With all the scams we face each day online, it is only natural to want to know something about the person or company with whom you’re thinking about doing business. So this is a get acquainted session to tell you about me. I know it’s not as good as meeting face to face over a cup of coffee, but this is probably the best way to do it right now. Perhaps a little later we’ll get to meet in person at one of the marketer’s events around the country or around the world.
So, who is Bernard Moye? I’m a 62 year old man who has spent his life in the desert. I have lived in El Paso, Texas since birth. Sure, I have looked elsewhere during my travels for work and/or pleasure, but just have never found a place that suits me as well.
I’ve had three careers so far in my life. I was a musician when I was young…a reeds guy. I played bass clarinet in concert band and orchestra, tenor or baritone saxophone in marching band, tenor sax and doubled on clarinet and flute in jazz ensembles. I love music and can’t imagine my life without it. BUT… (always has to be one, huh?) it wasn’t where I was going to make a living. I majored in music education at the University of Texas at El Paso, but as time went on I knew I wasn’t cut out for teaching. When I’m fully dedicated to something, I want to work with folks who have that same level of dedication. If those around me didn’t focus on being the best they could, my temper could easily kick in. And while I’m a pretty mellow guy now, in my 20s my temper could be pretty violent…which is not a good trait to have when dealing with high school students. Music composition wasn’t my forte. And although I liked to travel, I really didn’t want to live out of a suitcase which meant playing professionally probably wasn’t going to be a good fit either. I knew that there were very few symphony jobs in the U.S. So the odds of finding a full time gig in one place weren’t good. So that would mean travelling from job to job, living in motels (or the back seat of my car!) and that really wasn’t what I wanted for my life.
As painful as it was, I decided to forgo the music degree and focus on something else. I changed my major to business with a computer option. Sounds like a rather odd degree doesn’t it. Well, at that time (early 1970’s) the PC had not been invented yet so schools had not developed a ‘computer science’ degree yet. Now I have to tell you, I love working with computers! But in 1972-73…working with computers was about the most frustrating thing on Earth! The process was: write your program on paper with flow charts, etc. Go to the data entry center and type in the coding to prepare a stack of punch cards. Take the punch cards to another building and turn them over to a clerk who would feed them into a card reader. Then? WAIT…and WAIT…and WAIT!!! Since everything was on a mainframe and all programs were on a timeshare basis, the programs that students were tyring to run were given the lowest priority and thus were the last to be run. AND…if you had a coding error, you didn’t find out until it was your turn in the timeshare. So the system would kick it out, give you a printout of what had happened and you had the pleasure of repeating the whole process. I don’t think I’m ADD, but I have to tell you that I want a little more gratification on a faster basis than working with a timeshare mainframe computer. So…I left school.
I started working for an electrical manufacturer in 1974 and felt like I was in heaven! I took to electrical work like a duck to water. I spent 19 years working in that facility and did everything from sweeping floors to Chief Engineer in the Power Group. It was a period of my life that was truly enriching and happy. I looked forward to going to work every day because each project was unique and I never had a chance to be bored. I learned a tremendous amount during that time and the skills I developed still help me today. It was really sad to have to leave that behind and it wasn’t by choice. As the industry changed, much of our standard product line became obsolete. The 80 foot long control panels that we manufactured were replaced by a rack mount computer system, a keyboard and a handful of monitors. The new technology was faster, more accurate and made it possible to make minute adjustments in the processes that were being both controlled and monitored so much easier, that it also made the whole process more profitable for the end user. Our business shrank from almost 300 employees in our El Paso facility down to just 12, all engineers, quality control, purchasing and materials handling. All of our manufacturing was being done in our plant in Juarez, Mexico. Not what we wanted to do, but it was necessary to survive. And every year we had to change insurance carriers in order to be able to offer a reasonable health insurance policy to our employees. That’s what ended my position. I was working as a project engineer during the day and was doing bookkeeping for a friend at night to make ends meet. My wife was going to nursing school full time and I provided all the income to keep the family afloat. My company asked me to pick up dependent healthcare and there was just no way I could afford it at the time. What they didn’t tell me was that they needed one more to take it in order to be able to offer it to the employees, or…1 less person on the payroll. (Might have made me reconsider whether I could find an extra $200 a month to pay for it had they shared that little tidbit with me! LOL) Anyway, the next day I was laid off.
I was devastated. I had lost the job that I loved, had no source of income, had a family depending on my providing the needed dollars for housing, food and all the other necessities that go with owning a house, having a wife and a couple of kids. And there was nothing like what I had been doing anywhere in our vacinity. The nearest place where I could do the same type of work was in Houston…a mere 791 miles down the road! As I left my office with all my personal effects and started down the street, I prayed that God would lead me where I needed to be because I was at a total loss as to where to go.
That night, while doing my bookkeeping work, I told my friend and former workmate, Chris, what had happened and he approached me with an idea for a business venture. He had to tell me all about it again the next night because I was somewhat…umm…inebriated!
Chris wanted me to consider opening a vinyl sign shop. He owned an electric and neon sign business but had to outsource all of his graphics to other companies. And chasing down the product was killing him because of the time it took out of his day to drive to the other shops to pick up the graphics to take back to his shop for installation. He wanted the capability in house, but didn’t want it under his letterhead as additional employees add to the cost of workers comp which is VERY expensive in the sign business. Chris paid me a 1 week contract wage to research the computer equipment, vinyl cutters, software and consumables to produce the product. He handed me the invoices he had paid for every graphics purchase he had made in the last year so I could see where the market prices were for the products I would be manufacturing. After researching everything, he and I sat down and discussed the potential. His company had just completed a big project rebranding a very large regional grocer so he was sitting on a bunch of cash. We agreed that he would front me the money to purchase the necessary equipment for startup and would have me on a contract wage for up to a year to get my feet on the ground. I would sign a 5 year note for repayment of the capital that he provided for the initial outlay. And while I was on a contract basis with him, I would prepare quotes and dummy invoices to keep track of the jobs, giving us both a solid feel for how things would be when I was on my own.
I worked on the contract basis for 4 months and then told him I needed to see if I could make it fly on my own. That was 21 years ago. I had him paid back in 29 months and the rest is history. Sun-Sational Graphics has been moderately successful. I have kept the company pretty much debt free for its entire history. But the economic downturn over the last few years has really made it tough to make ends meet. Which is why I have started working on the internet as an additional source of income and also with the idea of someday soon being able to sell my sign business and semi-retire. I’m in pretty good health overall, but I can certainly feel the effects of my age. Spending many hours on ladders or on my hand and knees doing a graphic installation on a gymnasium floor causes lasting pain…sometimes for 2 or 3 days beyond the completion. As much as I would like to truly retire, it’s not in the scheme of things. Self-employed individuals have an inside joke saying that: ‘Our retirement plan is simple. Work yourself to death and with any luck there will be enough money in the bank to pay for the funeral.’ There’s probably a bit more truth than humor in that, so I will have to continue working in one form or another until the day that God calls me home. I’m really ok with that because I enjoy working as long as it is doing something worthwhile and doesn’t let me get bored.
So here I am, pushing 63, and embarking on my next career. Seems like every 20 years or so I have to try something new…and as noted above, COMPLETELY different from my prior work history.
Why internet marketing, you may ask? The idea of being able to own and operate a business while traveling to anywhere on Earth is very intriguing. I have actually done some ‘telecommuting’ over the last few years. My sign business doesn’t do a lot with walk-in traffic. Most of it comes from a customer asking me to survey their location and then quote the signage. If I don’t have any vinyl to be cut, I can work from home. I set up my laptop, open my graphics programs and start working…wherever I am. I can do my drawings and renderings, put together the quote and export the whole works as a pdf and send it to my customer for approval. I can do my bookkeeping for both mine and Chris’s companies the same way. It allows me to work in the comfort of my home and saves a lot of gasoline. But in the end, I have to go into the office to prepare the vinyl film for installation, fabricate banners and magnetic signs, cut plastics, etc.
True internet marketing doesn’t require that office or the commute or any of the ‘inconveniences’ of a regular brick and mortar business. If it is an intellectual product such as ebooks or software that I’m selling, once the sales process is complete the product is delivered by email. If the product is really big, it can be sent via DropBox or a similar service or can be on a private download page hosted on my domain servers. If it’s a physical product that is being sold, the product can be drop-shipped to my customer from a warehousing facility or even directly from the manufacturer. I never have to put my hands on the product. This allows me the freedom to run my business from anywhere without the constraints of having to be at a particular place at a particular time. It also gives me a worldwide reach to be able to help as many folks as possible, and helping others is really the point of having a business anyway in my opinion. In whatever field of endeavor each of us works in, the reason for a business is to help a customer achieve their goals. Sometimes we each need to step back and realize the truth in that statement. If a person (customer) doesn’t have a problem, he or she doesn’t need to purchase something to solve that problem. If you don’t have a plugged drain, do you need a plumber? If you are in perfect health, do you need a doctor? If your computer does everything you need and does it fast, do you need to buy the latest software, or virus protection or… You get my point. All of us search out the items that solve whatever problems or needs we have. Those of us in business are there for the purpose of providing solutions to those problems.
So there you have it…the last 50 years of my life in how ever many words that happened to be. I left out all the details about my family, friends, church, and all the myriad other jobs that I worked, all of which impacted my life but were best left out of this short biography. In the end, I really love working with people and doing what I can to help them. My venture into online marketing will allow me to continue to do so for the duration of my time on this planet. Perhaps our connection online will lead to a great business relationship. Perhaps it can lead to a long lasting friendship as well. As we correspond on the business aspect, I will give updates as to where I might be in the next weeks or months. If I’m going to be in your vacinity, let me know. I’d love to meet as many of you as possible on a face to face basis.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I’m always open to conversation, so if you have specific things you want to discuss, please shoot me an email to the contact address you’ll find in each of my updates. And if you have a certain product need that you can’t seem to locate, let me know. I’ll do my best to help you get what you’re after.
Have a great day!