It likely comes as no surprise that I am a goal-oriented person. And the end of the year is my finish line.
I believe in aiming high. When I aim high, I come out farther ahead than when I’ve aimed more realistically. I have learned that writing my goals down on paper, specific goals with numbers and details attached and putting them in my wallet, keeps me on target. And most importantly MacGyver has learned that my goals are his goals. (“Get on board or get left behind,” is his translation.)
Since my birthday is at the end of the year, my favorite present is my yearly review. How did we do?
WE Inc. is celebrating. We did a lot of stuff this year. There was fun. There was business. There were issues. And as my husband likes to say, with an astonished inflection in his voice, we’re still married.
We traveled new roads with Black Beauty. She was on the BC Ferries to Vancouver Island to deliver a chiller to the Victoria, British Columbia (BC) Target store. We crawled up the mountain, literally, 13.5 kilometers on a forest service road above Squamish, BC where an eco-power generation station is under construction.
The craziest delivery was at O’Hare airport near Chicago where we delivered a jet bridge to gate E2 and I drove across the taxiway between the arriving and departing jets. And in five years on the road, it afforded us our first opportunity to visit Chicago. We found downtown, off-street, secure parking and launched our Brompton bicycles to ride along Lake Michigan on its glorious biking and walking path. We will be back to take the architectural boat tour. It is a beautiful city that comes alive in the summer.
While our trip to Hay River, Northwest Territories, the home of Buffalo Air at the 60th Parallel was exciting for us Canadians who never expected to ever see the place, my favorite stop was Lafayette, Louisiana.
Our last visit to Louisiana was in New Orleans at Christmas 2010 where we made the most of a bad situation when Black Beauty had a major transmission repair under warranty, but it was an incomplete visit. We did no dancing and I heard no music because we were on a strict 3 AM and 3 PM driving schedule delivering expedited air freight.
MacGyver discovered a real treat this summer, a Sunday afternoon, because I still don’t stay up very late, four o’clock to eight o’clock dance fest at the Whiskey River Saloon along the bayou. We drove the Vespa about 30 miles out of Lafayette to a corrugated metal shack leaning jauntily toward the water. Inside, the wood floor was rubbed smooth by years of pounding cowboy boots. The best part, it was all ages, but mostly oldsters. When I say oldsters, I mean older than me oldsters. Feet were flying, stomping, sliding and kicking.
This year MacGyver turned 50 and he celebrated, often. There was the up close inspection of the Yas Marina Formula One race track in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the view of the Coca-Cola 600 from a luxury condo above the track, the load that brought us within a one hour Vespa ride of the Austin, Texas Formula One race.
It wasn’t just fun. We advanced our small business by making two big purchases. Early in the year, we added a 51 foot Fontaine step deck trailer to our equipment roster. Instead of paying $170 a week to rent the trailer, we are now paying ourselves $200 a week to pay back our loan from WE Inc. By owning our trailer, we get an extra eight percent of the load. This year I paid ourselves back $8,250 for the trailer purchase and we brought in more than $10,000 in extra revenue. My first priority for 2014 is to finish repaying our savings account.
In November, we added a conestoga-style rolling tarp system to our trailer and loading ramps, costing almost $26,000. The tarp is on a frame. We push the frame and tarp forward to load the trailer, then push it back, cinch it closed and we’re off, saving time and energy. A businesswoman friend calls it a revenue-generating insurance policy. If either one of us gets hurt, it affects our income. We owe our savings $20,000 with interest and it will be repaid at $150 a week for three years.
Most importantly, we again reached our top goal of every year. We deposited our maximum retirement contributions. In my mind, the only money a small businessowner really makes, is the money that is set aside for investing in the future and providing for the business.
My financial plan is simple. Each year I decide how much will go into savings and investments. We have learned to never pay interest to others. I cover the fixed business costs, such as insurance, permits, plates and the variable costs, repairs and maintenance and supplies and then we spend the rest. If we need something for the business and we don’t have the cash, we put off all personal spending. So, the downside, the Marlaina-is-no-fun side, is that there is no exotic winter holiday this winter. We’ll be sitting in Florida, I-know-it-could-be-worse, selling crap on eBay.
Thank you for joining us on our travels this past year.
For 2014, we wish you health, happiness, and success in reaching your goals.