You see, when I was 11 years old, my parents invested all they had... AND money they didn't have (by taking on loans, drying up all our savings) into an MLM company in hopes for a better financial future. Little did we know at the time, that things would change rather dramatically over the next few months. We went broke. So broke, that I was the only kid in my school whose parents didn't own car. I couldn't even buy a pair of sneakers that I wanted.
And I was miserable. I was pissed off, angry, broke, frustrated... and I really, truly wanted to change. But hey: I was an 11 year old kid, whole barely spoke any English from a post-communist country of Slovakia where an average person makes roughly $2-3 an hour. I was destined for failure and there was no light at the end of tunnel… until that one lucky day, when I saw a movie called "The Secret" that made me naively believe something very important.
It made me believe (just as little kids believe in Santa Claus) that I could be, do, have whatever I wanted even if I was a broke 11 year old nobody from Slovakia.
With that courage, I decided to take my family's financial situation in my own hands (at 11) and immediately went on Google and searched "how to make money online".
I started earning pennies... roughly 4-5 cents a day. It took me MONTHS to make my first dollar. I remember at that time classmates would laugh at me, telling me they wouldn't even bend over on the streets for the amount of money I was busting my ass for. I was humiliated, but I sticked with it. Eventually, at 14, I had my first, major breakthrough. $14,000 in sales in 7 days. Roughly $4,000 in profit. It was my first product launch. It was good money - especially for a kid in Slovakia - however, it wasn't consistent, nor sustainable and I wanted more.
But, for the love of God, I could NOT breakthrough this invisible glass ceiling that was crippling my income. Well, fast forward a couple years, I hired my first mentor for $5,000 at 16 or so. Guess what? I got ripped off. I still remember quietly crying in my room so I wouldn't wake up my parents in the middle of the night. I busted my ass for years and poof it was gone overnight. I did manage to recover myself and those funds and guess what my stubborn self-did next.
That's right... HIRE ANOTHER MENTOR. Now this one was a huge success: I scaled to $10-20K/month, but still... it was like a rollercoaster. Some great months, some scary lows. I was maybe 17 at the time. By that point, I figured out the secret shortcut to success: MENTORS. So I didn't stop there. I found this guy posting on Facebook insanely valuable content, so I private messaged him to "take me under his wings".
Deep down I was hoping he'd give me special treatment and free coaching as I was so young… next thing I know, I'm on a sales call being pitched a $5,000 a month mentorship program. And I pulled the trigger!! (said yes) After a couple months this coach invites me to fly into Dallas, TX for one of his private masterminds. He told me there's going to be multi-millionaires and even a guy worth $500M. Plus, at that time I heard so many stories of lives being permanently changed when they finally went to a live event: whether that was a seminar or a mastermind.
Deep down I knew there was something "special" about being there in person... about experiencing proximity with ultra successful people. So, I made a decision: I HAD TO BE THERE. PERIOD. So, as any 17 year old would, I ask my parents "Can I go to America?" And they're the type of lovely people who would put off things until we'd forget about it. So roughly a week before the event, I ask my mom "Mom, it's very important for me: can I go to America for this mastermind?"
All I see are... tears.
She says "son I love you, but I'm not going to let my only child travel to the other side of the world by himself at 17!" So response: I'll bring you too... and dad as well! There was only one problem: I already paid this guy a lot of money and I didn't have an extra 5 grand or so sitting around for last minute plane tickets and extra hotel rooms.
I was super committed, but I only had 7 days left.
So that week I did everything from trying to "hustle and 16 hours a day" to "manifest money" with the law of attraction. Literally, 2 days before the event, this guy from Dubai shows up. We get on the phone. I make the offer "it's $9,000. Would you like to use visa or MasterCard?"
His answer took my breath away!
"Oh, that's so cheap! Let's do Visa"
Gosh! No objections, no friction, nothing...
He paid in full and off I went.
Needless to say, the event was life changing and I came back as a different man. Now here's the crazy part: I message the guy, text him, call him but he's literally disappeared off the surface of Earth. It's been years and I still haven't heard back from him! I don't know what it was, but I like to think of this way: if you're ruthlessly committed, God, Grace, The Universe, or whatever you want to call it, will move mountains to help you achieve what you set out. I was maybe 18 at this point: income was consistent, life was good, but again, I hit an upper limit I couldn't seem to go past.
So I went to another mastermind in France. First, we hiked the French Alps for 3 days, crossed borders to Italy and finally we hiked down the mountain back to our mansion in Nice, France. It was my turn for the "hot seat", so I speak up. "I really want to speak on stage... but I just don't feel good enough."
2 minutes later, I'm crying like a little baby.
It turns out that wasn't my issue at all.
In reality, I had a deep, unresolved conflict with my father.
You see, at 17 I dropped out of high school. Teachers, parents, classmates, pretty much everyone around me told me that I'd be a nobody, a total failure and I'd fall flat on my face if I quit. At that age, I used it as a source of motivation. I wanted to prove them all wrong and eventually, I did, but it really scared me on the inside. You know, I've heard this concept of "fall in love with your customers... add more value... help people and you'll be helped" but really it was mere intellectual knowing. It was all nice and cool, but I didn't really, truly believe in that truth.
And now I know why: because deep down, what was truly driving my success wasn't impact or changing other lives.
It was money.
It was money... because I thought, if I had made "enough", finally my dad would say "son, I'm proud of you." I was really just craving acceptance from my own dad and I couldn't really care too much about giving back or changing lives until my inner child was so wounded and in so much pain. I knew I had to sort this with my dad ASAP. So I flew back home... and it took me 2 days to grow a pair of balls to sit down my dad and address this. I cried for a solid hour, had a very deep conversation, discovered more about his tough childhood and really just gained a sense of compassion and understanding that he was doing his absolute best (and really, just tried to keep me safe from failure).
Something shifted that day. I remember it was as if an invisible boulder got off my shoulders. Life literally became more vivid and colorful!
And the spooky part?
My business revenue QUADRUPLED in one and a half months... without changing anything in my ads or funnels. And I think there's only one reason behind it. Now that my inner child was healed, I could finally, really, truly, genuinely focus on IMPACT and serving my customers over the money and trying to prove myself. And I really do think people feel that! People can tell if you're genuine or in it to make a quick buck. That's when I really dig deep and figured out why I do what I do: *on the surface it may seem like X, but deep down we change lives, ripple effect.
What techniques and methods do you use day to day to stay continuously motivated, focused and proactive when fear, hardships, and procrastination have the best of you? What is your definition of success?
I created a spreadsheet that I use to track and measure every area of my life called Life Sheet. It’s based on the simple idea that “whatever you measure, improves” thus I choose to diligently track and measure everything in my life, so that when I feel like I’m falling off or losing momentum, that red X in my life sheet can give me the “reality check” to course correct and keep going. I think hardships and procrastination are a part of the entrepreneur game. It’s simply included in the package, so it’s our job to come up with systems and strategies to prevent those things from ruining our progress - thus Life Sheet was born.
Definition of success: it’s being successful and fulfilled. It’s a harmony between health, wealth and happiness. Plenty of money/abundance so that you can live the life you’ve always dreamt of and help others achieve the same thru your contribution.