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  • Writer's pictureMark Stefan Reinoso

The nuts and bolts, or HOW.

Many of my friends are not surprised that I am doing this, but they are surprised that I am able to do this. In short, they want to know how I plan to run 3 businesses remotely and pay for all of this. The truth is I don’t have a master plan, I don’t have a spread sheet, or Rick Steves and Suze Orman on my shoulders….what I do have are a bunch of post it notes detailing my plan. Since it wouldn’t make sense to see them, and you wouldn’t be able to read them anyway, I’ve decided to put pen to paper and detail it out.

I run my 3 businesses out of my house, and I have 2 assistants working out of here. I have 16 employees and partners, half of them I talk to daily, and the other half are at least a couple times a week. I’m so used to being in the thick of it, being available for my clients, my employees, partners…ready to go at a moment’s notice! I’ve done very well with business by being available constantly…and I wonder if that’s going to change when I am gone? Can I run my businesses remotely? Will I lose business? Will I lose interest? How stressed will I be working remotely? I am not an absentee owner, I am the lifeblood of all my businesses(yes, I know that sounds completely conceited), I fund them, I handle the office, I manage clients and partners and employees. Everything goes through me, and that’s not an overstatement.

My first problem was my office: like I said, its in my home, the one I am leaving. I decided to move the office into my main assistants house, so she wouldn’t have a commute and she can be more relaxed. My other assistant will be commuting to her house, which as it works out, is a lot closer than my house. I am paying rent for her house, as well as paying for other utilities. For many years, I still did work in the field, and now I am completely done with that. Because of this move, and a new tax law that has benefited these businesses greatly, I hired 2 more employees, one full time and one part time. That’s taken a huge load off my work in the field, and its yielded huge rewards to me in terms of time and lack of stress.

I am very nervous about not working face to face with my assistants, but as one of my partners says: “no risk it, no biscuit”. I am going to have to learn a completely new billing process, and hope the additional labor I have hired can keep contributing the way they have.

As far as money goes, I think its going to be a neutral move. I currently pay $3200 in rent, and with utilities, pest control, landscaping and the like, I easily pay more than 4k a month for housing. The total payment for the condo my wife owns is $335, plus electricity, which should be another 100 monthly. We need 2 climate controlled storage spaces at $177 a month. One of them I hope to get rid of, but for now I am including it in the budget. Our total housing expense is roughly $800, which is a savings of what I currently pay of $3200 a month. That doesn’t seem like a lot to travel, and it isn’t. However, we spend a lot of money on travel anyway, all while living in this house….a cursory look at the last 10 years is an average of 18k a year going somewhere. Add that to our total and we now have $4700 a month for short term housing in new places, and that's a lot better.

In addition, I am obsessed with mileage points, and have shifted my spend to transferable points cards, so I am building up my points totals. I spend about 40k a month on credit cards, between personal spending and business spending. On a good month, I can double that total. I now have over 500,000 transferable points to travel with, which should let us fly anywhere for relatively little. We wont be flying business or first, but I can live with that. I’ll be flying back to PHX twice monthly for a few days, and those will be with points.

My trips wont be a complete overindulgence like some of my vacations were…. Not a ton of expensive wine, no caviar fueled romps through the bucolic countryside with a $500 a day tour guide. Instead they will be simple, fun, down to earth and most important of all, it will all be with my family.

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