Why after 20 years in Affiliate Marketing are you starting a blog or a personal brand?
Starting with my “Why”
If you want a great book to really change the way you approach things, take a look at Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why. This helped me really evaluate what gets me up every morning to do this “hustle” and “grind” as an entrepreneur of 7 different companies after 20 years of doing it. I found out that my God-given purpose is to help others who can’t fully help themselves, and to add value in the lives of Clients, employees, and friends and family. I also discovered upon further reflection, that I am only driven to help those that truly get out of their own way that are ready to do the work that it takes to help themselves. I don’t provide handouts, and I don’t offer free advice. My advice comes with an implied homework that the person I’m in that level of relationship must do for us to move to the next level. If the person or employee I’m working with isn’t motivated to put in the work, then I too lose interest and move onto those that will.
Continuing on to my “How”. How do I do all of this?
Without your health, you cannot get to your goal. If you do get to your goal and you still haven’t taken care of your health, you will quickly fade and won’t be able to enjoy that goal.
A few years ago, I was completely unhealthy. I was over weight by too many pounds, and I had allowed my iron levels in my body to go to almost nothing and had to have a blood infusion. During my journey, I also sustained a traumatic brain injury from slipping on ice and hitting my head, and it took months to speak again and over a year to be able to go through a day without throwing up. In addition to that, I got in a skiing accident tearing both ACLs and Meniscus, undergoing double knee surgery. I was in a wheelchair for a whole summer.
At this rock bottom health point, I realized that it didn’t matter how hard I worked or how hard I focused on the other areas of my family, I was going to need to make health a priority as part of my “why.” Today, I’m one of the healthiest places I’ve been in my lifetime. I implemented a “move” policy where I work out or do physical therapy at least 30 minutes per day, I do yoga when I can, and I am following a Keto-based diet. As of this post I’ve lost 32 lbs and still dropping!
Many say they will work out when this or that happens, or they will change their diet when they aren’t so stressed, but when you are stressed is EXACTLY when you should be working out and eating right. It helps you have the reserves to attack your “Why.”
“I want to make a million dollars” says every Entrepreneur. I realistically looked at it and I know to retire and to be able to give back at the rate I want to give back, I probably need to earn personally $10 million in net worth. If that sounds high, that’s ok, it’s my goal not yours. The point here is that you should stretch and reach and be realistic with yourself. What will it take for you to really achieve your “Why.”? You don’t have to say it out loud, and you don’t have to run it by anyone, just write it down.
We often just survive with our finances, and we live on a day to day cash basis. Planning your personal finances is just as important as planning your business finances when trying to achieve your “Why.” The amount of stress you feel when you don’t have money or don’t know how to pay a bill will absolutely consume you. I carefully considered the amount of cash I had on hand when I started SmarterChaos, and how long I could go before I could pay myself. I would also look at my assets and come to grips with the fact I may be selling them off if things didn’t go well. This gave me a ramp time that I could build the company without having the day to day stress of figuring out where money was going to come from. Many of you may want to start your company as a side-hustle or you may have to work other jobs to make it happen. The quickest way to self destruction is ignoring your finances. The second quickest way to self-destruction is to rely only on credit cards. If you are running up credit cards without ANY plan to pay them back, you are on the highway to bankruptcy. There is fat to little chance you are going to pull out a Hail Mary and just pay them off in the future. That doesn’t mean credit is bad, but credit is bad if you have no plans on how you will pay it off in the future.
Buy some personal finance software like Quicken, and map out your expected income, your expenses, and stay on that budget. Find innovative ways to earn money like consulting or helping others in their businesses and getting paid for it. At the top of each month, write out your goals for the next month, the next quarter, and the year. Plan 2-5 years in the future. I would write down the income that I wanted to earn, and each year I would surpass it.
This is an area many don’t talk about in business but it is very important. The internal drive that I have comes from a higher power. I am a Christian, plain and simple. You may be something else. It doesn’t matter the religion, the theology, or the drive. The point is that you really have to get in touch with that spirit and that higher being that you feel drives you. In my life God plays a part in my life to help me make the ethical decisions, as well as to give me strength and power to move forward. Fear can be crippling and the dark nights can be very dark during this journey. To properly execute your “Why” you should explore your spiritual side. For me, that is going to church every week, going on church retreats, participating in Bible studies, and volunteering on missions.
Another part of spiritual growth is meditation and being present. Prior to this Entrepreneurial journey I thought mediation and the power of being present was all bologna. I would make fun of people that thought they could somehow center themselves. Since I’ve ridden such a rocky road to get to where I am, I downloaded some meditation apps like HeadSpace, then I set aside 15 minutes a day when I wake up to focus and meditate. Many CEOs have told me about the positive benefits of meditating, and I agree with them. Meditation gives you a sense of quiet and focus on your “Why” and let’s you better execute your “How” and “What.”
“Once you stop learning, you start dying.” – Albert Einstein
Growth and purpose takes learning to fuel it. Most entrepreneurs and CEOs read regularly. I personally break reading into several categories. I read for industry knowledge, personal growth, and for fun.
In any industry, especially digital marketing, the cutting edge technology and the techniques change all the time. In order to stay ahead of these trends, I find myself always having to read every week and study new methods. You can join industry newsletters, read industry websites, or participate in industry conferences.
For personal growth, I read spiritual books, management books, and I try to learn more about emotional intelligence. I have learned that in order to continually grow I must keep reframing the world around me with different personal growth models. I take what I can use from those models, and I leave what doesn’t make sense in my life. I read a passage from the Bible every night, and I reflect how it fits into my purpose and my life.
You have to escape once in a while, and there is no better way to give your brain a vacation than to take it to another world in a book for fun. Don’t forget to read for fun! This is one of the hardest things for me to remember because I do consume so many management and industry books, that I don’t want to take the time to read fiction. It’s important, and its a good exercise to increase the imagination.
There is an entire discussion that could be had here on structuring your business to achieve your “Why.” That would be another post entirely. My purpose for putting it here is that you should realize that your Business is one of the main vehicles by which you can achieve your dreams. If you realize this, it becomes exciting! Your business is one of the most valuable assets that you have and that you can nurture and grow to achieve your dreams. Remember that people that work for you do not have the same dream you have, so you have to structure the business to achieve your goals but also to achieve each person’s goals that works for you.
Plan regularly. Every month just like my financial plan, I write down goals for the business and major tasks that would help me get closer to that financial goal in the business. If you write down 5 things each month that are deals or projects that you could accomplish that would earn you what you are looking to earn, then you will always be stretching and getting closer and closer to the financial goals we talked about earlier.
Often I hear Entrepreneurs, even those close to me, say “I don’t have time or money to travel.” My response to this is that everyone should find a way to take a vacation and get outside of your geography. Save for it, plan for it, make it a mandatory expenditure. Too much concentration on the business without getting outside of your head, outside the office walls, or even outside the city limits will absolutely drive you nuts and burn you out. When you are burned out, you can’t achieve your “Why.”
Write down your goals for travel. Where are all the places you’ve dreamed of traveling? Think exotic lands and exciting trips! Nothing is too silly or crazy. We have dreams to stay in an ice hotel in Sweden, to travel to the Galapagos and swim with sea turtles, or to heli-ski in the mountains of Alaska. Our family has taken amazing trips to Hong Kong, England, France, Vancouver, and all around the US. Nothing is off limits except dangerous destinations, and we discuss regularly the next places we are going. It gives the family a chance to dream together, and it lets us realize the entire family’s dreams. Remember, the family has to be part of your dreams and experience since they are there to help you achieve your “Why.” A trip once a Quarter will re-energize your family and yourself, even if it is a camp out in a field outside your town, or just a road trip to grandma’s. Do not fool yourself into thinking “we will travel when……something happens.”
Know Your Why, Dig Into Your How, Get to your What
At the end of the day if you start with your Why, as I have done, the rest falls in line nicely and everything will drive towards your life’s purpose. If you live each day on purpose, focused on that “Why” then you will realize you are happier and healthier. It’s taken me 20 years to get to this place, but I plan on spending the next 20 years focused on my “Why” and realizing all of my dreams. I know that focusing on the Why, leads to me planning and digging into the How, which then gets me to the What. I know you can too and I’m here if you need to bounce anything off me, understanding you have to put in the work!
ABOUT the Chief of Chaos: Matt Frary is a Digital Marketing Entrepreneur who started in affiliate marketing at eBags.com in Denver, CO in 1999. He has since built one of the top CPA Networks called ROI Rocket and built some of the most iconic companies in customer acquisition to include SmarterChaos, She Is Media, Elite Media Partners, and Webfluential US. Matt is a Graduate from The University of Colorado in Marketing and International Business, and earned an MBA from Thunderbird the School of Global Management in Phoenix Arizona. Recently Matt has purchased affiliate sites, is helping mentor startups and is driving innovation in influencer and multi-channel attribution. Matt spends time in Colorado skiing, jeeping, and building a life for his family. Matt is available for speaking and panels at conferences or events.