Friday, January 9, 2015

High Risk, High Reward

My brothers recent blog post inspired me to write a "counter-post" from my view.

If you don't want to read the whole article, he basically highlighted his findings and tribulations for starting a new company, which he attempted in 2008. Although I have virtually NO entrepreneurial experience, I have some educational knowledge and a whole lot of exposure via my entrepreneur boyfriend to the world of owning a company. I'd like to share my thoughts.

First of all, there are many different categories of businesses, so comparing John Deere to Apple to Nana's Corner Store is as far apart as comparing can come apart from general business principles. However, in Economics, we are all familiar with the phrase "goods and services", so I like to begin there with a dividing point for businesses; 1- businesses that provide a tangible object and 2- businesses that provide an intangible object, per say.

I'm not here to teach economics, but I do want to list some things I've learned about entrepreneurship.

1- To run a company, you must be invested. Don't run a company on a "good idea", run a company on something you are willing to miss Christmas to see succeed.
2- Have confidence your product/service is THE BEST there is. Actually, don't have confidence, you need to actually believe yours is. If you think someone else has a better product, you [probably] won't succeed.
3- Starting is the hardest part. You need time and money. By time, I mean a minimum 40 hrs/week and by money I mean initially a disposable  $10,000 (roughly).
4- You won't have time for hobbies, entertainment, or vacations, but you'll need them. No more painting, working out, snow boarding, hunting, fishing.......you shouldn't have time for these if you are truly invested in your company, however to keep sane, you should find time.
5- You will have to know all facets of owning a company. If you have a bachelors degree in rocket science, congratulations, that didn't prepare you to understand payroll, business taxes, operations management, patents, etc. Oh, and sooner or later, you'll need a lawyer ($$).
6- Network. You absolutely need every resource in the book. Whether it is someone who has been through what you are going through or a perspective client or a potential business partner, just network. "It's all about WHO you know." TRUTH.
7- Foreign labor is cheap. Foreign transportation is not. Decide how you want to run your company.
8- Be able to make decisions. Decisions under pressure, long-term decisions, hard decisions, you'll face them all.
9- Set Goals. Weekly, monthly, long-term, short-term, etc. Set high goals and obtainable goals, optimistic and realistic. The most successful people set goals, I can't remember the statistic off the top of my head.
10- Read. Read NPR, Forbes, any business journal or entrepreneur book.

I'm not saying these are going to make your company succeed or that these are the only factors, but they are certainly elements to consider.

On that note, in the near future, I don't plan to start a company because I don't have what it takes.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Reasons I Love My Career

In no specific order.....

1- The reaction I get when I tell people I'm an Industrial Engineer
2- I'm usually always busy
3- I learn something new at least weekly
4- Every day my job is different
5- It's not mind-numbing
6- It's made me more organized in my personal life
7- It comes natural to me
8- It challenges me
9- I'm not the lowest person on the totem-pole, for once
10- I travel
11- The job market seems excellent
12- There's growth opportunity
13- I don't deal with customers
14- I interact with people
15- Knowing college wasn't a waste
16- The paycheck
17- I've become better at communication
18- I see ways to make things outside of work more efficient
19- I am more efficient in my personal life
20- Paid vacation
21- Working on high profile projects
22- Health insurance
23- Easy to expand my portfolio
24- Because I tell myself I love my job
25- I'm proud of my career
26- More people than not respect my career
27- I don't have to sit all day. I also don't have to stand all day
28- It's hard explaining what I do (yes I like that)
29- I teach others, but it's not my main function
30- I make a difference
31- I get to go "shopping" weekly (mainly for manufacturing stuff, but still!)

More reasons I love the company I work for...

33- Working with foreigners
34- Using up-to-date equipment. Like getting a new iphone 6
35- Nearly unlimited resources
36- Part of high profile projects. IE the world cup, the Olympics...
37- Casual Friday
38- Up to date work environment
39- Open to innovation
40- I can wear headphones and listen to music while I work
41- VACATION, the 3 1/2 weeks I got, starting.

I'm sure there's more...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Champagne Problems

Without further adieu, I believe it is appropriately time to publicly announce that I have accepted a new job. Beginning officially January 1st (first working day being January 5th), I become a Manufacturing Engineer for the Discrete Automation and Motion division of ABB working with Drives and Inverters!!

Wow has this past month been a learning experience.

For the sake of this being a public blog and my professional discretion being of utmost importance to me, I will not be able to disclose all the events that have led me to this point since October 21st, however, I am very eager to dish the "millions of emotions" I have, once again, had the pleasure? to experience through this journey.

I first want to say that the position I will be leaving is my first professional job post-college. I started as an intern, came back as a contractor, and was hired on a mere 2 months before getting my bachelors diploma. I have held the same title/position since September 2012. You might laugh as I have numerous times over the past couple weeks. "Berea, you're kidding right? Making it sound like 2 years is a lifetime of work? Wake up, you have at least 40 more to go." Well, you're right, and I may be quite naive, selfish, and undeserving, but I've never let those things stop me, so why now?

I want to make it publicly known that I love my job. I've learned many things over the past 2-3 years, and one is that I am part of a minority of people who are generally more happy, than not, with my job. I have had a great support system of co-workers and managers who have helped me grow and learn and I couldn't be more thankful. This job has been a perfect mix of pushing my comfort zone, giving me freedom to learn from my mistakes, and recognition for my accomplishments. It has certainly set high standards for the rest of my career.

That being said, I wasn't particularly looking for another job, but I was willing to entertain the idea of a different opportunity. Here is where I need to skip some details, however within a weeks time I was offered 3 different/new job positions. Champagne problems, first world problems, whatever you call it, I'm blessed. God answers prayers in his own way at his own time. When he closes one door, he opens another.

If I have one piece of advice, it would be to go into Industrial Engineering. If I had another piece of advice, it would be to choose a career based on the job description, not the job title.

Regardless, I am beyond excited to start this new "chapter". One step closer to my dream job, that I may disclose to you some day. Thanks for the prayers in helping to guide me to a decision. As always, I look forward to what the future holds for me and can only try and hang on to the crazy ride we call life.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Not a Draft

I hate this day. Every year I struggle between facing my memories or keeping them locked away.

On the 10th anniversary I wrote a very good blog post. It really tells what I want it to. Every year on this day, I attempt to blog. Looking back, I've started a post on September 11th for the past 3 years that I can never make it through to post. I will try to recap today my past and present feelings.

The numbers "9/11" said together in any context gives me chills. A brief memory of the tragedy. Those numbers only mean one thing to me. Today marks the 13th anniversary. Thirteen years ago today is just as vivid as the month it happened. I still get emotional thinking about it.

This morning, as with most mornings, I innocently got in my car and tuned in to the Milwaukee NPR radio station. Within minutes I had tears running down my eyes. NPR was playing stories of loved ones who lost someone that day. The stories are just unimaginably heart-breaking. I don't want to think about it.

Time is moving so quickly.

I was in 6th grade when the twin towers were attacked and there are now 6 graders who weren't even born then. I've told you my connections, my memories, my experiences, so there is not much new you can learn from me. I just find it interesting to learn more about the events that took place 13 years ago and how much is different and the same.

The kids who lost parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts/uncles in the terrorist attack are now likely in their twenty's or close to it. It is weird to think. The two looming bright lights that lead to heaven at this time of the year probably don't help erase the horrific memories of many people. We did not even take a moment to be silent at work today, and there was no mention of the accounts by any of my coworkers.

As I grow up, I meet more and more people from around the world. It helps me realize how blessed we are. I have had foreign friends tell me stories of having to move because of war. Our own citizens are being tortured by foreign enemies- terrorist (ISIS). Gaza has virtually been flattened this year because of war and that's only the beginning.

There is nothing good about war. I'm just thankful our government seems to provide fairly decent protection. I hope that doesn't change.

My prayers are with the loved ones still struggling.