Highway of Speed Bumps

Last week was pretty brutal; like a high way of speed bumps.  While looking ahead last Sunday I knew it was going to be a tough week, given my intense work schedule and time-consuming objectives.  I had set my mind to plough through it but I didn’t know half of what I was up against.

Lately, the restaurant has been short-staffed.  The week of Valentines Day is one of the busiest weeks of the year.  As expected, I was scheduled to work every single night and doubles on the weekend for a total of 9 shifts.  In addition, my shifts started earlier and ended later than usual, especially Valentines Day.  It’s not so bad to work every night as long as I have enough time during the day to work on my business and an early out or two so to have some time at night to touch base with my client and spend some time with my girlfriend before it gets too late.  Those early nights also allow me catch up on sleep if necessary.  I sort of have a routine and this last week threw it all off-balance.    On top of that, I had four disasters occur.

First, the sewer lines backed up into my apartment on Valentines Day.  The main for the whole property was clogged so whenever the tenants in the main house flushed a toilet or ran water it backed up into our apartment because our apartment sits lower than the house.  Shit literally runs down-hill.  Unbeknownst to them their toilet was running for hours (somebody forgot to jiggle the handle) so ours was over-flowing for hours, flooding our apartment with the foulest mix of shit you can imagine.  It backed up into the shower too.  My girlfriend spent the night at a friend’s house so she could shower for work in the morning.  Thus, I was left to deal with the plumber and clean up the mess.  The only good part was all the puns…can you believe that shit?  Why does this shit have to happen this week?  Yeah, I cleaned that shit up.

The second disaster shouldn’t have been a disaster at all, maybe an incumbrance at best.  My car needed brakes.  I had been putting it off for two months and knew if I didn’t do it soon I would end up with a major problem.  Plus, during my Monday commute I had to slam on the brakes and noticed they don’t work so well in that type of situation.  Enough is enough.  I scheduled it early in the morning so I could still put in a solid day’s work afterwards.  But fuck me runnin’ sideways, an hour and a half job turned into 6 hours!  By the time I got home I had just enough time to take a shower and get to work.

Next day, my girlfriend’s car won’t start…as if I need to spend another day at Firestone.  Jumping it did not work so it could be the alternator.  Hoping it’s just a really dead battery though.  Regardless, I’ve had to shuttle her to and from work the last few days.  Another hour a day gone.

Fourth, my girlfriend’s dog had a seizure yesterday during a conference call with my client.  We had been playing phone tag all week and didn’t get more than 30 seconds in before I had to go.  For that I was frustrated but for the dog I was scarred.  It was Sunday so the vet was closed and I couldn’t afford to take him to an emergency clinic.  Fortunately, he was back to normal before I had to go to work.  However, this is the second time he has done this so we need to figure out why this is happening.  The blood work will be expensive but I can’t let the little guy suffer.

So….Monday was the only normal day I had.  The rest of the week was pretty much sabotaged.  I did not prospect for new clients like I wanted to.  I did not complete any of the medial tasks I promised my client.

However, last week wasn’t a complete failure.  I still managed to notch a few achievements.  While at the body shop I skimmed through an entire book on Wordpress that I’d been meaning to get to since November.  I learned a lot about plug-ins, user management, advanced customization, optimization, and other cool stuff I honestly didn’t understand yet.  I also enrolled two business ideas in a fast pitch event coming in three weeks.  Who knows maybe someone will like one of them.  I checked the block on some monthly financial goals too.  Best of all, what I would I call my crowing achievement in a shit week, I finally persuaded my client to redo the book cover, found a good freelancer to do the job, and looks like we’ll get rolling on it this week.

Looking forward to a smoother road this week.

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“Reschedule? Sure I’d Be Happy To…”

It was going to be a day in hell.  Work meeting at 1:30, pitch meeting at 3:00, work at 5:00, conference call with the author at 10pm.  I expected disaster since everything had to fall just right for me to be prepared and on time to everything.  If the 1:30 runs long which it usually does then I am late for the 3:00 which means I’ll be cutting it close getting to work and if my last table at work is a couple that camps out until a half hour after close I’ll be an hour late on the conference call.

The 1:30 meeting is our quarterly meeting for the restaurant where they present the new specials and policy changes that marginally affect us.  In other words a complete waste of my time except for the free food involved but I have to go if I want to keep my job.

The 3:00 was with the interior design ladies (remember them?).  I didn’t want to reschedule because I didn’t want them to think that I was unprofessional, unprepared, too busy or anything like that.

However, I was unprepared or only half prepared.  I had spent all my time on the author.  I was hoping to wake up an hour early, review what I had done a week ago, polish it up, and draw up a contract so if they like it they can sign on the spot.  I woke up two hours late!  Damnit!   I scrapped putting the contract together and just focused on my pitch.  I started to feel like it was going to be alright and I’ll probably land the job.

Just before I am about to get dressed for the 1:30 pow wow, one of the designers calls and wants to push it back to next week since her partner “had to go on vacation.”  Sounds like bullshit since nobody has to go on vacation.  Nor do they spontaneously plan and embark on a vacation within 1 week.  A red flag would’ve gone up when we set up the meeting last week that hey I am on vacation next week.  Either something awful happened, like a family death, or I got bumped for a meeting with a client.  Either way someone is a bad liar.  But what do I care?  This is best thing that could’ve happened!  Hell yeah we can reschedule for next week!  See ya Tuesday!

The 1:30 meeting was thus refreshing because I didn’t have to stress about whether my bosses tangents would run us long and it was far less stressful than the home office.  By the way, it ended at 2:30 on the dot for the first time in a long time so I would’ve made it on time to the 3:00.  Instead I use the time to prepare for my conference call with the author after work.

Work is dead, meaning slow.  I don’t get any campers or any tables of any sort at the end of the night so when I’m cut I get out of there lickity split at 9:30.  That never happens.

Turns out the author was entertaining visitors so we didn’t connect until 11pm so I got to spend some time with the girlfriend watching the Savannah episode of American Idol, which made me a little embarrassed to be living here with the seemingly high ratio of nut jobs….

The call went well.  He likes where I’m going with things and we sold our first book.  Couldn’t have been a better day.  Things just don’t fall my way like that.

My New Years Resolution(s)

I’m generally not big on New Years resolutions because I tend to set goals for myself throughout the year, both short-term goals and long-term goals.  I reflect on my goals often and they evolve as things change.  None of my goals ever align with the one year time frame a resolution is supposed to be.

However, this year is a bit different since the start of my social media marketing business, my drastically altered lifestyle, and finally getting caught up on bills are all coming together right now.  Moreover, 2011 really sucked for me and I am not going to hope for a better year in 2012.  I’m going to make it a better year!  With that in mind, here are my resolutions.

1)  Have 10 paying clients by 2013.

2)  Pay down my debts.

3)  Start saving for an engagement ring this year; at least $25/month.

4)  Get social again.  Network to meet new people and reconnect with friends I’ve abandoned the few months.

These were already goals of mine to begin with but I’m going to approach them differently.  The first goal needed a number.  I think ten is a good one.  It’s attainable and if reached will really help me with goals 2, 3 and 4.

Goal 3 needed a deadline.  I keep putting it off.  This year I will start saving.  I would like to put a higher dollar amount to it but at this point $25/month will be a start.

Admittedly, goals 2 and 4 are weak but I don’t want to set some grand target and get discouraged by slow progress in the first few months because I’m still broke.  Also, I don’t want to set the bar too low because as my financial situation improves I will be able pay off more debt and attend more get togethers.  So I started a list of monthly goals and put it on the fridge to keep me focused and accountable and to allow for adjustments as I go.  My goals for January are to pay down $100 of credit card debt, join a new group, land my first paying client, and put $100 into savings.  That will be a modest but good start.

Some of my old friends called yesterday needing a sixth man on their dart team so I joined.

Join a New Group:  CHECK

Putting It Off (cringe)

I have decided to suspend my sales efforts until after the holidays.  I intended to go out once more this week but a bunch of piddly life stuff got in my way or rather got the best of me depending on how you look at it.  With the Christmas trip baring down on us we’ll need every dollar we make between now and then.  Filling up with a tank of gas to drive around town talking to overwhelmed, uninterested business owners seems like a bad idea.  My dollar and time will be better spent after the holidays.  In the meantime, I am learning everything I can about the facebook timeline and building my connections on all my social media pages, both business and personal, so Digital Whale can fire out of the gates at full speed on Jan. 2nd.

At least that’s my rationale.  Somewhat, I feel like I am just sabotaging myself with pathetic excuses disguised as rationale.  Am I just being lazy or even worse, am I scared?

Monday

After working two doubles over the weekend I fell behind on keeping up with all my social media.  My goals for the day were to catch up, post some content, prospect a dozen local businesses by checking out their facebook pages, and if I had time left over I was going to improve Digital Whale’s facebook and google +.

Usually my girlfriend works during the day which allows me to fully concentrate on my work.  Today she had the day off and works in the evening like I do.  I got almost nothing done.  I found myself unable to focus…..I was distracted by her beauty….actually I was distracted by her moving all around the tiny apartment, in and out doing laundry, asking me questions about her homework, sitting next to me, then sitting at the counter, then next to me, then at the counter, and blowing her nose every five minutes because her allergies are acting up today.  It took me an hour to get through a 12 page article.  I just about blew up when she pulled out the vaccum.

She was just trying to do chores that needed to be done but I was frustrated that I couldn’t get anything done.  It started as a discussion but turned into an argument.  Not a shouting match, we rarely do that, just both of us getting more frustrated that we can’t get done what we want to get done.

The reason I am writing about this is because the people closest to you cannot fully understand the rigid self-discipline and unwavering focus it takes to build a successful business unless they have done it themselves.  They will at times create more obstacles for you, albeit unknowingly, but it is ultimately up to you to do what it takes to get the job done.  At the end of the day, I have no one to blame but myself for my lack of productivity and I know my girlfriend supports me.

So much for today. At least I managed to catch up and post this.  Time to go to work.