Episode 37- It’s The Little Things That Matter

It’s The Little Things That Matter

I’m titling this one It’s The Little Things That Matter. It is truly the case and I have a story behind it. There was two people I want to talk to you about today. One person is Jennifer Harshman. She is a writer. She does copywriting. She edits books. She helps other people write and edit books and she just a fantastic giving helpful person. The other person is Eddie Storch and he does a ton of things and talent development space. He runs a talent development hotseat podcast and they’re running their own talent development think tank conference later this year in Sonoma, California. Andy has been doing the talent development podcast for a while and he’s talked about doing a book. One of the things I consider to be part of my job and my business is connecting the unconnected. Connecting people that I know that don’t know each other that really do need to know each other. 

So, Andy was talking about I really want to do a book off of the content from this podcast I been doing. He has always great interviews and he has always great tips. It is so great to curate that into a book for this industry. I said well the first person you should talk to is Jennifer Harshman in terms of the book. So funny story happened from that. So that connection happened. They get connected on zoom, having a call and talking. From what I hear, they have a fantastic conversation and a lot of details are ironed out, lots of ideas are brought up in terms of what he can do and how Jennifer can help him and what can work out, how this book would help his business and help his conference grow and all these type of things. After the call, Jennifer messaged me, and she thanked me for the connection and then she asked me for Andy’s address. So, I give Andy’s address ans she wanted to send him a gift. 

It turns out that when they finish the phone call, Jennifer said to him, how can I get a hold of you? What would be the best way to get a hold of you? He said oh you know the normal phone, email, text, carrier pigeon. It is what Eddie said. I guess a signature line that he says all time. Something he just throws out there just randomly. Jennifer goes ahead and asked me for his address, and I send it to her, and I didn’t think anything about it. A couple days later Andy sent me a message and he gets like the coolest gift in the mail. He said he got a stuffed carrier pigeon in the mail from Jennifer Harshman. Not only that, like it is his kid’s favorite stuffed animal now. 

So, he got it there on his desk, and I knew Jennifer was special, but right there, I really knew one of the reasons why she’s special. Because I’m sure, you know, how often you could be in conversation, you could say something, and nobody pays attention to not only long swats of what you’re saying but little details of what you’re saying. So, for him to just kind of rattle off carrier pigeon. And I don’t even know how it went through Jennifer’s mind, but for the fact that she hears that, and then takes that to look up a great stuffed animal, the pigeon and then to go and send that to Andy as a gift as just a thank you for the conversation. That’s the way we want our minds to work when it comes to this type of stuff. 

I have to admit, when I heard that, I was so excited that she did that but at the same time I said to myself how many of those opportunities have you let slip away? How many little things have people mentioned in phone conversations or in person that I could’ve went, not even the extra mile but like the extra couple steps and just done something small but really meaningful? Small but really thoughtful to let them know not just I’m just giving you a gift for gift sake but what she let him know is she was really paying attention. She really listens to what he said. 

Now, if I’m hiring somebody that can edit my book, the number one thing I want to know is that they’re paying attention to the things that I’m saying. So, to earn trust, pay attention to the things that matter in your industry. Pay attention to the things that matter to your clients and then show them that you have an attention to detail to those type of things like Jennifer just did. So now when Andy looks at his desk and he sees that carrier pigeon, every time he sees it, he’s going to think about Jennifer. And what she also has done is if he is looking at other editors, if he’s looking for other people to work with, she is just elevated herself tremendously. I don’t know how much this carrier pigeon cost. It could’ve been less than $10. But it’s just the thought of going the personal touch of what she did by doing that is going to help her stand out not just with Andy, but just in general in life and in business of paying attention to the small little things that other people talked about, that other people care about and that other people notice. And to show that you actually notice them and not only that you noticed it but you will actually go and take action to do it for their benefit and to just let them know that you care and you’re thinking about them, it’s an invaluable trait that you can develop for yourself. That even though it’s a small thing, it’s a small thing that over time lead to enormous results. 

So, kudos to Jennifer for her thoughtfulness and also to Andy’s support him in terms of writing this book. It is going to be so important for him, for his customers and for his business and just remember to pay attention to the small things because those are the things that really get noticed.

Episode 36- The Photograph That Got Away

The Photograph That Got Away

So, from 1995 until 2016, photography was my primary income source and the primary income source of our household between Elizabeth and I, both being a full-time photographer. That shifted a bunch for two to three years in terms of what we’ve been working on. So, the photography part of our career has dropped way down as the masterminds, the coaching, consulting, and the books has risen up. But I get asked all the time, is there a photograph that got away? Is there a picture that you really want to make that for one reason or the other just didn’t happen and there is a story to it ? And there’s obviously a ton of those. If you think about how many times it happened. So I may do a segment every once a while for the photograph that got away and tell the story about it. Let me tell one particular one right now and shoutout to my friend, Indian native Josh Brown who I told the story to and love it. Gary Brackett, a guy who is a friend and who plays with the Indianapolis Colts, who is a part of this is as well. So, here’s the story in terms of this photograph that got away.

I grew up as a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I won’t go deep into that, but it was my team. It’s always been my team. And then I got the opportunity, for many years, to photograph them. I’ve lived in Pittsburgh and I photographed their home games, tons of their road games, lots of playoff games. But before we moved to Pittsburg, occasionally I’ll get the Steelers assignment from out-of-town game. We lived in Indiana, so I’ll cover them in the playoffs versus the Titans or sometimes in St. Louis versus the Rams or around the country. I was photographing the Indianapolis Colts in 2015 and this is when they were probably the best team in the league. There were 13 and 0 and they’re on their way to what seemed to be an inevitable Super Bowl win and possibly undefeated season. But they lost after 13 games. They want to get by the first round by the playoffs and the Steelers win the wildcard game and Steelers were not supposed to make the game that year. They came back, won 4 games in a row, one wildcard game and all of a sudden, they were the lowest seed going to Indianapolis playing the highest seeds in Indianapolis Colts, and that was my gig photograph. 

So, I am torn here because I’m a Steeler fan. I want to see the Steelers in the Super Bowl for the first time in 25 years, but the same time if they lost, if they happen to lose which I will be so bummed about. I still get the photograph of the Colts go on to the championship game and probably the Super Bowl. So, I showed up to the RCA dome in Indianapolis and I photographed the Colt – Steelers game maybe about two months earlier on a Monday night game and the Colts destroyed the Steelers. So, nobody gave the Steelers a chance this game. I show up and for good luck and nobody knew this. I wore my Antoine Randall L jersey underneath my sweater as good luck for the Steelers. See now, you’re journalists and you are supposed to be impartial, but I had to have that on, you have to support my team. So, I was outside the Steelers locker room before the game started and the doors come busting open. The first one out his Antoine Randall and he yells “Were back!” I knew at that moment, I think they have a little different attitude than the last time, and from the very beginning you get the feeling that this is different type game. The Steelers took the ball at the kickoff drove right down the field scored the easy touchdown drive just seamless. They stopped the Colts and the next drive, came right down the field again scored another touchdown 14 – Nothing. Steelers midway through it lose midway through the first quarter and all of a sudden, this place is stunned. Everybody is stunned and they can’t believe it. I don’t think the Colts been losing hardly at all that season. Now they around 14 – Nothing in the first quarter at home and the Steeler is like a totally different team. So I’m jacked up. I never thought of being jacked up to not be able to shoot Super Bowl, but this is my team. That’s what I really want to have was the Steelers to win. So, I kind of stayed steady for the first half. I think it was 14 – 3 the Steelers are winning the half time and everybody there was nervous. This was the end. 

Some point the third quarter; the Steelers drive down. They scored another touchdown. It is 21 – 3.  I got a picture of Jerome Bettis spiking the ball right in front of me as they scored the touchdown and the same frame that I got, the guy with the Sports Illustrated was next to me, got almost the exact same frame. Mine went to _______ press and his went to the cover of Sports Illustrated. So, talk about opportunity lose. I got the same picture, but I didn’t get the same play. It was pretty cool though me having the same exact image. It was 21 – 3. It looks like a definite Steelers victory at this point, but then at the end of third quarter, Peyton Manning finally comes alive, he hooks up with Dallas Clark for the tight end for like 50-yard touchdown I think was. Again, right in front of me. I was in the end zone. It is 21 – 10 Steelers and now the Colts have life. 

The 4th quarter was just the most bizarre like gut wrenching quarter I remember photographing because it was so emotional. The crowd, the noise, just attention that building I photograph everything you can imagine, and I was up there. That was top 10 in terms of just emotional, tense moments, 45 minutes that I remember and shooting. What happened was about 10 minutes left in the game. I really think this game is going so slow. Now I’m a fan at this point. I just want the Steelers to hold up and to win this game. I do not want to shoot the champions game. I want to be watching on TV next week when the Steelers play the Broncos because I was so ready for the Steelers to move on and roof over the Super Bowl. I am not sure what the scores at this point, we’re about six minutes left. Peyton Manning was trying to drive down the field and one of his passes were deflected and ______ look like he got an interception from it, I scoop it up and the game is over at that point. If he makes that interception, the Steelers run the clock out and they do this long review. They review that and it was non-interception of the ball. It hit the ground somehow. Colts retain possession and there was a lot of controversy about this play while the replay says that it never hit the ground, but so be it. Now the Colts have the ball and they quickly take that momentum. go down, score the touchdown. They then give two-point conversion. All of a sudden, we got ball game, it is 21-18. Steelers only up by three, and the momentum is totally on the cold side. So, I’m really nervous at this point, as are most of the Steeler fans that are in the crowd. While they’re watching it slip away. 

So, the Colts kick off the Steelers. The place is a madhouse and I believe they stop the Steelers at 3 and a half as they had no chance the momentum was completely gone. They kicked off to the Colts. The cults have a chance now to either tie the game or to win it and have one of the best comebacks in playoff history to my sadness. But what happens, the Steelers just dominated on defense. They just sacked Manning a couple of times. And on 4th down, sacked Peyton Manning right near the end zone and it appears like the game is over. 

There’s two minutes left, I believe, and so the game is essentially over. And I get the picture of the sack. I think it was Joey Porter on top of Manning. That’s the picture that is going to be the cover. I have it all planned out my head how it was gonna work in terms of layout on the paper for the next day. So, I am the only photographer shooting this game. Steelers still have the ball at the goal line and are up by three. So, my job now as a journalist is to get color, meaning they’re going to kneel on the ball then on the clock, I want to get these fans because there’s Colts fans crying. They’re Steelers fans going back and forth, and it is really tremendously emotional about that point. I’m on the sideline and I’m photographing the fans. I’m right next to the Steelers bench. I’ll never forget. ______  the corner of the Steelers stands up on the benches waived a terrible towel and he’s taunting the Colts fans, and I put my long lens down and picked up my wide lens. I’m photographing him waving the towel, taunting the fans. So, while the Steelers go to run the clock out in my mind because I forgot that the Colts have no timeouts left. So, the Steelers running a real play. They were kneeling on the ball. They’re about in the 2-yard line. Ben Roethlisberger hands the ball off to Jerome Bettis and Jerome cuts to the right, towards the end zone and all the sudden I’m not even looking at that because I was photographing Ike Taylor and I hear this boom. This crazy noise and I look up to the scoreboard, I see a guy from the Colt with the ball running in the opposite direction and the crowd is going berserk. It is as loud that I have ever heard the crowd. And on the screen, I see him running past all the Steelers players and realizing oh my goodness he’s gonna go hundred yards for the winning touchdown here. This were gut instinct for me. 

So, I was on the sideline, about the 35-yard line next to the Steelers. The whole Steelers bench goes silent and staring, and Nick Harper from the Colt is running down the sideline right towards me. Now this is a classic moment. This is if you’re a football fan, you remember, this was a classic NFL moment. He’s running down the sideline and I’m there with this historical NFL moment about to happen right in front of me and I’m staring. I see Nick Harper running down the sideline and Ben Roethlisberger are backpedaling. Roethlisberger is Steelers quarterback and is the last person that can stop Harper from going from 100-yard touchdown. As Roethlisberger is backpedaling just 15 yards away from me, I never picked up my camera. I never even thought to pick up my camera. This is my only job. The only thing I need to do is get this picture, but I became so caught up in the moment which is never ever happened before or since my entire career. I was so caught up in that moment that when Nick Harper cut to his left to go around Roethlisberger. This was the moment where either he going to stop him or he is gonna go for the touchdown and without even picking up my camera, I just screamed tackle him and Roethlisberger reached out and just got a hold of Nick Harper foot slightly. Nick Harper tumbled onto the ground and he made the tackle around the 50-yard line. You might imagine at this point; this place is just going absolutely out of its mind collectively. And I realize not only that this game is over, they can tie the game, or they can win it right now and I shook off the cobwebs, grab my gear off the ground, my 400mm lens. I was just sitting on the floor while this classic moment happened. At that point, you don’t know the classic moment because the Colts could just win the game. I go running to the end zone and a guy from CBS, the cameraman from CBS was right next to me and I looked, and I said what happened and he looked at me, took his headphone off and he said Bettis. I don’t even know what he meant Nobody meant but  Jerome Bettis who was a potential Hall of Fame running back. This is going to be his last season. Literally to build up, this is his final season. He’s never won a Super Bowl this is going to be his run for the Super Bowl. The whole Steelers team is doing this for Bettis, and he winds up getting the ball knocked out by Gary Brackett and fumbling at the goal line that could potentially cost them not only the game but the chance of the team Super Bowl or for his first championship. And having got to know Jerome a little bit from shooting some of the games, my heart just sinks for him and how his career is going to end. 

I remember ever thinking he cannot retire now. There’s no way you can end your career on that plate if they lose right here. So, the Colts come driving down the field and I am just sweating at this point. I’ve never felt this exhausted during shooting, and I wasn’t playing the game, I was just shooting the game. So, the Colts are coming on the field and Peyton Manning threw a perfect pass to the end zone to Reggie Wayne, the wide receiver. Wayne stretches out. Looks like he’s gonna bring the winning touchdown. I get the picture of it but one of the Steelers knocks Wade. McFadden from Steeles knocks Bill the last minute. They stopped the Colts and the Colts inside the field goal, the tied the game. They tried to tie the game and bring it into overtime. So, I can relax a little bit like okay I didn’t really miss anything, they’re going  to kick a field goal. We’re going to go overtime and then the moment ,whatever the moment is going to happen later. I didn’t miss it. 

So, Mike Vanderjagt is the kicker from the Colts, and he walks up to the line to kick the winning field goal and the Steelers called timeout. And I’m looking through my lens, I photographed Vanderjagt like every home game that season and he never looked nervous. Not one time that he looked nervous but I’m looking through the lens I’m talking to another photographer at the sideline. I was looking through my lens and I said he looks nervous. I’ve never seen him look nervous before and you could just see it in his face. But as he lines up, he snapped the ball. This is the moment if we were going to overtime or the Steelers to win. And he kicks the ball and as soon as he kicks it, you could just tell it is way off. Not only way off but it was so far to the right that before the ark of the ball even hits its peak, the Steelers players are running onto the field because you knew it was over. He hit the ball so far to the right and I was so far to let the end zone that the ball was actually coming right towards me and went right over my head as the missed field goal before it was even over. So, you knew with the kick of the ball that it was a miss and the Steelers were to win. 

So, I stormed the field with the rest of the photographers shooting all the celebration, all the emotion. It was the wildest games I’ve ever photographed. The Steelers win. The Steelers going to the championship. My dream of photographing at the Super Bowl with the Colts are over at his point. I’m remember seeing Matt ____ the photographer of Indianapolis Star at midfield. He’s just shaking his head. I lifted up my shirt and I showed him my Randall L jersey and he just give me a fun push and shook his head at me. I sat down the sideline and I could not even do any work for about 1/2 an hour because I was so exhausted from the way that game went. And he just sat there in silence thinking about what happened and I’m getting so many buzzes on my phone. So many text and phone calls asking Are you really there? Were you really at that game? 

Not until I went back to the hotel that night and I watched the replay over and over again what happened that I realized what happened to me. What happened to me was I was there on the field for a classic all-time NFL playoff moment and I missed it. Not only did I missed it, I did not even lift up my camera shoot I was so caught up in the moment that time that I just yelled tackle him to Roethlisberger instead of picking my camera up and shooting the picture of the classic tackle. Ironically, a couple years later we moved to Pittsburgh and it was the second day that we lived here that really hit me what happened. Our entire family went down to the strip district down here in Pittsburgh, which was the classic area with old shops, outside markets, it was a great cool area. So, I am in the strip district. we parked the car. we walked down to just do a little bit of sightseeing and browsing and the first person I see walking towards me is a guy with a white T-shirt with the big picture on the front and it is the picture that Michael Conroy the photographer of the Associated Press took of Ben Roethlisberger tackling Nick Harper with his arm out. Harper going down and underneath it, it just says The Tackle. That’s what it was known for. And I’m looking at this picture on this guy walking past me, just shaking my head. That was the photograph that got away. 

So, if you’re not a sports fan, this will probable bored you and tears right here if you are a sports fan or Steelers fan. You probably enjoy that if you are a Colts fan probably hitting that but that was just one of the many photographs that got away in my career. I just want to bring that to you. Hope you enjoy that. I’ll talk tomorrow.

Episode 35- Pay To Get To The Front

Pay To Get To The Front

So, I have a question for you. Do you pay to get to the front? I’ve never thought about this before. I never thought in these terms before. A guy named Bill Convey who I was with a mastermind with a few years ago, he said something, he told me a story that really made me think in terms of am I thinking the right way? 

We always think that we’re doing okay. We got it figured out just keep doing what we are doing. He said something to me about waiting in line. He said I never waited in line. What do you mean you never waited in line?  No. I go to a game, I go to a concert, I never wait in line. My time is too valuable. I said what do you do? He said what I do every single time is this and I’ve copied this from him since then because it’s his idea and I’m giving him all the credit here. So, I don’t wait in line. When I go to a football game, I see a long line of people in the concession stand. I go to the front of the line and I asked people what they’re getting. I will buy you your food if you order me what I want to, and they always say yes. Okay, this is pretty brilliant. Why haven’t I thought this yet? So basically, he just goes to the front of the line and he pays for the people in the front and he gets to skip that entire line and he gets to the front and he gets on with his life because his time is too valuable. 

But most people don’t think about that because they don’t want to spend the money, or we don’t really value our time. We fot nothing else to do anyway so we are going to stand in that line and kick peanut shells around. But bill has a different purpose and a different mindset. His time is valuable, and I was not about just getting in the front lot of an Ohio State football game. It’s about the mindset of thinking my time is too valuable to sit here waiting. When I could just go to the front line pay a little bit more. Hopefully they’re not buying 86 hot dogs and 42 beers that would could cost you thousands of dollars. But if it is a couple of hotdogs, whatever it cost, it is worth your time than waiting for 1/2 of your time that you could be spending with your kid walking on the stadium or telling a story, or whatever it is. But when you think about that in terms of life, when you think about that in terms of how many people do not pay to get to the front of line. 

For example, I am in a mastermind with a guy named Johnny Dumas who runs Entrepreneur On Fire podcast, one of the most popular podcasts in the entrepreneur world. I mean totally crushing and sewing different ways and I get to pay to be in the front of the line. So every week we get on the call and as I develop the podcast, as I develop the membership site or the mastermind or the audiobook, it was his idea on the mastermind and said why don’t you record the audiobook and give it away? And I hadn’t thought about that and that has been explosive in terms of growth of what we’re doing here. Now giving a book for free was not on the top of my mind to do. Like I worked really hard in this book and you sell the book. And he said no give the book away and it’s going to get more attention to the book, which can lead to all the other stuff that you have going on around you. And more importantly more people get to read the book and get helped by it and that’s what you wrote the book for. You didn’t write the book so that certain of the people can read and nobody gets their hand on it. if you really want to make an impact with your book, record the book, give it away. 

I was like so I’ve done that. That got me to the front of the line. But so many people are not interested, willing or will have enough of a growth mindset to think this money that I have is way more valuable to be used on my growth and on my advancement that it is just to say. Trust me. We went through it, you know, we went through really tough money times. We went through the debt payment. If you listen to my book, the audiobook which you can download our website for free. if you want, go to the top right-hand corner free book right there. The first half of the book is how we cut everything to the bone and if I would’ve written the book over again, knowing what I know now, I would’ve written it differently. If I would live that life again. Knowing what I know now I would not have been so incredibly intense on paying off the debt. 

Now people listening to the book and said oh my God you change the story I would. I would change story because we didn’t invest in ourselves enough. We did not pay to get to the front of the line. And if we would’ve done that, if we would’ve gotten around like Johnny Dumas, people like Dan Miller who helped me out so much in my growth, we would’ve gotten to where were at so much farther and so much quicker. We went the slow route because we’re really cheap with our money. I am just being completely honest that we can’t afford to do that, and I look back like we couldn’t afford not to. Now I continue to invest and we will talk more about that in future episodes. But what Bill taught me, which is one of the best line is pay to get to the front and when you find people who are doing it, when I find Johnny Dumas that can help me get to the front and I can pay to get there, it is so worth that. 

So, I use that now. I go to games and I always make sure I’m ready so that if there is a line and there’s someone in front of me, I just walk to the front and offer to buy their food. Can you get me two hotdogs and whatever we need? Absolutely. If you are going to pay for my food, why would they not? Just add a couple more things to their order and it just makes so much sense, and these are the things you learn when you get around people who think differently than just everybody else. So, Bill, thank you for your awesome advice. I’ll make sure to tag you here and you get the credit for this because this is all you and I appreciate it and I will talk to everybody next time.

Episode 34- The Naive Way To Build A Network

The Naive Way To Build A Network

If you know anything about me, you know that building a powerful network around you to me is one of the cornerstones of not only building a successful business, but building a successful foundation around your business and your life so that each business that you build after that gets stronger and stronger while you lift up all of the people with in your network so they can raise their heights as well while giving credit to the people who have taught you. The people that are above you in your network, the ones who you have mentored through, the ones you have learned from by giving them the credit for what you learn from them. The failure to build a powerful network around you I believe is one of the key reasons why so many people with great content and great ideas and great thoughts don’t get very far because they don’t have a network built around them. 

So, I’ve learned this from some of the greats in the business world and it’s a cornerstone of what I work on daily on top of the content and the connections that I make. But there was a time that I did it the wrong way and I cringe when I think about the ways I went about it at certain times and when I see people who are still doing it the wrong way which the way so many people just see networking is in terms of what can I get. What can I get out of my network? What can I pull out of it that I need? And what I learned and so many people unfortunately learn going forward until they figure this out is that people don’t really care about how they can help you if you’ve not been a help to them and those around them to begin with. And it’s not a keeping score thing. It’s a thing when you’ve built up a following. You built something up. You generally trust the people who’ve been with you. You trust the people who’ve invested in you. You trust the people who have taken what you’ve taught them and actually did the work to make it successful. As opposed to the person that just reaches out and turns like hey can I use you? They don’t say it this way but they kind of mean it. Can I use you and your platform and your success to get what I want? And if you are around enough with these people, you would know how often they get pitched or asked to use their platform to make that person successful. And it doesn’t work. 

Now there are your random times. I am all for being bold. I’m all for taking chances, but that’s the shot in the dark, but to do it the right way, to do it with generosity, to do it with a give first mentality is the way to build a powerful network. But so many people don’t do it. Either they don’t have the patience, or they don’t really get it. But I’ll give you a story about what I did way back as a young ambitious photographer, the one that wanted to connect and learn from the best. 

When I was interning at Newsday in New York, I was consciously picking the brains of the photographers and who are the best photographer that you know? Who should I learn from? Dick York was one of my mentors in Newsday and he was a funny, outgoing, just always had a great time in the job and always was there to help me. He was one of the guys. He was always there giving me advice. I think he saw a lot in me and him when he was younger, and he was really doing his best to guide me because I really didn’t know what I was doing. Even though I kind of thought I did. It’s amazing how many times I see somebody that is starting out, and he has the. I got it figured out attitude and they are not really open for new advice. So, I really don’t go there any longer. I don’t really try to convince those people because I can tell that their eyes aren’t open yet to it. Hopefully someday it will be. But he was one of those that he saw what I was going to, he saw that I was trying to learn, and he did his best to help me out. And getting incredible mentors in your life is so valuable. 

I said to Mike..who are the three photographers that you would follow if you are me. And this is before social medias so you can’t just type their name in and follow them Instagram. I need to do research and figure out who these people were. And he names the three and one that he named is Eddie Adams. In the photojournalism world, Eddie Adams is an icon. He runs the Eddie Adams workshop that every journalist wants to get into. It is a hand selected intensive workshop that he ran for years and years.

He is one of the most iconic photojournalists in the world. He was well known for his portraits of celebrities and politicians. He had photographed 13 wars. But what he is best known for the photograph he took in 1969 and it was the execution of a Vietcong soldier in the Vietnam War, which he won the Pulitzer Prize for. So, I had heard that he is one of the photographers that I need to get to know. I didn’t realize his status. I didn’t realize how big-time Eddie Adams was, but I just want to connect with the guy, and I want to see if I can ride along and work with him. I just thought that he was just some really great photographer that I could reach out to. 

So, I went back to my apartment in Queens and just doing my research like I normally do, and I went inside to go to the phone book. Remember the phone book? Remember those things? I went back to the phone book and there were a couple of people named Eddie Adams. So, I start calling them, out of the phone book. The first couple ones that I call wasn’t that Eddie Adams, so I finally found one. I saw the address and I just thought this is him. So, I called him up and a woman answered. She is his daughter and I asked if Eddie Adams is there. She said who’s calling and I said this is Vincent and Dick York told me that I should connect with him and she said okay, hold on a second. A few seconds later there is man’s voice in the phone, and he sounds confused and said hello. I said “Hi Mr. Adams, this is Vincent. I am an Intern in Newsday New York and Dick York tell me how great of a photographer you are and that I should really try to get to learn from you. And he just sounded really confused and he said okay all right. I said well I was wondering if it would be possible if I could just ride along with you or spend the day with you and just learn from you. And he said well Vince, I tell you we are really busy, you know we got a flight, we are going overseas in a couple days and really kind of busy so I’m not sure if I can help you right now. I said okay and I thought I just give you a call and ask you and Good luck in your trip. He said alright thanks and he hung up all confused and I went on about my business. Okay, at least I know I give it a shot. 

I went to the office the next day, and as were sitting down on the photo lab I said to Dick York that I called Eddie last night. And he stopped and turned his head and said what? I said I called Eddie Adams; I called his house last night to see if I can do a ride along with him. There were around three or four photographers in the room, and they all turned around towards me. He looked at me and he goes “you called Eddie Adams at his house?” and I was like yeah. you know, you said he is one of the best. He said you just don’t call Eddie Adams at his house. Do you even realize how big-time Eddie Adams is? And I said no, I’ve never heard of him before you mentioned him yesterday, so I figure I just call him, and they just had the greatest laugh about that because he had been running his workshop for years. He is an internationally acclaimed photographer. There are all these people just trying to get near him and learn from him, signing up for all the stuff, really kind of exclusive and I just picked up the phone naïve as I can be, called him in his house while they’re making dinner just to see if I can hang out right along with him. 

As you might imagine, I never got a call back from Eddie Adams. I never got to ride along with him. I never got to meet in person, and he passed away unfortunately in 2004 I learned some really good lessons in that. Now I am all for being bold. I’m all for taking chances, but I probably would’ve got that ride along with Eddie Adams if I went about it differently. if I were a little bit more patient. If I were to talk to Dick York about it. If I would ask, possibly for an introduction. If I would’ve done things to support what Eddie Adams is doing. If I would have taken more time and thought about more about how I can help Eddie as opposed to how you can help me, I probably would’ve gotten that experience with him. But that I went about it so fast and so furious and so impatient, it gave me a really funny story and a great three minute conversation I had with the iconic Eddie Adams, but it never got me to where I can actually meet the guy and learn from a guy in person. So, there’s a lot to be said for taking action. There is a lot to be said for going after stuff, but there’s also a lot to be said about being patient and having a plan and building a network the right way. Building a network for the long term, as opposed to being shortsighted and going all in at once to get what you need to get but the chances are you are going to crash and burn when you do that and you are going to be left with no experience but just a funny story of you being a little bit too bold. So, as you hear in a future episode, patience and persistence is the key to success not only building a powerful network but in building a successful business. That story if you listen to it, it is in my book, Freelance the Freedom. We have made the audiobook free for you. We love for you to download it, consume it, get a ton out of it. If you want to find it, it is in our website. It’s totallifefreedom.com/F2Fbook and just go there download the book for free. I hope you enjoy it. I will talk to you tomorrow.

Episode 33- I Don’t Have Time

I Don’t Have Time

I don’t have time. That is the phrase that I want you to stop using starting today if you are not where you want to be with your business. It’s an excuse. It’s an excuse that you have learned and trained yourself to believe and now you truly believe it and you live by it. I don’t have time to write thank you notes. I don’t have time to send personal messages. I don’t have time to be a guest on podcast. I don’t have time to update my website. I don’t have time to read books. Please do yourself a favor and stop saying that. Instead, say something to the effect of I put my time somewhere else that isn’t as important, so I’m not doing it for that reason. You have time to write thank you notes to the people you met at that conference or the new client or your current clients or to your past clients. You just don’t do it because you put in the time somewhere else. You have time to write reviews for the people that you read their book and you really love it. You are just putting your time somewhere else. You have time to put 15 hours a week into that business that you want to start, that you been talking about, but you don’t do it because you’re putting it somewhere else. It’s not that you don’t have time. It’s that you’re not putting your time towards those things that you know need to happen. Now is this a form of self-sabotage? It possibly could be. It’s the type of thing that where if you know that you do this you have to follow through on it? And if you follow through on and it succeeds, what are you gonna do then? When you follow through and it fails, how are you going to explain that? 

So, are you psyching yourself out by saying you don’t have time? Or, are you afraid by what could happen if you put the time towards it? I don’t have time is truly the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard. And I’ll be honest with you I hear it more and more today than I’ve ever heard. And here’s why it is lame. I am a little bit wound up today about it today because I hear it so often. Here’s why it is so lame. There are so many things today that we no longer have to do because of technology. I can’t tell you the last time I went to the bank. I used to every time we get a check in the mail; I have to drive over to the bank. I have to park, wait in line, have the teller take the check process… blah blah blah. Come on home. Another 50 minutes to get home. Now what do we do? You take a picture of the check and you send it in. That’s a good 30-40 minutes every time I got a check that I saved now. Technology has made life so easy in terms of saving time, but what most of us have done is we fill that time with so much of the garbage that we don’t even see that we have so much time at our disposal and we waste it. 

The average American spends more than five hours a day, either on television or on the Internet, scrolling. More than five hours a day. So when I try to walk people through is taking an hour of your day to do the connections that you need, to build the network that you need down the road because like I said in past episodes, building the network over long period of time is going to be the key to your long-term business success. I truly believe that because it happened to us with each business that we started it gets better and better simply because of the network that we built around it. And you will be stunned by how many people tell me that they don’t have time to do it, but I can show them how they could do it within 1/2 an hour to an hour. I spend more than that now because I’ve got the time to do it. And it is the most important thing that I could do to grow. When you say that you have 1/2 an hour or hour to do that, I would just love to see what you do with your time because if you’re sports fan and you’re watching two games a week, that is 6 to 7 hours of time, you just found your time right there. If you’re scrolling on the Internet, there is a gaggle of things that we can pick that can show immediately you have 7 hours a week or 15 hours with you that you can put into it. I’ll give you an example. 

I was talking to somebody recently and I was telling about how send messages to the people in your network, send messages to your clients, your potential clients. Reach out 1 to 1 to them on a personal connection which they never do. And again, this person told me they don’t have time. So that evening, I went to get a haircut and it is a 40-minute wait for my haircut I went next door to Starbucks. I sat down and I sent the 25 messages that I challenged him to do in 1/2 an hour while waiting to get my haircut. Now if I can do that in dead time in the evening, in between getting to the place and getting my haircut, why can’t you? If you truly believe that sending out thank you notes is important to growing your business, handwritten thank you note, bring them with you. Keep them in your car. And here’s the main reason why saying you don’t have time is an excuse. Because if you truly don’t have time, that probably means you have a lot of money because the work you’re doing is so important. But most people tell me No they don’t have a lot of money and that’s why they don’t have a lot of time. What I’m telling you is if you don’t have a lot of time and you don’t have a lot of money, you’re spending time on things within your business that aren’t valuable. There’s no way around that. Because if you’re working all this time and it is not profitable or is not really profitable, there are things in there that need to be cut. And a good thing to do would be to audit the situation, cut the things that aren’t working and fill them in with things that are going to work. When you say I don’t have time for that, but you know is valuable, it’s not about not having time, it’s about finding the things that you’re gonna cut and filling those in with the ones that do matter. But the worst part is the excuse. Because when you convince yourself that you don’t have time, you will make sure that you don’t have time and you will keep justifying the things that you do. So, I am here to shake this out of you. I’m here to challenge you to stop saying you don’t have time. If you believe it’s important, find time to make it. If you really don’t think there’s time, find the things that aren’t valuable that you’re doing. Make sure you eliminate those and fill those in with the things that are valuable, but most importantly stop saying those words that I don’t have time.

Episode 32- The Fortune Is In The Follow Up

The Fortune Is In The Follow Up

What would you do when you have a successful business that’s rocking it and it slows down? Gustavo Fernandez learned a valuable lesson about this last week and took action that completely flipped around and jumpstarted in one day. I will tell you how. Gustavo was a headshot and an event photographer based on San Francisco California. A lot of talk I hear all the time about how photography is dying. They’re just not working it. It’s all being taken away by the amateur. It’s all being taken by the cheap ones. Gustavo prove that that’s not the case. Gustavo cleared multiple six-figure last year in 2018 and he kind of made it all seem so easy. 

Gustavo is part of total life freedom mastermind and last year just kept rolling and rolling and rolling, but this year things change a little bit. He has some really big clients and had a lot of travel going on. He is planning to move to Miami. He was going back and forth between West Coast and East Coast looking at places. Work keeps rolling in. He’s got good connections and he felt it, but it didn’t do that much to jumpstart it because a lot of times the work just keeps coming back. But about halfway through the year, he noticed that he is down $50,000 than that last year and it woke him up. We talked a lot about following up, about connecting, about reaching out always, about different methods in terms of building your network, in terms of building the relationships around your business, top of mind word-of-mouth type of business. We hold each other accountable to this and _______ mentioned to Gustavo about his method of following up with past clients. I have told him some of my methods as well. We went through some conversation and Gustavo realized I’ve got a wealth of connections that I have not kept in touch with. The work kept rolling and he failed to keep the connection going, the ongoing connection with certain clients. 

So, he finally said I’ve had it, I been complacent on this for too long and he reached out to 11 of his top clients. And the reach out is basically things that they had mentioned in the past that need to get done. Things that they wanted to work with him on but just never were solidified. But he realizes as he looks back on this to be had never followed back up with them. So, in one day, one day he spent just to reconnect with clients that he hadn’t reached out to in a while. Some of them are by phone. Some of them by email and a majority of them were just simple message that he sent out as a follow-up. Then he came back to us to report that he got a $13,000 job booked from one law firm, a $2,000 job for another law firm. He got confirmation to another conference to work and he got confirmation on yet another job from a high-end client which is $5000, and he has a lunch set up with another venue that has a high potential volume of work in the future. 

So, in taking action one day of follow-ups. He confirmed over $20,000 of future work as well as a handful of conferences, meetings that has the potential to grow that even more. It is in one day of follow-up and so often we fail to do this because there are so many different reasons why we failed to this. We failed to do this because we think we’re bugging people. Yet the case of Gustavo and many other of us, these are people we’ve talked to already about possibly doing the work but were hesitant on pulling the trigger. It’s not like these are cold calls. Following up is following-up with people you’ve already connected with and have talked about the possibility of stuff that you’re just dragging your feet in terms of finalizing it. so, Gustavo had a bunch of huge takeaways from this, very simple but very powerful. We have to get ourselves the consistent habit of following up. The other thing to realize is when you’re doing this, when you’re following up with people, they’re often quite busy. They’re not meaning to even forget about you. They’re not meaning to blow you off. What happens a lot of times, they appreciate the fact that you follow-up because what you’re doing is, you’re making their job easier. Because if it is a mutual thing, if it is something that you both need and you both want, both sides are being complacent in that. 

So, when you take the time to reach out when there’s already a relationship built, you’re actually making their life easier because you’re helping them do the work that they’re not going to have to do. So, there’s so many great lessons that come from this one story that just kick started his success back up. He’s already doing great this year. He is doing better than most photographers are doing, but we set standards for ourselves and when we get to a certain level, we don’t want to stop or slowdowns. He saw that and kudos to Gustavo for immediately taking action, immediately realizing where a lot of this comes from and he has a good grasp on customer service on how to do that right. And sometimes we just need the reminder. He has such a grasp on it is that he’s writing a book about this for the future, which I’m really excited about. It is about the art of customer service. But it just goes to show, it takes follow-up. The fortune is in the follow-up. It is so easy to get complacent and to get somewhat lazy and think the work will come because it is going really well and it is really nice to get that jolt, the kick in the pants every once in a while and realized that really comes down to us doing that work to keep things moving. Because he gives us a great story, because it’s an awesome individual I will give a plug to GustavoFernandez.com, if you are looking for an event photographer. If you’re looking for an awesome headshot photographer, reach out to Gustavo. He is the man. And if you are interested, as a gift to you, Gustavo has a list that he has written out, the top 10 things he has done to elevate and grow his event and photography business. I will put that in the show notes for you if you like to get that. And remember go out today. If you have people to follow up with, people you’ve neglected, go out and do the follow-up because the fortune truly is in the follow-up. I’ll talk to you tomorrow

Episode 31- Meeting In Person Is The New Social Media

Meeting In Person Is The New Social Media 

Meeting in person is becoming the new social media. I am going to explain why. I just bought my ticket from Mapcon, which is a podcast conference run by my friend Joe Pardo in Atlantic City on September 6th and 7th. A few weeks before that I am going to be in Orlando from August 13th -16th for podcast movement which is run by my friend Jared Easley and Dan Franks. One of my favorite conference I go to every year. In November, I would be in Sonoma, California for Andy Stork’s talent development think tank conference. I don’t have any affiliate relationships with them for these conferences. These are just things that I believe in, that I spend my time on, I spend my money on going to these is a big way of how I grow professionally. 

This is what I want to talk about today as I get asked why I go to so many conferences and podcast movement. I’ve been going for three years now. I just released the podcast a month ago. I don’t even have a podcast, but I knew the value in going to this conference would be. I knew the relationships that would I make, the conversation that I would have and even the connection I would have for being on the podcast far outweighed the cost of the ticket, the travel and the time being gone from home. The same for Andy’s conference in California. I’m not even in the talent development world so why am I going all the way out to California for that. The people in that world are still entrepreneurs. They’re still people that I want to meet and connect with whether it’s right in line with what I do. It’s not right in line with what I do and the reason why I go, and I spend the time and I invest in that stuff is because I really believe that meeting in person, meeting face-to-face is the new social media. Let me explain what I mean.

How many of you remember 12 years ago when the iPhone came out and Facebook started growing? And before that, there were blogs and chat groups that kept people connected in some ways. You get to know each other a little bit better. When Facebook came about and everybody started getting connected. It was like this world opened up again. You start getting request from your old high school friends that you haven’t seen in years. All of a sudden you are friends on Facebook. You’re keeping up on what’s going on in their lives. Then there’s groups, commenting and connection, all of these things going on, so you are now tied in and you are now connected to the entire world. In one click, you can start building an online relationship with someone that you admire in a certain space. You can start following their blog or their podcast or their YouTube channel and get responses back from them. 

So, in a short period of time everybody had the opportunity and has the opportunity to become super connected to whoever you want to connect with, and a lot of amazing things come from that. A lot of amazing things will continue to come from that and I’m an advocate for it. I run communities that way, online, virtually where we could be connected people from all over the world, different countries, different continents. It’s amazing. But something has been lost in that shift, in the transition and what’s been lost is the physical face-to-face personal connection. It’s so easy now to stay behind your computer and comment. It is so easy now to get on a videoconferencing call or getting a webinar or do that virtually with everybody but not take the time and the energy and the effort to go meet in person. But I am an observer and going by Andy Andrews, I tried always to be a notice. And what I noticed is when I go to conferences so many people are just thrilled to say it’s so nice to meet you in person. It’s so nice to actually have a conversation with you and sit down and talk and take our time and we never get to do that online. More and more I hear that at every conference or get together that I go to. And you start to notice that people are missing this in their lives. They’re missing physical in person connection and also, the world is way different from another perspective, because when you go to these conferences, when you go to these specific meet ups, your meeting with people that are interested and very similar things that you’re interested in. 

So, if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re looking to build online business. You are looking to gain freedom in your life. You are looking to create income from different streams. You’re looking to build connections with people that are doing things that you’re doing or doing things that you want to be doing. You’re probably not going to find that at your kid’s soccer game. Even though your meeting in person, as you pull up your chair to your kid’s soccer game, you might find what we found which was people complaining about politics. People talk about how much they hate their job, people complaining about their spouse or which could be considered worst, some people like me, which is just talking about absolutely nothing, not even having conversations just trying to get through another day. So just because we’re meeting in person doesn’t mean that it’s a positive interaction. It doesn’t mean that you’re growing or you’re helping. it just might mean that you are having empty service level conversations. 

So, what I found out by going to these conferences is I meet so many people with energy and excitement and ideas and they are helpful. I can’t get enough of it sometimes because it is exactly the type of people that I want to meet. People asked for case studies on that, I got so many personally. Going to a mastermind retreat a couple years ago, I met Kyle Schultz. We teamed up and did sports photography course for his Shultz Photo School group and I wind up making $32,000 in a day when I used to make $32,000 a year being a newspaper photographer, using the same skills. Going to conferences within the last year and a half. Carey Green who has a podcast editing agency introduced me to Nick Loper who runs a side house podcast. Nick and I and some friends sat down for nachos that night and we had a conversation that Nick invites me to the show, which is one of the most popular entrepreunal podcasts out there. 

Same thing happened a few years ago when I went to FinCon which is run by Philip Taylor. I met Jonathan Mendonza and Brad Barrett from the choose FI podcast. We stood together talking for 45 minutes, had a great conversation, they invited me on their podcast. Those two podcasts Sidehouse nation were two of the main things that catapulted the launch of our book Freelance to Freedom. Those two interviews were too enormous ones that led to tremendous success and the irony of it is the meeting in person led to the online and social media success. It wasn’t the other way around. It was the personal connection where we hit it off just hanging out, having a drink, having dinner, just talking that led to the opportunity for all these other things to happen. 

So, a lot of people have a backwards, let me just be a keyboard warrior, let me do everything online and clean my funnel and my systems and my lead magnets and all the things that come with that world. But they don’t think about actually the human connection of meeting face-to-face. So, if there’s a conference in your realm that you want to go to and you’re on the fence because of cost or time I’m going to challenge you to give it a chance. I’m going to challenge you to invest in yourself and invest in your time to put that out there because the relationships that you will meet there, if you’re not a wallflower and if you don’t sit in seminars the entire time, you actually spend time talking to people, that is going to be another podcast I do in the future which is my approach to going to conferences. Invest in yourself. Take that time and go meet those people. Go make great relationships and allow that to create relationships that will then lead to unlimited business opportunities in the future for you and for them. So I will put link to MattCon podcast movement, to the talent development think tank and if you’re in the area and you want to head on by and hang out with me, send me a message and I’ll put that in the blog transcripts at totallifefreedom.com as well as a thank you to Nick Loper, to John and Brad and Andy Stork. I’ll put on a link for the SideHouse Nation, to choose FI and to the Town Development Think Tank podcast also in the notes of the website. So, get out there and go meet some people. Go build some great relationships and remember that meeting in person is the new social media.

Episode 30- The Story Of My Arrest

The Story Of My Arrest

So, what’s really fun about this podcast is I get to tell stories from the parts of my book, that didn’t make it. Because there are whole of things in the book there were nuanced over or completely left out because of the space or because it didn’t fit in with the format. But here, I can just tell stories for what fits in and things that were missed. So today is an embarrassing one and if you haven’t read my book, please go to our website and get a free download for the audiobook of it and listen to it and this will make a lot more sense. 

What I alluded to early on in the book was how my life was going really poorly to the first 22 years of my life, especially, you know, the 16 to 22 part. When I was 18 years old, I got to whole lot of hot water. I was working at a place called Record World. Back then it was one of the top music stores around. Everyone know what Record World and eventually Tower Records came along but Record World was a big deal so I worked on their warehouses on Long Island It was a giant warehouse, they had all the tapes, all the CDs you can imagine. We basically stock the shelves for the people to pick up and bring to the different stores around Long Island New York. So that was my job. It was my job but I also was sitting here at 18 years old, lost, confused, and absolutely with very little morals that I should’ve had at that age. So, I worked at a place called Dairy Bar, we overcharged customers in $0.50 dollars a time. All of a sudden that added up and I kind of learn that I could steal a little bit and I’m not really getting caught. So, I got this job at Record World and I kind of carried my ways over there, which I didn’t mean to. 

At first it wasn’t the plan, but what happened was I was with a bunch of friends and we’re talking about where I worked. I love that album, I can’t member what band it was and I was like “I wonder if I can get it for you?” You know, I was trying to impress him or whatever it was and his older friends who hang around with the clubs with. So, I was at work that day and I kind of realize that I could just take a cassette tape and I put in the waist of my pants and probably just get out. So, I stuck it over in my belt and at the end of the day I walked out and I got the tape. This wasn’t so hard, but wasn’t long. It really was not long before I thought I could probably put three in my back. So, when nobody was looking, I kind of found different tapes, it wasn’t even for me. These were for what other people are asking for. So, I did that, I got three and I realized I could put two more in my stomach, I could have five around my waist. And guess what? I did. and then I realized while if I could do that, I could probably get one each on my socks. I could probably get one and nobody is looking because it is a very deep dark warehouse. I only need a tape and little bit of space so that was seven at the time. This is how we can go from overcharging summary $0.50 to now I’ve got seven tapes that I’m lifting from this place and I go out for break once and I go out for lunch. I can leave and go to my car. 

So, it wasn’t long, it took a couple months before I was every day walking out of the factory with 21 tapes. So, what happened was, one day, I think it was a Wednesday. I had a girlfriend and we went out for the day and I took the day off. I didn’t think anything of it and I was not working. I literally had a stash of all the different bands that people would want. So, like, you know, they’re asking for Whitesnake or they’re asking for this band and I would individually have them on these different cases, the cardboard case that the music came in like the 20 tapes of Billy Joel. It would be one of each band I was about to take. I had a bunch of those stashed away somewhere in the in the warehouse. I took the day off and I came back in and that I must’ve done my morning hall, I did my seven tapes, I went out and got a hot dog from hot dog stand and I came back in and the main guy tap me on the shoulder while I was stocking shelves and he said can I talk to you over my office and I so okay. He said have a seat and he said we know what you’ve been doing. We know you been stealing tapes, you are fired and you are going to be under arrest. The police have been called and they are on their way. You’ve lost your job and you will be taken away in a police car and taken to the police station. Just like that. Job is done and pretty much you know shot right now. I am getting arrested and there is nothing I can do about this. There’s 4 other people that worked there and they are just sitting there and they have no sweat. I’m the one just kind of shaking. Then I had a good laugh at my expense. Why don’t you tell them what you are majoring in college and I said oh it’s criminal justice what I am majoring in and they all get a big giant laugh out of it while I sat there. Instead of taking me out to the side door, they could have, they had the police come in front of the glass windows and they had me handcuffed and then they took me. Instead of taking the short route, they took the long route, through the main part of the warehouse where all of my coworkers I worked with for probably about a year stood there and watched me as I got handcuffed. I’d never seen anything like that in my life. I was now the subject of this. I got handcuffed and led down the aisle towards the side door to be put into the squad car and taken to the police station. 

I still remember the police officer in the car saying “what did the kid do?” and he said “he lifted some tapes” and the guy saying “why didn’t they just let them go?” I’m thinking yeah why didn’t they just let me go. They took me to the police station where I was in the holding cell and I get one phone call so I called my girlfriend. I said I need you to go to my house. I need you to go up in my room and I have money in the drawer and I need you to get $500 and bail me out. Don’t saying to my parents.” And I’m thinking I’m all clear at this point. Then the phone rings in the holding cell and the police officers said “it’s for you.” I grabbed the phone and before I could even hear anything I hear my dad on the other end. My girlfriend must’ve come home and was crying and was all upset and told my parents what happened. My dad called, found out about it, called me at the police station and that was that. 

So, I lost my job obviously stopped, I stopped going to criminal justice classes at school. It didn’t make much sense anymore and I was kind of lost for a while. I got another job and at that point I needed to try to find a way to rebuild. I think I was 18 and turning 19. I was fortunate because at 19 years old it would’ve been on my permanent record, at 18, it wasn’t so it is still sealed. I guess. Not that I’m telling everybody about it anyway and I didn’t write about this in the book because I didn’t think it was really interesting enough to go along with the story but it’s just a side note, the beginning. So many people asked me about the arrest and what it was. So that was the arrest that went on, you know, for about a year in courts until we finally got all settled. I did not learn my lesson unfortunately at that time. Stealing continued for another year or two until I had my big nightmare that you heard about when I was 22 years old. And that was the point where everything changed and basically had two lives when I was 22 and 22 on. But this was along the processes, along the way of what was going through at that point. 

So, there’s no lesson, I think, to be taken from this, no takeaway except don’t steal and don’t be an idiot like I was. But that was just me opening up and telling you a little back story and how that all went down if you read the book. So, I hope you enjoy that and if you haven’t read the book, go download it. So, the moral of the story is don’t be a knucklehead like me and make better decisions than I did because it will get you to a whole lot of trouble that you don’t need to be in. So, you hope you enjoy, have a good one!

Episode 29- Gaining A Month Of Freedom By Losing One Assignment

Gaining A Month Of Freedom By Losing One Assignment

I will follow up on yesterday’s podcast about the advantages and disadvantages of killing our business. We keep learning and you never stop learning but what we learned in this process, what we keep learning is that there’s always growth ahead of you that you don’t even see. So, the wedding side of our photography business ended like this and it is a pretty interesting story. 

We booked one final wedding for the last year of the business. We weren’t planning on doing any but it was a referral from a past client. They seem like a great couple so I figured why not just take one last one and then we’ll end it after that. We’ll give it all we got and we’ll be done and will move on. Our other business are taking off. It was already taking over so we wouldn’t even need to grow this business anymore but okay we’ll do the job well and then we’ll move on. After we booked it, I looked at the calendar and it was two days after one of our sons’ birthdays and were going to go on a trip. But normal work life, that’s just the way life is, right? You just need to do the work, not thinking how much control we actually do have over our lives by the choices that we make and by the jobs that we take. 

So’s wedding was booked and being it was two days after our son’s birthday, it was obvious that we are nowhere going on a trip. we can do it may be before after. we thought about doing a month-long summer trip and that was off the table on that booking so we just accept and we go on. 

Here’s how the business ended. We’re traveling to Colorado, were leaving the hotel and we’re going cross-country as a family. As we checked out of the hotel, I checked my phone as Elizabeth and the boys were coming downstairs and I get an email from the bride from that wedding. She emailed and she said “I understand that we paid a deposit for this and that deposit can’t be refunded because they’ve held the date for almost a year, but should I regret to tell you that the wedding has been called off. So, there won’t be a wedding and we won’t need your services for that day.” The immediate response in your head, naturally is “oh my goodness!” You know you are thinking about this couple. you are thinking about what problems could happen? What the reason is? Maybe it’s just postponed. Maybe they broke up. You just don’t know and I am not going to ask the details and they’re not sharing it. It is the first thing you feels when you are thinking about the couple. The second thing you think is “Oh, we’re not going to be shooting that wedding now so that date is now open.” That’s the way that we would normally think me. The date might be open for another couple now. And the third thing you think is the certain amount of money that was supposed to come and that’s not coming in. The fourth thing that really hit me and that made me realize even though we had gained so much freedom by going from a job to a business, where we had freed up so many more days in our life for making that one shift, not even realizing how this one cancellation change my mindset on time freedom and location freedom. And here’s what happened.

That one booking that we accepted in the middle of the month, once it was gone, freed up the entire month for us to do whatever we wanted to do location freedom wise. Literally that one job was going to keep us in Pennsylvania for a month and we can do a shorter trip before that or possibly a shorter trip after it. But when that date went away and I saw the calendar open up, I didn’t realize how many of those other jobs that we took, to physically have to be there, were preventing so many other opportunities for us. How many times I couldn’t go to a conference for the business that I was growing because I had assignments that I need to be here for. How many times could I not do some type of a project, how many times could we not go on a trip that we wanted to go to or go to an anniversary or birthday party at a state from somebody else or go to a conference that would’ve really leveled up the business that were growing, out of town out of state for multiple days. I couldn’t do any of those things because we already committed to all these jobs where we live that I couldn’t do any of that stuff. That’s the normal world, right? I don’t expect that situation to feel bad that we couldn’t do that type of thing but it really opened my mind to the idea of we have complete control over our time if we wanted depending on what we want to build in terms of our career. 

So, at that very moment, as we are leaving Durango Colorado and heading along the southern part of Colorado, headed back home, I really got the vision of what the next level of our business looks like. And building a business that included location freedom was a huge part of it. Now I never could’ve done that before because I never could’ve even envisioned it. It was in a world that we lived in. But once you start tasting what that’s like, now you can build what it is that you actually want from the very beginning. So, as we drove back in all those hours of driving back from Colorado at that point, I was able to craft what that looked like. I was able to craft with the work I would do it look like. I was able to plan what I did not want to do and I was able to plan what I really did want to do and that was the big seed in terms of building the next level of a location independent business. 

Now we had time freedom, we have the financial freedom but what that business did not give us was the possibility for location freedom. Location freedom is not just about going on vacation. It is not the main point of it. So many people get caught up with that “I don’t want to work and I will live in the beach.” That’s not what I want. I love working. I love helping. I love creating ideas and thoughts and challenging people to be better at what they’re doing and where they are right now but that didn’t require me to be in one place to work. We had built a business because we were good at it around being required to be in a place to work. I did not realize until that moment how much that held us back from doing so many other things that were more in line with the life that we want to live. 

But it takes things like canceled weddings. It takes things like taking chances and stopping doing the work that is good so you can build the work that is going to be great. And that requires some courage to be able to do that because it’s so easy to just be like, “it’s good enough.” It’s good enough, I can’t complain, I’m happy. It’s easy to say but that’s a hard thing to take and make something really better from it because if we didn’t saw that, we would have continued booking dates the same way we were and we were still be in better shape than we ever been in the past but what we didn’t see with the possibilities beyond that. And once that wedding got canceled, which is a terrible thing all around right? It’s a terrible thing for their relationship. It wasn’t good for our business to lose it but it was actually the best thing that happened to our business because not only did it open up a month but it really allowed us to sit down and over a week, while driving, map out how you build the business that is location independent. That’s we love. We would not have been able to do that fully without that understanding. so, there were obvious growing pains when we decided to end our business, a lot more hasty than other people would’ve done it. But the growth and the learning that came from that and then a year out when it all finally ended and we were able to put our full time and effort into the next stage of the business was really such an incredible leap from one level to the next.

Episode 28- The Lessons Learned From Killing Our Business



All right, so yesterday I talked about why Elizabeth and I shut down our wedding photography business. Why we just ended it instead of just rolling on and keep doing it, just to do it. Keeping things safe and looking back year and a half, nearly two years later, it seems like it was kind of a bold move to do that seem pretty extreme, but in the time it felt right, it felt like this is the time to make a change. And I always worry about if I don’t take action on something, if I don’t go and do it, I’m going to get complacent and I’m going to get comfortable again and I’m going to stick with what I’m doing and I’m really going to regret not taking chances on what I really want to take chances on. But deciding to really just shut down a very lucrative business, a business that had already given us a life of freedom. 

I mean, if you read Freelance To freedom, this is kind of what went on as soon as the book was done being written. So have you read the book and you wonder what happened after that story ended? This is kind of what happened. We decided to end this part of our career with the grand vision of building what we’ve built now and continue to build. But the thing is, there were some upsides from doing it that way and there were some downsides to doing it that way. And this is what this podcast is about, to kind of let you know what the struggles were. We decided to do this, so maybe it could be a warning or it could be a help for when you’re in this position yourself. If you’re in a position where you’re doing something that is profitable but it’s not really your passion anymore, it’s not really something that you want to be doing. 

It’s a crossroads because you struggle because you feel like, I want to be grateful for what I’ve got. I want to be grateful for the income that this is bringing me with the same time. I know there’s something much more for me to do at this point. So I’ve become an advocate more and more of burning the boats because life is just too short to do anything that you don’t want to do. That’s one thing. When you’re 26 years old, you don’t have kids or family. It’s another thing when you have three kids, you’re married and you have a family that depends on your income. And fortunately for me, I have a wife that gets this and stuff has never been a big deal for Elizabeth. So we’ve been in the position where we’ve had money, we’ve been in the position where we haven’t had money, and I can tell you life is much better when you have the money, but there also comes a point where it doesn’t matter as much anymore. 

You know, there’s this, there’s a study that says, after you make more than $75,000 a year, the increase in income does not bring you more happiness, and there really is a lot to that study. So we decided to kill this business without the income to replace it. Yet now we weren’t going into this blind. We had the roadmap set. We had the book that was publishing. We had coaching that we were doing. We had masterminds that we were starting. It just wasn’t anywhere near what we were making with the weddings yet, but the big picture, Ford had so much more potential. I just needed the time and I needed to execute, so I’m going to go into what the negatives were about shutting it down. I’m going to go into what some of the positives were by shutting it down. I’ll start with the negatives and the first thing is I didn’t give us enough time. 

I didn’t give us enough financial in a short period of time to do this the way that we really probably should have done it. When you have the curse of being an all or nothing type of person like I am. When you’re done, a lot of times you’re done and it really could have been a little bit know a lot smoother if I would have laid out a plan that was a little bit more concise in terms of how the money was going to come in to tide us over. Now at the same time, I want to say we had an emergency fund set, we did have income coming in, we had no debt, so we were in a better place to do this. Then maybe some other people might’ve been or that we’ve been in the past. So the risk was a lot less, but still, you know this, when you get to a certain point in a certain income, you kind of get comfortable with that and any drop in that can scare you a little bit because is it going to come back? 

There was no guarantee that that was going to come back. So I put us in a difficult position because the month of my book released, it was the lowest income month that we had had in over five years that month that it released, which is pretty ironic when you’re writing a book about financial freedom. I mean there was a little bit of guilt like who am I to write this? Because at this very moment, as this book is being distributed and we’re traveling across the country, income coming in for this month is not what it used to be. So I certainly didn’t give ourselves a large enough window, a large enough runway to make it feel comfortable. But at the same time, you need to knock buildings down. You need to knock old buildings down that aren’t the future, so you can pave it over and build up the new one that you want to build. 

And that’s what we believed in. It’s the same as, I didn’t really have these feelings back when this happened. I look back and I feel this, I look back and I wrote, Ooh, that was kinda crazy that we did this. But when we’re doing it, it didn’t feel that bad. So if I were smarter and I was to do it again, I definitely would have created some type of a bridge income, something to make it a little bit more comfortable during those down months of the transition. So that was the downside. But here’s the upside of doing it and taking bold action. It forced us into action. It forced us to make this work because it’s happening to me in the past that when the money comes in and you know it’s there steady, you can really lose the drive for putting the work in, putting the grind, working for making the next thing work. 

You can kind of get complacent, you can take it easy and you’d be like, yeah, we’ll get there, but everything’s going good over here. So I’ll get there when I get there and it lets fear creep into what the next thing is because you’re losing something comfortable. And we didn’t have anything comfortable to lose because we had already lost it. And once we had lost it and we knew we weren’t going back because we very easily could have said, all right, let’s take some of these wedding inquiries that are coming in. We were still getting them. We were just turning them down while not producing the income. It was kinda crazy to think about, but we knew that every inquiry that we took at that point was going to take us off focus to where we really wanted us to go and it wasn’t about the money, it was about the freedom. 

It was about the future and that was the second good thing that came from it. I got to spend all my work time. I got to spend all of my work thoughts, all of my energy in that realm towards what we’re building. I wasn’t looking over my shoulder. I looking back, I wasn’t having regrets. I was completely and utterly focused on growing this next wave of the business. Now when you burn the boats, you are forced to do that. That’s why I am advocate for so many people that are not happy with their jobs to leave. And I get pushed back on that because it seems really bold. But when you use your income to pay off your debt, when you force your mindset into an abundance and not a scarcity mindset, if you accept no less than just doing what it is that you want to do that can help the right people, you have no choice but to make that work. 

There is no fallback plan because often when there’s a fallback plan, you fall back and I wasn’t going to allow that to happen. And the third thing that killing our business in such a dramatic fashion did for me is it forced me to realize what I really wanted to do. And when the money wasn’t flowing in and it was no longer about the money, I was forced to look there and say, where do I want to go with my life? I get to choose right now. I’m no longer handcuffed to a certain thing because we had to make this money. I can now look and say, what is it exactly that I want to do and let’s go build that thing and let’s not worry about the past as a sunk cost. The past. It doesn’t matter anymore. It’s not what we want to do. 

It’s not what we want to go. So why would we spend any more time doing that just for money. And for those of you that are saying, oh, but you got to pay the bills, you don’t understand there’s bills, there’s expenses, kids are expensive. I want you to get to the point where that’s not a problem. I want you to get to a point where financially you’ve put yourself in a position or you can make decisions that aren’t based on money anymore. Because when you can do that, you’ll realize so many of the decisions that you’re making are based only on money. And if money didn’t matter, you wouldn’t do that work. You wouldn’t go to that job. You wouldn’t get up and get in the car at six 30 or get on that train or deal with that boss if it wasn’t for money. 

So get your money together, pay attention to it, pay off your debt, build an emergency fund, start the side business while you don’t need it. Because when you finally had enough and you could be like, I’m ready to go. And there’s no more excuses. So there were some downsides to doing this. There were some slight hairy ties that we have to deal with, but for the most part, three to one ratio, doing it abruptly and doing it the way we did it actually was a big benefit and not a negative, but to do it and to do it right, it required vision. It required focus, and it required tenacity. And if you want to hear the story behind all this, you could download the audio book for freelance to freedom for free from our website, total life freedom. That comm slash f two F book. It’s there for free for you to pick up and download. And I’ll be back with you tomorrow with a story about how losing one assignment, one job gained us a month of freedom. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.