Everything that I was going to do would be an experiment. There are absolutely no guarantees that anything I do will ever work. In my opinion, building a new business is about conducting as many experiments as possible. You would then tweak, and pivot towards the ones that work and reject the ones that don’t. Once you find a winning formula, you just replicate it until it no longer works. Then, you pivot to other things.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Herby Fabius.
Herby Fabius is an entrepreneur founder of Billion Success Media, an online platform that encourages entrepreneurs and authors to teach others by sharing success stories and lessons learned from real-life experiences. Herby is a self-published author, who has published three business books. Including Business Lessons: 150+ Startup Mistakes and Entrepreneurship Lessons Shared by 55 Successful Founders.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was born in Haiti then moved to the US when I was 14 years old. I loved basketball as a teen even played for my high school team. After high school, I graduated with a bachelor’s in business administration. After college, I wanted to have my own business, so I decided to skip the corporate world for a couple of years, instead, I worked as an overnight security officer which allowed me to be free in the daytime to work on a tech startup that I cofounded out of New Haven, CT.
After 2 years of running that company, with very little success, we decided to shut it down back in 2015. I eventually started working corporate for a great travel company, where I slowly climbed my way into the corporate world. I was laid off from work back in August of 2020 due to the Pandemic.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Yes, I have many. But my all-time favorite is from Earl Nightingale’s “The Strangest Secret”
“You become what you think about” — Earl Nightingale.
This made such an impact on me I even remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I discovered it. I was working an overnight shift from my security job; I had just started learning how to create websites. It was always a challenge for me to stay focused so, to stay motivated, I would play motivational videos on YouTube in the background.
And that is how I discovered it.
Over the years, I must have watched/listened to this video more than 100 times. The lessons from it seems so easy and simple that I thought everyone can apply it to accomplish their goals.
The message is this. We all start out believing we are going to be great success. However, somewhere between growing up and adulthood we conform. We start following the crowd, we start to think like everyone else around us, and therefore lose our originality. It is an absolute must-listen program for everyone.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
There are two books that have made a real impact on me so far. The first one is Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. This book was the first book I read when I started going down this entrepreneurship path and it really opens my eyes in a new way when discussing money.
The second book is The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. This is my productivity hack. I used the lesson from this book to be more productive on a day-to-day basis. As new entrepreneurs, there so many things you want to do, so many projects to work on. Especially in the beginning, when you are doing it all by yourself trying to get things off the ground, it is hard to stay focus. The lesson in this book is about focusing on the ONE most important thing you can do to move your business forward. Everything else comes after.
My productivity hacks. Every day I ask myself. What is the one thing I must do today to be closer to my goal? Once I determine what the One Thing is, I put away all distractions and start working on it. Absolutely nothing else matters until the one thing of the day is done.
It is effective. It works.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
I was working as a web maintenance coordinator for a travel company, and unlike the many other jobs I have had before, I love my work with that company. I was good at it and looking back I think I was too comfortable working there. I was working from home long before the pandemic started so It did not really affect my work much when it began.
However, just like many people I was laid off from work. Though, I can’t say it was unexpected, still it was a major change in my life. I had to figure out what my step was going to be. I was looking for something to do with all the free time that I had, so I wrote and self-publish a children’s book for my three-year-old son. Then as I was promoting it to get reviews, I slowly started focusing on what I liked to do best — which is creating online content and sharing stories that others can learn from.
I immediately began working on the relaunch of Billion Success, my passion business. I pivoted into working on it full time and I must say, I am quite excited about where I am now and looking towards the future.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
Normally, after I was laid off, I tried going back into corporate and started applying for jobs. Sadly, with so many people out of work, there were not many available positions. Whenever something opened up, it was filled within days. I went on a few job interviews but no offers.
Pivoting back into entrepreneurship was not a huge hassle for me because I already knew how to build and grow websites. I knew how to self-publish books and I knew my way around the internet. I had many years of experience working in the online world and I had just spent the last 5 years working from home from my corporate job. So, it felt like I was just continuing where I left off. Only this time, I was working on what I wanted to work on, and I was making all the decisions.
I rebranded, relaunched the website. I knew the only way this was going to work was if I gave it the same energy, if not more as I do when I worked for corporate. I made up work schedules, breaks, and execute my weekly to-do list. Slowly, in the lockdown, I pivoted to starting my own business.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
I have had this idea for a long time now. I just never did anything about it. I started working on it back in 2013 but then gave up on it to focus on work and family. However, after I got laid off, I decided that I was going to focus on it more.
The “Aha moment” when I decided to go down this path was right after my last job interview.
I had applied for a web management position which I thought was perfect for me. It was close to home and it aligned perfectly with my work experiences. I was a bit overqualified for it, so I was confident that I was going to get it. But then, they chose someone else. I remember being at the interview with my mask on and the CEO of the company himself saw my resume and wanted to talk to me. He was impressed with my work experiences, and yet, they still passed. I was shocked to learn they decided to choose another candidate because in the interview they made it seem like I was the person they were looking for.
This was the light bulb moment for me. Since that interview, I have been working day and night to grow my project and for the first time since I have thought of this idea, I am seeing great results from my effort. I look forward to the opportunities ahead.
How are things going with this new initiative?
I am happy to say that It is going better than expected. I have been able to get a lot of people interested in the education platform that I am building. Our organic traffic, our newsletters sign up, social media followers are all increasing. It is all heading in the right direction. The time and effort that I am putting in are paying off.
It is quite amazing what you can accomplish when you FOCUS. A quote from Earl Nightingale the strangest secret which I love is “A man becomes what he thinks about” I am constantly reminding myself that the Universe does not discriminate. What you put in, is what you get back. It is that simple. You put in the work consistently — eventually, you will get it back — possibly with interest. 🙂
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Anita Campbell the founder of SmallBizTrends was one of the first people I reached out to for advice when I first started going down this path. I sent her a message and she responded. Her response to the questions I asked was so informative that made me realized building an online platform was the right path for me, and it is one that I am going to keep on following.
Another person who helped me, in the beginning, was entrepreneur, author, social media marketer Michael Kawula. We connected and even went on a few business events together. He made me realized that I had to get out more to meet people. I spent a lot of time working from home and not enough time going out to meet people. When things get back to normal, I plan on participating in more events to meet other entrepreneurs.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
The most interesting thing so far has been a large number of people reaching out to me daily to be featured on Billion Success. I was not anticipating this much interest in the platform in this short period of time.
Another interesting was having entrepreneurs come back asking to share an updated interview on where they are now. I thought that was quite awesome. I love seeing their progress from the beginning to where they are now.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Everything that I was going to do would be an experiment. There are absolutely no guarantees that anything I do will ever work. In my opinion, building a new business is about conducting as many experiments as possible. You would then tweak, and pivot towards the ones that work and reject the ones that don’t. Once you find a winning formula, you just replicate it until it no longer works. Then, you pivot to other things.
- How hard it is to give up control. I tend to want to do everything myself. Even after I hired help, I sometimes find myself doing the same exact work that I hired help for. It is hard to let someone take control of something you have spent so much time working on. But you must allow others to help you. It is the only way it will grow. It must be done.
- How hard it was to stay focus. As a new entrepreneur with limited resources, you must spend your time wisely. Your time should be spent on the most important things. The Shiny Object Syndrome is real and unless you learn to control it, you might find yourself wasting time on the pretty things, instead of the most important things. Be aware.
- The imposter Syndrome. I wish someone told me that feeling like an imposter is a normal thing and that almost everyone at some point in their career experienced it. I wish I knew it was ok to feel like an Imposter. Even the most successful people in the world have gone through it. It is a normal feeling to sometimes doubt yourself. As long as you don’t let it stop you, all will be fine.
- How friendly and helpful most entrepreneurs are. On this journey, you will find yourself with a lot of questions that need answers. All I had to do was ASK. I was always reluctant to ask for help. To my surprise, most people are willing to help if you just ASK. I wish I put that into practice more at the beginning instead of trying to figure it all out on my own.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
First things first. Find something to focus on instead of watching the news. Find the thing that you are passionate about and start working on it. (even if it is just for fun) It will take your mind off all the craziness going on in the world.
Focus on family. Spend time with your loved ones, talk, share and stories and discuss future plans with each other. Help each other stay focus.
Entrepreneurship is quite a lonely road. Especially if you are going at it alone. Find a mentor. Find someone you can talk to when you have questions. On this journey, you will have a lot of small successes and a lot of failures. It is good to have someone to share those small experiences with. It makes the journey that much enjoyable.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Inspiring everyone to teach more. I want to make it a normal thing for everyone to teach a stranger. It is one of the reasons I am passionate about sharing entrepreneurial stories. I believe we can all learn from each other. People are more likely to learn from a stranger than from someone they know. I want everyone to pick a stranger, and just share stories and life experiences. We can all teach each other something. How cool is that?
Your life experience is one of the most valuable assets you have. It is your duty to pass it on before you leave this planet. In the digital age that we are in, this could mean writing a book, starting a YouTube channel, a podcast, or even writing a single blog post. It doesn’t matter how you choose to share it, but whatever you do, you must pass it on.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
Yes, motivational speaker Les Brown. I have listened to a lot of his motivational talks and he is really a really funny motivating person. He seems like the perfect person to be around when taking on the unknown.
How can our readers follow you online?
You can contact me by visiting my company website https://billionsuccess.com or my personal branded site https://herbyfabius.com or you can connect with me via social media on https://www.linkedin.com/in/herbyfabius https://www.instagram.com/billionsuccess. I am most active on LinkedIn so feel free to add me.
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!