August 2016 Review

August 2016 Review

Goals for this month

Work I got done

Projects I’ve moved forward

Things I’ve learned and want to remember

Goals for this month

From a monthly goals perspective, it was a pretty great month. I achieved three of my four goals for the month. BOOM, BABY.

  • Launch beta version of Different Hunger’s first product (!!!)
  • Develop and stick to ‘miracle’ morning routine
  • Keep up the momentum with work / Different Hunger but don’t be anti-social robot
  • Reach 1,000 subscribers on Different Hunger (not yet, but soon!)

1. Launch beta version of Different Hunger’s first product (!!!)

I’m super pumped to announce that in August I launched my first ever product through Different Hunger. Ever since I started this website in 2014, I had dreams of creating products like this to hopefully change lives, and it feels damn good to finally be doing it. On top of that, this product allowed me to make my first $1,000 through my website, which is a milestone I’m very proud of.

More importantly though, and what I think is most valuable for you, the reader, is my journey in getting to this point…

For so long, self limiting beliefs kept me from even considering the creation of a product. “I’m just a twenty something blogger with no real credibility, no real experience. No one would actually pay me for something I created…”

This was the mindset I held for far too long, and clearly, after making my first $1,000 through my first product, I can attest to the fact that these types of limiting beliefs are BS.

Self limiting beliefs are the reason that so many people quit before they even start. You write yourself off for not having the credentials that you think you need instead of just taking action, working with what you have and learning as you go through others’ feedback…

The key to overcoming self limiting beliefs is to first be aware of them. By being aware of them, you can recognize them, then eliminate them.

Instead of writing yourself off before you even start, formulate your idea, then get honest feedback from others.

How? Here are a few ways to get honest feedback and validate your ideas:

(Step 0: Lose the ego and be open to harsh but constructive criticism)

  • Directly ask friends or colleagues who won’t sugarcoat things
  • Create a simple survey (ie. Google Forms, Surveymonkey, etc.) and share it in a Facebook status with your friends
  • Post in Facebook groups asking if your idea is something others would be interested in
  • Search for your idea on Amazon or other marketplaces. Chances are if there’s a book or other product about what you’re thinking of creating/offering, then that means there is a demand. Competition is a good thing.

Don’t let self limiting beliefs prevent you from taking action, or in this case, creating your first product. Rely on others, and your market, to tell you whether or not your idea is worth building.

To help you further with this, I’ve broken down the exact steps I took to launch my first product and generate my first $1,000 through my blog.

2. Reach 1,000 subscribers on Different Hunger

As of writing this, we are at 900 subscribers. Super close to hitting the 1K email subscriber milestone. To be honest, I have not been as focused on email list growth as I could have been. Instead, I have been primarily focused on the launch of my first product and ensuring that everything has been going smoothly there. Over the next 1-2 months, I will certainly make this a priority again and I am confident we will hit 1K very soon!

Want to help Different Hunger hit 1K email subscribers?! Click here to spread the word about Different Hunger on Twitter!

3. Develop and stick to ‘miracle’ morning routine

Since early August I have been working on sticking to my morning routine. I am doing a much better job of being consistent with this.

A morning routine is something that countless top performers have mentioned is a key element of their success. When I recently found out that Daniel DiPiazza of Rich20Something (someone I follow closely and look up to) was waking up at 4:30 AM, accomplishing more before lunch time than most people do all week, I knew it was time to get my ass in gear…

The routine I have been using is one based on the findings of bestselling author Hal Elrod in his award winning book, The Miracle Morning. I came across Elrod’s work as part of Foundr Magazine’s membership site, Foundr Club, in which Hal Elrod gave an awesome masterclass as part of their monthly mentor program.

In Elrod’s book, he shares what he found from studying the morning routines fo the world’s most successful individuals. Using this information, he created the ‘miracle morning’ which consists of the following six elements:

  1. Silence
  2. Affirmations
  3. Visualization
  4. Exercise
  5. Reading
  6. Scribing

Using this, I crafted my morning routine:

  1. Turn off phone alarm (intentionally placed across my room so I need to get out of bed to turn it off) and drink glass of water
  2. Meditate for 5 minutes
  3. Exercise: I usually do ~50 pushups + situps + basic yoga and stretching
  4. Read for 15 minutes (currently reading The Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday)
  5. Write out daily MIT’s (most important tasks) and schedule
  6. Affirmations: for each of your MIT’s say what you’re going to do, why you’re going to do it, how you’re going to do it, and when you’re going to do it.
  7. Visualization: visualize yourself doing what you need to do to achieve your desired outcome, followed by visualizing the emotions you will feel after you achieve your desired outcome

In total, this routine usually takes me about 45 minutes. I have found it has definitely helped with my productivity and focus, though it’s definitely something I need to continue to do more habitually to see more noticeable results from.

To download your miracle morning cheatsheet and create your own morning routine to boost productivity and focus, click here.

4. Keep up the momentum with work / Different Hunger but don’t be an anti-social robot

For the first two months that I was in Colombia, I was working harder than I ever have in my life. As I mentioned in May’s monthly review, I ended up working nearly 250 hours, averaging more than 14 hours per day for the last half of the month. I was pretty much a robot and my life consisted of working out, eating and working. I wasn’t very social and would usually only go out once a week.

This intensity of work was exactly what I needed to get things started, and as a result of it I was able to make things work while I pursued self employment. However, moving back to NYC, I wanted to ensure that I didn’t revert back into this robot style of working. After all, I became an entrepreneur to have the freedom to spend my time doing the things I love with the people I love.

I’m well aware of the fact that I need to work my ass off to make things work in a city that costs $3,000 – 4,000 monthly to live in. But at the same time, we are all on a timeline, and I want to enjoy and take advantage of all the things this amazing city has to offer.

I certainly achieved this goal for the month as August was both productive and social. I’m super pumped to say that for the second month in a row my income was higher working for myself than it was at my previous salaried role. This is another MASSIVE win that I’m very thankful for. I was able to generate some more design work with existing clients, and my course launch also helped with boosting my monthly income.

Again, I was trying not to be robot socially, and made it a point to get to a few happy hours, go on a few dates and host several parties at my apartment. It was an awesome month.

Work I got done

  1. Launched Different Hunger’s first course

As an entrepreneur managing multiple different clients and projects at a single time, I need to be extremely cautious with how I spend my time. In this section I’ll be sharing a very time-conscious, lean approach to launching and getting paid for your first product, before you even build anything…

A lot of people who are creating products for the first time go through this process:

  1. Come up with an idea for a product
  2. Build the product
  3. Launch product, cross fingers and hope it will sell

This is why many products fail. Because this traditional method of creating a product is missing one huge component: validation.

If you don’t validate your idea before you build your product, you are most likely wasting many many hours of your precious time. Validating your idea with your prospective buyers is a bulletproof method to ensure your product launch will be a success.

To get my free eBook about how I made my first $1,000 with my first product BEFORE even building anything, click here.

This is actually a very simple concept that we utilize in our everyday lives, but probably aren’t even aware of. For example, let’s say you’re at the bar. It’s gotten pretty rowdy at this point, and making it to the bar to get a drink is quite the journey. It’s your turn to buy a round, so before you head off on your epic quest for new drinks through a bunch of idiots singing “Don’t Stop Believing”, you first check to see which of your friends wants a drink, right? Of course, it would be stupid to just blindly buy a bunch of drinks for your friends who don’t want them. You would be wasting your time and money.

This is the same principle that you need to apply when considering a product to launch. You wouldn’t just blindly invest a bunch of time and money into something that you know won’t get utilize…

This was exactly how I launched my course. I didn’t just come up with a random idea for a product then build it and hope it would sell. In fact, I didn’t even create my product until I got paid for it! How is that even possible, you ask? Let me explain…

Here are the exact steps I took to launch my first product and generate my first $1,000 through my blog:

Step 1: Prepare an awesome email onboarding automation

If you are serious about growing and monetizing your website, an effective series of automated emails is essential. The goal of these emails is to educate your reader about who you are, what your website does and add massive amounts of value to your reader. You want your welcome emails to generate a relationship with your reader in order to build trust and demonstrate value.

Want an in-depth breakdown of the essentials of your first email automation? (Plus I’ve included a step-by-step breakdown of how I created a list of 50+ readers that were interested in buying my course before it was ever built) Click here to get my free eBook.

Step 2: Build an email list (ideally 500+)

A growing, engaged email list is essential. You need an email list to survey your readers, better understand their problems and provide them with solutions to their problems in the form of awesome content. Once you establish a sense of trust and traction with them (usually around 500+ on your list) you are most likely in good shape to consider offering a product. However, if your list is smaller than that, you want to first focus on adding value and generating traction with your current readership.

Step 3: Identify the common pain points that your target customer is facing

You might think you know what your readers are struggling with, but you need to get them to tell you directly. I did this in the form of emails and also Skype calls. Get to know your readers and dive deep into their current situations which will allow them to elaborate on what they’re going through. This information is invaluable in the creation of your product.

In my free eBook I’ve included email swipe copy for you to use to determine your readers’ struggles plus the email template I used to host Skype calls with 20+ readers. Click here to get the eBook now.

Step 4: Consider which pain points you can solve with a product and do your research

The common pain points that you will begin to see when surveying your audience are the types of problems that you can fix via your own product. First, you want to make sure that there are similar products that already exist. Yes, competition is a good thing, and it shows that there is a need for the product you’re considering creating. (If nothing exists that is similar to the product you’re creating, this is a red flag!)

You can validate your idea in several different ways:

  1. See if there are blogs or websites related to your topic
  2. Search on Amazon for related products
  3. See if there are courses on your desired topic (Udemy or Teachable)

Step 5: Choose a potential product and create an outline of your offering

Once you have done your research, choose a product that has been validated by others while still aligning with the needs of your audience.

Potential products could be eBooks, books or courses. Once you have decided upon your type of product, create an outline. Be very specific, but do not actually create the content of your product until you know it will sell…

If you download my eBook you will receive an email with instructions for how to get the exact course outline I used to generate $1,000 in presales as a bonus. Click here to download the eBook and get your bonus outline!

Step 6: Validate your product offering outline

Once you have created your product outline, it’s time to validate it. You want to make absolutely sure that this is something your customers want, and something they would pay for.

Step 7: Set a launch date and open your product up for pre-sales

I followed up with readers who had previously showed interest in my course, either over a previous call or through my email automation. I told them that I was launching the course in a few weeks and also limiting enrollment to a small number (creating urgency). In order to secure a spot they would have to make the payment. I accepted payments both over PayPal or Venmo for US residents.

Step 8: Build and launch your product

Once I received payments for my course, it was time to create the actual content for my course. Again, I had already created a very specific outline for my course, so it was just a matter of using that as a way to build my course. You definitely want to allow yourself enough time for the actual creation of your product, and a good rule of thumb is to double your projected time needed. I got just about everything for my course completed in ~2 weeks.

If you found the above steps useful and want to learn more, download my free eBook. I go into much more detail on each of the above steps plus provide you with swipe copy, email templates and much more.

2. New content:

In August I published seven new posts:

  1. How to Overcome the 4 Most Common Excuses for Not Taking Action (guest post on Prsuit)
  2. Happiness Researcher, Shawn Achor: What I Would Tell My Twenty Something Self
  3. Process Over Outcome: The Mindset of Michael Phelps
  4. Community Highlights 01
  5. Mindset & Meaningful Change 101 with Erin Willett
  6. $16 Six-Packs & the Need for Gratitude
  7. Weekly Review: Young Hustlers & My First ($1K!) Product

Read on for the highlights and key takeaways from each…

How to Overcome the 4 Most Common Excuses for Not Taking Action (guest post on Prsuit)

In this post I discuss four of the most common excuses for sitting on your ass instead of making sh!t happen, and then I go on to provide insights from top performers as to how to overcome each of them.

These are the four excuses I identified:

  1. The timing isn’t right (…it never will be)
  2. I’m not experienced enough (…you’re just getting started)
  3. But I might fail (…you absolutely will, so embrace it)
  4. I don’t know what to expect (…that’s what makes it exciting)

I provide insights from Arianna Huffington, Brett McKay of The Art of Manliness as well as several other top performers. The post ended up generating several thousand views and did pretty well on social media as well!

Even the awesome crew over at InsideQuest gave this post some love by sharing it with their audience:

Great article by @DifferentHunger on exploding four common excuses that keep us from doing. #BeLegendary
— InsideQuest (@InsideQuest) August 29, 2016

Click here to read the full article over at Prsuit.

Happiness Researcher, Shawn Achor: What I Would Tell My Twenty Something Self

Shawn Achor is a bestselling author and has become one of the world’s leading happiness researchers. He advises his twenty something self to focus first on happiness, then on success.

Shawn Achor’s advice to his 20-something self: “I wish I had known that success would not lead to happiness, but happiness would lead to greater success”. Thanks for the awesome advice @shawnachor! Shawn Achor has become one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success. His research on mindset made the cover of Harvard Business Review, his TED talk is one of the most popular of all time with over 13 million views, and his lecture airing on PBS has been seen by millions. He is the author of New York Times best-selling books The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness.

A photo posted by Different Hunger (@differenthunger) on Jun 10, 2016 at 4:00pm PDT

Key Takeaway:

We need to change our view of success. We need to first focus on being content with our current situation, and then pursue success using happiness as our foundation. Because again, when we constantly push our cognitive horizon further and further, and we continually push the goalpost, it’s damaging to our happiness as well as our performance. You can read the full post here.


Process Over Outcome: The Mindset of Michael Phelps

Who better to learn from than the greatest Olympian of all-time? The other day I was watching an interview between Bob Costas and Michael Phelps. Costas asked Phelps a question that was solely focused on the outcome. I loved Phelps response because he completed shifted the focus from outcome to process, and in doing so revealed the mindset that we all must adapt to perform our very best…

Costas: “In your last event in Rio, if you were to place second and come away with a silver, instead of gold, would that haunt you?”

Phelps: “No – because I know my coach (Bob Bowman) and I did absolutely everything we could do to prepare ourselves to win. I’m willing to accept any results that I get.”

Key Takeaway:

Stop focusing on and obsessing with the outcome. Focus on what you CAN control, which is busting your ass every day to succeed, and trust that doing so will allow you to achieve top-level performance. You can read the full post here.

Community Highlights 01

I started this website because I wanted to impact others while building a global community Because of Different Hunger’s recent growth, I have been fortunate enough to connect with more and more awesome people from all over the world. It’s become very apparent that this community is awesome, especially after hearing about all of the incredible things you guys are working on in the Different Hunger Facebook group, which I just recently created.

I decided I wanted to celebrate all of the awesome and inspiring things that you guys are working on, which is why I am going to be publishing these highlights every other week on the blog. These first highlights include a 19 year old reader publishing her very first book as well as another reader generating $200K in revenue for a gym he hasn’t even launched yet! Read the first edition of these highlights here.

Mindset & Meaningful Change 101 with Erin Willett

Whatever it is you’re working towards, whether it’s losing a bunch of weight, quitting an unhealthy habit like smoking, or picking up a side project, the hardest part is just getting started.

In this video, I talk with Erin Willett who lost 87 pounds on The Biggest Loser about what is required to get started with making a meaningful change in your life. Erin struggled with her weight for years until The Biggest Loser, and revealed that the most important thing that she needed to change was her mindset. Watch the full video here.

$16 Six-Packs & the Need for Gratitude

I’m back in Brooklyn and it’s great to be back. Even though I just had to drop $16 for a six-pack the other night (CORONA LIGHTS, WTF BRO), I’m still very grateful to be in this amazing city, living my dream and working for myself. In this short video, I discuss how important it has been for me to take a step back from working / grinding / hustling and be grateful for where I am and how far I’ve come. Check out the video here.

Weekly Review: Young Hustlers & My First ($1K!) Product

3. Free design resources

As mentioned in July’s monthly review, the majority of my recent clients have come from Facebook groups. One of the reasons for this is because I am an active group member who most often shares helpful, useful content and resources with others, as opposed to self promoting myself and my services.

I knew that some of the previous designs I had created would be useful to others in the various groups I was a part of. So, I created some free templates from my previous resources and made them available to others to download.

As expected the feedback from this was very positive. Additionally, I was able to generate a few leads as well as new relationships with others who work online, which I’m sure will pay off down the road.

As I’ve said before, adding value to others and expecting nothing in return always is best practice.

You can download my free portfolio website template here.

You can download my free book cover template here.

4. Epic web design clients.. Lace Up & Foundr

Working for myself has a laundry list of benefits. One of the biggest ones is having the ability to work with clients I like, as well as brands and businesses that I believe in.

It’s truly an aweosme experience to do business with brands and businesses that you fully support. This brings new meaning to your work and is incredibly motivating.

This past month I was fortunate enough to work with two of these types of businesses…

Nathan Chan of Foundr Magazine

Nathan Chan is the founder and publisher of Foundr Magazine. In less than three years, he has grown Foundr to a multi-million dollar empire boasting stupidly impressive numbers across the board, including nearly 1 million Instagram followers, an email list of more than 100,000, and much more.

I originally connected with Nathan as part of my roundup post featuring 75+ top performers, although I had actually been following Foundr for many months prior. They create simply unbeatable content and have featured the most brilliant business minds in the world on their podcast and inside their magazine, including Arianna Huffington, Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, Sir Richard Branson and many more. I enjoyed their content so much that I signed up for their membership site, Foundr Club, which has proven to be a killer investment.

After featuring Nathan on my post, I kept in touch with him every now and then on Facebook chat. He was impressed with the work I put into my round up post as well as its layout / design, so after one of his designers left Foundr, he reached out. A week or so later, we ended up working together on a few design projects.

Working with Nathan as a recently self-employed freelancer was a real privilege. To be a part of Foundr’s success and massive impact in the lives of young entrepreneurs around the globe is both exciting and humbling. They have impacted millions and are on track to impact many more through their incredible content and global reach.

To view a sneak peek at one of the projects I worked on, click here.

16 Year Old Hustlers: Lace-Up

A few weeks back Rohan Bhatia and his team at Lace-Up hired me to create a custom website design for their new startup. I was pumped to work with these guys. Not because their business idea is great (you search for the shoes you want, their site displays the cheapest shoes available online while also displaying metrics around what is trending, etc.), but because these guys are young, hustling 16-year old high schoolers who have already become co-founders and CEOs at an age where most of us hadn’t even seen our very first chest hair.

Yes, you heard me correctly. They are 16-years old and already committed to making serious moves to ensure their future success. Instead of hassling mom and dad to let them sleep over at Jimmy’s house, they’re working on figuring out their marketing strategy and working to secure venture capital funding…

So yeah, what’s your excuse? These guys are seriously inspiring and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish in the next few months. They’ve already won awards for their business idea, and most recently, they were featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer. My new design is also featured in there. To check out some previews of their new site, click here.

Head over to their website to enter for a chance to win a free pair of Nike Roshe Flyknit shoes.

Projects I’ve moved forward

  • Interview series…

I’ve said it before, but my recent project featuring 75+ top performers was the most exciting project I’ve ever worked on. Not only was I fortunate enough to connect with some of the world’s most successful and leading influencers, but more importantly, I was able to learn from them. You were able to learn from them, too, and I continue to get amazing feedback from readers around the world thanking me for sharing the advice I received from these top performers.

After sharing this project with the world and hearing your amazing feedback, I was very thankful. Then, naturally, I asked myself, “WHAT NEXT?!”

I’m excited to announce that I will soon be launching an interview series featuring more highly successful, inspiring individuals.

Think Tim Ferris podcast mixed with InsideQuest geared specifically towards twenty somethings. My goal with these interviews is to reveal the mindsets, habits, strategies and journeys of some of the world’s most successful individuals in order to help you learn from the best of the best.

I will be sharing a lot more on this very soon! Additionally, I am currently working with one of the world’s best visual effects designers to improve my YouTube channel’s branding. Super pumped. I currently have 15 interviews scheduled over the course of the next month with bloggers, authors, keynote speakers, consultants, corporate executives and many more.

CTA: Click here to receive updates on my upcoming interview series and be the first to know when new interviews drop.

(Note: If you’re already on my email list, you will receive these updates, no need to opt-in again.)

Personal learning I’ve been working on

Finding balance in the hustle

As an entrepreneur, it is so damn easy to get consumed by your work. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs (my mom and her four brothers are all self-employed) I know this firsthand. But witnessing this and experiencing this yourself are two very different things…

When I graduated school I spent several months working for my uncle. My uncle routinely would be so consumed by his work, he couldn’t even get up from his computer to get lunch!

WTF, BRO! I thought to myself, I will never be like that. But now, after working for myself, I can totally understand how this happens, and I can admit, I’ve been there, too.

Before you know it, you’re fighting to hit deadlines, you start showing up late for dates or meetups with friends. No bueno. I absolutely realize the importance of guarding my time (the most valuable and important resource in our lives) with my life and saying NO to additional committments that will take away from my work. But at the end of the day, I’m still human, meaning I’m a social creature that craves social interaction and leisure time as much as anyone else.

When I returned from Colombia, it felt like every other day others were requesting my time. This relative wanted to see me, my family was going on this trip, this friend was having a get together, so on and so forth. I found myself saying no to all of them, then my mom stopped me. She said, “Didn’t you start working for yourself so you can do these types of things? So you can travel with your family or go see a friend and just work remotely? Didn’t you do this to spend time doing the types of things you couldn’t do when you were working behind a desk?”

As usual, Mom was right. It really made me think…

What’s the point of working for myself if I can’t enjoy the flexibility that comes with it? How do I know when enough work is enough? How do I work harder than anyone else and still be the best friend / son / cousin / brother I can be?

If you’re looking for me to provide you with the magical answer to this question, you’ll be bummed to learn that I don’t have it. As an entrepreneur, I struggle with this daily. I just know that the relationships I have in this life are the most important thing in the world to me. I never want to be arrogant enough to think that my work is more important than those relationships.

One of the most exciting parts of this lifestyle is that I am in total control of my success, or my failure. That means that if I work twice as hard, I can most likely double my income. The flip side of that is if I slack off, I can go broke. This motivates me and creates an incredible sense of urgency in all that I do. However, sometimes that sense of urgency detracts from living presently and fully…

For me, I am working to find that middle ground of continuing to make progress, while doing everything I can to avoid becoming the flaky, late, entrepreneurial asshole that no one wants to hang out with because he never shows up on time. That is, if he even shows up.

I don’t think there is one-size-fits-all solution to this dilemma, because each one of us has different priorities and values. I think the problem starts to arise when our values start competing with one another, and one takes away from the other (ie. when my work results in flakiness or lateness with friends and others and therefore damages those important relationships…)

I feel that the answer to this problem is balance and moderation. There’s 24 hours in a day which is plenty of time to get my work done, while continuing to be the best entrepreneur / friend / son / cousin / nephew / coach / etc. that I can be. Again, it all comes back to being clear on what you value, and making sure that you prioritize those values. For me, I have to ensure that I am prioritizing both hustle time as well as leisure time.

Again this is a work in progress, but something that has helped me greatly is accepting this incredibly liberating fact of life:

There is always more to do, and always more than can be done. — from 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management, by Kevin Kruse

Health and fitness challenges I’ve been doing

When I moved back to Brooklyn, I was faced with a decision… to renew my $200 monthly membership to WillyB Crossfit or not.

Crossfit. This shit ain’t cheap! Being newly self employed, I am very conscious of how I spend my money, and a $200 monthly payment is definitely something that I needed to think about.

To be honest, it wasn’t a very hard decision though, but I want to talk you through why I feel that this monthly membership is absolutely worth it.

Fitness is what really got me started with personal development. My junior year after my girlfriend and I broke up, I did what any newly single bro would do… I hit the gym so I could pick up more chicks, man.

However, what started as a very superficial motivation, led to something much deeper than bicep curls and tricep extensions. I learned to constantly push my limits, pushing myself further and further everytime I stepped into the gym. I would lift heavier, longer and rest shorter, all in an effort to improve myself. The outcome of this was a mindset that allowed me to embrace the suck, and even look forward to it, becaues I knew on the other side of that uncomfortability was serious growth.

Because I was lifting so much, naturally I made the decision to start eating cleaner, so my efforts in the gym were maximized, instead of wiped out by french fries and pizza. My work ethic improved, my mental health improved, I stopped eating unhealthy, processed foods and I felt healthier and more energized than I ever had before.

By making working out a habit, it in turn made healthy eating a habit, and therefore made living healthy a habit. That’s why fitness is such an important part of my life. Because it positively impacts every aspect of my life, not just the hours I’m in the gym…

So when I returned to Brooklyn and was faced with the decision to renew my membership or not, I knew that my efforts in the gym would serve me in many more areas in my life. If I’m paying $200 a month, that means I’m going to get my ass into the gym to make sure I get the maximum ROI from my membership. Further, I will need to wake up earlier and get better with managing my time, which will naturally lead to more productive, energized work days. If I’m more productive and more energized, I am going to do better work and I’m going to be able to get more clients and make more money. If I land even one new project of ~$1K every few months, that CrossFit membership will pay for itself many times over.

This ROI-focused mindset is how we need to make our decisions. I am choosing not to view my $200 membership as a $200 addition to my monthly expenses. I’m viewing this $200 membership as an investment, with the opportunity to make much more than $200 back through healthier living, more productive work, feeling energized when speaking to prospects or clients, etc.

The next time you are on the fence about any decision, ask yourself what your return on investment will be.

Other big life events (some of them unexpected)

I made $1,000 doing work that I love while trying to change others’ lives

As discussed above, I hit two major milestones for my blog…

1) I launched my first product

2) Made my first $1K through my website

To download my free eBook and get a step-by-step breakdown of how I did this, click here.

This was a major win not because of the money (let’s be serious, $1K is like 5 rooftop drinks in NYC…) but because for such a long time I had the self-limiting belief of “who the hell would buy my product I’m just some twenty something doofus”.

While I’m def still a doofus, I can tell you that it’s important to be aware of these limiting beliefs and realize they’re bullshit. We all have them, and it’s something that holds a lot of us back from really pursuing what we want to do. I know that was the case for me. But again, last month I overcame this limiting belief and was able to make $1,000 doing work that I absolutely loved, and that in itself is incredbily motivating.

I want you to realize that self limiting beliefs are real dream-killers. You need to be aware of them, realize they’re bullshit, then take action. Start small, and gradually increase the steps you take. This $1,000 with my first product was a massive win that has given me the confidence I need to continue moving the dial and achieving my goals. For you, if you’re just getting started, focus on building small momentum with tiny, consistent wins. That is where the magic happens.

Progress is the most powerful motivator. Use that to your advantage to really start getting things going for yourself.

I hope my win motivates you to get started with this. If you would like tactical strategies plus a full breakdown of how I made my first $1,000 through my website, click here to get my free eBook.

Things I’ve learned and want to remember

  • Action = accumulation of actions

Over the last few months, I’ve had friends and readers ask me a lot of questions about my journey…

At what moment did you decide to quit your job?

What was your secret to connecting with all those influencers?

I’m happy to answer these questions, but these questions reveal a problem with how many of us view success. For starters, the answers to these questions cannot be answered using one sentence. There wasn’t one tactic I used or one strategy I followed. All of these outcomes were byproducts of an accumulation of things, spread out over an extended period of time. Let me explain…

When Erin Willett of The Biggest Loser returned home after losing 87 pounds, people kept coming up to her asking some variation of the question how did you do it? or what’s your secret?

Do you see the problem here? These people are looking for a silver bullet solution that doesn’t exist. They’re looking to lose 30 pounds overnight or become the next big thing using some magical strategy or tactic that doesn’t exist…

Success doesn’t happen overnight.

One way to overcome this damaging mindset is to focus on the process instead of the outcome, as I have been talking a lot about lately on the blog.

Instead of seeking out the one magical strategy, tactic or tip, find out what has worked for others, then implement. This approach is infinitely more valuable then waiting, speculating and searching for something that doesn’t exist.

I have had several people approach me recently asking about how they can get started freelancing / blogging / working for themselves, etc. They’ve most likely seen me post about working from tropical islands drinking coconut water and probably gotten a bit intrigued. I mean, who wouldn’t, right?

However, as I’ve mentioned before, those glamorous beach shots only make up a very small percentage of my time currently. The majority of my time right now is spent working. As mentioned above, this past month I’ve certainly been more social, but again, I am confident that I am working harder and longer than most of my friends. Because if I don’t, I’m going broke…

So when people come to me asking how they can get started, I ask them the question my friends asked me when I was in Colombia, on the verge of going broke and not sure what to do next:

What would you do every single day if you knew you weren’t getting paid?

Unless you have a deep seeded passion for the work you’re doing, you have no motivation to keep at it when you hit the wall.

For example, I blogged twice a week for 8 months (that’s 64 blog posts) and had 100 subscribers to show for it. It was incredibly frustrating, but I kept at it because I believed in the work I was doing.

Now, more than 2 years later, this website and community is finally growing and we’re hitting new milestones every month (like launching my first product and generating my first $1K! #wootwoot #baller #onabudgetdoe)

So if you’re someone who is set on working for yourself, whether it’s as a blogger or freelancer or whatever, I would challenge you to ask yourself this question:

Would I do this work for free for 2+ years?

If not, then I would keep looking and searching to find that thing. If so, then get on it.

It’s not about not working, it’s about finding work that gives your life meaning. (CLICK TO TWEET)

This leads to me to my next major lesson learned this month…

  • It’s not about not working. It’s about finding meaningful work

Earlier this month I met up for drinks with Oliver Burkeman, an award-winning journalist for The Guardian and author of the book, The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking. I came across some of Oliver’s articles a few months back and really liked the philosophies he shared around purpose, productivity and other related topics. I saw he was based in Brooklyn so I dropped him a note and we were able to link up for drinks.

He is currently writing another book, and part of his research for this book recently led him to a conference in Washington state. The conference he was at was focused on older men, aged 50-60ish, and it was all about figuring out how to make money while working as little as possible…

Oliver, who is an ambitious and accomplished individual, was quite confused at this premise. He shared with me his thoughts on the concept of the conference saying that he never imagined a life in which he would want to not work. For him, writing, researching and sharing those insights with others is what fulfills him and gives his life meaning.

I totally agreed with Oliver on this, because in my opinion, life is about constant growth and development. It’s not about comfort or relaxation or taking it easy. Sure, those are absolutely essential components of a meaningful life, but they are not the motivation. For Oliver and for me and for anyone else who is set out to make a serious impact with their lives and their work, we derive meaning from our work, and a life without this work is just empty.

Since I quit my job to work for myself, I’ve had a lot of friends question the long hours I’ve been working. WTF, bro, you worked for yourself so you could never stop working?!

Life is not about not working. It’s about finding meaningful work.

I realize that I am working a ton right now, but I am working this hard to build my business and also, because my work provides my life with meaning. Further, I am just getting started, so this is most likely going to be the hardest I’ll ever have to work in my life, and that’s totally okay with me.

But what I want you to get from this concept is that you shouldn’t be looking for a way to figure out a life that doesn’t require work. Instead, your focus should be to find work that gives your life meaning.

Because in this place, the place where you would do the same damn thing every single day of your life, whether you were getting paid for it or not, this is where we can truly have the most impact as individuals.

That should be our goal. To find the work that makes us come alive. Because when we do that, it’s contagious. It doesn’t affect just our lives anymore, it affects everyone who comes into contact with us.

That’s how I believe we can change the world. By finding the work that makes us come alive.