Category Archives: General

When to turn back and when to push on?

“Learn something everyday”

Dallas Social Media speaker J.R. Atkins sails the BVIAs I started out on my trip to go sailing in the British Virgin Islands, I had no idea the amount of adversity I would be facing. I spent two days and traveled on 8 different transportation services before I finally arrived at my hotel. At one point I thought about turning back and starting over another day, but I didn’t. Take a look at the list of trials I faced and then see what I learned.


On Thursday morning my alarm did not go off at 2:00am but thankfully I work up at 2:20 on my own.

As I stepped outside to walk the dog I locked myself out of the house. I walked to the back to get in through the garage only to find that the battery in the keypad was out. I found a window unlocked and climbed in.

I was about to leave and I remembered I did not have my passport. The supper shuttle arrived and I was off to DFW Airport.

Arriving at check in I noticed that someone had left their boarding pass at the auto check in kiosk. I gave it to the desk attendant to throw away and instead they checked my bag to that person destination, Jacksonville Florida.

I could not check in at the kiosk so I walked over to the ticket agent for help. She noticed the mixup on the bag check and was able to catch it before my bag was loaded on the wrong plane.

The reason I could not check in at the Kiosk is I had yet to pay the annual fee to fly stand by. I called my wife at home to wake up, log on and pay the annual fee. Once done, with my bag in hand I started the check in process again.

I get on the plan and realized I had left my boat shoes at home. Oh well, there is nothing I need in the BVI that I can’t buy when I get there. The flight to Atlanta was uneventful.

From Atlanta I flew to beautiful San Juan Porto Rico. We landed, I retrieved my bag and walk out of the airport to realize I am in the wrong place, San Juan Porto Rico instead of St Thomas USVI. It’s my fault for burring the candle at both ends before I left. I scheduled my flight to the wrong place by accident.

So I take a cab to the local, regional air port and catch a puddle jumper to St Croix then to St Thomas. I was in the St Croix air port no longer then 15 minutes, but log enough to pull out my Ray-ban sunglass and watch the right lens to fall out and break. I hope that is covered under the warranty.

On I fly to St Thomas, get my bags, walk out to the Taxi line and ask for a ride to the Ferry Terminal. It’s to late, the last ferry to Tortola has left already. So instead I go to a hotel across the street from the ferry terminal and spend the night.


Dallas Social Media Speaker J.R. Atkins visits with the famous FoxyFriday at 12:00 noon, I arrive at the Ferry Terminal for the 12:45 Fast Ferry to Road Town. Just before we depart they tell me they can not take me to Roan Town, only as far as the west end where I can take a cab the rest of the way, at my own expense. Welcome to the Islands where the people are nice but you pay for it.

I share a ride into Road Town and we are taken to the wrong place. After renegotiating the rate, we finally arrive at the Hotel.

The Lesson

At what point do we consider our circumstances and choose to retreat? The thought crossed my mind. “Should I take all this into consideration and go home, get some much needed rest and try again tomorrow?”

Dallas Social Media Speaker J.R. Atkins sails the islands of the BVII chose to press on, not because I’m a tough minded, hard charging kind of guy, but because of an idea, a vision, a picture in my mind.

That picture was of me setting on a beach on a Caribbean Island with a beverage in my hand watching the sun set.

This process of pursuing a vision in the face of adversity is not unique to travel. Every day we make choices based on a picture in our mind. The more vivid the details, the stronger the pull.

But the ability to move ahead in the face of adversity is also like a well trained athlete with muscle memory. As we deal with adversity and push through, we build our muscle memory that says “yes I can.” Over time it gets easier to push through difficult situations.

Each choice we make in life build on the others. We either build positive muscle memory or negative muscle memory.

Have you ever listen to someone describe tragedy in their life and then say “these kind of things always happen to me”? They have built their own reality based on the negative muscle memory. Or as Dr. Phil is found of saying “How is that working for you”. I’m not saying we invite adversity to ourselves, but I am saying we have 100% control in how we respond.

Dallas Social Media Speaker J.R. Atkins enjoys sailing the BVIThe only reason I was able to smile and be in good spirits throughout the two days of travel was I made a conscious choice to have a good time, trust it would all work out and enjoy the moment.

I look forward to reading your stories and comments.

5 reasons today’s entrepreneurs are taking the plunge

Category : General

I see more people over age 50 transition from looking for a job to starting their own company. So, this article caught my attention.

5 reasons today’s entrepreneurs are taking the plunge

5 reasons today’s entrepreneurs are taking the plunge was published by Venter Beat and Entrepreneur Corner: link

(Editor’s note: Clate Mask is the co-founder and CEO of software company Infusionsoft. He submitted this story to VentureBeat.)

If you took the time to sit down and sift through the US Census Bureau data, you’d see that over the past few years, entrepreneurs are starting new businesses at an unprecedented rate.  Consistently, the number of existing businesses at the end of the year has increased by between 500,000 and 1million.

That means that before subtracting out the number of startups that fail, the gross number of new businesses started is actually much higher than 1 million per year.  And that’s in the U.S. alone.

Why are entrepreneurs starting new businesses in record numbers?  The first chapter of my new book, Conquer the Chaos, makes the case we’re in an “Entrepreneurial Revolution” and it’s happening due to five big reasons.

Corporate disillusionment.  Downsizing, outsourcing overseas, pension scandals and general corporate irresponsibility have left employees disillusioned and embittered.  The antiquated notion of going to college, getting a job and becoming a “lifer” was the ideal of the baby boomer generation.

Today’s worker holds no such ideal.  The old notion of getting a stable job with a big company has eroded, leaving many workers to feel the security of a corporate job is not so secure after all.

A technology power shift.  The Internet has changed everything.  You no longer need a bricks-and-mortar shop on which to hang out your shingle.  With your product or service, a quick website, some online advertising and an email marketing program to keep your followers apprised of your activity, you’ve got the makings of a start-up business.

All the research you need is at your fingertips.  And you can compete effectively with long-established businesses.  The Internet has simply torn down the barriers to entry and now entrepreneurs are able to jump into the game without amassing a small fortune before they get started.

The promise of overnight success. As aspiring entrepreneurs look around, they see friends, acquaintances, high school rivals and even past (less-savvy?) co-workers making it on their own.  Of course, they don’t typically see the blood, sweat and tears that went into the successful venture because that’s not human nature.

Instead, human nature sees what looks like an overnight success story—and that is a seductive siren call to the disillusioned corporate worker who’s constantly thinking, “If Bob can do it….”

An expanding work force.  Speaking of those baby boomers, many of them are entering the ranks of entrepreneurship.  The Kauffmann Foundation has done a bunch of research on entrepreneurs and, interestingly, their research shows a large contingent of first-time business owners are between middle age and the golden years.

It makes sense: Baby boomers now have a longer life expectancy, they frequently have a nest egg they’ve accumulated over the years, they’ve finished their “career” and they want to try their hand at an entrepreneurial venture they’ve always dreamed about.

The recession.  This is a biggie that’s been driving a lot of entrepreneurial activity over the last couple years.  Unfortunately, we don’t yet have the Census Bureau data on this period of time, but I’m willing to bet it will show an increase in the number of businesses started.

My daily experiences tell me this is true.  My company works with entrepreneurs and we see droves of people who’ve been forced into entrepreneurship.  They lose their job, get a severance package, take a little time to think about what’s next… and then commonly start a consulting practice or some sort of solopreneurship.  And frankly, I believe this is a great thing for our economy—to have more entrepreneurs out there creating value, filling in voids in the marketplace, conjuring up new products and services that just might become the next big thing when the market turns around.

Sure, this new breed of entrepreneurs will take their lumps and it won’t be as easy as they thought, but many will find their freedom. And that freedom is the one thing every entrepreneur seeks: freedom in terms of more money, more time, more control over their lives and more purpose in their work.  I love seeing entrepreneurs take the plunge in pursuit of their freedom.  And I believe it’s exactly what this country needs to break out of a sluggish economy.

Photo by hufse via Flickr

Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It

Category : General

Have you ever wonder why some companies start up and flourish while others start up and fail after a short time? These are the concepts discussed in one of my favorite books, The E-Myth.

I have been an unofficial evangelist for The E-Myth, by Michael Gerber, since 1993 when I read it the first time. My associate and I spent a year studying the material and holding each other accountable to applying the principles of The E-Myth.

Since then, I have given the book as a gift numerous times, recommended it to clients and told E-Myth stories in my workshops and speeches. If you have not read updated book, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It then you might consider it.

If you are open to joining an E-Myth Study group, please let me know.

I envision gathering in an office conference room, in Dallas, with a group of 8 to 12 business leaders who are studying and applying E- Myth principles. The first 4-6 weeks we will meet weekly, and then go to a monthly format for about 6 months or when ever.

By the way, I am participating in the E-Myth Insider Pilot program and will have some additional insight to offer you from my participation. I look forward to growing our business and increasing time for ourselves too.

Happy New Year 2010!

Category : General

I moved my blog to today and invite you to explore the new features I have added such as: Search, Subscribing, Flickr and Twitter.

Let’s make 2010 a  great year.

Why is the US postal system losing money?

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Category : General

Why is the US postal system losing money?

By J.R. Atkins 12/18/2009

Non-competitive business practices or poor customer service; what would you call this recent experience with the US Postal Service?

Monday evening I went to get my mail when I noticed our community mail box had been knocked down. I went ahead and checked for mail, no luck.

Tuesday evening, same thing, no mail. This is when I figured that the mail is not going to be delivered if the boxes are not accessible from the rout carrier’s vehicle.

On Thursday I call my local post office and they tell me I can pick up my mail at their location and they have no idea when my mail box will be repaired.

On Friday, I go to the post office to pick up my mail and learn they don’t have my mail. It is at an annex. If I call the annex, they can deliver my mail each day to my local post office and I can come pick it up.

I call the annex, they said they can deliver my mail to my local post office on Saturday and I will need to call each day to get my mail. I cannot just let them know to keep delivering it there till I say otherwise. And, they have no online method of communication.

At this point, I am ready to find another way to receive my mail. This is how the free market system works. Business will go and stay where it is appreciated. When the service/cost offering deteriorates, then people find another solution. Thus: FedEx, UPS, Email, Fax, and Ecommerce are eating away at the US Postal System.

If I was paying an independent provider for mail service, how might this story have changed?

1.      The carrier would have come to my door, delivered the mail or left a note.

2.      The carrier would have placed a not on the downed ,mail box with instructions

3.      There would be information on the web and email communication available

4.      My monthly fee for mail delivery might be reduced until the mailbox is repaired.

The list could go on but you get the idea. So the question is, would we be better off with a privatized system for mail delivery?

J.R. Atkins is a Social Media Speaker and Consultant with Something Different Companies LLC.