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My Trip to Chicago for a Conference

Back in 2005, I was already blogging about a game called World of Warcraft. I started on Blogspot and began writing every day as a way of journaling my way through my levels playing the game, as it’s a game that your character “levels up” as you play and gain experience. My memory was notoriously bad enough to warrant wanting to keep a record of things. I don’t know why, but I’m grateful that I did, as it would later become my career and way I bring in money. Websites and writing, that is, not playing the game.

I soon moved to the WordPress platform when my traffic reached levels that I thought deserved a domain name, so I bought a domain name and got a terrific hosting plan. I distinctly remember how painful it was to purchase an $80/yr plan up front, but it forever changed my life as I continued to write, break my site, fix my site, and grow an audience.

One blog I visited regularly at work was a haven for positive professionals who mused about life topics and business decisions. While I didn’t own a business yet (though I fantasized daily about being my own boss), I found that I had a knack for weighing options and discerning right and wrong in complex ethical situations based on others’ feedback of my comments. The Spring after Beautiful and I were wed – Spring of 2007 – the community around this blog organized a conference in Chicago called SOBCon: Successful Online Bloggers Conference.

Houston, we have a problem

I was flat broke. We were making enough to get by, but a $200 plane ticket, overnight in a Chicago hotel, and a $600 conference ticket were all out of the question. [Read more…]

Flat Out Exhausted: Day 1

Chi-townI’m in Chicago for a 4-day conference on leadership and loyalty. Everyone attending is in some way connected to a website or social media, many of us own our own companies. Some own empires worth millions of dollars. It’s a very exciting group of people to surround yourself with to show everyone, even the most beginner of the group, one thing above all else: you can do it, too.

Everyone speaking at the event began somewhere. One, if not the, most successful speaker in attendance was working in a retail wireless store as recently as 2006. He now commands a daily speaker’s fee that blew my mind the first time I read it. Is that my goal? Yes, and no. I want to connect with people and help them, just as I have been. If that happens to bring me success of that level that equates to financial gain in order to secure a future for my family should something happen to me, that’s great, too. One thing will never change: I am a giver who gives until it’s stupid. That is my nature, but I’ve learned to be wise with my gifts in the last few years, and I look forward to the opportunity to

What is most exhausting about this weekend is that they talk your ears off. Imagine being able to have a conversation with one of your role models. What would you talk about? What would you ask? Let’s explore that after I indulge myself telling you about my day first.

Apple StoreI woke up at 3am to get to the airport for a 6:50 flight that took me an hour back in time, only to start a gauntlet run. I had a client meeting a good 15 minute walk away, carrying my bag and camera. Then they drove me to my next client, and I took the bus back to the hotel… only I had to walk the last 1/4 mile in the 41 degree rain with 20mph winds. Then, I got to my room to charge my phone before our evening social… only to realize I left my cable at home hooked up to my keyboard. I schlepped 0.6 miles each way to the flagship Apple Store with the glass apple window to get a new cable. Cold and wet, I had 20 minutes to charge my phone.

Back to my point… Don’t reserve yourself for mediocrity, let alone failure. What makes the difference is determination, passion, the intangibles of life that you can’t teach, but you can certainly learn through experience. When everything stops being seen through a “they have what I want” lens, you will start to see your own successes. I still forget that more often than I care to admit, but I’m going into tomorrow with that from the start. Sure, I do want what they have, but I’m darn proud of where I stand today to be in this group of people working to make our value propositions to everyone even better.

Don’t let having CF stand in the way of anything you want that you should be able to do in your mind. Be reasonable, but think big and make it happen.

Stay tuned for more exhaustion and insight. The insight may have to wait until I return, decompress, and edit hundreds of photos, but they will come, and you will like what is in store.

I leave you with the only view of the Willis Tower I’ll have since the weather here is not going to make the $17 ticket to the top worth $2.

Willis Tower


Race to Be a Millionaire


Photo credit:

To be a millionaire would be a wonderful thing, but I have much loftier goals than most when they say such a materialistic thing. Stories of millionaires, how they made something of themselves out of nothing, inspire me to no end. I could read and listen to them all day every day… if knowing about them would change anything about my life. What I’ve heard so far has changed me.

The Secret Millionaire

Have any of you seen the new show ‘The Secret Millionaire?” It just started a few weeks ago and is about a millionaire each week who goes undercover in a needy area and finds people who would responsibly use or distribute a gift from them to help others in the community. It’s left me in tears without exception. I want to give that badly. It brings back memories of the last few moments of ‘Schindler’s List’ when he is pulling out his pen, coins, and his ring to save just one more person.

Deep down, I am that person.

However, deep down, I am not ready. I am not ready because I have not provided for my family yet. I would not be the man, the husband, I am supposed to be if I spent our savings on others and left us in a bad situation that put me in the hospital or worse. I would be a failure if something happened to me and Beautiful lost the house and had to move back home. I have a plan. She is helping me with it by taking care of my burdens to allow me to be better able to take care of my own load that is called “staying healthy” and “running and growing our business.”

The race is on

I won’t hide the fact that I am out to get money because it is not the love of money that drives me but simply what money provides in our society. If providing for my family meant that we had to have a lot of friends, you know I’d be a social butterfly, but we all know that’s not how it works. The system is quite simple, actually:
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Let Me Take Care of You

Take Care of YouI’m back to struggling doing too much, or so Beautiful says. One thing that I’ve learned in the last 9 years is that woman is very rarely wrong when it comes to how much work I’m doing. She has questioned if I’m working before (/grin) but I don’t think she’s every been mistaken about me working too much for my own good.

I’ve mentioned (or at least I started writing the post one day) that I’ve wanted to be the sole breadwinner for the family since before we were a family. I always saw her having a job as a means to an end to get us more stable and get the things we needed to settle down to start a family, however that was going to happen. Being self-employed has given me the opportunity to have more freedom in my schedule to work when I at at my best and to take breaks when I need to, even though I know that means more work later. We have definitely taken more time off this month to do what needs to be done, but I am also working much harder when I am working to try to “get ahead.” Now that I am the sole breadwinner, doubt creeps into our conversations recently about the wisdom of relying on my ability to work without getting sick.

Today was one of those days.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to get a job?”

“Absolutely! I’d rather have you here, happy, taking care of the place the way we like to have it, and not complaining about work and always being exhausted.”

“But I’d rather have you healthy than working until you’re sick and we don’t have any money because you are our money. I won’t complain about my job.”

[Read more…]