I have loved fishing all my life. In the past several years, I began "fly fishing" with the support of guys around here . . . Thomas Milyo, Jim Peterson and Kevin Mitchell.
A couple of years ago, I started making homemade fly fishing lanyards. Go here to see pictures of what I am talking about. Recently, some of the laynards I have given away; well, people who got them told me they were not half bad. Someone suggested I try to sell some.
So I said to myself, "Self . . . maybe we could sell some!" So, with counsel from Jim Peterson, Sean Simon, my wife and oldest daughter, all good business people . . . I started my little company. One employee, yours truly . . . and one little 2 x 4 foot table in my study at home.
My goal . . . is not to make a million dollars. Although that would be nice, I guess.
My goal . . . is to see if my hobby can help me make enough money to purchase a Cobra Fish-n-Dive kayak.
I want a boat. I've even preached about it. However, I I do not want the hassle of owning a boat. Just too darn expensive.
When I go fishing, it is usually only for a few hours at a time. A kayak is inexpensive, relatively safe (I ain't going anywhere near white water!!! My mom did not raise a fool!!!) and very easy to store and transport. It doesn't need a motor, so no state registration fees or licenses.
And, I think they are cool!
So, I initially shared my dream with Sean Simon, a member of our church and a good friend. He encouraged me to establish a business plan . . . to help keep my efforts focused and on track. So, with his advice, I set up a simple, basic plan.
First, I would order and purchase enough parts to make 200 lanyards. The first 100 lanyards, I would end up giving away or donating. That would leave 100 lanyards which I would need to sell in a year. That would leave me, hopefully, with enough profit at the end of the year to purchase the kayak.
Second, since I am not web site savvy, and the money I had needed to go for parts and supplies, I would market my "products" through personal contacts with:
-Fisherman, especially in Texas, who had fly fishing blogs on the WWW.
-Clergy of all faiths and denominations who liked to fish, and
-Local "Mom and Pop" fly fishing shops in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
Third, I would send samples of my lanyards to area Fly Fishing clubs, donating them as door prizes for their meetings.
In the process of seeing who in Texas has a blog about fishing, I met Luciano Chavez, whose "Tales from a Texas Fly Fisher Blog" I discovered about a month ago. I sent Luciano and his son a couple of lanyards, and he sent me a couple dozen great flies that work well in Texas waters . . . which he tied himself.
Well, in truth, they are not really fishing flies . . . to me they are works of art!
Through Luciano, I discovered Rabbi Eric Eisenkammer, the Fly Fishing Rabbi. I sent Eric a lanyard, and he sent me one of his official Fly Fishing Rabbi buttons.
A rabbi who fly fishes? Who would have thought? A Methodist preacher who likes to play with beads? Who would have thought?
Today, I mailed a lanyard to a Baptist pastor in Lousiana, who was my first "official" paying customer. (Ha cha! Money in the bank!) He is sending info about my lanyards to pastoral friends of his who minister at a Baptist church in Abilene.
And, Luciano is taking some of my donated lanyards to a fly fishing club meeting in Austin in September.
Amazing, simply amazing!
I set out to raise funds to purchase a kayak. But, in a moment or two of pure serendipity, I am discovering like minded individuals who hold fishing as serious a spiritual activity as I do. And, I am discovering how important "likemindedness" / shared interests are when networking.
All, because I like to play with beads . . . and because I thought it would be nice to have kayak.
Thank you Sean, for encouraging me to make a business plan.
God works in mysterious ways . . . leading me down mysterious paths . . . and through mysterious doors. I am glad when the Spirit leads me this way . . . and when I am faithful enough to trust the Spirit to say, "Here I go!"
What happens as a result is always a trip I am glad I started.
Every forward . . . ><>