Ya Win Some…

June 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

This morning Hike woke up with a stuffy nose and we all know what that means. Well, if you are lucky you do not know what that means but if you are a parent, you know it means this:

Hike hates this thing with a vengeance. He goes through phases of hate and conveys said hatred by taking himself through a series of different cries:

  • Fear,
  • Annoyance,
  • Frustration,
  • Anger,
  • Murderous Anger,
  • Defeat,
  • Anger Resurgence and then, even though we’re done,
  • An inconsolable anger/self-pity combo that lasts a good 5 minutes longer.

After the debacle with the nose thing, it was time for breakfast. Blueberries are one of his favorites so I thought a few of those might cheer him up. He was still whimpering a bit but I pressed on, putting him into his high chair, strapping him in and dropping a handful of cheerful blueberries on his tray.

This was too much for him to bear.

This boy who only minutes before had a snot snatcher up his nose had had enough. He was not going to do anything else that was even remotely perceived to be his mom’s idea because, clearly, she was in bed with that nose thing. No! Blueberries! No! High chair. No. No. No.

All moms have a way of knowing “just what to do.” I’m not sure how other moms know what to do but I know because when things seem to be getting out of hand, a little voice in my head tells me something wise. Today, this voice said to me: We all need to win sometimes.

So Hiram and I had a blueberry picnic on the kitchen floor while he held onto the spatula. And then I let him brush my teeth. This, it turns out, was exactly what Hiram was in the mood for. (phew).

TOP SECRET(Keep Out)

June 29, 2010 § 1 Comment

It seems like great writers have one thing in common—they say things other people don’t. They do this for various reasons.

  • Some are great story tellers and then they tell stories other people can’t think of. 
  • Some are great at saying something complicated in an eloquent way. 
  • Some say things other people don’t want to mess with.

The book The Help by Kathryn Stockett is partly about a woman who writes a book no one else wants to mess with. She thought of her book idea after an editor in New York encouraged her to mail in her best ideas for some feedback. The writer, Miss Skeeter, says this:

It’s not until after I mail the letter that I realize I probably chose those ideas she would think impressive, rather than ones I was really interested in.

“Oh Miss Skeeter!” I thought, “Big mistake! You have to write what you think!”  Then I smugly read on, waiting for silly Miss Skeeter to figure out what the rest of us already know.

I must say though, since then that line has been bugging me. I have always written with an audience in mind, which I think leads to my constant self-editing which definitely leads to YAWN. So, I’m starting a new project which is a TOP SECRET (keep out)  journal. I kind of wish it was a notebook with a padlock that I kept buried in the lawn, but it’s actually just a Word Doc on my computer.

Anyway, my goal is to write stuff in there that I would die (just die!) if someone else read. I’ve only put a few entries down so far but WOW, what a bunch of junk. And WOW, I feel like I’m in high school again. But I’ve committed to trying this for a while to see if it makes my writing better. I’ll let you know.

Slow Boat. Fast Boat.

June 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

Oh man. I am sad the weekend is over. Megan and her husband Patrick came up to the cabin with us for a low-key weekend of celebrating Brad’s birthday, eating, reading and even a little art.

Megan and I paddled Loonacy over to the lily pad patch in our lake. I thought she might be inspired for a future painting but honestly, I remember them being much more beautiful last spring. (Note, I also just had a baby last spring so maybe I was delirious.) But anyway, it was fun to paddle around looking at flowers in my pretty canoe with my pretty friend.

Then, a ride in our hot new speedboat (name = TBD) courtesy of its hot new captain.

And skipper too.

After all the fun, Hike got “cool” in more ways than one.

And of course, enjoyed his dad’s birthday cupcakes until he found himself with a frosting-clogged nostril.

I hate myself for not getting a great picture of Megan and Patrick, but here’s proof they were there. Megan is one of the best cooks I know.

This Blog Post is About Choosing a Business Structure

June 25, 2010 § 2 Comments

I got in a little bit of trouble with my legal department (read: my dad) recently for calling myself Hadley Barrows Inc. on my blog. That’s because, while it sounds awesome, it’s not technically legal. Which brings me to a discussion of Business Structure and our next Less Sexy Side edition. As with all Less Sexy Side features, you get a chance to opt out now… 

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OK, let’s start with a review of the different ways you could organize a business.

Sole Proprietorship: In this case, the business is owned and controlled by one person. This person gets all the benefits of having the business but they also get all the risk. All their personal assets are on the line in this type of arrangement which means if they screw up, they could lose their house or car or whatever else they own. Plus, it’s a bit tough to get loans. However, a sole proprietorship is the simplest and easiest type of business to set up.

Partnership: In a partnership, a business is owned by two or more people who all have equal rights and responsibilities. Their risk arrangement is similar to a sole proprietorship but getting start-up cash is a little bit easier. Partnerships are trickier to set up but really, not too bad.

As a Partnership, the owners may also decide they want to be a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) and then their own personal assets are protected should the business bomb. You can also have a few partners who opt for a Limited Partnership (LP), which means that those people are only responsible for risk up to the amount they invested in the business. So, if they give you 5 bucks and you make them a limited partner, they can only lose 5 bucks. Got it?

Both the LLP and the LP are tricky and expensive to set up but there’s also the option to add more partners and get more cash when you need it, which sounds nice.  

Corporations: A corporation is a separate legal entity which is owned by shareholders and gets to write “Inc.” or “Corp.” at the end of its name. The process for becoming a corporation is quite complicated and expensive but then you can sell shares of your stock to get money—cinchy right?

So now, how come it’s illegal to call myself Hadley Barrows Inc.? Well, because I’m not an Inc. and saying I am will make all my high-rollin’ investors think I’m way more important than I am. However, as I told my lawyer-dad, I don’t care. My blog is my art.

At any rate, I don’t tromp around calling myself Hadley Barrows Inc. anywhere besides here, so I have decided not to change a thing. Except add this disclaimer:

The use of the name Hadley Barrows Inc. on AndThen… is fictitious. Any resemblance to real corporations, successful or otherwise, is purely coincidental. By visiting AndThen… you basically agree to not freak out about the liberties I have taken with respect to my business name. If you do not want to be bound by this agreement your only option is not to visit, however I will miss you so I hope it does not come to that. You understand, agree and acknowledge that because this is such fancy pants lawyer speak, this is a legit disclaimer that constitutes a legally binding agreement between you and my blog and that when you visit my blog this means you don’t give a hoot that I call myself HadleyBarrows Inc. Terms of this agreement will continue to apply in perpetuity until terminated by either you or me. Other terms (i.e. marriage, friendship and any other pre-arranged deal) shall be unaffected by the termination of this agreement except I will think less of you for being a stick in the mud. You understand and agree that it is not AndThen…’s fault if you are a stick in the mud. You also agree that Hiram is just the cutest little guy.

Who’s Calling Please?

June 24, 2010 § 1 Comment

One thing I get a little worked up about is cold calling. Not that this makes me all that special– I’d be willing to bet there are quite a few other people in the world who also kind of hate doing this.

How. Ever. Kind of hating to do it is not a good reason not to, espesh after all the success I had growing our Florist Network for Commemorate the Date yesterday. I might be converted.

After a few weeks of tip-toeing around and begging florists to weigh in on our commission arrangement via e-mail I realized (in a huff) that I was going to have to take matters into my own hands. I needed to get in their faces, pretend I was brave and tell them exactly what we had to offer. I mean, for Pete’s sake!  Do you want 25 bucks or not?

It turns out, they do want 25 bucks. Or at least they say they do to my face. So, while I’ll concede that some of these friendly florists might have chucked our cards in the trash as soon as I walked out the door, some of them did not. Now, we’re getting somewhere.

Two Down, Ten to Go

June 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

Can you believe I’ve been doing this for two months already? I can. And I can’t. But at any rate, it’s time for the next business/life update. As you recall, I started this last month as a way to reflect on my progress and kick myself in my own pants when necessary. So let’s see how things went down.  

Financial update: Here’s a chart showing my income for the past two months. The red bar is how much I used to make, and the blue bar is how much I make at Hadley Barrows Inc.  

 

Now for the indices, which are not technically index numbers but things I did and then counted.

The Unplanned Out to Eat Index: 3 (number of times we went out to eat when it was not Friday pizza night and/or written down on my weekly meal planner). The goal for the UOE Index is zero. Previous month was 4.

The Move My Tail Index: 14 (number of times I exercised). The goal for the MMT Index is 20. Previous month was 11.

The Business Card Index: 7 (the number of business cards I handed out). The goal for the BC Index is 20. Previous month was 10.

Plus, a bonus index for June– The Things I Dropped at Least Three Separate Times During the Past Month Index (TIDALTSTDTPM Index):

  • Drinking Glass
  • Egg

Finally, an overview of the more productive things I did.

  • Added the William Mitchell College of Law to my list of clients
  • Finalized the nitty grittys to make Commemorate the Date a legitimate business and started on an official promotion plan (10 percent complete)
  • Finished a first draft of my second children’s book: Hippo in a Bubble
  • Threw a rockin’ first birthday party for Hike
  • Managed the selection of a roofing contractor for our house
  • Started on my web site: HadleyBarrows.com (30 percent complete)

M.B.A. (A.K.A My Business Advice)

June 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

As you may know, I had my own business before. I like to say this business was a complete failure. But as Brad likes to point out, the money I lost on that debacle was actually less than one MBA class. When I think about it that way, the two-year episode seems more or less…how do you say it… invaluable.

As I was taking my MBA classes, I thought about my business a lot. Having experience in failure made things resonate for me that probably wouldn’t resonate for people who are either successful right off the bat (jerks!) or who have never experienced business in its infancy before.

I’ve been reading McSweeney’s lately and as a result, am in the mood for a list. So, here’s a list of things I learned from the mistakes I made the first time around.

  • You need to spend money to make money. But if you can make money without spending money, don’t spend money.
  • No single day (good or bad) defines your business.
  • Start small. Test. Grow a little. Test. Grow a little. Test. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
  • It really, really, really is who you know. However, exactly *who* will surprise you.
  • Harsh feedback and money are the same. You need both and they are both hard to get (espesh in the good old MN).

Tomorrow = Cold Calling. (I’m writing this here so I don’t chicken out.)

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