My Way

29 Apr
April 29, 2015

I’ve always worked hard to do things “my way”. Somewhere in my head is the perfect view of how everything should play out, that usually doesn’t jive with anyone else’s view. It’s a combo of breaking the rules and adjusting social norms to get to an end goal. Usually, it works in my favor. But not always.
I’m close to 35 years old and have never had a real job. I worked in the family business for a long time. It wasn’t always privileged necessarily, though I didn’t fill out an application. I simply started sweeping the floor one day and never really stopped. Somewhere along the line, mostly from my father, I learned what being an entrepreneur looked and felt like. It just made sense to write my own rules just as he had.
After we closed the business I struck out looking for work. I got a few good offers, offers that I was happy to have given the fact that I hadn’t ever had one before… But it just felt wrong to say yes. Five years later, I’m glad I still don’t have a real job.
Here’s the crux- I work in a vacuum. No one around to validate my ideas. No one around to put me in check. Just me and my sometimes ridiculous outlook on the world. That has me second guessing myself at times. I see what other people are doing and don’t understand it. I think I’m doing it wrong, but at the same time it’s working- FOR ME. I’ve learned by now that sharing my thoughts usually has people thinking I’m conceited and full of it, so they stay within. I put them on paper and it gets tossed as a novel thought that won’t last. I start a journal and it gets filled with ideas for the future instead of ways to handle the present.
What does this all mean? I think it means I’m an entrepreneur and an artist. And I’m damn proud of it! Once I get past those doubts ūüėČ

Stream of consciousness…

30 May
May 30, 2013

Some things that have filled my mind today…

-Money is relative. You have more, you spend more. If we had everything we wanted, the things we wanted would be worth less.

-If I stand up straight, my bathroom mirror only covers up to my top lip. Am I tall? Or, is the mirror too low?

-I bought a kitchen trashcan that has a locking lid because my dog likes to dig around in it. But, I often forget to lock it…My fault, or his?

-I’ve given the advice to people before, both paid for or not- If you double your price, do you lose more than half your customers?

-In a constant search for satisfaction, we always look for something better. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy to keep us trying harder.

-I have come to think that I may have ADHD. But, I can’t seem to focus enough to give a damn. Watch this video to get an idea of what I mean.

-I have an affinity for button fly jeans. I may be the only one that ever notices though. It’s not like we pay much attention to the fastening system of others when they are undressing in front of us.

-My fetish for new clothes is rivaled only by my distaste for buying new hangers. And possibly cleaning out my closet.

-Our perception of our surroundings is really the only thing that matters to our well being. Turn¬† blind eye to the negative things and it’s all roses. Focus on them and we are consumed by changing it.

-If I had no worries of money or time, what would I do? I’ve tried to answer this before, and keep changing my mind.

-I own at least a few hundred books. Would I be smarter if I had actually read all of them?

Sleep well :)


Paying off the American Dream

17 Apr
April 17, 2013

In 1984 my parents and I moved in to a house that they had spent the previous few years building. It was the ultimate American Dream. They saved, they borrowed, they sweated to build what would be the base for our family for years to come.

Through divorce, new jobs, my mother and I moving away, and me coming back years later the house always stood there as the base of my life. After high school, the day after my 18th birthday, my dad asked “So, what are you going to do now?”. I’m sure I had a puzzled look on my face, as I hadn’t really thought about it… It only took me seconds to answer. “You’ve got a couple choices”, he said, “You can find a place to move to or I can move and you rent the house from me.”

There I was, 18 years old with no fear in the world as I told him to pack up. I bought the house a few years later in 2002. I then bought another house in 2005. 2006 got me another huge “spec” home in a fancy golf course community along with a monster of a retail building in Reno. During the time I also bought and sold a few cars, went on vacation, bought a ridiculous surround sound system, new appliances, remodeled my house, built a 6 car garage, retaining walls and new lawn, etc… All striving to find the American Dream of my own. It’s all gone now.

But, why am I writing this just now? Well, this morning I got a check for $300 from a third party representative of my old mortgage company. I may be a little skeptical at times, I had to call to make sure it wasn’t fraud of some sort. The pleasant service rep from JP Morgan explained that this check was part of a settlement from 13 major banks to “make up” for unfair mortgage practices and foreclosure proceedings.

When I finally defaulted on the last house, the same that my folks built, business wasn’t that great. I had cut my salary by two thirds. I was also not taking payments from the business on a loan that was made to get our new location built. It was only a matter of time before it all fell apart.

I couldn’t blame anyone but myself. I got all of the home loans using stated income agreements and¬†subordinated debt to make it work. I knew it didn’t make sense at the time, but I also thought I could beat the system by outpacing the interest with my income. The only thing that killed me was knowing that when I first bought the house I lived in, my mortgage was less than $900 a month on a fixed loan with a good rate. I may have been smart to leave it alone, but that wasn’t the American Dream at the time.¬†I had to make more, do more, spend more.

Hakeem, the service rep from JP Morgan, said something today along the lines of “This check is to make up for all of the stress of our foreclosure proceedings and any unfair practices that may have affected our decision.” I guess they see that as being worth $300…

To me, the check is worth a whole lot more. It’s the final nail in the coffin of my old life. The life that had me borrowing from A to pay B. Racking up credit card debt so I could put my work and investment income towards the $16k per month mortgage debt I had on my homes. Putting in 12 hours at the kitchen to go home and work more on the things I couldn’t pay someone else to do. I don’t want that anymore.

These days I live a much simpler life. A little rented house in Midtown, a business that doesn’t require my time every day and a few other businesses that keep my mind working and dreams alive. I’ve learned an invaluable amount about myself in the last few years. There is no way to put a dollar amount on it. But I’ll take the $300 as a bonus :)


03 Apr
April 3, 2013

We make them every day. Some small, some large. Sometimes we don’t even see the ramifications of them when they hit us.

I’ve worked towards a goal for the last few years. The goal being that I would make a significant impact on the food scene in Reno and become the “spokesman” of that effort. This goal has been realized in smaller efforts such as Reno Bites, events I have helped plan, my own catering company and writing for RTT. Lately, some bigger opportunities have presented themselves.

I’m on the cusp of either making a big leap forward, or over committing and putting myself in the position of not having the time or energy to handle it all.

Each opportunity comes with risk. I remember back in elementary school when one of my teachers talked about risk assessment. They told us that the reward needs to outweigh the risk in order to make a good decision. The trick is that sometimes those risks and rewards are unclear. The line is blurred, the gray area is a bit too big for immediate response.

A big part of me loves these moments. By nature, I’m a risk taker. I thrive for tackling the unknown and surpassing expectations. The greater the risk, the greater my satisfaction when it’s passed. Some don’t get it, for me it’s everyday life.

I put this out to the world knowing that the right answers always find their way back to me. The positive, the negative, regardless, I get what I give to the universe. Even if that universe is this little blog in a sea of blogs.

Do I take the plunge and reap the rewards? Or do I take the chance of regretting the missed opportunities? Only time will tell, either way it will be a great ride!

Why am I crazy?!?!

27 Mar
March 27, 2013

Well, maybe I’m not…

Many friends have asked me over the years why I keep so many projects going at once. Many colleagues ask me how I do it. The fact is, that’s just how my mind works. I bought a book about a year ago, “Refuse to Choose!”, and it’s taken me that long to get through about half of it…

The “problem”

Basically, my mind needs stimulation from many different sources at once. The good part is that I can handle it. Or better yet, thrive on it. It’s midnight on a Tuesday right now and I’m jittery with ideas.

For the past few years I’ve wondered what is wrong with me. Why can’t I stay focused on something long enough to get it done? Why do I have so many unfinished projects? I need to finish that website. Keep working on the book. Email so and so about that idea I had. Call that person back about the new venture. Write the business plan for the partnership I talked to Mr. Ed about last month. Finish the twenty blog posts I started right here… The list goes on and on.

The “solution”

An excerpt from the book, when the writer is interviewing someone just like me-

“I’m a fake.” Liam Said. “The real problem isn’t that I have no time. The real problem is that I’d start one of these projects and have a great time, but after I designed it and understood it and gave it a try to see if it really worked, I’d lose interest and walk away.”

“Oh, is that all?” I laughed. “That’s not a problem. You just need to hand your projects off to someone else. Just teach others how to do them. In fact, teach some teachers how to do them so they can keep your idea going. Then you can go start something else.”

His face lit up again, and he told me another of his ideas.

So, that’s what I see as my future. I’m the starter, not the finisher. I need to build a support system of people to carry on ideas and make them happen. I’ve known this for a while, but I never looked for a teacher to pass them onto. I kept looking for someone to be the “manual labor” while I steered the ship.

I need to give up more control, let someone else take the reigns and keep moving forward so I don’t get bored. When it comes to ideas, I have millions. I can tell you why each of them could work, but never get far enough to figure out if they would. Even if I had a success rate of 5%, I could feed an army.

That’s it for now, time to brainstorm!