We had a great Thanksgiving in 1986

Vlog 16 v.5

We had a great Thanksgiving in 1986  pixie dust

Keyword: telemarketing

We had our first big telemarketing client all lined up for Thanksgiving weekend in 1986; I was super excited! 

At that time in my life, I handled most EVERYTHING.  My partner, Dave, still worked for someone else during the day.  He would come in at night and he would help set up the phone numbers for the system to call (need better wording )  once someone entered Start Calling.  automated

Promoting The Taures With Telemarketing

The first big telemarketing client was a local Ford dealership who wanted to push one of their new models: the Taures.  

DA Remember that? DA  

My idea was to call people up and invite them to take a test drive.  If they did, we would give them a free dinner-for-two at local Italian restaurant.  I spoke the owner of the restaurant into giving the meals to the Ford dealership in return for FREE promotion of his restaurant.  After all, we would be mentioning his restaurant to about 15,000 local residences over this long weekend. He believed my projection of giving me (50) $35 gift certificates.

DA  Remember, the year was 1986, so $35 dollars went a long way! DA 

This was a win-win for both small businesses.

The telemarketing machine was booted up on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the same day the phone bill from Pacific Bell arrived.  Prominently displayed on the first page of the enclosed newsletter was a notice to all Californians.  “If you receive a pre-recorded message on your telephone, call the Public Utilities Commission at xxx-xxxx.”  These machines, called ADRMPs (automatic dialing something, something, something)  

DA I used to know, but I forgot DA 

were illegal in California! ….Only a handful of those telemarketing phoned called the PUC, …but a larger handful called our client!  It was fine for him …because he always liked to try new things.

Our Win-Win

Our win-win ….turned into angry-angry.  Even with that, they sold 11 cars…due to the promotion… over the long weekend.  A successful program that we could never do again. Good ROI, horrible PR.

And about that “running for FREE” thing.  Not in California.  At the time in California, businesses were charged for EVERY telemarketing call they made….to anywhere.  Not a big deal, but  when you are charging $8 per hour and your phone bill is $7 per hour, there is not much room for profit.  We didn’t know about these charges until I received our first real phone bill. 

DA Again, that due diligence thing DA  

I fell out of my uncomfortable ….chair. Dave, my partner, ran the numbers.  At that  rate, if we ran the unit 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, we would only lose about $2000 per month, if we didn’t pay ourselves…. anything!!! 

That was the problem.  We couldn’t do these programs anymore at that price.   With the PacBell memo ….and charging $8 per hour for our calling, the handwriting was on the wall. 

So what did we do? We did the next best thing: we hired real people to make the calls.  Yes, our costs would increase  

DA paying people, additional rent, and all the expenses we never imagined DA

but we could charge A LOT more.  After all, telemarketing worked!

This was the start of TBS Marketing Services.

DA Want to hear more?  Stay Tuned for my next Video blog.

Don’t buy phone equipment from a man named Paul…

 

 

 

Blog 15 v5

A long, long  time ago, I worked for a startup with David Hans. It became clear that it was slowly… going under.  I was looking for a change where I could work with as few people as possible.

An ad in Success Magazine sparked my interest…so I called them up.

I called and spoke with the President, Paul and he  introduced this fabulous piece of technology to me: It was truly state of the art –

 DA Not when we purchased it in 1986,…but it WAS when it was first designed… 8 years earlier. DA

It was powered by a Tandy TRS-80 with 8k (that right, K, not gigabyte) of RAM and a dual 400k floppy system

When we started the company in 1986, we were unprepared for what was to come in the next 14 years. It started in a small, 3 room office above a Dominos pizza, next to the luxurious adult book store in downtown Hayward, California.  In one room was a folding table, am uncomfortable chair,  2 line phone system, the yellow pages, and… me.   In the other room was the machine that would quickly make us rich, with minimal effort. 

This beauty… would automatically call people on the phone and the cassette player would play them a pre-recorded message . When they answered, and it would record their response…. Even better, it would call, 5 people at a time!  That’s right, just like the ad stated, it was like “having 5 full time telemarketers who never got tired.  The last call of the day would be delivered with the same enthusiasm as the first.”  And every call would be consistent. But the best part: we could do it without ANY employees! We could just add machines …as we grew. 

Paul told us that they only produced a limited amount, so we would need to put our orders in soon if we wanted to ensure the next unit.

It was really hot….  AND cheap to run.  That’s where the money thing came in.  Once our minimal monthly expenses were covered, the rest would be PROFIT.  The thing ran for FREE! 

If you are like most humans, you probably hate those computer calls. Yes, the calls were consistent;… but consistently annoying to everyone who answered the phone.  

But I was so swept with the possibilities, I ignored good sense and invested $25,000….site unseen… from an advertisement I saw in SUCCESS Magazine.  Sure, we spoke to the President of the company before plunking down the cash ….borrowed from my poor widowed mother.  Our due diligence was lacking (ok, non-existent)….but who cared, because we were getting “exclusive rights to Alameda County, California”. We had to “make a decision in a 2 weeks because other people were starting to inquire about the same territory.”  So the “takeaway close” worked on me… once again.  After all, if we didn’t act now, we would lose out on this opportunity…forever.

Yes, they did sell out all the counties in Northern California.  ….And then the company …disappeared.  

DA All the support they promised, the clients they would bring us,…gone

DA  the upgrades, the marketing…gone

DA  the advertising and the revenue… gone.  

It didn’t matter…because we KNEW what we were doing.

Want to hear more?  Stay tuned

Randy Travis Found The True Miracle…

Vlog 14 v7

Randy Travis Found The True Miracle pixie dust

I saw Randy Travis interviewed by Dan Rather ….on The Big Interview…. last month  

Randy Travis suffered a stroke in 2013 and he was very close to death. God was with him… and pulled him out the stroke ….a few weeks later.

With lifetime sales in excess of 25 million, Randy Travis was one of the biggest record sellers of all time …and a recent inductee …into the Country Music Hall of Fame…. class of 2016.  

Randy Travis Was A Different Person

Before he suffered a stroke, ….he divorced his wife  DA  I won’t  comment on that DA  

He had a girlfriend, Mary, and she stood by him …when the stroke nearly took his life when he suffered a stroke.  She didn’t have to…she just did it.  And she married him AFTER he had the stroke!

Mary Was A True Saint After He Suffered A Stroke

Mary is a TRUE saint.

It was amazing to watch after he suffered a stroke.  Dan Rather would ask him a question.  He would think about it,…. but got this look in his eye that he was trying, but just couldn’t get the words together.  She would quickly answer the question asked …of him.

DA Dan Rather didn’t say“I asked Randy, so you be quite.” DA

Everything ….was about HIM After He Suffered A Stroke

Everything ….was about HIM after he suffered a stroke.  And she kept on saying ….what a wonderful …voice he had.

Mary would keep saying ….that Randy was a miracle. … But I think the true miracle …was Mary.

Jill

This reminded me a lot of Jill, my wife after I suffered a stroke.   You can go to my video on (www.lifeafterthestroke.com  Show son the screen how to do it) and watch how Jill answered so quickly …for me.  I am in awe when I think about what she did for me ….all those years (jill is an angel)…without making it about her. I don’t tell her enough how remarkable she really is!

I am lost for words when I realize what Mary, Jill, (National Stroke Association, get help now) and countless others… have done…. caring for their loved one ….and NEVER making it about themTHEY…our caregivers… are the true heroes!

I Don’t Understanding ANYTHING…after reading it

Blog 13 v7

I Don’t Understand ANYTHING After Reading It Pixie Dust

Need a good laugh?

Do you have a problem understanding something …after reading it?….

DA I hate to say it,… but I do! DA

I can’t understand ANYTHING after reading ….more then a few sentences.  ….I never had this problem when I was healthy!

Need a few examples?

Pickleball

I am new to Pickleball; I started last year when after reading my speaking business …was cancelled…due to Covid. 

I got this email at the end of last year  “The USAPA was certainly busy during 2020 with a revised rulebook for 2021!  You can check out the new rulebook here! Alternatively, you can check out the Alternate 2021 rulebook here – this one attempts to simplify all the rules for you!”

I don’t know what that means!!!!  

After reading it over and over again, … I still don’t get it.  I will have my friend Kris to explained it to me, …then I know what it means. 

SEMRUSH

SEMRUSH is the worlds first marketing tool; it is Everything you need to dominate your niche online in one place after reading about it.  

They sent me this email sat the end of last year:

“We are excited to announce our new course, Audit Your Online Visibility with Semrush. We have collaborated with our Customer Success team to summarize the key workflows and tools all Semrush users should use when starting out.”

Again, ….what does this mean

How frustrating it is not to understand ANYTHING after I reading it…. numerous times. 

I hope tomorrow goes better.

….All you can do …is laugh. I hope I was able to brighten …your day!  Chuckle for the day

Screen with Life After the Stroke

How could people get divorced? It is devastating!

How could they get divorced?  Pixie Dust

DA People ….are getting …a divorce? DA

In 2020, Gordon Viggiano I had extra time to do some different things.  My speaking business has disappeared because of Covid. But I figured, that I would spend a little more time on Facebook and re-kindle the relationships I USED to have. 

Divorce

And what did I find?   …. People are getting divorced!  In my busy, hectic  time,…. I didn’t think about it…so now, I… did because of Covid.

For me and my wife Jill, it brought me closer to her ….and I thought…. that was true of everyone. DA Nope. DA

I counted the people I knew who got divorced   ….I was amazed….At least 22  people …I know of…got divorced!

What set it off? … I knew this one couple BEFORE they were married because they both had good jobs and were excited about getting married.  Along the way, they gave birth to 3 beautiful children.  I thought: they did it right;…. THEY are the ones to look at as a happily married.

Then I read on Facebook that ….they were getting a divorce.  DA What??? DA 

They SEEMED so happy!  What went wrong?

They were married for a number of years and they became incompatible.  Rather than work through it, ….they got divorced.

That depressed me. 

DA Are people ever happy? DA

When your kids get married, …do you celebrate…or do just you wait patiently until they get divorced?

Why are people so fickle ?

When I was MUCH younger, I thought I understood ….the way life.  You go out, you really like someone ….and you get married…..  If it doesn’t go as planned, ….you get divorced. It seemed quite simple, right?

What changed my thinking?… I met Jill. The day I meet her,…. I KNEW I wanted to be with her…. the rest of my life.   DA Doesn’t EVERYONE have that feeling? DA

We both have been tested…and we both have honored the commitment we made.   The few times we disagreed, we talked about it,….resolved it.…and it was over.

Why can’t everyone have THAT! 

We Celebrated A Spectacular Christmas In San Diego

Christmas in San Diego  Pixie dust

In December, we celebrated our Christmas… in San Diego.  … Does it get better than that???? Christmas in San Diego?

The reason for our trip to San Diego:  It a nice place…but more importantly….  My mother in-law, Betty, has dementia. 

She was stable for a number of years, but all of a sudden …she is decreasing.

Jill Decided On A Plan For Christmas  

Jill decided we go to San Diego for Christmas and rent a VRBO with her brother Brent , and our son Tom & his new bride Bethany .  My daughter Rachel, her daughter Stella and groom to be Nat were coming and would stay with Jill’s other brother, Gary to celebrate the holidays.  

We even had pictures Gary’s family and the cousins.

My wife, Jill, took most of the pictures on our final day…. overlooking the beautiful beachs in San Diego.  But,  I  said “ was I on this trip? …She tracked down a picture show grainy picture of me that someone else took. It was a grainy picture , but at least it shows ….I WAS there.

Agenda

Jill made put together an agenda for Christmas DA she is really good at making an agenda  DA and forwarded it to everyone. ….People then added there little tweaks ….until …it was finalized. 

Everyday was the same. ….Brent would call our Father -in law,  Al. Brent would invite them to different functions….and Al… would decline!!! ….I couldn’t believe it!  

Betty’s three kids ….were all in San Diego for Christmas.   Why not be a part of this special time? 

On a few occasions, we traveled to her house to see them.  Was there a difference of us going there …or them visiting us??  DA Beats me. DA

It was so sad …to see Betty looking LOST… ALL the time.

I remember when we gave birth to our daughter Rachel.  Grandma Betty came up for a month to take care of Jill and help out with Rachel. I think back at that moment and tears fill my eyes.  

It was a Merry Christmas (Stella) for all of us…and I am hoping it was a Merry Christmas… for you.  2020 was a terrible year. Along with the Covid outbreak …and millions of people out of work, my brother lost his wife and my brother in-law Brent’s wife lost his wife. I pray this year …will be better.  

No matter what, just remember the joys of Christmas …“to give up one’s very self.  To think only of others AND… how to bring the greatest happiness to  them(Christmas photo)that… is the true meaning of Christmas.”

I Did My Tenth Video Blog!

My Tenth 3-5 Minute Video Blog   Pixie dust

This will be my Tenth 3-5 minute video blog, (have sign with 10 blog) since I reluctantly started my video blog businessebout how long my video is in August this year.  

I  was all set to have a banner year of 3-5 minute video talks, …but all my planned work …(public speaking)got canceled!! 

I had the opportunity GV to do a re-think … my plan

Re-Thinking My Plan of 3-5 Minute Videos

Maybe this would be a good time to start my 3-5 Minute Video Blog business?  With my motivational …speaking business GONE, …this seemed like a good option. 

When I started out, I first had to write what I wanted to say and keep it to 3-5 minutes.  DA  I hit my first check mark. DA

My Vlog Business

I was fine writing my vlog DA(that is what the users call their video blogs) DA but I faced challenges when it became time to read my speech.  Here is a brief video after a number of re-edits …when I read my speech….for the very first time:  (First video blog)   

I look at that talk …and I cringe when I watch it …!  

Even Now , if I don’t practice the delivery of my speech for 2-3 months…and memorize the  lines, I can’t give my talk. 

Workaround

The workaround:  I still have to practice, but I don’t need to memorize the whole thing before I record. I do one line at a time…then stop the video …and memorize the next line …then record that line.  

This appears to work…and it is the only workaround I came up with.  Given this, I can do 2-3 talks per month, 3-5 minutes per talk.

Small Steps

Now that I said it, I can’t believe it takes me so long to get a 3-5 minute video out to you!  ….DA It is what it is! DA 

Do you want to look at …how far I’ve come?

Record over clips

3-5 Minute Videos

I started out  talking about how hard it was for me get an audible tone out that you could understand. show me taking with sound wiped out

ThenI talked about how long it would take me to get out my message  show me taking with sound wiped out

Love languages   I looked at how love languages worked…. in my life 

Fry’s going out of business   Then I looked at Fry’s and wondered HOW they were still in business with their lack of inventory

Chocolate chip cookies   We started giving Chocolate Chip Cookies  to ALL our new neighbors going forward.  Son getting married   I visited My son Tom and his new bride …Bethany …as they exchanged they wedding vows

Some Not So Rewarding

Sister in law dying   My next talk needed to be rushed…when my sister in-law Andrea Viggiano died suddenly

Kate Brown shutting down restaurants  There is nothing better than shutting down all the restaurants for two weeks… like Kate Brown did around Thanksgiving…and Now the shutdown has been extended!!!

Most wonderful son award  And finally, my mom gave me the Most Wonderful Son Award …which I still cherish.

Can I Make It With 3-5 Minutes Video?

Now the real question: Can I any make money at it? 

There are plenty of people  making a good living  (look at a few people)  …so why not take a chance?  Besides, I’m only 63 years old; it would be too early to do NOTHING!!! 

I will talk to you all… next year!  Happy Holidays!

Most Wonderful Son

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Most Wonderful Son  Have in Pixie Dust

My mom gave me the  Most Wonderful Son Award a few years after my father… died.  

Right out of college,  I had the opportunity to work for Joseph E Seagram & Sons.  Where else GV  could you get paid to …drink! …it was a dream… job and the most wonderful son. 

After a few years of drinking, ….I thought there had to be another way to accomplish my goals.  All the managers above me were divorced …or their marriages were deeply fractured,…. nearing divorce.  

…. And what were the odds that I would be my in charge of such a large company? I had to change… direction.

A Change In Direction

I took a deep ….leap of faith …and began working for Advanced Communications….selling the device that could send messages to a large audience.

Actually, the machine was computer terminal, where you could type a message…. and sent it to a printer via a phone line…one message at a time.  Then it would dial the next printer… and so on and so on. DA It would take some time to send 400 messages. DA

I found an oil company who wanted to send out price changes to their wholesalers on a daily basis. This would be a huge win for them.  …. Remember , this was before FAX machines and the most wonderful son.

Setbacks

Most Wonderful Son

But back in the day, there was nothing like this around, but you still had to work around the setbacks

– The printer was only 20 columns wide, so the message …had to be short

– How do you set up the printer?

– If the printer was shared, you had to train a few people the Answer the phone line and then they had to  print out the message

– If the printer was on a dedicated line, you first had to order it

– The computer terminal sent it out ….one at a time. Could you broadcast the send?    

These things needed to be worked out and the most wonderful son.

While I was trying to gain enter into the oil companies,…  my father passed away of a heart attack.   

My Father Died

I went to NJ for the funeral, although lived in California at the time.   I told my mom that I would call her ….every weekDA and I did! DA

The reason I would wait for Saturdays to call?  My monthly phone bill for calling my mom was between $40-60; Back in 80’s, that was a lot of money!   I would call on Saturdays because it was half the price of calling during the week.

Most Wonderful Son

I visited New Jersey for Christmas in 1986  …She gave me my presents …And then he also gave me the Most Wonderful Son award.  I asked WHY… and she responded “you call me every week and ask about how I’m doing.   I really appreciate that.”

It is amazing the things that stick with you after all these years.  I still have the award and I look at it when I am feeling down.  …It gives me comfort. Smile

Are You Tired of Covid-19 Yet???

Graphic of someone sick   Tired of Covid 19 yet?  Pixie Dust Zoom Meeting graphic ;

Are you tired of COVID-19 yet?  …Last week, Governor Kate Brown put in another 2 wake shutdown…thru December 2!!!!   

When it first all started in March, we Americans GV were told it would be two weeks.  I thought: how could they shut down everything for two weeks?…. But I guessed they would reopen …when the two week window …passed. 

PAUSE    Soon after, it turned into a month.   

I looked at my engagement schedule for the year and it really had no impact. PAUSE I was planning on a good 2020 as result of Covid-19.

A month past by ….and it  looked like it would be another month of closed business.  OK, I thought, at least it will be over in 2 months over Covid-19.

Because it was increased to TWO months, it looked like I would have to reschedule my talk for the CKAHU (Central Kentucky Association of Health Underwritters) …to June 2nd.  That didn’t phase me.  The NSA (National Speakers Association) was still scheduling events for future months.

DANow it is more than 8 months! DA 

My NSA friends are now having Zoom meetings.  They have had sessions on Zoom about how we can still be impactful. They have entire meetings on running your business on Zoom!

With Covid-19’s help, I decided to wrap up my speaking career this year…and refocus my efforts on working on my video blogs.  In the past, I was prospecting each and every day… spending time on my video blogs… was out of the question. 

Now, with my prospecting gone (because my speech had to be heard in person),  the decision became easy for me.

In the past, I could predict my income.  But now my income is unknown because THIS is a new business as a result of Covid-19

That is exciting for me ….as I am learning the video blog business…and there are so many things to learn! 

They were starting to open things up after 8 months….and now this 2 week “freeze” in Oregon???  How could restaurants make overhead by serving 1/2 the tables??? Now, they will be forced to do takeout only for a two weeks as a result of Covid-19.

What about all those waiter and waitresses jobs not filled? 

DAWhat about all the businesses whose employees are working from home

DAWhat about the scores of business who used to rely on the foot traffic but are now there is none? …  PAUSE I feel it is criminal! PAUSE

While I  am excited about the path I have chosen, …I am deeply concerned about all those people who are still  unemployed….can do right …right now.

One thing I am doing to help out the restaurant business out of Covid-19 ; we decided NOT to change our eating plans.  We still do a Coupon Friday (we go to where they offer me a coupon for something), we go to Einsteins on Saturday mornings ( we can’t eat in Einsteins… but we go outside to eat) ….and we go to a fantastic dinner on Sunday nightsbut will have to do take out during next two weeks!…  Disgust

My Sister In Law Andrea Passed Away

After I got home last week celebrating my son’s …beautiful wedding ….GV  my brother Lou lost his wife who Andrea passed away of Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) …a few days later. 

Andrea Passed Away

As we all celebrated with Tom and Bethany …. on our zoom call,….my brother Lou was in the hospital…. as he looked forward to just another day …with his wife… Andrea passed away. 

Should I be celebrating…or should I be comforting Lou as his wife Andrea passed away?  This was a tough question.

After praying about it for quite a while, here’s I came up with:  

  • You need to Celebrate the good times as they happen 
  • And Be thankful ….as you celebrate…NOW
  • Don’t worry, …….you will be taken down another path when its your turn to mourn. AA Trust me! AA 

Celebrate

We got to celebrate my son’s wedding on November 1, 2020.  

When I returned after a few days, I got the email from my niece and quickly texted my brother that his wife Andrea passed away; he really needed to know that I cared and was there for him.  He was thankful for me not reaching out over the phone; I understood that.  

As my son picked who he was going to be around …the rest of his life, ….my brother Lou lost his wife Andrea passed away …after 43 years of marriage …on November 5, 2020.

Kate Made It Clear

My niece, Kate, said in an email

pictures of Andrea “ like everything else Mom did, she handled the challenges she was faced… with grace and grit and gratitude,…. making it easier for the rest of us.  Last week,  she went into the hospital with pneumonia, and we realized ….after a while ….that she was declining.”

Andrea Passed Away – Her Final Words

Kate quoted Andrea’s feelings in her final days:

pictures of Andrea “We must allow ourselves to grieve and ride it through. But when we are ready …and remember the love, it overcomes it all. The love… fills up the space.” 

Andrea Viggiano
1947-2020