ANTHONY TUMBIOLO

Building a Business

The Harder Something Is, The More Opportunity Lies On The Other Side

The other day, while slowly sipping coffee (ok fine, it was water, coffee just sounded cooler), an old friend of mine was telling me about the new business he had just started. They provide staking as a service for cryptocurrencies. If your first thought was “dude, What. The. Hell. are you talking about”, rest easy.

Unlike the dozens of low-barrier business models that the rise of entrepreneurship on the digital era has brought up, what he does is truly complex –both technically and legally. It’s not just another online get-rich-quick scheme.

And look, I am not shitting on anyone that tries to make money through the Internet:

I started selling designer bags on eBay (yes, out of all things) when I was fifteen. I’d list the items online and, when they sold, I’d run to the store, buy them, and ship them.

Low-barrier businesses look great on paper

They require very little money and time to set up. They are simple and straightforward. They make sense. And they make you feel like you are going to kill it from day one. But they also create false expectations.

Take a look at drop shipping, for example. Yes, you can have a website from Shopify for $30/month. And you can source products from China without having to speak with any supplier. You don’t have to take care of shipping, website design, product development, inventory… nothing. It’s fast, quick, and simple.

At least that’s what they want you to think. But, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Anything that’s fast and easy for you, well, it’s also fast and easy for everyone else.

The pretty website Shopify made for you? Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have the same one too.

The cute products you are bringing in from China? They are the same that everyone else is selling.

Soft barriers to entry mean high competition, which translates into a lower upside for you.

Where do you think there’s more competition, drop shipping the same old cat t-shirts from somewhere in Asia or my friend’s new company in the financial-technology field?

That’s something I take into consideration when investing in businesses through Polpo Group. Very profitable companies have a unique competitive advantage that allows them to play in a game where competitors still deal with high barriers to entry.

For example, the arena my friend’s company competes in is hard to get into. You need years of experience, software development expertise, a strong network, and a solid understanding of blockchain technology. Not many people can mirror his business.

High risk, high reward

These requirements create a moat that stops the masses from entering the market. The reward for those that are brave enough to approach and not shy away from complex issues –despite the higher risk of failure, will be (if they pull it off) much more rewarding –both in terms of economic and emotional return.

Another example: I moderate the #1 community for business owners that run service businesses where I help them grow their business to 7 figures, avoid the pitfalls I fell into along the way, share all the things I didn’t know but WISH I did in hindsight, and share resources that have taken me years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to create.

If you wanted to open a similar group and truly help other business people you would need to spend years going through the process of building a multi 7 figure service based business to have that experience first hand–not easy to replicate.

Picture a river with a beaver dam. Most water will stop down as soon as it hits the trees, and people do the exact same thing. The moment we perceive that something might be more difficult than we expected, the moment not everything goes our way… we just stop.

We don’t try to keep going and fight through.

It’s much easier to turn around, give up, and try something easier, right?

But no beaver dam stops all water. Some of it still trickles down through the branches and keeps on flowing down the river. Those branches are just like the barriers that we face both in business and life: lack of money, time constraints, complexity, fear of failing, and any other reason (or excuse) that you can think of.

The truth is, I’ve also struggled to choose the scary route over taking the easy way out. As the CEO of Jakt, a multi-million dollar company, however, there’s no room for letting my emotions get the best out of me.

Back in 2015, over half my team quit (read the full story here) because I was not able to set an inspiring vision, promote a positive culture, and help the people on my team grow both personally and professionally. I knew it was my fault, and I thought about shutting down the business and move to something easier.

Instead, I decided to embrace the discomfort and push through it. Now, I am not saying it was easy –all the opposite. But not turning my back on something I had worked for the moment shit started going down is what helped me and Jakt grow on the following years.

 

But how can you rewire yourself, stop running away from challenges, and start tackling them head on?

First, you have to understand what you are really fighting. Why do we humans LOVE to take the easy way out?

It’s not just because we are lazy or scared. It’s because we are fighting the natural animalistic tendency of preservation. Flying away from danger used to be an essential element of survival, but not anymore. You can (and should) stray away from that.

The problem is that we give meaning to the things that happen to us –when, in reality, they’re just that… things. Nothing less, nothing more.

If you get fired, then you don’t have a job, period –but it doesn’t mean that you are not good enough or not worthy to be employed. If a business deal doesn’t go through, then it just didn’t go through, period –but it doesn’t mean you or your company suck because of it.

It’s the stories we tell ourselves that stop us from leaning into discomfort.

But you can take the reigns, control your lens, and change that story. Only then you will break out from your comfort zone and start doing things that scare you.

I’m an introvert. Do I like to go and have dinner with a bunch of strangers that I don’t know? Of course not! And I still don’t always say yes. But, when I do, I know that I am pushing myself and I’ll grow because of it. Hell, it can even change your life.  

But it works like a muscle: the more you exercise your mental flexibility, the easier it gets to fight your fears and rewire yourself. Soon enough, you’ll actually start noticing your thoughts better and being more self-aware. Instead of running away from discomfort, you’ll love it, lean into it, and crave the high that comes from overcoming one challenge after another.

What’s the takeaway here?

The truth is that we love taking the easy way out.

When facing two different options, most of us would rather go for the one that takes less time, effort, and money. But, by doing that, we are missing out on the high rewards that lay in the shadow of our doubts and discomfort.

Transitioning towards rewiring yourself requires an active effort from your part. When something looks hard, complex or challenging, do not shy away from it. Approach it with curiosity, lean into it, and jump into the pool head first. Because if it was easy…

I recently met with an old friend of mine to talk about the new company he started. They provide staking as a service in the fintech and blockchain space. Yes, it sounds difficult… and the truth is, it is difficult. Especially when compared to all these get-rich-quick schemes that “online entrepreneurship” has brought us.

Dropshipping, for example. While it can be a legitimate business model, most people are attracted to it because it’s simple and easy. Get a store from Shopify, outsource some shitty product from China, and figure out a way to sell it to someone (without telling him it will take 8 weeks to get there).

But you know what they say, “if it was easy, everyone would do it”, well, everyone is doing it. Thousands of people have the same store and source the same products as you. Low-barriers of entry mean extremely high competition and a low potential upside –just because you wanted to take the easy way out.

But this doesn’t just happen in business.

Take a look at your daily life, how many decisions are you procrastinating on because you are scared they’re not easy?

All the requirements –whether that’s investing time, money, effort, etc.– create a moat around the potential reward, and this stops most people from even trying.

Sometimes this moat is made of real, valid arguments. To compete with my friend’s company you need a team of people that are experienced in the field, understand its technical and legal complexities, are capable of software development, and have received enough funding to get started. Yup, not easy.

Or, for example, I moderate a community for service-based business owners that want to break through the first million dollars per year. To replicate this business and truly help people, you need to already have a company that makes over 7 figures –which takes a lot of time to build.

But sometimes this moat is made of excuses.

How many times have you heard someone say… I’d start a company BUT I don’t have time. Or I want to start writing BUT it’s so hard. Or I want to make money BUT I don’t have enough to invest.

Excuses are just stories that we tell ourselves. They set up home on the precious real estate of your mind and make you walk away from challenges and discomfort. They stop you from looking at your fears straight into the eyes and overcoming them.

And yes, the chances of failure go up when you do stuff you are not comfortable with. Back in 2015, over 50% of my team quit their jobs. As the CEO of Jakt, I knew I had not been the leader I needed to be –I even thought about shutting down the business.

But when you hit resistance, you either turn around and go find something easier, or you push through it until you get to the other side. And, even it meant lots of sleepless nights, that’s what I had to do.

How you face complex situations will determine your personal growth and professional success. We, humans, LOVE to take the easy way out. It keeps us in our comfort zone –and it doesn’t challenge us.

But when facing a difficult, complex, and uncomfortable situation, you can either shy away from it or lean into it. Rewiring yourself to enjoy discomfort and approaching it head on will bring you the higher rewards of the extra mile –and, trust me, it’s the least crowded.


Entrepreneurship

How Do Entrepreneurs Think? 

If you’ve ever wondered, how do entrepreneurs think? Here’s an inside look into how my brain works.

I was recently in Miami and stopped by an ice cream shop with my girlfriend. They have this really cool nitrogen ice cream that I wanted to try. I, of course, got Nutella mixed into mine.

We sat down shortly after getting our ice cream. Everything was perfect: the conversation, the weather, the ice cream.. but, after a minute, my mind started fading away.

Here we go again.

 

How Do Entrepreneurs Think? 
This is the actual place in Miami (no, I’m not just making this story up)

 

I start doing the math behind the numbers…

I can’t turn it off. And, to be honest, I don’t really want to either.

It’s a fun game I play with myself in every store, shop, or business I walk into or come across.

I start doing all the math behind the ice cream shop’s numbers to try and guess how much profit (or loss) they are making.

I first look at the price of my ice cream, check the prices on the board, and try to estimate an average order value per customer. How much money will each customer spend?

I then watch the shop and see how many people flow in while I’m there. Is the foot traffic high or low? Is the store empty or packed with customers ready to buy?

Based on that, I try to guess how many people per hour come. I try to account for the time of day: is this a busy hour, will other hours be similar, etc. — and then guess an average number per hour throughout the day. Coffee shops, for example, make a big share of their daily revenue during early-morning rush-hour, but those numbers don’t stay consistent throughout the day.

After calculating the daily average, I then try to guess if this day as a whole is common or if it’s above average. Since we came on Friday and I’m guessing that’s busier than, say, Tuesdays, I need to reduce the daily average to account for this.

I multiply that by the average order value estimate that I figured out before to get a revenue per day. That’s how much they make every single day on average. I then multiply that by 30 to get a monthly revenue total.

Next step on the list is to understand the business’ expenses and costs. I go through the same exercise as above, calculating how much they spend every month on things such as rent, utilities, insurance, employees’ wages, supplies, ice cream, etc.

I then take revenue and subtract the expenses –and get a monthly profit (or loss), and extrapolate that for the year.

 

You’d think we’d be done by now, but this is where it gets even more interesting:

If it’s positive, my mind quickly races to the startup costs of opening a similar business: equipment, machinery…

I then calculate how long until my initial investment would be paid back. Are we talking about six months, three years, or fifteen years?

If the numbers look good, my next thought is:

Should I open an ice cream shop?

I obviously don’t go ahead and open a store every time I go through this drill. And it’s clearly not a perfect science. There are, of course, many things I could have estimated inaccurately or that I could be forgetting. And there are things that there is just no way for me to know: maybe they inherited the place and they don’t pay rent, for example.

From running a multi-million dollar company myself I know how there are many details you need to uncover. But I find this game gives me a chance to exercise my business muscles and apply it to a different type of business. It stretches my thinking and works out my critical thinking skills.

And this is what happens every time I walk into a store or online business I find interesting.

For whatever reason, this is what goes through my head. It’s a game: will this store or business still be running in six months, or will this be another entrepreneurial victim?

I don’t just do this when I’m getting ice cream though. I do this for other businesses I come across that intrigues me all the time: SaaS companies, agencies, ice cream shops, it doesn’t matter.

This has been my mindset since I was fifteen and sold designer bags on eBay. Back then, I would be on a constant hunting state –always looking for a new product that I could profit off. It’s still the same way, but I do have now over a decade of experience in business.

And the truth is, it’s not even about making money (at least not anymore). It’s just fun. It keeps me sharp, and it excites me. It’s also good practice for when I open new business through the years or invest in other companies through The Polpo Group.  

It gets me thinking about different things and situations my business would never encounter. It’s my personal sudoku. And I love it.

Many people ask me if entrepreneurship is a healthy discipline.

I don’t shy away from the fact that this “thrill of the hunt” has a certain obsessive tendency to it. I get where they are coming from. With the rise of social media, we now have a first-row seat to the number of hours most entrepreneurs, CEOs and business owners put in their companies (fake Instagram #hustle wanna-be’s aside).

I have been there too. Entrepreneurship is an emotional rollercoaster, and it can get to you if you let it. There have been periods in my life of heavy drinking, deep depression, and forceful anxiety. I am only now starting to understand that actions are just that, actions. They are neither good or bad, but it’s the meaning we assign to them that can get the best out of us and trigger unhealthy behavior. It’s our job to find ways to reduce its emotional effects and learn how to always remain in control of our reaction. So, hopefully this gave you a snipit of answering the question, how do entrepreneurs think? 


Building a Business

From 0 to 1: How I Got My First Customer & How You Can Too

Growing and scaling a successful business is hard. No business can survive without revenue, but finding clients and customers is no easy task. There are thousands of extremely talented creatives-turned-freelancers, business owners, entrepreneurs, coaches, and consultants that can’t get new clients to save their life. They have an amazing product or service that could help a lot of people, but their inability to implement a client acquisition process that gets results is stopping them from growing their business and helping others.

Finding your first client is hard: here’s how I did it

I remember the first few months after I graduated college. Having taught myself how to code, I started freelancing for different NYC businesses, helping them with product and software development –which eventually turned into Jakt.

But do you want to know how I found my first client?

It was not through some groundbreaking marketing strategy that had never been seen before. I am no marketing savior that is bringing you the next innovative digital trend.

No, the cold, honest truth is never that pretty.

I got my first client by… asking to work for free.

I know, I know. Working for free sucks, yes. You want to get paid for your work, same. This won’t pay for next week’s trip to a beach with passive income coming off your ears, I totally get that.

But here’s the thing:

There’s a difference between telling someone that you can do XYZ and actually showing them that you can do it. And no one really ever gives a f**k about what you say, sorry to break it to you.

  • Writer with no clients? Write for free.
  • Consultant? consult for free.
  • Marketing agency?  Run someone’s ads for free.

You are not entitled to anything. You’re not special. Just like I did, you have to prove to people that you can help them before you can get paid. And this goes way beyond business. No one in life will gift you anything –and especially not money. This is what is really takes to be an entrepreneur.

When you don’t have a bunch of case studies that you can flaunt around your next meeting with a potential client, you have to find a way to minimize their risk and add value.

If you add value, you’ll get paid.

It’s a super simple formula, but it works every single time. Saving someone’s time, doing something they can’t do, fixing a problem, helping them make more money… these are all ways to add value. And the more value you add, the more you’ll get paid –simple as that.

I’ve done that all my life:

  • When I was fifteen, I would sell purses online. There was value there: women upgrading their wardrobe with bags that (initially) could only be bought in physical stores and guys buying presents.
  • When I was in college, I would throw parties around my school. Value: guys and gals having a great time and a place to socialize.
  • And even now with Jakt, we help businesses fulfill their digital product and innovation needs.

Once you have proven that you can get results, the world is yours.

But no so fast, cowboy. You worked with someone for free, now …

How do you scale business with high-paying clients?

Well, let me tell you how we do it at Jakt –the company I run.

In the beginning, I was constrained by something you might relate to a lack of money. I mean… I barely had enough to pay rent and buy noodles… so I had to find another way.

The vast majority of our clients come from one source: referrals.

I hear you: No FB ads?! No PPC?! No email list?! What a catastrophe? That’s not (and this always makes me laugh) scalable?

And look, I know that referrals are not 100% repeatable and take work, but they have gotten us to over 4 Million dollars a year –so there must be something to it, right?

 

Referrals are hard, but they work

Referrals are hard because they are based on relationships –and people shy away from them. I get it, I’m an introvert. But building relationships doesn’t necessarily mean shoving business cards down stranger’s throats. Instead, it’s about building mutually beneficial connections with people.

For example, back in the early days, I decided to partner with an agency that was complimentary to my skill set. By adding me as a partner, they were now able to offer one more service to their mix –which helped them close more deals and add more value to their existing customers.

Since they were already trusted by their clients, it was easier for me to sell because their referral passed over the “trust juice” to me, and I also didn’t have to hunt new customers myself.

It’s a win for me, for the other agency, and for the clients — WIN-WIN-WIN.

This is based on the concept of leverage, and I learned it while throwing parties at NYU. Instead of hunting down hundreds of people, I would just handpick a few of them with an existing network and have them send a message to their friends. They looked good and I got more people through the door that already trusted me because of their friend’s recommendation. The trendy name for this now is influencers.

Building partnerships can be done in two different ways. First, the relationship can be purely economic: they refer you a new client and you pay them referral fees in exchange for it. It’s simple, but, in my experience, these are usually weak alliances.

The strongest relationships, however, come from having a personal connection and adding value.

The thing is… most people have problems.

You have to be curious enough to ask them and care about their answer genuinely. If you can’t help them directly, that’s ok! Just refer them to someone you know might be able to. And if your abilities can help solve someone’s problem, great! –you just found yourself a potential new client.

Another thing to note, it’s important to never capture all the value in a relationship. Actually, I don’t monetize 99% of my connections, but I will still help them and give them value without asking for anything in return. The Universe has a funny way to bring your value-karma points back.

Something many people ask me is this: but why would someone help me? The truth is that, by asking them for help, you are giving them a chance to look and feel good by giving out a hand to someone. They are building up their social capital as someone who is resourceful and can help others.

Before I say goodbye:

The undeniable truth is that you need to sell to survive in business. But how can you do it? First, you need to prove you know what you’re talking about and, if that means working for free at first, I say… just do it.

Scaling is another issue. While traditional marketing might work for some and digital strategies might work for others, we at Jakt have built a multimillion-dollar business based on referrals and relationships.

Adding value and helping other people might seem like it’s a lot of work and difficult to calculate an ROI. And that’s true. But it also shows you actually care about others and not only about what’s in it for you, and that you don’t see everyone with a huge, green dollar sign on their front –and that eventually will always come back to benefit you.


Building a Business Leadership MANAGEMENT

Created, Not Born: The Mistakes and Learnings Of Becoming a Leader

I messaged the office again –I’d be “working from home” that day.

What I did not tell them is that I’d be stuck on the couch while thinking about shutting down the business. I just couldn’t go on like this.

Jakt (my company) was going through its lowest point. In a matter of weeks, more than half the team decided to leave and jump ship. I guess they thought we were sinking, and I don’t blame them.

Why is everyone leaving us? –I kept on asking myself.
No matter how much it hurt me to see everyone leave, I knew there had to be a deeper, underlying issue to it.

My conclusion: I was not a leader. Not a good enough one, at least. My team was falling apart. I had not set a clear, inspiring vision for the company that they wanted to contribute to. I had not created and fostered a great culture, and I never offered them the growth opportunities they craved.

Honestly, I was just trying to keep my head above water and make sure to keep everyone paid. I couldn’t spend time on those other things — or so I told myself.

I didn’t even know what doing those things really meant. Culture? What is that even? A vision for the future? Ya, sure, I have some ideas but I have no idea if it’s right or if I’m just crazy. So I’ll just keep those to myself. Helping people grow? How the hell do I do that?

Just a Job

Everyone just had a job, but no one was part of a company together.

That was the final breaking point, and it was clear as day I needed to find a way to change and grow.

Now, almost three years later, I still won’t ever say that I am a great leader. Being the CEO of a $4M/year company is, opposed to what many people would think, a very humbling experience. You make a lot of mistakes –and they cost you money, time, and relationships. I still have a hell of a lot left to learn.

But I am much better than two years ago.

These are the two key mental shifts that have helped me in this ever-evolving transition towards learning to become a better leader:

From Transactional to People-Centered

I started selling on the Internet when I was fifteen. I would buy designer bags from a physical store, resell them on the Internet for a higher price, and cash in on the difference.

My product was inanimate objects –not a person with feeling emotions, desires, and needs. I bought them, sold them, and made money off them –no personal feelings attached.  

Even during my first year at Jakt, everything was still simply transactional. I did not have to manage and lead people (there were none) –I just had to do the work for my clients.

As I started hiring people, I kept treating them like they were the purses I sold –not realizing that a service delivered by people to people is much different (this wasn’t so obvious as a 23-year-old). I would get business coming in, they would do it, and I’d make some money. It sounds call, but the truth is that I was just applying what had worked for me –without realizing that the context had changed.

And trust me, that’s a HUGE difference in being the CEO of a company. It’s one thing to do the work yourself, but it is a much different thing to lead a team of people to do the work.

 

It’s About the People

I now understand the importance of (and working daily to get better at) setting an inspiring vision, promoting a positive culture, and helping the people on my team grow both personally and professionally. How can I instill trust in my people if they don’t know where the company is headed or how their actions help us get there? That’s something that I try to keep top-of-mind by making an emphasis on culture, vision, and values during our weekly meetings.

Hiring the right people is another important leadership element. Here’s how I see it: I want high-performers like myself to work for Jakt.. Would I want to work for someone that micromanages what I do and doesn’t trust me? Or for someone who doesn’t hold me accountable to a high standard and pushes me to be better? Absolutely not.

To bring out the potential of your team, you need to set an exciting vision for the company’s future, foster a great culture, hire the right people, and then just get out of their way.

I used to think of people as money-making assets. Not because I didn’t care, but because that’s what I learned from my eBay days. I was not empathetic enough of their needs and I didn’t effectively communicate with them –and I still wondered why they left!

Now I understand that truly connecting with people on my team, supporting them as individuals, and caring about their professional career and growth is not only important to do, but I also enjoy it tremendously! Managing people is challenging but, if you are truly genuine, people will feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves.

From Emotional to Accountable

Not being able to make it to the office because you are paralyzed by anxiety and depression is not a good look, trust me. No hero story was ever written about the war general that ran away from the battle when it mattered the most. But how can you fight through the tough times and come out on top?

Being willing to eat shit (quite graphic, I know) is an underrated leadership quality. A CEO is like a goalkeeper in soccer. You are the last line of defense and, when everything else fails, people look at you to save the day.

I struggled with having tough conversations with people for a long time. It didn’t matter how much I expected from myself, it still was hard to let people know they were not performing at the level I needed them to be. But leaders simply can’t afford to do that.

You have to lean in into difficult conversations and deal with the rough stuff. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself with a team that accepts mediocrity as the new standard because everything starts at the top. Which means you have to walk the talk and be accountable yourself. People believe actions over words, and you have to set an example.

Finally, I’ve learned that leaders have to be emotional counterparts. When things go South, I must be their rock and take all the blame –it’s on me. There’s no place for shifting blame, and if the Company is failing, it’s on me as a leader. I have to take full responsibility –while still holding people accountable– and give them the genuine reassurance that we’ll be okay (here’s a more in-depth article on blind confidence as a leader).

And when things go well, I give all the credit to the people on my team who make it all happen.

A Final Word:

There have been thousands of books about what makes the perfect leader, but most of them miss out on something:

Being a great leader will always stay on the horizon. What matters is the process of becoming a leader. It’s a skill that needs to be crafted and perfected daily –something you have to work on. I have learned that every experience adds another layer to what leadership really is. But moving from being a transactional manager to focusing on having the right people and culture, communicating my vision and becoming more accountable has helped me take a big step forward on this journey.


Self Care

Transcendental Meditation Changed My Life

Everyone likes beautiful, happy-ending stories, right?

We love to watch Instagram highlights from CEOs that tell us that “being an entrepreneur is easy and fun” (they usually try to sell you a How To Entrepreneur Course right after too). We love to read about how cool it is to be your own boss, and how simple it is to run a business.

But very few people mention the other, less talked about side of entrepreneurship, so allow me to tell you what they don’t want you to know:

Back in 2016, I thought we were going down.

I had founded Jakt just a few years before, and we had gone through many ups-and-downs (like my business partner leaving). This time, I had no one to blame other than me.

I was suffering from anxiety and depression.

Leaving the couch was out of the question. I was… stuck. When I would say that I was working from home,  the truth is that I couldn’t get my ass out of the house and face my team.

Their CEO, their supposed leader, was struggling and, no matter how much much I tried to hide it, they could feel something was off.

Many entrepreneurs live in a constant state of anxiety. I mean… how could we not?

Millions of dollars are involved but, more importantly, my life’s mission, and my (and Jakt’s employees’) livelihood is also at play.

And what is my coping mechanism?

I go back to what many entrepreneurs and CEOs do: work. I feel safe when I’m “hustling,” it is my comfort zone. The more anxiety I feel, the more I work – which, now I realize, just makes everything worse.

Don’t get me wrong: I love working. Jakt’s been my passion for years, and I’ve been gladly putting in 60-100-hour weeks for years.

But I, like many other business owners, became addicted to it. And it stopped bringing joy to my life. I needed to find a way to regain control over my mental health and start taking care of myself.

I was discussing this with Chris Schembra – a great friend and the founder of the 7:47 Club, when he asked me this:

“If you had more time in a day, what would you do with it?”

It really stopped me in my tracks, what a powerful question! Of course we can’t have more hours in the day but, in that moment, I started questioning my priorities. Where was I investing the largest share of my most significant asset: time?

Definitely not in myself. Work took over my life to a point where my self-care had been put in the back-burner…and it showed. I was exhausted. I was beaten up. And I wanted to feel better.

But if I could have more time in a day… I’d spend it taking care of myself – something I had neglected in favor of the business for many years. And I’d do more for me: play soccer, read more, and work on improving myself.

So I asked Chris: what do YOU do to take care of yourself?

Right away and without hesitation, he said: “meditation.”

I was intrigued and I wanted to know more. He told me more about the specific technique he practiced called Transcendental Meditation, and how it had really helped him all-around in his life.

I was skeptical. Should I give it a try? – I wondered. I always thought it was intriguing, and even heard about other people doing it, just not for me…

But I needed to start taking care of myself more and reduce my stress and anxiety, or I would work myself to death. Chris gave me the little nudge I needed to take a step forward. After all, what could I lose?

So I signed up for a course the next day – that was 6 months ago.

It changed my life.

I now meditate twice a day. I also moderate the Service Based Businesses Community and run Jakt, a $4M/year company with over a dozen employees, so I’m busy (this is not an “I reached Nirvana in a Tibetan temple” story)…

 

Meditating has become a non-negotiable in my life.

I now block off 30 minutes each day for it. It’s in my calendar – just as important as any business meeting. It’s an investment and, in my experience, it feels like getting superpowers.

Transcendental Meditation has helped me reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with leading a company while also increasing my energy and focus.

This is not to say that everything looks rainbow-y, of course not. Life will still throw rocks at you, no matter how much you meditate. But prioritizing my mental health has made me more prepared to deal with anything that comes my way.

It has made me feel closer to myself, my thoughts, and my emotions. I live happier, and I work better. What else could I ask for?

What’s the takeaway here?

As an entrepreneur, CEO, or business owner, it is easy to let ourselves be overwhelmed by our work – after all, it’s our dearest passion. Putting yourself first will not only improve the quality of your life but also help your professional performance. Transcendental meditation worked for me, but you have to find whatever works for you.

For years, I called bullshit on not only meditation but on anything other than just working harder and longer. I only recently realized the importance of prioritizing your mental and emotional health to grow as a leader and as a human being.

And before I go, one last shout-out to Chris Schembra. I’m forever thankful for that conversation we had.

Do you want to hear more about the importance of mindset in business? Here’s how to totally shift your perspective on sales and start loving them.