Recently I signed up for their Business Academy Dream program. This intense program is offered to San Diego and Imperial, California small businesses created after July of 2019 or are in the midst of being created. Entrepreneurs that apply need to be serious about their business or they’ll want to drop out. The program requires on going 1 on 1 mentorship, attending classes, group participation, etc. It’s a lot but not only can the Academy help you succeed but completing the requirements can lead to your small businesses being awarded up to 10k usd for brick and mortar businesses. It is a demanding involved program for serious beginner entrepreneurs, unlike the other non committal zoom classes they offer.
I’ve only been to 1 Academy class so far but I believe any business will obtain only positive results. The sleep we’ll be losing to attend and participate will be well worth it, I’m sure.
Most of the businesses in the small class I’m part of seem to be already successful and already all knowing. It is a bit intimidating. But I’m still glad that I’m in a small class even if everyone seems a little more advanced. There is a lot that we can’t share as part of the program and also because what we divulge about our business, hopes, dreams, and uhhhhh I don’t know moments, well it can be embarrassing.
For me, it has been difficult for me to explain what kind of business is Surrounded By Penguins. I’d dreaded the question “Oh, what kind of business do you own?”
I did not know how to say, in short, what is SBP. It’s not just a business that uses print on demand to make products that feature penguins on them. We do so much more.
It frustrates me to feel that I cannot convey what SBP means to me. It’s like knowing I need to go to Snow Hill to become a parent and create life, wanting to tell someone about the whole process but all I can do is squawk and they don’t speak penguin. I tripped on my own beak.
I know that SBP will be successful. I feel it in all my feathers. We will see at least all of the penguin species. I can see myself there, I’m just not sure how and the how is what I need to make happen. But I and the birds need people to see how similar they are to us humans. I feel a sense of urgency. We all need to reconnect so I need people to see what my wife and I see so they can connect to them the way we do. My wife and I really have a knack to see so much that so few, if any get to see. I always thought it a shame that I could not share with others what I saw. I wasn’t always into birds, it was my wife that really opened my eyes and ears to these magnificent creatures that flew about me my whole life. It was through my wife and the birds that I saw what I’ve seen all my life in a more meaningful way. A whole different world within my world was right there and I never saw or heard it. After I did hear and see, everything about how I saw my world changed. My wife and I need to see and photograph all the birds we can to share what we see with everyone that will look. Just think about how you feel when you see pictures of wildlife. When you are engaged in a wildlife documentary. Everything seems… In elementary terms, amazing and awesome!
I need to find people and resources that will help us get to the birds and help us create the feeling I get when I connect to the birds. I’m digressing here but I realized that I need help. I need people to help me go through the raw images, edit photos and create designs. We need people that can help us do the stuff we haven’t learned how to fo yet or do too slowly by ourselves. Are there people out there that would want to help us but also gain in their own personal lives by helping us? I should ask who not if…. Who would benefit from helping us in such an intimate way?
I was happy to hear that many of the businesses in the Business Academy were created with the environment in mind. It may be awkward but I do feel that I am in my element amongst my peers. Even if it’s still a little awkward for me. In a few hours, it’ll be time for the second class… What will I have to divulge and learn today?
Every class I’ve taken has been free! This Academy is free too! Check them out!
I believe it’s purposefully hard to tell the gender of penguins. They’ve evolved so much that being able to distinguish between their sex is nearly impossible, even under careful observation. Penguins have been around much much longer than humans and seem to be all knowing so gender inequality isn’t a thing for them at all. But until we evolve to be as smart and all the things that penguins are, we acknowledge that within the human species many women are not treated equally. Today, I was motivated to make products in honor of Women’s Day and Surrounded By Penguins Anniversary. Although I, Executive Penguin, much like penguins, look more androgynous than a definite male or female, I know that not long ago I would not be allowed to have a business because my chromosomes and some of my body parts say I’m female. I’m not wanting to take advantage or make light of today being Women’s Day, but I do want to acknowledge the person in me that is an energetic woman that needed to make products and show ownership of a business, because we can… and sadly others cannot.
An essential scoop shirt with the danger style sign reminder that it’s okay to be a little blue. You don’t have to smile if you don’t want to.
Tank tops and a mouse pad with gamer stuff around it because our customer of the year @kattgoddes is an awesome gamer and inspiration. She’s an Engineer, bought an Alfa Romeo, and appreciated me bringing to light the word “folx” as a word to include all despite their pronouns or lack of pronoun identification.
Boxer briefs, because that’s what I’m comfortable wearing.
And a backpack because sometimes a purse, murse, side bag, clutch, butch bag, e.t.c. doesn’t have enough space to carry everything movers and shakers need to change the world.
As some of you know, I, the Executive Penguin am not very knowable when it comes to the online business stuff. I waddle around at a penguins pace, slipping and falling often while navigating what it takes to run a business online. But I’m learning and getting good at so much. The nice thing is that usually the processes and fixes can be so arduous that I only need to go over it once to get it. A lot while dealing with products is redundant too which is very helpful.
After taking some free business classes offered online San Diego SBDC, I learned how to get Google to show Surrounded By Penguins as a business in Google searches for “Surrounded By Penguins”. This is huge for us! I already put up 106 pictures and although I have yet to figure out how to fix the errors associated with attempting to put products on Google, it is soooo awesome that people can see us as a business, see pictures of products, and Google allows in one click to get to this website.
For you business owners out there, I think registering for your local or international SBDC (Small Business Development Center) through The International Rescue Committee is a must. They offer sooo much help for free! I have only done some of the Zoom class, but they have so much to offer. Here’s a little information about them.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) Small Business Development Center (SBDC) helps local small businesses prosper by delivering no-cost business assistance to small business owners and entrepreneurs through in-language technical assistance, training, and access to microloans to support entrepreneurs to start or expand their business.
The San Diego & Imperial SBDC Network is an accredited member of the Association of Small Business Development Centers Funded in part through a Grant with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development
Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business.
In addition, I’ve also learned how to put up individual products that lead to external sites connected to fulfillment businesses such as Redbubble and TeeSpring. That means, we get to feature more products!
Surrounded By Penguins now offers hundreds of different products but I do have some favorites I’m excited to see for myself.
We now offer dresses with the Galapagos Penguin graphic! Now I usually stray away from white, but I am really tempted to make an outfit for myself from the Galapagos Penguin White A Line Dress and the Galapagos Pengin shoes…. What do you all think? Too much matchy matchy? Too many penguins in one outfit? Should I get the Galapagos Penguin on the front or back of the dress?! Ahhh too many choices!
Can you believe it?! We designed shoes! Never thought that would happen!
New Product Release! The Executive Penguin has been hard at work making sooo many products with the Galapagos Penguin graphic! Everything from backpacks to shoes to bath towels and kids shirts! What do you think?!
I’m most impressed by the shoes. Shooooes! There so cute even though they’re all white! I think I might need me a pair or two.
We have all the Little Blue Penguin sign art up on Redbubble with most of Redbubble’s products!
Come check it out!
*Warning! We have not ordered samples on any Redbubble products yet, but they do offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee! SBP is offering shirts on Redbubble as well which are cheaper on Redbubble! Again we cannot account for the quality, but we do like that they can offer them cheaper.
Here at Surrounded By Penguins we encourage people to take the opportunity to be part of the product creation process. We want to make products that you will love and cherish. So when aq31.12 on Instagram took the time to message us to suggest that we place the new Galapagos penguin design on a shirt that was a different style, how could we not oblige?
Now we wanted to place the design exactly where the original is placed. As of last night, this cannot be done unless we place it on a shirt that allows for wrap around printing. This drove up the cost of the shirt by over $20usd and put the shirt in the new materials category instead of using recycled materials. So we reached out the aq13.12 again and asked for input about the shirt you see featured here. To quote aq13.12 that hearted the image… “I think the middle looks great”. Approved! Awesome.
Honestly, at times I just cry after attempting and failing to do the business online must do’s. The very things that every video seems to make look so easy, but for reasons unknown do not happen as easy for me. I feel like I’ve had to trouble shoot every single thing. At times I let the frustration get the best of me as I wonder, “What was I thinking? I’m not cut out for all this. I’m not equipped to handle all this….” etc. Worse thoughts, fears, and worries that don’t serve me beyond practicing how to console myself.
Like a penguin, at some point, often times faster than I think, I do get up, and I waddle on. I think about penguin parents and their feet not equipped to walk and hold an egg. I think about the pressure and anxiety over knowing that just a few seconds on the ice could mean death. How do they keep standing, balanced, and huddled while starving?
I know that sometimes it takes everything to make something beautiful, like a beautiful penguin chick…. Ohhh kay, so I’m being overly dramatic. This shop is not a living baby. But through it I hope I am making something beautiful. I hope to give, not just take from this world. So far it’s been frustrating, anxiety creating, and debt drowning, but it’s also not without some rewards.
I created a Surrounded By Penguins Instagram account when I decided to embark on this venture. I met some really awesome people, some I’ve chatted on Instagram. Some time ago, Diana, the creator of the Pico_Space_Adventures Instagram and I started messaging, shortly after we begun messaging she wrote that she would support my business once I got it all going. I actually didn’t think she meant by buying something from the website as soon as possible. But incredibly, that is what she did. So far her purchase has been my only sale. I am delayed with posting about it. Ecuador was approaching at the time and I had to pull product off the site due to a bank change that would happen while I was in the Galapagos. But believe me, I treasure that she bought this tank. Especially since she purchased it before the shop was on any social media, so it wasn’t just a simple click to the shop. She had to have a lot of intention and commitment to buy.
Because she did, we learned that emails were not being sent upon ordering. I hope that is all fixed now. Fingers crossed. It better be as now we are finally integrated with Facebook and Instagram! I think I finally managed to upload and connect products from this website to the SBP Instagram and Facebook. Well pending approval of the “It’s okay to be a Little Blue” collection.
Completing this task pushed my emotions, but we managed, thank goodness. Now, back to reviewing pictures and designing! Can you believe I need to work on Holiday designs already? Since it takes so long to get the products and it takes me a while to design products, I need to start right away. Wish me luck!