Wednesday, March 28, 2007

How To Plan a House

The title of this blog is Simplify my Life, but it seems like life is anything but simple these days. We're in the process of planning and building a house, and hope to get this done by the end of the year. My parents want to give my sisters and I each a house lot on their farm. I'm the first to try and do this, as my younger sisters are not ready to settle in just yet.

There's a whole lot to do here. Here's a very basic outline of the steps we think we'll need to get done:
  1. Choose an area where we want to build (done)
  2. Have that area surveyed and divided
  3. Obtain that lot from my parents (either nominal sale or gift)
  4. Inquire and start the process of bringing electricity and telephone to the lot
  5. Select a house plan (We're going modular)
  6. Get a construction loan
  7. Get the lot ready - foundation, septic, well, driveway, etc
  8. Have the House delivered and move in
We got step two put into action this week, as we've been interviewing surveyors and getting proposals on getting the lot done. One of the engineering firms we talked to was someone that a friend of the family had used several times in the past, was pleased with them, and they also came in a full $1500 less than the next firm's price. We ensured that all the proposals contained the same work and went with this firm. We had to send a 50% deposit to them, which was mailed this Monday and pretty much wiped out one of my savings accounts (ING Direct).

We'll try to keep you posted on the process!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Review: You Call The Shots

Cameron Johnson started 12 successful businesses before he turned 21. Most of those were Internet ventures, but he also served as General Manager of Sales for his family's Ford Dealership - which is one of the top in the country.

Johnson started in business when he was 10 and got his first computer. He created greeting and business cards and sold them. Then he moved onto wholesale online sales of Beanie Babies, and followed that up with several Internet business that provided services such as spam filtering, surfing for profit and an easy way for businesses to follow up with customers.

During the course of these ventures he learned a lot about how business should be done, and has collected his thoughts and experiences together in his book You Call the Shots: Succeed Your Way-- And Live the Life You Want-- With the 19 Essential Secrets of Entrepreneurship.

Written in a casual, friendly style, Johnson comes across as humble and likable, many of the people he went to school with didn't even know of his other life as a business mogul until they saw him on TV or mentioned in the paper. The book is an easy read, I went through the about 250 pages in just a number of hours.

Perhaps the best part of the book is the resource section in the back, which has a large number of sites that Cameron has found useful, or feels that someone trying to start a business of their own could benefit from.