Living Your Best Life

I write this in the airport of Atlanta about to board my flight to Paris.

I recently quit my job so I could do this. My entire life, I have only vacationed twice. Once, when I was too young to remember to North Carolina and another to Chicago that a client bought for me.

But here I am. I spent a lot of my time working like a dog to make another man richer.

Reflecting on that, it makes me want to be an entrepreneur that much more.

I don’t think entrepreneurship is easier than working for someone else, in fact, I think it is harder but Something comes with that.

It’s freedom.

Freedom to make the choice I want.

Not the .03 hours of vacation hours I accrue over my hour of work time. Slaving away to make a week and a half of vacation time a year.

I think owning your own business creates a sense of freedom unlike other jobs. Of course, most small businesses don’t make it.

But if you can survive the hurdles, it can be rewarding. Writing this I feel hypocritical, but yes, I have owned my own businesses and it is true.

The point is not to waste your entire life just getting to 40** grind done. That is working 40 hours a week.

Create something that is passive and primary to make your money work for you so you can experience the things you’ll regret not doing when you retire and don’t have the health.

I apologize for being MIA for a while as I haven’t touched my computer in a week or so. A rewarding break as I type this on my phone. To the people that I ran into in my hometown and told me you read my posts, thank you.

Thank you for allowing me to have an impact on you and taking the time to read my thoughts.

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Content Equals Audience: The Creator’s Equation

First off, I am hoping everyone had a safe and great Labor Day. I want to write about something that has been on my mind for a few years now. Content equals audience. I coin this the creator’s equation. Every day as I scroll through Instagram, I start to notice trends of the pages that post regularly. Trends in trends. Trends- on how they post regularly and trends how they steadily pass other companies within the same industry. Their followers increase weekly as the other companies who do not post regularly stay stagnant.

I know about this issue because I have lived it. I started a dropshipping t-shirt company printing historical and military-inspired designs. By spending my nights designing and researching how to make designs on my Apple App Pixelmator. After a year, I gave up. I lost my drive to produce content. My sales dwindled and my morale with it.

Consistency in the Content

Consistency is the key to all. By producing content, it keeps your audience engaged and intrigued. It also helps broaden your market. Imagine this, you follow a company on Instagram. They have three designs of shoes. You like one of them at most. They steadily post pictures of the three designs of shoes and BOOM one day, you like the different look they posted with one the shoes you didn’t really care for. Now you consider buying a pair. The kicker gets better- more products come out and BOOM you have hooked again, possibly making you a second-time buyer.

Here is my version of the creator’s equation.

Content + Service/Product = Audience

By following the equation used by small start-ups, you and I can both shoot up in the ranks. I have seen this myself with this blog as I have made it a goal to post 1-2 times a week. Since starting this trend, I have seen my audience and the following increase. More on this topic later.

If you want to increase your audience, try using this equation. Post more content. When it comes to being an entrepreneur, it can be hard work. By creating more and more content, being vulnerable and authentic to your audience, it will help increase your audience. I am not saying you’ll convert every viewer, but a percentage is more than enough.

 

Read what I am reading:

Nailing your Interview! 7 Tips to get you Hired!

Nailing an interview can be scary, but they don’t have to be. Here are 7 tips to help you get hired!

  1. Dress the part

    1. Don’t wear cologne or perfume.
    2. Are you applying for a corporate job? Dress the part. What do you think they would wear. To make it easier, google the workplace and check out pictures of the office or center. The idea behind this is to always dress more appropriately, but not to underdress.
  2. Know your audience

    1. Did you find out the name of the person you are interviewing with? Is it a face to face interview? Phone interview? Skype? or even a group interview?
      1. If so, research who they are. It will help take off the edge if you find out they started at the job you are applying to, or maybe you’ll find out you have something in common with them. It will give you the edge.
  3. Research the company

    1. If you don’t know about the company in which you are applying to, you are wrong. They are fantastic sites that help with learning about a company and what it is like to work for them. One website I recommend is –www.glassdoor.com
    2. Not knowing the company in which you are interviewing with my create a risk. what happens if the company has a strong political stance or endorses a particular candidate? and you don’t agree with them? wouldn’t you want to know that before accepting the position?
  4. Research the job description

    1. Researching the job description will help you better prepare for the interview. You can easily throw in some of the job duties into past work experiences to be more relevant.

  5. Bring your updated resume and references

    1. In my industry, I always see candidates bring a reference page full of friends. This is a big NO. Make your references professional. If you don’t have professional references, go find them. Create a LinkedIn page if you need to.
    2. Another funny thing, I see when interviewing candidates, is old resumes or made on the spot. Make your resume as relevant and new as possible when bringing it to an interview.
    3. They didn’t ask for you to bring a resume? bring it anyway, you will look much more prepared than other candidates.
  6. Bring experiences not experience.

    1. I typically know when I have nailed an interview. When the interviewer asks questions that are relatable to experiences and not my experience is when I do my best. “Describe a difficult time at your past employment and how you resolved it.” as an example.
    2. Show the interviewer you can deal with the duties of the job. Paint the picture for them so they can understand how you would react in certain environments.
    3. These are always changing and can be hard to think of on the spot. Think about tough times at other positions or how you made your past employer more money, created efficiency, why you were promoted, etc.
  7. Always apply

    1. This may sound strange to people, but I say you should always apply to places. You never know what you’ll be offered. The offers you don’t want, you don’t have to take. Always looking up and making upward transitions is the key here. Like I have mentioned before, I am the typical millennial with no job loyalty. If I see a better opportunity for self-growth and development, I will jump on it and so should you. Upward growth is the key to self-development. Always pushing yourself to learn new things and create challenges to overcome them. Strength through adversity.

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Being Vulnerable with your Employees and Promoting Valuable Self-Growth.

I sit here writing this after having to recover from a quick crying session. Why is a grown man sulking? My vulnerability is showing and it’s because I was able to witness true development with one of my employees.

Not every day does this happen to me, but when it does it means more to me than money ever will.

Growing up, I never felt like anyone ever wanted to invest in me. I don’t speak of money, but in terms of “time.” Time to promote self-growth and development.

My parents were great. Don’t get me wrong, but most of the things I have come to learn come from learning the hard way. Failing at most times. This happens coming from a blue-collar family living in poverty.

This nostalgic moment brings me back to the point…

These days, we love to blast on social media the good things we have and do in life.

We never talk about struggle, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, etc.

It’s only vacation times, partying, a quick snapchat of your friend’s parents house that is so big you had to let everyone know you were there. We are all guilty of it.

We love to blast the positives. 

Being vulnerable in the workplace is not a bad thing and it can be super rewarding. For me (when I get to the surprise of this) it is the best thing in the world. I am going to blast this positive myself.

Someone recently asked me, “what makes you happy?”

The only true thing that came to my mind, was “making an impact in other people’s lives.”

I just don’t have the platform yet. I am not Gary Vee, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney or Grant Cardone.

At the moment, I am on a small scale, making an impact on people, one at a time. 

And I am okay with that. I haven’t found a true way to monetize helping people. In the meantime, I can invest my time with the people around me by being more vulnerable, authentic, and help develop them.

As I reflect back to past businesses, I see the common theme of my business models, that provide value to people. Bottom Line: I want to be an inspiration to people and help motivate them. At one point in my life, I didn’t think I would have a chance and my life would soon cease to exist. That I would never have a chance in this world. As this blog focuses on failure, I changed my perspective and it changed my life.

So here is my letter I received today from one of my employees that recently resigned.

A THANK YOU RESIGNATION LETTER
A LETTER FROM MY EMPLOYEE

If this doesn’t make you feel some kind of way. Maybe you don’t have a heart? Or maybe this type of stuff doesn’t have an effect on you.

This comes from a girl that resigned from her first and only job. To make a move to bigger and better things. All it took was a push from me. To let her know that failure awaits her. The learning lessons from those failures would be far greater importance than the failures themselves.

Have you made an impact on someone lately? How did it make you feel? Did the tears of job faucet turn on?

I challenge you to invest in people. Be vulnerable and authentic with them. You never know what could happen. You may help create the next Walt Disney…

 

Currently Listening to “Crushing It” by Gary Vaynerchuk on Audible.

Get it here:

Failing and Winning in an Upward Fashion.

The other day, I had a fantastic chat with one of my employees. It was about failing and winning in an upward fashion.

It was all about failing and taking chances.

Very recently, a management position has opened up in my company. A young girl jokingly told me she should apply for it. I looked at her and told her “absolutely”.

Looking at me crazily, she said: “I was kidding…”

I sat her down and told her a story that started with this.

Michael Jordan is on the record of saying, “you’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

So I asked her what she has to lose from applying for this position that is a little larger than her skill and educational set at the moment?

She was afraid whoever interviewed her would laugh in her face if she even booked a full interview.

So I went back to the original question. What do you have to lose?

She didn’t have a true answer.

So I stopped for a moment and slowly rolled out, you have everything to gain. For a moment she didn’t understand what she would gain from applying for a position way above her head.

I said, ” you may not get this job nor interview, but you will gain valuable skills to teach you to be better in the business world.”

You will learn new and relatable interview questions. I stopped there and asked her one the basics.

“What are your weaknesses?” I was given a cliche answer of not being confident in her decisions.

So I kept going…

“Give me an example of that and how you overcame it.”

She told me these questions were too hard and tried to give up. I kept pushing.

This is the reason you should apply for this position!

Because once you go through these series of questions with someone and you freeze on the spot, you will go home reflect these questions and think of a better way to answer them.

Your next interview will be easier. BOOM!

Strength through adversity.

I had to change her perspective. It wasn’t that she knew she may not get the position. It was the process in the (before and after). It was being scared of failing.

I gave her another reminder.

You will gain so much by taking the chance that no one else would.

AND! You never know what could happen.

Sidenote: She is 19 and wanted to apply for a General Manager position. 

My life as a reference:

I gave her a small story of my life of when I got out of the Navy and was homeless. I applied to over 300 jobs and only booked 3 interviews. 

The job I did get, was something I did not even deserve. I had no experience in that field. I applied for the highest position for that location and the lowest position. 

They didn’t offer me the any of the positions I applied for, but they gave me a step-down from the highest and gave me the assistant manager. 

But… they saw a chance with me. Forever grateful, I worked my butt off to show them I was worth it. I was promoted 5 months later. 

I would have never been there if I didn’t take a chance with myself. I knew my worth and did not want to be defined by past experiences. Put me in this position and I will grow and learn until I am the best.

In a way, I failed that interview. I didn’t get the position I wanted. On the other hand, I was given a chance to better myself.

Take chances, fail at them, learn from them, and come back and crush it.

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Currently Reading: PROFIT FIRST BY Mike Michalowicz. Read it here.

The Case for the Technology Age: Part 2

I recently skimmed through a book about how the technological generations are the worst generations to date. to be honest, I was stuck in this mindset too. The more and more I thought about it, the more I noticed technology has helped me excel in business.

An epiphany occurred and I began to realize they are the fastest learning generation out there. We can easily surf the web to learn things that don’t even matter to us.

Spending hours of time doing research or learning ways how to adapt to the new ever-changing technological world should not be view as a bad thing.

It should be viewed as a good thing. Change is good, although a lot of people are nervous of the unknown.

In this world, we have to adapt to the world, especially in business. If you dont, you will be left behind.

Think 10 years back and imagine about all of the ways you can pay for things. Now think to date and think about the ways you have a hard time paying with.

What comes to mind?

Then: Personal Checks and Cash.– Tangible 

Now: Paypal, Venmo, iPhones, Creditcard, etc. -Virtual

So who has the harder time going to places and paying for services? The old or the young guy?


Well, it is all situational on where you are. In a more progressive place such as California, the young guy wins.

In a place like Idaho, the old guy may win. 

Everything has mostly moved to the digital space. Auto bill paying, email alerts for billing (which sometimes offer a discounted rate for paperless billing).  It is important to adapt to these times, no matter the age. Technology will always advance.

So, if you hear these naysayers bashing the new generations, (which have the bad generational characteristics as well) just think how adaptive young people are to change in information. Instead of paying for my expensive cable bill, I am able to purchase subscriptions to things at a fraction of the cost to the things I want to see without the fluff of the others.

My ramble could go on for days about the Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants.

No matter, what issue we are talking about, it is important to adapt to the new age, because resistance will eventually win. 


 

Support Your Friend’s Businesses, No Matter the Cost.

We are typically defined by the people we surround ourselves with. Those people we surround ourselves with are typically: friends or support.

Wouldn’t things be different if all of your friends were more successful than you?

I believe the answer is yes. Not because you or I are a mooch looking for handouts.

But I believe when your friends are more successful than you, it creates motivation and inspiration to become a better business person.

Surrounding yourself with successful people can rub off on you and that’s why you should support them at all cost.

On the other hand, don’t be that friend that ask for discounts on services or free stuff. That is not supporting them, it is holding them back.

Free business doesn’t create business. Maybe in the marketing world, it can create word of mouth, but especially in start up’s made by friends, it is important to help businesses become more profitable.

I have a friend who runs a jet ski service and a small apparel brand with t-shirts and hats. Recently, he made a hat that says “support my business without asking for a discount.”

Business and services have to create value for a customer. By watering it down with discounts, the perceived value is diminished. This doesn’t help anyone.

Have you ever had any idea how those pants with all of the dirt on them sold for $3000? or even Yeezy’s selling for the price they do? It is the perceived value that is created. Trust me, those pants are not any different from pants all Walmart. Those Yeezy’s are basically Adidas Ultraboost with a name tag on them.

Back to my point, supporting your friend’s businesses will create an intrinsic worth for their success. In return, you can succeed by seeing your friends grow and do well. What sounds better? A group of friends with individually owned successful businesses or a group of friends who work for the man for 40k a year. To make matters worse, a group of friends who like to party every weekend and spend their money on drugs. 1_oytuVvzee6vHYFYXhQTDiA

Create a world and friendship with capitalism. Never be the friend who is negative about other’s aspirations and dreams. I have had friends that were negative and criticised my ventures I ended up going through. I failed at most, but maybe what I needed more than anything was support from them. To tell me to push a little harder for better outcomes. I felt like they gave up on me, so I gave up on myself.

In a world full of optimism- Could you imagine, if your friends wanted to start a business and asked you for $200. You declined them because you thought their idea was stupid. They ask someone else and 2 years later pays them back with 20% interest. Not only do you suck a being a friend, you lost a return. If they fail, so be it. At least they tried. Add some zeroes behind that $200 for extra effect.

***I am not advocating on helping those friends who don’t create a business plan and ask for money for a get rich scheme.

Bottom Line: support your friends. You will grow with them, become a stronger friend, and may end up becoming a partner. supportyou

What is Failure? Knowing this could change your life.

Failure, failure, failure.

Failure consumes everyone’s life. It finally feels like being part of the trophy-kid generation makes sense. Hear me out.

Most millennials are coined as being the generation that received trophies just for participating. I am not advocating reward for losing.

What I am advocating for is looking past the ideology of failure. I think back to childhood baseball and getting a trophy for showing up. Psychologically, it probably taught me to try things although I wasn’t the best on the team. Because of that, I knew there was a return on trying something I may have failed at otherwise. Is this generation unafraid to try things?

On the hand, this ideology can become toxic. I am not for that.

Failure can be anything.

I didn’t wake up in time, then I snoozed three times this morning.

I failed at this task.

I forgot to eat breakfast as I ran out the door. Another fail.

Failure happens almost every hour for someone and failure has such a bad name.

If you can reflect on these processes, you can start to analyze small microtasks that create a momentum for success. The learning process between analyzing micro-failures sets you up for success.

With that, you can start to break the process of failing and start winning.

My Focus:

When I tell people I am fascinated by failure it freaks them out.

I don’t think they understand it…

When I started to understand it, it created a pivotal moment in my life.

It’s because it took me several years to quit beating myself up for failing at small tasks. For me giving up too easily on risks created a momentous downfall.

I was able to reflect and see the valuable lessons it taught me.

The things I have failed at have taught me valuable lessons, like risk.

This risk is very important in development. Success typically never happens for those who don’t take risks.

Think Gordon Gecko from the Movie Wall Street – Risk equals return.

Companies and people throughout the years may have thought their business would fail. Some familiar faces are Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, etc. All of these people have been rediculed for their failures and were able to turn their companies into greatness. It was learning the failing process and changing the failing perspective that has helped them.

–To learn more about my personal failures and how it helped me become more successful, use the contact form below.

Taking risks and failing teaches us to learn, manage, and react to other failures almost making us more immune to small micro-failures in life.

Like children on the playground, trying new obstacles and failing. It is a critical part of development for children. How to analyze obstacles and how to defeat them after failing. Why, as we get older, do we try new things and give up after not succeeding the clear goal?

It makes you stronger. So stop beating yourself up for trying something new and not being good at it. Reflect and learn.

Change your perspective.

Here is the failing model:

1. Take risks

2. Succeed/Fail

3. Learn/Reflect

4. Try again and crush it

5. Keep the momentum

6. Succeed

By using this failing model, you can the process going to succeed. Success is not instant. It takes time and it takes failure. Sometimes we are lucky and success just happens.

If it doesn’t, follow the failing model.

Photo from: http://playthinklearn.net/some-thoughts-on-failure-and-learning/

Read this book to help with exercises on changing your perspective on failure:

How to Run a Successful Job Fair.

If you work in a place with low employee retention, it is okay. It is not your fault if you have done everything you could to keep them motivated. Sometimes it is the industry in which you work in, the average age of employees, things you can not control like salary, benefits, and hours. Eventually, the need to run a job fair will be evident when departments need to be filled with new hires or other factors that weren’t predictable.

I have compiled a small list of ideas that can be done to make sure you are finding the best talent when there are so many people to remember.

For example, a sponsored Facebook post could bring in 100’s of applicants. That is way too many to remember who stood out. You may only need 10-20 fresh new faces to onboard. Keep in mind, that 5-10% of newly onboarded employees, may not complete onboarding due to drug testing, background checks, salary, bonus structure, allotted hours, or other job offers.

Requirements:

-Job Fairs should always be done at the job site.

People who stand out should be documented.

Did they bring their resumes, list of references, or any other material needed?

Attire:

  • What did they wear? Was it business casual, Sunday’s best, or Saturday night cocktail attire. SideBar: don’t like what someone is wearing? pull them aside, ask them to leave and come back to the next job fair. This will be a good learning lesson for them and may save an embarrassing moment for them in the future.

Questions:

  • What are some of the issues and responsibilities the future employees may be handling? Put them through a scenario and create a playbook of questions about that scenario.
    • For example, let’s say you work at an ice rink. There are plenty of scenarios that could happen. Upset customers, rule-breakers, injuries, etc. Take one of these scenarios and run a series of questions that they can answer. Put them on the spot and see what they say.
  • This one is a biggie. Most people would never expect to be asked this question at a job fair or interview. “What are your deepest passions and why?”
  • Here is another question to find out how people handle life-work balance stress. You are scheduled to work in 1 hour. Your friend/ family member calls you and says their car broke down and need a ride. What do you do? If they follow through and pick up this unlucky soul, you follow up with another question. You successfully drop them off and have 15 minutes to be at work. You are 10 minutes away and your car breaks down. What do you do? This is an open-ended question with no right or wrong answer.
  • Humbling questions. If you have a job fair for a position that doesn’t require a lot of entry-level work, ask them questions that will make them think differently. For example, if all are there to apply for an admin job/ desk job, ask them if the janitorial cleaners were sick that day and you were done with your work, would you be willing to help clean bathrooms although not in the job description.
    • This will show you who stands out with productivity and getting the job done. Sidebar: just because someone says they will does not mean they would. Learn to see through that. Also, if you do hire them based off this alone. Don’t count on them to be your janitor.

Quiz:

  • Mission statement playback: depending on how big your company may be, show/give the mission statement, a video describing the company, or other materials and have them study it for 5-10 minutes. At random pick a few to recite the most important factors of the material given. You will find out who retains information and what they deem important.

Tour:

  • Take them on a tour. Show them what your company is about. After showing them throughout your facility or building, department, ask them questions
    • What were 5 things you loved?
    • 5 things you would have changed?
    • What one thing did you notice about our current employees?
    • One thing would you change if you were in charge of them?

 

 

What are some of the ideas you use when handling a job fair? Feel free to post below.

 

7 Tips on Being a Young Manager in 2018.

It is difficult to be a young manager. It comes with a lot of heat and stress. You pride yourself on making all of the right decisions that landed you in a position you may feel and an older worker may do better. Do not doubt yourself, you are there for a reason. I have created 7 Tips on being a young manager in 2018 that will help you guide your motivations and inspire you to keep pushing forward.

1. Lose your stigma’s on age biases. I experienced this working as a retail manager where most of my employees were older than me. So many times did I look for justification of being their manager, although I did not need it. This stigma sticks because of the age-old “respect your elders” ideology. I am not saying you show disrespect to your older counter-parts but simply forget the idea that you can not put them on tasks.

2. Don’t overload yourself. Sad to say, but some companies love hiring young go-getter’s because they know you will try everything you can do to prove yourself. While trying to show your worth and value in the workplace, companies may push excessive workloads on to you. Learn how to say no and only take on tasks that are beneficial for the mission. If you are young, most Millennials and Gen-X value a work/life balance. Don’t become overwhelmed with your work and burn out.

3. Adapt!!! When in graduate school, I became fascinated by multigenerational workplaces. I even wrote my capstone on it. I tied a leadership trait to these types of workplaces and found that adaptive leadership was the best route to handle different age groups in a workplace. Generations have different characteristics of how they think, learn, grow, etc. It is important for a young manager to recognize these traits and know your audience.

4. Open Communication- this is one of the most fundamental aspects of business and why a lot of partnerships fail. As humans, we like to think so much without expressing to our counterparts of what we feel is going on. When paths begin to split, anger builds up causing partners to become furious with each other before even speaking to each other about the issue. It sounds so immature but this is a real thing. Learn to identify your communication weaknesses and exploit them. As a young manager, have an open door policy where everyone feels comfortable to come in and speak with you.

5. Be open-minded. As a young manager, with employees of all different ages, understand that generational characteristics will not always align with what you think is right. Being open-minded to all workers opinions and thoughts will help your communication skills and ethics. Remember, life and business are all about learning new things. Sometimes you fail and learn how to not do something. Be open-minded to all of your worker’s thoughts and become more enlightened.

6. Teach.  You are a young manager for a reason. Teach your young and older employees the ways to success. Do not hold them back. Be a leader in the workplace for them. Don’t let them think of you as their manager. You know you have done well, when they introduce you to friends and family members as their, “fearless leader” over “my manager/boss.” When you are able to teach and impact your employees as a young manager, you will no doubt make your way to the top. The younger employees will look up to you and the older employees will praise your leadership.

7. Shape the Future. This one hits home to me. As a young manager, you can inspire some many people to work harder and more efficiently.  So many times, I was called a mentor by my staff who were sometimes twice my age. In the academic world, we call that being a reverse mentor. It has to be hard for someone who is older than you to work for you. You can be their inspiration to become whole again. Maybe they took the easier route in their career and didn’t push as hard as you. Learn from that and be open minded. On the other hand, your younger employees who may have a closer age connection than your older counterparts are going to look at you as a mentor. Shape the future for the better and make the world a better business-oriented world with real impact.

 

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