What’s your backstory?
My life looked amazing from the outside.
I had a “successful” mortgage business… 250 employees and 10 offices.
I lived in a $750,000 house. I owned another $150,000 in sports cars.
Hell, on the outside I was living the dream life.
But behind the curtains, my financial world was crumbling.
The market crash in 2007-2008 was destroying my business and I didn’t know how to fix it.
I felt out of alignment, like a fraud, a fake.
I didn’t feel in alignment with who I truly was as a person.
I didn’t want to be doing what I was doing.
I didn’t even want to get out of bed in the morning.
But I did what I’ve always done.
I worked harder.
I must have read more than 500 books. I went to all sorts of seminars and conferences.
I did anything and everything to turn the ship around.
But it was too late… The damage was done.
I remember hiding in my basement crying, trying to make sure my family didn’t see or hear me.
I had a kid to feed… a wife to make proud of me… bills to pay and a reputation to uphold.
And I was about to lose it all.
It was March 2008, and I was in my business partners’ office when it happened…
I left the office early and went home…
Our mortgage business was failing, I was nearly broke and almost a million dollars in debt.
I was miserable.
My business partners and even my employees could see it.
Sometimes I could even hear their “cooler talk” about me.. As if it was any of their business.
I left the office early and went home…
My son was only a year old at the time and I’ll never, ever forget the look on his face when I walked in the front door at 1PM.
His eyes doubled in size, surprised to see me… his little chubby cheeks turned bright red with excitement.
I knew I worked too much already, but that look… that look did it for me…
I’m in my office too much grinding out a job I don’t even like.
I’m fucking miserable with the people judging me at the business I created.
I felt like I built myself a prison… Like I created my own shit hole job to slave away in…
And my family was paying for it…
I wasn’t going to let my son grow up without his Dad at home anymore.
When I saw that look on my son’s face I finally talked to my wife about everything I had been feeling and going through that night…
Her response was elegant:
My wife is awesome.
The next morning I was in my business partners’ office telling them I wanted out.
I said “I don’t want anything from you guys, you guys can give me $1 to buy me out of the company.”
The company was failing anyway.
Within 10 days of that meeting I was out of the company, completely.
March 2008 was the start of my true entrepreneurial journey…
I just failed my first business.
I was about to lose my home.
I was about to lose my cars.
I had NO idea what the hell I was going to do next and I was burning through savings quick.
I was almost broke…
And things were about to get a lot worse…
I was on my own.
I had no plan and no clue what to do next.
I knew I was unemployable, and I was sick and tired of always being told what to do.
My first business was gone, and I was solo.
Almost broke with the kid to feed and another on the way, I needed to do something… fast.
I remember my wife and I drove down to central Oregon to clear our minds and try to plan a future.
We wrote down everything we wanted to achieve on 2 sheets of paper.
She wrote things like a house, 2 kids, debt free…
For me, I wrote things like freedom of time…
No more meetings.
No more 400 effin emails a day…
(*I included some of my original notes*)
Then we came back home and I started getting to work.
I was going to find something I could create and keep the lifestyle I wanted.
So I found a business partner and we tried to create an online business.
We called it “The Secure Student”.
It was a basic financial literacy program for high school kids.
We took on a bunch of investor money because we didn’t know what the hell we were doing entrepreneurially.
Then we proceeded to drive that business into the ground and quickly failed within the first five months.
It just didn’t work.
I lost over $100,000+ in other people’s hard earned money.
That was my first learning lesson, the market only cares about what the market cares about… and unfortunately for us, high school kids don’t give a crap about financial literacy…
I already lost my mortgage company, and now I had also failed my first entrepreneurial journey… and the fact that I lost someone else’s hard earned money destroyed me…
Those two experiences back to back crushed my confidence completely.
I felt this deep-seated shame looming over me.
I’m a very empathetic person.
I’m always thinking about other people before I think about myself, I’m always thinking about other people’s perspectives.
So the mortgage company failure felt like my fault. I let those 250 employees down.
The entrepreneurial failure, I felt like I had just pissed away a hundred grand of somebody else’s hard earned money.
And that was it..
I was done. I failed. I was a failure.
I felt ashamed, guilty, angry… I felt like I let everybody down, especially my family.
I wanted them to be proud of me more than anything in the world…
But look at where I was.
The last word I would use to describe me at that point is “proud”…
I was so ashamed of myself, I went into hiding from the world for nearly 4 years…
I watched the tow trucks pull up to my home and repo my cars.
The phone was ringing off the hook from the bank letting me know they’re about to put my home on the market if I don’t pay my mortgage.
I was down to less than $5,000 in the bank and I was too ashamed to show my face to the world, I just stayed at home and pitied myself.
I don’t even know what we were thinking, but my wife and I decided to move to Seattle… maybe I was too ashamed to stay in my city…
I didn’t see any of my friends anymore and deleted all of my social media accounts.
I literally didn’t want to see anyone, and I didn’t want them to see how bad my situation was.
I used most of the money I had left to buy a shitty little minivan (because they just towed my cars) and we uprooted our life to move to Seattle.
I just lost my Mortgage business, then lost $100,000 in other people’s investor money on an online business in a staggering 5 months.
2008 & 2009 really messed me up for a long time.
Looking back at it now, I really should have gone to see a psychologist sooner and just dealt with the root of the issue because it took YEARS to fix it on my own.
I felt so much shame around those two failures that I felt it was my duty to beat myself up….
Emotionally, physically, financially. However I could, I abused myself.
I drank way too much almost every day.
Sometimes I don’t know how my wife made it through with me.
I got really creative and found little ways to punish myself..
Back when we still had friends I would always force myself to eat last.
If there was a dessert and there was only enough for two people and I was the third I would just say I don’t want any.
There were times I wouldn’t even eat my friends’ food because I felt they paid for the food and I didn’t deserve any. (Which is messed up. It’s weird.)
Worst of all was the things I would say to and about myself.
The words you say to yourself can make or break you, and I messed myself up pretty bad for a long time with my self talk.
We were in Seattle for 2 years before I made any friends at all.
That was my rock bottom.
The lowest point I’ve ever felt.
I didn’t feel like a man, I didn’t feel like a good father to my kids and I didn’t feel like a good husband.
I knew they loved me, but I didn’t feel good inside… I knew I let them down. Big time.
Sometimes I wished I had the courage to just end it all, but I couldn’t do that to my family.
My business literally saved my life.
“FUCK this. I’m done feeling sorry for myself.”
Pardon my french, but those are the words I said to myself…
I had just spend the last 4 years hiding from the world and punishing myself for losing my mortgage company and $100,000 of investor money on a failed online business in less than 5 months.
I wasn’t on Social Media and I purposely had no friends, because I didn’t feel like I was worthy of having them.
I felt like a terrible Dad and a bad husband.
And it was time to grab the bull by the horns and stand up like the man I always knew I was supposed to be.
I was DONE.
No more hiding, no more feeling sorry for myself… No more beating myself up or punishing myself for what I did wrong.
It was time to shift into high gear and find out what I can do RIGHT.
I knew all the things I sucked at… I reminded myself of them every single day for years…
I knew all the things I didn’t like and what I didn’t want to do.
I knew everything wrong with me and wrong with what I did in the past…
Now it was time to find out what I do right. What I LOVE to do. What I am GOOD at doing.
I came out of my hermit hole and got back on social media… Stopped hiding from the world and said I’m going to fucking sort out this digital marketing game.
I devoured everything.
Literally almost everything I found online that would help me master the online business game.
I learned everything from Leadpages, which lead me to Infusionsoft..
Infusionsoft lead me to Digital Marketer where I learned everything… (Literally everything, every course, lead magnet, certification… everything.)
I consumed everything from the experts to figure it out. I was done feeling pity for myself and I was going to DO THIS. No matter what.
DM lead me to Clickfunnels where I was introduced to Russell Brunson, I devoured every piece of content he ever released, 5 years of podcasts, all his business content, books, everything in 42 days of hard core study and work.
I was obsessed.
Marketing became my life.
I freakin loved it.
And, I’m freakin good at it.
I designed my first logo for my marketing company on my own with PowerPoint.
… And it sucked ass.
So I went ahead and bought some cheap logo and took it to a branding specialist.
That’s when I met my head designer, Sanja.
I said, “Hey, I want to create this binder and this whole brand around this logo.”
She replied, “Do you know that logo is stolen?” I was like, “What the fuck are you even talking about?”
She showed me 500 other examples of the same logo.
She said “I’ll do that package for you, but I want to rebrand it with a more modern logo that’s hand-drawn.” And that’s when we started working together.
So I learned those lessons on my own, that’s part of the reason I’m passionate about the branding side is because I made a lot of dumb mistakes.
I was so angry that someone would steal somebody else’s ART and resell it back to me for a few bucks.
So I shifted gears.
I’m passionate about art and I’m not going to help thieves steal it and try to slap it on top of someone else’s business.
I decided that day, I was now a Business Image Agency with the help of my head designer.
Artists can capture the essence of who you are and who your company is to make it a real, living brand perfectly aligned with who you are.
And Sanja is an extremely talented artist. I couldn’t be more happy than I am working alongside her.
It wasn’t easy, and I had to learn a lot about branding before I was ready to even get started, but we did it.
What we do is magic. I love it.
Not just some cheap little logo… we make your brand come to life and align with you through real, professional, hand drawn ART to give you an online business you can be proud of.
I did it. Finally. We did it. I frickin MADE it out of the other side…
Failed Mortgage business.
Failed online business and $100k investor money in 5 months.
4 years of beating the crap out of myself.
And I finally did it.
I found something I love. Something I’m damn good at. Something my clients rave about. Something I can be proud of.
Now I’m working with some of the biggest and best names in the industry. I love my life. I love my work and who I work with.
I’m a good Dad and I get to take care of my kids and my wife whenever I want to. I don’t have to go to the office if I don’t want to.
I’m proud of myself again.
It wasn’t easy.
It was actually brutally hard and nearly killed me, but I frickin did it.
No matter how stuck you’re feeling right now, keep pushing through. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get to work.
I promise you can do it.
You will get there if you’re resilient enough not to give up.
I know this is not an easy job. What drives you?
Mike knows his inner purpose and deeper why, which is extremely motivational and helps him stay motivated. To him, giving up shows his kids it’s okay to live a settled life, to not go after their dreams, which would be unacceptable.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? What lesson did you learn from them?
So many it’s hard to name them all.
Todd Ballenger who showed me the path to my ideal lifestyle.
A ton of what I would call “Virtual Mentors” like Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Gary Vaynerchuck, Russell Brunson, Mike Kemski, Jesse Elder and Tim Ferriss.
Mitch Miller who showed me how to unlock my confidence and helped me with my position in the market, my status and my offer.
How do you push through your worst times?
I focus on why I’m doing what I’m doing, breathe, focus on what I can control and get back to work.