Tag: personal development

It is not everyday that you really get to feel all of your hard work pay off. When I started currency trading 3 years ago, it was hard. There was a learning curve, and at times it seemed daunting and elusive to actually be successful at trading.

I really believe that when attempting anything new, there is going to be a period of time where you just suck at it. When you are a person who really likes to win, it can be difficult to attempt new things. The trick is that you simply need to accept the fact that you are a rookie, a noob, a kook or whatever and that you are not going to be killing it one month out of the gate.

Trading currencies has been a game changer for me. Coming from the sales and marketing world, investing in general seemed to be for brainiac types who were really good at numbers. I knew that I could always make money in a situation where there was something to sell, but could i have the same success as an investor, or as a FOREX Trader?

When I first found the Forex market I was vacationing in Bali Indonesia on a surf trip. On a day where there wasn’t any surf to be had, I started looking for ways to make money from a laptop…. (Watch the video, it will explain the rest so I can get on with my story)

Once I found the market and made my first couple hundred dollars before the sun came up one random morning, I was hooked! Unfortunately I never took in to consideration that in order to win at trading, you are going to take losses, and I was a guy who didn’t like to lose. I proceeded down a losing spiral of lost profits and nearly decimated my entire trading account in less then a months time.

I took a break from trading and was feeling pretty beat up by the market. Losing can really screw with you when catch a bad streak like I did. I was not prepared for the emotional turmoil that ensued. Unlike anything I had attempted before, currency trading required me do adopt a high level of emotional intelligence in order to be successful at it. So I got back up, dusted myself off, and got back to it.

I went back to  the school where I had originally learned how to trade. I went through the course again with no expectations and a new willingness to learn. 

The curriculum didn’t change, my perspective did. This time around, I was a lot more humble. After all I got my ass kicked. After putting in 6 months of hard work in, I starting to see some positive results in the form of substantial equity growth in my account. I was ready to take the show on the road, and see if I could really do this from anywhere in the world.

I headed down to Nicaragua with my girlfriend with 3 goals in mind:

  • Propose to my girlfriend
  • Surf some big waves
  • Pay for the whole trip currency trading from my laptop

I scored big time. The surf was macking, and I was pretty sure my girlfriend was going to say yes to marrying me. I was just waiting for the right moment to propose. I started doing my pre-sessions & technical analysis on the market looking for some trades one morning, and then just like that, a couple trade set ups presented themselves and I pulled the trigger!

— I was sitting in a youth hostel using their shotty wifi and hoping to God that the internet did not go out before I closed my trades. With in 15 minutes of trading I managed to pull 7 scalped trades netting me $1,272.96 after commissions. —

I closed my laptop, ordered an iced coffee and just sat for 10 minutes staring at the ocean and feeling like I had just pulled off a huge victory! I soaked it up, I proved 15 minutes of tradingthat not only could I trade, but I could do it from a shitty hostel with bad wifi in Central America. Later that evening, I asked my girlfriend to marry me and she said yes.

So I got 2 out of 3 of my goals done. Even though $1,300 was not enough to cover the entire trip, I felt like $1,300 for 15 minutes of my time was well worth taking the rest of the trip for myself and to celebrate my new engagement. Besides, the surf was macking remember!

The moral of the story is that If you put your mind to something and stick with it, you can do it. The path to success is not linear, but it follows a trend!

If you want to know more about how you can become a currency trader and make profits in the market from a lap top anywhere in the world click the logo below and find out more about the FX365 Institute!

FX365i+4inSmall

 

Does your Remote business pass the litmus test? Could you actually leave the country for weeks or months at a time and still count on the business to grow on its own and produce income.

In this article I am going to share with you some of the most important questions that you should be asking yourself to avoid a career that is going to keep you chained to your desk.

When I am approached with a business or come up with an idea, I ask myself these following questions to help me decide if I should even consider pursing the business. I wrote a blog recently about The Joys of working remotely and also my 5-Step process to finding the perfect career where you can travel the world and work from a laptop.

I have come up with a couple of questions that I use to test the remote possibilities of a business. These days, if they do not get passed these questions with a yes, then I am probably going to go a different direction. I wrote two articles that may give you more context when it comes to working remotely.

Now for the smell test questions:

1.  If I spent a year building this business and I left the country for 2-4 weeks with out being able to call back or answer any emails would it still be standing when I go home?

This may take some introspection and some deep thinking about what the business is, who it would involve and what you would need to figure out to get all of the pieces together. This type of think and evaluation will become paramount when assessing situations for your business in the future, so play the tape out and visualise as best as you can where you would see yourself and the business in a year or two.

2.  Is this a business I can run myself, or will I need to hire or contract out work to properly run it and if I do, will I be able to effectively manage the team remotely? 

If you can do it on your own, great, do it! Unfortunately most enterprises even small ones will need to depend on others to accomplish what ever it is your business will do or provide for people. The question you need to concern yourself with is can you effectively manage then from a far or set the business up in a way where employees or partners can or would be self serving and motivated to accomplish tasks day to day to keep the company running smoothly. 

3.  On a scale from 0%-100% how much of the business can I automate?

(0%-60% is no good / 60%-80% is ok / 80%-100% is ideal). Automation is going to be key for you to managing efficiently from a far. It will allow you to batch work and delegate important work properly. Also it really allows you to step away from the business or parts of the business for days or weeks at a time and then come back to spot check at a later date. Most importantly automation usually takes the place of what human used to do and will allow you to perform more high value activities for the business.

4. Will it make me enough money to give me the life I desire to have and if so how long will it take to get me to that point? 60 Days? 6 months? A year? 

For more on this topic check out my blog I wrote on Time vs. Money! This will really put this step in to perspective for you.

5. Pros and cons list – Now for the final step, write down all of the great things about how the business is going to get you what you want out of it. Examples could be things like “90% automation” or “allows me to travel 6 months per year” etc and then do the same for all of the potentially negative elements about the business. Make sure to be real with yourself here. Don’t sugar coat this part.

Once you have completed all of these steps, then you will have a solid understanding about what you could potentially be getting involved in. I can’t stress the importance of the exercises!

Working as a management consultant for a number of years I have a keen ability to understand what is going to make a business succeed or fail. Unfortunately most folks don’t even think about these things when starting a business. Instead they get excited about the idea, or one aspect of the new business and run with it throwing caution to the wind and ignoring or simply not flushing out the idea and all the pit falls that would ensue first.

Be smart, be savvy and get the business that will give you the life you desire but don’t ever be afraid to give your idea a litmus test! It will save you time, money and heartache in the future. These simple actions will keep you on the right track helping you to avoid a business or an idea that will stand in the way of a more well suited business or opportunity that will give you everything you need.

 

 

 

Do you ever dream of being able to run a business from anywhere in the world? Have you ever found yourself looking online for different ways you could travel abroad and somehow make an income while you were half way around the world.

Over the past decade I have been perfecting this skill. The truth is that it is not as easy as it sounds. This is especially true if you are used to a 9 to 5 standard day job. The dream of one day quitting that job and breaking free from the chains of the corporate world can be elusive and fleeting.

When I was 22 I left the country for the first time. I had always wanted to travel but I was a troublemaker growing up and spent the later part of my teen years in rehab getting sober. By the time I was 20, I had been sober for a couple of years and my life was back on track, so I decided to leave America and embark on an adventure.

I signed up for a study abroad trip to Spain, paid the money and prepared to leave home. To be perfectly honest, this trip wouldn’t be my first time out of America, I frequently went to Mexico in my teen years growing up in San Diego. None of my trips to Mexico had any real cultural importance. In fact, I don’t even really remember what transpired during most of those trips and never really made farther the the Tijuana bars on Revolution Blvd. This trip was going to be different, I was with college kids, and there was some structure, so I figured that was a good place to start.

IMG_0015_2

I remember getting off the plane in Madrid. I was bustled away from the group with my host mom who didn’t speak a lick of English and was given a room in her little apartment. I was super jet lagged and had never been on a flight that long in my life so I passed out immediately.  When I woke up it was dusk outside. I walked down the 4 flights of stairs and sat out on the side walk in the neighborhood I was staying in listening to all of the sounds of the city and taking it all in. The smells, the cars, the food, everything was different, I didn’t know anyone around, and I was far from home. I was in LOVE.

This first encounter of Wanderlust was intoxicating to me. I vividly remember it and I was so grateful to be in that moment experiencing life again in a new way for the first time.

I thought to myself, what if I could do this all of the time, what if I could just travel a lot? It was sometime on that trip that I decided I was going to need to find a line of work that was going to allow me to do this. About a week before the program ended, I told my professors running the program that I wouldn’t be accompanying them back to America, and stayed in western Europe an additional 4 months traveling around Spain, Italy and France.

Once I ran out of money, I came home. At that time I was running a Mortgage office which surprisingly was still standing after my almost 5 months of me being gone. It didn’t matter though because I came home in September 2008 just in time to watch the housing market collapse completely. I was screwed. I had done really well for a kid who dropped out of college to get rich but it was all back firing now and traveling was the last thing on my mind.

After the dust settled I was about $190,000 in debt and in need of a new career. I had decided to go back to college a year earlier and had about a year and a half left for my undergrad degree so I figured I would spend the next 2 years finishing college and finding a career that would set me up to travel the globe and make money while I was doing so.

The first business that I found that worked really well for me was multi-level marketing. It seemed like a great fit, I was recruited in to a company being sold the dream that if I spent a couple years working hard at building an organization, it would eventually take off and continue to pay me residually. This was PERFECT. I could build the business for a couple years to about $100K per year then disappear to Indonesia

For a first timer in MLM, I did incredibly well, and I build that $100k per year income in a short amount of time but it was short live. The first company I was with asked me to leave and the second company I joined eventually went belly up. Also every time I would leave the country on a trip, I found myself on my phone or laptop the whole time putting out fires and that was just plane stupid.

When I finally walked away from the industry I decided to put my entrepreneur hat back on. I had raised some money for a tech start-up and was actively learning how to trade currencies in the FOREX market.

I never lost site of my desires and dreams of being able to make money from a Laptop; I just needed to be a little more resourceful. I found that as long as I can offer real value to a client even being a great distance away, that my capability to earn money anywhere where I was in the world would be there.

So over the past 5 years I have been doing just that. Most of the consulting work that I do is never from an office, maybe my home office. I do keep an office at the Currency trading school that I have a long-term contract with but they have always been cool with me leaving and making my own schedule. Again, I attribute that leniency to the results I am able to deliver. The moral of the story is that there is a million ways to make money and add value to a person, place or business, however you need to be resourceful if you are going to do this from a laptop half a world away.

I have put together my top 5 tips to finding your own way to take your business on the road with you for good. Read “Top 5 Tips to Working remotely.” To see what it’s all about

 

It’s a wrap, we’re married!

Keeley and I want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sharing this chapter of our life. The wedding was absolutely amazing. Better than Keeley and I could have ever imagined or anticipated. We hoped and planned for the best, but what transpired over the week in Costa Rica went far beyond our expectations.

All of this could not have been possible without the love and support from our friends and family who graciously made the journey from all over the world to join us on our special day. Our hearts are filled with gratitude and we are so elated over the entire experience. We rode zip lines in the jungle, surfed in the warm Central American water, did lots of yoga and got married on the beach with our toes in the sand and an amazing Costa Rican sunset as our backdrop.

The most amazing part of our wedding week in Tamarindo was how everything just flowed. The weather called for pouring rain on our raining day, it didn’t rain a drop. We were able to spend time with all of our guests who came which was important to us because everyone made a long journey to get to Costa Rica.

To top it off, not only did our guests get along, they all made friends with each other which is so cool. I don’t know if I can attribute that to the quality of friends Keeley and I have or if we just got lucky on when it came to personalities that just jived. Either way, I have never seen a group of people in my life get along and engage with each other so well especially with such a diverse group of people from so many different walks of life. It was just really neat to experience that!

I am writing this final newsletter/blog from Santa Teresa, Costa Rica (about 4 hours south of where we got married). I have finally had some down time to take in the entire wedding experience. As I look through the photos, and see the posts coming through on Facebook and Instagram, I am filled even more with gratitude. I can honestly say that this wedding was the best day of my life. To be able to share this beautiful country and our wedding day with our families and closest friends meant the world to me.

We were able to capture this experience in time and essence of the entire week through photos and video of the wedding and all of the activities leading up to and after the wedding. As a result of this, I am going to make a very cool video outlining the entire trip. Look out in the next couple of weeks for that as I will put it up in another blog post along with links to download all of the photos from the wedding.

Also, keeley and I have decided to have two different receptions sometime this summer in San Diego and North Carolina for all of the guests who simply could not make the trip. We will send out a newsletter announcing that when we choose the dates.

Until then, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everyone who came, it was absolutely magical!!!

Love Steve and Keeley.

 

IMG_0552

When I was 17, my mentor Mike Watson asked me to write a list of all the things I wanted in my life. Here is what I wrote

-Get my own place.

-Get a car.

-Get a girlfriend

-Get a job and be able to support myself with out the help of my family.

By the time I was 18 years old, I had gotten these things. I had a little apartment in South Los Angeles, bought a 95 Acura Integra for $5,000 and met a pretty girl that I was with. I was working at Guitar Center in Lawndale CA as sales rep which was a step up from my last job working the burrito line at Chipotle. I went back to my mentor and told him that I had gotten everything that I wrote down on my list. He told me to go make another list, but this time dream bigger.

My next list looked something like this.

-Go to Jr. College.

-Move in to a bigger place.

-Make enough money to where I have some left after bills at the end of the month.

-Get a truck!

-Start a businessAEF

When I turned 20, again I finished these things. I enrolled at El Camino Jr. College paid for by a scholarship I won in a persuasive speech contest. I found a nice little house in Lomita CA I moved in with a couple of friends and started my first business, a clothing company called All Else Failed Ind. He told me to keep going, that I can have whatever I wanted as long as I put it down on paper and was willing to work for it. (So I did, but I went big on this one)

-Make 100k or more per year

-Transfer into a UC/CSU school to finish my undergraduate degree.

-Write a book

-Make an album (Im a musician)

-Buy a house

-Buy a nice Car

07 TravelsBy age 23, I published my first book The Rich Kid Syndrome.” I moved from Los Angeles to San Diego to buy my first home in Oceanside CA, and then transferred to CSU San Marcos after spending the summer of 2007 Studying abroad in Spain, Italy and France. This was also my first $100,000 year and I earned quite a bit more the following year with my little brokerage firm that started in Carlsbad. I was doing so well, I decided to buy and new BMW, and I bought it with Cash 🙂 I also finally completed my first full-length solo album entitled The  Midnight Songbook.”

As my 24th birthday passed, it seemed as if I could do anything. It was like every single year, I would just write a new list of things down that I wanted, and then I would get them. I felt unstoppable, and invincible. Then the year 2008 came and everything changed.

It only took about 6 months after the economy crashed to lose just about everything that I had worked for. Aside from the fact that I had lost all steams of income, I ended up being 160K in debt to boot.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I broke up with the girlfriend of 2 years, my dad went to prison, my mentor Mike (pictured above) died from cancer, my best friend screwed me over and I was conned out of my last $10,000 by a person posing as a roommate of mine who stole my identity and flew the coop. That’s what I call a bad year. I was so beaten down by all the loss in and around my life that it was hard to get back up and keep going. In fact some days it was down right direly depressing and some very bad thoughts entered my mind.

I realized that even though I had some major setbacks, and life threw me a couple of shit sandwiches, I had 2 choices. 1)Quit and kill yourself 2) Eat the shit sandwiches and make a list of things you want (as it has always seem to work before). So after a long day of gathering my thoughts and some  meditation at the beach, here is the list that I made.

-Finish college

-Publish my second book

-Find a new industry to work in

-Surround myself with better people.

-Climb out of the hole (meaning get out of debt)

So, I picked up the pieces of my life and got back to work. I was 24, in serious debt, couldn’t find a job that would pay me nearly anything I was making in the mortgage game and all my “friends” or at least the people who I thought were my friends seemed to disappear with the money, the girlfriend and the stuff. I literally just had to hit the reset button on my life and start over.

24-28I got in to Multi-level marketing, first with a company called Mona-Vie and then eventually in a company called RevvNRG. I always thought MLM was a scam but saw a lot of people making money in it. I figured if some barley high-school educated bozo’s from the Utah could make a couple million bucks on the Network Marketing game, how hard could it be? So I jumped in with both feet.

It took me about 18 months before I saw my first $10,000 month. As it turns out, you really can make some money in MLM. The next 3 years of my life seemed as if I was getting back in to my groove. I was traveling around the country, building a huge organization, making great money again and speaking on stages around the world telling stories of success and rising back up once life had knocked me down. I graduated college, published my next book The Young Entrepreneurs Guide to Life.”

I felt relieved in a lot of ways. I felt as if I had a handle on things, life threw me some curve balls but I learned how to bend and fold in the situations and survive. As I was nearing 28 Years old, I began to reach my peak again. Now that I had the money game on point it was time for me to start living again, for me, this meant lifestyle.

What do I mean by lifestyle? Well to me “life” encapsulates all the things a human being has to do to live. Meaning we need to eat sleep, make a living, have friends etc. “Style” is a manner of doing something, so when you put those two together what you have is how a human being goes about living. I’ve come to understand that living life can be done many ways. Some people live very safe, they like a 9-5 job with benefits and 2 weeks vacation. Some people don’t even get that choice, they feel stuck in their life due to circumstances. Example: The man who worked as a mechanic his whole life because that’s what his father did and grandfather father did before him or the idea that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Well, thats all bullshit at least to me it was.

So I picked up a few new hobbies, and got back in to someones that I had neglected due my crazy ass work schedule. Here is what it looked like.

So I finished, college, published my new book, completely changed the people I surrounded myself with and found myself 5 years in to a promising industry that was allowing my to travel the world, live my dreams and crawl out of the black hole that I had lived in. I wish i could end the story here, because then it would be a happy ending, but there was one more twist that was going to happen to me before I hit the age of 30. But I at least got my dream trip of traveling around South East Asia and Surfing in Bali twice before shit hit the fan again. (see below)

And then I got back to America. in fact it was Early May of 2013 when I arrived home from Bali for the second time that year to find out the master distributor of the Network Marketing company I was involved in was trying to do an end-run on the distributor base and secretly move them in to another company all together. When I caught him in the middle of it, I blew the whistle (get that full story here). 

In a mad rush to try to save what was left of the company, I began negotiations to broker a buyout from another MLM company. In fact that is where I was last year on my 29th birthday. Even though we were able to get a deal done, it ultimately fell apart because as it turns out the owner of the company I was staying loyal to was scarred and greedy.

Fortunately, being down the “put all your eggs in to one basket” road before, I had some back up plans this time around. I had learned how to trade the FOREX market (read that story here) for some time and I had a little Tech-Start-up called Roommatefax.com that I had been working on for a little time. Although I though I would have at least another year of residual income to count on from my network marketing ventures, I didn’t so I had to execute that back-up plans a little faster and take some side consulting work to make ends meet till I got them off the ground.

That brings us to the present, and as I cross the threshold into my thirties, I took some time to reflect, and these are the questions that kept repeating to me in my head.

-Have I lived honestly and had the best intentions?

-Did I take all the risks necessary to pursue success no matter the cost and safety?

-Would those (dead or alive) who came before me and made sacrifices for me so I could get ahead in life be proud of the man I have become?

-Will I be able to look my child in the eyes one day and proudly tell him or her about the choices I have made?

-If I were to die tomorrow, did I accomplish everything I set out to do? and when some of those things failed, did I see them through till the end and learn something from the experience? 

-Have I lived with Honor, Integrity and loyalty?

-Was I a good son, brother, friend and human being?

I can honestly and confidently answer yes to all these questions, and that makes me grateful. I always thought by 30 years old, I’d have a million dollars and today I’m 30 and  I don’t have a million dollars, in fact, I’m far from it, but what I do have is something that money can’t buy. What I have is something a lot of rich men spent their entire life chasing but could never seem to find. It’s the thing that most people live their whole life trying to find but it eludes them. What is it? Love. I’m surrounded by it and all the things that happened to me in my life were for a reason, they were to keep me safe from people, places and things, and sometimes from myself. I had lots of guardian angels that came in the form of people and circumstances.

I did my best to put Love out in the world, to give it when I could and try to keep the faith that it was there even when I couldn’t see it. I found hope, even when good people died or went to jail. I make hard amends to people I disliked, and let go of hatred for those I could justifiably hold resentments against. I found out what kind of man I was when life got hard, and saw what I was capable of when surrounded by the right people and situations. I learned to have a thick skin, be fearless and most importantly, not take life to seriously.

So all that’s left to do is make a new list. The list will probably have some things like get married, have kids etc. For me, it’s an open book. A big blank canvas waiting to be filled with life, love and memories. Fortunately, I’ve got quite a bit of experience now and I believe my best years are ahead. My 20’s were the minor leagues, and now its time for the major’s and I can’t wait to start playing!

Thanks for all the love and support! See you at the top!

-Steve Wolf

 

 

38801_1533622789192_1493463599_1358476_6782471_n

Being in debt sucks, you should get out of it. America is HIGH on credit cards, loans and just living way beyond our means in general.  It’s got to stop because it’s simply a vicious cycle of madness, and will only end if you make the personal choice to do it in your own life.

“When you get in debt you become a slave.” -Andrew Jackson

It has been a long time coming for writing a blog on this topic. I write a lot about life-style and ways to accumulate wealth, but there is another side to the wealth coin and that side is DEBT. We all know what it is because at one time or another we have all been in it. For most people I meet, being in debt is a part of everyday American life that 99% of Americans live in day in day out. The other 1% owns all the wealth, and we can’t get to where they are because they are the ones lending the money 🙂 Imagine if we lived in a world where you couldn’t get a credit card or a loan. Think of how different the world would be, how much stress would be lifted off of you or your loved ones. What if you woke up tomorrow and you were magically at $0. How would that change your life? Here in America, we start getting credit card offers weeks before we turn 18 years old, with banks enticing you with instant gratification telling you to buy now and worry later. Sadly it has become a way of life here in the U.S. and I believe it will ultimately lead to our downfall. The powers that be do an incredible job keeping us in a constant state of denial, and for good reason too, because it’s hard to sell you on the idea of being ok with getting in to debt if they actually told you what you were really getting yourself in to.

Let me throw a couple of stats at you real quick on the US debt situation, then we will get in to your shit! * As of April 1, 2014, the official debt of the United States government is $17.6 trillion ($17,578,141,920,036).cols_ventura-39636 This amounts to:

  • $143,543 for every household in the U.S.
  •  103% of the U.S. gross domestic product.
  • 559% of annual federal revenues.
  • $55,372 for every person living in the U.S. (not including Americans Individual’s personal debt which is indicated below.)

U.S. household consumer debt profile:

  • Average credit card debt: $15,191
  • Average mortgage debt: $154,365
  • Average student loan debt: $33,607

James Quin from financialscense.com  writes: “The average hard-working, taxpaying American has been enslaved in debt of such proportions that they will never be able pay it off. Your share of the $17.6 trillion National Debt is now $55,372, and growing by $4,500 per year. Your share of the future unfunded liabilities, created by the people you elected, is approximately $350,000. This crushing burden is in addition to the $13.8 trillion of mortgage, credit card, student loan, and auto loan debt Americans have accumulated in the last three decades of delusion. Forty percent of all credit card users do not pay-off their credit card every month and carry an average balance of $16,000 at an average interest rate of 15%. Good to see the Wall Street banks passing along some of their 0% borrowing windfall to their “customers”. ” So what does this all mean? Well it’s simple, as a country we’re F*&%ed. As an individual, you may have a chance for redemption if you choose to take the hard road and opt out of the vicious cycle, but it won’t be easy. In this blog, I am going to share with you some of the key ideological changes I underwent as well as the actions that I took to get my debt managed, and eventually paid the f%^& off. If you do exactly what I tell you to do in this blog, you will be well on your way to getting out of debt for GOOD! I will explain how to cut your interest rates in 1/2 if not more. Here are the steps.

stop-bleeding-save-your-own-life1. Stop the bleeding – Ok, if you are serious about doing this, it’s time to make some hard decisions. I don’t mean like you need to tighten your belt a bit and cut back a little, I’ll equate this to a obesely overweight person that needs their stomach stapled, and triple by-pass heart surgery to stay alive. This means fire sale time. You go through your house and collect everything of any value that you don’t use. My indicator is: unless it’s a seasonal item like a snowboard, if it hasn’t been used for 6 months, sell it, thrown it out or give it to goodwill for a tax credit. Anything you own two of needs to be reduced to only one, after all, why do you need 2 anyway? This includes big ticket items like cars, motorcycles etc.  Next you need to look through your bank statement and find any subscriptions or monthly reoccurring charges that you don’t use on a regular basis. For example, expensive gym memberships, magazine subscriptions etc. Be vigilant, we are talking about things you don’t absolutely need, if you need your gym membership, I”l tell you how to save on that later on, but for now, just follow the directions. If your a person like my mom who needs to hold on to everything, than you need a close friend to help you through the process like a drug addict needs a sponsor to keep them in check, you can’t be trusted.

reality-check2. Reality Check – Time to get out of denial and face the truth. Gather all the statements of debts you have. College loans, car loans, credit cards, mortgages etc. Then start an excel spreadsheet to lay it all out. I’ve included the one I used that gave me a clear picture of what I owed and the percentage rates I was paying. (StevenEwolf.com Debt Worksheet). Once we have it all laid out on paper we have “THE NUMBER” meaning the price you will have to pay for freedom. For me that number was $160,000 in 2010, and I got it under control without a bankruptcy or credit help bullshit company. It can be done, if I can do it, you can too.

3.Budget time – Here is where you sit down with your loved one, or by yourself if your single and simply find out how much you are making imgres and how much you are spending. To get an idea of this, I strongly suggest you use a budget program like Mint.com. I used mint.com and still use today to mange my income, expenses and investments, it does all that for you in one simple program by collecting all your financial data and putting it in one easy place for you to see and manage. It will give you a snap shop of your current cash vs. debt as well as up to date information about every asset and liability you have. It will also allow you to create a budget based on your income so you can track and see exactly how much you are spending and what you are spending it (or wasting it) on. This can only be done once you figure out what your income is. If you are like me, and never had a constant pay check, this will give you data collected over a period of time to help you balance out your income as you receive it. 

Piggy-Bank-e13684380021284. Savings Strategy – What is savings you ask, well that’s money that you don’t spend, something that is not a familiar practice to my generation. Here is what it needs to look like, I’ll give you an example for an income of $5,000 per month. (I adopted this practice from the book The Richest Man in Babylon & Secrets of the Millionaire Mind  and customized it to fit my needs to get out of debt and build wealth)

*****Note, a tax savings account is necessary if you are a 1099 guy like me, if not don’t worry about, the government steals it from you already every pay period at your W-2 job. So for the sake of this example Red will indicate W-2 Person, and Green will indicate 1099 person.

:::EXAMPLE:::

Total Income $5,000

-20% ($1000) in to separate bank account specifically set aside for taxes.  Capital1 – 360 gives you free Savings and Checking account with no  Capital-One-360-Checking-Special-Offer minimums or ATM fees, that pays you a .75% yearly APR yield (5 times national average). If you follow this link to the right and you will get a $50 referral credit just for signing up through my link! (You see, pays to read my blog!) So do it NOW!

50% of whats left after taxes ($2,000) ($2500) Goes in to you spending budget. This is to be used to pay the mortgage/rent, gas utilities, car payment, food etc.

20% Goes in to savings. ($800) ($1,000) // This is money that you will invest in to something later, but don’t worry about that just yet because you don’t have any money yet, so just save it and if you are in serious debt, all of this money will go to pay off debt starting with high interest credit cards and loans 🙂

10% Goes in to the “emergency/big ticket item fund” ($400) ($500) // This is money for a new car or a trip, something you may want but don’t necessarily need so if shit hits the fan you can use the cash to get you out of a pickle, but the hawaii trip is not gonna happen this year as a result of it. 

10% Goes in to the “Play” fund ($400) ($500) // This is your money to blow on what ever you want. 

10% Goes in to the “Charity/Education Fund” ($400) ($500)

budget-clip-art(3)4. Budget Review – By following the example above you easily get a hold on your own personal spending, not lets cut some more monthly costs. Time to sit down, look at everything you decided to keep: memberships, subscriptions etc. If they don’t fit in to your budget, you need to cut back even more. It is however worth calling all of the entities and seeing if you can reduce the membership costs. I called my gym, they cut my membership rate in half, then I called some magazine I subscribed to, they gave me a year free, then the cable company, then my cell phone provider and so on. By the time I was done calling every single entity that I had a subscription with, I managed to hang on to one or two things I would have had to get rid of by just calling them and asking for a discount. Once you have accomplished getting this all together and knowing that you are at least not going negative every month, we can go to the next step.

credit-card5. The Credit Card Shuffle – Ok let do some plastic surgery. First pull out that debt sheet that you have downloaded from above. Remember the one where you wrote down the total amounts you owe. Ok, now pull out all of your credit cards and start calling each one, here is what you need to find out, and do this exactly like I tell you to here!

1. Call the CC company and find out what you actual rate is on the card.

2. If you have balanced transferred money or have a promotional rate of some kind, find out the rate and when the promotional rate ends and then indicate it on the sheet just like the example I have set out.

3. Ask the customer service agent if they can lower your rate. If they say no, ask them if they can waive this months interest charges as a courtesy. Most companies will do this at least once per year.

4. Ask them if they have any promotions on Balance transfers, don’t do it yet just find out if they do. (It’s usually 0% for 6-12 months or 4.99% for 18 months. They will charge you between 2%-5% to move the money)

5. Repeat this step until you have called every single one of your credit cards and recorded the information on the sheet provided. Now that you have an idea of how badly you are being raped by finance charges, we can start the shuffle. Looking at all of your existing credit left on cards, figure out if it would make sense to transfer balances to cards that have room. Take in to consideration that it will cost you money to move the money, so if the benefits of savings don’t outweigh the costs to move the money or you simply don’t have enough credit left, you will have to choose another option. The main idea is to try to get any credit card balance to 0% or as close to 0% as possible. Some of you may still have good credit if that’s the case, use the following method, if not, read on, there is options for you. If you can swing, pay your highest APR% cards off immediately, meaning any card that only a couple hundred bucks or something on it, just pay it and check that one-off the list.

If you have a good credit score or are a home owner:

1. Ask each CC company to raise your line of credit, explain that you need the credit for business travel.

2. Try to move all of the balances ton ONE card so it’s easily manageable and at the lowest rate. If you have to spread this out over 2 cards, do it, but make sure it makes sense.

3.  If you weren’t able to get the CC companies to extend you more credit, try to get a personal consolidation loan. I used one of their and it drastically helped me get out of debt faster. The best company with the lowest rates is Lending Club. Lending club will beat any other lending_club_logopersonal loan service or big bank on unsecured debt consolidation loans. If you do this, you can get a secured loan for 3 years that can be paid off early with no pre-payment penalty. Otherwise, try a HELOC on your home or a refinance to wrap the debt in the equity if you can do it.  If your debt is only a couple thousand it may be a good idea of doing a “used-car refinance loan” and wrapping some of the debt in to that if you have some equity in a vehicle.

If you have bad credit or have no home. 

1. See what you can do to move balances around to 0%. If the CC companies won’t extend you credit then try the personal loan from Lending Club like I mentioned above. They still have some great rates with people who have below Prime credit scores.

2. Get a copy of your credit report and find out exactly what you have going against you that is affecting your score.

3. If you can’t get more credit to move balances, and you can’t get a personal loan that makes sense it’s time to start playing dirty with your creditors. The following advice is the last option that you will before you have to start looking at bankruptcy as a viable option. (I will not be covering bankruptcy in this blog because if your situation is that bad, you need to get in touch with an attorney and discuss your options.) 

4. Credit card consolidation companies are bullshit. There is nothing that they can do for you that you cannot call your credit card company do yourself. They basically charge you money to “go to bat for you” but what they are really doing is serving as a middle man between you and the CC company and make a little money off of your hard ship. I’ll share my story explaining below at the end of the blog.

6. Sticking to the plan no matter what – The hardest thing that you will encounter when trying to follow these steps is the feeling that there is no end in sight. That you feel so far away from $0 that you want to give up or just say F%^&* it. Understand that it was that exact attitude and lack of discipline and knowledge that got you in to this situation to begin with. In fact, you have probably spent years getting your self in to this situation, so don’t think that this is going to get fixed over night.

What I am proposing here is a long-term and effective strategy to recognize and asses the problem, reconcile the damage done, and then install a system of ideological principles to live by. Taking all of the actions I have laid out here is a start but the ultimate idea here is that you change your mindset, and that you do it long-term because if you use what I gave you here to get out of debt just to do it all over again that we have failed. So, be brave, be sturdy, and most of all, find some gratitude and accomplishment in the fact that you are doing something about it. Just that is a huge step that you should be proud of.

Summary and a Personal Story.  

IMG_0156

Me in Bali living the life of my dreams. You can to!!!!

As I indicated before, this guide isn’t something I thought up last night, this knowledge comes from years of experience going through this myself. I have been through some very scary times, and if I could, I would love to help you avoid some of those pit falls in life. When the market turned in 2008 I went from owning a house, with a brand new BMW paid with cash to $160,000 in debt ducking creditors and conducting a fire sale with any assets I had left to try and cover the losses. I didn’t do it all correctly and I wish I had seen a blog like this one to help me out of that horrible situation. As my good friend Rob Guth says “ask me how I know?” I love the saying because it comes from experience, and it the experience of the good and bad that has allowed me to learn from my mistakes and come back from some dark times with hope and re-energized spirit to not only continue on when things go south, but to always have hope that tomorrow is a new chance an opportunity to turns things around if they not going well, or continue to rise if they are.

I hope that you take what I wrote here to heart because these nuggets of information have cost me years of my life and hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain. Learn from it, apply it, and execute it in your own life and enjoy years of time and lots of money saved because you were wiser that I was to look. If this blog speaks to you, share it the information with your friends, family and people you care about. If you have questions, comments, concerns, feel free to post in the comments section or contact me via the contact page

I wish you the best of luck!

See you at the top.

Steve W.

Solutions Links as indicated above.

1. Debt Worksheet 

2. Capital 1 360 Free Savings and Checking account with no minimums or ATM fees. 

3. Mint.com

4. Lending Club

5. If you are looking where to go after this, check out my book that will begin to give some great insight on how to go in to business for yourself and build some wealth. 

760_001-1

So if you are in Sales, you are going to get an absolute kick out of this blog…..

and if you’re struggling in sales, reading and applying what I speak of below will change the game for you 🙂

If you have ever heard me speak at a seminar or were mentored by me one-on-one, you will always hear me speak of the M&M analogy when it comes to recruiting or sales. It is a very simple and straight forward way to get emotionally unattached from the sales experience with the customer or client and remember that you are there to do a job, sell stuff.

At the end of the day for most sales people, (especially those who work off of straight commission) if they don’t sell, they don’t eat. We have no time to waste in getting upset about the deal that didn’t close or the ones that got away because we cannot feast off of last weeks bread.

So here is the single most relevant story/experience that ever helped me as a sales person:

It’s a numbers game. If I know 1 out of 5 will buy, then the only way to truly track and measure that is to do the same great high energy pitch exactly the same all 5 times knowing that if the first 4 said no, then number 5 is probably going to go for it, if not #5, then statistically your chances of getting a sale go up every single person after that exponentially as you hit the ratio break.

Making sense? If not I explain in a different way.

I use this analogy about finding the green M&M’s. The Green M&M represents the person who will buy from you, it’s your job to find it! Confused yet? Ok let me explain.

One summer day I was sitting around in between meeting prospects that I was attempting to recruit in to the company I was working for. After being shot down earlier that day by a potential prospect, I was eating a bag of M&M’s waiting for my next appointment. As I poured a couple more out I started to wonder how many I would have to go through before I got a green one out of the bag. I poured a couple more out. It took 6 M&M’s before a green one came. 2 Brown, 2 Red, 1 Yellow, 1 blue and then the green. I thought to myself, “wow, that’s about how many people I have to go through until I find someone who will sign up in my business.” Over time, I would continue to do this with a bag of M&M’s and the ratio continuously stayed the same, about 1 to 5 if looking specifically for a green M&M. Then a light bulb went off in my head, the M&M colors represent the personalities of the person, and the “Green” is the only one who is going to sign up or buy from me. So I developed a methodology around this called “Finding the green M&M.”

Here is the Methodology Explained….

Take a bag of M&M’s, you have Brown, Red, Green, yellow, and blue. Think of them as personality traits. I’ll list them as if they were customer types.

mms-geico-gecko-and-camel-commercialBrown – The “you’re trying to F$%^ me type.” No matter what you do, what logic you try to use with this customer, they don’t believe you. Why? Because they don’t believe anyone or trust anyone, as a result they have probably missed lots of opportunities in life including the one you are about to pitch them, bottom line, no sale! They will beat you up and make you feel like shit, it’s not worth your time, and even on the rarest of occasions where they do buy, the abuse usually isn’t even worth the commission that you will earn on the sale. Don’t take that abuse, be polite, and professional, but never take abuse for no reason, and fire back if necessary! You may not get the deal, but you will walk way with your dignity which is funny because when they realize that you’re not a door mat, they may change their attitude and actually buy something from you 🙂

PIC-588-1329493747Red – “The Big Timer.” This person has perfected the art of what I call “big timing.” This larger than life person comes off more like a cartoon character then a human being. They are always trying to tell you what a big deal they are and how lucky you would be to have them as a client or customer. As if they are God’s gift to the earth and everything they touch turns to gold. Truth is, maybe they got lucky once or twice , but they are 95% full of shit, and 5% actually telling the truth. Bottom line is when you start asking the “hard” questions or try to run their credit to get them financing they recede back in to their shell and go on the defensive retracting some earlier statements and trying to explain their situation, and they always have a situation 😉

cdnet.myxerYellow – “Mr. Indecisive” This person cannot make a decision if their life depended on it. If you were tied up on the train tracks and the person with the yellow personality was the only person around to save you, it’s highly like you will be run over and killed by a train while you sat there and watched the person pace back and forth weighing the options of saving your life. Will I get hit by the train? What if I try to save him and the people who tied him up come after me? Maybe he/she deserves to get run over by the train? etc. Bottom line is this person is so easily influenced by everyone that it makes it extremely difficult for this person to make a decision about anything, and on the occasion that they do actually make a decision, they are still never sure and will require 10 times more than the time it took to close them  to have you re-convince them that they made the right decision after the fact. = Brain damage for you.

Blue-with-phoneBlue – “Mr. Too Cool for School” This person is a control freak. They need to feel like they are in complete control of the situation all of the time. They are not teachable, they are not coachable. They get a crazy idea of the how the experience, product, or service that you are selling should work in their head and then run with it no matter how far from reality it actually is. Trying to use logic to reason with this personality is about as effective as pushing a wet noodle through a tiny hole. If they do buy or sign up with you, they will usually come back pissed off when it doesn’t work out the way they had planned it to in their imaginary world and worst of all, they start talking all kinds of shit about you and your company after the fact to justify their place in the world. You see, if they actually had to take responsibility for their actions, they would have to  admit that they were wrong, and that they were unwilling to follow directions or the procedures set in place and failed as a result those actions.

 

green-mmGreen – “The perfect sale or client” This person gets it. They are logical, have the ability to reason and negotiate, and most of all they understand that a sale isn’t a situation where someone is getting taken advantage of or “winning’ over the other person, they approach a sales rep knowing that having a good relationship with him or her can add serious value to the product or service they are about to purchase. Bottom line, they just get it, and you will know when you meet people like this when a person doesn’t end up buying from you but you walk away from the situation not pissed off  and actually feeling good about the dialogue you had… Seems like that wouldn’t make sense but it actually does because even though you will usually get the sale on a Green M&M personality, on the rare occasion that you don’t you will still walk away from the situation not resenting that person for wasting your time. The only reason they didn’t buy or sign up with you was due to a timing or technicality issue, but keep in touch with that person because they will eventually buy in the future or in the very least refer you business.

Conclusion:

Getting upset or thinking that you suck at sales is about as crazy as opening up a bag of M&M’s and when the first one or two come out not being green ones, you say “F%^$ this stupid sales S%^*, I suck at this and I will never sell anything” then you quit and walk away with your tail tucked in between you legs. Sounds crazy right? Well it’s not because that is exactly how I have seen thousands of people get flushed out of a sales position in 2.3 seconds and quit before they ever even get a start.

Remember:

In the beginning you suck the most. If sales was easy, everyone would be doing it. If you do get lucky the first time, do get a big head because no one is immune to the numbers game or closing ratios. Sales is a craft and skill that you can work on and hone over time. The more time you spend perfecting that skill, the better your closing ratio will become. So keep your head up and always be closing!!!

Now go kick some ass 🙂 Hope this helps, now please enjoy the greatest selling scene off all time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kZg_ALxEz0

 

jack-nicholson-the-shining

So, as most of my readers know, my blogs have a lot to do with business, working hard, making a life for yourself an most importantly living. All to many times, we get caught up in our day-to-day grind and lose perspective. If you lose perspective for too long, the mind starts to slip and unless you do something about it, you might end up like Jack smashing through doors with an axe trying to kill your wife and child.

Although that may be an extreme example, a life of monotonous mediocrity is really no life at all, or at least to me it’s not. Think of all the movies you have seen with this type of protagonist plot-line, Fight Club, The Shinning, Life of Walter Mitty to name a few, These stories are so commonly told because they relate to so many people.

You see, you don’t need to take a trip around the world, or start a fight club to break out of your daily grind, however, if that is what you want to do, then go for it and I will come with 🙂 Most people simply miss the little things. I know, because I do it too, it’s easy to get caught up in your daily grind, but today I intend to explain how to escape it.

Today, I am up in San Francisco, with a very busy week of clients to see, things to do, and deals to sell. The days can fly by real quick. The funny thing is that my performance across the board is in direct correlation with how I am feeling. If I am in a place of scarcity, I am may very well come off desperate blowing a sale or a potential investor. People have an innate sense for that kind of thing. If you walk in to place to sell anything gleaming with anything else but confidence and a bright smile, the person will know something is up with you automatically, and it will severely hinder your chance of success.

A sale by definition is “a transfer of energy,” and that is my favorite definition because at the end of the day, it’s a performance, and if you blow it, the customer is not going to buy your product or invest in your company. Why? Simple, because no one want to buy or invest in to a person who suck, is sad, desperate or incompetent. What ever your product is doesn’t really matter, nor the company you represent, it is you who they are buying, and if they don’t like you, they probably will not buy or invest.

Here is a great example of what not to do…. Love this movie

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1EyN9xTK94

So, if getting to correct state of mind is imperative,  what you do before and after your performances (aka sale / investment pitch). Coming prepared and making sure that you are in a peak state will change the game. Whether or not you get the investor to invest, the buyer to buy should have no effect on you.

So how does one get there? Well in order to come to the table calm, collected and prepared, you have to take care of your mind, body and soul. For example, if you spend all of your time hustling and making money, you probably don’t worry about what kind of food you are putting in your body. I know this all to well especially when traveling, some days I get going, get caught up in appointments and realize I haven’t eaten anything all day and it’s already 3PM. Not good.

Then what about my body, sometimes after being out all day long driving around the city and using all of my brain power to convince customers and investors to buy me, the last thing I want to go do is shed my suit and tie, and take my ass to the gym. You see where I am going with this?

The hardest thing I have found to do especially when traveling for work is keeping a routine, and of course it is, you are away from your comfort zone and everything you know. It’s ok though, because if you can find out how to manage this routine even while your on the road, then it will become even more reinforced when your back on your home turf. The point is that you can’t afford to get caught up in the hustle, you have to take time for yourself and make sure you are taking care of your body, exercising, eating right and taking small breaks to appreciate where you are.

1800453_10152158012789477_272882097_n

Look how beautiful Pacifica is

It can be as simple as taking an afternoon to yourself and enjoying the beauty of the place you’re in. I did it just the other day. Again I’m in San Francisco on business, so there is plenty to see but the city doesn’t calm me, it’s fun to hang out in and catch up with friends, but it doesn’t put me at ease. So what I did was took the afternoon off in Pacifica (That’s a little city in south San Francisco on the beach) and spent some time just watching the waves and taking in the beauty that was surrounding me. I was a little worried because I was really trying to get another deal closed for the week, but knew that if I didn’t give myself some down time, it would hinder my performance.

I also found a Krav Maga Gym in San Francisco, for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a style of hand-to-hand combat / Mixed Martial arts that I have been practicing for almost 2 years. Click here link for an explanation. It beats going to the gym and I go about 4 times a week back at home so to be able to keep that in my routine while traveling up here has been a bonus, usually I’m stuck going to good ol’ 24 hour fitness or if I am lucky finding a boxing or jiu-jitsu gym that will allow me to drop in for a couple of days knowing very well that I am not going to buy a membership or even return there in the near future.  Either way, taking care of my fitness is also crucially important to my sate of mind, so adding that in with my day in Pacifica was healing to my soul.

Then, just like that I closed a deal later that day. Went back to the hotel, got a good nights sleep, woke up at 5 AM to trade on the FOREX market and then closed another deal that day!!! AWESOME, absolutely crushed it this last week, and it’s not just because I am a good sales guy but I attribute much of that success with being able to keep the routine and take care of my mind and body which always comes before making money!.

So here are a couple of tips for what to do to stay in a positive peak state while traveling

1. Get situated – When you arrive, go to google, plan your week, figure out where everything is, the gym, appointments, dry cleaners, post office, basically all of the places that you will need to go through out the week.

2. Pick out some fun things that you want to do in between appointments while you are there. This includes catching up with friends who live where you are traveling and things you are interested in that you can only see or do in that place you are traveling, something you couldn’t do back home. For example, I am going to see Alcatraz on Sunday! I have been to S.F. many times, but have never gone, so I’m doing it!

3. Get to bed early! I am up at 5 AM everyday trading on the FOREX market, I’m not saying you need to get up at 5 am, but I will tell you that I have a huge competitive advantage over any competition simply based on the fact that I have been up using my brain, showered, ready to go with all my shit together for literally hours before I see my first client. It’s a very empowering feeling.

4. Take pictures and Check-in on Facebook – Duh, you want to remember the experience, bottom line is even if you had a bad sales week, at least you got to travel to a new place on the companies dime and saw/experienced some cool stuff so have fun with it!

5. Work-out! You always feel better after you do, not only will your body love you for this but it is a great way to network to meet new people and get out of the hotel room.

6. Eat right, and if possible, never eat alone. A meal is a great opportunity to have someones attention for 30-45 minutes. Also when dealing with clients, they can tell a lot about you by what or where you eat, and vice-versa for them. Never eat alone if you can help it, it a waisted networking opportunity or simply a reason to meet someone new.

7. Check in Back home – Whether your married, have a significant other, or are a single person, checking in with familiar people back home will always raise moral! I do this often for a couple of reasons but mainly to reconnect because hotel rooms can get a little lonely sometimes and it’s important to remember that you are there on a mission and will return home soon, a friends and supporters back home remind us of this.

8. Have Fun. If you leave on a trip and go to a new place and don’t have fun, the only one to blame is yourself. I can find something interesting, exciting or beautiful about any place I have ever been, and I have been to some shitty places. The beauty is in the ey of the beholder. Boring people get bored. You can look at it as a shitty work trip in Wichita or an exciting adventure to a place unknown on a mission to find something cool about. That is up to you, but even I can’t fix a person who doesn’t want to be fixed, and I sure as hell can’t make a person who is hell-bent having a horrible time have fun.

I hope this brightened up your day! Ok now Im off to go explore the city, enough blog writing for today!!!

-Steve

Super-Bowl-48-e1390842398179So as I am watching Super 48 come to a close I can’t help but think what a guy like Payton Manning does from the time after tonight to the pre-season months from now. Most athletes are kind of like Entrepreneurs: they never work in offices, they travel a lot, they are paid for performance not time spent on the job and sometimes things don’t always go down the way you have planned.

I think for a guy like Payton, even though he missed this attempt at another super bowl championship and there will be hours of peyton-manning-ties-nfl-record-with-7-touchdown-passes-in-a-single-gameridiculous commentary on what he could have done differently for weeks on end, this isn’t his first rodeo. In fact, I think that it is any professional football players dream to play and win in the Superbowl just like every entrepreneur myself included wants to build a fortune 500 company take it public and get the BIG money.

Unfortunately that isn’t the reality for most, in fact most players don’t make it to a Super Bowl in their career, and if they do, it doesn’t mean they won. Further more, think how hard it is to actually get in to the NFL, and after that factor in your chances of doing all that more than once. Bottom line, is that Payton has a lot to be happy about even though he didn’t get this one, and much like Entrepreneurs you may only have one big hit in your business life. Most of the entrepreneurs you have heard about in your life time all sound like they just had an idea and hit a home run with it, but that’s about as ridiculous as saying Payton Manning woke up one day we he was 25, decided to play pro football and won multiple super bowls.

To win and succeed, it takes work, time, and practice but one thing it also takes is LOSING. I know what your thinking, how can you win if your losing, well you can’t, but you can’t actually win all the time either. If you did, people would just think you’re cheating. The resilience it takes to get your ass kicked and get back up to do it again is only known by few, athletes and hardcore entrepreneurs fit comfortably in that category.

For me personally, I haven’t had my home run yet, but I’m early on in my career, and to my credit, I have only had one major failure due to the market crash in 2008. One thing I have always devoutly believed in is averages. Remember, and incredible baseball player has an ERA of 300 or better. (a 500 ERA us unheard of) and what this mean is that the best in the league hit 3 out of 10 times and strike or fly out the rest.

Business is very much the same way, and all so many times I see young entrepreneurs get bounced out of the atmosphere on their first attempt at business and it makes me sad because they could be the next Bill Gates, but they are just to scared to look bad, you have to get a thick skin to survive. Much like the Athletes, Entrepreneurs go for broke all the time. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. At the end of the day we go in to it knowing that we my fail every time and never get that 100 million dollar idea, and you know what, it’s no t so bad.

300_77787 dan-fouts marino-smThink about guys like Dan Marino, Warren Moon, and Dan Fouts, these were some of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, who are in the hall of fame and know what they have in common, not one has a super bowl championship, and by no means does that mean they failed in life, the stars just simply didn’t align for them to get a super bowl championship under their belts.

I really believe in going the distance. Life isn’t a sprint, it’s  a marathon. I think most people can get lucky once or twice, but to have the type of repeat success that guys like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet have takes skill, wisdom, patience and the ability to take risks. After your 3rd million dollar company you launched, no one can claim the luck card, it’s  habit.

But just like the Sammy Sosa’s, and Ken Griffy Jr’s of the MLB world, you don’t get to lead the league in the most home runs unless you get enough times at bat. So for us entrepreneurs, what we do, and most importantly what were a part of before we hit our “home-run” says a lot about what we are going to do once that train ends. Will our product become out dated, will we get bought out by a competitor, will the technology become out dated. Maybe the government will regulate something that will go against us. So how do we stay on top, stay innovative or on top of our game?

Well a mentor of mine Perry P would tell me the story of the big oak tree and the skinny palm tree. The oak tree would make fun of the skinny palm tree that even a little gust of wind would blow around until one day a monsoon came knocking the oak over and killing it completely. The moral of the story was that in order to survive, you need to learn how to bend and fold in all of life’s situations. Furthermore we need to be prepared for what ever life is going to throw at us.

So this is what I have always done. In my last book I wrote, “The Young Entrepreneurs Guide to Life”  I write about 100 entrepreneurs who dropped out or never went to college. Some of the people on that list include folks like, Steve Jobs, David Geffin, Sir Richard Branson, Walt Disney to name a few, and I have read these guys biographies, in fact I recommend doing that to any aspiring entrepreneur if in the very least to protect them from throwing in the towel when their first deal doesn’t work out.

success-graph-demetri-martin-squiggly-line-300x215This picture resonated with me when I first saw it because I identified with it. When I got my ass handed to me a couple of times in business it was refreshing to meet very successful people who told me they to had bitten the dust a couple of time before they knocked it out of the park. They encouraged me to always continue on. At the end of the day, if my life is spent pursuing my dreams and trying to make the world a better place never wavering against what I believe my purpose is here on this planet than I successfully lived. Whether or not I have a bunch of money in the bank or cars and shit doesn’t matter to me, how I get there though means the world.

I’m a smart guy and I can sell. I could get a sales job that pays well, work my ass off all week and take home 120K per year. I could get a corporate job as well, do a 9-5 Mon-Fri Gig with benefits and 401K, and during some of my failures in my own entrepreneurial endeavors those jobs starting looking amazing, but when I played the tape out, I could just never bring myself to sitting in a 10X10 ft space 40 hours a week selling some shit I could care less about only having the weekends and small trips away from reality to look forward to. I would always take the path less traveled.

If your Dan Marino, or Steve Jobs, my decision makes perfect sense to you, if your everyone else, you just think we are crazy, and that’s ok, because if everyone thought like we did there would be no one to run our companies or play tight-end as well as all of the other positions that are crucial in winning games or in life for that matter.

The bottom line is to stay in the game as long as possible. The longer you stay in the game, the better the chance to have to win. So if your reading this and thinking of starting your own deal for the first time, good for you. Go out there and fail a couple of time, get it over with, get your ass kicked and back up again, it’s all a part of the process. If your down and out, don’t worry, you’ll get it as long as you stay in the game, just don’t give up, consult those mentors and elders, go in to accumulation mode, learn some new things, bend and fold and most importantly get back in to a positive mental state.

If your on the other end of this and you just won your “super-bowl,” congratulations, you worked hard and deserve it. So celebrate and soak up every awesome moment, but when it’s over, you had better get back to work because there is going to be 1000 more coming to take it from you next year!

Have a great week everyone!!!!

Now For a little Fun…. Enjoy

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jn5zytfm9No

self-help_guru

The Self-Help Buddah

80% Mental, 40% Physical equals 120% Confusing right? Yes if you are used to giving only 100%, but it makes perfect sense if you play at 120%

I’m in the final week of my 30 day transformation and my brain is firing on all cylinders. I’m so pumped for 2014, and I have a lot running through my mind so I want to get it all out on this blog before I forget. I’ll post one more blog from the 30-Day transformation series at the end of the week re-capping the entire experience. In the mean time, enjoy this one!

Is this just mental masturbation or am I actually going  somewhere with this? Well, let me explain. As I was driving out to Lancaster CA,( known for its gangs and the home-based Meth Lab Industry) I was listening to the audio version of “The Secret.”  Weather or not you’re a fan of this type of spiritual quantum physics or even know of the book there is definitely something too it. Here is a brief synopsis

The Secret highlights gratitude and visualization as the two most powerful processes to help manifest one’s desires. It asserts that being grateful both lifts your frequency higher and affirms that you believe you will receive your desire. Visualization is said to help focus the mind to send out the clearest message to the universe. Several techniques are given for the visualization process, as well as examples of people claimed to have used it successfully to manifest their dreams..

Self_helpFinally it introduces a 3-Step process on how to receive anything that you want in life, 1. Ask 2. Believe 3. Receive. Now before I go in to this I want everyone reading this to know that I started out not believing in personal development / self-help in general. I thought it was cult-like pseudo science and only really impressionable people got caught up in it.

The world of personal development was first introduced to me at 23 years old in my first network marketing company. At first, I thought it was all a bunch of bullS*&%. When I was first exposed to it, this scene best describes how corny it felt to me.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJqr6LBFelI

Then over time, I started to pick up a couple more books, audios and even attended my first Personal development seminar, it was a Millionaire mind intensive based off of the teachings in T-Harv Ecker’s book, “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.” The event was a sell-fest, and half way through it, I realized that this wasn’t the first P.D. seminar I had ever been to. Turns out that these concepts were first introduced to me at the ripe young age of 12 when my mom sent me to a Landmark Seminar for children. I though it was cult-like, and can’t remember all that much from the actual seminar but all the people seemed to be happy and really motivated. Maybe they programmed something deep in to my sub-conscious and are planning to activate me later like some kind of Manchurian candidate situation, but I doubt it because when you start to understand how personal development “gurus” use phycology, you can dive deep in to what makes them so successful at what they do, but before I get into that, lets back up a second to where it all began for me.

My first real exposure to any kind of personal development concepts was actually in Alcoholics Anonymous. I got sober when I was 16 years old and haven’t had a drink since. I am still an active member in AA and work with new members constantly. I didn’t realize how much personal development is embedded in the 12-steps until I was re-introduced to the P.D. world  later in life at 23 years old. Now keep in mind, I had been sober going to AA for more than 7 years before I was re-introduced to the personal development world. When I saw the concepts that were being taught in the world of P.D. for the second time in my life, I was much more open to it because I was a product of what success can be had from a 12-step group oriented self-help organization which in many ways has similar results of any good P.D. system.

You see, there are a lot of critics out there. In fact you can find a whole world of people who will call anything that comes from the personal development world pseudo-science and throw out any value it creates because there is no scientific merit behind it and the curriculum is not being taught by people with a Ph.D behind their name. Instead, most of the big names from the P.D. world like Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Zig Zigglar, and Jim Rhone to name a few don’t even have a college degree let alone a high school diploma. Instead they speak and teach from personal experience and everything they have developed comes from interaction and experiences with real people. Much like AA, there are no doctors, no professors, or Ph.d’s, just a couple of normal everyday people who have had some pretty incredible experiences in life and then decided to share those experiences as a way to help others breakthrough problems and barriers that are in their life so they can go on to actually living again.

To me, none of the semantics matter. It either works or it doesn’t, and that is the only measuring stick that I need. AA was the last place that I ever thought I would end up at 16 years old. In fact my only knowledge of it was what I had heard here and there combined with the satirical portrayal seen in movies and on T.V. I though AA was for homeless people who lived in dumpsters and drank Mad Dog 20/20 out of a paper bag. When I got there, it was quite different from anything I could have anticipated. I was shocked to find out that the only requirement for membership was a desire to stop drinking, no dues or fees, and to my surprise were not affiliated in any way, shape or form with a religion, political, governmental, scientific or even non-profit organization. It was started by two guys, “Bill and Bob” who stumbled on to the idea of creating a support group to help other alcoholics through an experience they had together.  What they found was a way to help themselves and others stop drinking and using drugs where science and religion had failed to do so. Moreover, they orchestrated a method or system of how to have a better life or in many cases, get any kind of life at all back.

Strangely enough, to this day, all the doctors, scientists and governments in the world have not been able to “Cure” alcoholism or addiction. Since AA was founded in 1935, millions of people have not only been able to quit drinking, but their lives changed dramatically for the better. I wrote a paper about AA back in college arguing that Alcoholics Anonymous is the most significant social movement of the 20th and 21st centuries, but because it’s anonymous no census or accounting has ever been done, and will never be done because it violates the traditions. There is an estimated 2 million+ members with over 160,000 meetings all over the world. The most significant part of all of this is that until 1935, the only option all of those people would have had was to spin dry in a sanitarium, go to jail, or just die. It starts to become exponentially significant when you begin to think of all the people, families, kids, employers etc. that have been positively effected by all of those generations of people who stopped being a down and out drug addict alcoholic and turned in to a positive productive member of society. Now multiply that number 6 times, and you will have you get 6.4e+37 aka a lot of f^%#$%^ people. That ripple effect equates to roughly the earths total population a couple of times over.

So what does all of this have to do with personal development. Simple, not everyone is meant to go to AA. You may not have a life ending alcohol or drug problem. You might just be a normal person looking to find deeper meaning to your own life. For me, I found that I needed AA but desired to have what the self-help personal development world taught as well. AA to help me recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body and then the philosophies from the personal development world to help me take that life I got back thanks to AA and turn it in to something incredible.

self-helpMost people think that sharing feelings and showing emotion makes you weak. Kind of like if you see a psychologist you don’t shout it from the roof tops, you keep it private. The P.D. world has a much different formula, usually group settings and as one on one time with a guru, well that can get expensive. I have seen a type of human interaction being done in large group seminars which is completely contrary to anything most psychologists would think is a good idea, but something happens there. You feel elated and empowered by the group and a feeling of community and togetherness knowing that you are not the only person in the world who experiences pain, suffering, loss and hardships. This feeling is usually experienced at a church of some kind which is why a lot of the religious world frowns upon personal development because they are stealing the churches age-old techniques and giving people something a little more tangible the a bible and a confession box. Not to say church or God are bad in any way, I’m very spiritual myself just not religious. You should see some of the people who have bridged that gap and have turned a religiously motivated personal development method in to a CASH COW like Joel Olsteen with an estimated net worth of $40-Million. I’d say having Jesus on your side doesn’t hurt 🙂

My belief is that if it works for you do it. There is no set way or one simple cookie-cutter method that is going to work for everyone. Personally it has taken me more than 10 years to find my spirituality, and I was actually searching for it the whole time. My journey will never be the same for any other person, similar perhaps, but never exactly the same. What worked for me, may not necessarily for you but what I can tell you is that I have learned some capital “T” truths through my years in the personal development world. I’ll take this time to share a couple of the profound nuggets of wisdom with you know.

– Faith without work = Jack Shit

– You can manifest positive things, but if another person is manifesting the same thing and willing to work 40 more hours a week for it, he or she is probably going to get it before you.

– Spending money on Personal development is great and I believe in it 100% do it, it’s worth every penny.

– If you start something, finish it! If you don’t plan to finish it, don’t even start it, just go back to sleep.

– Never stop learning!

– Always keep your belief system negotiable, be stubborn, stick to your morals, but if presented with a better way, be quick to adapt it and then slow to change it.

– Mentor’s aren’t just a good suggestion, they are imperative to your success in life in any and all situations.

– You are the company you keep, meaning the 5-closest people to you define exactly what your habits, morals, and what your net worth probably equates to, if you don’t believe me, write those names down and do the math.

– A mentor is not a friend, he or she is the person to kick you in the ass and give you life saving advice. So don’t get mad, upset or hurt when they tell you something you don’t want to hear, that’s the point.

– You don’t know what you don’t know, because if you knew you would have, and to know and not have is not knowing at all.  🙂  (Thanks Casey, I think I got that one right)

– People/Friends are assets or liabilities. Know what you can afford.

– If you can’t manage $10 you will never be able to manage $1,000,000

– Delayed gratification is the truest sign of maturity and wisdom.

– Keep it real, stop lying to yourself, and be great, don just think it, talk about it, or write about it, do it!

What I love about most personal development is that it is so simple, that it’s kind of hard to accept. I mean seriously, I’ve read some books that I thought were going to give the most profound pieces of paradigm shifting information, instead I got catch phrases like “keep it simple” and “mind your business.” What? Are you kidding, I paid 4 grand to go to a 4,ooo person Tony Robbins event, and he told me that “my past doesn’t define me?” Exactly, and that precisely why it works. The times where I thought “this shit is stupid, I could have come up with this!” But then the next questions I asked myself spelled out exactly why I needed it and why it was so valuable: It was because even though it was so simple, I didn’t come up with it, or simply overlooked it because I believed that nothing that profound could be so simple.

Then one day while I was getting interviewed on a nationally syndicated radio show, I was asked the questions “Steve, you do so much, your so successful at such a young age, how do you do it?” What came out of my mouth astonished me to, and I said: “lists, I make lists of things I need to do, and then I cross the items off one-by-one until they are all done.” The radio host looked puzzled, as if she was waiting to here the rest of the answer, but that was it, if I added anymore it would have just been me adding fillers to make it sound better.  

In the theme of keeping it simple, here are some of my favorite clips from Will Smith being asked very similar questions and giving very simple answers. I guess I’m not the only successful dude who believes in keeping it simple and just sticking to answers that even 3rd graders can wrap their head around.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5nVqeVhgQE

In conclusion, I will to circle back to where i started. 80% mental and 40% physical. A very wise man once told me that I could push myself 100 times harder than I even thought I could, and until he told me that, I never thought it was even possible. Much like if you asked 100 people in a room in the year 1901 if humans would ever fly, 98% of them would have thought you were crazy, and maybe 2% of them would be optimistic enough to think it’s possible, but if you asked that same question in 1903 after the Wright Brothers flew for the first tim, 100% would agree that it is was the capital “T” Truth type possible!

Quantum Physics, Metaphysics, and spirituality pick up where modern science and religion ends, and to me the study of the unknown or imagining what could be possible is the only way to move humanity forward. If fellas like Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein didn’t think like that, we might still be living in the dark and have never gone to space. Crazy right? Wrong, makes perfect sense actually. The line between genius and insanity is a fine line, and it takes a real confident (and a tad bit crazy) human being to continue to have faith and believe when 98% of the people in a room don’t think what you’re doing or saying is possible and that you are some kind of charlatan.

This is what the message of personal development always meant to me. It reinforced the fact that anything is possible if I set my mind to it. It gave me tools to deal with the people who would try to pull me down and shit on my dreams. It gave me a community of like-minded people who believe that we were put on this earth to do a little more than work a 9-5 job for 40 years and retire with a gold watch. P.D. helped shape and develop my entrepreneurial mind because god knows they don’t teach that shit in college, and finally and most importantly, It restored faith and gave me hope that as long as there are people on this earth pushing to move us forward then we may just pull this whole thing called life off with out killing each other and starting wars and conflict with our fellows.

I like to think how far we would have advanced as a human race if we spent all of the time, money and effort we have spent on fighting with each other and put all that to advancing the human race across the board in Science, phycology, renewable energy and educating the masses. Maybe we can start that type of campaign in 2014 🙂 Whoever that guys is, he’s got my vote!

To find out more about the books I have written and a more in-depth look in to what I have learned through my years of personal development, check out my book The Young Entrepreneurs Guide to Life.” I hope this blog motivated you. Happy NEW YEAR, let’s make 2014 incredible.