Archive for » September, 2010 «

September 28th, 2010 | Author:

Signing books

Last Saturday, I did my first book festival in Mission Viejo, CA. It was a great setting in a park. We had the perfect tent location. We had extra time after we set up before it started. It didn’t rain and the weather was warm, very warm. Everything was good until about 1 or 2 p.m. when the crowd started to thin out pretty quickly. The temperature was rising all morning and by that time, it was around 100 degrees, maybe higher. Most people just couldn’t take walking around very long. Thankfully, the volunteers came around throughout the day delivering bottles of water to all the author booths so that helped a lot. Plus, we were extra lucky in that our booth didn’t have any direct sun all day.

We met some really nice people, made some good contacts, and I had lots of fun signing my books and selling my Pencil Bugs.

Favorite author board

Throughout the exhibit area, they had large blackboards  where people could sign their names or answer the question that the volunteers wrote on each side. One of the questions was, “Who is your favorite author?” Well, as you might expect, it was too much of a temptation for my parents to write my name on there so they did. Of course I had to get my picture beside it then.

While it was fun having an author booth, next year I would like to be one of the author/speakers.  I have already suggested that the organizers consider having one time slot strictly for young authors to present. Needless to say, when you have a chance to speak to your customers in a comfortable setting and tell them your story and talk about your book, book sales tend to increase too. It’s like I said in my last post, it’s all about selling yourself which will help sell your product.

Overall, it was a good experience. If you haven’t bought an autographed copy of my book yet, please check it out on my website or you can browse through a few pages on Amazon’s Look Inside feature. A portion of every sale goes toward my Christmas Teddy Bear Fundraiser for kids at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California.


September 26th, 2010 | Author:

Whether you have a product business or offer a service or are a published author trying to market your book, you can’t sell any of those things until you learn how to sell yourself.

Think of commercials. How many times do you remember what the product or service is during that 30 seconds? Unless you specifically want or need what they’re selling, most of the time people remember other things about what they see and hear. Haven’t you heard someone say something like, “Oh, what’s that commercial with so-and-so in it?”  They don’t remember what that person is selling but they remember the actor.

I once heard that a company can sell anything if they use a kid, especially a cute kid or a dog and especially a cute dog, or better yet to use both. People are more likely to remember the who than the what.

The same goes for your business. Who knows how many websites there are in the world? The competition is tougher all the time. Unless you are one of the big guys, it’s hard to get noticed and sell anything. So what can you do?

Sell yourself, not your product or your service. What is it about you that makes you different? People have so many choices for things, many times it comes down to who is selling it.

I started my Pencil Bugs business at age nine. In the beginning, I held many sidewalk sales where  I would get a store’s permission to set up my table outside and sell my Pencil Bugs. Even at that age, I quickly realized that many customers bought my products simply because they wanted to support a kid’s business. Did they really need a pencil topper? Probably not but before long, people knew my business because of me — “the Pencil Bugs kid” and that was fine with me. Looking back, I now see that I was also building my brand.

Selling is an art. It’s who you are that matters and that is what will make people stand up and take notice.

My grandpa has a saying that is a perfect sales analogy. “Old Harry could sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo.” It’s the person who makes the difference, not the product. Well, you get the point. And if you haven’t bought my new book yet, Bitten by the Business Bug: Common Sense Tips for Business and Life from a Teen Entrepreneur, I share a lot of Grandpa’s wisdom in it. You can read excerpts from my book using Amazon’s Look Inside feature if you’re interested. Then buy a copy on Amazon or get an autographed one from my website. It’s a fun read for all ages. A portion of all sales is donated to help kids at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, CA. I also have a big teddy bear fundraiser I do for the kids at Christmas. If you want to read more, visit The Bears Are Back in Town.

So do you need a pencil topper or another inspirational book or have you already donated your limit for this year? It’s not about the products. It’s about the person behind the products. Thanks to everyone who continues to support me, my business, and my charitable efforts. Because of you, I have been able to encourage other people of all ages to try their ideas. It’s good karma.

September 24th, 2010 | Author:

Last month as I began high school, I thought it was best to take a break from writing my blog. I figured high school would be a lot different than middle school and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t overloaded with things that could distract from school work.

It’s now been a month and school is going great! I have a lot of new friends and some great teachers. I realize the importance of teachers assigning homework but I have never understood why teachers assign busy work. Well, I’m glad to say that these teachers agree. They teach in class, assign work to make sure we understand the material, and sometimes even give us time at the end of class to start on homework. That makes sense! It’s no surprise that people, including kids, are overscheduled these days. Giving busy work is just plain unproductive.

After this short month of adjusting to high school life, I am now ending my hiatus from my blog. I will be writing weekly posts again (usually on Sundays) and if an idea strikes me during the week, I will post then also.

Thanks to my followers for hanging in there with me. I hope that you will share my blog with your friends and family. If you subscribe, you’ll get an email notification when I post something new.

If you haven’t checked out my Christmas fundraiser to donate teddy bears to kids at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, please visit Pencil Bugs and consider making a donation. Every little bit helps. You would be surprised what a soft, teddy bear can do for a kid while they are in the hospital.