James Snoddy never imagined his love for running would lead him to starting a million dollar online business. One day, after wishing he had a hammock that fit on top of his Jeep to catch a post-run breath, he decided to create such a product and bring his idea to the market. After a few wrong turns and hundreds of hours of sweat and tears with a sewing machine in his basement, James created the Jammock, a product that thousands of Jeep owners around the world now use and enjoy.
Since launching his product line, James has founded a second online State Department-themed business. all while working full-time and raising his six year old son with his wife. He also continues his love for running, consistently hitting his goal of running 1,000 miles every year.
In this interview, James discusses:
- his inspiration for creating a new product and bringing it to the masses
- the challenges of running a small business, including his trials and tribulations with the IRS
- the time-intensive process of obtaining the patent for his product
- balancing two business with his family life and own personal hobbies and goals
… and much more! You can purchase your own Jammock here https://jammock.com/ or follow their Instagram @Jammock.
Music: “Higher Up” by Shane Ivers
Read the interview here:
Tanya: Welcome to the embassy wealth podcast. Today, we are talking to James Snoddy, who has a very interesting story about how he started a million dollar online business. And James is actually maybe the only person I have ever met in the foreign service who has actually done this and is here to tell us how it happened.
So, James, tell us about your story. How did you come up with this?
James: Hi, good morning. I first came up with this business back in 2005. When I was a young infantry officer stationed down at Fort bedding, I bought a Jeep and I used that Jeep to go off post. And when I was off post I’d go running, and then after running, I had no place really to sit down. So I designed a hammock that fit on top of the Jeep.
When you take the top off and you basically, you stretch it across and you lay down on it. It’s only about 47 inches wide. However you can, you know, put your head on one of the roll bars, put your legs up on the other roll bar, or you can fit two people with their legs over the windshield.
So it works. You have a nice vantage point to sit up, read your book. And I saw that as something that might be marketable, it took me about seven years to bring that actual idea to market, just because I was being lazy. And I, and I didn’t put forth any effort between being on active duty and a bunch of other things.
So when I, when I decided that I was going to try to bring it to market, I turned my basement into this mad laboratory where I was cutting, you know, trampoline material with a hot knife and getting headaches from the smell of the fumes and bought a sewing machine and sewed the straps onto it and did a bunch of tests.
I threw a party one weekend and before everybody came in and there was a sign and it said you know, please go use this ladder, sit on top of my Jeep and then fill out the survey which had a bunch of questions on how you liked it, what you think it should cost, what you would pay for it, how comfortable it was, anything you’d add.
Tanya: Free research and development, right? Like, hey, you come to a party and do a little R and D, thanks.
James: Gotta do it.
And then I thought of a manufacturer, that was a considerable effort because the Jeep demographic people like stuff made in America, it was difficult to find someone to manufacture this in the United States, just given our lack of manufacturing capacity back in 2012.
But I eventually found somebody and we did a test run. We did about a hundred units and that was almost a disaster. Yes, that I had was the green with the tan Sahara top, it’s fairly ubiquitous. I thought it was the snazziest looking Jeep. So I made the jammock, which is what I call my invention.
I made it. Well, when I tried to sell it, I had a lot of people asking me if it could be black. Well, my production run was in this tan color and I wasn’t about to do another one. So I had a hundred units of a tan JAMEX in my warehouse, being my basement, and I didn’t have anybody to purchase them. So I was about ready to fold it in and give it up because, you know, I’ve already spent 3000 bucks.
Why, why spend another 3000? That’s something. You know, a few people want black. My wife, Nadia, came up with a great idea. She’s like, let’s do the other production run, but make them pay for it. Well, how am I going to do that? She said, have a pre-sale that way you get a good gauge of who wants one, they put their money down and you’ve got money to spend on this next production run.
So you’re not laying it out and tell them in advance. It’s going to take two. So I did that. We sold 20 on the first day, which almost paid for the production run right there. So Nadia saved the company basically on the first day
James: and oh, and then, you know, obviously we ended up selling all of those.
Tanya: I want to go back a little bit because I think a lot of people. It’s some point in their life, they come across an idea, like, it would be really cool if this kind of product was made or I have an idea for this business. Right. But I think most people, they never get past that point. Right.
And so what was it for you that you decided like, oh, it would be really cool to have something like this and then you just went out and you made it right. Did you have any kind of a business background? It sounds like you were in the military at the time. It just seems kind of. I feel like there’s an interesting story there.
Maybe you can talk a little bit more about that.
James: The story, I guess, is just that I like to make things better if I can. I’m a fan of, improving my situation or, or being more comfortable or, or whatever, from a labor perspective, you know, throwing a hammock on top of my Jeep, I had one that was, you know, a net hammock and I just cut it to the Wrangler back in 2005, I didn’t actually make one that was specifically made for the Wrangler until 2012. So getting from, no hammock to hammock, it was very simple. In the very beginning, making a prototype was a little more difficult because I had to figure out, you know, what would fit, what would universally fit?
Because, three or four different overall models of Jeep Wrangler. So the chemical fit from 1987, all the way up to present. But as we get newer, newer Jeeps, that space gets smaller and smaller. And right before I did a rather large purchase order, I was testing it and it was 27 inches wide. But the opening on one model of Wrangler was only 24 inches. So it wouldn’t have been a universal fit. So I liked to cut it down, those extra three inches at the last minute. I mean, this was like a change I made right before they went to production.
And you know, that saved us a bunch of money because it fit more Wranglers. So the ability, I guess, to go in and make something universal fit, it’s not going to be perfect for everything, but it’ll work for everyone is a lot of our research and development and also, you know, last minute changes to production runs and things like that.
Whenever you bring a new product to market, you’re making a guess. That’s why when I had the party and I asked people to tell me, do you like this? Would you use this? Most of my friends don’t have Jeeps. And again, it is very nice because they were only selling about a hundred thousand Wranglers a year in the United States. I mean, there’s, there’s a couple of million on the road, but it’s a very small market and it only fits one vehicle. Well it might fit the new Ford Bronco, but I got to get one to test it first. So you don’t know if it’s going to work and that’s why you start off small and you keep your expenses down.
I did all of this on a credit card. My initial outlays were under 4,000 bucks and that included my 100 unit production. I didn’t spend money on things. I used my time instead of spending money. So I did things myself, which is good and bad because I’m not an expert in any of this stuff.
I am not an MBA. I’ve made many mistakes that were very expensive, very, very expensive mistakes. But you know, I’ve learned.
Tanya: And in the process of making this product change. Did you get a patent for it?
James: I did,
Tanya: oh, good. So maybe you can talk to us a little bit about that process. It seems kind of daunting. Was it challenging to get a patent? Did it take a long time? Does it cost money?
James: Yes to all of those.
Tanya: Oh, dear. Tell…
James: I usually have my patent file framed on a canvas print in my office and looking at it right now because of all of those things, it was so expensive and time consuming and I’m pretty proud of it. So I started eight years ago filing this patent and I got it passed in may of last year.
So it took seven years. Most of that is my fault though, because I elected to go and do it myself. For the first few years, I didn’t hire a pro because they said, Hey, it’s going to cost you 7,000 bucks if you hire a pro. So instead of spending the money on the outset, I did it myself, which, you know, I’m not an attorney.
As we spoke earlier, I was an English major. I don’t know anything about how any of this works. So it took me multiple years and I spent 7,000 bucks anyway. So during that time I lost out on some sales because I didn’t have a patent. People in different areas made copycat products of mine and sell them on em, sold them on Amazon skirting, you know, patent law for different ways.
And I wasted time. However, in, you know, seven or eight, pardon me, eight years ago was what, 2013. I didn’t know how much money I was going to make on this. So I didn’t know if $7,000 was going to be a good investment or poor investment to get a patent. So you have to weigh those things. If you’re a very small business, you can use something called the micro entity filing, and that’s only a couple of hundred dollars to file the patent.
And then instead of getting a patent attorney, if you get a patent agent that is going to cut your costs in about half of what they would normally be. So, you know, just food for thought. There’s also a really good website called Upwork, where you can find people that are very knowledgeable in patent law and they can fill in some gaps if you need them at an hourly rate or they can do the whole thing for you.
I had my logo made on Upwork by a gentleman in London and it cost me like $175. The logo is great. I love it. And it’s mine now, I bought the copyright. Then I got it copyrighted using labor on Upwork that also only cost me, I think maybe two or $300. So, we have this intellectual property now.
Tanya: I think this is a good time to segue into how you run this business. So you just mentioned that you use a lot of online vendors and sort of freelance websites. Um, so how are you doing that? Exactly. So you have a day job, right? And I can imagine it can be, you know, busy. It has its own demands at times.
And especially when you’re working like nine to five or nine to six or whatever, like how do you manage this business outside of that?
James: I’ve got it to the point where a lot of it runs itself. There are certain things that I still have to do. You know, monitor my inventory levels, purchase products, invoice, and cash checks. I don’t do as much marketing as I used to because we already have a pretty good client base and our word of mouth and.
Six or seven regional distributors throughout the United States that.
sell in various regional markets. We have one national distributor that used to buy a bunch, but doesn’t buy so many anymore. So from a management perspective, I did a lot of the hard work early on, and there’s not a lot left because I like things to be efficient and I like things to be automated.
So I’ve tried to automate as much as I can , and eliminate as much wasted time as I can as well. So, you know I don’t fulfill. Then the factory makes them, they shift them to the warehouse. The warehouse is tied into my website, which uses Shopify. I don’t host it. When someone makes an order, the order goes directly to the warehouse, they fill it.
And then they just bill me, which they have my credit card and they charge that I have one credit card that I use for all Jammock issues, which helps when it comes to the IRS. And that was super helpful last year because I got audited by the IRS for three years because of my business income. And they said, I owed them six figures, $110,000, because they didn’t realize that my business has expenses.
And they thought that all of my revenues were profit. So I had to spend- It was a nightmare- I had to spend thousands of dollars on representation for my audit. And I ended up winning because the IRS actually owed me $4,000. I did not owe them anything because they didn’t cheat on my taxes. So it was, it was just a nightmare situation.
Cause I was calling my IRS guy you know, three times a week working with a CPA and the IRS apparently doesn’t allow you to mail anything. You have to fax it because they live in 1994. So it was very difficult, but you know, now I’m a better person for it.
Tanya: Oh, my goodness. I love your story, James, because I think for all entrepreneurs and all business people, there is at their core, a sense of just determination and sheer will, because none of what you’re describing here sounds very easy. It sounds great to say, oh, I have a million dollar online business now.
But a lot of times people just see that and they don’t see everything, that came before it, all of the, nights in your basement with, you know, the smelly chemicals, trying to make something or fighting with the IRS about this, or, you know, just trying to get a patent and like trying to figure it out all yourself.
So, Bravo to you because I don’t think I would’ve made it that far. I would’ve been like, oh my gosh, anything administrative, I would have just been like, oh my God, this paperwork is going to drive me crazy. I can’t do it. But I’m curious, where do you go now with this business? So you’re to a point where you’re automated and you can essentially kind of take it overseas, right. Or wherever you go, it’s kind of portable. Do you plan to blow up the sales and marketing at some point? Do you plan, do you have any employees? What’s the future for this?
James: So we do, all of our employees are on a contract basis. We had sales reps for, at the time, that covered one region of the United States and then one international. A lot of those folks fell off because either they retired or they just wanted to go someplace else. They all work for larger sales organizations and we were one of their accounts right now. We have two sales reps that deal with the Northeast and the south, which are two of our bigger markets. I used to employ a social media professional, and she was great. She grew our Twitter you know, by a couple thousand followers to Facebook and you know, other assorted branding.
The things where she’d get us into magazines or lots of really cool stuff that I haven’t thought of. But she was very expensive. She was about a thousand bucks a month. And, you know, we were an account of hers. She was not a full-time employee. She did this because she was really good at it.
So we contracted with her for about a year, maybe a little more and then I left because I think our sales had dropped a bunch and I just, I couldn’t afford her anymore. Because she was, she was so good, I couldn’t afford to pay what she was worth. So right now, social media has just been really slow because the sales have been good.
So I haven’t seen a need to push it, but as far as expanding, you know, sure who wouldn’t want to grow and get bigger. We’ve stabilized. We sell between one and 3000 units a year, 3000 being our best year, an average year being, you know, 1000 to 1500 or 2000, I would say this year, we’re on track to sell 3000.
Coming out of COVID, people are going to want to go out and do stuff they’re going to want to get on the trail. And so I think people are getting ready for that, but because of COVID, we were sold out from March all the way through until November. And then I had to fill 500 backorders and we sold out over Christmas and then I had 500 more back orders that I had to fill.
Which all just went out and we’re still doing backwards right now. Because the demand is pretty high. I would love to blow it up or, or to have, you know, somebody make me an offer and then buy the business wholesale. There for many years, I attempted to get Jeep the company to take notice and offer this as an option.
You know, how do you do that? I don’t live in Detroit. I don’t know anybody that works for Daimler. So I found the president of Jeep’s home address, and I mailed them a press kit with a unit. I said, high unsolicited stuff here. Here’s a bunch of pictures of what my product does. And here’s one, I assume, you know, someone who owns a Jeep.
Now, if I was the president of… I know, I know right…. but if I was the president of Jeep, I would have been like, oh, okay, this kid’s got, he’s got an idea. You know, I might’ve given that guy a call and been like, Hey, you know, I want this, but you know, good for you. I got no response. And I’m used to that because I’m a salesman at heart.
And a lot of, you know, most of your sales leads don’t pan out anyways. So I ended up finding out that I guess a lot of these big auto companies don’t want your idea for their option or, their Senator, they want to use their own stuff and they’re not going to buy it from you unless It’s really good.
And this isn’t, so you know, I tried and I think I’m going to stop with that line of attack.
Tanya: No, but it’s, it’s very interesting too, to hear that it would, it makes sense. Right? I mean, in that case, it might be more interesting for them to buy you out. Have you had offers to buy?
James: No. But I would, you know, if someone wanted to and, and if it was the right number, then absolutely sure.
Tanya: There you have it, foreign service listeners. So you actually have a second business as well. How did the second business come?
James: So when my friend and I, John, we used to carpool to work when we were in Europe. He was our GSO and a really smart and funny guy. And as I’ve already mentioned, my wife, Nadia, is really smart and also funny. We found a need for funny t-shirts or funny clothes or diplomatically themed, something coming from the army.
As I do, the army has a great sense of humor. They have symbols for everything. We have our tradition, they have a history. And then I, I don’t know if you have noticed this, but there are about a million vet, bro. T-shirt companies out there selling everything from infantry related things to guns and all that stuff.
I didn’t want to vet bro for the state department, but there is definitely a need for, or at least I thought something like that. And at the very least something funny and also something that might be a little morale boosting because the only real state department stuff that we have are at the FARA Foggy Bottom stores where you can buy something with the seal on it, or, you know,
Tanya: Right. You got your mug.
James: Yeah, and that’s, that’s okay. That’s great. And here you go. That’s a serious gift, but you know, we have funnier things and we have stuff that in my opinion I wanted to so that people would ask a question of the, where, or the user of it. As you both know, we don’t have much of a constituency inside the United States.
The people that we serve barely know what we do or that we exist. And if someone you know, that you see as asking, well, Hey, what does your shirt mean? You can tell them and start a conversation about why I’m wearing the shirt, what I do for the United States and what my value is to you as both a citizen and a taxpayer and all that.
So anyways, as I was mentioning earlier, my wife, Nadia, my friend, John, we’d be in the car, we’d come up with these ideas and it all started off as like this, you know, just a funny thing to do. We’re going to have an idea for a t-shirt ha ha ha. And then I was like, you know what, for 29 bucks a month, I can put this on Shopify.
And if it only costs me 29 bucks a month, I have this platform where we can put our silly, fun things on there and sell something great.
Tanya: There are really fun things in your store. I was, I was dying. I was like, oh wait. Okay. So people, you can go on James’s website. If you want a giant fleece blanket that looks like the cover sheet for the top secret stuff they have, I actually liked the women’s shirt that says persona non grata on it. That’s nice too.
Definitely check the store out. It’s fun.
James: That one started as a gift for a good friend.
Tanya: I have some friends I could actually send it to unfortunately, or fortunately, I’m not sure.
So James, I’m curious, you know, you have these two businesses and you’re also currently working right now. There are, you know, ethics concerns and then different offices that you need to loop in to make sure you’re on the right side of things while you’re doing these sort of after hours activities. So how do you make sure that you’re on the right side of the regulations and what kind of advice would you have for people who want to do something similar?
James: So The first thing I did before I came over to the state department was I ran a Jack up the flagpole to L a and they gave me either their opinion and I still have it to the state. Hasn’t changed. Their opinion is that when you’re overseas, you need chief of mission approval to do it, which I have gotten at my posts.
For a baggier came when I was in the United States. We thought we thought it up in Europe and I started it when I got back to the United States, founded a domestic tour, I went back to Al And they said, what are you asking us for? You’re in the United States. As long as this isn’t going to embarrass the state department, you’re fine.
So those are the two legal opinions that I have. I recommend that anybody who does want to start a business or have outside income, I recommend that you go through L your own legal opinion, that’s what mine were.
And I think that’s important too, because I think a lot of our colleagues. Might think of something like this and then get worried that maybe, you know, the powers that be are going to say, oh, you can’t do that. And so the process is actually not as bad as people think it is. And there’s a lot of things that you can do.
I think the culture is just very conservative in a sense, and, you know, comparing it to the military as you were doing earlier. I mean, there’s so many things about the military. That we don’t do. And of course we’re different, shorter, right. But even like starting this podcast, I think there, there was a little bit of like, what is this?
And, you know, there’s a long history of podcasts for military members about personal finance. So this isn’t anything new. I think it’s just, you know, part of the culture is, is conservative and there is a way forward, right?
No. I was told by a couple of people, oh, you’re going to have to divest when you go overseas, you’re going to have to do this. They know I’m not like I’ve read the fam. It doesn’t say anything like that. And the ethics concerns are such that the only real thing I wasn’t able to do was do business in the country to which I was accredited.
So, you know, fine. And that’s fair, but Yeah.
That was it. I’ve also had very understanding bosses you know, just don’t do work on company time and don’t sell the country to which you’re accredited.
Tanya: So in that case, James, when you go overseas to a certain country, do you just remove that country from the list of places you should be?
James: Yeah, and it’ll say there to say do not ship to X.
Tanya: Interesting, and, where in the world do you ship to? Everywhere? I mean, I’m sure there are certain places you don’t, but…
James: We recently stopped doing international sales, just because customs and duties were so high. I was spending, I think, 50 or $60 to get a unit to Canada. And it should not cost that much to get to Canada. So we just made it easier and stopped that altogether. It’s cut a bunch of sales, but it’s been less of a hit.
Tanya: And I feel like Jeep is very American anyway. Right? I mean, I don’t know how many Jeeps are sold overseas, but the main market, it sounds like it would be domestic.
James: Yeah, it is. Canada has about 10%, the amount of Jeeps sold per year as the United States, but we’ve sold a bunch in Bahrain, Saudi Italy, Switzerland. There was some market out there, it’s not huge. And again, it just wasn’t worth it. Huh?
Tanya: And so if you’re kind of at the, I don’t want to say at the end, but you’re on the other side of like, you know, Starting an idea. And then developing that idea, getting a tangible product, bringing it to market, going through sort of the travails of a business person. And you’re kind of on the other side of that process.
Right? So now you have a system where it’s automated and I’m curious about how much time does this take out of your week to run this business at this current point? And actually it’s two businesses, right?
James: So far, for Jammock it’s I mean, I’m at the point now where I’m just doing accounting and cashing checks, accounting and accounts payable are surprisingly time consuming. Cause I’m automatic, but my vendors are not, so I want them to pay me via PayPal. A lot of these folks send checks and they send them two months after we do the sale or they will tell me, oh yeah, I just charge the credit card.
Yeah. When it ships to, you know, to me, so you have to go back and check and make sure it ships to them and you have to make sure that the credit card is right?
And then the invoice is correct. So, you know, I’ve, I just recently got paid, but I had like $30,000 in outstanding. Invoices and accounts payable.
So it takes a while sometimes for that. So as far as how much time do I spend, I don’t know, an hour a week. It’s really not that bad. During the audit, I was up, you know, 6:00 PM to midnight every day. I had to pull half a million dollars worth of receipts out. And I mean, it was, it was very, very difficult.
So, there’s always that possibility. Jammock is structured under an LLC. So we have some limited liability protections. However, you know, those don’t extend to audits. You still have to run through the audit if the IRS comes knocking. So one of the things that I think a lot of people will gloss over is when your business starts to do well and you start actually making money, you’ve got to make sure that you’ve compartmentalized that money so that you’re not intermingling.
With your house funds. So you know what your expenses are. So if the IRS does come around , you’re not sitting there. Like I was because there was some stuff that either mingled and I’m like, oh no, , I can’t claim this. I can’t claim that there was a portion of my audit where I missed $40,000 worth of income.
But I’d also missed $40,000 worth of expenses just because I hadn’t had my accounting as tight as it should be. And, you know, as we spoke earlier, English major here, not a math major non-accounting major. It’s certainly not an MBA. so a lot of the accounting was just a spreadsheet I had on Google documents that is now like 4,000 lines, long of expenses and sales and all that.
Tanya: So, so you still run your business on Google docs, like,
James: Oh, yeah,
Tanya: wow. So you don’t have a bookkeeper or a CPA or anything specifically for the business.
James: I have a company in Northern Virginia called Aiken and the company who is my CPA. Now they’re relatively new. I’ve had them for the last two years and they’re the ones that conducted my audit and saved my finances. They get it at the end of the year. I’m the one that keeps track of everything.
And then I compile it all and send it to them. And then they run the figures and they do me and Nadia as personal taxes. In addition, The books, the final numbers for jamming for taxes, but no, I’m the bookkeeper for now.
So it can be a lot. It can also be like, Hey, I’m going to go down to G beach week in Daytona for the weekend and, sit in a booth for 12 hours a day , selling jammocks. I don’t, I haven’t done that in forever, but those are opportunities that you can take as well. So, I’ve actually missed out on a lot of those opportunities because I’ve been overseas and I’ve had to pay somebody else or miss it entirely to go do it.
But my philosophy, a lot of the time is to, you know, throw money out like an absentee father and, and have that fix. You know what I can’t,
Tanya: Yeah, but you are not an absentee father. And in fact, you sent us a bio that talked about the other kinds of things that you like to do in your life. And, you know, we believe on this podcast that wealth can encompass all different types of things.
And the reason why I wanted to bring this up as the other interesting thing from your bio that I thought was just amazing. Considering you already have your job, and then you have these two businesses. I was amazed to find that you also run 1000 miles a year, no exceptions sometimes with your son, your six year old, accompanying you on his bike.
James: I do. Yeah. Alex just turned six. He loves the gym whenever you know, his mom is from Puerto Rico. So whenever we go down there, we rent a Jeep and we bring a jammock. We can throw it on top of there. And I take the opportunity to take some photos, you know, for, for our own posterity and also for our social media.
Because Alex is acute and he’s little. So the jammock looks a lot bigger when he’s laying down on it. And you know, my wife also, when we first started going, she was the official Jamek model. So, you know, when you have good folks to help you out and they’re free, like, you know, when you use that, we also had, a couple of my friends, Kevin and Gina are photographers, and this was bad.
Many years ago, they did our first big photo shoot. We went down to lake rackets here in Virginia and parked the Jeep in front of the lake and took a bunch of pictures and, and, did the kids play Frisbee and flannel behind it.
My son, Alex. Yeah, he, And I are our best pals and no, I’m definitely not an absentee dad.
We did the C&O canal last year. I ran next to him for 10 miles on his bike and he did such a good job. And then recently he and I ran a 5k , we live in Pentagon city. Now we went down to a four mile run back, which is. About a 5k and he ran one of those. He loves running.
He loves biking. We call it bronc B R U N K E a. It’s a portmanteau of bike and run. And of course the U has been lost because it has to be metal. , so we do that and it’s whatever we do. I, whenever I do bronc, I put it on my Strava feed like that. So, and a lot of. Don’t like running for him, it’s all about, do you feel like doing it?
And if you don’t, we’re not going to do it today and I’m not going to push you. If you want to walk, we’re gonna walk. I want to try to make this as fun as possible because in my opinion, you know, I ran track and cross country in high school. And then I took like 10 years off for college because I was a lazy layabout and I think that it builds good, good habits you know, , for kids as they get older, it keeps you in good shape and If, he views it as a fun thing, more than a work thing, I think it’ll stick more.
I have a lot of help. You know, Nadia is good, lots of these things too. And you know, she shoulders half the burden for all this stuff as well. Not that Alex is a burden. But he helps me too. Right. Cause like ordinarily I’d be out by myself running and then come back and, and, you know, he would be with Nadia and she’d be taking care of them.
So if I’m out with him, then we not only get. Some quality time together. I get to do what I need to do, and he gets to work out a little bit too. So, you know, when COVID hit too, I was looking for things to do. I mean, you know, we have a national park pass now. I got him a hiking stick and, you know, we went and did the Billy goat trail up at Great falls, Maryland side.
And he climbed the giant, you know, cliff face and, and all that stuff. It wasn’t dangerous. It’s the 45 degree angle one, I would not put my, he was five at the time. Now put my five-year-old on a real cliff face, but you know, we like to do these things together. And as a family, we like doing a lot of outdoors stuff.
Nadia is a runner as well, and she gets out there with us from time to time too. So, from a time management perspective, as a former infantry officer here, you have, you know, very little time to do very many things. So we have these things called the troop leading procedures, or at least we used to back in my day and there’s eight of them.
My favorite one, I know this like the, the nerdiest thing ever is what’s your favorite tripling procedure? Mine is called start necessary movement. And that’s anything you can put into motion. While you’re waiting for other stuff to get done, you should do it. So it’s almost like things off of the critical path in project management, which I also used to do for DOD before I became an FSO.
So anything you get started, get the ball rolling and anything you can, delegate. You delegate it. And a lot of these little techniques that I’ve learned over the years, they add up, if you can make time on the margins and you can save so much time and do so much more. The other side of this is I don’t go to bed before 1:00 AM on most nights last night was, was even later.
You can spend as much or as little time as you want on certain things. Sometimes I stay up late because I like to read. And if I’m doing stuff during the day, I never read during the day because that’s when Alisandra is awake and I’m usually with him unless he’s in school.
So I read at night. I’ll read my fiction or non-fiction or whatever else, professional development stuff. So, if you’re willing to sacrifice, I guess, a little bit of sleep time and also find time in the margins to do stuff for you, you can make time for the things that you need.
Thank you Tanya. Very much for having me on the, on the pod. And I want to thank both of you for the service you’re providing for the community, because I know that there’s, you know, everybody has money issues and there’s always a better way to be able to do something. , and if somebody , can benefit from my very, very, very expensive mistakes in the past and not make them, for instance, paying $12,000 for what essentially was a landing page for a website that I could have made for, an hour online you know, I want to be able to help people avoid that.