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Let the Challenge Begin

I should enter more contests.

I don't enter many. I don't buy lotto tickets or grow online imaginary farms or enter pictures of my daughter in trumped up newspaper contests. But every now and then, I'll see something online, write a few words and think, "I may have a good shot at this."

That happened in college. The old show "Insomniac" with Dave Attell was looking for cities to come to. I was in college and thought Birmingham seemed like a good fit. I wrote 50 words and two weeks later the producer called to interview me. I wasn't chosen, but I was sent a second place check for $500. That's serious cash to a college kid.

Last month, I filled out a quick form for Fairfield Inn and Suites Small Business Challenge. Ten finalists would receive 15 free hotel nights to grow their business over the course of 90 days while traveling the country. The questions were straightforward and I thought I had compelling answers. Last week I was notified that I'd made the top 10 and now it's official. I'm a finalist.

You can follow my journey over the next 90 days here. I have a few goals I'd like to make happen. Of course, I'd love to win $20,000, but I also hope to extend the reach of Cool People Care around the US.

Over the next 90 days, here's what I hope to make happen:

  • Meet with 10 nonprofit organizations that have a national reach
  • Get our Cool People Care products in 10 stores
  • Get press mentions in 10 substantial media outlets

And here's where I'm going to make it happen. Some of these cities coincide with speaking engagements or other planned business. But I'm open to coming to where you are, if you can help make some of the above goals happen for me:

  • Minneapolis
  • Birmingham
  • Chattanooga
  • Chicago
  • Louisville

I've got room for plenty of more cities. Want me to come visit and stay in a swanky Fairfield Inn nearby? It's doable. Leave a comment as to why or shoot me an email. Let's tackle this challenge together.

Or, if you're just open for promoting the whole crazy adventure of me and nine other dreamers, tweet about it and use #smallbizchallenge. Thanks!

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