A lifestyle entrepreneur makes a conscious choice to prioritize the life rewards that bring him or her enjoyment and passion. Yet, balancing that with the responsibilities of running a business is often challenging. In this episode, Adam Markel talks to one of the most effective lifestyle entrepreneurs in the business space, Travis Huff. Travis is the CEO at Real-Time Outsource, the podcast host of Be Real Show and an avid investor in stocks, crypto and seed investment. He shares his pivot from big brand advertising to starting his own company helping clients get results from digital marketing. Together they discuss the factors that make running your own business more satisfying and that generate better results, including the importance of your working environment and the value of prioritizing tasks according to their value.
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The Importance Of An Effective Workspace For A Lifestyle Entrepreneur with Travis Huff
I am feeling in this moment this wonderful sense of harmony. I sometimes speak, think and talk a little bit about balance and how balance for me is not quite the accurate term for that equanimity or that feeling of being peaceful and having things in the right sequence. You’re in the flow and all that doesn’t feel like balance to me because when I think about balance, I think of a tightrope walker balancing themselves on a thin wire. I really think that that’s the way a lot of people do feel in life. On this thin wire, we’re trying to do so much and we’ve got so much on our shoulders. We’re trying to balance it all and that’s even potentially dangerous as an intention because it’s so tough to maintain. I’m just putting it out there for myself.
The word that I’m more called to describe how I’m feeling in this peaceful state where things are moving effortlessly, but I’m also involved in the process. It feels like harmony to me. The yin-yang that people refer to, that symbol is a symbol of harmony. It’s not actually a symbol of balance. I’m feeling harmonious, feeling blessed that I’ve got a great guest on the show, somebody I’m looking forward to chatting with. This is going to be the first conversation for us, but in looking at the work he’s doing in the world. He’s a fellow Californian, born and raised not quite the way. Most of the people out here are transplants, but evidently, there are some people that were born in this beautiful state. He and his wife are doing some amazing things in the world.
I feel so blessed to be here and have a great guest by the name of Travis Huff who’s on the show. Travis is a high energy guy. You guys can already tell right out the gate. He’s enthusiastic and there’s almost nothing that’s more important in any area of your life than enthusiasm, because enthusiasm has Latin derivations like from the universe, from the ether space. It’s heavenly, it’s divine and everything is energy. If you can’t bring enough energy to any or whatever area of your life you’re looking to improve, you’re going to have a challenge so you’ve got to build that up.
This gentleman started out with an incredible, energetic, and enthusiastic brand. He started working for The Walt Disney Company right out of college. If you think about companies that have a prolific, and epic culture, this is the quintessential company to describe that. Apple is another one of those companies that you feel like that brand and that culture is so strong. Out of the vision and the dream of Walt Disney comes a company that has changed many lives. We’ve got millions of lives for many years. What a great foundation to be learning about business and learning about different areas of operations and sales, etc. This is an area that Travis excelled in until he had a pivot. We’re going to find out what that pivot was because, in 2009, he actually started his own business and his own podcast. Travis, welcome to the show.
Thank you, sir. I’m excited to be on the show. You said I am high energy. I’m 6’8” so I’ve got to bring every bit of energy possible and it’s who I am. You get one shot at life, so you might as well bring all of your game every single day. At the end of the day, as a business owner, you’ve got to step up every day. People think a lot of times owning a business is, “I’m just going to be the boss, and I’m going to be in control and all this stuff.” That’s not the reality. If you think that you are going to work less hours as an entrepreneur or a business owner, you’re wrong. It doesn’t happen. You are the boss, but that means everything falls on your shoulders.
Truthfully, Adam, I was having a great opportunity to work at The Walt Disney Company, one of the most unbelievable companies. The best opportunity for me, coming straight into the advertising world where I could see broadcast television. I started to see digital was on the rise. You started seeing ABC.com, Hulu, and Netflix wasn’t even there at that point, but it was still in the infancy of them delivering the DVDs in the mail. I was sitting in November of 2008. I’m sitting with a friend at Starbucks. We were just jiving, talking about industries, about life, what’s going on, what’s new. He says, “Someone’s going to need to manage Facebook business pages. Some business is going to be managing pages for clients. They’re not going to be doing it all themselves. They’re just not.” I ran with that. I started slowly putting together a PowerPoint. I suggest to any entrepreneur, the best ideas always happen when you’re listening, and not necessarily your idea. I took that as, “This is my moment.”
You were sitting there with a friend and he’s giving you his take on the business environment right there and you heard him. It wasn’t like you wake up in the middle of the night. Many entrepreneurs talk about their epiphany moment or the light bulb moment. This is a lightbulb moment of a different kind because you’re listening.
I truly still believe that the best ideas happen when you listen to either my customers or your friends, or the market, listening to what’s going on. You pick something up and readers, if you have a PowerPoint, you start making a PowerPoint, that’s all I did. Make a deck about how you’re going to talk to people about how to manage social media. It was very simple. The logo was crappy. I made a PowerPoint logo. I’m a true believer. I bootstrap as much as possible, so I took that opportunity along with a little bit of savings. Enough to pay the bills for 3 to 6 months. I said, “Now’s my shot. I’ve got to take this opportunity.” I saw the industry changing right in front of my eyes.
Did you work for a Fortune 100?
It is a very successful enterprise to be a part of. This was a risk for you.
However, you saw there was a runway for you.
I did. I saw the opportunity. After he mentioned that, I said, “You’re absolutely right.” I’ve always been an entrepreneur, a business owner. I’ve had lemonade stands, I sold t-shirts and clothing. None of them really ever paid the bills. I don’t want to take away from the opportunity because ABC TV was the best opportunity ever had. There’s no going around that, but what was happening right amongst our eyes was broadcast in 2005 was strong. 2007, 2008, 2009, digital starts taking over. I could actually show my customers how many people saw their campaign online. I couldn’t do that on my TV commercials.
You had more visibility and the metrics were clear.
I love that part when I could show the customers, “This is exactly what happened with your campaign.” On the TV business, when I was on the broadcast side, you couldn’t show them that.
It was a lagging indicator. One is more of a leading indicator because you can say, “This is exactly how we measure what success looks like,” in terms of things that can be measured. Whereas with some of these other forms of advertising, the metric is, what sales occur? How many phone calls did you get? How many people took the call to action and did that? You invest first and find out later whether or not it was wise or a poor investment.
Sometimes it would work.
Traditional advertising work for sure.
It’s expensive. It’s a $10,000 to $20,000 campaign for a month. It’s not a little money.
It’s a different paradigm for sure.
I literally saw that the business was going to have to change. They’re going to have to make cuts. Something has got to go. Over the years that I started my business, they eliminate all the accounting production, all the admin staff that helped the sales teams, the girls that ran the commercials. They centralized all that stuff. In amongst the years that I have been out of the business, the media has changed dramatically. They fired managers, top planners, GSNs, local sales managers gone was the first step. Because Disney owns ten stations, so they centralized everything. They centralized accounting, production and the people that I used to work with don’t have a job anymore. They’re working in different industries. That’s obviously in hindsight. It was one of those things to say, “You’re probably right about that.”
You were in an interesting position right there because you didn’t have a crystal ball. Even though you are speculating or at least had a suspicion that things were going to shift, you didn’t know for sure. In hindsight, what’s interesting is it was a disruptive time. That market and that way of conducting business were going to change. You either were going to design the disruption for yourself or wait to have that disruption thrust upon you. We sometimes talk about that as a pivot by design or pivot by disruption and clearly, if you waited as many people did, it was perfect for them, everybody’s path is perfect, then it was more pivot by disruption. Instead, you decided to design a change and step out of the mothership, so to speak, and create your own ship.
When you look back, it’s like, “I really did that?”
It almost doesn’t make sense.
Being an entrepreneur or a business owner in many ways defies common sense. A steady paycheck, steady benefits. Somebody else that gets up in the middle of the night to use the loo. They worry about their cashflow. They worry about making payroll, you don’t have to do that when you’re an employee.
You’ve just got to show up and then leave.
There are many variables there that if you analyze them in great detail, it wouldn’t make sense to give up that security, yet, there are crazy people out there, like you and me. There’s something about the DNA of an entrepreneur that is with us. There are signs of it from the time we were little. Travis has a lot of pictures around his desk. Were there signs that you had this renegade spirit, this entrepreneur?
My dad was an entrepreneur. He was an accountant. A lot of people don’t think of an accountant as an entrepreneur, but he led the way as an accountant. I learned accounting. The most important critical aspect of your business is your money, how to spend it and learn how to use the tax laws. To be transparent, taxes and accounting wasn’t interesting to me. At college age, I said, “Dad, I’m not going to be an accountant. I know you put these ten years into me, and I know I worked my butt off in your tax season. I learned accounting but I like advertising, Dad. I like marketing. I want to make these campaigns happen. I like this stuff. I like being creative.” That in itself taught me that I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur one day, but I knew that at the end of the day, the chance of working in Disney and ABC right out of college was my shot. I will always say that helped me become a better businessman because a lot of my customers are still from those days. We work with a lot of advertising agencies and PR firms. I could talk shop with them because I knew what I was saying. I knew CPM and CPC and I knew what they were looking for.Environment is stronger than willpower in terms of habits and how it is you do what you do, when, and why. Click To Tweet
That basically led me into my business. I had been running little small businesses my whole life. I had a mobile lemonade stand with my friend. When I was in college, I go to the thrift stores and I would buy cool shirts and then I’d hook them up and make them look a little nice. I put some embellishments on them and sell them back to my fraternity sisters and brothers because I was in a marketing fraternity. At the end of the day, I didn’t understand business until I got into it, until you get a full-scale business and real-time. I always tell everybody, “You don’t have a business until you can get a check.” For me, the big thing was getting that first check.
Is it hung up on your wall? Do you have that first check?
It isn’t hung up on my wall, I want to get that check back.
You do have some things hung up on that wall. Describe for us what this wall of fame is.
When I was a kid, I always admired different celebrities and different actors. I always wanted to collect autographs. I didn’t want to necessarily pay for them and I also wanted my name on them. I wanted them to say, “To Travis,” not anything you could buy off the internet and the internet was barely getting going then. I started going and I did find an internet site that had addresses of celebrities. I started figuring them out. You see Brett Favre, Archie Manning, Phil Knight, and George Foreman.
You would write to these guys out of the clear blue?
Were you sending a snail mail or an email?
It was a physical snail mail. Physical address with a physical letter and then also the key is to have a self-addressed stamp on the way back. You pay for those posters there and you pay for it back. A lot of times these celebrities, not all of them, but a lot of them would sign. Looking forward and looking at my wall here, I’ve got Adam West, The Rock, Slash, Ice Cube, Bill Belichick, Al Pacino, Jon Voight, Drew Brees, No Doubt, Simon Cowell, and John McCain.
I’ve got a tough question for you. What’s your favorite one? I’m interested in not only just which one is the favorite but is there a story around it? Did you send them a picture? Did they send you one on their own? What gave you the most warmth? What was the best vibe you got from somebody you know?
I’ve got a lot of different ones back that I was shocked that I got them back. One of my favorite ones and I actually printed this one off my computer is Adam West, the original Batman. I always imagined Adam West. I remember seeing the pow, bam, and boom and the action.
Same bat channel, same bat time, tune in baby. That guy.
When I got his back, it says my name on it, “To Travis, Adam West.” I also printed this photo so I know that it was from him. It gave me that level of like, “A superhero has given me an autograph.” I was like, “Oh my god.” I still can’t believe it because obviously at the end of the day, superheroes and Marvel has taken off so much. The hot movies are all around superheroes. People are fascinated by superheroes.
Do you think he gave you any superhero powers? Did he transfer any of those superhero traits?
I hope he transferred a few pow, pow, booms.
I think he did. I don’t know you well, but I can tell. If he had you on his side, you would have no quit in you.
I wouldn’t. I’d be in the trenches with them and ready to do work. Transparently because I have many, there are thousands of them. These are just the ones you see on the walls, but I have folders full of them. I’m blessed to my dad because he paid for the postage. I always give my dad a shout out for that. A lot of times he didn’t even know it, but I was using this postage machine to get all these autographs because you have to pay money. I would say that the one I’m looking at to Bill Belichick with some of the Super Bowls is an amazing one. People have a lot of different opinions about the guy. Obviously, cheating scandals and all that but I look at this, the guy is the GOAT in football.
I also look at The Rock because of all the adversity he’s had to go through his life and the transfers of where he’s at in his game at the top. When I’m looking at his picture, he was doomed. This is one of his first movies. This is in 2005. He says, “My number one fan.” I was like, “Does he think I’m his number one fan?” I still even look at him like, “He put the number one fan on there.” I guess at the end of the day, the autographs are a way for me to remind myself of greatness. Remind me of each one of these people in their own ways and some of my past. I’m looking at John Wooden. They’ve impacted so many different people.
For you that don’t recall, John Wooden was the coach of the UCLA men’s basketball team. They might have won ten NCAA championships. He coached Bill Walton, Lew Alcindor, and a host of other epic greats.
It’s how his legacy goes even into the business. You hear a lot of times people are talking about John Wooden’s quotes in business. It’s like Kobe. I love Kobe. What has happened to Kobe has also maybe elevated everyone’s game to be better fathers, to be better entrepreneurs. #GirlDad, that Mamba Mentality. Think about these people. I always put myself in that situation when I’m going through a tough time. Because entrepreneurship, I’m a dad, it isn’t easy. My daughter has been going through a cold. The truth is, you look at any one of these people and say, “They have gone through a lot more than I have.” They’ve gone through the ups and downs. Some of these people have had high highs and they have low lows where no one gives a crap about them maybe. At the end of the day, they still represent greatness in their industries, in their light.
The environment is so important, in fact, Yogananda among others, has said things similar to this but the environment is stronger than willpower in terms of habits and how it is you do what you do. When, why and whether you continue to do those things or not, a lot of it has to do with the environment that you’re in. Meaning, the people you are around for sure, and even just the physical surroundings. How it is that you construct your office. Something relevant to my own life is, our oldest daughter was creating an office in her home. She is an entrepreneur as well and so is her husband who started his own successful online marketing company and working virtually. My wife is also the same thing. It’s a big part of our business and we work out of our home. It’s one of those wonderful things about owning your own shop and in an office paying lots of rent, and there are places and times for that as well. We love to operate a lean business. By lean, I mean what it is that you spend. That’s the only thing you do control as an entrepreneur. There are lots of discussions around that.
The thing here is this, your office, where you are conducting your business, making your sales calls, making time to think, doing any number of other things that are so vital to the success of that business. That environment, in many ways, is as important as any other thing you’re going to do in that space. If the environment is not conducive to clear thinking, does not lift you up, then it has the opposite effect. It can have the opposite impact, which is to bring you down. Make your thinking muddled. What’s amazing about this, and I love how that this just came out in our discussion, is that you’re surrounded by greatness in your office right there. You’ve cultivated, created, and curated an environment where you’re surrounded by people who have experienced all the ups and all the downs and everything in between. People that are still walking this planet, thankfully, and people that have passed on. There’s all this good stuff all around you. How do you feel it is to be surrounded in that space? Do you feel like it contributes to? Is it adding to who you are and what you’re able to do as a business owner?
I would say it’s humbling. When you look around, you’re like, “These people are great and they’ve done a lot.” I’m looking at George Martin, the producer of The Beatles. Les Paul, influential on many levels of the music and guitars. Elton John, Johnny Depp, Neil Diamond, Ray Charles, even Donald Trump is on my wall. The point is that these people are doing greatness. Some of them have had highs and lows. They’re not necessarily as great as they were at that moment. I’m looking at Peyton Manning. His rookie card says, “To Travis, Peyton Manning.” Peyton Manning is not on the high-level stage that he used to be as far as like packed stadiums. He wakes up in the morning. Obviously, he’s Peyton Manning, let’s be real, but it isn’t the same as going in and rocking 70,000 people and screaming your name.
I always think like, “How do they go through their days every day? Now that maybe some of them are living normalize lives.” Also, I always do this, whenever I’m having a tough time, I look at one of them and put myself in their shoes and say, “They’ve gone through so much.” I’m 38 years old, this person 60, 70, 80 or my age, but they’ve done it better, bigger, harder and faster. Whatever my excuses for that day and I’m like, “This is nothing.” In hindsight, I never knew why I collected the autographs. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do with them, but when I started putting them up on my wall, it changes the game because otherwise, they were just in some folder.
It’d still be great that you collected and you did all that stuff back. For people who are reading this, what’s the environment that you are working in? It could be that you’re in an office. That might be where you’re spending the bulk of your time, might be somewhere else. There’s all this coworking space, all these great opportunities to get out to have a place to conduct your business, but what’s that environment like?
I’m a lifestyle entrepreneur, I’m with you. I love taking advantage of the tax benefits of having a home office. I’m a papa entrepreneur. My wife is a psychologist. I let my wife hustle, do her thing and build her career which she loves. Four days a week, Tuesday through Friday, I’m papa entrepreneur. I do have some helpers that come to the house and take care of my daughter for a little bit, but it’s usually all on me.
How nice it is.
It truly is. Because my father, to be transparent with you, has sacrificed us, kids, and his relationship for his business. He has a business that takes him out to Texas, Philadelphia, New York. He could be gone 2 to 3 weeks at a time and at the end of the day, we didn’t get that connection. I’m 38, so I do have a great connection with my dad by choice, but transparently for a lot of entrepreneurs, the biggest mistake they make is they don’t know which kind of entrepreneur they are. They want to be something that they really are not.
What do you mean by that?
There are three different types of entrepreneurs. There’s the one that wants to build a huge business, like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk, they’ve got the vision they’ve dedicated and they make sacrifices in their family. I don’t think Elon Musk gets to spend much time with his daughters or kids. I don’t think Jeff Bezos gets to spend much time with his kids because he’s busy. He’s building Amazon. When you have that mindset, and you want to build a huge thing, you’re going to make some cuts somewhere else. The second one is, someone that has a public good or wants to solve a cause or they see the vision not to build a huge business but they want to get more freshwater to people or whatever that is. The last one is what I am in and most entrepreneurs truly are, and that is a lifestyle entrepreneur. They enjoy the lifestyle entrepreneur brings them. Your most valuable asset on earth is your time. Being a lifestyle entrepreneur gives you time. You can be in control of it. You can use it how you like it. No one’s telling you to come in at 8:00 and leave at 5:00.When you have that mindset and you want to build a huge thing, you're going to make some cut somewhere else. Click To Tweet
You get to see your kids or whoever it is that you want to spend time with. We have four kids of our own. I remember in the eighteen years I spent in the practice of law, similar to accountancy. That is an entrepreneurial pursuit or it can be and yet you’re turning off the clock at regular hours is a very odd thing. In fact, it was difficult for me. I imagine it by what you said, it was difficult for your dad. You make hay when the sun is shining as the saying goes. There’s a lot you can miss in that process. It’s a good point to make here too is that lifestyle entrepreneurs get to make those choices differently.
There is still this drumbeat of working 80, 90, 100 hour weeks to build something. I hear a lot of Gary Vee and other people that espouse that methodology and I call BS on that because I don’t personally buy into that. It’s not that it won’t work and it very well could work to get things up and running. In the long run, there’s a price you pay and I don’t think there’s enough conversation around what the price is. Because if you don’t know what the price is for something, it’s very difficult to make a clear and wise decision going into it knowing that there’s something on the other end of it. It could be your health. There are tons of people that are under the burden of this excessive load and are exhausted from it because there are almost no boundaries now between work and non-work. That’s another thing to trail back to what your space is. Where’s the space for work?
We have a three-story place that’s at the beach and I’m on one floor and my wife is on another. There’s a floor between us. Her office is on the third, we meet in the middle and that’s where the living room and kitchen and things are. At our daughter’s place, segregating, putting a workspace together that’s beautiful, a place that you walk in and it smells great. Maybe there’s a diffuser, incense, or oils or other things that enliven those senses. The lighting is the right lighting for you. I’ve got an autonomous desk that rises and goes down. It’s cool to stand, you’re not sitting the whole time. Whatever it is that you do to create that environment where you can be in there doing your best and being at your best, performing almost like the way an athlete takes care of themselves. Not confusing that space with the bedroom or with the kitchen, or other places where you don’t want that work to get infused into things that are not work. Do you and your wife have boundaries that way?
I didn’t say it was easy.
I tell my wife all the time, “I’m working where I live.” Some days it’s tough. Most days, I really am able to separate it, then there are some days you get a lot loaded on you, whether that’s new clients reporting for us. There are certain days where there’s a lot more work that has to be done. I’m spending a bunch of time with my daughter and I’m like, “I need to get all this stuff done.” Sometimes I have to tell my wife, “It’s nothing personal. I’ve got to hustle. I’ve got to go back to the room here at 7:30.” We put my daughter down, usually at 6:00 or 7:00. “I’ve got to bust out some work for a few more hours.” She’s accepting of that as long as I let her know. Otherwise, it’s just a weird awkwardness that’s there. It’s like, “I need to get this done.” No, tell your wife what’s up and you’ll find the time. I’ve been running this business for a lot of years. I tell everybody, I’ve been working every single day for years. I’ve not taken one day off even when I’m sick.
That doesn’t mean I’m working ten hours a day. I call it a power hour. I can get things done in my business in one hour for that day. I have power hours where I can get a lot of stuff done. However, entrepreneurship, especially, lifestyle entrepreneurship, that’s a huge blessing if you think about it because you don’t have to be working ten hours a day. We hear about it all the time. People will get into a salaried position at an agency or somewhere. Next thing you know, they’re working Saturdays and Sundays and not getting paid, away from their family. Honestly, when you’re working for someone else, you’re not building your business, you’re building theirs. Always remember that. I always preface this. I’ve been working every single day, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been to Italy, Hawaii, Miami, Vegas, and all the places you probably want to be or wherever people love to be at, near the ocean.
I was in Pismo Beach and I was working. I had my power hour. I was busting up my laptop when my daughter was asleep. My wife was relaxing and I’m getting work done. I’m coordinating my team. I’m working on things for the podcast. I’m working on actual, physical, social campaigns. That’s the blessing of it. You get to control that and you don’t have to be sitting there for eight hours. I don’t want to work more than I have to. If I can get things done in one hour, I’m not going to make it drag on to four hours. That’s why I call it the power hour. When you put your mindset on it, you block out all interruptions. You can get a lot done.
This is a method that’s called the Pomodoro Technique. It’s something that I learned when I was nineteen years old as a lifeguard on the beach because eight-hour shifts were pretty standard. Sometimes there would be some overtime, and eight hours on very busy crowded beaches. We worked at this one particular field where we had 100,000 people. It’s a lot of humanity on a half a mile of beach in the middle of summer in this spot where the Atlantic Ocean was raging. Rip currents, and riptides were really strong there. We’re always making rescues, but we didn’t work eight hours. None of us could have been at our best for eight hours.
Can you imagine being at your Olympic level best for eight hours? When it’s life and death, you have to be at your best. The way that works was we work a power hour and then we take a down hour. That was a power hour in the other direction. That meant we could sleep, nap, eat, look at girls, work out, and surf. We could do any of those things in that other hour then we were back up on the stand for an hour. We toggle back and forth that way. There’s some great stuff online about how to toggle back and forth between focused, committed time, usually in 20 to 30-minute increments, can be as much as an hour and then you take a commensurate rest period or recovery period. Because all of our work and research on the topic of resilience is that resilience is not about endurance as people think it is. I got to be a marathon runner, but we’re in a marathon every day. It’s ridiculous because you break yourself down mentally, first and foremost, and then physically for sure, emotionally, even spiritually. You’re not performing at the same level.
If you wanted to deliver an Olympic level performance every time you sit down at your desk, to do whatever it is that your business requires, then you’ve got to recover. That’s the whole key. You’re going to bake the recovery and that is a particular advantage of being a lifestyle entrepreneur. Even if you’re working in someone else’s business, your mid-career or beginning your career, wherever it is, you can start to adapt and create new rituals that will enable you to take this approach. How it is that you focus, like that power hour that power 30 minutes, and you’re so productive right there and then you also unplug after.
I’ve been watching Kobe interviews, putting all this mindset stuff into my head.
What’s your definition of resilience? What do you think of it?
First off, I’ve had three major challenges in my life. The first was when I was seventeen. I was about 300 pounds and I had to make a decision about my body. I got to start cutting out the fries and chips and all that, start going to the gym and get your body in right. The second was at 27 years old I went through a divorce. I started a business and I also bought a house that closed January of 2009. It was tough times. The third was a baby. Resilience to me is, “First off, just do you.” You will be resilient if you focus on the things that are important to you first, then you can be a bigger impact on everybody. The more I get my power hour done, the better father I can be with my daughter. I’m hammering this out right here. I consider this a power hour. When I’m done with this and my daughter wakes up, I get to spend quality time with her not working. We’re playing, reading, doing stuff that has nothing to do with work.
The point is this, focus on the things you’ve got to get done and do them. Don’t let excuses, people, life, all that bullshit that people say for themselves. You are in control of this, no one else is. No matter what, there’s going to be pressure, there are going to be things. My wife wants to maybe have another kid, that’s a whole other level of resilience I’m going to have to fight against, having two kids instead of just one. I’ve got to still keep grinding my business. The algorithms are always changing since I started this business several years ago. The social media algorithms, Instagram, Facebook algorithms are always changing. What do you think we do? We fold our hands and say, “We’re going to stop running a social media management firm?” No, you figure them out. You figure what works. “This didn’t work, this stuff does work.”
It’s like every day pivots.
You have to, especially in social.
To me, you’re the poster child for the world of an entrepreneur. You’re in your business working on your business a lot. When we’re talking about resilience and the way that you maintain that resilience, we refer to them as rituals just because this is something you consciously are doing to benefit yourself in some way. What’s one of those rituals you have to remain resilient?
It’s a piece of paper with what you’ve got to get done for the day. My first is always the day. I got on your show, that was my biggest thing because I knew I’ve got to show up and deliver for this. I’ve been following your shows. You’re building something very special. I knew I had to bring some value first. That was very important to me. After that, it’s my business. What do I get done in my business? You see the things that are crossed off and it’s because I got them done. The last two are outside of the business. It’s personal. What do I need to get done personally? I want to make a video for my daughter recapping my first year. That’s one of my things I haven’t done. I put these things together and I literally just say, “What do I need to get done? Let’s start hammering out when I get my power hour.” A simple pen and notepad. This changed my life.
It’s a fun thing to experiment with these productivity hacks. This is definitely not very different, in fact, similar to what you described. You wake up in the morning as part of whatever your morning routine is. I’m going to end with my own waking ritual, but a little bit into the morning after I’ve eaten after I’ve spent some time quiet, not a lot of time, but just some time to be mindful. I think about what’s the critical inch in my business? What’s that one most important thing?
For a lot of people, it could be that you’ve got to review a contract. You’ve got to speak to a lawyer about something, a sales call, a tough call with a client who’s upset with you, or somebody you want to fire. It could be any number of things that are going on that would be the most important thing for that day and that’s the thing you do before 10:00 AM. You do that hardest thing, the most uncomfortable thing right out of the gate. If you do that, it erases a lot of procrastination, which is a big issue for a lot of people. The flip side of the procrastination coin is perfectionism. You might think to yourself, “I’m not a procrastinator.” Ask yourself, “Am I a perfectionist?” Usually, they’re one and the same. If it’s not perfect, right, ready, or whatever the words are that we tell ourselves then we delay. We don’t do it until it’s ready, right or perfect, etc. What’s wonderful about this tip this way of approaching the day, you do that toughest thing first right out the gate before 10:00 AM.
That’s going to work for everybody.
I love the list, it’s so classic. Some old school things are not old school, they just work right and they’re timeless. The yellow pad or the pad of any color, the stuff for the day and crossing it off. You feel great. You feel accomplishment when you do it. You can see your scorecard. That’s what that is. The scorecard doesn’t lie.
Remember this. The biggest tip he said is doing the hardest thing first because it makes everything easier. One of my customers wants to put together like he said, “I want you to take over all my digital media.” We had been doing this one piece. I knew I had to put together a much more comprehensive proposal, but this is my biggest thing of the day because he’s one of my most awesome customers. The point is, it was pretty difficult because I was like, “Do I want to put this together? I’ve got some other stuff to do.” I put that together and the next thing you know, four other things get done quickly. It’s like, “All that other stuff is so much easier.” There are usually a few tough things that we have to get done and if you get those things done like the gym, meditation, or anything, the day goes smoothly. Everything is easier because a lot of those other tasks are repetitive. We’ve already done them. We already know how to do scheduling and posts or whatever it is. You already know how to run a podcast. That’s the biggest thing, don’t forget that the biggest one on your list needs to be done first.
Thank you for that. This is a waking ritual and I think this may be the toughest thing for a lot of people. I know at various points in my life, it’s been the toughest thing for me. In keeping with that idea that you do the toughest thing first. We’re all going to have the same opportunity if we’re lucky, fortunate, or blessed. We’ll have the same opportunity to wake up and start our day the way we choose. We all get the fact that there’s no guarantee that some people are going to wake up. Hopefully, everybody that we’re reaching and your families, your friends and everybody you know, extended it out to the entire Earth. You want everybody to wake up but the reality is, that’s not what’s going to happen. That moment when we wake up and what we choose to invest our time in at that moment, the seeds that we plant in our minds at that moment are not as easy as it sounds. To me, that’s one of the toughest tasks in anybody’s life on a day-to-day basis, is to think good thoughts. Think rightly.
I’m not a big religious guy, but I love studying spiritual texts. The word righteousness as a part of spiritual texts is sometimes misunderstood. The way I understand it is that its right thinking. To think rightly, it isn’t easy, and to do it consistently, it isn’t easy, but why not every day, you’re blessed enough to wake up, do one thing in that moment when the soil is fresh, you can plant a seed right then and there. Do one thing there to get that day off on the right-thinking foot. The idea here is, what’s something you can say? What’s something you can think? For me, it’s gratitude. I’m going to feel grateful at the moment of waking, hopefully, every day until eternity because there is so much to appreciate in life. It’s the usual things and it’s the things that we sometimes overlook, a simple waking ritual. We’re all going to wake up. That’s number one. Travis, do you agree to that? You’re going to wake up.
I pray and hope so.
Wake up, have some moment to feel gratitude in that moment. If you’re up for this particular challenge, this is tough. This is not an easy thing, but you can do something difficult right out of the gate. That’s to say something about yourself. To create a mantra, an “I am” statement. Something about you that is maybe aspirational. Maybe you want to feel some way, but you don’t feel it all the time. It’s like, “I am a world-class,” and then fill in the blank. What do you want to be world-class at? Say that statement at the start of the day.
I’ve used these four words as the topic that I spoke about on the TED stage as well. These four simple words, I start my day with, “I love my life.” Those words are important to me because I don’t always love everything going on. I have moments where I’m frustrated, angry, and just like everybody else. Go through that stuff where it’s like something sucks. The experience feels like it’s not the way I want it to be. To start off and plant that seed at the beginning of the day that I’m going to love my life. I’m going to love my life no matter what bad news I might hear, read, see or how somebody might rub me the wrong way or whether I get a client or lose a client. It’s tough.
It’s a powerful tool to take that and own that. Think about all the greatness we have here. I think about people that you, unfortunately, even have greatness and they’re not happy. If they can even tell themselves that. One thing I’ve always done after coming across one of my guests, Garrain Jones was to release all fears, all worries, all stress. Tell yourself that five times and then tell yourself, “I’m now finally free from all worry, all stress, all negative energy.” Whatever you’re thinking, there’s no right answer but with God and the universe’s help, you can say whatever you like. I find that it helps me and my wife a lot of times at night when we’re sleeping but also, I do it in the morning because you’ve got a fresh day in front of you. When you release anything you feel this negative, anything you feel that is holding you back, it changes your game. You feel in some moments, “This burden is off my chest and in my life.” It’s only you saying it to yourself. It’s just you but that’s all we have. My wife always says, “You’ve got to be your own cheerleader. Don’t think other people have got to be your cheerleader. You’ve got to cheerlead for yourself.”
That’s tough for people. The key here is we’re going to keep to that theory of doing the toughest thing before 10:00. You can lock in a victory right out of the gate, upon waking, walk into victory. Say something, declare something, think something that puts you off on the right foot. Even if it’s tough, even if you’re saying to yourself, “It’s going to be a tough day and yet, how do I want to experience?” Even though you might have to go to court or any number of other things that are going on in your life that day, can I still decide at the moment of waking that I’m going to experience this day exactly the way I intend? You laid that out perfectly. Travis, thank you so much for being a guest on the show. I appreciate all the insights that you shared with our readers.
I appreciate you. I’m going to stick to that one. I love my life. I’m going to put that on the wall.
Please leave a comment. Let us know your thoughts. Leave a comment and go anywhere else that you want to share those things. We’ve got a Facebook group that is called the Start My PIVOT group. You can check more of what people are doing in their pivots out on that site as well. We love to get your feedback so share it with us. Ciao for now.
- Travis Huff
- Garrain Jones on Be Real Show
- Start My PIVOT – Facebook Group
About Travis Huff
Getting Results for Clients with Digital Media | CEO at Real-time Outsource | Podcaster #BeRealShow | Investor in Stocks, Crypto, Seed Investments, and Peer to Peer Loans | Father | Hubby | Musician
Travis Huff started working for the Walt Disney Company & ABC-30 Television after his graduation from the Craig School of Business at Fresno State. He developed from a young energetic graduate into a seasoned media executive learning the TV Broadcast & Digital Media Business and working with brands like McDonald’s down to small local businesses to drive sales using advertising. In June of 2009, after a coffee with a friend revealed that in the future business owners would need Facebook Pages managed, he took that idea and Real-time Outsource was born… we’re now a social media management firm with clients worldwide mostly focused on English & Spanish speaking campaigns.
In February of 2015 … he set off on a new adventure of podcasting. He always dreamed of interviewing some of the people he looked up to in the marketing & entrepreneurship world but knew they would not come to Fresno … ? to chat with him! The “Be Real Show” was invented and now in the 5th season and almost 200 episodes recorded, it’s become not only his passion but a huge business driver but also teaches him new lessons from these mentors that he gets to interview weekly.
In addition to his professional quests, Travis was a Board Member of the Fresno Advertising Federation for 8 years. He speaks out to college graduate & high school level students about following their passions and motivating them to conquer big dreams.
Lastly, he is so blessed to have the love of his life his Queen Amber in his life and their little new daughter that he gets to spend most of the days with as a dad entrepreneur!