24 June, 2010

Smart, Fast, Busy and Lucky.

Smart, Fast, Busy and Lucky.
The 95 MPH life from 10,000 feet.

So I’ve mentioned on Facebook and Twitter that my life has undergone some extraordinary changes in the last 4 months. I know I haven’t outlined them all. No Facebook page or tweet string is going to get you all those details, and better yet, the changes seem to be getting faster and more emphatic as each week goes by.

Let’s start with living situation. At the end of April I moved out of my mom’s house and in with Tracey. There’s no ring on a finger yet, but I did ask permission (to ask the question) from the relevant parental authority figures on our recent trip to Iowa. Now I’m waiting on getting my business up and running and getting a trip to Arkansas in before the important question is asked of the most important person.

The living together thing has been really very good. I need to get a few more things settled, get my income up to snuff, and start paying my share of the necessities, but that’s definitely in the works and I should see some major improvements there in the next 90 days. The relationship with Tracey is great and very easy going. The biggest stress factors are, and have consistently been from outside things, not relationship things, and it’s a wonderful, loving place to be in my life right now.

I should explain – the reason my income is a bit strained is because in the last 2 weeks I’ve made a major change in how I earn a living.

I quit US Airways officially last week. I tried to hold out for the 2 week’s notice but discovered that for that to count I had to work the last day of the two weeks and I already had my other job to do, so I didn’t leave there quite the way I wanted to, but maybe that was fate stepping in to make the break a clean one. I’ll admit, I met a lot of really great people who deserve more out of life than they receive because of the heart and soul they put into everything they do both inside their jobs and out.

I had been trying to climb the ladder at US Airways almost from Day 1. The whole reason for joining the company had been because they had a widely held reputation for promoting from within. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for me and over the last 4 years I had wound down all of my savings trying to keep my head above water while waiting for an opportunity to solidify at the airline for me.

In the last 6 months in particular I had spent a lot of time interviewing and applying to various companies outside of the US Airways group as well, and nothing quite materialized there either. For a variety of reasons there just did not seem to be a match.

I can honestly say, though, that by comparison to those friends and contacts of mine who were unemployed over that time period, thanks to Tracey’s extraordinary help and my own efforts thrown in, I received far more interviews, and far deeper consideration by employers than most everyone else – except the people who actually got the jobs, of course.

Still, it led me to consider why my job search wasn’t going the way I wanted it to, and the answer became obvious very quickly. I didn’t fit the mold.

See jobs in the current marketplace all are structured to make a very specific fit – someone has the exact keywords on their CV, they have the exact years of experience, and the exact educational requirement listed, and as long as it plugs and plays exactly like that, hiring managers are happy with it. For those who exceed those requirements and have a variety of skills and experiential aptitudes, hiring managers and recruiters actually are afraid that the candidate will get bored. They get the impression that adaptable people are adaptable because they desire high change environments. Adaptable people, on the other hand, become so because they develop skills to be able to fit in better with any environment. See the difference? Good, because most managers don’t.

They fill the position quickly and move on, with the hope that if the position was written up well enough, then a letter for letter match is the best fill for the position and so they won’t have to fill it again a few months from now.

As I saw this scenario playing out before me over and over again, I also started to see it happening to others who had a similar resume. Varied background, but having long tenures at each position. Depth of experience, but missing the keyword du jour. Adaptable and quick learners, but missing 10% of the applicable tool experience. These all were and are death-knells for our resumes. Not because anyone had any doubts that we could do the job, but because the manager assumed we’d get hired out from under them to do a much more challenging and rewarding job very, very soon.

The answer became obvious. No employer would hire me to do what I was good at as an employee, no matter what I brought to the table in experience or ability because they would all worry that something else would take me away when they needed me.
Every one of them believed I was eminently employable and should be hired, often by their own company, just not as an employee.

Hired, but not as an employee. Hired as a contractor or consultant. Hired on a business to business basis.

I needed to start my own business.

At last, the penny dropped and I started to mention and develop my plans. As soon as I started to mention them, I instantly started to get offers, and one of them came from David T. Fagan.

For those of you who don’t know, David is the former CEO of Guerrilla Marketing. If you don’t know who or what Guerrilla Marketing is, you should Google them. They are one of the best known advertising and marketing firms in the history of business marketing, and their owner, Jay Conrad Levinson is responsible for many of the brands that we all know like we know our own names. The Pillsbury Doughboy, Allstate’s ‘Good Hands’, Tony the Tiger, United’s Friendly Skies, Morris the Cat, and The Jolly Green Giant, to name just a few.

David helped regrow Guerrilla Marketing and still helps today. Guerrilla is still one of David’s best clients. David decided that he needed another opportunity, though, where he could do more than help rebuild a brand recognized and respected in more than 41 countries worldwide. He needed to help others gain the kind of success that he brought back to the Guerrilla brand.

With a new business organization philosophy in hand, David launched two new thoughts as part of his new business, and started it off with a book he co-wrote with Jay Conrad Levinson – Guerrilla Rainmakers. With a little luck you can see that book available online and in stores early next week. Guerrilla Rainmakers details David’s new philosophy and shows the reader in specific steps what it takes to lead a business successfully.

David launched his new company a few months ago and pulled me onboard starting just a week and a half ago. My role is to bring things to successful completion – to direct personnel and resources to the meeting of David and his clients’ needs.

David wasn’t looking for an employee, either. We’re working together on a contract basis, and David is a fulltime client. I also have built some contract training relationships, most notably with Webucator.com which led to my trip to Toronto this month and an online course I delivered in March.

Between the two of those contracts I am already making more than I was at US Airways, but still not nearly enough, and not yet able to have that self-assurance that should one of the contracts have some down time that I would be able to roll with the punches.

Tracey and I sat down and I explained my idea to her, my idea for starting a real business and for making a real effort at developing my own income streams.

Last Friday those dreams really started to solidify with the registration of my new business, Reyactive LLC. For those of you who know me, play with the company name and you’ll see the association fairly quickly I’m sure. I figure if it worked for Harpo…

Reyactive will be the overarching home base for several different revenue streams. This mirrors my model for consistent profitability that I developed years ago and never had the chance to take for a spin.

First, Reyactive will publish my books and the books of other authors. As many of you know, I have several books that I need to wrap up and get out into the world, and Reyactive is going to help me do that. Not only will we publish the books, but I will hook the author up with national exposure through radio interviews in markets across the country, list their books for sale in all the major selling sites and line up book signings for them as well. I will help them promote their books by teaching them real book selling strategies I’ve developed and learned that will help them make their books more profitable and extend the awareness of their books across the nation.

Second, I’m going to give courses on my books and on a variety of subjects with which I have a credible expertise. I’ll also deliver courses on how to maximize your frequent flier benefits including everything from miles to elite status on all the major airlines. The way I figure it, most of us can earn tens of thousands of miles a year more than we are right now, largely for doing what we’re already doing. We also aren’t taking advantage of the frequent flier statuses available at the major airlines so we’re costing ourselves comfort, money and hassle for no good reason.

Those courses will be starting as soon as July, so I should start seeing an additional income surge as of August. Between contract training and proprietary training I will have a very flexible and profitable revenue stream here and be in a position to help an awful lot of people do what they do better.

Third I have the opportunity later this year to launch several radio shows, both here in Phoenix and nationally. I’m going to be working with the stations to nail those down and start acquiring sponsors and booking guests over the next month, so look for news there as well. As many of you know, I have started writing articles for Examiner.com, and of course I have my blog. I will be adding more articles and more blogs in the coming months as well with different topics so you should see a steady stream of different material from me as time goes by. The third arm then is going to be my media arm, starting with radio and web and expanding from there.

The fourth income stream will be from consulting. I don’t expect to have many concurrent clients here; only a few will suffice nicely to meet and exceed my revenue goals for the remainder of the year. With David Fagan as my first consulting client, and several others waiting in the wings, things bode well here too.

The fifth revenue stream is my art. I’m taking time to get some key pieces finished and will start seriously promoting some of my good stuff, not just the trial balloons you may have seen before. I’m working on a couple of new sculptures, some truly unique paintings, and more of my gem and 3-D floral art. I’m expanding my gem art to include other 3-D subjects beyond trees, adding new fish pieces, cacti, and other subjects. I will also start planning a true Art Event for collectors. More details on this later, but I think I have a real winner here.

So you see, Reyactive has a very active role in representing who I am and what I do. It gives me the forum to be able to help people be more successful while also giving me the opportunity to help myself share those skills and knowledge strengths with others.

And it also gives me a job from a boss who knows my talents and is willing to take a gamble on my depth and breadth of experience. Instead of just looking for a job that I could do well, I am creating a job that fits me. And the pay should be a lot better too.

This month I also got to travel to Iowa to meet Tracey’s family. It was lovely meeting her Clan, and getting to know her friends and some of the background detail of her life. I also got to meet some of the fuzzy people who make up her extended family too, which is always a treat for me.

We went up for Tracey’s friend Kim’s wedding. The wedding was delightful, the weather, not so much. I think someone was standing nearby holding a large magnifying glass over top of us so the sun could, with focused radiation, not just beat the last living breath out of us, but actually begin to melt human tissue. Certainly the suit I wore was both a blessing and a curse, simultaneously causing and hiding massive heat and humidity induced perspiration.

Fortunately poor Kim and Heath didn’t have to stay out much longer after having met us as we were near the end of the crowd to pass through the receiving process, and I can only hope that the very next thing they were enabled to do was have something cold to drink in a highly air-conditioned environment.

Certainly their idea of mixing the sands of the family members together during the ceremony held a lot of symbolic interest, and I regret deeply having had the overwhelming compulsion to hope that they’d hurry that part up in order to get everyone out of the heat.

The heartbreaking news that Heath’s mom had passed shortly after the start of the reception was truly saddening. Clear right from the first moment, every person there, whether they were close friends, or like me newly minted, felt for Heath and his bride and for the whole family. It’s easy to talk of the circle of life, and I’m sure they’ve heard that enough to last a lifetime, but seeing it right there in front of you in a single occasion is decidedly impactful, even to the casual observer. I definitely wish Heath and Kim well in their new journey as bride and groom and I’m sure Tracey would echo my sentiments when I say I can’t wait for them to get the chance to come down to Phoenix so we can show them a good time and get to know them better.

Although I have shared a lot of news with you, I know it’s only the tip of the iceberg. I hope you’ll all stay strong and keep up with my news as it unfurls in the weeks and months to come.

As I’ve often said, at least I’m not boring.

Cheers for now,


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