Whereas this is a very personal post, I do business very personally. Maybe you can glean some insight, here. I have some things to get off my chest.
If you’re here, you’re either 1) a regular reader of this blog or 2) you’ve been sent a link after enjoying(?) a conversation with Cynthia, myself or both of us only to ask us when we are getting married. or 3) you’ve been sent a link after a conversation with me about your project and plan to generate mad Zuck’s Bucks. Either, or: Please read on.
I am engaged to a wonderful woman. Her name is Cynthia. Cynthia and I made a commitment to one another to be debt free before getting married. We thought we’d be there by now. Alas, we’re not.
About twelve years ago, I made a decision that effectively changed the course of my young adult life. I am contractually obligated not to talk about this decision. However, I can say that chances are the way you see the world is very different than the way I see the world. I can also tell you that I have never had an open line of credit. I have financed nothing in my entire life. Talk of monetary policy, the international credit conspiracy, fractional reserve lending, straw men, etc., is academic conversation for another day.
Suffice it to say, I tend to do things differently than most people. In the ways I err, I usually pay for it three or four times before I flip off the insanity switch and amend the course. My way is not necessarily better, it is simply the only way I know. Cynthia loves me because of these differences; she often reminds me to be different. I have struggled with this. I can anticipate the future. Now it is a matter of having the confidence in my own ability to bridge to that future. This used to give me much anxiety. I would smoke. Jason the idea guy might light a cigarette and call you. This won’t happen anymore. That guy is as extinguished as that last cigarette.
Now, I am going to monetize those ideas through action, and I am going to do it my way, in the world.
I am an entrepreneur; I am a self-directed and self-governing agent within a series of exchange systems, acting in uncertainty. It is in my DNA. The ornery rebel-yells on a carousel pepper my family tree. We experiment. We test. We tinker. We succeed. We fail. We’ll place everything on zero and roll the dice with intelligent and often foolish speculation. We genuinely try to wake up everyday and create something before we go to sleep. In the past, most of my actions within these exchange systems were hidden. (One day, this will make for a best selling work of fiction.) Now, everything will be out in the open.
I’ve learned that it is impossible to scale a business without some form of credit, however small; I include intelligent capital (venture, angel, PE or otherwise) and private loans as credit. Believe me when I tell you that I have tried. The swings can be ridiculously sick. Over the course of the last year I’ve worked with and for some people who did not honor their commitments. This has affected my primary commitment. This too affected my ability to honor secondary commitments. In no particular order: Amanda knows; Spencer knows; Keri knows; Andy knows; Tom knows; Jennifer knows; Chris knows. Cynthia definitely knows. Others might suspect as much. I internalized much of this. Told myself to learn from it, honor it, take the loss, and move on. The lines were blurred. Now, everything is quite clear.
By my own volition, and after serious thinking, I am making some profound changes in addition to the changes I’ve already made or have been made for me.
Cynthia is the most amazing human being I have ever met. I want nothing more than to be her husband. She doesn’t know this, but I am awake, feigning sleep every morning when she kisses me on the forehead before leaving for work. There were days that if not for that kiss, I might not get out of bed. I want nothing more than to be her best friend, confidant, the defender of her solitude, a lover, a father to our [future?] children, and because of the way I have been raised, a provider. This is my primary commitment. This is my only commitment.
Cynthia and I just finished our final budget and debt snowball to get us financially free as a couple. The outlook is very good. Chances are invitations to our very modest wedding will go out sometime before the end of the year. However modest or extravagant, it will be all about her. Just as every day should and will be all about her.
In the meantime, a coupla things:
- Please do not ask us when we’re getting married or setting a date. We really do appreciate your interest and concern, but the answer will always be the same. We might even just say to hell with you and elope. (Sorry Mom.)
- Your experience is not our experience. Conversation is one thing, but projecting your values and your insights only to judge us for our decision and values is sick. Maturity is the ability to defer pleasure. If you’re the “grown-up” I would think you know this and stop yourself before rattling off unsolicited advice. Frankly, it really is none of your business. Go buy a tabloid.
- I may take a job.
- I may go after and capture intelligent capital.
- I am reentering the soft money system.
- I will no longer produce work in advance without some form of partial payment and an airtight agreement that is favorable to me. Remember, you came to me. I did not come to you. I am grateful you elected to call on me. However, you need a solution and in order to provide that solution, requires money. The frequency of my ideas and subsequent execution should not devalue the solution. You know you’ll be raking in cash from sustainable growth long after the project is over. Otherwise, you would not have called on me. Added bonus: I hold the liability. That does not make me your indentured servant. I have a new mantra.
- (For those clients that conduct business with sacred honor, you’re the best. This is why I take the call at 3 AM when you can’t sleep. Despite [her] better judgment, I will always take those calls.)
- I may get out of the “services business” completely; maybe work gratis for those small businesses/start-ups once I am at a place where I can comfortably afford to do so without compromising my primary commitment. (I love small business almost more than I love Cynthia. But not quite.)
- I will create and produce something that will create enough resource and value to support a small country or I will die trying. It’s already in the can.
- I am exclusively focused on creating tangible value, wealth and resource for me and mine with integrity, honesty, fairness and chutzpah.
If on rare occasion you see us out, drinks are you until the debt is paid. Plus, we have better stories and I know you steal my material.
** Photo credit: Cantanker, …might be good