Small business owner list for the next day

I’m curious, how many people make a to-do list the night before. I did last night. So far, success. This is day one. Let’s see how many days this lasts!

Just like every small business owner out there, I have a thousand things happening all at once. Hiring an employee didn’t really make things less busy either. In fact, I’ve never worked harder. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily, just more drive to succeed.

The messy part is, so many of these things are small. Post on 29 Pixel Studios. Record a new business tips podcast for Business Tips for Creatives. Don’t forget!

Mix those with the ‘big ideas’ that I want to accomplish and you have a mess. Well, last night, I went ahead and took a yellow notepad and not only made a list, but dedicated parts of the day to each section. Yup, made an old fashion schedule!

On my schedule:

  • 8:00-9:30 product photography for a client
  • 9:30-10:00 recap meeting and email to potential client that I met with yesterday
  • 29 Pixel Studios adds a Ronin-M to the mix!10:00-11:30 finally open up my Ronin-M… which, I then had to RMA back to BH… because.. well, bought it used (((TIP ON BUYING USED)))
  • 11:30-12:30 Lunch
  • 12:30-1:00 Podcast work (which got skipped because of planning for a trip to the NAB Show… I blame YOU Sean! Buuuut, ended up finding a cheaper flight by $200, so. THANKS SEAN!)
  • 1:00-2:00 Post to all three of my sites, doing that now, but honestly, probably going to miss one.
  • 2:00-4:00 Work on a MASSIVE spreadsheet for a big ol gig opportunity.

So, guess I better get back to it! … or… pick out a hotel room in Vegas! Sean!!!!!


Level up your Life – Book Review

Over the weekend I told myself, “Self! Time to go through this book!” 5 XP earned!

Steve Kamb has crafted a master piece for anyone who has logged more than 50 hours playing video games as far back as the original NES. With constant references to Star Wars, Goonies, Jason Borne, Zelda, Lord of the Rings I started to think that I might have multiple personalities. One of which is a fantastic author!

“Never stop learning.” Comes out of my mouth a dozen times a week it seems, so I’m a big fan of self-help/growth books. Stroll through the hallways of under self-help and you will be bombarded with rows of great books. Written by gurus, some people just trying to make a buck, a lot of entrepreneurs, and ‘living the best you, you can’ type titles. “Level Up Your Life.” YELLS at me.

The content does not disappoint. Stop living your level 80 paladin’s life and start living YOUR OWN ADVENTURE. Why did we spend days, WEEKS, MONTHS grinding out crafting for our pixel characters instead of spending that time grinding in the gym for OURSELVES?

While this is the creator of it’s not just physical health through exercise. In fact, the work out section is maybe a few pages. This is about your life!
Seriously gamers… get this book!

Two good books on Wealth

Those who know me, know I’m fascinated by finances. Going into college as an accounting major I quickly realized that for a few more credit hours I could be a triple major and add economics and finances. *A couple years later I realized that for my happiness, my career had to be in the creative field. Freelancing for 7 years and now about to start year four of my own business, these classes were far from wasted.

Continuing education in your career is important, but continuing your education in personal finance is critical. Well, critical if you want to be financially independent, wealthy, retire early or just NOT live paycheck to paycheck.

Reading articles, listening to TED Talks, financial coaching, and books. These are my favorite ways to broaden my financial education.

The latest two books I went through are: The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealth by Stanley Thomas and And 100 Way$ to Create Wealth by Steve Chandler

These two make a great one-two-punch for wealth. I highly recommend getting both of these and starting with Stanley Thomas’ book first. The Millionaire Next Door is fantastic for those who are living paycheck to paycheck and need enlightenment for a mental shift. Keeping up with the Joneses is a guaranteed path to failure. It is easy to see big houses, nice clothes, friends going out all the time, and nice houses. What you don’t see is their credit card debt. Live below your means, frugality, savings are the most common themes among people worth 1-10 million dollars.

Notice that salary or inheritance are not in the most common themes. 80% of these millionaires are first generation millionaires. Following The Millionaire Next Door with 100 Way$ to Create Wealth is a great combo.

My personal favorite is to ask for something ridiculous once a day. I’m going to implement this every day for the next ten days. Then I’m going to flip through the book, find another thing to add and do both of those the next 10 days. I’ll keep you posted!

Oh and in the spirit of being frugal… both of these books are available on Hoopla. A free audio-book app provided by most local libraries!

Freelancer lifestyle design.

Freelancer lifestyle and designing a life with the golden years in mind.

Now that you’ve started, where do you want to go?

It has been over a year since leaving the full-time grind to focus on my business. It has been a huge asset to build my client list and experience part-time since 2003. I would recommend that those looking to make the leap from their ‘job-job’ to something they love should absolutely test the waters before diving in. (Probably not necessary to test the waters for ten years though!)

Recently I was shooting a wedding in Southeast Kansas. To arrive at the wedding fresh, I asked a very talented photographer/videographer friend of mine in Girard, KS if I could crash at his house. I’ve offered advice and guidance to this friend for the past few years, trying my best to help him grow as an artist and as an entrepreneur. Late into the night we were talking about ‘big picture’ things (no pun intended) and I asked the question, “What would be your dream job?”

His answer was clear. “Compensated for sports photography,” which is a fantastic answer because he is pretty darn good at it. I suggested putting a plan in action to arrive at the ‘level’ of sports photographer that he would want to become (high school vs. professional level, etc).

Then after further discussion, I fully admitted, I had no plan for myself. Is my current business my dream job? Not sure. On the journey home I reflected on that part of our conversation. What was Nick Schale aiming for?

Retirement! YES, that’s it, that’s the end game. After all, I’ve been saving since the mid-90s for it. Smart thing to do, but stupid answer. “Retirement” to someone like me is going to be a hard pill to swallow since I struggle to slow down in general.

So here is a thought and a fun exercise to do whether you are an entrepreneur, student, or even a full time-grind kind of person. Take a sheet of paper out and write out your dream WORK day (as an aside, this is also fun to do for your retirement ‘day’). Maybe write out your dream week, or quarter, or even year. Then look at that plan. How far are you from having that be your itinerary? How close are you to some elements? How hard would it be to get parts of it right now? Which parts are you a month away from achieving?

Here is a piece of my plan. I’m planning to combine two things I love: travel for leisure, and photography for business. My dream quarter includes one 5-day trip for travel photography (with a lovely assistant of course: my wife). I’ll be sharing my journey to becoming a travel photographer later as this is a five to ten year plan.

Exercise for at least three times a week, read a book a month, meditate daily… these are all elements to my perfect lifestyle design. They are also elements I can implement immediately.

Visualize your perfect day, week, and year. Write it down. How far are you from living your perfect life?

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
–Chinese Proverb