It’s 12:13 PM on January 1, 2012 as I type this. The first day of a new year.
Skye’s asleep on the couch.
Alexander’s asleep in his bed. In a little bit we’re all heading over to some friends house for a New Year’s day get-together. It’s going to be a great time.
We started off our morning with cinnamon rolls, coffee / hot chocolate, and Murder She Wrote. I followed that up with 30 minutes of exercising, a hair cut, and trimming my beard.
Overall, it’s been a great start to a new year.
Looking Back at 2011
2011 was a year. As it sits right this very moment, I’m not certain if I’d classify it as a “good” year or a “bad” year. I just think it was “a” year.
However, I do believe that in 5 years from now both Skye and I will be able to look back and say 2011 was a turning point. A point in time where everything changed, for better or for worse, the future will not be the same.
Wow, I just looked outside today for the first time, it’s really dreary outside… glad it’s not the same inside me. In my heart. In there, the day is bright and the future is full of possibilities.
Two significant things happened in 2011 that I want to address here, today, in this post. First, my health. Second, starting A Better Way of Business.
In 2011 I learned that by consistently and repeatedly putting myself in situations that were not ideal, in terms of work, I was significantly contributing to numerous health issues. Mainly:
- High blood pressure – my blood pressure was frequently 190 over 110 at work and between 120 to 130 over 80 at home. This trend had been going on for 3 or 4 years, but got significantly worse in 2011.
- Stress / blood pressure headaches – I honestly don’t know what caused some of the headaches I had in 2011, but the theory is that stress and blood pressure were a significant part of them (The Headache happened, where I spent 8 hours in the ER one day).
- Swallowing problems – a couple different times I choked while eating. After having a swallow test performed I found out that stress was the major contributor to my swallowing issues.
- Asthma attacks – I had two asthma attacks, for the first time in my life. Both instances the cause of the attack was deemed to be stress.
In addition to these issues, I was becoming “a shell of a man”, especially according to Skye, the one closest to me. The reason for this was in an effort for me to not take out my stress and frustration on Skye and Alexander when at home, I reverted to … sinking inside my own mind. I would shelter myself from both of them, in an effort to not yell at them. This led to tension between Skye and me (and I’m sure it’s not been the best for Alexander, either).
In light of the health issues Skye and I decided that the best course of action was for me to leave my day job as an accounting manager and pursue self employment.
Starting A Better Way of Business
A Better Way of business was originally started as a blog on July 20th, 2011. At that time I was just considering going full time self employed and wanted to use the blog as an outlet for my thoughts and ideas.
The response to the blog was beyond my wildest dreams and I quickly went from posting two days a week to posting five days a week.
By October 8th, 2011 I had left my day job and went full time at A Better Way of Business.
I hit the ground with a lot of confidence, expectations, and hope.
And that was mostly it.
I was completely convinced that since I’m ME, and A Better Way of Business was created by me, that I would be a SMASHING success in a month, maybe two at the most.
However, reality kicked in.
Business didn’t take off just because I went full time, just because I’m me. In fact, the clients that I thought I was opening my doors with never actually became clients. My original plan was to do such a great job for those clients that I’d get introduced to their friends and associates. Also, I intended on getting testimonials from those same clients and use those to attract people outside of my current sphere of influence. Since those clients never actually materialized, my original plan fell apart.
I was not introduced to the friends and associates of currently pleased clients.
I did not obtain testimonials from currently ecstatic clients.
I had no clients.
In all honesty, having none of the people that I thought were “sure thing” clients materialize shook me. It was unexpected. It knocked the wind from my sails. After all, didn’t I just start A Better Way of Business with the belief that these people were going to be my clients? Yes, I did.
Well what am I going to do now?
My belief was that I would gain clients from my blog. After all, my blog was doing better than I ever expected (please note, I have no clue how a “good” a blog performs, so my expectations are not based on other blogs, but my own beliefs and opinions), drawing more viewers on a daily basis, garnering more comments daily, and many people were telling me how I was impacting their lives with my content.
Surely I could convert some of this traffic and attention into paying clients?
And there are reasons. I’m sure several of the reasons I don’t even know. But one of the biggest reasons was confusion of the message of A Better Way of Business on my part.
In a one week period I heard from several different people that the message I put out through my blog and videos at A Better Way of Business differed from the message I was putting out when I spoke to people face to face or over the phone.
Through my blog content and videos I was telling people, “Stop wasting your life! I’ve wasted parts of my life and I know that pain and I don’t want you to go through that too!”
When you spoke to me I was saying, “Let come up alongside your struggling small business and help you out by analyzing your numbers, spotting problem areas, and then helping to create solutions to propel you forward.”
Two different messages, almost two completely different audiences; confusion abounded.
When I realized this confusion in messages I was devastated. I thought I was a liar, a fake, and a fraud. I mean how can I help people if I can’t even put out the same message through two different channels? Seriously?! I was tempted to pull the plug on my self employment efforts and go get a job.
But I didn’t.
I picked myself up and pushed forward. I realized that while this was unfortunate, the only way my mistakes so far would be completely devastating to my self employment efforts was if I quit completely and went and got another day job.
I decided that I was going to transform A Better Way of Business into Bridging the Void (seen here and here). A coaching business designed around helping people 1) stop wasting their lives and 2) building a business around their passions.
And while this transformation still has not taken place to this day, it’s still something I’m considering and working on, all at the same time.
This brings us to:
Looking Forward 2012, and Beyond
I will be the first to tell you I do not know what the future holds.
I can pretty much guarantee you that it will hold happiness and joy, pain and suffering, good times and bad.
But there are some things that I know I’m going to push forward with in the upcoming months.
I have no intention of allowing my health to be such an issue going forward. Stress and frustration from my day jobs was only one contributing factor for my decline in health.
Not eating right and exercising were also very much involved in the process. Both of which I can control to very large extent.
That’s why Skye and I have already adjusted out diets to be more anti-inflammatory (apparently my diet was about as bad as it could get with someone with my health issues).
Also, I’m starting to exercise again. My goal for the next 3 months is to exercise 3 times a week, every week, for at least 30 minutes at a time. If I do more, that’s even better, but I don’t ever want to do less.
I can already tell you that in changing my diet and starting to exercise again over the last month I have already noticed a significant difference in how I feel. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how I feel when both my diet and exercise programs are 100% implemented.
A Better Way of Business
A Better Way of Business cannot continue to exist in its current form. Let’s face it, I intended for this to be a business, and a “business” it cannot be without clients or any form of income generated from it.
So I’m going to change it.
Or better yet, I’m going to change how I view it.
Being completely transparent, I still have not decided on exactly how I’m going to change A Better Way of Business, but I have decided on some changes that I believe are going to be very significant.
First, I’m going to be selfish. The posts that have garnered the most attention and response in the past have been the posts that I, myself, have needed the most (such as Do Something!). And while I want and appreciate your attention and responses, I’m going to selfish in that I’m going to talk about what I want to talk about. I’m going to address things that I want to know more about. That I’m studying or just find curious.
Second, I’m going to start several series of posts. Part of the idea for series has come from John Saddington, over at Tentblogger. Tentblogger has several series, complete with landing page / table of content, that provide extremely valuable information as well as garner significant attention and responses. However, my series are going to be a little different. Whereas Tentblogger has series around a specific topic, such as Blogging Starter Kit, I’m going to have series based around specific people. These people-specific series will originate from ideas I’ve learned from others. As an example, I recently spent 2 hours watching videos by Derek Sivers. In those 2 hours I came up with more than 3 pages of blog posts I’m going to write about over the upcoming months. And in an effort to pay tribute to who the ideas came from, I’m going to create landing pages / table of contents for various people that have provided me with insane amounts of ideas and inspiration. People such as (name links to series page, website links to their site):
Derek Sivers – Sivers.org
John Saddington – Tentblogger.com
Justin Lukasavige – CoachRadio.tv
Seth Godin – SethGodin.com
Dale Carnegie – How to Win Friends and Influence People
When I create these posts I’ll start with the thought or idea the individual inspired me with and then share my thoughts regarding the topic. In this way, I hope to not only learn more about things I’m personally interested in, I also hope to provide you with insights and ideas that I have had that were inspired by others.
You might be asking yourself, “Can’t I just go to these people’s sites myself and learn from them?” By all means, yes! I actually hope you do. However, keep in mind that while we both may read or hear the same thing, we’re likely to have different thoughts. Here, I’ll share with you mine. So you may decide, like I have, that spending 100’s of hours on Coachradio.tv is not only informative, but enjoyable and entertaining, by continuing to come here you’ll see exactly what resonated with me and how it did so.
Third, since I’ve been producing no income through my business, I have to do something now to generate income. This something is going to be a job.
Yes, I know, the cat’s out of the bag. I’m going to have to secure a position that will pay me some form of steady income to help provide for my family.
Translation, A Better Way of Business, as a business, has been a failure up to this point in time. Especially if to be a “successful” business you believe a business must make money.
Admitting this is difficult. It puts my failure as an entrepreneur front and center and out there for the whole world to see. And this hurts.
But it’s true.
It’s also true that I allowed my fear of admitting that I have not been successful, that I have failed in my first business attempt, thus far, to negatively impact me and my family. Due to fear of being seen as a failure by you, and all the rest of the world, I continued down paths that were not working and I did not believe were going to work. But if I stopped or made significant adjustments, others would know I failed.
And I couldn’t have that, now could I?!
Actually, yes, yes I can.
While I do not like admitting that my endeavors have not been successful thus far, I am going to continue down the path of self employment. I will use A Better Way of Business, and any transformations that occur here, to further push me in that direction.
However, now, I view this as an experiment. It may work, it may not. But I will be transparent in my learning and efforts to transform a blog into a business which can support me and my family.
Do I have everything figured out? Not at all! But I am marching towards the future with my head held high and my heart beating fast for what is in front of me.