Bet On Yourself

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Bet On Yourself

Chris Keef

February, 2019

It’s time to bet on you

I believe that now, more than ever, it is time to take stock of what, exactly, you are particularly good at and then leverage that information to the highest extent possible. Why? There are several reasons that I’ll list below. 

Before I get to that list, though, a quick backstory about me and why I feel so passionate about a business centered around your strengths and personal knowledge. I’m probably a bit unique in  the world of successful entrepreneurs (yes, I’ll put myself in the successful list for now – six years out from the corporate grind and I earned more last year than I have in my entire life and my lifestyle was exactly as I would have dreamed) as I didn’t start the journey as a full-time business owner (not just a ‘side hustle’) until I was in my early forties. My upbringing was like most people in that the path to life was already laid out and quite simple – grade school, high school, college where you learn a skill, get a job, save for retirement, retire. This made sense to me since everyone in my family had done the same for the past few generations. Television, movies, books… they would glorify the wild, risk-taking entrepreneurs but everyone knew that only the mavericks and real poker players in life would risk it all outside the comfortable hall of ‘The Job’. That opinion has certainly changed in recent years but when I was growing up you still had pensions, guaranteed life-long healthcare and, heck, the joke about a gold watch after 40 plus years of service was a real thing! So, why did I make the change to be an entrepreneur?  Why did I realize that it was time to finally bet on me? Let me explain.

Whatever I do in life I do well. I want to be the best at whatever task is in front of me and that didn’t change when I took on my career. I took a rather circuitous route to get to the business world as I started out studying Electrical Engineering in college and then switched to Psychology. I stumbled in to a sales career, but I soon realized that I had a real knack for sale and eventually sales management. I was exceptionally good at leadership and building teams. I was an excellent motivator and I could bring out the best in people. This skillset allowed me to move up in the ranks of each company I worked for and by the time I was in my late thirties I was Director of Sales and on the path to be Vice President soon. It was clear that I could be a Senior VP and then who knows from there… move around the ranks of upper management for the tail end of my career making well in the six figures with all the perks that one could hope for? That’s the way it looked – the game plan was executed exactly as it should be and all things seemed right in my world. But it wasn’t. I was miserable. I hated what I was doing, and I felt like a rat in a cage. My whole plan was wrong from the start and that ide shook me to the core. What in hell should I do now? 

When I first told this story to people after I broke out on my own and I left the corporate grind, I honestly expected most people to say that I was crazy. I expected them to admonish me and say that I should have stuck it out and just rode the wave until retirement. What surprised me, though, was that most people agreed with me. Quietly they would say ‘I feel the same way! I’m so sick of what I’m doing! I’m underappreciated and underpaid!’ I didn’t realize that so many of us were living a life based on lying to ourselves day to day in order to collect a paycheck and go home. What happened? Why are so many people feeling so unsatisfied when this career path was supposed to be the right thing to do for everyone? The move to an information-based society changed, that’s what. The price of college increasing almost eight times faster than wages, the unfortunate choice of businesses to maximize profits instead value, the reduction in middle-class earnings, the realization that the 401K program was one of the biggest scams lofted on the American public, people living and working much longer… the list goes on. All those things changed. And here we are. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Quite the contrary. I have an easy solution that requires you to simply take your years of accumulated knowledge and passion for a topic and use that to your advantage. It is time to bet on you.

A few years back I bet on myself. I realized that was going on in my career and I saw that nobody was going to give me anything and that my career path had me set for mediocrity. I could earn a great income, but I had zero fulfillment and I knew that I could do so much better. I knew that my skillset is something that others wanted to learn from. I saw that I was very good at what I did but leading a sales team of ten people was as big as that team would get. I could only reach a small handful of people. Instead I realized that I could put my ideas, thoughts and training on paper (well… digital paper) and share that information with thousands of people instead. My current business partner, Todd Snively, and I have shared our knowledge of e-commerce and in doing so have seen thousands of people jump at the opportunity to learn more about the space. The success in the community of people we shared information with is overwhelming. It’s time that you do the same. 

Now back to my list of reasons why betting on yourself is the only real way to get ahead of things and truly create a lifestyle and income that you desire:

Nobody cares about you

Before you get all crazy and fall into an existential void, let me explain. Your family and friends obviously care about you. I care about you. But when it comes to career, income, value to a job or society… nobody cares about you like you do. Again, friends and family care deeply but they don’t sign your paycheck. I had a bit of an epiphany one day when I was at my very last job. It was at year’s end where I was required to meet with all my salespeople individually. I would discuss their performance over the past year and together we would discuss their ‘number’ (sales goal) for next year as well as compensation. Before going in to these meetings I was prepped by my boss and I learned that I had one goal. Minimize compensation and maximize results. My job was to pay as little as possible in salary increase and bonuses but maximize the total sales from that sales person. In my discussions the idea of ‘value to the company’ mattered not. Is the person a good representation of the organization? Are they an average performer but a spectacular representative for our brand? Who cares? Unless They were willing to do more next year for the same or less money, we’ll find someone else. Sales people are dime a dozen (or so said many in upper management). 

The only person that truly has your best interests in mind is you. Full stop. Nobody cares about you like you do.

Things change, but your knowledge never goes away

Life is an amazing, ever-changing merry go round. Looking back, could you truly have guessed five years ago that what you are doing at this moment is what you would be doing? I have had so many cool twists and turns in my life that there is just no way that I could have even come close to assuming that what I’m doing right now was even possible just a few years back. Our brains are just not wired that way. We have hopes and dreams. We wish for things but our ‘caveman brain’ is desperately focused on short term issues. Where is my next meal, how do I not die today, do I have a warm place to sleep? That may sound silly but don’t forget – in the overall evolutionary spectrum, human beings have had it this good only for about five minutes. For tens of thousands of years life was a tremendous struggle. We are not wired to think about how to maximize our human potential. We think about it, sure. That’s the benefit of a highly evolved brain. But, our day to day actions are driven by our subconscious. We are typically focused on very short-term goals overall. And this leads to my point. Amidst all the changes going on in your life, nothing can take away your life experiences, knowledge and passions. You like what you like. You know what you know. No matter how crazy things get in your life, that never goes away. Those are assets that you have and can use to their full potential no matter what happens in your world. No recession, job-loss, or economic crisis will ever take those things from you. So, use them! Take full advantage of the fact that you have information inside of you that is dying to get out and be shared with the world. There are so many people that can benefit from your specialized knowledge and personal spin on a topic, so it is time to get that information out to the world and shared.

Information businesses are set to explode

A recent article on Forbes.com discussed market research from a firm called Global Industry Analysts where they predicted that ‘E-Learning’ would reach $107 Billion by 2015. They were spot on. The new forecast for e-learning has tripled to $325 Billion by 2025. Statista.com’s latest research shows that online courses, specifically, make up $46 Billion of the e-learning market. Statista.com, by the way, is far more bullish on the growth of e-learning products as they put their projection at worldwide growth to $243 Billion by 2022! 

Those are big numbers. Absurd numbers, actually. So, what does that mean for you? How does that relate to you in your desire to improve your station in life? It means that today – right at this very moment – the environment is perfect for you to develop a training course around something you know and love and sell it to the world. We are in the very early days of a revolution in how we share, learn and absorb knowledge. Gone are the days of traveling to the one room school house where the educated teacher shares their knowledge with a small group of people. Now, expertise in the most unique niche can be instantly shared around the globe to others with the same desire for that knowledge.

It’s time to bet on you. I know that I will. 

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One Response

  1. Kevin says:

    Love it! Thanks for sharing, it feels like you were talking directly to me!

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