03 Feb Robbie’s 2016: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
I had an interesting year. I didn’t want to just share the highlights because I don’t think that’s genuine.
So, I decided to share the good, the bad and the ugly. I think you’ll enjoy it.
I created 3 sections:
- Fire Me I Beg You
- Marriage & 2 Year Old Child
Each section is split into multiple sections: Good, Bad, Ugly & Lessons Learned.
I’m going to start with travel because the rest of this piece is in context to travel.
It was a dream of mine to move to Thailand for an extended period of time. I talked about it for a long time, but I never really had the financial means to do it.
In June 2016, it happened.
Me, my wife and my 2-year-old daughter packed our bags, rented out our apartment in Chicago, moved out of my office, took my 2-year-old daughter out of daycare, and my wife quit her job.
Over the period of 6 months, we went to the Middle East (Palestine, West Bank), Thailand , Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, China & Japan.
- The feeling of “getting away” from your current life is an unbelievable experience. For the first time in my life, I felt I was on the outside looking in and not the other way around. It changes your perspective on everything.
- Something predictable happens when you’re in great beach weather. You stop eating like dirt. You get up and want to exercise. You want to walk around more. You look out the window more. You question the purpose of life. You question your role in this world. You people watch more. I never set out to lose weight or get healthy. It just happened because of the weather and the healthy Thai food around us.
- Phuket, Thailand & Tokyo were VERY friendly places. The people were a lot more friendly than I thought, especially in Tokyo. For being the biggest city in the world, this was surprising to me.
- I got to meet up with Noah Kagan in Thailand. He is a big reason I do what I do and one of my “marketing mentors”. I learned through his writing.
- I taught a class at the University of Birzeit in Ramallah, West Bank. My biggest regret is not taking a selfie with the class. The message I delivered to the class was “Anything is possible”. This message is even a little too cliche for me, but I thought it was the appropriate given the audience.
- 2-year-old kids and moving don’t go along well. This one can go under the “No Shit, Sherlock” file.
- In Tokyo, my daughter started telling us “All done train”. She was sick of being in a different place every other day. We had to find a Toys R Us, just so she could play with toys for an hour.
- Before the pitchforks come out, this was only for the last 3 weeks of our trip. We were stationary most of the time in the same apartment.
- You lose motivation to do anything productive, besides exploring around you.
- I hit a parked car within 5 minutes of getting my rental car in Thailand. Yes, a parked car. My excuse is that I wasn’t used to driving on the left side of the road, but it doesn’t matter. A parked car is a parked car. It was pretty bad, but the family was OK. The car was not.
- Physical and emotional space is necessary. The West Bank and Tokyo are crowded places. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. In Thailand, I woke up every morning with an open mind to the day. In Japan and the West Bank, I didn’t wake up with an open mind. I always felt there was something to do and I never really got settled. Achieving physical and emotional space is not an option for many people because of financial reasons. (I’ll be writing about this shortly)
- Cousins are great. Too many cousins is too many cousins. When I was visiting family in Palestine, I learned something very quickly. I’m going to see my cousins every single day, whether I planned to or not. There is no such thing as “Pencil me in for lunch next Tuesday.” That’s not a thing. Everyone is family, so it’s your obligation to see family almost every day.
- Snapchat is going to take over the world. I didn’t post much about-about my travel on Facebook because I felt that it would come off as humble bragging. Instead, I used Snapchat every day. Instead of picking the best pictures or videos of my trip, it allowed others to follow along with me. I can’t tell you how many people said that they felt like they were following along with me. You should give Snapchat a try if you’re sick of FB. P.S: Follow Me: FireMeIBegYou
- If you make money in the US, you can live like a KING/QUEEN in Thailand. I’m lucky enough to have the skill-set to be able to work from anywhere and make US money.
- You never go to the beach and then make money. You make money first and THEN go to the beach. You know those people who teach you how to “make money while you’re on the beach.” You should unfollow those people immediately. It’s not a thing. Also, if you are a salaried employee with vacation time, you are technically making money while you’re on the beach.
- Money is MORE important than passions for the 99%. Money allows you to explore and make mistakes. Passions are things that happen after you make money. I’m going to write about money a little bit more in-depth because I don’t think it’s talked about enough. And it’s not going to be one of those “I made $1MM in one year, here’s how you can do it too!” type of articles.
- This trip would not be possible without money. EVEN though it was cheaper to live in Thailand than in Chicago, the move requires a safety net for unexpected expenses. It reinforced the importance of this topic. I think there are misconceptions about how people make money in the real world. Again, I’ll be writing about this topic more often.
- We all have too much stuff. We began our trip with 4 big suitcases and a carry-on. We ended up with 1 suitcase, which is all we needed for all 3 of us. Japan is the master of “stuff optimization” given how much little space they have.
- When buying a rental car, it pays to use an international brand even if it costs more. When I got into an accident in Thailand, Budget came to the crash site, handled everything for me, and gave me a new car on the spot. I was off and running in no time. I came close to using a rental car agency off the main road, but I’m glad I didn’t because who knows what would have happened after the accident.
FIRE ME I BEG YOU (FMIBY)
2016 was one of the best and worst years for FMIBY. The first half of 2016 was dedicated purely to launching products. It was good that I launched them, but then bad because I started too much in a little time. I overextended myself.
- I launched FMIBY Swag. Sweatshirts, T-Shirts, Mugs, and even infant outfits. Swag is part of my “overall vision” for FMIBY. I think Fire Me I Beg You should be a global brand.
- I launched an Adult Coloring Book.
- I started “Hire Me I Beg You” which is geared towards Career Centers at Universities who can offer this program to their students. My first client was the University of Denver. I think this has long term potential.
- I stopped writing. I had this picture in my head that I would be sitting poolside with an umbrella and my Laptop drafting the next version of Fire Me I Beg You. The exact opposite happened. I didn’t want to write anything. I didn’t even try to write. It was worse than writer’s block. All I wanted to do was go to the beach and run. I had a beautiful view of the ocean. And that’s all I did.
- I made a large switch in pricing for the “Summer of Quitting Step by Step.” The biggest mistake I made was I made it a “cancel anytime” agreement. So, you would pay month by month and cancel whenever you are done with the course. This gave me unbelievable anxiety. The feeling of waiting for someone to cancel is not something I want to deal with. I’d rather get a request for a full refund, then just looking at emails every month wondering how many people would cancel. I’m going to back to the original pricing soon.
- I offered people counseling, and I didn’t deliver. Part of the upsell to Summer of Quitting was I would reach out every two weeks and check on progress. I did this for two months, and then I stopped. It was on the back of my mind for four months. It was called accountability sessions, and I wasn’t accountable to myself.
- Most of my email list was used to promoting the stuff I was creating. I have to get back to my roots of creating real value.
- It took six months to get my swag listed on Amazon. I got a bad recommendation of a vendor to use to send my ALREADY PRINTED swag to Amazon. Long story short, I had to threaten to call the police for stolen goods before it was finally sent. This was an absolute disaster. The vendor was straight up lying to me the entire team. He would tell me “Amazon is having warehouse delays. All my clients are experiencing it”. The reality was he never sent it to Amazon at all. It was a complete lie. I’m still mad about this. But, it’s finally live.
- The above disaster would have never happened if I wasn’t an idiot trying to change the world in 24 hours. For whatever reason, I told the SWAG printer to send all the boxes of stuff to me first. I don’t know why I would do this instead of sending it to Amazon first. I got tons of boxes delivered to me. I couldn’t even move in my apartment.
- I missed my coloring book date for pre-orders by 6 months. It took six months AFTER my due date of July 27th to finish and print the books. I will never agree on a pre-order date unless I have everything in hand ready to go.
- Never delegate anything you haven’t done before yourself. I learned the hard way with trusting someone to send my stuff to Amazon warehouse. If I took an hour out of my day to create a sample shipment, I would have known right away.
- Think big, start small. I was so excited to get my stuff out there that I didn’t think about creating one t-shirt. I went all out and created multiple variations. I thought big and went big. It didn’t work out for me.
- I have no idea filter. You know how some people have ideas but never launch? I have ideas and launch them all. I’m sort of obsessed with launching. But, now I am going to take a *little* more time.
- I need to get back to reading more. I just started reading again and realized how much it helps me succeed. A few tidbits here and there all add up.
MARRIAGE & 2 YEAR OLD
Do you know the quickest way to test the strength of your marriage? Tell your wife she has to quit her job to travel the world and oh by the way we’re bringing our two-year-old with us.
Traveling with a spouse is easy. Traveling with a spouse and a 2-year-old child who quite literally does not care about how comfortable you are is super duper hard.
(I’m not trying to gain any sympathy here with this either. What I did was a trip of a lifetime. But, a two-year-old makes you question your sanity sometimes! )
- Getting away was great for our marriage. Our stress was gone. Cost of living in Thailand was beyond cheap. The weather was great. The people were friendly. We were living in luxury for 1/10 the price of what we would pay in the US. We didn’t have other commitments besides the promises we made to each other.
- My wife got a job as a Clinical Researcher at Bangkok International Hospital in Phuket. She worked with locals every day. She got to experience the real Thailand. She made a lot of great friends and learned about research is conducted in Asia. One of these days, I’ll write about how she got the job. Long story short, she followed my advice correctly 🙂 It involved Twitter, Youtube, Skype & Email.
- We started meditating. This was one of our favorite experiences, especially for my wife who was new to meditating. In Thailand, it wasn’t hard to find a group to do this with.
- Daughter had a great daycare in Thailand. My daughter loved going there every day. She had a great teacher and was engaged every day. Most importantly it was accredited, and safe.
- I underestimated how my wife would adapt to change. For whatever reason, I adapt to change very quickly. I thought it would be easy to quit her job and travel. I was wrong. It wasn’t easy. You would think someone would gladly pick up their bags and move to paradise. She thought it would be easy as well, until the week before we left. She questioned everything. She questioned my intentions. She was unsure if this was the best decision.
- She eventually adapted
- She then proceeded to have the same struggle a week before we left Thailand. We both didn’t want to leave.
- I had a meltdown in Vietnam. It was one of those meltdowns where my wife started laughing halfway through because she couldn’t believe my facial reactions. It’s one of those meltdowns where if a celebrity had it and it was caught on camera, it would quickly end their career. It was that bad.
- It was about a lost iPad we left in security in Bangkok. A fight started because I was too calm about losing the iPad. LOL. Then we switched. She was calm, and I became a monster.
- Literally 15 mins before my meltdown I told my wife that “This was the happiest day of my life.” It finally hit me that I was living my dream. 15 mins later I was a train wreck. Over an iPad.
- No more meltdowns. It’s not healthy for anyone.
- My wife is definitively my “Ride or Die.” I’m forever indebted to her. This would not be possible without her cooperation.
- Marriage is built on respect. We genuinely appreciate each other. We don’t get up every morning and say “I respect you”. In fact, we probably don’t say it ever. But, the respect is there.
- I know *exactly* how to make my wife mad. She also knows *exactly* how to make me mad. It’s the most powerful, dangerous super power ever.
Here’s my plan:
- Go back to my writing roots. – I’m going back to writing often and will start up “Coffee with Robbie” videos again. I”m going to put a bigger emphasis on Facebook & LinkedIn this year. Basically, I’m BAAAAAAACKKK..
- FMIBY new blog is coming REALLY soon. I’ve learned never to publicly state a launch date. Mainly because I miss them often 🙂
- I’m moving to Silicon Valley, California. I have an opportunity to lead a second stage startup to the next level. If you’re there and would like to catch up for coffee, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
- I’m going to focus on focusing. Being able to focus on things that make the biggest impact is something I always struggled with. I’m getting better, but this is the year I make it happen.
- Become a better dresser. I’m the poster child for men who have no idea how to dress. It’s a combination of being lazy and not really caring what others think of me. However, I’m going to see if the “If you look good, you’ll feel good” motto will apply to me.
Thank you for listening!
You’ll be hearing from me soon. I’m just not going to tell you exactly when 🙂
PS: Read the only resignation letter template you’ll ever need.