Monthly Archives: December 2009

Is it time to quit, or are you simply afraid

Is it Time to Quit, or are You Simply Afraid?

Copyright (c) 2008

“You give up too easily,” is what my 10-year old next door neighbor, Mike, told me in 1972 or so when I wanted to quit playing our game of chase. I couldn’t seem to tag him “out” as the last player the game, despite my best efforts of 10 minutes of trying. Of course, I vigorously denied that accusation, but have been given cause to think about what he told more than once, especially recently.

In my teens and early 20s, I was the most goal-driven, type A personality of anyone that I knew. Whatever I wanted, I set a goal to achieve it, no matter what. And, to my credit, that determination helped me a great deal. It helped me find a way to pay for 2 college degrees without any help or support from my parents, who thought college was a complete waste of time. It gave me the courage to move to take my first professional job in the northeast U.S., a “foreign country,” as I thought of it at the time, since I’d never stepped foot out of southern culture. That move that opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking and of doing things. At that time in my life, failure wasn’t an option. And, I most certainly viewed quitting as failure.

And, through the school of hard knocks in the subsequent years, I became intimately acquainted with failure. I “quit” both of my college degrees, as I discovered too late that I was bored out of my mind with my choice of my bachelor’s degrees (Speech Pathology/Audiology), and then stayed in a job too long and suffered from severe burnout so that I “quit” my career afforded me by my master’s degree in higher education administration and completely left the field. I then started a business in the crafts industry but “quit” that when it was no longer fun, and I realized that I didn’t really have the skills to pull it off.

My life was in shambles at the time, as I desperately searched for what I wanted to do when I grew up, and when I finally latched onto the notion of starting my own business as a virtual assistant, my marriage couldn’t take the strain of that decision. So, I decided to “quit” my marriage and ask for a divorce and move back to my home state of Texas and reinvent myself. A few years later, after successfully launching my business, I decided to relocate to Arkansas in pursuit of another business opportunity, which turned out to be yet another failure, and I “quit” that as well.

I spent much of this time second-guessing myself and my decisions, wondering if I was quitting too soon because the going got rough and I was afraid, or if it was just really time to quit and move on. I discovered that I wasn’t alone in my thinking when I recently read Seth Godin’s book, The Dip. He defines the dip as a temporary setback that you will overcome if you keep pushing. So starting a new business venture is fun and thrilling in the beginning, but after two or three years, it can become very hard and not much fun at all. But, on the other side starting a successful business, most people can see that they are changed for the better, have learned much along the way, and are hopefully making money from the venture.

So, how do you decide if you’re simply in a dip, or if you really need to quit? Godin says you need to make two considerations: 1. Do you have the resources to get through it? and 2. Is it worth what it will take?

As I evaluated my “quitting” as described above, it occurred to me that the answer in all cases to both questions was a loud and clear “No!” Why? Because I’d been secretly settling for mediocrity all along. It was time to quit when the things I was measuring weren’t improving, and I simply couldn’t find anything better to measure. Most importantly, the sick feeling in my gut that I experienced at the time at the thought of continuing wouldn’t let me continue.

I’ve had moments of panic and fear along my journey, as well, and trying to distinguish between the fear and when I’m at a dead-end has been difficult. What have I discovered? The difference between a dead-end and a dip. The dead-end won’t get better, no matter how much I try, and the dip makes me feel panicked and scared because I know that I will be great at something and that scares the hell out of me because it pushes me completely outside my comfort zone. More importantly, in a dip, I’ve realized that the end justifies the means.

I’m currently involved in moving a business venture extensively outside my comfort zone, and it scares me to death. I often wake up in the middle of the night thinking, “What, are you crazy? You have no idea about what you’re doing. Everyone is going to figure out that you’re completely clueless — a complete fake.”

And that tells me that I’m right on course for success.

Investing in indian real estate – is your checklist complete

Investing in Indian Real Estate – is your Checklist Complete? Think Again!

In the last two years probably the four words that have made the most frequent headlines in news articles and magazines has been the “Indian Real Estate Boom”. Various authors have published tables showing 30 to 100 percent gains in a year through real estate investments. Reading about this dream “money making industry” time and time again has made most to believe that there indeed exists the “Midas Touch”. People from all walks of life have either invested / in the process of investing or planning to invest there hard earned life’s savings so as to multiply it by at least a factor of two in the recent future. This has got the Developers laughing all the way to the banks. Even though the last three months have seen a price correction of upto 30% in resale of properties there seems to be hardly any coverage in the press. Each day you find the dream still selling, people who have made investments like such headlines as it gives them a false sense of satisfaction.

Most up-market apartments give there occupancy levels to be in the range of 70-90 percent. However if you happen to take a late evening walk (when you expect at least one member of the family to be present), 50-60 percent apartments would have there all lights turned off leaving a question mark on what is being claimed. This collaborates the point made earlier that most such apartments and houses belong to those who have made investments and are waiting for the “Midas Touch”.

The so called real-estate boom has attracted so many new players in the market that it is a near impossible task for the common man to identify those who follow the laid down rules and laws from those who believe in hood-winking the authorities. The glossy newspaper advertisements that greet our eyes each morning surely succeeds in making us believe that buying the advertised apartment would take us into paradise. How many times do we see developers addressing issues like “earthquake safeguards and total land area of colony” in their advertisements? The agreement between the buyer and developer would certainly contain the clause that if the electricity bills are not paid in time the electric supply to the apartment would be stopped but how many times do we read that that incase it is found that the building is not meeting the minimum Earthquake Safety requirements spelt out by the Government the builder would be held responsible, alternately how many times do we see the area calculations giving out the total area of the colony. The municipal authorities generally sanction a Floor Area Ratio of approximately 1.5 for group housing colonies, this implies that incase the plot area is 100,000 square feet then the developer is authorized to construct 150,000 square feet. Alternately we can say that if an apartment building has 150,000 square feet as it’s built up area then the land area of the colony should be 100,000 square feet. However if not most, many developers do not hand over the entitled land to the society and keep chunks in their possession so as to be used at a later date.

I attended the “13th Symposium on Earthquake Engineering” organised by IIT Roorkee which took place from 18-20 Dec 2006. Prof. A S Arya the National Seismic Advisor and also member of the newly constituted National Disaster Management Authority and Prof. D K Paul, Head of the Earthquake Engineering Department in their speeches expressed deep concern that even after so much has been done to increase Earthquake awareness amongst all, most builders are yet not following even the minimum guidelines for earthquake safety. “Earthquake Resistant” is the minimum safety standards that a building should be designed for; Government has laid down these minimum guidelines after great deliberations so that as a minimum, Life-Safety is ensured by preventing a total building collapse. Incase the damage to the building is above a threshold level it can be demolished and reconstructed, but at least there will not be any loss of lives. It is time that the consumer starts demanding these clauses to be included in the “Buyers Agreement” in addition to clauses that warn him of the electric supply being stopped.

Unlike other Seismic regions of the world, today No Developer in India is offering “Higher than Earthquake Resistant” construction. Even the high-profile projects which want the consumer to shell out exorbitant sums are claimed to have followed the “Minimum Earthquake Safety Standards” i.e. Earthquake Resistant, however even this minimum safety is not endorsed in the buyers agreement. A small additional cost of Rs. 150-200 per square foot used to install “energy dissipation devices/ dampers” can achieve a “ Higher than Earthquake Resistant” safety standard. Most manufacturers of energy dissipation devices/ dampers guarantee their products for upto 35 years which is further renewed after testing.

What the Indian Real Estate investor needs to be doing is deliberately evaluating if he is making the right investments, not by getting carried away by glossy advertisements but getting relevant provisions endorsed in the buyers agreement.

How to start a photography studio: estimating your cost of sales

How to Start a Photography Studio: Estimating Your Cost of Sales

The cost of sales for a photography studio represents the direct costs of each job. Costs which support these jobs, but are shared among a number of jobs, are accounted for separately on your income statement. Knowing your cost of sales helps you to determine the gross profit you earn from a given job. It is this number, rather than the price of a job, which you should use to study the profitability and value of different jobs and clients.

What goes into cost of sales?

For location shoots, cost of sales will include all of the direct costs of travel to and from the location (whether it is gas, taxi, train, bus, etc.) If you are delivering prints, an album, or framed work, the cost of materials and labor to provide those services should be included. If you hire an assistant or additional photographers on an hourly or project rate for the job, the cost of that additional labor is also part of the cost of sales. However, if you or other employees work on a salary basis, the portion of your time spent on a given job is not considered cost of sales. As this salary would have to be paid regardless of the job happening, it is considered a general operating cost or fixed cost.

What you learn from cost of sales?

By looking at the cost of sales for different types of jobs and different clients as a percentage of the revenue earned for each, you will be able to compare the profitability of each project. Over time you may develop a standard maximum percentages for cost of sales. You should keep an eye on jobs which threaten to rise above this percentage. You can then determine on a case-by-case basis whether it is worth working with that client again, if the project should be priced differently, or if costs can be decreased in the future. Sometimes higher costs should be borne  for certain clients because there are non-financial returns to take into account (such as the publicity and reputation you might earn by doing photo shoots for celebrity clients).

Inventive sheer lingerie

Inventive Sheer Lingerie

Many different people are searching for their own slice of heaven, and it’s interesting to see that many stores are now offering more sheer lingerie than ever before. The rise in nice undergarments and sexy clothing is interesting to say the least. It has really gotten a negative stigma in years past, but not any longer. There are great new things booming in the internet that are not video, audio, or news related. It’s funny to see that no one is covering information technology in regards to clothing, specifically that type of clothing that might inspire people to make their love life a little more than usual.

If you are one of the millions of people that are looking for good quality sheer lingerie, you need to remember that the only world has a lot to offer now. The online world is not the wild west any longer, and it is not going to frustrate you at all. These new sites are offering a plethora of brands, and options online for women of all ages and sizes. We’re talking about sizes from petite to extra large and beyond. It really allows people to stay in the privacy of their own home without having people look at them trying different products in the small, and sometimes smelly fitting rooms.

The fitting rooms aside, if you are looking for good sheer lingerie, you have one stop shop out there. You can go online and find some great options online for a low introductory cost. The costs involved are not something that you should be afraid of, because the sellers on these websites are promoting overall good quality undergarments and amazing examples of sexy clothing at a low price.

If you do some bargain shopping or compare different things, you will be blessed to know that the sites are offering free shipping and great incentives if you are willing to be a customer of their stores. These stores are definitely trying to push themselves into the mainstream a little better than usual. You should try to push things a little more if you are looking to get the best sheer lingerie in the industry.
You could go to a lot of different stores, whether mainstream, or underground and find less of a selection. There is a lot of selection out there, if you are looking to get an online store to purchase your goods. A good clothing store online would offer great sheer lingerie. That’s the best thing online, for many different reasons, from a price standpoint these stores are offering great things for consumers that are willing to spend their hard earned dollars on them. While you sit in the comfort of your own home, you can enjoy the amazing world of sexy lingerie without spending all your cash on it. The internet has given us so many great things, and the latest ecommerce world is something that you can not really deny is great in a lot of regards. You can not miss out on good quality sexy clothes, especially with the ease of use these days.

How can an executive office chair improve my office

How Can an Executive Office Chair Improve My Office?

When you assume the duties of an executive, you gain the perk of having your own office. However, the office by itself does not represent a finished product. In other words, you need to pick the proper furnishing for the office. Such selections need to be made wisely. You do not want to present a less than desirable office chair in the mix because this will not exactly create the best impression on those that visit the office. Rather, you will want to make the office look the best it can be through the inclusion of the proper desk chair needed to make the office look impressive.

A basic swivel chair may not be enough to instill the confidence of executive leadership one needs to present. Instead, the chair will need to look professional and elegant. Yes, function is fine but you need to integrate form into the selection of your executive office chair. This will make for the perfect impression on those that enter into the office. And yes, impressions do mean something important. You want to impress. If not your ability to present yourself as an executive will be marred. And seriously, executives that do not present themselves properly will not be able to effectively lead.

Can an executive office chair truly make such an impression on those that enter an office? Perhaps it cannot do so on its own but it can contribute to an overall impression significantly. This is why one should never ignore the value that such a chair can provide for an executive.

December 2009
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