Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Posted: 23 Jul 2010 10:59 AM PDT
Trying to raise a family the best way you know how is really hard work. It takes a lifetime of loving, understanding, forgiving, supporting, and caring; and there's no real guarantee of anything.
Building a business is also incredibly hard work. It takes hours and hours of planning, stressing, working, reevaluating, fear squashing, and focus; (once again) there's no real guarantee of anything. So when you mix the two extremes into your life, there's bound to be complications and a tendency to let one fall away while you nurture the other.
Unfortunately, It's usually the family that gets pushed aside (unintentionally).
Here's 12 ways to strengthen your family while growing your business.
- Plan your business around your family
This little piece of advice was given to me a while back and it has literally changed how I view everything in my life. To build your business is a long hard road that can will suck every bit of time and energy out of you if you let it. It's easy to get so caught up in the excitement and momentum of building your business that family falls to the wayside without you even noticing. Chances are, if you're building a business, it's because you want something better for your family's future. Always keep them first, and you'll achieve your goal. Forget about them, and you'll build a business that you like, but one that your family resents.
- Explain what you're doing
We've all had those conversations with our spouse. You know, the ones where you try to explain your master plan and how you're going achieve it. They look at you with complete boredom or maybe even roll their eyes a bit and answer with, "Mmhmm, that's great honey."
No matter how bored and uninterested they might seem, they want to know about what you're doing. Don't be afraid to continue to share your business plan and ideas with the family. To build a business takes support. Bored or not, your family will be able to better support you when you need it if they know what you're doing.
- Explain why you're doing it
Not only is it important for your family to know what you're doing, they also need to know why. There will be times when things are tough and they might not understand what the point of all your effort is for. By continuing to remind them why you chose this path, you will reassure them and give yourself the confidence to press on.
- Let them be a part of the process (if they want to)
I know I know, it's hard to let others join in to build your business. Sure we all say that we're open to other's ideas, but are we really? When your spouse has an idea, don't just blow it off because you think you know best. If your kids legitimately want to help you, find something for them to do.
Not only will this help you out in some way, but it will also reinforce to them that you do think of them first. This may seem like such a little thing, but it's the little things that make the difference.
- Set achievable goals and reward the whole family when you reach them
This is just part of good planning. You have to set milestones and goals that you know you can reach. What's the first thing we want to do when a goal is accomplished? CELEBRATE! Of course you need to set aside time to congratulate yourself on the victory, but you also need to have time to include your family in the partying, too. You might have done most of the work, but they've been the ones manning your support line and dealing with their own concerns about all the energy you're putting into this endeavor.
- Listen to their concerns, embrace them, and talk through them
You know what your concerns are. After all, you're in the trenches everyday. But do you know what your wife's concerns are? Are your kids old enough to be worried about what could happen if your plans don't work out the way you planned?
Talk with them. Ask them. Tell them to be honest with you. Many times they won't want to tell you that they're really scared. They don't want to bother you with what they think are silly worries. They know they are your support and they don't want you to have to worry about them, too.
It's ok if you don't have any answers. Just talking and letting them know that you care and you have the same concerns will be incredibly powerful and only bring you closer.
- Remember, they are not you
It's easy for you to stay motivated 18 hours a day because this is your baby. Remember that your family isn't going to share the same endless enthusiasm you have. They need a break. Don't feel down or angry when your wife says, "I'm sorry baby, but if I hear about ___ one more time this week I'm going get all Freddy Krueger on your ass."
- Set your work hours (and stick to them)
This one seems so simple, right? Admit it. If you say you're only going to work until 4:00, do you actually shut it all down at 4:00? Before you answer that, really think about it. Yea, maybe you close the laptop and leave the desk, but what about that "smart" phone? For the reasons mentioned in #7 it's important for your family to know that you can and you are willing to shut everything else off to focus on them.
- Make sure your goals align with your families goals
It's easy to think that your goals are the same as the rest of the family. After all, you're doing this for them. All the hard work, stress, long hours, what else would it be for? Even if everyone was aligned in the beginning, things change:
- kids get older and have their own aspirations
- the instability of growing a new business is too much to deal with
- underestimating the workload and time
- the family has grown and the goals no longer fit
- all the above
Sit down with your family (all together or individually) and ask how they really feel about the direction the family is heading. This might be a heavy question to ask your kids. Not necessarily heavy in topic, but hard for them to fully grasp and answer. You might be better off just keeping up with asking what their aspirations and interests are as they grow older.
- kids get older and have their own aspirations
- Remind them that your work is very important, but not as important as they are.
This one is particularly important if you work from home and you have younger kids. It may be difficult at first to teach them the boundaries, but if you're ever going to get anything accomplished they need to know that your work time is very important and requires a lot of concentration. At the same time, they need to know that you're willing to drop everything (without being annoyed) the moment they truly need your help.
The wonderful thing about being your own boss is that you can make your own hours. If you decide to take a day to spend with the kids, don't back out because you were suddenly inspired to write a new blog post, create a new dish, or add a new vendor to the store. Don't blow off your family for work. They'll end up resenting what you're doing in the long run.
- Teach your kids about what you're doing as you go
To grow your business is a daily educational process in almost every area of life. As you learn these lessons teach them to your kids too. Not only is there something very gratifying and reassuring about teaching your children the lessons that you learn, it is also a bonding experience that far too many people miss out on.
- Don't hide your concerns & roadblocks from them
You can't expect to grow your business without running smack into some roadblocks - a LOT of them. Expensive tools will break without warning, trusted employees will turn to the dark side, sales will be non-existent, naysayers will scream NAY, and all of this will happen at the worst possible times.
Don't hide your worries and concerns from the family. I know, this is hard. Whether it's your pride, fear, or a feeling of needing to protect the family from worry, none of us want to tell others that things are sucking and possibly about to get worse. You must keep your family in on all of the ups and downs.
Remember in #2 how we talked about your family being your support? They can't give you the support you need if they don't know what's going on. Of course, remember that they might need some support and reassurance after hearing about the crap that's hitting the fan. These are the times that really bring you closer as a family. Talk through everyone's concerns, develop your game plan, move forward, and build your business.
I'm sure you can think of many other ways to keep your family involved and close as you build a better future for them. Tell in the comments how you continue to work hard on your dreams while keeping your family first.
|Written on 7/23/2010 by Andy Fogarty. Andy is the is the author of The Entrepreneurial Daddy, where he writes about realizing your entrepreneurial dreams, and building your business while keeping your family at heart of it all. In addition, he also runs 3 other business online and off.||Photo Credit: eric.surfdude|
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
This is a task that I need to do myself.
Originally published last summer on a Saturday on the AOM blog, I saw a link to it on Twitter today, and click on the link to read the comments.
30 Days to a Better Man Day 13: Declutter Your Life
by Brett & Kate McKay on June 12, 2009 · 27 comments
Simplify, simplify.” -Henry David Thoreau
The simple life is a manly life. Some of history’s manliest men lived lives of true simplicity, free from unneeded clutter. The Spartans basically had one piece of clothing they wore all year, a spear, a shield, and some farm tools. Because of their simple lifestyle, they were able to focus on learning how to be fighting machines.
Despite being relatively wealthy, Ben Franklin lived a pretty simple life. Consequently, he was able to spend his time inventing stoves, creating public libraries, discovering electricity, and founding a country.
Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson were evangelists of simplicity. When Thoreau went to Walden Pond he brought with him just a few things. Because he didn’t have crap distracting him, he was able to focus his energies into writing some awesomely deep thoughts.
The simple life is a manly life because a man defines himself not by his possessions but by his character, virtues, relationships, and experiences. These are the things that he invests his time, energy, and emotions in, because these are the things that no natural disaster, no bomb, no prison can ever take away from him. The less stuff we accumulate, the less energy we have to devote to the maintenance of it, and the more energy we can put into becoming better men.
It reduces stress. I definitely think there’s something to the idea that clutter can block the flow of good karma and energy in your life. Whenever I’m in a room filled with crap, I get tense and feel like I’m being buried in stuff. When I clear things out, I feel like a load has been taken off me physically and mentally. I think clearer, I’m more productive, and I have a bit more pep in my step.
It gives you a fresh start. If you feel as though you’ve been stuck in a rut lately or if you’ve gone through a tough break-up or recently been laid off, decluttering your space may be just the thing to kick start your life and move it out of neutral. You can get rid of stuff that reminds you of a part of your life you want to move on from. Holding onto stuff you associate with bad memories and feelings keeps the bad energy in your home. After you clear out your crap, you’ll have a clean canvas on which to create a new life.
It saves you time. I don’t know how many hours I’ve wasted in my life looking for something in the boxes and drawers of junk I’ve accumulated. When you have a house free of clutter, you can spend less time looking for stuff and more time focusing on more important things like making your bucket list or reconnecting with nature.
It can save (and make) you some money. When you have a disorganized mess, important things like bills can get lost in the mix. When that happens, you run the risk of forgetting to pay a bill and being slapped with an overdue fee. You also forget what you have and don’t have, and thus end up buying duplicates of things already in your possession. Save yourself money by keeping your place clutter free.
Also, through the process of decluttering, you may run across a few things that you can sell on eBay or Amazon and thus make some cash in the process.
How to Declutter
Set aside a big chunk of time. How much time you allocate for decluttering will depend on how much crap you’ve accumulated over the years. Usually when I declutter the house, it takes about four hours of focused work. It may take you longer or shorter. But I would give yourself at least 2 hours this weekend to get started on it.
Get some garbage bags. You’ll either be tossing stuff out, donating it to Goodwill, or selling it on eBay or in a tag sale. Have one trash bag for each one of these purposes.
Tackle the task one room at a time. One thing I’ve noticed when I’ve done some heavy duty decluttering is that I’ll begin in one room, but somehow end up in another. This just makes my job harder because I have to keep track of what’s going on in both rooms, and I’ve made a mess in two rooms instead of one. It’s better when I just focus on one room or closet at a time and focus completely on clearing it out until I’m satisfied with the job I’ve done. So fight the temptation to have several irons in the fire while decluttering. Pick a room in your house and work on it until you’re done.
After you’ve selected a room, work on it section by section. For example, start with your dresser or desk and go through it drawer by drawer. Or start with your closet and look at what’s on each hanger. Don’t move on to another section until the one you started on is done.
Finally, leave no stone unturned. Go through your underwear drawer and throw out those socks without matches or those boxers with gaping holes in them. Clean out your medicine cabinet and throw away anything that has expired. Go through your desk drawers and chuck your pens that have run out of ink. Get every last piece of unusable clutter out of your life.
Sort Through Your Stuff
As you work through each section, take everything item by item and decide whether you’re going to keep it or which bag it goes into: trash, sell, or donate. Here’s some advice on how to make that decision:
Go book by book and ask yourself if you’re ever going to read it or read it again. Be honest here. Don’t keep a book because it makes you feel smart while deep down you know there’s no way you’re going to read it. Books aren’t accessories or decorative pieces. Also, keep in mind that if you get rid of a book and then regret it, you can always check it out from the library or buy it used for $2 on Amazon or at a used book store. This is not a life or death decision, so err on the side of uncluttering.
Take the books you don’t want and put them for sale on sites like Amazon or half.com. Or take them to you local used bookstore. If you can’t sell them, donate them to the library.
Clothes and Miscellaneous Items
Go through your clothes and other stuff piece by piece. Ask yourself this question as you hold each item, “Is this something I have used/worn in the past year?”
If you haven’t, then get rid of it. We often hold onto stuff because we think we’re going to need it “someday.” But if you haven’t used something in a year, you’re probably never going to use it, and it will just end up taking up space in your house. Even if you would end up using it 10 years from now, the cost/benefit analysis of lugging that thing around for the next decade just doesn’t make sense.
When you make this decision, be quick. Don’t mull over it too much. The more you mull, the more likely you’ll hold onto it. Remember, if you hesitate at all, you probably don’t need it. You have to learn to detach feelings and emotions from stuff. Stuff is just stuff, a bunch of atoms and molecules. Unless something is truly irreplaceable, then it’s okay to throw it away and keep the memories in your mind and heart.
Put your old clothes, with the exception of your underwear, in the donate bag. As you put stuff in the bag, make a note of what the item is on a piece of paper and give it an approximate value. You can use this to get a receipt from Goodwill and write off the amount you donated on your income taxes.
Items that are interesting and usable can be sold on eBay or in a tag sale.
Paper and Mail
If you don’t have one now, go out and buy a file box. And then make folders labeled as “Bills,” “Instruction Manuals,” “Letters,” “Receipts,” and so on. Then go through your mail and paper piles piece by piece, throwing away what you don’t need and filing what you do need.
Chuck It or Donate It
When you’re done decluttering, take the bags designated for trash to the curb. Drop off the donate bags to Goodwill and make sure to get a receipt from them for your income tax deduction.
Preventing Clutter from Re-entering Your Life
Once you have successfully decluttered your home, you’ll be amazed at how satisfying and amazing it feels. The hard part is holding on to that feeling and not letting everything get cluttered up again. So here are a few steps to take to prevent clutter from creeping back into your life:
- Every time you bring home something new, get rid of something. This keeps the balance of clutter in check.
- Every time you go to bed, spend 5 minutes moving from room to room and throwing away junk that’s been lying around.
- Each time you get the mail, open it immediately, throwing away what you don’t need and filing what you do.
Today’s task is to declutter your place. It’s Saturday, so most of us have plenty of time to take on this project. Maybe you have so much crap that you can only get one room done all day. So be it. Just get started. Report back to the community page and let us know how your decluttering went. Also, if you have any tips on how to prevent clutter from re-entering your life, share them in the comments.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
It's amazing how far we've come with computers.
Yesterday a co-worker was telling me about the new laptop he picked up over the weekend for $200.
Yeah, 2 hundred bucks... That's about $1000 less than I spent for mine 2 and a half years ago.
I made a deal with my wife the last time I bought a laptop, and that was that I would keep it for at least 3 years.
I was going through a laptop about every 12 to 15 months.
So, what have I done to keep this one healthy?
I've learned what to tweak and what to leave alone. I also created a backup user account.
That way in case something happens to my main user account on this computer, I can log on with my alter identity. Believe me, there will come a time when you will need to do this.
So do it now, on all your computers because it doesn't matter if you spent $200 or $2000 on your computer, you need it to work.
Start here: http://www.google.com/search?aq=f&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=user+accounts
Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
This is from the WonderBlog:
Posted: 20 Jul 2010 09:12 AM PDT
The cover story of the July/August issue of The Atlantic is worth a read for any of you who are interested in learning more about how the rise of the female worker and consumer actually came about. Hanna Rosin does an excellent job of comprehensively covering the subject in a way that, to this point, no other reporter has been able to do.
I strongly encourage you to read the lengthy article (which you can do online), especially if you have daughters that will someday be entering the workforce. But I thought I’d share some of statistics from the article that back up Ms. Rosin’s explanation of “how women got control – of everything.”
- In fertilization clinics, reports for “sperm selection to choose the sex of a child” (most still in clinical trials), runs 75% girls, 25% boys.
- A 2006 study measured the economic and political power of women in 162 countries. In almost all cases, the greater the power of women, the greater the country’s economic success.
- In our current Great Recession, 75% of the 8 million jobs lost were those belonging to men.
- For every two men who receive a B.A. this year, three women will do the same.
- Of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most in the next decade, all but two are dominated by women.
Statistics like these, combined with the socio-economic and cultural shifts that trend toward a matriarchal society, mean that just about every tradition – from fatherhood to breadwinner to bill payer – is changing in a big way.
Just something to think about over your morning coffee… and something to start preparing for in planning ahead for the future of your business.