The premise of this post comes straight from a discussion I had with a good friend. He is an incredibly talented writer and he’s in the same “S.S. GOTTA CREATE” vessel with me. It’s a sweet little boat that we’re working to turn into a yacht. Anyway, he laughingly said something to the extent of “I don’t know how to say this without it sounding bad, but if you talked more about the journey you’re on with your family and finances, I would totally follow that. Like, tell us how close you are to losing your house, haha.”
Sure. Ok man. Haha. Challenge accepted, though I can’t deny that being super transparent about this kind of stuff feels really weird. But yeah, I’m on a unique journey right now. Hopefully all of us going through similar circumstances can support each other and cheer one another on. Let’s create!
The I Will Thrive Project
When I started this project I promised two main things. First, to evaluate my crazy and sometimes hilarious past experiences (including stories with some of the biggest stars of all time) so humans can take some joy in my pain. Schadenfreude your faces off! And second, that together we would test out my Mmmmm, (Maxim, Motto, and Mantra) of I Will Thrive, as I work to create businesses to never return to passionless work again. As we weave back and forth from the past the present, occasionally I’ll make a hard stop and focus solely on evaluating business progress. Today seems like a cute day for a hard stop to answer my buddy’s question.
To give a quick summary, I lost my job five months ago due to the pandemic. It was a day job I wasn’t passionate about, but I was providing for my family and I worked with some really wonderful people. I was trying with everything I had to take Mike Rowe’s advice and bring my passion with me to job I had. The lay-off happened 3-days after the birth of our fifth child. Even though I never planned on staying there forever, that feeling of rejection still sucks. It’s the same feeling of being picked last for a sporting team. In this case however, it’s being picked first for the guillotine.
Here comes the transparent stuff that feels really weird. I am oddly grateful for the coronavirus, COVID-19, and the pandemic. It’s horrific that so many people have lost their lives, and I hope we can find a way to protect life soon. Yet, as a result of the world circumstances, I have been able to spend a ton of extra time with my family. I have always dreamed of being home more with my kids. I’ve had extra time and focus to build businesses. I planted a garden for the first time. I’ve almost cleared out all the freaking weeds in my backyard. I’ve ran on the nearby river trail more in the past 5 months than the past 3 years. Probably because, until this year, I’d never ran on the trail before! Haha. I’ve also found a deeper level of gratitude for life than I’ve ever known.
My wife even decided to do full blown home school with our 5 kid crew. I’ve even been really grateful for that. The intentional time with our kids, and seeing how they learn at another level has been great. If and when they go back to normal school, we’ll be way better equipped to understand their learning styles and how that translates into the public school environment. I can’t agree more with Sir Ken Robinson on needing to cater to the innate talents of children, and that our school system isn’t right for everyone.
So basically what I’m saying is – I am better than ever. The only missing piece right now is that stupid little thing of needing to make money. It’s good to know that when, and mark my words – WHEN I’m successful and create an excess of funds and financial blessings, that I will be able to find meaning in the important things. I know I wont find that meaning in money. Finances are tight right now, and I am happier than ever.
Ready for another does of transparency? I’m not, but here goes. I feel zero guilt tapping into the unemployment funds. I’ve been paying into that fund for the past twenty years of my career. If that wasn’t clear enough, right now my family is weathering the financial storm by receiving unemployment benefits. It is a tiny portion of what I used to make, and if our mortgage company wouldn’t have worked with us, we’d be pretty screwed right now.
Unemployment is not enough to cover the expenses of a 7 person family. Luckily enough, our mortgage company is letting us defer payments because of the pandemic. Again, it is so weird – but it’s a blessing. We have all we need to get by as I work to build the life I have always imagined.
So, to answer my buddies question, no I am not going to lose my house. Not yet anyway. Give me another 6 months and we’ll revisit this topic. Once the mortgage deferment ends, it’s going to get real interesting. I don’t know why, but I keep thinking of the first Iron Man film.
Tony Stark is getting all down on himself saying :
I shouldn’t do anything. They could kill you, they’re gonna kill me, either way, and even if they don’t, I’ll probably be dead in a week.
Then Yinsen, in his perfect old-wise-guy-mentor way states:
Then this is a very important week for you, isn’t it?
This is a very important 6 months for me. If I don’t start making money creating businesses that provide value to the world, then I could lose my house. Or, I’ll have to tuck my tail and go back to passionless work. But that my friends, is not going to happen! I Will Thrive! I will find a way! I wont stop until I find solutions to create the life I’m envisioning. I know it’s not going to be easy, but holy good loving spicy queso cheese sauce, I must get myself in the position of being my own boss.
If you’re curious, you can now check on the Finance Tracker section of the blog to see how things are going. I’ll keep track of my monthly recurring revenue and how close I am to the crazy goals I’ve set.
So, let’s take a moment here and talk over what I’m building to move into this new life. I can taste it!
If you’ve been following along – I’ve built a lot of crap over the years. I simply love to create. However, most of it was fueled out of shear creative desire. I was never asking myself some of the most important questions an entrepreneur should ask. Questions about ideal customers, their needs, my skills, and how to create something that gives those customers a brand, product, or service they could rave about. Nope. I made stuff like Songs for Offending because I thought it was funny. Haha.
Where We At?
So where we at? Welp, I’m 5 months into being “out of work,” but that phrase can suck it! I’ve probably been working harder than any other point in my life – in every way. I’m working my emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual, and my creation muscles… like something that works those muscles really hard. Dr. Strange maybe? What works all of that really hard? Well, against myself, I’m kicking my butt.
I feel tons of purpose with the projects at hand, thus some of the overwhelming happiness right now. The question to follow is can I turn that purpose into cash. I do think I’m asking the right questions now, and I’m working to create entities that can actually make money.
From the first week of job loss to now, people keep ask things like “hows the job hunting going?” The first couple months I would just tell people that it’s going ok. I had applied to a couple gigs that looked interesting. As time passed my response turned into “I am looking, just a bit casually, I’m building some businesses.” Some of the looks I have gotten with just that subtle shift have been classic. “Oh ok, um, so, what kind of businesses are you building?” But, their body language and vocal tone clearly say: “Wes, go get a job you lunatic! You have 5 kids!” At that point, I’d still look at job listings for a few minutes a day so I wouldn’t be lying. Casual baby. Casual.
The other day the final shift in my answer to the job search question arrived organically, and it felt amazing. A good friend of my wife’s stopped by. She was standing in my doorway waiting, wearing the covid party mask, and asked – “Any luck with the job search?” I responded without hesitation “I’m not looking for a job.” I surprised myself. But, that brief moment of awe quickly changed to excitement.
It was like a superbowl touchdown inside my body and soul. Yes! I am not looking for a job! I’m building my future on my terms. Just a day later I was talking with some buddies about our plans, and one of them looked my way and said – “Well, he’s unemployed..” and I felt another shift happen in my whole body. I gave him a straight up dirty look. “I’m not unemployed man.” He caught on quick – “I mean uh, he’s self employed..”. Yeah yeah yeah.
Publish Your Face Off
If you hadn’t guessed yet – the I Will Thrive project is one of the businesses I am working on. I’ve started taking advice from super successful people, like good old Russell Brunson. Crazy rich Idaho Clicky Funnels Man (that’s his full legal name if you didn’t know) says – to get where you want to go as an entrepreneur you’ve got to publish, publish, publish. Whether it’s a blog, video, or podcast, you’ve got to publish daily. He made some pretty big promises tied to the commitment of publishing consistently for a year.
One year from now, I’ll let you know if it proved true in my life. Russell is one reason why I decided to document my journey and publish it. Overall I’ve been very impressed with Russel’s work. The One Funnel Away Challenge was something I was very skeptical about, but I gave it a shot not long after getting laid off. It was crazy worth the $100 price tag. I think of myself as pretty well versed in sales and marketing, but I learned a lot. If you’re looking to start your own thing – I honestly can’t help but recommend it. If you’d like to check it out, click HERE.
So the I Will Thrive project is one of my gigs that I can provide value with. From the past funny stories of failures, to the ups and downs of where I am headed and the future success I will attain. Income here is mainly derived from Patreon, ad revenue, and from those glorious people that want to join the challenge and get the awesome t-shirt.
This project itself is not going to make me a millionaire, but it will keep me on track to becoming who I know I need to become. Accountability really works for me. It is one of the ways I lost 80 pounds in 10 months. Which is a very cute and perfect little segue to the next big thing I’m building. (Throughout all the writing I’ve done in my life, I’ve apparently never written the word “segue.” Haha. What a weird word. Looks like it should be pronounced as “Say Goo.”)
I can’t say too much yet as I would prefer to give all the sexxy details once we launch. (Always two “x’s” in sexxy for me by-the-way, because of They Might Be Giants) But, the big thing I’m creating is a Health and Wellness program. Now, anyone that knows me personally or has seen my pictures – I’m still a big guy. Why would I have the audacity to create something in such a competitive industry? Especially as a man of girth? Theres so many answers to that question my hands are having a panic attack trying to process my brain signals right now. In summary: Even though it is a competitive space, we have discovered a unique take that will make our stuff more fun and compelling than anything else in the market. Fun!
Also, following the journey of what our program does in the lives of the hosts is going to be one of the very things that will make it compelling and competitive. I also get to create this company with two of my best homies. There is a wide open space for our offering, and we have a freaking sweet name! I’ve never had more entrepreneur tingles in my life than with this idea. We’ve tested the market already to a degree, and I know we can kill it. Just have to create and build the thing! Which is what I am in the middle of right now!
Last but not least, I have started a new project called Prioritize Your Life. It is a YouTube series that highlights experiences from amazing people to inspire us all to live a better life. A life where we are focused on what truly matters so we can leave this world with no regrets. This one has nothing to do with making money. It has everything to do with sharing inspiring stories to help and inspire.
It’s going to be slow moving because it’s mostly an interview show, which means I have to find people to interview. The first episode is a near death experience (NDE) of a gentleman named Scott Drummond. It’s a story he’s never shared, and I was so honored to help bring it to light. If you’re into that kind of stuff, please check it out at PriortizeYourLife.com. It’s one of the coolest NDE’s I’ve ever heard. So far out of all the content I have put into the world, this is the thing I am most proud of. Why? Because it’s creating real impact. It’s helping people that afraid of death. It’s giving comfort to those that have lost friends and family to COVID-19. Whether or not you believe in life after death, bringing people peace is a very good thing. I can’t wait for the next one.
Ok, lets go a good old fashioned Inigo Montoya sum up. The first side of the coin is create revenue generating businesses:
- I Will Thrive | Blog Video Podcast
- My Health and Wellness Program that I’m not telling you the name yet you naughty person
Then more on the “create impact” side of the coin we have:
- Prioritize Your Life
Don’t forget – I’ve vowed to no hair cuts until I’ve made 1 million dollars. This is “Where I Was At” – hair length wise when I made that vow.
It’s already way longer than I usually have it thanks to the pandemic. Haha. I’m crazy. A crazy long haired bearded man that is thriving into the future. Join me!
Let me know if you’re with my buddy and you want to see occasional posts like this one. I’ll be starting to fulfill on my promise of sharing stories with some of the biggest stars in history soon!
VIDEO version of this episode HERE
PODCAST version of this episode HERE