The Day After I Quit a Job I Hated

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I hated his voice. It didn’t start out that way, but after years of taking his verbal and mental abuse, his voice made me want to punch myself in the head. He always had to one-up me and made it very clear that I worked for him.

He was the boss and could tell me what to do. Even on the day I told him I was quitting, he argued about when my last day would be. He said, “I’m the one that says when this is over.” What a jerk. In the end, I’ve had the last laugh. He’s still with the company, and I’m living out my dream on Maui, Hawaii.

The Job

For 12 years, I was a vendor. Specifically, I would get up at midnight and deliver bread to grocery stores. I had a wife and kids, and we had the regular life stuff; this meant I slept three hours a night for those 12 years. I was always cranky, tired, stressed, and a jerk.

When I started the job at 19 years old, I loved it. $55,000 a year that young meant I lived well. As the years wore on, the job and hours began to get to me. About eight years in, I started working for a spineless control freak. When we started working together, he knew I was working on my dream of becoming an author and speaker.

He took every chance to put my dream down. When I asked for time off to speak at conferences or attend some training that would help my dream, he was quick to come up with excuses. Coincidently, he started his blog and book. His ideas “seemed” to be the same as mine.

Vendors have a hard job because they get it from everyone. If they run out of a product, the store, the customers and the companies yell at them. If they have too much, the store and company yells at them. You’re expected to be perfect no matter what. It’s a high-pressure job that is also hard on the body because the job is very physically.

My Escape

After spending three years building my dream on the side I was finally able to give this boss my notice. I worked 60 hours a week at the job and spent every waking moment after writing, travelling to speak, and building a coaching business. I finally made enough money to pay off all our debt and save ten month’s worth of expenses. (more…)

When Is It Time to Spend Money on Your Dream?

3218172465_2aa5f75453_zThere is an audio version below.

In 2012, I was making progress on my dream. I was over the horrible defeat of no one buying or caring about my book. I had a plan to grow my audience, exposure and hopefully my income. At that point, I wondered if I should hire a coach. I thought about it and talked to my wife. We were skeptical.

We settled on a compromise; I would take a course offered by a well-known online marketer. The course was $697, which was a HUGE investment in my world at the time. I paid for access and got the login information—boy was I disappointed. There was some good stuff in there, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of the course was very generic and designed to up sell me on his “elite” program. I took what I could come from the program and was stuck at step three.

For the rest of that year, I was a little bitter and decided to figure this out on my own. I worked hard and guest posted on 50 different blogs. I was a guest on 80 podcasts and took every “strategy call” I could when anyone who hinted at hiring me. By the end of 2012, I was making enough money to quit my day job.

Despite the progress, I found myself stuck at step six at the beginning part of 2013. I knew I was missing opportunities, so I caved and hired a business coach. Do you want to talk about investments? I paid $5,500 a month for my business coach and did it for three months. It hurt to spend that kind of money, but it wasn’t long before I started having five-figure months.

When Should You Spend? (more…)

Being “Perfect” Is Hurting Your Dream

2429145049_13b415c60a_zThere’s an audio version below. 

One of the joys I have in life is being a “Lead” editor at the Good Men Project. Lead editor means I get to do a little bit of everything on the site. Every week I edit anywhere from 10 to 20 articles. I also get to see the analytics of the website—so I see what posts do well and which ones do not.

I extend the invitation to anyone who knows me (you included) to write for the Good Men Project. The site gets three million unique visitors, and eight million views a month. When someone hears this, they are excited and nervous—that’s a lot of eyeballs on something you wrote. In the desire to get massive traffic and email subscribers, dreamers try to make their article perfect.

At any given time, I work with ten coaching clients; I also consult for two companies. I see the same desire to be perfect with both of these groups. I talk to many of you each week on the phone and through email; a lot of you feel the need to be perfect so that your dream can take off.

Here’s what I want to tell you: No one is perfect, and trying to be perfect is holding you back.

Procrastination

There are already enough distractions in life that feed into our procrastination. Trying to make what you do perfect keeps you from even starting because you tell yourself you have to “think” first. I’m all for planning and researching the steps you’re going to take, but at some point the research has to stop, and the action has to start.

If your dreams are going to become a reality, you have to take more action than your fear and doubt will allow. If you give into procrastination, it will take twice as long–if it even happens at all. I remember getting home from delivering bread for 10 to 12 hours and telling myself I had a choice to make. I chose action because I hated what I did and wanted to escape. (more…)

5 Basics for Building an Online Business That Actually Makes Money

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With the boom of the Internet and social media has arisen a new category of entrepreneurship. Successful entrepreneurs such as Mark Cuban, Elon Musk, and Peter Thiel got their start with online businesses. An online business offers an unparalleled opportunity to run a business worldwide with only a laptop and Internet connection.

Starting and growing an online business, however, is easier said than done. Today, 2.5 billion people log onto the Internet. This is good in the sense of the opportunity for income, but negative in the sense that an online business has become a modern-day gold rush.

Everywhere you look a new “guru” or “expert” who offers their cheat sheet or course on how they made “seven-figures” in one year. Logging into your Facebook account can be downright depressing with all the over-hyped ads. Choosing whom to learn from can be just as hard as starting an online business.

Here are five simple steps to making money from a dream or an idea you have and enjoy. You don’t need the gurus to start or grow a business that will free you to make money on your terms.

1. Focus. When I say focus, the first thought that comes to your mind is probably “niche.” While figuring out a profitable niche is important, it’s not the end all be all. Focus means figuring out who you want to serve and how you will deliver value to that group.

It means you stop following the gurus and focus on what will help you where you are. There is an abundance of free information online, almost too much. Many entrepreneurs fall victim to information overload. I’m guessing that if you applied 10 percent of the knowledge you currently have, you would make progress building your business. Turn off the constant learning and focus on 20 percent strategies. Use a service like Unroll.me to unsubscribe from unnecessary emails lists that take all your time.

2. Build an audience. This is where many businesses miss the mark. You put together a beautiful website with all the right plugins, widgets, and opt-in boxes. You follow all the steps, but the money doesn’t come because you have no audience. (more…)

A Life of Freedom

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Words can’t describe how I feel right now. It’s a mixture of happiness, overwhelm, joy, gratitude, and 100 other emotions. I speak in Las Vegas on Friday, but it’s Wednesday, and I fulfilled a bucket list item last night. I got to attend a Taylor Swift concert!

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If you know me, you know I’m a HUGE Taylor fan, like a mega crazy fan. When I saw that I would be coming to the lower 48, I knew this was my chance to see her concert. I went to the 1989 tour stop in Louisville, Kentucky. I’m writing this from the airport.

To be able to do this, to be able to live the life I’m living now is overwhelming.

There were times during those 12 years of struggle that I thought committing suicide would be easier. I have a wife and beautiful children, but the struggle was too much at times. I would wake up to find the IRS had taken every dollar we had out of our bank account, leaving us wondering how we would feed our kids.

Dan Miller’s book, 48 Days to the Work You Love, was my lifeline. If I hadn’t found it in Half Price Books, I don’t think I would be where I am today. That book gave me hope and showed me that my dreams were possible if I did something about them. (more…)

The Summer I Became a Man

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I had to grow up pretty quickly. At 17, I was kicked out of my home. I was a teenager who should have been thinking about hanging out with my buddies, but instead, I was worried about where I would sleep at night. I tried to be responsible and go to high school while working three jobs.

It became too much to handle Algebra, crazy coworkers and the uncertainty of my living situation. When something had to give, it was high school because I needed to make money to survive. I dropped out of high school at 17. As I walked out of those doors, I could see every dream I had dying.

It wasn’t all bad news because, at one of my jobs, I met the woman who would become my wife. We were married the day after I turned 18. We started our lives together, and she encouraged me to go back and get my G.E.D.—I did.

We built a solid foundation and had our first child a year after we married. We had a second and third child before I turned 25. During that time, I went through a series of jobs—13 to be exact. Each one did pay more than the last, but none of them were fulfilling. My life was a routine; I had no clue what it meant to actually live life.

Something inside me snapped when I hit my twenties. I got married young and didn’t have a chance to do what youngster’s normally do. I suddenly wanted to go to clubs, drink more and get into mischief with my buddies. It started slow, but I have an addictive personality, so things escalated.

I found myself coming to work drunk, which wasn’t good because I drove a truck. I would party all night and was a zombie through life. I wasn’t around for my wife or children; there was a stretch where they didn’t know me. When I was home, I was a jerk. I don’t know why my wife stayed with me.

Life went on this way until 2011. The beginning part of that year was when everything came crashing down on my head. I was 170 pounds overweight, we were $180,000 in debt, I had a business that was falling apart, and my wife finally had enough. We separated that year on the way to a quick divorce because of my cheating. The truth is she should have left me a long time ago. I was not a man. I had no clue what it meant to be a man. (more…)

4 Ways for Entrepreneurs to Cultivate Their Writing

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Social media, self-publishing, and the Internet have created an amazing new opportunity to spread our words far and wide. Entrepreneurs can take thoughts out of their head, and put them into words that change people’s lives.

This new opportunity has been a blessing and a curse. Today, everything is short and punchy. A tweet is fewer than 140 characters, no one reads long Facebook updates, and blog posts have to be fewer than 1,000 words to hold people’s attention.

“Write good copy,” is the new buzz phrase. Everywhere you look is a new copywriting expert. You’re told the copy on your website has to be appealing to your target audience. In this movement to write good copy, the art of writing is lost.

Writing is not the same as writing copy, and just because you can do one, doesn’t mean you can do the other. Writing good copy can help your business, but good writing changes lives. Here are four ways entrepreneurs can write more effectively.

1. Cut out the fluff. Some of the greatest writers in history did this well. Vonnegut, Hemingway, King and many other great writers spent an extraordinary amount of time making sure their writing was free of what they considered “extra words.” Your audience will read longer articles and books if they’re free of fluff.

Avoid adverbs. Stephen King says, “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” I don’t know if that’s true, but adverbs hurt effective writing. We use them when we’re timid. Don’t be hesitant to state your truth. There will be those who disagree, but your target audience will appreciate it.

Everything you write won’t be fluff-free, but as you work on it, and write more, you can get better. A wise man told me good writers read a lot and write a lot. Do both of these and you’ll develop solid, fluff-free writing. (more…)

6 Unhealthy Habits That Lead to Divorce

2015-05-12-1431392755-5018000-3224201623_abc193ff32_z-thumbThere is an audio version below.

Why can’t we remember how intensely in love we felt while going through hard times in our marriage? If only life worked that way but it doesn’t and if a marriage is going to survive, it’s going to take work from each spouse. When you’re in the honeymoon phase most of what happens can be easily forgiven, afterward is when the real work of marriage begins.

My wife and I were married a day after my eighteenth birthday. Family, friends, and wise older couples warned and tried to teach us about what a healthy marriage looks like. We listened here and there but we were in love and ready to take on anything the world would throw at us. We had each other, and that’s all we needed.

You can guess how this story plays. After the honeymoon phase, we weren’t prepared for the day-to-day experience of marriage. We started with a few fights here and there that escalated to full blown shouting matches. I feel sorry for our neighbors because we fought every day.

After years of limping through marriage, we separated. We were in debt and had no hope. We agreed to divorce, and I moved out. One day in 2011, it all hit me at once. I was crying on the floor because my life was a complete mess. I stopped crying and determined to change my life. I was done existing.

It took years, but I lost 170 pounds, quit a job I hated and paid off all our debt. My wife saw it wasn’t just words anymore, so a day before our divorce was supposed to be final, we called it off. This year we celebrate 17 years of marriage. Here are six unhealthy habits that almost led to our divorce and should be avoided in marriage.

1. Putting Your Needs Above Your Spouses

Our natural tendency is to want to make everything about us. We wonder why our spouse isn’t putting our needs first when the reality is that it’s probably the other way around. A wise counselor told us that if you have a problem with your spouse, the problem is really with yourself. Healthy marriages aren’t selfish. They are made up of two spouses who are willing to put the other person’s needs first.

2. Not Deciding to Love Every day

Love is not a feeling. It’s a decision. Feelings come and go, but the decision to love is something you do everyday–even multiple times a day. Feelings are what have you flying on cloud nine during the honeymoon phase. Making the decision to love your spouse every day is what makes a marriage last. When you decide not to give into temptation because you made that commitment, you are making a decision to love. When you put your spouse first, you are making a decision to love.

3. Hidden Resentment

We know in our minds that communication in a marriage is important; yet too often, we don’t do it. We have a problem that we keep to ourselves and let a small issue build into something much deeper. We hold a grudge and carry resentment inside us that forms roots. Before we know it, we’re doing something we regret because we couldn’t talk about it. (more…)

6 Steps to Becoming a Lifestyle Entrepreneur

2715583000_d87171f627_zThere is an audio version alone.

The Internet has been used by academia since the 1980’s, but in the last fifteen years it has become what we know today. Today, 2.5 billion people log onto the Internet every day, and it’s estimated that the number will double in the next five years

For entrepreneurs looking to start or grow a business, the Internet offers a fairly unlimited and mostly untapped customer base. There are many successful lifestyle entrepreneurs, but they are just scratching the surface of the opportunity that’s available.

A “lifestyle entrepreneur” is an entrepreneur who makes their living online. They don’t have a physical location or need one to operate. All they need is a laptop and connection to the Internet to manage their business. There are several tools and software they use, but they’re portable.

They are not tied down, which allows them to operate their business all over the world. There can also be a passive income element to their business, but it’s not necessary. If they offer services, such as coaching or consulting, they can work over Skype.

If this type of entrepreneurship model appeals to you, here are six steps you can use to become a location-independent lifestyle entrepreneur.

1. Pick a profitable target audience. I’m not going to give you the standard “choose your niche” advice. While being specific can help, it’s not always necessary. Where niching helps is when you get be industry-specific. Idea specific is a lot harder to niche.

The more important point is to make sure your “niche,” or target audience, can afford to pay you. Too many entrepreneurs pick a group that interests them but can’t afford their products and services. You are creating a business; there has to be a potential to generate income with whatever audience you pick. (more…)

3 Ways to Help Your Spouse Support Your Dream

1635483220_be1974194b_zThere is an audio version at the end. 

One of the most common situations I hear about in the dream chasing journey world is a spouse that isn’t supportive. This can happen for a number of reasons, but more often than not, I find it’s something that can be avoided. We don’t help the situation with certain actions we take.

Now, it can be something from your spouse’s past that has their guard up. Maybe their parent was an entrepreneur and the business failed. Going through that might have soured them towards the whole entrepreneur thing. Maybe it was a family friend.

Often, though, we push our spouse away from our dreams by working too hard or spending too much money trying to get our dream off the ground. I have talked to many dreamers who have spent thousands of dollars on training or coaching, yet are still stuck.

Here are three ways to help your spouse support your dream. A supportive spouse can be the difference between success and failure in your journey to create freedom.

1. Stop Treating This as a Hobby

If you are in the camp of money spent, what are you doing with the information you paid for? Sure, there are a lot of hype-filled programs, but even those can teach you one strategy you can use. We don’t lack for information these days—it’s everywhere—we lack in applying that information in our life and business.

If you have paid, it’s time to stop messing around and apply what you have learned. Even if you have never paid for training, it’s time to use all the information you learn each week on blogs, podcasts, and videos. You know what you need to do. You have read the books that have laid out the plan clearly. It’s time to take action. If you take action on 10% of what you know, the results will surprise you. (more…)