From the Blogposts » inbox

Fatboy Business Minute: Believe


It’s time to update everyone on the biggest part of my life: our business. Things have been hopping ever since I spent some time with my mentor and coach in December. He flew down to speak at a local conference, so I picked him up at the airport and spent the better part of the day with him. We agreed on a trade: he equips me with tools and knowledge that boosts the business and I outfit him with a new website design that rocks his world and brings in more e-mail subscribers than his current rate.

So far, so good. December was something ridiculous – like $40 off our monthly record (set in June 2011) – and January was good, followed by our best February ever. Best by a wide margin. Why?

I believed it would be good.

No, this isn’t some new age crap that you get off late night infomercials. I’m talking about real, tangible goodness that happens when you believe. You see, believing isn’t about positive thoughts.

True belief implies action.

If you don’t believe something, it won’t have an impact on your actions. If you don’t believe you’ll get a promotion, job, raise, good doctor’s report, you won’t act like you will. Things start to slide. You’ll come in late, slack off, give an attitude. I know! I’ve been there. I’ve done that. You think you’ll go on IVs, so it’s okay to skip some meds or not do everything you can – be it resting or exercising – to kick the bug. I’ve got that t-shirt as well.

February 2009, we did well only because it was our first month and I had people lined up to work with. February 2010, we didn’t even make enough to pay the mortgage, let alone everything else. February 2011 wasn’t much better; just enough to pay the mortgage. I had some sort of February curse. All we could think of was post Christmas bills and people saving up for taxes – people who pay for my services generally owe a lot of taxes.

I told the entire previous paragraph to my coach over  a coffee and a hot chocolate. I started to crack a smile halfway through and capped my sob story off with a laugh. “Don’t think like that! You can’t let the past dictate your future!”

Read that again. “Don’t think like that! You can’t let the past dictate your future!”

I had been planning for months for February like some international freeze on my reputation and projects was going to go into effect on February 1st. We’d trained ourselves to squirrel away funds from as many of the previous months as possible to ward off yet another bad February. Knowing February was coming had me feeling guilty over spending $8 on some food at an industry meetup because I was taking a square meal off our table when the famine hit.

“Don’t think like that! You can’t let the past dictate your future!”

I set it in my mind that we were going to have a good month, but it was still going to take some work. There had to be some plan in place to generate interest that wasn’t there in past Februaries and a plan to land enough work to avoid digging into our reserves. We did that, and people came. It was just like in Field of Dreams: we built it and they came.

What are you not believing in that you deserve? What will it take for you to believe it will come to fruition?

Third Anniversary: Petersen Media Group

Petersen Media Group logoPetersen Media Group was started 3 years ago today, on Groundhog Day 2009. It was the biggest fork in the road we’ve had since getting married in 2006. We’ve had many ups and downs in the last 36 months ranging from 2 months of surplus to draining our savings account and having no idea when the next person was going to come along who wanted my services. Everything has been a test of our determination and deep-rooted faith that we are doing what we are meant to do in this season of our lives.

Doing what I love in service of those who love what I do.

In 2009, I served 58 clients and went up to 66 clients in 2011 with a total of 144 in my Freshbooks online accounting. I ran a 36-month report and learned that our gross revenues equal 63 months of the last salary I had, though our expenses self-insuring are much higher than before.

In 2009 and 2010, Beautiful was still working her office manager job at a family-run manufacturer. In fact, they gave her a raise on Groundhog Day 2009 when they learned that she left early the day before because I’d just lost my job. That turned out to be her last raise because beginning Feb. 1st, 2011, she stayed with me all day every day to be the much misunderstood and seemingly socially awkward role of “housewife.” You’d better read her account of quitting her job and doubling her salary to understand how valuable it is to stay home before having kids, which will be right along as soon as our paperwork is approved.

In June, we took a week to go to California to see her sister get her Master’s on the way to getting her doctorate in psychology. That sure was a fun week because it was my first time to California. In September, we made a rush, semi-emergency road trip to stay with my grandparents for 2 weeks when my grandpa wasn’t doing very well. Six weeks later, we returned to spend 2 weeks again because my parents were visiting and we had booked plans to spend our 5th anniversary at Niagara Falls!

This has been the best year – by far  of my “long and storied CF life” and now that some particular trials we faced are behind us, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Exhausted, But Who Cares?

Relax manTuesday night we left home to go to the airport for a pick-up run at 10pm, the flight landed at 11:45, and we got home at 12:30. No problem!

Wednesday night, we left home at 10pm, left my in-laws’ house to go to the airport at 11:45, the flight landed at 1:30am, and we got home at 2:30. Ugh, starting to feel tired. I slept in until 9:30 but woke up without an alarm.

Last night, we left home at 5pm for dinner and an evening, got home at 10:30, and I got up at 9:30.

I feel like crap. At some point in the night, all of the cookout food I ate started to take its toll on my sensitive small intestine. I gained 3 lbs eating yesterday, but by this afternoon, I’d lost 5 1/2 lbs thanks to Mr. Intestines. Days like this make me think I should just munch on carrots and cucumber slices vs. cookout food that tastes so much better and has so many more calories.

Tell me if this sounds familiar to your CF gut experiences:

  • Sort of wake up or fully wake up in the middle of the night with a combination of cramps and discomfort, and either try to sleep some more or go to the bathroom and go back to bed.
  • Finally get up and go to the bathroom, but still feel like crap.
  • Skip eating breakfast and/or drink your breakfast.
  • Feel fine after lunch, completely screwing up your meal schedule.

Ring a bell?

Owning our business = wonderful

Anyway, feeling like this made me ultra thankful to be my own boss today. For one thing, I slept in 3 days in a row and started working when I felt like it. Today, that was 1:30pm. [Read more…]

Time to Take a Real Vacation

West Bay BeachLife is getting to me. Life, not as in just the hum-drum of living life like an ant in an ant farm, but life as a soldier doing battle every day against all odds when it seems like every force that can be mustered against us has been. We are ready for a break. Ready for a reprieve.

We’ve discussed my workaholism on the site before and how its driven by a deep sense of duty to provide for us, even in the event of a catastrophe, so I feel like I’m working against a clock with an unknown buzzer. None of us knows when our or THE buzzer is going to sound, but for me, I know my work is not done. But…

I can’t do that if I’m worn out, and I’m worn to a nub right now.

We’ve been trying to meet with our long-time friends who have been our marriage mentors since we just got married, 4 1/2 years ago now, but this and that kept postponing our time together. We finally got to sit down with them last night and get some much-needed encouragement. I don’t know what it is about hearing it from others with more perspective due to longer years “in service,” but it was what I needed to hear as the man bearing all of this weight.

I heard that rallying Beautiful home from her awful job when we did was a calculated act of love for her, far more than a foolish move that left us in worse financial standing that I had figured in countless math scenarios in my head over the previous 6 months. I heard that we have come down from a mountaintop experience this Spring and now we are in the valley, but the valley is where you truly become strong.

I don’t like the valley. I don’t like it at all. I don’t like the person I am sometimes while in the valley, nor am I as liked when I’m here.

After every valley, though, is what? Another mountaintop! We are about to do great things, bold things, things I could not have imagined for ourselves when we were planning on getting married, and I will not cower in fear of failure any longer. Those attacks will not work on my psyche any longer because they are not the message from my Father.

I have the world’s best cheerleader who believes in me, in what I’m doing, in what I’m capable of, and as a man who always does his best to make sure everything is alright. Not everyone has someone like that in their corner, so I am blessed. Now we have the opportunity to go to California for an entire week to celebrate a Master’s graduation, show me where everyone grew up, and spend some time at a resort recharging our batteries.

I will only do things that are fun (aside from my non-fun treatments) or vitally urgent for the running of the business, and even then only when it is not a distraction or inconvenience to others so that we can all enjoy our time. As exciting as Chicago was for me, it only ramped me up more until I hit total burn-out and I’ve lost my center.

I’m going to come back different.