Encouragement Speaker Derrick Hayes gives a DERRICK Interview by asking 7 questions through each letter of his first name to give you an insightful perspective from other experts, entrepreneurs, celebrities and up and coming super stars.
Today’s DERRICK Interview is with Maxwell Ivey a third generation carnival owner now making my living selling new and used amusement, concession, and confection equipment worldwide. Listings include detailed descriptions, multiple full-sized photos, slide shows, videos, and walk throughs. And I also happen to be blind.
D is for Dream. What is your Dream?
I want to be the respected leader in my industry. I would like to eventually be the first person people think of when they have amusement equipment to sell or that they want to know the value of. I also want to eventually start a YouTube TV show focusing on industry leaders, places of interest, equipment manufacturers, and equipment for sale on the site. Last year I had my highest gross sales so far, and I currently have a sale pending for a park model double decker carousel that when it closes would make this year better than last with 2013 being less than half over.
E is for Encourage. What Encourages you?
I receive encouragement from friends and family. I also feel encouraged when I can and have helped people sell items in a short period of time like I did earlier this year on a small set of bumper cars and a coffee kiosk. It is also very heartening when i can sell an item that other companies have been working on for several months prior to my getting involved. That was the case last spring when i sold a different park carousel for a mall in Georgia. Another thing that encourages me are the people i hang out with every Friday on the Brian the hammer Jackson radio show where I have become a regular on his small business Friday shows.
R is for Resource. What Resource do you bring to the table that makes you stand out or unique?
I think the best thing I offer clients that they don’t get from more established brokers in the industry is my use of the internet in general and social media specifically. I have a large network of contact on linked in and Facebook, and I am starting to get a following on twitter. I just started using Pinterest, and I’ve long be using Dig, Delicious, Stumble Upon, Referral Key, etc to promote people’s items. I also have an expansive email mailing list due to my practice of requiring email subscription in exchange for having text links on my website. I have a blog, and I am always looking for new places to syndicate it. The main thing is I am always looking for new markets. I recently started reaching out to pumpkin patch and other Agri tourism business owners.
R is for Ready. When did you know you were Ready for what you are doing now?
To be honest I didn’t make this choice, it was made for me. In a small family business like the carnival we used to have, we could only buy newer rides, games, food trailers by selling the older ones. I used to help my dad with this job. After his early death to lung cancer, I realized that I would eventually need a different career. So, I helped other relatives sell their surplus items. But I had a couple of kids games I was still working on my Uncle’s carnival. So, I continued to work on the website part time. My cousin decided to set up a duplicate of my best game, and eventually he drove me out of the business. Happily, he did me a favor. Five and a half years ago I finally decided to work full time at selling equipment on a commission basis. I filed for a website and got started recruiting clients. Since then this has become my passion the last thing i think about before falling asleep at night and the reason i get up in the morning.
I is for individual. Name one Individual that we should learn more about and why?
One of them is Pattie Moore. When I met her she was primarily the maker of custom themed change aprons. At that time I had a domain name but no website. She graciously added a page to her website and would post my equipment listings on there for me. Since then she has learned jewelry design and wood working and is a very talented Jill of all trades. She doesn’t have a website now, but she is still a great friend of mine and of the website. She is one of my most trusted friends and a great sounding board for those tough decisions. She will also make calls, send emails, hand out cards, and anything else she can think of to help me succeed.
C is for Continue. What makes you want to Continue when things don’t look optimistic?
The simplest answer is I don’t know for sure what I would do next. I can’t think of anything I really want to do. And it seams I am getting closer to success every day. I’ve been out here longer than a lot of business owners starting their own company. I have had help financially and otherwise from friends, family, acquaintances, and colleagues. I have a crazy dog Penny who makes me smile and laugh a lot. I read inspirational authors and try to avoid negative TV programs. And I absolutely will not listen to talk radio. And while I need to do it more often, prayer and meditation help too. I used to help with the booking for our family’s small carnival. When you do that year in and year out, you get used to being told no. You learn its not the worst thing that can happen. And you learn that the next call or email could say yes.
K is for Key. What Keys to success can you leave for others?
Give every customer or client your very best. And don’t just give them your best effort, but go about your work with a passion and a positive attitude. Conduct yourself with honesty, integrity, and fairness. If you don’t know something then admit it and promise to find out. If you can’t perform a service, then don’t offer it. Often the most difficult thing to do and one of your most important jobs as the owner is to say no. I often have to turn down projects because they want someone who can arrange for and oversee the transportation and installation of the equipment on their site. Other times I have to pass because they need someone who can accept payments for them or who can finance the sale. And occasionally I even have to say no because the owner of a large block of rides, games, food equipment, etc thinks I should take a smaller commission because of the size of the project. And then sadly there are the occasional time wasters who you finally have to just tell that you can no longer work with them. Another thing I highly recommend is learning to celebrate your victories no matter how small. I’m not saying throw a party or have a parade for every achievement, but take a few minutes and reflect on the accomplishment. Share it in your blog or on social media. Call your best friend and brag a little. And lastly, don’t be afraid to fail. We often learn our best lessons from failure.
Is there anything else that you would like to mention?
I want to thank you for this opportunity. Before now I didn’t mention much about being a blind entrepreneur. Part of that is because most of the time I just don’t think about it. There are times that it can be frustrating especially when some piece of technology or a new software program is beyond my access. And I don’t mind it when people say I’m an inspiration. We all need inspiration. One of mine is Erik Weihenmayer the climber of all seven summits who happens to be blind. I do have to work harder sometimes. I just do the best I can every day the same as most everyone who will be reading this interview. I am looking forward to the time when my site will generate enough regular income to hire a driver, a webmaster, and even a social media expert. Everyone has to have a dream. I’m probably not dreaming big enough. For now, I’ll be happy to make a good living, support my family, and invest in the future. And oh yes I would really love it if I became well enough known that I don’t have to start every conversation, phone call, or email with I’m Max Ivey and I’m an amusement equipment reseller. I hope you will connect with me on social media or sign up to follow my progress through my blog. Thanks so much.
Visit Maxwell Ivey Jr. for more information.