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Posts Tagged ‘business’

I’m going to quit my job and start my life.

Jon Acuff wrote a fantastic book.  Quitter.  I highly recommend it if you are thinking about starting your own businesses.  The highlights of this quick read focus on settling on the fact that you are going to transition from your current job while progressively moving towards your “dream” job.  This is a method, a technique that ensures you won’t starve on your path ahead.  

You shouldn’t feel like this at your job.

This path is not for everyone and I’m here to tell you that it’s a challenging path.  I embarked on a two-year journey that started with an idea, slowly birthed over time and grew a day at a time, sometimes painfully slow.  Here I sit writing this to you as I am about to step fulltime into my new life.  During this time my wife and I had a baby, wrangled a total of fours kids and we endured businesses losses and business gains.  At this point the gains far outweighed any losses.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and my wife during this transition.  The biggest is that I’m a pretty lucky guy.  I often worked a 40 hour week and then an additional 10 to 20 hours on the business and she put up with that… while keeping me grounded.

The new business isn’t perfect and it has its liabilities but my two-year semi-paid internship in my new business has taught me a lot and I feel that moving forward I can keep it growing and thriving.

All this might sound exciting but it’s not all pageantry and successes.  While mentally enduring the thoughts of failure and self-doubt crept in a bit too often.  Even though I’d consider myself a planner, I can only account for so many unexpected occurrences.  I’ve had to resign myself to the fact that, I can’t out-plan the unplannable.  Life happens.  It’s just how we chose to deal with it.  With the help of my wife, we’re just going to deal with it. 

My wife has also been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and has not one but two ventures that are already starting to roll.  She’s making it look easy too!  Good for her. 

As you move forward in your life, are you doing what you want to do?  Who or what controls and owns your time?  Is this how you planned your life?  If not, you’re the only one who can change it.  If you are, you’re the one who can keep it right where you want it.

What is important to you?

May 1, 2012 1 comment

No room left for the big stone.

Distance makes the heart grow fonder, the saying goes.  The distance from my blog has made me very fond of it recently.  I need it.  The nearly hundred posts that I wrote a year ago are a great little insight into some topics that I am very passionate about, from personal responsibility, finance, business to being a husband and father.   

 

Since the last post, I’ve expanded and improved my business.  We now cover half of the state of Michigan.  I’ve hired some great new contractors and refined my business plan for the future.  The first full year of business met my goals, and year two has nearly surpassed that initial goal and we’re only just starting the second quarter.    

 

So why am I back, I’m back because the focus on the business has made me lose the focus on my life.  It’s over taken everything.  I’ve allowed it to become all-encompassing to the point where I’m not enjoying it.  I just toil in the daily tasks and that’s not where I want to be or where I started out going.  I want to be able to enjoy my family and my life to the fullest and only I can choose to change my current course. 

 

A leadership lesson I learned long ago was to imagine a jar.  Outside the jar you have one large rock that is just a bit smaller than the jar and a pile of pebbles.  The large rock signifies the one important “thing” in your life.  The pebbles are all the other little “to dos” that creep up.  I’ve filled my jar with pebbles and now cannot fit the rock.  I’ve got it backwards.

 

I’m here today to dump out the pebbles, add the rock and let those small pebbles fill in around the rock.  What’s in your jar, a bunch of pebbles or your rock?

Marketing and other voodoo

June 13, 2011 3 comments

“I just don’t know what is working and what isn’t working.”  Have you ever thought or said that about your business marketing strategy?  Do you have a strategy?  Is it the radio ads that are working?  Is it the Google ads?  Is it organic search?  Is it word of mouth and referrals?  I don’t know.  Even when a customer says “We found you on the internet” what does that even mean?  You’re probably listed on sites you didn’t even know you were listed on.

Lost at sea or headed toward land?

What do you do if you can’t put your finger on it?  I’m a bit of a stickler for details and the details are eluding me.  The good thing, is that something seems to be working.  Are your customers still coming in?    Mine are.  I’m just not sure exactly why.  I’ve blogged about this very issue before and yet I’m still unable to collect the data in a fashion that tells me what is working.

I’ve been told that a potential customer who actually needs your service needs to see your advertising between seven and twelve times just to “maybe” think about using your service.  Maybe.  So maybe, just maybe (that’s a lot of maybes) the equations is the sum of all parts equals one customer.  I really don’t know just yet but you can be sure I’m going to find out.

Here’s what I know so far.  Marketing that does not give direct feedback is sort of like magic to me.  Radio for example, I have no idea who is hearing my message.  I only get a report saying that the ad played.  Whoopee.  I knew that going in.  I even have a specific phone number to track calls but that is not even a fool proof method.  What does work is talking to people directly.  I like that.  I like the feedback.

So I am paddling in the lake of marketing uncertainty only really knowing that I’m exerting effort but the tide seems to be sloshing me all around without a discernible course.

What’s worked for you?

Expect the unexpected

March 22, 2011 1 comment

The unexpected can’t be planned or scheduled.  You’d like to think that you can handle just about anything and maybe you can but sometimes the unexpected happens.  Actually, the unexpected happens all the time. 

Everyone is listening, all the time

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Make every chance for a connection count

March 21, 2011 2 comments

How do you connect?  Is it something that you do once in a while at a scheduled event?  Is it a chore?

Let me tell you about two examples.

A great group of people

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The value of a hand shake

March 17, 2011 2 comments

There is no substitute for a hand shake and a smile.  Making connections is what people remember.  Webpage’s, blogs and Google searches are all cold and sterile and don’t transmit the personality of the seller to the customer.  

Here’s a little something I found that has rung true for me.

“The impact of in-person meetings that I experienced personally this week has been studied in some depth by the fine minds at the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. In a 2009 global survey of 2,211 Harvard Business Review subscribers, 95 percent of respondents viewed in-person meetings as a key to success in building long-term relationships. Specifically, face-to-face meetings were seen as most effective for:

This says a lot about you

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It’s okay to have big dreams

March 7, 2011 4 comments

Go ask a 6 year old what they want to be when they grow up.  They say things like; a veterinarian, a lawyer, a police man, a mommy, or President.

But go ask a 35 year old; I want health benefits, reliable income, security, great wages, safety, a decent house, stability and a shiny car.

The 6 year old wants to do something because it appeals to them even if they don’t know why.  Even with limited knowledge of the job or career they honor what that person does not what they get for it.

This is another excerpt from my first blog posted a while back, you can read the full post here.  I’d like to ask you; at what point do our dreams die?  At what point do we shift from having wide-eyed hope for the future to being down trodden about our prospects?

Just a minor setback

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