With the new start-up I’ve co-founded now spreading its wings, I’m being re-acquainted with more traditional business trips. Let me tell you about my trip to New York this week.
First, some background. For the past several years I’ve worked from my pajamas out of my house. Neither the blog nor Award Expert require all that much face-to-face interaction and I took full advantage of that. I love working from home and am thankfully quite productive when forced to discipline and manage myself and my time.
I’d throw on my fitness gear to go to the gym and put on some nicer clothes for TV appearances or if my wife and I went out for coffee or dinner, but I was arguably living the life…
Trips were frequent, but other than my annual family trips to Germany, were geared toward product review for the blog.
Most importantly, I was satisfied with the work I did. I loved it…and still love it.
A New Venture
But my friend John and I have toyed with building a company of our own for many years. Changes in John’s employment situation earlier this year finally gave us the opportunity to move forward with our grand plan. We’ve created a company called Spartans Trading that buys and sells goods including cosmetics, skincare, haircare, apparel, jewelry, and small electronics. It’s a trading company—a very competitive field—but one that John and I have proven we can already excel in.
What does this have to do with travel, you might ask? Nothing directly, though the job requires a lot of travel and has allowed me to put my travel skills on display not just for myself or family, but for my company. I’m also using my law degree.
This week required a trip to New York.
The New York Trip
After a redeye from Los Angeles, I arrived into Newark just past 6am with John and one of our salesmen. Despite the early hour, traffic into Manhattan via the Lincoln Tunnel was horrendous. Over 90 minutes later we finally pulled up to the Park Hyatt New York.
I had requested early check-in, but the hotel was running full so we had breakfast while waiting for someone to check-out. Finally our suite opened about 9:30a, giving us just a short period to unpack and shower before our lunch meeting.
The meeting went well and let me take this moment to recommend L’Adresse on 5 Bryant Park (1065 6th Ave). After lunch we visited our client’s office before departing to our next meeting a few blocks away.
That meeting also went well and we found ourselves walking 20 blocks back to our hotel on 57th in 41ºF weather. Trust me, this was not to save money. This was because traffic was moving so slow we made better time walking than sitting in a taxi or Uber.
Back at the hotel by 5:30pm, we changed clothes and hopped in an Uber for our next meeting…on Staten Island. Traffic remained horrible and we did not arrive at our client’s house until 7:35pm.
The meeting went extremely well, but it was midnight before we finally bid our host goodnight and climbed into an Uber back to Manhattan.
I couldn’t go to bed, though. I had a few Award Expert clients I had not delegated to my staff that I wrote to and then wrote two blog posts before finally sinking into bed at 3am.
The Early Alarm Clock
At 6:30am, my alarm gently woke me up. I use Apple’s “Bedtime” app to monitor my sleep and the stats are not pretty…
After a quick shower and shave, I dressed for our first meeting of the day…at 7:15am. Back in the friendly confines of the Park Hyatt by 10:30a, I finally took a breather, enjoying a leisurely breakfast, composing another blog post, then working out and going for a swim.
The trip to New York was truly a smashing success, but I’m not on a plane home to my wife and son. That won’t happen till Saturday. Instead I’m enroute to Europe to deal with an issue that has arisen in Switzerland with our 3PL. It looks like another trip to Hong Kong will be necessary early next week.
The Work Piles On
If you’re asking whether I’m burning the candle on both ends right now, the answer is YES.
What I’m doing is not sustainable. Response times at Award Expert have slowed down and my strict fitness regimen has been gravely compromised lately. I’ve also been sick frequently, and it is no surprise why.
It is my desire to put the brakes on and ruthlessly eliminate hurry from my life, but it must be done in the right way.
Blogging is my artistic release. I enjoy it tremendously and it also helps to pay the bills. Furthermore, it establishes credibility for Award Expert and gives me a chance to stay better connected to the airline and hotel industries. The blog will not stop—I’ve never even considered it.
In addition, Award Expert will not shutdown. That company is a thriving practice with a dependable, reliable, and consistent pool of clients. Some of you reading this blog are Award Expert clients and I humbly thank you for your loyal business.
I’m not giving up Award Expert. No way. Instead, I am looking into how I can more efficiently and effectively help clients. That will likely mean hiring additional staff because I don’t want to squander what took seven years to build…even if Spartans Trading proves a far more greater success.
The Problem of a 24-Hour Day
Isn’t that the problem, though? There’s 24 hours in the day and I simply don’t have enough time to do everything I want. Priorities are important and as the days quickly pass it becomes clearer to me that my two most precious priorities are my wife and son.
While all of my labor is ostensibly to provide for them, the most important commodity I can give is my time. Consequently, I’m in a self-imposed bind. The worst thing that could happen would be to look back in a decade or two with regret over how much time I spent focused on building businesses instead of with my family. It’s not too late to shift this balance—I just have to find the responsible way to do it. But that needs to happen now…not in a year from now.
Wow, this turned into quite a prolonged “Dear Diary” entry. If you’ve made it this far, I thank you for reading and hope you have a bit better perspective now on my very peculiar career trajectory and its recent turn. Thanks for your support and know that I do not take your readership for granted.