It’s the eternal struggle for any business owner, isn’t it? Finding a healthy balance between all of your passions. For me it’s family, work, cooking and hiking.
It seems like I have been on this quest for years. And in the last few years that quest has become even more difficult with the proliferation of social technologies that make us feel almost required to stay plugged in. Finding a time to step away to find enjoyment in our other passions and truly unplugging from the social net is often difficult.
I returned to Las Vegas in 2001 to chase the woman of my dreams and joined a startup as the second of eight original employees. I burned the midnight oil for a few years while working on the concept for what would be the first social network for real estate investors on the web. The timing was perfect in February 2004 when I launched and the immediate success justified the long hours.
As the business matured, I did find some success in striking a balance between my business responsibilities and the desire to enjoy life with my wife before we started expanding our family. We bought a cabin in southern Utah and spent every other weekend there, retreating from our business lives for a few days at a time.
Of course, the real estate market began to show signs of stress, our business strategy began weaken, and the fate of the real estate industry became apparent. We sold the cabin, sold the real estate community technology and turned our focus once again to burning the midnight oil to ensure our survival. With a new focus and a new purpose, and did I mention a new baby boy, I returned to my role as a startup entrepreneur.
I have found as I look back on my life that my experiences have been positive when I “wanted” them to be and negative when I “thought” they should be. From a Buddhist’s perspective, my experiences are neither good nor bad. They simply contribute to the story of my life – I have chosen how to perceive them.
I took this perspective into my developing situation and “wanted” to make a positive of it. Real estate was failing, our social networking technology had been sold off, and desire to create a balance between work and family was once again paramount. The difference this time around was fatherhood. Anyone with kids knows that once they enter your life your path is forever altered in ways that you could not possibly have imagined.
I want to wear my “Dad” hat as much as possible!
To give you a better sense of timing for my story, it was this time last year that I began to work on the business concept and plan for Vestor Logic. I focused first on my imperatives – the way I wanted the business to impact my life.
That was easy:
- a maximum daily commitment of 6 hours for meetings, calls and other scheduled items
- a business structure that would allow me to work from anywhere with a laptop and a smartphone
- a business process that I would gladly do for free
Armed with these requirements, I began to look at my past activities for a possible new endeavor. And like most of the great choices in my life, I had no role in the process! A chance call from a friend asking me to help his company build their network like I did with the real estate community became the ah-ha moment that had alluded me so far.
I had become a big fan of the power of MySpace and its role as a feeder for other social outposts. My real estate community was seeded initially by real estate investors I met on MySpace and the sphere of influence that I had developed over the years in the mortgage banking industry. I had crafted my own secret recipe for building an online community on the shoulders of the larger more generalized platforms like MySpace, Facebook, and the numerous general real estate news groups, forums and bulletin boards. It wasn’t much of a stretch to think that some of the professional connections that had been part of my previous success would be interested in picking my brain about the process.
So while sitting in the Las Vegas airport waiting for our flight to Wyoming just after the July 4th weekend this past summer I decided to put out a few feelers. I called the CEO of a company that I had been a fan of for years and a friend that has found tremendous success as an author. I left messages for both framing my idea of consulting companies on the formulation and use of social media technologies to strengthen their business processes. I boarded the plane and tried to manage a 12 month old for the duration of the 2 hour flight. Not always an easy task!
We landed in Wyoming, I released my seatbelt long before we reached the gate, and I turned on my Blackberry to determine how quickly we could be at a restaurant for a much anticipated beer shot martini lunch. What I didn’t expect was that both of my friends had returned my call, expressed genuine excitement about my new business concept, and asked for a call back to discuss the plan in more detail. So I did just that. I called each of them back on the drive from the airport to my in-laws and by the end of the day I had my first two clients!
Fast forward 6 months. Vestor Logic is growing very quickly. We have expanded our service offering and as a result our client list. We’re working on some really exciting projects across several industries and our clients are very confident in our process. This has been a far more rewarding experience than anything else that I’ve ever done professionally.
I make breakfast for my family each morning. I work from the home office most days with just my laptop and Blackberry. Learning about the social media trends and technologies inspires me every day. My “workday” usually starts at 9am, I break for lunch unplugging for about an hour, and then finish meetings and calls by 4pm. There are typically a few “Daddy” breaks scattered throughout the day as needed.
Writing this post clearly shows me that I have found a balance between family and work and a way to integrate my love of cooking. I guess the list of requirements that I framed out almost a year ago was a good idea! Vestor Logic has been created to allow for success both at work and at home.
So my next challenge is to incorporate my passion for hiking into the delicate balance of family, work, and cooking.
Any suggestions on how to do that? Have you found a way to mesh all of your passions?