Here’s the short version…
My why is to show people that they can live a life of prosperity and freedom without having to conform to the myths that society peddles or settling for the status quo.
The reason this “why” is so important to me is because I wish someone had showed me what was possible earlier. If they had, it may have saved me from a lot of struggle, depression, alienation, and heartache. In other words – I would have been given me a lot more flexibility in my life.
If you’re pressed for time – what you just read is all you really need to know. And now you can go on with exploring my site 🙂
If you’ve got a few minutes, though…
Here’s the much longer version that involves cancer, gambling, steamy sex, booze, the Deep South, and Kierkegaard
Shortly before my dad died, he told me that I seemed a lot like an “unguided missile.”
I think what he meant was that while I had the potential to make a big impact, I didn’t seem to have a sense of direction. I loved my dad and watching him die was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. In the case of his unguided missile comment though, he was only half-right.
You see, I wanted to have more direction. I just kept running into obstacles. And for most of my life, all the way up until my mid-twenties, I simply didn’t have the tools or knowledge required to get around those obstacles.
Here’s what I mean…
When I was 19 years old, I started a record label with a high school friend.
The business lasted about two years before ultimately going under. Today, it’s easy for me to see that one of the big reasons the business failed is because I didn’t surround myself with the guides or mentors who could have helped me figure things out.
But back then, as the business was in its death spiral, I just felt depressed and lost. This lasted until I decided to go back to college and make a fresh start.
I was 21 at the time, and the school I chose was the University of West Florida (UWF)
Most people have probably never heard of UWF, but it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The reason why is because this is where I really found myself. I realized that I loved to learn.
I studied philosophy and started understanding how to think about a single problem in multiple dimensions. I fell in love with the natural beauty of Pensacola, Florida. I also fell in love with many of the people.
While at UWF I decided I wanted to attend law school.
So I took the LSAT, applied to several schools, and was accepted to the University of Miami’s School of Law. After I graduated UWF with honors, I assumed I’d take the summer off, and then go south to become a lawyer. Except the damn Philosophy degree got in the way.
Not the degree itself, but philosophy in general. It made me really examine my motives and decisions. And as soon as I was honest with myself, it was pretty apparent that I didn’t actually want to become a lawyer. Instead, I was going to law school because it sounded impressive, and it might lead to me making “good” money. But what would Kierkegaard say about all that? I didn’t think he would approve.
So I decided not to attend law school
But this created a problem – what was I going to do instead? I desperately wanted to stay in Pensacola, Florida because I loved it there. But the deep south isn’t exactly a hotbed of economic opportunity during the best of times. And in 2010, jobs were especially hard to come by.
It sucked – I could not find a job no matter how hard I tried. In fact, during this time in my life, my biggest goal was to get a job at Enterprise Rental Car. I applied three different times, but they never did hire me. I remember being struck with this feeling of sadness. I was living in a place I loved, I was truly happy there, yet it felt like I couldn’t stay because there simply weren’t any jobs to be had.
If I’d known about digital marketing, copywriting, and freelancing – then things would have been different. But at the time, I just didn’t even realize these things existed. So the “unguided missile” kept on floating.
Next there was a brief stint in Houma, Louisiana.
I got a job working for the congressional campaign of an Indian-American, Ivy League Grad, Democratic lawyer named Ravi Sangisetty. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t win. But I left before the campaign was even finished. The reason why is because the job sucked. We’d been told that we’d be out on the ground, building community buy-in, canvassing, running logistics, etc. Instead – we were in a dimly lit room making hundreds of phone calls per day to people who didn’t want to hear from us.
I felt like I’d been tricked, so I decided to leave. When I told the Campaign Manager my decision, she told me that she’d blackball me from ever working in politics again. I didn’t care though; it was time for the unguided missile to fly away.
I landed back in San Diego, which is where I’m more-or-less from.
I moved in with my parents, which is always fun when you’re in your early twenties, and I got a job making cold-calls at a for-profit, online college. In some respects, it wasn’t a bad gig. The office had a beautiful building, a gym, a cafeteria, and the pay was $40k per year. Not too shabby for a 23 year old, right?
The only problem was that I HATED the actual job. I hated calling poorly educated Americans who barely had a GED, and then convincing them to take out six-figures in student loans so they could get a college degree that would be pretty much worthless to them. And that was if they even actually finished their classes and got a degree – most of them didn’t.
It simply didn’t feel good. I used to be so filled with anxiety in the mornings that before walking into the call center I’d need to spend twenty minutes in my car just psyching myself. I started chewing tobacco as a coping mechanism for my anxiety. I’d put in a giant “chaw” the moment I hit the phones and I wouldn’t stop until it was time to leave. What’s fascinating is that I didn’t ever “dip” after I left the office. Like I said – it was a coping mechanism. I lasted at the online college for about 4 months.
After that I took a job at a place called The Outdoor School (TOS) in Marble Falls, Texas
TOS is a beautiful lakefront property spanning hundreds of acres. Children from all over Texas come to TOS to learn about nature, water quality, living off the land, astronomy, etc. For many of the kids, it’s their first ever “camp” type of experience and it makes a huge impression on them.
During my time at TOS I shared a doublewide trailer with six other people. The pay was something like $250 a week. But room and board were covered, and we got to eat the cafeteria food for free.
It was one of the happiest times of my life.
Why? I was outside for twelve hours a day. It was easy to see that I was making a powerful impact on the children who attended. And when I wasn’t teaching, I was doing physical stuff like chain-sawing fallen trees, raising baby goats, and carpentry. I also got an amazing tan and I was in ridiculous shape. It really felt like I’d found my place in life.
I loved my time at TOS so much, that I thought I’d probably make a career out of outdoor education. It wasn’t the path I’d expected to take in my life, but I felt deeply fulfilled. In fact, I even applied to be a counselor at a Fat Camp in Juniper, FL. My plan was to finish up the spring semester at The Outdoor School, go to Florida to do the Fat Camp that summer, then return to TOS for the fall semester.
For a second, it seemed like this missile had a direction…
Then I got the phone call that changed everything…
“Dad has cancer. It doesn’t look good”
This was in May of 2011.
Just a few weeks before I got this call, I’d gone back to San Diego for a long weekend and hiked up a mountain with my dad. Now here I was, finding out he’d been diagnosed with a rare type of Stage 4 Liver Cancer. The first thing I did was drive to a place where there was WIFI (there wasn’t any in my doublewide trailer) to do some research on the type of cancer my dad had. When I saw that it was terminal in something like 99% of cases, I lost it. I remember getting in my truck and driving around the Texas Hill Country, crying uncontrollably for hours. It was one of the worst days of my life.
I finished out the semester at The Outdoor School. That in itself was a tough decision, but there was only a week or two left, and it seemed right to finish what I’d started.
The moment the “semester” ended though, I packed up my truck and went back to San Diego
Once again I moved in with my parents. But this time it was a lot worse. This time I had a front row seat to watching my dad die. It was a super weird time in my life. I was back home to help my mom and dad. I didn’t really want to get a job, but I also didn’t want to feel useless.
So when I bought a copy of Tim Ferris’ book The 4 Hour Workweek – and read about how people could make money part time, online, I was really excited. It seemed like the perfect fit for my situation. I dove in headfirst, and I started building a drop-shipping store that sold branded college sports merchandise.
It wasn’t sophisticated, I had no idea what I was doing, and ultimately nothing came of it. But that was the first time I ever made an attempt at eCommerce.
My dad died in late October of 2011, about five months after his initial diagnosis.
I was there with him for pretty much all of it. And honestly, I don’t remember very much from this period except bad stuff. It was a really difficult experience.
After my father passed, I needed to get away
I felt like I should do something for myself. So when my mom told me that Southwest Airlines was having an airfare sale with tickets as cheap as $39, I jumped at the opportunity. Specifically – I posted online about the sale and asked if any of my friends wanted to go somewhere. One friend responded. He was someone I knew from my time in Pensacola. And he wanted to go to Vegas.
Vegas was fine with me, so we booked the trip for mid-December. In the time between when we booked the trip and when we went, I continued living at home and helping to support my mom emotionally. But I also knew that a time was going to come when I’d need to continue on with my life, and I didn’t want to be in a place where I was constantly reminded of my dead dad. So I started applying for jobs in places outside of San Diego. We’ll come back to why this matters in a second.
Anyways – about the Vegas trip…
The day finally arrived, and I flew out to Las Vegas to meet my buddy
I had something like $800 in my checking account, and the first night I lost half of it playing blackjack. It was pretty alarming – especially since I really didn’t have a source of income at that time.
On the second day of our Vegas trip, with our finances depleted, my friend suggested we play poker. I liked that idea, especially since I used to play a lot when I was a senior in high school and had even toyed with the idea of becoming a professional at one point. It had been years since I’d last played, but I figured I’d have a better shot at winning at the poker table than at the blackjack table. So that evening we played cards at Mandalay Bay and we both won a few hundred bucks.
Predictably, my friend and I woke up the following morning and we both wanted to play cards again. We didn’t really know where the best poker rooms were though, so we just picked a casino at random. Our choice was Caesar’s Palace. I had no idea that morning that this would be one of the most fateful decisions of my life.
So there we are, at a poker table in Caesar’s, when a girl walks into the room…
Not just any girl though. The most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. It was like one of those scenes that’s supposed to only happen in the movies, but it happened in real life. I immediately made a joke to our poker table that I hoped she got seated with us. A few of the other guys at the table laughed. But when she actually did get sent to our table, my heart started racing. It was a very lucky moment for me.
And I really do mean lucky. See, there were probably 40 or so active poker tables in the card room at Caesar’s that day. Out of those, perhaps 7 of them were at the same stakes as what I was playing. So the odds of her getting seated at my table were actually pretty low. But like I said, I got lucky.
Once the girl had been seated at our table, it wasn’t too long until someone asked her what she did for a living.
She said: “I’m a writer.”
I wanted to talk with her so I immediately asked: “What kind of writer?”
She said: “I’m a copywriter.”
I said: “That’s really cool.”
Then I pulled out my iPhone 1, opened Google, and typed “what’s a copywriter?” It was the first time I’d ever heard of copywriting.
My friend eventually lost his money and left the table, but I was so focused on the girl that I hardly noticed. I kept a conversation going with her, and eventually I was able to move over several seats and sit next to her. From that point on, I don’t remember most of the hands I was dealt, but I do remember the beating of my heart. It seemed like we shared so many similar interests and had so much in common. I kept thinking that not only was she beautiful, she was also very funny and wildly intelligent.
I was supposed to fly back to San Diego that night, but I didn’t.
Instead, I moved my flight to the next day so I could spend more time with the girl. Before I knew it, the sun was coming up and we hadn’t slept. It wasn’t like me to stay up all night – but I was already falling head-over-heels in love with the girl.
I didn’t fly back home from Vegas the next day either. We kept hanging out, kept playing poker, and kept talking. In fact, the only reason I left all is because I had to head to South Florida for a job interview. Remember how I said I’d started applying for jobs all over the country after my dad passed? Well I actually made some progress with a Fortune 500 Company, and they had an opening in South Florida. They wanted me to come out and interview, which I did. I was in South Florida for less than 24 hours for the interview. Then they flew me back to San Diego.
When I got to the San Diego Airport though, I didn’t head for the exits. Instead, I got on another plane and went right back to Las Vegas. Then for the next few weeks I spent every day in Vegas with the girl. I was lucky to be on a good run with poker, and I was winning enough money in cash games and small tournaments to live out of cheap hotels. It was a blast. Whenever we weren’t playing cards, we were having drinks or eating good meals. And we were continuing to talk and get to know one another the whole time too.
All good things must come to an end though, right?
When I found out that I’d gotten the job with the Fortune 500 Company in Florida, that’s how it seemed. So reluctantly we said our goodbyes, and she promised to come visit me in Florida soon.
Which, she actually did!
I’d been in Florida for maybe two weeks when she came down for the weekend. I was so happy to see her, and the weekend flew by. Before I knew it, it was Sunday evening and she was supposed to fly home to New York.
I looked at her and said: “I don’t want you to leave.”
She looked at me and said: “I don’t want to leave either.”
So she didn’t leave.
A few days later, we had her car shipped down from New York.
This was in early February of 2012.
The next few months were a whirlwind of work and time with the girl. Overall it was a very happy time in my life. But soon enough, it seemed like the missile was about to fly off the map once again.
You see, I didn’t really like my new job. It was a good job. It was an easy job. I was good at it. It paid well. It had a ton of perks. But I still didn’t
Then one day, I had a realization…
I was working twelve-hour shifts, driving around in the hot Florida sun, and making roughly $200 a day. Meanwhile the girl was spending most of her days in her underwear, drinking beer at noon, and making $1,200 a day. So why wasn’t I doing what she was doing?
Why didn’t I try to be a copywriter?
I remember one evening asking her point blank – “do you think I could be a good copywriter.” She said “yes” and then she offered to help me. That sounded good to me, so that night I wrote my first ever sales letter. It was a letter selling my copywriting services. I posted it on a website called Warrior Forum and told people I charged $149 per letter.
The next morning when I woke up, I had $298 in my PayPal account. It was like I’d just won the lottery. It was that “aha” moment that every entrepreneur has. This was the first time in my life that I realized I might actually be able to make money doing something I truly loved (writing). Within a few weeks I quit my Fortune 500 Job.
That was the last job I ever had, and in the years that followed I would…
It sounds like a lot and it is…
But the one constant throughout all of this has been copywriting.
It’s something I’ve done actively for the last eight years. It’s also one of those skills that ensures I’ll never be broke again. Because even if I lost everything, I know I’m good enough at copy that someone will always hire me to write for them.
In other words, copywriting is what finally gave my missile direction. Permanent direction. It was the thing that helped me realize my truest calling, which was inspired entrepreneurship. I say “inspired” because I love being an entrepreneur a lot, but what I love even more is helping to create a better life for others. I’m inspired to do this, and I want to inspire others. Copywriting gives me the means to make it happen.
And this is what brings me to my mission and my “why”
My why is to show people that they can live a life of prosperity and freedom without having to conform to the myths that society peddles or settling for the status quo.
The reason this “why” is so important to me is because I wish someone had showed me what was possible earlier. If they had, it may have saved me from a lot of struggle, depression, alienation, and heartache. In other words – I would have allowed me to have a lot more say in the direction my missile was headed.
Of course, I’m also thankful for all of my struggles….
I like to think that things happen for a reason. It’s possible that I wasn’t ready to learn about the power of copywriting and digital marketing earlier in my life. Maybe it was all supposed to be this way. God’s plan and all of that.
I kind of think that’s true…
Especially when you consider that the girl from my story isn’t actually just “some girl.” Her name is Laura Catella Georgi and she’s my wife. It really was love at first site, but in the eight years since then, that love has only grown exponentially. It’s an incredible feeling, and today we have a beautiful daughter together who is the absolute light of our life.
So for me, it’s kind of good that I didn’t discover what was possible earlier.
But, what about you?
Well, here’s what I think…
I’m a big believer in the cliché “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” For me, that teacher was Laura. But for you, if you’re here reading these words, maybe that teacher is me. Or maybe it’s someone you’re going to meet through me. I can’t say for certain, but I do think you’re here for a reason.
So with this being said, I hope you enjoy my website. I hope you get massive value from my content. And I hope I can inspire you to continue to be the strongest, most powerful, and most effective version of yourself. That’s what I’m here to do. It’s what I love to do.
It’s what I love to do. And in a way, doing all of this makes me feel closer to my dad too. I know he’d be proud of the man I am today. And I think he’d be amused by the fact that I’ve gone from an unguided missile, to someone who helps other “rogue flyers” find their sense of purpose and direction.
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