Zachary Babcock’s story shows the power of discipline, mindset, and a true desire to change.
In a conversation with him, he shared that he was a bit of a “knucklehead” growing up. His father passed away when he was a young boy, and he got mixed in with the wrong crowd.
He ended up serving a few years in prison and finally decided enough was enough.
He started getting into self-development and working towards bettering himself. He started a podcast that jumped to Top 200 in the first week, and he’s had the opportunity to rub elbows with and even interview millionaires.
Christopher Armstrong is originally from Houston, Texas, but now resides in California, where he works on creating and designing products.
Here’s what he does in his words from his own website:
We specialize in product design & development at the factory-level, having many long-standing relationships with some of the top domestic and international manufacturers, including contacts with material suppliers and prototyping/sampling vendors.
Get access to interviews of successful entrepreneurs, various courses, and more. You also join a private Facebook group of like-minded individuals across the globe. This is where I personally got started with this type of thinking.
StartUp Podcast is a podcast about starting a podcast… in later seasons, it begins to cover stories of other startups, their struggles, and more. This is one of the first podcasts I started listening to when getting very interested in this domain.
I’ll be talking through Season 1, Episode 1 of StartUp Podcast, which is called “How Not to Pitch a Billionaire.”
A little background on Alex Blumberg, the host: he was the Producer of the radio show This American Life and co creator of a podcast called Planet Money. He decided to take what he learned and start his own podcast business, Gimlet Media.
Feel free to reach out with questions or comments at chrisbello.com and remember, less dreaming, more doing.
Side-Hustle School posts an episode every single day. Today, April 2, is episode #457. I thought it would be cool to jot some notes down on that episode for you guys and hopefully get you to go and give the podcast a listen. I personally have listened to every episode from the beginning. There’s various lessons you can take from each side-hustle and apply to your own business or life. If you don’t have a side-hustle yet, this show may spark some ideas.
The power of connecting with like-minded individuals is truly amazing. I wanted to run through a quick timeline of events to show you how quickly you can meet new people, follow-up with them, and both help each other out by sharing experiences and knowledge. These connections can help take you from 0 to 1, help you break through plateaus, and jump over hurdles with lightning speed. It has been an extremely productive week for me in terms of growing my network with people with opinions I already value.
February 24, 2018 – Secret Academy Networking Event (Houston, TX)
I’m a member of an entrepreneurial group called Secret Entourage. When you join and pay a one time, lifetime membership fee, you also get access to Secret Academy, where you can watch interviews of successful entrepreneurs, listen to podcasts, and more.
One of the founders, Pejman Ghadimi (PJ for short), held an event in Houston recently at a place about 10 minutes from my house. I had no excuse to miss out, and am extremely grateful for the connections I made when I went. A few folks had driven down from Dallas, TX, while others flew in from places like California or Atlanta.
February 26, 2018 – Dinner with Samir (Dallas, TX)
Coincidentally, I was heading to Dallas the following day as I had a conference to attend on Monday – Wednesday. I grabbed dinner with a new friend I’ve added to my network from this event on Monday night. Samir is a young entrepreneur that’s already had a successful exit and sold a company not long ago. He’s looking into inventing a physical product and starting another company in energy brokerage next. We literally hung out for 2.5 hours and had a lot in common. He offered advice on staying persistent while I was able to offer some words of caution on the manufacturing side based on some issues we’ve faced.
I also chatted for an hour with another older gentlemen named Scott this past Saturday that runs a successful business out of Atlanta. We actually have a follow-up call this evening. He knows a few people that may be able to help me get over some hurdles I’m having with my own business. And I can’t leave out my new buddy Ali, who is going to get something on the calendar for us to link up and chat next week.
February 27, 2018 – Aggie CEO Added To My Network
Just a day after dinner with Samir, I heard a company speaking at a conference and the CEO just so happened to go to my university, Texas A&M. I got his business card and he told me to call or email him if I have any questions or need any support. I’ll definitely plan to grab some coffee with him in Austin, TX. He sold 2/3 of his shares of his last company and raised a significant amount from venture capitalists for his current business. They’ve landed huge clients such as Dell and are doing quite swell to say the least.
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE the power of connecting with like-minded individuals.
Connecting with like-minded individuals helps you surround yourself by people who are ready to push themselves to achieve more. Some may be much further ahead, while others might be a bit behind. Where everyone is on their journey is not really as important as the fact that they are on the journey in the first place. The path looks different for every one, but the beauty of growing your network is that you can learn from others or teach others as well. Being able to share challenges, successes, and more with others who have been through similar scenarios is invaluable. Better yet, you can get personalized feedback and advice for your particular situation from smart people who know what they’re talking about. How great is that?
No matter what it is you’re interested in, whether it’s entrepreneurship, music, or sports, connecting with like-minded individuals is always in your best interest. Reach out to those in your community. Go to Meetups in your area, attend events or conferences to meet these people. It’s truly a breath of fresh air when you meet people that “get you” and understand why you’re on the path you’re on. This is very important, especially when you might have friends or family that just don’t understand and hold a completely different point of view than you. When you’re passionate about something that others around you don’t really care about, it can be a bit of a drag. By surrounding yourself with others that share that passion, you find that the fire burns brighter than ever and you’re more motivated than ever.
I left dinner with Samir pumped and ready to pick up the pace with Flexthetics again. I left the conference grateful for 10 minutes of a young CEO’s time and advice. While I had previously lost some motivation due to manufacturing delays, these people rekindled that sense of urgency by giving me several strategic ideas and the motivation to push through, even though there may be ups and downs even in the same day.
You feeling pumped yet? I know I am! Go out and get it!
Built to Sell by John Warrillow teaches you how to build a business that is ready to sell. You would have never guessed, right? Whether you’re just starting a business or have a huge business that is receiving offers from potential buyers, this book is for you. Learn how to create processes and have a business that can run without you.
Today’s focus will be on market validation, testing, and feedback. Different people look for different types of things in products or services, and you can’t make everyone happy. I’ll review how to segment your target customers, identify various needs, and take that information into account when getting feedback.
Feel free to reach out with questions or comments at chrisbello.com and remember, less dreaming, more doing.
Shifting your mindset: getting from “I can’t afford it” to “how can I afford it?”
Those who have known me from childhood know I can sometimes be a bit frugal. I grew up in a good, middle class family and my parents always taught my brothers and I not to waste food, to buy only what we really need, and to keep expenses low. Combine that upbringing with the fact that I studied Supply Chain in college and you get someone who really can cut down on waste and unnecessary expenses.
Even into my late 20’s, I still take the extra 2 minutes to find free street parking and try to avoid paying for the $20 parking lots when I go out in Downtown Houston. However, I’ve learned how to splurge on things I want to splurge on, things that are important to me. I’m the type of guy that buys in bulk to save money but won’t hesitate to drop $2400 on skydive certification classes (I actually saved $400 overall by paying the total amount upfront, so you could argue I even saved money on that deal). I also stay with friends or family when I travel sometimes so that I can spend $400 on getting scuba certified in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand.
Splurging on things you want feels good. But you must do so in moderation. Never let your lifestyle exceed your means. If you’re making $100K and living like you’re making $1M a year, you’re going to run into problems. If you’re making $100K and live as if you make $50K, you’ll find yourselves stashing up savings quickly and being able to use money for vacations or a few nice things that you want and can easily afford.
People ask me all the time “how can you afford to go on these amazing trips?” or “don’t you have student debt or car payments?” I’m pretty happy to say that I’m totally debt-free (other than my mortgage of course). My student loans are paid off, my Honda Accord is paid off, and the full statement balance of my credit cards is paid in full each month. What people don’t see is how I usually wear basic clothes that aren’t really name brand (unless Zara counts). I cook most of my meals and get something reasonable when I do go out to eat, which saves a ton of money. For $50 that you spend eating a mediocre dinner, you could get enough groceries to feed you for a few days. You can get chicken breast, ground turkey, and vegetables for probably around $20.
I truly appreciate everything I’m able to experience since I better understand the value of money. I feel like a few kids I’ve known that always got anything they every wanted from their parents take so many things for granted. For the average kids who don’t get their every wish granted, working hard and being able to afford those things later on in life is that much more rewarding.
I feel that the frugal mentality that has been ingrained into my head from my childhood will never truly leave. Even as my savings grow and when (not if – Law of Attraction at play) I become a millionaire or billionaire one day, I feel like I’ll still live within my means and spend my money on experiences over things. Because at the end of the road, we can’t take stuff with us. But hey, if you’ve got the money and that Ferrari makes you feel happy, go for it!
Before You Splurge, Ask Yourself Some Questions:
Do you need it?
If not, why are you getting it? Do you want it? If so, how badly do you want it? Think about if you’ll have buyer’s remorse after spending your money. If you really want it and think it’ll be worth it, go for it.
Can you afford it?
If you have to check your bank account to see if there’s enough money in there to pay for something, you can’t afford it. When you’ve saved enough to where you can comfortably buy something with cash on the spot, you can likely afford it and can consider moving forward.
Will you remember it 5 years from now?
If you want it and can afford it, see if you’ll remember it 5 years from now. A new cell phone or TV probably won’t bring a smile to your face years from now. A one-month backpacking trip through Southeast Asia definitely will.
Will the opportunity vanish soon?
Are you planning on getting married, having a kid, or starting a career that will hinder your ability to do something you want to do? If so, consider jumping on the opportunities available to you now. Take that trip before starting your full-time career or pop 3 kids out. Go skydiving, drive a moped in Vietnam, and sleep at a train station in Germany before you end up taking yourself too seriously.
What I like to splurge on:
Good food at highly rated restaurants – I don’t eat out often, so when I go to a nice restaurant from time to time, I try to get whatever is recommended even if it means paying a little more.
Experiences – skydiving, scuba diving, parasailing, traveling, tours, and more. I love doing things that make memories (and also great photos).