2016-in-review

**WARNING** This is a long post, if you don’t have a lot of time, bookmark it and come back. You will certainly want to read it all.

2016 is coming to an end and what a year it has been. It was certainly a year of some great self-revelation and personal growth for me. I would have to say it wasn’t my best year from an earnings perspective but it was my greatest year from a learning perspective.

I learned a lot about people and I realized that everyone has their own agenda which can be both good and bad. 2016 was the year I experienced more of the bad. This past year I had 4 of what I think of as, “awful experiences” that I will share with you.

“Awful experience” #1, started with being asked to resign from a job with no explanation. Promises were made to me which were ultimately reneged upon. In reflection, I am glad to no longer be involved with that organization, for too many reasons to list which don’t warrant an explanation.

After that ended, I decided to take some time off and figure out what I want to do with my life. I seriously considered starting my own BBQ catering business but chose to put that on hold for the time being.

During this interim period of career reflection, some friends who own IT businesses reached out to me to help them deliver on their marketing plans which they couldn’t find the time for. Although this was not something I planned to do long term, it kept me busy and paid the bills until my next great thing came along.  However, it also lead to “awful experience” #2.  I was really enjoying these projects until another of my personal friends, a CEO of his own marketing company, accused me of competing with his company. He claimed people were saying I was going after his clients and business. I suspect this wasn’t actually the case, but I can’t prove it. The crazy thing is that prior to helping these IT businesses, I proposed to this CEO that we team up and offer my services through his organization, rather than my going solo with it. It could have been great, we could have scaled it and shared in the success and additional revenues. But he passed on that idea. To be clear, I wasn’t creating any marketing plans, I was simply following the plans laid out for them by their marketing company which in some cases was the marketing company I offered my help to.  In the end, this CEO actually fired the MSPs that were working with me. The best thing that came out of all of this is that I was able to help my friends and their businesses are better off for that.

“Awful experience” #3. Imagine getting an offer, for what you think, is your dream job with a great company and then it gets pulled at the last minute. Terrific company, fantastic team of people, a CEO who thinks outside of the box. The absolute dream job for a guy like me or so I thought. But, you know what they say, everything works out for a reason. Looking at it now, I do believe that it wouldn’t have been the right place for me.

“Awful experience” #4 isn’t all that bad but it does rate an honorable mention. This was another opportunity to work for what I feel is a great company. An executive at this company discussed an opportunity with me but asked me to keep this between us until they could get a few things ironed out. They promised they would be ready for me by October which was fine with me because I was still busy helping an IT firm. October came and went without a word. Finally, they got back to me saying it wouldn’t be until after the first of the year. This was fine because by this time I realized what I really wanted to do was to continue to focus my efforts on the IT firm I was contracting with.

That is where my “awful experiences” ended.

In August, the owner of the IT firm I mentioned, my friend Don Schultz, offered me a job as the President / COO of his Madison, WI MSP, Infratactix. I wasn’t sure I wanted to run an MSP again but I thought I would give it another shot. So, I started contracting for Infratactix. I am so glad I took this opportunity. What a great time we are having working together. We are able to do a lot of great things, including helping our clients and even better, making a difference in each other’s lives. Don and I have been friends a long time, we know that we will go through good times and bad times. But, because we have learned quickly to trust and to communicate with each other, we are able to work through any differences we have.

Some of the things we are doing besides growing the business is helping and giving back to our local community. For example:

In November, we provided Thanksgiving dinner for disabled Veterans.  Serving a full Thanksgiving dinner to about 20 veterans and their caretakers was the best experience. It went so well and was received so greatly that we plan to do this each year going forward.  Click this link to see pictures of the event.

This December, we held a Winter Coat Drive. I set a goal of collecting 150 winter clothing items. Together with our clients and friends helping, as well as others who donated, we were able to collect over 300 winter items. We will be doing a winter coat drive each year. The picture below is Carrie Schultz from Infratactix delivering the coats to the Middleton Outreach Ministry.

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As a result of working with Infratactix, I have been appointed to a seat on the Executive Leadership Team of the March of Dimes of Wisconsin. With that appointment, the staff of Infratactix has joined together to start a March for Babies Team to take part in the walk in May 2017. I certainly hope that you can help support our fundraising efforts for this amazing organization by a making a donation to our team.

I had no idea that running Infratactix would be the dream job with that dream company I had been looking for all this time, but it is. Sure, opportunities come across my desk all the time but I have found a home with a very bright future.  I am thrilled to share that effective December 26, I will no longer be a contractor, I will become a full time employee at Infratactix with a vested interest.

All 4 of these “awful experiences” are now just a blip on my radar. They are in my past. 2017 is looking bright for me, my family and my career.

For those who have been supportive of me this year, thank you very much. Without your support and friendship, I am not sure this year would have ended so positively.

As I end this post, both Loree and I would like to wish you all the best for a happy holiday season and a joyous New Year.

All the best,

Stu

3 thoughts on “2016, oh what a year it has been…

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