Tag Archives: business

Entrepreneurial lessons

IMG_20160206_092837There is one thing I never want to stop doing, and that is learning. The more you know, the better.

I haven’t written much about mine and my husband’s work towards being bar owners. And until its further along in the process, I’m not going to do so. But suffice to say, we’ve been working on this venture for over a year. And for awhile now, I’ve felt really bad that we aren’t further along than we are. But that all changed this weekend.

This weekend, I attended Aggie Entrepreneurship Saturday in Houston, Texas. It was an opportunity to learn from other Entrepreneurs things I need to know as I start my business. My parents came with me to learn what they can do to improve theirs.

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You know what my biggest take-away was from the event? That its perfectly okay that we’ve taken this long, because we’ve been careful. We’re making sure our business plan is as complete as possible and that we truly know what we are doing. We want to have answers to questions before they are asked… or at the very least know how to get those answers.

For as much as I learned I am on the right track, I also learned so many things that I never thought about ahead of time. I learned marketing strategies, and legal issues. I learned I need to stop just taking people at their word, and I need to truly research them and their credentials.

I learned a lot about funding… mostly on how to look the best I can to investors and creditors. I learned the mistakes many business owners make (and I am a big fan of learned from mistakes — both mine and other’s.) I discovered how important your terminology and point of view can be. I learned about percentages of ownership and the importance of setting in stone ahead of time everyone’s jobs and expectations.

It’s easy to think, “Oh just go get some money and open a business.” But its SO much more than that. So much more. And ultimately,  I left rejuvenated in our endeavor. I left wiser and more confident.

I tweeted my favorite notes throughout the day… if you’d care to see those tweets, check them out HERE

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I absolutely can’t thank the people who made this day possible enough… The Association of Former Students, Startup Aggieland, TAMU Young Alumni, and Mays Business School. I hope to catch another one and keep learning! 

So what about you…?

It’s been a month since I last blogged… a busy month. I chatted with my brother on the phone last night and he asked what I’ve been up to since Christmas and I was a bit stumped on how to respond. What HAVE I been up to in the last month?

Well, first off, Christmas was wonderful. I love my family, and it never seems like enough time together when we all see each other. ESPECIALLY when its a rare time that my husband is off the road and can be there.

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It was a warm Christmas down in Texas! Dig my red socks there? Yeahhhh… In a similar vein, this happened before Christmas:

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Santa remembered us. See? He IS real.

Anyway, after Christmas it was time to focus on all the Music City Bowl events in Nashville. I’m still planning to do a whole blog post JUST on this, but let me just say that even though A&M lost the game, I feel like I won so much through the experience. I didn’t know it was possible to love my University any more than I already did, but I totally do after all that I got to do with it in 2015.

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I then rang in the new year with friends… with a special highlight of it my oldest friend — besties since around Kindergarten — was in Nashville with me for the game and to celebrate New Years. First time in about 30 years of friendship for that to happen! And on top of that, it was 14th time my husband and I rang in a new year together.

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My first task of 2016 was to stand up for myself… and it felt really good.

I do some light web design work for a few people. It’s not something I promote much, mostly because its just… I’m not keeping up with all the new stuff in web design enough to feel confident in calling myself a web designer. But, if you ask me to do it, I’ll do it and I’ll give it my all. On top of that, a by-product of my journalism degree, I guess, I never miss a deadline set by someone else. (I miss my personal deadlines all the time, LOL, but if you ask me to do a job by x-day, it might be completed in the 11th hour, but it WILL be done by deadline.)

Well, I won’t go into any details, but I ultimately quit a client over what I am considering a personality conflict. I don’t handle being micromanaged very well, I suppose. I got the job done, though, and I walked away. And I haven’t second guessed that decision once. Proud of myself, actually, for standing up for myself.

The deadline of this project was actually the same day at my wedding anniversary. 9 years, y’all!  NINE!

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We celebrated using a gift card we got for Christmas from a friend. Dinner at Jimmy Kelly’s Steakhouse in Nashville is definitely outside of my comfort zone, but that chilean sea bass was worth it. That, and getting our waiter to relax a bit and chat with us after we told him he could be twins with another friend of ours.

After dinner we met up with a couple we haven’t gotten to hang out with in a long time… in a nice smokey dive bar. Back in our comfort zone. LOL!

Since these back-to-back-to-back-to-back things… I went through a brief phase of being lost. I suddenly didn’t have something demanding my attention RIGHT THIS SECOND and I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I found myself obsessing over bills and the fact that January is ALWAYS a lean month for us.

But, I found my stride after awhile, and my focus has definitely turned to our future. The business plan is pretty much done for the bar we are planning to open. We should get it in the hands of investors next week.

My husband has been driving Lyft while the bus driving is at a stand still.

If you’ve never tried Lyft (or Uber), its a rideshare service. Think of it as a taxi, only cheaper and you’re riding in someone’s personal vehicle. Creepy? Not at all. All drivers undergo a rigorous background check before they are approved to be part of the Lyft service. They also have to keep a higher level of care for their vehicles. No junkie clunkers allowed! AND riders and drivers rate each other after each ride. If either the driver OR the passengers ends up with too many low scores, they’re kicked out of the system entirely.

I set up a Lyft code through my husband’s account for the Music City Bowl that is still good to use. So if you want to test it out, use the code MUSICCITYAGGIES for a discount on your first ride!

My husband went on his first bus drive of the year this week, though. It felt really good to be back surrounded by tour buses for awhile when I tagged along for the pre-trip of the bus. It really felt like suddenly the year was back on track. Things were back to normal.

Normality to me includes tour buses. Go figure.

So that is what has been up with me since I last blogged. Finding my normal again will help me keep better on track. I think…

Over it!

I am generally an optimistic person. But as I sit here and write this blog, I’m over people in general.

“Over it!” one of my fellow bartenders and I sometimes shouted to each other last night as we dashed by each other, overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people. No. Wait. Let me clarify. Sheer volume of IMPATIENT people.

I can handle a busy bar. I actually relish it and enjoy the interaction and the fast pace. Often busy night are nights I feel most “on my game.” Makes the night go by fast as well, and it usually leaves me very happy with my pocketbook at the end of the night.

But what leaves me overwhelmed and hating people for days following a rough night is when people are impatient and rude about it. When they put on blinders and decide THEY are the queen or king of the bar and if you don’t serve them in two seconds you’re a worthless bartender. And that… hurts. Because we’re working as fast as we can, haven’t had a pee break in hours, nor had a second to take a sip of water, generally are sweating like crazy from running ourselves so hard… and still nothing we do will ever be right. I had more than a few moments last night that I wanted to just stop running and have a good cry.

See some of my bar tips for customers from a bartender’s perspective.

I suppose such a thing can happen in any job, and that’s why I TRY to give people I interact with in various scenarios the benefit of the doubt.

Just tonight, my husband got very frustrated when two people at the local McDonalds couldn’t figure out our change correctly, and I finally had to correct them to get the show on the road. I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt… they don’t teach how to count back change any more in schools, and even I have my  nights where I need to take a tab to the register to get the amount right that they owe. I told him I blame management as well for not ensuring their employees can think through a transaction versus being just drones that punch buttons on a keypad. (I make similar rants about sackers at grocery stores who put bleach with my fruit.)

But at the end of the day, I have to agree with him that some things are simply being a good employee. Some things are about wanting to work your way up the ladder of success versus just drawing a paycheck. Or in the same breath (and on the flip side) its simply being a good customer and realizing when it’s your turn you’ll be treated like the only customer… but only after you let the other guy get the same treatment.

It goes BOTH ways.

So tonight… having been on both sides of a rough business transaction in the last two days, I’m just done. Done with people. Done with business. Done.

Can someone bring me a shot?