God Broke My Heart In Peru, For Good: PART 1

God Broke My Heart In Peru, For Good: PART 1

In the past, I haven’t been a particularly religious person, but God got to me.  My heart was broken in a million pieces, ready to heal stronger for the poor and the orphans.  I looked out over the city of Lima on the outskirts in the slums, and I wept.  I was wholeheartedly overcome with emotion as the vastness of the need and the human suffering penetrated every fiber of my being.  It was clear that I needed to see this, and I need to change my life to start to think about the legacy that I can leave behind in just my actions and thoughts alone before I leave this earth.  It started as a mission for us to come to Peru to change lives and change eternities, and it was already starting as a mission to change us, to change me and my entire ideology on life and business.
The original vision 14 or 15 years ago when I bought that Frommer’s Peru Travel Guide that has been sitting on my shelf in my office, collecting dust, was to check off our bucket list item and see Machu Picchu.  I had traveled the world from Japan to Russia, from England to Finland, and beyond and always wanting to check off that ‘bucket list.’   This was the original motivation, but little did I know it was much, much bigger than that.  God had called our family to serve, and to give back.
My wife and 2 kids and I had been discussing going on a mission trip, and we looked into different trips our church offered.  It’s funny sometimes how God works.  One night, while discussing our desire to see Peru and do mission trips, we
 received a text from our good friends.  They asked us if we would ever think of joining them in Peru to help them on their family’s mission to help the orphans and poor there.  It was exactly at the moment we were discussing it!  My wife and I looked at each other in complete amazement and disbelief. This was more than a sign from the Universe, it was a calling from God.  We were in and responded immediately to that calling.  Of COURSE we were in.  Do we have time?  Nope.  Do we know how we are going to fund it?  Nope.  But we knew we needed to go.
casa de luz, lost children of peru, giving back to peru

The Casa De Luz building stands out as a beacon in the slums amongst the darkness.

We met several times ahead of traveling to Peru, and even though our guide and friend to Peru was extremely prepared because she had done this many times, the gravity and the seriousness of what we were doing had not really sunk in for me.  We made plans, we raised money, and we got the kids and our family excited to go down to Peru.  Nothing at all could have prepared me for just showing up, and for what I saw when we got there.  That’s it, we just had to “show up” to truly experience this.
Lima is just a short 6 hour plane flight from Houston and that’s not too far from Denver.  The plane trip was easy, and our excitement grew every mile closer.  We arrived at night into Lima and went straight to Mira Flores, which is the best part of Lima.  It is where all the tourists go, and our hotel was very high standards.  We went to bed, awaiting our travel to the “slums” of Peru in the morning.
We awoke, grabbed breakfast, and set out for our destination, Casa De Luz.  Casa De Luz is a youth center created by a Missionary Larry Goode with the sole purpose to help kids.  Larry has a very deep and inspiring backstory, and we’ll interview him later for another series.  In short, Larry was inspired 15 years earlier to leave his very successful business in Alaska, to adopt 2 orphans that he ran into during his trip to Peru, and then come back and build this center after selling everything he had.
Casa De Luz is truly a light in the darkness.  You can even see from the pictures that I took that it stands out visually from the rest of the landscape, but spiritually and in function it does as well.  We left the safety and cleanliness of Mira Flores, and we trekked in Larry’s van across town more than 30 minutes.  As we got closer to the center, the cityscape got dirtier, we saw more trash, Larry asked us to lock our doors, and we pressed on.  I looked at the local people in the streets going about their daily business, and the picture just got more and more bleak.  I looked up to the mountains, and shack upon shack was piled on top of each other with essentially squatters seeking out an existence in the harsh landscape on mud roads with wooden and tin shacks.  But suddenly, we arrived at Casa De Luz, a bright brick building and like a beacon, we arrived to excited, happy, and very beautiful kids ready to welcome us.
My kids, 8 and 11, were immediately welcomed by hundreds of these kids by grabbing their hands, holding them, dancing with them, playing games with them, and trying to talk in broken Spanish and English.  We took a quick tour of the place, led upstairs to the rooftop.  This is where I stepped off to the side, and I just let it go.  I wept.  I couldn’t believe the way we had been called here to help by God, and the kindness and openness with which we were received.  I saw the face of those kids and the face of our kids, and I realized that we are all the same.  We are all one circumstance or so away from each other.  We are no different, and we are so fortunate in our own lives, and that comes with such a responsibility.
After I composed myself, we went downstairs and the games and the celebrations began.  We danced, we laughed, we played games, and we just loved on those kids.  We got to prepare beautiful meals and serve the kids.  We became servants, in the service of the Lord and just soaked up every minute of serving those little kids and enjoying them.  I can never explain the joy and love we felt, but we felt it and it shattered our hearts and made them stronger at the same time.
To better explain Casa De Luz, I’ll just use text from their site to paint the picture of what they do and why they do it.
Taken from their website directly, they best explain their mission here:
CASA DE LUZ AND THE LOST CHILDREN OF PERU VISION 
Our vision is to positively impact single mothers, their children and orphans of Peru in order to let them know that Jesus is the One who saves, the One who loves, and the One who provides. We are merely helping serve where He has called us to serve.
MISSION 
Our mission is to love as many children as possible, while making Jesus famous along the way.  Approximately 35% of Peruvians live in poverty, and are unable to care for themselves or their children. This leaves thousands of kids starved for love, affection, and basic needs.
Lost Children of Peru Giving Back With Our Kids

Kids play even though they don’t speak the same language

VALUES
James 1:27 (ESV)
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”
1 John 3:18 (NIV)
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
Romans 12:12 (NIV)
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Psalm 46:1 (NIV) 
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
Larry, the Missionary running the show introduced us to the family for which we were going to build a new house.  It was a beautiful older couple named Gregoria and Leonidas.  The conditions that they were living in were absolutely unbelievable.  The floors were mud and dirt, flies and insects coated the walls and flew around us, and the ceilings leaked as though they were not there at all.  It was a crude shack of lean-to material that they could find.  They said they were fortunate just to have that spot on the side of the mountain in the slums of Peru.  They had been squatting there for a very long time, and their sons had left them there with no one to help them.
We toured their “home” and spoke to them for a while, talking about how they survive.  In order to survive, they cut hair bands out of discarded automobile tires, and they have to cut 100 of them to make $0.80 which could take them most of the day.  Sometimes they won’t even get paid that small amount for months.  To eat, they serve in the kitchen of Casa De Luz, hoping to get the scraps left over by the kids from the meals they help prepare.  If there are scraps left over, they eat and bring it home for meals.  They feel blessed to have Casa De Luz so close to help them.
Our kids let the family know that we had raised $2500 that would go towards rebuilding their house with concrete floors, brick walls, windows, a roof, and a locked door.  For this very small 12’x12′ home (smaller than most of our bedrooms) they were grateful.  They said that they “could never repay us” and that it was the blessing of their life.  Think about that, $2500 absolutely changed their life in a way that they could never ever imagine.  It shook me to my core to realize that this could give them a home, something they have never had and they were so thankful!  It makes me revaluate my life, what I hold dear, and what I should be thankful for.
WATCH our video here of Leonidas and Gregorio and their story.  It is SO powerful.

Pareja H from Lost Children Of Peru on Vimeo.

We left the family, promising to track their progress, and went on to speak with another woman neighbor nearby who lived in a similar situation with her kids.  She slept outside of the house that was being built for her family so that her kids could be protected from the sun, the heat, the cold, and the danger that lurks in the slums from predator people.  She said that she was blessed to have the house for her kids to be safe, and that as a single mother she could withstand the dangers and the elements because she was just thankful her kids were safe.  My wife Hunter translated in Spanish, and we thought she was the MOST remarkable woman and mom we have ever come across.  Her strength radiated from her, even in this place where she had nothing, she had everything.  She had her faith, her kids, their safety, and sometimes meals.
We returned to Casa De Luz and the rest of the day we spent time brainstorming how we could help.  We lost track of time playing with the kids.  We rented a soccer field, brought the kids down to play games, and even though we didn’t speak each other’s languages we communicated through laughter, fun, and a moment where the world around us was suspended in time.  We did team building activities, played Soccer, heard about the Word of God, and we prayed.  The night fell away and we eventually had to leave to go back to our hotel, but we promised that we would never forget and that we would work to help the many that could not help themselves.
In order to hear more about our trip after visiting Lima, stay tuned for the next Blog as we traveled to the Elim Orphanage in Cusco in the Mountain Region, not far from the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.  PART 2 of our trip is coming soon.
If you would like to follow Casa De Luz, you can do so here on FACEBOOK 
PLEASE GIVE HERE if you feel moved to do so.  100% OF YOUR DONATION GOES TO THE KIDS IN PERU.  The organization Lost Children of Peru does not take ANYTHING from your donation.
GOD BLESS
Chief of Chaos, Matt
COLORADO COMPANIES ARRIVE IN BRITAIN TO FIND OPPORTUNITY AND INNOVATION

COLORADO COMPANIES ARRIVE IN BRITAIN TO FIND OPPORTUNITY AND INNOVATION

This week I was fortunate enough to have a front row seat to help lead a ground-breaking inaugural outreach to develop an exchange of innovation between Denver and London and the greater UK. The most exciting aspect of this partnership is the cooperation between the public and private sector as we forged new relationships and identified new opportunities. The Denver Economic Development and Opportunity office and The UK Department for International Trade, along with London and Partners and the UK Foreign Trade office hosted 5 innovative Tech Entrepreneurs this week in and around London Tech Week Events. The UK welcomed us with open arms and more than one cup of coffee as we discussed political climate, economic development opportunities, and in short, how we could link arms together to create a seamless flow of business between the heartland of America and the gateway to Europe.

Our Colorado Entrepreneur Delegates consisted of Tech Focused companies that already lead our economy. This includes myself, Matt Frary, Chief of Chaos at SmarterChaos, (a digital marketing and customer acquisition solutions provider). It also includes Andrea Pearson, CMO of Dispatch Health an (on demand urgent care platform), Shail Mehta, CEO/Founder of The Last Gameboard (a physical and virtual gaming platform), Charles Von Thun, Chairman of RemoteLock, (an access control as a Service, focused in the vacation rental, retail and short term rental market) and Jon Nordmark, Founder and CEO of Iterate.ai (an end to end innovation workflow platform).

The 4 key takeaways our Delegation received were:

1.  Companies and Government Departments that wouldn’t normally interact can in fact create new and interesting partnerships to build unforeseen opportunities. We had members of Parliament such as Dr. Liam Fox, the UK Secretary of State for International Trade spoke directly to our group of start-up Entrepreneurs inspiring us one on one to think differently about how to approach issues and to work directly with the UK to bring our certain brand of collaboration and innovation to London.

2.  Brexit is just a distraction for the tech sector and startups that has minimal concern for our companies as we break down the actual borders and create a virtual borderless eco-system. The Department for International Trade has done a wonderful job of ensuring that disruption will be minimal and that we can accelerate past Brexit into a much more blue ocean opportunity.

3.  There are unexpected and very creative solutions for real problems that exist in the tech sector in Britain. We expected before we came on this Delegation Trip to London Tech week that there are great companies, but we have confirmed that such creative companies exist in the London and UK technology scene that are ready to activate and get to work to solve global challenges together. We knew that there must be innovative solutions out there, but to create this bridge between our countries has now created a super-highway of ideas to flow.

4.  Not only did we find conversations interesting, but we have been able to activate real sales discussions and opportunities in real time before we even go home. There were multiple occasions that during our meetings and sessions that several of the Entrepreneurs in the group made deals or started to make deals right during the session. This was an opportunity to do actual business, rather than just talking about it.

Frannie Matthews, CEO of Colorado Technology Association says, “Some of the most productive moments were unexpected. We were able to get a group of Entrepreneurs and Private Sector folks in the room together and like a bunch of fireflies, the ideas sparked and lit the way for actual opportunities to ignite.”

Adding to that, Tim Martinez, Global Business Development Manager at Denver Economic Development and Opportunity expressed, “Denver and London are so much more parallel in our values and opportunities than other markets, which raises our profiles as cities to compete arm-in-arm in a global technology eco-system where together we can punch above our weight class and capture true value.”

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Giving Back: Our Mission to Help Those Less Fortunate #givefirst

Giving Back: Our Mission to Help Those Less Fortunate #givefirst

Often as we grind and “hustle” our way through building our businesses, we start to lose a part of ourselves. At least, that’s how it’s been for me over the last 20 years. We look at chasing the almighty dollar almost like a religion, and we start to feel more and more empty inside. I’ve been reflecting and focusing on this over the last few years, and I have decided to do something about it. First, I took some time to build a spiritual relationship with God, and with myself and my family. Second, I’ve looked at those around me to whom I can make an impact. I’d like your help and we can grow together! Would you be willing to help leave a legacy in this world with me? Can we all start looking both inward and outward to improve the world around us? #givefirst

Let’s start chipping away at these large problems together. Problems like hunger, the environment, equality, loneliness, obesity, homelessness, and much more are begging for people to make a difference every single day. We can’t tackle them all at once, and we can’t even tackle one of them all at once. What we can do, is try every day to make a small difference, which leads to many of us making small differences everyday, which then leads to many of us making a big difference over time. I feel strongly that we are called to serve, and for those legacy-minded individuals, which is better……a legacy of giving and making an impact, or fast cars and fancy homes? I’d prefer the first and I hope you will join me.

We would like to connect you with our family, our family mission, and an opportunity coming up next month for you and our family. I rarely ask for anything, but I feel strongly about our upcoming family mission. We have prayed hard to find ways to make an impact and a legacy in this world, and we believe this is the start of something amazing. Our family mission most recently has been to find more ways to give back. We go with #givefirst in our family, and we feel we have the perfect opportunity coming up.

We are very excited to head to Peru later next month where we will be working with a community center in Lima and an orphanage in Cusco to help underprivileged children. Among other things, we think this will be a great way to show our kids first-hand the value of giving to the less fortunate and how they can make a direct impact on people’s lives. We feel that our kids’ focus on Spanish should make their interactions with Peruvian kids even more meaningful and they are really excited to help.

For the trip, we are joining our dear friends the Unruhs and their kids, we are blessed everyday to know them. The Unruhs have partnered both with the Elim Orphanage in Cusco as well as the Lost Children of Peru community center in Lima, so we’re excited to piggy-back off of their history and prior experiences in Peru. Among other things, our goal is to bring supplies to the children at both locations.

Our family is not asking for anything for ourselves as we just feel blessed to be able to go down and help. However, as part of this effort, we are asking if you are interested to donate some funds to help cover some portion of the estimated $3500 to cover building 1 house, and then we are looking to raise $100,000 to help re-build the Girl’s Home in Elim. We are also using a portion of the donation for supplies to paint and repair sinks in the existing girl’s home.

If you can’t provide a monetary donation, we are also collecting phones and laptops for the school and the girl’s home as well. Please drop those with me, or send them to us and we will take them down to Peru with us.

Please do not feel obligated to contribute, but, if this is of interest, you can donate by clicking on this LINK: and receive a tax deduction. Alternatively you can donate with cash or check, with checks being made out to ‘Come Unto Me’. If you can make a corporate donation, please and THANK YOU!

Again, there is no pressure, but any contributions will be very much appreciated and should go a long way.

May we all be blessed in this world, may we create prosperity for ourselves and others, and may we always think about what we can #givefirst and build the better world that we want to see in our lifetime, and for our kids.

Cheers, and God Bless!

The Frarys

@chiefofchaos

ENTREPRENEUR INSIGHT: Want to know my “Why?

ENTREPRENEUR INSIGHT: Want to know my “Why?

Why after 20 years in Affiliate Marketing are you starting a blog or a personal brand?

20 years of “grinding” and “hustling.”  20 years of working in Affiliate Marketing.  The question is, “Why am I still doing this after so many years?”  Why would I put up a website about myself and my thoughts on the industry?  Ego?  Financial Gain?  No.  I do this for the passion and love of giving first, and to make things happen for people that they wouldn’t have made happen otherwise.  Put simply, I have the resources and happiness to last me a lifetime.  I’m most concerned about the industry as a whole and helping others right now.  If my business grows as a result, or if I come into more, that’s ok but it is NOT my primary focus.  I’m looking to truly change the world, to change the industry I’m in, and to change the lives of those around me.
There are so many “Gurus” out there you can follow that will tell you what to do and profit from you buying their books or enter into their courses.  You would have to question their motive as they ask for your credit card to make more money, to tell others how they made money.  That is NOT my motive.  I absolutely ask for nothing except enthusiasm and surrounding myself with like-minded people that want to engage in digital marketing and entrepreneurship to make a better situation for themselves or their companies. #givefirst

 

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.

It is important to learn these types of things about yourself and it was important for me to learn it about myself.  Why do so many business relationships or personal relationships drop off so quickly for me?  I have learned that it is because we are in an exchange of time, knowledge and resources, and when I “give first” and the receiver doesn’t give their time and energy equally, I lose interest.  That’s ok, now I know.  If the person I’m working with gives a damn about themselves, their situation, and understands none of this happens without time and energy, then we are a good fit to move forward and work together.

 

Continuing on to my “How”.  How do I do all of this?

Once I discovered the “Why” recently, I moved onto Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle and the next layer was to evaluate my “how.” The good news is I have fumbled my way to a pretty good answer for my “How.”  I have built 7 companies sub-consciously to support my “why” that I hadn’t realized yet, perfectly supporting the overall “why.”  The 7 companies I will not all layout here because this is not a self-promotion piece.  Instead, I can tell you that they all help companies online acquire users and new customers more effectively and efficiently than they could do for themselves.  There, I did it right?  I built out companies sub-consciously and effectively to achieve the “Why.”  Nope.  We are not done.  Building companies around this is not enough.  That is only part of the “how.”
To really truly get to my “how” I could support the “why” I have to go deeper.  I have to go deeper within myself to really achieve the “Why.”
I learned that upon further inspection of my life, I was finding success building these companies, but I was letting myself down.  In order to achieve your “why” in life you really have to see “how” you are going to do that in your own life.  I took a look at several areas of my life, and much like in business I had to orient those things to my “why.”
I use a journal and I write down all aspects of my “how.”  The sub-categories or headings may be different for you?  The point is that you have to find in your life what really drives the “why”.  This is called your “how.”
These aspects in my life are:

1. Family

This is the #1 most important “how” I am able to do everything in my life.  My core family is THE most important aspect of my life.  When this is not in alignment or they are not happy, I cannot move on to the other areas of my life.  It’s a fact that everything else will fall out of balance in my life.  Many say this, many realize this, but not many practice this.  We came up with a mission as a family to always “leave a legacy of giving, kindness and compassion and to build strong kids and legacy-minded futures” and we try to practice this in all we do.  We also set aside time and resources to achieve this mission, and we re-align when we aren’t on the right trajectory as a family.    Our family doesn’t let other family members have a negative impact on our life, and we pause from any activities that perpetuate that or walk away from situations where it doesn’t follow our family mission.  Write down your family goals.  Build a family mission, and stick to it.  Meet regularly with your family to see if you are on track to achieve those goals or if you are on mission.  Take time for your family, and be present.  

2. Health

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.”

 

3. Financial

“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.  

 

4. Spiritual

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.”

 

5. Learning/Growth

 “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.  

 

6. Business

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.

 

7. Travel

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.

 

 

 

Forbes: Key Factors In Identifying Your Brand’s Most Effective Influencers

Forbes: Key Factors In Identifying Your Brand’s Most Effective Influencers

Influencer marketing has become a trendy marketing tactic that bridges together brands and consumers by engaging the most influential people in specific industries. It isn’t a new trend, though. In China, key opinion leaders are essential to most brands’ marketing strategies. And in the U.S., many leading brands either have or are beginning to create influencer marketing plans. It’s not a trend that’s going away, so marketers need to pay attention to it.

Finding the best influencers for your brand is not easy. In a lot of ways, it’s similar to picking a sports team. You can spend a huge amount of money on star players for your team, but that approach means you could miss someone who can consistently deliver but doesn’t have that same kind of swagger. Brands are oftentimes choosing those influencers with the most followers or bravado, but not those who make an impact or have the actual reach you need.

At SmarterChaos, we have managed influencer campaigns for various major brands. We choose influencers based on their real engagement versus fake paid followers, and on relevant content, their constant engagement with their audience, their pricing and their authenticity with brands. We also identify them based on demographics, personalities, platforms they are strong on and much more.

We go through a rigorous process to select people who are not only influential, but who are the most influential for the particular goals a brand has. We always want to make sure the influencer is a good match for our brand’s audience and that our brand will resonate with the influencer’s audience.

There are a lot of questions you can ask yourself to try to figure this out.

Does the influencer match your brand personality? Is their content a good fit for the voice and tone of your brand? Does their audience actively engage in their content (like, comment, share)? And do the demographics match up — not only the general demographics but the demographics of the people who are actually engaging with the posts?

Here’s an example: If you have a jewelry brand that wants to reach women over 30, an influencer in the general sense of the word could be a celebrity who has millions of female followers over the age of 30. But a better influencer could be someone who has only thousands of female followers in that age range, but they regularly buy jewelry and comment about the jewelry they buy.

There’s a difference between those two pools. One is broad and far-reaching, and the other is targeted but reaches the exact right audience. We look for the targeted influencers, the ones we know will convert.

Measuring a person’s influence is a tough, subjective task.

There are so many things that can be looked at, and they can be sliced a number of ways. How much should you care about their overall number of followers versus their history with brands and their content or tone? Is their personality the most important thing, or are their engagement numbers the top metric to consider?

As a brand, you have to choose what works best for you. Different industries, of course, call for different influencers. Some platforms are better than others. For instance, Instagram is often better for fashion because of the pictures, and we see that Facebook might be better for some “mom” brands.

In addition, we measure the success of a campaign on the reach of the influencer’s message, the engagement and the overall sales produced — the sales that we can track as originating from the influencer.

Back to the sports analogy. Imagine you’re drafting your best possible baseball team. Pulling in the flashy celebs will be pricey, and they might not live up to the hype. The opportunity with influencer marketing is to find the rookies or the under-recognized stars who get the crowds going and are consistent with their performance, game after game.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1. Look at the influencer’s past. Do they write in a way that works for your brand? Are they brand-friendly? Do their posts seem to fit with your brand standards?

2. Consider your industry. Influencer marketing can work for just about any industry, but it has to be viewed through different lenses. The influencer strategies that work for a shoe company won’t be the same ones that work for an insurance company.

3. Measure everything. One of the biggest mistakes people make is starting a campaign without a clear measurement plan in place. Be sure that you’re tracking every single click, and that you’re matching those clicks to your return on investment (ROI) so you wind up with a solid picture of how effective your influencer marketing is.

Don’t get so caught up in the hype of influencer marketing that you forget to make sure all the boxes are checked. So slow down, make sure you’re choosing the right influencers and set up a clear measurement plan. Engage the influencers who are right for your brand. Empower them to represent the brand to their followers. And make the most of this lucrative new marketing channel.

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?