Catch Your Own Damned Mice – Part 5

I have a friend who is chasing a mouse and not sure he can catch it.  He has a degree in hospitality, training as a chef, has designed a new concept for a restaurant and created something like a dozen spreadsheets to decide how to run it.

I think he’s done everything except market research because he has six different locations in mind including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Hawaii and his current hometown.  In other words, he doesn’t know if those markets will support his vision.  The population, and the potential exists in all those markets but, once he opens the doors, will people flock to his restaurant?

He doesn’t know.

He says he has friends and family with money, but hasn’t approached them yet precisely because of his insecurity.  He isn’t ready to jump in the deep end of the pool, just yet.

What does that have to do with me?  I’m planning to creep up on the solution by starting small and working my way up to a significant momentum.  It will take time, but, once I have a sustainable business model, I will also have some degree of work/life balance.

That’s also the advice I gave my friend.  At the moment, he is still looking over the edge of the diving board.  Behind him are those damned mice.

Copyright 2019 © Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Catch Your Own Damned Mouse – Part 4

I don’t know all the statistics, but I’m guessing that the majority of people who work nine-to-five (or shift work of any kind) are not happy with their jobs.  I can say from personal experience that I have never been completely thrilled about being an employee.

In fact, I got into a little trouble when I was working for a major electronics firm when my supervisor asked me if I loved my job and I said no, because it wasn’t going to love me back.  I guess I was supposed to be thrilled out of my mind to be answering over one-hundred in-bound phone calls a day to fix cell phones.

Not a chance!

At one of my jobs I could walk to work.  There were days when I would get a block from the building and get the most horrendous headache.  I called in sick and walked back home.  When the headaches started happening almost every day, I knew it was time to do something different.

I ended up retiring, moving back to the Puget Sound area and getting into the hotel business.  I was still dealing with people, but I had a bit more control.  In fact, I actually started to, if not love, at least like my job a lot more.

Along the way, I learned a lot about stress and burnout.  As I start moving toward some kind of self-employment project, I am going to find a way to balance work and lifestyle because I no longer want to chase mice.

Copyright 2019 © Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Catch Your Own Damned Mouse – Part 3

Creating a work-life balance is a challenge.  First of all, its because I have no clue what that means.  Every project has demands and, sometimes, those demands get in the way of living a quality lifestyle.  Over the course of my professional life I’ve spent a lot of time driving back to the office to put out a fire I didn’t start but, somehow, became my problem.  Parties and vacations got delayed, followed by very stern looks in my direction.

Becoming self-employed can be even more of a challenge, since everything that happens belongs to ME and only ME.  This is especially the case, since my goal is a one-person shop.  I don’t want employees and I am not all that sure of hiring subcontractors.  Ideally, I create a product or service that I own, control, manage and, with any luck, enjoy.

With all that in mind, I was talking with a friend of mine about truly successful people and their favorite word – NO.  Apparently truly successful people say NO more often than they say yes.  That’s because their time is valuable and when it gets taken up by every little thing they lose sight of the really important stuff – the stuff that actually gets things done.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about different things I can do that will provide a work/life balance.  I’ve been taking stock of my talents, skills and, most important, my temperament.  What can I develop that fits who and what I am (or think I am) that others will pay me for?

Good question.  Answers are in the wind and I’m hoping for a soft breeze.

Copyright 2019 © Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Catch Your Own Damned Mouse – Part Two

The headline for this column comes from watching a cat who had been over moused.  He just wasn’t motivated to do any more chasing and became lethargic and uncooperative.  At one point he even started catering lunches for the mice, which caused him to be fired.

I felt the same way around the time I left my previous hotel project.  The bloom was off the Rose.  To be clear, I was not unhappy with the policies sent down by the owners, just burned out from my commute.  I no longer felt I could continue to contribute effectively.

Was the decision mine entirely?  No.  I was encouraged to leave, but the contributing factor was burnout which lead to more and more mistakes.

Do I enjoy what I’m doing now?  Yes.  A new hotel, an owner who is directly involved on a daily basis and a much shorter commute (thirty-mile round trip instead of eighty). 

My next goal:  Self-employment.

Copyright 2019 © Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Catch Your Own, Damned Mouse!

On Sunday, June 16th exhaustion caught up with me.  I had been living in a small community in Mason county, Washington and driving to work on Bainbridge Island five days a week.  All in, it was an eighty-mile round trip.  It took its toll after nearly four years.

I felt like a cat that had been over moused.  Something like a cat saying “You want the mouse?  Get it yourself.”

I felt the same way.  I enjoy working in hotels and meeting people from around the world.  I get to learn about who they are, what they do and where they want to explore.  In fact, I like it so much, I got another hotel job in short order, much closer to home.

The experience did bring a few things to light, not the least of which is lifestyle.  At the moment, I work three nights a week (I am a night auditor) and have four days to explore other options.  Most of the other options, at least for the past few weeks, have been sleeping and recovering from my burn out.

I have been exploring several options in the past few weeks, but have not moved forward on any of them, at least not yet.  As this column unfolds in the next few weeks, however, I will share what I learn about myself and how I will be changing the direction of my life.  I won’t, for the moment, be writing a bout business ideas or marketing, but I will be exploring self-education and lifestyle ideas.

I am looking for a healthier, more rewarding direction for my life.

Copyright 2019 © Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Validating Who You Are

Creating a business can validate who you are.  You can share your talents, skills, pesonal experiences and accumulated knowledge with those who want to share your journey and are willing to pay you along the way.

Most of us have some kind of talent.  It can be something specific, like acting, writing, carpentry, etc.  It can also be the capacity to learn something new easily and quickly.  Whatever your talent or skill, build a business around it, full or part-time.

Working at a 9 to 5, while necessary to pay the bills, is not always fulfilling.  You are there to do a job according to the rules of the game set down by management.  If you are fortunate, the job can be fun, interesting and even profitable, but who you really are may not be allowed to grow and develop.

I have a friend in Boise, Idaho who worked for a major corporation for several years to pay the bills.  He ran a side business, consulting small and medium-sized businesses about cyber security.  While he had the knowledge and experience, the company he worked for would not consider giving him a chance to use his expertise because he didn’t have the necessary degrees.

When he retired, however, he moved into the cyber consulting business full-time, based on his personal reputation and has developed a substantial client base.

Is starting a side business easy?  Its like anything else we do in life.  Its as easy as we make it.

Starting small, making connections and developing a scalable business model is the best solution.  Create a list of 100 to 200 passionate supporters, people who will buy your products consistently, then build that relationship into a multi-million dollar project (if that’s how far you want to go.) 

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC