Category Archives for "Leadership"

Entrepreneurship: The $15,000 Mistake That Could Have Been Avoided

$15000 mistake

12:18 pm
Austin, Texas

Did you know that I have failed more times than I can count?

My first “real business” was with a direct sales company back in college. I spent a $15,000 buying the product (a home cleaning product) because I thought it was an entire no-brainer for people to buy it.

Turns out, I had no idea how to sell the product. I was just getting started with my business and hadn’t spent years studying and learning about marketing, sales and how to run an actual business yet.

It was pretty devastating realizing I was a failure. I mean, I got good grades in high school, I played sports and I was on the honor roll. Everything seemed like it would just go along perfectly.

Turns out that my potential customers for that original business didn’t care about me. I walked around door-to-door in my neighborhood in Binghamton, NY trying to sell the cleaning solution. Sometimes it worked, other times I got the door slammed in my face.

I don’t talk about this much, in fact, I don’t even think my parents knew about that particular time in my life.

You see, when I walked up to these peoples houses… none of them gave a shit about my high school or college grades. No one cared that I was in college and just starting my business. No one cared that I had a dream to be rich and have my own island.

Not one person cares until you do something for them.

It’s a harsh reality. We don’t live in a world full of sunshine and unicorn rainbows with people just giving you money because they liked how you said “hello”. People are busy. People have their own problems to worry about.

It was a rough time period for me. 

I considered myself a failure.

Man… I feel weird writing that.

Don’t worry though, the story gets better… but at times it also gets worse.

like the time I spent over $15,000 trying to build a business in a niche that I knew absolutely NOTHING about.

$15,000 on something you don’t understand? WTF?

Crazy, right? I mean… what kind of an idiot thinks he can build a business in an industry where he knows nothing about the niche?


How did it happen?

Well. I didn’t have a clear image in mind of what I needed to do. And knew I needed a “team”, but I had no idea what that meant. I mean, with entrepreneurship, we’re often doing this all on our own.

It sometimes looks like this…

$15,000 mistake

Photo from the Internet Business Manifesto by Rich Schefren.

That looks terrifying, doesn’t it? If you’re the one doing all of that work, it IS terrifying.

The truth is that…way too often that’s exactly what happens when we’re building up businesses. We try to bootstrap everything because money is tight and we think we can’t afford to hire people to handle other tasks for us.

I made the opposite mistake with this particular business. I hired people before I had the system in place because I had built the same type of business in a different industry. So, naturally I felt like a genius and that nothing could go wrong.

I know, I know… what a silly mistake.

The truth is, I was all jacked up and excited after going to a mastermind that I just kinda jumped in headfirst before taking the time to build up the systems first. When you surround yourself with others who are at levels way above your current level, you sometimes forget to drop back down to where you’re currently at and reflect from that position before making decisions.

I am 100% for surrounding yourself with people who are doing bigger things than you currently do and especially for masterminds and hiring mentors. It significantly cuts down on your learning curve and as you know, you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with

In that image that you saw above with “You” in the middle and all the tasks around it, you see all of the different day-to-day things that happen in a business. That report is from I believe 2012 so it’s a little out of date for the current reality, but the concept is the same.

Little Things Make Big Differences

If you’ve been running your business for a while, you know that you have little things that have to operate each and every day to make your business work. Everything from writing blog posts like I am doing right now, to emailing your list, to posting all over your social media properties. Every single thing comes down to a system you create and follow.

Each and every single thing in your business should have a process map.

Ideally, a step-by-step checklist that you can use so that when you get ready to grow your business, you can hire someone and have them come in, follow your process and produce a similar result each time.

Here’s just a brief look into one of the systems I have, this doesn’t show the video tutorials and emails/chats about the system… but you get the idea.

$15,000 mistake

You see in my trello board that it starts off with the mindmap, showing what the structure for the template should look like. It then includes 3 attached images to show the process and at the bottom, there is the checklist to follow along.

This is the type of systems you want to have for every step of your business. Here’s just another example of process mapping, this is a proces for my team members who are uploaded blog posts to a particular site I own.

$15,000 mistake

Every time I have a new blogger come onboard, I have a series of video tutorials and checklists to follow to make sure that everything goes to plan…every time.

When I first started, I had no templates for anything.

I was just doing everything myself, not recording anything or writing out the reasons WHY I did something. I originally didn’t know any better. As a beginner, we’re expected to do it all. So, that’s what I did. I did everything in my business. I built the websites, I wrote the copy for the articles, I researched the niche, I set up emails, I, I, I…. it was miserable.

This stuff is an absolute pain in the ass to create, its extremely time-consuming and isn’t the glamorous side of entrepreneurship that is often marketed by people selling courses on being an entrepreneur.

But, taking the time to do this makes a major difference in your business and an even bigger impact on your life.

Think about this for just a second… McDonald’s was founded on May 15, 1940. Right now it’s the year 2017 and the McDonald’s system has been operating pretty much the same way for all that time.

It’s so easy that high-school kids with no other job experience can do it. That right there… that is how simple you want your processes to be. If your business isn’t at that point yet, you have some work to do. But don’t worry. I’ve got some recommendations to help you out.

What happened to that business where you lost $15k?

I’m glad you asked! Even if you didn’t ask, I’ll let you know.

Over the last few years, as my processes have improved, I applied some of them to that particular business… you know, to harden the blow a little bit of losing that much money. Since then, the business has been earning money every single month with minimal work from myself.

I realized I wasn’t meant to write about the niche, email people about the niche or even post pictures to the fans I acquired in the niche. My job was simply to identify opportunities and have my team handle the content and distribution.

The only reason that happened was because I spent the time to build the systems and partner up with people who are better than me with the work.

What To Do About It

The first recommendation is to get the book Work The System by Sam Carpenter.

$15,000 mistake

The second recommendation is to actually read the book and apply what is taught in the book. Yes, it’s going to suck. No, it won’t be glamorous like the entrepreneur hashtag on Instagram.

It’s going to be work. Boring, tedious work. But, this is work that you only have to do one time. After you have written out the process and created the tutorials, someone else can handle the work so that you can focus on your strengths. The hours you spend creating these tutorials will save you days, weeks and even months of your time in the future…

and time is the only resource we can’t get back.

Video Marketing Tip: Come Closer to The Camera

Video Marketing Tip: Get Closer to the Camera

One thing that I’ve learned while creating hundreds of videos is that it is super important to get closer to the camera when you are doing video marketing.


Well the simplest reason is that it allows people to see into your soul…

okay, okay that might be a little deep but you get the idea.

It is the quickest and easiest way for a “cold prospect” to learn more about you. Sure you could write millions of words on a website and hope that people will just magically understand what you’re trying to communicate and buy everything from you, but that’s a little harder than just creating some videos.

By getting closer to the camera when shooting your videos you are taking full advantage of the “picture is worth 1,000 words” idea. While I’m not sure how many words a video is actually worth, I’m sure its at least 1,001 words.

Putting yourself out there can be pretty scary though and I admit when I first got started with shooting videos I had the camera really far away from my face because I thought people needed to see my whole body for some reason.

It wasn’t until a little over a month ago when I found out about this little video marketing tip that I started to implement it…

side tip: when you learn something that is working well for a lot of people, implement it immediately.

What happened when I started to do this in my videos?


Well, not real magic.

But something awesome did happen. More and more people started commenting on my videos and leaving their thoughts when I was asking them to.

People were actually listening to what I was sharing and actually doing what I asked them to.

It’s a pretty great feeling when that happens.

So my video marketing tip for you is to put that camera closer to your beautiful face. It’s going to be a little frightening at first, but I promise it’ll be alright. No one will come out of your camera lens and eat you…unless you’re REALLY good at lucid dreaming and are actually asleep.

My challenge for you is to actually do this.

The next time you shoot a video, put it up closer to your face and record it. It’s a simple little tweak that will have a major impact on the way people react to your videos.

Go ahead, give it a try and leave a comment below on what you learned while doing this!



What Can Napoleon Hill Teach You About Success?

The Importance of a Mastermind


Hey guys Chris Hughes here live from Boquete, Panama and I just wanted to show you the view here and I wanted to talk with you about something that Napoleon Hill originally spoke about in the book, Think and Grow Rich.


This video is going to be about forming a mastermind, which is basically a group of like-minded people to challenge you and elevate you to the next level and to become a better person. As well as to improve yourself and in the case of my mastermind, make more money.


You see, about a month and a half ago I really took the idea of a mastermind seriously and I took action and formed a mastermind with some of my closest Entrepreneurial friends.


This took place on a trip to Costa Rica and we all decided that it would be very beneficial for us all if we challenged each other, encouraged each other and shared resources that were helping us.


It was basically put together to force us to step out of our comfort zone and become better.


Now what happened was a little mind boggling…at least to me anyway.


I tripled my income and a couple of the guys in the group started taking their business seriously (now that the ego got involved) and they really started to do work.


Some of the other guys noticed that this put them on the path to ultimately get to where they wanted to be.


I really just wanted to share the importance of it because when I first learned about it, I did not take it seriously at all and I really missed out on a huge opportunity to grow.


My ego had gotten in the way and I thought that I knew better than Napoleon Hill and didn’t need to use his little success tips. Damn ego..


Now one of the biggest things I’ve noticed about this mastermind is that if you are truly struggling with something and you let other people in your mastermind know, they can help you overcome the obstacle.


Whether something isn’t paying off yet, or you have that little thing in your head telling you that you can’t do it, these guys/gals can help you break through.


It’s really a valuable lesson to actually create one of these masterminds because you’ll have people around you who want you to succeed.


You are probably aware and have noticed that a lot of people who you speak to about your business or your goals do not care about them.


Now what you want to do is start to find like-minded people to form a mastermind with you. Find people who are at the same level as you, or are just above your income right now.


Finding people like this forces you to become comfortable with where you’re at and it forces you to challenge each other to become more… plus, you can talk shit to your friends if you beat them in the mini challenges you guys come up with.


You can form a little facebook group and make it private if you aren’t in the same town/state/country. That’s what we’ve done with my private group. We’re all over the world but we keep in touch via facebook and meeting up around the world.

Not Everyone Will Be Successful

success quote

Something that has been on my mind a lot lately is the fact that some people will always expect you to give them everything once you become successful.

Over the past couple months i’ve been experiencing quite a bit of success with different ventures I have been involved with and it seems that ever since this has happened, I have people expecting me to just give them stuff for free. I even wrote a full blog post about why I don’t do free consulting anymore that addresses why I don’t just give away my information anymore.

While I still do like helping friends, I’m not going to do it for them. I’ll give them an idea, but it’s up to them to actually work hard and make themselves successful.

It’s amazing to me that this happens, but I also can see why it is happening more now than ever to me.

I can remember when I was struggling, I would often hope and pray that someone would help pull me out of my slump and help me make the big bucks. I’m grateful to those mentors of mine who saw something in me and helped teach me, and I know they are happy because i’ve actually taken action on what they’ve taught me.

However I see people all the time who expect me to build their business for them, or to just give them my money because I have it.

I believe its part of the lottery mentality….simply hoping that you would strike it rich because you did one little thing (bought a ticket). There’s a reason that 99% of the people who play the lottery do not win the lottery…

Its simply that not everyone can win the lottery, the same as how not everyone can be successful.

It might piss you off to hear this


I know that if someone told me that, I’d say “go f*$% yourself man, i’m going to be successful.” and if you got upset when you read that not everyone can be successful, you have a chance to be successful.

There are some situations in which people expect for you to do everything for them, without ever doing anything themselves. You may have met or worked with people who have had everything handed to them their entire lives and it might frustrate you as well.

I was the youngest child in my family and I know that my brother’s felt that I was always given things my whole life, and I know for a while I was given a lot from my parents. That’s part of being “the baby” and I still love that I’m the baby of the family.

My breakthrough happened when I realized that if something was going to happen in my life, it was 100% up to me to make it happen. It wasn’t up to my parents, my brothers or my friends…but up to me. Entirely up to this kid who I see in the mirror every single morning.

This is when I started reading like a mad man, spending all of my money on books and courses to learn about marketing and everything business. I submersed myself in information. I read everything I could get my hands on to learn all types of information on marketing, psychology, relationships, sales, team building, leadership, happiness and even information on how attraction works.

While I was doing this, I would test out stuff that I was learning. I would speak differently than I was comfortable with, learning how to command respect and to impact people. I did things that would scare me and I surrounded myself with people who would force me to grow.

Sure, it scared the living shit out of me at the time. But I’ve gotta admit, today I am so so happy that I did those things.

I’m sitting here right now living outside of the United States, with plans to visit more of the world in 2013 and couldn’t be happier.

The reason I’m in this position now is because I put myself through all of the hard times and kept my head up and kept pushing forward. Instead of just giving up or expecting people to just give me my success, I went out there and took it.

success quote

Image source: Evan Carmichael

Think about that for a second…

Success comes from taking the initiative and following up…Persisting.

It doesn’t come from sitting on your ass everyday dreaming for something to happen. It comes from taking things into your own hands.

When things get ugly and you are in a slump, keep pushing forward. Slumps happen, it’s all a part of the cycle of life. We have to fail in order to really love it when we’re at the peaks.

Thinking back, I’ve had less than a dollar in my bank account and still pushed on. It scared me, but I sure am glad I did it.

I’ve found that the problem with most people is that they just don’t want it bad enough.

Sure, they’ll tell you that they will do anything it takes to succeed. They’ll tell you that they’ll wake up early and stay up late to get those extra minutes or hours in the day to push their project forward.

But we all know that Action Speaks Louder Than Words.

and what I’ve noticed is that a lot of people love talking the talk… but not many people actually walk the walk.

if you are someone who loves talking the talk, congratulations to you. It will make you feel better temporarily to talk about what you would do or you will do, but in the end it’s all just talk.

It all comes down to taking massive action. To putting your ass on the line and doing what’s necessary to make sure you succeed with whatever goals you set yourself.

If you’ve been lying to yourself, you can use this to wake up and to kick your ass into gear.

Today could be a changing point in your life if you let it.

However, the choice is yours.

I’m simply here to share with you what i’ve learned and hopefully push you in the right direction towards achieving the goals you set.

If you’ve always wanted to start a business, you should.

or you can continue to live your life the same way you always have, and always get the same thing you’ve always gotten.

The choice truly is yours.

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