Focusing on Money for Freedom’s Sake in 2016

freedom

I’m really, reeeally, excited about this New Year.

Why?

Multiple reasons…

One has to do with a Rhett Butler quote I recently read and loved:

“Until you’ve lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was or what freedom really is.”
Gone with the Wind

2015 was a harrowing year both personally and professionally. But a funny thing happens once you walk through a hellscape for months on end, when you pop out the other side—still intact—a lightness of being is permanently attached to your psyche.

Things can go bad, of course, but rarely will they go that bad again. Which is very, very freeing.

Continue Reading

What Are You Optimizing For?

samovar

There’s a tea house in the heart of San Francisco’s South of Market area called Samovar. It’s known to locals and conference-goers alike for its zen atmosphere, spectacular views, and great grub. I ate there the other day with the founder of Startups.Co., an entrepreneur named Wil, who now owns Zirtual.com. Our conversation touched on a few share-worthy topics I thought those who self-select as Pegasus entrepreneurs or would-be escapee’s of the 9 to 5 may enjoy.

The overlooked, and very simple, bottom line

In talking to entrepreneurs, especially in San Francisco, there is often a pattern of working like dogs towards a fuzzy goal of “massive success”.

The simple fact is we are all seeking happiness. Founders often believe that it lies just beyond the end of the rainbow that is an exit, acquisition, making it onto the 40 under 40, or landing a place on the much-cherished Unicorn list.

But, (spoiler alert) it actually doesn’t!

We are all searching for what we perceive will bring us happiness. The problem is most of us take cues from the external world (tv, magazines, societal norms, social media, religion, etc.) instead of listening to our inner voice, or gut instinct.  

The good news is…

You can be happy NOW. You simply need to know what will actually make you happy (which is often harder than it sounds). So take a breath and think about what’s important to you, give yourself all the time you need… sometimes it takes days, weeks or even months. Once you know what’s important to you, what will *actually* make you happy, start optimizing for it and aggressively cut out the things in your life—especially in your work —that don’t contribute to it..

Here are a few quick steps that can help:

1. Take Inventory of your life, skills, likes and dislikes

  • A great way to understand your top skills for roughly $15 is taking the Strengths Finder quiz from this book.
  • Write down as many things as you can think of that you never want to do again and then stack rank them.
  • As cliched as it sounds, spend a day thinking about what you would do if you knew you couldn’t fail. This question, when taken seriously, can bore down into what your truth passions and goals are.
  • Talk to friends, lovers, colleagues, and others that you trust about what they see as your biggest strengths and greatest weaknesses. (Prepare to be humbled!)

2. Shake free of all external influences, shoulds, and other people’s ideals.

Just because you are 40 and a single woman doesn’t mean you should get married, have a baby, or conform to any of that jazz unless you want to. And if you do, EPIC, go get it gurl. If you want to live in a commune, raise stray cats, and never be tied down, that’s your right too. Don’t feel forced into anything because of age, gender, or societal norms. It’s way less enjoyable than optimizing for what you truly want.

Just because you are running a startup doesn’t mean you should raise money, try to grow BIG, and scale globally in the first year of business. Maybe you and your team will be happier if you never get past 20 people and only ever serve 3 markets. Who knows? It’s worth pondering for a day.

Just because you have a family doesn’t mean you have to raise it in the suburbs. You could raise them on a boat and travel the world.  Other people do it. You don’t hear about it as much because society makes a lot more money on people who do practical things like take out a mortgage, go into debt for a Volvo, and save up to send their kids to an over-priced college.

These are only a few examples, but you get my the drift. There are ideals created by other people and there is what works for you. While sometimes we use the former to guide us, the latter should be your priority.

3. On one single sheet of paper write out your DREAM life.

Think big. Go nuts. Write down anything and everything that comes up. Then start asking yourself why you want to pursue each dream.

Do you want to own a sports team? Great, but why?  Do you love sports and want a place to hang with your buddies while you watch the game? You could probably do that without owning a sports team. Do you want the recognition and social influence that comes with ownership? Fine, but make sure you don’t want that because you think it’ll make you happy. Social status is as fickle as the next scandal.

Do you want to live on a boat with your partner and work in spurts when you’re on dry land?

Do you want to create a thriving virtual community for people like you and have it be your life’s work?

Do you want to be able to financially take care of your family?

Whatever your passion is, as long as it’s not like “I want to wear a skinsuit I made out of the neighbor family,”, it’s fine. If it’s what you truly want and it will make you happy (and it’s not creepy/destructive/hannibal-lecterish), go for it.

4. Find your people

You know when you meet someone randomly, and walk away from the conversation/dinner/bar with the warm, fuzzy feeling of “dang, they are my people”? Whenever that happens make note of everything that happened and the type of person you were talking to..

Were they passionate about pigeons (one of my pet passions… pun not intended… sadly because my boyfriend won’t let me adopt a pigeon as a pet)? Did you spend hours talking about the future of biotech or about hacking physical fitness? Maybe you chatted about your shared love of extreme travel, or virtual entrepreneurship, or living the digital nomad life.

Whatever it is… when you find your people be sure to take note. Keep a spreadsheet on these encounters (in an uncreepy way). Go out of your way to stay in touch with them. One day, when the right project/business/opportunity arises you will have a ready-made pool of your people to rally together.

Just as important as finding the right people are, it’s equally important to know who deal breakers are. Everyone finds certain things obnoxious and annoying. You may not jive with me, I may not jive with you… that’s okay. But for heaven’s sake don’t think you have to spend an exorbitant amount time with people who rub you the wrong way. You don’t have to marry them, take vacations with them, or hire them.

Now it’s time for some reverse architecture

Recently, I did this exercise myself. I spent the last few weeks figuring out exactly what I want in life by journaling, spending time introspecting, and walking in nature (science behind that here).

I realized that the thing I am most passionate about is creating a community for un-tethered entrepreneurs, freelancers, and creatives. Luckily, that’s the exact kind of audience this blog speaks to!

The next step is attracting and exploring the business projects that align with what I know makes me happy. There are a ton of opportunities. I could create a startup that caters to the above, or join one that already exists. There’s always writing as well. Though I believe the best writing is done as a creative outlet without a thought of monetization. Lately the idea of creating a podcast geared towards this community (inspo coming from Mark Maronwe even share *kinda* the same name!), or starting a small conference, has been bouncing around my head.

But remember (and I say this for myself and you my dear reader if you’re going to try out the above), the biggest stumbling block to success is a myriad of ideas and opportunities, not a lack thereof.

Our nature is to go broad versus super-nuanced. Often that is the death knell for gaining traction with a new project or idea. So once you figure out what makes you happy, spend some time thinking of ALL the things you could do and then cut away 90% of them to focus on the few things that will have the most impact on your life. Then simply give those your all.

Continue Reading

The More We Work, the Less Productive We Are

Living in the heart of Silicon Valley’s frantic I work 12 hours a day, drink a ton of coffee and have no social life—but my startup is crushing it society, I get exposed to a lot of people who literally do nothing but work all the time.

Up until about 3 months ago, I was one of those people.

I would jump out of bed and do my morning face ritual (one of the small daily indulgences I allowed myself—because somewhere in the back of my mind I thought “I may work myself to death but dammit I want to have lovely skin whilst doing so.”). Then I’d grab something from the closet, usually all black because it minimized the need for matching, and speed walk to the office.

Compared to most SV startup CEO’s I actually worked “normal” hours. I would usually do 9 to 6 and then head home because I became completely useless after 9+ hours at the office. If I left at five, or came in late, I would feel some strange fog of guilt believing the startup gods would punish me for not being shackled to my desk most of my waking hours. I definitely thought about work all the time, and often caught myself doing just one more thing late into the night and on weekends.

Fact 1: the 80/20 Rule

Known originally as Pareto’s Principle, the 80/20 rule states that 80% of output comes from 20% of input. Examples of this split can be found across society and industries. Sometimes it’s more like 70/30, 95/5, etc, but the principle is the same—the most productive and effective outcome comes from a small, but efficient, amount of input.

80-20_Rule_Blog_640x440

Taking a 40-hour week, it’s fair to assume that the majority of output that generates revenue for the companies and pay for employees is created in only 8 hours of said work week. Spreading this over 5 days means that a little more than an hour and a half a day really adds to the bottom line.

Most people can recognize this in their own lives. There is often a part of their day, or week, where they are in a “flow” state of being super creative, effective, or inspired. They get more done, make better decisions, and push through plans that will benefit themselves or their company disproportionately compared to the rest of their weekly output.

Flow states feel goooooood too. When I was in flow, I felt like I was crushing it. Whether I worked 2 hours or 6.

So find that 20% and focus a disproportionate amount of your energy there. Let the rest of your work figure itself out by delegating it, automating it, or scrapping it.

Fact 2: The 8-hour Workday is Antiquated

In a great blogpost on why we should rethink the 8-hour workday the author states:

The reason we work 8 hours a day, isn’t scientific or much thought out. It’s purely the a century old norm for running factories most efficiently.

The crazy thing is that before Henry Ford implemented the 8-hour workday in 1914, 10-16 hour workdays were normal and six day work weeks were commonplace. Ford’s 8-hour work day, and Robert Owen’s Eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest” slogan broke the mold and ratcheted down the hours worked to the 40 hour a week norm we have today.

Most Americans, though, work 8.8 hours a day. Founders and CEO’s often report working 12-16 hour days.

The 8-hour workday was implemented over 100 years ago. Since then, we have become FAR more efficient in almost every part of life and business, so why our working hours are creeping UP, not down?

Fact 3: The Ultradian Rhythm

Human beings can’t focus as intensely as they need to for more than 90 minutes at a time. Afterwards, they need an average of 30 to 60 minutes to rest before trying again.

For a week, try to do no more than 3 90 minute sprints a day with at least 30 minutes rest in between each. Your 5.5 hour workday will look something like this:

ultradian rythm

Yes, in the diagram, they use twenty minute intervals versus thirty, but I like a half hour better because it’s a cleaner number and a longer break.

Test it out on yourself, or your employees. Work no more than 6 hours following the ultradian rhythm and see if one week of focusing on the 20% will you get the most output you’ve ever had. 8 hour workdays are so 1914.

Continue Reading

I’m sick of Unicorns, I want to be a Pegasus

I’m re-reading The Four Hour Work Week after 7 years…

I remember the first time I read it, sitting on a train headed towards the town of Viterbo, Italy. Blown away would be an understatement of my reaction to reading Ferriss’ now cult classic.

Shortly thereafter I dove head first into lifestyle design and creating internet businesses. The goal being for these businesses to give me freedom: financially and location-wise. I had just turned 23 and had an online business on eBay since I was 19. Armed with my new found learnings, I assumed I had collected the final pieces to having things all “figured out”… little did I know.

Fast forward almost 7 years, I was now based in San Francisco and entrenched in the startup world of Silicon Valley. I ran a company of 450 people, with humble beginnings as a “lifestyle business” I had started on a whim years prior. Zirtual.com (formerly called Virtual Zeta) is an offshore matching service for virtual assistants, that was sold ad hoc through this ol’ blog’s sidebar.

Then came August 9th of 2015. Overnight, I had to let roughly 450 people go. Why? A variety of reasons—mostly we “grew broke”, I didn’t understand our unit economics the way I should have and fell into the very Silicon Valley cycle of grow at all cost.

I can’t rehash the whole story here- mostly because it is still too raw and painful, but also because when life crashes around you overnight one often loses sight of the specifics and the whole period appears as a hazy blur in your mind’s rearview mirror.

I do know that during the turmoil I wrote this post as an attempted explanation. To which I got both reactions of loving support and those of extreme vitriol—maybe I deserved, both, or neither.

Growth at all cost

When we first raised money for Zirtual, we were profitable—albeit barely. We raised money from some amazing investors with the idea of growth in mind. Though unfortunately, what we didn’t have a clear idea of was what “growth” actually meant. Did it mean doubling our size year-over-year? Did it mean growing at a loss? Did it mean returning a comfortable profit each quarter?

Growth as an idea seemed like the right goal to chase… San Francisco continually touts that their startups are “making a dent in the universe”, and how would a new company achieve that if it was not hockey stick-ing?

Knowing your “why?”

When people asked me why I started Zirtual, it was the sum of my own obsession with delegation and appreciation of virtual work, combined with a strong desire to create jobs. My co-founders and I hung our hats on the idea that one day we would employ tens of thousands.

The issue was, I didn’t dive into the *why* behind those wants. I also didn’t realize that it’s far, far better to teach a man to fish—than to employ a man at your fishery.

My initial desire of creating a lifestyle business that gave me freedom and choice, coupled with an intent focus on growing a massive company that employed lots of people … were sadly diametrically opposed. Unlucky for me, and for those who worked at Zirtual, this revelation didn’t hit home until after the crash.

I don’t want to be a Unicorn, I want to be a Pegasus

Not long after raising our first venture round, I lost track of my initial (and lifelong) desire for freedom and enough money to do what I want—but not collect things I don’t need. My entire life was Zirtual, mostly because I loved the people who worked there and believed wholeheartedly in power of delegation. But I did get a case of Unicorn creep.

This is because being in tech, especially in San Francisco, it’s hard to escape the constant flow of people talking about Unicorns (not the mythical creature sadly, this instead refers to a startup that has a valuation of over 1 billion dollars). We got caught up, we wanted to grow Zirtual into a billion-dollar company—which would mean we’d have tons more clients and would create tons more jobs. It seemed like a win-win-win.

Over the last 8 weeks I’ve done a lot of deep diving into what I want- what makes me happy, why I wasn’t happy for the last year or so, but was so disconnected from my own soul that I would have sworn on a bible I was “Great!”.

Thus full circle back to the 4HWW, it seemed fitting to read the book that had originally sparked my online business bug, and try to reconnect with the 23-year old girl who read it for the first time many years prior.

What did 23-year old Maren want? And what does 30-year old Maren want?

Reconciled, I did and still do want freedom, peace, happiness, bringing joy to others, having enough money to to buy nice quality of the minimal items I need to be comfortable, the ability to travel at will and sometimes do “posh” things.

Do I need a billion dollars to do that? Do I need a hundred million, or only one? Do I need 99.99% of my “network” tied up in RSUs that can disappear with a bad economy? Or… do I need a set, stable, amount of income each month… that ideally performs good in good times, and great in bad times.

Hmmm…

I don’t want to be a Unicorn. Mythical, rarely seen, known to disappear into the mist… leaving those who glimpsed it wondering : “Wait, was that just a horse with a cone on it’s head?”.

I want to be a Pegasus. A creature known as the source of inspiration to poets, artists and heros. A being that is able to spread out it’s beautiful wings and fly off… whenever it feels like.

Pegasus is a visual embodiment of freedom, magic and joy.

So I restart my quest, initiated with this blog so many years ago—to escape the 9 to 5, and to create freedom and adventure in my life through starting businesses that bring others joy.

I hope documenting my journey will help inspire you to start your own.

Continue Reading

Successful People Are Confident People

successful people confident maren kate
Smile, whether you feel like it or not, it breeds confidence.

Successful people are confident people, there are no two ways about it. Even if the successful person doesn’t seem confident in the suave way the media often portrays captains of industry, I will bet you dollars to donuts they possess quiet confidence—which is often times the most powerful.

People who achieve their goals are people who believe in themselves first, and their goals second. So it’s no coincidence that the most successful people are often the most confident – you need one in order to build up to the other. Confidence in my humble opinion comes first, then success follows suit.

Whether that success is becoming a better athlete, expanding a business, climbing a mountain, learning a new skill, or any other goal you have set out for yourself, you can only attain it by believing that you can.

There have been various scientific studies that back up the fact that self-confidence is directly related to success:

“A decade or so ago, a couple college professors at Florida State University used a survey of more than 4,000 students to gauge their intellectual and social confidence, their expectations for success, their motivation to succeed, past academic accomplishments, parental education, and so on. Admittedly, a lot of the variables were interlocking. But the study concluded that having a high expectation that you’d succeed was the strongest predictor of actual high performance. Self-confidence was also correlated to doing well in school.”
Source

“Psychologists have long known that intelligence isn’t the only predictor of scholastic achievement and that intellectual confidence does a good a job of predicting grades as well. “There has been a very, very big lobby within educational psychology against the notion of IQ,” says Chamorro-Premuzic. “And part of this lobby has been based on the idea that self-perceptions matter more than actual ability.””
Source

“There exists positive significant relationship between intelligence and self-confidence in respect of secondary school students and boys, whereas for girls no such relationship exists. Intelligence relates significantly with academic achievement of the students of secondary school as well as boys and girls taken separately. As for as gender differences concerned it was found that for intelligence and academic achievement gender differences exist.”
Source

Successful People and Dealing With Failure

Michael Jordan – regarded by many as the greatest basketball player of all time – said, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”

There are many examples of Jordan’s failings, of the times when he fell short. He was cut from his high school team because his coach didn’t think he was a strong enough player. Failure helps to “toughen” a person up, helps them to have the confidence that they can learn something every day and with every trial.

If Jordan hadn’t been confident in his ability to improve and if he hadn’t been able to see that an overall success is built upon a foundation of small failures, he never would have been able to ultimately become as legendary as he is now. Jordan has missed more than 9,000 shots in his career, lost almost 300 games, and on 26 occasions has been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and missed. But none of these failures has taught him to simply lie down and accept his fate of being a “less than perfect” ball player.

In fact, Jordan knows that confidence is a process about progress, not about perfection.

If you don’t learn how to deal with failure, you will never know success when it comes along. Confident people also have the ability to recognize their successes, because they see that the learning that occurs along the path to reaching a goal is a success in and of itself. Confident people know that their abilities are what got them there and that they have the aptitude to carry themselves further than they thought possible before, because they can reflect on how far they’ve come.

Confident people are able to regard their minor victories for what they are – victories – and ultimately build upon them to achieve the greatest level of success they can dream of.

Leading Others To Success

People are more naturally willing to follow others that they see as confident leaders. Vince Lombardi, the Professional Football Hall of Famer and renowned NFL coach, was quoted as saying “Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.” To be a leader, you must have confidence in yourself and your abilities, and you must be able to display confidence in others and help them boost up their own self-confidence so they can enliven their potential and achieve greatness.

Most people are not successful on their own, and no one is successful in a vacuum. It can take hard work and the dedication of an entire team building one another up in order to achieve great success. But every team needs a strong leader to keep focus and inspire everyone to be motivated. Whether you intend to lead others or not, you will end up being someone that people will follow because your internal spark of confidence will cause people to wholeheartedly believe in you as much as you believe in yourself.

Whether you are a leader of a team or a team member that is working toward a common goal, you need to be able to keep your focus on the finish line, and to have the resolution to do what is best for everyone in order to reach it. This means not only having the confidence in yourself and your own abilities, but keeping others optimistic about the hard work everyone is putting in, the contributing factors and obstacles that the entire team is encountering on the way to reaching the goal, and the support network you have in one another in order to get the job done.

Success is not reached by standing on the backs of others, but by a group with varied talents working together to achieve together.

Striving To Succeed On Your Own

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence,” said Helen Keller. She was born both deaf and blind and it was only through dedication that she became able to communicate with the outside world. She eventually went on to earn her Bachelor’s of Arts degree and become a published author and political activist. If she had not had confidence in her own abilities, if she had not had this persevering optimism, she would not have been able to overcome her limitations and expand her world outside her own mind.

However, she knew that she could achieve great things, and once she set her mind to it, she did.

If you are working alone toward a personal success, you will find that confidence in yourself will help you get much further than pessimism. Again, it’s no easy task to accomplish a measure of success on your own, but your belief in yourself can contribute to whether you ultimately succeed. People who effectively reach the goal-line do so because they were realistic about their potential and their ability to fulfill it, and they keep an optimistic attitude in addition to their confident outlook.

Anyone can achieve their goals, if they have the confidence in their own potential and the wherewithal to dedicate themselves to the hard work it will take. Successful people are confident people – there’s no doubt about it – and having the confidence in yourself to begin to work toward your goal is inevitably the first step toward success.

About The Author: Diggy is a confident, successful young man who enjoys travel, business and spending time with his friends. He uses his own experience to teach others how to be confident and even has exclusive confidence tips for women. If you want to become more confident then be sure to subscribe to Diggy’s Flawless Confidence newsletter.

Continue Reading

Bright Lights, Big City, Vegas Girl

Bright Lights, Big City, Vegas GirlBright Lights, Big City, Vegas Girl: As I taxi’d into New York City, watching the landscape unfold in front of me, I had the realization that I’ve been trying to get here my whole life. From being born outside of Dallas, to growing up in the soul withering heat of Vegas… deep down I was crawling my way towards America’s Mecca.

I have arrived. In style? Not really. Am I staying at the best hotels? No. I’m still bootstrapping baby. Am I more positive about my future and the future of Zirtual than ever before? Ab-so-freakin’-lutely.

I haven’t gotten far mind you… I really has explored maybe 6 city blocks in Chelsea… but’s it’s raining and I ducked into a cafe to get some work done. I am here for a combination of business and pleasure. My first visit to New York is coinciding with an amazing time in my business—and I can’t think of a better way to express that excitement than to document it here—on my trusty blog.

We now have a small high school worth of ZAs working for amazing clients spread all around the World. I am more convinced than ever before that starting this business was not only the right thing, but what I was meant to do. Never underestimate the pure bliss of creating jobs for hard working people and knowing that your company and culture makes a positive effect on their everyday lives. It is unreal.

I’m going to blog while I’m here and share what I’m learning, what I’ve learned and hopeful inspire someone to break free from the monotony of working a job they hate and take the risk to start their own thing.

Continue Reading

An Object in Motion…

object in motionAn object in motion tends to stay in motion

One large iced green tea, one small extra-hot, hot chocolate. It’s the sweet and sour of this drink combination, the hot and cold duality of their natures that I love. I’m sitting in the same Starbuck’s that I have spent many a late night brainstorming the future of Zirtual at—the idea that started in a similar coffee shop in Las Vegas two years ago and has grown into a 25 person company based in the heart of San Francisco.

A year ago, when I was living in the Tenderloin, subsisting off of Ramen and Red Bull dropping $5 for two drinks at Starbucks would have caused me physical pain. I pinched pennies like nobody’s business and still do. Even today I feel a little silly/guilty over the indulgence of buying myself my two beverages when I’m just one person.

Regardless, as I wait to pick up my friend at the nearby BART station I decided to drop into my old haunt and enjoy a beverage—or two—and reflect on the last 18 months of my startup life.

Continue Reading

How the Sharing Economy Will Change Your Life

sharing economy It’s an unnaturally warm day in San Francisco, a pleasant breeze wafts in through an open window while the faint sound of traffic is drowned out by a oscillating fan. In the last hour, Chloe – a Zirtual Assistant – has seamlessly booked a client’s last minute travel itinerary for South by Southwest, scheduled 5 meetings for various people and coordinated in-person errands for an SF based client through TaskRabbit.

It’s sounds like multi-tasking, but it’s also collaborative consumption. Chloe handles several clients who assign various tasks throughout the day, she acts as a personal concierge to some and an executive assistant to others. This is all made possible by the sharing economy.

It’s something that we don’t think of as adults, especially busy professional ones, but the collaborative consumption trend is more popular than ever and it’s just getting started.

What is Collaborative Consumption?

Simply put it’s multiple people sharing one thing for social, environmental or financial reasons. It’s been around for a long time – think boarding houses in the 1850s – but only in more recent years has the trend been identified and actually lauded as a better way to live.

Continue Reading

25 Quirky Things to be Thankful for

things to be thankful for Be Thankful: I’m writing this from a hotel room in downtown Charleston, West Virginia. My brother mentioned, as we were walking back from a sumptuous dinner at Le Chili’s, that center of this city reminded him of a post-zombie-apocalypse movie – hello Appalachia.

I’ve had a hell of a time getting here. 10 hours, four airports SFO > DEN > IAD > CRW, lost tickets, misplaced bags – it would be oh so easy to bitch. But instead I’m going to be thankful. I’m surrounded by family I haven’t seen for ages and have a chance to reflect on this last year and all the things I have to smile about.

Being thankful, or grateful, is hands down the best way to live. You’ll live longer, be happier and enchant others with your positive outlook versus boring them to death with your whining. So in honor of Thanksgiving I wanted to jot down 25 things that I’m truly thankful for and maybe you can be too.

Continue Reading

Lessons Learned: 5 Traits Needed for Success

lessons learned

When I came to San Francisco, almost a year ago today, I thought I had a decent understanding of starting a business in the internet space. I had been “working online” since I was 19, doing everything from selling jewelry on eBay to social media consulting, I look back now and blush over my deep, unsettling ignorance.

In the last year I have learned more about starting up in the real world than I thought was possible – the crazy part is I probably haven’t even scratched the surface. When people say “it isn’t easy” they aren’t lying, they’re being generous. If I did a slideshow of what I’ve gone through in the last year to get Zirtual from non-existent to what it is today – you wouldn’t believe me.

I have lived in hostels, I have taken advantage of complimentary breakfasts at places I’m not staying, I have cried late at night prostrated on my desk, I have worked out of Starbucks, I have walked 3 miles in the rain to a meeting and arrived soaking wet because I didn’t want to spend the money on a cab, I have hustled, I have begged, I have borrowed, I have done everything but steal – unless you count aforementioned free-breakfast noshing stealing – then I’ve even done that.

I say this, to scare you, and in reality, I’m toning it down because you can’t understand what a year of non-stop hustling feels like from reading one blog post. Why do I want to scare you off? Because the few people who are true entrepreneurs out there and have what it takes to chase their dreams won’t be scared.

They’ll read this and focus on the I’m-almost-out-of-the-woods part, not the year in exile… and you my dears are the type of people who must chase your dreams. You must become entrepreneurs and you must follow your visions – because you are a rare breed and 99% of your cohort will never be able to do what you do. Because of this you probably possess…

Continue Reading