Everyone has value.

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Today I went out with 3 other members of my Rotary and we took shoes, socks, warm sleeping bags and few other sundry items to the men living in camps in the woods around Wesley Chapel.

The fellow in the picture is Will, a Vietnam veteran and an artist who told me he has sketched this beautiful lady many times and he has no idea who she is, but occasionally he dreams about her! Will has been homeless for a few years now, and when we brought him the supplies he invited us to sit on some plastic milk crates next to his tent and we talked for awhile.

He told us how children occasionally mistook him for Santa Claus, but he would smile and tell them he was one of Santa’s elves….

We had met many of these men during Thanksgiving when our club gave out hot turkey dinners, they live illegally in tents in the woods on pieces of land owned by anonymous developers. Will told us that the police would occasionally come by and kick him off a parcel of land, but that only forces him to move to another place where he is trespassing again.

There is no easy solution for people in Will’s situation, many times they are unemployable due to alcohol addiction, appearance (like missing teeth) or a lack of skills and reliability…..

… but they are still human beings; worthy of our compassion and worthy of our time.

You can’t make an alcoholic go to meetings, or force someone to show up for work on time, but you can give them a warm pair of shoes, a sleeping bag, or that camping tent in your garage that’s you haven’t used in years.

Benjamin T. Alexander

December 2013

 

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12 feet tall?

Halloween costume, 2013……Image

Uncle Sam at the 4rth of July parade.

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written by Ben Alexander

When I was a kid growing up in South Jersey I used to make stilts out of a 2X4, a wedge of wood and 2 construction bolts. All my neighbors would try it and fall down in a few steps, but I would stay out there in the yard practicing until it was second nature.

Walking on stilts is about as hard as ice skating or rollerblading, once you get the hang of it you never forget how to do it. You have to practice on low stilts before you try the higher ones, a good sense of balance helps as well.  

Fast forward to 2011, our Rotary club was doing a Freedom Festival at Wiregrass mall. I have a friend who worked as a professional stilt walker at Busch Gardens in Tampa, I borrowed his metal stilts and put together the Uncle Sam outfit in the photo…   

In the last 2 years I’ve done Uncle Sam, Honest Abe and a Scary Ghoul this past Halloween for the Zephyr Hills Halloween parade. The Ghoul costume scared the tar out of a bunch of kids, especially because of the mask and the extreme height of the costume.

I use drywall stilts, commonly used in construction, and purchased my pair for $70 out of a pawn shop over in West Pasco county. There are also spring stilts, but they only add about 3 feet of height, so they are not as dramatic when you see someone wearing them.

As Uncle Sam or Abe Lincoln lots of people will come up to me and request a picture, or in some cases little boys will jump up and give me a (really) high five!

On February 15th, 2014, I’ll be dressed as Lincoln for the Honest Abe 5K in Wesley Chapel hosted by my rotary club. It’s for a good cause, if you see me there take a pic with me and post it on the “Book of Faces”…..  

 

Now money vs. FUTURE money.

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Written by Ben Alexander

When you trade dollars for hours you are working NOW for income NOW.

You are limited to 24 hours per day, so your income is limited as well in this scenario.

If you build a business you will not be paid hourly, and you may not see a profit or payback for weeks or even months…. but IF you design your business the right way it will create income for you far into the future.

As long as your business uses a TEAM you are building FUTURE money that will be generated when you are asleep, out of the country, drunk, or on a date with your spouse.

( Or any of those four combined !)

Of course, if you spend all your time on FUTURE money you may not have enough to pay your bills today, so there has to be a smart balance.

When you are young and broke you need to spend enough time on NOW money to meet your basic needs, but should also spend some time on FUTURE money that will pay off down the line. IF you earn more than you spend you can invest the extra and turn NOW money into FUTURE money.

If you take on debt you are deducting funds from your FUTURE money.

Getting a decent college education is all about FUTURE money, dropping out of high school at 15 years old to work at Taco Bell is all about NOW money.

Poor folks work for NOW money, usually because that is what they have learned from the other poor people they have lived and interacted with over the years. 

When I started Balloon Distractions in 2003 I needed to earn at least $300 a week in tips, so I went out to restaurants in Tampa and filled gigs a couple of nights per week. During the day I would sell new clients and train new balloon artists. Within a year the tips became a much smaller percentage of my overall income.

If you spend time to train someone in your business you are creating Future money, if you do the job yourself because “no one can do it better than me” you are working for NOW money.

At Balloon Distractions we’ve designed an online training interface so that our team can learn how to grow the company without my presence.  If I go into a coma today my company has the systems in place so that when I wake up in 2020 it will be larger by a magnitude of 4 or 5.

At this point in my life all my expenses are covered and I spend almost 99% of my work time on building FUTURE money.

Mainly this involves working to recruit new Regional Partners in order to place Balloon Distractions crews in every city in North America with over 100,000 people.

277 cities in the USA meet this criteria…. and we only do business in less than 35 of those. 

Even taking time to write this essay may result in FUTURE money because someone online  might read it, get interested in my business, and decide to join my team, you never know! 

My personal goal is to be worth $10 million by my 50th birthday….. and I’ll only reach that by focusing like a laser beam on FUTURE money.

Even if I don’t get to 10, I might get to 6 or 7 million, and that would not be too bad.

Which type of money are you focusing on today, this week, right now?