How I plan to achieve balance in 2015

  "Ask yourself…

It’s not often you get to sit back and ask yourself, let alone put a plan in place for, “What makes me happy and what can I do to maximize my happiness and the happiness of those around me?” I did just that leading into 2015…

As a serial entrepreneur and angel investor, I’ve learned a fair amount about business, but more importantly, I’ve learned a fair amount about myself, as well as, personal and business relationships. The business lessons have come in consistent waves and are often based on what I took away from my many failures and the occasional successes.

The major takeaways have shaped my mindset about the things that motivate me. More specifically, how to work smarter and more efficiently; and the need to balance passion and future upside vs. the right now and the responsibilities I have as a husband and father.

  "So here’s what I’ve learned…

My motivation and professional interests stem from helping people, advising, sharing knowledge and shaping ideas into things of substance. I have a passion for solving problems. I love building trust and long-lasting relationships based on mutual respect and value. I believe in karma, luck and timing; all of which exist due to thoughtful intelligence, sincerity, a desire for life-long learning and unwavering beliefs.

I’ve mentored a lot of start-ups over the years, be it in single meetings over coffee; formally as part of an accelerator; and all the way thru active involvement. If money weren’t an object or necessity, I’d likely do it full-time for free… I love it that much. It’s not about the WIIFM…

That said, my time and experience not only have value, both are highly sought after. Over the years, I have not found a way to say ‘pay me and I’ll take a meeting and offer my thoughts’; it doesn’t feel right in the spirit of helping create new companies, advancing ideas, creating jobs and wealth for the people I interact with and whom will eventually be called my friends. As usual, I typically say “I’m happy to take the meeting and see how I can help you”. I usually offer up my network, make introductions and I usually provide some feedback without regard for the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). My belief is, if I provide value to others, it will come back 10-fold to me in some form or fashion. I’ve not regretted that belief yet.

  "So what about balance and 'what's next'…

So what’s this all have to do with achieving my balance? Well, I need something that fulfill the passions I have for start-ups and tech, helping build new ideas into something tangible, but at the same time provides an income.

Being in the tech space, as much as people want to say ‘it’s cheap to start a tech company these days’, the truth is, it’s not cheap at all. There are a lot of smart people with good ideas, but when it comes to executing on those ideas you need really smart engineers and technical resources, but they are very hard to come by anywhere, let alone the Midwest, esp at an affordable price. When you do find them, the are likely gainfully employed or consulting and aren’t looking to dive into something with the same passion you have… at least without a hefty cost. I know first hand, it’s not the initial build of an app that breaks the bank, it’s the iterations and fine tuning to perfect the experience, features and platforms needed to support a growing user base... and that's when the valuation of your idea increases exponentially. Rarely, if ever, do you get it right in your first version.

Over the years, I’ve met some amazing people. Recently, an entrepreneur, friend and current executive at IBM introduced me to Imran Aftab, the CEO of 10Pearls. Imran has built an incredible business based on his own experience managing large, global software engineering teams. His firm has built high quality, big-time mobile apps on behalf of his global clients… even better, he’s helped them do that very affordably with a high degree of value.

As Imran and I talked about the many challenges we face in the Midwest as tech entrepreneurs, the light bulb went off for both of us to join forces. As such, I’m proud to announce my new role as General Manager of 10Pearls. In this role, I get to remain in the city I love, Columbus Ohio, even-better, I get to establish an office, create jobs and help others build great products, right here in the Midwest. At the same time, I get to meet with people and share my experiences, provide value in shaping their businesses... and if they chose to work with us, even better.Now, what about you?

I know we are a few weeks into the New Year, but I encourage you to spend some time, schedule it if you must, to sit down and evaluate where you are today and internalize the things you are passionate about and what motivates you. Once you have those things identified, you have the ability to start the balancing process. Clarity sets in and you start looking thru a new lens and when opportunities present themselves, you can evaluate the alignment to your happiness and needs.

Let’s be honest, there’s no silver bullet or perfect role/job, but as I stated in my last post, it’s all in your perspective. I plan on using this new opportunity to dive in and help others build their companies and dreams, as that’s what makes me happy and affords me balance!

In my next post, I will provide the pillars I established to find my balance and evaluate why 10Pearls was right for me at this stage in life… hopefully that helps others gather their own requirements.