Biggest Mistake I Make As An Entrepreneur? Not Looking After Myself

Biggest Mistake - Paul O'Flaherty

You might not believe it, but stopping to take care of my health and fitness is one of the things that has the biggest positive impacts on my business.

I’ve talked before about work ethic, continuous self-education, and the hustle that is required to grow your business, but I’ve only briefly mentioned health and personal fitness as a personal goal for 2016.

I constantly fall into the trap of needing to get that one last thing done before I leave the office, or scheduling client work so that it infringes on my personal time. This results in my generally being unhappy with myself and less confident because I am unfit, two pants sizes larger than I want, and not as focused as I could be.

Experience has proven that when I take the time to work out and eat properly, I am more focused and energetic which allows me to achieve more during the hours that I work. I feel happier about myself which has a knock on confidence effect that has a positive influence on my dealings with clients, other business owners and my family (and who doesn’t want a happy family life, right?).

This year I’ve committed to getting my health back on track, I’ve even begun converting our garage into a place to work out complete with a treadmill, elliptical and weights (because driving to the gym is something I don’t have time for) and I urge you to do the same.

The next time there’s 15 minutes left in the work day and you decide to start that one last thing (deep down knowing it’s going to mean you spend two more hours in the office) just remember that it’s a trap.

A happier, healthier and more focused you is the best gift you can give your business, your family and yourself.

What I Learned In 2015 And Why 2016 Will Be Even Better

When you get comfortable you lose out, miss opportunities and generally stagnate – that’s the most important thing I learned in 2015.

It’s okay if you don’t read the rest of this post – if you understood the first line you can extrapolate the rest – If you self-educate, apply what you learn, try new things, put your best foot forward,  and work your ass off then great things will happen.

However, if you do want to read on….

2014 was not the year it could have been. Don’t get me wrong, great things happened in 2014, but from a productivity, personal growth and career advancement perspective it was fairly, well… meh. Comfortable with my client base, tied up with some big projects, and with Malcolm ramping up to his 1st birthday in the middle of the year, it’s fair to say that I coasted through a lot of 2014. Sure I gave 100% to my clients, but despite my intentions personal and career development was left by the wayside.

2015 was a completely different beast. I’m not sure where the motivation came from, maybe it was a building sense of frustration coupled with the fact that my family was once again growing (Scarlett was born in April), but 2015 saw an increased focus on personal and career growth.

As always self-educating played a huge part in this. Udemy courses during my free-minutes and lunch breaks, listening to marketing and business podcasts and, of course, reading on my phone and kindle whenever I had energy left. The big kicker though, which set 2015 apart, was actually putting it all into practice and pursuing new ideas and goals.

This past year has seen the launch of Veritas Diagnostic Services (our service that makes MRI & CT scans affordable for people with high deductibles, no insurance, or who simply want peace of mind), the launch of the Drive-By Marketing Podcast, expanding into new consulting roles with my clients, and the kind of hustle that made the unexpected closure of one of my biggest clients not just profitable for me but an entirely new opportunity and challenge as I take on the role as “Business Manager / Everything Guru” at the Neuromuscular, Spine & Joint Center.

As amazing as 2015 was, it hasn’t been perfect. I have failed on some fronts and could have done better on others – most notable of which is my health. I got off to a good start and even lost 18 pounds – most of which I have put back on.  I haven’t spent nearly as much time with friends and family as I would like, and outside of a wonderful weekend in New Orléans with Sara, we haven’t managed the time for a family vacation (we did however bring my mom and grandparents over from Ireland for the birth of baby Scarlett).

Clearly there is room for improvement.

That’s what 2016 will be – an improvement on 2015.  We’re already off to a great start as we’re moving house this month so that we’ll be in a better school district for the little ones. What’s really going to make 2016 better however will be applying everything I did to make 2015 great – the learning, application and work ethic, toward building on the success of 2015 and pushing boundaries further.

This will also be the year that I finally take my health seriously. I’m 37, not getting any younger, and want to be the best I can for my family and hopefully be around for many years to come.

One more challenge that I will face is personal time management – or more accurately, better use of my free time. Time management from a work perspective is the easiest thing in the world for me, but managing my personal time so I can get better quality time with my family, beautiful wife, and friends – yeah, that needs serious work!

Rounding out this post, I need to thank my beautiful wife. Sara has put up with me working almost every hour that comes my way – working late, at weekends, going back into the office after the kids go to bed, and all sorts of other annoyances this year. Without her support 2015 would not have been the success it was.

Finally, I want to wish you all an amazing 2016. Remember that it will be the year that you make it!

Happy New Year from Paul O'Flaherty

Exciting Times

As many of you may know I have worked with Pinnacle Brain & Spine Center for the past three years. I originally came on-board as an I.T. and marketing consultant and am now in the role of Media Director.  It saddens me to say that Pinnacle will be closing its doors at the end of next month – not for business reasons, but simply because those involved have new projects to work on and new goals to achieve.

On the bright side, I am very excited to be involved in the start of a brand new medical practice – the Neuromuscular, Spine & Joint Center (no website yet). My official title has yet to be defined, but I will be there in a business consulting and marketing capacity, and we open doors to the first patients on January 4th 2016.

We’ve put in a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes to prepare for opening, and I am very, very excited to be part of building a medical practice from the ground up.

I’ll be posting with more the details over the coming weeks, and I’m sure I’ll be mentioning some of the challenges we face as a medical start-up on the Drive-By Marketing Podcast.

Announcing – Affordable Medical Imaging For Everyone

Veritas Diagnostic ServicesThe eagle-eyed among you, or those who follow me on Facebook or @pauloflaherty will have noticed a few mentions of my latest venture – Veritas Diagnostic Services, LLC, where we aim to address a hole in the healthcare market by making medical imaging affordable to everyone regardless of their insurance status or deductible.

The idea for the venture came out of discussions with my friend and business partner, renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Juan Ronderos of Pinnacle Brain & Spine Center and the Watson Neuroscience Foundation.

I go into detail about our motivation on the VDS blog, however the core idea is this:

When Dr. Ronderos and I first started discussing the gaps in the availability of medical imaging it was immediately apparent to us that the need for accessible and affordable imaging was about more than just physical health and diagnosing existing conditions, it’s about the mental well-being of the patient, too.

Being worried, upset or in pain has a demonstrable negative effect, and not just to you. No matter how you try to disguise it, the effects on your own well-being and attitude have knock-on effects on everyone around you, most notably those you love the most.

We want to remove that worry. Everyone deserves peace of mind, and everyone deserves to enjoy life and time with their loved ones without that nagging “what if” bringing them down.

To that end we have negotiated with imaging centers to bring the price of MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and CT (Computed Tomography) scans to affordable levels and made the process of ordering one as painless as possible. All you have to do is take a photo of your referral, upload it via our website, answer a few questions about your referral, await a phone call and turn up for your appointment. You can literally order your MRI or CT within 5 minutes of your doctor or chiropractor handing you your referral. You don’t even have to leave their office, you can do it right there on your phone.

Soon we will be making even more services available, such as X-ray, which will be coming online in the next few weeks.

I am really proud and excited about Veritas Diagnostic Services. Of all the projects I’ve been involved in over the years, from social networks to publishing humor sites, this is the one with the highest potential to actually make peoples lives better.

To that end I ask that you “Like” the Facebook page for Veritas Diagnostic Services, follow us @VeritasServ, and share the word with your friends by clicking this Twitter or this Facebook link.

Thank you.

10 Days To Go – Brown Britches Time

The frequency with which I post about personal things on this site has become a rarity akin to a day without TMZ posting a wardrobe malfunction. In some ways that’s a sad thing for me, as this site has been a cathartic release for me for over a decade, however, it’s also a sign that life and business are good. That is to say, business is keeping me too busy to post anything unrelated, and life is too good for me to have much to complain about – besides exhaustion, my ever-present companion… I’m telling you 18 – 20 months old and separation anxiety… oh man!

If I’ve learned anything over the past 15+ years of blogging (an amazing 10 of which are archived on this site) it’s that there’s an ebb and flow to my writing that is not only governed by my passions but also by what’s happening in my life at the time, so I try not to sweat it.

That said, I am sweating right now. Not literally sweating – mentally. Scarlett Elyse will be born in 10 days and her impending arrival is causing me all sorts of anxiety. It isn’t that I’m not excited – quite the opposite. I couldn’t be happier and more excited, but I am afraid.

I was afraid when Malcolm “Stormageddon” Tennant O’Flaherty was born too, but this is different.

You see, Mal was my first and as such my parenting skills were entirely untested. 20 months later and I would have to declare my parenting skills still largely untested. It’s not that I’m not heavily involved in my son’s life, because I like to think I take a more active role than most, but beyond stating that “I haven’t managed to kill the child yet”, I can’t really attest to doing things right.

“The proof is in the pudding”, as they say (I don’t know who they are, but they clearly know a lot about pudding).

Unfortunately the pudding of parenting isn’t ready to eat for about 18 years.

Sara doesn’t berate me much for my parenting style, so I guess that’s something – but now I’m about to have a second child to morally corrupt / screw up / turn into the worlds first evil genius with the ability to actually defeat James Bond and even worse, manage to get through interrogating 007 without divulging any of her plans or secrets.

What can I do. What will become of the world?

I know I’m probably over-reacting. I’m betting that this is standard pre-birth paranoia for most parents. I just don’t want to get things wrong.

I want the best for my kids, and I want to be the best for my kids.

I guess the adventure is worth a little sweating and a fistful of new gray hairs!

This Photo Sums Up Much Of What Is Wrong With The Deep South

“Loose” the second “ammendment”. Let the second “ammendment” run free.

I have no idea what an “ammendment” is, it may be distantly related to an amendment, but apparently if we “loose” the second one, we will have to “loose” them all.

While we were driving home today from West Mobile, Sara spotted this truck with some awesome stickers that just have to be seen to be believed.

I’m not normally a stickler for spelling and grammar (I can’t type coherently without spell-check) , but if  you’re going to stick something on the outside of your vehicle supporting a political or religious view, then be prepared to come up against some ridicule when you cock up.

Second Ammendment

Malcolm Tennant Cometh

Tonight we head to Providence Hospital to begin the induction that, hopefully, will result in Malcolm Tennant making his first live appearance outside Sara’s belly.

Needless to say, I’m nervous as heck, but before we head to the hospital I wanted to get some words on video (however awkwardly) that have been beating around inside my head for the past few days.

Wish us luck! I can’t wait to meet Malcolm Tennant, and for you guys to see him too 😀

Love you Sara!