My first encounter with these gremlins was about four months after my accident. On my way out the door to go to work, I bent over to pet my one-eyed cat Odin, felt a minor twinge, hopped in my F150 and went to the office. I felt fine all the way up to the time I attempted to get out of my truck. The switch was flipped and I was in for a painful lesson for trying to “walk it off.” I shuffled to my office like my ninety year old grandfather used to shuffle and was grateful for once that I had a four hour project meeting first thing and that I wasn’t leading it. We broke after two hours and I shuffled off to refill my coffee mug but never made it back. While trying to force myself forward through the pain I suddenly blacked out in the hall of a GM Engineering building. The next thing I remember is faces hovering over me, telling me not to move and that an ambulance was on its way. The ambulance ride was uneventful except that the crew wouldn’t turn on the siren for me, so I made siren sounds to amuse myself and the EMTs on the way to the hospital.
What alleviates cascading back spasms? In the absence of opium or codeine, I’ve found that the best symptom reducers are Passion Flower and Valerian Root capsules, aspirin (I avoid Tylenol and Ibuprofen because if I’m going to ruin my liver, I want to enjoy myself while doing so), cheap whiskey, and bed-rest for days.
What does any of this have to do with liquidating assets you ask? Not a thing unless you are in the throes of cascading back spasms when you’re supposed to be manning your store at the indoor market. Thank Gods for my daughter and one of the other vendors for handling things in my absence. I missed an entire weekend and part of the next due to back spasms.
November Sales sucked worse than October with average sales of $120/weekend or $3.00/hour and Black Friday weekend was only $2.00 better than average. So it was time to move forward with liquidation by different tactics.
Moving Out is also a Nightmare! You are expected to get all of your stock out of your sales area within 24 hours even though it took many truckloads to bring your stock in. So I took a truckload Sunday night, a truckload Monday and due to a rain storm was unable to get the rest of my stock out until Wednesday – which I was expected to do in the dark, because they weren’t about to make moving out safe or easy for anyone taking too long to remove their stuff.
So that’s how you go from “Fun” to “Sucks!” in less than sixty days of liquidating assets.
New Liquidation and Funding Tactics
The great thing about having unique (some would say “bizarre”) tastes in antiques and collectibles is that you can usually find a specialty dealer to take them on consignment, which doesn’t cost you a thing (rents) and doesn’t require your presence in order to make money. So we have over $1000.00 of items for sale at one place, $4500.00 of original artwork at another and will be moving our antiques to a couple other antique stores in the area. However we cannot wait for all of this stuff to sell before moving forward with the Boot-Strap Expat adventure and have created an IndieGoGo campaign to get us moving with greater velocity. As the original art, antiques and collectibles make their way to new appreciative owners over time, these resources will be rolled into the Boot-Strap Expat funding stream to assure our success.
The Boot-Strap Expat IndieGoGo Campaign
Please take a few minutes to visit and preview the campaign (http://igg.me/at/Boot-Strap-Expat/x/5929170) and provide feedback, criticism and suggestions. I will be adding additional content moving forward, however adding media is not as easy as it is here on WordPress so it will take a spell for the IndieGoGo pages to have all the character you’re used to finding here.
Please share the Boot-Strap Expat IndieGoGo campaign with others. Max, New Moon and I appreciate all your help and support.
To Support the Boot-Strap Expat IndieGoGo project visit http://igg.me/at/Boot-Strap-Expat/x/5929170
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