Wednesday, January 27

Moving Forward

I've thought a little bit about this blog, and life in general.  I got that infamous email telling me that this domain was up for renewal and just let it ride out until it automatically renewed.

Honestly as I look back the past 5 or so years I've maintained this, I've used this blog for several different platforms.  I've hosted podcasts, helped promote various fundraisers and community activities, been able to accept online payments for the fundraisers, and also obviously to promote my small businesses.  Some of my posts have received thousands of views, some just a handful.  At different periods, I have used it more like a journal or diary than a blog itself.  I look around and this works for some bloggers.  There are people that blog when they travel and get paid for it, some that effectively blog and make money, podcasters that get to hit the road and do live shows.

Allow me to be honest.  Life has changed for me.  I still help people out as much as possible, but just don't get loud about it.  I still am involved in the community, just not as a loud leader.  It's official, I've been humbled and placed in a point of idle.

Unlike those that travel or blog about things they love doing and get thousands of hits, I am basically
a boring barber that lives in a dilapidated town full of people with addiction issues and angry and depressed personalities.

When I first opened my shop up in town over 6 years ago, I hit the ground running.  Setting up several activities, fundraisers to help people that need it, poured my heart and soul into my little business, and had a vision of bringing more businesses into town and a flash of revitalization hopes.  To create a small, hip environment that people loved coming too and that I was happy and proud to be a part of.  Instead we've been presented with people overdosing and people walking around pissed off all the time.  We've been met with small town politics and nonsense as well as my least favorite - drama.

I now have a two year old son that I devote all my energy to and a wife that is, for the lack of argument, unsupportive.  I'm not saying that I am doing away with this blog or hanging the towel up on everything I have busted my ass to build up, I'm just going to take some time to reevaluate my personal life and decisions that come in the future.  I continue to work 6-7 days a week and be the best dad I can be.  Call it a game changer, call it the maturation of JC.  I'll be back soon :)

Monday, December 7

Hug Your Neighbor, Scrooge

With the holidays fast approaching, the stories I see and hear are frankly, gut wrenching.  A year ago in our area pipeliners flooded the area to help lay over 30 miles of pipeline.  There were a few new pads installed and all you read about in the media is the economic boom this was going to create. Some of our folks actually were able to get on with some of the labor crews for a few months.  That quickly dried up.  Those same guys that had what was considered a decent job, are now left scrambling to find a job paying just over minimum wage to keep their families afloat and even buy a few gifts for their kids.

I'm a no drama guy from a small town, but sometimes all you have to do is shut up and listen to see what people are going through.  As Christmas approaches, the more you realize how much people around here are stressed out.  This is a blue collar area, build on blue collar morals, blue collar beliefs, and a hard working blue collar work ethic.  What I'm getting at here is the sense of pride they carry.  I don't care how many great people and groups get together to put pictures of toys being handed out on social media.  To be honest, the people I know that could really use it are not going to a group handout, they're not going to throw their hands in the air and yell 'HELP'.  They are going to just hold back their own tears and stress, cowboy (or cowgirl) up and push through the holidays as quickly as possible.  Most of them have went and grabbed, or are trying to grab up a second or third job as I'm writing this.  All because we have a society, and funded fueled media continue to push the commercialism and use big business to dictate our feelings and beliefs.  Buy Buy Buy.

I said it when they began to come in at the old pottery location in town that the fire department leased out, the pipeliners are temporary-we get buried next to each other.  One idea or crazy guy that steps in front of the media and promises jobs and an economic trickledown can really get people's hopes up.  Lets pause for a moment and remember Charlie Wilson and the Baard Energy project from 6 years ago or a handful of other projects (the prison, conversion plant,etc.)  I love everyone and many of the people I've met have been great.  Sure, there have been a few assholes but you just take that with a grain of salt.

It's not the guys from Arkansas or Texas that have visited me within the recent weeks.  This is the guy that has a hard time paying for an $8 haircut and hasn't been able to grab up work that pays for more than gas money and a pack of cigarettes.  The same people that you know their dad, mom, crazy ass uncles, cousins, etc.  These are real people, our neighbors, hurting more than I have seen before around here.

Let us know forget the reason for the season, as they say.  Take that extra 20 bucks you were going to blow on scratch off lottery tickets for that day and keep it in your pocket.  Talk to your neighbors, that woman or family next door that is hardly home and shows up looking exhausted.  Walk over and give that $20 bucks to them and tell them Merry Christmas.  Then take your ass back inside, throw on the Wheel of Fortune, sit down, get comfortable, and let that soak in.  Tell me that 5 minutes later you're not smiling like a fat guy at the Hot Dog Shoppe.

Love life.

Monday, November 30

Staying Focused During the Holidays

The holiday season really is better when you're a parent.  Last night we took my son to see the lights at Columbiana's Firestone Park.  It only took about 10 minutes to drive through but he loved them.  Life is simpler when you don't know how crazy the world is.  I'm looking forward to him enjoying the holidays.  Hell - I might actually get into it this year for a change.

With all of the gifts, decorations, 60 year old Christmas cartoons your wife makes you watch, cards, pictures, running around - it is easy to get distracted from your work, career,or business.  Not only that - stress raises as people penny pinch and that extra cash folks have stuck back gets sucked up for gifts, etc.

With that said I'm constantly looking for a way to build my business.  My mind doesn't stop.  I always said that my barbershop would be the foundation of any future businesses that I got going.  It has been.  It literally has allowed me to keep other investments or shitty business ideas going as long as they make sense.  Right now I'm working on a possible signing company and business brokerage firm that I've been tossing around for a while now.  I have that old school "if you want something done, do it yourself" mentality which is really horrible for anyone that wants to build a business or anything actually.  You're only one person, most of the time there are many tasks that need to be done. Things slip through the cracks when you try to take everything on yourself.  The trick is, build it so you don't have to spend all of your time on it.  Build something that will run itself.  Build something that requires little of your time and still provides the desired results.

Time to take a step back, take one of those vacation days, and get things setup for success. 

love life.