As most people spent the day helping businesses get into the black for the year, Ang and I spent the day holed up in a room with two white boards creating the future of our company, The Divine Planet. It was very exciting! We created our mission statement, vision statement(s), divisions of the company, and an entire suite of products and services for each division. We even prioritized which projects go on which burner when (For more info on my Burner Model for Time and Project Management and other things I teach, email me at Timothy@thedivineplanet.com).
We have A LOT of content to write, as well as a long list of marketing pieces to put into place, but we are super excited to create new things that bring value and inspiration to people while helping directly fund the EB research at U of M. We give away half of every dollar we make out of this new venture. That's a cool feeling, because there are only a small handful of companies willing to set up their business model like that. Tom's Shoes "One For One" model has really raised the bar for marrying capitalism and philanthropy. They really have set a new standard to say that the almighty quarterly return is NOT the most important reason to be in business. It gives me hope that more companies will embrace this model, given how wildly successful their company as a start-up became! 20,000+ pairs sold in their first year is nothing to sneeze at!
With our first product, Bella's Blessings, I make $10 profit on an online sale, and lulu.com keeps 2.80 of that for royalty taxes, which leaves me with $7.20 net profit per book sold. I take $3.60 of that and it now goes to PUCK. I used to give between 20-50% on every book to a different charity per month, but I just wasn't selling enough books to cut a check for even $100 at the end of the month. So, now, we are just aligning/partnering with PUCK exclusively and we have upped our donation level to even 50% until we have seen this research through. Angelique is blessed with a great job with great benefits, so we are lucky to be able to give away so much.
Sorry to hit you with so much business stuff tonight; it's just that I'm SUPER excited about all the things I have to work on for the new year! As we continue to roll out new products, services, and information, please consider how much information and inspiration we provide for free on this blog. Please, in return, support our cause in addition to donating to PUCK by purchasing our products when they become available. We want to contribute something directly to people and not just ask them for money. The straight up non-profit always asking for money doesn't appeal to us. We want to go out into the marketplace and create GREAT products that are full of quality and value and that really contribute something to the world.
So, the easy way to support us this holiday season, in addition to asking people to donate to PUCK in lieu of a Christmas present, is to buy a couple of copies of Bella's Blessings: a Humble Story of Providence for people on your list you know would be inspired by it. Books are always a good gift, and since you already know most of our story, and the way I write, you won't be taking a chance on a new book. If you like the blog, you'll LOVE the book, I promise.
By the way, can I just tell you how lucky I am to get to work with Angelique? You know what a powerhouse she is by watching her at the memorials deliver her Eulogies. I get to work with that woman now on all kinds of exciting new projects! Till now, I have worked on my other company, Sonic Divinity Music Therapy Services, and The Divine Planet mostly on my own. Well, no longer. 4 hours into our tiny room brainstorm today, I commented how much I was enjoying myself with her, and she felt the same way about me! One couple that I grew up near back home worked together, and I always had great respect for their business and personal relationship; they were true role models for me.
Some alien has invaded my body. He took my body running this morning.
Tomorrow, he told me he has something extra special in mind, and he GUARANTEES no one reading the blog will be able to guess what it is... ;-) stay tuned!
Ali had a BLAST with Grandma and Grandpa. She spent the night at their house last night and all day today so we could do our company work and stay focused. She is amazing. We played dress up tonight as a royal family, and Ali dressed mommy and daddy! Too cute. Then, we came downstairs and hung out in and around her castle. Man, the girl can draw better and better every day! Check out her artwork this evening!
I had coffee with a dear friend of mine on Wednesday who recently went and saw Eddie Money in concert. They got a shirt and had Eddie sign it. They told Eddie all about Bella and us because he is involved with raising money for kids with AIDS. He signed the shirt to us Ringgolds! Pretty cool!
We did pretty well again today with the grief. I only got hit hard once. We were watching TV and a commercial for a Leap Frog brand product came on, and it reminded me of the little birthday cake they make. I remember playing with it with Bella while waiting for her first Hickman to be placed, then again in her room on 5D before it all went bad. Those were the last memories of my daughter as a interactive powerhouse; after she was intubated, it was like she was 'asleep.' So, while it's only been about 6 weeks since her death, it feels like so much longer since I really 'saw her.' Anyway, when that commercial came on, I was doing laundry, and I literally stood frozen as the wave came, crashed, twirled me around inside, and finally dissipated. I am grateful that this only happened once today, and yet, at another time this evening, I dealt with that guilt that comes from hopping along feeling pretty good. It was after the wave hit, and I was feeling better, realizing that for the most part today, I felt pretty good. Immediately, I heard that little voice say, "Oh man, are you over her already?" What a catch 22 it is! I don't want to feel hit over the head all day, but I don't exactly want to feel 'good' either. I know that sounds weird, but I also know it probably makes sense to all of you since you are grieving as well, and you have probably grieved someone else as well and went through that weird transition phase.
Anyway, the days keep rolling past, the condo still feels like a hollow shell, but we keep the warmth in it through loving the heck out of one another. Our family bond is so tight.
Hope you are all enjoying this weekend. Cheers to my sister Tracy who is in England visiting old friends! Have a Guinness for me!