26th Anniversary of self employment. Financial Services and IT Services.

family-222128_640Today is the 26th Anniversary of me becoming self employed. on 15th January 1990 I stopped working at a bank and became a self employed financial adviser. I had previously worked in pubs and clubs, and for the local education authority in the “computer lab” at the school where I was still a student. I kept up to date on computers and other IT and continued to support family, friends and colleagues.

mobile-971480_640Around ten years ago I started Colin Bowen IT Services, mainly as a way to fix more computers than I had access to at the time, and to generate a little extra income in my spare time (I didn’t have kids then, so I had spare time). I never intended it to become my main business, but over the years the IT services business has grown quite steadily, and I’m now at a point where I don’t have time to spend on both businesses and spend time with my family.

I’m giving up my financial adviser licences in April to develop my IT and computer services business. People can still come to me for financial services, and I will pass them on to other financial services companies that I have dealt with for years, and those companies will provide the advice.

So, I’d like to thank all my existing clients from both businesses. I hope you will continue to come to me for your IT services and financial services needs, and I’ll help you personally or point you towards trusted third parties who can help you. Of course, I also welcome new customers, so please tell people about me, and get in touch if you need help.

Life’s too busy – My solution

Until our daughter was born 15 months ago our life was busy socialising with friends, going places at weekends and staying away from home often. We thought “it’s been a fun life, but now a new chapter is starting and we won’t be doings the old things, we’ll have new things to do instead”. Well, we do have new things like new friends and new baby-related interests. Thing is, we haven’t stopped doing the old things, so life is even busier now. So busy in fact, that we’re very over-committed.

I’ve been discussing this over commitment with my Blanche (my wife) for months, and recently with George (my financial services business partner). George put it well, I’m Jack of all trades and master of none. This hit home. I’m a perfectionist by nature but I try to live by the motto “good is good enough”. With so many things I currently do, I’m not being ‘good’ at any of them.

So, I’ve given myself yet another new project; to reduce the number of things I do, and do the rest more thoroughly. I’ve made a good start. I’ve been actively avoiding new things online (like Google’s new browser, Chrome), I’ve unsubscribed from nearly a third of my podcasts and from many email newsletters, and will be ignoring some online forums that I’ve previously been active on. I’ve also finished one or two long projects and not replaced them with others. There’s still a long way to go, but I’m heading in the right direction.

So, to blogs. I’m not going to make any more post at my tech blog at http://www.CBits.vox.com (except to explain why). Instead I’ll be posting tech stuff here (hope you don’t mind). Not only does this halve the number of blogs I write, it also means I can cancel a project to move that blog off the horrible Vox platform.

Although I intend to post more regularly here, I’m probably going to concentrate on my own racing rather than F1 for a while. Maybe next season I will post Championship standings after each race to help me (and maybe you) keep track of the simple stuff, but for now I think I’ll resist the temptation to comment here on that’s happening on F1. I’ll keep my F1 comments (if any) short and to the point on http://www.twitter.com./ColinBowen. Don’t know what Twitter is? Watch this video here http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ddO9idmax0o, sign up, and add me ‘ColinBowen’.

No more F1 spoilers on twitter either. I had occasionally written commentary on F1 practice sessions, and comments on quali and races at http://www.twitter.com./ColinBowen. There is a platform (website) that is ideal for making such commentary (it’s designed for commentary on conferences), but I’m not doing new ‘stuff’ at the moment, so that will have to wait until some time in the future.

Mad busy month

I’ve spent the last three weekends either at parties (including one hosted by me and the wife) or away from home. We all need some time at home now; either in front of the TV (or PC), or catching up on household tasks.

While I’ve been busy having fun, it’s been hard to keep up with F1. I haven’t even seen this weekend’s race, and I fell asleep during the highlights. I’m hoping to get back to my routine now our social life is less hectic, and that routine includes keeping abreast of news and the occasional post to this site. I also want to work more on my businesses (need the money).

I haven’t done any racing lately, partly because we’ve been busy and partly due to cutting back on spending. Of course, if anyone wants to give me money to race in return for me promoting their business (ie sponsorship, AKA advertising), please let me know in the comments (won’t be published). I’d love to do regular karting races (or anything further up the motor racing scale).

There are a couple of things on my long list of to-dos that relate to racing, I’ve got to find out whether I was successful at the assault course round I wrote about earlier, and I have a Rally Experience to book (birthday present from last year). More to follow on these.

So much I want to do, but so little time. Better than being bored!

I’m back!

For the last year, my number one priority has been my wife and new baby daughter.  Whatever time has been left has been put into work.  Seven weeks ago my wife returned to work from maternity leave, and four weeks ago my daughter started full time nursery.  She took a week to settle in and since then we have been getting into our new routine.  I’ve been working hard to get the non-urgent backlog at work under control, and almost everything is now ‘in the system’.  Needless to say, I haven’t had time to devote to this website, but I will be posting more frequently from now. 
I have been active on Twitter though.  Twitter is the current ‘big thing’ in the online world, and is best described as micro-blogging.  This website is a blog; I can post (add to the site) via the website itself or by email.  Twitter is a website where people post very short comments (called Tweets) which appear immediately on their page.  You can see me at www.twitter.com/ColinBowen.  If you sign up for free membership, you can ‘follow’ me so that you see my tweets on your own page.
One thing I have tried is doing live Twitter commentary on the F1 practice sessions.  I’ll also be announcing on Twitter when my posts go up on this site.
Anyway, the next couple of days are an important time for Bowen Racing.  More on that later.
It’s good to be back!

Freak incident – RAC saves the day

We went away for a few days over the weekend.  With the baby now, we can’t fit all our stuff in one car when we go away so we take both cars.  On the first day we drove straight to Bletchley Park (home of the WWII code breaking team, Enigma and all that).  It was very cold.
When we had finished for the day, Blanche went back to the cars first with Imogen, and I followed a few minutes later.  While Blanche and Imogen were warming up in her car, I got the child car seat out of my boot and put it sideways in the front passenger seat, ready to put Imogen in it later.  I got in the driver’s side to start the engine, warm up the car, and set up my sat nav for the trip to the Travelodge.  As I said, my car is small so there wasn’t much room in the front with the car seat sideways, so I shoved it right up against the passenger door.
Once the sat nav was set up I got out and slammed the door to go round and put Imogen in her car seat, but as I slammed the door, all the doors locked.  The car seat had been leaning against the passenger window, and as I slammed the driver’s door, the car seat had slid down the door, pushed the door handle in, and activated the central locking!  Now I’m outside the locked car, the engine is running, we’re 90 minutes (each way) from our spare keys at home, and Bletchley Park is about to close.
RAC saved the day!  I called RAC and they made it a priority as the car was running and we have a baby.  About 15 minutes later they arrived.  It took just three minutes to break into the car.  Talk about fantastic service!  We can go years without needing a breakdown service, but every time we do need it, it’s well worth the subscription.  Just make sure you play one breakdown service off against the other when the price goes up at renewal.
For future trips, I’ll have a spare key to Blanche’s car, and she’ll have my spare key.

It’s a girl!

I’m delighted to say that our baby girl, Imogen, was born a month ago.  Mum and baby are doing very well.
Imogen arrived four weeks early after some lengthy complications, and that’s why I haven’t posted for some time.
Of course, having a new addition to the family means I’ll have less time to post, so I’ll probably post less about F1 but keep the site going for my own racing news (which was the purpose of the site in the first place).  On that topic, I’ve entered the F1 Drivers Challenge again this year.  You can read about my two previous entries in the archives (on the right).  I’m currently waiting for an email to tell me when and when the first round will be.  I’ll keep you up to date whenever I can find time.

Big news! I’m going to be a Dad!

Our baby is due 2nd August. Blanche (Mum) and baby are doing fine, even though she had a stay in hospital this week for observation.

Two weeks ago, at 29 weeks, Blanche stopped her weekly one-and-a-quarter hour aerobics session in favour of swimming.

We’re doing our parenting classes and I’m learning a lot. But then again, I started from zero parenting knowledge.

I heard of a karting track that allows children to drive from age 4. So, sad as it is, I’ve already put 2nd August 2011 in my diary as a karting day for us.

So say hi to a potential F1 Champion.

Things I’ve been doing, getting updates to this blog, and forthcoming events

Hi all.

Thanks to Les at ik Software for sorting out some problems for me that have prevented me from posting. Those posts now appear below.

August has been a busy month so far, and I haven’t had time to do any karting or anything racing related. I’m hoping to have an arrive-and-drive session next week. Depending on what my karting buddy is doing, I’m hoping to do two sessions; one smooth and one manic, to see which gives the best times.

After that session, I’ll probably arrange an “all welcome” session. I’ll post details here so anyone reading can come along for a drive. Since the RSS feed isn’t working, you won’t know that the “all welcome ” invitation has gone up on the blog unless you come to the site. If you want me to let you know by email about the “all welcome” session, leave a comment including your email address. I will NOT publish the comment with the email address, but I will email details to you when the date is set. I won’t use your email address for any other purpose.

When I get the RSS feed working, I’ll write about how to use RSS to get notified of new posts automatically.

So, what has been keeping me so busy? I’ve been to Hever Castle for a day out (including the Jousting Tournament), Chatham Historic Dockyard with my Dad, attended one of those new-fangled Civil Partnership things, had a couple of days away for the English Heritage Festival of History event (see below), and a long weekend camping with some friends in Kent. On top of that, I’ve been working quite hard for a couple of clients. That’s all in 18 days. There are a few things going on over the next few weeks too, then we have a five-week period with only three events booked in; time for a rest – and some karting!

I’ll post later about Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix, maybe after the qualifying session on Saturday.

English Heritage meets blogging

Hi all,

I’ve been to the biggest English Heritage event of the year today, Festival of History in Northampton.

It’s the annual big do for English Heritage, held over two days. We’ve only been for the Sunday this year due to other commitments. With over 70 events, it’s the biggest history festival of its kind in Europe.

This year, an addition to the programme is seven authentic World War 1 planes (Sopwith tri-plane, Nieuport 17 Scout, two Junkers CLIs and three SE5As). These planes took part in mock dog-fights, two of them flown by pilots in their 80s, one of which had flown in WW2 and made three kills.

Other battles included the English Civil War, The Viking Invasion at the Battle of Fulford Gate (the Brits lost), the Battle of Hastings, the Wars of The Roses, and the Spanish Civil War. There were also Romans showing combat skills and Roman Artillery.

I composed this post at the event (at the end of the day) and submitted it via mobile phone. [I added the photo later]

This event is one of the reasons that I probably won’t get any racing in in August; we’ve got a lot booked in.

BowenRacing is sponsored by ik Software at www.ik.com