A little less than a year ago, I reworked some things on the blog and promised to expand my topics. I haven’t done a great job so far, but it is New Year’s resolution time and I might as well give it another go. I mentioned in a previous post( The Long Winter)that I had written a book for my 3 adult daughters and given it to them for Christmas 2014. I have decided to publish some of it on the blog. Probably going to stick with the topics that will have the broadest appeal. Like I wrote in the foreword:
Some shallow(thoughts), some profound, some foolish and some so-so – but nevertheless all for you(daughters)
Dedication:(names are deleted to protect the innocent and not so innocent)
To(oldest daughter)who made me think being a father was going to be easy, to(second daughter)who proved that it wasn’t, to(youngest daughter)who showed me how much I still had to learn and to(my wife)who allows me to be the father I think I should be.
Love, DaD – Christmas 2014
What risks are worth taking? That is a question that we deal with in almost every endeavor. Will telling the truth damage a friendship? Will making a certain decision potentially cause an unforeseen problem? Will inaction allow something bad to happen? Will intervention put someone in harm’s way? Plus all the risky decisions that involve finance, family and livelihood. As you know, I am chronically non-risk adverse. So, take this advice accordingly. Risk is a matter of weighing the benefits against the harm and that process takes a little effort. My process starts with three steps. The first is to clearly evaluate the benefits to determine if it is even worth considering the risks. If step one is positive, step two is clearly to picture the worst case scenario if the action goes badly and estimate the likelihood of that happening. Step three is to ask yourself whether you can handle the worst case scenario. Then consider carefully all that information and make a decision.
Excerpt from Thoughts for My Daughters by Ken Johnson
As a long time entrepreneur, I often get asked what it takes to start your own business. Here’s what I’ve got:
I once saw a cartoon that gave the following definition of an Entrepreneur:
“Someone who will do almost anything to avoid working for someone else”
That about sums it up – even though it defies logic. When you work for yourself you risk everything you have despite the fact that you know 80-90% of new businesses fail. You work longer hours than anyone else and sweat bullets over how to meet payroll every week. Every decision you make can have life-changing consequences for you, your family, your employees and their families. Vacations are something other people talk about. Yet despite all of this you will tell everyone you meet that working for yourself is the best thing you have ever done.
If you recognize these qualities, there might be a new businessbusiness in your future:
Ability to defy gravity – So the first quality an Entrepreneur must have is a strong dose of healthy self-delusion that will enable him or her to persevere against all odds. Almost every friend and family member will tell you all the reasons you shouldn’t start your own business – and every one of them is absolutely right! 80-90% of all new businesses fail so what makes you think you can make it? Good question, but to you, the entrepreneur, it makes absolutely no difference at all. You know you can do this. The 80-90% that fail do not clutter up your vision – they are invisible to you – your vision is fully focused on the field where the 10-20% of successful ones play. You can’t figure out why anyone would think any other way.
Unshackled from conventional wisdom – One of your friends finds out you are thinking of starting a business so they give you a business book to help you out. At least that is what they tell you. In reality, they are giving you the book to prove to you how utterly ill-equipped you are to be an entrepreneur. The book will tell you the degrees you should have, the financing you should have in place, the number of years of experience in the field you should have, the team of advisors, accountants, lawyers you should have in place etc. But you know in your heart, that by the time you did all that stuff, the window of opportunity for your business idea would be long gone. You are ready to open the doors and get started. Bring it on.
Ability to create something out of nothing – A friend of mine once told me that he was astonished by the way I could seemingly create something out of nothing. I asked him to explain. He said he would see me one day on the ropes after suffering a business setback and a few weeks later fully engaged in a new product or project that was once again generating revenue. To him it was astonishing, to the entrepreneur it is as natural as breathing. Business is subject to constantly changing circumstances. The entrepreneur never sees obstacles as barriers – he sees them as launching platforms.
Ability to embrace failure – Failure is a fact of life for an Entrepreneur. You might have small failures or colossal failures – but for certain, you will have failures. Embrace them, learn from them and just try to make sure you fail at something new each time! Do not fear failure. Failure is one of the greatest teachers there is. Remember – the only people who never fail are the ones who never try anything new!
Faith – this is the one quality that I did not find until I was nearly through my first decade of entrepreneurial activity. The understanding that we are not in this alone and that we are accountable to God for everything we do adds a dimension to working for yourself that fully completes the package. It provides the ethical and motivational foundation for all that we do. We don’t do it perfectly, but with God’s help an entrepreneur with faith and an understanding of Biblical teaching can build a business that serves its customers well and honors God in the process.
If these qualities ring true with you, you look like an entrepreneur. What are you waiting for?
I promise that not every post will be about weather, but this particular season has been remarkable in my neck of the woods. But, as I like to say – you don’t have to take my word for it . . . Just listen to what the experts have to say and then check out the pictures.
This February will end up as the coldest month ever observed at Bangor. Through February 25th the average temperature at Bangor of 6.1 degrees was 14.2 degrees below normal. Based on our forecast temperatures through the end of the month, we project that the average temperature for the month will be near 6.4 degrees. This would break the all-time record for not only the coldest February, but also the coldest month ever observed at Bangor by about 2 degrees.
Here are the top 5 coldest months on record at Bangor with their average monthly temperatures:
1. January 1994 8.4F
2. January 1971 8.7F
3. January 1982 9.8F
4. January 2004 10.0F
5. January 2009 10.1F
Prior to this February, the coldest February on record was in 1993 with an average monthly temperature of 11.3F, so Bangor will shatter its coldest February on record by about 5 degrees. Records in Bangor began in 1926.
.PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CARIBOU ME 1116 AM EST MON FEB 23 2015 ..BANGOR HAS SNOWIEST 31 DAY PERIOD ON RECORD… BANGOR HAS RECEIVED 67.9 INCHES OF SNOW FROM JANUARY 24 TO FEBRUARY 23. THIS IS THE SNOWIEST 31 DAY PERIOD ON RECORD FOR BANGOR…BREAKING THE PRIOR SNOWIEST 31 DAY RECORD OF 59.4 INCHES FROM FEBRUARY 1 TO MARCH 3 1969. RECORDS IN BANGOR BEGAN IN 1926.
Pretty impressive, right? Reminds me of 69 after I just moved up here from Jersey. I was living in an unheated camp and I woke up with a layer of ice on my sleeping bag. Then I went outside only to discover that I had to dig down through the snow drift to get to my car!
Speaking of things past and present, this time of year is always a little slower for the pee business, so I like to spend the time getting ready for the “season.” This year’s efforts include once again trying to wrap my old brain around everything that the internet and technology has to offer the small business. Things have changed quite a bit since I started as an entreprenuer.(For one, I don’t sleep in an unheated camp) I used to spend hours with an x-acto knife and rubber cement getting brochures and mailings ready for the printer. Now, I just sit in front of my computer and use a graphics program. I used to spend a lot more time on the phone and in face to face interaction with clients and customers. Now, so much of it is all done through email and social media outlets. I am not one to sit back and pine for the “good ole days,” instead I want to embrace the technology, and that is why our pee business is almost entirely web based. But, it is challenging to take in all the changes, understand them and then take the step to actually utilize them to help grow a business and raise product awareness. I know there are plenty of whipper snappers out there with an amazing grasp of the technology, but I am hoping that years of experience and the die hard entreprenuerial spirit combined with a slowly growing technological arsenal will still give this old guy the edge. Stay warm wherever you are!