Living & Working with Anxiety

The bitch herself, anxiety.

Discovering you have some form of mental health disorder is never as simple as finding out you have a physical problem. Physical complications tend to manifest quickly, you notice pain or discomfort and you go into diagnosis mode. For me, learning about my own anxiety has been a JOURNEY. The beginning of it wrought with some shitty moments.  

I can trace my anxiety all the way back to even childhood. Going to the doctor’s and having to have blood work or a shot, and my body instantly went into panic…loss of color, vomiting, passing out…and not one time in the 80’s or early 90’s did any medical professional say, hey, that’s not normal and here’s what we may be able to do to fix it. Nope, here comes Nick, reads here, have garbage can handy, check.

This manifested itself throughout my entire school age years, into college, and part of my adult life before I even understood even a little what the hell could be going on. I can remember back in time to my Nonnie having panic attacks and blowing into a paper bag as she hyperventilated. She was even a nurse, and nothing about mental health at the time. It wasn’t until I was close to 30 that I began to learn what anxiety and panic attacks were. I can remember my first panic attack…sitting on my kitchen floor, heart feeling like it was going to burst out of my chest, having complete lack of feeling in my extremities, having cold chills….truly sensing like I was going to die right there. I didn’t tell many people about this, I didn’t even know how to describe it at the time without sounding insane.

Having a job and working with anxiety was absolutely brutal. Alarm clocks started my day off immediately with anxiety. I’d either wake up 2 minutes before, or wake up terrified from it no matter what the sound was. The stress of work lead to horrible stomach pains that I can actually attribute directly to work. I believe they were stress ulcers I know this because the day I put my two week notice in, it never happened again. Anything unplanned that would happen…think forced overtime or the boss calling a meeting… would send my brain into a tailspin. I finally got to a point where I was in a position where I was forced to choose between staying at a job I felt was actively killing me or going. I chose to go knowing anything had to be better than feeling that way. 

That was 2013…it wasn’t really until 2016 that I REALLY took my mental health seriously. Again, I didn’t really have a choice. I had completely lost myself. My anxiety lead to pill addiction to try and “cure” the feeling of dread of having any sort of anxiety or panic. Here are a few of the things I’ve done over the last few years to work to fight back against my anxiety, which is EXACTLY what it is, a fight. 

I started going to a counselor. If you’ve never been…I can not speak highly enough of finding the right person to speak to about shit in your head…shit that tends to be way more common than we think. Check your insurance immediately and see if it’s offered, do it once a month if you can, even once every 6 months would be good…even if you don’t have insurance, invest in yourself. Having a neutral person to go to for those self doubt thoughts, the things that confuse you, scary you, worry you, bother you….is completely invaluable. 

I’ve been on an SSRI (Anti-depressant/anxiety), Paxil, since 2016. This can be a dive into a whole ‘nother post about my distrust in the pharmaceutical industry. I’ll just say that, if I miss my daily pill more than twice, I get complete brain fog, dizziness, heart burn, brain zaps, exhaustion and random outbursts. The full withdrawal effects of Paxil are similar in nature to that of heroin withdrawal. I now consider myself a socially accepted drug addict. When things we’re REALLY bad at the start, I was also taking Xanax for bad panic attacks. I’m trying like hell to get away from using Big Pharma pills.

The Lovely Paxil Withdrawal Symptoms

Meditation. Ugh, this one was REALLY difficult to admit to mostly because my Mom preached it haha. Frankly I thought it was all a bunch of garbage. Any time I tried to close my eyes, things seemed to get worse, so meditation felt like a waste of time. There are so many great apps out there for meditation that just help guide you. I think I’ve only meditated a few times without a guide. Meditation can happen in many places, I’ve done it while fishing, done it while driving. Part of it is simply being THERE, not being anywhere else in your head. It’s amazing when you actually FEEL it work though. You almost feel “high” and you finish feeling full of energy. Or if you’re looking for the opposite effect, it truly helps put me to sleep. This video always helped me with sleep immensely. It’s called Yoga Nidra…props to my former business partner Dan for telling me about this.


Booooks….check em out. Read books. Read personal development books. Read books about anxiety, I recommend DARE: A New Way to End Anxiety. Read books that take you away from your mind. Read real books. Read on your phone or tablet. Read non-fiction. Read fiction. DO NOT read shit that GIVES you anxiety. Just read, every single day. I read before bed every night and it helps me fall asleep also. 

Cannabis. Pot. Weed. The devil’s lettuce. The Electric Lettuce. It’s become legalized in New York State now. We can talk freely and openly about it. I could write an entire book on my experience with cannabis. I’ll keep it short though. DARE worked on me. I didn’t even try pot until I was 30 years old. I truly believed the notion that potheads amounted to nothing. And it’s truly further from the truth. I use it very much for anxiety/depression, but with all the information out there on sites like to educate yourself on the benefits of cannabis, there are dozens of ways it can help…not just smoking it…if you’re on the bandwagon still that it’s a “gateway drug”, I’d highly recommend researching some of the 8000 strains and see the ways each one of them is used differently. If you’re looking for 100% legal relief though, check out quality CBD products. We have a local company that I’ve become an affiliate marketer for, Utica Hemp Company. If you head over to their website, and put the code 3zerocreative in at checkout, you’ll get 10% off your purchase every time! If you’re unsure what to get, hit me up and I’ll help guide you with your purchase.

Guys, here’s the deal though, anxiety is very real, it’s very common, and it’s becoming much more talked about now than it ever was. It’s not something to be embarrassed of. Many people take anxiety they don’t know they have and channel it into alcohol, drugs (the bad kind), sex, gambling, eating, working out, skydiving, and any other number of great and not so great ways of relieving stress. Being able to recognize anxiety and fighting back against it every day is really the key to getting it under control. I’ve accepted it’s just part of me, I know when it’s overwhelming now, I know how to avoid the truly awful panic attacks…but that took a lot of time and practice. Hopefully you guys do whatever you can to take your mental health more seriously. 

Thanks for coming to my TED talk on one of the few things I’ve unfortunately had the pleasure of becoming an expert on.

Entrepreneurship IS Enduring

Life is a struggle…at least it has been much more in my adult life than it ever was in my childhood. That’s no fault of my parents, actually quite the opposite, I really didn’t have any major trauma occur in my child years, even through all of high school. Then the typical struggles of your college years and adult life spring up. For me it was breakups, bad grades in college, losing a job and losing myself. All these traumas set me up for the ultimate struggle though…entrepreneurship! 

Entrepreneurship is enduring. Every day is going to be a struggle, if you’re doing it right! It’s trusting the process and believing that NOTHING great ever happens over night. My Mom has a great sign up at our camp that says “Every step of the journey IS the journey.” Too often we get caught up in the end goal that we forget that going through the process, is actually the part that we should be addicted to. 

So the big question is, how the hell do you endure through all of life’s or business struggles? Part of getting through is having your mindset right from the beginning that giving up is NOT an option. No matter the financial struggles, no matter who says that maybe this isn’t a great idea, no matter the days where you may not be able to do one second of work…getting up every day remembering WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. My motivations have changed over the years. At first, I just needed to be free of the stress of corporate sales. Then it was about proving people wrong. Now it’s all about preaching and teaching people about the FREEDOM OF TIME. Helping people build their lives how they want through the skills they’ve built. And being consistent doing it. Waking up every day…with NO alarm clock since 2013 unless I was going on vacation…with the intention to keep moving forward. I’ve become addicted to the process of being an entrepreneur. There are most definitely days where mentally, I just don’t have it, can’t stay focused…but part of my mindset is, all those days in the past where I would give 0% work could have turned into a win by just taking 1 tiny step, just 1% on those HARD days. 

Now my motivations run much deeper and stronger than they were in the beginning. If you’re going to build your business and your brand you need to think big. Money is not a motivating factor, it can be to start, but eventually you’re going to reach the level you want. Build wealth, that includes knowledge which you can never have enough of. Your kids are not a big enough motivating factor…they will only need you for so long. Finding your true WHY, your real purpose, the thing that helps you JUMP out of bed in the morning…or afternoon if you’re a night owl kinda person…that is what will keep you enduring day after day for the long haul. 

It took me a solid 5 years to figure out WHY I was doing what I was doing. Graphic design is fun but it doesn’t get me out of bed in the morning. Web design makes me some good money, but I don’t get goosebumps from making pretty websites. The goosebumps come from “younger” clients (in terms of their entrepreneur journey, not necessarily by age) asking for my advice or telling me they’ve used something I’ve said to help motivate them. It comes from my close friends telling me about their self-realization of what it takes to get through and endure through the worst of times and realizing, hey that’s exactly how I said it worked for me. It comes from that addiction in improving. Knowing that only 33% of small businesses ever created in this country have made it to the 10 year mark, drives me to be of that small minority. 

Learn to endure through the struggles, find a deeper motivation than money, and go all in on yourself and your dream. 

Scott Grates Interview

This week’s blog post is going to feature someone pretty damn special. He’s someone I’ve known since high school, not that he knew me because he was WAY older than me. I consider him a friend, mentor, and one of the most successful people I know. He’s managed to succeed in an oversaturated service industry that every single person in this country needs, even though they may not necessarily want to pay for it. Not only that, now he teaches others how to do exactly what he’s done, while focusing on the most important part of any company….its customers. Scott Grates owns a little State Farm Insurance Agency in Ilion, NY and while it may be small in size, it’s impact on the community is huge. He’s also taken that success and founded Insurance Agency Optimization, taking everything he’s learned and built and helping other insurance agents do the same.

One of the main reasons Scott has succeeded is the importance he’s placed on trust, honesty and always making sure every situation for every customer is a win/win. With how much I’ve learned from him personally and just from indirectly seeing the impact he makes, I thought it would be great for people to hear straight from him how and why he’s making the moves he’s making. 

Scott, thanks for taking the time to do an old school back and forth email. I think it’d be good to give people a little bit of background on how you got started on your own, how did you fare those first couple years out in the scary business world, and now that you have that perfect 20/20 hindsight vision what would you have done differently, better, or sooner?

Thanks for having me “young Nick.”

My background in a nutshell…

Graduated with a journalism degree (I planned on being the next great sports reporter for the newspaper).  Now, many reading this may be asking what’s a newspaper.  So, I guess I am really old!

Unfortunately (or as it turns out fortunately), I had a ton of debt after graduating college. the newspaper offered me a job, but it was for $6 an hour at the time.  Yeah, that wasn’t going to cut it.  I hit the job boards and saw an opportunity to sell furniture on nights and weekends and thought to myself, how hard can that be?  As it turns out it was REALLY HARD.  But, it turned out to be a fantastic way to cut my teeth in the sales industry.

Now here is the part where I “yadda, yadda, yadda” the next 14 years.  During that time I become a top 5% producer nationally in the new home construction industry.  Then, the housing bubble burst and I was out of a job.  What came next?  I became a top 5% producer nationally in the mortgage industry.  Then, the market crashed in 2008 and I was out of a job.  What came next?  Insurance.  Why?  RESIDUAL INCOME.

I was sick of the month to month sales grind and I was sick of working like mad to build somebody else’s business (only to be back to square one) as soon as markets shifted.

At the age of 32 I decided to start over.  I put my family on a “beans & rice diet,” cancelled all future vacations and drove an old Honda Civic with over 100,000 miles.  Starting your own business from scratch is less than “glamorous.”  I was working 70+ hours a week, stressed to the max, paying through the nose for employees and keeping $0.00 for myself.  Just the opposite actually.  After all the dust settled after my first 18 months I still hadn’t taken a paycheck and was over $30,000 in debt.

Honestly, it was the most fun I ever had.

Yes…I’m that kind of strange.

This is why I consider you a mentor. Your path and my path have been very similar. You had to have felt on top of the world during years in sales where you were in the top 5%, and then to have it all ripped out from under you, where was your mind at when that happened? I think a lot of people can relate to that with everything that happened in 2020, and honestly what’s probably even going to happen in the next couple of years. Do you think all of these major ups and downs have helped build who you are today? I think a lot of people look at success as something that either just happens or it’s immediate and long lasting, and I’ve sure as hell learned that it couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Sacrifice. That’s the key to take away from your story to starting your own business. It’s so hard to think that, “I built a great life early on and now to think I have to start over and suffer again?” I think that thought stops many people from chasing their dreams. It’s so hard to say to yourself, alright self, I did what I was supposed to, I went to college, I got a career, and I’m completely unfulfilled…now what the hell do I do? My opportunity was simply born out of straight frustration with life, and I didn’t have a family to support at the time. How did you convince your wife that this was the way to go? Obviously you’re a great salesman/woman/person (see, I can attempt to be PC) so that helped, but she had to be slightly hesitant to the thought of working backwards, or was she completely on board because you’re just that awesome? 

I was lucky in the sense that I only had myself with no overhead, no office, no employees…just trying to fill my schedule with projects. You went full bore and 18 months in you were having a blast, but the numbers were showing red…was there a point where you thought I have somehow offer something different from other insurance agents?

Regarding my mindset when things crashed in 2005 and then again in 2008…it was tough.  It was humbling.  It was frustrating.  I was angry that I had spent so much time and energy, late nights, weekends, missing out on social events all to advance my career only to learn I was nothing more than a number on a spreadsheet in the end.

It was also scary financially.  When I left college I was obsessed with making money.  I chased money so I could buy materialistic crap that I thought would validate my “success.”  I wrote down $30,022 on a post it note.  That was the HIGHEST ANNUAL income my father ever earned working in an awful factory (pre-OSHA days) during his entire career.  I vowed to do better.  In February of 2014 I earned ONE monthly commission check of $32,000.  I obsessed about money, I found it and quickly realized I was never more UNhappy in my life.  How is that for irony?

One year later I was out of work, forced to sell a house we couldn’t afford at a $70,000 loss and was on the verge of bankruptcy.  Through tough times and adversity, you find out who you really are.  It was then I realized money wasn’t my WHY.

Regarding the sacrifice question…you are spot on.  Too many people don’t take chances and pursue their dreams because they are working towards somebody else’s agenda.  They are trapped in the “this is what I’m supposed to do” or “who I’m supposed to be” mindset.

My wife…I can truly type all day about how amazing she is, truly.  Funny you talk about “selling her” on the idea of starting a business.  I say all of the time the greatest “sale” I ever made was convincing her to marry me.  But here’s the simple answer…I build teams and family is no different.  My wife and I lead “Team Grates” and we have since 2002.  We have a clear vision for what makes our team successful, we have clearly defined roles, we have very open and honest discussions around all decisions and we trust and respect each other.  Do we always agree?  NO WAY!  But that’s healthy and part of what makes us a great team.  We are both passionate about winning and living the vision for our best life.  With the decision to start the insurance business (and each business there after), we weighed all options and ultimately trusted that we’d both do what needed to be done to move us closer to where we wanted to be.

Speaking of  “all in with no return question”…self-doubt will cripple a person’s ability to take action and with no action nothing ever happens.  We’ve always had a “No Plan B” mindset.  It’s either “all in and don’t look back” or don’t bother with everything we do.  I can honestly say even during my darkest, scariest moments I never questioned the path I was on.  I like to gamble.  I learned early in my life that the best bet I could make…was going all in on myself.

I had those same exact feelings when I was let go as a graphic designer in 2010. Unemployed for 365 days on the dot from that point forward. I beat myself up constantly over this “missed opportunity” of having my career job established and then to find out I was the most expendable of a small group of employees, it hurt like hell. Then I was stuck in unemployment hell where I had at least 40 interviews for graphic design type jobs over the next year, didn’t have enough experience for some, had too much for others, most were less than I was making prior, some were even less than I was making on unemployment. I was a top 3 candidate for a dozen jobs and never could quite get the offer. I had a horrible view of myself during that time. Finally getting that job at the tv station in sales I think really changed everything. I had no choice but to, as you said, “cut my teeth in sales.” And I definitely learned that selling television advertising just after a financial crash in the 170th ranked market in the country was easier said than done…well I learned that selling was the easy part, getting people to keep going and paying was another story. Having to go through those struggles helped forge the business I’m growing today though. 

Chasing money seems like a blast when you first start doing it right?? When I had a job, you know what you make for the year and you budget it out, now, I make as much as I put into it, and that chase initially is exhilarating. But that’s exactly what it was, a constant chase, figuratively and in my case sometimes literally…had clients putting money in their garage, under shit, around shit…just exhausting. I finally learned that even if I got “rich”, this formula just isn’t sustainable. I keep saying, and I probably heard it from somewhere, that “rich people go broke because they lack the main thing wealthy people have and that’s knowledge.” And I think part of that knowledge is without question to figure out WHY the hell do you get out of bed every morning? Then how can you leverage that into making money? I ran across a podcast with Simon Sinek right around the same time we connected and you both were preaching the exact same thing that resonated with me and it was trying find your WHY. It finally dawned on me that I wasn’t really a graphic designer at heart, and I wasn’t a salesman at heart…but what I did find out that I loved to do was to help small business owners or even Multi-level marketers how to create success. Everything changed for me from that day forward.

I think you give a lot of great advice for folks that may want to follow their dream but so much of their life is intertwined with their partner. It’s one thing to go off on your own with no one else to worry about, but it’s a completely different story when your decisions affect your loved ones. You started right in your own home with honesty and integrity and respect…and then built your entire company around those same qualities. I think most people can agree that the insurance industry as a whole, to the consumer, is full of shady convoluted bullshit to confuse us so we have no idea what the hell were paying for? I’m right, right? Do you think this is how you’ve been able to take a small insurance company and corner a huge market share in our area? I think so many people can benefit to learn how to sell to people in an industry that’s oversaturated. I have a lot of friends doing MLM (multi-level marketing) and frankly social media is flooded with stuff constantly from everyone. Then there’s plenty of small business owners in the trades that know their trade, but don’t know a lick about customer service or sales…what advice do you have for these folks to stand out in a sea of nonsense? 

Ha ha ha…well, I’m not sure I’ve ever been told my industry consists of “shady convoluted bullshit” before, but you do bring up a good point.  Regardless of the product or service you are offering it’s important to understand your market and also the perceptions and/or misconceptions associated with it.  I quickly learned that people dislike things they don’t understand, and most don’t understand insurance.  This industry is also much different because we sell an “invisible product.”  People make purchases based on emotion, not logic.  So, when something looks, good, smells good, tastes good people want it.  However, insurance is a logical product which extracts zero emotional attachment.  And finally, insurance is a commodity.  Yes, there are differences company to company and policy to policy, but at its core about 90% of the protections are the same.  

Knowing all of this I took a contrarian approach to the agency.  For starters, I do not SELL insurance.  Instead, we educate people on how it works when they need it the most.  We share real claims stories from our community to bring to life the reality of the hidden risks we all face.  Once people understand how it works, then they can make decisions that make the most sense for them should they ever find themselves in certain situations.  

Next, I had to create a unique and memorable customer experience.  My mantra is “If you aren’t unique, you are weak.”  When everyone is doing business the same way, do yours the other way.

And finally, people want to feel special, they want to be a member of a tribe that makes them feel appreciated.  We always lead with our hearts and everything we do is to improve the lives of our customers (big or small).

So my best advice for other small business owners?  Answer this question…what problem does your business solve for people?  Then, become OBSESSED with satisfying THAT problem.  Too often new entrepreneurs focus on their own needs or their products and services and they miss the boat on the ONLY thing that does what you offer make the person’s life you are offering it to better?  What’s in it for THEM?  Always start and end with that question.

People do business with people they KNOW, LIKE & TRUST.  Become that person and you cannot fail.  

  • Educate others

  • Help make their lives better.

  • Be unique.

  • Be memorable.

  • Make others proud to be associated with you.

  • Don’t look for blessings, instead BE a blessing.

Ok maybe I was a little harsh about your industry, but I think you’re right when it comes down to, it seems to be made intentionally complicated where you need a specialist to help you…similar to the credit industry, anything to do with law…just seems some things are made harder to fool people. But that’s where you come into the game with your approach on not SELLING insurance, but teaching people about it so they can make the best choice for themselves and their families, and much of the time you’ve proven that they choose you and your team. So much of that comes down to that team you’ve built and how you’ve taught them to talk to people on a personal level rather than a business level. 

That was the major change to my approach that I took about 5-6 years ago also, which you were a major force behind that shift in thinking, where I went from wanting to be this “Mad Men” style advertising agency with the big fancy downtown office and the fancy cars and the power suits and all that….then I realized a lot of that was everything I hated about the business world. The idea that you had to wear a nice suit and tie to be successful. I learned that you’re successful in whatever makes you most comfortable. I don’t want to work with every single person on the planet, mostly because I learned I don’t like a majority of them haha. But the people I do work with, they are like family to me, many of them have become some of my closest friends and confidants. The first thing I try and tell new clients is that we’re in this together…I don’t grow without successful client interactions. Same with you, you could easily just skate by doing the insurance gig yourself, grab up some of that residual income and then retire, but you keep thinking bigger and bigger. I can’t wait to see what else you have in store for the future as I think your approach to sales is something that can translate to any number of industries, especially in this day and age of the “fake” and the “made up”. Authenticity is key and you have it in spades my friend! 

Thanks so much for the chat my friend and I look forward to many more of these in the future!

I often say the driving force behind starting my own business was it allowed me to throw away all of my ties!  I wore a suit and tie for the first 10 years of my career and hated every minute of it.  Why?  Because it just wasn’t me. If you are going to connect with people and be relatable to people you must be authentic. Well, it’s difficult to be authentic when you aren’t even dressed the way you’re comfortable dressing.

Here is some solid “business advice:”


You have to be your own first believer in life and in business.  Once you truly believe you are worthy of greatness in your own heart and soul, that energy becomes contagious, and others will want to be around you and support your mission.

I’m a polo shirt and shorts guy in the Summer and sweater and jeans guy in the winter.  Nobody has ever been offended or put off by the fact that I don’t wear shirts and ties in the past and if I find somebody who is in the future…well, they just aren’t a person I’d care to work with.  You were spot on with your assessment that we don’t need ALL customers/clients, we only need the RIGHT ones.

As always, I’ve enjoyed our time together as well Nick.  I’m proud of all of the work you put into your business and helping others who are pursuing something on their own too. Keep fighting the good fight brother. None of it is ever easy, but all of it is worth it.


Thanks so much to Scott for the time. If you’re interested in getting a quote for any type of insurance, I highly recommend reaching out. Find his Facebook here or visit his website

If you’re a State Farm agent and reading this, check out his Agency Optimization  system to improve the performance of your agency. 

If you’re looking for a good time, call Scott at 867-5309 (don’t if you’re in the 315 area code, I think it’s still Herkimer County Community College)

Thanks for reading everyone!

3Zero’s 8 Year Anniversary and our 1st blog post

Eight years ago today, I woke up a different person. I awoke as a boss for the first time. No one appointed me that title. There was no immediate pay raise, as a matter of fact, I was at a couple of grand from a tax refund and a couple of measly commission checks left from the television station and that was it. I didn’t require permission from anyone to make myself my own boss. No one gave a shit about my education (which to this day, no client has ever asked me about where I was educated) or asked me what my biggest weaknesses are. My CEO from my advertising agency days didn’t make me a boss, nope I was fired from there…well I think they softened the blow by “eliminating my position”. My sales boss and my station boss from my tv days sure as hell weren’t going to put me in any kind of seniority position, I couldn’t even get people to buy local tv ads consistently. All I had were some skills like graphic design and some sales knowledge on how to get clients. 

When I woke up that morning, I had the name 3Zero but definitely didn’t feel like a business owner, I was just basically a freelancer out on his own. All I knew at that time was, I didn’t have an alarm clock to wake me up…I happily awoke even before my alarm would normally go off. It was February and I didn’t have to clean off my car, warm it for 20 minutes, or drive in a snow storm to get to work. I didn’t give a shit about my monthly or quarterly sales goals at the tv station…all I looked at was the next bill on the calendar. Professional tip, National Grid and Spectrum I routinely tell to go fuck themselves on payment dates…so far, I still have both. No more stressing about internal meetings, fake deadlines, made up budgets, bitchy coworkers, forced fun or any of the other shit that goes along with being an employee and having more than 25% of your life and time dictated by others. 

These eight years were built on the motivation to never want to work again for someone else. To never have anxiety because of a job or if I will have the rug pulled out from under me again. To never have to lie about not feeling good because I just wanted a day off. To never be told, you were 2 minutes late, you better stay 2 more minutes. To never have to “hope” that I could get that vacation time off and someone else didn’t take it. 

To think it was made this far though without challenges is laughable. Every single day is a hustle, but not that shitty hustle where you’re screwing people over to make a living. And every day you’re not hustling, you’re falling further behind your goals. I spent many days struggling to recover from failed personal relationships and friendships, general anxiety and panic attacks, pain killer abuse along with quitting those cold turkey and also starting on anti-depressants and all that goes along with those side effects. The waves of depression that come suddenly without warning. Having my best friend, my Dad die suddenly and coping with that change. I’ve had months where I made more money than I was used to making in 6 months…and I’ve had months where I didn’t make a single penny. I’ve sacrificed vacations and fun at times for work and responsibility because there was no one else to do it. I’ve sacrificed my once perfect credit score to realize that credit is ultimately for suckers and we shouldn’t have any money owed to large corporations. I’ve sacrificed the thought of “retirement” to live right now. My friend Scott told me, “people work their entire lives for a day that may never come.”, and that really hit home with me, especially after my Dad died. He fought for his country, he drove trucks cross country, and he worked his entire life to enjoy a few short years of retirement. I have vowed to not be that. I’ve chosen to make certain sacrifices in my life to enjoy the freedom of time, because that is the one thing you can never make enough of. 

Of all the things I’m most grateful for over these last 8 years, it’s not just that I’ve built an actual company and I don’t just feel like a freelancer trying to survive anymore. It’s not that I’ve increased my revenue every single year since I started, even during the great refuckening of 2020. It’s not that I have over 150 clients in Quickbooks and probably even more quick projects that involved the beauty that is the barter and trade system. It’s not even the numerous amazing connections and friends that I’ve made as I couldn’t even begin to thank them all. It’s that freedom that I know I own every single second of my day. The first thing I thought about after my Dad died, once that shock wore off, was how thankful I was that from 2013-2018 we spent more time together than at any other points in my life. We had coffee together during the week, we’d work on projects together, we’d go to camp together, we got the dogs together all the time, we talked business all the time….all those hundreds and hundreds of hours, would never have been had I been working my career type job. Time is the one thing you can’t obtain more of, you can’t purchase it, you can’t steal it, you can only take what you’re given and work within it. 

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, I still get told that. Most of my friends and family work for corporations, or the government, or the state, or in education…we need all those things…except politicians, for the most part they’re useless twat muscles. But I simply can not stress this enough to those of you that bounce from job to job, or you truly hate where you are at…make those sacrifices for a few years to build what you really want, because it’s true, once you find your passion or your “why”, you really do never have to work another day in your life. 

Thanks for reading everyone.