I’ll be honest; it’s been a rather poor start to the year for me in quite a few ways. That said, it’s also been rather awesome – does that mean it’s just normal or that I’m confused as to what life should be like?
In any other situation, I’d say “Let’s start with the negative stuff so we end on a positive, happy note. It’s always good to end on a smile.” However, I’d rather follow a timeline of events to-date beginning with the start of my year; it’s been a wild ride already.
January 1st, 2014 – Morocco Chewed Me Up and Spat Me Out
It’s true, it’s true. Whilst I was having an amazing experience, Morocco had another idea for me. The end of 2013 was a huge high – I’d made a new friend, this awesome lady Faye, and I’d explored a fair amount of Morocco considering my entire trip duration was only 4 days. I’d absolutely dominated Marrakech exploring every nook and cranny I could get lost in, chowing down on crazy food I’d never heard of and enjoying some ‘hashish’… look it up.
Sitting there feeling hazy, confused, guzzling a hot chocolate way too quickly, enjoying a rather pleasant conversation with Faye about the situation we were in – I felt liberated. I enjoyed a sense of freedom and was overwhelmed by the absolutely random scenario I had found myself in, it was brilliant, I’d met this lady just a few weeks ago on a separate flight and was now more than aware that I probably shouldn’t be intoxicated. I didn’t care though, it was awesome. I remember us both being amazed by the amount of youths on the streets at night; as I took another hit of the hashish.
I could talk Morocco for a long time, but I like to keep at least some things to myself…
Anyway, so it chewed me up and spat me out. Come the first day of the New Year, I was back in London (the previous night), I was hung over from celebrating the New Year with copious amounts of alcohol and I was ready for an eight-rasher bacon sandwich… with cheese and ketchup. Yet, my body didn’t seem to like the idea of that, nope, it didn’t even like the idea of a glass of water, or even an apple. In fact, my body decided it would not just be a good idea to not let me eat, instead it decided the best point of call would be to flush out anything and everything I had inside me by any means necessary. I had… something… coming out of each of the exit points of my body.
Later in the day I began to think maybe I had alcohol poisoning, or even food poisoning. Both were more than viable options. At this point, around 5pm, severe migraines began. Ones of which I’d never experienced, my first thought was that I had some kind of brain tumour – no normal headache can be this bad. Anyway, three days and 76 toilet sessions later I paid the doctor a visit and learned that I’d most likely brought back some kind of bug from Morocco.
Well, the anti-biotics kicked in and I started to feel better – not the migraines though – and was optimistic. When arriving back at the doctors 5 days later to get my test results, it turned out that I’d brought back a rather hazardous type of bacteria found in uncooked meat and that they’d had to inform the health authorities. Apparently I was a hazard! The good news was that they had killed off any trace of the bug and that I would begin to recover, though weak and my immune system was shocked, I would recover.
The crazy part is that my doctor told me it’s lucky I came to him when I did, two-to-three more days of scepticism would’ve seen me hospitalised, weak and unable to function properly for weeks. I’d of been bed-bound in recovery. Thank my fucking lucky stars!
Oh… and I went on to contract a wisdom tooth infection and ear infection due to the vulnerability of my immune system. Joy. It was not ideal.
January 6th 2014 – Website Penalty Lifted
Great news, a website which had been suffering from a loss of traffic due to several errors had finally recovered after a long and gruelling recovery process. I won’t mention which, but it was a positive start to the year for Right Casino Media; I was ecstatic. We’ll leave that there.
January 14th 2014 – An Old Friend and I
I get back into the swing of talking with an old friend on a regular basis, I love it. I fucking love it.
I’ve found as you get older, maintaining a reasonable relationship with your friends is harder and harder, especially when everyone is ‘too busy’ most of the time. I won’t, nay refuse, to understand what could possibly be more important than keeping in touch with me, hehe.
For those of you that know me – I love, more than anything, to tell people my stories and hear theirs. Be those old friends or new ones in the making, like Faye, what an inspiration she was. Brilliant, things are looking up in that department this year.
January 24th 2014 – Recovery and Iceland
I’ve nursed myself back to near solid health. Ok, that’s a lie, I ate a few more pieces of fruit a week and didn’t drink any alcohol for nearly a whole month. But nevertheless, I’d managed to keep relatively well and finally began to feel much better.
This was great news as I was just about the smash up Iceland with Dave. We’d previously agreed not to buy each other a Christmas present in the agreement we’d go somewhere cool for a few days for his birthday at the end of the month – shame, you’re old bro!
I want to keep this section relatively short and sweet. So I’ll say just a few words and allow the photos to tell the rest of the story. Iceland is a friendly, welcoming, cold, crazy, dangerous road-condition place. Ultimately though, it was beautiful. This trip took me on one of the best drives of my life, showed me some of the most spectacular views I’d ever seen and ticked off multiple items on my bucket list, sweet!
February 2nd/4th 2014 – Taylor Swift
It’s true, I love Taylor Swift, too. You guys are learning a lot about me today! I was set to go to Taylor Swift, yet, a recent situation where a friend had to bail out left me somewhat unsure what to do – I couldn’t sell the tickets, nobody else was stupid enough to pay that much for Taylor Swift, haha.
I asked the friend mentioned above to come with, she wasn’t exactly the biggest fan but relished the idea of a night out and a few drinks – sweet. All set.
I was doubly lucky – another friend, Luke, was going to the concert a couple of days before and had someone bail too, so he asked me to come to that. Boom, I got to go twice, and… meet Taylor Swift’s mother too!? I’ll relay my favourite part of the conversation…
Me: What can I say, well done, you did a great job.
Swifts’ Mother: Oh, thank you. Tell your mother the same dear ;)
Hehe, cool, well done mum you did well.
Purely For Context…
I’m inserting this here to give context to some of the business areas. During this time, there had been a lot going on with the business. We have been working tirelessly on a new project, my team have done an amazing job and I’d been the facilitator bringing things all together – it was well underway. I’m aware this is rather vague, but until it’s launched I really can’t divulge to much information, sorry guys!
At this point, stress levels are high, but so are optimism levels. Both the business and my personal life are taking their toll – after just four weeks back at work and a holiday, I was already stressed again. Not ideal at all. Anxiety levels rising.
February 6th 2014 – London Affiliate Conference
It’s my industry’s biggest gathering each year, the London Affiliate Conference. I was game. It’s my fifth year running and I was feeling more confident than ever before, ready to blow my clients away with something new, something they could be excited about.
Of course, LAC is generally just a bunch of animals getting drunk and negotiating vigorously, generally trying to shave a few percent off the others commission in order to rack in those monthly numbers. As you can imagine, this makes for an exciting yet rather unproductive couple of days – I actually did about half the amount of business I’d planned. When you arrive at the conference and have sunk two Jack Daniels straight up, a few beers and refused cocaine all by 11am – you’re probably not going to get much work done.
Oh, and I met Martin Keown…
That said, it was a really positive response to our new product and I remained confident we’d be ready for launch; the ground work had been done and we’d put the word out.
February 8th 2014 – Website Penalty Lifted #2
Amazing, another penalty lifted. Ok, so we’ve made mistakes in the past with our websites – shit happens. But the good news is we are back on the right track and another of our money-makers was back in the game.
February 14th 2014 – Valentines Day and The Office
So, it’s Valentine’s Day and I’m blissfully unaware. I make it until about 4pm before I’m asked “what are you doing tonight?” in such an expecting tone that I find myself responding with “nothing why? Am I… meant… to be doing something?”
Of course, this made me feel a bit crap. No worries, I’m busy and planned to work anyway.
At our current office, we are so full you couldn’t fit another chair in there. It’s been time to move for a while and now we really do need to – we needed to expand. Well, this is the day that we’d found our new office and agreed to sign a lease. It’s about four times the size of our current office and has enough room to accommodate an expanding team with spare room for a little lounge area, the new sofa, TV and Xbox – obviously.
This is a huge step for us and I couldn’t be happier about it. We are moving very soon!
February 26th 2014 – Laura and Laura
We’ve found our new office manager. Breath of fresh air, she’s on the ball, has experience and when she actually starts in a few weeks will be lifting a rather lot of weight off both myself and Daves’ shoulders – it couldn’t come sooner. Oh, and her name is Laura.
By this point, anxiety levels are rising and I’m at an all-time high. Months back I had approached another lady named Laura, though this one wasn’t so much of an office manager. You might call her my ‘growth manager’. The life of a business owner isn’t all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows – nor is it just dividends and holidays, though I do go on a lot of little breaks. I think this quote from Rocky Balboa covers it quite accurately…
“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.
But it ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward… it’s how much you can take, and keep moving forward.”
The life of an entrepreneur – I hate calling myself that, I’m just me – is a tough, lonely place and at times it can bring down the best of us. Because of this, I have seen Laura a few times. She is by trade, a therapist. However, we met under different circumstances and for me she is much more; she helps me understand not just my feelings, but my goals, ambitions and keeps me in check – she then helps me realise these things and how I can best move forward to achieve them.
Everyone needs a little guidance sometimes, I’m one.
March 4th 2014 – Today
Multiple things are taking place right now. The new website is booming and ready to go in just a few weeks. It’s very, very exciting. I’m extremely exhausted and I’ve fallen ill again, I need to sort out my diet, sleeping pattern or something – there must be a reason I get a cold 10-damn-times a year!
The office move is fast approaching. We have builders coming in shortly to fit the new kitchen, upgrade the flooring and apply the finishing touches.
My feelings are still rather unstable. I seem to be lacking in concentration (not enough to hinder my workflow, though), I’m finding that I can be on top of the world one day, yet feeling the weight of it the next and somewhere in the middle the following. I’m hoping Laura will tell me I’m just normal when I see her next week, but I have a feeling she’ll do much better and advise me on how I can refocus the energy in a positive way.
Lastly, I’ve started a new test project – I hope the about page will do a good job of explaining what it does, so I’ll end on this happy note…
“In a world where the news only reports disaster after disaster, demoralising each other is standard and Miley Cyrus is someone young girls look up to – how can anyone even keep upbeat? Well, I aim to do at least a little bit for those of you who simply wish to smile.
I’m pulling together everything that’s good and right; whether it’s a random act of kindness, an inspirational story or just a spectacular view. Anything that will make you smile.
I want you to be happy :)”
That’s ultimately what I want for everyone, to be happy.
Who Is Michael Charalambous
I’m Michael Charalambous. At 23, I’ve already been in the digital space for 7 years. I’ve worked with some of the UKs highest profile digital marketing agencies and now I run my own business - I love it.
I love working hard, traveling and telling people about it.
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