Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas to My Readers

This could very well be my last post before Christmas so first of all, Merry Christmas to everyone. Now, as I find myself about to enter my third year as a business owner, I can't help but reflect on the last 2 years. Each year has brought me new levels of success while other businesses came up short or just folded completely. 

I feel as if much of that has been due to my inability to recognize the word quit into my life, I play to win at everything I do and can not stand negative energy as it saps strength away from everyone and everything it comes into contact with. I know there are still many of you that don't believe in "The Secret" however I have found it works for me. I don't know how it works, I just know that it does.

After my first year in business, I swore to double profits the second year, end result was I quadrupled them.

In a recent post, I mentioned about how my next year was going to be even bigger than this year was. Within 24 hours of making that post I had already accepted a meeting set for January 5th that if all goes well will bring me this years total revenue from just one contract. 

I am not going to set limits this year as to what I hope to accomplish. Instead I will accept what comes and be thankful. 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Knock Knock

My daughters High School recently took the State football Championship for what has to be like the first time ever. Going undefeated it seemed as this team has been on fire all year long. Tonight as I watched the news I saw an alumni from her school that had went on to play Professional football for the Seahawks describe how he had made the five hour trip with this years team to the championship game. He had also been at the playoffs last year when this same team came so close only to be eliminated and he remarked on the advice he gave last years team after the game. Ron Easley had looked at the team and said "This time we knocked on the door, Next time we're going to kick the son of a bitch in!"

What does any of this have to do with business? All year long, even though my company exceeded my goals, it seems as if I have been knocking on the door and almost got an answer a time or two. As this year ends I know that knocking time has ended, next year I am going to kick the son of a bitch in! Whose coming with me?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Money and the Power

For those of us that happen to have noticed, last week rapper 50 cent launched his new reality show on MTV called The Money and the Power. It is something similar to "The Apprentice" and although after watching it I believe most of the participants are moronic at best and would be eaten alive in the business world, I still see the value of learning lessons from 50. Anyone that doubts the man's ability to make money should only look at where he started and where he is now. Personally, I wonder how much longer it will be before Richard Branson sees the value of this type of show and stars in one himself. That would be the ultimate in reality shows in my eyes. Either way, no matter who your personal money making guru is, this show is entertaining and there are lessons to be learned but when you break all these shows down, the one rule that remains constant is that to be successful you have to believe in yourself first and you have to put in the work, nothing comes easy or is given to you but with the right frame of mind, focus and keeping your eyes on the goal, anyone can be a success.

Monday, November 3, 2008

GoodBye King George!

Make sure your voice is heard and be sure to GO VOTE! I don't care who you vote for as long as you do, this is the one chance you get every 4 years to send a message to Washington D.C. about what you think of the job they are doing and I if you take one look at the world today you will realize this could very well be one of the most important elections in U.S. history.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Just 2 More Clicks

These last few weeks have really been bad for business, it looks like this month will show a profit of less than half of what a week would have brought in last month. For the first time ever I actually considered closing the business and getting a (gasp) real job but then I remembered something from my days in the Marines. We would be doing a forced march and some new Marine would inevitably start cramping up and be ready to drop out. We would simple encourage him to continue with the words "it's just 2 more clicks (kilometers) Marine, you can make it" Nobody wanted to give up so close to the finish so he would reach down inside and pull out strength from no place to continue marching what would more than likely be a lot further than 2 more clicks.I once watched a Marine cover 24 miles of ground 2 clicks at a time, with a broken ankle.

This is like that, I can't see the end of bad days ahead yet I know I can make it another 2 clicks so that's what I will do, I will continue to push forward 2 clicks at a time until I reach the end of troubled times.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Employee Handbook

Employee Handbook
If you think your employer is tough, try working here.


It is advised that you come to work dressed according to your salary. If we see you wearing $350 Prada sneakers and carrying a $600 Gucci Bag, we assume you are doing well financially and therefore you do not need a raise. If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better, so that you may buy nicer clothes, and therefore you do not need a raise. If you dress somewhere in-between, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise.


We will no longer accept a doctor's statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.


Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called Saturday and Sunday.


This is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for dead friends, relatives or co-workers. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend to the arrangements. In rare cases where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early.


Entirely too much time is being spent in the restroom. There is now a strict 3 minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, the stall door will open and a picture will be taken. After your second offense, your picture will be posted on the company bulletin board under the "Chronic Offenders" category.


Skinny people get 30 minutes for lunch as they need to eat more, so that they can look healthy. Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure. Fat people get 5 minutes for lunch, because that's all the time needed to drink a Slim Fast.


Thank you for your loyalty to our company. We are here to provide a positive employment experience. Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints, frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, contemplations, consternation, and input should be directed elsewhere.

Have a nice week!


Sunday, September 28, 2008

10 Tips For Networking

One of the biggest misconceptions I think many aspiring small business owners make is in thinking that by simply starting a business the money will roll in.This is often referred to as the "if I build it they will come" syndrome and quite frankly,nothing could be farther from the truth.

A new small business owner can expect to work more hours than ever before just to get the business name out there, after all, you could own 500 businesses but if nobody knows who you are or what you do, you don't own much.

Networking is an art in itself but when done correctly you can accomplish great things.Let me take a few moments and teach a little of what I have learned that has helped me grow my company.

1. Always have business cards on your person and when giving them out do not be stingy, pass along at least 3 to each prospective client.

2. Ask everyone you meet or are introduced to about themselves, people love to talk about themselves and by keeping your mouth shut and ears open you may learn very vital information that could help you.

3. Tell everyone you meet or are introduced to about your company and what it is you do but at the same time do not monopolize their time. Time is what? MONEY! Keep it short and to the point, if they have not offered you one of their business cards, ask.

4. Take time to follow up with a short phone call or email.Once again, do not monopolize their time.

5. Have and maintain a website - until you're on the internet you will not be taken seriously.

6. If you know anyone in need of a service offered by a potential client, refer that client and then follow up with a call telling them you referred them. They may decide to return the favor.

7. Anytime you are going to meet a potential client in person, dress for success. It doesn't matter if 90% of your business is web based, dressing like a bum will give off a bad impression as to how your business is run and people do not spend money on the product as much as they do the image. If your image is weak, so is your business. That is the main reason behind all the dating hotlines doing commercials with women that do not look like they should have any problems getting dates, if they were to use their actual female users instead of professional lingerie models, their business would fail.

8 If you have a meeting with a potential client, do not be on time....be 30 minutes early, even if it means you have to wait, never leave a client waiting or they will think that is how you conduct all aspects of your business.

9 Treat each and every potential client as if they are the most important because at that moment they are. Do not take cell phone calls, that's what the ignore button and voice mail is for.

10. Never underestimate the importance of a client, they may only have one small job for you to do that may not bring in much profit however they may know someone with a lot of big profit jobs just looking for the right company to do them. A lost referral is bad but word of mouth alone can kill a company so be on top of your game always.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Excuses Not Allowed !!!!!!!!

One thing I learned in the Marine Corps that I believe can help anyone with any type of goal, be it personal or professional, is that excuses satisfy only the person making them.

I have found it far easier to correct mistakes than to try to pass off an excuse for why a mistake was made to an irate customer. At the end of the excuse, the mistake will still have to be fixed and if excuses become your calling card, you could run out of customers fast.

I have yet to meet the customer that really cared about why something went wrong and that's where they confuse you, what they should be asking and what you should be answering is what are you going to do to make things right.Nothing else matters.

Aside from business, excuses often keep people from achieving their full potential. People will think of a million reasons as to why they can not do something however they should be focusing on how they can overcome these obstacles and do them anyway.

Remember, creating an excuse is just your minds way of giving up.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Business Plan

Recent changes are forcing me to once again rework my business plan which is fine as I have mentioned in earlier posts about how a business plan should be flexible and not set in stone. In the last 2 years I have had to constantly reevaluate where my business is at so that I can better guide it's growth towards my overall goal.

This has not always been easy as I have seen both the ups and the downs. I have seen times when I thought things were bad enough to just close down and other times,like now, when it seems as if there is an overabundance of work. As an entrepreneur I try not to get so focused on one plan that I allow an opportunity to pass me by and if you view your business plan as anything but flexible, you can get tunnel vision to the point of not recognizing what is the best path to take towards your goal.

I still have my personal goals written down and I view them daily to remind myself where I want to be.This keeps them fresh in my mind and also allows me to guage progress. When necessary, I add to those goals.

Remember small business owners; for growth there must be change so keep your business plan as flexible as necessary

Monday, September 15, 2008

10 Quotes Every Businessman Should Read

1. "The Golden Rule for every business man is this Put yourself in your customers place" .....Orison Swett Marden

2."There is only one boss. The customer, and he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down,simply by spending his money somewhere else.".....Sam Walton

3."Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning".....Bill Gates

4."Success is a lousy teacher, it seduces smart people into thinking they can not lose." .....Bill Gates

5."Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal." .....E. Joseph Cossman

6."The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake, you can't learn anything from being perfect." .....Adam Osborne

7."Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears" .....Les Brown

8."The only place where your dream becomes impossible is in your own thinking" .....Robert H. Schuller

9."It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that,you'll do things differently" .....Warren Buffett

10."Yes, you can be a dreamer and a doer too, if you will remove one word from your vocabulary; Impossible" .....Robert H. Schuller

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Success Should Not Come Easy

Someone once said that "Success is getting up one time more than you are knocked down!"

Reading those words, I know they go hand and hand with business. This year started fairly well with all of my goals (for the year) being met the first quarter which now that I look back was really a bad thing, it forced me to re-evaluate how high I had set my goals, or perhaps how low would have been a better way to describe things. When I strived to double my business, it quadrupled with little to no effort which in turn caused me to start believing I could not lose. Everything I touched was turning to gold or green (the color of money) as the case was.

When things come too easy for us we often don't appreciate them as if we had struggled for the same level of success.As things got better and better for the business, I became more and more unprepared for a decline in the economy. When business began to face problems with not only over demanding customers but also under performing workers, I was not prepared to make the best decisions so I hesitated hoping things could be fixed with minimal effort.

Things began to get worse to the point I dreaded waking up. I just wanted to either go to sleep until things improved or just not do anything and allow the collapse. This feeling of hopelessness was severe until I pulled my head out my ass and took a look at things more closely, as bad as things were, I had still accomplished all my goals for the year. I began to realize that this could all be turned around. I fired customers and workers alike, removing all that brought me stress. Breaking my company down to the very basics, I set new goals and quit taking excuses from workers as to why they weren't being met.

I now operate on a smaller yet more productive scale with a lot more hands on at the job sites and will continue to do so for as long as it takes. I feel the hunger again that I first felt when I opened my business. My stress level is down and my business is up. This may not be a bad year after all.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Does Your Past Define You?

How often have we watched as famous and wealthy Americans did things so asinine it left us scratching our heads thinking where their brains could have possibly been. From Michael Vick to Martha Stewart. I often wonder is it possible that you can get so comfortable that you think you're untouchable?

That has been one of my biggest challenges when running my business, not with myself, I know everything I have could disappear overnight, but with finding and keeping people around me that are as hungry as I am. It really makes me mad to see someone with a ton of potential throw it all away because they can not see the big picture.

I try to pass on wisdom when I can to my employees even though I know most are so limited by what society has taught them they can do, they will never go anyplace and as they stay in their respective places, chosen so long ago when they were taught to get a job, work until you're old and retire on Social Security, I constantly strive for more. I may have been born poor but I refuse to simply settle into the position society has chosen for me.I urge every reader to do 3 things if you really want to make it in business.

1. Always strive to be greater today than you were yesterday

2. Never forget where you came from and unless you want to return there... you better follow #1.

3. Never let your past define your future

Now I am headed out to the job site, just wanted to leave the readers with some things to think about.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A Busy Week

This has been my first real chance to post anything lately. Business has been hectic and I just had to let a few workers go because they had gotten to the point that they thought they couldn't be replaced and had begun either not doing jobs correctly or just not showing up for jobs at all.I think they forgot that I started out without them and had already made it when they were hired. Either way, they got a good dose of reality hurled at them this past week.

Building a very strong reputation for a company is hard enough without the people around you adding to the issue and one thing I have learned is you can do 1000 jobs perfect but you will only be remembered for the one you screw up. A companies reputation is only as good as the last job performed by them. I draw the line when my businesses reputation is at stake.

Hopefully next week will be back to normal and I will find time to post more and return a lot of dropped entrecards.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Whats Your Dream?

I have always heard that if you open a business you should try to follow your heart and do what you love. When you find that one thing you would do for free just because you love it, you can almost guarantee success. This is not always possible due to monetary reasons, lets face it, some businesses are more expensive than others to open. I think thats where most people make the mistake of giving up on their dreams.

Being a contractor is not my dream and never has been. I just saw contracting as something I was qualified for and as a stepping stone to making more money as I chase after my true dream. I recognized that there was no way to achieve what I really wanted to do with an hourly job so I began to look into ways to earn more quicker and so far it has worked in my favor. To be honest though, I find it to be a headache most of the time, the money is even getting where it doesn't excite me anymore. Although closer than what it once was, I see my dream still a few years away. I simply do what I have to now so I can do what I want to later.

Some days are harder than others to remain focused on what I want and there are more than a few days I even start wondering if any of this is worth it. Time will tell I suppose, until then I will keep my head up and my eyes on the prize.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Losing Customer # 1

When I first started my company, I passed out so many fliers it was crazy. I knocked on every door and spoke with anyone I could and yet no business was coming in. Things were not looking good and then one day when I was close to throwing in the towel I got a call. It was from a realtor named John and he is the person that really gave me my first chance. For the last 2 years John has helped my company grow often recommending us to others and opening doors for us that were once closed.

Today, John's property management company officially changed owners as he has sold it and moved to Florida. As I stopped in his office for the last time today, I couldn't help but feel saddened. I am not afraid of what this loss will mean to my business as John has already given me many other contacts with whom I now do business. Instead I know that I will miss going by his office, being given jobs at the last minute, joking with his secretary and the general "family attitude" that was felt there. I owe so much of what my business has grown into to John for giving me my first chance and for that I will be forever grateful. Virginia's loss is Florida's gain.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

How Strong Is Your Chain?

There's an old saying that a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link and this holds true for business as well. Anyone can buy a business license, print some business cards, pass out a few fliers and call themselves a company but to be a success you have to build a team of individuals that work as hard for your success as you do. This can, will, and has been screwed up by every successful businessman ever. I can't think of any great company that started and reached success with the same individuals, along the way people will get shown the door whether it be for personal reasons or strictly as a way of weeding out the dead weight.

A new business can expect to spend months if not years attempting to put together a team of like minded individuals. One of the biggest mistakes a new business owner can make is hiring friends and family. They will either take you for granted and think that they will never be replaced (fired) or they will start resenting any success you obtain. I myself have made that mistake in the past and have seen both results. My advice to any business just starting out is to assemble your team very carefully and learn to recognize that there will be times that you have to cut someone free for the good of the company. Do not hesitate at those times.

Now how strong is your chain?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Did Dragon Lady Have A Sex Change?

I know I mentioned our Final Walk through on Monday and while everything my crews had done got the O.K. the conversations since then have made me start wondering if the Dragon Lady has had a sex change. No less than 20 additional items I brought to the contractors attention on Day 1 of this job and was told to not worry about them because he would either have his people do them or they weren't covered for repair under the insurance because they were not fire damaged items were all thrown at me. All of these items could have and should have been repaired prior to other phases of this job.

Today I finally managed to get down to the last thing, we had skim coated the hallway walls (after painting, reverse order for those of us that know) and were waiting for the mud to dry so we could apply touch up paint. Anyone that has ever done this can tell you that waiting for mud to dry is a long wait so I told my crews to knock off and I would return to finish the job.

Job Superintendant -"Where are your guys going?"

Me - "I'm sending them home and I'll return and sand and do the touch up paint after the mud has dried "

Job Superintendant - "You can't do that"

Me - "Excuse me"

Job Superintendant - "Doug will have a fit if he stops by and your people aren't here"

Me- "Doug will get over it, I'm not keeping my guys on the clock to watch mud dry"

Job Superintendant - "O.K. go ahead and I'll try to cover for you but hurry back"

Me - "First of all, I have no need to be covered for, If Doug has a problem, tell him to call me and I'll explain to him that his deciding at the last minute to do items that I pointed out on Day 1 already has my crew more than a little upset, they don't mind doing them but half this stuff has created additional work for us because it wasn't done in the right order. My guys do have a life."

Job Superintendant - OK , also when you get back, Doug wants you to make sure the last unit that has been gutted is clean so they can lay carpet today"

Me- "What???"

Job Superintendant - "He has carpet men coming this afternoon"

Me - "You're telling me he wants to lay carpet in a unit that has no drywall up on any of the studs?"

Job Superintendant - "Yup, I know it's moronic but he is the boss"

Me - ...And does he realize how worthless the new carpet will be after sheet rock mud lands all over it during finishing, or over spray when it gets painted?"

Job Superintendant - "So you think I should talk to him about canceling the carpet?"

Me - "Uh... Yeah!"

Where do they find such people and why do I always end up subbing for them?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Final Walkthrough

An hour from now I will be doing the final walk through of an apartment complex we just restored after a fire gutted it. This is where we separate the men from the boys as the contractor scrutinizes everything we have done. If all goes well we will be turning the keys over to the tenants today and allowing them to resume a normal life. Am I nervous? Maybe a little.Wish me luck. Today I truly have all eyes on me.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The People Factor

My company recently began sub contracting for a fire damage restoration company. Our first job was given to us a few days back with the instructions that speed was a necessity. The contractor went on to explain to me that his company believed in taking families that have already been through the tragedy of watching their homes burn and doing everything possible to normalize their lives in as short a period of time as possible. He used the term "The People Factor"

We were given a five day deadline at an apartment complex with 4 units that had burned. Last night, after working some rather long hours the last two days, I arrived home thinking about how today we would be wrapping it up, ahead of schedule. Still, "the people factor" was not kicking in for me. I was just trying to turn a profit as fast as possible so I could move onto our next job.

At 9:45 last night I got a call my brothers home was burning and he had been injured. I raced to the scene to find he had cut his hands open busting out windows in an effort to save his dog that was trapped inside. Before the firemen even left the scene, I witnessed "the people factor". The same contractor I had started sub contracting for had his people posting guards on the home to insure nobody would be stealing any of the property inside. At 2:00 a.m. another crew had arrived and began boarding up and securing the home against unlawful entry.

The insurance adjuster is due to arrive Monday...days later, yet here is this company, with no way of validating they will even be paid for the work already performed, taking care of "the people factor" within hours of the fire. I have already been told by the contractor that this job is mine and while I had planned to take Monday off as a present to myself and my crew for making our deadline on this last job, I know that as soon as I get the call that the insurance adjuster has viewed the damage, they will have me taking my crew in to once again restore order to a fire victims life. The people factor....I get it now!

And for those of you wondering, the dog was pulled out unconscious by the firemen who administered cpr for 30 minutes before transporting it by ambulance to the vet. Today the dog could be found playing in the park. Special thanks to the firemen.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What Happens If You Go Down?

Yesterday brought about a very strong realization to me. I had gotten sick to the point of not wanting to move with the exception of the bi-hourly trip to the restroom to empty my stomach. Knowing I had to take time to recover I sent out my workers to their jobs and called each of my clients to let them know I would be indisposed and unavailable. Today as I turned my cell back on, I had 48 new voice mails with almost every one being these same clients bringing various emergencies my way. Several of them had left multiple voice mails.

This taught me 2 things. The first is that as 50 cent says "These industry niggas ain't friends, they know how to pretend" meaning that they could care less if you are on your last breath as long as you use it to do something for them.

The second thing I learned is the need to have a contingency plan in effect for my business should something severe happen to me. I don't miss many days and this was rare but if I were to be out a few weeks,things would have went from bad to worse perhaps pushing me to a point of no recovery business wise. I have been running things so long and making 100% of the big decisions that I had never seen the need for things to be different. Now I do. I'm currently operating at about 50% health wise and even though I should really stay out a few more days, I have nobody trained to do what I do.

That brings me to the point of this post, always have another person that can step in and make stuff happen in the event you go down. That is a lesson I should have known from my days as a Marine when every man had to know everyone elses job and it is something I will be implementing into my business post haste.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Overlooking the Obvious

I like to think of myself as a fairly intelligent person yet this week something happened that made me wonder how true that could be.

I was on a job site when one of my salespeople called me to inquire about whether we would be interested in providing service to a company that wished to contract us for work in the Outer Banks, N.C. I immediately asked her to send me a copy of their proposal so I could start crunching numbers. Equipped with Mapquest to gain some indication of the distance and the companies own pay scale for contractors,I went to work and it was during this time that I realized that by failing to register my business in North Carolina, only 30 minutes away, I have ignored a very large potential client base.

How could something that was right in front of me for the last 2 years totally slip by unnoticed?After thinking about that question these past few days I have come up with no answer at all other than the proverbial "can't see the forest for the trees."

Next week I will be filing all the appropriate paperwork to do business in North Carolina and after that I will call an employee meeting to brainstorm any more potential areas I may have been overlooking.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Time Management

Managing your time properly can be one of your greatest allies when it comes to business, whether online or off. As I usually have more than a few things going on at once I have found that while multi-tasking is a wonderful thing, to truly succeed at anything there has to be time devoted to concentrating on one thing at a time.

I have found that with so much on my plate, distractions occur all the time, usually these distractions come in the form of an idea that will hit me out of the blue for one of my other projects I have going and I have in the past gotten so entangled in the idea that I completely forgot what I was working on getting done until later when it became a problem. For times like this I have learned to carry a notebook that I can make a short notation in to explore the idea further.

I have also set up scheduled after hours times for each of my current side projects with regular work hours being solely devoted to my business and its expansion. Time management does not prevent me from having several different projects going on at once, it actually allows me the ability to focus and bring them all forward. I still believe it is possible to do many things and do them all great.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Is Making Money On The Internet Still Possible?

As a blogger, I would have to answer that question by looking into my personal earnings from blogging. Between Google Adsense,Pay-Per-Post, and other various affiliate links, I manage to bring in an additional $1000 - $2000 a year from just being a part time blogger. I am nowhere near being in the neighborhood of the greats such as John Chow or Darren Rowse however I still do better than many bloggers out there without really applying myself.

Last night I read an article that stated that by the time a money making opportunity hits the internet, it is obsolete as tens of thousands of people rush to copy and exploit the technique, quite simply it stated that we are all fighting for the same tiny piece of pie and in that aspect I have to agree so I want to focus this post on the real question I just asked. Is Making Money On The Internet Still Possible? Nowhere in that question do I mention blogging so lets step back from that scenario for a moment and examine a few other methods that the internet can bring you money.

Lets start with online surveys, although they do pay, I have found them to be quite boring and time consuming however they still have more potential than Google Adsense for the majority of people wishing to earn money online. A personal favorite of mine would be Treasure Trooper. My son still uses that and brings in some decent cash doing so and yes that is his referral link above, click it, don't click it, I don't care.

Next we can take a moment to check out domain name flipping. The concept is nice however when you get umpteen thousand people going after the same domain name and more than half using some kind of program that buys them up as fast as they become available, well it's just a little too nerve racking for me. Best of luck to those that attempt this method.

Lastly comes the area where I find myself most interested in and that is due to several things, first it has the greatest chance for failure. I know your thinking that I must be crazy right about now so let me explain. The greater the chance of failure quite often is also the greater payoff if you succeed. When I started my business I knew that most new businesses fail in the first year. Now into my second year, I wouldn't change a thing. Knowing I had a really big chance of failure it is just something I had to do which brings me back to the greatest chance of failure but also the highest payout for success on the internet. Web Site Development. I'm talking about designing a website for the masses that if successful, will provide the site owners and developers with more money than any blogger is making.

I know that not everyone is creative enough to think of a good idea much less design it and what I am talking about,in many cases takes a team working together and yet I still see it as the greatest chance for making money on the internet. Lets examine Craigslist for a second, Fortune magazine estimates that Craigslist had an annual revenue of 20 million last year. Now exactly how complex is that design? All it takes is the right idea, some hard work, and a little luck thrown in for good measure.

What if I have no ideas? Anyone that asks that should first look at their blog, where did that idea come from? If it is a "make money online" blog or a "how to increase your PR blog", the answer should be relatively simple. Steal It. Just as your was not the first blog to think of those niches, Facenbook was not the first social networking website yet it was valued as high as 700 m last year and who doesn't know that it is nothing more than a MySpace ripoff. I'm not telling anyone to go reinvent the wheel, I am just saying find a way to make the wheel better, promote it like crazy and start selling wheels. How many pizza delivery places are there in your town? Do they all make money? So, who invented the pizza delivery idea?

For anyone that still believes there is no money left to be made online I want to include a list of some websites and their annual revenue as of last year. It also lists the web site owners name as well as their age.

  1. Mark Zuckerberg [ Facebook ] 23 years old | $700M
  2. Andrew Gower [ Runescape ] 28 years old | $650M
  3. Blake Ross and David Hyatt [ Mozilla ] 22 years old | $120M
  4. Chad Hurley [ Youtube ] 30 years old | $85M
  5. Angelo Sotira [ Deviant ART ] 26 years old | $75M
  6. John Vechey [ PopCap Games ] 28 years old | $60M
  7. Alexander Levin [ WordPress ] 23 years old | $57M
  8. Jake Nickell [ Threadless ] 28 years old | $50M
  9. Sean Belnick [ Biz Chair ] 20 years old | $42M
  10. Kevin Rose [ Digg ] 30 years old | $31M
  11. Ryan Block [ Engadget ] 25 years old | $20M
  12. Aodhan Cullen [ Stat Counter ] 24 years old | $18M
  13. Tom Fulp [ Newgrounds ] 29 years old | $15M
  14. Rishi Kacker and Matt Pauker [ Voltage ] 24 years old | $12M
  15. Markus Frind [ Plenty of Fish ] 29 years old | $10M
  16. Catherine and David Cook [ My Year Book ] 17 & 19 years old | $10M
  17. Fredrik Neij [ The Pirate Bay ] 28 years old | $10M
  18. David Hauser & Siamak Taghaddos [ GotvMail ] 24 years old | $8M
  19. Jermaine Griggs [ Hear and Play ] 23 years old | $5M
  20. Jay Westerdal [ Domain Tools ] 29 years old | $5M

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

NeoBux Anyone?

Since my last post was more inclined to help out the traditional businessman, I chose to use this post to discuss something for the blogging community. It is NeoBux and it is amazingly simple to use as another way to generate income from your blog.

All You have to do is sign up for your free account and view a series of 30 second ads, nothing hard about it.The payout isn't huge however you also get paid whenever one of your referrals view an ad so over time it could turn into a decent money maker for you. I'm not saying you can get rich off it or even quit your day job but who knows what a truly motivated promoter of NeoBux could make.

As for me, I'm not really expecting much from it but in todays world of ever increasing gas prices, I guess every penny counts.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Social Networking, Business, and You

As most of my readers are bloggers themselves, I will not take time to talk of the various social network sites available that can help drive traffic to your site. Instead I want to focus this post on my non-bloggers that either own a small business or have a dream of owning their own business.

Social Networking in the business world was around even before the internet. It is commonly known as marketing and can be as simple a process as putting your business card in the right persons hand. Sound difficult? It can be.

One of the easiest things I have learned to do is to become a friend with the secretary, you would be surprised the power these "Gatekeepers" actually have and most of all, I have found more work through their referrals than anyplace. It seems as if there must be some hidden secretarial society where they sit around and refer other companies. Being on the bad list for offending her could kill your business fast.I always take candy to the secretaries whenever I have to meet with a client at their office. At Christmas time it is the secretary that gets the present.

Another thing any business person should do is buy a quality set of business cards and always keep some handy. I have been stopped by potential customers, as I was leaving a job, that asked me for my card.

Always give out at least 3 business cards, one for your customer and two for a potential referral. Being a contractor I often find myself working in homes that are being renovated, a cheap magnet attaching a business card to the fridge works nicely as well.

Word of mouth is a great thing when growing a business but it can also be your downfall. Always do everything in your power to insure a satisfied customer, they will probably use your services again and they may refer their friends to you as well. Remember you can do 1000 jobs correctly but the one time you provide substandard services is the one time everyone will remember and talk about so bring your A game each and every day.

New Businesses - Create and maintain a professional website, I can't count the times I have been asked by a potential customer for our companies website url. For many people a business without a website is not legit.

I hope some of this knowledge helps out whatever business venture you as a business person embarks on and if any of my readers have any specific questions about marketing or social networking your own business, feel free to ask.

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11 Things I Have Learned After 2 Years As A Business Owner

I wanted to pass on some knowledge I have learned from these last 2 years operating my own business for anyone else that may be interested in Starting their own business.

1. Keep your business plan flexible and know when something is not working that it is ok to change strategies.

2.Be prepared to work harder than you ever have before, hours will be longer.

3. Nobody gets rich overnight and many never do,the majority of new small businesses fail.

4. Never promise any customer what you can not deliver and always include time for problems that may arise when giving a customer an ETA for job completion.

5. You will never please everyone and sometimes it is better to let a problem customer go so you can focus attention on your less demanding customers.

6. There will always be someone that thinks they can run your business better than you, let them think what they want and pay the naysayers no mind. Negative energy only begets more negative energy.

7. You do not know everything, listen to your workers as well as your customers and whenever possible, try to compromise.

8.Uncle Sam will get his money, either set it aside or hire an accountant.

9. Problems will arise that you can not control, do not allow the stress to affect your being as it will slowly consume you and your business.

10. Take breaks for the simple things in life, after all what good is working so hard if you lose yourself in the process.

11. Be Honest...to yourself, your family, your workers, and especially your customers. While everyone may not always like what the situation honestly is, you can guarantee nobody likes to be lied to.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

An Extortion Attempt

It is now 10:55 pm and I just got off the phone with one of my workers husbands. This man calls me, he is drunk as can be and attempts to extort money from me by threatening that if I don't comply, his wife won't be working tomorrow. She is scheduled to work and it's just about too late for me to schedule anyone else in her place and he knows this.

Guess I'm working tomorrow until I can find her replacement. I will not be extorted!

Scratch Back Links and Blog Reviews

Ok, while I would like to get back to doing something more productive, I have an issue that must be addressed. In my last post I brought light to my new Scratch Back widget only to have not one but two different bloggers post that the links were no-follow links. This is incorrect and anyone with any computer knowledge can simply mouse over one of the links that has already been implemented and check for themselves. It's not rocket science.

For those of you that have already gotten your link in my Top Spots, Thank You for your donation. I am entertaining the thought of giving away a blog review to one of the links in my top spots each day as added incentive to donate. If I do implement this, the blog review will be posted on my other blog, ProBlogReviews. This in no way means that you have to donate for a review, I will also still be doing reviews for other blogs that catch my attention as well. This is just something extra I would like to do to show my appreciation for my donators.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Scratch My Back

Many of you may notice the new widget I added to the left sidebar. It is essentially a donation type widget where a donation earns the donator a link in one of my top spots. This widget allowed me to set the donation rate for a link and I tried to keep it affordable so more people would be able to utilize this.Go ahead and check it out and I hope to see your link on my site soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How Much Money Is Too Much Money?

This next post is sure to surprise many of you as it did me. It starts a few months ago with my brother being involved in a car accident. This past week he settled with the Insurance company for $16,000. Instead of waiting until the end of the month for the insurance company to cut and mail his check, he chose today to drive to their corporate headquarters a few hours away and pick up his check.

After cashing his check he proceeded to head home. Entering Gates County,North Carolina he was pulled over for speeding. A search by an overzealous officer revealed the $16,000. My brother was then detained while the F.B.I. was called to the scene where he was accused of money laundering because as the agents told him, federal law does not allow any person to have more than $10,000 in their possession at any given time. The F.B.I. then seized the money until they could contact the insurance company and verify my brothers story as to why he was traveling with so much cash. Although he had broken no laws other than speeding, he was treated as a criminal all because of the amount of cash in his possession. This make me wonder, if it had been Bill Gates or Donald Trump, would the F.B.I. have had the same reaction?

Yes America, There is such a thing as too much money.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Phone Call From Dragon Lady's Assistant

Giving up the Dragon Ladies business was a move I made a few weeks ago even though I knew it would be costing me money. I can't say that I didn't know the affect it was going to have on my wallet however what happened today was a total surprise to me.

I missed a call and upon checking my voice messages, I heard Dragon Lady's assistants voice asking me to please give her a call. This should be interesting I thought as I dialed her cell number. What she wanted to discuss with me was some really great news. It seems as if she too has tired of Dragon Lady's incompetence and bad disposition and has jumped ship to form her own company. While the thought of Dragon Lady having to finally do at least a little work herself pleased me, what I heard next pleased me more.

Dragon Lady's former assistant had started her own business and before leaving had successfully stolen the majority of the clients from Dragon Lady and I am being brought in as the lead contractor. The only thing that would be nicer is if I could have been a fly on the wall when Dragon Lady found out.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Taking On A Business Partner

Now that I have finally gotten rid of the most demanding customer I had, I have more time to focus into more productive areas. While many of my readers choose to earn money online, and there is nothing at all wrong with that, I prefer to attach my business strategies to more tangent business designs. My current business, even with the loss of such a huge client, is still flourishing and I am in the research stage of my next venture, one that I will happily be partnering with my Brother In Law on.

Taking on a business partner can be an asset or it can be a mistake so before doing so you should prepare in writing all the details covering such things as what each partner must bring to the table at start up, how monies will be spent, responsibilities to the company, and how allocation of funds will ultimately be distributed if the company succeeds.

As things progress I will be venturing into even more businesses,I currently have no less that 20 ideas I would like to see come to light. There's something about building a business from the ground up that I just love. It is a huge rush to watch it grow and the only downside is that there are only 24 hours in a day. A business partner allows me to continue building my contracting business while mentoring my Brother In Law as to what he should be doing on a day to day basis to insure a complete success of our joint venture.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I Fired The Dragon Lady

If you spend enough time in business for yourself, you may come across the day when you have to fire a client. In the early days of business this is not an option as you will most likely need every client you can get however as you build you will see a day when you can pick and choose who you do business with. This is always a great feeling however there are times when you really have to stop and weigh the impact your business will take because of it.

I fired my biggest customer today. Dragon Lady will never again drive me crazy with her bs ramblings. The situation had reached the point that none of my workers wanted to work a job associated with her and was causing internal problems for me. At this point I weighed my options, I know this will hit the business financially but in the long run it will allow me to focus on my customers that are not a pita. I will still be moving forward with my goals and even though it may take a little longer to reach, Dragon Lady did not make my business nor can the loss of her account break it.I control my destiny and am looking forward to a brighter tomorrow.

R.I.P Dragon Lady

Using Music As A Business Tool

I'm sure by now many of you have noticed I will add music videos to many of my posts. This may seem strange to you so I will attempt to explain. I learned years ago about the way music can alter attitude. It was used in Panama when we invaded as a way of adding insult to injury for Noriega and when we crossed the line of departure and invaded Kuwaitte, we did so with music blaring. Our choice of music had the desired effect as we felt the adrenaline flow and it set the pace for our attack. Jim Morrison of "The Doors" once incited a riot at a concert using nothing but music to control the crowd.

It is my belief that music can also help you in the business world. It can inspire workers to work at a faster pace and can calm managements nerves when faced with problems that pop up.It can lead you to believe you can do anything you set your mind to and believing in yourself is often half the battle.Confidence is something that can not be faked and lack of confidence in the business world is a death sentence for any company.Music can however promote a feeling of confidence where none existed just moments before.

These videos I post are more for me than for my readers, they represent things happening inside my own business and even though it may be only one verse in a song that helps me deal with whatever situation I face that day. I fully believe that all I have to do is hear that one verse to regain focus. This is a tactic I have used since the day I first started my business and I have found that for me it works so if you enjoy the videos,great. If not, maybe some other music would be your personal inspiration.If you doubt the ability of music to alter moods, just listen to the Barney song one time and I bet it will either make you angry or weirdly happy.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Business Politics

Many times in business you will find that the people closest to you will be the first to stab you in the back if given an opportunity. This generally is born out of jealousy developed from watching you build something out of nothing in hopes that your downfall will lead to their success. This is a common occurrence in the normal workplace as well as in most aspects of life. Why is it people think that those that have spent so long working towards a goal would just allow someone else to come along and take what isn't theirs? To the haters I send this message .... I made it all the way here, ain't no way you're taking it from me!

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I will be starting vacation tomorrow morning and will most likely not be updating until I return. For anyone that's interested, I will be spending the next week in Alabama visiting the in laws which is about as much fun as I imagine childbirth to be.

I hope to return to an intact business and to be able to continue posting stories that both encourage and teach. In the meantime my advice to all is keep your eyes on the prize and never let anyone tell you that you can't do anything.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How Does My FICO Score Affect My Life?

Lets spend a few minutes discussing FICO scores. I'm sure we have all heard of them but how many of us actually know what our FICO score is? Statistics show less than 1 in every 5 Americans have pulled their credit report in order to find out and this just amazes me. Are we so wrapped up in ourselves that we can't take an hour a month to monitor our scores, these scores do after all affect so much of our lives. Your FICO score can be a deciding factor in everything from where you work to where you live to what interest rate you will pay when you purchase a home or car.

There are many blogs out that will stress the importance of paying off credit cards as a way to become debt free but thats where opinions start to vary, many will tell you that after your balance is paid in full, close the account to resist the temptation of creating new debt. That is exactly what you don't want to do and here is why, somewhere around 30% of your FICO score is based on available credit, when you close an account, you lower your available credit thus lowering your FICO score.The right thing to do is to leave that paid in full account open and exercise some self control, even if it means you have to remove the card from your purse or wallet and hide it from yourself.

Another reason to pull your scores from all 3 credit reporting agencies is to insure you dispute all wrong entries. These should always be disputed in writing and sent by certified mail to the reporting agency. If a creditor can not provide proof you owe a debt, the entry must legally be removed from your report. Any entries you find to be accurate should be taken care of through negotiations with the original creditor. Often you can get them to agree to removing the entry for payment in full and even if you can't, failure to pay it just looks bad later when you need to apply for a home loan, car loan, or in many cases now, a job.

If you take time to learn what is in your credit report, there is no reason you can't do something to raise your FICO score. It may not all be corrected overnight and some of it may take years however Rome wasn't built in a day and if you are indeed serious about ever living debt free, this is a great place to start laying a good foundation.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Respect This Hustle

This is for all the Small Business owners that have bootstrapped their ways to Success!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game."

Donald Trump

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dragon Lady Strikes Again

Today was a normal day in the fact that I had a chance to play with the Dragon Lady some more. She calls me early this morning irate as can be, at first it is difficult to even understand what she is babbling about, the only words I could clearly make out were "MY OFFICE NOW!!!"

As I arrived I was led into her conference room where I waited for 15 minutes before she walks in and starts to tell me how screwed up a job my painters had done on one of her properties. Since I have not actually seen the paint job at this time I just nod , apologize and agree to go straight out and fix whatever is wrong. I pick up a key to the property as I listen to her rant for the next 10 minutes about how bad the job was. When I exit the building I am really in a bad mood, I rush over to another job site, grab my lead painter and inform him he will be going with me to view this property.

As I pull into the drive, my lead painter looks at me and asks if we are there to give an estimate. I start to explain to him we are there to fix whatever his crew did wrong when he informs me that we have never been to this property before, we had worked on a home about a block away but not this particular one. Not knowing if he is right or wrong I return to my desk and pull up all work orders for that street only to find out I had taken an ass chewing for a paint job not even performed by my workers.

I return to see the Dragon Lady

Dragon Lady - That was fast, are your painters fixing it?

Me -Nope

Dragon Lady - Well when do you think you will get them in there to fix it?

Me - As soon as we negotiate price

Dragon Lady - I'm not gonna pay you to fix what should have been done right the first time

Me - I agree, it should have been done right the first time

Dragon Lady- (starting to scream)I WANT IT FIXED TODAY!

Me- and I can have it fixed today...as soon as we negotiate a price

Dragon Lady - I'm not negotiating

Me - Fine, I'll go fishing!

Dragon Lady - well you won't be paid for that job

Me- thats cool, didn't expect to be

Dragon Lady - oh, are you saying I would cheat you?

Me- Nope

Dragon Lady - then what are you saying?, you're not making any sense now

Me- I'm going to break it down for you, we did not paint that property the first time so we will not fix someone else's screw up for free

Dragon Lady - Wait Right Here!!! (rushes out to her computer)

Dragon Lady's Assistant returned a few minutes later doing her best to stifle laughter - Dragon Lady said to let you know you're right and there is no need for you to wait around.

So....I didn't get an apology for the previous ass chewing or for the time wasted / gas burned but all in all I feel as if it was worth it somehow.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dragon Lady - Learning To Deal With The Stupid!

There's an old saying that "the customer is always right". As a small business owner I find myself struggling to find a happy medium for when the customer is just dead wrong and these times do exist as I have experienced over and over again this past week. One customer in particular, I will refer to as the Dragon Lady, has really begun to pluck my last nerve this week with her demands that my crew pull off the impossible. This is just an example of a recent conversation I had with the Dragon Lady;

Dragon Lady - Here you have requested 17 sheets of sheetrock? Why do you need so many?

Me - Uh, because thats how many are required to complete this job

Dragon Lady - I happen to know it only takes 6

Me - Well in that case, could you please explain to me your method of calculating square footage because I don't care how you flip, spin, turn, or stare at a piece of 4 x 12 sheetrock, it will only give you 48 square foot of coverage.

Dragon Lady - I have been dealing with contractors for 15 years and I know for a fact you can sheetrock a garage with 6 sheets

Me - lets see, 6 sheets to cover 4 walls and the ceiling? That would equal 1 and 1/5 sheet per surface...how small is this garage?

Dragon Lady - I think you're unprofessional

Me- I think you don't understand how to do your job much less mine

Dragon Lady - I'll just find another contractor to do this job

Me - Please tell them to let my people watch them do it, they like magic shows

2 hours later my cell rings, it's Dragon Lady's assistant - Dragon Lady wants to know how soon you can start that job if your materials are delivered today?

Me- In the morning, what changed?

Dragon Lady's assistant - She was told by 2 other contractors that it would take 17 sheets of sheetrock and their rates were actually higher.

See my point here, Dragon Lady is not right, will not admit she is wrong and even when proven wrong, will only go as far as having her assistant call me back. I could have refused to do this job and withdrawn my bid however I realize that Dragon Lady is an idiot and I cannot bring myself to hold a grudge against the mentally challenged. The customer is not always right however if you want to be in business for yourself, you will have to learn to deal with people thinking they know your job better than you, just admit when you're wrong, stand your ground when your right, and know the difference.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I haven't had much time to post lately, my business saw an increase in profit of 275% from the month of April to the month of May and here it is, the first few days into June, and I have already doubled Mays sales figures for the month. Things are getting bigger that I had planned at this stage, my controlled expansion is no longer under control.

Eminem said in a song once "This is your moment,And every single minute you get try'n hold on to it 'cause you may never get it again" and that's exactly what I plan to do. I will ride this money train until the brakes fall off. I don't come from a rich family or even an upper middle class one so this is so strange to me. I now earn in one month what I used to earn in a year. Still I recognize that this could all end tomorrow so I am thankful for everything I have been blessed with.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Will Flipping Homes Make You Rich?

I'm sure by now most of my readers know what home flipping is but for those that don't I will give a brief explanation. A home flipper will purchase a home that is about to enter foreclosure for a cheap price, invest in making necessary repairs and upgrades and get the home back on market and hopefully sold as fast as possible for a profit.

This concept is not new but is becoming increasingly popular and to those that perfect the method, it is nothing to see a 40-50 thousand dollar profit in a short period of time. This is also becoming increasingly more risky for the investors that don't have the funds to ride out this current real estate market.As many would be flippers soon realize, only on television do homes sell in the first week on the market. First time home flippers are also more prone to miss huge repair items that eat away at the potential profit even before the home is flipped.

Being a contractor and having a brother that is also a contractor, I have done the math and can not for the life of me see why anyone in the world would ever flip a home. Why would anyone ever undertake fixing up a structure that they had to hope and pray did not produce hidden problems half way through the process? Before any of my more intelligent readers begin to point out the 40-50 thousand dollar profit as the answer I want them to first research how much money actually goes into building a home. In 1998, My brother and I were hired to build my uncles home on an acre of land he had purchased for $6000. The total cost for materials and labor came to right at $45,000. For a total of $51,000 ( $6,000 + $45,000) he received a four Bedroom home that appraised at $220,000, even in todays market it still appraises at $175,000.

If my uncle were to have purchased that home via bank mortgage, he would have not only spent decades in debt but would have paid an additional $169,000. If he were to have sold the home as soon as it were finished he could have priced it at $220,000 (fair market value for that time) and seen a potential profit of $169,000. That 40-50 thousand dollar profit looks kind of small now, huh?

Flipping homes may or may not make you rich, for many it leads to nothing but bankruptcy.As for me, I will save my money, purchase land and then pay cash to have a home built on it. Paying cash will allow me to hold on to the home until I get the price I seek, I will never see my profit line decrease due to mortgage payments and I will never deal with hidden problems a previous owner did not know about or failed to disclose.

I wish all the would be home flippers luck in their endeavors however there is a better plan. It has been used by land developers for as long as banks have held mortgages and whether you use it for your own home or simply as a way to gain wealth, it will work for you too. The profit margin is higher (banks gotta have some reason to hold mortgages)and the risk is lower.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Before you fire up the grill today, I want you to just take a few minutes to remember that today is more than just a day off from work. Today is about honoring our fallen troops, men and women that died doing their jobs. No matter your political beliefs or how you feel about this war, these men and women deserve our respect and Thanks. So today when you sit around drinking a beer with your buddies, take a moment to remember all the troops that made that possible.I want you to also take a moment to think of all the troops still in harms way, holding it down so we don't have to.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Recession Proof Your Life

If you're an American like myself, you know our country has entered a recession. The rising cost of gasoline alone is enough to make you want to scream. Today I want to talk about what a recession is and a how to not let it affect your life.

First, let me take you back a few weeks ago to when Bush announced our country had entered a recession. It was like the hammer dropped for more than half the country. Almost overnight it was all anyone wanted to talk about as fear set in. Now lets look at what it really meant. There are just as many jobs today as there were the day before the recession started so why all the sudden panic? Because the President said things were bad? Need I remind anyone that this is the same President that only knows how to say "Stay the Course" when it is so evident that "the course" is broken? This is the first President in U.S. history to ever wage war against an unnamed enemy, spending a billion dollars a day to fund it.I'm sorry, I just don't put much faith in anything he has to say. Times are bad but not as bad as he would have the public believe, this is not the end of the world but we can not look to the government to do what we as individuals must take care of ourselves.

First and probably most important, if you don't have an emergency fund in place, start one. This can not be emphasized enough. Stop overspending on things you do not need. Learn the difference between want and need. I want a Brand new truck however I do not need one so that money is better kept in the bank.

Credit cards- I have them and I think everyone should however I believe that they should only be used when you know for a fact that you already have the money to pay the bill as soon as it arrives. If you can't afford to do that then you damn sure can't afford to charge it, the interest rates alone will dig you a huge hole of debt before you will ever get the money repaid. Robbing Peter to pay Paul should never be an option.

Jobs- get one and keep it. Nobody likes to work but it is a necessary evil. I have been employeed since I was 14 and have never once used the lame excuse that I could not find employment. I may not be able to be a rocket scientist but damn near anyone can dig a ditch, work fast food, or swing a hammer. I am also sick of hearing people claim an illegal alien took their job, if your job can be taken from you, you weren't doing it correctly. Excuses satisfy only those people that make them.

Vote- if you don't like the way things are being done, decide what you would like to see different and when election time comes, ask the candidates their stance on those issues. Remember they work for us. Personally, I will never vote for any candidate that supports NAFTA. It was a stupid concept that has allowed thousands of companies to outsource their work to foreign countries to avoid paying taxes and to cheapen their labor costs. That is the true place where American jobs are going, why would anyone want to sneak into our country and "steal" our jobs when our jobs are not even in our country anymore?

Set goals and achieve them, list your goals in order from easiest to achieve to hardest, then begin to take steps to achieve them in that same order. As you finish one you will see the next doesn't look as hard as it once did. Sometimes a little victory is all it takes to make you see that you can do anything you set your mind to...ANYTHING!

Recession is just a word, you are responsible for yourself and until you learn to take responsibility for your own financial future through better money management, you will never know the meanings of debt free or financially secure. This generation of Americans has racked up more debt than any previous generation, it has also produced more millionaires. The difference being only in how one chooses to spend their money.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I Was Mistaken

In my last post, I promised to announce the winner of my contest to win $50 within 24 hours. Due to me working so hard lately, I had the dates confused and had several bloggers notify me that my original post said the contest winner would be announced on the 19th of May. To those bloggers that anticipated the announcement today, I do apologize but in fairness, I will not announce a winner until Monday night. To all those that have not entered yet, time is running out, get your entries in and good luck to all.

Not Much Time Left To Enter To Win $50

As a blogger and a businessman, I have not had much time to post lately as I have been busy with a few huge jobs for my company. Nevertheless I have not and will not abandoned Entrepreneur Life and new posts will be coming soon. I would like to remind everyone that time is running out to enter my contest to win $50. Some amazing entries are already in however I will be accepting entries up until the last moment so if you have not already entered, there is still time. Picking a winner will not be easy as I have already seen quite a few entries that I feel are winner worthy, alas, there is only one prize to give and as of now it is still anyones for the grabbing.

I will be announcing the winner in less than 24 hours so check back often, remember to drop your card etrecard users, and good luck to everyone.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Successful Men That Didn't Complete College: Part 3

The list could not continue without the mention of this next group of individuals that not only did not complete college, but are not even men, thus fortifying my belief that anyone, with enough drive and determination, can become a success. Success is not confined to a certain race, religion, or sex anymore that it is confined to a college degree.

Rachel Ray, famous food network chef, has taken the culinary art to the next level, all without college.

Debbi Fields started Mrs. Fields Cookies at the age of 20. Until then she had been a housewife with no business experience at all. She now owns one of the most successful cookie companies.

Mary Kay Ash, has not only become very famous worldwide herself from her own brand of cosmetics, she has also allowed nearly a half a million women to follow in her footsteps and start their own Mary Kay franchises.

To sum up this 3 part post, I would like the reader to remember that life is about choices we make, we can choose not to try and nothing will change. We can choose to try, and things may change, or we can follow the examples that others have set before us and replace the word "try" in our vocabulary with the word "do".

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Successful Men That Didn't Complete College: Part 2

Continuing with the list of successful men that never completed college we have:

Simon Cowell who started out working in the mail room for a music publishing company, I believe anyone that has ever watched TV knows how far he has come.

Barry Diller, chairman of Expedia, dropped out of college to form FOX Broadcasting Company

Walt Disney who not only didn't complete college, he didn't complete High School, dropping out at the age of 16

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Successful Men That Didn't Complete College: Part 1

Over the next few posts I will be covering some of the most successful men that never completed college.This Post will be broken into 3 parts so be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed so you don't miss any of this exciting post series.

Michael Dell dropped out of college at the age of 19 and used $1000 to found a company known as PC's Limited which later became Dell,INC., one of the best known computer manufacturers in existance today.

Henry Ford left home at the age of 16 to become a machinest apprentice, later founding Ford Motor Company. The Ford Model T allowed him to expand to a large factory and revolutionize auto manufacturing.

Bill Gates who once held the title of "Worlds Richest Man", dropped out of college to found Microsoft.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sacrifices of Owning Your Own Business

Starting your own business can be one of the biggest decisions you ever make and before I go any further with this post, I want to say that I believe 100% that anyone can do it and be a success if they are willing to make all the necessary sacrifices. The biggest sacrifice a new business owner will have to make is probably time, often having to work 16 hour days just to become known. Their business will have to become priority number one. Clients will come before family and friends. If this sounds like a huge price to pay to you then you're right. In time things do get better and work hours may shorten but in the beginning you will have some days when you question your own sanity for ever starting a business. After all, being your own boss is supposed to free up your time to do what you want, right?

I have made it past the majority of the time constraints my business immediately put me under however there are still some days I wake at 6:00 a.m and don't go to bed until 2:00 a.m the next morning. This week in particular comes to mind, my sales team is looking to make May a record breaking month for my company and as things stand now, their setting up deals as fast as I can close them. I get stressed when my free time I thought I was finally gonna be getting is taken away but in the end I know I did not start a small business to remain small and by doing what I have to now, I will be doing what I want to later.

Starting a business is not for the weak at heart and should not be done without fully understanding that your time is no longer yours. It belongs to your business and your clients and unless you treat it as such, at least in the very beginning, you will fail. No business starts off as a well known entity pulling a gazillion dollars a year. If you examine any successful business, you will find that somewhere in the beginning days, there was someone that skipped meals, breaks, and days off to build something from nothing. Only later, after paying their dues did they reap the rewards.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Do You Know When To Say No ?

For those that missed it I want to start by directing you to my cash money contest and by letting you know there is still a few weeks left to get your entry in and for those that have already entered, I would like to say that I have read each entry thus far and I can see the choice will be hard to make when deciding a winner. I see several that just stand out as above excellent.

Now, on to my post. I want to discuss debt , it affects the majority of Americans and most of that is due to how we are taught to view money when we are young. I know we are all taught that money is good but how many of us are actually taught the value of a dollar saved or about planning for the future. We are too busy trying to keep up with the broke as can be Jones' with all their new stuff that we fail to see the big picture.

I personally know people that will be in debt for the rest of their lives, not because they can't get out of it but because they choose not to. You could give them a million dollars and they would be broke inside of three years due to poor money management. They freely spend money they shouldn't on things they do not need simply to be able to tell their friends "Look what I have." Personally, I would rather retire early debt free and enjoy my golden years sitting on a dock overlooking a lake with the woman I love.

The point I'm trying to make is life is all about choices, nobody can make them for you and one of the biggest choices we owe to ourselves is to know when to spend and know when to save. Sometimes saying "No" to yourself can be the hardest thing to do but it can also be the best decision you can make for your financial future.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Words to Think About

"It's amazing what you can accomplish, when you don't know, what you can't do"

Farrah Gray - Self Made Millionaire by the age of 14

Anything You Dream, You Can Achieve

I once knew a man that owned a very successful siding business. One day I overheard one of his workers asking him why he never did any siding himself. The man replied by saying he didn't know how. The man then continued by explaining that although he didn't know how to side a home, he did recognize that people would pay for the service so he invested his money into equipment and hired workers that did know how to do the job. In under ten years time he had built a multi-million dollar a year company. He didn't start off with a fleet of trucks but prior proper planning helped him build his dream.

Another company, founded in 1947, that started with just one man, one vehicle, and a good business plan is Stanley Steemer, one of the most recognized names in carpet cleaning today. In 2003 their total sales topped 300 million dollars.

Both businesses mentioned above are proof that you can do anything as long as you have a plan. I just know someone is going to say that you need funding as well so I will refute that by saying if you don't have the funding, the first part of your plan should answer the question "What can I do to get funding?" In my case, I want to be involved in land development but that cost is high so I bootstrapped my business as a way to start saving money to invest. As long as things continue as they have been, I will be able to start my first real estate deal within another 2 years. With proper reinvestment of funds, my projects and net worth will continue to grow. I'm right on track as far as my plan goes. I do what I have to now so that I can do what I want to later.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Win $50 Cash Money!

We all love a good contest and we all love the thought of free money so in keeping with blogosphere traditions, I thought it was time for me to launch my very own contest. I am giving any blogger that enters a chance to win $50 via paypal. Winner will be chosen and announced on Monday May 19th, that gives everyone almost a full month to get their entries in. Contest rules are simple.

To Enter You Must:

1. Subscribe to my RSS Feed

2. write at least 50 words spreading word of this contest to others in the blogosphere.

3. Your post must contain a link back to this post.

4. Announce your entry into this contest by commenting below and leaving me a link to your post as described in rule #2.

5. The winner agrees to announce his or her win in their blog as soon as the $50 is paid.

The Winner will be chosen by myself after reading all post entries, Good Luck To All Participants.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Setting Priorities

If you're like myself, you tend to have more than one project going at a time. While this may fit in nicely with not putting all your eggs in one basket, you do have to learn to place priority on whatever is making you the most money. My business is very time consuming however I still have a few other of my own projects in the works and am currently working with a friend to brainstorm marketing ideas for his new website.

This post is all about getting your priorities in order and remembering to focus on what is most important to your immediate goals. For myself it means spending less time on some of my other projects to insure my business doesn't suffer. For my friend, it means putting in the necessary work to insure his website is designed properly with everything working prior to launching it.

Sometimes we all need to step back from what it is we want and remember there are no short cuts in life unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth. You can achieve anything you desire as long as you recognize where you are and the steps you must take to get to where you want to be. Get your priorities in order and remember that nothing that comes easy is worth having and nothing worth having comes easy.

Building Your Dream Team

A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link, the same can be said for a business. You can build your business, hire the best management that money can buy, have the best accountants, lawyers, and salespeople, yet if your workers themselves are not committed to your success, you will eventually fail.

I wish I could say that there is a method to hiring your dream team to help you succeed however if there is, I haven't found it yet. As for me, I screen my workers and try to keep my eyes and ears on whats going on from the office level to the job sites themselves. I have learned to identify an issue before it becomes a problem. I try to hire only those people that can bring something to the table, whether it be in the form of experience or a simple desire to be the best at what they do. From time to time, I end up thinking someone is a great fit for my dream team only to be proven wrong. It is these times when I have to step in and do what is best for my company.

Too often a businessman will try to show loyalty to friends and family that have been hired only to be taken advantage of. I myself started out with that mentality and trust me, it is the recipe for chaos. This is business, it's not personal, there can be no loyalty greater than loyalty to the business. My own thought process concerning this issue is while I like my workers, every one of them are great people and I wish them all the best in life, if they try to mistake that for weakness and start letting our friendship affect my money, they have to go.

Your business should be treated as you would your child, it should be nurtured and protected from anyone that would cause it harm. Any start-up will initially have trouble building their dream team but by remaining constantly alert to your businesses weaknesses and working steadily to put people in place that can strengthen the weak areas for you, it starts to happen.

When you finally start getting your dream team together, things just click and you can feel it. The customers are happy, the workers are happy, and most importantly, you are happy. It becomes easier to take days off or to plan Summer Vacations with full knowledge that when you return, there will be a business to return to. My advice is simple, Start building your dream team today, weed out the problems and while it is ok to accept an excuse every now and then, do not allow it to become a habit to the point that it creates chaos for your customers or yourself. A business may be started by an individual with a vision but in order to have a successful business, you must have a team that is dedicated to making that vision a reality.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Show Me The Money

At one time or another we all have ideas that we just know are going to make money, or so we think. The average person will think about this idea for awhile, maybe tell a few friends it, and it dies there. Nothing is ever done to bring this idea to light. Next comes the want to be entrepreneur who will get an idea and go all in, often losing their shirt for an idea that only made sense to themselves. Then comes along the entrepreneur...A true entrepreneur will do his research on everything from start-up costs to marketing before he invests the first dime into it. Any idea, no matter how good, is only useful if there is satisfies a need or a want of the general population. Before investing any money into any business, you must first know who you intend to be your customers and adjust your idea to fit their needs. For instance, I would never attempt to sell snow shoes in Florida. It just wouldn't make sense even though there are companies right now that are turning millions in profit annually selling snow shoes.

Marketing research can be your most valuable tool when attempting to start a business. It can show you your strengths and weaknesses in your idea or business plan. It should always be done and never rushed because as good as your idea is, If the cost to profit ratio isn't good, your beating a dead horse.

Since my business has really taken off, I have been approached by more than one person wanting me to partner with them in other business ventures. The first words out of my mouth are always "Show me the money". I need to see that they have done their research before I will even entertain the thought.

Before you dive head first into any business venture, do your research and make sure it can show you the money.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Your Greatest Obstacle As An Entrepreneur

I was thinking tonight about when I was a kid, anything was possible. I had microscopic surgery on my hand at a very early age and the doctors told my parents I would never be able to use my left hand for anything even as simple as opening and closing a door. Now, many years later, I use my left hand as well as anyone. Reason being , Kids do not understand being told they can't do something so they just do it anyway. As Children we are testing boundaries as it is and determined to do anything we are told we can't.

As adults, we lose something, let me rephrase that, we gain something...fear of failure. Some of us use that fear as a driving force to propel us forward, working harder to achieve what we want while others use it as an excuse for why they are where they are in life. They simply give in to that fear and never try. To some, trying and failing is worse than not trying. Fear can be your greatest obstacle as an entrepreneur or it can be your driving force. Which is it to you?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Are You An Impulse Shopper ?

I know most of us have heard that it is best to go grocery shopping right after a big meal so we aren't lured into buying something we really don't need or want. This is called impulse shopping and it also pertains to almost anything. A good rule of thumb is to only make a purchase after you have had time to think about it, sleep on it if you must. If you still decide you just must make the purchase, ask yourself a question.

Is this something I want or is it something I need? When I say need, I mean can you just not do without it? Would life as you know it cease to exist if you just simply did not have that new hat, purse, or whatever other frivolous item you are considering?

Next, ask yourself if you didn't make that purchase, could that money be put to better uses? Perhaps your emergency fund or paying off some bill, maybe your credit card for example.

I am in no way saying you should not spoil yourself from time to time but if you are a true impulse shopper and just cannot stop yourself, try making a list before going to the store. Sticking to buying only what's on the list is a start but lets take it a step further and look at your list closer prior to going shopping. Is there anything on the list that could be classified more as a want than a need? Is the majority of your list wants versus needs? These are just a few things to consider before spending your hard earned money. With a little self control, you don't have to be an impulse shopper.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Quote of the Day

Today I have 2 quotes for you that go hand in hand, the first is from the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean" and is :

"Take what you can, give nothing back!"

The second is from Steve Jobs:

"Why join the Navy if you can be a pirate"

Both these quotes pertain to the business world in the fact that you will always have competition willing to undercut your prices and outwork you to steal your clients. Remain vigilant and provide a quality service at a fair price to combat this and when necessary become the pirate.

Friday, April 4, 2008

How to Get and Keep Great Workers

Whenever I hire workers, I want them to understand that they are a valuable asset to my company. I would not be where I am now without workers willing to give me an honest days work for an honest days pay. These are the people I rely upon to show up and get my jobs done, on time, under budget, and correctly. They must be great at what they do and they must be able to give me 100% even on a Friday afternoon.

How do I get workers that can and will do this day after day? I make them part of my companies family, I pay them what they are worth, and I never let an opportunity to praise their work go by unnoticed. If they have a problem outside of work, I do my best to allow time for them to handle it. I will often buy lunch for the crew as a way of letting them know I appreciate the hard work. I have had bad bosses in my life and I know you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. It costs almost nothing for me to treat my employees as equals and it breeds loyalty to my company. This is where other companies fail. A happy employee will bend over backwards for you. An unhappy one will cost you money and possibly even a few clients.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sometimes The Impossible Is Possible

Today was very trying. I had one of my biggest clients wanting me to fax a certificate of insurance to them, I immediately called my agent and was told that after 3 months with insurance on my business, the underwriters had still not provided a certificate of insurance. This was not good, I was stuck between a client threatening to drop me if I failed to provide this certificate before close of business today and an insurance agent that was so inept, he was telling me it couldn't be done.

I then called my insurance companies corporate office where the conversation went pretty much the same until I calmly asked them that if they couldn't do what I needed done would they run some numbers for me really fast. I must have confused the girl on the other end because she immediately said yes. I then began to ask her to figure out just how much money I would be suing them for when their inability to provide a service I had already paid for cost me a $150,000 a year contract.

I had the certificate of insurance in my clients hands 5 minutes later via fax.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Is The Internet On Crack?

A few days ago I posted about Loaning Money to Family and Friends , since then I have caught nothing but flack in my comments and I have tried to make a case there. It appears to not be working so I am going to once again attempt to explain things to my readers that may be a little slow or sucking on a crack pipe. I have at no time ever stated that you should not feed a hungry person, nor have I said you should see family or friends homeless. I would never advise anyone to do anything like that. However, there are just as many times, if not more when saying "NO" to someone attempting to borrow money from you is the right thing to do. Would you loan money to a crack head to pay his rent after he just blew all his pay on rock? How about an alcoholic whom you have never seen sober in 5 years? What about your friend with the gambling habit, sure he's just down on his luck and the next poker game will be his big win? Maybe you can overlook your friends brand new Hummer when he mentions his rent is late and he just needs a small loan?Never mind thats the same excuse he gives you every month.

These are all people that need to get their life straight and the sad thing is most of them never will as long as they have people saving their asses. Sometimes you just have to let a person fall down because they have to hit rock bottom before they begin to realize change must take place.

One of my readers has said anyone that would not help family is either

1. "those that resent their own family because they were never helped"

2."cheap arse tight wads just using excuses not to help"

3."they don't generally like the person who is asking for help"

4."greedy S.O.B. who won't help unless they get back something much bigger"

I would like that same reader to please tell me what category I would fall into in each of the above named circumstances for saying "No".

Quote of The Day

"The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake-You can't learn anything from being perfect"
Adam Osborne

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Loaning Money to Family and Friends

Most of us have been approached at some time by either a family member or a friend that wants / needs to borrow money for one reason or another. I am going to teach you how to handle these situations. Repeat after me..."NO! "

It's that simple really, just say "no". It may cause you an argument now but at least you will still have your cash. To say yes will only postpone the argument (and it will come when you don't get repaid) and then you will lose not only a friend but your cash as well. If you must say yes, be sure to get something in writing that details when you will get repaid, interest charged, and any late fees that may accrue due to a late payment. I know many people will say charging interest on a loan to family or friends is just evil but hear me out, at what time did you become a bank? Loans come from banks and if I am going to be treated as a bank, I am going to charge interest on a loan just as every bank in America would.

Let's think about the situation further, You as the lender are being asked to loan your hard earned money to someone without a credit check or any collateral. These are things all banks would require to even consider giving a loan. If you were not to loan this money, you could conceivably keep it in an interest earning account, thus by loaning the money and not charging interest, you actually lose it's potential to grow larger.

As you start to accumulate savings, your family and friends with less than perfect spending habits, will start to view you as a bank. DO NOT let their habits become your problems.