You can call me anything, but don’t call me predictable.
Friends, about 2 months ago, while talking to longtime friend Aaron Specht, I floated an idea his way. (For those that don’t know, I met Aaron years ago when he was a bartender at Solera with me) It would involve me making a geographical relocation and entail us working closer together and more often. Aaron has been a successful businessman in the St. Louis area for almost a decade, and I admired his attitude and approach to business. I was 2.5 years in to owning my own business, and by all accounts he was far more successful than me. Aaron agreed with my ideas, we hashed out a couple of things over the phone and through emails, and a loose plan was put into place.
About 1 month ago, the plan started to move forward. I packed up some clothes and my computer (all a digital nomad really needs in today’s world), and headed east on I-70 to the small midwestern town of Edwardsville, IL. I bunked up in Aaron’s basement (with the gracious approval of his wife, Andrea), and we quickly set to work. From that point forward, I’ve been working 6-7 days/week, often from sunup to sundown, learning from Aaron and helping where I could. This was just the sniffing butts phase though, and the real decision regarding the bigger change waited until we were both comfortable to tackle it.
Now, that day has come, and after some probing facebook inquiries that I answered in private, I’m ready to let the proverbial cat out of the proverbial bag (no bags were harmed in the making of this blog post, though it is possible a cat was over-petted).
Sometime in the very near future, September more than likely, I’ll be moving to Murfreesboro, Tennessee to take over Nashville Catastrophe Services, Inc.
Most left fielders will recognize that this is a slightly unexpected move on my part. Those who have known me for awhile know that I’m a fan of unexpected moves. It is a change of location, occupation, and mindset for me. It feels good, and I know the time is right. Let me give you a quick rundown:
Murfreesboro, TN is located in central Tennessee, about 30-45 minutes south of Nashville. It is a medium sized (100,000) college town, home to Middle Tennessee State University (not quite as redneck as it sounds, I promise). Nashville Catastrophe Services is located in downtown Murfreesboro, right on Courthouse Square, which is all sorts of pretty and southern-like. I’ll be looking to rent an apartment of some sorts nearby, but that is yet to be settled.
Nashville Catastrophe Services is a division of Cardinal Catastrophe Services, Inc., the company Aaron founded and runs in Edwardsville, IL. It is a leading storm damage restoration firm, specializing in hail and wind insurance claim restoration. Or, for those of you that have been taking that idiotic IQ test on Facebook lately and now suddenly think you are a genius, it is a company that fixes your roof and home exterior when you suffer storm damage. We help the homeowner through the process of filing an insurance claim and getting the funds released, and then complete the work necessary to restore their home to it’s original grandeur.
Aaron has designed his companies to run lean in the lean years, and scale up easily when a big storm hits. Initially, it will be me doing the lion’s share of the work – getting leads, inspecting properties, conducting adjuster meetings, and hiring out the necessary subcontractors to complete the restoration. I’m not looking to make a huge company out of it, but it is likely that by next summer I’ll probably have a small crew of project managers, canvassers, and subcontractors under my umbrella to keep the business revenue flowing. Aaron will be able to continue to train and mentor me throughout the process, as the two divisions are only 5 hours apart by car, and this new invention called The Internet allows us to keep in constant contact.
Possibly as early as September 1, possibly as late as October 31st, but hopefully sooner rather than later. Storm season has essentially passed, but in Tennessee homeowners have 1 year from their storm date to file a claim. No large storms have hit the Nashville area this year, but there is plenty of opportunity from smaller storms throughout the spring and summer. Canvassers will help find new leads, and claims can be made and restoration work can be completed all winter. The idea is to have everything up, running, and moderately profitable before the 2015 storm season commences, so if a large storm does hit, we’ll be ready for it. I’ll be out here in Edwardsville until the end of August, and then likely coming home to Denver to pack up the rest of my stuff and make the cross-country drive.
Well, that’s the big question, isn’t it? I was somewhat successful with my internet marketing company, so why the change? Well, for one, being somewhat successful was digging me a bit of a hole. I’m a fancy pants that enjoys his life, so while I was making beans and rice money, I was enjoying life on a pork belly level. I could keep it up for awhile, and maybe I could have become more successful at it, but I wasn’t really getting all that I wanted out of it. As such, I was sinking deeper into debt and creeping into depression and self-doubt – not fun.
But it was more than just the money. In all honesty, I was becoming bored of my life. I was bored of Denver – I felt like I had seen and done everything, and most of the new stuff happening around town didn’t excite me. I was bored with some of my social scene – don’t get your panties in a jumble, there wasn’t any one person I was bored with, it was just a general malaise of always seeing the same people and doing the same things. I was bored with the same bars, the same music venues, the same parks, etc. I was even bored with meeting new people, save some notable exceptions. I was bored with smoking pot all the time, bored with drinking till 2am just because the bar was open until 2am, bored with sleeping in because I didn’t have a good reason to wake up. Just plain bored. I have an easy metric in my life for this sort of thing. I like photography, but I’m not a pro at it, so I need to be inspired to go out and take photos. My passion for photography, even in a jaw-droppingly gorgeous state like Colorado, was at an all-time low. It was time to make a change.
So I made the decision to reach out to Aaron, and thankfully, he accepted. I’m in a new place, and will be in another new place soon. It’s not easy, but it’s different. It’s lonely at times, and it will get even lonelier I’m sure. But it is inspiring, uplifting, and engaging. I’ve been living fairly clean out here, trading most of my drug and alcohol intake for hard work and exercise. It’s been tough living in a house with a family that isn’t mine even if they treat me like I always have been a part of theirs (enough thanks cannot be given for that, although I will certainly continue to try). I’ve had days of pure frustration, and days of pure happiness. Save a momentary lapse or two though, I have not been bored. And that is what matters.
Lastly, I’ll continue to work with clients on a limited basis for my own business, Holland Web Marketing. I have a couple of great, loyal clients that I enjoy working with, and neither of us have any intention of that stopping. I may even pick up a new client or two in Tennessee during the slower winter months. Both my new business and my internet marketing business allow me to set my own schedule and work as I please, so while I’ve scaled down Holland Web Marketing due to this transition, it isn’t going away. The skills I’ve learned through running that business will definitely help me in all future business endeavors, and I plan to continue providing the services I have been to select clients that I enjoy.
So the cat is now out of the bag. Do what you will with it. Love you all, and you should totally come visit me in Tennessee and we’ll have a hoedown and drink whiskey and such!