Friday, December 31, 2010

Trial and error of ads

Running your own company seems to be a lot of trail and error. Especially when you refuse to take outside help so you can keep all the money in your own pocket.

Advertising is a big thing in the locksmith business and its something Mo didnt know anything about. I put our number in all the major phone books and phone book type websites and Mo opened an adwords account with Google. We dont get a lot of calls from phone bookish places, maybe one call a month where they say they found us in the Yellow Pages or
Google is where everyone comes from. Building the perfect Google ad that wont make us bankrupt from advertising has been a struggle though.

At first Google built our ads for free. They set our budget and per click spending so we were in 2nd place in the ads when people searched certain key words. At first we got a lot of calls.

Mos and his father decided #2 wasnt good enough and changed the spending and what the ads actually said. They went from getting 10 calls a day to 2 calls a day and spending WAY more than they were making.
Basically they only thought they knew what they were doing a screwed everything up. I know its mean of me to sound so judgy but I told them to leave it alone the whole time and Im still pissy that they didnt listen to me but continued to ask me "Why arent we getting calls anymore?" and didnt like my answer of "Because you fucked up a working system."

For about a month they shut down the ads and decided to work off word of mouth and build back their lost money by subcontracting before trying again.
I helped Mo find a book on building effective Google ads (because google only helps you for free once for a month so we blew that) and he slowly started building effective ad campaigns on his own. He started with smaller areas to see the outcome and has slowly built up to larger areas. His efforts are showing a lot of positive results. Im very proud of him.

So far today we have received 4 calls and its only 11am. I think we are all going to be very busy today and tonight with New Years Eve.

There is still some tweeking that needs to be done. Sometimes we get calls from a Spring Lake CA because there is also a Spring Lake MN. Our negative keywords just need adjusting to knock out those mistakes. Ive read over that part and will probably walk Mo through it because the double meanings are making him cross-eyed. If we could have found a book in Hebrew the learning process would have gone a lot faster.

On a side note, for some reason we get a call once a week from someone trying to get into a coin operated laundry machine. I really need to start writing down the number because Im pretty sure its the same person who calls. First they didnt like the price we would charge to get into it, then they made an appointment and canceled it, and today they called asking if we could just make a new key (no). If I was a nice person I would suggest they call the manufacturer... but something tells me this washing machine might have been acquired by means where people dont usually worry about keys. We are all a bit curious.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Another year almost gone...

Its almost 2011 and I already have my ideas for new year resolutions. Sadly, this is epic because when the clock hits midnight Im always confronted with the obligatory conversation piece of "Whats your New Years resolution this year?" within 5 minutes and I have to think of something on the spot. It was always "Quit smoking" till I actually did that back in 2009. I cant remember what I said for 2010, Im sure whatever I thought up was half assed and laced with the brilliance of someone who has had 5 cocktails. It might have had something to do with going to a gym....

This year I have two good ideas that Im actually going to try and do.

I want to call my mom more. At least once a week. Mo talks to his mom almost every day and hes making me look bad.

I also want to try and draw SOMETHING every day for the next year. A friend of mine sent me to her friends blog who did that this year and Im jealous now.

Drawing something every day seems to just be a mental block for me. I have ideas but I always find reasons to put them aside.
I didnt have my computer for a while so no photoshop was my first excuse. Well, now I have a comp and while I still wont have photoshop for a while I did download a free program called Gimp, which as far as I can tell is pretty much the same thing (I cant tell what makes it different yet because Ive been putting off projects). I still find reasons to be too busy.

This year should be a good one (fingers crossed).

The end of March Mo and I plan on visiting Israel for a month.
May (I think) I find out if Im allowed to be Jewish or not.
Im sure we will end up moving again this year... not sure if we are just going to find a new apartment or move to a whole new city yet.
Im pretty sure I'll be getting a new job too -_^

Monday, December 20, 2010

Food poisoning and playlists

Ever since we moved to MN Ive been on a cooking kick. I think Im trying to prove to myself that if I really want to I can be a domestic goddess and I dont have anything to distract me from trying to be just that.
At least once a week I make something new.
Wednesday I went all out and made homemade cookies and a spicy fish thing.
Thursday morning I walked into work and started puking my guts out within an hour. I opened alone and no one was interested in coming to help me so I ran between the bathroom and customers for a good 4 hours. That sounds worse than it was. The mall I work in is always dead so really I only had to talk to around 13 people in that 4 hours and I only almost dry heaved on one.
I was a little annoyed when I called the manager and said, "I really hate to do this to you, but I just threw up and I REALLY dont think Im going to make it through the day."
Him: "Oh. Well, *other employee* comes in at 11."
Me: "No, she left a note saying she isnt going to be here till 12:30 or 1."
Him: "Ohh... well, can you stay?"
Me: "I dont have a choice do I? Im leaving when she gets here."
Him: "Uhh, I guess thats ok."

Later Mo picked me up and we took turns running to the bathroom. We narrowed the sickness down to the fish I made...mostly because Mo ate 5 cookies the next day and didnt get sick again.

On a less icky note, even though Mo bought me a new computer back in Nov I have been very reluctant to make it MINE yet. My two babies died within 3 months of each other. The only thing left of them is one external backup hard drive. Ive spent 4 months sharing a computer with Mo and using his preferences because it was HIS computer.
Having a new computer all my own is a new special concept. I havent done anything to it but change my browser to Chrome because I didnt want to ruin the shinny (and I was a little afraid that I forgot how to run a computer on my own and it might explode in my hands).
I just recently decided I needed to update my Ipod. That means I need to update my playlist. THAT means I need to download I might as well give up and customize my computer.

I cant be the only one that thinks customizing a new computer is a little sexual?
Your computer is all new and good and innocent, then you come along and play with it. You dress it up in a new background, teach it new tricks, and when its fabulous you have to worry about it going out and getting a damn disease... the little slut.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snow day!

MN got hit with a pretty damn good storm last night and all of today. I think the official count was 20 inches in most places. I cant tell how much our area got because the wind picked up and made some pretty badass snow drifts.
I was very happy to stay home and play video games because it also happened to be that day of the month where I dont move if I dont have to.

Somewhere around 2pm Mo got restless and decided that he NEEDED to go to the bank. So he put on enough snow gear to suggest he was going to the arctic and headed out. About a half hour later I peeked outside to see if he made it out and saw him shoveling away at the drift that was up to our vans door handles. He called it quits after about an hour.

5 hours later we both put on snow gear and headed outside to grab some "time of the month essentials" tampons, chocolate, and Vodka.
Everything you could ever want is within a block of where we live. Walgreens, Cub Food, Liquor store, small strip mall... if a zombie apocalypse happened we would be set. I would be throwing molotov cocktails while Mo broke into the police station down the road for guns. (Not to ruin anyones badass image but I dont actually like fire and I throw like a girl.)

Running around a deserted suburb at night is a lot of fun when the snow at its lowest point is up to your knees. Running through the streets having a snow ball fight and diving into massive snow drifts is awesome. Oddly enough it seems to piss off anyone in a car. Probably because while we giggled and frolicked through the parking lot with our successful purchase they were stuck doing that desperate rocking back and forth behind the wheel thing that doesnt ever scoot your car forward enough to help you but you try SO hard anyway.

I almost hope we are still snowed in tomorrow. Maybe I will piss off other adults again while showing Mo how to make a snowman.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I guess I do get a little scary.

Most of the time when Mo screams in Hebrew over the phone I tune it out. I cant really understand anything but a few words anyway when hes so angry. I can make out the occasional "Son of a bitch" or "What the fuck do you want me to do?"
Usually I dont get too upset or worried about phone fights. The guys who send us jobs are insane. They tell people we will be there in 10 mins when we are 30 miles away and its snowing outside. They tell people we only charge $15 when the $15 is the emergency fee and really its around $80 total. They have stolen jobs that we have sent them too.
I dont like them.
They accuse us of doing the shaddy shit they do AND one of them personally insulted me by suggesting I cant tell written Hebrew from Chinese (I was not nice about proving how wrong he was and he will forever be gum on my shoe. Anyway..). No matter the fight within 6 hours everyone acts like nothing happened. I've been telling Mo for months that he doesnt need to take their crap and yet he does.

Tonight he may have hit his breaking point....because they attacked his dad. A customer canceled on his father and the guys passing down jobs accused his dad of calling it canceled but doing the job anyway to get 100% of the money. Mos dad said, "Look, Im too old for this shit. I didnt take the job for myself. Think what you want, Im not working with you again." (He doesnt speak English that well so I am adding in verbs and rearranging nouns here.)
Mo put his foot down and said, "My dad and I are the same. If you attack him you attack me! Im done with you!"

I wont lie. While I fully support the idea of ignoring a couple of guys that send us jobs (maybe for reals this time) I was also a little nervous because their jobs do contribute to income.
I was worried. Until Mo blurted out their weakness. A weakness that will not only devastate their lives but also put a small chunk of competition out of our way for a LONG time!
I want to use it! After so many months of them playing the "who has the biggest dick" game it turns out Mo is PACKING!

Mo is a lot nicer than me. While I want to jump for the phone to put us ahead he thinks that karma will put us ahead in the end without "going to war".

It would be pretty damn mean....and they do have kids... but I REALLY dont like them (the adults, not the kids)

I never get to have any fun.

Side note: While thinking over my tendency to want destroy everything in sight when I get upset I noticed there is an itty bitty man on my keyboard trying desperately to run.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Are you Jamaican? Cause Jamaican me think...

While Mo freezes his poor skinny (close to the desert born) butt off breaking into peoples cars and houses, Ive started making a game out of speculating about how people came to call us in the first place.

Most people are easy. Car keys locked in car, in a driveway during a cold day...done while warming up the car. Keys locked in car while in a bar parking lot... bouncer didnt want to deal with them so they called us (sometimes these people really shouldnt be driving but bouncers dont get paid to think, they get paid to get people out). Family locked out of home at 2am...back from seeing Grandma who probably switched her teeth with your house keys (no wonder security gave you a look while screening that bag). Single guy locked out of apartment at 4am... lost them after telling a horrible barrage of lies to a stripper in CA.

Last night a woman called us out to an obviously very expensive duplex around 11pm for a house lockout. When we got there we not only saw the very expensive duplex with the very expensive high security lock, we also got to see the new BMW, the Ipad and laptop in the BMW, the very nice high class dinner look (on a Wed night), and were asked to change the door lock to a new very expensive lock waiting inside the house right after we broke through the old lock. Oh, AND she insisted there wasnt another door we could try even though there was a back door and a garage door with a key code pad on the outside.

So while Mo froze his butt off trying to crack the lock my mind buzzed with scenarios that could possibly put our Jamaican damsel in distress out in the cold in a ridiculously short dress and high heals without her garage or front door passcode hidden somewhere in that surplus of electronics she had with her.

The house had to belong to someone else. Why? Well, because any self sustaining woman would have a record of all codes somewhere, be it Ipad or personal secretary that at one time was a real feeling human to someone.

After an hour Mo got back into the car and started calling another guy to come out and help with the lock. While we waited I asked him for his opinion. He looked at the house and said "powers been turned off."
I said, "AH ha! [Input theatrical gesture] A good theory BUT there is one light that is obviously burnt out by the garage because on the other side its the matching light is ON. AND there is a law that power companies cant shut off your heat. You've seen the BMW and what shes wearing when its this freaking cold outside!" (At this point Mo gets into it and offers up his observations about the Ipad an Laptop in the car with her) "I think shes in the beginning of what will probably be a very sticky divorce. She got home after seeing someone only to find all the codes have changed so she cant get in the front door or the garage. She only has the locks because she was going to try and change them first and she wont let you touch the back door because that would just add fuel to the fire in the divorce later."

Mo blinked at me for a second then said, "Really?!"

I said, "I dont know, Im not psychic. Im just bored and read too many mystery novels."

After that he called back the guy who was going to help him. A lot of yelling in Hebrew went back a forth and apparently after Mo telling another guy my story the other guy yelled "Didnt you check her ID to make sure the address matched?!" Cause she could be a scorned lover (good thinking Guy-who-works-with-Mo-who-I-havent-made-a-name-for-yet).

In the end they broke in through the back door ignoring the womans request for them not to. They replaced the (probably only 24 hour) old lock on the front door to the one she had waiting inside and took her money. I never did get any more details...

I had fallen asleep in the car waiting (it was 2am by the time they were done), I was groggy, and all Mo wanted to talk about was how freaking cold he was.

Follow up: The next day Mo did have a cold and he took full advantage of me babying him. I also made an awesome home made chili (I will give that recipe out). I'll get him back in a couple of days when my period starts.