It’s Atlantic Daf, saying the same thing over and over and over again…

“Hello, my name’s Daf. I’m a teacher from Canvey Island” 

“I’m planning on rowing the Atlantic Ocean in 2023 to help inspire kids from…”

“I’m hosting an event at Castle View School on the …”

“I’m not looking for any money or sponsorship, just some support…”

“Thanks for your time”

By the way, this was much longer. I’ve just cut out some of the boring middle stuff. So, yeah, I’ve been going round knocking door to door, asking local businesses to attend our Ocean Row Information Evening. The hope is that on the night I can convince local business to help publicise what I’m doing to the island and in the process, help gain momentum on our Pixel project. Originally, I planned on visiting around 300 to 400 businesses, with the hope that 200 would attend the actual event – how ridiculously ambitious I was! 

The problem is that every time you enter someone’s shop in the hope of gaining their trust; you need to be extremely positive, energetic, and fun. But this becomes quite challenging as the day wears on. Let me explain. The first business I visited, I was extremely nervous and probably did a terrible job of explaining what I was there for. What didn’t help, though, was that I was met with a very mundane and dull individual. Who looked through me like I was tap water. Anyways, after what was the worst 3mins of the day, she dismissed me quickly and I moved onto the next business.

Entering the next business was a little easier as there were multiple people to talk to. I’m not sure why, but I found this more natural as I could break eye contact with the main person, briefly switch to the other individual and then return. It felt a lot more comfortable. But, yet again, it was a pretty resounding “No, thank you”.

Fate did then take quite a nice turn as I entered a local Café. I was met by the owner who was a pleasant young lady (I believe she may have had children). I started off as I did with every entrance by introducing myself and asking them how their day was, blah, blah, blah. She then literally turned to me and said “This is exactly what Canvey needs!”- I almost fell out the door with joy. Finally, someone who was on my brain wave! We continued to talk for a few minutes and I managed to leave her with not only one invitation by twenty; which she said she would hand out to any other local businesses who popped in that day.

After skipping out the door of the local Café, I managed to visit a further 19 businesses before I had to call it quits. There was no point continuing with the day if I couldn’t maintain my upbeat tempo. The following day I hit the streets once more and managed to visit 50 businesses in total. A great success I thought, but still drastically under what I was hoping. The second problem that I was now starting to notice was that there isn’t that many businesses on Canvey, so my hopes of reaching 300 was simply impossible as there just wasn’t that many companies. The only good thing about this day was that I now didn’t hesitate when entering a business. I walked straight in, shoulders back, smile on face, confident and mature. This was starting to become easier.

Once again, I was met with both positive and negative responses. One of my favourites comments of the day was “You’re far to confident to be a customer”. Which was true. I had to be confident. Otherwise, why would they believe me when I said I am planning on rowing an ocean?

On the final day of hitting the streets I managed around 40 businesses. This day was significantly different than the days prior, as I was now hitting the industrial estate on the island where “real men” work. I grew my beard out just for this reason, in the hope that I would accepted more easily. In the end, the day was actually quite successful. I found that once again the response to my request was fairly positive and that I was generally welcomed in by most people. In addition to this, I also found a few businesses on the back of the island who I’d never heard of. They were big industrial firms, making boats, steel guarders and other things I didn’t understand. I thought this was good, as these bigger firms may be more willing to sponsor our craft, especially if they were already in the marine business. Once again, I handed out a few cards, sadly not to the owner, but they were delivered none the less. 

This brought an end to my day and bearing in mind that I was also emailing and phoning businesses as well as going door to door, I believe I reached out to around 200 businesses and organisation in total. Which isn’t bad, I think?!?

I guess we’ll find out on the night…

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