In the book "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind," by T. Harv Eker, he encourages the reader to think back to childhood and discover how your parents' attitudes toward money affects your own attitude today.
It wasn't until I read that, that I realized how much I run my business like my dad. I definitely budget for it like him--taking taxes and business expenses off the top before I take ANY of it home--but there are a few other ways that merit a paragraph or two.
(At left: My dad being abso-freakin-lutely PWND by my niece Hannah.)
Save for Large Purchases and Events
I remember being, oh, eleven or twelve when my dad, owner and proprietor of a CB radio sales and repair shop, introduced me to Saving For Vacation. We took an annual Griswald-style Family Vacation every year (even saw the frickin' Ball of Twine), and always paid for it with cash from an envelope hidden in our Orange Van--and I do mean Construction Orange Van. We NEVER had any problem finding it in the parking lot.
One day, I'm thinking it was in the winter, Dad showed me, in the fourth file cabinet from the left, two drawers down, in the back (the shop's since closed, so don't think you can find it NOW!!), a file folder. Inside was cash. "This is where I put a little bit of money aside every month to save up for our vacation." We didn't travel on credit. We didn't travel using our home's equity. We used MONEY. No, we were far from rich. But we went to Disney World, Washington DC, Mount Rushmore, etc.
So it occurred to me that I'm doing the same dang thing when I budget for the National Court Reporters Association Annual Convention. It's not a vacation, but it does take a bite out of one's checkbook. Or it WOULD if I hadn't started saving for it as soon as the convention was over last year.
Keep Your Inventory Updated
Dad kept the newest models of CB radios and scanners.
We may not have a physical product inventory, but we do offer products. Whether it's an accurate realtime translation of a lecture, or daily copy of transcripts, or Internet realtime, we have something to sell. And, yes, we need to keep it up to date. (I STILL hear of reporters not knowing what a USB port is. Grrrrrrr.)
I think I'll also include in this category Keeping Up To Date With Current Professional Issues and Events. I did some jobs for a firm that hadn't ever heard of CART, and every time I'm at a test or conference with my LightSpeed, I always--ALWAYS--meet someone who hadn't ever heard of the LightSpeed.
Keep Your Inventory Dusted
When I was a little girl, during the summer my dad would "hire" me for about four hours a week. My tasks would usually be something like sweeping the floor or dusting the inventory. Booorr-rrring. Necessary. Would YOU buy stuff that had a coat of dust on it?
How do WE steno writers keep our inventory dusted and shiny? Yep. Practice. Learn Briefs. (Booo-rrring!) Every day. "But I don't have TIII-IIIME!" If you don't have ten minutes to do a couple speed takes, then you don't have ten minutes for Facebook. If you don't have three minutes to look over some briefs and drill yourself on them, you don't have three minutes during commercial breaks on American Idol.
C'mon, the faster you write (speed practice) and the more accurate you write (briefs), the easier and less stressful your job is. Some days is it hard to set your butt on a chair and practice? Sure. Do the hard stuff now, and it's easier later. But do the easy stuff now (skipping practice) and it's harder later.
When I was fresh outta court reporting school a mentor said to me, "You're the fastest now you ever will be." Sorry, I can't hear you over the noise of me fondling my 270 Illinois Speed Contest Testimony Qualifier certificate while ogling my RMR. BUT she probably said that because SHE didn't practice.
Insert shameless, unsolicited plug for the Magnum Steno Club here.
If I think of any other lessons, I'll let you know. I should probably now e-mail my dad and show him this entry.
(Whereupon the blog post came to a screeching halt because the blogger couldn't think up of a clever ending.)