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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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12 feet tall?

Halloween costume, 2013……Image

Uncle Sam at the 4rth of July parade.

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written by Ben Alexander

When I was a kid growing up in South Jersey I used to make stilts out of a 2X4, a wedge of wood and 2 construction bolts. All my neighbors would try it and fall down in a few steps, but I would stay out there in the yard practicing until it was second nature.

Walking on stilts is about as hard as ice skating or rollerblading, once you get the hang of it you never forget how to do it. You have to practice on low stilts before you try the higher ones, a good sense of balance helps as well.  

Fast forward to 2011, our Rotary club was doing a Freedom Festival at Wiregrass mall. I have a friend who worked as a professional stilt walker at Busch Gardens in Tampa, I borrowed his metal stilts and put together the Uncle Sam outfit in the photo…   

In the last 2 years I’ve done Uncle Sam, Honest Abe and a Scary Ghoul this past Halloween for the Zephyr Hills Halloween parade. The Ghoul costume scared the tar out of a bunch of kids, especially because of the mask and the extreme height of the costume.

I use drywall stilts, commonly used in construction, and purchased my pair for $70 out of a pawn shop over in West Pasco county. There are also spring stilts, but they only add about 3 feet of height, so they are not as dramatic when you see someone wearing them.

As Uncle Sam or Abe Lincoln lots of people will come up to me and request a picture, or in some cases little boys will jump up and give me a (really) high five!

On February 15th, 2014, I’ll be dressed as Lincoln for the Honest Abe 5K in Wesley Chapel hosted by my rotary club. It’s for a good cause, if you see me there take a pic with me and post it on the “Book of Faces”…..  

 

Now money vs. FUTURE money.

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Written by Ben Alexander

When you trade dollars for hours you are working NOW for income NOW.

You are limited to 24 hours per day, so your income is limited as well in this scenario.

If you build a business you will not be paid hourly, and you may not see a profit or payback for weeks or even months…. but IF you design your business the right way it will create income for you far into the future.

As long as your business uses a TEAM you are building FUTURE money that will be generated when you are asleep, out of the country, drunk, or on a date with your spouse.

( Or any of those four combined !)

Of course, if you spend all your time on FUTURE money you may not have enough to pay your bills today, so there has to be a smart balance.

When you are young and broke you need to spend enough time on NOW money to meet your basic needs, but should also spend some time on FUTURE money that will pay off down the line. IF you earn more than you spend you can invest the extra and turn NOW money into FUTURE money.

If you take on debt you are deducting funds from your FUTURE money.

Getting a decent college education is all about FUTURE money, dropping out of high school at 15 years old to work at Taco Bell is all about NOW money.

Poor folks work for NOW money, usually because that is what they have learned from the other poor people they have lived and interacted with over the years. 

When I started Balloon Distractions in 2003 I needed to earn at least $300 a week in tips, so I went out to restaurants in Tampa and filled gigs a couple of nights per week. During the day I would sell new clients and train new balloon artists. Within a year the tips became a much smaller percentage of my overall income.

If you spend time to train someone in your business you are creating Future money, if you do the job yourself because “no one can do it better than me” you are working for NOW money.

At Balloon Distractions we’ve designed an online training interface so that our team can learn how to grow the company without my presence.  If I go into a coma today my company has the systems in place so that when I wake up in 2020 it will be larger by a magnitude of 4 or 5.

At this point in my life all my expenses are covered and I spend almost 99% of my work time on building FUTURE money.

Mainly this involves working to recruit new Regional Partners in order to place Balloon Distractions crews in every city in North America with over 100,000 people.

277 cities in the USA meet this criteria…. and we only do business in less than 35 of those. 

Even taking time to write this essay may result in FUTURE money because someone online  might read it, get interested in my business, and decide to join my team, you never know! 

My personal goal is to be worth $10 million by my 50th birthday….. and I’ll only reach that by focusing like a laser beam on FUTURE money.

Even if I don’t get to 10, I might get to 6 or 7 million, and that would not be too bad.

Which type of money are you focusing on today, this week, right now?

 

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!

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Really cold water.

Written by Ben Alexander in 2011

Some people are born with a genius-level IQ, these rare folks can fathom college-level calculus and play the violin while still in grade school. Not me. I’m stuck with the dull gray matter I was born with, so I’m doing my best to maximize my mental effectiveness.

Every morning around 8AM I’ll hit the pool for a cold swim… the pool in our development is NOT heated.

For the swim all I’ll need is earplugs, goggles, a swimsuit and a Timex watch to measure my time in the water… and a bunch of crazy determination. The water was a tad colder a few weeks ago when I started doing this, about 50 degrees. It will be just over 60 degrees tomorrow, and I’ll stay in the water about 30 minutes.

There is a strange relativity to exercise that reflects back upon your everyday life: when you conquer a physical challenge early in the morning it seems as if everything ELSE that you have to tackle that day feels easier.

You really never know how much you can do until you just go out and try it. 

Swimming in cold water does many things at once: burns tons of calories quickly, gets the blood pumping and focuses the mind on a singular task. It takes a certain level of personal discipline to get in cold water in the first place, yet once you get in and start swimming it feels pretty good.    

I have a very ambitious agenda on the table for the expansion of Balloon Distractions and I need to be at the top of my game as we implement these big changes. My crazy exercise routine grants me clarity, and I need it now more than ever. 

 

Tools of the trade...

The apple does not fall far from the tree….

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written by Ben Alexander

Next month my oldest daughter Claire turns 16. When I started Balloon Distractions she was only in kindergarten, she’s been there all along from Balloon Jams in our living room to expanding this across the entire country. Many times Claire and her sister Grace went with me to restaurants to train new artists, and they’ve been there all along when my wife and I have discussed business challenges across the dinner table.  

There are a handful of event gigs that I’ve been doing year after year, Claire has been going along with me as my “apprentice twister”. She’s wonderful with children and very good at handling people in general so I’m getting her ready to rock some restaurant gigs once she’s mastered a few more shapes.

My youngest daughter Grace has ZERO interest in doing this, so I’m glad Claire has stepped up to the plate. I don’t want to push them, I’m just glad to spend time with Claire, she is a joy to work with.

We’ve been in business 10 years already so it makes sense that we will still be around in another 20 or 30 years. I think Claire has some natural leadership talents that could lend themselves well to helping me lead this company, not just in the United States but internationally as well.  

At the same time I don’t want to be the type of business owner who promotes his child just because of blood, Claire will have to prove herself at every level.

As a parent I’m doing my level best to make sure both my daughters get a solid academic foundation that opens many doors to them, whether in business or elsewhere.  

 

Balloons for Adults!

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written by Ben Alexander

Don’t get the wrong idea, all of the stuff we twist in a public place is G rated!

The guy in the pic was a customer at a restaurant in Bradenton, FL. We made him a really cool alligator balloon hat, and he is not a little kid anymore.

Of course, our priority when we twist is always the kids in the restaurant or event, but what do you do when the entire place is full of adults?

You entertain them, of course!

When I was a college kid twisting at the TGIF in Marlton NJ I would come in at 5PM, entertain the families until about 9 o’clock, then after a short break I’d twist cool stuff for the couples and drinkers until 11PM.

I made $800 twisting balloons in one week way back in 1997!

As a guy I find it easier to approach a table with the ladies, people like attention from the opposite gender as long as you do so in a respectful and fun way. If I see a group of ladies older than me I might go to their table and say:

“Hello beautiful ladies, they told me that this was the most out of control table in the entire restaurant, who would like to go to the Prom with me?” 

If someone responds or laughs I ask her what her favorite color is then make her a simple flower bracelet. If you keep it innocent and fun (and the table is outgoing) most groups will go with it and include you in the party.