From Unemployed To CEO

Hello Tumblr Family
It is Friday July 25, 2014 at 7:13 am
Well, I know it has been a long time since my last post. I said in my last post that the upcoming posts will be all about the customer. I have been financing my business by selling booklets in which the content is page 1 (post #1 of 101 posts) of my blog. I wanted to take a little break from the selling to let you see how this aspect (financing) of the business is working out.
The young lady’s name is Shakana and in my book she is a star. I spoke to her on Wednesday July 23, 2014. Why is she a star? Good question. Is it because she has a Winning smile? Well, yes of course. Maybe it is because she is a good looking young lady? Most certainly.
But the beauty that stands out to me, above all these physical qualities is the heartfelt beautiful quality of empathy. She heard my story, put herself in my shoes and reacted the way that she would want someone to react to her if she was in that situation. In Bible terms she “Loved your neighbor as yourself”.
She heard that I was financing my business by selling my “From Unemployed To CEO” booklet and was more than happy to support the business by purchasing a booklet. Thank you Shakina.
Here are a few pictures of some of the early first supporters of the business. Thank you all. Lowell.

In the upcoming posts I will show some of the pictures of the businesses that have helped me in this blog and business.

There are two other sets of people that have helped me in this business. There are those that have contributed money or purchased a booklet and deliberately told me not to take a picture of themselves. Yesterday, when I was at Mama’s Soul Food Restaurant the gentleman said not to photograph him but just photograph the business. When I was in Cohen’s Vision Center, the owner said to photograph the business and not to take a picture of him. Today, when I was talking to the owner of the hardware store, he also said to photograph the business and not him. Yesterday when I was at the meat store the owner purchased the booklet he said to photograph the business.

The other set of people that support the business are the people that do not want or need a photograph of anything or anyone but they just want to contribute to a worthy cause. Long story short…They just want to help. God bless you all.

I sincerely thank all of you from my heart. It is very humbling to make a sale. It is easier to make a digital photograph and produce a digital booklet by adding some fancy words and arranging it is an appealing visual layout. That is nice. But it does not tell the whole story.
The true story is when you are out there in the public presenting yourself and representing your business. It is very lonely and a potentially discouraging thing to do. Why would someone subject oneself to such torture? Because you believe in your idea.
This is why you have to really think hard about whether you love the business that you are trying to start. If your heart is not in it, it is easy to take the rejection factor and give up. Many people do. For every one person that says “yes”, there are ten people that say “no”. They might say no in a nice way like ” The manager is not in” or “we are not making money ourselves”. The overwhelming majority or rejection gets right to the point and simply says “no”. And you have to respect their answer because after all you are on their property.
You can not be impatient or rude or anxious. You must simply say “Ok then. Thank you for your time. Have a nice day.” You must be humble but determined. You have to keep your mind on your vision. This is one of the reasons that I call the business “The GPI Vision Center”. You have to have a vision. And then even behind your “vision” you must still have your inspiration behind your vision. Then even behind your inspiration, you must have a purpose for the times that you don’t feel inspired.
The customers are not and cannot be your ONLY inspiration. Why do I say that? Is not the customer always right. Well, yes. But the customer is always right when it comes down to respecting what the customer says in relation to your reaction. You do not have the right to disrespect or demand that the customer buy your product. You must believe that when they say “no” that they really mean to say yes just because YOU want to hear yes. If you want to hear yes more than no then you must change something about your presentation. Do you look presentable? Do you sound pleasant? Do thou smell correct? Do you have gum or a mint so that you do not offend the customer with bad breath? Smell is a quick way of canceling your entire presentation before you even start. If you smoke cigarettes or marajana or weed then you must realize that these forms of you personal forms of relaxation or entertainment or lifestyle can be potentially offensive to a potential customer. You cannot assume that since it is YOU that the customer will not say no. They will. And they do. A lot. What guarantee do you have that the customer will say yes more than no. Well, there is no guarantee. There are only averages. “Lowell what do you mean by that” you might be asking.
I will tell you. I mentioned it before. The average “yes” is followed or preceded or followed by about 10 “no”s. What does that mean. I will break it down to time and money terms. If one customer represents one dollar then you will have to see and rejected by ten customers before one customer gives you one dollar. THEN…….even THAT customer is going to make you work hard even for that one dollar.
An example is a customer that I came to on Wednesday. The minute that I came in he was sitting down looking like he was in charge or at least had a prominent position in the company. It was a furniture company and the furniture looked pretty good. I explained to him what I was doing and he asked me questions, asked to see my ID, dealt with his customers while I had to patiently wait, then finally after intense investigation he pulled out a dollar and said “Good Luck” no pictures, no booklet. I simply said “Thank You very much. I appreciate the support. God bless you and you family”. I then after shook his hand and left. Why would one spend a half an hour for 1 dollar? Because you believe in what you are selling. You have a vision.
But along with the vision you must have the physical energy and action.
A VISION WITHOUT physical energy and action is just a dream…….
PHYSICAL ENERGY WITHOUT a vision is just a waste of time….
But… Physical Energy WITH A Vision will produce successful results over time.
But you have got to give it time. Time is what balances the averages.

You really have to really think hard about whether you love the business that you are trying to start. If your heart is not in it, it is easy to take the rejection factor personally and give up. It is the law of averages. For every one person that says “yes” there are ten people that say “no”

Then there are the encouraging stories. Like the the last sale last night. The time was about 10:00 pm Thursday night July 24, 2014. I was coming from Pathmark on 145th Street in Harlem. I wanted to get a coffee. One of my favorite coffee spots is on 145th Street and 8th Avenue (Frederick Douglass Blvd.). The coffee is always, hot, good and fresh, they stay open 24 hours ( a big plus with me) and they staff ( the homeboys) are pretty cool.

So the young man was behind the counter and I asked him if he would like to purchase a booklet to assist me in financing my business. He said yes. Thank God.
He purchased a B&W booklet for 1.00. I then told him that I would take a picture and he could see the picture on the Tumblr Blog. He then said something that surprised even me.
He put 5.00 on the counter and said that he ALSO wanted to purchase the color booklet.
I told him that he was the first one to ever buy both the B&W and color booklet at the same time.

Hey you never know who will purchase your product but I can you who WON’T purchase your product. The answer is everyone and no one.

If you never get out there and physically sell your product, I guarantee you, NO ONE will buy your product. But, on the other hand, if you try your best with all your mind, heart and soul I promise you that you will get a sale. It might not be every sale, but it is a sale nonetheless.

You MUST congratulate yourself because this is what is called success and …..of course…….THANK THE CUSTOMER. In my my life I also thank God. Actually every day a pray and thank God for waking me up and ask him to guide my steps and watch over me. This whole sale - business thing is a very humbling experience.

Anyway, for the final group of pictures on this post I have included two pictures of the handsome proud young man and two pictures of people in the “hood” (neighborhood) that helped out the business proving that you do not have to own a business to contribute to a good cause. Allow you business to be a good cause.

This exact minute that I am writing this 7:23 am on Saturday Morning on July 26, 2014.
It is about one day before the one year anniversary of me getting fired from my job for three years at Whole Foods. I took the picture of the article that I wrote two days ago Wednesday on my computer. There is a little time delay from the time that I write the copy on my computer to the time that I actually make the post to this blog. Anyway, yesterday ( Friday July 26, 2014) I sold two booklets. One was to the hardware store guy. I was talking to him about the booklet in the past and the other was the pastor of the church. I have purchased some of their delicious fish dinners in the past as well as their other sides like Mac & cheese and tasty cakes. Pastor Bright actually paid for two booklets but only kept one. He ‘s a cool guy.

The hardware store guy asked me not to photograph him but take a picture of the business. I am going to dedicate the next blog to the businesses that have helped the blog and the business but the gentleman asked me a profound question. In all seriousness he asked me “Why should a business purchase one of your booklets? What benefit is it for the business? Who is my target customer? Why should I buy this booklet?”
“Well” I said ( you cannot back away from questions and your timing in answering them is critical which is why you have got to KNOW your business and know the answers to questions asked about your business) “My target customer right now is businesses but it is to benifit the financing of this business. My goal is to show that having a business is one solution to unemployment but more important is to show that the building of character in your everyday dealings with people will pay off in having a business and helping people to better themselves while providing a useful product or service will increase a person’s business.
He purchased a color booklet. Thank you. Thank God for you all including you that is reading this blog/booklet right now. Thank you. Lowell.

From Unemployed To CEO

IT is 12:40 am Wednesday May 27th 2014 
Well this is my hundredth blog post. It is only fitting that I dedicate this post to the early supporters of this business. There is no business that exists all because of one person.
There is no business that could exist because of just the owner by his or herself.

There are many people that help, give advice, help financially or simply give moral support. There are many people that allow the vision to become a reality. To all of you, along with the Tumblr staff and management I say THANK YOU.

I thank God all the time even 40 to 50 times a day even 100 times a day, everyday.

From Unemployed To CEO

It is 4:06 pm Tuesday May 27, 2014
Hello Tumblr Family,

Yesterday my friend Carlene said that she wanted to buy a booklet. I went toher job to make the sale. She works at Olive Gardens at Times Square. I figured that you can come with me for what I will call “A Day ( Memorial Day 2014) In The Life Of Lowell”.

The first that I did when I went outside was that I went to the pharmacy. He ( Sean) had purchased a booklet on Saturday so I wanted to take a picture of him in the pharmacy store. Then from there I went ton125th Street to get a sausage and ice tea from the Saugage guy. I had previously taken pictures of him so I was able to tell him that people like his picture before I buy the sausage and soda. After I finished eating I got on the train (subway). I saved the soda for the train because it is kind of a treat to add life and some excitement to an otherwise pretty routine ( boring ) ride.
I took the “A” . It let me off at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue.

So as I walk from The Port Authority Bus Station I am greeted by lights, video screens, and people everywhere. I pass the AMC Movie Theater, Ripley Believe It or Not, Madame Tussaud’s, The Aladdin Broadway Theater and the Rock.
Well, it looked like the Rock. It’s a Madame Tussaud’s life — like statue.
Moving on:

I pass by the army recruiting station, and Chase Manhattan Bank, Walgreens, The #1, 2, 3, N, R, S subway station, and Elmo, the tour bus and The Hard Rock Cafe. Did I mention that there are that there are literally hundreds of hundreds of people everywhere? Moving on:

I pass by the naked company, and next to him is what could be called the naked women. Well in actuality both the cowboy and ladies have coverings for the bottom and women had body paint which is kind of a covering ( I guess), I pass the Hard Rock Cafe, and the cartoon character with the long hat ( I forget his name ).

As I get closer to my destination which is Olive Garden I pass by the TKTS start and there seeming to be some on the dancer from Chicago Broadway Show out there. That was so cool, I was close to the Hershey store, Mac Donould’s, Express, The Allianz Skyscapper Building, and a statue of George M Cohan 1878 - 1942. I think that he is a guy that said “Give my regards to Broadway.
All this stuff was pretty interesting stuff but my main goal was to get to the Olive Garden. Just before I got to the restaurant I saw an interesting graphic design. I think that it was for Google Play.
Even if it wasn’t I thought it was an interesting graphic display of color so I took the picture. finally I got to Olive Garden.

There was a smoothie truck right next to the restaurant and it was colorful so I took a picture. Once I got inside Olive Garden Restarant I noticed that it was very busy. I guess the Memorial Day crowd was drumming up a lot of business. I saw my friend Carlene. We spoke for a little while and she got a booklet but had to get back to work. She did get me a cup of water. I understood. She couldn’t take a picture in her uniform so we agreed that we will take the picture on another day. I left. I passed by a restaurant that had bottles of wine in the window, another with NY soulviners. I passed by a Broadway show of ” A Raisen In The Sun” with Denzel Washington. Then I passed by a new restaurant called Buffalo Wild Wings.

I was, however, able to take a photo inside the restaurant. One picture. I guess I felt that Inwanted to show thatbI was there. Years from now these will be considered humble beginnings.

So now we get to the main reason for to Times Squqrej which is to sell a booklet. The lesson here is that you have to try your best to make a sale. As long as you try your best you can never lose. The knowledge that you gain when you gain when you give it your all is amazing. This is the mystery of business. When you push yourself to give it your all, there is nothing left. For example what if I just got up yesterday and said, Let me take it easy, go to the park, or the beach, or the barbecue, it will have been nothing wrong with that BUT it would not have been good for the business. so the decision had to be made. I choose the squeeze as much of the business into the day as possible. I remember Les brown said that you cannot be an entrepreneur with a job mentality. He said that an entrepreneur does not just work from 9:00 to 5:00 he works from FIVE to FAINT.

Now remember that I said that I had taken the picture of the frank and sausage guy! and took the picture of Sean the pharmacy guy early yesterday morning. Well after I got back from Times Square, I returned I to Harlem and called Mr. Stukes. He is the 78 year old gentleman that purchased a booklet on Saturday. I asked him if I can come over and take a picture. He said yes and in addition to taking a picture, he purchased a flyer for his nurses aid while I was there. Later on that night, Rona purchased a booklet and took a picture.
It is now Tuesday May 27, 2014 at 11:33 pm. And I started making this post earlier today. I had to go to Whole Foods today. I wanted to take a chance and so I took a booklet with me. My goal? Charles. I wanted the picture of Charles but he is often busy. Next blog I will speak on the early supporters of this business. Anyway back to the story. It was about 6:30 pm and I walked down there. Fortunately he was outside sitting down (very rare). I took the picture. Thank God. An idea is brewing for the pictures. I will go into detail for each person inthe next post. Thank you for sharing Memorial Day with me.

From Unemployed To CEO

It is Saturday May 24, 2014 at 11:52
Hello Tubblr Family,

Today was an interesting day. For starters, I sold 4 booklets. One to a pharmacist, one to a 78 year old man, one to a restaurant owner, and one to a frank and sausage guy. There was another guy that that just gave a dollar donation. But believe it or not, the guy that just gave the dollar donation might have proven to be the best sale yet.

I said a long time ago that there is not much of a difference in receiving 1 lump sum of 1500.00 or selling 1500 sales of 1.00. I found out that the 1.00 sale is the best sale for people that do not know you or do not care less about the concept. I decorated a design for the unemployment assistance .
I wanted the design to attract attention while at the same time reflect an artist flair. After I started with the design it took a life of its own.

It is now 9:31 am on Sunday May 25, 2014.
When I went to bed last night I had two things on my mind. 1- I wanted to make the flyer suitable to sell in black and white. By printing the flyer in black & white I can sell the booklet for a dollar and reach more people.
The second thing that I wanted to do was to use a bar code system to the booklets to keep track of the booklets. Soon the second part of the booklet will take place when the booklets are donated to the unemployed. I looked at some of the bar codes and realized that by the time that the business has enough money to pay for a system like that is a long time from now.

I prayed about it and we ( God and myself)thought of an idea. I will cre my own
Barcode system.

From Unemployed To CEO

It is 11:54 pm Friday May 23, 2014
Hello Tumblr Family,

I have some good news, finally I sold a booklet. Today. Thank God. History is being made! This is the start of great things to come.

I was home waiting to make the phone call. I must admit that I was a little scared because I stopped in Staples yesterday and asked them if the job was ready and they said no. Then the guy said that it takes from 7 to 14 days. Business days. I put the order in a paid for it. It took forever for them to pick up the phone. Finally some one picked it up. And put me on hold. I later called again and the manager named Raphael picked up. I was relieved because he is the one that put the order in and helped me a lot and did a lot of work on this booklet. Thank you Raphael. Your the best.
So just as I am about to go, I got my first sale.
The best first sale ever!
I am not going to release any names on this blog but I will release initials. Her initials are MLS. The reason that I feel extra blessed is because this woman march WITH Martin Luther King! Yes. THE Martin Luther King. I thanked her and told her that she has symbolically blessed the booklet, the business and the vision. God always saves the first fruits for himself so her blessing the business with the first sale was my little confirmation from God.
She was with Martin Luther King and heard when he gave the speech of “I Have A Dream”. She lived to see the day when the dream was realized with the first black president - Barack Obama. Now today, Friday May 23, 2014 she has started another chapter in history. This is the time in history when we have a social entrepreneurship business called The GPI Vision Center sold the first booklet to finance a business that will solve one of our social problems namely- unemployment.

So in her lifetime she has a good past, a good present, and is invest in the future. God is good.

Back to the booklets and Staples. Raphael said that the booklets were there and I went out to get it. When I got there, Raphael was not there and they couldn’t find the booklets. Until……Finally……

Tommorow I plan to sell two more booklets. 1- I plan to sell to sell to a pharmacy store. And the other one I plan to sell to the franks and sausage guy on 125th Street. I asked them to print about 10 black and white prints so that when I go out to sell them I can have an option of the 5.00 or the 1.00 booklet.
It is a start…..

From Unemployed To CEO

It is 3:11 pm Thursday May 22, 2014
Yellow Tumblr Family,
Today is one day before the Friday that Staples told me that the booklets would be ready. The booklet is going to be the first way that I will finance this business. I plan to take one page from my blog posts and add other content to the story and have a 6 page folded booklet. as promised, I will let you see the booklet and all of the sections in the booklet. I will also be able to give you inside details of the information in the booklet.

From Unemployed To CEO

It is 1:01 am Thursday May 22, 2014.
Hello Tumblr family,

I want to, in this blog, finish talking about the costs of producing the booklet because I only have one more day before the booklet should be finished.

I am choosing to have Staples print the booklets for me. They will charge about 50.00 for 25.00 booklets. I decided not to start off in B&W. I have learned a long time ago to use professional services when you are in business for yourself. Professional services cost a little more than doing it yourself but the quality is the same as the professionals use. This is important. Just because you are a small newcomer doesn’t mean that the final product has to LOOK like a newcomer. When I made signs in the past I for my vinyl supplies from the biggest sign company in New York called Big Apple Signs. I have over 300 signs in New York City so I know that it pays to use professional companies. Staples is the leader in desktop publishing access able to the general public. The desktop publishing services that they offer is,professional.
I like using their printing services for another reason. They have a professional grade paper called brochure grade paper and I think that this will be the extra “wow” factor that I need to be competitive and professional as I go out and sell the booklets.
I received about 50.00 at the beginning of May which was on a Thursday. By that time I had made all the corrections to the booklet. I decided to use color ink ( as opposed to black ink). I also decided to add three improvements to the original blog post.

The first improvement is what call an update. I might call it is THEN AND NOW. I figure that the blog is good but there have been a lot of things I have learned from the first time that I made blog #1 all the way back in September. If someone was looking at the blog on the internet they could scroll to the current I blog to find our what the recent episode of my story is. Since I am taking one page out of history, my story changes and likewise my update will be a good way to show how you can be flexible and adaptable to any situation as long as you stay focused on your vision. A god way to illustrate this is the writing of this content right now. At this exact moment in what we call time it is 7:27 am Thursday May 22, 2014. I first wrote this content on April 29, 2014. I have to change around a lot of present tense past tense statements to allow it all to make sense. One thing for sure, every day, every moment that we live is a moment in history. And everyday brings you closer to God’s vision for your life. For me, since my purpose and vision is to assist the unemployed ( which I will call “The Least Of These” ), it is one day closer to my ultimate vision. If I sell one booklet or if I sell all 25 booklets, I know that I will be fulfilling this part of the vision that God has assigned to me at this time in history.

The second improvement will be that I will incorporate is a section I called ” KINGDOM PRINCIPLES”.
This section will most likely have a scripture and a principle based on the Bible. I believe that the Bible is the best source for dealing with business and especially a social entrepreneur business. There are many scriptures that deal with leadership and success while keeping a realistic concern on social values and morals. The Bible is an excellent source and resource for business. I will also incorporate highlights from secular (non - religious or non Bible based) books.

The third improvement that I will make in the print version of the blogs will be what I will call FOCUSED ON PURPOSE AND VISION. This section will show how the everyday decisions that I make will (1) reflect on the past, (2) be put into use and practice and use today ( in the present) and (3) produce favorable results or “fruit” for the future.
I will explain the difference of having a job, a business and a vision.
I will also explain how each of us can take steps to discover, acknowledge and maximize the purpose that God has put in all of us. I will explain by example of how I will be fulfilling God’s purpose for my life which is ( for me ) to assist the unemployed ( “The Least Of These”).

Another improvement or addition that I incorporate into the booklet is what I call the THE GPI VISION CENTER MARKETPLACE. I will have some kind of filing system on the bottom of each booklet. I think that I will end up using some type of bar code system. A bar code is the pricing material that supermarkets and retail stores use to store a lot of information about the merchandise in a short amount of time.

I would like to incorporate a bar code sticker onto every booklet. The code will explain the price that is charged and the value points. The value points refers to the dollar amount that can be redeemed by turning in the booklet to The GPI Vision Center Marketplace. This allows each booklet to be recyclable. These booklets will be part of history. They will be the first printing of the worldwide launch of the first GPI Vision Center Booklet. I will only have 25 booklets. I will show you and the world how God uses something small to produce something great. It will be the modern day (2014) equalalent to the miracle in the bible where Jesus turned water into wine or when Jesus fed a multitude of people from a piece of bread and fish. You will see how God uses the faith of few to bless many. You will see a modern day miracle. It will be a Joel Olsteen said in his sermon ” You Are The Miracle”

My goal is to give back discounts to registered customers and employees ( supporters and recipe taints). The discounts will either be a discount on merchadise mentioned in the booklet or a cash value at can be redeemed by using your GPI Value Points. If the booklet had items such as headphones or grocery items, the purchaser will be able to use the value to purchase everyday items like groceries, electronic equipment, iTunes downloads, amazon downloads, and several discounts on restaurants and retail stores.
It will be similar to the box tops with the bar code on cereal tops or the serial numbers that are present when one has to register for a warrenty for a purchased item. The bar code will allow the booklet’s value points to only be used once or redeemed once. It will be simular to when you get a coupon in the mail or in the Sunday Paper. I am very excited about this aspect of the booklet value.

These are some of the ideas that I have for the booklet. In business you cannot assume thT you know exactly what the customer wants and you cannot assume that the customer perceives the same value that you want the customer to perceive. It goes back to an earlier post that I had about a John F. Kennedy and a monument to a staue of him in Prospect Park. The words say ” Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.

In the post, I said that we should ask ourselves the same in business. We should not ask ourselves what can a customer do for us. the obvious answer to this is of course that we want the customer to patronize us. The deeper question is ” what can we do for the customer?”. We should try to squeeze as much value into each goods or service that we supply.

I guess the best example for journalistic excellence and value in a secular ( non religious or bible based ) printed material would be The Sunday Paper. The first decision that must be made is which Sunday Paper to purchase. In New York’s inner city neiborhoods, the choice might be either The Daily News Sunday Paper or The Post Sunday Paper. In other parts of the city the additional choice would be The New Times Sunday (weekend) Edition. I like to see the NYTBR
(The New York Times Book Review)

The unique thing about the Sunday is that everyone gets the paper for different reasons. some get it for the sports section, some get it to have a summery of all the important, some people get the paper mostly for the TV guide, or some get it for the shopping or you have people like me. All I want out of the whole paper is the circulars particularily the electronics circulars like Best Buy, Staples, PC Richard or Target.

Regardless of what reason that you get it, the fact is that you purchase the Sunday Paper even though it cost more than the newspaper would cost on Monday, Tuesday or any other weekday. Why? Because there is something for everybody.

Our business should be just as diversified.

Note from Lowell. Thank you for reading this post. As I mentioned earlier, this post was originally written on April 29, 2014. It is now 9:47 am Thursday May 22, 2014. In April, planning to write the booklet. I have since produced the booklet and submitted it to Staples for printing last week Wednesday. It takes 7 business day to complete. So, tommorow is the day that is will be available. I will have have 25 booklets. I have choose a few more divisions to the booklets since April. I will show you the booklet and describe the sections in the next post. For now: the names do the sections.

SCRIPTURE - Ecclesiastes 31 on purpose
THE GPI VISION CENTER- assisting the unemployed
SCRIPTURE- Proverbs 29:18 on Vision
SCRIPTURE- Matthew 6:33 on the Kingdom of God and Righteousness
Kingdom Principles : Kingdom
A message from Lowell
The Least Of These
Kingdom Principles - Righteousness
Unemployment Assistance
The Vision Center Marketplace
Redeem this booklet for 50% of the purchase price