Monthly Archives: June 2012

An Interview with Marc Paetzold, aka Myself

Tuesdays at the Micro Business Kid are usually reserved for interviews with other micro business owners. I didn’t have one set up for this week so I decided to interview myself so you weren’t disappointed. It’s a bit awkward to interview yourself, but its a great way to reflect and think. Try it out sometime!

  • What’s the name of your micro business and where is it located?

Officially, we’re known as Suncoast Classic Bikes, LLC for tax purposes. I use that entity for Habermann & Sons Classic Motorcycle Clothiers and the Micro Business Kid. I’m currently located in St. Petersburg, FL but I’m hoping to be able to run both businesses along with consulting micro businesses from Europe within the next 2-3 years.

  • How long have you been in business?

Since July 4th, 2008

  • What does your micro business do?

Habermann & Sons started life as a vintage motorcycle shop that repaired, restored, and serviced vintage motorcycles from the 60s to the 80s in a storefront on St. Pete Beach in Florida. We were also distributors for Metro Racing and Parts Unlimited. The Recession hit so we were forced to move back into our 2-car garage. Best decision ever. The garage is our workshop and our family room has been our office ever since. We now are more of an online business. We offer Metro Racing apparel on our website as well as eBay and we are in the early stages of getting our own clothing line going. We’re getting ready to launch a new service soon but I can’t really get into that here.

The Micro Business Kid is a blog that offers a blueprint, support, and resources so anyone, anywhere can start and grow a successful micro business in their spare time. It shares my business experiences, thoughts, views, and ideas so others can learn from them and integrate them into their businesses.

  • Why did you decide to start your micro business?

My dad decided to start the business because it was a life-long dream of his. He reached a certain milestone at the job he worked at and wanted to go part-time to build the business in his new-found spare time. They said continue to work full-time or quit. So he quit.

Growing up, I always was interested in business and knew that I wanted to have my own someday. The freedom, control of my life, and other stuff that supposedly comes with it was very appealing. I was in college studying Economics at the time but burned out and dropped out to help my dad with his venture and pursue my life-long dream of playing professional soccer. We’ve spent more time together since the start of the business than the previous 18 years of my life because he always worked crazy hours. This is definitely something you can’t put a price on.

I decided to start the Micro Business Kid because I found myself helping other businesses that we met on Tumblr with their businesses. They told me that I really helped them so I guess I did something right. I’m passionate about business and even more passionate about helping people with theirs.

  • Who else is a part of your team? What are their roles?

My dad is basically my clone except he’s a lot more creative. He has more of an old-school approach and I’m more new-school. Combine us, and we’re pretty awesome. My mom is the one who keeps us in check with all of our ideas and makes sure the bills are paid on time. One of the most important jobs if you ask me. We’ve worked with countless designers, coders, photographers, and other freelancers that have helped us out tremendously. I’d say the team at Metro Racing is a part of our team as well. They’re also a family business and we know them all on a first-name basis. We have incredible professional and business connections around the world who I couldn’t thank enough. I’d include all of our followers on our social networks as a part of our team as well. They help create our products, give us feedback, and are a wonderful support system. Without them, we literally wouldn’t exist anymore so I can’t thank them all enough.

  • What are some memorable moments that you’ve had in your micro business?

Seems like there are always memorable moments going on. I’ll always remember our first day and our first sales in the storefront, on eBay, and on our website. Meeting all the great people on our social networks is also always memorable. You never know who you’ll meet and who or what they know.

  • What are some moments that you’d rather forget?

The couple of times we’ve gotten scammed and that one time we got a death threat. It’s not fun, but sometimes it’s an unfortunate part of business. As long as you learn, you’re better off in the long run.

  • What’s something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started out?

If you build it, they won’t necessarily come. It takes time to create trust with your customers. I also wish we would have gotten started creating connections on social networks A LOT sooner. I also wish I would have known that you don’t necessarily need to have a physical storefront to have a successful business. Knowing that everything is negotiable would have also been nice to know. It’s all about perception as well.

  • If you could give advice to those just starting out, it would be:

No one cares as much about your success as you do.

  • What do you think is a key trait that you possess that has led you to have a successful micro business? Why is it important?

My positive outlook on things. There were many instances when we could have or should have quit. Moments when there was hardly any hope and we were really discouraged to the point of depression. Somehow, I’ve been able to get through those times, learn from them, and become a better person and entrepreneur because of them. If you quit or give up, you give yourself no chance to ever succeed.

  • What do you think is most important to have while first starting a micro business; a business degree, connections, determination, etc.? Why?

Having an idea that will either help, improve, add value, or benefit someone and making sure that person is willing to pay for it is what you first need. If it doesn’t do these things, no one will want them and you won’t be compensated for them. That’s the perfect example of what kind of business model you don’t want to have!

  • Looking forward to the next 6 months or so, what new ideas or goals do you have for your micro business?

We want to move away from eBay as much as possible. All of hoops we have to jump through just isn’t worth it anymore. Getting our new service going is something that I’m really excited about. We’re working on creating new products and new collaborations as well. Some that are more “traditional” than others.

With the Micro Business Kid, I’d love to have some guides available for sale and grow my client base and the businesses of my clients. As they grow, I grow.

  • What are some “myths” of starting a business that you’ve found to be absolutely false?

You need a business degree to be successful, that “experts” are always correct and that they are absolutely necessary for success.

  • Is there anything else you’d like to share or address? If so, what?

Reading is a relatively inexpensive and easy way to grow as an entrepreneur. If you are faced with some issue and don’t know the answer, Google it. If you don’t know how to do something, copy what your successful competitor is doing. Use technology to your advantage. You won’t become successful overnight; you become successful by doing something each day to advance your business. In other words, just be proactive!

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Cheeseburgers, Hacking Your Brain, Life Secrets and Tips, Becoming a Morning Person, and House Sitting

Mondays at the Micro Business Kid consist of the Helpful Posts of the Week. They’ll highlight interesting, helpful things that I’ve found throughout the previous week.

  • If you want an example of a great website lay out which provokes customer interaction, look no further than this one. If it doesn’t make you want to have a cheeseburger, you have no soul….or are vegetarian, which is cool too.
  • How Apple and Other Retailers Subtly Seduce You in Their Stores– A good read if you have a physical storefront and a good read if you’re a consumer. Basically, everyone should read this.
  • How to Hack Your Brain according to LifeHacker. I believe that a business is limited by the mind of it’s creator. This is a good article to read if you want to expand your life and take your business to the “next level.”
  • 50 Life Secrets and Tips according to High Existence. AKA ridiculously simple ways to become a better person and entrepreneur.
  • If you’re anything like me and its difficult to wake up before noon, this is an article you’ll definitely want to check out! How to Make Yourself a Morning Person by Meghan Casserly.
  • How to See the World by House Sitting according to Married With Luggage. You may or may not know, but a goal of mine is to be able to move to Europe in 2-3 years and explore it as much as I can and as cheaply as I can. I’ve looked into house sitting a bit and came across this site. If you thought traveling Europe was expensive and impossible, think again.

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Some Questions to Provoke Your Thoughts

Welcome to Wednesday which means we’re bringing you some Thought-Provoking Questions of the week today!

  • Why do businesses outsource their social networks?

It makes absolutely no sense to me when they do this. They’re also doing it wrong in the process. People go on social networks to escape all the bullshit in life which includes having advertisements constantly shoved down our throats. So what do these businesses do on social networks? They shove advertisements down our throats…fun, huh? The key word in “social networks” is social. People want to connect with other people when they go on these sites. They don’t want to be friends with some  emotionless company. I guess these corporations really don’t have souls so they need to hire others to connect customers because they’re socially awkward?

  • Why do we underestimate ourselves sometimes? How can we stop?

I wish I had the answer. Maybe it has to do with self-confidence? Maybe if we have high self-confidence all the time, the “barriers” that stand before us get smaller? Maybe we just have to take action quicker so we don’t have time to think and try to talk ourselves out of doing whatever is making us uncomfortable?

And a question that only you can answer for yourself…

  • As another passes, are you any closer to achieving your dream?

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A Word with Taryn from ToughLove MPD

This is the second installment of interviews with micro business owners at the Micro Business Kid. Today’s interview is with Taryn Scalise from ToughLove MPD. She was great to work with and I hope you enjoy!

1. What’s the name of your micro business and where is it located?

My business is officially called ToughLove MPD. People ask what the MPD stands for all the time so I’ll go ahead and tell you. It stands for makeup, photography, and design.  I’m located in Michigan but I’ve worked all over. (Me: When she said make-up, I figured she’d be based somewhere like New York or Los Angeles. I was really surprised when she said Michigan but this just goes to prove that you can have any sort of successful business anywhere in the world.)

2. How long have you been in business?

Since 2007

3. What does your micro business do?

If you want to get fancy, it specializes in vanity.  I do various things. For the most part I work with models and I train and coach them. There is a difference between the two. I also create make-up looks for clients for weddings and stuff like that. Along with that, I set up full-service photo shoots for companies and clients in which my models are used. A part of that service includes me designing sets and style shoots.

4. Why did you decide to start your micro business?

At the beginning, I didn’t even realize that I was starting a micro business. I just had a real talent for makeup artistry and everything that goes along with it.  It felt natural to me and like it just what I was meant to do.  Along the way I turned what I did for fun into my career and I haven’t looked back since.

5. Is anyone else a part of your team? What are their roles?

Well on the business side, ToughLove is officially just me but I do work with a lot of models and photographers. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do so I consider them to be a large part of the team.

6. What are some memorable moments that you’ve had in your micro business?

There’s been a lot of memorable moments and I feel like every few months I hit a certain milestone in my career and I “level up” so to speak.  Getting my work into magazines, commercials, and ads has been pretty amazing.  A pretty cool experience was when I was once asked to do make-up for a big runway show in my area just because of the way I looked. She could tell I was a Make Up Artist so that was a pretty big deal for me.

7. What are some moments that you’d rather forget?

There aren’t really any that I want to forget.  Any moment that I can look back on and say “Oh man, what was I thinking?!” keeps me humble.  Remembering where I came from, and what I have been through keeps me grounded.

8. What’s something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started out?

I wish I had documented every look and written down every idea from the beginning. I also wish I could have dedicated more time to practicing more looks and techniques.

9. If you could give advice to those just starting out, it would be:

Keep going! Anytime you feel like giving up, push harder! You will be exhausted, and burned out at times; it’s inevitable but keep going. You are keeping your dream alive!  All the blood, sweat, and tears will be all worth it in the end.  I promise.

10. What do you think is a key trait that you have that has led you to have a successful micro business? Why is it important?

Passion!  I was once told that I am just a big ball of passion for what I do.  I think that is definitely key.  LOVE what you do.  If you don’t, then what’s the point?

11. What do you think is most important to have while first starting a micro business; a business degree, connections, determination, etc.? Why?

The only thing I started with was raw talent.  That’s all I had.  So with determination, small connections, and persistence, I grew a little bit more every day.  I also practiced every free moment I had, and worked on my craft and did lots of research.

12. Looking forward to the next 6 months or so, what new ideas or goals do you have for your micro business?

I would definitely like to be more organized with my appointments, shooting, even my costumes, and makeup!  I would also like to create more series of shoots and start working on my book. A type of shoot that I really want to do more of is product shoots for companies.

13. What are some “myths” of starting a business that you’ve found to be absolutely false?

That you absolutely need a degree to start a business! I didn’t go to school for any of the work I do and I am doing better with my business and craft then half of the people I know who have spent 7 years in school.  Yes, a degree may be helpful in getting your foot in the door but actual experience in the field is the way you’ll build a good career.

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That wraps things up with Taryn. If you’d like to find out more about ToughLove you can check out their Facebook and Tumblr.

If you are a micro entrepreneur and would like to have your business featured, please send an e-mail to microbusinesskid@tampabay.rr.com.

Have a great Tuesday everyone!

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How’s This For Motivation?

I’ve had great difficulty getting motivated lately. Along with an annoying cough. I came across this and thought it was great. Another way of putting it is that you don’t have to live your life the way anyone else is telling you you should. It’s your life. Make something out of it. Don’t wait for permission.

You really can do anything if you persevere, are intelligent, and a little lucky. But if you think you can’t do amazing things and don’t even try, there is no way that you will ever be successful. I’ve recently realized that you have no chance to succeed if you don’t even start.

This is where most growth happens. It’s also where your micro business will grow the quickest. Usually, the things that you don’t really want to do, are the things that you need to do most. It’s funny, there’s really no such thing as a “comfort zone;” it’s all mental. As you carry out more and more things that are outside of your “comfort zone,” it will expand and those things that seemed difficult at first will become really simple after a while.

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Why Do We Need the Approval of Others? …among other things

This week at the Micro Business Kid is all about changing things up and trying out a new schedule. To help you get past “Hump Day,” Wednesdays will provide you with the thought-provoking questions of the week! Expect 1-3 questions a week.

  • Why do we need the approval of others?

When we were growing up and did something great, we’d usually tell our parents and if we got an excited response from them, it was the greatest feeling in the world. When we didn’t, our moods would suffer.

When we were teenagers and did something cool, we’d tell all of our friends on Facebook about it. Again, if we got a lot of comments or likes, we’d feel great about ourselves. If we didn’t, we’d feel like shit and maybe even delete the status because you got embarrassed.

(If you have a normal job) and did something great at work like get a raise, you couldn’t wait to get home to tell your significant other. If they shared in our excitement, it was the greatest thing ever. If all what they said was “eh, that’s cool” we’d get all depressed.

Why is that? Why do we need other people to know about and share in our accomplishments? Can’t we just do something incredible just for the sake of knowing that you did something incredible?

  • Why do people, in general, let the things that hold them back, hold them back?

Everyday, we hear stories about people who have physical or mental hindrances do absolutely fucking incredible things! Why is it that people with “handicaps” do such amazing things, while perfectly “normal” people don’t do a damn thing with their lives? It may have something to do with their perspective of life. The “handicapped” people probably look at life differently. Maybe some of them know they don’t have much longer to live so they really do make the most of each and everyday.

On the other hand, we all die, and we should realize this. Why do some people persevere through all the bullshit in their lives and do some really great things while others simply give up?

* If anyone is offended by my word choice, I’m sorry and didn’t mean to offend anyone. I simply don’t know the correct word choice. If you do, please let me know in a nice way. Please don’t call me a fuckin’ idiot 🙂

  • Why do we focus more on the people who don’t show up more than those who do?

A friend of mine put together a really incredible convention the other week for the Indonesian community in California. All sorts of dignitaries and such showed up. I asked how it went and she said that it went really well, but a lot of people didn’t show up, and this upset her parents which led her to become upset.

I told her that she needs to focus more on the people who showed up instead of those who didn’t. I mean, people only have one Saturday night a week. Maybe they had other plans? Maybe they got confused about the date? Maybe they simply forgot? Whatever the reasoning, it doesn’t matter. That would be like telling everyone who showed up when they were leaving, “thanks so much for coming, but I just wish someone else showed up too.” Not only does this not make sense, this will certainly piss off those who indeed did show up.

That would be like me saying thanks to the 2,000 or so people who have come across this blog but being extremely upset that the other billions of people in the world didn’t come across it! Be grateful for all your followers, readers, customers, etc and don’t give a shit about the ones who aren’t. We all have things going on and different interests.

Maybe those people who aren’t currently your followers will eventually come around and become followers? (They probably will) so don’t worry about it! Focus on adding value to the lives of people who know you or your business and that’s all you can do.

On that note, a great, big THANK YOU to all of you who read this post and have read other posts before. It really means A LOT to me. It’s also great to hear from readers that they’ve benefited from what I’ve written in some sort of way. That’s why I created this blog! If you wouldn’t mind, please take some time to let me know how I’m doing!

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A Quick Chat with Adam from Untitled Motorcycles

You may or may not enjoy my ramblings about micro business so it would be nice to hear from other micro entrepreneurs from time to time, wouldn’t it? Well, here you go! I met Adam about half a year ago when he commented on my old blog. He simply asked me to check out his blog and let him know what I thought of it. So I did. I didn’t think much of it at the time but apparently what I said really helped. We’ve exchanged e-mails on a pretty consistent basis since then and I’d say that we’re pretty good friends now!

  • What’s the name of your micro business and where is it located?

Untitled Motorcycles – London, England

  •  How long have you been in business?

Since 2011

  •  What does your micro business do?

We currently customize motorcycles and are hoping to start selling shirts and parts in the near future.

  •  Why did you decide to start your micro business?

I don’t know as I’m still working for the man to pay most of the bills. (Me- I’m pretty sure that Adam’s passion for motorcycles was the reason for the creation of Untitled Motorcycles. Since the business has only been around for less than 2 years, it is normal that you will need an outside source of income to fund your micro business and to pay your bills. Don’t think of this as being a failure!)

  •  Who else is a part of your team? What are their roles?

Rex is the chief mechanic, Anita is his assistant, and I fabricate parts, put bits of the bike back together, and do all the social media stuff.

  •  What are some memorable moments that you’ve had in your micro business?

Selling our custom UM-3

  • What are some moments that you’d rather forget?

Agreeing to work on a Kawasaki VN800!!! (Me: If you’re unfamiliar with motorcycles, Adam is basically saying don’t agree to do something that you don’t usually do or are not totally comfortable doing. Stick to what you know!)

  •  What’s something that you know now that you wish you would have known when you started out?

Being helpful is better than the hard sell

  •  If you could give advice to those just starting out, it would be:

The above

  •  What do you think is a key trait that you possess that has led you to have a successful micro business? Why is it important?

I don’t know if we are successful yet. (Me: If you’re doing something that you are passionate about and are adding value to the lives of others, I think you’re successful on some level. A lot of other people can’t say that they do the same thing! Adam is still in the “early” stages of his business. If you stick with something long enough and are determined, it will all pay off eventually.)

  •  What do you think is most important to have while first starting a micro business; a business degree, connections, determination, etc.? Why?

Determination, connections, being helpful, trusting others, social skills, and great products.  Why? Because without these, you are not making it easier on yourself to succeed. You won’t like yourself if you do “make it” by treating others horribly. (Me: To sum things up, I think Adam is trying to say, be a good, honest person who runs a business which makes honest, quality products and you will like yourself and your customers will like you as well.)

  •  Looking forward to the next 6 months or so, what new ideas or goals do you have for your micro business?

We’re hoping to create more t-shirt designs and have more parts available for sale.

  •  What are some “myths” of starting a business that you’ve found to be absolutely false?

You need a lot of money to get started.

  •  Is there anything else you’d like to share or address? If so, what?

Having a great mentor really helps.

A great, big thanks to Adam for taking the time out of his busy schedule to do this interview for the Micro Business Kid. To thank him, check out their website, Tumblr, and Facebook.

Also be sure to check out the write-up Iron & Air magazine did on them here and their builds on BikeExif.

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If you would like your micro business featured on the Micro Business Kid or know someone who does, please send an e-mail to microbusinesskid@tampabay.rr.com. Remember, a micro business usually only has 1-5 employees. The Micro Business Kid has gotten almost 2,000 views in 6 weeks so being featured on the blog could mean an increase in traffic and/or sales on your website. To sweeten the deal even more, I will help you with your top 3 business concerns, issues, etc. free of charge for as long as it takes to fully address your needs.

What do you have to lose? Again, if you’re interested, send an e-mail to me at microbusinesskid@tampabay.rr.com.

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