The First Year!

One of the things I teach in my book is that you should plan for the first five years of business. This should include to not live off of your income for the first five years. If it happens where you can before then that is great! However, you don’t want your ability to pay for your home to depend on your new customers. You want your committed customers to support your home. I left corporate America in August 2016. I was already active in my parents’ accounting firm. However, I decided to also start a new business at that time. The business would actually take care of my car payments and required very low start-up cost. I planned and factored everything in before leaving the job and knew what I needed to do to stay afloat. Well, business picked up nicely, however, growth brought on  many challenges. I also teach that business set-up is key and critical. The more official you set your business up the firmer your foundation for growth will be. With growth licenses, certifications, insurance, are all costs that people don’t usually take into consideration. I also didn’t plan for the business to completely slow down during summer break. You must know and plan for your specific market. I knew the market would reduce drastically in the summer months. However, I didn’t plan for the steep reduction that occurred. With that loss of income, I had also loss another and was completed knocked off of my feet. I was devastated. I felt defeated, however, I gained many new customers in the beginning of the coming school year. This encouraged me to keep striving.

 

Starting a business is not easy, and I’m not saying you will go to the extreme to survive.  As with any business, whether you are in the first or tenth year, there are always going to be issues and challenges. There are going to be challenges that you will not foresee. Give yourself a firm foundation. Set everything up properly, get cash flowing, establish and set standards. Last but not least, roll up your sleeves and prepare to get dirty. It’s all a part of your path. I searched the entire first year for web developers. I received quotes from $600 to $200K. I was confused but did not stop searching. I also searched for investors and reasonable trustworthy developers as well. My business deals with children, so hiring dependable and trustworthy staff had also become a challenge as well. Being a financial and business consultant, I was able to analyze my business, and see my shortcomings, however trying to put out fires without a team is challenging as well. In the second year, I started to position the business to create a reserve and hopefully obtain a loan. During the first year, I didn’t follow my own suggestion and I lived off of the funds. I am now in a position where I leave 25-30% of my revenue in the business. I understand survival and if you need the funds then you need them. However, a reserve is critical.  Winning funds for the business right now, would be a miracle. I would first pay for the trustworthy developers I found to create my online presence, then I would invest in safety signage, I would pay the insurance for a year, I would hire 3-5 people, and place a down payment on another vehicle.

 

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Desire, dedication & determination

Desire: to long or to hope for; to exhibit or feel desire for; to express a wish for.
Dedication: devoted to a cause, ideal, or purpose: given over to a particular purpose
Determination: firm or fixed intention to achieve desired end. ; the act of deciding definitely or firmly. Also, the result of such an act of decision.

These words represent three states of mind you have while pursuing your goals. These mindsets determine your approach and the work you will put towards them regardless of how soon you see results. When you start a business, you must work for a future return, not an immediate return. If you are looking for an immediate monetary return, be very careful. I’m not saying it can’t happen, I’m here to say that consistent actions towards the completion of a project or management of a business is required before you can truly enjoy the rewards. Work is required.

Desire is the first phase. I call this stage the ‘dream mode’. In this phase, you decide that you want to start the business. You start to talk about it and ask questions to find out what starting this business may entail. During this phase, you decide if this is going to be a dream or reality. You decide that you can do this, or you decide that you would love to do that one day. You tell yourself you’ll put it off until  “I have time, when I have money, when I retire, etc.” The excuses roll in and this dream of starting this business becomes just that–a dream. Your dream becomes something you put off to the side and never work on. If you are currently in this phase, research methods of support, different streams of income to include, ways to start things for free, true professional costs, licenses, and insurance, etc. Make a plan and find a mentor. A good mentor is going to encourage you and help push you thru this process. A business consultant can do this as well. If you would like to work with me, check out http://www.blainelacar.com

Dedication is the second phase. During this phase, you consciously decide your next steps. You decide to dedicate your energy towards this cause. You do more research and you find more ways to get this business started. You decide that this can be done and you want to do what it takes to reach the goal. Your desire to reach this goal has expanded and changed into a passion to get this thing done. This is the phase where planning becomes action and you usually start to lay the foundation of the business. You have a need to reach success. You start working in the evenings towards your new business. You may even quit your day job to commit more time to this business and live off your savings. This phase is exhausting. You’re working and seeing some return, but you would like to grow bigger. With a bigger business comes more sacrifices and a greater investment. You definitely want to grow so you move to the next step.

Determination is phase three and this is the phase before things truly take off. This is the phase when you have worked so hard, you may start to become frustrated. You may feel like “maybe I should end this and move on to something else.” You feel like you are stuck. This phase is painful yet beautiful. Your tears of pain, passion, and confusion will turn into tears of joy. You gain a compassion to take your business to the next level. You find plans of action, investors, partners, and new products or services to include. During this phase, many become tired of working towards something without output. You’re investing more time and not making much profit. You may be taking a loss, you may be doing all the work, or you may be having trouble finding dedicated help. This is the phase where you should take the time to analyze. Make sure you are using all of your resources and delegating responsibility properly. Most importantly, keep working towards the goal. On the other side of determination is SUCCESS!

“Listen to Me”

Listen to Me, God said. Today I went on an interview, the interview went well until the last question. Then I bombed a test that I should have aced. “Listen to Me”, God said.

“I put this center in your heart years ago and you haven’t taken the first step? Why my child, why?”

Why do we constantly ignore God? Are we scared, fearful, or defeated before the race even started. We have to get over this fear! I included!

So the interview was with someone who found my resume on the internet. When I looked into the position, it intrigued me. So, I reached out and applied. I still was on the fence about even applying for this position at this point. The HR rep contacted me within the hour. We set up a telephone interview and it went very well. She then scheduled an on-site interview. So I started to do my research (homework)  on the company and it turned out the company was in the same industry as my center. When I arrived at the interview I had time to sit and wait in the lobby. While I waited, the security guard and I struck up a conversation. I found out that not only does the building house centers with the same clients, they also have available space! I didn’t get the job, but I got one more piece to my puzzle!

Be thankful for the pieces. I’m grateful for every piece I’m shown. I have many different projects going on however, the ones I receive pieces for  are the ones that are his will. His will falls into place perfectly! I remember many times I ignored the pieces and continued in the other direction. When I made these choices, I took the long way through the process because of my fear. When I reflected on the process I saw each decision clearly, I saw how each choice made my process longer. In spite of this,  each hurdle added character and strength, I don’t regret one lesson.

Unqualified

I’m sure you have all applied for a job and received a rejection letter saying they have decided to pursue another candidate. At that moment, you felt unqualified. However, were you really unqualified or did someone’s book cover look better than yours?

There are many moments we go through in life where we may feel this way. Yet no matter how things look, we must remember the steps we take are intentional and each choice leads us to a specific position.

Have you been called to do something and you’re scared? What are you scared of? Do you feel unqualified? I feel like this often and it takes different regimens to get that feeling out of my head. If you have been led to do something, speak on something, or called to lead, you are qualified. You have been called to that position for a reason. The first reason is that you have the qualifications! Many times the feeling of being inadequate, or unqualified comes from fear or lack of confidence. We must bury that fear to move forward in life.

You are great, you are qualified! You are great, you are qualified!

We must constantly reassure ourselves that we are more than enough. So many people face this struggle daily. You would be surprised. Some people cover it up in clothes, some cover it up in degrees, some cover it up with cash, some cover it up with love, etc. Do you know that a tree with dead roots doesn’t grow? It doesn’t matter how big, pretty, green, etc. Once the roots are dead, it’s a goner. Don’t let your roots die. Materials are great, accolades are great, cash is great, however, if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. Erase those negative feelings and thoughts! You are great, you are qualified! You are great, you are qualified!
Believe it in your mind and heart first!

Evaluation

                As I dwell in this time of strife and continue to hold on, I carefully assess relationships. This includes business, personal, and affiliations. Times of strife has always been a time for me to check myself and those that I allow into my mind and heart. These relationships aren’t always good for you. They may also be only for a season, in which that season may have expired. Evaluation is critical if you plan to move things along in life. Sometimes we are so busy moving forward, or working on moving forward, we continue our routine of maintaining these relationships. When in reality, we may be giving the relationships not enough or too much attention. Thus the reason evaluation is so critical.

               The first step of evaluation starts with self and although we are evaluating relationships, we are analyzing our own steps in these relationships. Remember you are not here to change anyone else only yourself–only the way you react to situations that present themselves. This step is so critical as it will allow you to also evaluate the things you allow into your heart. Everything isn’t meant to be there. You can help and love people from a distance, without becoming emotionally involved.

              The second step in evaluation is finding a method to fix the issue. This method should feel good. It should make you feel like this issue is over, it’s in the past, and you’re leaving it there. You should be able to learn, grow, and move on. Learning is important during this step because every life lesson you don’t learn you may have to endure again.

             The third and final step is application and sticking to your solution. Make your solution a new way of life, make it something that will not only move you pass the last issue but make things easier in the future. Many people have decided to adopt a positive mindset. That not only is a quick fix but it’s a long-term fix that attracts positivity into your life. Be aware of the things you do, be aware of the vibes you give out, and be aware of the way you treat others. All of these things help align your path.

The 4 R’s

 

              I often am asked, How do you do this or do it? I feel as though many really want to ask, how are you not breaking down? Breaking down is a mental pull, there are many things in my life that could have caused me to break down. I’ve chosen to not allow these things to do so. Every situation we find ourselves in, we have created or allowed one way or the other. It’s our jobs to get ourselves out of said situation. With the correct amount of willpower and focus, you can do so. The answer to the question is, I don’t allow myself. Sometimes, some straight up cold hard honesty to myself may be the medicine. Evaluation of choices I made, no one made them for me. Personally owning the error, the reward, the sacrifice, is the first step in creating a solution. Own it! Are you owning the choices you may have made to be placed in the position you are in? Have you owned it? My solutions always start with self. I always address what I did, to get me into said situation or position. This step is vital. This is where things change outlook, opinion, perception.  This is where breaking down is removed. If you can accept what you did, you also have the power to change what you may have accepted.

              Shift your focus, I know you have heard this many times before, however, focusing on the wrong things tends to land us where we don’t want to be. This is why rest is needed, the mind needs to calm down and clear out. This is where shifting begins, a  calm and clear mind. Your mind in this state will allow you to adjust your focus, are you focused on progress or regress. This is a big question to ask ourselves daily, as fun is easy. One of my recipes to my day is 70% work, 30% fun. If 70% of my day has already been drenched in work than I could stand to have some fun. I keep it closer to 85%, the percentage is up to you. What can you handle? Many of my days are 100% work. I wake up working and I go to sleep working, I run errands, during my 20-30 minute break and then I’m right back to it. I work during lunch, I work during breakfast and dinner. I work in the car, I work during rest stops. I feel that I can constantly stimulate my mind in some fashion. Whatever your belief may be or your regimen may don’t allow anything or anybody to stifle it. When we add things to our lives, they should enhance our plans, they should push us harder, they should challenge us to move more confidently, and expand your capacity. Those additions will never be distractions as they are keeping you on task and focused.

            Many people with a loving heart tend to take on the issues of others when in reality, it’s not your concern. If you are one of these people, I challenge you along with myself to break away from any situations that are not pushing you the way you are pushing them. Pull yourself away from things that make you feel inadequate. You are adequate, you have a plan, you have a destiny and your running towards, push those things out of your way. Encourage others and don’t get caught up, lift up others and don’t get pulled in, love on others and don’t wait to be loved back. These things require mental strength that you may have but we all get sidetracked.

Rest your mind, review your strategy, reshift your focus, and REVIVE yourself!

 

Rest, recharge, refocus

I learned today that when you are told to rest. Rest! My planned rest day, that only included lunch with a friend, quickly turned into a busy day. Started working at 7:30 and didn’t stop, other than lunch, until the evening. My motto, there is always something to do, makes it very hard to take a break. Despite the day, rest didn’t happen. This is often the story of my life and as I keep hearing “just rest”, being whispered to me more and more, the harder I’m working. Well, life directs us and you will find out how God speaks to you whether, it’s thru symbols, the word, quiet time, running, etc. Every relationship is different, just know when your being directed and follow the directions.

Over the past year, I have been told to rest in every way shape or form. My personality ignores it, I try to half rest, but I do something else. As the new year came upon us. I began to question my routine. Routines that I started and ended. Routines that I let get away from me, even though the results were great.

On the third day of the year , fell. I make most of my immediate income moving around. Throughout the challenges my family and I faced over the past few months, I let things that I was working on get away from me.  With adding immobility into a long list of challenges, I truly had to rest. I can’t move around as freely and as I regularly as I am used to.  I truly started to focus on the word rest. We mostly associate rest with sleep, doing nothing, watching a movie, spending time with family etc. I started to evaluate my routines. I don’t allow my family time to be cancelled, I consciously try to consistently make time to spend on myself. I started to ask myself what’s missing: development. My development time has been cancelled and pushed to the side.

So all though I kept receiving the word rest, it really wanted me to focus. I needed to rest to determine what was missing. I needed to rest to have reflection time. I needed to recharge and refocus. I needed to get back down to basics, the foundational stuff. Any house without, a firm foundation will always fall, the same goes for your business and your life.

So thru the challenges and thru the unplanned and forced rest, I recharged and refocused. Sometimes we hear a word or choose a word fo the year and it may not be that particular word you are supposed to focus on, that word may open the door for a more important word. Watch your focus, remove distractions, and rest before you are forced.

Everyday you get a chance to make a change thru your choices!

This Strange Feeling

This feeling I have, I’m trying to dismiss.

Yet every way I can push him he doesn’t resist.

He’s sticking around, to me that’s a little scary.

I’m so intrigued in one way however frightened in another.

That L word HELL NO That’s a place I don’t want to go.

However our souls collide and the vibes are right.

And I must admit he’s like a thief in the night he steals my thoughts.

Yet I don’t want this to happen I am losing this battle.

What battle are you fighting? Don’t make up an invisible one.

Are you in actual war and your heart needs to be protected or

Are you at war with fear of letting someone see you naked?

Are you running from happiness?

Are you running from your gift? Are you running from your soulmate?

Are you going to turn your back on this?

Could this be love? Is it real or fake?

These are the many questions we ask ourselves. To trust or not trust?

Is the question itself?

Do you open all the way to be let down again?

Or do you walk away from what could be because fear says don’t let him in?

Washed Up

“Washed up, left for dead, dissed and forgotten, they hoped that I’d be gone, stiff and rotten”, Nas said in Ether. So many people feel this way, men, and women, about past relationships, and the times they have put their hearts on the line.

I’ve placed my heart in the hands of men that didn’t have any good intentions, I’ve planned weddings with people that still had someone on the side, I’ve taken care of people when they couldn’t take care of themselves, while I could barely take care of myself. I’ve been a victim of physical abuse, I’ve been verbally abused. I’ve fought through mental abuse, I’ve been constantly torn down instead of loved. I’ve been his fool, I’ve been used, I’ve been deceived. I’ve even been patient while waiting for him to get it ‘together’. I’m sure many of you have conquered these things with me.

These things are not a mark of dishonor, they are actually a mark of an overcomer. You have overcome despite, being used, taken advantage of, unloved, fooled, the constant challenges, the constant heartbreak, the depression, and strife. These things have made you stronger, not weaker. Don’t be ashamed of the things that you have overcome. For you have gotten over the hurdle. You made it even though. You completed the challenge and continued moving forward. Your heart was broken and you tried again. This time is no different from any other time. You’ve learned a lesson, you’ve gained wisdom and knowledge. You may not be able to see it now, but this made you smarter, it made your actions more precise. We can make it thru this. Your failures are not what defines you, your actions after it is what develops character, strength, and perseverance. That’s what I admire. The perseverance that no matter what, I’m going to get up and try again.

Did you know that horseshoe crabs shed their shells? The process is called molting, this is how they grow. Sometimes, we may feel like we are that shell, hard on the outside and don’t want to let anyone in.  The shell that has washed up on the beach and has been left behind. When in reality we have shed our shell. We’ve taken another layer off, to expand our knowledge, our reach, our minds. We had to shed to grow. We had to go thru the lost to learn this lesson and experience this growth.

Do you know someone is looking up to you? Everytime you get up, someone else decides to get up too, because you tried again. You gave them the strength to do the same. There are many people that didn’t have much it easy growing up, yet they are relentless in their pursuit of success. It’s because they saw their parents/guardians get up and make the most out of every day, regardless of the outcome. It never stopped them.

Don’t let it stop you!

Dating vs Courting

My plan was not to make this blog about dating or being single necessarily, but to discuss hurdles we all may have to conquer eventually. As a single woman in my mid-30s, this topic comes up often. I’ve heard many women ask how to tell whether you’re courting as opposed to dating. Many women who are practicing celibacy state they would like to court not date. I decided I wanted to discuss this to see what your opinions are and if people, in general, have the same opinion.

So I asked FB, lol. If you’re not googling it these days, you ask facebook. I actually received some great feedback. Some of it was expected, some unexpected. My favorite comment so far stated at the end of it that, “dating can become courting and courting can never become dating.” This struck a chord with me as this demonstrated the seriousness and the commitment of courting. This also made very clear that in courting, if you’re not moving towards the goal of a serious relationship or marriage, you’re not even interacting. To me, this speaks volumes and shows courting as very intentional in the growth of the relationship. Most of the feedback said the difference is that when courting, your focus is on the future and on that special person rather than dating which is spending time with anyone available.  I agree with all of the feedback I received.

I can definitely agree courting it is totally different from dating and may be something you may not be familiar with until it occurs. I’m honestly not familiar with it myself. I believe that the conversation is different, the reactions to one another are different yet intentional. You care about the other party’s feelings and opinion. You speak about finances in depth. You speak about health in depth. You speak about families in depth. Discussion of pet peeves and desires, not expectations so much, because you are both in a position where you want to set the expectations together. This is what I believe courting will entail. I also hope for courting to include the absolute want to understand the other party. The need to feel accomplished until they can fully understand thoughts and maybe even actions.

I don’t believe in dating much, as I truly believe it is a waste of time at my age. I believe that dating should be finished after the first or second date. At this point, you should know whether you truly have an interest in this person or not. It may be able to go on a little longer to turn into courting, however, I don’t think it takes that much time to truly gauge seriousness.

How do you know if you’re dating or courting? I still don’t know, however, I’m trying to learn. How can you recognize the difference? Let’s learn to recognize the differences together.

Please leave your thoughts below as this is only the beginning of this topic. Let’s list out the characteristics of courting so that my ladies looking for this will know what to expect.