Is Life Happening?

It has been some time since I wrote anything here, and I feel like I owe the place a normal post. So I’ll try and be normal.

Life is frantic at the moment, in spite of my best efforts. I feel like I have developed a work and not-work balance that is desperately against me as an individual, but as an individual that is involved in lots of other people’s lives and businesses, is relatively profitable. And yet, what amazes me is that I think I have actually reduced the amount of hours I’ve been working.

In line with my previous posts, I have been trying to do other things outside of work hours, more sociable. I would say in terms of doing things in real life that involve other people, that bit hasn’t actually happened at all. But it has, to some extent, involved people. People that I wouldn’t normally have been talking to, and one of whom has actually turned into something of a long distance friend. So broadly, despite its very tangible negatives to my mental health at times, it has brought something different into my life.

Work meanwhile continues. My IT business is now disgustingly busy, so much so that I am once again thinking about what I can do to tame it. Do I increase the prices and get rid of the customers I don’t want? Or do I have the guts to try again and employ someone? I have been thinking about recruiting an apprentice, but that means I must commit to my IT business for at least another year, something I wasn’t keen on doing. But it is so busy, and the prospects remain good, and I am still in need of earning this money, that I think I should do it…

The other business I am part of is going through something of a rut, but you wouldn’t think it. It is at the mercy of the political masters, and, unfortunately, they are in the midst of electoral rubbish at the moment. It is also the end of a financial year, and I think that inevitably has meant all of the money has already been spent.

But it’s still all systems go. We are in such an intriguing scenario at the moment, so keen are we to take advantage of new opportunities, that we are considering moving on to our property development ideas, and installing a manager into the company so that it can carry on moving along without our day-to-day to involvement. This has coincided with a friend and former colleague becoming available to work for us. It could all connect quite well. But it is a risk. We are ready to take it, and introducing this person to the office has already improved the office dynamic and made it feel a really professional place to work. I like feeling like I’m part of something bigger than me. It is a world apart from my one-man-band IT business…

So that is two risks. One risk for my business, and one risk for the business I am part of, and both of it coming from having to employ someone. Employing people is weird. Keeping them busy and occupied and earning you money is something I haven’t quite worked out yet.

Then there is the risk of the property business. Which is starting, hopefully soon, with the purchase of some land 80 miles south west of me. Land. Not a building. Because we are planning on building it ourselves. We must be mad. But we sense a longer term vision. I sense the opportunity to get properly on the housing ladder by building up a property portfolio. It all sounds very unlikely, and highly adventurous. And super risky.

2015 has become the year of the risk for me. Impending mid-life 30 crisis perhaps?

108 days until 30

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The Glimpse

Today I am taking it easy. It’s Sunday after all. Sundays are meant for this. In the background plays a song by Sam Smith, very easy listening. It could be Lionel Richie. Easy like Sunday morning.

Except it’s the afternoon, and most of the day is over for me already.

Things are incredibly stressful in work at times. I have a lot of juggling to continue doing in the near future, but, broadly speaking, I think I am starting to see a better balance of life ahead of me. My new employee on my business, while taking up a lot of time, and 80% of the income that comes in, is starting to work. I think. This is freeing up my time during the day in the office to look after the things that can only be done during the day… reacting to my business customers, and also dealing with the other business I’m involved in.

So right now I’m getting a glimpse of what my life might become… where I might start to make advances in getting my free time back. Maybe within a few months I will be able to look forward to having Sundays entirely to myself every week. Instead of them being seen by me as a great opportunity to catch up on the work I haven’t completed during the week. Because then the work just never stops.

The irony is that I spent this morning doing exactly that. I still got up at 5:50am, which most people would think is a bit weird for a Sunday. But when I wake up, and I’ve had enough sleep, then I get up. Why waste any time when there’s so much to do? Plus when you get up at 5am during the week, why upset that rhythm too much?

In any event, I did well. So now I have an excuse for procrastinating a bit, which includes what I’m doing now.

But maybe in a few months time I’ll actually start to feel like I can do something sociable? Maybe I will also be more secure in my incomes than I am now. Maybe by then I’ll have had all of the money I’ve lent to my businesses and a colleague back. Who knows. Probably not, but I can dream.

A tantalising look at the future. To most people, what I describe is probably not even relateable. Most people are used to having every weekend off. Every evening off. To me, having spent the last couple of years with no weekends, no evenings, just the merest possibility of having some actual free time – and having something to do in it – is a real excitement.

What a life.

The Slight Concern

It’s been some time since I last wrote… mainly because of how busy work has been, but nothing better than that really. It’s hard work sometimes trying to find a moment just to reflect on life.

But on the other hand, it’s amazing how I often feel like this is nothing to say. Nothing to comment on about life in general. I think that’s probably true as far as work goes at the moment. It’s all generally going well, although it’s hard work.

Perhaps the biggest change is that as far as the two businesses I’m involved in go, the one that has suddenly appeared from nowhere to potentially be able to generate a large amount of capital is growing very quickly. This is good news, but one of the most difficult parts as far as I’m concerned is that it involved working with other people far more closely than ever before.

I have never had to manage people before. The closest I ever got was when I was in Colorado, and when I was “in charge” of small groups of happy campers (!) when we had things to clean. I used to like getting stuck in and doing cleaning myself… leading by example. But I quickly learned that I just couldn’t do that. Being a manager meant looking a step or two ahead of the current position, so that people had something ready to do when they finished their current task. If I was doing cleaning myself, I couldn’t plan for other people – and people can go off task very quickly if they are not motivated…

It seems a pretty mundane environment to learn a management lesson, but actually I think it’s universal. It has occurred to me again in recent weeks, because the new employee we have has needed things to do. Sometimes very important, sometimes very simple. But it has distracted me. It has taken me away from my own work to have to plan the work of others.

At the moment, this is not good for me. I am being pulled away from the work that’s paying me day-to-day, my IT work, to do work for another business which is ticking over, but I will always be at the back of the pay queue, because the employees have to be paid first. And therefore I’m working on stuff which is taking up my time, stressing me out, and paying me nothing.

That is not a good equation. I am hoping this is just short term, but I have to admit it’s starting to niggle in the back of my mind. Doubt is hard work… and I’ve more than had enough of it over the years. I would like a little bit of certainty now.

Hmm. Oh well, at least it’s Sunday.