FAQ

From time to time I get emails from readers asking all kinds of questions. So I decided to answer them here, as some of you may have similar questions.

A: In theory I planned for about a year. My friend Norma and I talked about it every day at work. We came up with general ideas about what we wanted to do. About 6 months before I quit we set up our general partnership and started researching what we needed to start our tax consulting business.

A: Kind of. As a Revenue Officer you have anywhere from 45-80 cases in your inventory. If you multiply that by the number of Revenue Officers in the country you realize there are a lot of people with tax issues. With these numbers in our head we assumed it would be a piece of cake to get clients. That wasn’t quite the case. #1, they don’t know you exist; and #2, there are almost as many tax consultants as there are clients. We tried Facebook ads, postcards, mailing lists, but I can honestly say 18 months in, that our best source for clients is referrals. Good old word of mouth. Treat your customers right and they will spread the word for you.

A: Sometimes I can’t. That’s where my Amex comes in. But if I have a big trip planned, like when we went to Cape Town, we made payments over time. In that instance the most expensive part was the plane fare. But I monitored various websites and airlines and figured out when the time was right to buy my ticket. But if you are more financially disciplined than I am, then I’d suggest a travel savings account.

A: I have been to Europe, Africa and Central America. I’ve never had a problem. I’ve never been robbed or had really any negative experience. In places like London and Paris you have to watch out for pickpockets. But you just need to be aware of your surroundings. I always carry a purse that can go across my body and that zips on top. I keep my money and my passport separate and usually in the zipper compartment inside my purse. That way if someone slashes your purse from the bottom (that does happen), then the contents that fall out don’t include my money or passport. I also keep my “big” money away from the money that I use to pay for items in stores or restaurants. When I get back to the room then I replenish my stash. You have to be aware and use common sense. Don’t sacrifice your safety for your budget. I am always willing to pay a little more to stay in a safe, clean hotel.

A: Take drugs! I’m not afraid to fly so I don’t really understand this fear. However, I assume the main source of anxiety is the take-off and landing. Once you are in the air, you don’t even realize it. Until you hit turbulence that is. But the one thing I have a hard time doing is sleeping on a plane. I knew that with a 30+ hour trip to South Africa I was going to need to get some sleep. So I saw my doctor who prescribed me a low dose of Xanax. I was out cold within 30 minutes and slept for about 4-5 hours. Which for me is huge. I had two overnight flights on that trip and arrived in Cape Town at 1:30p feeling pretty good. Also, meditation tapes can be very helpful in times of stress. Before attempting a long flight try short flights, like 45 minutes to an hour. Then slowly work your way up.

A: No way! I miss having co-workers and the social aspect of going to the office. I have 2 partners now but they are in 2 different states. So all of my time in the office is spent alone. It gets very boring.

A: This is now my daily coffee routine. But as a disclaimer – what I drink isn’t technically Bulletproof Coffee because I’m allergic to coconut. But my concoction is organic coffee, a  hunk (for lack of a better word) of grass-fed butter and a teaspoon of raw sugar.  I put all of that in the bullet and I love it!

A: Look I hate exercise. Yes, hate is a strong word. But in this case it is appropriate. I don’t like the gym. I don’t like walking. I tried to run it didn’t work. I’ve always liked yoga but never really felt comfortable in a yoga studio with a bunch of models pretending to be deep and spiritual. I like yoga because it forces me to slow down. And I mean forces me. I like hot yoga because you kind of feel like you’re getting an extra workout because you are sweating like a pig. I don’t know if you burn any more calories but I kinda like the feeling of being a hot sweaty mess when I come out of there. I also love my yoga studio Modo Yoga. I feel very comfortable there. I don’t feel judged or like I have to pretend to be someone that I’m not. It is just a really great, positive vibe. I’ve tried Bikram and I hated it! Which is weird because all of the poses are the same. But it just didn’t not work for me. So it is as much about the practice itself as where you feel most comfortable.