If you are lucky enough to visit my office (LOL) you will find two things: 1) It is clean and organized, a little OCD maybe and 2) I have two large Whiteboards in my office that I think summarize my life perfectly. I believe every entrepreneur should have these whiteboards in their office. Let me explain and I think you will follow my logic.
The first Whiteboard is what you THINK you should find in my office. It is a board that summarizes my pending projects and what I am working on right now. To give you an example, and this is an exact count, I have 11 categories up there and 38 projects. Of those 38 projects I have 17 projects marked as begun. That means I have 21 projects that I know I need to get to, and for reasons 1 thru 1000 I have not begun yet. Not a slacker by any means, just real busy. Pending projects are great and awful at the same time, they signify ideas and potential business as well as lack of resources or time. The perfect combination in the messed up life of a broke entrepreneur.
The second Whiteboard is what you SHOULD find in my office. It is a board full of drawings of my youngest daughter. She took over this board about a year ago, and I am not allowed to erase anything. She has drawn her stuffed animals and some of the phrases that make our playtime such a joy. I have some pink hippos, a couple of dogs (one who is a ninja), some dolphins, a reindeer, a hedgehog and a cat that likes red Gatorade, oh and a weird little one that we call Martian Hippo – pink of course. This is my constant reminder that I have to get home. This is my home family in my office. This is the balance that I wanted when I stopped being a W-2 and became a 1099.
Nothing but happiness can be expected of having your loved ones with you. The fact that my Whiteboard is non-negotiable and that I have to limit myself to draw around it is the greatest thing in the world. I am always reminded why I am sitting down here and why I am working as I am. My family is my balance. More entrepreneurs need to understand this, as their projects involve their loved ones in many unnoticeable aspects.
I am glad I have a Whiteboard full of stuffed animals in my life, and sure hope I can erase some more of these projects on the non-important board.
Stay Calm and Keep Humble…
I was smiling today because I signed my first check for payroll for myself. The business has done very well over the last 6 months and I have been able to payoff any outstanding debts for the business. No long-term debt on the business side, only on the personal side, and there is a bunch there. I had not experienced debt in over 10 years and although it is an uneasy feeling, it is comforting to know that it is personal and that the business has none. It is a healthy and lean venture.
Most people would be embarrassed to say that they have not made any money off of their business in a year and a half in business, but that certainly is not the case.
First, I am not embarrassed at all; on the contrary, I am damn proud of the fact that I was a person who saved and used his savings to start something good and productive. I am very proud that my kids, who have always had everything needed, did not always have everything they wanted. You have to make them hungry for them to work hard. I am also extremely content that I did not have to go to banks or angel investors to help me fund a business. It is because of a fairly simply thing – I was in no hurry to get paid, so I did not need their money. Most other people that do not save can’t afford this.
Second, it would be irresponsable for me to curtail the growth of my company just because I need to get paid. I pay my employees, pay my bills and have paid off HT’s debt. Cash Flow is now healthy and now I can actually get a starting salary of not much, but enough to help start replenishing the pot. I am very sure my Visa, AMEX and MC cards will be happy to start getting more than minimum payments. Interest payments? they do not bother me, I would rather pay the bank for once than someone else who could have a claim on my business.
So it seems, at least for the next few months, that I will be getting a check every two weeks. It is about 10 times smaller than my last one, but it somehow feels different. I understand its currency value, but its pride significance is unimaginable. I am proud of the checks I used to get, but I am prouder of the fact that I chose to let those checks go and traded them for no checks for so long and now for a modest one. Who knows? Maybe I will get a raise soon… Yeah, right.
Stay Calm and Keep Humble…