Conquering Your Financial Empire

All posts in "Career"

My First Trade Show and how I Survived

Published April 9, 2017 in Career , Small Business - 2 Comments
CFC at a heroes trade show

As a young guy growing up, I was a big dude.  So big in fact that I used to work security and door watch for a couple travelling toy conventions that used to come through town.  I wasn’t unfamiliar with trade shows; however, I had never worked one as a vendor.  That all changed recently.  It was a great time and I’m going to tell you all about it!

Before we get into my experiences running my first vendor booth, I’d like to address something quickly.  Cash Flow Celt is expanding scope!  I was having a lot of trouble writing ‘just’ personal finance articles.  It felt like a narrow approach because I’m passionate about small business and marketing as well.  I also felt like I needed to start a NEW blog and add a NEW item on my plate to go forth with real estate marketing and making a spotlight for local business (not to mention more hosting and domain fees).  That’s when I got the idea to just use the platform I have and just link the two.  Consequently, you’re going to see an expanded breadth of content where I really just write about whatever the heck I want to write about.  If you want to see a really well put together blog that covers multiple ideas tied into the same theme, check out jackcatchem.com!  He’s a Marine who served time overseas, came home and is now a police officer in California; all the while writing – as an aspiring blogger – on a quaint little smart device from his patrol car.  His blog format is why I felt I could be successful with this CFC refocusing.

Now back on to the show! Continue reading

Attitude is Everything – Change in 2017

Published January 9, 2017 in Career - 1 Comment
Attitude is What YOU Make it

There is a catchphrase that tends to reemerge every year from its digital coffin.  At its core, it’s just another ‘attitude is everything’ phrases that tries to amp you up.  Well, this year it worked on me.  “Don’t Quit Your Daydream” is the particular phrase I’m talking about.  From what I can tell, it started back in 2009 as an Indie film that did surprisingly well; however, in 2012 the self-help industry picked it up and ran away (probably to the bank) with it.

The phrase caught me this year because I’ve been looking into the Celtic Crystal Ball and future-gazing a lot recently.  I’ve got a plethora of calculated risks that I’ll be taking later this year that will dramatically affect my life.  My attitude on life has changed because of those risks.  I’ve got to stay dedicated and motivated if I expect to succeed. Continue reading

2017 Checklist for a Happy Wallet

Published January 1, 2017 in Budget , Career - 4 Comments

As we ponder the auld lang syne of 2016 and begin the entry into 2017, I’m forced to realize that I’ve been blogging for 9 months.  Amidst the craziness of a full-time job and blog writing, I’ve added a new job (I’m a Realtor!), the purchase of a home, and two puppies to the mix!  I’ve been engaged in life to say the least.  The year has been a roller coaster.  It’s up and down, happy and sad, but at the end of the ride, I can still say I had fun!  As far as the Celt family, we remain intact.  Lady Celt hit a large goal for weight loss, and the Mini-Celt (who now sports a new Mini-Kilt) has grown exponentially – both physically and mentally.

Entering 2017, I would be remiss to not give you all some savvy tips for a New Year, New You.  This past year I’ve regaled you all with topics of retirement plans, and identity theft; making a car budget and various treats of real estate.  Let’s see if I just can’t wrap it all up with a nice big tartan bow!

Read on to learn how you can make 2017 your best year for finances yet! Continue reading

First Week in Real Estate

Published October 21, 2016 in Career , Real Estate - 4 Comments
first week in real estate

Week one is in the books ladies and gentleman!  I’ve concluded my first week in real estate as an agent with a brokerage.  I need a vacation.  If you haven’t read how I came to choose my brokerage, be sure to read it here.  It’s now clearly apparent that Phil Dunphy, the REALTOR character in Modern Family, has lied to me.  For all of his self-deprecating humor and carefree self, he led me to believe this thing was easy!

It’s been hectic.  I still thought it would be a great idea to let you all in on what your first week as a real estate agent would look like.  A lot of it follows exactly what you may think, but you may also be surprised.  There is a lot of back-end work that goes into making your first week successful.  There is also a lot of time that needs to be spent on one and done activities – which is frustrating. Continue reading

Picking a Brokerage for Real Estate

Published October 17, 2016 in Career , Real Estate - 0 Comments
Picking a Brokerage - House Picture

I’ve been incredibly busy as of late.  It’s actually been very difficult to try and post consistently.  So what have I been doing that’s taking up so much time?  Trying to pass real estate school!  Well, as of October 3rd, I had passed the state exam and officially became an inactive holder of a Florida real estate license!  So then, the trek to find a broker officially began.

Presently, I have officially selected a broker (and am now licensed and active) and I’d like to share my thoughts on what my thought process was.  Part of writing this is so everyone, should they decide to get licensed, will have some guidelines.  The other part is so I can have a record for my thoughts a few years from now to see if my expectations were met.

If you’re in the Central Florida area looking for property as a buyer, seller, or investor, look me up.  A great place to start is my agent page at www.realestatecelt.com.  I would be happy to sit down for a free consultation.   Continue reading

Sleepover at the Sheriff! What I learned About Professional Hardships

Published October 10, 2016 in Career , Government - 7 Comments
Professional Hardships? Let us know!

In every job, you will have professional hardships.  I had my first major one while working at the sheriff’s office.  As most of you know, Central Florida was hit by Hurricane Matthew this week.  I’m a dispatcher, so I’m considered part of the essential emergency staffing.  This meant that, from 5:30 AM Thursday to 6:00 PM Friday, I was working and sleeping at the sheriff’s office.  We were fortunate that Matthew went further east than originally predicted, and our lock down was lifted early.  But I learned some very important things about work and personal life.

Before I get into that though, I want to take a moment and shout out to all of my coworkers – including

Professional Hardships?  Let us know!

Professional Hardships? Let us know!

those from neighboring agencies.  My living situation was pretty miserable, but it pales in comparison to those deputies and officers that were literally living in their car for days as they responded to calls when wind would briefly die down.  When I left the sheriff’s office, the road patrols were still required to be on emergency staffing, meaning they didn’t get to go home.  They handled their professional hardships with tact and diligence.  Bravo on them all.  They embody all that is right with protecting and serving.

Further, while the road units were outstanding on the road, the communications center also performed admirably.  We received TRIPLE our normal 911 call volume on Friday.  Not a single 911 escaped agency standards.  All phones were answered in under ten seconds to keep us in line with national accreditation standards.  When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Now, onto what I learned. . . Continue reading

The Fall of Theranos: A Brand Management Study

Published September 19, 2016 in Career - 2 Comments

There is a healthcare company in Silicon Valley that is currently under fire.  Full disclosure: I was awe struck by the company and the potential it had if the claims were true.  I’ve been following them now for nearly two years.  Their product would have been a revolutionary change to the healthcare industry.  The company is Theranos and was founded by Elizabeth Holmes.  Holmes was 19 when she dropped out of Stanford University to start Theranos and just last year, at 31 years old, she was valued at $4.5 Billion.  As of today, many put her fortune at less than $100,000.  Holmes is also banned from owning or operating a medical laboratory for two years.

Some of you may be wondering what Theranos produces.  You’re probably also wondering why they were so revolutionary.  Theranos had created a blood-testing machine by the name of Edison.  This machine was supposed to take blood from Nanotainers – which were vials no more than half an inch long – and run them through 15 different tests.  These tests ranged from cholesterol, prostate cancer, Herpes Simplex, and even pregnancy hormones.  All these tests from just a few drops of blood.  Like I said, revolutionary.

What actually happened was that Edison could only accurately test for Herpes Simplex 1, and then lied about all of the rest.  Theranos went so far as to run their proficiency samples with other lab testing machines and then slap the Edison name on the final result.  The end to the tragedy was Shakespearean in quality.

The Fall of Theranos

I encourage you to check out this story by the New York Times for a brief synopsis and history of Theranos.  It’s published as an easy to read timeline.  Here are a few key features though: Oct 16, 2015 Theranos collecting of tiny blood samples opting for a traditional direct venous approach; April 18th, 2016 the S.E.C and Justice Department begin their investigations of Theranos; June 12th, 2016 Walgreens closes the 42 testing centers using Theranos products – these centers were most of Theranos’ customers; July 7th, 2016 the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services bans Elizabeth Holmes from owning or running a medical laboratory for two years, and also ban her laboratories from receiving Medicare and Medicaid payments.

How Do You Manage Your Brand?

How Do You Manage Your Brand?

Theranos still exists.  At least in theory, anyway.  They are still trying to market products, but it’s mostly falling on deaf ears.  The company was so carefully crafted as a revolutionary breakthrough and Silicon Sweetheart, that the level of penalties and credibility issues they’ve received have made them defunct.  Simply said, they lack credibility.  The fact that their COO explicitly told Theranos lab techs to run proficiency samples with other company’s products, and then publish those results as Theranos results was damning.  Theranos has also voided any and all tests done on the Edison machine in 2014 and 2015.

The problem with Theranos is that they kept everything guarded.  Employees Department A were not allowed to communicate with Department B, this led to Holmes understanding the master plan, but the employees were left in the dark – this breeds discontent.  This also turns into a bunch whistleblowers coming out to the news media in secrecy if something goes wrong.  That’s exactly what happened with Theranos.  Furthermore, Holmes refused to allow any scientist doctor or medical journal to review their science, even under non-disclosure.  That means someone in Theranos didn’t feel confident enough in the product to show off how it worked.

In medicine, credibility is paramount to success.  If you’re a doctor, and your patients don’t trust you, they don’t use you.  If you’re a drug maker, and people don’t believe the drug works, they’ll refuse to take it.  Theranos created lab equipment and couldn’t prove to others that their science worked, so why should they be amazed when people won’t use it?

What Theranos Can Teach Everyone

Theranos is a modern day brand management example that applies to everyone.  It’s important to craft yourself as unique brand that stands out from the crowd.  What’s more important though is to craft a brand that’s real.  It needs to be authentic.  Theranos created a beautiful image, but they failed to substantiate their claims with credible science.  Don’t be a Theranos.

Instead, be yourself.  Create a beautiful image based upon something you know to be true in yourself.  Why did I choose Cash Flow Celt?  Well, my ancestors come from both Scottish and Irish roots.  More than that, Irish and Celtic history has become a passion of mine to research.  Through college I read volumes of material on the topic and still continue that today.  Thus, “Celt” is central to my image.  It also helps that I’m a big, bearded, kilt-wearing man.  Cash flow was just the extension for finance – my other love.  I didn’t start a fashion blog because I don’t follow haute fashion themes and the upcoming fashion shows.

As important as being authentic is to be kind.  Treat everyone with compassion and respect.  Holmes ruled with omniscience because she kept her employees in the dark.  Personally, I feel this strategy is disrespectful to the intelligence of employees.  Disrespect breeds discontent as well.  She also knowingly lied about her product to investors and people relying on her blood tests to be accurate.  Lying is showing a disdain for other people’s emotions and it’s narcissistic; neither of which are respectful or compassionate.  Moreover, lying does not strengthen a brand – just check out my article about Wells Fargo for more examples of that.

Conclusion

Theranos will go belly up soon enough.  The lied, and lied, and then lied again.  Moreover, they knowingly gave false results to people relying on their tests to give relevant medical advice to patients.  Not only were they dishonest and a farce, but they could have very easily put people’s lives at risk.

If you’re looking for an example of what NOT TO DO, check out Theranos.  Your brand should be authentic to you, but it should also be truthful and compassionate.  If you follow those three simple truths, your brand will grow and develop.  In today’s marketplace, your brand is your livelihood.  Whether you’re a business owner, an employee, or a freelancer, once your brand is tarnished your ability to work will falter.

Just be wary, in today’s social media driven environment it’s even easier to inadvertently tarnish your brand.  Yet, in a grand streak of irony, we’re increasingly being forced to post on social media to stay relevant.  That means you need to be hypervigilant when it comes to the tailoring of your brand.  Fear not though!  If you’re a kind and truthful person in everyday life, your brand is nothing to fear.  It’ll grow simply because you’re you.  And that’s the best feeling of all.

 

Readers, do you agree with my views on brand management?  Let me know in the comments below!  If you haven’t already, check out my review on Republic Wireless to start saving 50% on your phone bill!  Also, be sure to like my Cash Flow Celt Facebook page to stay up to date on all the new articles!

Vacation: Helping Unwind Since the Beginning of Time

Published August 16, 2016 in Career - 2 Comments
Vacation Picture of Tahiti

I haven’t posted in a week, and I’m rearing to go now. Undoubtedly, you’ve noticed and I know it’s been hard. Luckily, absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Well, Cash Flow Celt is back in action after a week vacation. The CFC family took a trip to the beach to get some rays. A hotter than average Florida summer and an all-Irish family at the beach – we like to live dangerously. Alas, everyone survived and the kiddo has upgraded his skin tone from translucent to just a pasty-white kid. Success!

My intention this past week was to spend just six hours or so at the beach condo to write two articles and another four to update the site and market it as well. However, I was looking forward in the calendar and my eyes popped out of my head like a cartoon character when I saw what was upcoming! I’m looking to finish my real estate course this month and take the exam in late September. I hope to be licensed and signed on with my first brokerage in October. After that, all I have left is networking, prospecting for clients, and working as a real estate agent. Well, that and continue to work my full time job at the sheriff’s office and continue to write two articles weekly for CFC and market it as well. Throw in the normal obligations of having a child, family and household to tend to, and I’ve got tasks on tasks on tasks.

Because of all of that, I decided to just take the week off and enjoy my time. It was the kid’s first time at the beach after all. I also tend to not take vacation time anyway. I’m a workaholic. This was my first vacation this year; it will also likely be the last for a long time as I look to start a new transitional career in real estate. It’s important to decompress sometimes. Continue reading

Economics of Volunteering

Published June 9, 2016 in Career - 1 Comment
Economics of Volunteering - Hands & feet together

I had an ideas meeting with some higher-ups at my job today to talk out the future of a project I’m pitching.  This project isn’t something that is a part of my job – far from, as it involves criminal diversion for juveniles – but it’s something I’m passionate about and has the ability to chang

e a few lives for the better.  I currently work in law enforcement so affecting lives in a positive manner has a huge ripple effect through the community.  This meeting got me thinking though.  I’ve put in a lot of work doing online research and writing a preliminary proposal; that excludes all of the meetings I’ve had with people to gather information and the countless e-mails I’ve crafted to schedule appointments or seek guidance.  At this point I’ve invested quite a few hours and, after today, have a lot more to go.  This is in conjunction with my family, my job, my blog and the community service I already do.  So why do people go through the hassle?  What spurs people to do community service?

Continue reading

Off to College! Or Are They?

Published May 27, 2016 in Career , Policy Analysis - 4 Comments
Man rolling rock onto another to show college competition

It’s the end of May and inevitably you’ve seen Facebook become inundated with more and more pictures of boys and girls donning graduation robes as they walk the stage and leave high school forever.  Congratulations to them, no doubt.  But now they’re posed with a big decision – to continue their education or not.  Most will likely continue their education.  It’s the “right” thing to do.  It’s what everyone does.  But is it necessarily the right choice?

Man rolling rock onto another to show college competition

Competition After College

As someone who went to college after high school, I can say at this point in my career it wasn’t worth it.  Yet, I loved college.  And I do recommend it for a lot of people.  However, I notice a lot of bad information out there.  Granted, it’s all anecdotal, but I volunteer for a local juvenile pre-trial diversion program and have this talk with A LOT of kids.  Some of the kids are great candidates for college, some aren’t.  All of them have no idea what the heck is going on or what questions they should be asking.  I’m not sure if it’s a deficiency in school or just misinformation, but there is a void where they should be curiosity.

This is my two cents. Continue reading

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