Saturday, November 22, 2008

Assessing the Business

As a new business owner with a little more than 6 months working full-time with no other visible means of support, I get to review the company a lot - mostly when a bill is due and I need to look at my financial position. I'm the first to admit that I have always been a little uptight about money, so not having a paycheck is very stressful to me.

Last year, I was put through the trauma of a 6 hour polygraph examination for a government security clearance (which I never got, because the company I was working for shed all employees except the owner - thus the decision to work for myself). Of course the examiner tries to focus on your weak spots to make sure you aren't a risk, so she found my weak spot - talking about my finances. (Yes, I also see the irony in a bookkeeper being exceedingly uptight about finances, but I don't mind dealing with OTHER people's money.) When I got home, I was talking to my father about the whole unpleasant experience and especially the grilling I got about being ostentatious and he said, "You? You're the tightest person I've ever met." Some people would be insulted, I replied, "I know!"

Truth about polygraphs - they are the most horrible things ever and now I understand how people can confess to anything while strapped into one of those things. I almost failed in the first hour, because I couldn't control my breathing. By the end, I would have confessed to almost anything - and they weren't even looking for a confession of wrong-doing.


Back to the point of the post.

With all of the bad economic news that I hear everyday and the stress I see in some friends and family members, I feel very grateful that I have the resources and abilities needed to keep my business going and I'm extremely grateful that I am not at an employer's mercy for my well-being. I'm still in business through January, probably even February. Two months ago, I was doubtful about November. Every month, Walker Administrative Solutions' imminent demise is delayed a little longer. I wonder if this is how Henry Ford felt.

I'm beginning to see the fruit coming from months of diligent networking, talking, and meeting business people. I look ahead and wonder how to schedule all of my potential work if the jobs come in. (That would be a great problem to have in my business.) I've also been very blessed with small jobs coming in to beef up the regular revenue. I just count all of my work as blessings from paying tithing and a lot of prayer and yes, I pray that this business will l work out I'll be able to support myself, and I'll be able to bless a few people along the way.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post Election Thoughts - Perspective on the Affair

So, McCain lost the election. I was a tepid supporter (really a Mitt Romney supporter) until McCain picked Sarah Palin as his VP and then I was a lot more supportive of McCain. I really like Sarah Palin and would have fun hanging out with her and talking about the world.

My support for McCain grew even stronger as I got to know Obama and his policies better. I seriously hope Obama made a lot of promises he knew he couldn't keep. I really hope he keeps as few of his promises as possible. He's a lot too liberal for my liking.

This morning I was at a mixer talking to some friends and I came to the realization that even though I may not like it, it is a good thing that the other side wins occasionally. The other side winning reminds us of what is great about freedom - our vote counts.

Some of you scratching your heads and thinking your vote didn't count because you lost. Voting isn't about always winning. It is about the voice of the people being heard and implemented. I may disagree with the majority voice, but part of living in freedom is living with the decisions the majority make. So, as part of the American experience, I sometimes don't get my way. As my Mom said, "Life's not fair. Get over it!"

Big winner of 2008 - Barack Obama. No news there.

Biggest loser of 2008 - the media. They hurt their credibility with a huge chunk of Americans, because they were so obviously biased in their coverage. Network news organizations need to remember that not all of their consumers have one opinion (although they may now because of their coverage this year) and there are other news providers out there. Alienate 1/2 of your customers and your business is in serious trouble. Old business model meets new world realities.

Ed Pastor, I'll be calling you often over the next couple of years. You are going to need a lot of constituent feedback to keep you from passing bad laws. Your office is programmed into my cell phone, so I can call you from anywhere.

I think I'm done with posting about political stuff. This is a blog about my business, after all. I really don't care about my clients' politics, just that they get the best service I can provide them. As I am fond of saying, no matter what else changes, one thing that doesn't change is that all businesses have paperwork.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thoughts from the McCain Party

I had the chance to go to the McCain election party in Phoenix tonight. How often do you get to do that? The results might have been disappointing, but still, I was at the party.
On my way to The Biltmore, I found out where all of the Phoenix police were. (Not that my neighborhood noticed the lack. We can't get the police to patrol our area anyway.) There were no traffic violations in the Camelback corridor tonight.
When I reached The Biltmore, the staffers had us all go to the North Phoenix Baptist Church to park. It wasn't too far and the staffers seemed really apologetic about it. There were shuttles between the hotel and the parking lot, but not nearly enough buses at first. Here's a nice picture of the line.

Everyone was very nice. We were all excited to be going to the party and we got a lot of quality bonding time because there weren't enough shuttles. Such is life.
There were hamburgers and hotdogs being served at the hotel, along with munchies like pretzels and salsa. Coke or water available for all, but there were bars around also for those who wanted a little something else. (The problem with Mormons is we don't spend a lot of time at the bar, so I don't know if it was an open bar or a cash bar. Sorry.)

I was amazed by:
1) The number of families with young children there. These parents had obviously been talking to their children about the election issues, because as one 8 year old said after McCain's concession, "This means you're going to have to pay a lot more money now, Daddy." Smart little girl.
2) The number, brightness and heat of TV lights. How can these bozo's talk about being "green" when they use all that wattage? Here's a picture of one of the banks of lights. They are much more impressive without people wandering in front of the camera.

3)Through all of the disappointment of losing the election, people were calm and orderly. We heard the threats of riots if Obama lost, but the Mccain crowd just went into dissection mode. What will an Obama presidency do to America?
4) Republicans are disappointed and mad. What does this mean? There are a lot of people activated now. We're going to be plaguing our congressmen to vote the way we want them to. I know I have Ed Pastor's office number in my cell phone. His office will be hearing from me often. Congressmen need to look out for the 2010 election. It might be 1994 all over again.
5) All is not lost. We still have Sheriff Joe and Andrew Thomas enforcing the laws in Maricopa County.
Marriage is safely defined in Arizona, although sometime tomorrow someone will tell a reporter that we would have voted differently if we realized there were people involved. (We heard it when the illegal immigrant measures passed overwhelmingly, we'll hear it again. BTW - we're not THAT stupid here, we know there are people affected by these laws.) It looks like California passed their marriage initiative also. Way to go Cali!
I actually think I voted with the majority on all of the propositions this time. It kind of makes you wonder if the state legislators will ever get the hint that we don't think they deserve a raise. What is this, like the 10th election in a row that the pay raise has been defeated? Take a hint already!

Well, we have about 8 months to prepare for Biden's predicted disaster test for Obama. We have 2 years until the next opportunity to throw some of the bums out. Until then, we need to be diligent and let our representatives know how we want them to vote on issues. We need to find good, strong, conservative people to run for congress in 2010 to mitigate the potential damage the current crop of people will do. Let's all pray that Obama is an average politician and doesn't keep his campaign promises.

Now, I need to get to bed so that I can get up in the morning and get back to business. Yep, a day of mixers with 3 of my favorite organizations, the Phoenix Chamber, the Philippine-American Chamber, and The 3000 Club (see the last blog post for details).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Valuable Face Time

Earlier this week I was doing some online networking with other Virtual Assistants. I expressed my surprise that more VAs don't go out and network face-to-face, because I feel like I haven't seen enough people if I go to less than 3 networking events every week. I've met a couple of VAs in person, but they just don't seem to like leaving the house - or something. Anyways, I was told that many VAs don't really like to seem dominant and aren't comfortable networking.

I'll admit that networking, at least at first is uncomfortable, because you walk into a room full of strangers who all seem to have friends to talk to. So there you are, the friendless geek in the corner not talking to anyone. After you show up a couple of times, people start talking to you a lot more. I've gotten around the issue by becoming an "Ambassador" for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and greet people at the door, so they are walking into my room, not the other way around, so I have a psychological edge. By networking with enough different groups, I usually know at least one person in any room of networkers, and there are times when I know more people than not.

People often ask me where I network, because I do a lot of networking for my business. So, in case you've been wondering who I've been spending time with:
Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce - They are the big organization in the area and have great educational programs and a lot of networking opportunities. I figure I need to be where the business people are and that is the Chamber of Commerce.
Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) - My client base - small businesses. ASBA also has great educational programs. I recommend ASBA for all Arizona small businesses.
Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce (PACCA) - Now, it is pretty obvious to even the most casual observer that I am not philippino. They don't seem to care. This little organization is a gem. They have great speakers at their monthly meetings. It is always good to find new people to add to your network.
Arizona Business Leads - Yep, it is a leads/referral group (like BNI, but different). I'm in the business-to-business group, mainly because it's a lot closer to home. (Just saying.)
The 3000 Club - a charitable organization that rescues produce and sends it to food banks throughout the states and provides networking opportunities for it's members. So, I get to help others and help my business? How great is that? Don't be shy about joining if you want to help. The clowns in the video above are members and just as nice and funny in person as you see in the clip- maybe even more so.
Here's a video about The 3000 Club: