My failed business ventures and the lessons I’ve learned.

failed-biz

Success: it’s hard to come by. Being an accomplished entrepreneur is something that I have attempted to achieve for nearly my entire existence. The business ventures I looked into beginning have all varied, and failed. Though some of these have been more difficult to move past than others, I have still gained valuable life lessons. I wanted to share with you my failures, why they failed, and what I had gained in return.

1) “Poo Poo Coffee” — Age 4-5

As many children enjoy doing, I wanted to run my own beverage stand. Instead of going the typical lemonade and coffee route, I wanted to do something “revolutionary” and introduce the public to a new refreshing drink. Thus, came the birth of Poo Poo Coffee.

What it was.

Unlike most cold, carbonated sodas, Poo Poo coffee was created by shaking a Diet Coke can, dumping it into a cup in which it sat there for a few hours and occasionally adding some water or other beverages to it. The idea of this came to me from being a curious child who enjoy making disgusting concoctions. Before setting up a stand, I forced my family to try it. Though they apparently looked like they were going to throw up, all I was told was that it “tasted good.”

Why it failed.

Poo Poo Coffee tasted just like what it’s called, absolute shit. Not to mention, this was not an original product. I did not create the formula, but rather destroyed a perfectly fine tasting one instead. Also when the “business” was up and running, I failed to take into consideration how necessary things such as cups are. I had only one massive glass that I assumed was good for everyone to drink out of. Surprisingly, I only had one customer who I did pull from the streets. The (obviously) confused woman paid me 25 cents, drank from the cup, and went along her way. Needless to say, Poo Poo Coffee did not stay open after that.

What I learned.

Poo Poo Coffee is disgusting and no one wants it.

2) “Summer Camp for Kids Younger Than Me” — Age 8

During a summer spent at my father’s house, I came up with the idea to open a summer camp for kids who were younger than me. I honestly believed that I was not only responsible enough, but would have been able to provided all the needed services to keep a group of small children occupied and entertained.

What it was.

Honestly, I had just dragged a table out in the front yard, had a few pieces of paper, and my younger brother playing next to me to start the “registration process.” The idea was to have parents leave their children with me, I would read to the kids and provide other educational services, take the children on walks to the playground nearby, and share my toys with them. After informing my dad of what I wanted to do, he sarcastically approved of me making handwritten signs with his address and phone number to be posted all over the neighborhood (which I in fact did).

Why it failed.

I was an eight year old child, not an adult. I’m also fairly certain that it would have been very illegal for me to have even tried doing something like this. Not to mention, I definitely was not responsible enough to feed, care, or even try to “teach” children younger than me.

What I learned.

Children shouldn’t open up summer camps, but rather attend them instead. Handwritten signs lose almost all validity, and it’s probably not a good idea to put my dad’s address and phone number up everywhere.

3) “University of Oregon House Party” — Age 21-22

After “becoming of age,” I found myself more drawn to house music and wanted to go dancing constantly. I also discovered the amazing power of social media websites such as Twitter, and used it to talk to some of my favorite musicians. With the guidance of a mentor, I felt inspired to create a “house party” at the Univeristy of Oregon.

What it was.

The idea was to have a massive dance party in one of the biggest lawns on campus. With the help and support of some non-profits, internationally recognized performers were going to be flown out for a show that was going to be free for the general public. Some local performers were going to open, and booths were to be surrounding the venue for people to shop and eat at. It was going to happen at night on a weekend towards the very end of the year so that students would have been able to attend.

Why it failed.

I was able to get everything donated to me (including the performer’s time) except for the flights. Though the “house party” was aimed to raise awareness for a good cause along with offering entertainment, not one airline cared to donate to it. Thus, it never happened.

What I learned.

This was possibly the biggest heartbreak for me. More than anything, I wanted this event to happen. I had worked and stressed so long on it, only to have it all blow up in my face. I learned how to cope with not succeeding like this. This failure also showed me that I am capable to achieving a lot in a small amount of time, regardless if it was fully executed or not. I also learned that I have the ability to pitch and sell musicians to perspective clients without ever having them listen to one song.

4) “ENTILT” — Age 23-24

After graduating from college and being continously rejected from perspective jobs, I felt inclined to try and start my very own business. “ENTILT” was crafted from an original idea of mine, and expanded with the help of a couple partners.

What it was.

The idea behind “ENTILT,” was that it was an entertainment based company that offered various services, a publication, and a clothing line. With the help of my partners, we all were able to provide a multitude of options to help with branding and expanding the growth of potential clients. My partners and I decided it was best to list our previous clients to others to help develop a strong portfolio of our work.

Why it failed.

Though we met often to discuss what we wanted to do, I felt that I was the only one putting in work behind the company. I had created a decent website, was the only one to list my past clients, and created presentations to send to potential sponsors. My partners didn’t contribute as much simply because it was a bad time for them to do so. And I suppose it was for me as well. Not to mention, we had too many ideas and didn’t create a simple enough plan to initially start off with. It would have been wise for us to have focused on only one aspect of the company, rather than three at once.

What I learned.

Simplify. Simplify. Simplify. Do not take on too many obstacles at once. It’s also important to team up with people who are on the same page and who are ready to take on such a commitment. And I’m sure it wouldn’t have hurt to have worked somewhere else first in order to gain more experience before creating my own company.

I have faith that in some point and time in my life, I will be a successful entrepreneur. I believe that I will be able to finally craft up the perfect idea and be able to find the sponsors needed to make it flourish. Though it may take some time, I’m greatful for everything I have experienced professionally while growing up. Sometimes failure is necessary so that we can learn how to avoid it in the future. With that in mind, stay tuned as I’m sure I’ll have another “brillant” start-up idea here soon.

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Stories with friends: the Nic and Lauren version.

As mentioned in a previous post, my friends and I enjoy writing stories together. My dear friend Nic Brown and I decided to write one together at our typical spot, Scandals. Together, and with the influence of a few greyhounds, we created a very interesting story (with illustrations). Though it’s apparent when we may have had too many and the story doesn’t make much sense towards the end, it was still a lot of fun to make. Enjoy.

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“Hail Satan!” She yelled.

Helen slammed the last of her flask down as she picked up her bible. With trembling fingers, Helen thumbled through the pages until she came to Leviticus.

“Fuck yer all! Satan never dun meh wrong! Cletus?! Where you at? Mama’s hungry.”

Sadly for Helen, “Mama” was gon’ be hungry for a long time. Unbeknownst to Helen and her southern drawl, Cletus was lying dead in the basement. She also failed to remember the events of the night before.

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After watching her nightly episode of Wheel of Fortune, Helen entered what she referred to as her “umbrella stage.”

Helen. Helen. Helen. She repeated the name to herself to try and find some sort of familiarity in her surroundings. She set her bible down on the arm of her La-Z-Boy and looked out the window. She felt herself get dizzy as the remaining parts of the McDonald’s chicken nuggets fell, cascading from the velvet to the cold, hardwood floor.

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–FLASHBACK– Knoxville, TN. 1864

Loretta licked her lips. Timothy had just made her the finest potato dinner a girl could ever hope to have.

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“Who the fuck are you?” Helen screamed as she swung violently with her eyes closed. Loretta isn’t real. Neither is Timothy. Yet, she still thought of them as if they were family. They were the only family Helen had. She had lost her true, blood family in a terrible fishing accident in 1923. It wasn’t Helen’s fault at all, but she always blamed herself for letting the fishing line go. “Loretta,” “Timothy,” and the “umbrella stage” (the name of the fishing vessel that claimed the lives of her family) were the only comfort (albeit imaginary) that she had left. Except for Cletus.

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What a fucking mistake. Cletus. He was never supposed to happen. Who would of thought that after a man got hit in the head with a 2×4, that he would of fucked that vilal cow. But none of that mattered now. Cletus was dead in the basement, and Helen was non the wiser. She was still passed out in a religion-and-Wheel-of-Fortune-and-self-denial coma when she woke to a knock on the door.

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Ring. Ring. Ring. A small, sweet little girl rang the bell. Every fifteenth of a second, she knocked. Her name was Panther, or that’s what her foster parents called her. She was 8 years old and always sported a charming (if slightly out-of-fashion) gold-sequined hair bow. She was in the neighborhood going door-to-door to raise money for her foster mother Memphis’ Memphis Getaway Extravaganza.

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All the mother’s were known for taking their tops off during the festivities. And they sat in a circle ’round the fire, chanting “PENIS PENIS PENIS, BUTT BUTT BUTT! Hail Satan.”

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Following that memories flash back, Helen vaguely remembered the death of Cletus. All he wanted was to sleep. As the persistant pound of the rocking La-Z-Boy pounded the floor, Cletus laid in bed thinking of a better future. Though at the age of 31, unemployed, uninterested, Cletus still held hope for a better tomorrow.

…TO BE CONTINUED

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“Dating” in Portland is such a waste of time.

anatomy-of-a-bad-date

When it comes to “dating” in Portland, I really haven’t had too much luck. I put “dating” in quotations, because I honestly feel that it’s something that truly doesn’t happen here much at all. What is considered a date is apparently exchanging a few messages on OkCupid, meeting up at a bar, getting wasted, hooking up, and somehow turning that into a relationship. Or maybe there will be that rarity where you meet someone at a bar, through a friend, what have you. Even still, the date sucks.

In the time I have spent here, I have came across a few things that make dating someone in Portland a terrible idea. Here are a few issues I have ran into with some of the past individuals I have spent time with.

He doesn’t shut the fuck up about his ex-girlfriend(s).

It amazes me how men in Portland don’t seem to get over a failed relationship. Face it, it’s over. It ended for a reason, now MOVE ON. Sure, people remain friends with their ex’s for various reasons. But the way that I look at the situation is that you are presented with a new opportunity, why taint it by talking about someone that I don’t care to hear about? Actually, no one cares about your ex-girlfriend so please just shut up. This really makes me miss dating in college where the mind set of “hit it and quit it” was always in play. Then, it seemed like everyone moved on from each other quickly and brought no baggage with them. In the full spectrum of it all, men need to realize that there are so many amazing things to talk about for someone to get to know you better without having to hear about past relationships. The second a guy brings up an ex-girlfriend, I start to mentally check out. It’s a massive red flag that is difficult to ignore.

One individual I was with felt the need to tell me about all of his past online dating experiences within the first hour of being together. After the story about the date he had with an “adult baby,” I decided it would be best to never see him again. Another person felt the need to not only tell me about all of his ex-girlfriends, but also show me their pictures. After hearing what seemed like an eternity of “she broke my heart” stories, I ran away and never looked back. But the winner was the individual who talked on the phone with his ex-girlfriend with me sitting next to him. Charming, really.

Maybe I’m just becoming too hardened, but I really don’t understand why people cling to memories like this. I also truly feel that it is not a matter of the ex-girlfriend being that interesting, but rather that the man is too pathetic to move on. Personally, when I end a relationship it has been finalized. I see no need to relive it or keep constant communication with that person. Sometimes I will remain friends with that person, but for the most part I won’t. The thrill of meeting someone new (and better) is exciting enough for me. It’s too bad more people aren’t on the same wavelength.

He is way too physically aggressive and/or insulting.

Some men believe that being  forceful with a woman is a sure way to win over their heart. Now, I’m not talking about being punched or slapped but rather very firm grasps on the arm and such. Or if that tactic doesn’t seem to work, some men love to lay it on thick with belittling comments and unnecessary insults (because mental abuse is just so sexy). Obviously, these are  MASSIVE red flags screaming “this person is mentally unstable and probably angry all the time!”

I find it very troubling that I can say that I have had multiple men come up and grab me by the back of the neck to get my attention or me to like them. Thankfully in those situations, bartenders were quick to help me get out. I have also had men grab my arms as I am walking home at night, who then refuse to let go. Again, someone has been there to help me or I’ve had to hit them off. It’s just amazing how it never seemed to cross the minds of any of these men that maybe if they just tried to talk to me rather than being forceful, that maybe things would have been perceived better.

“Stupid bitch,” “slut,” “fat whore” are just a few of the pet names I have picked up since living in Portland. These endearing nicknames came from men who I apparently ignored or deemed unfit for any sort of romantic connection (for obvious reasons). I’ve also had men who honestly believed that if they say things like “no one is ever going to love you” it is the equilivant as a compliment. A very fond memory of mine is a time when a man invited me out for dinner, told me about how he took another girl out to dinner the night before, and then “couldn’t believe” he was paying for my food. It was so sweet.

Oh! I definitely can’t forget about the lectures on how I am to forever be “single and alone.” Granted, these would have been much more effective if I wasn’t a competent and confident woman. Not to mention that I see nothing wrong with being single. In fact, I enjoy it. I currently have the wonderful power of being able to do whatever I want, with whoever I want, whenever I want. By no means does this make me “alone” either. Thanks to the fine company of all my amazing friends, I rarely go a day without any sort of social interaction.

Personally, nothing gets me going more than when a man walks up and tries to touch my hair. Excuse me, I am not your pet and please get your disgusting hands off my clean hair. I mean, obviously I want you to wipe whatever nastiness you have on my head MORE THAN ANYTHING. Just step back dude, not working.

He is a raging moron who is incredibly insecure.

Honey, I am not your mother nor your kindergarten teacher. I am not here to give you continous confirmation that you have a great personality. I mean, I have no problem giving out compliments but I certainly do not (and should not) want to be your only source of confidence. Learn to love yourself a little more and don’t have so many doubts. However if you fail to carry yourself in a conversation or only want to talk about bubbles and dirt, I don’t think this will work out very well either.

It’s very entertaining, actually, to have a conversation with someone who is hell-bent on convincing you that his idiotic ideas are in fact truth. As amazing as it is to hear that you know that cats control the weather or that eating Lay’s potato chips is an excellent source of calcium, I’d rather we never talk again.

Maybe I’m not as great of a catch as I thought, or maybe I’m just selecting all the wrong ones. Or maybe it’s just I’m hoping and expecting too much out of guys. Regardless, I still believe that it is a waste of time to “date” in Portland. Even though everyone else in relationships here seems to disagree with me, I don’t think that there is much to choose from that is worthwhile. I’m not saying that I’ve reached a noteworthy level of success right now in my life or anything, but I’d rather not date someone who is capable of bringing my stock down. Not to mention some basic respect and proper attention would be nice to have. To those of you who have better luck than me or are remaining openminded to some sort of perfect romance here, I wish you nothing but the best.

Stories with friends: the Stephen, Xel, and Lauren version.

Recently, some friends and I decided it would be fun to write stories together. This genius idea overcame us during a drunken stupor at one of our new favorite hang outs, the Nest. As we slammed back PBR after PBR, we created one of the greatest short stories ever told. The rules were that one person wrote one sentence/statement at a time. You were only allowed to read the last post, not the entire story, to help influence your turn. The authors for this story are none other than the amazing Xel Moore, the charming Stephen Tobias, some random girl and myself.

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Qnce apon a time… [sidenote: Xel decided to really switch things up with “qnce” instead of “once.”] a beast named sally grew a garden of tomatoes…

to her surprise not only tomatoes grew… but something else…

but a massive dick hit me in the face!

I didn’t know Lauren had a dick!?

But she did! It got me, I couldn’t ignore it once it had entered me…

and then I was happy.

But that was short-lived.

And when she woke up, she couldn’t remember what happened. She cried, and then she ate a sandwich. After the sandwich she had to poo. When she pooed, she cried more. Then she realized lesbians always carried baggage… THE END!

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