Take action. Shove your ass in the game. Get tackled. Get dunked on. Miss a 3 foot putt for birdie.
If all you do is watch from the sidelines or worse yet, from your couch, then your learning will be stagnant. You become the best at what you do by learning. It truly is that simple. No one can teach you better than you actually doing it.
In order to illustrate this, I’m going to briefly discuss examples from my life.
Reading a lot of books
Through high school I did not finish reading one book in full. Yep, it was that bad. In grade school my parents purchased Hooked on Phonics for me and I hated it. In middle school In fifth grade I remember having to spend extra time working on my comprehension with one other student in my class.
I would read something but have no clue what I just read.
Fast forward to 2014. I’ve finished reading 33 books in just 123 days. And I may finish book 34 today. Possibly 35 too. And I actually remember what I read! I take lessons from each book. I highlight a lot. They make sense. I read fast by my standards.
I simply take action. I don’t study how to read faster. I don’t study how to comprehend words better. I simply read and read and read. And the more I read, the better I become at reading and comprehending what I’m reading.
When it comes to reading, it also helps to have valuable tools. I read via the kindle app on my iPhone and I also read with my Kindle Paperwhite.
Selling Nintendo Wii’s on eBay
When I sold my first ever Nintendo Wii on eBay I was ecstatic. I remember sitting on my knees in a black chair in the managers office at Bagel Beanery. I was an Assistant Manager at the time. The final auction price was $333. The cost of that Wii was only $265. eBay and PayPal has fees but the profit was decent and more importantly, a lot of fun.
And so an entrepreneur was born.
I never studied how to sell Wii’s on eBay. At that time I didn’t even study how to sell on eBay. I just did it. I made mistakes and learned from my mistakes. I learned from doing. Since this business was becoming real I began studying a little bit. And it definitely helped. But I ultimately learned the most by doing.
Selling American Eagle clothing on eBay
Selling Nintendo Wii’s on eBay lasted about 1.5 years of which then they were readily available in stores. And so I began selling American Eagle clothing on eBay. This was a lot of fun and, again, I learned by doing. I became better and better.
And then after about another 1.5 years American Eagle shut me down because they thought I was ruining their brand on eBay. This was in April of 2009. For the first 3 months of 2009 (so right after Christmas) I had my best months ever with 79k in sales. \
This lead into internet marketing. I studied a lot. And did not take much action. I was learning about Squidoo and Ezine Articles and what not. I learned that starting a website was a must. Yet I hesitated. Big time. What the hell was I going to blog about?
Well, I was fascinated by health in all it’s facets. I discovered Mark’s Daily Apple around January of 2010. In December of 2009 I started an Acne blog. But then in April of 2010 I was “sold” on what Mark Sisson was pitching to me and so I “went Primal” on April 5, 2010.
On April 22, 2010 I launched PrimalToad.com. Yet, again, to be honest, I did not really know what I was doing. I just did it. I simply started. I took that first step.
In June I decided to do the PrimalCon Fitness Challenge and video myself while doing it. This was a challenge at the first ever PrimalCon. I put the video on YouTube and then on this very blog. Mark Sisson linked to it in his weekend link love. This provided my first ever big surge in traffic and gave me lots of valuable in Google’s eyes. And it definitely built my confidence.
Yet blogging is a challenge. I’ve wanted to quit soooo many times. Yet I never truly quit forever. Within the first year of blogging I did something that became the vehicle for future endeavors.
Creating and selling my first ebook
How do you create and sell an ebook?
You create and sell an ebook.
I’m being serious.
When I decided I wanted to create an ebook the topic was easy for me. I had been “Paleo” for almost a year and I was a huge fan of smoothies. And so I decided to make some smoothie recipes. I wrote them down on paper and took a super shitty photo of the smoothie. I moved the photos onto my computer and typed out the recipes in a text edit on my Mac.
Easy enough, right?
Sort of. I had Open Office at the time and so I moved the information into a document and organized it the best I could.
I believe the first name was Primal Smoothie Recipes eBook or something like that. I sold it for $2 because it only had 12 recipes and was a piece of shit. I kid you not. The recipes were OK but the photos personally turned me off. And the graphs I created? Wow. It was a disaster.
But I did it. I created and ebook and sold it. And that’s all that mattered to me. I tossed myself out into the world and made something happen. Fortunately, with ebooks, you can provide free updates. Woot!
And so I updated my ebook. And did it again. I changed the name to Toadally Primal Smoothies thanks to a facebook fan who left a comment of which received 11 “likes.” It was an easy decision.
And then I turned the ebook into an app thanks to someone contacting me. And it’s available for the Nook and Kindle too.
I did not study how to do all of this. I definitely did a little bit but 99% of my learning through this process has been by doing.
Especially when it comes to…
Organizing my first bundle sale
I’m the one that organized the Toadally Primal Wellness Bundle and the Harvest Your Health Bundle sales. Back in October of 2012 my ebook, Toadally Primal Smoothies, was in a Healthy Living Bundle organized by Stephanie Langford from Keeper of the Home.
I sold 62 bundles in a 5 day period and earned a decent bonus for being a contributor. In the end I made about $2200 in just 5 days. That ended up being about 15% of my income for the entire year.
I thought, “I can do this. I can create a bundle sale and FINALLY begin making a full-time living from something that I’m doing full-time.”
And so I did. I decided I was going to organize a bundle sale. Yet, I truly had not a flipping clue as to what I was doing. Seriously! This is where I was kind of sort of scared as shit.
But not really because I knew that I was going to learn during the process. And I did. I asked for help and got help.
In just one week we sold 7515 bundles.
I then spontaneously flew to Hawaii in January of 2013 and continued to work. Sure, I just made a lot of money in a short period of time but as far as earning money on a daily basis? This amount was small. Like tiny small.
The Spring and Summer came and went. And then I launched the Harvest Your Health Bundle sale on October 7. We sold 8865 bundles in 8 full days. We ran a re-run to kick off 2014 and sold another 2200.
I just dove in. I took action and learned sooooooo much during the process. I did not spend a single second studying how to do a bundle sale.
Rebuilding and re-launching Harvest Your Health
But I’m still at a point where I’m not earning a daily income. It’s stressful but at this point I’m quite calm about it. I have no doubts outside from the acute ones when something goes wrong that always gets fixed because it simply has to be fixed.
For the past couple of months my team and I which is my 2 sisters and Father, have been working on rebuilding Harvest Your Health. I’m more than stoked to launch it on May 12.
For those of you who are still reading, thank you. It means the world to me. What we are building is so much more work then I thought it would be. I have not studied how to do what I’m doing. Yet I’m still doing it. Again, I’m learning by actually doing. My ass is in the game and I’m getting tackled on a daily basis. But when you get tackled you get right back up for the next play. Or maybe you take a quick breather and then your coach throws you back in.
Just do it. Sort of like babies.
Walking for the first time
Since I have 2 9 month old nephews who are at the crawling stage as well as standing up with a little support, how could I not toss this in? Babies don’t study how to crawl or walk. They just do it. And they don’t really learn how to crawl by observing their parents because, well, their parents don’t crawl. They may a little to help them but that ultimately doesn’t have much of an effect.
Babies simply do. They crawl, then they walk, then they run. They don’t study it. They just do it.
Travel hacking my way to Hawaii for $5, Mexico for $41
Over the past year I’ve flown to Hawaii for $5 a few different times. I can book a flight to Greece for $5 right now if I wanted to. Or New Zealand for about $7.50 I think. I flew to Mexico for $41 and can fly to Sydney, Australia for less than $100. Dublin, Ireland too.
How did I learn to do this? I just, um, did it.
I’m more serious than joking.
In 2012 my brother received a credit card offer that gave him 40k bonus miles just for applying and getting accepted. He got accepted and then flew from Chicago to Dallas for $20. So I applied for and got accepted for that same credit card. I then flew round trip from Chicago to Austin for $20.
Time went by and I paid off my credit card debt. I spent a tiny amount of time researching for my next credit card. I found ThePointsGuy.com which is my go to resource. But I don’t read his articles. I just look for the best credit card deals that are right for me.
A year later and I now have 15 active credit cards. I accumulated more than 400k points/miles in about 8 months last year. To put this into perspective, it costs me only 17.5k miles plus $5 to fly to Hawaii via American Airlines.
I’ve read one book on travel hacking. I’ve read some articles. But I’ve learned the most by doing. By applying for credit cards and getting accepted and declined. And by talking with others about this like Darryl Edwards from The Fitness Explorer.
Speaking at PaleoFX
I was on a Think Thank pannel at PaleoFX 2013. To be honest, I had no idea what we were really discussing. It was about building community and stuff. I was incredibly scared and nervous as I had never been on a panel or spoken in front of a crowd like I did.
But I did it. And that’s what matters!
And then in January of this year I had the idea of a Travel Hacking panel. I was beyond stoked about doing this. I pitched it to Michelle Norris and she loved the idea. But it was difficult to find enough people and so they decided to do a Paleo Life Hacker panel of which I was on with Darryl Edwards, A Jolly, Andrew Badenoch and Daniel Vitalis.
It was a blast. The funnest part was Darryl asking everyone to stand up. I was silently waiting for that moment. I’m standing up right now while typing. It’s fun.
And then afterwards Dean Dwyer said I was a natural and Karen Pendergrass was shocked that this was only my second time doing this.
I was in awe by their feedback and am forever grateful.
But the point of this is that I did not study how to present. I used to be scared shit. But I did it anyways. This year I did it on a topic that immensely excites me which helps a lot. I did not think much about what I was going to say either.
I was in the moment. That’s all.
Writing (this blog post)
At this point I’m quite exhausted from writing. But holy shit am I glad that I just rambled on for an hour straight. You see, I am not going to go back and edit this post nor am I going to have anyone else do it. One reason why I stopped blogging is because I don’t wish to take the time to make every post perfect or pay someone else money to do so. Not when I have so much to say.
This isn’t to say that I won’t someday or to say that you shouldn’t or I shouldn’t. There really are no shouldn’t. I’m simply doing this to get back into the habit of writing and I’m practicing being vulnerable.
Vulnerability. Ah yes. This will definitely be a topic soon.
This post is over 2000 words. That was fun.