Hello! Time for an Update

Hi everyone! It’s been longer than I planned, and even this post is a life update rather than anything financial. My poor blog feels like the friend you keep meaning to speak to, but the longer that passes, the harder it is to reach out and say hi (or is that just me?)

The Business

I started the business in a rush of enthusiasm, before quickly realising what we already knew—I don’t have enough time! Clearly from my time study, there was no space to add a new activity, which is why blogging dropped off.

I’m still enthusiastic about starting a business, still enjoying myself, and still have 1,624,377 steps to take to get it set up fully and properly. I have to say, from a personal point of view, I’m proud of myself for starting anyway. The perfectionist in me wants to have everything lined up and, well, perfect. Of course, that means it would never have happened. Never ever. Every time I complete one task, I find three others to replace it. I’m glad I did the bare minimum to get it out there.

Hawkesbury River with tree covered hills and a morning mist.

So Much To Do

I genuinely had no idea just how much is involved in setting up a business (thank goodness for blind ignorance). Each new activity ends up as a mini project. Take something as simple as Twitter. I thought, I’ll sign up for Twitter. I know the platform from this blog. Twitter is easy, and I enjoy it. But then you have to:

  • Read the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy (yes, I’m that person. And yes, I have chosen not to sign up for things because I didn’t like what I read in the policy.)
  • Reread privacy 2 weeks later when GDPR comes out
  • Set up my profile
  • Write a pithy description that will let people find me but isn’t too salesy and represents the essence of me as a person while still describing the business
  • Figure out who to follow, what to tweet, when to tweet, and who I should be tweeting to
  • Realise there a thing called Twitter marketing, throw my hands up about learning it, and decide for now, what I’ve done is good enough (add Twitter marketing to my to-do list in Asana).

Repeat. Repeat for every social media platform. Repeat for branding. Getting business documents sorted. Finding customers. Setting up email and website and figuring how to get paid when I find someone to pay me…

Looking back at the Hawkesbury River from a houseboat.

But I’m Back!

So how did I find my way back? Where did the courage come from to finally say that “hi”? It’s early morning. I’m sitting on the top deck of a houseboat, in a quiet cove of the Hawkesbury river. We’re away for our annual board games weekend, and there is no internet access. I can’t check email in the hope I’ve found a client without actually doing any marketing or outreach. I can’t tweak my website. I can’t tweet or email or research. Right now, there’s me. A crisp breeze. The hollow press of water against the houseboat as the tide does its thing. The birds: cockatoos, a grey heron, a seagull, and the white-bellied sea eagles. The action of the wind and the tide is slowly turning the boat, so the tree-covered sandstone cliffs glide past.

Huge jellyfish in the Hawkesbury River.
We saw schools of jellyfish!

It brings home that yet again, all the deadlines I rush to meet are self-imposed. Maybe if the business were up and running and this was the only way I earned money, things would be different. But for now, I’ve learned it is enough. As long as I am doing something every day to move the business forward, it will happen in its own time. I can enjoy what I’m doing. Just like investing and FI, it’s about building strong, sensible foundations, then sticking it out for the long-term.

Sandstone rock shaped like a boat.
It’s a sandstone rock, shaped like a boat.

Work

I’m struggling at work. I’m sure this is partially to do with the excitement of starting a business, so I resent the hours it takes away. However, remember the project that just keeps getting pushed back and back? The one which, when I was employed, I was told would by live by mid-2016? It no longer has a go-live date. It’s become this massive too-hard basket that’s reaching to C-suite and GM level—way above my pay grade and certainly far above my level of influence. There’s both internal and external politicking, and I’m incredibly frustrated. We are bureaucratising ourselves out of action.

My job looks nothing like I expected it would when I started. I’ve had to decide what is in my level of influence. All I can do is keep my head down and set myself goals within this. Whatever happens, I can get my bit done, and outside work just keep plugging away in the little time I do have, to set up some change for my future.

Rainbow and sailing boat on the Hawkesbury River

Budgeting

I didn’t budget for a whole month, and it was horrible! Not only did it start becoming this big thing that was too hard to get back to, but we spent a whole bunch of money and I can’t tell you where it went. In the end I set an hour in the calendar to catch up. This turned into 2 hours and fighting with Mr. ETT while we tried to figure out what was what. Sad news, we spent a lot of money in May, and not on things we value. Happy news, we’re back on track.

Investing

Investing in a Vanguard managed fund turned out to be a good choice, because it just kept happening. We ignored it, but it’s set up on autopilot so the money dropped in, unlike Ratesetter and Acorns, where I must actively choose to invest. This did still happen within the month, but only just.

Financial Advice

I booked meeting with a financial adviser. This is less for general financial advice (I’m reasonably comfortable with our plan), more for specific advice around eventually moving house. I chose him because I attended a short course on wills he taught at my local community college last year, and he demonstrated FI values. I couldn’t get an appointment until August, but there’s no rush. Looking forward to telling you all about it!

Growing Herbs Update

My poor oregano nearly died of thirst! The thyme seems to be a bit hardier, but it was also on the brink. With it becoming darker and colder in the mornings before work, I stopped going outside so frequently. The result was this:

Oregano, dead except for a single leaf.
Can you see one tiny green leaf in the back left?

No thanks to me, there was one tiny, tenacious little leaf that hung on, so now we’re back to this:

Oregano back from the dead.
It came back! No thanks to me…

What a terrible plant parent.

Not Drinking

I can’t believe it’s June and I’m already 6 months in to giving up the grog for a year. It’s been easy, and I’ve rarely missed it. I haven’t looked back at the financial impact yet. Also, it appears as though I will break it. Mr. ETT and I will reach 2 decades of marriage this year. There’s a special bottle of wine which is probably off we’ve kept to celebrate. Mr ETT also bought me an experience at a winery last year before I came up with my idea. I certainly wouldn’t want it to go to waste on a whim. Again, look at me being all flexible. Who is this person, and what have you done with Mrs. ETT?

I’m Back, But Not As You Know It…

I miss blogging and the FI community, but it’s important to me to give this new business a red-hot go. To this end, I will begin to post monthly, probably with our budget and life updates. I’ll use some more time to get back to reading blogs, and talking on social media.

In the meantime, how are you all? What’s been happening while I’ve been away?

4 thoughts on “Hello! Time for an Update

  1. Hello! So good to read an update. As you know, we’re also on a blogging hiatus- I miss it too and will hopefully commence again soon.

    I really enjoyed this post (though there were too many mentions of birds and way too many photos of birds, but you knew that already didn’t you).

    That’s a shame about May, but it’s just one month. Good to hear you’re back on track- don’t let one month ruin what will no doubt be a great year. Isn’t autopilot so good. Without doing anything, your Vanguard has been growing. Well done!

    You should definitely give the business a red hot go. The blog will be here when you’re done, but the business may not. You’ve got this!

    • Thanks, AwP. Disappearing for a while has given me a better appreciation of the FI community. It really is a place full of friendly, welcoming, genuine people.

      I know there are a few readers who are waiting for you to return to blogging (no pressure 😜).

      Thanks for the encouragement. While June was better than May, our food costs blew out enormously. I need to return to calculating our daily spending rate each week to keep on top of things.

      PS I was thinking about you and the birds while writing. Not even the eagles? 🦅

  2. Hey old friend 🙂

    Man I’m tired just reading that – starting a business sounds like far too much effort for me. I’ve started some freelance writing though (investing related) which I enjoy and it’s pretty casual. Also we’ve now been in our outer-suburb rented house for close to 9 months now and love it. Lots of nature and peacefulness but still close to shops etc.

    You should be super proud for getting it off the ground. You touch on something important that I often forget. It’s all about the process of moving forward, not about having everything done today and clearing the to-do list with our projects. The truth is, it’ll probably never be clear. I’m probably like you in the sense that I like everything to be ticked-off and be super-organised and somehow get ahead, but then realise you find more things to do once you thought you were done – so you put them on the list!

    Beautiful pictures by the way, looks like a great time ‘disconnecting’ or is it ‘reconnecting’ with nature and what’s important?

    Also congratulations on the upcoming 20 years!

    • Hey Dave! Congrats on the freelance writing. You’ve got a talent, I’m pleased more people can benefit from it (and that you are duly compensated).

      You are right. I can see now that the list will never be clear. I’d still like to be moving through faster than I am, but I did not start this to stress myself.

      It is both disconnecting and reconnecting. It’s rare to find myself without internet connection on demand. We managed to survive three days without the sky falling in. Hmm, maybe I sense another challenge for myself in the future. I’m sure there’s already a pithy name for it out there.

      20 years of marriage despite having opposite spending patterns. However have we managed it? Lots and lots of compromise, and me earning the nickname EQON – Evil Queen of Numbers!

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