Category: Uncategorized

Burst of Creativity

I have been exploring ideas to implement at the old Lebanon Paper Box building. There have been a number of different influences which have helped to stir some creative thinking around how that space can be best utilized. Working through the day to day operations, it can sometimes be easy to get lost in the details of how things work versus dreaming from the clouds and not letting tactics snuff creative thought.

self storage lockerThe first idea is geared more towards generating higher revenue per square foot. A majority of the building is currently rented out for long term storage, but there is an opportunity to increase the amount of rent that is being charged per square foot by installing climate controlled self storage units. These units can be setup fairly inexpensively and I would easily be able to add HVAC since the building is wide open.

 

video project on buildingA spontaneous evening at the Downtown Lounge in downtown Lebanon after some work on the building led to bumping into some folks very passionate about the community. The discussions quickly went into a brainstorm of ideas on how to bring more life and community around the area of the building. Ideas ranged from planting grass and creating a green space, projecting artwork on the side of the building during first Friday, advertising, and community movie nights. I am excited about opportunities to be a part of helping to improve the surrounding communities.

The most exciting idea that I am working through at the moment is to develop one of the courtyards around the building to be able to host business events, community events, and possibly even weddings. This effort has the opportunity to be a huge win for the city of Lebanon to give people another place to go and hang out. I envision there being entertainment, breweries, food trucks, and so much more! The photos below are a glimpse of the inspiration for the development of that space. I will be dedicating a blog post specifically to the ideas around this project.

 

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Finding Balance

Finding and maintaining balance can be a real struggle. You’re not alone. We’re not alone. I’m not alone. What are some strategies you use to maintain balance in your life?

Whew! What a summer. It’s hard to believe that it’s already creeping towards the middle of August. I just heard a commercial on the radio today about pumpkin spice… whatever, so that’s my cue to know that fall is just around the corner. This summer has been a wild ride between getting married, going on our honeymoon, and working on our various projects, it has been a whirlwind.

As I sit here writing this post, I begin to think about what I’ve accomplished this summer, but at the same time it feels like there’s so much equally neglected. Everyone talks about balance and staying grounded, but is there such a thing and how is it possible to stay accountable?

Take for instance this salad that I’m about to eat. It seems pretty balanced right? That’s until you factor in the huge bowl of ranch dressing that is about to destroy the balance. No big deal, right? The dressing makes the salad taste so much better. However, these small exceptions compile and so does all of the responsibilities that surround us. One day you are feeling pretty good about how you’re doing, but then you look up and realize that everything is burning around you.

Summer is already wrapping up, but I’ve been promising myself to eat healthy and get into shape. It’s sometimes just simply too easy to dump the ranch dressing on things and ignore reality. Perhaps tomorrow is the day that I make it to the gym… in the meantime, at least I chose a turkey burger for dinner tonight instead of a cheeseburger… tiny steps.

We’ve got to take care of our families, careers, and businesses, but we also have to take care of ourselves. Take a second to live in the moment and do something for you today.

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.

861 Mandy: Kitchen

After a bit of a hiatus on the rehab project at 861 Mandy, we are back to full swing. We had take our eye off the ball with the recent purchase of the Paper Box Factory in Lebanon and prioritizing jobs for our customers. The plan is to get this house on the market within the next 6 weeks for the Spring buying / selling season. Fortunately, the market in central Pennsylvania has been highly competitive and continues to strengthen.

Over the past week, we have been hanging trim and finishing the kitchen floor. We also had our friends over at cabinets.com work on a kitchen design for us. The kitchen drawings below will closely resemble the kitchen once it is installed. The only major difference will be the color of the flooring. We have installed a light grey ceramic tile which will pair very nicely with the white shaker style cabinets.

 

This week we are working on finishing the trim and hanging the doors. This is the part of the project that really excited me as everything starts to come back together! It is starting to look like a home again and will be a joy for the new homeowner! I’m looking forward to wrapping up this project and posting our “after” photos.

 

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.”

 

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