Category Archives for "Personal Development"

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?

THIS GUY!

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.

How To Change Your State In The Blink Of An Eye

Change Your State In The Blink Of An Eye

Change Your State In The Blink Of An Eye

We can all admit that some days are better than others. Sometimes we just wake up on the wrong side of the bed, maybe a little hungover or just feeling “off”…

Most of the time we just accept that this is the way today is going to be. BUT, it doesn’t have to be that way.

In fact, you can drastically change your state in minutes with this simple trick.

In this video, you’ll learn about the “Chris is Awesome” folder and how you can create the same thing in your life to have a little “mindset hack” to immediately change your mood.

After watching this video, you’ll create your own “Chris is Awesome” folder for yourself and start filling it with awesome stuff you’ve done over the past few years.

You can put pictures of cool things you’ve done, messages that people have sent you thanking you for things, you can even put pictures of things you’ve always wanted in the folder. It’s up to you!

The goal is to make it nearly impossible to continue having a bad day after you’ve gone through it.

So what are you waiting for? Start creating your “Chris is Awesome” folder today!

 

Mindset Hacks: The Difference Between ‘Have To and Get To’…

Mindset Hacks: The Difference Between ‘Have To and Get To’…

Let’s quickly talk about a subtle shift in the way you talk to yourself that can have a significant impact on your life. It’s often these little tweaks in our life that bring about the greatest rewards.

One of the simplest tweaks to implement is recognizing when you are saying “I Have to…” when doing something, such as “I have to go to work”…

and then simply just tweaking it just a little bit.

Changing it to “I get to..” might seem a little weird on the surface. However, when your brain hears that you GET TO do something, it becomes more excited.

Yes, even if its something like ” I get to go to work…”

The thing is, if you have the opportunity to work and have a job, or business like myself, you are extremely blessed. Many people around the world don’t have that opportunity.

In fact, a large percentage of the worldwide population will never have the opportunities that you currently have.

Crazy to think about, right?

Well that’s what this little tweak is about. It’s a little way to condition your mind into being more comfortable with gratitude and will lead to changes in the coming months.

Don’t worry if you find yourself saying “I have to…” it still happens to me from time to time. When you do catch yourself saying it, recognize that you said it and then consciously make an effort to re-state the statement with “I get to…” or “I want to…” and re-state that statement with that intention.

I hope this helps! Have a great day,
Chris

Thoughts after Freedom Fast Lane Live 2015

So I got back from Freedom Fast Lane Live the other day and am really impressed with what Ryan Daniel Moran put together.

I usually tend to ignore the “live events” that people within the Internet Marketing community put on. The reason is that most of the people who are at the events are frauds and the speakers at these events tend to make their money by either speaking at these types of events, or selling people products about “how to make money online”.

Yet, most of them have never actually built up legit businesses in the real world.

You know, like solving a problem within a niche and creating a business out of that. Solving real problems and providing terrific solutions for the customers within the niche.

Freedom Fast Lane Live had a terrific group of speakers and the caliber of people who I met at the event was very impressive.

The majority of people at this event started off with physical products and using Amazon as a launch platform. Some of them are doing great things with that model, and others I met were just getting started within that model and looking for further coaching and guidance.

I personally haven’t done anything with Amazon fulfillment except for the 6 or 7 books I’ve written and sell on the Kindle, so it was interesting being around a different group of people than I was used to.

The biggest reason I decided to attend this event was because one of my best friends called me up and told me I should go. So, I bought my ticket and decided to go. Thanks Brendan.

Cole Lundstrum Brendan Wenzel Chris Hughes Freedom Fast Lane Live

Cole Lundstrum, Chris Hughes and Brendan Wenzel at Freedom Fast Lane Live 2015 Austin

Cole is the owner of Shirt Agency , who create fantastic custom t-shirts, hoodies, and more! Shirt Agency prints and ships beautifully screen printed apparel all over the country from Los Angeles. He’s a great friend of mine and I was stoked to be able to hang out with him and talk shop while in Austin.

 

Jesse Elder and Chris Hughes Freedom Fast Lane Live

Jesse Elder and Chris Hughes at Freedom Fast Lane Live 2015 in Austin, Texas

Who is Jesse Elder?

When I was browsing through the list of speakers and saw that Jesse Elder would be speaking, I honestly got super stoked.

He’s someone who I had seen his name around the Internet quite a bit and it seemed like everyone who spoke of him, spoke extremely high of him.

After doing a little bit more research and listening to some of his YouTube videos and seeing what he does, I knew that I would have to meet him at some point. (This was months ago when I started learning about him)

So when I saw his name on the speakers list and that he would be opening up the event with a talk on mindset, I knew the investment was a wise one.

Here’s a few of my key takeaways from his talk that you may find valuable.

  • “Confidence is the electricity of life”
  • “Always look forward, measure backward.”
  • “Progress only exists behind you.”
  • “There are no problems, simply puzzles waiting for your genius to be applied”
  • “What you appreciate, appreciates.”
  • The only way I can have impact is if my shit is together.
  • Energy cannot be destroyed, it just changed form.
  • “Appreciate Everything, Need Nothing, Have It All.”

The last thing and also most important thing I got from his talk was the idea of Active Appreciation.

Everyone speaks about the idea of being grateful for things and showing gratitude for everything you have in life. The idea of active appreciation is basically taking time to look at what you already have and feel appreciation for it.

Personally I sometimes feel a little weird when the alarm on my phone goes off at 12:34pm everyday and the message “What are you grateful for?” comes up and causes me to think about what I’m doing at that time and take the time to acknowledge it.

From now on, I’m going to understand that it’s actually the appreciation of what I have that is what truly makes the difference.

It’s subtle, but makes sense to me.

Listening to Jesse was honestly awesome. After meeting him and chatting with him out in the halls, and seeing him out and about in Austin I am extremely happy to have met him.

Here’s Jesse’s own definition of himself, http://jesseelder.com/who-is-jesse-elder/

 

Pat Flynn and Chris Hughes Freedom Fast Lane Live

Pat Flynn and Chris Hughes Freedom Fast Lane Live 2015 Austin Texas

Pat Flynn is the owner of SmartPassiveIncome.com and started off his speech with a quote that I really love.

“Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

Pat’s talk was centered around the “Million Dollar Pyramid” of turning a casual audience into a group of raving fans over time.

He spoke about the process of taking people from a casual audience, turning them into an active audience, then turning those people into a connected community where they identify themselves as fans of something and then turning those in the connected community into raving fans.

The information he shared in this has already led me to reading through a new book, Ask by Ryan Levesque.

That book is great for anyone interested in email marketing and learning how to survey your audience to learn how your community speaks in order to better communicate with them and thus provide better solutions to their problems.

One concept that really stood out that Pat said was to give out small, quick wins for people within your first email in order to get them hooked on learning from you. If you can provide someone with a quick 3 minutes or less thing that provides a quick solution or win for your reader, they’re going to keep coming back and looking for more from you.

It’s a very simple concept that is often overlooked when we think about just getting the money. I’ve been guilty of just selling hard right off the bat in some niches I run in, instead of providing these quick wins up front.

Here’s an example used: for someone with a fitness goal of losing 30 pounds, teach them how to lose 1 pound first.

Pat has been someone that I had followed for a few years. The idea of “smart passive income” is just brilliant. He provides amazing content on his site and if you’re looking at getting started with the idea of making money online, he’s got great resources that will help you.

He’s super down to earth too.

 

Ryan Deiss Chris Hughes Freedom Fast Lane Live

Ryan Deiss and Chris Hughes Freedom Fast Lane Live 2015 in Austin, Texas

Ryan Deiss is insanely smart and is the man behind Digital Marketer and a few major brands online.

His talk was all about actionable items and is very similar to the teaching style of his on their site. One of the first things he said was the first question to ask when starting a new business: “How are we going to make our first sale?”

…the thing is most people I’ve met who do Internet Marketing forget that selling is the life-blood of business. Ryan gets it.

Another golden nugget I learned from his talk was to look at our potential customers as an empty bank vault, and our job as marketers is to make deposits of relational equity into our potential customers accounts. Our job is to fill up their vaults with useful information and when we go about the process of selling prospects a product, we’re simply making a withdrawal from the account we have helped them build up.

This viewpoint basically means that it’s our duty to provide great content and solutions in advance to asking for cash money from them. There’s nothing wrong with making a withdrawal if funds are available, it’s simply how life works.

Another major take-away from this talk was the idea that the goal initially for cold prospects isn’t to convert them to customers, but to indoctrinate them first.

in·doc·tri·nate
inˈdäktrəˌnāt
verb
  1. teach (a person or group) to accept a set of beliefs uncritically.
    “broadcasting was a vehicle for indoctrinating the masses”
    synonyms: brainwash, propagandize, proselytize, reeducate, persuade, convince,condition, program, mold, discipline

While that word may seem a little weird to hear, it makes absolute sense. We teach our prospects to accept our set of beliefs. We do need to be careful to not abuse the power we have and to only use it to bring our prospect to a better place in life. So remember that.

Ryan also taught me a formula for doing this, but I’m not going to give you everything for free 😉

After Ryan’s speech I went out into the hallway and had a chance of meeting him and chatting 1-on-1 with him for a while. He is brilliant with the way he understands business and it’s very impressive how his mind works. If you have a chance to listen to him speak about business, you should.

Who else spoke at the event?

I have a notebook full of content that I learned from the event and don’t want to share it all because you would be reading for the next few hours.

Plus, the real benefit of these events is that you can connect with the people attending and become friends with them.

Growing your network is one of the most important things you can possibly do for yourself. Getting around people doing better than you and people who are achieving the success that you desire will help you achieve your goals quicker.

Your personal network determines a lot in your immediate life. That’s why I highly recommend attending certain events and spending time with people who you admire. Pretty soon, they become your peer group.

I’ve been very particular about the people I let into my circle and it’s not often new people are allowed in. My mind operates at a certain level and I want my friends to be thinking similar if not bigger than I am.

It’s all a part of my personal journey to grow as an individual and have a larger impact on the world over the course of time I’m a part of it.

Other speakers who were at the event include:

Grant Cardone
Gary Vaynerchuk
Robert Herjavec
Travis Sago
Mark Jenney
Jaime Tardy
Wesley Chapman
Jeff Hoffman

Top 10 Movies For Entrepreneurs

As Entrepreneur’s one thing that can be extremely valuable to us is watching movies to get in the zone and ready to kick ass and take names.

I’m not sure about you, but I know that when I’m not feeling 100% ready to kick ass, I sometimes need a boost in motivation. That’s when certain movies come to mind.

I wanted to put together a list of the top 10 movies for Entrepreneurs so that I can share my personal favorites with people. You may not agree with any of the movies, or you could agree with all of the movies.

Everyone is different so your movie choices might be a bit different. No worries. Let me know in the comments below what movie you would remove from my list and what your list would include so that others can see a wide range of movies and get ideas.

This post was written mainly as a way of getting yourself motivated when you just don’t feel like getting shit done. Maybe you’ve had a bad day, week, month, year. It’s all a part of Entrepreneurship.

The truth is that Entrepreneurship is hard. One month you could be on top of the world and the next month you could be thinking “what the fuck was I thinking doing this?”

That’s the beauty of it. It’s a constant battle, but it sure is fun as hell.

Anyways, here’s my top 10 movies for Entrepreneurs.

10) Jerry Maguire

 

9) Office Space

This 1999 comedy from Mike Judge focuses on Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston), who eventually discovers how much he hates sitting inside a cubicle taking orders from his creepy boss Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole). I remember first watching this years and years ago.

My dad was working at IBM and was driving over an hour to and from work every single day. Not that it happened, but I pictured my dad being stuck in traffic just like Peter was every day. I then pictured him sitting in his office and not really living being happy with what he was getting done every day. This is in no way accurate to what my dad was doing, he appeared to have really enjoyed his job and I’m glad he did.

But, I knew that it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to sit in traffic everyday, or to sit in the same cubicle every day.

Funny thing is that now I move condo’s or countries almost every 3 months like clock-work. Clearly I took this to heart and now strive to find new “offices” every few months to keep my excitement level high.

Why watch it? Every entrepreneur hates working for someone else and it shows you what it’s like living a “normal” life.

 

8) Glengarry Glen Ross

“PUT. THAT COFFEE. DOWN. Coffee is for closers only. You think I’m fuckin’ with you? I am not fuckin’ with you.”

Need I say more?

This movie is great to remember competition and incentive that decides who is the best.

In today’s day and age with everyone getting participation medals just for showing up, this movie stands out.

While many parents reading this may think “my child participated, so they should get a medal” I say that they shouldn’t. This movie is one of the biggest reasons why.

Competition is essential to growing up and becoming an adult. In the real world no one gives you a participation medal just for showing up for work. It’s your job to do that.

Competition drives innovation. It is the reason for all of the crazy cool gadgets and inventions that have come about over the history of time.

Yeah I hear ya “but my child is young and I want to build their self-confidence”… who cares.

Self-confidence is built by losing and acknowledging you lost. It’s built by learning from that loss and taking what you learned to be better. To work harder, smarter and to improve. Trophy’s are supposed to be EARNED.

That’s why I like this movie. The sales competition shows exactly why people work hard.

First prize is a Cadillac El Dorado, second prize is a set of steak knives, third prize is you’re fired.


7)Pursuit of Happyness

The Pursuit of Happyness is based on the story of Chris Gardner and his struggles to chase his dream while raising a son.

The majority of people today view Entrepreneurship as a super fancy lifestyle and good things happening all the time.

This story shows the truth of the matter.

At the beginning, life absolutely sucks.

People tell you that you can’t do things and life proves it. Failure is a common thing you learn to live with, but every single day you get up and work to chase the dream.

Will Smith does a great job with showing the struggle and as you guessed it, eventually finds massive success.

Why watch it? Even though he became homeless and struggled to provide for his son, Chris never gave up on his dream. That passion and sacrifice is something every entrepreneur should be willing to embrace.

6) Boiler Room

As a son, I understand what the main character in this movie was going through. Seth Davis, a Queens College dropout wants to impress his father and enters the world of stockbroking.

For young Entrepreneurs out there, you are going to face a lot of moral dilemmas and the way you deal with them is going to shape your future. The way that this movie showcases that is terrific.

Seth learns about the behind the scenes business that is happening at his company and has a choice to make. The choice will determine his fate.

There’s a ton of great quotes throughout the movie about the importance of hustle and the mindset it takes to be rich… some of my favorites are listed below:

“They say money can’t buy happiness? Look at the fucking smile on my face. Ear to ear, baby.”

“Anybody who tells you money is the root of all evil doesn’t fucking have any.”

“There’s an important phrase that we use here, and think it’s time that you all learned it. Act as if. You understand what that means? Act as if you are the fucking President of this firm. Act as if you got a 9″ cock. Okay? Act as if.”

 

5) Blow

Blow is based on a true story and the life of George Jung.

Sure, it deals with drugs and is not the best message ethically, but we’re using these movies to motivate ourselves and show what is possible.

George started off selling marijuana as a small time operation and then at his height it was rumored that he handled about 85% of all the supply of cocaine in the 1970’s.

Talk about impact.

Going from a small time man to one of the most influential people in his market is HUGE no matter what you’re dealing with.

 

This film is all about how he did it. There’s a LOT of messages in this movie.

4) The Social Network

Of course you knew the story of Mark Zuckerberg would be in this.

It is the story of how Mark became transformed from a Harvard student to launching the most popular social-media network in the world.

Why watch it? Sure it was super dramatic and over the top at times (hey, it’s Hollywood), but damn they did a good job showing the drive it takes to succeed.

Every time I watch this movie it motivates me to be a better entrepreneur.

Some of my favorite quotes from the movie include:

f50284a08bc7b5c6_images-article-2013-05-14-tumblr_lwwaa1nRW01r92xdoo1_500.gif.xxxlarge

“Sean Parker: You don’t even know what the thing is yet. How big it can get, how far it can go. This is no time to take your chips down. A million dollars isn’t cool, you know what’s cool?

Eduardo Saverin: [Sarcastically] You?

Sean Parker: [the scene shifts back to the deposition room] A billion dollars.”

“Ma’am, I know you’ve done your homework and so you know that money isn’t a big part of my life, but at the moment I could buy Mt. Auburn Street, take the Phoenix Club, and turn it into my ping-pong room.”


3) Limitless

Every single person I know who has watched this movie wants NZT.

That’s how good this movie was.

It’s the story of a deadbeat writer who discovers a mystery pill that helps him access more of his brain. Suddenly his life turns around and his life drastically changes over the course of a month or two. It’s everyones dream.

One thing that interests me about the movie is the desire for knowledge he develops. Language learning, taking care of personal health and working hard become a common thing for him after he was just a lazy writer who would get drunk in the middle of the day.

While you can do this without the pill, are you willing to?

Some quotes I liked:

Eddie Morra: What’s the asking price?

Realtor: $8.5 million.

Eddie Morra: I’ll take it.”

“Your powers are a gift from God or whoever the hell wrote your life script.”

2) Forrest Gump

Who doesn’t love Forrest Gump?

It’s the story of a simple man with good intentions, who accidentally becomes insanely successful by just living his life the best way he knew how. He wins medals of honor, becomes a college football player, becomes a professional ping-pong player, owns a huge shrimping company and inspires people everywhere.

What I love about this movie is that it shows that anyone can have this level of success. You just have to try.

 

1) The Wolf of Wall Street

“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”
― Jordan Belfort

This is the story of a guy who went from nothing to something HUGE. Sure some of the stuff he did was illegal, alright, the majority of the stuff was illegal.

The simple fact that he built up such a massive company and inspired all of those people is what a true leader does. Entrepreneurs know this and do this. They take an idea and turn it into a reality.

“Act as if! Act as if you’re a wealthy man, rich already, and then you’ll surely become rich. Act as if you have unmatched confidence and then people will surely have confidence in you. Act as if you have unmatched experience and then people will follow your advice. And act as if you are already a tremendous success, and as sure as I stand here today – you will become successful.”

― Jordan Belfort

 

What would you add to the list?