Growing up, Billy Broas took the traditional path – he did well in school, went to college and then started a corporate career. He thought this would be the “end all be all”… until he got the entrepreneurial itch. Billy decided to pursue something he’d been passionate about since college – craft beer. In this episode, Billy and Adam Markel discuss how he successfully pivoted from the traditional career path into his own business in the craft beer industry. Billy also shares how to overcome the toughest part of becoming an entrepreneur and the two essential elements for making a difference in the world.
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Brewing Online Success With Billy Broas
I am feeling very good. I got a little physical not issue or anything, but woke up with a headache and a little maybe even foggy in the brain. I don’t know if you can relate to that, waking up and feeling that way. For me, it’s weather-related. Often if there’s low-pressure rain and that’s what’s weird living on this island and it gets super humid at times, especially when the low pressure comes in. I did some good things for myself. I made some time to not try to muscle that away and it doesn’t usually help when we resist things. It doesn’t help me when I resist things. I was open to maybe there’s something I’m supposed to be paying attention to. Maybe my body is sending me a sign. I took a nice walk down to the beach, took a swim and I feel good right now.
I feel peaceful, happy and feeling blessed that I get to do what I’m doing right at this moment, which is to have a conversation with somebody you are going to love. I feel like he’s a great fit for our show and a good guy. I’m excited to be able to introduce him to you. His name is Billy Bross. Billy left a promising career in the renewable energy industry to go full-time on a side project, probably a side hustle that he’d been quietly working on, an online home beer brewing school. It’s not every day that you meet somebody that started up one of those. We’re going to get to talk about that, which is cool. Other people that were course creators began asking Billy for help. He’s now sold online courses in over 50 different niches, generating millions of dollars in revenue for his clients. He’s passionate about online education, enjoys growing businesses while making a positive impact. We share that in common. Billy, it’s so great to have you on the show. Thanks for being a guest.
Thank you so much for having me, Adam. I’m pumped to be here.
What’s not written in that bio? What’s one thing that’s not a part of that bio that you would love for people to know about you?
I have an enormous family.
What do you mean enormous?
I have 35 first cousins, a large extended family. My dad was the first of nine and all of them had 3 or 4 kids. My mom had five kids in her family. Let’s say that our Thanksgivings were very eventful.
My wife and I were lucky enough to have four healthy kids. We know how important that is that your kids are healthy and well. My brother and I, each of us have four. My mom and dad are both still alive and, knock on wood, doing well. They got eight grandkids. Two sons, they ended up with eight grandkids. I think if we do the math of this thing, at some point, somebody is going to be like you, Billy, and they’re going to get on somebody’s show. They’re going to say, “The thing you don’t know about me is I come from an enormous family.”
The math is working out that way for you.
It gets exponential over time.
It’s been interesting too in this COVID environment. We’re going back to the basics. At least for me and for a lot of people I know, family has become even more important. I’ve reconnected with a lot because that’s a lot of people and it’s a lot to stay in touch with over the years but I’ve gone back and said to a lot of my cousins, “How are you doing? I haven’t checked in in a while. What’s going on with you?” I’ve found a lot of gratefulness for that, a new appreciation for this large family that I have.
It’s one of those things that we don’t talk about each day, what the opportunities are or what way you would leverage uncertainty, how do you look at these uncertain times that we’re living in where things are changing? Not changing in a way that we catastrophize things. We know that we do that as human nature. We look at something and say, “That was a serious challenge but now I’m adjusting to it. I’m adapting to it.” Once you get past all the phases of the grieving process, I suppose, that your business has changed, life has changed, and so many things, you move into that phase of, “I adapt.”Now more than ever, we need to have these types of open, honest, and vulnerable conversations. Click To Tweet
Since we’re not quite even at a place that you would say has settled yet, there’s this perpetual state of uncertainty. Uncertainty with the virus, uncertainty with kids going back to school, not being able to be in space proximity to other people, not being able to do that with our economy, things some people doing super well, other people still collecting unemployment and wondering, “What’s going to be come of me, my job, my career?” There are so many things. I’m curious, what’s your beat on that on how it is that you leverage the power of uncertainty, if that even makes sense too?
It goes back to what I was saying about the family. Even beyond that, our support network is so important especially now. We have to be talking to people. We have to be talking about the issues that we’re dealing with because we’re all dealing with them. I know that I had a tendency in the past to retreat, to not reach out for help. I can handle it. I’ll suck it up. I’ll be okay. I’ll be very stoic. Since COVID, I’ve realized the value of reaching out to the people close to me and saying, “This is what I’m dealing with.” It’s been amazing to hear them say, “I’m dealing with that too.” It’s so cathartic also to talk about what’s going on. That’s what I’ve seen has been the big eye-opener from this whole thing.
More connection at a deeper level perhaps and with people, like you said, that maybe you’ve even lost track of. That’s an opportunity to be more real about what’s going on in your life, what’s going on in your emotional state.
More vulnerable, absolutely, which has been something again that I’ve had to learn. That did not come naturally to me.
It’s interesting, I had not even had thought about it until the second you sparked this in me. A book that I wrote came out about years ago called Pivot. At the time, Pivot was a principle. I was working with this idea of in basketball how you pivot and how that is a very assertive thing that you can do when you’re otherwise in a defensive place. How do you pivot in your career, in your life, and areas of your business, etc. At the time, that word was negative in the sense that it meant you made a mistake. Usually, it was a business error. A model in a Silicon Valley startup, for example, crashed and burn. You ran out of runway and then they pivoted. There were lots of successful pivots that we could point to in the tech sector like YouTube, which started out as a video dating site. Lo and behold, that model didn’t work so they kept the video, got rid of the dating piece.
There were lots of successful pivot stories but I think people were not keen to say, “I’m pivoting.” Right now, the vulnerability of that word has changed quite a bit. I think a lot of people are leaning into the idea that pivoting is not only a thing you have to do but it’s a thing that takes you to a place of whether it’s greater prosperity, greater peace, or greater something but it’s actually useful as a tool. It’s very powerful that in a time like this, we can be more real about what’s real and true, versus trying to contain and maintain the facade.
One of the phrases I hate from all of this is social distancing. I wish they would have gone with physical distancing because that’s what it is. We should not be social distancing because we’re not social distancing right now. You and I were physical distancing. We’re not social distancing. Now more than ever, we need to have these types of open, honest and vulnerable conversations.
Tell me about the pivot that led to what you’re currently doing. If you wanted to start at some other place, feel free to. I said right before we even started this thing that our community love the real serious story of someone making a change, whether that was by choice or by default. In addition to this drama, and obviously we’re interested in how it all turns out kind of thing, it connects us to each other. We’re privately dealing with those things so often and don’t necessarily know how we’ll get out of something or how something will turn out for the best. When we hear how someone else might have been in some similar situation and how they landed on their feet or how it was the case that it didn’t even seem like they were on their feet and then they look back and go, “I know that’s what I needed. That’s what had to happen to be where I am now.” It’s helpful. Wherever you want to start that conversation, please.
Growing up, I took the traditional path. I did very well in school, did all my homework, very well on exams, that whole thing, got into a great college, got a great career after that and thought that was the end all be all. I said, “I made it. This is it. This is what I worked so hard for eighteen years, whatever it was of schooling, working my butt off. I finally achieved it.” In that career, I panicked and said, “Is this all there is?” I remember sitting down my very first day of work. Don’t get me wrong, I spent almost seven years there, so it’s not like I hated what I was doing. I was working in an interesting field. I was working in the clean energy field. I was working on big industrial and commercial scale, solar, wind, and biomass projects, which I was very curious about, very interested in.
That was good but it was a small company. There were only fifteen employees there. My growth was limited and I’m very much about growth. I’m always trying to take things to the next level. I’m not very competitive. I’m more competitive with myself. I like to be better now than I was yesterday. When I sat down at that desk the first day, I said, “This is what I worked so hard for.” I could see my future playing out. I said, “Am I going to be here for the next 30, 40 years?” That hit me hard. What wound up happening was I said, “Let me control what I can control here. I need some outlet for this drive that I have, for this entrepreneurial itch.”
That’s when I started the beer website. It was something I was passionate about the time. I was fresh out of college so I was very familiar with beer. It was something that I got into. I got into the whole craft beer scene. This was around 2008, 2009. I started home brewing a lot, getting into that. That eventually became the thing that freed me from that career. After so many years, I was making enough money from that beer website that I was able to jump ship and do my own thing, but that brought a whole new host of challenges that we could get into.
You became an entrepreneur. It’s a different world entirely.
I thought it would be way easier than it has been.
I think if there’s one statement that probably everybody who’s ever started a business and operated a business for any length of time will attest to, it’s what you said. It seems way easier than it ultimately turns out to be.
Becoming an entrepreneur is the best personal development you could possibly do.
What’s your best personal development lesson from being an entrepreneur?
It’s funny. One of the books that caused me to do this, to take this path was The 4-Hour Workweek.
The carnage that that book has caused. I’m kidding.
I drank the Kool-Aid on it. It’s a great book and I love Tim Ferriss. Let’s put it this way. The 4-Hour Workweek is not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s funny because there’s this image of your digital nomad, you’re traveling the world, you have a business that runs itself, everything’s delegated. I find myself now going back to the routine at least of that 9:00 to 5:00 job that I had where I have the structure, where I’m looking for the security. I’ve done the digital nomad thing. It’s not for me. I like to travel but I can’t couch surf around the world for six months and not have something anchoring me down. It’s interesting how it came full circle. The thing that I thought I was leaving that structure of the 9:00 to 5:00 job and the desk and everything is exactly what I came back to. It took a different form but that’s where I wound up.
It’s so interesting. As you say, we crave certain things. I was a lawyer. You may not know my background, but I was a lawyer for eighteen years and then didn’t jump ship like Josh Shipp wrote that book, Jump Ship. That’s not my process at all. I wrote the book Pivot. It was about 2.5 years of creating a plan B and building a second bridge before I dismantled the first bridge. I didn’t even need to leave the practice of law. I am very happy that I did and I speak to a lot of lawyers who are so itching to figure out how to regain their sanity. It can be quite a misery creating profession, honestly. There are ways to navigate that profession or any profession that are healthy. I didn’t have the tools. I didn’t have the resources personally. I wasn’t good enough at the personal development end of it to manage the business that was dragging me into the mud or I was dragging myself into the mud.
The fact of the matter is that much of what I gravitated to in the law, I’ve gravitated to now. I love structure and I never thought that would ever be the case. I resisted it for such a long time. I don’t handle my own calendar. I’m not good at managing a calendar. I’m good at managing my priorities but managing time is not my expertise at all. I haven’t handled my calendar in years, which is a wonderful thing. Someone else does it. I don’t get involved in that but I know where I’m supposed to be. What’s great about having a calendar that governs my life is that when I don’t have something scheduled, I don’t have to worry about it. I don’t have any anxiety about what I should be doing now. I can go do what I want to do, walk, swim, spend time with my wife, whatever it is. There’s a certain freedom that comes from that structure. Not everybody who’s reading this is going to resonate with that. An earlier version of me in my early twenties, I would have been like, “Are you kidding me? I don’t even want to wear a watch.”
Being a lawyer at that time, it’s so ironic because it’s so structured. It was in a profession that required all that structure and I was constantly resisting it the whole way through. Now what I find later on is that the structure actually gives me great freedom and it’s a healthy environment for me to do what I do for a living and for loving. It’s interesting that way. What would you say in your becoming an entrepreneur has been the toughest part of that for you?
It was lonely and it still is to a large extent. We’re in interesting times now, so a lot of that is unavoidable. I love my employees. It’s not the typical story where I hated my job, I hated all my employees. No. That’s why I stuck around so long. There certain things that I didn’t enjoy and I wanted to evolve, to do something else. One thing I did enjoy was working with all these interesting, kind, compassionate people. I went from that from going into this office and being around those people to being by myself, being a solopreneur and then running this beer website. Although I love my readers a whole lot or the homebrewers and beer drinkers, they’re great, I wasn’t collaborating with them. They were my customers. It was just me running the show. I tend to geek out on things and go deep into certain things like home brewing. I don’t go a little bit in. I don’t go in an inch. I go a mile. I did the same thing with running an online business too.
I had a formal business education. I got my MBA and everything but that’s very different than running an online business and selling beer brewing courses over the internet. It didn’t prepare me for that. I said, “I got to learn this thing.” I discovered all these online communities and people a lot like myself. I gravitated towards those. I developed those relationships and they eventually started asking me for help with their businesses, even businesses that were much larger than mine, because I had a skillset that could help them out. That’s when I started working with clients, which is still what I do now and that filled that gap that I had. Now I have these very smart, interesting, kind people around me I’m collaborating with. Even if they’re not right next to me, I’m still working with them and that has been a big game-changer for me.Resilience is putting one foot in front of the other. Click To Tweet
It’s interesting to hear you say what you said because that’s probably one of the things that would distinguish the difference between my life, what I do now, and what I was doing as an attorney because I’ve always been a mentor. I mentor people. To this day, we mentor people to speak publicly, deliver TED talks, develop their paid keynote platform, that kind of thing. I was working with clients on their commercial case or their litigation. I was always mentoring, coaching, counseling them, but it was in the worst of circumstances. Where they were as a litigant, defendant, plaintiff or even in common real estate closing situations, I would see the worst parts of their personalities show up because they were very emotional and often angry.
Whereas in the counseling and the mentoring that I do, I’m working with kind people. People that want to make a difference in the world and want to share a message or want to deliver a service or product that will be a benefit to others. They’re in business. They’re concerned about money. They’re concerned about all of those things but it’s a different arena to be doing a similar thing. I’ve been considered myself a teacher more recently going back to early roots in my life where I was actually was a middle school English teacher for a couple of years. I thought, “I’m not a teacher.” That’s the common denominator in all of these things. It’s this idea of being able to educate, inform, teach, train, it sounds to me like in developing these courses and working with these homebrewers, you were able to find that simpatico relationship and conversation. Since then, you’ve now been working with other products so you’re a digital marketer. Tell me more about that.
I actually sold the beer brewing business in 2017 because again, I hit a ceiling. It wasn’t firing me up anymore. I left that job because it wasn’t firing me up anymore. I left it to do something that did fire me up so that I could get excited about. I have pretty good self-awareness and when I saw myself resisting, writing those emails to my home beer brewing list, I knew that something was off. I never intended to be the beer guy my whole life and live that life. It’s also not the healthiest business to run. My beer consumption, doing all the research. I know it’s first world problems but eventually it does add up. It’s like, “Come on. I’m trying to get in shape here. This is not easy.” I knew that it was time to move on. I built that bridge that you were talking about because I had this client work that was going on. I loved the businesses that they were building and I loved helping them out. I like adding fuel to people’s fire and I love the impact that they were making. It was the same move. It was a different industry but it’s the same move. I closed that chapter and I started a new one.
Tell me a little bit about the work that your company does these days.
I’ve got great clients and they’re at the cutting edge of online education. I love what it’s become. The product of online education has gotten so much better, especially since COVID started. Online courses, I have probably been in this a while or two. Online courses back in the day were not very good. What they called an online course was not an online course. It was not education. It was an eBook or in some cases, a zip file of word documents and some videos. What my clients are doing now is they’re taking a very hands-on approach to providing a phenomenal student experience. That’s the word that we say a lot that you didn’t hear much a few years ago. No one cared about the student experience. They cared about building funnels and all those things.
The nice word for the mousetrap.
One thing I say is it’s about conversations not about ClickFunnels. Everyone is very funnel obsessed but if you focus on getting your student’s phenomenal results, then everything else becomes easier.
What’s their journey? What does the client path look like? What’s that experience? It’s a much deeper inquiry and has a lot less to do about how it is that you trip wire somebody or clickbait them. The process becomes to get someone to say yes. We all get it’s a business, so I’m not being naive in saying this, we sell products online as well. I think in some ways, there’s a question of ethics, there’s a question of how do you rate something, what’s the efficacy? If we were talking about a drug and it was the FDA that was evaluating whether this drug could be on market or not, there’s nothing that looks at education, at least this form of adult education or digital, now online education, and rates it. I haven’t seen anybody that’s evaluated something.
I have a colleague. This is her main mission is to increase one of these metrics that is out there, which is course completion rates. Completion rates historically have been abysmal, 3% to 5%, that kind of a range.
It will be interesting to see what it looks like twelve months from now. As you said now that more focus has been put on both the experience as well as being able to distinguish yourself in the sea of sameness in that market and that being a metric to measure success or not. I think that’s as good of a measurement as I can think of.
My clients are obsessed with this. I have one, David Burrell, and he teaches a writing course of both things. It’s not exactly revolutionary. It’s a writing course but he is crushing it. It’s a very successful business. The price point on this course is now I believe $5,000, so it’s a very high-end course. He’s getting CEOs into there. He’s getting VCs into there. He has obsessed with quality and getting results. He has a staff. He has a course manager. They do onboarding calls. They have mentors who come back and they form small groups for all their students. It’s a very VIP experience for the students. It shows in his results, in the business results. That is the key. If you want to make more revenue, it’s not either/or. A lot of people want to build these very passive businesses, these passive lifestyles where everything is automated. It’s counterintuitive but by putting more into it, you actually achieve more freedom. He has a great lifestyle.
I’ve got a book that’s going to come out called Clean Money. That’s in many ways about how it is. You already know what that looks like if you’ve been in business because we have a digital program that we put so much time and effort into. It goes on for three months to help somebody to go from no idea what their TED Talk would be like to actually standing on the stage, delivering it, being recorded, and doing it all virtually using Prezi, Zoom and some other technology. We get so much freedom out of delivering that high quality because I never lose a minute of sleep over it.
I never think about we’re not serving our clients or that our clients are not going to be happier, that it’s not worth the investment. None of that, which is so different than when you’re selling something that you have to deal with people’s outright feedback that’s not great or like you said that they don’t actually use. Somebody is buying something that you’ve led them. Even if it’s ethically that you’ve led somebody to make a snap decision, to spend a few hundred or a few thousand bucks that they don’t use. I don’t know that I sleep great scaling that model. The only reason to do that is to ultimately achieve some scale. There’s a cost to that earning. It’s not what I would call clean money and therefore not a business model. I think that ultimately will make people feel great about what they’re doing.
Just to add to that too because it’s a great point, people in business know that most of the profit comes from what we call the backend, from repeat sales, from existing customers. You’ve got to think that if that’s true, and course completion rates are 3%, how many of them are going to buy an additional product from you when you go to offer it?
Everything is a numbers game anyway. Business is a numbers game. Sales is a numbers game but when you think about the model of, I’ll acquire new clients as opposed to actually taking such great care of the clients you’ve got, is a cost of acquiring a new client. Everybody reading this ought to know that number. You should know that number. If you don’t know that number, find out that number. As you said, the money or at least the wisdom in that space has been the aggravations in the front end and the profits in the backend. Those repeat sales, repeat business is so important. If you take that to be true, you’ve got to take care of that client. Don’t sell them something that they won’t use or that’s mediocre. Logically speaking, what’s the likelihood that that person will be so impressed with how unimpressive that first product was that they’ll want to be buying something else from you? It is a little counterintuitive.
It’s like you go to a restaurant and have a bad first experience, what’s the likelihood that you go back? It’s very low. It’s the same thing in any industry, in any business.
When you think about what it takes to succeed, to me, longevity is the key. You’ve got to be around long enough. You tell me if you agree with this or not, but I think you’ve got to be around long enough to figure out both what you want. You’ve got to figure out what actually works and what works for you. As we started this discussion in many ways, that’s a product of the lifestyle that you want, what you will and will not tolerate. If you’ve got to be in bed at 9:00 at night, there are certain businesses that aren’t going to work for you. I’m not suggesting that you should be up to 1:00 because I don’t think there’s a one size fits all answer to this. We’ve got to explore that ourselves. The one skill that I would apply across the board to any business or entrepreneur would be that they’ve got to become resilient. That is the most important skill I can think of. It’s a soft skill on some levels. It’s a hard skill on others. To me, it is what’s required. If I was training a group of young, new entrepreneurs or even kids, I would be training them on, “This is how you establish, you create resilience results.” Let’s begin there. What’s the definition of resilience for you?
For me, it’s putting one foot in front of the other because it’s so easy, especially for entrepreneurs. We are usually big vision people and we think far ahead. We paint this amazing picture of what we want the future to look like but we know life is tough. There are going to be setbacks. There’s a lot of things that you can’t control and you can’t get too caught up in those things when they happen. You need to put one foot in front of the other and say, “What’s one thing that I can do now to move my business forward? Not a week from now, not a month from now, not six months from now.” When you string together all those steps, then that’s when you get that compound interest effect that kicks in but you need to have faith that those little steps are going to add up and need to actually take them.
It’s the compounding effect that I think Einstein called The Greatest Miracle. When you look at your money, investing at simple interest rates, what happens over time? You see that hockey stick. I think the challenge in the compounding chart is very similar to the COVID chart. You see the way that COVID virus went from dozens of people to then thousands and then hundreds of thousands and on and on. It’s very similar to what a compound interest chart looks like. If an entrepreneur needs to simply take that next step, if that’s all you do each day is simply move forward in some way, that you’ll at some point see that hockey stick effect. I think the toughest part is the time lag, meaning you see the chart when you look back at its stock market, the real estate market or even a business’ success.
We’ve done a lot of research on resilience and studied other people’s research. We were even looking recently at a McKinsey study of resilient companies coming out of the 2008 financial crisis, resilient and less resilient companies. The chart for resilient companies looks like this. They recovered quickly and kept increasing the gap, the distance between themselves and anyone else. That’s the way the chart looks. It was up into the right but when you look closer at it, obviously it’s a much more jagged chart. If you look at a compound interest chart, there’s not a lot going on for a period of time. It’s quiet. You could very easily be convinced that nothing good is happening, that my money isn’t growing, that my stocks and my real estate aren’t growing, that my business isn’t growing, and all the while you’re putting one foot in front of the other, as you said, and at a certain point, it hockey sticks.
I’m asking you how you handle this. What do you do when you look at that chart and you see that the time before it hockey sticks is like this Death Valley? You feel like you’re dying of thirst for something good to happen. I think a lot of people have a hard time dealing with that and often they quit or they pivot too soon even because they aren’t seeing the signs of something good happening. What’s your recipe for dealing with that?
What I do is I change the chart that I’m looking at. Have you heard the story behind Jerry Seinfeld and how he writes jokes?
Please remind me because I think I have but it’s totally fascinating.Learn to pay attention to those little moments throughout the day, because all we really have is the moment where you just feel great. Click To Tweet
The phrase here is, “Don’t break the chain.” What Jerry Seinfeld did, I don’t know if he still does it, is he would write a joke every single day. He would have a wall calendar and he would make an X every single day that he wrote a joke. His mantra was, “Don’t break the chain.” What you would call that? There are terms for this, the lead indicators and lag indicators. The other truck that you’re talking about for him at the results-based chart with the hockey stick-shaped growth would be the amount of money he’s making, the gigs that he gets, the Netflix specialist he gets, and all that. He wasn’t looking at that chart. He was looking at his wall calendar. That results chart, that’s your lag indicator. Those things are a result of your input, what they call your lead indicator, which for him was writing the jokes. He focused on writing the jokes on not breaking the chain and the lag indicators, the money that he made, the gigs that he got, that was a natural by-product of him putting one foot in front of the other every day consistently.
There’s a book that’s coming to mind that I want to shout out to. It’s called Atomic Habits. I’m trying to recall the name of the author. Do you remember the guy’s name who wrote that book?
Thank you. That’s a good book for people that are interested, even fascinated about what we’re talking about now. He covers that pretty well in Atomic Habits as well. When it comes to resilience, putting that one foot in front of the other, are there things that you do on a ritual basis that help you to do that? To me, there are many things that can interfere or get in the way of a person and they start out with that intention, “That makes sense.” They listened to this podcast, “I’m going to be like Jerry Seinfeld. Every day, I’m going to knock off this one thing.” At some point, the streak ends. People make these resolutions at the beginning of the year, end of the year, New Year’s Eve. They make these resolutions and three weeks later, they stopped being in the gym at 5:00 AM like they said or they said they’re not going to drink soda, and come February, they’ve got a can of soda in their hands.
We’re all humans, so I’m not calling it out that’s a bad thing but it is habitual to break habits. That is itself a habit. My own answer to that is that I create rituals, consciously created habits. I believe that you ritualize to habitualize. It’s those consciously created rituals that ultimately lead to how it is that you brush your teeth without thinking about it with the same hand kind of stuff. What do you do on a ritual basis to maintain that resilience, that ability to take that one step each and every day?
I realized that we do live in the moment. A lot of the things that we think we’re looking for, at least for me, is a feeling that we’re looking for. I often get that feeling before reaching that place that I think I need to go. They often call this the when-then trap, “When I get to this point, then I’ll be happy. When I achieve X, when I have X amount of money or when I live in X location, then I’m happy.” I’ve learned to pay attention to those little moments throughout the day because that’s all we have is the moment where I feel great, where I’m feeling a lot of enjoyment.
My habit is I write those down. I have a note on my phone, Apple Notes app. It’s called What Works. When I get that feeling, when I’m like, “This is pretty good,” I write it on there. What I’ve discovered is that it’s typically not like racing a car, going skydiving or something like that, these big things. It’s the little things like going down to the waterfront here because I live in San Diego and taking a walk along there, something that is completely free. That’s a nice thing to realize is that these things that matter, these special moments, often they’re right in front of us already or they’re very easy to achieve.
This is interesting because my ritual for years has been to, in the morning, look at the feeling states that I want to experience for the day. I started with an original list of thirteen experiences, which I say, “I experienced gratitude today,” and then I sit and feel gratitude. This is very early in the day. I move on from, “I experienced gratitude today,” to the next thing that’s either written on my list or the thing that I feel inspired in the moment to want to feel like, “I want to experience faith today. I want to experience having faith in my faith, not falling off the truck today.”
I start with that list so that I’m activating what I think is a self-fulfilling prophecy in the law that what we intend is often what we get. I check in at night and go, “How many of those felt states did I actually experience today?” It’s remarkable how often it is that what I set out to feel in the day is exactly how I experienced myself being when I checked back at night, which is a pretty telling thing. In essence, what you’re doing is you’re cataloging the successes of feeling a certain way during the day and then noting it so you don’t forget it. You can properly go, “That’s actually pretty cool.”
I was conducting a workshop earlier with some clients and one of them was telling me the story about how they were taking a road trip with their family and they had the kids in the backseat and like kids do like I did with my family, what do the kids ask, “Are we there yet?” He turned around and said, “I think this is it. Look out the window. Look at this amazing landscape.” It’s about the journey, not the destination. I think it’s a good metaphor for life.
Billy, we’re going to have the information and our folks are pretty familiar with going there to find out more about you, what you’re doing, the company that you’re running, and the way that you’re helping other people, other entrepreneurs. I think people will feel, if I’m not mistaken, strongly call to want to know how it is that you might help them if they’re entrepreneurs and they are selling products and services digitally, which is pretty much everybody these days. You’ve got a pretty wide berth there. I will remind myself. As I say this out loud, it’s always a reminder to me and to anybody else that’s listening for the first time. I have one particular ritual. The most important one for me is the waking ritual. Other people, it could be the ritual of what they eat first in the day, the exercise component of their day, or how they go to bed. For me, it’s how I wake up. As my grandmother once told me, I want to start my day on the right foot and that’s with the first thought I actually have.
My TED Talk a couple of years ago was about this one thing, this question, “What if I decided to love my life no matter what? Even in the midst of transition upheaval, getting fired from a job, a business going bust, a relationship ending, or some health issue that we face at times. Can you love your life no matter what?” My theory is that you can but you’ve got to want to. For me, when I wake up more than anything, I want to love my life, not knowing exactly what the day is going to look like. I want to be grateful to be alive. I want to be in love with living my life and to be in and around other people that are loving life.
That was my intention for doing that talk to see how that might spread but it doesn’t matter what you say in the morning. As long as to me, you wake up, that’s the first piece. It’s not guaranteed either. When you realize, “I’m getting another day but I didn’t have a contract for that when I went to bed last night,” I think it’s not too difficult to appreciate, have some appreciation in that moment and to put your feet on the floor and say something. What are the first words out of your mouth that reflect those first early waking thoughts even? It could be, “I am resilient.” It could be, “I am forever blessed.” It could be anything minor. “I love my life.” Those are my four words.
Can I add something to that?
I was going to ask you. Any sense of what you might be saying tomorrow?
I love that, “How can I love my life no matter what?” If I can add to that because I think that’s a great sentiment, and I learned from a mentor named Joe Hudson. It’s also, “How can I love myself no matter what,” too? A lot of us, my hand is raised here, if you tune into that inner voice, that self-critic and the things that we say to ourselves, you would never say that to someone who you love. You would never say that to a small child. Why do we say it to ourselves? That’s something that I’ve learned to tune into and to work on.
I’ve been thinking that if we recorded everything that came out of our mouth in a day and we had to listen to it at night, we’d cringe. If we had to listen to or read what our thoughts were from moment to moment during the day, if they came to us in a transcript, we’d say, “Lock that person up.”
Speaking of habits, that is one that I’ve done. That’s an exercise that I’ve done before to write that down. Yes, it is shocking.
It’s been a blast. I love the conversation. I appreciate you making the time to be with us. Thank you, Billy.
Thank you for having me.
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About Billy Bross
I graduated college with an integrated science and technology major. It’s a mouthful, I know. One thing I definitely didn’t study at school was online marketing. But, as I sat at my corporate job as a renewable energy consultant, staring at my spreadsheets, I realized I wanted more. I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted the freedom to be creative. I wanted to work on “my own thing.” I started a side-hustle website teaching people how to do something I was passionate about — brewing beer at home. It was a success. I was eventually making the same money from my beer brewing website as I was from my professional career. I walked into my boss’s office and put in my two weeks. The beer website was fun, but I had developed a new passion — marketing. I studied the great copywriters from history and learned their timeless techniques, It’s incredible how well they still work, and how few people use them. Other online course creators started reaching out for help, and I found myself enjoying helping other entrepreneurs even more than running my beer website, my passion for which was fading. That brings us to where I am today I create marketing for people that helps them get their story and message out, but without those shady tactics, empty promises, or misleading copy. I’m not a flashy person, nor am I a hype-man. I also believe persuasive communication is one of the most important things for a successful business. By combining the timeless wisdom with modern technology, I help people get their point across and connect with audiences to build their idea business so they can spend their time doing what matters most to them.