But I have 3500 likes…
Tell me if you have felt this way.
You have visions of wealth keeping you up at night. You are going to be able to quit your day job. You will be able to put your kids in private school. You are going to leave a legacy for your descendants. Your spouse will love you forever. You are going to live the American Dream. You are going to take your knowledge of firearms and make it profitable. You have a niche. You have a goal. You are ready.
You decide to go into business and this is what happens. It cost money to incorporate. It takes time to file your taxes and stay current with the local government. You design a business card. You spend way too much time designing it. It’s beautiful. Nobody cares. You know you need a website, so you hire someone to do it for you. It is beautiful but you don’t know HTML or how to update it so it gets stale. You then have a falling out with your webmaster and realize you don’t own the domain name. They do. Or you create a website using a free service, upload all your photos and content on right before the free service goes out of business or decides they want to go in another direction. Probably to publish only porn sites. You get sucked into the world of WordPress. And yes, there is a dot org and a dot com side. You know how to put together a WW II German Luger in the dark but this website stuff is a monster. And what the heck is search engine optimization?
And then there is the Facebook. It’s free. Everybody and Aunt Loddy is on there. What could be the problem? You ask everybody you know and more that you don’t to ‘LIKE” your page. You now have 3500 LIKES. Now what? You post incessantly. You have a community of people that hungrily wait for your next post. Every now and then (monthly) FB changes its policies and limits or excludes what you can post. They don’t like gun stuff. It’s ok. You are here to help. You are going to make a difference. Someone will see that and give you a break. You need to own your own site.
You heard that podcasting is the next best thing to KY Jelly. You’ve already tried, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat, and Twitter. I’ll invest in a microphone, software, a hosting site, and give up the time to produce free content in hopes that it is downloaded. I heard that the Black Man With A Gun Show podcast gets 15K ( +/- ) downloads a month. I can do better than that guy.
You have heard that you need to write a book. It will establish yourself as an authority. As an author. At least it used to mean something. I think that was before people stopped reading and book store chains closed down. But there’s always ebooks. Why doesn’t anyone want to read my ebook. You think, you must make it cheaper. That will do it. You will devalue your work so someone will buy it. You give it to prestigious people in hopes that they will help you promote it but when you asked them later if they have read it, they tell you no. They like you though.
Then there is the media. There is old and new media now. You tell your story on shows that should move the needle but it only helps the host, not you. You get the “experience.” And a few more people know about you but is their audience your audience? You chase the influencers. We align ourselves with media whores in hopes that someone will see you. You become an attention gangster too.
“look at me, look at me, can I get on your show?
You allow yourself to be used. You get on a radio show, where the host introduces you and talks over you for the rest of the show. You only get to agree with him. Who were you again? You do get to put the interview on your website though. At least you have social proof that you are hustling.
You fly to conferences where you are allowed to speak on a “panel” or on the last day while most of the attendees are gone. You speak for free because it’s a great opportunity. You accept more speaking engagements in the hopes that someone will connect with us. And you do all of this until you are broke, frustrated and become angry. You holler foul, racism, elitism, no fair!
A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
You go back to your roots and try to reserve spaces at local ranges and find out that you are charged more for the same space than the friends of the owners.
You have a message. You are trying to make a difference. Why won’t anyone help you? You wonder if you went to the Crossroads and sold your soul to anti-rights billionaire Bloomberg, would he fund you?
The firearms industry makes billions a year. Through sweat equity you have built a reputation as a good whatever in this community. You have traveled to the SHOT Show, the NRA Annual Meeting, The Gun Rights Policy Conference and all the new ones you heard about and thought you should attend. You don’t get invited to networking conferences, or product reveals. No gun company calls you. They don’t take or return your calls. The National Sport Shooting Foundation is out there, (crickets). You read weekly about those that are showing off the latest firearm or accessory because they were a part of the last industry get together. Your invite must have gotten lost in mail.
You were on Cam & Co, NRA News, the Colion Noir power hour, Armed American Radio, and the local weather channel. What does it take? Is this mic working? What is wrong with my cologne? Maybe you should show some cleavage?
Sex sells, but only if you are selling sex.
Someone you respect, or don’t know slams you for your business, your vision or your hairline. Was it because you weren’t an operator, military veteran or law enforcement officer? Or because you were? Was it discrimination because you are young, or don’t like country music, NASCAR and conservative politics? It’s not a race thing is it?
And then there are the haters. They come in all colors and from every direction. Your skin gets tougher by default. If it doesn’t the fiery darts hurt like hell. In the community you are trying to reach, they call you a sellout. Some say you are not black enough, or too radical for them. Or maybe you are not “street enough” because being a spectacle sells. You struggle internally with what you are hearing.
You’ve sold some shirts. You have a book. Your site is tight. You have social media links. What more can you do to make this thing happen? You get a new domain. Your credit card bill is high because airline travel sucks like a Hoover vacuum cleaner. Nobody has bought your medium T-shirts so you use them to dry the dog. The phone is ringing but its someone trying to sell you a timeshare.
Back home, the family is waiting for you to succeed. They see your hustle. They have bought the luxury car, and are ready to live the lifestyles of the rich and famous. No pressure on you, though. What could be wrong you have 3500 LIKES.
All I ask the Lord is for the chance to prove that money cannot make me happy.
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