61 Things I Have Learned So Far This Year

3369136238_ee12264256While feeling like I am moving at the speed of light, I wanted to slow down for a second and take some time today to reflect.  There are days these past few weeks where I have been working so hard at points that I feel delusional.  Maybe that is from the 18-19 hour work days (I will tell you why at the end of this post).  I have grown tremendously as a person and in business, yet sometimes feel like the guy to the right with all the mistakes I have made.  I have come to understand that my failures are part of the process so I wanted to share with you what I found.

So far, this year I have learned…

  • Eating a bunch of bananas in one day is too many bananas.
  • Spend a few extra minutes developing a well thought out plan.
  • Don’t change anyone.  Just change yourself.  The right people will follow.
  • It’s cool to be smart.
  • If you are going to come up with ideas, fully think them through and come up with a plan to execute before rattling them off to business partners.  You will get everyone sidetracked.
  • I still love working with young entrepreneurs.
  • Don’t publicly commit yourself to reading 52 books in 52 weeks.
  • About the respect I have for you for reading this.
  • To Get clear on what you want at this very moment.  It most likely will change, but get clear NOW.
  • I want to punch Sanyo in the mouth for their horrendous customer service.
  • Blogging is awesome…everyone should do it as long as it is consistent.
  • Life is funner, yes funner, when you are doing what you love.
  • Planting a garden actually is hard work.  Outsource the weeding.
  • Although I am quite creative, I am horrendously slow at putting mediocre websites together and that should be outsourced too.
  • Work outside any chance you get.
  • If you want comfortable, work 8 hour days.  If you want to be ultra-successful, there will be many days you will work wake to faint.  And you will love it.
  • At times of desperation, keep your cool and always have faith.
  • Try to emotionally have lower highs and higher lows.
  • The switchover from PC to Mac is really not as scary as I thought and actually one of the most refreshing moves I ever made.
  • Find ways to serve the people in your network.  This can be as simple as a complement.
  • Practice absolute punctuality.  You will look like a clown when you are late or miss appointments.
  • How not to care about money.
  • I would always choose working in a group verses working by myself.
  • That I am good at pretending to be busy, but it is actually hard work being busy.
  • By setting deadlines, announcing them and having multiple accountability partners will catapult your results.
  • My feet aren’t that big, and toe-thong sandals are quite comfortable.
  • When you don’t have Twitter followers, it means everything.  When you have them, smart people understand that it’s about quality not quantity.
  • Making to-do lists at night is crucial.
  • 15 minutes of YOU TIME every morning can change your life.
  • That asking yourself “What can I be best in the world at?” can lead to some serious breakthroughs.  Just as equally looking at what you can never be best at and eliminating.
  • If you want to build a business on a budget, get good at leveraging others as well as being leveraged.
  • You can build a business entirely through social media.
  • I would not be where I am at without everyone around me.  No one is self made.
  • Give someone the benefit of the doubt.
  • That I have witnessed an Icon in my lifetime.  There is a good chance that at every second for the rest of eternity, someone will be listening to his music.
  • I deserve a vacation.
  • You have to be out of the box to be successful and people will love when you embrace your little quirks.
  • It wasn’t embarrassing in school when I didn’t do my homework, but it is when you don’t do it for dog training class.
  • Discipline comes easy when you know where you are going.
  • I really enjoy public speaking.
  • You make think you know your closest friends, but you probably have no idea about what they have gone through.
  • Twitter can be a gift if you use it as one and a curse that can suck you dry.
  • I love wearing basketball shorts everyday.
  • That Borrowed Earth Cafe is my favorite restaurant on earth…so far.
  • Social media can bring together great people quickly, but spend extra time developing those live relationships.
  • I can stomach almost anything, but I’ve met my match with too much arugula.  Everything in moderation.
  • How to do the moonwalk.
  • We all grow at our own paceEveryone deserves a second chance. I am grateful I got one.
  • I liked Facebook so much better before they went through a identity crisis.  Make sure things work correctly before making drastic changes.
  • It is quite okay to fail often.  It can usually takes me 2-3 times to get it right and I am cool with that.
  • That I really could be incredibly happy making $3,000 a month living on a beach climbing coconut trees and spearing fish in the ocean, but I wont change the world being broke sitting on the beach.
  • The true definition of humility.
  • You can be an asshole an become a millionaire, but to get to stratospheric success, you must genuinely love and care for people.
  • I really, really, really, really, really love my Macbook.
  • I love you for being you.  There is nothing better than your authentic self.
  • That people actually care what I have to say.
  • That I HATE the misleading telemarketers at this number (402.982.0785) who call say “This call is in regards to your current credit card accounts….” then go on saying don’t be alarmed and try to sell you something.  Dude, what kind of shit is that?
  • That I feel like sometimes no one understands me and you can find people effortlessly who do on Twitter.
  • How young entrepreneurs can become an expert at something or at least appear to be one.
  • I am fortunate for everything I have and am responsible for everything that is good and bad in my life.
  • And finally…. launching a quality product is an ungodly amount of work that you don’t expect until you go through it.  It’s worth every second.

altitudeSo, if you want to know what I have been secretly working on…my business partner and I have poured hours and hours into developing a new business Social Media Altitude.  You can check it out here: http://SocialMediaAltitude.com and enter your email to get our brand new FREE 7 video training series.

What is the #1 thing you learned this year?  Leave it below.

{photo by: sumrow}

Why Your Saturday Is Like My Tuesday

2009-07-26_2148We all know the routine well. We all are OR we all were young at one point. A hellacious work week leads to a weekend of “letting loose”.  It usually involves the excessive consumption of various cocktails, maybe a little dancing, some good music, sexy people and several more cocktails.  That was the routine for me practically every weekend from 17-22.  Don’t ask me how I got into the bar or why I was even drinking before I was 21.  Wait, you can just call it COLLEGE.  I was not as innocent as I look. 😉  It was fun from what I can remember. I would not trade it for the world.  Would you?

The times were fun and some friends come and go.   Many don’t know that my college habits stayed with me when I graduated and I was drinking quite heavily.  Things got pretty rough until, one day I decided that I didn’t like the direction my life and health were heading and left it all behind.   I still love to go out and we are going to have a blast when we do, but my idea of a good time does not include taking 12 shots of whiskey and ending up blacked out on the floor anymore.  Sometimes, I call myself a loser now because it’s rare to catch me out on a Saturday night these days.  To be honest with you, it is far less appealing.

Besides, I have not had a job for almost two and a half years now.  My life is just not the same anymore.  And I am sure the girls at the bar are not eager to engage in a conversation with me about blogging, search engine optimization and raw food.  Nor will I want to listen to someone complain about their job.  Let’s face it, many don’t find those as sexy topics.

One of the greatest hidden gifts about being an entrepreneur, is the fact that the days no longer have the same meaning. Sunday is still my day of rest, but everyday is practically the same to me now.  Saturday night is equivalent to a Tuesday afternoon.  There is really no difference.  Far are the days of being overly exited for the weekend because I want relief from my shitty job.   I actually prefer to go out now when everyone else can’t.  Want to play pool until the early Wednesday morning?  Perhaps head to the driving range and hit some balls in the afternoon?  I’m  down for whatever.

I am not bragging.  I really don’t care how you live your life.  I think it’s funny and sad that the majority of this country are like little drones following the same standardized routine for all of theirs’.  With the pressure of friends, it is sometimes hard to be that guy/girl who is singled out from the norm.  When you start changing, don’t expect your friends to change with you.  So at about 10pm, just when things are starting to heat up in the club, I decided to see who else was out there hustling away.  I Skype Me™!started a Tinychat, which is a really cool live video chat room, hit some of my friends up on Skype, and threw it out there to my network asking other entrepreneurs to join in.


It turned out to be a rock solid Late Night Young Entrepreneur Business Chat with some great laughs and powerful discussion (and not to mention, some new found friends).  Isn’t technology great?  We have decided to do it again next Friday or Saturday night for all you other “losers” out there.   Just come by my Tinychat room right around 10pm CST and we can have some fun.


All I want to say is that you really are not alone.  Your friends may crack jokes for you deciding to take a night off and work on your projects.  Please don’t get caught up in the feeling that since everyone is doing it, you have to go out every weekend.  The peer pressure will eventually fade and your happiness and bank account will continue to surpass theirs.  Just keep hustling away and very soon, if not already, you will be living your dream.

QUESTION: What is your favorite day of the week and why?

My Social Media Bootcamp Presentation: Purpose Driven Social Media

3752630524_55c191bf89The photographer caught me showcasing my best “Thriller” moves in this action shot.  Lol.  Yesterday, I had the privilege to speak at the Social Media Bootcamp in Rockford, IL.  It is a two and a half day social media marathon for professionals and business owners.  In the morning, I kicked off the event with my presentation “Purpose Driven Social Media” and later in the afternoon, I gave a talk on “How to Build a Tremendous Blog and Why.”  I had a wonderful engaging audience that I was exceptionally grateful for.

There is a great lineup of speakers for this event including @PRSarahEvans, @LizStrauss, @WillEnglishIV, @InteractiveAmy, @AveryCohen, @PhilipNowak, @JenChicago, @JeffreyAStewart, my good buddy @Williger, and about 10 others.   I also have to give a big shout out to Ray Smith and Jen Parness for all the support.

Many people were asking to have a copy of my slides from my “Purpose Drive Social Media” presentation.  What a fun group…  I think I am safe to say we had a good time and shared some laughs.

If you want my presentation, I will have my business partner send you the link.
Just enter your info at the bottom of this post.




CLICK HERE to get the presentation:

{photo by: socialmediabootcamp}

Do Young Entrepreneurs Struggle with Group Collaboration?

The last poll conducted on my blog, asked young entrepreneurs “What is the biggest challenge in your business?”  After wrapping up and reviewing the results, I found some interesting data.

23% of readers saw their biggest challenge in business as finding like minded people to mastermind.  Similarly, 22% find themselves having trouble staying motivated. I will come back to this.

An almost equal percentage of people feel their biggest challenges are finding a mentor, battling negative influences, time management and finding their passion.


Survey respondents: 118

Now, I included masterminding in here because it is a big part of my business.  I am at an accelerated growth rate because of the people I surround myself with.  In relation, I stay motivated because the passion for what I do is strong, but more also from group collaboration.  I find it so inspiring to partner up with like minded people to help each other profit, grow and complement the others weaknesses.

I will go out on the line from the results of this survey and say many young entrepreneurs need help with learning how to collaborate in groups and who to seek out in doing so.  Do you think young entrepreneurs struggle with group collaboration?

My friend “The Success Man” Russell Yermal reviewed my last post and just told me about a cool offer he made.  He is giving away a free 30-minute coaching consultation to the first 5 people wanting to learn Social Media strategies who comment on his blog post.

Hurry up and get over there…I don’t promote other people often this way, but Russell is a freakin’ genius when it comes to this stuff!!!

How to Find Your Business “Sweet Spot” In 15 Minutes (or less)

2816789184_68c121ca1dFor many, it is the ultimate dream to do what we love and what we are good at and get paid handsomely for it.  Does one have to search their whole life to achieve this result?  It may seem as if young professionals have to pay their dues, but that is not the case.

After reading the book Good to Great by Jim Collins, I gained ultimate clarity in my business and you can absolutely do the same.  Collins refers to something called the Hedgehog Concept, which is basically the intersection of our passion, talent and compensation.  I like to refer to this as our “sweet spot.”  When everything aligns in our businesses, we can feeling so much more productive and it is like we are batting 1.000 and hitting our sweet spot in everything we do.

It is so very important to find this clarity early on.  Imagine putting in a life of efforts into a business or job, only to realize after many years you are burnt out and hate what you do.   Even if you find yourself in your young business wearing to many hats, we need to find what you truly desire to be doing.  I am quite excited about this post, because I feel many will have some “ah-ha” moments while reading it.

So, how does one get clear on their passion, talent and economic drive?  Anyone can tell you if you get clarity on these things that you will be ultra-successful, but how do we do it?  Here is your instruction manual.  To find your sweet spot, we must start by asking ourselves these three questions:

  1. What can I be the best in the world at? (Your god-given talent)
  2. What do I deeply love to do? (What you are passionate about)
  3. What drives my economic engine? (What you are well paid to do)

Take a moment and write down the first few things that come to mind before we proceed.  I want to clarify something from the start.  From the written words of Jim Collins, this concept is “not a goal to be the best, a strategy to be the best, an intention to be the best, a plan to be the best.  It is an understanding of what you can be the best at.  The distinction is absolutely crucial.”

You may think the first question comes off a bit egocentric.  If so, you are off the mark.  We all need to get real with ourselves and look at the brutal facts.  You will live a life of mediocrity if you don’t strive to be excellent or the best at what you do.  Not to compare with others, but to be the greatest at what you do.  The three circles below show the intersection to find your sweet spot.



Think back to your high school days.  You are taking a math final and thirty minutes in, a student walks to the front of the room to hand in their exam.  You follow behind another thirty minutes later feeling pretty confident about your work.  You both end up getting A’s.  See, you may be pretty solid in math, but your peer can be genetically hardwired for it and destined to be a math mathematician.  Their brain may function and process in a different way.  If your Creator did not make you over 6 feet tall, he probably didn’t want you to become a basketball player!  I am not saying you can’t (because Muggsy Bogues was 5’3″), but please be aware enough to look at the brutal facts about your life and businesses.

Your talent is what you feel you are the best in the world at.  This is your genetic or God-given gifts.  Not only do we want to look at what you are best at, but also address what you will never be the best at.  Sometimes we get caught up in the trends in the marketplace and get involved in too many things at once and lose track of our vision.  Maybe it’s the latest MLM launch that has the absolute “the best” product, or someone creates an affiliate course that you must promote.  Look, there are millions of “once in a lifetime” opportunities. Are you going to hop on the bandwagon and risk your credibility just to make a couple bucks, or will you feel good about turning it down knowing you are doing what you love?  When we start to get involved in too many things, it is best to take a step back and see what we can eliminate from our business.

Here’s a personal example.  My original business model included Business and Life Coaching for young entrepreneurs and PPC Internet Marketing.  First, there is not much money in the coaching side, so I decided to be flexible and take a variety of clients.  What I found is that I was not as inspired by working with these clients and I actually love working with young entrepreneurs so much that I’d do it for free.  After realizing I could never be the best business coach in the world (because my heart is not there at the moment) and that I still have more business experience I want to gain for myself,  I decided to eliminate growing that part of my business model and focus on consulting and coach young entrepreneurs as I please.  The same with the PPC Internet Marketing.  Yes, I could make really great money, but I was not inspired by it and I would never be the best in the world at it. PPC was also dropped it like a bad habit!

You must have the discipline to realize that just because you are good at something and making money at it, doesn’t necessarily mean you can become the best at it.  Yes, you can operate and make a good income, but you will always have a mediocre business.  Try not to be too broad and completely laser target your talents.

“I can be the best in the world at telling stories to young entrepreneurs about entrepreneurship, social media, health and life, that inspire them take action in their business and personal lives.”

Questions to ask yourself to help find your hidden talents:
1. What do you currently do for free that other people get overly excited about?
2. In what situations do you find yourself the most creative?
3. What do other people compliment you on often?
4. What frustrates me and what can I fix?
5. What were you born to do?


Thinking about passion, I am immediately reminded of a story from the book Aspire! by Kevin Hall.  Kevin’s mentor, Arthur Watkins, is a lifelong devoted teacher and wordsmith.  On his honeymoon touring the National Parks, he was caught cheating on his wife!  She found him in the closet, not with another woman, but accompanied by the Hebrew dictionary where he was memorizing the Hebrew alphabet.  How would YOU explain this? Arthur had no explanation other than he was enjoying the two loves of his life.  I am pretty confident that knowing 13 languages resembles a passion for words.

As I am writing this article, it is 1:32am.  I had already shut everything down, had some fascinating thoughts while reading in bed and leaped up an grabbed my notebook to start writing.  That’s passion.  Spending 14 hours pumping out content on my day of rest (Sunday) to voluntarily help other young entrepreneurs is…well, maybe just a bit crazy….but PASSION!!!

What does passion mean to you?  Do you think you can devote hours upon hours to projects because they have become some sort of positive addictions?  Motivation to feel passionate about something is impossible.  You may see some temporary results, but you cannot manufacture passion.  It must stem from within.  Passion is willing to go from wake to faint everyday.  Something your are willing to miss meals and cut your sleep for.  Passion is at every waking moment you are thinking about learning as much as you possibly can about that one thing.

Questions to ask yourself to help find your passion:
1. What things do you absolutely love doing that put a big ol’ smile on your face?
2. What you would do if no one ever knew about it and you never got paid for it?
3. What things made you incredibly happy as a child?
4. If you were to pick any volunteer activity, what would you do?
5. If you were to check out 3 types of books at the library, what would they be about?


You do not have to be in a great industry to be paid well to do what you love and are talented at.  I really don’t think there is such thing as a bad niche.  As long as there is traffic and you are provide good content, you can create an income.  I don’t think there is a better story of understand one’s economic engine than Gary Vaynerchuk.  Although Gary created a quite successful wine business, for the past few years, he has consistently pumped out an online wine show.  He has seriously shaken up the wine world and without a doubt in my mind, is building a billion dollar brand.  He understands what he loves (the most passionate wine guy) and what he is naturally talented at (connecting and caring for people).  Through this, he has built an online platform that has online advertisers salivating.

We cannot monetize a blog over night.  The idea of even throwing Adsense on a blog is just silly.  Do what you love and the money will follow your passion and talent.  It takes time so be ready to bare with it and pump out the content.  At least a year.  I have been blogging for just over 6 months and have been approached about advertisers to buy space to advertise on my blog.  They are smart, but I have not really considered it at this point.  The money would be great, but a few extra dollars is not worth tainting my brand equity.  I still have something to prove.  I write and do videos because I love it.  I know the money is just around the corner and to get there, I have to keep pumping it out nonstop.  The same rules apply for you in whatever you are doing.  Here is how you pump out content:

  1. pump it out
  2. Pump It Out
  3. PUMP IT OUT!!!

A great measure of your economic engine is understanding your denominator.  Let’s consider the letter x as out denominator.  Think about how much profit you can make per (x).  It could be per person, per store, per visit, per customer and so on.  By targeting your denominator, you can determine how to raise your income over time.  It is not necessary to have one single denominator, but it is best.  You can then produce greater insight to raising your income over time.  For example, in Gary’s case, he could say he wants to go from profit per customer purchase to profit per visitor on his website.  This may allow for him to plan and maximize his the income coming in by focusing on how and from where he drives traffic to his website.

Questions to ask yourself to help find your economic engine:
1. Do you currently enjoy what you do?
2. What value do you tend to give away for free?
3. What would you love to get paid to do for the rest of your life?
4. Are you currently paid well for your expertise?
5. What product or service do you think the marketplace needs and would want from you?

The Sweet Spot

The intersection of out talent, passion and compensation is such a unique place.  I think very few business owners will ever reach this place and it is quite sad.  I have seen people around me build tremendous success and be extremely unhappy.  They think they love what they do because their ego is satisfied with material things.  I was incredibly blessed to find myself at abundant financial times in my business early on.  The challenge was that I found myself quite miserable because I realized everything I was doing was ego driven.

Not everyone must go through these experiences.  I have made almost every mistake in the book and am sure I have even created new ones.  I enjoy failure now.  The funny thing is when the money is taken out of the picture, it flows so much easier to you.  If you are dissatisfied with what you do right now, find a way out.  Money won’t ever be a solution to your problem.  It is like taking an Asprin when you have a broken leg.  It will take the pain away, but you will still have a broken leg.  Find your intersection, and you will feel like you are hitting for the cycle every time you come to the plate.  You will feel like everything you touch turns to gold. 😉

{photos by:  EQ4PM, Sweet One}