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David Gretzmier
09-22-2009, 12:53 AM
"An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field." - Niels Bohr

This is me ! I am in a narrow business, out front of the pack making mistakes before anyone!

I stole this quote from a great automatic email I get called the monday morning memo. it's kind of a marketing push to start my week thinking about growing/running my business. I reccomend it.

Malcomb Gladwell's latest book "Outliers" continues the same thread of logic and hammers home what makes an expert.. basically the theme of the book is very successful people tend to find that success by having a few things going for them, but they have that expert title. They got that title by hitting 10,000 hours doing something.

It got me to thinking, how long would it take me to call myself and expert at Christmas Lights? I tend to work 45-60 hour weeks from Sept 15- oct. 15. Oct 15-Nov 1 are pretty much 50-70. Nov. 1-Dec 11 are 80, and dec 11-Jan 1 are 50's. Jan 1 -Jan 31 are 50's. so an average of 50 plus hours a week for 15 weeks, and 80 hours a week for 6 weeks per year. On the off season, I go to 2 3 day weekends of training, one in Omaha and one in Kentucky. I've been keeping this schedule for about 6 years now. so aprox 1300 or so hours per year of pretty much immersion in Christmas Lights times those years. In 2001-2002, started later, probably Oct 10th or so, but same work hours. So I only get 1100 hours those years. so I am about 11000 hours plus, best I figure, that I have given my life to lights, not including the time I spent in Northeast Arkansas doing some lights, and doing this part time prior to 2001.

So by the book, I guess I have entered into expert status.

You should take comfort however, that I am still out there trying to make new mistakes. new things I am trying this year-

6x11 huge postcards, 4x6 "business" cards, proposal "folders", radio advertising, website, saturation mailing, getting things printed in china, trying new decorations ( gigantic 4 foot fiberglass ornaments ?), building a gigantic ( for me) pole barn for Christmas Light storage, the Christmas Olympics, building a ladder rack on top of 2 box vans, are just a sample of the new things I am trying this year to make my business better, THINGS I HAVE NEVER DONE BEFORE.

will they all work? NO.

I will say that some of them will fail.

The cool thing I will be honest with you about what works for me and what fails. I learn and share it with you, and it costs you nothing but your time to read.

a soapbox moment here-

This flies in the face of what I have experieced from a few of the items I have bought over the past few years that did not work. Folks designed, manufactured, and sold me Christmas items and were happy to let me and a few hundred others pay for the right of testing thier product for them on MY customers and then letting me inform them that this product sucks. why in the world did they not test it in thier own christmas light hanging business for a few years and cost them the money? Then HEY, they could then sell a product that works or NOT sell a product that sucks ?

It reminds me of my Daddy teaching me not to buy a car that is in the first model year of that design. "Son, they don't even know if that car works or not-buy the model year that has 3-4 years of them making that thing. "

You guys have a great week,

dave g

hotrod1965
09-22-2009, 11:29 AM
Good post. I think a lot of guys miss how much money it really costs by using cheap stuff. Repairs cost more money than you think! It costs us about $40 per hour for two guys in a truck. So a repair is at least $40 if not $80. So you could spend hundreds on a job because you used low end products or products that are not right for the job.

laschin1
09-24-2009, 09:09 PM
Intreresting..What defines a poor quality product? COuld you point me in the right direction for buying the proper holiday lighting material?

David Gretzmier
09-24-2009, 10:18 PM
easy- read the threads here from the last 2 years. you will learn everything there is to know about product, where to buy, what to pay, what to charge, and how to do this business. welcome aboard.