Category: Personal

The World of VLOGGING

As a complement to this BLOG, I’m going to start a VLOG. Gone are the days when text is cool. VLOGGING and video content is an absolute must to create engaging content. I just ordered my first VLOG camera and I can’t wait to get it!

Trying to determine which camera to get was overwhelming. After reading countless reviews and researching the features of dozens of cameras, I chose the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Digital Camera w/ 1 Inch Sensor and tilt LCD screen – Wi-Fi & NFC Enabled (Black). This camera has all of the bells and whistles in an easy to use package for creating stunning videos.

I have determined that my passion is not only to be successful, but to be able to help others in the process. I think that more important to my success is being able to help set others up to be successful. I can think of several instances where I have put other’s best interests before my own so that they have an opportunity that they may otherwise never have.

VLOGGING for me is going to help provide the medium for me to connect with you at a more personal level. I am hoping that what I share can help inspire, motivate, and create exciting dialogue around entrepreneurship. I will simply be jazzed by having the chance to provide content that will hopefully change lives.

Keep in mind, while I do have some experience with starting and running businesses, I am new enough to absolutely be able to relate to the struggles of finding direction and validation. I’m at the beginning of my journey and if you’re in the same position or looking for company, join me. There’s no reason that anyone should feel that they need to do it alone. There are enough sources for self doubt and criticism. Let this be a place for inspiration and uplifting encouragement.

More to come on the VLOG soon! Bear with me though. I am not a videographer or marketer by trade, so there is definitely going to be a learning curve. I welcome feedback and constructive criticism in advance.

Make it an awesome day!!!

 

 

 

Morning Routine Recap: Day 0

Committing to establishing a healthy and successful routine is one thing, actually following through and doing it is another. I have committed to wanting to implement a morning routine, but it isn’t there yet.

The next logical step in my mind is to keep a daily recap so that I know how I started my day and how it went. Is there a correlation between how I start my day, my mood, energy, and productivity? Everything that I have read suggests that there is a positive benefit to implementing a specific routine, but I want to be able to measure the results. After all, if the changes are so gradual that I won’t notice, then how will I know that there has been a positive impact?

Alarm went off at 6:45 AM and hit the snooze button twice. Prior to the second snooze alarm going off, I heard Deven singing. I recognized the song, Better Place by Rachel Platten, so I played the song over our house speakers for her. Seeing the joy in her eyes and the smile on her face was a great way to awaken to start the day.

7:04 – I was out of bed and ready to shower, shave, and brush my teeth.

7:18 – pulled my jeans from a pile of clothes and went downstairs to find a clean dress shirt. The shirt that I found was little wrinkled, so I put it in the dryer for a few minutes to freshen it up.

Dunkin Donuts Coffee

7:20 – Let Mya out to go to the bathroom and fed her

7:22 – Got my shirt out of the dryer and put it on. Styled my hair and finished getting ready.

7:25 – Fed Dewey and made my way out the door to head to the office

7:53 – Stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts for my morning cup of coffee and a bagel with strawberry cream cheese

7:59 – Arrived at the Carlisle office and was ready to start my day

 

The following category ratings are on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best. Overall feeling at 10:00AM = 🙂

Awakeness: 7

Preparedness: 7

Energy: 6

Mood: 6

Inspiration: 6

Sociability: 3

Positivity: 5

Participation: 2

Creativity: 2

Overall, today I feel better than I have during a lot of recent days. I would say that today is in the top 30% out of the prior year. My current inspiration is the excitement of publishing this new category within my blog, the progress of a property rehab, a new camera that has been ordered to start a VLOG, and the new hardwood floors that we are preparing to have installed in our home.

 

 

Embrace What You’ve Got

What’s the fastest and easiest way to be happy? Be grateful for what you’ve got. In today’s world of marketing, it’s hard to tell the difference between what’s an advertisement and what’s real life. Our social media accounts are full of people touting how perfect their lives are and that they’ve got it all figured out.

*Disclaimer: I’m not writing this blog because I think that I have figured it out and have all of the answers. This is just a matter of my observations and opinions of which I am grateful for.

While all of the positivity is a welcome change from a world of negativity, it can have negative effects of discontentment, jealously, and self loathing. If you are having any of these strong feelings, perhaps it is a good opportunity to take a hiatus from social media and check your feelings. Take a breath and figure out where they are coming from. Make note of those feelings that are genuine that you want to work towards making a change.

Be grateful. Being grateful is having appreciation of what you have, who you are, and what you’re capable of. Focus on your abilities and what makes you unique. You can be grateful for your great looks, but you’re only ever going to look so good.

Do it often. Make it a part of a ritual. Perhaps when you wake up, before you eat, while your brushing your teeth, whenever. I have never heard of anyone overdoing being grateful, so do it often. I actually carry a gratitude rock with me, which is a little trick that I learned from the book The Secret. Every time that I come across the rock in my pocket, it reminds me to be grateful.

Maybe your in a really tough place where it’s hard to think of anything worth being grateful for. Try starting with very broad topics like the sunshine, food, the air we breath, family, friends, and this blog. As you practice being grateful, you’ll start to discover all of those little things that you previously took for granted. Practice truly feel the emotions of being grateful. Feel it in the pit of your stomach and the smile on your face as you think about all of those things that your grateful for.

Watch your life change. Bringing gratitude into your life will change it. You’ll begin to look at things with a healthy genuine positivity and this will translate to great things throughout all other aspects of your life.

You Make It Look So Easy

Have you ever watched someone do something that appeared to be effortless for them but when you tried it was seemingly impossible? Sure. We all have. That skate boarder that lands an impossible stunt, the ballerina’s graceful performance, the actor, the athlete, the rapper, the entrepreneur…

They all have the same thing in common, preparation. Let’s face it. It takes years and years of practice and preparation to operate at the highest levels in any profession. We get to see people perform at the top of their game for entertainment or inspiration, but what we don’t get to see is the effort that it took for them to get there. We don’t get see the countless hours of practice, the early mornings, the late nights, the strict regiments, or sacrifices.

One the most difficult concepts to wrap my head around throughout this journey of entrepreneurship is how easy it looks for so many others before me. By the time that we recognize a successful person, they have already spent years preparing and practicing. What we see is an instant success. We tend to see someone that just happened to get lucky or have natural abilities. Sure. Luck and skill have a huge role in success, but you can prepare for luck and hone in on a skill.

This has been a difficult concept for me to grasp as I look at the greatest entrepreneurs of our time for inspiration. They are so far out of my league that I cannot even imagine performing at their level. It’s difficult to relate to their beginnings and what they are accomplishing today. Intimidating? Absolutely. Why? because I am trying to compare myself to Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerburg, the quintessential entrepreneurs.

I think it is important to have role models and heroes. They keep us energized and dreaming bigger than a life that we can imagine. But, I also think that it is important to have an individual perspective. This is to know your personal intent and what success is for you as an entrepreneur. So you’re not a billionaire, that’s okay. Tell yourself it’s okay.

Now that you don’t have to sit trying to come up with the next billion dollar idea to compete with the greats, get to work preparing and practicing for your success. You’ll eventually have your friends, family, and possibly the world saying, “Wow, they make it look so easy.”

 

Making Morning Me Time

In a prior blog post, Routines: The Struggle is Real, I briefly discussed the difficulty of establishing a routine. Although establishing a routine can be difficult, the feedback that I received from that post indicates that it is certainly worth the effort.

I was having dinner with a friend last night and I brought up the fact that my Fiancee has started waking up at 5:30AM to make sure that she has enough time for breakfast, meditation and exercise before getting ready for work. This is a new habit that she has been working on since the start of the year and she has been very dedicated. I, on the other-hand, remain in bed sleeping until the last possible minute before having to get moving for the day. This usually involves hitting the snooze button on my phone several times.

“Why don’t you just wake up when she does?”, my friend asked. He went on to say that my sleep is being disrupted anyway and the extra rest that I think that I’m getting may just be an illusion. The same goes for the false sense of rest that hitting snooze provides. Instead of hitting that snooze button repeatedly, just get up. You’re really not getting more rested. You’re just shoveling on the anxiety feeling like you’re not getting enough sleep and condensing the amount of time between getting out of bed and when you need to hit the ground running for the day.

I went on to explain to my friend that I feel like I am running full throttle all day and by waking up early I will simply be extending my work day. Extending my day even further could push me into over exhaustion long-term, and I cannot afford a shutdown due to being overwhelmed. It’s important to maintain a balance of emotional, physical, and mental health. I have already been struggling with finding me time to give my mind a rest. My friend had some really good recommendations on this as well. Things that I already knew, but sometimes it helps to hear it from someone else.

The first step to getting out of bed early in the morning is to get to sleep at the right time the night before. Everyone has a slightly different sleep pattern and the amount of sleep that is right for you could be different. My friend said that he needs only 5 hours of sleep, but I need a solid 8 hours or my day will result in a zombie-like version of me just going through the motions. With that said, I would need to be in bed and ready to be asleep by 9:30PM in order to wake up, rested, at 5:30AM.

Below are some tips to help get to sleep at your ideal time:

  • Try to avoid caffeine after 2:00PM. If you are someone that is heavily impacted by caffeine, you may want to avoid it even earlier in the day or avoid it completely.
  • Plan your evening around your predetermined bedtime and commit to it. Everything that you do should help drive you towards climbing in bed on the time that you committed to. This is not necessarily easy and will likely take practice. Try not to get frustrated if you don’t master this right away.
  • Disengage from electronic devices at least one hour before going to sleep (ie. phones, tablets, laptops, television, etc…) I’ve read that the light from the screen could inhibit the creation of melatonin; which is a bodily chemical that helps to promote sleep.
  • Use a pen and paper to write down anything that is one your mind that you want to accomplish tomorrow or things that you don’t want to forget. It’s not necessarily a journal. It’s just a scratch pad to dump your thoughts onto so that your mind can let them go.
  • Listen to sleep mediation. This can be really helpful if you have a lot on your mind. The meditation helps you to focus on your breathing and clear your thoughts and anxiety.
  • Relax and let it happen.

So now that you’ve got a restful night of sleep, now what? My first meetings of the day usually begin promptly at 8:00AM. Waking up at 5:30AM gives me an additional one and a half hours to fill in the morning. The goal is not to start working an hour and a half sooner. This additional time in the morning is meant to be personal time and therapeutic. If used properly, it should be a time of day that you look forward to.

My fear is that by waking up early, I am just extending my work day. My friend gave me some ideas to fill the time productively and ways to ensure that I don’t do myself a disservice by getting straight to work.

Below are some tips to get your day start off on the right foot:

  • Don’t open your email right away. Wait as long as you reasonably can. In my case, I will not log into email until 8:00AM. It’s probably best to find a way to completely leave your cell phone behind until you’re ready to officially start your day.
  • Prepare yourself coffee and breakfast.
  • Write down 10 things about the day using a pen and paper. This could be things that you wish to accomplish or simply things that you’re grateful for. This will help to get you in the mindset to navigate your day and everything that you do consciously and subconsciously will comeback to this list that you created in the morning.
  • Get some form of exercise to get your heart pumping and juices flowing. It’s wonderful how much a little bit of cardio exercise can improve your mood and clear your head (I guess that I should mention that you should reach out to your doctor before starting a workout routine or making a significant change in your physical activity).
  • Read something for 15 minutes that gets you motivated or educates you on a specific initiative that you’re looking to achieve.

The next step is to put this practice in place! The morning me time could be what I have been missing to help maintain better work / life balance. What are some other suggestions on what do with available personal time in the mornings? What are the things that you do which work for you?

Routines: The Struggle is Real

I never quite appreciated the power of having a routine until now. Simple things seem to become overwhelming without having some kind of structure in place.

Throughout my life, I’ve been told about the power of having a routine. This is a skill that I have taken for granted and haven’t given much thought to for so much of my life. Although I have been successful, it turns out that I’m not really great with maintaining a routine and I need quite a bit of improvement in this area. I have always had a predetermined structure and really never gave defining a routine much thought.

My early introduction to routines in my life were based around school. Every day started and ended at the same time. I did not control the day or have any say in when I got started. There was no room for error or I would be waiting outside for a bus that I had already missed.

In today’s work environment with varying work locations and telecommuting, maintaining a consistent routine feels like it can be quite a challenge. How are you helping your associates create routines and personal accountability? How are you keeping yourself accountable to your routine? If you don’t currently have a routine, where do you start?

The book The Compound Effect, written by Darren Hardy, may help provide motivation to make the changes necessary to live the life that you desire. Getting into a routine, like honing any kind of habit, takes baby steps. It’s the little everyday decisions that will give you the life that you desire or lead you to disaster. If you’re feeling that your life is spiraling into chaos and you’re overwhelmed by the thought of how to move forward, I highly recommend picking up a copy of The Compound Effect. I have read it several times and also have the audio book to listen to whenever I need a boost in personal motivation. I’ve even purchased copies of this book to give to friends.

I am curious about whether or not you have a routine. If you have a routine, what do you do and what part of your routine seems to work the best? Do you wake up at the same time every day? Do you do anything differently on weekends or days off? How has your routine evolved throughout your life?

Could you keep up a routine like Elon Musk? Here’s Elon Musk’s morning routine—and his top productivity tip

If you haven’t developed some kind of daily routine, give it a try. You may be surprised by how much your life can change. Don’t miss the bus.

Lessons Learned: Contractors and Friendships

Warning: This post comes from fresh emotions of disbelief, frustration, anger, and disappointment. The identities of the parties involved have not been disclosed so that they can take full responsibility for destroying their own reputations. (they’ll know who they are)

If you have done any kind of research on becoming a real estate investor or have even simply considered having some work done on your own house, then you’ve heard the horror stories related to contractors. We’ve heard all of the stories about contractors abandoning projects, taking the money and running, or spending way over budget; but we simply didn’t have to worry about any of those issues. We have a contractor that makes promises they will deliver, someone that won’t leave us hanging, and someone that will grow with us and our business. We have a friend that is a contractor. It’s going to be the best business relationship ever and we are going to take over the rehabbing world!

Well, that was the plan…

We were in the process of building a dream team. Our contractor was highly motivated. His energy and motivation was contagious and inspirational. We couldn’t wait to settle on a house and begin the demo process. The realtor that we were working with was the contractor’s girlfriend. She was also a very driven person seeking to catapult her career to new heights. The ambition that they brought to the table was a sure win. The cool part was that they were working to build a brand together like a wannabe Chip and Joanna Gaines couple. They have the cute kid to exploit in marketing gimmicks and even bought chickens. The perfect family to compliment the perfect business partnership.

Things started out with a bang. There was a ton of commotion and activity around the rehab as old fixtures and debris was being removed from the house. We would get excited every time that I’d stop by the job site to check out the progress. We have to admit, seeing the result after demo was a bit overwhelming trying to imagine how everything would be put back together again. That worry quickly subsided because, heck, I’ve got the best team looking out for our interests. I’ve got faith in them and we all benefit when the job is complete; the realtor gets the listing and commissions and the contractor agreed to a percentage of the profits, so of course it’s in all of our best interests to get the house rehabbed and on the market as soon as possible.

Until it’s not…

Not long after the demo was complete, there seemed to be a distraction or two. There had been some exterior improvements that really screamed progress. A new roof and siding transformed the curb appeal of the house and created quite a bit of excitement around the neighborhood. We were excited about the new look and could see the potential. We couldn’t wait to see how the improvements inside would turn out. While we were excited about the progress of the rehab, the contractor was increasingly excited about a new house that he was about to build for him, his girlfriend, and the cute kid. The contractor assured me that this would not impact the progress of the rehab since he is a professional and capable of managing multiple projects. Yeah right.

It’s still very painful to reflect on how naive we were to expect things to get better. We would drive to the job site weeks on end without any signs of life or progress. Repeated calls to our contractor would go unanswered. When the calls would be answered, we would get a line of excuses, promises, and revised timelines to completion. We would cut our losses and verbally agree with our contractor that the new timeline is what it is and swallow our frustration. This process happened over, and over, and over, and over again…

Trying not to live with regrets…

We regret not firing our contractor. We regret this decision every single day that work drags on at the rehab. Our weakness was doing what we felt was the right thing in helping a friend. After all, he helped to open our eyes the opportunities and excitement of rehabbing. He had already invested time and energy in the project and we still wanted to give him the share that we had agreed to. We offered to help find sub contractors to complete the work and got lip service that he was working on it and that he will be there to finish the job. We started talking with other contractors to see if they could provide guidance on how to go about getting things finished without our contractor “friend”. Throughout this entire endeavor, we never ever considered abandoning our agreement to give him the negotiated percentage of profit. We continued to look out for his interest in the project that he abandoned. It’s like we cared more about his share than he did.

Gah!!!!!

So this post could go on and on about the specific details of frustration and disappointment that we are facing, but it makes us sick to think about how ignorant our contractor has been that we are trying to complete this deal with some kind of profit. This is a job that should have taken 6 months, but has missed the deadline by almost a year. The optimist in us thinks that at least there is a benefit from a capital gains tax perspective, if there’s even a profit.

In the end, the worst part is being disappointed by the so called friends that we thought we would build our dreams with. Their loss. They have turned into nothing more than shysters. If they continue down the path that they are on then they are destined to have a run in with karma and a few terms like fraud and embezzlement.

We shouldn’t even care anymore…

Honestly, we just want to move on and still make good on all of our promises. However, the contractor expects to underdeliver, break all promises, go over time, go over budget, steal, and then ask for more money… haha!!

Fortunately, we have not let this experience deter us from our real estate endeavors and we are already wrapping up our next project with a new contractor with much more success. Subscribe to our blog to get notifications on our future posts and learn about what we have done differently to ensure that we have chosen a honest contractor. We personally recommend Hawk Rock Construction or Five-Star Contracting which serve Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas.

** Oh yeah. I forgot to mention the ending of the business relationship with the realtor. She completely forgot about us until it was time to list the property so that she could cash in on a commission. She was simply too busy with building her own house and self indulgence to pick up the phone, even once in over a year! Even after giving her a chance for redemption and trying to come up with an amicable resolution, she was arrogant and ignorant to the end. Which reminds me… where’s the buyer that you said that you had? Oh wait, never mind. Don’t care. You’re fired.

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