Meet Dan Furman
I’m probably not what you expect, which is good. Because you don’t want cookie cutter in your writing, do you?
Here I am, with my wife and pup. I’m much more “guy you’re hanging out with at the bbq” than I am button-up boardroom guy.
I won’t tell you how much I loved writing as a kid, because I never really thought about it much. I could just write – it’s always been that way. The ironic thing is, I was not great at English class. I had a love/hate relationship with it. I enjoyed any written assignment, and did very well on essay tests no matter the subject. But I felt many of the syntax rules in English class were pointless, and got in the way of good, engaging writing (I still feel that way.)
My writing skill was evident in every job I ever had. No matter what my position was, I’d see something written badly, and say “give me that – I’ll fix it“. Usually it was marketing stuff, but even in my blue-collar positions, I’d end up doing something like writing the process instructions for some task. There I was, a 19 year old laborer, organizing and writing a 40-page maintenance process for a 300 unit apartment complex. And getting a $100 bonus (a lot to me back then).
I can’t explain the how and why of it. I could just always see the big picture, engage readers, and make everything clear. But truthfully, it took the internet to come along to make that skill a viable way to make a living. Turns out, a lot of people and businesses really need what I do.
I bring to the table years of writing, business, and sales success, across a myriad of industries – blue collar, white collar, big company, little company, my own company, sales, marketing, IT, etc. You name it – I’ve done it.
My website is called Clear-Writing.com, and my company is named Night Owl e-Ventures Inc. I’ve been in business full-time since 2001, and am incorporated in North Carolina (we first incorporated in NY, March 2004.)
A Bit About Me Professionally
Rather than do a typical boring biography filled with nothing but remarkable achievements, I’ll be brutally honest and give you everything, warts and all.
I have an interesting and varied work history. From 1982 to 2001, I held various jobs in retail management, marketing, sales, construction, IT, and similar (including two forays into advertising-based entrepreneurship). Plus I worked in my father’s iron shop as a kid. I could weld (pretty badly) at 13 – if that doesn’t teach you about work, nothing will.
While I had some jobs I really liked, in other places, I had a tough time fitting in. I feel that’s mostly because I take a lot of initiative and need some freedom – I think a lot, I have ideas, and I like to work. I always fit in well with superiors and organizations who gave me professional autonomy. I grated on those who chose micromanagement. I’m not afraid to question the boss or argue my point, and I want a better, more logical explanation than “because that’s the way it is” (12 year olds say that.)
Want some examples?
A story from the front lines of an old job
Back in 1991, I was the manager / buyer for a truckstop chain store. The corporate guys came to visit one day to see why my sales of a certain radar detector were MUCH higher than anyone else’s in the chain (there were 30 stores in this chain). I showed them the literature and marketing collateral I had made for the product – essentially, I threw away the signs and literature that corporate sent and made my own. Where the corporate literature and signs were confusing and lacked excitement, mine used clear language and “sales writing”, which I pointed out to the corporate guys – right away, they asked me to make sales literature for the entire chain, which I did.
Net result: We sold out the product in a month (an increase of over 80%), and I got promoted to handling the marketing and “sales writing” for the entire chain. I aggressively dove in, and retail sales rose 17% the following year. I left the following year after the chain was bought out and the new people didn’t want a guy who throws away the signs they send (story of my life).
Another time, I handled sales and marketing for a car-rental company. The marketing collateral the company used touting the rental service was awful – it was very confusing as to what rate you would pay, why you should rent from us, etc. Part of my job involved handing out this literature to body shops and dealerships in the area so people getting their cars worked on would use my company. I did such for maybe six months, and I must say, business was very soft. Again, I took things into my own hands and had new literature made (I didn’t tell the owner because he was the one that wrote the original literature, and he rather liked it – I was shot down when I suggested we change it.)
Net Result: I passed out “my” literature the next week, and right away, you could see a difference. We had more “body shop” rentals in a two week period than we had the previous six months. It was THEN that I showed the boss what I did. I expected him to be happy. Instead, I was fired (again). His parting words were “if you want to do it your way, start your own company…”
So, I did.
I started my own company, and I’m still here. I have an enthusiastic client base that “gets” me, and loves my work. I take everything I do very seriously, and as a result, my clients call again and again. If you become a client, expect us to have a long, mutually beneficial relationship.
I also want you to know that this is my living. Clear-Writing is my one and only job. When you hire me, you are getting the best possible person to do the job. You are also getting a professional – hiring me solves your problems, plain and simple. No excuses. No setbacks. Just good, solid work.
By the way…. the car rental company? Out of business the next year.
A bit about me personally
I’m 55 years old and have been married to my wife Maryellen since 1999. We were married in Vegas a few days after we met, and it couldn’t have worked out better. Trust your gut, folks – it’s almost never wrong. Plus, flying to Vegas and getting married on a whim is astonishingly exciting!
We live in North Carolina, having moved here from New York in February 2021. Yes, we bought/sold a house and moved in the middle of a pandemic. Seemed like a neat (and fun) thing to do. We have a dog (pictured at the top of this page) and an old, mean cat who doesn’t like anyone.
I work out of my home office, so that means I work a lot. I also like working on my house and yard (I’ve become a fairly adept handyman, landscaper, and electrician.) As far as hobbies and interests, I’m a big movie buff and avid videogamer, I enjoy audiophile-level/vintage audio equipment, I like reading about business and history, autumn is my favorite season, and I like all things scary. I’m also a fan of craft beer (and I brew my own as well). I like most NY sports teams (Yankees/Jets/Knicks). Can I adopt Carolina teams?
What else… I like to eat, but also try to stay in shape (mostly my home treadmill, along with some weight lifting at the gym), I hack around on the golf course from time to time, I like concerts, and I enjoy shooting my pistols at the range every so often (so definitely think twice before stalking!) Despite the gun comment, I’m really not into politics – in fact, I find the pointless arguing and people getting worked up about it somewhat amusing. I don’t belong to any party, wear slogans, adorn my car or house with political stuff, subscribe to silly publications or websites, rant on facebook, or attend rallies. I just quietly vote.
I *do* like business though, and in my last town, I served on the Planning Board until I moved. It fits in nice with my big-picture business mindset. I’m also a member of Toastmasters, and an advanced level speaker there.
If you’re an old friend or business associate, feel free to reach out and say hello. Heck, if you’re an old enemy (not that I had many of those), I’d like to hear from you as well.
And to those bosses who fired me… well, I hold no ill will. Truthfully, you did me a favor. I hope you are enjoying your life, and that your career has worked out half as good as mine has!