The flag business is seasonal. During the cold months, our sales drop off dramatically. It makes sense; during the winter, we’re all indoors and flags, for the most part, are outdoor products. Last year, during these slow months, FlagandBanner.com made a calculated decision to allocate more money for advertising than ever before. If there was ever a silver bullet for selling flags in the winter months, we were going to find it. I can conclusively say: There is no silver bullet.
As a result of this finding, I’ve been looking, in earnest, for another business to buy that would complement FlagandBanner.com. That is when I heard about Amazon’s Delivery Service Partner opportunity.
Becoming an Amazon Partner
With an initial investment as low as $10,000, you can become a delivery service franchise, of sorts, for Amazon’s local packages. Amazon would rent you the vans, train you, and send you gaylords (pallet-sized boxes) full of packaged orders to sort and deliver to customers in the Little Rock area. This sounded perfect for us. FlagandBanner.com has been downloading and fulfilling internet orders for decades, so I understood the scope of work and was thrilled with the possibilities.
I quickly filled out the online application. While answering the questions, my confidence grew. We are a perfect fit for them, and my qualifications and experience would be hard to match. Knowing that my age might matter, I explained that this would be a legacy business for my children. I wanted Amazon to know I had a succession plan.
Then I waited and checked my spam folder every day.
During this waiting period, I went on a trip to Colorado. To my dismay, I mistakenly left the power cord to my computer at home. So, for 5 days I could only access emails via my phone. I fretted about missing a time-sensitive email from Amazon. Sure enough, upon return, I powered up my laptop, searched my spam folder and, low-and-behold, there sat an email from Amazon asking me to follow a link to an online interview. As I read further, it said the deadline to complete the interview was midnight. What?!
It was 9 pm. I’d just showered and washed away all the airplane travel grime. My hair was wet, face scrubbed clean, and I sat in my robe. Time to think fast. I threw on a wig, (that I keep just for such occasions) slapped on some make up and dressed professionally from the waist up. Next, I chose the dining room table with some nice art in the background as my recording studio. To avoid the awkward angle of looking down at the screen, I built a tower of books to place my computer on and collected table lamps from the other room, to set on the floor for up-lighting. All in all, I think I looked pretty good.
Thankfully, it’s not a live interview. It’s recorded, then reviewed by their human resources people later. There is a button marked “Practice Interview” which I did several times and another mark “Start Interview.” After several terrible practices I decided to jump in and courageously selected “Start Interview.” There were 7 questions and my answers had a 3-minute maximum length. By the last question, I was confident and relaxed and closed the interview on, what I thought, was a strong ending.
Then I waited again. I felt confident that I was moving on.
And the Winner is …
To my surprise, in a mere 2 days, I find an email from the Amazon Delivery Partner people in my inbox. I opened excitedly to read: We were impressed with your qualifications and experience. However, due to the highly competitive nature of the program, we are not able to move you forward in the process. We have limited number of openings, and we were forced to make tough choices to move forward with only a few candidates.
At first, I was disappointed, then relieved. As the day/week wore on, I became lethargic and a little despondent. While sitting in the radio station awaiting my guest to arrive for Up In Your Business, I realized what I was feeling was rejection. Someone didn’t like me or want me, and on top of that, I received little feedback as to why. Was it because I didn’t have a college degree? Was it my age? Was it something I said? Have they already awarded the Little Rock area to someone else?
Writing this blog, I reread Amazon’s description of running such a hands-on operation; high-performing, hardworking, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. I think, maybe, instead of complimenting FlagandBanner.com, it would have been a detraction.
Whatever the reason or the outcome, it was worth my time and can be chalked up to yet another experience.
Looking back, I think of Garth Brooks lyrics, “Thank God for unanswered prayers.”