• Being an Entrepreneur in Central Florida

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    Two years and three months ago I moved to Florida from the Charlotte, North Carolina area.

    This was a move that my wife and I wanted to do mostly because we wanted to be closer to her mom who is now in her 90’s. It was a quick decision to move because we wanted Sandy to have more time with her mom. Family and close friends are very important to both of us so we did not give it much thought. I had a couple of clients and a couple of businesses that only require that I have access to the Internet, so we did it…  quickly.

    But this past weekend I spent time with a couple of friends that lived in Massachusetts and New York (just like I did). I’ve known them for many years and they have very similar circumstances to myself, so we got into a pretty deep conversation about Florida.  They came down for similar reasons initially, but have stayed for quite some time now. We talked about a lot of personal things, which I won’t go into here.  Rather, below are my thoughts about the challenges of being an entrepreneur here. After all, Sandy and I have recently decided to not just live here, but to stay here.  In fact, we’re about to build a home here.

    Not just Florida, Central Florida.

    There is a huge difference. Only since I moved here have my eyes been opened to how extremely different the various parts of Florida are.  Quite honestly, it feels like an entire country to me, because I grew up in the small state of Massachusetts and right next door to Rhode Island, while regularly visiting family in Delaware most my life. In contrast, Florida is not just bigger. It is more like entirely different worlds. The northeast (Jacksonville and St Augustine) area is where we lived our first year here.  It was great! The weather had a nice breeze (even in the summer) which made it feel a lot cooler, especially in the evening.  Jacksonville is a very large city with a lot of variety and a thriving startup community. We lived in nearby Palm Coast.

    Many other parts seem to have their own personality, such as Miami / Ft Lauderdale area, Tampa / St Petersburg area, Fort Myers area, the keys, and the panhandle.  Those are large sections of Florida and I’m sure have sub-sections to them. I’ve visited all of the, but admittedly only briefly.  But overall, there’s a different feel to each of them.  Then, there is Orlando and central Florida.  It is a completely different place. The history, the weather, the people, the demographics, and even the strange city of Orlando which is so driven by tourism makes for a challenging place, especially for a tech Entrepreneur like me.

    The central Florida and greater Orlando area does not have the entrepreneurial buzz of a typical city.

    The bigger business here is travel & tourism, and when you speak to the local tech and entrepreneur community, you find that they (esp Disney) tend to hire their tech people and consultants from outside the area.  They hire a lot from other countries, at least for that kind of work.  The local web developers, internet marketers, and online sellers don’t connect with them.  In fact, many complain about this.  As an example, Jacksonville, Miami, and even Tampa have more meetups for online sellers and Internet marketers, which is my industry.  I’m working with a couple of guys to get something going in the Orlando area, but it has been far slower and has far less potential.

    As for me, I’m not right in Orlando.  I live over half an hour from Orlando, which means I’m even more isolated.  I’m in a sleepy little town called Mount Dora, which I love.  But the demographics here, the economic situation, the businesses here, and even the mindset are all very different from what I’m used to.  If this sounds like I’m complaining, I’m not.

    I love it here.

    First and foremost, I’ve made some great friends.  Both Sandy and I have the rare pleasure of having lived in a lot of places.  We also have a unique view of friendship.  Even though we’ve met a tre

    mendous amount of people, we very highly value the select closest friends we have. We view them as family.  We have these close friends all over the country.  But we’ve made remarkably fast friendships here that are extremely close to us.  We view them as family. If you are reading this, you know who you are.

    But I also like the area.  The lakes are beautiful. The homes are raising in price, but still affordable when you compare them to the northeast, in particular. Also, Sandy is from this area, so she feels at home here. We also are equally distant to both coasts of Florida, which are each beautiful in their own way.  One of our favorite things to do is take a few days and spend it at one of the beaches.  You can’t beat the winters here.  I don’t miss the snow.

    What about Entrepreneurship?

    This has been the tricky part for me.  I love the fun of meeting other businesses and learning from startups.  I love talking to investors about new online projects. I love meeting others in the tech community and trading marketing ideas and secrets. I love meeting other online sellers. All of this is not easily doable here, even in Orlando.  I’m sure they are here somewhere.  But there does not seem to be many as compared to other US cities.

    This makes being a consultant particularly challenging.  The type of consulting I have done for years is mostly obtained via word of mouth. My friends back in Charlotte have already still referred national business to me, but the local stuff has not come and may not.

    But it also means that I have greater focus. This is something I have especially valued lately.  I’ve been learning from a couple of mentors, namely a success coach and a shrink for entrepreneurs.  In doing so, I now see the value of the right balance between FOCUS and CREATIVITY.  I believe I can get the creativity via traveling and even interacting online.  But the focus is something I’ve needed to work on for a while. Here, in my little office in downtown Mount Dora, Florida is a great place to do so.  In fact, I am more focused now on my own businesses than ever before.

    I need to be.  Here’s how I do it.  Every week I create three high level projects for the week ahead.  I then spend the week trying to move more and more of my time away from daily processing and communicating and toward focused project work without distractions.

    Networking is important.

    I have no doubt about that. But honestly, I have not found the good networking for what I do here.  I’m sure I will, eventually.  I’m working on it and love the little meetup I’m active in and hope to build and grow it. But I can travel and attend industry events, and follow up online with key select people I want to network with.

    But more important is the focus.  Living here, building a house here, and even making friends here has allowed me to have the time I need isolated, distraction free, and focused on the most important work I have to do for my various businesses and with my various partners.  This goes for my consulting, my spice blends business, my Amazon business, and most importantly my new athletic equipment business, which is just now getting off the ground.

    If you are an entrepreneur in the central Florida area and want to talk about entrepreneurship, marketing, or selling online, let me know.  If not, I’ll be busy working.

     

  • Clean Healthy Living and Shower Liners

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    Strange title, I know.

    But since 2014, my business partner and I have been building a brand named “Clean Healthy Living”.  We’ve mostly mostly been selling on Amazon.  But in the few months, I’ve taken the time to build and online store outside of Amazon that will sell these products.  Our first sale was in January 2017, but already in February we’ve gotten a nice steady sales stream that will nicely compliment our Amazon business.

    You can see the site here, especially if you are interested in buying a PEVA Shower Liner. That has been our best seller for quite some time. We have content on the blog coming out every two weeks and we’ll soon be building up the social media following. Check it out.

  • My New Productivity Coach – Commit Action!

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    Today I signed up to have a weekly call with a productivity coach.  This has been about a month in the making.  It all started when I watched a recorded seminar video by Peter Shallard.  Peter is known for being the “Shrink for Entrepreneurs”.  He’s built a bit of a specialty for himself.

    He has some amazingly interesting content on how entrepreneurs typically have the information they need and the tools they need, yet they typically do not succeed.  The main culprit is procrastination.

    This is something I’ve known and worked at for the ten years I’ve been in business.  I’m proud of my business, my abilities, and (in general) my time management abilities.  I’ve even taught classes on the subject that have been very well received.

    Yet, I agree with Peter Shallard that eliminating procrastination as much as humanly possible is by far the single most important thing I could be doing for my business.  Quite honestly, it is probably the most important thing I could do for my personal life too.

    After implementing the concepts and tools that Peter has recommended in his free content over the last month, I’ve felt my productivity increase.  More importantly, I’ve felt my business move forward.  So today I took the next step and became a client of his.  The company is called Commit Action and they have a monthly membership in which a productivity coach calls you once per week and keeps you on track.

    Let’s do this!  I can’t wait to see how much this helps.  I have a good feeling about it.

  • David Kyle seems to be Missing

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    This is starting to make a few of us a little nervous, so here are some tweets to show what we know.

    (No joke, we’re a little concerned. If anyone lives or works near him, please let him know we’re looking for him. I’ll try to keep the page updated and/or people can leave comments)

    His most recent tweet was about 8:00 AM Thursday, Sep 3.
    http://twitter.com/davidkyle/statuses/3736275628

    Cara noticed that he was missing at the SEMCLT meeting that night.
    http://twitter.com/Cara/statuses/3744802152

    LesPorter mentioned around 8 AM that is he never checked in.
    http://twitter.com/LesPorter/statuses/3755165263

    …and that he is not returning voice mails.
    http://twitter.com/LesPorter/statuses/3755182880

    His voicemail is now full and no response still.
    http://twitter.com/NC_SEO/status/3756475241

    Belias21 is going to drive by his work and look for his car.
    http://twitter.com/belias21/status/3756977232

    Leave a comment below if you know anything else…

  • Back from Vegas – My thoughts

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    Hey everyone!  I’m starting to use video in my blogs after attending the New Media Expo conference in Vegas last week.

    Here’s my first one.  Tell me what you think…

     

  • Working on my blog – From Florida

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    Tonight I did a little work on this blog.  You’ll notice that the look and feel of it is different.  The theme is more colorful and easier to read.

    I’m also excited about the widgets on the right side.  In particular, I’m happy to be showing my twitter feed.  This shows what I’m doing (and thinking) on a more regular basis.

    Sandy and I flew to Florida on Sunday and today we were babysitting our little nephew.  I have a ton of pictures of him so I’ll be posting them soon.

  • Day 2 at Blog World Expo

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    Today is Friday and once again I woke up at 4:15 AM PST (7:15 back home). The difference is that this time I was able to fall back asleep for one hour. I’m trying to stay going to bed early and waking up early so that I don’t have too bad of jet lag when I get back.

    Yesterday was very enjoyable and interesting. It’s been worth the trip so far.

    If you want to see my notes on the conference, see my other Internet Marketing Blog.

  • I made it to Vegas.

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    Have you ever noticed that whenever you fly somewhere people always ask you “how was your flight”? I guess it’s because flying on a plane can be so different each and every time. Yesterday was no different.
    My first leg of the trip was from Charlotte to Dallas. (Why oh why have I still not learned to never book a two-leg flight? It is SO worth the money to fly direct, yet I always cave in.) I worked the morning and got to the CLT airport at about 2 PM. My plane takes off at 3:20 PM EST.
    Anyway, I ended up at the back of the plane sitting next to a nice lady who ended up being very interested in my house! Go figure! I told her our entire situation (it was a three hour flight) and she took my contact info, my real estate agent’s name, and the napkins I drew the floor plan, survey, and front elevation of the house on. (All looked a little off, but I think she got the general idea.) Come to find out, she is thinking of moving out to NC and loves Black Mountain. She is a real estate agent herself in Arizona. She’s going to have her daughter check out the house. How funny would that be!?!
    I landed in Dallas and went straight from one gate to the other. (Grabbing a McD Big n Tasty along the way and eating it in line for the next plane. My blood sugar would have freaked out otherwise.)
    The three-hour flight from Dallas to Vegas was not as pleasant. I had a window seat again, but it was at the back of the plane behind the engine. I hate sitting near the engine. It’s so loud. Plus the guy next to me was a big guy (not fat, just big – normal shape, just Texas sized) with back and knee problems. He was also a talker. Thankfully, he just so happened to have worked with the guy on the other side of him and so he mostly talked to him, not me. He took some muscle relaxers and two alcoholic drinks and seemed to be a little more relaxed by the end of the flight.
    I landed in Vegas early – about 6:30 (9:30 PM EST) and took a shuttle to my hotel (Circus Circus). Both the shuttle and checking in took forever so I ended up in my room about 8:30 PM. My wife booked me this hotel room. It’s on the 27th floor. Circus Circus is a huge place. Part of it is a Casino. (Everything is here. Even the airport has slot machines in it!) But it also has circus shows for free near the lobby every hour. It has a huge shopping area and six restaurants. It’s walking distance from the conference.
    I got to bed about 9 PM (Midnight back home). I was so tired. We just changed our clocks last weekend and I have barely adjusted to that. So it felt like 1 AM.
    I woke up at 4:15 AM and could not go back to sleep. So now I’m blogging from my hotel room.
    My hotel room is pretty nice. The room has circus pictures in it and the curtain looks like a “big top” curtain. It’s fun looking, but not childish. Of course, I think my mom decorated my room in clowns at one time, so I sort of feel right at home here. Mom, I know you are reading this, so feel free to make a comment below if that is true.
    Of course, being on the 27th floor right on the Vegas strip gives you quite a view. I’ll try to take a picture and post it here later.
    So anyway, my flight was long and boring, but I made it. I’m going to take a shower and look for a killer buffet before my conference starts – I have plenty of time.

  • Welcome to my personal blog!

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    This week I’m heading to Vegas for a Blog Convention.  I can’t wait!

    To get ready, I wanted to start a personal blog and that’s what you are reading now.

    I feel it is important to make a distinction between my personal comments and my business blog.  In general, those that want to read one may not want to read the other.

    So here goes!

    Thanks for checking it out.