Step One – Retrain Your Brain

The first step on your expedition is to get prepared.  You need to understand what you need mentally to gear up for the trek ahead.  So, in order to retrain your brain, you need to erase some of the things you thought you knew.


I grew up in a middle class household in California.  My dad worked full time and my mom did jobs here and there like accounting or selling real estate to bring in extra money.  When I grew up, I was taught a few simple things: you need to go to school, get good grades, go to college and get a great job so you can support a family of your own.  From my earliest days, that’s what I thought I needed to do to be successful.  It makes sense that, back then, people who worked for a company received a pension and when they were done working for that company for decades, they were set up for life with a monthly pension payment.  That system is great if a company is around forever and constantly makes more and more money, but the reality started settling in.  As more and more people would retire over the years, the financial commitment to the pensions got higher and higher and became a drag on companies financially.

Over the past 30 years, companies with pension commitments started declaring bankruptcy and all of those people who had worked their entire lives for the chance to receive monthly payments were now out of an income steam in retirement.  In addition, the average age of Americans started to increase thus requiring even more pension fund money.   Obviously, the system was broken.


The concept of “get good grades and get a job” was taught to all of us, but really, it goes against the grain of how the United States has provided opportunities for people to succeed through business ownership for centuries.  The good old USA was born on free trade and entrepreneurship.  People came to the US to fulfill their dreams and participate in a society where anyone can be successful and most came here and started small businesses such as dry cleaners, landscape businesses, painting and more.  The more ambitious people who came here grew their companies and their wealth.  They didn’t make their fortunes at a call center for AT&T working 9 to 5 jobs.  The US is the land of opportunity.  It’s time for you take advantage of it.


The first retraining you need to understand is this: the idea that 9 to 5 jobs can generate money to support your family and you will also become wealthy is not realistic.  When you have a job, there are 2 problems; 1) the government is taking 30% of your money every paycheck and 2) you are working for someone else and you are not making any decisions on your future or your salary or your position at the company.  The people above you on the corporate ladder or in business management are making decisions about your future.  Many people have a popular misconception “I have been here for 5 years and I am invaluable.  They can’t fire me.  They won’t find someone to replace me.”  LOL.  If a company has a bad year or the economy starts to fizzle or even if the company’s products or services become outdated, they can replace you, fire you or lay you off in a heartbeat.   There is no emotion in a corporate or business environment.  They have to do what they do to survive, they have to make tough decisions and your future and financial security are in their hands.

Owning your own company puts the decision in your hands.  You make decisions and you are in control of your own destiny.  You can change services or products to appeal to a larger audience and the tax benefits you will get from the government as a business owner are immense (more on this later).

Please note, I am not saying that you need to quit your job and start a company.  On the contrary, if you have a job and you are supporting your family, absolutely keep that job.  Do not put yourself in a position where you jump off the ledge with no parachute and you have no way of supporting your family.  As I have said, this is a journey and before you make any major moves, you need to be prepared.  You aren’t going to the middle of the mountain in a day.  The BASICS section of this blog will give you a financial foundation and understanding for your journey so you can see where you are and then provide resources to make better decisions moving forward.

For now, the purpose of this post is to get you to retrain your brain that having a job is one part of your journey, but the path to wealth is hard if you are only focusing on your job as a single source of income and that a job can be taken from you when you least expect it.


The next area you need to train yourself on are the choices you make.  An entire life is made up of thousands of choices and numerous decisions every day.  Do I go to Starbucks and spend $7 on a coffee and bagel?  Or do I make coffee at home for basically $0.25 and my own bagel for $0.50?  Do I take the money from my raise and buy a new purse or do I put all of the extra cash away in savings? As you move along your journey, retraining your brain to make consistent choices about saving will help you reach your goals faster.  The more you spend on things like cars, clothes and material items, the less you have to invest and the less you have to climb the mountain.  Your choices determine if you are going to stay at the base longer and slowly climb or if you can climb higher faster.


This is the area that is going to be hardest for everyone in the beginning.  As I mentioned above, you have choices you make that can help you save faster and complete your expedition faster.  However, many times, those choices result in a change of your lifestyle.  If you constantly need to buy a new car or you have to buy the newest video games and spend your entire paycheck the minute it arrives, your journey will be more difficult.  Over the course of this blog, my goal is to show you that can have what you want, but you will need to make some sacrifices in the beginning and live within a certain means to achieve your goals.


There is a book I read called “The Millionaire Next Door.”  The book details interviews and analysis of 100 millionaires including their habits and choices.  Many of the people they interviewed were immigrants who came to the United States to pursue a better life for their families.  Most of the people had started small businesses like mini marts or dry cleaners or service oriented businesses.  As I read the book, the common theme was that these people spent as little as possible on cars, eating out, travel and material items, but used the money to purchase homes for their families and reinvested the money from their business into their children’s education or other investments.  Unfortunately, what disinterested me was the fact that basically these people became wealthy by giving up many of the fun things in life and saved every dollar and used business tax advantages from the government to grow their wealth.

The FIRE movement (Financially Independence, Retire Early) basically follows the same path as the book.  Save 70% of your money, rarely eat out, travel cheap, learn to hike a lot and you can save enough to retire forever at 35.  I find some issues with this approach personally.  Why?

  1. I like to go to restaurants with my friends occasionally
  2. I LOVE to travel
  3. I like to buy things when I want
  4. I am not going to let life pass me by because I want to retire at 30.  I have no problem working a little longer

The main point to the above is that it’s okay to have a fulfilling life and reach your goals.  The FIRE movement isn’t bad, but I don’t want to lose 10 years by saving every single penny and miss out on some fun things because I am so focused on retirement.

The main message I want to impart here is that you can do all of the above in moderation.  If you want to eat out, just cut back.  You don’t need to eat out every other day.  If you can cut back to once a week, you will see an insane amount of money saved.  If you love to travel, there are many ways to maximize the days and places you travel to without spending a fortune (ie, never travel to Hawaii during New Years, but you can find flights half off during October).  You can buy things you want, but you don’t have to splurge.  You don’t need the most expensive car or house or clothes every week.  By spending in moderation and raising your income, you can become wealthy.

Based on where you want to be, you will make choices on your journey and while the more you save and invest, the faster you will reach your peak, don’t forget to LIVE LIFE AND ENJOY YOUR TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS.



The Millionaire Mindset

If you’re reading this blog post then it means you are looking to make your life better and trying to find a way to increase your wealth to at least $1 million or more.  At the end of the day, becoming a millionaire is a journey.  I call this blog an expedition because you have a starting point where you are today and a goal to reach a mountain top where you can be financially secure and not have to work day in and day out.

This blog will outline a step by step process to figure out where you are today, where you want to go and how to get there.  Three simple parts.

Millionaire Mindset

The first thing you need on your journey is the millionaire mindset.  I have gone to a few seminars with “self help gurus” and paid the $100 entry fee and I have seen what the $1000 pays for when it comes to these seminars.  I have also read the books by guys like Tony Robbins and I am here to save you $1000s of dollars.  The one common thread between all of the seminars is simple – you need to change your mindset.  If you want to be wealthy and you want to have more freedom to do what you want in life, you need to PUT IT OUT THERE into the universe.  That sounds weird doesn’t it?  The fact is, when you think about the goals and dreams you want to achieve, things will happen.   The more you focus on your goals, the more you will subconsciously start making different choices to achieve your dreams.  It may seem weird, but it really does work.

Time is Invaluable

The next thing you will learn is that time means everything in achieving success.  Going back to the mindset of a successful person, time is the one thing that will determine your success.  I had a pretty nasty divorce and every day, I would spend about 2-3 hours thinking of a myriad ways that my ex could fall off a cliff “by accident” or different ways to get back at her vicious attorney.  Those 2-3 hours took away from my goals of growing my web design business and started to affect my income.  I would stop following up on leads from interested companies or lose business because I was just distracted with thinking about my wife’s attorney drowning in acid and I flat out just wasn’t paying attention to what made me money.  That led me to a realization.  I have CHOICES on how to use my time.   If I took that 2-3 hours per day and made one extra call or created one more marketing email to send out to my clients to generate more income, I would be able to increase my monthly revenue instead of being angry and distracted.

In addition to using your time effectively, it takes time for money that is put into investments to mature and multiply so you can sit back and generate money without doing anything at all.

Focus, Patience & Determination

The last thing I would say is that to complete a successful expedition, you need focus.  I have started a few businesses over the past few decades and talked to people about their dreams.  Every time people start something new, there is a beginning phase that will determine the success or failure of their journey.  Everyone gets really excited about starting a company.  They build web sites, create business cards, tell all of their friends about their amazing new venture and start riding high based on the “idea” of owning a company.  Then, reality sets in. The t-shirts they were selling aren’t making enough money fast enough.  Customers are a pain in the ass to deal with.  Their child care facility closed and now the kids are back to home.  Life changes, circumstances change and this is when you will decide if your dreams will continue or if you will go back to the grind and the same habits.  If you can navigate the changes and challenges in your life and persevere with your business, you will see results.

Also remember, marketing and branding takes time.  People are getting hit every day with marketing messages from the internet, tv, friends, radio and more.  It takes someone to see an ad about 6 times before it gets embedded in their brain.  Also, research shows that only 3% of people are looking for a specific product or service at any one time.  Therefore, if you are marketing a service (like accounting), someone might see your ad, but they don’t need that service that day.  However, the LONGER or more frequently you market your service and advertise, the more chances you have that that same person might need your service 6 months or a year from now.  I have given people quotes for web design work and took 9 months for those people to come back and start when they were ready.

The good news is that you don’t have to jump into starting a new company immediately.  You can work your regular job and start a side business like I did.  You can make small changes in your life and gradually change your habits to work up to something bigger.  If your business takes off immediately, GREAT! If not, you have the security of a job while you grow your business.  An expedition requires small step by steps.  Just always keep in mind that nothing in this blog will make you rich overnight.  This isn’t a lottery or a gambling bet.  This is a process and a journey that takes time, focus and determination.

Say What You Do and Do What You Say

One of the most important things in life and and in business is to perform your service or create a product that will satisfy your clients.  If your service is outstanding and you follow through with what you promise your customers, two things will happen 1) they will be a customer for life and 2) you will get referrals.  Referrals and consistent business from your current clients are absolutely vital to a business.  I am good at what I do.  People love the web sites I create for them and I am very responsive (usually within hours).  In my industry, people and businesses are SUPER FLAKY so just being responsive and completing projects in a timely manner are huge reasons I have over 300 clients who pay monthly hosting and maintenance fees.  I also get a ton of referrals and repeat business from my existing clients because they know the quality they will get in a web site and the service.