The 5-Part Millionaire Success Formula is a series of posts about my entrepreneurial journey and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. I hope you get some insights from these series of posts that will help you in your own journey.
Today we’ll focus on the power of your life story (through retelling a version of mine).
What got me thinking about this topic was this week’s recognition as a
And it got me thinking about this writing and entrepreneurial journey I’ve been on.
So today I thought I’d walk through some of the steps that have made this happen so you can see what happens behind the scenes.
Writing has never been something I’ve always wanted to do. There are plenty of writers out there who love to write. They are the ones who want to be published and are writing the next best fiction novel.
That’s not me.
Writing was more a way to express myself and the thoughts I want to share. Growing up (and still to this day) I’ve always enjoyed sharing my two cents about nearly any topic. A good discussion (or argument…depending on your perspective) was my go to method of communication. Sometimes it annoyed and frustrated people. But it was how I ended up constantly learning and growing. I needed to experience something and talk it through to really understand a concept. I had this physicality (had to move) to my thinking. I loved playing off other ideas. Whether from books or other people. Brainstorming (talking things through with myself or others) was my go to method of figuring things out.
My first real job was a paper route.
My first route was for the Tri Valley Herald. A daily newspaper that I delivered in my neighborhood. I had to get up at 5:30 every morning to deliver the paper. At that early age (I think I was in my early teens) that was just too early to wake up.
So I replaced that route with a new one – the Tri Valley News. This was the free-ish paper that was by the same company but delivered 3 days a week. And customers could pay for the paper, but it was optional.
In that job I learned to run a small business as a contractor.
I’d buy the papers, put in the inserts (ads) and deliver them. Then once a month I’d go collect. My sales pitch was weak. Basically stated, “I’m here to collect for the Tri Valley News”. Told them the price. Sometimes they’d pay straight away. Others would say no. And the third category asked, “Did I order that?” I would tell them, “No, it is a voluntary paper.” Some would pay me – some would not. The ones who paid me without asking if they subscribed would sometimes pay because they thought it was the “Herald” that they did pay for. At the time we’d deliver to people who got the Herald too. Later they excluded those people from my route.
That exposure was my first the writing business, subscriptions, and entrepreneurship.
I remember my favorite part was one of the year end events the newspaper company held for the “paperboys”. You got tickets for the number of papers you sold and could get prizes based on your performance. I think I got a Swiss Army Knife as one of my prizes. Which was pretty cool for a kid.
Intro to Writing.
My next experience with writing was 11th grade in school.
It was the first year computerized scheduling of classes was instituted.
I was a computer nerd, loved my computer classes. But this thing sucked.
I was trying to get into college. So classes that met my college requirements were important. But even though I gave my selections in advance, I did not get the courses I wanted or needed.
So instead of my college prep English courses, I got “Journalism” and “Mystery”.
It is funny though. Those two courses were very helpful later in life.
In Journalism I liked to do the editing. I was analytical so that was up my alley. I didn’t like the reporter piece since I was pretty introverted and not someone who like to ask people questions.
I did learn about the “Inverted Pyramid”. Putting the most important information first and being able to cut an article to make it whatever length you needed without losing the essence of the story.
In Mystery I was exposed to some great writers. I remember Edgar Allen Poe’s, “The Telltale Heart”. And the teacher made that story come alive with her reading of it.
After graduating from Dublin High School I went off to Cal State Hayward. It was a local college that allowed me to stay at home and also work in a restaurant to pay for my part of college.
In that first year I took the entry level writing course, a undergraduate requirement. That was a shock to my system.
Every single writing assignment I got between a C and an F on and had to rewrite.
I had been an “A” writer in high school. How could I suck so badly?
What I found out was I was writing the standard boring 5 paragraph essay version I’d learned in high school. And to be honest, in my school there were not a lot of “A” students. So my work probably looked like “A” work by comparison to others.
But looking back at my college papers a decade later. They really work bad.
That was an eye opening and humbling experience.
My next step in writing was the following summer.
I had decided I wanted to transfer to U. C. Davis as my way of moving out on my own and also to go to a school my parents had both attended.
The only problem was that I didn’t have my English and Foreign Language requirements met from high school.
Learning to Think and to Write.
So that summer I took Intensive Spanish and Comparative Literature.
Comparative Literature was a course I thrived on. I got an “A” in that course and loved it.
What it taught me is something I’ve used through life and in my blog writing.
Along with my courses in “Logic” and “Public Speaking”, they all laid my foundation for critical thinking and writing.
Comparative Literature had you read two stories – typically ancient literature – and then find a common theme to compare or contrast.
For me it was great as coming up with new content was hard for me but editing it down or finding the sections of text that made my point and then tying them together with a transitory sentence was a piece of cake for me.
So that helped me get into U. C. Davis.
Losing Myself…Writing as Therapy.
Moving to U. C. Davis was a rough time as it was my first time living on my own. Growing up my brother and I shared a room and a bunk bed. Going to college I lost the one person I would share my thoughts with every night.
In college I had a roommate and that helped somewhat. But when you’re dealing with a lot of life transitions and trying to figure out who you are and where you’re headed, it can be tough. And it was for me.
I struggled through my courses in math and computer science. And the writing was on the wall that I wasn’t going to be able to graduate with a Computer Science degree as originally planned.
During that time I I had a lot of dark thoughts, I wrote much of that down. Kind of as therapy. And as my own way of figuring me out. Yes, thoughts of suicide bounced back and forth through my brain as I thought of myself as a failure and a loser.
My dad helped pull me out of that funk when I came home that following summer and told him I couldn’t go on and wanted to change majors.
He was very understanding and together we discussed my options. I settled on Economics because it seemed like something that connected with me. And I could still complete it in four years (that was something that was important to me both financially and as a point of my personal pride in finishing something on time).
So that was it for writing and I went on and graduated from U. C. Davis with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics and a Statistics minor.
Learning about Business.
Entering the work world I started with a temp job I’d worked the summer before at AT&T in Pleasanton, California. There I spent time doing research and data entry. The Baby Bells had just been broken up and I was doing the work to detail what phone contracts needed to be assigned to which entity (or something like that).
It was the start of a future telecom career.
I then went into residential real estate sales. Working for Tri Valley Brokers, a local real estate company. I didn’t sell anything. Kind of sucked at sales. And after draining my minimal bank account, got a temp job elsewhere.
In the temp job interview they asked if I knew Lotus 1-2-3. At the temp agency I’d done a brief overview of the software and knew that pressing “/” would get me all the commands. And given my extensive computer programming experience I figured I could figure out the rest. So I said “Yes!” and was soon working for a small healthcare consulting company.
There I learned to prepare financial forecasts, set up partnerships, and learn about business.
Not much writing happened but I grew my knowledge of the business world.
Then moved into Commercial Property Management and then Cell Site Development in the Telecom Industry.
Where I came back to writing was about 10 years ago. I became interested in business improvement. As the Director of Operations of RealCom Associates I was responsible for making sure everything was in place and operational to grow the company. I ended up learning a lot about marketing during that time.
And so in my off hours, as LinkedIn came on the scene, I would write answers to questions posted on LinkedIn. I ended up being one of the “Top 100” people answering questions on LinkedIn. I reached #70 on the list before they eventually disbanded that “LinkedIn Questions” application.
Becoming a Blogger.
Having that go away, something I used as an outlet for my self expression, I discovered blogging.
This was back in 2010. I got a “Blogspot” blog going (Nugget Insights) and had several posts on it – generally off-the-wall connections that brought typically unconnected concepts together in a new way. It also uncovered my quirky/different side and laid the foundation for what I’m doing today.
That then stopped in 2011 (other than one post) as I went through my divorce. Even though I thought I could compartmentalize emotions, I found I could not get the energy or emotional interest in writing upbeat, positive posts. So my blog and my writing went dormant.
I reemerged in 2014 with a single business post, How “Folding a Shirt” Applies to Your Business”.
Writing that post got me thinking again about starting a business and writing again.
That came together in 2015 when I decided to start a side hustle small business consulting business.
It was fun as it was an opportunity to personally explore marketing, sales, and business on a part time basis without the pressure of jumping into that as a full time job.
My initial foray with the “Profit Inspector” went nowhere as my $300 per month ad for 3 months in a coupon mailer went nowhere.
I then took a course with Troy White that gave me a few other options for marketing my business. But those didn’t pan out either. My marketing just didn’t connect with an audience in a way that was going to get them to buy from me right away. And my marketing didn’t have enough of a follow up sequence. Something you learn early on that it takes repetition, multiple touches, to convert a browser into a buyer.
I needed a website.
So I decided I needed to get a website put up and do some internet marketing as a way to move the business forward.
I then came across Kevin Hogan‘s Internet Marketing Course. It was really expensive (several thousand dollars) but very thorough.
And as a result I got a crash course in website design and marketing.
And this resulted in me setting my my site here and starting this blog.
Starting the blog and initially blogging a couple times a week, I never thought I’d be able to keep going this long.
I thought I’d run out of ideas.
And sometimes I’d hit a little writer’s block. But then something would get triggered in my head and the words would start flowing out.
It has now been over two years since I’ve started writing this blog. Nearly 200 posts.
Over that time I’ve honed my skills and fine tuned the direction of my business as I discovered resume writing and career coaching as a niche I’m good at.
This has now resulted in my recent recognition as a “Top 100 Career Blog”.
So what’s my point in all this?
- You never really know where you’re headed in life.
- Follow the breadcrumbs. Every experience and every skill you pick up has the potential to feed your future success.
- Enjoy the journey. It is a necessary part of getting to your destination.
- Life is short. Make the most of it.
- Find your niche. There is something you’re great at. You probably don’t recognize it – but those around you do. Ask them or find out by the feedback you get. By blogging I found what does and does not connect. It can be measured. So for an introvert, it is a great way to be supported in your craft.
- Live with Passion. Something Tony Robbins always said at the end of his “Personal Power” tapes I got back in the early 90’s. Words to live by.
- Contribute. Helping others, contributing to the world around you, gives your life purpose.
- Stay Connected. Whether with family, friends, or those yet to meet. Connection is critical to a life well lived. What is the point of doing fun and exciting things if you have no one to share them with. So pursue those connections. And nurture them.
- Humility. When you achieve success, don’t let it go to your head. Successful people are still just people. They’ve just chosen to put intense focus and effort into something and luck started to come their way. It can all be taken away in a heartbeat. And if you burn bridges or push people away they won’t be there when you need them.
- Market Yourself. My mentor Kevin Hogan called it marketing time. The most productive hours of your day as a business owner should be focused on marketing. Marketing builds businesses. My other mentors, Jay Abraham and Troy White also demonstrated the power of marketing and thinking outside the box. Whether you’re a business owner or employee, you can always, subtly or otherwise, market yourself. That gives you visibility to others and opens up future doors.
I hope you got something from the story I shared here about my writing, entrepreneurial journey, and personal growth that you can apply to your situation today. Would love to hear your feedback too.
Other posts in the series: