The Pefect Grand Canyon Trip

It’s majestic, beautiful, and is a spectacular testament to the glory and might of God.

There is a plethora of information online about visiting the Grand Canyon. As first-time visitors, my Fiancé and I were thankful to gather so much information prior to our trip. My hope is that this will add to the available information and helps you plan your perfect Grand Canyon trip! This is a detailed write up so grab that cup of coffee sit back and enjoy! We were fortunate enough to visit Phoenix, Sedona, Coconino National Forest, South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Old Town Scottsdale during our trip.

We planned our trip to the Grand Canyon during the 4th of July weekend and no, the crowds aren’t bad as the internet makes it seem! We flew into Phoenix on the night of July 3rd and stayed the night in a hotel by the airport. The next morning, we made the trek up to Sedona.

Drive up to Sedona, Arizona
Drive up to Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona is known for its beautiful landscape. The area is surrounded by red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls and pine forests. The rock formations have vortexes, which helped dub Sedona as the spiritual Mecca of the Southwest. We departed Phoenix at 8:00 AM and arrived at Bell Rock by 10:00 AM. After a very short hike from the parking lot, we were up close to the huge rock structure. We didn’t feel a sudden urge of spiritual awakening around this vortex site, but my Fiancé and I walked back to the car reminiscing about our grandparents who are no longer with us. Whether you are a spiritual person or not, the beauty of Bell Rock is reason enough to visit the site! After visiting Bell Rock, we found ourselves eating lunch at Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill. The food was amazing and the views were even better, I highly recommend lunch there after a hike!

Bell Rock Sedona, Arizona
Bell Rock Sedona, Arizona
Cathedral Rock Area Sedona Arizona
Cathedral Rock Area Sedona, Arizona

The next stop after lunch was Cathedral Rock. We attempted to stop at Buddha Beach, but the crowds wanting to swim in the natural creek were deterrent enough to turn us away. After Cathedral Rock, next stop was Flagstaff, or so I thought. The GPS pointed us north on highway 89A. The landscape of Sedona’s red rocks quickly turned into pine trees and mountains. Purely by accident, or by the efforts of the GPS, we ran into Coconino National Forest. There are plenty of viewpoints on 89A and a stop is worth it! I mean, just look at this view.

Coconino National Forest, Arizona
Coconino National Forest, Arizona

After taking in the grandeur of the Coconino National Forest, we headed north to Flagstaff. We arrived shortly after 4:00 PM. There are many lodges and accommodations for visitors to stay at the Grand Canyon. We opted for Flagstaff because the city hosts a spectacular 4th of July fireworks show at the Continental Golf Club. Our hotel was a quick ten-minute walk from the fireworks show. We ended up with front row seats to watch the fireworks. The city of Flagstaff and the first responders did an amazing job with everything from crowd control to the actual fireworks show. It was the first time my Fiancé and I watched a firework show together. We set the camera on the tripod and laid our blanket on the soft baby Bermuda grass of the golf course and enjoyed a wonderful show in perfect 67-degree weather!

Fireworks Flagstaff, Arizona
Fireworks Flagstaff, Arizona
Fireworks Flagstaff, Arizona
Fireworks Flagstaff, Arizona

The next morning was the “grand” event. We wanted to watch the sunrise at Mather Point on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. So, we left our hotel room in Flagstaff at 3:00 AM on July 5th; yes, we were committed. We arrived at the canyon around 4:50 AM. The entrance fee into the Grand Canyon is $35 per car. We parked our car at the Visitor’s Center and embarked on a short ten-minute walk to Mather Point. There were a few people waiting to catch the sunrise but we expected a bigger crowd than what we saw. As the sun started to rise over the horizon, we got to witness the true magnificence of the canyon. At that moment, I knew why so many photographers kept telling me that it was impossible to capture the glory of this canyon in a picture and they were right. The Grand Canyon is 200 miles wide and a mile deep. It’s majestic, beautiful, and is a spectacular testament to the glory and might of God. After exploring other parts of the park, mainly to the west of Mather Point towards El Tovar hotel, we decided to make our way to Horseshoe Bend. We were in route on 64 East. At this point, I was pretty disappointed about my pictures. My whole purpose for the trip was to shoot a Panoramic picture of the canyon, which I’d be able to print. As we were getting closer to the park’s exit gates, we decided to make one last stop at Lipan Point. This was the spot that ensured I’d go home with a printable pano! The views were breathtaking, the haze cleared up, and we got to see the Colorado river in the valley below. We packed up our gear, ate the PB&J sandwiches we prepped the night before and made our way to Horseshoe Bend.

Sunrise at Mather Point South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Sunrise at Mather Point South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Lipan Point South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Lipan Point South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Colorado River South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Colorado River South Rim of the Grand Canyon

It took us two hours to get to Horseshoe Bend. Parking fee is $10 per car. We got to the parking lot at 12:30 PM and by this point the crowds were beginning to swell. It was also much hotter at Horseshoe Bend than it was at the Grand Canyon. We parked our car, and walked about a mile to the bend. We were amazed at the level of freedom visitors were granted. We could walk all the way to the edge and see the beautiful view and the vertigo causing drop below. After snapping a couple of pictures, we hiked back to the car and started our two-hour drive back to Flagstaff.

Horseshoe Bend Page, Arizona
Horseshoe Bend Page, Arizona

We got a goodnight’s sleep after a grueling day full of the beauty and the hot Arizona sun. On July 6th we made our way back to Phoenix with the help of an amazing cup of Cocomo from Dutch Bros Coffee; we desperately need these in Texas! As we were driving into Phoenix, we decided to check out the Old Town area of Scottsdale, which is 20 minutes from downtown Phoenix. We decided to eat at the Jewel of the Crown, an Indian restaurant in Scottsdale. I have very high expectations for Indian food and this restaurant surpassed them completely. After filling up our bellies with Lamb Keema Samosas, Puri, Lamb Curry, and Raita we explored Old Town. It’s filled with amazing architecture, shopping, restaurants and bars. The hundred plus degree heat during the middle of the day was a little overwhelming though. After exploring, we turned in for the night and got some great night’s sleep before our red eye to Austin, Texas on July 7th.

Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona
Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona

We could’ve spent months here and wouldn’t have scratched the surface. Arizona completely blew me away. The landscape, the gracious and welcoming people, and the culture ensured that we had a wonderful experience. Don’t ponder anymore, start planning your trip to the Grand Canyon State now!

Lasik Experience


Let me start this blog by saying that I am not a doctor. This is my personal experience with Lasik, and you should consult a doctor for any legitimate medical advice.

I have been wearing glasses and contact lenses since I was in 6th grade. My most recent prescription was around -2.50 with a high degree of astigmatism. I had nearsightedness or myopia; this defect can have people seeing closer objects clearly while distant objects are blurred. I gave Lasik some thought a couple of years ago but didn’t pursue it further.

Recently, it was time for a new prescription for my contacts and glasses. Due to my astigmatism, my contact lens prescription cost was higher than average. I did a fiscal analysis and looked at the expense of wearing contacts versus the pay off date for Lasik. The numbers worked out and over an extended period of time Lasik seemed to be a better financial decision.

After much research and getting multiple opinions for my Lasik surgery, I decided to get the treatment from Dr. Whiteside at LasikPlus in Austin, Texas. The following is the breakdown of the process and my experience with them.

Pre-Op Appointment:

I called the toll-free number for LasikPlus, and they helped schedule a pre-op appointment within a week. It took about an hour. I was greeted by a friendly lady at the front desk. She helped me check in with a tablet and also had me watch a brief video about Lasik and LasikPlus.

After that, I met Mollie. She performed several tests on my eyes to make sure that I was a candidate. She was very helpful, funny and made the process truly enjoyable. She answered my questions and also explained what each test measured. After Mollie’s initial tests, I met Dr. Pham. She did some more tests and confirmed that I was a great candidate for Lasik. Dr. Pham explained the surgery procedure and laid to rest any worries I had about the treatment. She also introduced the medication she would prescribe. The prescription included anti-anxiety pills, steroid eye drops, antibiotic eye drops, lubricating supplements, and lubricating eye drops. Finally, I met Stacie. She helped me understand the costs and various methods of payment. LasikPlus offers no interest payment plans if you are interested in financing your surgery as most insurances do not help pay for this surgery. We settled on the payment and booked the treatment date and the follow-up date within a week.

Treatment day:

I arrived about 15 minutes before my scheduled appointment time. Once again, I was greeted by the friendly front desk agent and checked in. Then, I settled the payment, and I was handed a bag which included my medication, goggles, and sunglasses.

After some waiting, one of the assistants explained the post-op care and answered questions. Then I was taken into a waiting room and met Dr. Whiteside. He rechecked my eyes and offered to answer any questions I had. I was asked to take the anti-anxiety medication and waited to be called for the treatment. After some time, I was escorted to the treatment room. My ride aka my parents were able to remain in a separate waiting area and watch the entire surgery.

Stacie led me to the operating room and asked me to lay down on the operating bed. They gave me a teddy bear and laid a blanket on top of me. Mollie yelled out my name, date of birth and what sounded like measurements for my surgery. Dr. Whiteside started explaining to me that he was getting ready to create the flap. Dr. Whiteside closed one of the eyes and then created the flap on the other. He repeated the procedure until the flaps were created in both eyes. They rolled the bed to a different machine. He pulled the flap back, and at this point, my vision got dark and blurry. The laser proceeded with the treatment, and the flap was reset. After both eyes were done. I was asked to stand up, and I could see! I could tell the time on the clock, but my vision was a little blurry.

I exited the operating room, and Dr. Pham double-checked my eyes. She ensured me that the flap was reset and centered. She put some eye drops in my eyes and reminded me of the post-op care once again. I put my cool shades on and hoped in the car to head home. Once I got in the car, I took Advil PM as I was advised to take a 4-hour nap immediately following the surgery. I did not feel any discomfort on the way home. Once I got back, I put on my sexy goggles and went straight to bed!


After I woke up from my nap on Friday, I had no discomfort or pain. I was able to watch television and use my cell phone on the same night without any trouble! I was instructed to take multiple eye drops for the first seven days. This regimen included steroid eye drops, anti-bacterial eye drops, and lubricating eye drops. After, the first seven days, I was instructed only to use the lubricating eye drops. Furthermore, I was asked to sleep with my goggles for the first seven days so that I would not be tempted to rub my eyes.

I was able to drive the day after treatment. However, on the Sunday after surgery, I decided to drive at night. My eyes were watering and would burn when I used the lubricating drops. The follow-up appointment was on Tuesday. Dr. Pham double-checked my eyes, ensured the flap was normal and that they were healing properly. Dr. Pham also expressed to me the reason for why my eyes were feeling uncomfortable. She stated that when I was driving, I was too focused and not blinking. The next time I drove, I followed her advice and blinked, which helped to keep my eyes comfortable.

Starbursts, halos and dry eyes are not a problem. I experienced some starburst during the first week after the treatment. As of now, they are non-existent; I can drive at night comfortably.

I avoided getting water into my eyes for the first week and a half. After that time, I let the water hit my eyes while showering without any problems. I was also able to resume exercising after the first week.

As of today, it has been over three weeks since my surgery. I would highly recommend Lasik to any qualified candidates. The fiscal benefit of getting the treatment over a lifetime’s worth of contact lens usage makes Lasik a great deal. The relative ease of the surgery and the non-existent recovery time is also a plus for most people who are busy and can’t afford to take time off work. I would furthermore, recommend LasikPlus to people pursuing Lasik. The whole staff treated me exceptionally well, made sure I was comfortable, and they did an excellent job explaining the entire procedure. My eyes feel great with zero complications, and my vision is better than 20/20!

LasikPlus of Austin

(866) 921-2392

3410 Far West Blvd #150a, Austin, TX 78731







Solar Incentives for Austin Energy Residential Customers

Austin Energy makes it easy and appealing for its customers to install solar on their home.

There are many positive benefits associated with installing solar panels for your home. Solar panels are great for the environment, and they can save you thousands of dollars on your energy bills. Solar panels can also increase the value of your home, and many utilities offer incentives to install them. Austin Energy, in particular, makes it easy and appealing for its customers to install solar on their home.

Austin Energy customers have three incentives that make going solar an easy decision for most homeowners in its territory. These incentives include a rebate; Austin Energy’s Value of Solar program, and the Federal Investment Tax credit.

Austin Energy offers a flat rebate of $2,500 for residential solar installations. There are some stipulations. A registered solar contractor who is on Austin Energy’s approved contractor list must complete the installation. Furthermore, the system specifications have to meet specific standards set by Austin Energy. The burden of meeting these standards is the contractor’s responsibility. Also, Austin Energy requires customers seeking this rebate to take its short solar education course and pass a quiz at the end. Don’t worry, if I can make it through this quiz, so can you!

It is essential to understand how electric companies charge customers to grasp the Value of Solar incentive offered by Austin Energy. Electric companies use a metric called “kilo Watt hours” (kWh) to measure the amount of energy a customer uses. For example, if your electric company’s rate is $.10/kWh and you use 1,000 kWh a month to power your home, then your monthly electric bill would be $100. Austin Energy charges customers based on a tier status. The chart for the tiers is listed below.

Austin Energy Rates as of 6/28/18

The Value of Solar incentive allows the customer to sell all energy produced from their solar panels to Austin Energy for a credit on their bill. They buy the generated power at the rate of $0.097/kWh. For example, if an Austin Energy customer uses 500 kWh a month, but their solar system produces 1,000 kWh in that month, the customer will be billed for $45.50 however, they will have a credit for  $97. In this instance, the customer would not pay anything for that month, and the remaining credit of $51.50 is used on future bills. Most customers typically see credits during the winter months, and these credits will usually be applied to their summer bills when the Central Texas heat is causing people to turn up their air conditioning systems.

Finally, the third benefit of going solar in Austin Energy territory applies to solar installation customers nationwide. The federal government offers a 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) to eligible taxpayers. The caveat is that solar customers must pay that amount in taxes to be able to take advantage of the ITC. If a person installs solar panels on their home for $10,000, then they could be eligible to get $3,000 in tax credit granted they already paid $3,000 that year in income taxes, or they have a liability of $3,000 in income taxes. The good news is that the ITC can be taken advantage of for five years.

Voyage Solar Energy, LLC is a reputable company with five-star reviews in the Austin area. Voyage is also on the Austin Energy’s contractor list. If you need further information while you consider solar for your home, Voyage can give you a free estimate with no obligation to buy! Furthermore, Voyage offers zero down financing, military discounts, first responder discounts and discounts for teachers.

The Worst Excuse Ever

It is a matter of prioritization, sacrifice, and fortitude to finish what you started.

A couple of Thanksgivings ago I was having a conversation with my family around the dinner table. My uncle had flown into Texas for the week to spend time with the family. At one point, I responded to a comment from another family member by saying, “I don’t think I have time to do all that.” When I said that my uncle, who I respect and look up to more than anyone else, said something to me along the lines of there is no such thing, as “I don’t have time.” I tried my best to understand his comment but I couldn’t figure out how it was possible to have the time to do all the things I wanted to accomplish. Almost three years later, I think I finally understand his statement, thanks to the life experience I’ve gained since that Thanksgiving.

I’m currently getting two start-ups off the ground; finishing up my MBA, maintaining an excellent social life and indulging in a trove of hobbies that take up a great deal of time. I can tell you two things: If I have the time to do all these things, so do you and there really is no such thing, as “I don’t have time” when it comes to achieving your goals. I hear this excuse almost every day and it left me searching for remedies to this state of mind. Here are three ways to have more time to achieve meaningful goals that you set for yourself:

Stop doing things that don’t matter: We claim to not have enough time to accomplish our goals but in reality, we spend a great deal of time on things that are unnecessary. If we sacrificed some unimportant things in our lives we would realize how much time we truly have. If a person stops spending thirty minutes a day on social media, sleeps seven hours instead of eight, and gives up thirty minutes of television a day, they will have an extra thirty days worth of time. It took me one week to start my businesses and about three weeks to make two thousand plus people know that business exists.

Devote yourself to your causes: Sacrifice and fortitude are major keys to achieving your goals. I’ve gone months without talking to some of my friends and if I picked up the phone and called them today, it would be like we didn’t miss a beat. People who genuinely care for you will understand your lack of communication and will be there for you. If someone needs your attention every single day, cut him or her out. They do not act that way because they care for you; they act that way because of selfish reasons.

Stop being busy: Yes, you read that correctly. Stop being busy. I get extremely suspicious of people who are constantly “busy.” Busy does not equal productive. If you are productive then you won’t be busy. It is important to prioritize your tasks and stop being busy. I’ll take a person who can get all their tasks done in twenty hours a week rather than someone who works eighty hours a week.

I’m no better than anyone else. I’m pretty average when it comes to most things in life. I truly believe if an average person like me can accomplish so many tasks, most of you can too. It is a matter of prioritization, sacrifice, and fortitude to finish what you started.


Failures and Successes

One of the best qualities of entrepreneurs is that they don’t let an opportunity pass by because they are “thinking about it.”

I’ve been a start-up founder of a business for nine months now. It is imperative to periodically do a self-audit of yourself as the CEO. Here are the three things I failed at and the three things I succeeded at:


I became a CEO too fast: Yes, it is important to set the vision, mission and core values for a new company early on. However, the most important thing for a company, especially a start-up, is sales. I should’ve done the bare minimum for the higher visionary requirements and focused my efforts more on sales. I am extremely proud of our sales effort and our sales successes. I am critical of my limited involvement in that portion of the business. Especially in the area of recruiting and training salespeople.

I promised too much: Look; if you are starting a business it will be your baby. Most parents tend to be irrationally proud of their children. The same logic applies to your business. A part of me believes that this really is not a failure. You have to go into it with grandiose mentality about the success you will achieve. However, be prepared to not hit every single goal and benchmark you set for yourself and your company. This is normal, but be vigilant about the promises you are making to yourself, your business plan and to those around you.

I neglected my health: Being a business owner means you will work extremely hard and you will have limited time for activities that don’t involve your enterprise. After starting Voyage, I’ve dedicated a majority of time to the company. I started staying up late, sometimes even entire nights, I started gaining weight, I started eating junk food because it was the quickest way to get something in my system, I stopped reading and I let go of my spiritual health. I realize the repercussions of my decisions regarding my health; I am currently making adjustments to my lifestyle of accommodate my physical and spiritual health. I truly believe it gets easier as the start-up becomes an established, well-oiled machine. The first year can be tough and will require a lot of sacrifices, including your health.


I started a company: Starting a business is a success in itself. Best-case scenario your company will succeed and you make money, worst-case scenario it won’t succeed and you will learn life lessons, which are impossible to learn without this failure. So, if you started your own business, congratulations! You did something most people only dream of and are too afraid to make a reality. If you are thinking about starting your own business, stop thinking, just do it already!

I picked the best team: My people are my greatest assets. Plain and simple. Ask 10 business owners what challenges they face and nine out of ten will tell you it hard to find good employees. I tell you this with my entire heart; ALL of the people that I work with are the best personality wise, talent wise and work ethic wise. So, I’m patting myself on the back for picking people who are rock stars.

We stand by our core values: If you look at the reviews for Voyage, we only have 5-star reviews. We treat our customers the right way because we truly believe in our core values, which are integrity, respect, transparency and community service. I stated that becoming a CEO too quickly was a failure, but I believe setting the core values and getting your people to buy into them will absolutely clarify their priorities.

These past nine months flew by very quickly. They have been a blast and I don’t regret a single moment. One of the best qualities of entrepreneurs is that they don’t let an opportunity pass by because they are “thinking about it.” So if you want to be an entrepreneur just do it and stop thinking, you can always hire people who can do the thinking for you!

Entitlement, Time and Misunderstandings

Words leave people anticipating actions, while your actions leave people speechless.

If you own or lead a business, chances are that not everyone is going to like you. I have come to experience some of these negative feelings and it is imperative that I share my experiences regarding this matter on this blog. There are multiple reasons why people won’t like you even if you don’t own or lead a business. Your happiness should depend on only one person’s view of your character and that one person is yourself. Here are three reasons why people tend to confront me because of my business:

Entitlement: When you start a business, most people in your circle will cheer you on. One of the first things that people will want is to be a part of your business. As a founder or an owner you should be very careful with your words. The smallest promise or hope you give to those closest to you will turn around to haunt you. If for one reason or another you don’t give people what you’ve discussed, they will attack you with a sense of entitlement. The best advice in this situation is to be very weary of promising people a position within your company. It is often said that friends and businesses don’t mix well. I’ve been lucky enough to have a CSO who is also one of my best friends. We work together very well because we can separate our personal relationship from our professional relationship. This will not be the case in all instances. I’ve learned hard lessons about the feelings of entitlement that people around you will have at a very early stage within my company and I’m thankful for those lessons.

Time: Many people simply do not understand the time requirements of starting your own business, plain and simple. The average person is used to working a 9-5; after they get out of work they have the rest of their time for personal things. When you own a business, there is no such thing as personal time. Your business becomes the number one priority in your life. Look, the simple fact is that you don’t need to own a business; in most instances, you can make more money working a 9-5. This is not the glamorous world that it is painted to be, it’s hard and it’s not for everyone. If you can’t say yes to the question I am about to ask then you have no business in the start-up environment. Are you willing to give up EVERYTHING for your business to succeed?

Misunderstanding: Here is another plain and simple reason why people will confront you. People will misunderstand most of your statements. I’ve gotten multiple messages on social media and in person where people would question my reasons for posting or saying the things that I say. My main 2 jobs as a CEO are to be the biggest cheerleader for my company and to make sure we never run out of money. Most of my posts and conversations involve my company. Some people will assume that you are doing this to brag or boast. They won’t understand that every meeting, every post, every conversation is an opportunity for your business. It is neither a good nor a bad representation of their personality, they just don’t understand.

These are only three of many reasons why people have spoken to me or about me negatively. I will end this blog post with one simple statement. No matter what others might say or do to you, always help others without expecting anything in return. Everyone needs a helping hand, do so with your actions and not your words. Words leave people anticipating actions, while your actions leave people speechless.







Fiscal Justification for Solar Energy

Renewables, solar energy, in particular, makes fiscal sense, nothing more nothing less.

When we put politics aside, the greatest equalizer in the shift of market trends is the fiscal efficacy of a product or service. The over-politicized rhetoric about climate change from politicians and celebrities is actually alienating half of the population in the US from embracing renewable energy. Even in a red state like Texas people are embracing renewables for reasons other than political rhetoric. Renewables, solar energy, in particular, makes fiscal sense, nothing more nothing less. The environmental benefits are an added incentive to the fiscal benefits of renewable energy. Here are three reasons why solar energy makes sense from a purely fiscal perspective:

Grid Parity: This term is used liberally in the energy industry. Grid parity occurs when an alternative energy source, such as solar, can generate energy at a price that is less than or equal to that of purchasing energy from the grid. We are now at a stage where this can occur. There are two simple reasons why we are now achieving grid parity. Firstly, the significant reduction in the prices of solar equipment is helping achieve a better return on investment for residential and commercial properties, which in turn is resulting in grid parity. Secondly, the constant rises in electricity costs from the grid are meeting at equilibrium with the solar costs. In some states, like California the price of solar is significantly cheaper than purchasing electricity from the grid. The continuing increase in the country’s population puts more stress on the grid. Also, the decline in coal and nuclear power plants will ultimately lead to grid parity all over the US in the near future.

Property Value Increases: According to Forbes, a residential solar system costing the homeowner around $15,000 can increase the property value up to $20,000. Unlike grid-powered energy, which only takes money from the homeowner, solar energy can actually put money back into homeowner’s pockets. In many states, Texas, in particular, the increased property value is eligible for a tax exemption. Solar panels also have an intangible asset associated with them. When comparing two homes in a similar neighborhood with similar amenities, a solar powered home with zero electric costs becomes more appealing to potential buyers.

Government and Utility Subsidies: Yes! Even subsidies further justify the use of solar energy. One of the most common arguments against renewables is the use of subsidies. Many people don’t realize that the whole energy sector is a subsidized industry. According to DBL Investors, the cumulative subsidies for oil & gas, nuclear, and biofuels totaled upwards of $663 billion by the end of 2010. The cumulative subsidies for renewables only totaled at $5 billion by the end of 2010. Even with a significantly lower subsidy rate, renewables are closer to grid parity than ever.

These are some of the reasons why renewables are gaining traction in the US. The beauty of capitalistic economies lies in the fact that when a higher quality alternative to a product or service is being offered at a cheaper cost, the market trends tend to shift. There are numerous fiscal benefits and justifications for going solar. What are you waiting for? Visit to see how we can save you money in the Central Texas area!

Participation Trophies

In an age of softened egos and entitled expectations, it is essential to understand a simple fact of life. There are only winners and losers.


It’s the first week of the month. This is the time to get your objectives in order, read your financial statements and correct the mistakes of the previous month and get organized to hit your goals for the upcoming thirty days. One of the biggest things I reiterate to my sales department is the necessity of understanding that there are no such things as participation trophies in sales.

If you don’t close, you don’t eat; it’s as simple as that. I don’t want salespeople I want closers. In an age of softened egos and entitled expectations, it is essential to understand a simple fact of life. There are only winners and losers. Yes, it’s true that losing doesn’t equate to failure. The only way to learn is by losing. That is the key, learning. Closers take every opportunity to learn and improve. This does not mean they indulge in losses, it means they evaluate their performance, note the areas of improvement and move on.

Another essential quality of closers is their perseverance. Often people will quit at the first sign of failure or rejection. The efficacy of closers is determined by their willingness to persevere. You have to have the ability to stomach multiple rejections before getting a yes. Don’t give up after the first two tries, keep going until your client is absolutely sure that they do not want your product or service. When they are sure about that, ask them questions about how to improve your offering to better suit their needs. Then, see if you can implement those changes and go back and ask for the sale with an updated proposal.

Finally, closers compete. Although competition among closers within a company is aggressive, true closers compete against themselves. You have to wake up every morning and think that you are the best. If you truly believe in that statement, then you have to compete against yourself every day! Set goals and demolish them, then set higher goals and continue to demolish those as well.

Sales managers understand the importance of emotional well-being of their people. They find it necessary to cheer their people on even and especially when they are not performing up to par. However, the thing about sales is that it is one of those career paths, which is completely dependent on the salesperson himself or herself. Your boss can hate your guts, but if you perform month after month, he/she can’t take that commission away. At the same token, if you can’t perform and close, you will struggle because the cheering from your employer doesn’t pay your bills. Hence, I go back to my original point, there are no participation trophies in sales!

The Glamour-less Life of a Startup Founder

Photo by Dr. Janna Pathi

When some people think of really successful founders, they think of people who started companies like Pandora, Airbnb or Uber, and they tend to imagine the life of an entrepreneur as being glamorous and adventurous. In reality, most startup owners live a tough and demanding lifestyle. The truth is, being an entrepreneur is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I can assure you that nine out of every ten founders will tell you the same thing. However, if you have the guts, the ability to stomach the hardships and an idea or product that you are excited to work for every day, then becoming a startup founder will be one of the most amazing journeys of your life. My job on this site is to tell you like it is, so here are some challenges you will face as a startup founder, especially in the early stages of your company.

Lack of Money

There are two facets to the issue of money. Firstly, there will be a lack of capital for your business. Unless you come from a wealthy background and can manage to raise money through savings or family members, it will be extremely difficult for a startup to have sufficient funds to run a business. So, you will end up wearing multiple hats and doing multiple jobs. My business cards might say CEO but I do everything from cleaning the office to helping at installations if I have to. Most banks will not lend to a company that has been in business for less than two years. There will be some hard-money lenders, who will work with startups. Startups should stay away from hard-money lenders; the payback terms really become an impediment to the scalability of a business. Another option is Venture Capitalists, but they require an equity stake in the company. In the startup stages, it may be extremely difficult to evaluate your company. So, that ten percent you give up now can be worth millions at a later stage of the company. Secondly, founders should also consider their personal financial situation. When starting up a company, most founders forgo their salaries. This is an opportunity cost which they incur. Instead of working for free at your own company, you can work for someone else and take home a salary. Lack of personal money raises many concerns. Your bills might become overdue; you won’t be able to splurge on the little things in life like movies and dinner. Your social life can take a hit.

You Will Work HARD

Owning a startup means working harder than you have ever worked in your entire life. This doesn’t particularly mean you are in front of a computer for 12 hours a day. You are constantly communicating with internal and external parties. You think about your business, products, and services all the time. As a matter of fact, there is no time limit to your day; you will work almost 24 hours a day. Most of my days typically start at 5:00 AM and end at 3:00 AM the next morning. I’ve never thought that I would loathe the necessity of sleep as much as I do now. If sleep weren’t an absolute necessity, I would probably never sleep. Be ready to give up the simple pleasures in life like sleep, food, and spending time with people you care about.

You Will Worry Constantly

If you currently have a job where the most you have on the line is only your job and you can’t handle that stress; I’d strongly advise that you stay where you are. When you own a startup, everything you have is at stake. Your reputation, your money, your work and your entire self are all on the line for your business. You will feel anxious all the time.

This article’s intention is not to provide any advice on how to deal with the issues I’ve addressed. It is to show you what I deal with on a daily basis. I frankly can’t provide you any advice on how to deal with these issues because I’m still learning to do that for myself. In this uncertain life of mine, I can tell you one thing with the utmost certainty, I love what I do, I wake up every day thanking God for giving me this opportunity and I push forward with my head held high. Through these struggles, I continue to learn to be smarter, tougher, and more ambitious. My family, friends, and colleagues may not know what I go through on a daily basis but are constantly there to catch me when I fall.

3 Things Startup Founders Must Master

Cash is the god; sales are the religious rituals that pay homage to that god and communication is the promise of salvation!

3 Things Every Startup Founder Must Master

According to Forbes, 90% of startups fail. Here are 3 things startups overlook in the early stages, but must get right, if they want to take their idea to the next level.

  1. Financial Statements

Since a young age, we understand the importance of report cards. In the business world, a company’s financial statements serve the purpose of being those report cards. It is absolutely essential for startup founders to master the art of reading financial statements. Many startups ignore the financial accounting segment of the business because they look at it as a chore. In reality, financial statements and projections should be the benchmark by which you run a business. Most startup founders are spoiled by the advent of managerial metrics. Although managerial metrics serve a purpose, at an executive level financial statements are the most useful metrics. Every 5th of the month should be the due date for financial statements of the previous month; this gives you 25 days to implement changes that make a positive impact. In the business world, cash is the king; in the startup world, cash is the god.

  1. Sales

I spend a 100% of my time selling something. Most of the time, I’m selling my company’s services to customers. At other times, I’m selling myself with elevator pitches in networking situations and my business to potential investors and employees. I firmly believe that most successful startup founders come from either a financial or a sales background. I am one of the lucky ones who got to learn both segments of business. Sales, like public speaking, is a very threatening prospect for many people. Rest assured, that like anything in life sales could be learned. As a startup founder, you need to learn how to become an excellent sales person. If you have tried and in no possible way can become a good sales person, give up equity and bring in a partner who can fill that role. If cash is the god, sales are the religious rituals that pay homage to that god.

  1. Communication

Most startup founders are excellent speakers. However, the most important part of communication is listening. It is imperative that founders actively listen. Listen to your customers, employees, the market, and the industry. Practicing a two-way method of communication will boost revenue and make your business a happy place for employees. Cash is the god; sales are the religious rituals that pay homage to that god and communication is the promise of salvation!