On Thursday I couldn’t think. There were so many things that needed to be done I didn’t even know where to begin. Forget prioritizing – it seemed like everything was on fire and needed my attention NOW!
It was mid-afternoon and the house was quiet. Savannah was still in school. Steve was out, probably putting out one of the aforementioned fires. I had just got home from my “B” job, which I’m keeping because I like having some sort of paycheck twice a month and I can’t quite seem to entirely walk away from my former career as a radio personality. I got off the air at 2, it was now close to 3pm – time to put in a couple hours on the business before Savannah gets home from her after school program. Only I couldn’t think. My brain was clogged with all these emergencies! So I lit some sandalwood incense, brewed myself a cup of coffee, put on the Music Choice Soundscapes channel, switched on the electric fireplace, and grabbed my journal with the colored pens I use to write in it. Then I just started making a list of everything that was bugging me about my business, in no particular order.
When I was finished I felt much better. I had purged! I sipped my coffee and looked at my list, hand scrawled in multiple colors across the journal pages. It was all over the place, mirroring what was inside my addled brain. I read through the jumbled list and decided to pick three things I could do something about this week.
I ended up doing a couple of extra tasks as I looked over the list. One of our apartments needs new carpeting, and Lowes offers 18 months financing with no interest. I have a Lowes account, but lost my credit card to the washing machine ages ago. I called Lowes credit and got them to send me a new one. Open enrollment for health insurance is on and I only have until December 15th to deal with it. I still don’t quite understand Obamacare for the self-employed, so I shot an e-mail off to our accountant with some questions.
Then I picked the three things I will deal with this week:
- The warring tenants at one of our six-units. The 2nd floor is complaining that the 3rd floor is too loud, has kids running around at all hours of the day, is smoking in the hallway, has all these people coming and going. The 3rd floor tenants say none of that is happening. So it looks like we’re going to have to sit down with each of them and listen to what they have to say. Sometimes people just want to be listened to, and heard.
- The bills and obligations, including the school taxes for all of the properties.
- Continuing the hearing on a former tenant we filed against for unpaid rent. He moved out, so there’s no rush, and we have bigger fish to fry right now.
I actually feel strangely invigorated.
The Home as an Office – And a Peaceful Center?
My mother visited last week on her semi-annual trek between Vermont and Florida. She, her companion Bill and their four dogs arrived Saturday night after a particularly stressful ride – their GPS sent them on a wrong turn and they ended up in New York City! Filled with exasperation and rage, she stumbled out of the car on her bad knees and I helped her into the house after the dogs did their business. She remarked how after just a few minutes with a cup of tea in my living room she felt peaceful. Restored.
What a high compliment, coming from my mother, a child of the 1960s and student of transcendental meditation! My home is a center of peace and restoration in a troubled world.
I’ve spent the whole week wondering how this could be. My husband and I have put ourselves in the most precarious of situations. He has been self-employed since 2009, relying solely on the business for income. Since 2012, I have been “underemployed” – I’ve always had some kind of paycheck job, but not enough income to sustain without the business. And now I’m cutting back on that.
Maybe the peace comes from having finally made a decision.
Hedging my bets has taken up a whole lot of energy. It's time to double down on real estate entrepreneurship.
I have made a decision to be self-employed with a part-time “B job” on the side. Maybe that means I'm still hedging my bets, just a little bit. Baby steps - this is harder than it looks! I have had a really hard time walking away from my old career, even though I have known since 2007 that is what I want to do.
When I got laid off from my last “real” career job in 2012, I thought it was a blessing. But I wasn’t psychologically ready to make the leap to self-employment. Savannah was barely two years old – I thought I should be a mother first. Pennsylvania Unemployment had rules – I had to be actively looking for a new job, so there were job interviews and friends and former colleagues constantly asking if I’m sure I want to walk away from radio. And I wasn’t sure!
So I ended up taking a temporary assignment in Allentown. Then a full-time job working from home doing traffic reports. That job allowed me more time to spend on the business than my previous job had, but it was still a major distraction. It felt like pennies coming in the door and dollars going out because the business wasn’t performing the way it would have, had I had the time to work it properly.
I was laid off from that job in January of this year. I felt like this time I was really ready, even wrote a blog post about it: http://thisgingerjustsnapped.weebly.com/blog/without-a-net
But I didn’t exactly become a full-time real estate entrepreneur then. PA Unemployment rules prohibit self-employment activity, so I had to do a job search. And that led to interviewing, which led to some tempting scenarios that for one reason or another just didn’t pan out for me. Something felt wrong about going back to radio full-time. Another one of the PA Unemployment rules stated I had to accept all offers of part-time work from my “B” job with Cumulus Media, and they were more than happy to load me up with hours. There were a few weeks this summer I didn’t even qualify for my unemployment check because I was making too much money. This didn’t leave a lot of time to work on the business, though, and that has become a problem.
The unemployment has run out. I am no longer obligated to do anything for anyone. I’m keeping the “B” job, but I’m limiting the hours. It’s terrifying and awesome at the same time. Terrifyingly awesome! And I absolutely know the right thing to do is to double down on this real estate business. Rentals and rental management. Flipping houses for resale. Working with investors and private sellers, also known as wholesaling. We have tried a lot of different aspects of real estate, and so far those are three that have worked for us.
Like I said in the blog post I wrote back on January 10th, “One year from today I’ll be well on my way to being a multi-millionaire. Or I’ll be living in a van down by the river.”
It’s November. Two months until we see the results of that prediction!