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A colleague of mine shared the above infographic with me about the cost of the T.S.A.. As a VERY infrequent traveler, I actually experienced the T.S.A. for the first time since 2000 this last October (2011). While it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve had to endure in my life, it definitely sucked. I do value the purpose of the T.S.A., but as the infographic suggests, I think privatization of these services would much better for tax payers, and the economy. Shot me a holler on your thoughts in comments below.
I have always been a hard worker and Type A personality. I am not ashamed to say that, nor do I feel as though I’m being egotistical when I say it. The fact of the matter is, I work much more than the average person for many reasons:
- It helps me provide a good life for my family
- It allows my wife to stay home with my beautiful girls and raise them, rather than having them sent to daycare
- I am the majority owner of a small business marketing firm with a very lean staff, so I have to wear several hats at once
- Although I manage the business, I am still one of the primary technicians in the business as well
- My future livelihood is dependent on the continued growth and success of my business
- I truly enjoy what I do… most of the time
When I say that I wear many hats in my business, I really mean it…
I head up business development, marketing, strategic planning, sales, application development, mobile marketing/development, print marketing and customer service. I solely run HR, AP, AR, Accounting, Operations, Graphic Design, and a whole slew of other areas of the business. Overall, I run our business. That takes more time than I can actually commit to it every day. It’s not that I am a micromanager and just can’t let go of some of the responsibilities. In fact, I would love to hand off some of the roles I play to someone else. The problem is, there just isn’t anyone else to hand them to. We raw a very lean business and need to stay that way.
Bottom line, I love my job.
Being the Working Parent Can Really Suck
My girls are still very young at 2 and 4. To them, there is no difference between a Wednesday and a Saturday. They struggle with the notion that I have to work most of the week, and get 2 days a week to be with the family all day. Add to that the occasional weeknight that I have to attend a meeting or event and it really makes things more difficult.
The biggest challenge with this situation to me is that I just can’t change it. I have to work at least 5 days a week. I am the majority owner, so I need to attend most of the meetings and events. Frankly I work 7 days a week, just not all day, all 7 days.
A Home Office Helps & Hurts
You would think that it would make the weekday/weekend confusion easier since my business is run out of my basement and the girls get to see me much more than if I had a standard 9-5 job, but I have found that it actually makes things worse.
To them, it’s like I’m choosing to be downstairs working over spending time with them. Even worse, their mommy chooses to be with them all day instead of working. Now, I have tried to explain over and over to them that I would much rather spend all day with them like their mommy does, but I don’t think it fully sinks in.
What’s ironic about this whole situation is that I actually get to see the girls much more throughout the week than if I worked a normal 9-5 job…
Bumps/Bruises, Bedtime, Etc… – They Want Mommy
When you spend 10+ hours a day with your kids while the other parent is working, you have the great fortune of becoming their best friend. It does come at a price though, because it’s rare that they want their daddy to do many of the common parental tasks… which can really be painful as the working parent.
This part is easily the hardest aspect of being the working parent for me. My wife gets to have a very strong and special relationship with my girls that I jut cannot achieve, unless I quit my job and we all live in a cardboard box together…
Mommy Needs A Break
I have a huge appreciation for the amount of time my wife spends with our girls on a daily basis. At their ages, they are a full-time job ++ for sure. They always need entertained, fed, etc… It’s a lot of work.
At the end of my work day when I could use a half hour to clear my thoughts and regroup, I really need to be occupying my girls. I will admit to not always doing the best job of it, but I do try.
To make matters worse, if the girls are having a bad day, they tend to not want to start playing with me. They want their mommy. This frustrates my wife, and hurts me, no matter how much I understand why they do this.
I Don’t Have the Solution
Although I really wish I had a solution to this challenge, I just don’t. I would love to hear any advice you have in the comments below.
If you know me, you know that I am the majority partner for protocol 80, Inc., a small business marketing firm. With a very small team, we do very big things for our clients. I love working with small businesses because I work for and run one myself. I can relate to our clients and love setting them up for success online.
One common theme I hear over and over again is that there are just not enough hours in the day. I not only hear it, I experience it myself. There are 100s of things that I would like to do on a given day, but it just won’t happen. Things come up, deadlines arive, employees need managed, fires need extinguished… you get the point.
So, I decided to put together my top 5 tools for getting just a little more done every day.
1. Android Phone Smartphone
You need a phone anyways so why not make it count? I istarted out many moons ago using a Windows Mobile phone, switched to a Blackberry and finally switched to the Android platform. I’ve had the Motorola Droid and now have the Motorola Droid X.
Having a powerful smartphone gives me access to a slew of applications that make me effective no matter where I’m at. In fact, I’m writing this post entirely from my phone.
Aside from the obvious apps like text messaging and email,my phone allows me to blog, check and manage my calendar, stay active in social media for my business, get navigation and directions through the built in GPS, and even listen to audiobooks.
Invest in a smartphone and training if need be. Knowing how to use the tools is half the battle. Once you do, you’ll wonder how you survived without one.
I will admit to never having enjoyed spending tine with a book. Maybe I have A.D.D. or something, but I can almost always think of something I’d rather be doing. On the flipside of that, I do come across a lot of business books that sound terrific. If left to buying the book and reading it, the books would collect dust. Instead, I go to Audible.com, buy the audiobook, and enjoy listening to the book rather than reading it. I can then multi-task while listening to the book. It gives me something of value to do on long drives to see clients, or mowing my lawn. I only buy audio books now.
In my industry, things change daily. Keeping ahead of the changes and knowing the data for the industry is key when trying to help our clients. While I initially saw zero value in Twitter, I can’t imagine living without it now. I check twitter more than I do my email! There are so many great links shared through twitter that I could literally spend all day just reading the blog posts that get sent around.
With the overload of great articles I see linked to on twitter, and in google reader, I could literally spend all day reading great resources. In my business, knowledge is really power.
I obviously can’t spend all day reading (hence #2 above), but I can do what everyone else does and read my paper over coffee. That’s what Instapaper does for you. As you read tweets, get emails and see new articles in your res reader, you can mark them to be read later. Then instapaper keeps a list and downloads the articles for later reading. This is super valuable for me because my industry is very data driven, and new reports and articles are released daily on trends and effectiveness of our service offerings.
With the huge focus in my business on generating leads, it’s vital to have a crm in place to track leads and customers at various points in the sales process. We’ve tried free crms and less expensive ones but at the end of the day, salesforce seems to be more of what we need in my business.
Once you are familiar with the jargon and setup of their crm it is a great tool to monitor your pipeline and remind you of who you should be talking to next.
So that’s it. My 5 reccomended resources for busy small business owners.
I’d love to hear about any resources you rely on in the comments below!
As I just wrote, I finished Insanity a little over a month ago. It was intense! It was also a bit monotonous after the 1st month. I decided when I was done, that I would NOT continue doing it, but rather try something new.
I’ve seen the infomercial and heard others talk about it so I was already pretty familiar with the workout. It seemed like a great next step after Insanity. With Insanity, the real focus seemed to be building your cardio and shedding pounds. P90X on the other hand seems to be a good combination of cardio and strength training.
Others have told me how much more enjoyable of a workout P90X is, so I started mentioning it to my best friend/co-worker.
My friend and I decided that we would give P90X a shot. So far, I really enjoy it. It is a nice combination of cardio and weight training. I also like the “instructor” more. He’s humorous, and easier to follow. He also explains many of the movements better than the Insanity instructor.
Two Weeks In
I’ve only been doing P90X for about 2 weeks, but I am really enjoying so far. I’ve lost 5 more pounds, and can notice the strength difference already. I’m looking forward to finishing the full program.
That’s right, I’m finally done! I’ve actually been done for over a month now, but have been slacking on updating my blog. I have to say, this workout was crazy! It took me a bit longer than the scheduled amount of time because I missed a couple days here and there, but overall my results were pretty good.
My biggest goal was to reduce my gut! It worked. I’m still not exactly where I want to be, but I lost 25 pounds.
My Thoughts on Insanity
Honestly, it was the hardest workout I have ever done. Hence the name… It really improved my endurance, which was very noticeable at my morning basketball games. Losing 25 pounds was great too!
After the first month, when the longer workouts started, I actually started to get bored with it. That was a real struggle. There were many days when after 40 minutes, I could definitely finish the workout, but it was getting a bit monotonous… I will admit to having stopped the DVD at 40-45 minutes many times because I was getting bored.
If you are looking to shed some pounds, and you are the type of person that can fight through the initial pain, I think you should try it. I would recommend making sure you have excellent shoes (cross-trainers, or something a little more supportive than running shoes), drink lots of water, follow the nutrition guide, exercise on a softer surface (to reduce impact of some of the moves), and definitely stretch.
I’ve always wondered why every time I need to buy ink for my printers, it costs nearly as much as my printer. I guess more accurately, it irritates the heck out of me! Well, I found an excellent solution to overpriced print cartridges and it has nothing to do with refilling them manually!
It’s a great site, with great customer service and FREE shipping: DataBazaar.com.
Here’s How You Save
When you land on the site you’ll find a yellow box in the top-left corner that looks like this:
First: Select the Brand, Type, and Model of your printer, and click FIND SUPPLIES
Second: In the search results, scroll to find your print cartridge in the list, then click on it
Third: Scroll below the product details to the section labeled ‘Related Items’ as shown below:
Notice how they list a “Compatible HP 25 Ink Cartridge” under the original. This is the one to buy!
Don’t Be Nervous, Just Do It!
I have been buying from them for 3 years now and have NEVER had an issue. The cartridges always work perfectly. So, what are you waiting for?
My day was just made! I was leaving an appointment in downtown Bradford, when I saw a Ferrari and an Audi R8 go by. I did a double-take! You never see cars that nice in Bradford. So, being the weirdo that I am, I started following them to see if they were going to park somewhere. After about 2 miles, I noticed that there were several cars:
- Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano in Black
- Ferrari F430 Convertible in Red
- Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 in Pearl White
- Lamborghini Murcielago LP 640 Convertible in Yellow
- Audi R8 in Silver
I kept following them, though it was very difficult to keep up. Finally, we ended up at Willow Bay. I found out that they were part of a program called World Class Driving where you pay a fee to get to drive the cars for 30 minutes each. They chose Willow Bay as their meeting place because the roads out there are fairly open and free. Here are some pics I took with my phone:
I’m sure by now you’ve heard about the recent privacy issues with Facebook. If you aren’t clear on exactly what the issues were, here’s a rundown, followed by my thoughts:
- Very confusing privacy settings
- Providing very detailed user info to advertisers: Mashable story
- Recent Malware and scam problems through account hijacking
Zuckerberg and the Crew Address the Issues
What Are the Users Really Going To Do?
Facebook is so huge across an enormous demographic. Although there are some privacy concerns, what are the users really going to do? Jump ship and join a different social networking site that has similar or the same features with as much popularity? Oh wait… There isn’t one! That’s right. We’re stuck!
Unless a Competitor Capitalizes on Facebook’s Issues
With all of the negative press as of late, I’m surprised we haven’t seen a publicly traded media company or newspaper start a new social network aimed at providing the same experience as facebook, without the privacy concerns. Yes, it’s a lot of work, and yes, it’s a lot of money, but these companies have the man-power and certainly have the money.
I think that the FB crew has grown too comfortable as THE site for social interaction. I think a strong competitor could steel some serious market share it was advertised correctly and highly integrated with current apps (maybe gmail, major mobile platforms, etc…).
So, those are my quick thoughts. Feel free to tell me why I’m wrong in the comments, or share your opinion. If you start the next big social media site, please at least leave a credit in comment in the source code :).
I’ve been at it for 2 weeks now and I have to say, it’s easily the hardest workout I’ve ever done. It’s even harder than conditioning for high school basketball. You know it’s tough when it’s hard to get through the pre-stretch warm-up. That being said, my cardio is already improving.
Ultimately, I’m trying to lose weight so why don’t we start there? In 2 weeks, I have lost 10 pounds! I can feel the weight dripping off of me with every workout.
With these results and the fact that Insanity continues to get harder as the program goes on, I think I’ll be able to hit my goal weight by the time I reach the end of the 60 days.
I should disclose that I also play basketball 3 days a week for an hour in the morning. I still do my Insanity workout on those days too.
Since starting Insanity I have also cut my calories. I found the way to calculate your caloric needs to maintain your current weight:
Start with your basal metabolic rate (BMR – amount of energy your body needs to function):
655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)
Add Activity to your BMR Value:
- If you are sedentary : BMR x 20 percent
- If you are lightly active: BMR x 30 percent
- If you are moderately active (You exercise most days a week.): BMR x 40 percent
- If you are very active (You exercise intensely on a daily basis or for prolonged periods.): BMR x 50 percent
- If you are extra active (You do hard labor or are in athletic training.): BMR x 60 percent
Your result is the number of calories per day you can consume to MAINTAIN your current weight.
How to Cut Weight
Take your calculated maintenance calories and subtract 500. You can subtract more but make sure you stay above 1000 calories if you are female and 1200-1300 if you are a male.
Why you ask? I recently learned about our body’s starvation mode. Apparently it’s roots go way back to when we were hunters and gatherers and had stretches of time when we didn’t have food.
Essentially, when your body is deprived of a certain level of calories for a period of time, it starts to reserve the calories we eat as fat and eats away at muscle tissue instead. It’s like a survival mode for our bodies. Your metabolism drops in this mode making it harder to burn calories as well.
The exact caloric input that is required to avoid this mode is not known and varies for everyone. Some signs that you are in it include:
- Weight Loss stalls
- Lack of hunger at meal time even though they’ve had hardly any calories
- Consistently tired even with acceptable levels of sleep
I actually tried going on about 1100 calories a day for about 4 days and it wasn’t too bad. I did however notice that the weight wasn’t coming off as fast as it should. Make sure you eat enough!
How Many Calories to Burn to Lose Weight
The principle is pretty strait forward. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. But just how many calories should be burned? To lose 1 pound, you need to burn about 3500 calories. So, if you burn about 1800 calories more than you consume in a day, you should lose about a half a pound.
So far in my dieting, I have found that to be very accurate.
Counting Calories Sounds Like It Sucks!
In order to find out if you’re burning enough calories in a day and staying in your caloric range, you obviously have to know how many calories you’re consuming and burning. Doing this manually is an option, but not one I would recommend. There are many sites online that will allow you to track your calories and exercise. The problem is, you don’t always have your computer with you…
For me, that meant that I needed an option that I could access on my smartphone. The site and FREE service that I decided to go with is FatSecret.com.
I liked this service because they have an Android app, iPad app, and a web version. The service let’s me track every meal and drink I consume, as well as every exercise I do. It even tracks things like desk work.
I am very committed to entering everything into this app. It also allows you to record your weight progress.
I will continue to write updates as I can!
Last September Lilly started taking her first ever dance class, and she loved it. It’s no surprise to me or anyone that spends time around Lilly. She always wants to dance! We even have a huge collection of dance outfits for her to wear.
After about 9 months of classes, she finally had her recital tonight and I was sooo proud! Here are some pics and a video of her performance. I would like to say thank you to Joe and Kathy Jobe for allowing Amanda and I to use 2 of their front row seats. The video and pics would probably not be worth sharing if we hadn’t been so close!