The picture above was taken at the top of Tibidabo mountain in Barcelona, Spain. You can’t see us, but in that picture I’m enjoying a mojito with a friend. She wasn’t kidding when she said the best views of Barcelona were from up there!
While at the top of mountain Tibidabo, I kept “pinching” myself. I couldn’t believe the life I was living! #grateful
If you are not familiar with my story, I quit my 6-figure corporate job back in January to continue building my businesses full-time. Up to that point I spent most of my nights and weekends doing it.
It’s been 5 months since that day and what a roller-coaster it has been. From almost going out of business to coming back and having record growth, I learned a lot about myself and what it takes to be my own boss.
Moving to Barcelona, Spain
Soon after my corporate leap, I moved to Barcelona for 3 months.
Because a group of entrepreneurs from around the world were moving there and I thought it’d be a great opportunity to meet and surround myself with like-minded people, and also have an adventure in a country I had never been to.
Looking back, it was the best decision I could’ve made!
I spent most of my time with awesome dudes. All of them were fun, ambitious, hard-working and incredibly smart.
Aside from tapas-hopping, partying, sightseeing and traveling (Rome, Paris, & Amsterdam) we had weekly business mastermind sessions.
Put a bunch of smart guys and gals together in one room to solve business issues and add beer, scotch, wine and popcorn, and you’ll get very insightful, and at times intense, sessions haha. I looked forward to our masterminds each week and it’s safe to say we learned a lot from one another.
(This is us during one of several tapas-hopping nights)
We all had very diverse businesses which made our group that much more interesting. We had guys in the dating space, best-selling authors, teachers, WP consultants, IT, brand engineers, coders, UX design and in wine trade.
One of the guys went on to audition and ultimately become a contestant in a world-famous business TV show!
Another guy came to Barcelona to take it easy and enjoy some time off but left with a brand new company that he built ground-up during his stay, and with investors lined up. Outstanding!
With such differing businesses, we had a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. The value received from this group far outweighed the cost of traveling and living in Spain for 3 months. Plus, the city was just so vibrant and spectacular.
There couldn’t have been a better way to start this new chapter in my life. This experience helped me understand one important lesson, and is this:
The energy is contagious. The camaraderie like no other. I knew this conceptually, but to live it in the flesh was a whole different story.
What a life hack!
I’m so grateful to this group of guys for being there with me when I struggled, when I celebrated, when I wanted to stay out until 5am at the nightclubs, and when I needed advice, especially when one of my businesses was about to fail…
Failure or crisis evolution?
The business I was focusing on while in Spain was doing great! It had generated a solid and consistent amount of revenue for a while but it was time to accelerate its growth.
So I took all of my energy and focus to make it happen. I was pumped and couldn’t wait to see the results my business would have within months.
When suddenly, my only supplier reached out and said that I wouldn’t be able to buy from them anymore. I had become a direct competitor so they were going to cut me off, unless I went and worked for them.
Are you kidding me?!?
I couldn’t believe my ears.
Unfortunately, I had built my business dependent on another company’s product. In retrospect, it wasn’t the best long-term strategy. Once they cut me off, I wouldn’t be able to sell my product anymore. My business would disappear overnight. What a nightmare!
I felt defeated and put into a corner. Play ball or pay the consequences. Those were my options, or at least that’s what I thought.
While sharing this issue with one of the guys, Vinh, he told me that I could take this as a defeat or as an opportunity to evolve. Vinh said, “think of it as crisis evolution“.
Those two words really struck a chord with me and must’ve “activated” a part of my brain that was dormant. Ideas began to flow and I went from a state of despair to one of excitement and hope.
After a lot of brainstorming alone, with my mastermind group, and with the guys as well, THE idea of how I was going to move forward was born.
(The pic below was taken during one of our weekly mastermind sessions. I swear, we didn’t drink vodka that night.)
The idea is so bold that it will disrupt the market altogether. Forget competing on their terms. If I am going to make an impact, I need to disrupt!
As of the writing of this post, the plan is in motion and I can’t wait to release it into the world. For obvious reasons I cannot disclose the plan yet, but I will once it goes live in a few months.
In the meantime, this same business that I thought would go extinct has doubled in monthly revenue as of May and I project it’ll triple in a few months so the urgency to complete this plan is that much more urgent, and before my supplier pulls the plug.
two valuable lessons from this experience
1) Every setback is an opportunity to evolve. In business there’s no point in competing. Disrupting is the name of the game. That’s how small businesses have taken over industries once dominated by large corporations. Think of Airbnb, Uber, etc.
2) If at all possible, never depend on another company’s product to create your own business, or at the very least have several suppliers. Depending solely in one supplier to run my business was a HUGE mistake. Better yet, create your own products. That’s the path I’m taking now.
what i’ve learned so far from being my own boss
Consistency will make or break your business
And by consistency, I also mean discipline. Discipline to do what you have to do day in and day out.
It’s not easy. I struggled with this one after the first month of being on my own. I began putting the small things off and my to-do list grew each day. Looking at it each morning, raised my stress levels which in turn made me want to go out and relax to lower it, which ultimately caused me to do less. It was a vicious cycle.
Tackling my to-dos daily didn’t only help with my stress, it also made me feel like I was accomplishing more. You know the feeling of crossing something off a to-do list? It feels so freakin’ good!
A “Morning” routine is super important
Before moving to Spain, I had a solid morning routine back in California. It consisted of waking up early, hitting the gym and beginning my day.
The nightlife is so vibrant in Barcelona that going to bed at a decent hour was very difficult. I mean, I saw families with little kids having dinner at midnight and nightclubs and lounges don’t begin happening until past 3am!
Because I had the idea that I had to follow my morning routine each morning or else it was pointless, I stopped doing it.
What I failed to understand is that my “morning” routine helped me jumpstart my day regardless of when I woke up as long as I kept my sleeping habits to 7 or 8 hours per day.
It’s not the hour I woke up that made a difference, but what I did right after waking up.
“But the uber successful people wake up very early”, some may say…
Well, that’s because most have to be at their offices by a certain time.
personal growth and fitness can’t take A back seat
I didn’t work out consistently while in Spain, but the times I did, I felt energized and alert. I did more work in those days than any other. Unfortunately, they were far apart at times.
I did my businesses a disservice by not working out consistently each week.
That’s not to say I stopped reading and feeding my mind with new and innovative ideas though. I only read business and personal development books; they help me keep a sharp mind. For some reason I can’t do fiction. I feel it’s a waste of my time, but that’s just my personal opinion.
journaling to keep my sanity
After taking the leap, my mind was filled with ideas and to-dos. It reached a point where I had analysis-paralysis. When I get to that point (which isn’t often) I know I need to change something, so I began journaling and WOW it helped clear my head.
Limit the number of working hours per day, and stick to it
It was so easy to get sucked into my work that I would work day and night with a lunch break in between.
There were consecutive days when I wouldn’t step out of the apartment.
Limiting the hours I worked each day actually helped me increase my productivity. I knew I had a limited number of hours each day so I had to accomplish everything on my to-do list faster.
I did more each day and also had the time to relax and go out. Not as much as I would’ve liked, but it was better than working non-stop.
don’t try to follow the “4-hour workweek”lifestyle either
After taking the leap, the worst thing I could’ve done was to try to work only 4 hours per week or even 20 hours per week. I would’ve lost momentum and focus. I needed a solid 40+ hours per week at the time.
The idea of working less is appealing, but not during the growth stage of a business.
Now that I’m back in California, I’ve been able to cut back the number of hours I work because the business allows me to. Systematizing and hiring a super competent assistant was the key.
there are too many strategies to grow a business. pick one and test the heck out of it before changing it
I’ve been fixated with sales funnels for a little while now. They fascinate me. The problem is there are many variations and so many people swear by their methods of building them, that I wanted to try them all!
But that would’ve been a very bad idea. I’ve implemented only one new sales funnel in the past 5 months, but I wanted to test 3 simultaneously. I’m so glad I didn’t go through with it.
The ROI on focusing in one funnel and optimizing it has allowed me to double my business. It’s a no brainer isn’t it?
While working in the trenches it can be hard to recognize, and the temptation to try new funnels is knocking at your door. My personal rule is to stick to one for at least 5 months. If that particular sales funnel isn’t performing after 5 months then I will look into changing it.
These past 5 months have been more than I could’ve ever imagined in terms of positive business and life experiences.
Many ups and some downs but it has been so worth it. And this is just the beginning, baby!
Being an entrepreneur has so many rewards, but it’s not an easy road. It takes dedication, consistent hustle and tons of creativity.
My time is Spain was incredible. I forged life-long friendships, strengthened my business skills and experienced a little bit of the digital nomad lifestyle. I want more of it!
Taking the leap into full-time entrepreneurship looked scary but by being on this side now, I realize that I should’ve done it sooner.
(Picture taken on my last night in Barcelona. Thank you all who came out and made it memorable!)