Pulling the string on the neon sign

On Main Street one would see an open sign.  The sign would be on and you would see it and know Jill business operator had come to work.

The window display was changed and you’d know they were thinking about what was new and special.  You knew that when you walked in that you would see a familiar face that could answer your questions and discuss your concerns.

Walking and moving about you would see people and they would know what you were up to.  How you were doing.  What was going down.

When people and businesses moved online, it was hard to let the passers by know you had the open sign on.  That one was getting on in the world.

Until one grew an email list and spoke to them.

At first. And even now, to some degree. It didn’t matter what one said to let the passers by know how you were keeping. So long as one let folks know something.

But one can do more than that.   One can help others.  Deliver value.  Enormous value…just by sharing their own life experience.

Pulling the string on the neon sign, via emailing those in my life, has been a great asset to my life.  I hope it has been for other, too.

Morning

It used to drive my Dad mad. Simply crazy! He was always a morning man, waking up at ‘O:dark, thirty’ before the rest of creatures began to stir. Grand Dad had similar ideas. He would proclaim that getting a jump on a long drive was good to do before the sun came up, ‘That night time dark air makes the engine run cooler..’

I, on the other hand, have
always been a night owl. Even when I were tired, I still had chutzpa to stay up to the wee hours.

That has changed. Some what..

I get up early now. I love to take walks before I do anything. Well, not anything, but most things. I get out of bed, put in my contacts and brush my grill piece, take my vitamins and drink a protein shake..and then go for my walk.

I live a couple blocks off the beach in Venice, CA and if you’ve ever visited, you know that the boardwalk is a bit gritty a lot of the time. No, no, I’m not complaining! I love the salty characters that mingle and mix on and around the colorful strip. I fit in and it makes me not feel so damn weird for having a mohawk or an ear ring or funny shoes or doing yoga poses admist the piano man and the guy on stilts or the lady that’s telling fortunes. I suppose I was made to live here..

Returning from digression, whilst I love the bustle of the boardwalk, in the morning its empty. Its quiet and its soft. The hard edges have yet to wake up and the day is fresh.

Waking up early allows my mind to boot up. My heart gets primed for a good day and the bits of oil that smooth my joints is well received. By the end of my 15 walk I’m ready to tackle the world..and yet, although I made a solid table of breaky this morning to kick it off right, its only 7:36am

Onward and upward!

Never mind “On The Air’, I’m thinking about the down time..

I have been a salesman my entire life.  You can read a bit more about the history in that regard here, or if you know me, you know that to be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

In any event, lately, I am honored to be working for BizeeBee.com in Business Development and Sales.  That means that among other things, I am required to speak to quite a few good folks on the phone sharing the benefits of how our software can make running a Yoga Studio much simpler while retaining more students.

If you have ever done phone sales before, you know that some times it can be difficult to find a groove and get on the phone and more importantly, stay on the phone for extended periods of time.  When I first started in sales via the phone I would try to monitor my “On The Air’ time in an effort to make the most of my day.  This can be a good method, but I’ve found something that helps me a bit more.

Monitor the time I am not on the phone.

It’s a pretty simple process.  I set up sprints for myself lasting 50 minutes to make calls and I set my phone to lock the screen after a minute.  Thus, after I hang up on a call, I have exactly 60 seconds to make another call before it locks.  In the event it locks, I owe myself 10 pushups.

They add up. Quick.

I tally the number of times this happens and at the end of the 50 minute sprint, I crunch out the number of push ups I’ve accumulated.  My shoulders are thanking me for the exercise, but that’s not the point.

The result is being ever aware of my down time, thus I end up spending more time on the phone spreading the good word.

Onward and upward!

The Monthly Bug – Inspiration Edition

Lots of things inspire me.

Making a positive change in my life is inspires me to make more. Video (Day 1) Video (Day 30)

Playing rugby with my friends inspires me to deepen relationships. Photo

Visiting the Smithsonian inspires me to learn. Photo

Witnessing the raw power of Mother Nature inspires me to respect.  Photo

Listening to one of my favorite bands in a small venue with a ridiculous sound system inspires me pay greater attention to the small things . Video

However, these events pale in comparison to the inspiration manifested by watching my only sister hold her 2 day old daughter.

On September 25, 2010 at 8:27 am Kalina Louise Racheva was introduced to the world.   She has a full head of dark hair, a humbling dimple in her right cheek, long thin fingers (and toes) that will be perfect for the piano, and spirited vocal cords.

Elizabeth, Danail, and Kalina are all healthy and happy.

I’m amazed and proud and thrilled and excited and nervous and…inspired!

Stay close,

AD

30 Day Challenge Update

I have reached my quota for HD videos with Vimeo, however I have infact been true to my committment and have been posting them daily to my Facebook profile.  Friend me to follow along 🙂

http://facebook.com/aaronloringdavis

Stay up

Day 4 – I’m listening to my gut (30 Day Challenge)

VID00101 from Aaron Davis on Vimeo.

I go off on a few tangents in this installment of my 30 day challenge, but the theme of today is to listen to my gut.

So, by the time this video is published, I’ll have resigned from my firm of almost 5 years.  I enjoyed my time there, but it was time for me to move on.  It was a leap of faith, as I do not completely have the future mapped out and I am uncertain as to how the resignation will play out.

But, I must honor myself.  I had a very insightful conversation this morning about just that.  It wasn’t overly lengthy, but the its value was incredibly high.  It boiled down to this – Not being honored by others is OK, because we don’t have control over anyone other than ourselves.  But, when we don’t honor ourselves, that is when the real damage occurs.

So, while I have many many friends from my time at Sotheby’s, it is time to part ways.  Perhaps I’ll get into why on another day, but that isn’t what’s important today.  I hope that they all continue to provide excellent service for their clients and are able to realize incredible success for themselves.  Well,  most of them at least..there are a couple that I hope get fat and lose all their hair.

For me it’s a bit scary.  In fact, as I write this my heart is beating fast.  Having fear of the unknown is normal, I suppose.  But, as I listen to my gut, I know its the right thing to do.  Its a leap of faith in my effort to do right to myself and to do right to those that deserve it.

Stay up

Day 3 – Just laugh (30 Day Challenge)

Day 3 – Just laugh (30 Day Challenge) from Aaron Davis on Vimeo.

In my effort to stop smoking, which I have, I have done my best to stay busy. Industry, or the act of being industrious, seems to be a great tool for focusing the mind on things other than that which I am stopping. Inasmuch, I had trouble getting to sleep for the second night in a row.

But, no time for the meek!

The theme, if there is one, for today is to laugh. To laugh with and at every possible thing I can.

So, thank you so much for tuning in and showing your support. Please stay with me and drop me a line or call me if you feel inclined.

Day 2 – 65% and getting after it (30 Day Challenge)

VID00101 from Aaron Davis on Vimeo.

In the video, I talk about not feeling 100% today, but that I’m committed to staying on track. It feels good. So, by the time I am done with my walk, thinking and verbalizing what I am thankful for in my life, and then having a bit of breakfast I’m ready to attack the day. While I do not have quite as much energy as I did yesterday, I certainly have more now than I did when I woke up.

My concern, as I stated in the video, was staying committed to this new ‘morning walk/reflection’ time every morning for 30 days. I am concerned because I know myself, and I know about how many times I’ve started something that I know will be good for me, only to lose steam a week in and quit.

I found this article (http://www.prolificliving.com/blog/2010/08/03/beyond-first-30-days-staying-committed-to-habits/) to have some good advice, whereas the take aways for me are:

1 – Practice firmness and kindness with myself
2 – Let habits build on each other
3 – Reject the notion that I can’t do it, for whatever reason
and 4 (which isn’t listed) to enlist the support of others, which is why I’m sharing in the first place.

So, thanks for helping me along. I really appreciate it!

Do you know of other article or ideas on how best to keep/build momentum in the face of habit changing?

Using a credit card to pay rent?

I had this idea yesterday..

What about a site that allow you to pay your rent with your credit card (there are some but they aren’t marketed the way I’m thinking)

Sell the concept on the auspice of being able to reap the rewards from your credit card (frequent flyer miles or whatever rewards).  That’s a ton load of points a year at just a $1,000 monthly rent..probably worth a trip at least a year

Market it on flyertalk.com or other online forums where people are discussing frequent flyer miles and other reward programs
Market it to the developers/owners of big complexes on the auspice of convenience to their tenants

Either one or a hybrid (depending on how the negotiation goes with the landlord prior to their first tenancy) can absorb the fees.

The company providing the service charges a small..really small fee and then automatically pay the bill by check.  We create 30-60 day back flow of funds from fees and then make interest on that too..like amazon.com

Never any inventory + automated deployment of checks = streamlined business with low maintenance

In this economy, I bet lots of people would like/attempt to put their rent on a credit card to defer expense, in addition to getting something out of paying it in the first place.

I have put in calls to friends/colleagues that work in private banks to see what their take is, as I believe this sort of thing would most certainly need to be managed by a bank and not an independent person or company.

Responses from advisers so far have been:

Risk of charge backs
Credit card processing fees make margins to slim or even negative
Red tape and/or legislation

What are you thoughts on this idea?

The Monthly Bug – Tools Edition

To reconnect has been great.  Even though I know cool stuff and interesting interactions are always a result, it still always amazes me of what comes from simply reaching out to others.  This past month has been no different.

Among other things, I have been asked what some of the tools I use are..

Here is a short list:

Contacts and Relationships
Gmail – Having a google account is crucial in my opinion to doing any sort of work online (email, calendar, analytics, reader, maps, etc, etc.)
Google Alerts – What are people saying about you, your business, your children…keep tabs on it for free
My website runs on WordPress.  Free with tons of support.
Write a hand written letter to someone. A piece of line paper and an evelope and a stamp.  You might be surprised be the reaction 🙂

Money
Paypal – Used for purchases and small payments
Bank of America – Used for Checking and General Savings.  I set up Automatic Bill Pay for most of my bills as they are recurring and to chip away at debt.
ING Orange – Totally online bank I use for savings.  The transfer is automatic from my checking account so I dont even think about it.
Mint – Super smart and easy budgeting.  All online and free.

Travel
Azzurro Travel – The owner will take care of you (unless you mention me and then he might curse your bloody name, spit on his own foot, and hang up on you.)
VRBO – Temporary rentals around the block and around the globe.
Craigslist – Rentals, bikes, carpools, or whatever in nearly every metro on the planet.
CouchSurfing – Find a free place to crash and find folks to help you crash a party.

As with any traveling abroad, have fun, keep your head on a swivel, and steer clear of clowns.

Travel Reference:
Lonely Planet
Wiki Travel
Frommers

Health
UCLA Recreation – Until just recently, I had no idea someone that was not directly affiliated with the university could use the facilities.  Wrong again, smart guy!  Its even cheaper than most other gyms and has waaaay more stuff.  Gyms, pools, courts..hell…one can even rent a sail boat through them.  I imagine most universities have similar programs.
Exhale Yoga – Great small studio near my home where I like to get on the mat and relax, breathe, and quiet my mind.
Venice Beach Basket Ball – I try to hit the courts every few days.  A short bike ride and I’m there…ocean on one side and crazies on the other.  No other court like it.
Pacific Ocean – Lately, I’ve been swimming a bit more with the warmer weather.  The water is still freezing, but the effects on my mind and body after taking a dip are incredible.  I would find it hard to believe that someone could remain in a stale mood after a dip in the sea.

Interwebz
Aaron Loring Davis – Even if you never do a single thing with it, I feel its a good idea to reserve your name (and your children’s) on the web.  Use Instant Domain Search to quickly find versions of your name that might be available.  Then visit AFMU to register it.

Interweb Reference:
SEOmoz.org – All things Search Engine Optimization and internet marketing
Digital Point Forums – Design, Development, Site Admin, all things internet support forum
Seth Godin – Marketing and Management

Real Estate
Los Angeles MLS Search – See all public listings in Los Angeles and Greater Southern California
Los Angeles Graphic Search and Ratings – Search homes with graphical representation of the city based upon price, safety, and schools.
Sotheby’s Global Luxury Search – Browse high end listings from around the world.

Other ways to stay in touch with me are to:
Subscribe to my blog
Friend me on Facebook
Link to me on Linkedin
Follow me on Twitter
or, for the love of all things easy, call me 310-663-2865

If more time has elapsed since we last spoke than you are comfortable with, please give me a jingle.

Until next time, Seth Godin wrote a pretty profound short blog post (20 second read). I recommend it:  A 5 step plan for just about everyone and everything.

Stay close,

AD

Disclosure – I do not make one red penny off of any of these recommendations.  In the spirit of sharing, if you know of other tools that are free or close to it that you feel other might find useful, please share them in the comments.