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!   

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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 Seasons of your Life

Hanging out in North Carolina with Todd Barrow.Image

written by Ben Alexander, founder of BalloonDistractions.com

Todd started with us as an entertainer filling gigs part time and now runs one of the largest regions in our organization. I got to spend some time with him during the summer of 2013 and we had some great conversations about work, life, and all the BIG questions.

Todd and I are both knocking on 40, and we’ve both had all kinds of varied and weird jobs. Todd was in the military, counseled young people for drug addiction, and even installed water filters!

One of things that Todd and I discussed (over a beer or three) were the “seasons of life” that we all go through along this journey, and how certain types of work fit better at certain points in your life.

Case is point is the college student that joins us and fills gigs as an Independent Contractor, they log on, choose where and how often they want to work, and the flexibility of this works in their favor.

Then you have the stay at home Mom, she might have kids in elementary school, but she doesn’t want the hassle of a typical 9-5 job, so she learns to twist and uses our company to get out of the house 2 nights a week and earn a couple hundred $$$.

The third example might be a retired military veteran who gets out of the military in their 40’s with a small pension and joins our team as a Regional Partner and earns 40K per year by organizing the team, selling new clients and occasionally filling a gig to keep the schedule populated.  

Each of these three examples represent someone in a different season of their life, with different perspectives and goals, along with varied levels of life experience.

As a company we respect whatever season of life you happen to be in, and we’re grateful that people from various backgrounds, ages and experience have joined our team.

So what season are YOU in?

Are you happy with where you are in life, or do you want to make a change and do something different? We are looking for Regional Partners in 200 metro markets throughout the United States, check out our website at BalloonDistractions.com!

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spinning Plates!

Lots of plates spinning….

 

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written by Ben Alexander

I learned earlier this week that Balloon Distractions’ segment on Shark Tank is going to air on January 17th, 2014 … at the same time my parents are traveling to Florida to visit for the holidays I have to rent out this little house I own in Tampa.

I bought it in 2004 for about 58K, and its been rented out continually since then… when my last tenant left in July I put it up for sale on the market for 50K, but I keep getting ridiculous offers for well below that. So I’m going to rent it for another year or 2 and try to sell it again in 2016. I guess, who knows.  

I’m cleaning up the house and getting ready for the holidays…. the tree is up, the lights are hung….  

I’m also traveling to Ocala once a week to recruit and train college kids, stay at home Moms and military veterans on my team up there. Right now we are in a recruiting push to add at least 20 new regions in 2014. I have no idea who will find us as a result of the national exposure on Shark Tank, but I’m positive it will be good for our business.

I love military veterans, they work really hard, know how to follow standard operating procedure, and they have a very teachable manner that makes them a joy to do business with.

If you just retired from the military and you are looking for your next chapter let’s have a conversation!

I’m still looking for the magic formula that will get my idea in all 200 markets around the United States, if you are reading this and would like to develop a region with us (or maybe just twist balloons for a couple hundred $$ per week) shoot me an email and we’ll take it from there:

BenAlexander@BalloonDistractions.com

Get out of your comfort Zone!

Many  eclectic jobs  led me to where I am today:

Here is a short list, in no logical order:

  1. Paid Baritone for a Presbyterian church.
  2. Insurance agent for Mutual of Omaha.
  3. Basic construction, ripping up sidewalks, building fences, etc.
  4. English teacher in Taiwan.
  5. Art model for my college’s life modeling class.
  6. Volunteer firefighter (no pay, but a unique experience)
  7. Balloon Twister 4 Tips in countless restaurants.
  8. Owner of a balloon twisting talent agency.
  9. Burger flipper at Dairy Queen.
  10. Waiter at many different restaurants.
  11. Lifeguard at several lakes and pools across South Jersey.
  12. Swim Instructor for children.
  13. Rollerblade instructor in Taiwan.
  14. Selling gold plating services to car dealerships.
  15. Selling deregulated energy door to door.
  16. Managing large door to door crews that sold deregulated energy.
  17. Selling underwater scuba camera equipment over the phone.
  18. Selling mortgages over the phone.
  19. Selling employment advertising over the phone.
  20. Selling solar and energy efficiency door to door, in NJ, PA and FL.
  21. Selling cars (mostly Toyota) in MD and FL.
  22. Mowing lawns and basic landscaping.
  23. Auctioneer’s assistant and go-to (when I was 12 years old)
  24. Delivery driver for Naple’s pizza in Mullica Hill.
  25. Substitute teacher all over South Jersey (my 3rd year in college)
  26. Package sorter on the midnight shift at UPS.
  27. Direct Sales with Amway and Life Leadership.
  28. Getting paid from sales of my first book on Amazon.
  29. Sales consulting for 2 marketing firms in Philadelphia.
  30. Goofed off with the EB-5 investment program in Taiwan, never made a dime.
  31. Imported Super Sonic Spheres from Taiwan, same result as #30.

I’ve tried so many unusual things in my life that nothing is that weird or unfamiliar.

In college every single time I got fired from one job (I had a big mouth and it got me in hot water) I would look around and try something different.

I feel bad for the person who turns 18, gets a job that he hates, then stays in that job for 40 years because he is hooked to a measly paycheck. How boring, right?

Be open to new ideas and experiences, and as you get older you will continually expand your comfort zone. When you stretch yourself you will learn how to be resilient and adjust to anything.

Trying many different things also teaches you to be resourceful, a great quality to develop whether you are an entrepreneur, teacher or any profession.

Once you’ve taken off every stitch of clothing in front of a room full of art students, or traveled 12 time zones away on a ONE WAY ticket to a foreign country to work, everything else is small potatoes.

I started Balloon Distractions (when I was 29) because I never found a job that I actually liked.

Previous to that I could never hold a job longer than 24 months.

When you move OUT, way OUT, from your comfort zone you will gain tremendous confidence and trust in yourself. After living in Taiwan and learning how to speak a bit of Mandarin Chinese I was not afraid to live somewhere very far from what I knew growing up.

Moving to Florida in 2003? No big deal, at least it’s still in the USA.

Consequently I feel at home everywhere I go here in the States. The entire USA is within my comfort zone. As I traveled around the United States building Balloon Distractions I always felt at home, whether in Seattle, Miami or Houston.

A little job or hobby that you try out in college can lead to something significant down the road. When I was twisting balloons in college I never would have guessed that it would lead to Balloon Distractions.

More recently I got involved in residential and commercial solar with Tampa Bay Solar. Here I was, learning a totally new industry at 43 years old! I’ve been making a great income and learning a ton. I feel like a million bucks.

Be thrilled by the potential of the unexpected, and don’t hesitate to get out of your own comfort zone! The only thing you risk by trying something new is loss of time.

Ben Alexander

blog was originally written in 2014, updated in May of 2017.

Mike’s Story

Micheal is an entertainer on the Seattle team, this is his story:

“I was twisting at a restaurant the other day, spotted a table with a mom and son, about 8 years old. The boy was being difficult, holding his head down, with a sullen expression on his face, basically refusing to co-operate with anything mom wanted.

I approached the table, gave a big cheery HELLO, and preceded to ask if I could make something for either one of them.  The boy just ignored me – but not without first glancing at all the balloons in my apron. Mom said she wasn’t sure, as they were having difficulties even ordering their food.

I commented, “Yeah! Sometimes it’s really hard to decide, it’s all so good!”

We chatted for a few more seconds, and the little guy kept sneaking glances over my direction.

I finally asked mom what his favorite color was, (blue) and inflated a balloon, making a big production out of it. Then I asked if I could sit for a moment (next to the kid) “… ’cause my feet were sore…” (with a wink at mom). She said “Sure!” and I plopped down, and started waving the balloon like a wand. By now the kid was more staring at the balloon than down.

I continued talking to mom, telling her about Balloon Distractions, and that I twist all sorts of shapes, and I’m not sure what to make with this beautiful blue balloon.

This caused the kid to whisper ‘… a Dog…”

I sat there, slowly shaping a Sitting Dog, and explaining what I was doing as I went. The boy’s eyes were now riveted on the action. By the time I got to making it’s ears the kid was fascinated, and totally into it. I got him to tell me a joke, even got the mom to laugh at my exaggerated mistakes When I’d finished the shape (He chose the color for the eyes), the kid was smiling and laughing, and had decided he was hungry and happy. 

I got a $10 tip from a grateful Mom.”