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

#Success advice for any #startup interested in #Sharktank!

1. Make sure you know who your competitors are, if any. Tons of great product ideas pitch on Shark Tank and then Lori says “Yeah, I’ve seen this before, we just sold 10,000 of these last week on QVC.” This same idea goes for smartphone apps, you have to create something really unique in the app space and make sure no one else has already thought of it and did it better.

2. Make sure it has a WIDE application. The Scrub Daddy did $14 million in sales right after Shark Tank because it was a product that anyone on the planet (with a kitchen sink) could easily buy and use.

3. Don’t make your pricing insane. Who remembers the marital confrontation Stuffed Elephant in a Box that was a plush toy in a plastic box for $60? It might make for a fun gag gift, but not for $60.

4. Don’t ever mention “I’m going on the show for national exposure” anywhere in your application,  phone interview and certainly not during your actual televised pitch. With 7 million viewers per show that is one of those blatantly obvious things that the producers hate to hear. It seems that there is a culture within Shark Tank in which the entire “free exposure” concept is taboo to talk about.  

5. Be entertaining. Shark Tank is about 90% viewer share and only 10% real business. The brilliant producers who handled my segment rigged a balloon drop to coincide with the moment when I said “Balloon Distractions”. This would never happen in a dry business meeting with venture capitalists. I feel that some entrepreneurs get on simply because they are entertaining, not because they have a decent business idea. We are both; Balloon Distractions has done $5 million in sales and booked entertainers into restaurants 100,000 times, but I feel that we got on the show because I own a BALLOON business and the producers felt it would make for a fun segment.

6. If you have fun / attractive personalities in your business use them on the audition video. There are plenty of Shark Tank segments that have included good looking / sexy / pretty folks. This is TV after all, if you have a “looker” in your business include them in your pitch. In talking to the Nardo brothers at Nardo’s Naturals I’m convinced that Barbara invested in them because she thought the boys were sexy! I’ve watched every episode going back to Season 1, there has been no shortage of cleavage on the show….. case in point:

http://sharktankclips.com/season-3-episode-3-you-smell/

7. Before you pitch on the show go out and sell your product to PROVE there is some type of demand, even if your business is less than a year old. The sharks are impressed by hustle and moxie, if you go and work trade shows and state fairs for a few months and sell 50K in product you have proof that regular folks out there in the market can be converted to customers.

8. There is nothing wrong with taking something obvious and putting a new twist on it, grilled cheese sandwiches have been around for a thousand years, but Tom and Chee turned it into a successful restaurant franchise with proven sales and strong business systems.

9. Build your business big enough to support you full time. The Sharks hate part-time business owners. Your loyalties are divided if you make 70K as a pharmacist and 10K from your business. The Sharks know this, none of them became wealthy by building their companies 10 hours a week.

10. Last but not least, keep it very simple. Tom and Chee, Scrub Daddy, Chord Buddy, Wicked Good Cupcakes, etc. all of the successful pitches can be summed up in a short sentence. Our company sends balloon artists into restaurants to entertain the kids while they wait for the food to arrive at the table, that’s why we’re called Balloon Distractions!

Hope that helps, and Happy Twisting!

-Ben Alexander

Founder / CEO

http://www.BalloonDistractions.com

100,000 bookings, #DONE.

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Balloon Distractions has now sent balloon artists into restaurants over 100,000 times, it took us just over a decade to reach that number.

What does it take to book 100,000 restaurant gigs? Over 4,000 people have been added into our entertainer orientation program since 2003, and these hard working folks filled gigs across four time zones, from Los Angeles to Philadelphia to Miami to Minneapolis.

We had to design an online scheduler to organize all those entertainers and clients, it cost over $80K to build.

We paid out well over $4 million in payroll and billed out over $5 million to our restaurant clients.

I personally burned through 4 vehicles and traveled to every corner of the United States, I’ve sold restaurants and trained people in at least 20 states and counting.

We estimate that our team has twisted about 10 million Qualatex balloons since 2003.

So what does the 100,000 number mean? It means that we have a profound understanding of our unique niche, and the experience to make this concept work anywhere, from Miami to Rochester NY.

You see, 100,000 is just the very beginning. We’re going to hit the “1 million gig” mark in the next decade, maybe sooner. We have a specific plan and we’re working that plan every single day. 

We’ve had our share of critics, mostly folks who failed to grasp our business model….

…. the dogs will always bark, but the train is moving on.

If you want to start a business (and bring JOY to children) check out this page on our site:

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

God Bless!

Ben Alexander

May 30, 2014

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

Pay for COLLEGE with Balloons!

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Balloon Distractions PAID Internship Program

Balloon Distractions currently operates in 30 markets across the United States, from Seattle to Miami to Minneapolis. Each region is managed by a Regional Partner, many of whom started on the team as entry level entertainers, working their way through college.

Our company holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and is being featured on Season 5 of the top rated ABC show “Shark Tank” on January 17th, 2014.

This program seeks to partner with local colleges and universities to develop new Regional Partners in all 200 demographic market areas across the United States.

How it works:

Interns will learn how to entertain in restaurants, hire and train new staff and seek out and land new restaurant clients.  They will work closely with the local Regional Partner in a mentor / mentee relationship.

Interns will earn $12 to $25 per HOUR working in restaurants.

By working in a “real world” environment our interns will gain valuable experience inside a national company that will complement their academic work in the classroom.

Ideal candidate:

Any ambitious student with an expressive personality and a strong work ethic who is great at thinking “on their feet”.

An ideal candidate will be non-conventional, creative and personally dynamic.

Internship Program Goals:

This internship will teach a mix of pragmatic business skills; public speaking, customer service, hiring and managing staff and how to prospect and close new clients. Interns will work closely with Balloon Distractions staff as well as General Managers in national chains such as IHOP, Chili’s, Applebee’s, etc.

Within our pool of interns we want to identify and develop the future Regional Partners who will help us place a team in every metro area in the United States.

Specific timeline / schedule

The timeframe specified here is at the discretion of the intern and the Regional Partner who will be assigned to mentor them (the RP mentor). This internship is flexible and should work around the schedules of both the intern and their RP mentor.

Week 1-3:  Intern will learn the basic entertainer role and go to restaurants to fill bookings, while doing so the intern is guaranteed to earn a minimum of $12 per hour. Intern will also be taught our online scheduling system and navigate our Online Training Interface.

Week 4-7:  Intern will assist their RP mentor as they recruit and interview new entertainers.

Week 8-10:  Intern will assist RP mentor in prospecting and landing new clients.

During the entire internship (and after) the intern is encouraged to fill bookings in the local area. Intern has the freedom to log onto our scheduling system and choose bookings at will, so there is flexibility based on the intern’s college schedule.

Completion Requirements

#1. The intern is required to successfully fill 20 bookings in the course of the 10 week program, each booking is from 3-4 hours in length and are normally in the evenings from 5PM on.

There are also Saturday and Sunday breakfast bookings that run from 9AM to 1PM.

#2. Intern must hire and train 2 crew members alongside the RP mentor.

#3. Intern must sell 2 new clients alongside the RP mentor

Interns are expected to sign an intern contract which includes a non-disclosure and non-compete clause.

This program can be custom designed based upon the specific credit hour requirements of your university and / or major.

Regional Partners earn $40,000 to $55,000 in their first year, so this is a viable post graduation track for any 4rth year college student.  

Contact:

BenAlexander@BalloonDistractions.com

 

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!  

10 reasons we love Robert Herjavec.

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#1. “Don’t mistake kindness for weakness.”

#2.  He not afraid to try all food on air, even the dicey stuff.

#3.  The whole dog thing.

#4.  Always a gentleman, no matter how silly the idea in front of him.

#5.  He grew up poor, and forged his own path.

#6.  He likes fast stuff, from Italian supercars to motorcycles.

#7.  He has tried every piece of exercise equipment ever presented on Shark Tank.

#8. Chord Buddy. He is going to make that guy a millionaire if he hasn’t already.

#9.  He’s a great counter balance to Mark Cuban.

Last but not least…..  

#10. Infectious Enthusiasm!     

Shark Tank made us BETTER!

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written by Ben Alexander

Soon after we filmed our segment for ABC’s Shark Tank back in September I got together with our team and we talked about what we needed to do to prepare for the potential exposure (and rapid growth) we’d get in the months after the episode aired.

In September the Shark Tank producers made no guarantees about WHEN the episode would air, if at all, so we had to prepare for the exposure within a possible window of December 2013 to May 2014.

This meant that we had to upgrade our servers at a significant cost without being sure the episode would even air! We didn’t want to drag our tail on the upgrades and then watch our website crash when the episode finally aired.

Thankfully we got the call from ABC that our segment will air January 17th of 2014.  

There are several changes that we made in the last 3 months:

1. We brought on a CFO to look at our entire operation and prepare the organization for fast growth.

2. We upgraded our servers and website to focus on recruiting more Regional Partners, and handle more website views at one shot.

3. We partnered with the largest balloon distributor in the country to sell our Balloon Distractions Balloon Basics kit. When Shark Tank airs we might sell 5, or we might sell 5,000!

4. Right now we are drafting a new comprehensive Independent Contractor agreement that encompasses all the levels within the company, from Artist to Regional Partner.

5. We’ve modified the sales compensation to heavily incentivize recruiting and better training for our Independent Contractors.

6. We formed up an Advisory Board of successful business owners who meet once a month and look at this business with a fresh perspective. One of the recommendations of the board was to solidify our online footprint, hence the content in this blog.

….. Shark Tank forced me to look at my company in a new light, and take some steps that I probably should have taken years ago. 

These improvements made the company stronger not only for new people looking to join us but for all the Independent Contractors already working with us.

You live and you learn, right?        

Why we LOVE Lori Greiner, the Queen of QVC!

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We made a shark hat for the Queen of QVC when we shot our Shark Tank segment back in September, Lori posted this on a social media a few days ago….

Watch our segment when it airs on ABC January 17th, 2014. Our awesome team in Southern California, led by Thomas Ryan, got together to twist over 2,000 balloon shapes for the segment.

Here at BD we are big Lori fans, she is always a class act, she treats everyone with respect and she is proof that being NICE does pay off!

Benjamin T. Alexander

March 2014

A REAL business?

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When Balloon Distractions started hiring independent artists in Tampa back in 2003 many people did not feel that we were a “real” business.

We had no storefront, no reputation, no proven history.

For the first few years the Chili’s chain of restaurants told us “NO” about a million times……

When we appear on Shark Tank in a few short weeks our brand and logo will be seen by 7.5 million people across North America, and we will become THE national “brand” for balloon art and entertainment in the mind of the American public.

People from all over the world will look over our YouTube channel, Facebook pages, Instagram, Twitter and this blog to see who we are, what we do, and what VALUES we hold dear.

We want the public to see an opportunity to have FUN and make some money in a creative enterprise that is run by people of character who also give back to the community:

http://balloondistractions.com/balloon-distractions-rotary-international.html

We also want them to see that it is easier to be a part of a national organization that really understands how to sell to the big national chains and recruit talent from many different sources.

You can rip off our idea, but you are putting yourself far back on the learning curve, you will actually earn more, and earn faster, by benefitting from our Online Artist Orientation, Online Scheduler and national reputation with restaurants.

So what if you are reading this and STILL questioning whether we are a “real” company or not?

Look at all the great artists on our YouTube videos, look at the pics of our company’s founder in Honduras putting in water filters and making balloons for children, or just search Balloon Distractions on Facebook and look at the hundreds of Independent Contractors who list their affiliation with us….  

We want to connect with GREAT people out there who share our family values, a strong work ethic, and a desire to try something new that will bring joy to children and adults alike.  

If you want to fill some restaurant gigs (and work part time for a few nights each week) please go to this page and fill out the balloon artist form:

http://balloondistractions.com/contact-balloon-artists.html

If you want to build a TEAM and really make a great income read this page:

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

Thank you for reading this post and have an awesome 2014!