Circle of Life

As I began writing this post a deer walked within 30 feet of our deck, while Evan and I were sitting outside enjoying the view. This has pretty much become a daily occurrence. In fact, while I was on a recent business trip Evan was able to snap a photo capturing 2 unique members of the animal kingdom at once.

In the picture below you’ll see a great blue heron to the left of our kayaks, near the water’s edge and a deer at the bottom right, eating the neighbor’s blueberries 🙂

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The great blue heron lives in the waterfowl protection area which is adjacent to our property. We see him coming and going frequently through-out the day. Over the 4th Ian took a video of this giant bird catching a sizable fish! After seizing its prey he flew off with the fish still flapping around trying to escape its captor.

Speaking of catching fish…Until recently, I had to shamefully confess that, after spending a number of vacations on Sebago Lake and living here for over 18 months, I had never pulled a fish from these waters. Thankfully, that changed a few days ago when I was casting a lure off our dock. After several casts I’m proud to say that a fish struck and I brought him in. It was a good-sized white perch! Had we been camping he would have quickly been gutted and readied for dinner. Instead, I released him for another day…

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I can now sleep peacefully 🙂

Speaking of sleeping peacefully…Last night something pretty violent occurred on our dock! I was awakened just after midnight by the shrieks of what sounded like a young girl being dismembered. Upon hearing the sound I got up from bed, peered out the window and could just barely make out a dark object with hunched back, about the size of a raccoon, walking from the end of the dock towards land. After doing some research I have pretty much confirmed that it was a fishercat. These are vicious creatures that make a blood curdling sound upon taking their prey. He probably nabbed a duckling or merganser chick, as they often sleep on the end of our dock. Click here to check out a YouTube video sharing a recording of a fishercat.

Another woodland creature that gives off a similar high-pitched sound, which we’ve often heard at night, is a red fox. It could easily be mistaken for a fishercat, however, fishercats have a more gurgling sound, while a fox sounds like a lady screaming. Click here to listen to the sound of a red fox.

If you’ve never stayed in the woods or heard these 2 creatures sound off you probably will not sleep well after your first experience hearing them, as you wonder what could possibly be going on in the wilderness around you. Especially, if you’ve been whiling away the hours reading a Stephen King horror novel…

On a lighter note, completing the circle of life, several of us witnessed 2 fish mating on the 4th of July. For a few days prior we had seen a clear circular spot at the bottom of the lake just off of our dock, as a single fish swam around within. Perhaps a female nesting, waiting for her mate? Then, to our surprise, another fish had entered the circle and they were performing their act of procreation. I won’t share the video here to ensure this site maintains its PG status 🙂

In closing, it is truly amazing what you are able to witness in nature, when you are simply paying attention.

All the best!

We Have Cut The Next Hardline!

It is FINALLY official. We have cut yet another hardline!

In prior posts (years ago now) I mentioned that we had cut our:

The next hardline I’ve been super anxious to cut is internet cable.

As of today, it is done!

We now connect all our devices (e.g., MacBooks, iPad, printer) over the wireless network offered by the “personal hotspot” on our iPhones.

Over the years I had been monitoring the cost of cellular data plans in the quest to do this. And, until recently the pricing has not been conducive to running a household off an iPhone’s personal hotspot.

Of late, we were paying about $100 / month for a “limited” data plan. During a recent transaction to upgrade Cindy’s iPhone we learned that Verizon Wireless now offers an UNLIMITED data plan for the same price as I was paying for the limited plan.

The switch to unlimited was easy!

Now, all I had to do was test. The testing involved:

  • Confirming we can stream Netflix movies over the personal hotspot, via a MacBook, connected to a TV and not have it stall out. Done!
  • Confirming Cindy can watch Netflix on her iPad, connected to her personal hotspot. Otherwise, there’d certainly be a murder (mine). Done!
  • Confirming we can hook-up our wireless printer and actually print to it. This was the one I was most worried about (unnecessarily). Done!

For years I have been using my personal hotspot to run my MacBook when I’m on the road or in some location that doesn’t offer WiFi, so I knew this would work fine. This includes sending/receiving email, surfing the web and running web conference calls with screen sharing.

The result: we are now ready to cut the next cord…

On calling the cable company to cancel they certainly did NOT want to let us go.

Cable Company: “Mr. Bailey, we can offer you the same plan for $64.99 / month, vs. the $74.99 you are paying now.

Mr. Bailey: “Thanks, but I don’t need to pay anything more for internet since we already have it on our cell phones.

Cable Company: “Well, we wouldn’t want you to ever be out of internet if a cell tower should go down. We can offer you a standard plan at $44.99 / month to make sure you are never without internet.

Mr. Bailey: “I’ve been using cell phones for decades and have NEVER experienced an outage. Thank you, but we are good to go.

It is done!

Now, let’s run this savings through the “cost / savings over time model.”

So, we “were” paying $75 / month for internet cable. Over 12 months that totals $900. And, over 10 years, that represents a cost / savings of $9,000!

Pack your bags Cindy. This will more than fund a few trips for two, to somewhere tropical 🙂

I love this!

The final cord to cut will be electricity. Once Verizon Wireless starts streaming that we’ll be good to go. To be clear, this is not all that far-fetched…

I remember during the early days of working for one of the first internet companies (back in the 90’s) the CEO said: “One day even lightbulbs will have an IP address” (a.k.a. be connected to the internet). That day has arrived!!!

All the best!

Launching a Business – Shamelessly Promote: Part 2

About 18 months ago I posted an article, in the series on Launching a Business, titled: Shamelessly Promote. If you’ve not read that article (or need a refresher) you are encouraged to do so now by clicking here.

This article builds on the above…

As you may know, great ideas come from many sources.

One thing I like to do is scan our local / weekly paper. And, I’m never disappointed in the fact that 1 or more ideas result from doing so. Ideas that I can use in my own business or share with my clients (business and/or SCORE).

This week was no different.

After reviewing this week’s paper I found 2 articles that are examples of simple ways to promote our businesses.

  1. A business spotlight which introduces a new business to the community by sharing a brief story on the owner and how they arrived where they are as well as the products / services they offer.
  2. An informational article authored by a business owner sharing approaches to solving a problem or achieving a goal. This week’s example was from a Real Estate agent: How to maximize your selling potential during the winter.

Local newspapers are a highly recommended and worthwhile channel to get the word out about our business. Not only that, they provide the opportunity to exercise our “promotional” muscles which, as a business owner, we must be doing every single day!

The reality is that most local newspapers are anxious to publish “good news.” In fact, you may learn that you have an opportunity to publish a series of informational articles over the course of several weeks or months. Consider it an extension of your blog, only in print. That is, you only have to write the article once and you can make it available to the local newspaper as well as online on your website.

To explore this option, simply look for the editorial contacts that will be clearly provided on your local newspaper and send them an email, or call, to discuss potentials for doing any / all of the above.

Yes, I know…It can be uncomfortable to self-promote. In the words of my wife, Cindy: Get over it!

The fact is, if you are in business for yourself, you MUST get the word out and remain top- of-mind to your marketplace. This, assuming you truly believe in and have a passion for what you do. The alternative, if you don’t self-promote, is that you will likely not be able to serve (a.k.a., help) as many people as you’d really like to with the products / services you offer. And, you will have dramatically reduced the revenue you could have otherwise generated.

In closing, you are encouraged to shamelessly promote! And, constantly look for new ideas and approaches to doing so.

All the best!

Click here to go to the index of articles on Launching a Business.