Story Corner with Uncle Niko
Well hello there! And welcome back to #BlackCatBlogClub. Today, we will be talking about how starting a business was the worst idea I ever had.
Just kidding. That's next week.
...So anyways, I was talking to a friend at church about being tired-I've realized that my friends and I talk about being tired alot, which is kind of tight, because usually my friends are tired from also working their 9-5 jobs, side hustle, church gig, being a person etc.- but we were talking about what I love referring to as, "The Hustle". It makes all the work you do sound WAY cooler than, "The Constant Feeling of Being Poor and Tired and Mad That You're Poor and Tired."
I want to be honest, I want everyone who reads this to know something very important:
Instagram is 90% of our business. Social media, online shopping, bothering people via DM, commenting on photos with jokes and the yam emoji-that is literally where we get almost ALL of our business, our business relationships, and most of the events that we end up having the privilege to attend-Instagram. Maybe it's because I'm good at bothering people. Maybe I'm just really funny. Maybe both. Probably both....probably not.
My friend at church is a fellow musician-And not just like, "Oh yeah I play the piano, here is a little ditty for ya, *plays the intro to Vanessa Carlton's A Thousand Miles*" he's an artist-Wicked great player sure, but a songwriter and overall fantastic creator-My friend David is in the studio every day, it's part of his job to not only work with other artists to build something great but when he's not working for other musicians, he is carving out his own way to become a full-time artist himself.
So we were talking about Instagram, because it's fantastic, and he says, "Dude you're hustle is so respectable". And I pretty much just laughed in his face (Sorry, Dave). It wasn't because I didn't believe him, I work HARD, I know that-I'm there! But the fact that someone I respect for putting in the work every day, for grinding it out, and coming out with some tunes that I KNOW some of you would refer to as LIT, is complimenting me on how I post a picture of a weird toad every Monday morning because I'm upset that I'm at work and not at home burning beans and writing people notes to put into their orders.
And then he asks me, "How do you think of content? Like how are you able to post so consistently? Every day?"
Here we go: When we first started this business, I wanted to be a part of these communities that I felt like were just too big for us. Companies were and still are posting these photos of heavy-hitters: Hooligan Racers, builders, major artists, skaters, rad incredible people using and wearing their gear - guys that would never give us the time of day, because we're just two guys working out of my house and trying to just stay afloat not only in the business, but just in our own lives with our own bills and student loans. I wanted to know how they got to be where they were and what they do when they're not showing photos of super cool people doing super cool stuff, I wanted to see the process, I wanted to know WHO it is that was part of that team. What do THEY do? And so I started posting about it. That's it.
Photos of us doing all of the work, time lapses of us pressing buttons, screening shirts, writing the notes, fulfilling packages, more photos goofing off at the house while we're SUPPOSED to be doing that stuff, working events, making new friends, getting stoked on shoutouts from people we've never met.
I wanted our instagram to really just be like a photo album, you can see from the DAY we started and up until today, when I post about this blog, how far we've come.
I think one of the biggest things I take pride in over the shop and our social media and just what we do is that we know we're not cool-we just wanna hang out. This isn't a "we're not cool, we're punk rock" kind of thing. We're not punk rock, either. I've been riding a motorcycle for just over 2 years, roasting coffee for less time than that...But I love both things so much and the communities that they have become.
BlackCat may never be featured on one of those "Top 10 companies to keep an eye out for" or shown off in one of the fancy videos you see on facebook that's super inspirational, but at this point, all we want to do is meet all of you. The Hustle will always be a thing. I don't think it really ever stops.
And if you're wondering about my friend: His name is Dave. You can find him on instagram as @davejylee. He's got a single called Lost Art dropping July 20th.
I hope that some of this made sense. I hope that if you're doing something or building something that you want to become your full-time that you see and you appreciate the process. For me, it's hard to see that far down the road and it is so easy to get discouraged when things don't just blow up and become exactly what I thought it was going to be, but I am seeing more and more that really, the best part is process.