How My Journey Led Me to My First Million and the Voices That Resonate
As you can imagine, our business photographing hotels and residential healthcare was hit hard during the COVID era. We have traveled the country primarily photographing hotels since we got married. So staying home was a new experience.
AND WE LOVED IT!
We remodeled our house after two floods and because we weren’t traveling, we did the work ourselves. Yep, we learned how to do plumbing and drywall and electric. While we got the job done, we learned quickly that we don’t want to work with our hands.
So I did a thing last week.
I reached out about an opportunity that is literally made for me and I got a response. And now my mind is in a whirl…because this “thing” really could work out. But even if it doesn’t, it ignited a passion in me to test my own framework – Get to No University
What would it look like if after half a century of pursuing my dream, I finally have a chance to achieve it?
Pursuit of a New Chapter?
In the pursuit of a new chapter in life, I found myself diving into countless rabbit holes, exploring what I truly wanted beyond our current success as a niche hotel photographer. My husband and I have built a comfortable business that allows us to live our dream, but as circumstances evolved, so did our aspirations.
It’s a challenge to chase a new vision when you’re already living in a dream. When we tell people what we do, they often say “wow that’s a dream come true”. And it is. We have an amazing lifestyle. We are really good at what we do.
But what if there’s something even better out there? What if this is just one step on the journey rather than the final destination? These questions haunted me, pushing me to explore new ideas with the sole goal of getting paid for what I know instead of what I do.
Living in the Moment – Dreaming of the Future
After I turned 50, I came to a realization that time is both abundant and finite. While it may seem paradoxical, understanding that time exists solely in the present moment empowered me to evaluate my current circumstances.
I delved into the concept of mindfulness, grasping the essence of what is and what if, which I call “pragmatic positivity.” This mindset allowed me to learn from the past and dream about the future, but most importantly, it taught me the value of taking action in the present moment.
My journey down the rabbit holes helped me recognize that I have always had one dream. My deepest desire is to write a book called Get to No University: Revolutionize the Status Quo by Asking Why and Saying No.
Taking My Creativity Digital
I am tired of trading my time for money. I am tired of transactional work. I want create something sustainable where I can eventually become irrelevant and my body of work becomes a legacy. I redefined my job description on my social media as a Digital Creator. As a professional photography company, we create digital assets for our clients so we are indeed Digital Creators. But our creation requires us to travel and it requires us to get paid for our time.
The quest for understanding what this entailed led me down various paths—listening to podcasts, reading books, and exploring social media platforms. Among the multitude of voices, two figures stood out as my virtual mentors: Shaan Puri and Sam Parr.
Why Shaan Puri and Sam Parr?
These two hosts of the My First Million podcast resonated with me on a profound level. Rather than try to explain why I chose them as my virtual mentors, I asked ChatGPT to write an article about the 5 top takeaways from their experiences doing what I want to do.
Read the article here – The Titans of Entrepreneurial Wisdom: Sam Parr and Shaan Puri’s Journey to Success
They echoed my thoughts, answered questions in ways I would, and ignited memories that illustrated their points. Their authenticity, relatability, and willingness to share insights and personal stories made them the guiding voices I needed on my journey.
The biggest reason they resonate with me is that these two are focused on lifestyle more than accumulating more commas on a spreadsheet.
My First Million episode 457 “Can you get rich with a blue collar hustle?”
In an episode titled “Can you get rich with a blue collar hustle?” Sam Parr and Shaan Puri discussed various approaches to wealth creation. Sam emphasized that while it’s possible to achieve financial success with a blue-collar hustle, building wealth through digital startups is often easier due to lower capital requirements, location flexibility, and higher earning potential. Shaan, on the other hand, emphasized the importance of choosing a lifestyle aligned with personal values over accolades.
Ready to Stop Renting Out My Time
These conversations resonated with me, surrounded as I am by individuals who rent their time, such as hardworking farmers who by nature of their profession start from scratch every year.
Every year they must choose a crop for the year – soybeans or corn. Then they choose which company’s seeds to plant. And then they do everything they can to prepare and cultivate that field for maximum yield. But in all honesty, their ULTIMATE success or failure is largely based on factors out of their control.
I am reminded that our hotel photography business is no different than the farmers whose fields create the patchwork of our landscape. If we do a good job for our clients, we put ourselves out of business for a few years until they update their property. And on rare days like today when one of us is sick, our income stops coming in the minute we stop going out to take pictures.
Change My Monetization Method – Not My Life
My current conundrum is that I love the lifestyle we live. Our rule is we are not willing to give up the life we have created, simply to make a little more money so we can buy a little nicer jet ski or boat.
Because if you see my life, you’d realize that making an extra million dollars isn’t going to change it. Just upgrade the tools I use to live it.
I don’t want to change my life…I simply want to monetize it differently and be a part of something bigger than myself. Ultimately, I want Get to No University to be my main source of income because I am passionate in my belief that we can teach people empathy by storytelling. But the problem is, I don’t know how to create a newsletter. Or a YouTube following.
I have long known that if I could do anything, it would be create a weekly podcast and newsletter about Get to No University:Revolutionizing the Status Quo by Asking Why and Saying No.
Unveiling the Market’s Response
Shaan’s quote in this podcast episode, “If you fail at the internet, it’s because the market didn’t want what you had to offer,” struck a chord within me. I believe that I have something valuable to share with the world. But right now, the Get to No University Framework only exists in my mind. To determine if the market wants what I have to offer, I must immerse myself in testing and deconstructing my own framework, listen to those who have excelled in my desired field of newsletter/podcasting/writing, and learn from their experiences.
Virtual Groupie of the Rich & Famous-Amongst-Nerds
The My First Million podcast provides a safe space for me to learn because my mentors have no idea that they are mentoring me. I am basically one of many anonymous virtual groupies at this point.
After I make my first million digitally, I want to be on their show but for now, I’ll just walk the fine line between my role as Queen Groupie of the Virtual Groupies while trying not to look like Kathy Bates in Misery.
I know what I want to be when I grow up but I couldn’t explain why until I heard this quote from Shaan –
I think that having a big podcast is actually the best job in the world. And I’m obviously biased here, but I’ve also tried a bunch of things and this is the best.Shaan Puri, Can You Get Rich with A Blue Collar Hustle? | My First Million Q&A (#457)
If you have a big podcast, that means you’re famous, but you’re only famous amongst nerds, which is kind of the not annoying way to be famous. It’s like all the good parts of being famous without the bad. You also get rich, but you didn’t have to chase money.
You get to create content, but you’re not like the annoying 24 seven vlogger who’s got their phone out and ruins like their actual life, trying to create content for some audience.
The Bottom Line: Create a Business or Curate a Story
My idea is not only to create a successful business but more importantly my goal is to curate a story. So if and when it eventually scales up, I don’t just have a thriving business, but an inspiring tale to tell, right from Day One. And if this rabbit hole is not the right one for me, then the lessons I learn finding that will end up being the real story.
Hopefully even a story that might be captivating enough to tell the audiences of the “My First Million” podcast and inspire someone to go curate their own story.