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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Lessons Learned from 9 Years of Entrepreneurship


Recently I hit a milestone professionally and I as I was reflecting back on it, I thought there were a few insight worth sharing.

September 3rd marked my ninth year of becoming an entrepreneur and making the decision to work for myself. Nine years, I cannot believe that!  I still vividly remember the day I walked out of my job as an employee for the last time. It was feeling that was both scary and liberating at the same time.

I remember waking up the next day and one of my first thoughts was: "Now what?"

In the nine years since my career has been filled with ups, downs, lefts, and rights.  I have traveled the world and have spent many a long days/nights/weeks/months in my bedroom or office trying to push things forward.

Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart, but I promise you this, if you heart is filled with a message to share with the world, and you are willing to be bold and ride the waves of uncertainty, there is nothing better, in my opinion, than calling your own shots, setting your own schedule, being your own boss, and walking your own path through life.

Lessons learned

Do it because you are passionate about it:

Life is way to short to do it for any other reason. No matter how long my days are or how much frustration may enter into them (yes I get frustrated and even pissed off at times) there is nothing else I would rather do.  Ask yourself this: at the end of your life would you rather sit on a mountain of money, but feel empty inside, or would you rather sit on a couple coins, but be filled with happiness, joy, and a ton of amazing memories? Pursue your passion and life will deliver.

It ain't easy:

As the saying goes, "If it were everyone would do it."  Lots of long days that meld into long nights. You often learn that just because you think you have a great idea doesn't mean everyone else does.  Restless nights, take out, paperwork scattered everywhere, odd hours, saying "no" to going out and hanging with friends, and instead saying yes to waking up early (7 days a week).  But heck, the time will pass anyways, right, so why not invest that time in the pursuit of what you truly want.

Make sure you have a strong stomach and are prepared for the swings:

I silly-ly (when you walk your own path you get to make up your own words) thought that I was going to be running the "Field of Dreams" of Personal Training (when I first started out) and Life Coaching Services.  "If I built it they would come," welllllll it doesn't always happen exactly like that.  At first you are often playing for an empty ball park, and while it may not be the most desirable outcome at the time, you know what, something magical happens when your customers do start showing up.  You learn to appreciate them that much more.  Not every season will be a winning season, the loses make you much more appreciative of the wins.

Put yourself out there:

One thing is for sure, nothing will happen if you do not share your gift with the world.  I long ago had the idea in my mind that I wanted to become a speaker and use my voice to share my message with the world.  The problem: I never had really spoken publicly or on video.  When my first website was set up (the original ) I decided no better way to kick off my quest to become a speaker than to slap a video on my website for the whole world to see. I have now dug this video up (see below) to share with you.  We all start somewhere...

Believe in yourself:

In anything you do there will likely be skeptics and critics.  Something I learned early on is to always ask myself: "Does this person (the person who is doubting me) have everything in their life they want in this particular area?" 99.999999% of the time the answer was NO.  Often people will cast shade on what you are pursuing because you have the courage to pursue something they want, but are too scared to go after.  There will be doubters and naysayers along any path worth traveling.  Listen to them, you will never get to where you want to go.  Listen to your internal compass and it will lead you to your destination.

Learn to embrace people telling you "No."

We all are in "sales." Some of us may not directly negotiate a price, ask for a fee, or shake hands over a deal, but we are all "selling" ourselves all the time. I'm on the side where I offer services and for people to utilize those services they pay a fee to me.  In those exchanges (a customer has the opportunity to invest money in a service I provide) I have been told No far more than I have been told Yes. I won't lie, the initial No's hurt, but if you allow them to, they get exciting really fast because every "No," brings you one step closer to a "Yes." Keep pushing forward in-spite of the "No's," the "Yes's" need you!

Celebrate the little wins:

Often when we begin something new we want to hit a home run right out of the gate and given the choice between a home run and a single, who wouldn't choose the home run?  The home run is what brings the crowd to their feet, it is what makes the highlight reel on Sportscenter.  Life isn't always a home run, sometimes it is just stepping up the plate and giving your best effort. You won't always be at a 100%, but you can always give 100% of whatever you got that day.  When you step up to the plate don't swing for the fences every time, step up with the intention to give your best.  When you do that, celebrate the effort, take a breath, and evaluate how you can improve.

Life is to short not to go after what you want:

See above about Passion.  We have all heard it before and it is worth hearing again "Life is to short to be miserable."  If the work you do does not fulfill you, if the relationship you are in leaves feeling empty, if you go to bed a night dreading the alarm clock in the morning, something needs to change.  Your life is precious, you would not be here if that wasn't the case.  Treat your life like the treasure it is and you will find a world of wonder waiting for you.  Make the changes you know you need to make, life is to short not to.

Have a plan, but most importantly be prepared to work hard:

When I began working for myself I had a vague (at best) plan.  The plan consisted of crunching a few numbers and me showing up.  What I have learned is the best laid plans will often encounter challenges and no well laid plan will ever be a substitute for a relentless work ethic. Plans help with efficiency and give you guidance as to how to best focus your efforts, but at the end of the day nothing gets things done like an unbreakable work ethic.  When things get dirty, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and dive in.

Even as I type, I have more memories, ideas, and thoughts I could share with you, but I think I will save those for later and instead leave you with this:

Time will continue to pass, life will move forward, things will always change, 7+billion people are responsible for living their lives, and you are responsible for living yours.  If you do not like how things are going right now, be courageous enough to change it.  An amazing life is not given, it is created.

Carpe Diem and thank you for being a part of my first nine years,



If you need help on your journey, and you would like me to be your guide to help you get what your heart desires, you can contact me here.  Note, this is only for those of you who are committed to living your greatest life. If you are content to settle and keep things as they are, please do not click on this link.


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