May 1, 2020 – Week 7 in quarantine rolls to an end.

Updates and Topics of Discussion: Payment Protection Program Loan, Unemployment, Economic Hardship, Passive Income, Affiliate Marketing, Merchandise, Real Estate, 655-HOME, New Podcast, Writing A Book, Being Your Own Boss.

I received an email Wednesday night from the company handling the PPP loans and it said my application was approved. I then had to fill out yet another form with all my information and submit that. It did not say if or when I was going to receive the funds. As usual, it was very unclear. This whole situation is incredibly frustrating. As a small business owner, this whole system is supposed to be set up to be helping us and it sure is causing a lot of stress and anxiety. Everything is vague and it seems each day I find different information out on my own, none of which they really provide to me. Fear of the unknown prevails!

Which brings me to my next point. I am sick of waiting for UI and PUA to get back to me! They have said they will contact me, but they have not. They claim I will be paid, but I have not. I dig up all the information and do all the research, and every time I go on their website it is different. Earlier this week I sent yet another email to them and haven’t heard anything back. So, this morning I called the hotline that I have previously called hundreds of times in the past with no luck. This time their automated message was different. There wasn’t any options to speak to anyone it just informs you that if you have an open claim they will contact you and if not to open one on their website. ARRRRGH!!! That is the problem!!! They are NOT contacting me! It has been over a month now since I first signed up for unemployment with the promise that they would “get back to me” repeatedly.

I decided to go on their website and managed to find the place where I could claim my weekly benefits. I had found this tab before and already claimed 5 weeks with no response from them. Once again, I claimed another week. After doing so I saw a tab for direct deposit which was the first time I had happened to notice this tab, or maybe it was the first time it was an available option for me. Who knows? I filled out the information for direct deposit. Again, a message stating they will contact me.

Deep breath.

So far, this whole thing has been a big pile of empty promises. I am really hoping that something pulls through here, and soon. I continue to pay all the business and personal bills as they come in. The bank accounts are dwindling and my credit card debt is increasing. The balance is way off and I am starting to get seriously concerned about how much longer I can hold out. If any of these programs pay out, it will certainly help to ease my mind. 7 weeks without working is hard for anyone, and doubly hard when you have business expenses on top of personal expenses and there is no end in sight. I know I am not alone with this. There are millions of small business owners in the same situation as me right now. That means there are millions of small business owners who also are fearful and wondering if their business will survive this. Since we have no control over the virus and the effect it will have on the economy in the future, it is no wonder that people are scared. I am certainly scared. But I also have faith that we will pull through this and be stronger in the future.

Due to this great economic insecurity, I have started taking some actions to change the things I can. In the last few weeks, I have started working on some passive income streams and some other ideas for working from home. The thing with passive income streams is they usually don’t start generating income for quite a while. And the other ideas are really helping me tap into my creative side. Here is what I’m looking into so far.

Affiliate marketing: I have been doing the YouTube thing for just over 6 months now. I recently started looking into affiliate marketing, which is basically signing up to be a middleman of sorts between a buyer and seller of goods. For example, I applied for affiliate programs with Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Ace Hardware. If accepted, you are given special links to their websites and you can promote items that they sell. If I did a review for a certain tool, I could put a link to the tool to one of those websites. If someone purchases it or something else on their site within a small timeframe, you receive a very small commission. Kind of like a thank you for promoting them and sending them business. These links could also be used through my website or anywhere else I can advertise for them. However, I do not have a big enough following yet to qualify for these programs and was denied upon my initial requests. I will try again in a few months.

Merchandise: I opened an account with to sell some merch. So far I have t-shirts, sweatshirts and mugs but would like to offer more stuff. In the past I’ve had many people ask for one of my shirts, so now you can buy one! On the launch day I had a few sales! Thanks to anyone who purchased. The link for that is if you want to check it out. You can also find it through my website . I am really hoping that I can find an artist to design a cool shirt that is carpentry related. If this sounds like something you would like to help with, please let me know!

Real Estate: Over a year ago I started looking into getting my real estate license. This is something that I have dreamed about for years but never followed through with. Last year I met with a few people from HUNT Real Estate to get some information and talk about it with them. They seemed really interested to have someone with construction knowledge and connections in the area joining the team. Before the coronavirus hit, I had started taking online courses to get my license with the hope to start this summer. Unfortunately, I haven’t given it as much time as I would like to admit, as the material is kind of boring. It is all about laws, and nothing about houses. But I’m learning that is just a part of real estate and exactly why realtors have licenses. There is a lot of information to learn! But I’ll keep plugging away at it so stay tuned and I’ll let you know if and when I get my license.

Blog: If you’re reading this, THIS IS MY BLOG! My goal with this was to put myself out there, not only for Borsellino Carpentry, but to start networking with people and let people know what’s going on with me. I am a carpenter, but I am more than just a carpenter. I want to provide a much higher level of service to the community and the world than just swinging a hammer. I have so many ideas bouncing around and trying to figure out which ones to pursue. The process of writing and putting my thoughts on paper has really helped me to get a clearer vision of what I want to do in the future, as I’ll explain a little more below.

655-HOME: I haven’t figured this one out yet so maybe someone reading this can help me brainstorm. I’ve had this phone number for my business for years and I think it could be a great way for people to make one phone call and get connected with all the service people in the Cazenovia area and a little beyond. I don’t know how to go about doing this in a way that could be profitable. I would love to connect people with tradesmen and do it in a way that could be a side business. Right now, when people call, I give recommendations whenever I can, but I think there is a larger need that could be fulfilled. I often direct them to call Caz Lumber for recommendations. The Chamber of Commerce also kind of does this but there’s only so many members in the trades who are members with the Chamber so it is kind of a small list. Then there is Caz Mom’s on Facebook or anywhere on the internet which you can go into and basically ask for anything and have an answer in minutes. However, wouldn’t it be nice to have one place to call or email with a database of the local contractors, who can already have references and photos and know things about them? But then to take it a step further, can handle connecting you with them. Almost like a general contractor only I’m not doing the job, I would be providing a different kind of service. I know a lot of people tell me they have a hard time connecting with contractors and people often complain about not getting callbacks or no shows or unreliable people. This service could help people get past those roadblocks. It’s an idea I’ve been trying to figure out how to do for years and I haven’t been able to come up with a solid plan on my own, so putting it out there to the universe for some help. This ties into my next idea.

Consultation: I’ll be real. I turn down a lot of work. I wish I didn’t have to turn it all down. There are a lot of people who are handy, but they just don’t have the confidence to do the work. And I have a lot of clients who are willing to get on my 2 year waiting list because they only trust me to do the work. What if I could provide a consultation service for your DIY projects. Let’s say you were doing a bathroom remodel for example. You know you can do the work, you just don’t know the right way to do it. What if you could hire a professional (that’s me) to come in and guide you? Tell you what to do, what not to do, what materials you need, etc. I don’t know if there’s a real market for this, but there might be, and unless I start marketing for it, nobody would know I am interested in that. You could save thousands of dollars by hiring me as a consultant and doing the work yourself. If this is something that interests you, please contact me.

Podcast: Tricia (my girlfriend) and I have started recording a podcast! I don’t want to give too much away yet but it’s something we both have an interest in and think we have a lot to share with the world. While this isn’t exactly a money-making venture; it’s more of a hobby that could lead to more in the future. For now though, it is fun and we are really enjoying collaborating.

Writing a book: This is another avenue that I don’t even know where to start but it is becoming increasingly more attractive to me. These blog posts have helped me find a voice that has been buried forever. Not that I’m going to write a book about my business, but maybe I am! Who knows?! I’ve gotten some feedback from people saying that they enjoy my writings and that I am well spoken and have a way with words. I speak from the heart. Those things combined could lead to in interesting book. Now I just need to figure out what to write about and start typing!

Obviously, this quarantine thing must be getting to me! HAHA! I’ve had lots of time to brainstorm other things I want to do with my life besides “swinging a hammer”. For many years I’ve felt like a prisoner to my business. Many people think that owning a small business is easy. There are definitely some perks like making my own hours and being your own boss. While in the literal sense this is true, I still have to report to my clients. In the end, they are the boss. Without them I don’t have a job. If I don’t perform well at my job, I can still get fired just like anyone else. I am fortunate to have AMAZING customers though. It feels more like we are on a team than I am working for them. Truly a lot of them have become second family. If you’re someone I have worked for in the past I want to personally thank you for helping me get to where I am today. I couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you. Thank You!

But if I was to say I am my own boss, I think I am really a bad boss to myself. I have high expectations and put a lot of pressure on myself. I’ve always strived for perfection and am very hard on myself when I fall short. I’ve had employees over the years tell me that was a bad quality, that my standards were TOO HIGH. I can see how that can end up being a problem, but it is a double edged sword because it has also given me the reputation of providing excellent service over the years. I take pride in my work, and it shows. That is why I have that 2 year waiting list I mentioned earlier.

If I was you right now, I would be thinking, “If he has a 2 year waiting list and is turning down lots of work, then why is he putting all this energy into these other avenues?” It’s simple! I have much more to give than just swinging a hammer (I know I use that phrase a lot). I have a lot of knowledge that I can give to people. I think I have much more to contribute to this world. It is not that I want to give up construction. In fact, I don’t want to give it up. But I would certainly like to focus my time on the jobs that I really enjoy doing and help people find quality workers to do the rest of the jobs. If you’ve ever had me on a job, you know that I have a small network of guys that I work with regularly. I would like for that network to be larger and more deliberate, to provide the best possible service for all of your home needs, all in one place.

These are some of my dreams and goals and what’s happenings behind the scenes. If you hung out this long, thanks for reading. If you enjoy reading my blogs, consider subscribing at the bottom of this page. Feel free to share this with your friends. And PLEASE let me know what you think about my crazy ideas. I don’t know if you can leave comments here, but if not click on my contact page and connect with me through there.

Stay positive,