HOW to get your company on Shark Tank!

In our new book we share with you the specific strategy we employed to get Balloon Distractions on the ABC hit show Shark Tank!

From our initial online application, to our insane audition video, to actually filming the show in Hollywood!

Learn why NOT getting a deal actually INCREASES your shot at getting air time!  

You can download our book, We Twist for Tips, from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1502546671/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me

This book is a fun read for anyone who has ever wanted to start their own business, and especially for any of the ambitious entrepreneurs who want to appear on Shark Tank.

Happy Reading!

Save your marriage today.

Let me start by saying that if this post prevents just ONE divorce it will be worth it, if you pass it onto a friend (who is having marital challenges) they will benefit from this knowledge and you will make a difference in their marriage as well as the lives of any children who get to see their parents resolve their conflict and stay together.

A few months ago my wife Rachel introduced me to an amazing website:

http://www.MarriageBuilders.com

We began listening and reading TOGETHER and this material has SAVED our marriage!

We bought the books (used paperbacks) on Amazon for less than $10 and listened to the website for free, on my computer as well as on our smartphones. I’m not paid by these folks to promote their website, but I want to pass it along to help out other couples who are facing similar challenges.

We had already read other books like The Five Love Languages and Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus…..    but Dr. Harley’s material gave us a comprehensive understanding of what we needed to do to strengthen our marriage and stay together for the long haul.

Don’t get me wrong, if there is abuse or a substance addiction in your marriage staying together may NOT be an option, but what if you just have internal conflicts in your marriage that is driving you away from your spouse?  What if you just need some fundamental issues resolved?

Marriage Builders will help you fix these issues.

Our society makes it far too EASY to just get a divorce and abandon the most fundamental relationship in your life.

You see divorce on TV and in the movies, and it seems like every famous person in Hollywood has been married 6 or 7 times. When the negative impact of divorce is marginalized in the media it suddenly becomes a viable option, even if divorce is disastrous to our lives on so many levels.

IT is WORTH IT to look at this website and gain a better understanding of what it takes to stay happy in your marriage.

Any long term couple could benefit from the concepts taught on the Marriage Builders website, your marriage is worth saving, especially if you have children involved. Your children need you in their lives, even if you get an amicable divorce you will see your children LESS because they will live under a separate roof.

Divorce is NOT worth it especially if you can “work it out”.

Check out the website, show it to your spouse, if the website helps your marriage please leave a comment here!

-Ben Alexander

A very proud Dad, indeed.

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When I started Balloon Distractions my oldest daughter Claire was just entering kindergarten. Tonight she completed her restaurant training with our talented Tampa Bay trainer, Linda Amato, and she is signed up for 2 restaurant gigs later this week. The pic above was taken just an hour ago.

Claire is 16, and she just finished her sophomore year in the advanced IB program at the local high school. She also plays violin with the Tampa Bay Youth Orchestra.   

She’s been doing event gigs by my side for over a year, but this week she will fly solo at her first restaurant gig, and I’m very proud of her! Claire is a great example of what we look for in entertainers: outgoing, personable, and she’s great with children. Through working with me, our local trainer and our Online Orientation she has picked up the technical skills needed to fill a gig, and she’ll continue to learn new shapes as she fills gigs during the summer.     

To some people it may seem like Claire is just entertaining kids in restaurants, but she is also learning responsibility, poise, how to be comfortable with the public and the value of hard work. She might just fill a few gigs while in high school, which would be great, but she also has the option of training a crew and earning a sales commission from the company.

This is just the beginning for Claire, let’s see what the next decade brings us!

-Ben Alexander

To connect with people is a great blessing, indeed.

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This is me and my sister Andrea in her kitchen in New Jersey, about 2 years ago.

We were joking around that day, I was talking about goofy stuff and making her laugh, probably because I had said something outrageous…. Andrea’s husband Jerry took the pic and it captured that specific moment perfectly.   

It’s important that we connect with other people, every day, in a non-social media way.

I spent this morning interviewing applicants for an admin position within Balloon Distractions, I met a bunch of nice folks, and in the process had some lively discussions with a pretty diverse group of people. One applicant had been a detective in London, who knew?

Social media has it’s place and it’s utility, but let’s not substitute this for REAL human interaction.

This is one reason why I enjoy volunteering in local community events, it gets you out there meeting people and interacting with real human beings, not staring at a computer screen.

Commenting to a post on Facebook is nice, but sharing a laugh with someone in person is far more powerful.

Those are my thoughts for this afternoon….

Ben Alexander

Tuesday afternoon, February 11, 2014.

SHARKS! …. in balloon hats.

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Shark Tank posted this pic on their Facebook wall today, and various bloggers have written about us ALREADY so there is no secret that our episode airing THIS Friday will be a BIG moment in latex history.

HUGE THANKS to all the members of the Los Angeles team who came out the day before and made these amazing shapes; the motorcycle for Robert Herjavek, Shark Hat for Lori Greiner, Fruit hat for Mr. Wonderful, Crown for Barbara Corcoran and Dallas Mavs player for Mark Cuban.

Most people have seen an artist twisting in a restaurant and never realized that you could build a fun and profitable business around that concept. We are the first company to establish a decade-long reputation with NATIONAL brands like Chili’s, IHOP, Applebees, Texas Roadhouse, etc.

Our online Orientation makes sure that 100% of our artists are trained to a very high standard, and 100% of our bookings are CALL CHECKED across 4 time zones.

We know that there are people out there who are looking for a fun business built on family values with a corporate culture of creativity and compassion towards children.

If you would like to work with us to build a region in YOUR area please go to:

http://balloondistractions.com/build-a-region.html

Feel free to hit the SHARE button below and work with us to bring more people into our fun and creative enterprise!

Building the Catcher’s Mitt.

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As we roll into 2014 the leadership team here at Balloon Distractions has made many incremental improvements to our operational systems that encompass everything from our internet scheduling software to our compensation plan to our public image online.

Several members of our Advisory Board recommended that we implement a blog that is then cross linked to all of our social media platforms: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

This blog was started in December of 2013, to date we have several thousand views and over 50 blog posts. WordPress has a stats page that shows a global map of WHERE people are looking at our blog.

When we posted about Robert Herjavek there was a spike of views from Canada! 

We have yet to start a Pinterest account, that’s on the 2014 “to do” list.

If you scroll to the top of this blog it cross-links to all our other platforms, as soon as we write a new blog we post it on these other platforms right away. On Facebook we’ve put up several group pages for each region we’re in, with a mix of local content from that region as well as content from our HQ.  

Most of the traffic to this blog was driven here by Facebook, with about 15% coming from our website and various other search engines. The Shark Tank exposure will juice views to all of our online content, which will raise our relevance ranking on the search engines.

Success builds success.  

When Shark Tank airs January 17th we want people to have plenty of content to look at and learn all about us, from written blogs to videos to digital pics. In many ways these blogs are a catcher’s mitt for those folks who are curious about WHO we are and WHAT we do. Our company culture revolves around creativity, a love for children, and a sense of humility and hard work. 

This philosophy in regards to the Ballooniverse is clearly spelled out on our website. We want to develop leaders who take this concept into every metro market with over 50,000 people. With 308 million people in the United States we know that potential leaders are out there, we just need to reach out to them and get them involved in our business!

By writing these essays we hope to find MORE people who are CONGRUENT with that philosophy who join us as we expand all over the United States, and (in a few years) the entire globe.  

This is not to say that everyone who joins us will be a hard core intellectual, but if you ARE a hard core intellectual willing to WORK and build a large team there is an opportunity for you within this organization.

Here is the link:

http://balloondistractions.com/build-a-region.html

Have a GREAT 2014!   

Lynch Mobs, Seduction and Balloon Twisting.

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Recent advances in brain science have revealed that when we watch another person do something there are complementary, or “mirror neurons” in our brain that fire off in parallel with whatever we’re watching, even if we don’t actually move from our armchair.

If you are sitting and watching your friend bounce a ball off the sidewalk there is a part of your brain doing exactly the same thing, even if your arm is not moving, weird, eh?

This is why if one person in a room starts yawning everyone else will start yawning.

This is why you are more likely to feel like dancing when you see other people dance, cry when other people are crying, and laugh when everyone in the room is already laughing, etc.

When I used to lead sales meetings in my previous career I would nod my head at the other people in the room, invariably the people watching me would start doing the same thing without even realizing it. Mirror Neurons at work.

If you are on a date and trying to look more desirable to a member of the opposite gender you can sit in the same posture, and adopt the same cadence and tone of voice to put them at ease.

Con men use body posture to establish rapport with a potential rip off victim.

Mirror neurons explain why angry people in a lynch mob will riot, murder and cause property damage in a way they would never do if they were acting alone.

Humans are highly social primates, and this weird mammalian quirk helps us blend in, and ostensibly survive. Since our brains (and our neurons) are more active when we’re younger it seems that people under the age of 25 are much more susceptible to the group activities surrounding them, whether in a church, a cult, or even in boot camp for the Marine Corp.

If the Marines tried to indoctrinate 50 year-old recruits they would have a much harder job building a cohesive platoon willing to take orders without question.

So how does this tie into making balloons for folks in restaurants?

If you smile at the customer they are more likely to respond back in the same manner.

If you have an awful attitude the customer will reflect that back to you.

I found that when I had a great attitude, my restaurant tips went through the roof, but if let myself get frustrated I would not do well.

Children respond very well to positive energy and a sincere smile, even as young as a few months old.

-Benjamin T. Alexander

written in 2012

Simplicity.

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written by Ben Alexander

LIFE is not easy.  It will pull at your sweater and unravel you thread by thread until you stand naked in front of a room full of everyone you’ve ever known, then you’ll wake up from your nightmare realizing that in real life it’s 2AM and your fish tank has just sprung a leak and is flooding  your living room floor.

Yes, this scenario actually happened to me.

Thankfully all the fish survived, so I gave them back to the pet store and no longer have to worry about maintaining a fish tank as large as a coffin.

There will be random events in your life that complicate things, so for this reason it makes sense to clear the path of all the challenges that you CAN control and strive for Simplicity, a philosophy designed to smooth the path a bit and clear the way for whatever success you were destined for.

The Simplicity Concept is one that I wish I had been aware of when I was a young man starting out in life, a philosophy that I formulated through countless boneheaded mistakes as well as a handful of successful ventures as well. These concepts come from being the father of 2 lovely ladies, living a lot of life in 40 years (and making mistakes) along with owning a national company with hundreds of young associates and seeing them undergo various challenges, from dating woes to drug addiction to just general disorganization.

Simplicity thinking looks at all areas of your life and asks one (simple) question: IS this complicated for no reason, can we simplify this?  

In high school and college you might learn about the victor of the 100 Years War, the sublime use of the periodic table and Gregor Mendel’s theories of genetics but they fail to teach you the common sense lessons that you need to navigate the shoals of our modern adulthood without wrecking your ship on the hidden rocks beneath the water.    

I personally embrace a lifestyle of Simplicity; in my community work, as a husband, a father and as an entrepreneur.

Fired! …. at 12 years old.

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Written by Ben Alexander

Every day, all over the world, every single MINUTE people are waking up and going to their jobs and expending their energy, time and intellect in exchange for the money they need to eat, live and take care of their family.

No other plant, mineral or animal does this other than humans, with the exception of performance animals and service dogs… and we pay them in food and shelter, mainly because it would take a very talented dog to handle coins and paper currency.

Of course, you can’t forget your friendly killer whale down at Seaworld, doing flips for buckets of fish and occasionally living up to their names when that little switch goes off in their Orcan brain and they decide to murder that small primate in a neoprene wetsuit who has been ordering them around for the last few years.

If you outweighed your boss by a few tons how tempting would it be to simply END them one sunny day?    

My first job was an auctioneer’s assistant, I was 12, the guy who hired me knew me from church and he was a total jerk. He paid me $2 per hour to clear brush in his backyard and help him run estate auctions on the weekends. At the time the minimum wage was about $4 an hour, but I was 12 and he paid me cash.

You have about zero options for legal employment when you’re in sixth grade, and my parents would not have been happy if I’d become a cocaine dealer while still in elementary school.

In this first job I learned all about auctions. People would die, and we would come in and sell every item in their home. This was interesting because you learned that used stuff was pretty worthless 99% of the time. At one house I took home a whole set of heavy duty hand tools for about $4. They were probably about 60 years old when I bought them back in the 1980’s, I still have those tools in my tool box to the present day.

A valuable thing to learn early on is that THINGS have less value than you may realize.

During the actual auction I would hold up items and then help haul stuff around for the buyers.

At 12 I was a smallish kid, so my lovely boss would always tell me what a pathetic weakling I was. I had spent my childhood reading books and avoiding  athletic activity, for a mere 2 bucks an hour what the hell did he expect, Hercules?

My boss would also find odd lots of stuff in warehouses and then buy it to sell it elsewhere. I remember one day when we drove to a decrepit warehouse in a ghetto of Philly where we loaded about 500 one gallon tins of tomato sauce into his box truck. To this day I have no idea what he did with 500 cans of tomato sauce. It was crap work and he paid me crap pay, and then he fired me a few months later.

I guess 2 bucks an hour was too much to pay a 12 year old kid, perhaps he found a 5 year old who could work for less?

So there I was, fired from my very first job at the tender age of 12.

I had all the feelings that one associates with being fired; shame, humiliation, failure, disappointment, etc. But in a way getting fired is an action of forced change, you have no choice but to look around and consider your other options.

Later on in life, when I was fired from other jobs I took it in stride and always landed with all 4 paws on the ground. Getting fired forced me to try new jobs that I never would have considered if I didn’t need work. I was a waiter in a BBQ restaurant when a balloon guy came in and started twisting balloons, if I had NOT been fired from my last waiter job I never would have learned balloon art, if I had never learned balloons my present company would not exist today…

Everything happens for a reason.

The Unlimited Creativity of the Ballooniverse.

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Famous balloon artist Jason Szabo and his amazing Yoda….

Balloon art really took off in the 1990’s when people started sharing pics on this website:

http://balloonhq.com/

Previous to that there were a few basic books and some small conventions around the world, but once the folks in the Ballooniverse started to collaborate there was an explosion of new ideas.

Balloon Distractions has had over 4,000 people learn balloon twisting in our organization since 2003, so we’ve been a small part of the expansion of the Ballooniverse, no pun intended!  

Twisting balloons in restaurants is a great way to get very fluent at the art  and earn some decent cash as well, the CEO of our company worked in restaurants during his last 2 years of college and graduated with no student debt!

There is also the added benefit of bringing joy to people through balloon twisting…

Balloons represent a colorful medium for creativity all over the world, and we are proud to be a part of it!