Wearing All my Lives at Once

Most days, I get up around 5:45am and I’m at the gym by 6:15/6:30am.  I return home around 8am and on Tuesdays and Thursdays; I run around in a rush to get ready to get to school since my first class is at 9:30am.  On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I’m not in as much of a rush but I always have things to do before I leave the house to make it to class by 1pm. On Tuesdays, I’m at school from 9:30 am to 9pm.  On Thursdays, I skip my French class in the afternoon to rush to the Marine Corps base, put my uniform on and fill my billet as the S-6 for Intel Support Battalion for HQ, Marine Forces Reserves. Every moment that I’m not at school or on base I’m studying, doing homework, or doing social media consultant work for Go Local NOLA or making an attempt at marketing The Loop of Confidence to get  clients.

My life right now is not just hectic…it’s quite honestly WEIRD!

My life feels like I’m wearing all of my lives at once…

  • Student
  • Social Media Consultant
  • Entrepreneur (The Loop of Confidence)
  • Marine (USMCR)

The plus side of my life at the moment is that for the most part I’m managing to make ends meet while “working for myself”. At the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, I lived off my savings which was followed by living on debt which eventually lead me to having to take full time billets in the Marine Corps.  But for the first time, since leaving the Marine Corps in 2005, I’m squeezing by without having to be full time in the Marine Corps.  I’m making it thanks to the living stipend that’s part of the 9/11 GI Bill, doing consultant work and drilling in the USMCR.  I hate being 33 years old and having to pinch every penny…particularly since I envisioned I’d be a millionaire by now but I’m focusing on the victory (being free of full time employment and self-sufficient) not the deficiencies.

What irks me the most about my current situation is that in order to make ends meet, the majority of my time must go towards the things that generate income which leaves little time to dedicate to The Loop of Confidence.  Most entrepreneurs end up in this similar situation. Entrepreneurs know what they love, and are passionate about…what they wish to dedicate all their time to but have to be realistic about paying the bills and making ends meet.  I no longer have the luxury of savings to support me while I pursue my entrepreneurial dreams.

I didn’t imagine that my life would become a combination of all my lives at once…and I can’t figure out what it actually means. Last year…around the beginning of the summer when I felt really lost, the thing that made the most sense was to start going to school.  This was an oddity in of itself since going to college full time was never something I had pictured myself doing…but since I was going to get paid to go to school – it made sense to do it.  Meaning, the Universe and circumstances lead me down that road.  Next, I had a aha moment which lead to re-opening the door to The Loop of Confidence but so far that has been slow going since I really haven’t been able to market it properly.

The consultant work and the Marine Corps Reserve were two “opportunities” to add my measly income and neither required much effort on my part to get.  When “opportunities” present themselves detached of adversity and challenges – it makes sense to embrace them.

My story is undoubtedly still being written and since I can’t make sense of it – all I can do is continue on as I am and see where it takes me.  I have an extremely clear image of where I want life to take me and some days I feel I’m heading towards that image/life I want for myself while some other days all I can do is ask Why?

The most difficult part of wearing all my lives at once is not really having anyone who can relate to all of my “lives”.  Mostly all the students I encounter are either younger than myself and full time students or adults working full time/part time jobs.  They don’t know anything about the military aspect of my life and even less about the entrepreneurial aspects of my life.  Same can be said when I’m wearing the uniform and when I’m around other entrepreneurs.  I relate to the people I encounter in the capacity under which they fit into my life.  God willing, someday soon I will live the life of a successful entrepreneur and narrow down the scope under which I exist.

My Entrepreneurial Full Circle (Part I)

In the next few blog posts, I’m going to recap my entrepreneurial endeavors so far, how they’ve taken me full circle and the business goals I have set for 2001.

In July of 2005, after ten years of active duty service in the Marine Corps I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey.  I started out as a solo practitioner – as a life coach.  Life coaching seemed like a perfect fit for me since I am very motivated to help people.  My first website was www.coachingyourfuture.com. I used Yahoo website builder and for my business cards I used one of Vista Print’s basic business card templates.  (Coaching Your Future eventually lead to Life’s Guiding Source) The biggest thing I learned starting my first business was the importance of having a network and how critical networking is to a business.  Since I had just left the Marine Corps – I had no civilian or even business contacts.  None the less, it didn’t take long, perhaps a couple of months, for me to realize that life coaching wasn’t for me because my clients just “moved too slow” so I began to focus more on business coaching.

There was something about business that naturally made sense to me, although I did not have any type of background in it.  Plus, people in business were much more willing to accomplish things at a higher tempo since what they did impacted their bottom line.  Again though, I realized business coaching wasn’t the answer either.  I ended up acting like the CEO for most of my clients’ businesses because they turn the reigns to me and this annoyed me.  This is also when I realized that being a solo practitioner was not the way to build the type/size of business I desired.  This is when I started LGS Coaching Agency – LGS stood for Life’s Guiding Source.

The plan for LGS Coaching Agency was to offer all types of coaching: Life, Business, and Executive.  I also envisioned a web base system that would handle matching clients to coaches, the tracking of a client’s progress and have other useful features. I would enlist coaches to work for the Agency and the Agency would handle all the promotional, administrative and logistical end of things and allow the coaches to do what they do best; coach.

I pitched the idea of the Coaching Agency to a good friend of mine who agreed to help fund the Agency after I presented him with a business plan – this was the first but definitely not the last business I wrote.  Thankfully, I got better at writing business plans over time but I still hate them. I went all out at this point…renamed the LLC, found a web designer, got a logo and website made.  I rented an office space, got a sign made to hang outside the space, furnished the office and even got liability insurance. I spent a lot of unnecessary money!!

None of that took me very long…so before I knew it I was recruiting coaches.  I found a handful of great coaches…as we neared the Holidays (end of 2006) we began to design New Year’s Resolution program.  This is the blog we started at the time: New Year’s Resolution Blog.  This is also the time when I met and hired Geoff Livingston.  At the time he was just starting to dabble in Social Media…

With Geoff’s help I landed a bunch of interviews with reporters doing stories on New Year’s Resolution and made it into various papers across the country – I also ended up taping a segment with the local Fox News station.  This is also when I started my journey into Social Media. I joined BlogTalk Radio when it was only six months old. It was an incredible time and I felt that big things were going to happen but nothing did.  Nada. We had zero clients sign-up for our New Year’s Program.

Although I was extremely disappointed, I picked myself and kept on charging.  I kept networking and I started attending health fairs being held by one of my on-going clients.  I joined Toastmasters and started looking for speaking opportunities. A coach who also happened to be a developer joined the team right around the start of January…and this is when I took on my first partner and started scoping out the backend (engine) that was going to make LGS Coaching Agency a shining star!!

In the next blog post I’ll cover why LGS Coaching Agency came to a startling end and the start of WhyGoSolo!

Getting Back Into My Entrepreneurial Endeavors

I’ve been somewhat “off” and offline recharging my batteries for the last 6-8 weeks…that, and moving to New Orleans. It’s been a good break that frankly after what I went through the past three years was much needed.

WhyGoSolo turned 1 on January 5th, 2009. It’s a hard pill to swallow to know the site has been live for a year and there’s been no real traction on it, yet. Tickets with a Twist was launched in August and nothing much has happened with it either, as of yet.

The move to New Orleans and getting another paying gig is to afford myself the opportunity to rewrite the business plan and shop it around for a seed round. I thought I would be able to do make things happen without a seed round, but I need to put a team together to be successful…and I need to be able to pay that team.

I feel better prepared to raise money, however; it’s a seriously tougher time to do it. Not only is it a tougher time to raise money…but evaluations for startups are down and thankfully I wasn’t thinking about a quick exit, because those are few nowadays and also much less profitable.

This is a good and shitty place to be. It’s a place where either things go to the next level or they come to an end. I rather it was the first and not the latter.

I don’t know how to describe this particular part of my entrepreneurial journey. What I know is that I have to continue to take steps forward…new steps based on things learned and walk in faith.

The next 6 months are going to be quite interesting. I have to walk in faith since I can’t even guess what twists and turns are in store. If I think about it…there’s just too much and I’ll drive myself crazy.

The plan is the rewrite the business plan in the next couple of weeks…keeping it simple, and straightforward. Once the plan is ready, I’ll leverage the contacts I’ve made the last couple of years to get it into the right hands and get prepared for the reactions.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep things going with Yut Media, keep networking, blogging and exploring the web.

Stay tuned!! I’ll be reporting in what’s happening

One Year Anniversary of Blogging

It was a year ago today that I became a blogger. What a year it’s been!! Blogging has been a journey of growth, learning, self-discovery, new friends, communities, and horizons!!

I began to blog with the purpose of capturing the entrepreneurial journey I was undertaking with WhyGoSolo however, what blogging turned into, was my introduction to brand new and exciting worlds.

Becoming a blogger and a blog reader, opened my eyes to so many things that were happening on the web that I wasn’t aware of; although, I was starting a web startup and claiming to know a lot about online communities/social networks. Bloggging has been a key to establishing my foundations in the web/social media communities, where I definitely needed to be for my undertakings.

I jumped into blogging the same way I jump into everything – head first. I absorbed everything there was to know about blogging and began learning about all aspects of all things that relate and “touch” the blogoshere.

I say that blogging is a journey because you don’t know who you might meet, connect with and what opportunities your blog might open up to you. Entering the world of blogging is entering a world of new opportunities and potential.

I now have three blogs…why three?? Because my world is a complex one My interests, my knowledge and what I dabble in expands in quite a few spectrum and although, they all tie back together, it’s best to separate them at the moment to appeal to the right audiences.

My Blogs (It’s rather ambitious of me to have three blogs so we’ll see what happens)

On the Official Plugged-In Blog for WhyGoSolo I write about what’s happening with WhyGoSolo. It’s my least demanding blog at the moment but that will rapidly change in the next two months.

Don’t Spray and Pray is to talk entrepreneurship – one of my most favorite topic of all time.

The Marine Corps, Social Media and Millennials is new and I’m finding it to be a lot of fun because it involves a lot of new research and exploration. I’m taking my knowledge of Social Media and seeing how it applies to the Marine Corps/Military…while discovering what’s going on with MilBlogs.

The Next Year

My goals for the next year is to hone my skills and my knowledge. To apply more of what I know and to learn more about SEO and monetization. By this time next read, I want to have 10x the readership I have now.

I definitely look forward to meeting a lot of new people and opening up new doors. My goal is to make it to Blog World Expo in September!!

Oh…and I’ll work on my typos and bad grammar.

Thank you!!

A big thank you to all who read my blogs!! You’re awesome. A big thank you to all who support my many endeavors and who have become a big part of my world.