About a month ago I had a terrible coughing fit during the middle of the night and literally lost the ability to breath in. It lasted for a scary minute. Anyway, this interesting new experience has been happening on and off for some time. The upshot is that I have whooping cough. I’ve had it since the start of November and it has pretty much knocked me out of action for over two months now. Apparently I had a jab for it when I was young, but I guess it never worked.
Interestingly, around the time when this happened my assistant web developer – who knows much more about PHP than me – suddenly headed to London. I don’t know the full story but I guess he was made an offer that he couldn’t refuse. So I have had nobody on hand to do the web development tasks which make up most of my income.
Folks, when two events like that happen side by side and you find yourself flat on your back and not able to work, THAT is when you find out if you have a job or a business. It turns out I have a job. With my developer out of the picture and me not being much use to anyone, my ability to earn has gone through the floor. What’s really interesting I think is how quickly the wolves appear at the door, the moment you take your hands off of the wheel. In a heartbeat all of my bank accounts drained to (pretty much) zero and I reckon I’ve been getting an average of around seven phone calls per day which involve somebody chasing me for money. Usually it’s a bank, a credit card company and sometimes a sheriff officer.
Even as I write, I’m only able to do very small bits of work at a time before becoming exhausted. This little rant that you’re reading now is the first and probably only time I’ll be near a computer today. This is indeed a unique experience. Until last year I went six years without a single day off. To now find myself physically and financially challenged is very strange indeed for a guy like me.
The funny thing is, I think it just might have been the best thing that has happened to me in the last four years. You see, when you’re forced out of your environment and paid a visit by your old friend – The Ghost of Poverty – it really gives you a chance to step back and see things in a whole new light. Even though I’m physically not in great shape, mentally I don’t think my thoughts have ever been clearer. I’m not just imagining that! While I’ve been in bed, I’ve been reading lots of books on how to improve brain function and memory. For the first time, I’m now able to do fairly complex mathematical calculations in my head, my memory is getting better and I’ve also learned how to write backwards and left handed, like Leonardo Da Vinci. This left hand mirror writing technique is an exercise which I picked up from a book called Whole Brain Memory. I’ve been working my way through it and it’s opening all sorts of doors. Perhaps I’ll discuss that in more detail another day.
However, the most powerful thing that I think I’ve acquired since being ill is a sudden appreciation of time and energy. We all have limited time and energy. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that. In my case I’m not seriously ill. Apart from a few bad days I can feel myself getting physically stronger every day. Whooping cough is generally not life threatening for otherwise healthy adults and I hope to be 100% within the next couple of weeks. The one thing that I’ve really learned though and that I want to share with you is this new idea of, “What are you going to work on?”
I have realised that my biggest problem – and I’m sure I’m not alone – is that I have wasted countless hours on tonnes of business ventures which are either doomed from the start or destined to be mediocre. I have also been a ‘yes’ man. Every time somebody comes along and makes me some sort of business offer I’ve been too quick to say yes. Big mistake.
I am determined to make 2013 different and I hope that you will join me. I came into 2013 with around eight or nine different business ventures to look after – most of which were not quite yet finished and therefore bringing in nothing. It takes a lot of courage to decide to scrap a project that you’ve been working on for a long time. However, I think that in some instances it can be the most intelligent thing that a person can do. Therefore I challenge you to join me in looking at everything that you’re currently working on and to ask yourself, “Is this really the best use of my time?”
If you are unsure then the Google Keyword Tool is your friend. Seriously! I can tell you that I spent a lot of time last year working on a website for a new IT agency. This was to be an agency which provided services for a particular technology that I am interested in. Anyway, a few days ago I ran some queries on the Google Keyword Tool and it turns out that hardly anyone is interested in this technology! All of the search strings that I had in mind for this are bringing in tumbleweeds. I’ve been wasting my time!
So, with this in mind, my new year wish for you is that you’ll appreciate the value and finite nature of your own time and energy. Let us focus on things which are sure to return more than we put in.
Personally speaking, I’m confident that I will bounce back from all of this, physically and financially. It might take me until the middle of February but I’ll be fine and I’m sure I’ll enjoy the process. When this is over I might just write an ebook to document the whole experience of bringing a business back from the brink. I’m absolutely sure that I have learned things over the last couple of months which would be helpful to anyone else who is experiencing massive financial challenges.
May 2013 be a year of intelligent, sustained action for you.
Happy New Year!