If You Win the Lottery Should You Buy A Private Jet?

I featured a family with a private jet in my second novel, “Popstars, Friends and Lovers: a dreamer’s tale” and my current Vivienne series is all about the private jet industry. I use them because they represent glitz and glamour and the easy life. Who doesn’t dream of avoiding airport security lines and having as much leg room as you want? But as someone who has spent many years being associated with the industry in one way or another, I can tell you the myth is a little different than the reality.

I took the above pic myself (that’s my coffee and shades). I was flying home from Savannah on a Gulfstream, one of the major brands of private jet. (Make note, you know, in case you win…) Was it nice? Oh hell yes. I was possibly a bit hungover and able to dim the lights and stretch out and sleep. I got this ride home from my husband who works in the industry. It isn’t, however, my jet to use whenever I want.

But I do know what it’s like to have a jet and it’s not exactly like it’s usually portrayed in the movies. It’s a little more complicated than that.

First it involves a crew. Most jets have to have two pilots who will be on your payroll if you own the plane. They have to be trained to fly your specific model which will cost you around 50 grand, per pilot. And just as important is your maintenance crew. The minimum you will need is a maintenance manager who will then find locations to have work done on your plane. Depending on the size of the plane and how much you want to fly it he/she might need a few people helping with maintenance. This is not an area where you might want to skimp and save.

But if you’ve just won over a billion dollars in the lottery you can afford all that, life is good. Enter the FAA (play ominous music). For your safety and that of all others flying there are several NYC phone book size manuals of rules and regulations you will need to follow. Every so often you will need to take your plane in for inspections and scheduled maintenance. It’s a time when you get to pay for the pleasure of owning a jet without getting to actually use it (ouch). Something that often comes as a shock to the nouveau riche because plane brokers tend to gloss over those details.(See, I’ve let you in on a secret.)

So once you’ve got the plane, the crew and maintenance complete you can just pick up the phone and tell someone that you want to fly to Bora Bora right now…or not. Flight plans must be filed, the fuel truck scheduled and crew called in before you can load your flip-flop wearing self onto the plane. There are technical questions galore, how long is the runway in Bora Bora? Do you need to schedule a landing time to work with local commercial traffic? If anything goes wrong with your plane, is there anyone anywhere near Bora Bora who can fix it so you can get home?

It’s all the details that it takes to get that plane in that plane in the air and keep it there that, to me, adds to the excitement. I love having an insiders view that I can’t wait to share more of with you in the Vivienne Series, due out later this year. It’s the story of a smart, quiet, sweet young woman who lands herself at the top of the male-dominated private jet industry. It’s every woman’s struggle to find a balance between career and the rest of her life and I can’t wait to bring it to you. It will be an eight novella series that I will release all at once so you can binge read to your heart’s desire. Stay tuned for excerpts and more behind the scene info. Until then, good luck in the lottery. You’ll just have to wait and see if I get a private jet when I win. If you do, all I’m asking for is a ride.

 

 

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The Best Times Are the Hard Ones

What if I told you, all of you who are just starting out as a self-published author or internet entrepreneur, that right now, when you are often frustrated, sometimes lost and occasionally pissed off, this is the best time in the life of your business?

“Karen, stop drinking,” would probably be your first response. And while I have been drinking more recently (holiday tradition) I’ve also been gob-smacked by the Universe with this message and compelled to share it.

It all started with Adele. In an interview she explained that her new hit, “Hello” is not about a couple or lost love, it’s her talking to the girl she was a few years ago before, as she says, “the world fell at our feet.” When you listen to the lyrics from this perspective you hear someone who isn’t unhappy to have found success (on a mass scale in her case) but someone who fondly remembers being young and free and hungry for the fame she now has.

Once the song got me thinking I started to see the same theme everywhere. The end of the year is a time for reviewing and reminiscing. It seemed like every TV show I watched or podcast I listened to was waxing nostalgic for the past–be it a year, a decade, or just the past in general. Over and over I heard people sharing stories about their trials and hurdles and how they overcame them. What I heard in all those stories was a deep sense of pride for the ah-ha moments when they found solutions and for persevering. I heard a lot of funny stories about working together and forming bonds over late night deadlines, sparsely-funded road trips to meet potential buyers and three-person staff meetings over a five-dollar pizza. It seemed like everyone who had “made it” missed some of the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants excitement of their early years.

It was definitely a message I needed to hear. I tend to focus on my next challenge, what I still need to do, how far I am from where I want to be. I forget to stop and look around me and note where I am now, how far I’ve come already and the really great people I’m meeting along the way. I’m currently struggling to create my 8-novella series. The two novels I’ve already published (link here) had been percolating in my mind for years before I got the stories down on paper. When I did start writing I was able to complete each one in a few months.

Vivienne’s story is newer, revealing itself as I write (and rewrite). I’m proud of what I have so far but it has been ten times harder to produce. There are definitely days that I wonder if I’ve bitten off too much. Book eight feels too far away for me to even picture. The trick I’ve discovered on those days is to project forward and pretend that all eight novellas are completed, published to great reviews and solid sales. If I look back on today and see my frustration as part of the process I feel better. I feel less like I’m spinning my wheels and making little progress.

In other words, the trick is to see now from the other side.

As we all gear up for 2016, working to grow our businesses and create our art, take a minute today to appreciate where you are now. Journal your hopes and dreams, challenges and fears. Appreciate how much all those drive you to keep going and do better, that way when you get there you can stop briefly and rest on your laurels then jump into a new challenge knowing you’re ready to enjoy the process of getting there all over again.

Now open a tab for YouTube, que up Adele’s “Hello” and sing to the struggling you as loud as you can.

How Do You Know When You’ve Won?

Favorite book title, ever: “She Got Up Off the Couch: And Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana” by Haven Kimmel. I fell in love with it because it celebrates, in a huge way, what might look like a simple, everyday act. And it reminds me that we, not society, get to decide when we’ve had a big win (and then celebrate, of course).

It’s been on my mind lately for two reasons. One is Vivienne, the main character in the series I’m working on. In the story she flies to the top of the private jet industry (punny, I know). But in creating the story I had to think about where the top would be for this character and how will the audience and the character know when she has reached the pinnacle. Does she have to own her own company to be at the top? What if she owned the smallest company in her industry? Would she still be “at the top”? Society seems to have some definite ideas about success until you try to define them. If she did become CEO but only lasted a year would she still be a success?

I don’t want to give the plot away, but I will say that writing this series has caused me to take a long, hard look at goals and success. Part of her definition of success will be based on where she began. In Vivienne’s case, in book one she is a secretary with a high-school diploma. She comes from a blue-collar area where a good, solid job in a large company is seen as a fantastic goal. These facts will not only shape her goals but how she feels when much bigger opportunities come her way. In the end, her start in life will also cause her to question whether she really has won the grand prize of life when she is livin’ large.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about my own goals and accomplishments. As the CEO (and lone employee) of Karen Gordon, Author, I like to set time aside a few times a year to look at my goals and what I’ve accomplished. In a recent post, Gretchen Rubin noted that September is the new January, in other words, this is a great time for setting goals. I agree. When my kids go back to school I start a new season and I’ve been floundering lately, in need of a little structure and direction. I decided to use Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map book as my guide. If you don’t know her work, Danielle LaPorte is a savvy businesswoman who’s style vacillates from spiritual guru to potty-mouth BFF. I love her.

Most people would have very clear-cut ideas about what success would/should look like for an author–sell a certain (large) number of books, make the NY Times or USA Today best seller list, have a movie made from your book. And my first instinct is to automatically put any or all of these down as my goals. But are they my goals? Each would require that I focus my energy in a different direction, they aren’t the package deal that most people think they are. And I’m not sure any of them would really make me happy, make me feel like I’ve won the self-publishing game.

Through The Desire Map book I’ve been determining and focusing in on goals that will not only make me happy when I accomplish them, but that I enjoy the process of reaching them. Personal goals, things that might not look like crossing the finish line to others, but will make me immensely happy. As I noted in my post about working from home it pushes you to set goals so you can have structure to your days and so you will know when it’s time to celebrate your accomplishment, which on some days might be nothing more than getting up off the couch.

Do you work from home and set your own goals? How do you know where to set the bar or mark the finish line? Do you have a favorite book on the topic you can recommend? Comment below and let me know.