• Being an Entrepreneur in Central Florida

    0 0

    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.


  • Complete Blog Makeover

    0 0

    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:

  • Crazy Couple Weeks

    0 0

    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.

  • I’m back.

    0 0

    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

    0 0

    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

    0 0

    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.

  • My Europe trip to Vienna and Athens

    3 0

    My wife and I just got back this week from two weeks in Europe.  We spent one week in Vienna Austria and one week in Athens Greece.

    There were nine other friends of ours in our group, and we were with a tour group of about 80 people in two buses.  I did not take barely any pictures, but I did take almost 200 videos.  I’m currently trying to go through them all and post the stuff that is good.

    We absolutely loved Vienna.  What a beautiful city.  The architecture and culture there is just amazing.  Our trip included plenty of time walking around the city, visiting the cafes and restaurants, and attending to the Vienna Symphony Orchestra one evening.

    Athens was not quite as beautiful.  However, the history and sights were amazing.  We visited the Acropolis, the Areopagus (Mars hill), ancient Corinth, and other amazing locations.  We especially enjoyed the brand new Acropolis Museum.  It is the most amazing museum I have ever seen.  We also spent an entire day cruising a few Greek islands.

    I’m going to do my best to go through my videos as soon as possible to share with you the highlights.  However, right now my body is still getting used to the 7–hour time difference.  Therefore, my evenings are not that productive.

  • Hospitalist Careers and Jobs

    0 0

    What is a hospitalist? 

    Hospitalist is the term used for doctors who are specialized in the care of patients in the hospital.

    In working with a new client, I’m starting to get to know more about hospitalist jobs.  PrimeDoc offers some very compelling options for hospitalist careers and hospitalist positions.

    Their locations are in different places around the southeast.  They all offer hospitalist employment at each hospitalist group location.

    If you’re thinking about getting a hospitalist job, check out the various pages that this post links to.

    (Hopefully Google will too!)


  • Milestone for my Business Blog

    0 0

    I just noticed that my last blog post for my business blog – www.TheJungleMap.com was #501.  I started that blog back in October of 2006 and have been posting to it several times each and every month since.

    I don’t think I actually have 500 posts, but I am surprised about how long I’ve been doing this for.

    How appropriate that post #501 should be about “How to hire an SEO”.  You’d think I’d have that figured out by now.  HA!

  • Another update on my (info) diet

    5 0

    It has been nine months since my last update on my info diet, which I started ten months ago, but I’m glad to say that I’m still on it and it’s working better than ever.

    For those of you that know me well, I talk about it all the time, but rarely provide the details.  So here are some specifics…

    It all started with reading the “Four Hour Work-week”.  (For the record, I did not like that book because of the premise behind it of doing everything for yourself.  I believe life is more about what you can do for others than what you can get for yourself.)  But the basic time management concepts were interesting.

    So I started my diet by un-subscribing to every email newsletter I ever got.  Now I am only down to three:

    1.  MarketingVox daily newsletter
    2.  SearchCap daily news
    3.  Web Marketing Now monthly newsletter

    Anything else that comes into my inbox that is automated gets sent directly to a folder I call “noteworthy”, and I check that a couple times per week.  So my inbox is simply for real people who send me real emails.

    But that does not mean I don’t stay informed.  When I drive and/or workout, I listen to and watch the below audio and video podcasts time permitting.

    1.  This Week in Technology
    2.  Ad Age Video
    3.  Duct Tape Marketing
    4.  NPR 7 AM ET Daily News
    5.  TED Talks
    6.  Tekzilla Daily
    7.  Buzz Out Loud

    As for actual physical mail, I get the below magazines/info…

    1.  The Net Effect (I read it cover to cover)
    2.  Wired Magazine (I don’t read it, I scan it)
    3.  Fast Company (I don’t read it, I scan it)
    4.  Charlotte Business Journal (I don’t read it, I scan it)

    I also rely on several of my local SEO, Social Media, and Marketing colleagues to keep me informed via Twitter (time permitting), e-mail, and most importantly in person at monthly meetups.

    Lastly, I do use an RSS reader, but the only blogs it has in it are friends and the various official search engine blogs.  That reader synchronizes to my two desktops, two laptops, my ipod touch, and my cell phone. 

    I read them when I am bored.  (Like when my wife watches HGTV and/or House Hunters.)

    Overall, this is what I’m down to and it suits me well.  I now work only four days per week and almost never work during evenings or weekends.

  • Snow day in Davidson – Part 2

    5 0

    In case you have not seen it, make sure you go watch my initial video report on the snow in Davidson on January 20, 2009.  Funny thing is, we actually did get a bunch of snow 15 days later on Wednesday, February 4, 2009.

    I’m sorry I did not do a full video journalistic report like the first one.  But here are some pictures of the snow we actually did get.


    You can see that it melted off the sidewalk by daybreak.


    But there was a couple inches on the grill, etc.


    Grass had a couple inches or so.


    So did the steps


    My car had ice under the snow.
    Had to run it for 10 minutes because I don’t have a scraper.


    Sandy and I had a snowball fight the night before,
    that’s why the the front of the car is cleaned off.


    My neighbors houses had snow on the roof.


    Nothing on the roads.


    Not a big deal.  No danger here.


    Here’s Davidson Pointe.  There’s a little ice on the road.


  • 5 Days in a Tennessee Cabin with NO Internet!

    0 0

    Sandy and I had a wonderful week in a beautiful cabin in Tennessee this week.  I just got back today.

    Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are really not our cup of tea.  But it sure was nice to spend so much time together and relax.  I did not realize we would have no Internet until I got there.  But I survived.

    Below are my comments I made via TXT messages on Twitter while away.


  • My First 4-Day Work Week

    3 0

    I’ve been working for about three years toward working 4 or 4 1/2 days per week instead of five.  (Actually, it’s been quite a bit more than five normally.)

    So I wake up this morning with big plans to do some things I wanted to do.  But it’s pouring rain.  In fact, the weather says it is going to rain all day.

    So I can’t quite do exactly everything I wanted to.  In fact, I have a meeting over in Asheville this afternoon with a client and then with the friends who are renting our house.

    But there are some things I can do to get caught up around the house.  And the Boston Celtics are playing in Charlotte tonight. 

    I’m sure I can turn this rainy day into something enjoyable after all.

  • Update on my (info) diet

    5 0

    As I wrote three weeks ago, I have been working on reading less and eliminating distractions.  I’m calling it my info diet.

    I’m trying my best to avoid TV (especially news) at home, but I am much more concerned about my time at work.

    So over the last few weeks I have systematically unsubscribed to almost every email newsletter I get.  Here are the only exceptions…

    1. SearchCap daily news on search engines
    2. MarketingVox daily newsletter
    3. Marketing Sherpa weekly research

    The process has been very liberating.  It is a strange feeling to come in to work in the morning and only have emails from actual human beings in my inbox.  It’s also strange to walk out of the room for an hour or two and come back in and have no new emails.  It’s wonderful.

    The whole reason I’m doing this is to free up time to create more.  The new design for my SEO training site is now up and running.  It’s not perfect yet, but it’s getting where I need it to be.

    A new feature of the new design is that I am going to be providing more “resources” for my clients, students, and subscribers.

    Thus, I am working hard to spend less time reading and more time writing – at work, at least.

  • New Bio and History Pages

    0 0

    I’ve been working on this personal blog all morning.

    I redesigned the home page to be a BIO about me and added a History page as well.

    I also made the home page my BIO, not my blog.

    The goal is to get people searching on my name to find the information I want them to find.

  • I’m going on a (info) diet

    2 0

    Starting this past week, I am going on an INFORMATION diet.

    Right now I’m in the middle of reading a book on how to be more efficient.  I don’t really recommend the book because it’s not that great.  But one thing it recommends is to stop reading, listening to, and watching news.

    I’ve thought long and hard about this one.  After all, I built my entire business since 2003 by reading and studying forums, blogs, articles, magazines, books, etc.  Also, I love to read.  I owe any success I’ve had to the tremendous effort I have put toward learning as much as I can about my industry (Internet Marketing).

    But I think it’s time to be more careful about how much time I spend reading vs. how much time I spend actually working.

    So I’m going on a diet.

    • I’ve unsubscribed to all but one email newsletter. 
    • I’m going to avoid all television news, magazines, blogs, and forums. 
    • If something is important enough, I will hope that my friends or colleagues will let me know about it. 
    • If I need to learn something, instead of reading and researching, I will ask those that have done it already.

    The one exception will be the few podcasts I listen to while driving.  It’s much more enjoyable than the radio, and makes my driving time pass quicker.

    I’ll use any extra time I gain to building valuable content for my clients and customers.  I also plan on spending more time with my wife, friends, relaxation, and personal projects.

    This should also help me toward my goal of working 4 days per week in 2009.

    Next time I talk with you, if I ask “What’s new?”…  Be assured that I honestly don’t know.

  • My next trip to visit family

    0 0

    This morning I booked my next flight on Skybus to go up to Massachusetts to visit family.  This time I will be going by myself (without Sandy).

    I fly up on Wednesday, August 27 at 3:15 PM and arrive 4:51 PM.

    I return on Tuesday, September 2 at 5:16 PM and arrive 6:58 PM.

    The tickets cost $35 and $10 each.  I’m checking one bag each way ($10 each) and taxes and fees were $12.  Total cost of traveling from NC to MA is $77. 

    (Not bad!)

  • Exercising again

    2 0

    I started waking up at 6 AM again this week to exercise and get to work early.

    Last week I tried a different approach.  I stayed up until 2:30 AM and 3:30 AM two nights to get things done.  I got a lot of reading and learning done.  But it’s hard to get to work on time.

    Exercising is not that hard.  It’s all in my head.  If I convince myself that I want to do it, I do it.

  • Most sick I’ve been in years

    7 0

    WARNING:  This post is a little gross.

    Saturday I had a friend (Ian Ragusa) over for the afternoon and we did a few things around the house.  Sandy made us dinner – beef stroganoff and pumpkin pie.  After dinner, Sandy and I watched the football game and went to bed.

    I woke up Sunday morning at 3:30 AM with terrible stomach pains and threw up several times.  The same thing happened at 5:00 and 6:30 AM.  It happened a couple more times after that.

    I don’t mean to be gross, but it was the sickest I have been in probably 20 years.  As the day went by, I spent most of it in bed.  About noontime I drank a half glass of water.  In the afternoon, I had a half piece of toast.  In the early evening I had about 4 saltine crackers.  At about 8 PM I had a half bowl of soup.

    Here’s the crazy part.  I wake up today and I’m fine.  (My stomach muscles hurt for obvious reasons, but I ate a normal breakfast.)  I ate breakfast and am at work now.  Also, my wife never got sick at all.

    I think I’ll call Ian to see if he got sick.  Strange!