Tears rolled down my cheek. The Last of the Little Debbies was gone. I was heartbroken. I couldn’t take it. My Swiss Cake Rolls? Vanished. All greedily gobbled up, courtesy of my carb binging. It was disgusting. And funny. And it created a sugar spike in me consistent with a crack high. Honest. I even had the powdered sugar from the more soft, moist Little Debbie snack offerings to prove it.
I loved Cosmic Brownies. To death. Picture a pale ass guy, dressed in a security guard’s uniform. With chocolate on his mouth. Like a little kid, sloppily slurping on a Yoohoo, sans straw. Picture said guard looking forward to weekends because it meant basketball games, working out, a few hours out with my friends, and Little Debbies.
On a side note, I am available for partnership/sponsored post opportunities, Little Debbies people. I built your empire one Cosmic Brownie at a time during the lean years, dammit!
You probably didn’t think that a guy, blogging from paradise, living in Jimbaran, Bali now, was once a depressed, broke joke security guard, who spent his weeks looking forward to weekends of Roman style, vomitorium style, eating assorted Little Debbies until he puke binges (no not really), along with my beloved basketball. Did you? Probably not. You probably thought that I was lucky. Or, that Kelli and I were recipients of blessings from that book that the God guy adheres to, when He offers blessings to some, and curses others.
Don’t self flagellate! I thought the same things, of happy, free folks, back when I drowned my sorrows in Zebra Cakes, and other assorted Little Debbie Snacks. I like Little Debbies. Damn shame that LD hasn’t caught on in Bali, or in SE Asia for that matter, although if it did, I wouldn’t have been introduced to a confectionary love of my life, the blessed Pandan roll. (Listen closely to hear Kelli retching in the background.)
Why the Hell Little Debbies?
I don’t know. Well yes, I do know. The price was right. The taste, delicious. And the sweet, savory sugar rush helped me forget the depression I experienced, working a boring, dead end job, living a bland, uninspired life….and then…..after I got the axe….being broke.
Here are Some Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Me
- I walked 3 hours or more to the library 2 (or 3) towns over, in minus 10 degree temperatures (Fahrenheit for my ) on some days, just to access the internet since I was so broke I didn’t have it at home….I was a bit fearful of the wild men and whinos at the library in my home town, and also, the fact that a kid was shot and killed there at 9 AM in the morning, one time
- I chose a security guard job even though I had my degree in meteorology and 5 year’s worth of experience working in the office because I had such woefully low self-esteem
- you know the financial stresses I went through I am sure; sold everything, moved out of my apartment to save my little, dwindling roll, depressed as hell, angry as hell, beaten down like a dog
I recall one distinctly humiliating day. Back when I had a car, to drive, I hung out with my buddies. My buds ordered pizza. Everybody chipped in. I went to the bathroom to look into my wallet. I saw….nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I did see some lint. Which in some parts of the world, could have served as legal tender. Not in the States.
So I walked outside and said I ate already, to my buds. They told me to shut the hell up and eat the pizza pie. I scarfed down a slice. I had $5 at home in my drawer, and wanted to use it for dinner and for breakfast the next day because that was all I had…..hence no money in the pocket, and the scarfing of pizza slice.
I Had No Problems
I realize this: somewhere right now, people are being murdered for their religious beliefs. Men are being beheaded. Women are being raped. Children are being used as sex slaves. I had no real problems. 1st world problems, and not even bad ones at that….BUT….I shared a bit of my story to show where a guy could start up, and, wind up. How someone from humble beginnings can live their dreams. If you feel bound, good; freedom is yours. If you feel disgusted, good: contentment is yours.
If a broke ass, Little Debbie Gobbling, melancholy security guard can become a full time income generating, eBook publishing machine, a prolific (good) monster who lives in paradise, you can get through whatever you may be going through now.
Or if you’re already a million dollar earning, happy blogger, feeling free, you can ramp it up 10 notches to reach another level. This post may just put you on the path to greatness.
On a side note; I am not joking, Little Debbie People. Email me.
Current Day RB
Just the stats folks, just the stats:
- Kelli and I retired to paradise, living in places like Fiji, Bali and Costa Rica for months at a time
- we both run full time income generating blogs
- I have published like 22 – or 23 I lose count all the time – eBooks already and release 1 weekly
- I publish one, 5,000 word blog post weekly
- I have launched a new Blogging from Paradise podcast
- I run prospering businesses including freelance writing and blog coaching
- I once saved a locust from a cat murdering it
- I sometimes clean up dog poop even though I hate doing it (ya hear this, Kelli!)
- I am inspiring legions of Blogging from Paradise minions, my accolytes to mimic my freeing, inspired, island hopping lifestyle
So now….ya seen where I was, and where I am.
Why?…..is the better question. Why did I make the leap, or jump over the chasm, while so many folks are struggling like hell, or, why so many folks follow the herd of lemmings, right off of the cliff, into a life of mediocrity, and quiet desperation?
Because I….wanted to be free more than I feared doing uncomfortable stuff.
Step 1: I Wanted to Be Free More than I Wanted to Do Uncomfortable Stuff
The guy said I had the posture of an earthworm (perhaps he was thinking about his peckery). This old f*cking fossil was attempting to ream me out over the phone. I had a few bucks at the time. Pretty broke. All the while, this guy was telling me why I would never do anything in life. He was an alleged home business coach….who didn’t give out his name. I wished eternal excema on him, got off of the phone and laughed. Even though I was disgusted a bit, being able to take crap from a nasty person, when you have the appearances of poverty and struggle around you, is about the most freeing and empowering feeling you can generate.
I gotta say, it was a turning point for me. I learned in that moment, and saw again and again, that if I wanted to be free more than I feared doing uncomfortable stuff, I would be free.
I could have hung up on the alleged success coach, when he started his hard sell. This would have been avoiding an uncomfortable situation. But there was freedom in that call. I learned that I’d NEVER, EVER, be like that asshole. Ever. I’d be nice, kind, and although firm, and a butt kicker, I’d do it with compassion. I’d uplift folks.
Also, I tweaked that old fart at the end of the call, which wasn’t particularly the right thing to do, but it not only felt empowering….it showed me my posture was improving, and that I had some authority, some confidence, which was sweet, and which formed a springboard for me.
I was faced with countless uncomfortable situations over my career. During my lean years, I ducked them and fell flat on my face. During my successful, happy years, I almost always dived into them to free myself.
If you want to retire to a life of island hopping fall in love with being free more than you fear doing uncomfortable things. You’ll thank yourself…..now and later. Which reminds me of a sweet treat. Off to buy some pandan rolls/aka cream buns….see you later!
Step 2: I Created Even when Nobody Listened
Few folks know that I’ve published well over 2500 Youtube videos during my career. Most have been yanked from the channel in Vaudevillain cane style. Some dodo bird flagged ’em , years ago, and Youtube shut me down. My current channel boasts a healthy video count, I reckon. The thing was though, I saw a few views if that per video when I was creating thousands of videos. I wasn’t attached to outcomes. I was attached to creating. I was attached to practicing, because I needed practice, to become a natural on camera.
Now, when I do a video, or interview, or one of my own…..
….I feel at ease, calm, at peace, and I appear to be a natural.
After I uploaded 2500 videos, and kept on practicing, for years, even when a nice, supportive, audience of crickets serenaded me. Thanks crickets. You were there for me. I will never forget you. I may even defend you against a Tokay gecko’s aggressive advances.
But anywhooo, to make the leap from broke and depressed to prospering and happy you’ll need to create when nobody’s looking, meaning, you’ll:
- publish blog posts
- publish videos
- publish podcasts
- publish eBooks
- create products
…even if it appears nobody’s looking. That’s how the game is played, playa, and that’s why nearly every successful blogger on earth starts off as a nobody. Almost every successful person starts off as a nobody. A few child prodigies exist, including The Golden Child – which made for wonderful Sunday afternoon, 3 PM viewing on WPIX Channel 11 for all my fellow Tri-Staters – but most folks on earth need to create when an audience ain’t around, to become successful, to break the chains, and to free themselves.
Success is a progressive deal. As you earn your stripes, freeing yourself, helping folks, and persisting through it all, more and more folks will come to know, like and trust you….and a rabid fan or 2 or 2,000 or 2,000,000 may just follow ya along the way.
Dig deeper. I had to dig deep when I was creating and nobody appeared to be reading my posts, or watching my videos, or, paying attention to me at all. KMP. Keep Meeting People.
I know of SO many talented, capable bloggers, hungering to free themselves yet they refuse to network. They refuse to keep meeting people. So they struggle, being nobody, to no one, because they ignore the networking element of their campaign.
I could be writing a diary, or a blog. I chose a blog. So I need to meet people daily, and I need to make an impact on folks, to be free, happy and prospering. Unless you want to publish a diary, for yourself, you better:
- comment on relevant, authority blogs, making a serious impact with the depth and volume of your comments
- use social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus to promote others
- persist like hell in using this 1-2 punch
…..to Keep Meeting People, and as you impact more and more folks you’ll be creating with a loud, raucous, engaged audience, ready and raring to gobble up your gloriously delicious content, all that you created behind the scenes.
This guy’s really prolific as hell. His name’s John Chow. You may have heard of him. Follow him:
He once published a blog post daily for 5 years straight, and many times, he published 2 posts daily. Insane, and I know he did more than a little bit of publishing in the early days when nobody was listening. Didn’t deter him. And his daily creating, despite few people listening in the beginning, sure as hell didn’t hurt him either.
Step 3: I Guarded my Time Brutally
If you’re in the crowd wondering how in the Hades I appear to be in 1000 places at once, here’s my filthy little nasty secret. I’ve guarded it for years. That secret led from broke, snack eating joke, to professional blogging island hopper. This secret affords me the ability to live a charmed life.
This secret is not a secret.
What is the not so secret, secret?
I viciously guard my time. Really, I mean, I am hellishly brutal with my time, meaning that I let few people in.
If you’re one of the legion of folks – I love you all – who regularly ask me to to Skype, to chat on Facebook and to bullshit regularly, this one will be no news to you. Really, I have little time to chat with anybody for more than a few times a month, if that, because I have:
- 1 eBook to publish weekly
- One, 5,000 word post to publish weekly
- a freelance writing business to run
- a blog coaching business to run
- a blog commenting campaign to run
- a social media campaign to run
- offline stuff to do in paradise: exercising, touring, going to the beach, etc
I also do other stuff, namely: eating, sleeping. Promise I do!
How could I be prolific? How could I make the jump from slowly forming blob – well not really, although I was a bit pudgy before the trip – to Bali balling? I guard my time. Viciously. I waste little time. Each hour has purpose in my life. Turns out during the BAF years – the Broke As Fuck years – I did a terrible job managing my time. I wasted it, big-time, on low energy activities. I didn’t create much. I connected less than cell phone service in the jungles of Bali. I treated Income Producing Activities like the plague.
To go from ineffective clown to machine-like, paradise-living, prolific animal, churning out pillar style posts and publishing eBooks like a cyber blogger, you gotta change your habits. I changed mine. A1 on my list was being super protective of my time.
I chat with my friends. Here and there. But largely, I write, I write, I write, I connect, I connect, I connect. I live the paradise live, bouncing over to Pandawa Beach, or cool-maxing at the Bale down my the pool at the lovely villa where we’re living for 6 months.
I gotta do me, big-time, to be my best for others.
So, I spend most of my time doing freeing stuff and a few moments here and there, I do the chatting bit because even though it rocks to chat with my buddies, I am brutally on purpose during my short stay on earth.
Make no bones about it: I love what I do! It’s freeing. I enjoy writing. I enjoy commenting on blogs. I enjoy doing podcasts and shooting 1080 HD videos. It’s just that I am hellbent on acting effectively each day so I can free as many folks as humanly possible. Or, as possible for a cyborg.
Step 4: I Made Personal Development A1
Imagine this: a self-conscious, depressed, lost security guard with severe anger issues – think The Hulk, sitting in a subway station, in NYC, being poked and prodded with tiny pins – yeah, imagine this guy turning into a:
- supremely confident
- purposeful and free
- energetic dynamo being
- professional blogging
- island hopping
….fool. Yeah I am a fool. My last Youtube video points to this.
Anyway, I am freer and freer by the day because I religiously stuck to a personal development regimen, to clear out the old, nasty, constricting negative energies in my being and to make room for the freeing, positive, inspired energies in my being.
My Current Day Regimen
I am meditating for about 15 to 20 minutes on waking.
After that I do 35 or more minutes of deep stretching while listening to a subliminal hypnotherapy MP3. Like yoga, I guess, while my subconscious mind is impregnated with shiny happy thoughts and feelings. Love it! Inspired, I am feeling, after these sessions. 10 out of 10 Yodas agree; personal development one must do on waking to be baking in paradise.
I mean, getting sun. Not smoking weed.
Anyway, I am into the personal development bit because I was sick of being a broke joke. I wanted to free me. And you. I wanted to live in paradise.
Here I am.
Change happens from the inside out. Change occurs from within, regularly, if you work on your mental tools.
- do yoga
- listen to subliminal hypnotherapy audio files
- read personal development books
Do your self help on waking. If you’re like me, you’ll feel 456,348 thoughts and feelings flooding your mind on waking.
“Why is the sky blue? I have to wee wee. I have to eat breakfast. Papaya today? Nah, sick of that. Oatmeal? Where’s the sugar. Eff that. Let’s eat Pandan rolls. Great! Blog post today? I don’t know. I wanna go back to bed. I wanna wake up. Time to walk the dogs. Where to next? If there is a God, is SHe a Blogging from Paradise subscriber?”
These are but a few of the thoughts that run through my mind on waking. SO…..to control my mind, and my day, I do the self help bit. Otherwise, my day would be shrouded in chaos, with all of these wacky thoughts running through my mind. Because I would be at the mercy of these thoughts. Eating pandan rolls and wondering if God unsubscribed, all day long, because I didn’t clear my world from the inside out.
Step 5: I Developed a Product AND Service
Products make you stand out. Check out this library:
OK, now that you’ve got your BFP fix for the day – you have 23 books to choose from, so go wild – think about it: if I sold someone else’s book, here, why go through the middle man? Or, if you still would buy the book from me, how would I establish my authority selling OTHER people’s products? Gotta get your own product, and gotta create that bad boy, if you plan on retiring to a life of island hopping through smart blogging.
- establish your credibility
- build your authority
- elevate your trust factor through the roof
- are fun to create
- boost your online income streams
Products are kinda like a vetting tool. Someone visits your blog. Sees an eBook or course with your John Hancock on it, on the blog sidebar, and reader or visitor gets an idea that you know what the hell you’re talking about. Products give you clout. Products can move you from the realm of struggling to the realm of succeeding.
As for product ideas you know I’m heavily biased. I gravitate toward eBooks because I have a passion for writing, and I have too many bizarre, funny and dramatic travel stories to tell, so it’s a piece o’ pie to tell my travel stories through the medium of books, and eBooks.
Consider online courses – through Udemy – if that sort of thing floats your boat.
Start creating products NOW. Not a day later. Because NOW is the best time to establish your authority, and to build your trust, and to live your dreams. Take it from the former rent a cop, and current island hopping retiree; if I had to do this blogging thing all over again I would have written eBooks from DAY 1 of my online career!
Oh yes, the service bit. I suggest offering a product and service, to be a boss of blogging, to go from newbie, to seasoned veteran, and to establish full time income through your blogging efforts. I was big, really big, on honing my writing skills over the years. I also kept an eye on the top blogs I followed, seeing what worked, and what didn’t. SO….because I am a smart cookie, 2 minutes out of the day, I established freelance writing and blog coaching services. I charged money to render a service. Makes sense, eh? If you’re offering something helpful, give some offerings away for free, and charge for other offerings. Lawyers may do some pro bono work, but daddy’s gotta pay for that Lambo, so you better believe they are charging to the hilt, per hour. I know they do, I watch Suits, dammit!
Anyway, developing a service-based business means you need to learn a craft. Pick a service you feel passionate about and practice like hell each day, writing, observing top websites, designing, or practicing whatever the heck you want to practice, so you can become good enough to charge a nice coin for your services.
Check out Corinne Kerston’s blog to become a top shelf freelance writer, WHO runs a prospering freelance writing business. 2 totally different things, trust me from my leaner years versus today.
As for products, follow your bliss. Do video courses if you’re a ham, or whatever. I did eBooks, I may delve into Udemy courses but for now……
….I publish 1 eBook weekly…….meaning, I am kind of a busy guy. My plate’s full. Oh yes, I also run freelance writing and blog coaching businesses, and blog comment like a mad man, and do all the good stuff one may tend to do if they have retired to a life of island hopping, in the good old tropics.
Step 6: I Made Friends through Blog Commenting
You can get paid to offer your opinion. I’m living proof of that. I mean, this is not a paycheck for bullshitting type deal. The payment is indirect. BUT….if you realize that I have:
- spoken at NYU
- have been endorsed by famous people
- have ghostwritten an eBook
- am co-authoring a book as we speak (details coming soon!)
- have landed freelance writing clients and blog coaching clients
ALL, though blog commenting, well, hell, you’ll see quickly and easily that I have raked it in, all through simply offering my opinion. Not bad, eh?
Here’s how good blog commenting works, if you want to retire to the tropics, like me: make people feel special. Address folks by name, Share Value, Be thorough, be persistent, and capitalize words for no reason. I am joking. Seriously though, I do my best to make a freaking impact on as many blogs as humanly possible, which has helped me make friends in high places, which has expanded my brand’s reach, which has helped me live this charming, dream life.
My friend Glenn Shepherd is an up and coming blogger who is one of the best blog commentors online. He’s a star in the making! He has left a few whopper comments here and he drops ’em all over the web.
Visit his blog. Keep an eye out for him. Watch him in action, if you want to see how blog commenting is done right.
Step 7: I Blogged It
Sure blogging set the table but publishing Blogging from Paradise eBooks put me over the top. Creators stand out from the crowd because creators are really competing anymore, are they?
Bali Joe, our transport service of choice in Bali, is a creator. He creates an authentic, pleasant, helpful experience through his staff of English-speaking, polite, acommodating drivers. I imagine what the man rakes in; not Scrooge McDuck money but he does aight me thinks.
On the flip side you have the legions of competitive Balinese transport drivers. Sitting at the airport, or in Ubud, trying desperately to out shout the competition. Literally. No creativity. Just laziness, and struggling, and hey, if they would create something worth seeking out I know most drivers would generate a bunch more sales because no lack of opportunities exists here. Even during low season. But many transport drivers sit on their duffs. Like Jabba the Hut, lounging like a space slug, on his Pleasure Skiff.
Bali Joe keeps stacking that chedda because he creates something valuable; a pleasant experience for customers.
Create a pleasant experience for your readers and clients. Run a self-hosted, WordPress blog. Be persistent. The more you create the less you compete. At least if you want to do the island hopping, retiree thingee.
I can’t stress how important it was for me to stand out from the crowd. Nobody else blogs like I do. Nobody else publishes eBooks like I do. You too, can be that dynamo, that person who breaks the chains and moves into a new, freeing way of living but you’ll need to get serious about creating value to become valuable in the eyes of your audience.
As for blogging, it’s one stop shopping for your visitors. They can get a gander at your:
to get a feel for what you can offer them.
I went from broke joke, from retired rent a cop, to pro island hopper by creating value. Stand out from the crowd. You’ll need a branding tool to make an impact, to be a beacon in your niche, to stand out like a nun in a whore house. Well, maybe that latter example is a bit extreme, but you get the drill by now. Blog. Then, get to publishing.
I recently came across a fabulous guide from Richard Goodwin on how to start a blog here, Check it out:
How have you broken the chains?
What tips can you share, to go from amateur to pro blogger?
What’s your favorite tool or strategy for succeeding online?
Call to Action
Remember the eBook publishing machine part in the title?
Until next time…enjoy paradise.
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