• 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.

  • Complete Blog Makeover

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    Well, it’s 2017, so I guess this site should start looking a little better.  When it was originally designed a million years ago, it looked pretty cool at the time.  But now it’s time for a much better look.  More importantly, it’s now optimized for mobile.  I’ve started and stopped this blog so many times I can’t keep track.  But I’ve got a lot going on in my life and figured it’s time for a redesign.  Maybe I’ll keep up on it better now.

    This is what it used to look like:


    This is what it looks like as of today:

  • Massachusetts Hardwood Floor Installation

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    I’m pretty excited about my niece and nephew’s new business doing hardwood floors in Massachusetts.  They live in Massachusetts and started their own business after being successful at hardwood flooring for years.  My nephew is Greg Selby and he started Finish First Floors.

    Finish First Floors offers hardwood floor installation and refinishing in eastern Massachusetts.  They are based out of Uxbridge but service the entire area.  You can see their new site (which my niece made) at www.FinishFirstFloors.com.

    I’m happy to have another entrepreneur in the family.  Greg will do great.  He’s very talented as you can see from the pictures on their site.  If you’re in Massachusetts and need hardwood flooring, check out the site and contact them.

  • 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.

  • Crazy Couple Weeks

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    I know I tried this over a year ago, but I’m going to give it another shot.  As per my recent 2015 goals detailed here, I’m doing everything I can to blog regularly.  This blog will hold my personal thoughts and ideas.  My business blog will contain my thoughts on marketing, business, and especially Amazon.

    Personally, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks.  We started renting our new apartment at Langtree on December 15, 2014, moved on December 26, and closed on selling our old house on January 2, 2015.  The move day itself went well, but the packing before and going back for all the odds and end items in the attic and closets was a seemingly endless project.  Unfortunately, my wife’s health has not been well lately (I won’t get into that online) so I ended up doing quite a bit.

    I had a one-day KM school in the middle of all that.  I also had my parents and my sister-in-law visit the week before the move.  It’s been pretty busy.

    But things are starting to slow down again and I’m able to get into a regular routine again.  Thank goodness.

  • Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s (Experience)

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    In May 1992 my father (John W. Creed) was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

    According to Wikipedia, Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system.  But from my viewpoint, it is a disease that has slowly caused my dad to slow down and move in ways he has no control over.  It has also changed his appearance some.  More recently, either the disease or the meds he takes for it seems to affect his thinking.  He can get confused easily at times.

    But he’s definitely still dad.  He has his same sense of humor, loves his family, loves bluegrass music, and playing guitar with his lifelong pal, Eddie.  He also has a deep love for God.  Both he and mom have lovingly instilled that in their children (Tammy and I) and their two grandchildren (Tammy’s daughters Becky and Kayla).


    Over the years since dad was diagnosed, he has primarily taken medications for Parkinson’s.  He is currently up to about 20 pills per day.  Of these 14 are specifically for Parkinson’s, namely Carbidopa (Sinemet) and Ropinirole.  Various other ones help with the side effects, etc.  But about two years ago, the doctor encouraged him to look into Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s.  Dad resisted at first, but the doctor encouraged him again a few months ago.

    The procedure for Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s is described well on WebMD here.  As you can see from the picture, they put an electrode into your brain.  It is connected to a “pulse generator” which is placed under the skin near the collar bone.  This is then programmed to help especially with the involuntary movements and usually allows patients to cut down on medication too.

    The first step was to meet with the surgeon.  Dad had this consultation two months ago.  Not only did he confirm that dad was a good candidate, but it put his mind at ease.  He explained that Deep Brain Stimulation is something that has been done for years.  Dad’s surgeon (Doctor Eskandar at Mass General Hospital in Boston, MA) has done this surgery hundreds of times for many years, now.  It obviously still has real risks, but that made our whole family feel better.  They set the surgery for Thursday, August 15, 2013.

    DadMGHOn Wednesday, August 14, my wife and I flew up from Charlotte to Boston to be with dad.  We got a rental car, checked into our hotel and took the shuttle service to the hospital.  It was the day before and dad needed an MRI.  After the MRI, he got admitted and we spent the day at his room.  He was able to eat until midnight.  My mom, sister, and wife all stayed with him until it was time for him to rest for the night.

    On Thursday, we got to the hospital at 7:30 AM but dad was not in his room.  The nurses were kind enough to call down to the pre-operation room and they let us visit him there.  Interestingly, they made us put on “bunny suits” to make our way to see him.  My mom and sister are shown here in their suits.  We could not help but wonder if this was really necessary or if they just wanted to laugh at us as we walked to my dad’s room.  It was worth it.  We got to spend an hour or so with dad before they brought him to the surgery room.


    Mass General has a great way of keeping family members updated during surgery.  They told us dad went into the surgery room around 10:00 AM.  He went through prep for an about an hour or two.  Dad explains that it was during this time that they clamped his head down so that it would not move.  Then, the actual surgery took a couple hours.  Not too long after, dad was back in his room by late afternoon.

    Dad was a little emotional at first when he got back to his room.  This is understandable, because he was awake during the surgery prep and surgery itself.  Also, his meds make him a little extra emotional.  Of course, dad has always been an emotional person by nature.  In fact, he’s passed that on to me.  I’m always the first one to cry and my wife tends to make fun of me because of it.  No laughing!  Us Creed men are emotional sometimes.  We can’t help it!  Right dad?!?

    FamilyHospitalThat evening we all were with dad at the hospital.  To everyone else he is known as “Papa”.  But to me, he is just dad.

    You can see the entire family around his bed here.  You might notice that they had to shave most of his hair off (obviously).  Amazingly, my dad is 68 years old and his hair started growing back the very next day.  (I think his hair is thicker than mine.)

    At this point, the electrode is in.  But dad needs to go back in a few weeks to have the “pulse generator” (as shown in the picture above) put in.  Even then, we won’t see the benefits of the surgery.  It will be weeks later that it actually gets turned on and programmed.

    Dad actually went home on Friday, the day after the surgery.  On Saturday, he felt well enough to spend the day outside for a cookout with the whole family.  You can see him below with his spiffy new hat that he’ll be wearing while his hair continues to grow in.

    Family CookoutWe went to breakfast together on Sunday morning before my wife and I flew home.  He looked great and feels good overall.  He is still on the same amount of medication as before but did not need to take anything new because of the surgery.  In the weeks ahead, we hope he can come off a lot of the medications he is taking now for Parkinson’s.

    By the way, special thanks to our life-long friend of the family Debi Kent for taking the family cookout picture.  She’s part of the family too, but someone needed to take the picture.

    Thanks also to my best friend Erik Easler who came into Boston to sit with me at Mass General Hospital the entire time dad was in surgery.  He (and all Easlers) are part of our family, too.  Unfortunately, Erik had been sick so he was not able to visit dad in his room, but he sent this special message below to dad to congratulate him on his successful surgery.

    Erik Easler

    All our family and friends are very appreciative to the excellent staff at the hospital for treating our father so well and performing this surgery.  The facility was great and the nurses were top notch.  Special thanks to Doctor Eskandar and his entire staff.

    If you’d like to read more and see more pictures, you can read my sister’s account of what happened on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

  • Blog Every Day!

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    I don’t think anyone reads this blog any more.  If you do, please prove me wrong.  Leave a comment below.

    But every blog needs to start somewhere.  A dead blog like this one needs to start OVER somewhere.

    So I’m starting over.  Again.

    I know I’ve said this many times.  But this time may actually be different.  After 7 months of working at a Web Marketing Agency as the Director of Client Services, I’ve got a lot of renewed ideas.  One of them is this…

    Blog Every Day!

    It is my new words to live by and starting this week, I’m doing it.

    In fact, my wife and I are working on a new photo that will be displayed prominently in my office.  It will demonstrate exactly how strongly I feel (or at least want to feel) about blogging.  I’ll show you it soon.  I think you’ll like it.  Then again, I don’t think anyone is reading this…  except my mom.  Hi MOM!

    So my plan is to “Blog Every Day”.  I will be posting my marketing insights on www.TheJungleMap.com and will be posting regularly to my e-commerce blogs and even guest posting on other blogs.  But this blog will be for quick, random personal thoughts, especially when I have nothing important to say.


  • Thoughts on the NBA This Year

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    I’m glad the NBA season was saved this year.  I love having a good basketball game on in the background while I’m doing things.  Here’s some of my thoughts and predictions for this season.

    After watching a few games over the last few days, it’s pretty obvious that Dallas is unlikely to repeat with all the changes they’ve made.

    Interestingly, Miami is actually quite a bit better since they played Dallas in the finals.  It’s hard to imagine Miami not taking it all this year – by a landslide.  The big three are working well together and the new guy Cole is amazing.

    As for my team, the Celtics, it’s obvious they will make the playoffs.  But it’s hard to believe that they can win it all, especially against teams like Chicago and Miami.

    On another note, it’s going to be a blast watching the Clippers play better than the Lakers.  That may happen unless the Lakers can get Dwight Howard somehow.  It’s not hard to imagine the Clippers possibly even making it to the finals.  They are going to be awesome with the new addition of Chis Paul.

    Those are my initial thoughts.  I’ve still got to pick which Bobcats games I’ll go to.

  • I’m back.

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    Ok, so it’s been about two years since I’ve been posting to this blog.  But that’s all about to change.  I’m almost done redesigning my two primary sites: HIPPO Internet Marketing Training (my company site) and The Jungle Map (my blog).  This site will probably be next.

    The last two years I have spent on some special projects.  They have gone well and it’s time now to get back to blogging and writing my newsletter.   I’m thrilled.  Blogging consistently is one of the more challenging things I’ve ever done.  Writing is a skill learned best by constant effort and refinement.  It’s also one of the most rewarding.

    This site will be for my random and personal writings, not necessarily related to my business of Internet marketing training.  Let’s get started.

  • December 2009 – I’m glad it’s over

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    Last month was a very unusual one for me. 

    A good friend of mine (Ryan Courteau) recently had a change in employment and was able to spend a day per week working with me.  He has a sales background, so he’s been acting as a consultant on contract with an eye toward helping us increase sales on our e-commerce business.

    Things have been a little slow over here due to the economy, so we decided to spend most of December making a new e-commerce site.  It sells maid carts here.

    Ryan and I worked our hearts out on this one.  It really is a lot of work to populate all the data into an e-commerce site.  Jason (my other co-worker) did a lot of the previous ones, so I had not done one in a while.  It’s very time intensive.

    All in all, 2009 was a financially tough year for a lot of people.  Thankfully, by decreasing expenses, we were able to break even the last six months of 2009.  Making the new site opens up another potential revenue stream for 2010, even if it was a ton of work.

  • Great week in Massachusetts with Family

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    I just flew home from a wonderful week in Massachusetts with my family.  My wife and I flew out last Wednesday, November 11, 2009 and came back yesterday (the Wednesday after).

    The flight up went smooth and although we stayed at my sister’s house, we needed to be very careful to not mention the surprise anniversary party we had planned for her that Saturday.

    My nieces, my mother, and others worked very hard to make the party a huge success.  About 100 attended from all over the country and we surprised them pretty good.  My sister and her husband expected to have a dinner with family and friends.  So, they were in for quite a shock.

    After a full dinner, we showed a slide show with video that my niece put together showing their 25 years of marriage.  She did a great job with it and I made comments while we showed it.  Then, the band that played at their wedding (25 years ago) played their wedding song again.  It was very nice.  My sister definitely got a little teary-eyed.

    During the trip, I got to spend some time with my parents, my nieces, and my sister & her husband.  They are all good people and I’m thankful to have such a close family.

    I also got together with my best friend and visited the Patriots Place for an afternoon.  That was fun.  (Even if they did lose by one point the previous Sunday.)

    The weather in New England is straight up cold.  I don’t know why it feels so cold there compared to NC.  The temperature is only 10–15 degrees colder, but it always seems to feel a lot colder to me.  The sun goes down about an hour earlier there too.

    Lastly, we got stuck on our plane for several hours while they “diagnosed a mechanical problem”.  At first, I had nothing to read & my wife was using the ipod touch.  But, once we finally got off the plane, I ran to buy a book and a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte.  I read about 150 pages by the time we landed.  Much better.  (I don’t do well with boredom.)

    I love my family and friends, but it’s good to be home.