Tweets of the Week: Food, Health, Family, and More

Week ending July 11, 2015

twitter-bird-1We took last Saturday off to celebrate the 4th of July with our family, but we are back today with more great info. Because of the week off, today’s post is a little over twice as long as usual. We found some great stuff on a variety of topics.

Saturday is a good day to recap the activity from our Twitter feed from the past week. Not sure what Twitter is all about? That’s OK. Neither are we (or at least it remains somewhat mysterious to us). There is no denying, however, that there is some very valuable information shared on Twitter. That is what this weekly feature is all about. Click the links below to check out the good stuff. Here are my Top Tweets from this past week, great for retweeting (whatever that is). If you missed these, follow Forward Story on Twitter.

By the way, if you are wondering what the @ and # signs are all about, these are Twitter’s way to identify the Twitter handle (@) for the person who tweeted (for example, ours is @forward_story) and to allow for an indexing or categorization of the tweet by using one or more hashtags (#). Feel free to ignore these and just follow the link for the content we are sharing with you.

Here are a few recipes from people we trust:

Danielle Walker ‏@againstallgrain Jun 28
Homemade Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets #glutenfree #againstallgrain http://grainfree.ly/1JTHC2W

Danielle Walker ‏@againstallgrain Jun 28
Also- in need of pies and cakes for the weekend? These are all grain-free and dairy-free! … http://grainfree.ly/1IDx1VR

Danielle Walker ‏@againstallgrain Jun 28
Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie #paleo #glutenfree #againstallgrain http://grainfree.ly/1IYEu7A

Chris Kresser ‏@chriskresser Jul 7
Five delicious dairy-free ‘milk’ shakes. Cool off and indulge Paleo style. http://bit.ly/1LP1fKT

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Parenting

Great stuff for parents with adult children – 3 Tips for When Your Kids Move Back Home | Rachel Cruze: http://www.rachelcruze.com/topics/kids-and-money/3-tips-for-kicking-out-boomerang-kids#.VZRvRNmGxy_.twitter

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Grandparenting

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jun 28
10 mistakes to avoid when traveling with grandchildren: http://ow.ly/OT3Th @aboutdotcom

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jul 3
Especially for grandparents: How to keep from going broke in the gift shop. My latest piece for @GRANDMMagazine: http://ow.ly/P9BDz

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jul 5
Help for grandparents who have trouble saying no to adult children. http://ow.ly/PaLmC @aboutdotcom

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jul 5
MT @grandmasbriefs: RT @NBCNews: A widow’s reverse mortgage ‘nightmare’ http://nbcnews.to/1RUhjux

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jul 10
Grandparents have seen this change, and it’s not good! RT @aboutdotcom: Study finds little kids need to exercise more http://abt.cm/1IJtIkt

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 Medical, Health & Fitness

Chris Kresser ‏@chriskresser Jun 28
Chronic inflammation is believed to be a major risk factor for #osteoporosis. http://bit.ly/1R6S5c0

Chris Kresser ‏@chriskresser Jun 28
Virtually all skin disorders, including #acne, are inflammatory in nature. http://bit.ly/1LeMPV9

Mark_Sisson ‏@Mark_Sisson Jun 30
Why precommitment beats willpower. http://ow.ly/OZBMs

Amy Kubal ‏@AmykRd Jun 30
The benefits of going for a walk are about more than getting exercise http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/06/how-walking-in-nature-prevents-depression/397172/

David Perlmutter, MD ‏@DavidPerlmutter Jun 30
Statins reduce libido. Read the science: http://www.drperlmutter.com/study/is-decreased-libido-associated-with-the-use-of-hmg-coa-reductase-inhibitors/ … #brainmaker #grainbrain

Digestible Tips for Staying Gluten-Free On-The-Go – Modern Wellness Guide http://www.modernwellnessguide.com/lifestyle/digestible-tips-for-staying-gluten-free-on-the-go

Forward Story ‏@forward_story Jul 1
This Is Your Body On Sleep Deprivation http://www.huffingtonpost.com/firas-kittaneh/this-is-your-body-on-slee_b_7663702.html

Amy Kubal ‏@AmykRd Jul 1
Why Body Mass Index (BMI) Is Wrong for So Many People http://huff.to/1H035p0

Abel James ‏@fatburnman Jul 5
6 Easy Tips for Clean Eating on a Small Budget http://flip.it/l22jz

Amy Kubal ‏@AmykRd 7h7 hours ago
This is your body on alcohol: http://drugabuse.com/featured/the-effects-of-alcohol-on-the-body/

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Money

Experience Life ‏@ExperienceLife Jun 28
The Mirrors of Your Spending — How our most intimate sense of self & our use of #money reflect each other http://j.mp/1BH9LJw #values

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Wisdom / Productivity

Seth Godin ‏@ThisIsSethsBlog Jun 28
Seth’s Blog: Buzzer management http://bit.ly/1GIZTvB

Michael Hyatt ‏@MichaelHyatt Jun 30
Why You Should Flush 90% of Your To-Do List Down the Toilet http://mhyatt.us/1ol0bFb

Experience Life ‏@ExperienceLife Jul 7
New job jitters? How to settle in with minimal stress — http://j.mp/1KKe8Xh #worklife #balance #stressmanagement

What I Learned from Margot’s Frozen Yogurt

When I was in my late 20s, I acted upon a desire to start my own business. The allure of being one’s own boss is very strong, and creating a business is one of the most exciting things a person can do. It was certainly exciting for my wife and me to start a frozen yogurt shop in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Author in Santa Fe – circa 1989

Rather than relate every detail of the start-up and operation, let me tell you about the challenges we faced and what I learned from them.

Under-Capitalized

We began Margot’s with virtually no capital of our own.  This meant that we had to borrow money to get started. At the time my desire to start the business was so strong that I was willing to borrow money to buy equipment and lease space. The idea was to invest a lot of our own sweat equity into the place and to buy the bare minimum of equipment required to get up and running. Then, we would upgrade from the profits of the business as time unfolded.

This was a problem on two fronts.

1. The strategy of buying just enough equipment to get started soon became a problem. The two soft-serve yogurt machines we could afford with our borrowed money were new machines, but they were air-cooled machines. We had selected a great location for the shop, so getting traffic into the place was no problem. In fact, the first day we were opened a line formed and stayed all day. This meant that the front door stayed open most of the day allowing the warm summer air to come into the shop.

As the ambient air warmed up, the air-cooled machines had to run more to keep the yogurt frozen. The more the machines ran, the more heat they threw off. We created a heat spiral. At one point it got so hot behind the counter that all of our chocolate toppings melted together in their respective containers. The machines could not keep up with the rising heat, and the product started coming out too soft. This heat problem remained until the day we sold the business.

What was the cause of the problem? We didn’t have enough money to buy the more expensive closed-loop (glycol) cooled machines or even water-cooled machines. If we had been able to afford those machines, we would have avoided this serious heat problem.

2. Given that we could not afford the proper machines, you might think that the solution to the problem would have been to have borrowed more money at the outset to buy the better machines.  That, however, would have just exacerbated problem number two. When you borrow money from a bank or any other creditor, that creditor has to be repaid with interest. This means that every month without fail, we had to write a  check to the bank for $800 to repay our business loan. That business loan, by the way, was personally guaranteed by my wife and me. Our home and vehicles were collateral for the loan. If we did not repay the loan as per its terms, really bad things would have happened to us.

So if we had borrowed more money up front, the monthly payment would have just been larger. When your new business is struggling to get off the ground, paying $800 per month to service debt doesn’t help matters.

What Would Have Worked?

My older wiser self would tell the young 20-something to save money toward the opening of the business. That requires patience. Patience is a four-letter word to people like my younger self. I had the idea, I had the location, and my mind was made up. I did not care that I had no money and no experience in the industry at all.  It was time to shoot now and ask questions later.

If I would have piled up cash first before starting my business, I would have begun Margot’s Frozen Yogurt without debt, with the proper equipment, and with much better prospects for long-term survival and expansion. Eventually we sold to a couple that was properly capitalized. The first thing they did was to replace the air-cooled machines with glycol-cooled machines. Because they had no debt, the operation of the business was a lot less stressful.

Conclusion

I realize that entrepreneurs as a class are risk-takers. I am one. However, I strongly recommend that anyone planning to start a business begin with their own personal finances first so that they can start setting aside capital to begin the new venture on solid footing. If you can live below your current means, you can stack up cash so that you can use your own money and avoid the business debt trap.

If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, don’t let this article discourage you. I believe in entrepreneurism. In fact, I love business. I just want you to be aware of some of the pitfalls of starting your own business so you don’t have to repeat my mistakes. Despite our challenges, Margot’s Frozen Yogurt was a tremendous blessing to us. It taught me many lessons that I took with me into the classroom as I finished my BBA. It continues to help me in all of my current business ventures. The people I met and worked with at Margot’s were tremendous. We got to employ a lot of excellent people in the Santa Fe community, including a lot of wonderful young people at Santa Fe Preparatory School. These were impressive people that blessed us. We got to know our customers well, and we loved serving locals as well as tourists and celebrities (like Brian Dennehy and Karen Grassle). All in all, we would not trade the experience.

If your Forward Story includes starting a business, I strongly recommend that you educate yourself as much as possible about not only your desired industry, but also about the wisest ways to finance, launch, and run your business. It is a lot easier to learn from those who have made mistakes than it is to repeat those mistakes on your own.

Wisdom in Entrepreneurship

A friend recently told me about a young man who earned his MBA, worked for a year, lost his job, and got disillusioned about the corporate world. Instead of searching for a job he decided to start a new business.

Starting a new business is part of many Forward Stories. The thrill of entrepreneurship attracts many people, including me. However, the voice of experience has something to say to people like this young man. This voice of experience is my own. I have learned many things from the four businesses I have started.

This young man did not ask for my advice, but if he had here is what I would have told him:

1. Don’t Quit Your Day Job. Listen, the grocery store does not accept as payment your plans, hopes, and dreams. Neither does your landlord. They accept cold, hard cash or, in some cases, plastic. In that case, the credit card company accepts cold, hard cash. It is very possible in free societies to continue earning a living to pay the bills while starting your business on the side.

While I have not yet read it, I know enough about his thesis to recommend the new book by Jon Acuff entitled Quitter. The premise is that you do not have to accept the myth that the only way to achieve your dream and start your business is to go “all in” and roll the dice. There is a much wiser way to be a “quitter.”

If you have already quit your day job, find another one. Work at being great in everything you do. Start your business on the side and build it to greatness.

2. It Takes Money, but Don’t Borrow It. Starting any business takes some money. You may need to buy a computer, business cards, equipment, or any number of other “necessities.” The temptation is there to borrow the money either from a bank or on your credit cards. Don’t do it! Nothing is more discouraging than starting  a new business, earning revenue from your products or services, and then turning around and sending it all to your creditors.

So how do you do it without credit? Well, you could start with a pile of cash that you have saved up. That is the way the old-timers did it. You know, set aside money for a purpose and then use the money to achieve that purpose? That is called delayed gratification, and it is a very odd concept these days.

You could also choose to cash flow those items you need to start your business. How about using your old computer or finding one on eBay or at the local thrift shop? How about using that old computer and some free software to print your own business cards? How about renting your equipment for a specific job to generate profits from which you can buy your own used equipment?

This myth of necessary debt has sunk many a new business. If your business does fail, it is really discouraging to be obligated to continue paying credit card bills on a bunch of business stuff that you no longer have. When that happens each month’s credit card bill is a bitter reminder of your failure.

3. It Is Harder Than it Looks. To those who have never owned a business it appears easy. It is not. My goal is not to discourage you if you want to start a business. I am just saying that there is a reason to be conservative in your projections for revenue and be liberal in your projections for expenses. It is going to take longer than you think it is to achieve sustainable profitability.

Not only is it difficult to win new customers, it is also takes time and energy to take care of all of the required responsibilities in government reporting, bookkeeping and accounting, and taxes. If you hire employees, now you have the additional burden of making payroll, paying employment taxes, and handling employee problems. It is no walk in the park!

I have found that many people who leave the corporate world in frustration discover that owning their own business just shifts the burdens to them as the employer. Now they are wearing the boss hat. If they then decide that owning a business is not what they thought it was, they often return to the corporate world with a greater appreciation for being an employee and for how hard it is to be the employer. Often a paycheck never looked so good.

Conclusion

In future posts I will share some of the specifics of the businesses I have started and what I learned from them. A big part of wisdom is not only learning the hard way yourself, it is also learning from the experiences, mistakes, and successes of others.

Develop a Forward Story that includes your business, but do it with wisdom, patience, and realism. That is part of becoming an adult.

Upward Mobility

Those of us born in the United States may take for granted the context into which we were born. While far from a perfect system, the personal freedoms guaranteed in the US Constitution (especially the Bill of Rights) provide for a system in which the individual is empowered to mark a course and pursue his or her dreams. Not only in the USA, but in other countries as well, there is a reality of upward mobility.

The US Constitution

What is Upward Mobility?

Upward mobility is the ability to change and improve one’s social status. Historically much of the world’s population seemed fated to remain in the social circle into which they were born. If you were a prince or a pauper, so you would remain throughout your life. In many nations today, this is still the case. In societies like the USA, western democracies, and other countries with favorable laws and economic systems, a person can move from pauper to prince (so to speak) through education, hard work, creativity, entrepreneurship, the generosity of others, or pure luck (i.e. lottery).

The Coin has a Flip Side

In such a society, however, there is also the reality of downward mobility. For a variety of reasons a person can move from prince to pauper. Perhaps the CEO’s daughter gets addicted to drugs and squanders her advantage. The millionaire’s son was never required to develop the same traits that made Mom and Dad so successful and through laziness or incompetence wasted the money and the company.

Upward Mobility & Forward Story

The recent and current events in the middle east have caused me to think about what life must be like for individuals in those societies. The people of Tunisia and Egypt have demanded governmental change from monarchies/dictatorships to something (yet to be determined) closer to a democracy. As of this writing Libyans are rising up and paying the price to make a change from their longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi. He is using military force to try to cling to power. Why would Libyans be willing to die in order to change their government? One reason is that in their current system they have few personal freedoms and very little opportunity to change their lots in life. There is very little social mobility either up or down.

Flag-map of Kingdom of Libya

You will notice that there are some people in Libya that do not want regime change. They are willing to kill their fellow countrymen in order to prevent a change. Why? They are the ones currently enjoying the largess of the government. They are at the top. For those at the top and in power, social mobility is not a desired outcome. There is really nowhere for them to go but down.

How does all this relate to Forward Story? Individuals who are rising up in Libya and elsewhere are doing so because their Forward Stories under the current regimes and social systems are very negative. As they see other countries with laws favorable to individuals and as they yearn for their own pursuit of happiness, they develop Forward Stories that are possible only with regime change.

What Does This Mean for You?

If you are in a country where there is very little opportunity for upward social mobility, your choices are difficult. I wish I had some smooth path to recommend for you. Stay true to your vision of the future. I wish you courage and safety. If you live in a country where there is social mobility, count your blessings and take advantage of your opportunities. Realize that just as you can move up, you can also move down. Chart your course through the careful development of your Forward Story, and work your plan to create the kind of life you desire. Do not allow excuses to hold you back from achieving your ambition. A lot of brave and wise people gave a lot so you could have this opportunity.

Don’t let them down. Don’t let yourself down.