The Entrepreneurial Family

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It’s Friday night, late August.  Sitting at the top of the visitors bleachers, I watch as the crowd starts filling the stands.  This is a big game.  Our first of the season, and a victory that must be clenched.  Our opponents beat us last year on our home turf.  This year, we must return the favor.

Our oldest sons are juniors and play both sides of the line.  They are pumped up, excited.  They are ready..  As the cheerleaders and band rally the troops, I reflect on the years that have lead to this moment.

Our three sons have played sports year-round from their first at-bat as 6 year olds…football, baseball, basketball, wrestling.  Their schedules are usually crazier than mine, mine crazy often times because of theirs.  Many, many times throughout the years, being an entrepreneurial mom has made our family life much easier.  I’m not sure how we would have done what we have done without at least one of us having flexibility in our schedule.  9-5 and youth sports often do not mix well.

I am thankful for the ability that I have had to work around the 4 pm arrival times, team meals and many other activities that would not been easy  if I were having to deal with northbound Atlanta rush hour traffic.

It has been said that when much has been given, much is expected.  The entrepreneurial life requires this.  Late nights and early mornings must be sacrificed to our art, the businesses which we are building.  It may not be an easy life, but it is good. Actually, it is better than good.  The life of an entrepreneurial family, though crazy, hectic, impossible, limitless is a sweet life, full of possibilities.  The ability to experience the fullness of our boys’ lives is worth every sacrifice made.

P.S.  WE WON!  Victory is sweet.  Now back to work.  As every football player, coach and entrepreneurial family knows, there is still much to be done.

Two Siblings, One Goal: Recreating the Job Hunting Experience

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P&Tlogo2How do you set yourself apart from your competition in the job market?

When you are job hunting, you want to be at the top of your game.  From creating a current, top of the stack resume to projecting the perfect image as the ideal candidate, the process can be daunting.

Shirley Ryan & KellieRyan and Kellie Shirley, brother and sister business partners, have taken much of the guess work out of job hunting.  Out of a desire to help people prepare for their dream jobs, they created Pursuit & Tie as a side gig.  They are not an employment agency.  Their focus is on resume building, image optimization, network growth, and interview training.  They want to make the search more productive, and perhaps even, fun!   And expecting a little fun would be understandable if you knew that Ryan is also a stand-up comedian!

Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with this dynamic, creative duo.

Describe how it feels to work with your brother/sister.

(Kellie) Great!  I have loved not only getting closer to my brother in a personal sense, but also, professionally.  Plus, it never feels like work.  We always meet up during the week to go over issues/future plans and it always turns into a fun time catching up on each other’s lives and work weeks.  Besides, who is better to work with than your own family?  Beats me.

(Ryan) Truly a pleasure!  Enjoying each second and it is very rewarding to share the ups and downs of business with your own kin.  Kellie has always had a knack for organization and watching the bottom line, so it cool to see those traits come to fruition.

Siblings have been known to disagree.  How do you resolve inevitable differences of opinion?

We both want this business to be as successful as it can be, so we have been great at talking out any conflicts and resolving them in a timely manner.  It’s more like challenging each other to grow.

Are you all in with Pursuit & Tie now or do you have other jobs or side gigs for the time being?

Ryan works at a technology consulting firm and Kellie is a fitness trainer in addition to running Pursuit & Tie.  We both love what we do, so until P&T is our main focus, we both plan to stick with our other jobs as well.  Never hurts to have more than one income stream!  As Uber says, “Get your side hustle on.” In the ‘you’ economy of 2017, an extra source of cash is no longer a plus but a must.

You are both super creative.  Does each of you have strengths that offset any weaknesses that the other may have?  Definitely!  Both of us have similar strengths in terms of our outgoing personalities and motivation to be successful.  However, separately, Kellie carries more of the organizational/management skills where Ryan definitely has the greater mind for creativity and into on fresh, up-to-date ideas that keep us always thinking ahead.

 Do you still recommend a suit and tie for men/skirt and heels for women during most interviews?  Are jeans ever appropriate?  Our Dad says, “Definitely dress to impress.  You never know who you’re going to run into.”  Appropriate dress is always the first (and sometimes the only) in-person impression you can make on the employer.  Wouldn’t you only want to leave having given it your best?  Besides, the generation interviewing you is typically the one where suit and tie was always the way to go, so they would never sense wearing one to be “inappropriate.”  It’s as simple as communicating the importance of the event through what you wear.  Dress for what means the most to you.

P&TlogoKnowing the two of you as I do, I can imagine that you have created a fun, dynamic culture.  How do you communicate this to your clients?  We have taken a more fun and charismatic approach to our product, and have tried to incorporate that aspect through our website, client meetings as well as weekly social media posts. We want to ensure that clients feel comfortable approaching us and know that we will make the job process not only fun for them but also rewarding without the feeling of being judged for where they are in life or what they’re striving for.  Our culture is truly seeking to be, in a word, consultative.  We want our clients to feel like they are being helped versus being sold to.

Without giving away your secret sauce, how do you get resumes to the top every time?  Our process is not simply something we cooked up because it sounded good.  The process (and each offering therein) is based on a combination of our own candidacy experiences, past jobs (Ryan’s as a recruiter, for example) and consistent research into the best practices around, resumes, networking and the like.  In the over-saturation-of-information-age, finding the right stuff gets harder and harder.  We eliminate the need for candidate guesswork.

Do you advise on salary negotiation?  The ‘offer’ is just that; an offer.  Companies expect some form of negotiation from a candidate.  It shows they are familiar with the dance and communicates confidence any employer would seek.  Is this rule true 100% of the time?  Of course not – but as a whole, employers want to see if you’ll stick up for yourself and the offer letter is a great start.

How are you staying current on techniques and strategies as well as what it is working in various industries?  In our spare time, we make sure to read plenty of online blogs, watch YouTube videos and reach out to colleges/companies to ensure that we stay as up-to-date with the industry as we can.  We never stop learning!  Ryan was fortunate to have some great coaching in his recruitment days that remains true today, yet isn’t found on any shelves.

Do you work with candidates of all ages or millennials only?  All ages!  We cater mostly to millennials only because of that being the generation we can relate to the most, but we are open to helping anyone of any age.  It’s never too late to turn your career path around and have the end result you always wanted.

It seems that you are creating your own sub-niche within the employment industry.  Is there anyone else in your space?  Not any direct competition, no, which is truly where our value lies.  People don’t feel comfortable being hounded by staffing companies or corporate recruiters and often feel pressured into being submitted for a role.  Here, we have no dog in the fight.  We are not compensated by placing you in any specific role, so our motives much be much more transparent.

What is your 5 year vision?  10 years?  Are you creating to scale?  We would definitely like to have contracts with multiple universities that would allow us to help with their Spring and Fall graduates, and even possibly, have a deal with Shark Tank to help expand our products and services across the country.  Slowly but Shirley making progress! We want become a trusted advisor, and foresee P&T training becoming a requirement for applicants , much like a college degree.   We are going to scale as need demands.  Our costs remain nearly fixed as volume grows, so the immediate needs for scale would be additional coaches like ourselves.  At that point, we will have Mark Cuban BEGGING to invest.

Great slide deck idea (see http://www.pursuitandtie.com).  Are these being designed for use by your clients in other ways expect for their reference?  Interview-facing situations, for instance?  The deck will be in PDF format.  They won’t be editable but can certainly be externally facing for all interviews.  In fact, that’s the point!  We wanted to leave our clients with a deliverable that shows our commitment to them in the future, not only when they purchase services, and we fell the slide deck is a good start to that initiative.

What is trending in the job application process?

  • Having a thoroughly LinkedIn profile to properly highlight your experience
  • Not only listing past employment on a resume with simple daily tasks but also how you provided value to each and every one (statistics, etc.)
  • Not only applying through job portals but also following up and reaching out to certain contacts
  • Ensuring your resume is eye-catching and is catered to the specific desired position etc
  • Video submission with resumes continues to grow
  • Keywords continue to develop as HR becomes more digital. There is a balance in using them, however, that people seem to misunderstand.

How is technology changing the interview process and what might we expect to see in the future?  Truthfully, we see the video integrations posing a lot of authenticity questions.  For example, numerous coding jobs require tests.  Many applicants outsource these tests to other developers and even some do their for them via a remote server.  While the ‘wow’ factor is certainly there for video, and we encourage it as a way to differentiate, face-to-face remains the ultimate test…and we like that.

What are your favorite interview questions today?

  • Why should we hire you?
  • What should you do more of or less of in your professional life?
  • Tell me what made you valuable at X job?
  • What do you care about?
  • Tell us your biggest professional failure and the lessons retained?

What is your mission statement?

To build better professionals by empowering our clients to take charge of their career and to find the right fit

 Tell me your biggest success story to date

Simply executing the company.  People talk all day about “starting their own business,” “wanting to be their own boss,” but never actually act upon it and end up wasting 20+ years of their life doing something that they don’t want to do.  We are happy and proud of how it is evolving, and excited to have found a way to make a secondary income out of this passion.  Coming from a very entrepreneurial family, we have had immense support and guidance into getting P&T up and running.  Although it has been a lot of additional time and stress (at times), we are simply proud of knowing that we did it.  For two kids in their early 20s having accomplished that, we would say that that’s a success.

What general advice would you give to job candidates now regarding preparation, social media presence, etc?  Never think for a second that an employer won’t creep on you or won’t make a hiring call based off of your interview skills, social media presence or resume.  Never put something on social media that you wouldn’t be proud to show your mom.  Be prepared, do your research, ask questions.  Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and ensure you’re an employer’s first thought.

What are the biggest mistakes that candidates seem to be making?  It’s not that the candidate is making a mistake necessarily.  They simply just don’t know.  Some have simply never been given the proper guidance or etiquette on how to best market themselves  to an employer or how to properly draft a resume…which is exactly why we are here to help!  We want to make sure that the candidate not only receives the best services from us, but also the appropriate knowledge on how to continue their professional image, even after working with us has been completed.  Candidates love to tell an employer what they did in a previous role.  Example:  “As a baker, I bake things.”  THEY KNOW THAT.  Instead, applicants need to show value versus simply function.  Why were you the BEST baker?

Is it ok to say y’all in an interview? 🙂 When words like this are part of who you are, do you recommend swiping them from the interview?  There is a line between being unprofessional and simply being yourself.  We would never want to encourage a candidate to leave an interview having felt like they weren’t fully themselves, and if ‘y’all’ is a part of they the are, then so be it.  Besides, in our opinion, if that was a deciding factor between an employer hiring or not hiring someone, then we would never want to encourage the candidate to work for them anyway.  Plus, we encourage efficiency here at P&T, and nobody can deny that ‘y’all’ is faster than ‘ you all.’

Shirley, we would agree!

www.pursuitandtie.com

LPL is not affiliated with Pursuit & Tie

Walters Fly Rods – Serious fun

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Early in the morning, just as the sun is starting to rise and clouds are still sleeping heavily on the streams, the low rumble of truck tires slowly rolling up the rocky mountain roads of North Georgia may be heard.  Although traveling any faster may not be possible due to the uneven grade of the unpaved roads, it is not likely that a fly fisherman would want to travel much faster and risk the noise that could be created from faster progress.  For those who are uninitiated in the fine art of fly fishing, it is important to understand just how spooky trout can be.

Matt Walters, founder of Walters Fly Rods, is patient.  He studies trout, as well as red fish, striper, muskie and other breeds, and understands the lives that they live in the streams as they seek cold water and shade.   It is this understanding that has enabled him to create a portfolio of fly rods suitable for a variety of fishing situations.  As a golfer’s bag would ideally have a driver, a putter, woods and irons, a fisherman’s tacklebox may not be complete without several fly rods of different weights and thicknesses chosen to land various types and sizes of fish.

Now designing his 4th rod, Walters invests much of his post-9-5 hours in innovation mode.  “We are always trying to make taper decisions, working with graphite to see what different types will do.”

walters-collage

Innovation is not limited to the perfect graphite taper, though.  Each rod is named after a Southeastern waterway, like the Chattahoochee, and the two-toned colors capture the flavor of nearby houses.

Focusing on the Southeast is important to him.  As a fisherman may not likely find success by aggressively casting into the peaceful rhododendron lined waters that wind through the mountains, Walters is not in a tremendous rush to expand to national distribution choosing to stay small and agile for now.

Currently available in a variety of outfitters in AL, SC, GA, NC and TN , Walters said, “It is important to us to tackle the southeast first.  Community is important to us, and the relationships that we are creating with the shop owners is critical.”  Indeed, these relationships are closely linked to their success.  “Most of our new anglers are found through the shop owners and guides.  It takes time to earn their trust, and this trust is critical in asking them to take a leap from the brands that they have been using.”

Walters Fly Rods is involved with the charities dedicated to conservation, like Trout Unlimited.  With a “leave no trace” objective, river cleanups are necessary to maintain the pristine natural environments which are both stunning and fragile.  As it is often said, ‘trout don’t live in ugly places.’”

Headquartered in his basement, Walters and his team meticulously craft each rod by hand, old country music/blue grass and reggae tunes setting the tone.  A side gig for all of them, his team consists of 3 of his friends who share his love for this niche sport.  As with the craft beer industry, fly fishing is a niche that continues to grow in popularity.  “Like craft beer, there is movement from the consumer towards choosing to buy fly rods from the small guy,” said Walters.

Each rod takes approximately 5 days to produce which includes applying epoxy, thread wrap and cork.  The assembly process was facilitated by his father-in-law who helped him build out his manufacturing setup.  Walters is also helped by his father who advises him on business strategy and has inherited an artistic eye from his mother.

Community is key to Walters Fly Rods success so far and will continue to be in the years to come.  “When we visit shops, or reach out to shop owners by phone or see them at shows, we are talking to our friends and want to thank them for helping us with our business.  We are meeting a bunch of cool people who are passionate about their sport.”  They also have a regular stream of photos featuring the big ones that did not get away!

Priced comfortably mid-range, Walters Fly Rods are gaining traction, among anglers who have varying levels of experience, for their price point and craftsman quality.  “We are also finding that there are some very committed guides using our rods exclusively,” said Walters.

Balancing a family, 9-5 corporate job and  the manufacturing and distribution of his fly rods begs the question:  How does he find the time to fish?  “Thankfully, it’s part of the job!  It’s relaxing and it’s challenging.  I can get lost in it, and it allows me to connect to nature.  Bottom line, we want to keep it serious and fun.”

Walters Fly Rods

Photo credit:  David Cannon, www.davidcannonphotography.com

Celebrating life’s special moments – The art (and Why) of beer

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Reformation Brewery 

The latest edition of Boom! – sidebar of business, Inspired!

In his book, Start with Why, Simon Sinek encourages his readers to be very clear on Why they do what they do, not what, not how, but Why.  And when this question is answered clearly and authentically, there is a great opportunity to inspire.

Answering this question inspired two local beer enthusiasts to create a brand that encourages community and conversations, celebrates life’s special moments and raises the experience of drinking beer to that of an art.

To fully appreciate Reformation Brewery, their journey and their success, a side bar on the history of beer seems appropriate.

Fun Facts about beer:

  • There is evidence of brewing activity as early as 1800 BC
  • St. Arnold of Metz, one of dozens of patron saints of beer, was credited with helping to end the plague in 580 AD
  • Prohibition lasted about 13 years
  • In 1992, astronaut/homebrewer Bill Readdy, Space Shuttle Discovery, carried an unofficial package of hops onto the shuttle, later brewing a batch using the hops that had circled the earth 128 times
  • In 2008, Smithsonian magazine said that “the best beers in the world today are being made in the US.”*

No doubt, craft brewing is trending in the US.  In 2010, local brewers had about 5% of the total beer market.  In 2014, that number had more than doubled to 11%.  Translated into dollars, this is $19.6 billion in sales up 22% since 2013 (total US beer market retail dollar value $101.5 billion). *www.brewersassociation.org

Rock Stars

While there are many craft brewers throughout the nation, residents of North Georgia don’t have to go far to find a true craft beer rock star.  Voted (literally) Small Business Rock Star 2015 by the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Reformation Brewery reports growth of 600%/year.  In their first year, they produced 450 barrels, 2 years later they brewed 5,000.  This aggressive growth includes 6 year round brands plus seasonal brands as well as new adventures that are always being tested.

The Journey

Reformation’s journey started 15 years ago when friends and co-founders, Spencer Nix and Nick Downs, discovered a mutual love for beer.  Nick, a Delta pilot, would bring unique and interesting beer brands back from his European travels.  They would drink beer and have great conversations on Nick’s front porch.  Fast forward a few years, Nick began flying to Asia, so without the opportunity to obtain these highly anticipated European brews, they decided to brew their own.  Instead of bringing beer back to the States, Nick would bring unique ingredients.

Before long, they were brewing more than they could drink so they invited friends who brought more friends who also brought food, and great conversations organically developed.  The crowd eventually grew so large that they added bands and began Brew Nights every 3rd Friday.

Set Beer Free

Reformation’s slogan is “Set Beer Free.”  Their mission is to elevate the good gift of beer.  Their brand was built on the belief that, for far too long, beer was dominated by the lowest common denominator, brews that lacked flavor and substance.  They also wanted to elevate the reason for Why we drink beer because, they believe, Why we drink beer is just as important as what’s in your beer.

In the Keeping Room, their prototype Woodstock GA gathering spot, there is one large screen that is turned on only for special occasions (like Georgia Tech football games).  Conversation is key.  Books & Brews and Game Nights are featured events.  At Reformation, guests celebrate the important moments of their lives.

Moderation is one of their core values.  It is important to them that the gift of beer be enjoyed without abusing it.  Moderation requires balance in all things, from how beer is brewed to how we live our lives.   To set beer free is to give a bigger vision of what beer can be.  Drink what you like, but appreciate and enjoy it.

Winification of beer

While reforming beer culture is about community and bringing people together to celebrate life’s special moments, it is also about elevating the quality of the beer itself.   As a fine wine would be sipped, Reformation brews should be savored, not slammed.  Reformation brews are ‘winified’.  As wine connoisseurs are known as sommelier, in a similar way, experts on beer are called cicerones.  They provide guidelines on how to taste beer in a way that all senses are engaged.  Sipping beer has been elevated to an art.

It is impossible to know Reformation and not appreciate its art…the magnificence of the flavors, the beauty of the brand.  Each Instagram post is tastefully prepared, all photos are beautifully presented.  Reformation’s social media presence is blended together in such a way to extol the values that support this special brand.

Reformation’s values

Acceptance, Story, Authenticity, Moderation, Humility and Humor – are at the core of all that they do.

And these values are resonating.  From their first batch on October 31, 2013 to the 26,000 people who have enjoyed community in Reformation’s Keeping Room, their distribution is growing.  “The local support has been overwhelming,” said Nix.  Continued growth in Georgia is not without its challenges, though.  As a strict 3 tier state, there are still a few mountains to climb with regard to setting beer free.  That said, with the creativity and innovation evident on every level of this company and its brand, there is little doubt that this challenge will be met.

Fun Facts about Spencer:

Having just turned 40, Reformation published 40 things you might not know about Spencer Nix.  The first 5 are:

  1. He grew up about a mile from Reformation Brewery on Melanie Lane in Woodstock.
  2. Return of the Jedi was the first movie he ever saw in the theater.
  3. He and his brother played ball at SCRA growing up (and they pretty much dominated)
  4. His son is the 3rd generation in his family to run the bases at SCRA.
  5. He graduated from Sequoyah High School in Hickory Flat…

For the remaining 35, visit http://reformationbrewery.com/spencernix40things/

As a 3 year old company, it is safe to say that Reformation is wise beyond its years.  “Life’s most precious gifts are not consumable,” said Nix.  Indeed.  Cheers!

*source http://www.craftbeer.com

16 Reasons to Get Morganized

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Folders

Morganize:   (v) the art and act of simplifying the financial aspects of our lives.

While this list may be partial, it should provide you with many incentives as to why focusing on your family’s fiscal organization will save you time, improve your bottom line and improve the quality of your life:

1.  Getting Morganized means that you know where your money is, all of your money, even money left in retirement plans of employers from years gone by.

2.  Getting Morganized means that your beneficiary designations are current, especially in the event of a divorce.

3.  Getting Morganized means that, with a few keystrokes, you have an up-to-date sense of your net worth without having to search for multiple logins or spending valuable time on the phone.

4.  Getting Morganized means that you have eliminated, or have an active plan to get rid of, your debt.

5.  Getting Morganized means that your family is protected in the event that you are no longer able to take care of them…that you know how your bills will be paid if you are temporarily or permanently disabled…that you know you will not be a burden to your grown children if you need extended medical care.

6.  Being Morganized means that your beneficiaries know where your important documents are, and know how to reach other important people in your life in the event of an unexpected medical event.  Does your spouse know your key business contacts and how to reach friends that he/she doesn’t know well?  Do you know the same for your spouse?

7.  Being Morganized means that you have a clear vision of your financial goals and objectives, and that you and your spouse are on the same page in this regard.

8.  Being Morganized means that you have a financial team…that your CPA, attorneys, insurance agents and Financial Consultant are working together for your benefit.

9.  Because you are Morganized, gathering all of your documents…brokerage and bank statements, wills, trusts, business documents, etc. you are becoming green in more ways than one.  You are not only saving a tree but may save money too.

10.  Being Morganized means that your worst case scenarios, things that many people don’t want to talk about, are worked out, as best as possible, in advance.

11.  Have you written letters for your loved ones in the event that you are here one moment and gone the next?  A Morganized family wants to make sure that the people that they love know how you feel if you are not there to tell them.  And from a practical point of view, you have left them with important information – things that only you may know – that will make their transition during a difficult time go a little more smoothly.

12. Are your photos and/or family history organized?  How about children’s art and special school papers?  These are keepsakes and, while not financial, truly are part of your family wealth.

13.  Do you back up your computer regularly, automatically?  Morganization requires this!

14.  Are your wills and trusts current?  Do you have wills and trusts??  If you have minor children, who will care for them if you are no longer here?

15.  Being Morganized provides you with more time for your family, more clarity with regard to your financial picture, and ultimately, more life.

16.  Being Morganized means that you are organized…not just in your financial life but in all areas of your life.  You know where things are, you are informed and you have successfully simplified your life.

Morganization is a journey.  It is an ongoing event.  As events change in your life, you need to make sure that all of your moving parts are up to date.  Commit to this.

Boom! McTier Art

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George Bernard Shaw once said “You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.”

If our souls may be seen by the works that we create, the McTier family, artists and owners of McTier Art, have souls that are colorful, bold, spiritual and inspired!  Over the past 3 decades, artists Lucy (wife and mother)  and sons Jace and Ty along with David (husband, dad and artist representative) have made the world a more beautiful place in which to live.

Found in collections around the world,  McTier Art was created in 1979 when Lucy began painting portraits.   A  few short years later, she painted President Ronald Reagan and, along with her husband David and 5 year old son Jace,  was able to present the president’s portrait to him in the Oval Office of the White House in 1985. Lucy works primarily in oil on linen and, in addition to commission portraits, has collections of wildlife, biblical and equestrian art.  Her lovely and multi-faceted work is hanging in over 400 public and private collections as well as several gallery locations.

Practically born with a paintbrush in his hand, Jace sold his first oil portrait at age 16. Having found his niche with athletes and wildlife, Jace’s bold use of color and brilliant capture of motion ranks him among today’s leading sporting artists.   Described as the next LeRoy Neiman, Jace’s energetic style provides a near-ringside experience to those who view his creations.  Working with Angelo Dundee, he was able to bring to life the history of boxing, also painting legends Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.  He has also painted golfers Jordan Spieth, Jack Nicklaus and Rory McIlroy and has, along with Lucy, captured the history of Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones Jr.

Working in separate studios but with a common cause, we were curious as to how they were able to co-exist and co-create as a family so successfully over the years.  Lucy, Jace and David give us a glimpse of their lives behind the easles.

Lucy, what is the vision that you have for your business?  to be used by God to inspire, offer hope and intrigue with my paintings.  If someone is inspired to go to the bible to discover the meanings in my work, or to draw closer to God, then I believe God has used me and that is the highest honor.

Jace, what is your Why?  My main goal is to wake up every morning and live the life that God has blessed me with to its fullest and, when my head hits the pillow at night, know that I couldn’t have given any more of myself to the day that has just passed.  I’m an artist; I create visual experiences that I pray motivate all who view my art to live on the edge of the abundant, creative survival that is deep within us all.

Jace, how do you separate the mom/dad/son relationship from Jace, the professional artist?  It’s really the simple things.  If the meeting or conversation is about our family business, then we all use first names and really approach issues as most any other entity would.  What I’ve come to realize over the years is that your business/job becomes part of your life and family regardless, good or bad, but we have been very blessed to maintain a workable and prosperous creative environment.  In close to 20 years that I have been involved as a featured contributor to the McTier Art legacy, it’s been a great journey.

Lucy, how have you grown as a family team through the years?  We have always cheered each other when goals are reached and console each other when times are tough. That hasn’t changed.  But, as a creative family, we are constantly reinventing our roles, trying new methods of painting, new genres and new avenues to stay viable.  I find that we need less and less of each other in terms of input but somehow that makes us more productive.  Remaining diligent in excellence continues to open up opportunities, and that is benefiting charities dear to us through art.

Jace, do you ever get artists’ block?  Some days are more fruitful than others, but the creation of art is a journey, an experience that we are fortunate enough to be able to share with the world.  This is a question that artists ask me all the time.  What I tell them is to work, don’t ever stop until it makes you happy.  You will have to eventually change your scenery, scrape the paint off and start again.  It doesn’t matter how hard you work on a piece if it’s not right.  Never be afraid to scrape everything off and start again!  You’ll be surprised what you see and learn as you remove what doesn’t work…and golf…golf helps a lot!

Lucy, what advice would you give to ‘starving artists’ who are hoping to achieve a sustainable/profitable business model?  Work every day, I cannot emphasize that enough.  Try to make a living on your work as best you can, but keep goals in mind to achieve a legacy.  If you take a job to tide you over thinking that you will get enough time to paint on the side, you may never make it full time.  Get sponsors who love your art and are willing to fund your projects (and it is possible). Think big and don’t limit your achievements.  Go to museums, studios, galleries, talk with artists and illustrators.  Seeing the ‘strokes of genius’ in person is truly inspiring.  Put your work in the public eye, but always work beyond your pay so that your work will never suffer.

McTier Art is a charitably-focused company.  Please give me an example of the work that you have done to help others.  (Lucy) We created a painting called “The Gift” to tell the story of the efforts of the Southeastern Firefighters Foundation.  Our firefighters are unsung heroes!  The painting was then auctioned off at my Turning Tides 2000 art event with the proceeds split between the artist and the charity.  The model for “The Gift” was a little boy named Will, and a local firefighter.  This allowed them to get the message about the foundation to the public.  We have learned that it has been a continuous fundraiser and permanent advertising for them.  Proceeds go to the local burn unit.  A framed print was given by a contingency from Augusta, Georgia to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani following the 911 attack.

Jace, please tell me more about your work in helping the fight for curing childhood cancer.  Yes, in addition to the Firefighters, we have been involved with the Press On Fund and Curing Kids Cancer.  Anytime I can paint with one of the little warriors who is battling cancer, I am incredibly inspired and blessed by their bravery, passion and creativity.  No child should have to go through dealing something like cancer at such a young age, and both of these groups are on the front lines of raising money to combat and find a cure for the disease.

David, how would you describe your role in your family business? I am the only non-artist in the McTier family.  I can begin any project with either artist.  When it comes to the intricate details, it is time for me to take a walk!  They see and envision things that I can’t and when they fulfill their part, I come back in the process to facilitate logistics and to brainstorm further projects.

Describe your average day (if there is such a thing!) No two days since 1975 have been the same.  Most of my time is spent on the phone and computer or in front of people looking for new avenues to be utilize their talents in various art projects.  We have intentionally explored new media and events to broaden our scope and impact in the world.

And Ty’s role? Both Jace and Ty grew up with art supplies and painting sessions as part of their almost daily routine, so it was inevitable that Ty would also love to paint.  His first paintings were snapped up by friends (in accordance with his already budding business acumen).  His paintings were effortless for him.  Still involved in our business, he is now employed with a law firm  while still answering inquiries and handling commissions for us in his area (Charlotte, NC).

What is in your immediate future?  We just returned from Graceland where I (Jace) delivered paintings to be showcased in a six month show in London, England at The O2 for the “I am the Greatest” Muhammad Ali and Elvis Presley exhibit.  Going behind the scenes and being a small part of the amazing American/World history of these two legends was an incredible honor and experience.

Creativity is an essential element in business development.

The art of a family business is beautifully on display at McTier Art.  For this reason, they were chosen as the inaugural featured company in Boom!

Boom!

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StepsMuch is written and recorded about successful mindsets…having a clear vision, knowing your Why, having a plan, knowing your strengths, etc.  I love to read, listen, watch and surround myself with those who inspire with the hopes that some of it will rub off on me!  Success, I believe, is a journey and I do my best to stay on this road.

But sometimes, I get distracted.  Sometimes, I need to revisit my goals and objectives, clarify my Why.  And it is in this pursuit that I have taken daily visits to the volumes of books that I have acquired through the years, and to YouTube videos with the wealth of resources available there for those in search of inspiration and clarity.

In a TedxTalk that I recently discovered, I was inspired to hear Tim Noakes, professor of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Cape Town, speak about the mindset to succeed.  In this video, he tells a story about Geoff Holister, Nike’s first employee.  He quotes Mr. Holister’s biography, saying “Life thrusts you into a competitive environment.  How do you prepare for the realities and the unknown?  Hopefully, you have a mentor, a Bowerman who pushes you at that critical time.  A time when someone has a belief in your future more than you do.  It’s not about how long you live but how you contribute.  It’s about doing your best and doing the right thing.  It’s about recovering from your mistakes and not giving up.  It’s about the baton pass to a new generation.  It’s about the realization that you cannot go it alone.  It takes a team.

…The future will remember that wild ride of life where you believed in others and left a gift behind for someone else to dream the impossible.  The gift was your own life.  It does not matter whether it was long or short.  What did you leave behind?”

Prof. Noakes urges his audience to develop a vision of the perfect world and spread this belief to our children so that they will do the extraordinary of which we were incapable….to teach…that this is our ultimate responsibility.

We are surrounded by those who may inspire us if we are open to their stories of risk and reward, failures and successes, discipline and challenges overcome.  In business, Inspired! we focus on business, the people/families who own them and the many financial aspects of their lives.    Boom! is a new side bar within business, Inspired! which will feature stories about business owners who are rocking it, those who are willing to teach, to share their stories.  They may not ever appear on Shark Tank or on the cover of Inc. Magazine, (although they could…!), but they have figured out how to clarify their visions and and learned how to take consistent action.  They know their Why’s.  And they continue to carve new paths, doing their part to make this world a better place to live in today and for generations to come.  In their corners of the world, they are disrupters, changing lives and making a resounding noise.

My Why, I know, is to find ways, through my professional and personal life, with the minutes, hours, days, years that I may still have in front of me,  to encourage and inspire others to find and live their greatness, and hopefully, in the process, to find and live mine; to teach.  I cannot, nor should I attempt to, do this alone.  It takes a team.  Together, we have the ability run higher.

 

 

 

Should it stay or should it go now?

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filesThere is no time like tax time to get Morganized.  Like it or not, unless you extend, all financial information from the past year must be organized to a point of understanding and logically plugged into the little boxes on a tax return within the next few weeks.  I know, there are many, many things that you would rather do.  But taking the steps to systematize your family’s financial documents, including the development of a process for knowing when certain items may have overstayed their welcome, will free you to enjoy other pursuits.

Thankfully, there are guidelines to follow so that we are able to make informed decisions as to whether or not a document must be kept. The list below is partial and should be discussed with your financial team.

7 years is the magic holding period for many items, such as bank deposit slips and statements, charitable contribution records, credit card statements, tax evidence.

Other documents must be kept for the length of ownership plus 7 years, such as stock and mutual fund investments, home purchase and improvement documents, loans, year end brokerage statements, etc.

And still others must be kept permanently…tax returns (unless uncomplicated), divorce decrees, estate planning documents, retirement plan annual reports.

Keep notes pertinent to these items, such as spreadsheets, contact information, web addresses, etc.  Should there be a need to verify information from the past, you will be prepared.

The Morganization of your documents is a journey, an ongoing event, requiring storage and systems that compliment the way that you think and live.  If your paperwork seems overwhelming to you, it probably lacks structure and meaning.  This tax season, today, take steps to create a logical system for your family.  Commit to maintaining it.  This will free you to get out into this beautiful world and enjoy your life!

Keeping your head in the game

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baseball dugout.jpgIn Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss said, “Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.”  Life is full of twists and turns.  Some days, the sun is shining. There is no one in line to check out, then 20 people line up after you. Nothing but green lights during your commute.  Everyone at the meeting loves your ideas. Life is sweet and feels good.  It is easy to be optimistic, full of hope.

Then there are those other days.  Nothing seems to work. Brick walls,  Things break.  The dark clouds start to form.  Life becomes ‘challenging.’  It hasn’t been your day, your week, your month or your year.

As business owners, as humans, we know these days.  Things do not always go as planned. Sometimes, we get knocked down.  That is business.  That’s life.  This is where the entrepreneurial mindset must kick in.  Glass half full.  Hope springing eternal.  Being knocked down is not nearly as important as how long we stay down.  Actually, looking up while being down is natural!  This is where we find hope.

When this happens, we must get our heads back in the game.  Clear our desks, organize our thoughts.  Focus on what is most important now.  Nourish our bodies and our souls. Seek inspiration.  Create a game plan.  Ask for help from trusted people, mentors.  Reduce distractions. We’ve got this!

Can we talk? LTC Insurance and Planning is Important!

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Fortune bannerFeatured on Fortune.com           Article by Bob Stier               Published February 2015

Long-term care insurance is one of the most important financial planning tools in our country today.  It is also one of the most misunderstood products around.  Why?  Because, let’s face it, long-term care is an uncomfortable and unpleasant issue for many people to confront and discuss.  Yet, we absolutely owe is to our spouses and children to make sure that this topic is understood and a plan is created to deal with the strong possibility that we will require care in the future – whether in our homes, in an assisted-living facility, in a nursing home or even all three.

Let’s quickly define what I mean by long-term care (custodial care).  Custodial care is the providing of service and supplies to assist individuals with activities of daily living (ADLs). Examples of ADLs:  eating, bathing, continence, walking, dressing and toileting.  Custodial care helps us perform the basics of life when those abilities have deserted us.

We have all probably observed instances where family or friends have had to deal with a long-term care event, including the physical, financial and emotional consequences on the individual and family (who may have also been the caregivers).  Personally, I have had two parents who, after having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, required significant custodial care for a number of years.  The impact on our lives was very difficult for all of us.

Key Long-Term Care Questions to Ask Yourself:

  1.  Who would take care of you?
  2.  Where would you live and receive this assistance?
  3.  How would the significant costs associated with this care be paid?

The answers to these questions should be discussed as a family.

The Top 5 Benefits of Owning Long-Term Care Insurance:

After working with families for many years, I believe the top 5 benefits are:

  1.  You will not be a financial burden on your family or spouse.
  2.  You will be able to afford and enjoy your retirement because your assets and savings are protected.
  3. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you won’t place your children in a position of having to choose between paying the high cost of long-term care for one parent and protecting the assets of the healthy parent.
  4. You know you will not harm or ruin the health or lifestyle of your spouse or other family member by making them your primary caregiver.
  5. You will greatly increase your ability to stay at home when you do need care, surrounded by familiar surroundings and loved ones.

The bottom line is this:  We buy long-term care protection for our families, not us!

There are a variety of ways to purchase long-term care benefits, including life insurance, annuities and stand-alone long-term care insurance policies.  A long-term care professional can guide you through those options and assist you in making appropriate decisions for your own unique circumstances.

We owe it to our families to understand this issue and to make an educated decision.

http://www.insurancegroupse.com

bob@insurancegroupse.com

Business as art

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In the Feb 2016 edition of Entrepreneur magazine, editor Amy C. Cosper says that all entrepreneurs are artists.  “That doesn’t mean we’re all Picassos with paintbrushes…but we all have the capacity to create something unique: music, paintings, buildings, sculpture, books, logos, iPhones, businesses.”

She states that it is in our DNA to figure out how to solve problems.  Ms. Cosper says that entrepreneurship requires people to recognize blank canvases as opportunity and to have the boldness to throw paint onto this white space and to see what happens.  She notes that it is not easy but so much more fun than simply owning and running a business, and that when it works, the rewards are magnificent.

If it is in our DNA to create solutions to problems, it would follow that we all have masterpieces within us that must be shared with the world.  Get creative! Introduce the artist side of your brain to the business side!  A true meeting of the minds!

When you share your business creation with the world, you are helping to develop the future.  Be bold.  Be brave.  Be inspired and inspire others with your art!

Financial Offensive Line

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Who is the first football player that comes to mind when you hear Atlanta Falcons?  Matt Ryan.  The Denver Broncos?  Peyton Manning.  Steelers?  Big Ben!  These names are synonymous with their franchises.  Quarterbacks control the ball and OL bw horizontalare often in the spotlight.   Can you name 3 offensive linemen, though?  If you can’t, don’t feel too bad.  You are not alone.  For the average football fan, this may take a bit more time.

Offensive linemen open holes for the ball carriers to run through and block the opposition from getting to the quarterback.  Their job is often thankless but so very important in the success of the team.

In a similar way, when we think of successful businesses, their owners/creators naturally come to mind.  Microsoft?  Bill Gates.  Virgin Airlines?  Sir Richard Branson.  Spanx?  Sara Blakely.  These entrepreneurs are legendary in their realms.  But who protects them & all that is important to them?  Their insurance agents & the companies which their agents represent!

Every business, every family needs a financial offensive line.  These professionals strive to protect what is important.

Jeff Rowell & Bob Stier of Insurance Group of the Southeast work hard to be important members of their clients’ financial teams with the objective of running effective and efficient offense.  Their goal is to help clients protect what is important to them.

In a recent conversation with Jeff and Bob, we asked the following questions:

We have talked about the similarities to what we at Morgan Wealth Management and you at IGS do for our clients.  How are we like a financial offensive line?  Jeff:  We have to protect the big money players just like an offensive line does. In other words, a family or business’ big money players are the income earners that they rely on.  Bob:  As an offensive line protects the quarterback and team from losses and setbacks, with our financial and insurance products, our objective is to do the same things for our clients.

What is the most common mistake that you see made by families who own businesses?  Bob:  Not having a succession plan and the appropriate wills/trusts etc…not taking the time to craft an appropriate buy-sell agreement.  Also not utilizing key man life insurance policies and not putting disability income policies in force.  Jeff:  Making a plan but not executing it.

What key plays would you suggest for business owners now?  Jeff:  Do what you are good at and delegate everything else.  Bob:  Spend more time on what generates income. Donate time and money to charities/churches/causes that are meaningful to you.  Do not expect anything in return.  Spiritually, you will always receive way more than you give. Pragmatically, your involvement and resources will always provide a return to your business…you just never know how and when.

How is Insurance Group of the Southeast different?  What makes you special?  Bob:  I would like to believe that we set ourselves apart by how quickly and accurately we respond to clients’ questions and problems.  Also, we will always give advice to clients that is best for them often at the expense of a sale for  us.  Our clients and their families always become our friends.  Jeff:  Every day, we work to do what is best for our clients. Period.

What/who inspires you personally and as a business team?  Bob:  I have to admit that I have had few, if any, heroes, inspirational books or role models other than God and the Bible.  Jeff:  My family and God, always trying to do the right thing every day.

 

Concentrated Wealth

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bw Woodstock windowInvesting is not just a numbers game.  While the left sides of our brains (the logical sides) may justify our decisions, the right sides (the creative, emotional sides) often take a lead role in what we decide to do.  Nowhere, likely, is this more evident than when it comes to decisions to sell, particularly when this investment has been successful, perhaps very successful, and represents a significant portion of your net worth.

Let’s consider an executive of publicly traded ‘ABC’ company who started accumulating shares 30 years ago when he was a new employee.  Through the years, working his way up the corporate ladder, he continued buying his company stock through his 401k, stock purchase plans and awards of stock options.  Today, a great deal of his wealth is tied up in shares of this company.  What could possibly happen?

Remember Enron?  Like many things in life, this only happens to other people, right?  A string of bad quarters, competitve pressure, political climate, bad press, change in tax structure..  When these things happen to the one entity which represents such a significant portion of your net worth, it makes a difference.  Things can and do happen. Is your comfortable retirement at risk?

Studies have shown that diversification is important to the health of your wealth.  Using Monte Carlo illustrations, we may illustrate a potential range of your assets over time comparing a relatively undiversified portfolio to one that has greater depth and breadth.  What is the probablity that you will succeed in achieving your goals?  And what happens if you don’t?

If your wealth is largely concentrated in one entity (your business, your company stock, land, etc.) it may be worth your while to have a discussion with your trusted advisors.  Have these discussions, if possible, when things are going well and you are dealing from a position of strength.  The right side of your brain will be proud of you, and the left side is likely to agree.

Yes!

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I will never forget that moment.  Roll the clock back 20 years.  I’m sitting at a computer within a cubby of a test taking facility.  The stress level in that room could light downtown Atlanta.  Complete silence, except for the barely audible clicking of keys or the occasional silent swishing of the door.  After six painfully long hours, I start to push the button.  Are you sure?  Are you really sure?  This action may not be reversed.  Eyes closed (partially), I push the button..and wait.  10 questions about the testing facility.  Really??  I have no idea how these questions were answered.  Hour glass, still waiting.  Finally, CONGRATULATIONS, you passed!  I passed!  I PASSED! YES!  The long hours of studying, learning this new financial language, the continuation of a career that I had grown to love, were punctuated with exclamation points! 

Sometimes, when the days are long, when the headlines are full of gloom and the markets are marked by fear and uncertainty, I remember this moment and others since…the excitement, the anticipation, the reward for my hard work, for the long hours of study.  This Yes! is motivational and serves as a reminder of how great it feels to accomplish something new.  This feeling of happy, constant, positive momentum is the stuff that successful businesses are made of.

When was your last Yes!?  If it was recent, you have momentum on your side.   Stay creative, continue moving in the direction of your goal.  If it has been too long, dust off that great idea that has been sitting on the back burner.  Breathe new life into it.  You may be closer to Yes! than you think.

16 Reasons to Get Morganized

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Tax season is the perfect time to get Morganized!

business, Inspired!

FoldersMorganize:   (v) the art and act of simplifying the financial aspects of our lives.

While this list may be partial, it should provide you with many incentives as to why focusing on your family’s fiscal organization will save you time, improve your bottom line and improve the quality of your life:

1.  Getting Morganized means that you know where your money is, all of your money, even money left in retirement plans of employers from years gone by.

2.  Getting Morganized means that your beneficiary designations are current, especially in the event of a divorce.

3.  Getting Morganized means that, with a few keystrokes, you have an up-to-date sense of your net worth without having to search for multiple logins or spending valuable time on the phone.

4.  Getting Morganized means that you have eliminated, or have an active plan to get rid of, your debt.

5.  Getting

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Summertime’s calling me

Fall is my favorite season, hands down.  Nothing comes close.  Fall brings relief from the stifling humidity and mosquitos.  With fall comes a return to routine.  Football, pumpkins, cooler weather and the end of daylight savings time mark the beginning of brilliantly colored days and lamp lit evenings.

Still, I have to admit, summer has its moments.  The pace changes.  Lawn mowers and crickets provide the soundtrack to waving flags, rain storms and endless summer days. The fragrance of grilled burgers and honeysuckle fill the air.  Pools, late afternoons and baseball diamonds sparkle.  Soft sand feels cool as the sun goes down.

For the entrepreneurial family, summer’s abrupt beginning brings 2 months of splendid challenges.  From the last day of school until the buses start rolling again, conference calls and meetings blend, sometimes smoothly, into finding the right balance of family time and camps for children who seem to get too easily bored.  Summertime is an exercise in business agility.

These moments also bring opportunities to grow and explore.  Vacations and day trips to museums and aquariums are the basis of family stories, treasured memories as the years speed past.  Art classes and beach reads punctuate the more whimsical dog days that tend to slow us down for a minute.

This summer, try something new.  Learn a new language.  Read the novel and business books that have been collecting dust on your night stand.  Work on your golf swing. Reduce clutter.  Look for ways to simplify your business, your home and your life.  Help your children start a business.  Slow down a bit.  Savor the moments.  Bask in the glow of these glorious days.  Fall will be here soon enough.  Summertime is calling you too!