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Getting Out of Debt: Part 2 "The Road to Bankruptcy is Paved with Good Deals"

Will Parker

So, it's been a while since I posted my first "Getting Out of Debt" post... I promised blog #2 in a week or so... I think it's been 2 months. Close. Anyway, Part 2. 

Getting out of debt isn't easy. I can't stress this enough. All sorts of things will try and break your focus. Your job (or lack thereof), a broken down car, friends, the newest electronic toy (d*mn Apple), a spouse who isn't on board, hipster coffee shops, dining out, "good deals" (see: "The road to bankruptcy is paved with good deals." ), etc. STOP.  If you took my advice in Part 1 you've now read everything Dave Ramsey has every produced. Good. Keep reading. Your first thing to do is save $1000 immediately. Like, close your browser and go get $1000. Sell stuff. Your TV. Your computer. Your car. Your golf clubs. Your baseball cards. Your bike (you can get healthy later). Who cares. Just get $1000. Seem extreme? It is. It's meant to be. The rest of this journey is going to be extreme. Better get used to it. People are going to call you crazy. They called me crazy too. I sold my BRAND NEW CAR WITH HEATED SEATS AND A HEATED STEERING WHEEL AND NAVIGATION AND BLUETOOTH AND BOUGHT A 1997 CAR WITH 150,000 MILES ON IT. It was extreme. And I don't have debt anymore. Get to work. See when you have $1000. Hopefully tomorrow. 



Will Parker

     My dad sometimes says "you take care of the monkeys on your back and I'll take care of mine." Of course he's talking about personal responsibility. I always chuckle when he says it... at least I used to. 

     Your work never rests entirely on your shoulders. Your product never rests solely on your efforts. You may be responsible for the outcome of your product or service, but you don't control all the variables. If you make a product and ship it, the postal system now plays a role. If you sell a product and need an accountant you've now involved another variable. Even at your current job your coworkers play a huge part. Here's where the monkeys come in... your monkeys are your responsibilities. Take good care of them. Train them. Discipline them. Clean up after them. Keep them on a short leash. And whatever you do, DO NOT ask someone else to keep an eye on your them. They have their own monkeys. And vice versa. If someone comes to dump their monkeys on you say "NO, I'm sorry. I have my own monkeys."

Thoughts on Vacation

Will Parker

     Today is my third day on vacation. It's actually a staycation. But you understand. I'm enjoying myself so far, with one exception. I have anxiety about work. It hit HEAVY the first evening of my vacation. It was Saturday night after I got off work. I laid on the couch almost nervous about tomorrow. As if I was starting to do something wrong. Like I wasn't preparing for the day ahead. Working in the car business can have that effect on people. Since Saturday is technically the car business's Friday, Sunday is very short and doesn't provide proper rest for Monday. It's weird. But I didn't have to go to work Monday. 

     Monday came and I felt awful. I kept wanting to refresh my work email. I wanted to check in. My boss messaged me once about something but it was inconsequential so it really didn't elicit any response. I took a long nap Monday and woke up feeling out of place. Again, like I had done something wrong. 

     Tuesday came and I felt the same way. Although the feeling was starting to subside. I was invited to an engagement party in the evening (in Asheville). I decided not to go. Gas budget only has enough in it to go to Georgia to see a friend this weekend. In retrospect I wish I would have gone. I mean, how many times does one get engaged? I was kicking myself for that all night. 

     I woke up this morning feeling a lot better. I am currently sitting at TeaLoha in Greenville enjoying tea and writing this. Maybe it takes 2-3 days for the addiction to work and busyness to subside? Seems like it. 

     What's my take away from this experience? I'm too addicted to work and busyness. And I work too many hours. Strike that. I'm AT work for too many hours. I don't work too many hours. I don't take enough time (who does?) to actually set expectations for work and life so that when peace and quiet present themselves I'm ready. 

The Haters (Part 1*)

Will Parker

     Recently a friend of mine joined a MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) company. He has been very successful so far I think. He just has the natural ability to sell. I have nothing against this friend, or his new company. of course, I won't be joining. I think pyramid schemes do more harm than good. They create a type of "business" that negatively affects consumerism. Anyway, one of the benefits of this business is travel, so my friend posts some really interesting tweets and Instagram photos. The other day I followed one of his Instagram hashtags to a place where apparently alot of this company's people hang out... and I noticed something. A lot of the people kept using the same word. They kept saying "haters". "All the haters" this and "all the haters" that. The gist of what they were saying was if I or anyone reading their posts didn't agree with what they were saying or the lifestyle they were pursuing we were in fact "haters". I looked up the definition of a hater. It is as follows: 

A person that simply cannot be happy for another person's success. So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person. Hating, the result of being a hater, is not exactly jealously. The hater doesn't really want to be the person he or she hates, rather the hater wants to knock someone else down a notch. 

     So, there I sat... was I a hater? Was I a closet "hater"? Did I hate their success? I needed to double-check my motives. I started to think of other friends of mine and their careers. I have some friends who are bankers, real estate agents, web designers, teachers, etc. I can't think of a single one of them who would ever even use the term "hater" as a part of their business vocabulary or dealings. What they sell or how they sell it just doesn't elicit much "hate" (save insurance; sorry former boss). 

     So, what is my take from this little experience? I want to sell a product or service that doesn't elicit a "hater" mentality. The irony of the "hater" mentality is the "hatee" needs the "haters". So, instead of demonizing them for being "haters" he'd double down his efforts and go win them. If he is really laterally selling, for both the seller and the customer's benefit.

     I want to be part of transactions where both parties benefit laterally. Not vertically... as a part of the relationship design. When a person sells you a good or service it's assumed both parties are benefiting. The seller is benefiting by profiting on the sale of his good or service and the buyer is benefiting by consuming the seller's good or service. It's a lateral relationship (yes, the seller will benefit vertically due to the nature of selling but so will the buyer if he uses the good or service to possibly benefit himself further).

*I wrote Part 1 in the title because I anticipate developing my feelings on this subject more as time goes on . 



Lessons in Sharing Your Skills

Will Parker

I've been working on my first Skillshare for a few weeks now and it's proving to be more challenging than anticipated. It's been good, but challenging. It's requiring more thought and preparation now that I'm actually having to flesh out my "skills" on paper. I've known how to DO the skill in my head but now I have to TEACH it. Two very different things. Long story short, it's taking time. The easy take away from this experience would be something like "anything good in life takes time". I'm not in this for the easy take away. So, what is the take away? I think it's this: Good things take time AND your time is limited. Wine does get better with age but if you don't share it with your dinner party, what good is the wine. Like Fried and Hansson say in Rework, "When good enough gets the job done, go for it. It's way better than wasting resources or, even worse, doing nothing because you can't afford the complex solution. And remember, you can usually turn good enough into great later." 

Take your time with an idea. Make sure it's good. But make sure you get it into play as soon as possible. 



Getting Out of Debt: Intro

Will Parker

Getting out of debt is probably the most significant thing I've ever done. There have been other significant moments, sure, but this one stands out as a turning point. Lots of people get out of debt. Lots of people are in debt. I'm not that special. Funny thing I'm finding is it's not so much about the debt as it is starting something and finishing it. Something I don't do too well. It's about drawing a line in the sand and not actually crossing it. "I'm going to lose weight." "I'm going to start exercising." "I'm going to get out of debt."

As I've shared my story with a few people I've gotten incredibly positive feedback. A few people even asked if I could help them get out of debt. It got me to thinking (actually my friend Philip got me thinking). I could start writing about what it took for me to get out of debt. To help people. So, here you go. Blog one. I'll cut right to the chase.

Step 1*:

1. Go to Dave Ramsey's website. Now. Read everything he's written. Listen to everything thing he's recorded. Follow him on every social network you can. Subscribe to his YouTube channel. Subscribe to his Podcast. Either go to the library or buy The Total Money Makeover. If you can't afford it, email me. I have found no clearer presentation or prescription to get out of debt. There are no secrets. Just follow his plan. It works. I promise.

Blog two will be up next week. You should have plenty to do till then. 

*Step 1 is really the decision to be sick and tired of being stuck and normal. Normal sucks. This is assumed. 

Revenge of the Electric Car

Will Parker

I'm starting to blog during an interesting time in the automotive industry (I suppose every generation could say that though). An interesting time in BMW's history for sure. With the launch of the new i3 and i8 BMW has fully committed to electric. And I must say, the cars are wonderful. I've driven the i3 and the i8 pretty extensively. They are not the Prius of 1997. Tesla is producing an impressive line of cars too, not only in range but in performance. The Tesla S P85D goes from 0-60 in an astonishing 3.2 seconds. The other big names have been working hard for some time as well. Chevy began producing the Volt in 2010 and Nissan launched the Leaf the same year. Don't forget about the afore mentioned Toyota either. The Prius has been around for a while. Hybrid and electric are here to stay. If you're new to the electric conversation, watch Revenge of the Electric Car on Netflix. 

I chose to start blogging for two reasons. 

1. I spend literally 12-14 hours a day in and around some of the most technologically advanced cars available today. I mean, I've driven the BMW i8 multiple times. How many people on the planet can say they've done that? A few thousand? I've driven an i8 AND an M1. Probably only a handful of people have done that. It would be a shame not to share all the information and experiences I'm gathering. 

2. I work at a car dealership. Michigan House Bill 5606. If you follow the news at all you'll understand reason two. 

Point two excites me the most right now. I mean, it seems like a story from House of Cards or something. Would Frank Underwood drive an electric car? Hmmmm, maybe. He's from South Carolina... actually just a few miles up the road from the BMW Plant. If he did drive electric I'm sure it'd be a BMW.