I made another sale! Yay! Lately, I have pretty much just been doing the same routine; making calls, sending e-mails and waiting to hear back. It’s easy to lag when there’s so much repetition, but hearing back from people and actually making sales helps me stay motivated.I know the more people I reach out to, the more sales I could potentially make, which is exactly how to get a business off of it’s feet. Tomorrow, I get to go with my mentor to various meetings at different shops that are interested in buying Hint Mints. I’m excited to see what it’s like to try and sell things in person rather than over the phone. I don’t really have any expectations or ideas about how these meetings are going to go, but I feel like making a sale in person is a lot more promising because no one can just hang up on you if they aren’t interested. I’m glad that I had the chance to experience this. It’s weird that it’s about to end tomorrow since there was so much build up to this project.
After making all those calls and sending all those e-mails, someone finally responded saying that they are interested in purchasing some fabulous Hint Mints. I expected more people to be interested in buying, but a lot of the stores, coffee shops, and gift shops that were listed either went out of business already or already have other products that they sell and didn’t need anymore. Luckily, when Hint Mint first did business with this woman, they made a good impression, so when I called her, she remembered the name and was eager to receive an e-mail with new information about our products. She simply responded saying that she wanted to place and order and asked how she should go about doing that, so I responded with some options for ordering and that was that. Starting your own business requires a lot of persistence and it’s nice to see it start to pay off.
Aside from trying to sell the mints, my mentor has also asked me to do some additional small projects on the side. I like having these projects to do when I take a break from making calls and spread sheets. For one of the mini projects, he has asked me to write a lot about me and my family, which I enjoy because I love to talk about my family! One of the prompts was to think of 10 things about my mom and dad’s parenting styles that I liked. This questions was pretty hard to answer because it required a lot more deep reflection than I thought, but I finally came up with some things that I really appreciated about my parents. I love that I’m learning multiple lessons during my senior project.
I was still making calls the entire week last week. It was pretty boring, but I knew it had to get done. Something that I realized about starting your own business from the ground up is that the beginning process is very tedious and requires a tremendous amount of patience. You have to work towards a goal that isn’t necessarily tangible yet, which makes it frustrating to continue with your work. With that said, I have had to figure out ways to keep myself motivated to get through the 400 contacts on my list. For example, if I’m playing music in the background, I’ll make a deal with myself that I have to make 3 calls by the time the song is over, or I won’t be able to start eating my lunch until I get through half of the contacts on a pages. This has helped me move forward towards my goals and I am learning a lot about my work habits along the way.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I had to start tackling a long list of numbers last Friday in attempt to sell some of these designer breath mints. One of the people I work with named George demonstrated a call for me before I was sent off on my own which made me feel more confident about the situation. I went back to my office, sat down in front of the telephone and realized that I had no idea how to work this phone. There were so many buttons on it and none of them were labeled except for the numbers. I was too embarrassed to say that I didn’t know how to work this Norstar landline phone so I just sat there, messing with the buttons until I heard the dial tone. Once I finally figured all that out, I made my first call. I said what George told me to say once someone picked up the phone, “Hi, My name is Sarah calling from Hint Mint. May I speak to your candy buyer please?” and the person I called just said, “No.” and hung up on me. This was a bit discouraging, but I moved on to the next number. I finally got through to the buyer and pitched our product to him. He liked what he heard and asked for me to send him an e-mail with more info about the mints. After I finally got through to someone, I realized that making these calls wouldn’t be as scary as I thought. Sure, some people are going to be rude, but it doesn’t really matter. This week, I have to get through this packet of phone numbers and hopefully make some more sales.
For my senior project, I have been working at a designer breath mint company called Hint Mint. Working here, I hope to learn what it takes to make it in the business world, which I feel like I have been so far on this journey. On my first day, the first thing my mentor told me was that I was told that I would be treated like I am staring my own business from the ground up. I was terrified of that responsibility because I don’t know the first thing about staring a business, however, I was excited to see how this would play out. My first task was to make a spread sheet, doing a review of different mints. This sounds super boring, and I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t the most exciting thing I’ve ever done, but it was one of the tedious steps I had to take in order to get “my business” moving. I had to do this to get to know my competition as a new company in the mint business. This process took me longer than expected; I sat in my office with a box full of mints, analyzing the tins, the dispensers, the design of the mints, the flavors, etc. for two whole days! I was beyond relieved to complete that task. Now, I am moving toward trying to actually make sales. Now that I know my competition, and where my business stands in comparison to the rest of the mint companies around the world, I can begin to find reasons why Hint Mint stands out and why people should buy my product. I am anxious to make my first sales call, but I am also excited to see what comes next in this process.
Going into this project, I thought it was going to be boring because who wants to deal with a bunch of breath mints all day and pretend to enthusiastic about one version of a wintergreen flavored mint vs. another. However, as this week comes to an end, I realize that what I am actually learning has nothing to do with breath mints, but has everything to do with having an authentic experience in the business world. Even though it has to do with breath mints, I am enjoying every step of this learning process so far.