As we recover from COVID-19 apace, there is a stubborn habit that many have retained and oddly, it is outdoors, where the risk of infection is probably the lowest. I like to walk. Perambulate. Saunter. Hike. Stroll. Jaunt. Hoof it. I also like to be friendly. Downright neighborly. So here is the scene. As I [...]
Because Not Doing It leads to trouble. One gets busy. One gets stressed. One rolls out of bed and starts working at, say, 6:00 or 7:00 a.m. One skips the exercise program one so carefully devised (more on this in a future blog). One sleeps poorly. One eats poorly. One does this for several weeks. [...]
Do yourself a favor. Do your employees, coworkers and associates a favor. Do your clients a favor. Take a break. Take a walk, play with the dog, practice your clarinet, read a book. Take the afternoon, the weekend or a cruise. Sure you are behind. Gotta catch up. Just gut it out, get it done, man. Go! [...]
Note that this dumpster is most certainly not on fire.
The hardest times I have ever had were the times that I became more myself. Better, stronger, more mature, more confident, at the same time kinder and more empathetic. A gift that cannot be granted or given, only earned.
Planes, trains and automobiles are unfiltered Pall Malls.
How does one get into Harvard, Stanford, Georgetown or THE Ohio State for that matter? The answer is simple: Be Unique. We have all heard stories of the kid with straight As and perfect SATs who failed to even get waitlisted by a top school. While being a great student is admirable, it falls well [...]
When learning to play a musical instrument. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Sleight-of-hand magic. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Archery or shooting skills. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Dance or martial arts. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. The work in front of you. Slow is smooth and [...]
Alexander "Howard" Dumble custom builds the the most expensive and sought after guitar amplifiers in the world. Well, he did at one time build amplifiers. He is so shrouded in mystery no one can confirm if he is still actively working. His customers, mostly studios and celebrity musicians like Carlos Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ben [...]
I got a call from a client yesterday. He was unhappy about some work I had done for him. He was completely wrong. Everything he said; wrong. I was right. So what did I do with all my insight, breath control and zen training? I argued. I argued with a sick old man. It did [...]
Exodus, Moby Dick, Hamlet, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Charlotte's Web, Green Eggs and Ham. Every great story has, at its very heart, risk, peril and a healthy dose of uncertainty. How great is your story?
This is a little far afield, but, heck, I like to share. The best best shower glass cleaner is homemade. The Recipe: Four parts water Three parts white vinegar One part Dawn dish soap The best part about this cleaner: you can use it daily because it costs pennies per batch, especially if you buy [...]
Existential threats at 3 a.m. are rarely given a thought at 10 a.m.
A professional does not sell time. A professional sells value. Hourly billing, more often than not, fails to capture the professional's true value. A parable: A client calls with a project that needs to be done well and very quickly. She is willing to pay a premium to get the project done in three days. Fortunately [...]
Taken in downtown Hackensack, New Jersey.
Here's the thing about being in your own business: You get to choose. You get to choose your clients. You ge to choose the work you do. You get to choose your work schedule. You get to choose your employees, who become your coworkers, maybe even your friends. You get to choose your partners, though [...]
What if you had to double your fees? How would you explain it? Which customers would stick with you? How would your marketing change? How would it affect your brand? How would your volume change? How would your need for resources change? How would your manpower needs change? Would it actually be better? It may [...]
If you are having trouble sleeping, for Pete's Sake, don't worry about it. Study after study points out that the human beings, no matter how sleep deprived, will eventually sleep. If you have one, two or even three days of poor sleep, rest assured [ha!] that it won't be long before you get a nine [...]
Two of the most basic tenets in football are keep your head on a swivel and keep your feet moving. These are not simply bromides: they apply both to the gridiron and the pressure cooker that is business today. Keep your head on a swivel reminds us to be situationally aware, constantly scanning the field for [...]
The best blogs or vlogs or art of any kind are an act of generosity. They offer a point of view, insight, encouragement, something interesting or even something beautiful. The worst try to sell you something: "And that's how the Dalai Lama approaches conflict. And speaking of conflict, how often have you seen people conflicted [...]
Austin Kleon is an artist and author of the book Steal Like an Artist that I highly recommend for anyone who has a creative passion that they want to express. Austin has a weekly email newsletter that I look forward to receiving every Friday morning. This past week he shared a quote that really resonated with [...]
Being overwhelmed is a terrible state. It is essentially chronic panic. People in a panicked state don't think clearly and tend to make bad decisions. The thing about being overwhelmed is that it is by definition temporary. You can't spend your entire life, or ever more than a few days, overwhelmed. What is overwhelming usually passes [...]
There is an old joke in business: Good/Fast/Cheap. Pick any two. What if you took one off the table? What is everything you offer has to be good? Then it can be fast, but not cheap. Or it can be cheap, but not fast. So you get paid well for working under pressure (which feels good), [...]
It is when I am in a flow state, a time of effortless focus, like a shortstop turning a double play or Arthur Rubinstein performing Chopin's Mazurkas, that I am the most valuable. I can create something of value for my clients. But during these times I am considerably less valuable in a human sense. [...]
It's probably not enough to know the tax code better than most other accountants. It is helpful, it shows that you are a serious and competent professional. But in the end clients don't care. What they care about is how you make them feel. That you take the time to carefully explain a matter, to [...]
You only get four, six if you are lucky. If part of what you sell is creative or problem-solving in nature, you may have noticed that the flow state required is not something you can keep up all day. The reality is that human beings can only sustain this level of deep work for about [...]
Today I was described as "prompt." So I have that going for me.
After the startupworkgrab, you know, the first months or years when a new business will take any paying work, there has to be a time of self reflection. You now have some data and you need to ask yourself some questions. I suggest that you pose these questions as negatives: What work is the least [...]
I view my career as a marathon. I plan to work until I am not physically able. Alternatively, I plan to die in my sleep or while having sex. In order to accomplish this goal it became clear to me that it is imperative that I take care of my body. I go to the [...]
Since starting my own business in July 2001, just weeks before the world changed in September 2001, there have been no shortage of, um, challenges. 9/11 itself was one of the first. There has always been some problem, some obstacle. This Gloomy Gus really summed it up for me: "There are no pleasant surprises when [...]
I met a man of the cloth at a party. I was struck by the man's charisma, his charm, his wit and his aura of grace. This man gave me courage and hope: if this is what Catholicism as all about, I am proud to be part of it! His name was Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. [...]
People (not me) take vacations in August. Europeans take almost the whole month off. God bless 'em. I took Friday off to watch a little golf at the Northern Trust. And I have jury duty next week. So guess who is working all weekend? This guy. Ah, self-employment. Why did I do this again?
I sat down for breakfast this week with a friend and really fine appraiser who recently started his own business. A lot of his work is in the commercial mortgage sector, which is pretty typical for a fledgling practice. I don't do a lot of mortgage work, so I was surprised to hear of the [...]
A lot of people really enjoy gambling. They play the lottery and bingo, go to a casino and play the slots or blackjack or roulette. They love the bright lights, the excitement, the risk. I am not one of them. I own my own business. Every day is a gamble. Am we getting calls for [...]
This blogging thing can be a head game. I have a tendency to want to write something profound, important, BIG. Big ideas. Big inspiration. The Bible in one page. Real success is probably something smaller. People want to feel that they are are not alone. That their fears are shared. That they are understood. That [...]
I inspected an industrial property the other day, one location in dozens (maybe hundreds?) of locations owned by this company. The company has got to be one of the most vertically integrated businesses in the world. They design, the manufacture, they distribute, they print point of service signs. They print one million labels a day. On [...]
In appraisal we call our disclaimers Assumptions and Limiting Conditions. Potato, Potahto. When you come across a business with an extraordinary number of disclaimers they tend to be larger and lawyered up, attempting to cover every possible contingency long before they happen and however unlikely the scenario. From the customer's perspective, it can be a little [...]
The Opening Band doesn't usually get the audience's attention. The audience is not really and audience yet, just a bunch of people milling around, tailgating. The Opening Band works hard to put on a good show, just as hard as the Headliner. Writing, arranging and recording songs takes a lot of time and is financially [...]
Marketing is pretty obvious if you sell consumer products like Procter & Gamble. The color of the Tide Detergent package, the fonts used, the material selected and the "feel" of the container in your hand are all functions of marketing. As is Tide's Loads of Hope Community Program, which brings brightly-colored tractor trailers of washing [...]
It is no secret that retail is dying, and the biggest problem retailers have today is themselves. They want to do things the old way. The way that used to work. Lower prices are a race to the bottom. To bankruptcy. You can't out-Walmart Walmart or out-Amazon Amazon. So what do retailers need? Engagement. Think [...]
Law: one of the best ways to relieve stress is to take action. You will be surprised at how a wildly intimidating project or situation becomes merely a challenge after a few well-placed hammer blows. Jump in with both feet. A couple of hours of focused work can change your world. Corollary to this Law [...]
For those of you not familiar with Wordpress, there are these things called Plugins. Plugins are little programs that do specific tasks, like creating a contact form or preventing spam comments. I once used a Plugin that "helped" me write blogs. There were all sorts of rules: at least 300 words, the text of the [...]
Apropos of my recent blog on Pickleball, I owe the sport a debt of gratitude. The great delight I took in running in circles, in making fast cuts, in chasing and returning little balls led me to an inescapable conclusion, one that I had long suspected. My spirit animal is the Labrador Retriever.
I played Pickleball last week. I am going to a Kenny Chesney concert next week. These two things have one thing in common: I was only vaguely aware of them. But after I said yes I was opened not only to the things themselves, but the attitudes and cultures surrounding them. The Tribes, if you [...]
I have decided that I am not taking telephone calls or answering emails on Friday afternoons. If there is a piece of bad news guaranteed to cause me stress, it almost always received on a Friday afternoon. The worst part about it is that I can't do anything but stew about it until Monday morning. [...]
...to fix the problem. You let me know, calmly, that there was a problem. I proposed a solution. We agreed. It was fixed. No hard feelings. No damaged relationships. Thank you.
I am not old enough to remember party lines (I am not sure they were ever used in the densely populated New York Metropolitan area) but I do remember phone books. Now a relic ignored by all and probably threat to the environment, phone books were at one time revolutionary. Before the invention of the telegraph [...]
Social Entrepreneurship is a business concept that places public good over corporate profits. A lot of businesses have been founded on social entrepreneurship ideals in recent years TOMS is a well known company founded by Blake Mycoskie that donates a pair of shoes with every pair that's bought. Jacqueline Novogratz founded Acumen, which provides "patient capital" to [...]