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What Now?

January 24, 2011

I feel as though I am at a crossroads. This phrase is so generic and is prevalent in everyday language.  However, it’s a play on word that makes sense.  Stability is such an important aspect of our day-to-day lives as individuals.  At Twenty-four years old I feel as though my thought of constant stability in the future is fading.  I have lived in Bloomington for the past six plus years now, and my time here is winding down.  At some point over the next six months I will be moving to a destination of my choosing.  When saying this, my decision on where to live is contingent on what is best for my family business, The Rolland Group.  My top priority is family, and there is no better way to build a foundation than starting with the people that you know and trust the most.

I am leaving Bloomington with a sense that I have unfinished business here for some reason.  Btownmenus is thriving, but I know that we have a lot more potential for growth.  I have all the confidence in the world in the first employee that we will be hiring, Corey Arenson.  After three years of paying his due diligence within our company as a part time employee/fulltime student at IU, I am ready to pass him the torch.  Reflecting on the past is something that I do from time to time because it’s a great gauge for learning from mistakes, and growing as a human being.  Right now I am completely perplexed on what to do with my life.  Part of me wants to take on the challenge of moving to Denver, Colorado and trying to go head on with a national competitor to grasp the market for top dog in the menu game.  As intriguing as this sounds, this menu business is beginning to burn me out.  Starting a menu site from the ground up, let alone a city is a major undertaking.  The decision on the next step for my family business starts with where I am going to live.  Being the oldest son and the head of marketing and recruiting for our company, I feel an added pressure to care more about my family then my own personal wants/needs in this scenario.

Ideally, I would love to live out on the beach and wake up to waves crashing on the sand, walking out on the deck with flip flops and shorts and no shirt on.  Taking in the ocean breeze as I follow my two black labs onto the beach to watch the sun rise.  This sounds like Los Angeles, or San Diego to me, but what to do out there?  I’ve got plenty of moneymaking ideas that I am very confident will work.  Unfortunately, no rash and/or illogical decisions can be made regarding this next crucial stage in my life and family business.  I am in my mid 20s now, and although I stand by my belief in age just being a number, its time for a lifestyle change and for me to reach full maturation.  My mother mentioned to me over the holiday break that the cortex in a male’s brain isn’t full developed until the age of 30.  For women its 25.  The cortex involves the part of the brain that is utilized for judgement and decision making.  I still have a lot of maturing to do on a personal and a business level.  I am ready to take on the next step in my life, whichever direction that takes me.

What do I really want to do? I have had major issues sleeping as of late because my mind is always racing.  Worrying wouldn’t be the right way to phrase it, it’s more of a constant anticipation that builds up and eventually bursts into whatever is next.  I am very confident that whichever decision that I make will end up working out in the long run.  Lately I have been thinking a lot about fate and destiny.  What has gotten me to where I am today with these menu sites and still living in Bloomington traces back to connect so many dots that it gives me a raging headache just thinking about it.  I keep asking myself, what is next?  Do I live in L.A. and pursue my dream of being a professional writer.  Up into the wee hours of the morning typing away at my laptop going in and out of writers block.  The sun is just starting to peak into the Los Angeles horizon and I’m eight cups of coffee deep, (even though I prefer hot chocolate) and finally get on that magical roll that I have been yearning for throughout the past couple weeks.  Piecing together screenplays that began as an idea that popped into my head one random night after smoking a joint and watching “The Hangover”?  That life seems like such a fantasy, that I only wish I could turn into a reality, as soon as possible.  Can I?

Do I stand behind my family company and go balls to the wall and head into Denver, Colorado full steam ahead.  Up against, our big competitor in the market who has over ten times our marketing budget.  This seems right up my alley.  The David vs. Goliath, the true underdog story. Both of my brothers will be living in Boulder fulltime running, so if we delve into Denver, this rests on my shoulders to perform.  Ideally, I put in 14-16 hour days for 3 years, we optimize the entire Denver market and at least 75% of the 2 million people in the Denver area have heard about our site by 2014., Grub hub, or campus food decide it is best to buy us out.  Our credibility and reputation goes through the roof and by the age of 28 I am a multimillionaire with the flexibility to do whatever I want.

Of course everybody loves happy endings and that sure sounds like one.  Failure is never in my vocabulary, but my father has taught me to expect the worst and hope for the best.  We are incurring a major risk by launching a menu site in a city.  I am very comfortable and familiar with the college markets and how to target the university communities.  A city is a completely different beast, and as much as I am up for the challenge, I still have a lot of maturing to do. Ensuring that my family receives all the market research necessary so that we can make the most educated decision is a top priority and its essential that I provide whatever is out there.

Or we could just drop the menu business game all together.  Hire a couple employees to run btownmenus and and hopefully sell out for 5-10 million dollars in a year or two.  Maybe I should get my real estate license and start renting out properties out in Denver and/or Phoenix and flipping them to make a profit.  On the side I can take script-writing classes, promote my marketing book, and really enjoy a well-balanced life.

The deadline that I have given myself to decide my plans for next year is February 15th.  There are numerous reasons behind this date, but not of which are of any importance.  What truly matters is that I make a decision with my head, and logic, and not with my heart and emotion.  This is an exciting, yet unstable time for me.  The whole world is in front of me, but where am I going, and what am I doing?

On the personal end of the spectrum, I have to admit that running a full time business has effected my relationships with people, including friends, and past girlfriends that had the potential to develop into something down the road.  I used to think that money could buy happiness.  My parents seem to be the happiest couple in the world and they have been married almost 30 years now.  Times have changed, and we are in a different era. Girls/Women in my life have come and gone and it mostly revolves around my relentless caring of my business.  My mother always tells me that money alone will never make me happy and that life is all about genuine and intimate relationships.   Is it too much to ask for to have  a clear head in the morning when I can wake up, take a deep breath, stretch my arms, lean over and know that I no longer have to go out trying to find “that perfect girl” anymore and this isn’t only a dream? No longer having to analyze every move that I have made and will make in my head a million times over?  All the dots connecting into…  My partner in crime is waiting in the wings somewhere out there, and so is my decision on where to live, and what to do….The pieces will fall into place, and my mind will eventually no longer have to race.  There is a lot more to life then money, but at least I am on the right track in that sense.  Everybody is always asking me for advice on job interviews, and life choices.  I am proud to say that I am as clueless as all of you.  I can promise you that things tend to unravel a certain way for a reason, and if you roll with the punches and go with the flow, everything will work out.


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