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What no one tells you about running your own business


Here is what no one tells you about running your own business.

Always on the clock

Alicia and I were recently celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary in Curacao. On the day of our anniversary we held a client call. Because when you own a business, there are no days off. Every day blends between work and not-work.

Entrepreneurship is like chewing glass while staring into the abyss. The abyss fades, but the chewing glass never does. – Elon Musk

Clients won’t pay on time

Regular people have to pay their bills monthly. Clients will pay their bills whenever they damn well feel like it. That could be this month. That could be 6 months from now. Imagine not getting paid for 6 months. This is standard for businesses.

You can be fired at will

While normal employees can be fired at will as well, there are still laws that dictate the employee must be warned beforehand and given a chance to change. Your clients do not have these laws restricting their foot up your ass.

Even good things that happen can get you fired, like having your client contact be promoted. When the new contact comes in, they might just bring in a new company to work with and kick your company out.

You’ll get used to the feeling of being near-fired every week. Or you’ll not have a business anymore.


There is a stupid amount of paperwork to file every year. Forms with the government, IRS, and clients will eat up free time and energy. It never goes away and there’s no one else to do it.

15% additional income tax

Did you know that self-employment also comes with an additional 15% income tax on top of everything you already pay?

Starting a business is already one of the harder endeavors. That’s why so few people do it. Now take all the stress, long hours, and uncertainty and pay the government 15 cents more on every dollar you make.

Tax laws

Before you start a business, you’ll know next to nothing about taxes. After starting a business, you’ll quickly be an expert. You’ll know what percentage of your home is deductible, what purchasable items are deductible, and what tax breaks to take advantage of.

Yes there are a lot of deductions, but they are to help offset the ridiculous 15% self employment income tax increase. The end result is that you’ll still pay more in taxes than the average person. And in addition, it’s a lot more work.

The buck stops here

The average employee gets to say “it’s not my job!”. As the owner, everything is your job. You’re now a marketer + engineer + designer + customer service + HR + manager.

It’s not only 6x the responsibility, it’s 6x the blame.

Eat what you kill

Paul Graham calls it “default alive or default dead”. If new customers or clients are constantly coming in through the door, your business is default alive. If not, your business is doomed at some point in time.


One client fired you + Other client hasn’t paid $30K invoice + Other client numbers look terrible this quarter = oh god I fainted.

Few Mentors

People will no longer be able to relate to your problems. No shoulders to cry on. No sage advice given.

Other people get paid every two weeks like clockwork. You haven’t been paid in months.

Other people clock out and forget about work until Monday. You’re in a hotel in Mexico on your supposed vacation taking care of an emergency.

Other people complain about a co-workers drama. You’re wondering how you’ll survive this month.

No road map

There’s no instruction book. The only qualified people to teach how to succeed are busy with their own businesses.

How do you know you’re doing well? You stay in business for another month. How do you know you’re doing poorly? You’re out of business.

The only constant is change

The world is changing so fast that what was true a year ago is no longer true today (yet another reason college is a scam). Over the next few years, the taxi and trucking industry will cease to exist due to self-driving cars. The hotel industry is facing heavy competition from Airbnb. Neither travel nor real estate agents saw the writing on the wall when the internet ravaged their industries. Cable companies see dwindling subscription numbers as the public chooses Netflix and Hulu. Manufacturing is forever-gone due to advances in robotics and 3D printing.

On top of all the headaches of owning a business, you also have to change your business with the times or die.

Is starting a business right for you?

For me, it 100% was worth it. I enjoy the challenge and the ambiguity. Most people don’t.

The rewards are off the charts better than a typical office job. But that’s only if you succeed. Most people don’t. That’s why new businesses are being started at a 40-year low. It’s a hard road.

Lies Society Tells Us


Every society has lies that everyone agrees are true. They look at other cultures and think “that’s so weird!” without recognizing their own ridiculous views.

During the Salem Witch Trials, people burned women to death because of perceived sorcery. If you think society is so enlightened now, realize that people’s lives have been ruined if they dare to think outside the norm:

Here are some of the odd beliefs held today or relatively recently. Try telling these things to other people, and they might hunt you down like a Salem Witch too. Groupthink is strong.

We’ll start slow, and work our way up. I’m not trying to be a bastard by pointing these out. I’m trying to help. Many of these corrections can help you lose weight, save money, and live happier.

Lie: Smoking is healthy

There was once upon a time where smoking was seen as a healthy thing for adults to do. Science even backed it up… until people realized that the “science” was paid for by tobacco companies. Then the real evidence showed that smoking cuts ~8 years off of a person’s life.

Fun fact: smokers and obese cost the health care system LESS because they die so much earlier and suddenly.

Lie: Fruit Juice, Sports Drinks are healthy

Orange juice is experiencing a significant decline as people realize it’s nothing more than sugar water. Fruit juice of all kinds is just empty calories: just like soda pop. Drinking calories is strongly correlated with the obesity epidemic in the US.

Sports drinks are just sugar water too. “Electrolyte” is just a fancy word for sodium.

Lie: The United States is a Democracy

No I’m not talking about some conspiracy theory, I’m talking about the basic definitions of words. Did you know that the word “democracy” isn’t in the constitution? The US is a Republic: we elect officials to act on our behalf. A democracy would be if the public personally voted on every issue. Just like “literally” now means “figuratively”, the definition of the word “democracy” seems to have been lost.

Lie: Home Ownership is an Investment

Houses have not gained any value over inflation in the past 100 years. There is simply no way to prove mathematically that your personal home makes money. The people telling you that they are good investments are the same people selling the house/loan to you.

Lie: Having sex with a virgin cures HIV/AIDS

Some college friends did a study-abroad in Africa. They said it was a very common belief there that having sex with a virgin would cure the disease. Very sad.

Lie: Cardio is how you lose weight

You lose weight in the kitchen, you get fit in the gym.

An hour on the treadmill burns 500 calories. That’s the same amount calories in a Starbucks latte that takes 5 minutes to consume. You can’t outrun a bad diet.

Lie: 220 lbs for a 6 foot tall male is normal

Look at the pictures of me on the site. I’m 185 lbs, 6 feet tall. Wherever I go outside the US, I’m the fattest guy there. The US is so big that our idea of what’s “normal” is warped.

220 lbs at 6 feet tall is obese on the BMI scale.

Lie: Insurance helps

Go back and look at how much money you’ve spent in home/health/car/other insurance over the years. It’s a lot.

Now go back and add up all the money you’ve received from it. It’s… a lot less.

I think I got a few hundred dollars off some dentist visits. But I’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars. To get nothing. People use insurance these days as a cash-flow smoother because they can’t afford a $500 surprise payment. But for that protection, they pay several hundred dollars more per month. For nothing.

When you make a claim, first you have to pay the deductible before insurance pays anything. Then your insurance goes up because you’re now high risk.

How to save money without feeling broke gives some advice on how to handle insurance.

Lie: Cellphones/Food Chemicals/Cleaning Chemicals cause cancer

Simple proof of why these are nonsense: 20-30 year-olds aren’t getting cancer despite using these products for decades. If the additives in food really caused cancer, then we’d see a big jump in young people getting it. But we don’t. It’s still [generally] people over 50 and with a family history of it that get cancer.

Between 2003 and 2012 overall cancer incidence rates continued to decrease among men and remain stable among women.”

While incidence rates of cancer among children have gone up, it’s statistically insignificant: 16 cases for every 100,000 children in 1985 vs 18 cases per 100,000 people in 2012. Assuming an overestimate of 100 million children in the US, 200 extra incidents of child cancer exist per year (with an 80% survival rate).

Lie: Steroids are a miracle drug to becoming fit

People think you can get these bodies by magic if you take steroids, and it’s ridiculous. Steroids allow you to work out longer and recover faster (so you can work out even more!). Becoming that lean to see the muscle striations takes extreme care in eating habits. Getting bodybuilder physiques requires insane dedication.

Lie: College is necessary to succeed

College is a scam. Don’t be mad about this, I’m just the messenger. And I fell for it too, if that makes you feel better.

Most college degrees are useless. Colleges have saddled a generation with debt that will follow them for decades, and gave nothing in return. There are more ways to make money than ever before.

Lie: Rich don’t pay taxes

The top 1% pay almost 50% of all income tax while the bottom 60% of wage earners are expected to pay 2% of all income tax.

Alicia and I are taxed at 47% of every dollar we earn. We cut checks to the government that are more than people make in a year. Refund check? What’s that?

CEO’s especially are underpaid.

Lie: Teachers are underpaid

From the bureau of labor statistics:

  • Engineering professions: $83,000/year
  • Teaching professions: $53,000/9 months, $70,000/year
  • Health Care practioners: $77,000/year
  • Computer and Mathematical operations: $86,000/year
  • Business and Financial operations: $73,000/year
  • Sales: $39,000/year
  • Personal Care: $26,000/year
  • Protective Services: $44,000/year

Prorated to a yearly salary, teachers are among the highest paid professionals in the country, right there with Doctors, Engineers, and Programmers.

Before the teachers among you can scream “teachers work more than that!”, I’ll remind you that every other profession works unpaid overtime as well. My dad says that in the hospital ER, they hire the interns that have to be told when to leave work or they wouldn’t. I lived in the office for a month to complete a project.

Lie: 2008 Financial Crisis was all Wall Street’s fault

The fault is 50/50 with Wall Street and the American people. Wall Street collapsed because people didn’t pay back their loans. Was Wall Street guilty of giving people loans that shouldn’t have gotten them? Absolutely! But the people took on loans they couldn’t possibly afford.

ARM Loans and interest-only loans never made sense in the past 10 years which have seen historically low interest rates. If the interest rate is at historic lows (and it was, and is), then you have to lock in because there was nowhere to go but up! It’s an amazingly simple concept that people failed to grasp. And it destroyed people’s lives, and the economy.

Lie: mutual funds or picking stocks are good investments

Warren Buffet has a bet since 2008 that a simple index fund (like the Vanguard Index) will always beat a managed fund or stock picking. The reason is because a managed fund has management fees to take out. Picking stocks doesn’t work because the average investor is woefully under-informed compared to the competition. If you think you can compete picking individual stocks, remember that Congress can legally do insider trades. The system is rigged against the individual.

No mutual fund has ever beaten the market over a 10 year period. Ever. Two thirds of mutual funds won’t beat the market in any given year. Go look at your retirement account and realize with horror how much money you’ve been throwing away.

Lie: Macs are better than PCs

Apple computers run on PC hardware using a free Linux operating system. Apple developed none of it. They just slapped their logo on the box. It’s all marketing. To get that Apple logo and a computer that will run a tiny fraction of all available programs, you have to pay a 30%+ up-charge.

Apple computers are a weird religion.


I’m sure there’s more lies that society told me that I still believe. It’s hard to figure out because these lies have been told to us since birth. And people get emotionally attached to the lies. The lies become part of who we are as a person. Once someone starts saying things like “I’m a Ford guy” or “I’m a [political party]”, they emotionally attach themselves to that position. Then it becomes a heated debate void of all logic on silly topics like “Ford vs Chevy”, “Paleo vs Atkins”, or anything sports.

Let go of emotional attachment to the lies. Just be you.

How did the media get the 2016 election so wrong? Easy, they lied to us


How did the media get the 2016 presidential election so wrong? Easy. They lied to us.

The most common trick the media pulled in 2016 was to over-sample registered Democrats to create a story. Democrats will tend to vote for Clinton and Republicans will tend to vote Trump. By asking more people that will likely vote for Clinton their preference, you will get a poll showing her winning.

The US population is 29% registered Republican, 33% registered Democrat, and 38% Independent (according to 2012 post election data). But when you look at the polling methodology, the polls will have 45% Democrat, 25% Republican, and 30% Independent. Of course Clinton looks like she’s ahead in those polls! But they don’t reflect real life turnout, as seen by the results of the election.


Here’s a user that takes polling data directly from reuters.com and draws conclusions.

Click for Large

What does the graph say in simple English?

The red and blue lines track Trump and Clinton, respectively.

The green line is the percent difference between the number of Democrats and Republicans. The higher the green line is, the more Democrats they put in the poll to make Clinton’s numbers go up. As the green line goes, so does the blue line.

So why does the green line rise and dip? Why wouldn’t the pollsters keep the polls the same to be factually accurate? Because the media wanted to construct stories about Clinton or Trump rising or falling in the polls!

Democratic Convention “bump”

On the far left of the graph, we can see the green line is at 0. This means the polls are roughly reflecting reality of equal parts Democrat and Republican. Look and see that Trump was winning when the polls weren’t skewed. Trump was ahead the entire time!

The Democratic National Convention was held from 7-25 to 7-28. Look what the pollsters did: they started wildly oversampling Democratic voters to make it look like Hillary was pulling away.

The opinion of the general population didn’t change. The pollsters just started asking more Democrats who they’d vote for. Because they wanted to create a story about Clinton winning.

First Presidential Debate: 9-26-16

Again, the oversampling stops right before the debate because the media wants to create a story where Clinton scored a resounding debate win over Trump.

Pollsters pulled their polls or didn’t show their polls when Trump was far ahead

Reuters had a poll up on election day showing Trump up by 6 points (his soon-to-be margin of victory). They pulled down not only that day, but all days back to November 1st. Why 11/1? Because that was the last day Clinton was winning in their polls.

RealClearPolitics.com simply refused to update their polls if Trump was winning. So there were months-old polls still up by election day. And these months-old polls showed Clinton winning.

2012 vs 2016 Primary Turnout

Presidential primary turnout is a great indicator of general election turnout. It has been an accurate predictor of the past several elections.

Republican turnout was up 62%. Democrat turnout was down 21%. And yet every pollster still thought that grossly oversampling Democrats was a good idea.

TheGatewayPundit.com corrected for increased Republican enthusiasm in the polls and found Trump easily winning. The truth was always right in front of us, but the pollsters hid it.

Two weeks before the election, the polls mysteriously went from +12 Clinton to +2 Clinton

ABC News:

From a 50-38 percent Clinton lead over Donald Trump […] it’s a 47-45 percent contest in the latest results.


This was several days before FBI Director Comey re-opened the felony case against Clinton, so it couldn’t be that. In a week of zero new news, Clinton bizarrely collapsed in the polls. This isn’t possible.

It was pollsters trying to salvage their post-election reputation because they knew Trump would win. They all unskewed the polls because they saw the writing on the wall. If Trump won with a +2 Clinton lead and a margin of error of +-3, then the pollsters could claim it was just chance and that their methods correctly accounted for it. But Trump winning after showing all the polls +12 for Clinton would destroy their professional credibility.

Why did the media do this?

They are bought and paid for. Here is the Clinton campaign asking for poll over-samples to use in released WikiLeaks emails. WikiLeaks has a perfect 10 year reputation for only releasing verified true material.

The following links are a tiny sample of how the Clinton campaign was working closely with the media, telling the media what to report,

The only thing @NateSilver538 and @FiveThirtyEight got right about Trump all election season

Check the date of this tweet.

Newspaper endorsements for Trump: 1
Newspaper endorsements for Clinton: 41

Newspapers were in on the take too.

The same people that rigged the polls were the same people disparaging Donald Trump 

The media already lied to us about the polls. We all saw the election.

(Like this post? You’d love my book Meme Magic: How Stupid Pictures of Badly Drawn Frogs Influenced the 2016 Election)

How does Donald Trump win?


How does Donald Trump win? The media portrays him as a bumbling moron. But he keeps on winning, so there must be something to his success. This isn’t a political post, it’s a human behavior investigation. Please put down your pitchforks. You can still hate him and enjoy reading.

Many people say Donald Trump is lucky rather than talented. But it seems pretty hard to believe that he got incredibly lucky at all these things:

  • becoming a billionaire
  • best selling author several times over
  • have a hit TV show that ran for 15 seasons straight
  • raise a good family
  • overthrow the Republicans/Democrats/Special Interests/Media arrayed against him all at once
Honestly, I just like the goofy over-the-top symbolism of this image. Both sides of the political spectrum can get pretty fervent over their candidates.

Does anyone really believe that someone could be that lucky? Over 40+ years? There are less than 3,000 billionaires in the world at any given time (out of 7 billion people), there are less than 10,000 authors with multiple best sellers, a few hundred TV shows that have lasted over a decade, and he’s the only person to win against the entirety of the main stream media and political machine determined to take him down. It seems unlikely that it’s luck.

Hijacking the media

A study done in March 2016 suggested that Donald Trump received 2 billion dollars in free media. Traditional politicians have to pay, but he gets it free? But the media hates him! How does he do it? Trump actually tells us in his 1987 book, The Art of the Deal.

…if you are a little different, or a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you. – Donald Trump, The Art of the Deal (1987)

The media is always hungry for a story. Trump gives them endless things to write about. First he takes the facts. Then he layers on 20% bravado.

The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. – DONALD TRUMP, THE ART OF THE DEAL (1987)

Let’s see how this works in practice:

How much is Donald Trump worth?

Warning: NSFW language in the video below.

Donald Trump has said he’s worth $5 billion, $7 billion, and $10 billion. In the same month. That seems weird, right? But he does this all the time and we’re going to see why he does it. His critics will claim that he’s just a pathological liar, but the reality is that Donald Trump needs his critics to spread his message. He uses his critics as his free media machine!

There are 47 million Google results for the search “how much is Donald Trump worth“. I haven’t seen a single article agreeing with his estimate of being worth $10 billion. Not one. And that’s the point! $10 billion is too high on purpose!

Here’s why it works.

No one on the planet cares if he’s worth $5 billion or $10 billion. It’s like arguing who is the better quarterback: Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. While the discussion might keep you and your buddies entertained for 20 minutes, at the end of the day it’s a pointless discussion around two all-time greats. In this case, all anyone remembered after the discussion was that Donald Trump was rich and running for president.

Here’s how powerful that is:

I first heard about Donald Trump from a friend (Democrat) talking about how Trump wasn’t worth $10 billion. At the time I couldn’t even have named a single Republican candidate running. And there were 17 of them. Someone who would never vote Trump was spreading Trump’s message.

Then Alicia and I went to New Zealand and Thailand for Q1 2016. They were talking about Donald Trump’s net worth! Jeb Bush had spent $150 million on his campaign by this point and dropped out before I even knew he was running. Donald Trump had spent nothing and hijacked the MSM to tell the entire world he was running for president. Just by saying “10” instead of a realistic “5”.

His message was spread by the people who either would not or could not vote for him.

If you have talked about, shared, or liked any article talking about how Donald Trump isn’t worth $10 billion: congratulations! You were working for the Trump campaign and you didn’t even know it.

Trump secured the most primary votes in GOP history, against 16 opponents, and was 8th place in total spending.

“Fact Checking”

The media hates Donald Trump with a white hot flame and is quick to point out any of his  inaccuracies. Just like no one cares about $5 billion vs $10 billion, Trump creates mini controversies to get the press to report on what he wants to talk about.

Trump has said Hillary Clinton has used acid, bleach, and hammers to destroy the 33,000 emails that the FBI wanted for evidence in a criminal investigation. Just like he said 5, 7, and 10, Trump gave three different ways Hillary destroyed evidence. On purpose. But only one could be correct.

Here’s what happened: he got “fact-checked” by the media who thinks they are smarter than him.

Did you catch that? By “fact checking” the specific process, NBC News told the world that Hillary Clinton was guilty of destroying evidence! By purposely being wrong on the details of how she destroyed it, Trump hijacked the media to talk about the crimes Clinton committed.

Here’s another one: Trump claimed ISIS was “founded” by Obama and Clinton. The premise is obviously hyperbole. But the media loves to talk about how Trump is a dummy and they are so smart. So the media spent a week discussing how it was wrong. Here’s the problem: by talking about it, the media reinforced to the country how ISIS didn’t even exist until Syria was destabilized by the Obama and Clinton administration. Not a single person believed that Obama and Clinton literally founded ISIS, but the media made it national news that the largest terror threat to our country happened on Obama and Clinton’s watch. That was the point. Scott Adams has a great article on it.

Tone it down as the media ramps it up.

When everything is quiet, Trump is outrageous. Then the people around him (and the media) get amped up and start saying crazy things. That’s when Trump pulls it back. What happens is that the average person hears all these things about Trump and decides to check into a rally or speech. What do they see? A perfectly normal, if bombastic, person. Not nearly the devil the media portrayed him to be. At that point, the viewer realized the media lied to them (more on this later).

Back in March, the media had gotten so worked up that they were saying Trump was “literally Hitler”. So Trump pulled it back. Viewers didn’t see “literally Hitler”. Viewers were probably disappointed to see a normal person.


Would “literally Hitler” let Jimmy Fallon do this? Of course not. And that was the point of why Trump let Fallon embarrass him on national TV.

The second debate saw Donald return with the energy after showing people he could turn up or turn down his personality at will.

Confirmation Bias

Human brains are wired to see things we want to see. An example of this similar to “glass half-full vs glass half-empty”.

What most people don’t realize is that you can prime someone to see things they wouldn’t normally see. For example, the next time you are driving in your car you will see a yellow car or truck and think of this article. It will just pop into your head. You won’t be trying to look for a yellow vehicle and then remember I said this, but it will happen. You’ve been primed.

Trump says the media are liars. This is priming people’s minds to look for the media lying. And the media has printed many lies about him. Not everything the media has said about him is wrong, of course. But when a person recognizes the media is grossly mis-portraying Trump (“literally Hitler!”), the person remembers Trump saying the media would lie about him. Then the person is more inclined to believe Trump over the media.

Here’s how fast that can affect things: CNN went from #1 to #16 in ratings in the span of a month. People are leaving in droves after they have been primed to spot the lies. Now the people follow the person who helped them spot the lies: Donald Trump.

When Trump said that he could shoot someone and not lose voters, it’s because people have been insulated to ignore whatever the media says about him. The boy cried “wolf” too many times.


Our minds tend to remember something if it’s new.

“Low Energy” Jeb(!) stuck in everyone’s minds because it hadn’t been said before in the political spectrum. And next to Donald’s wild hand gestures, Jeb looked pretty tame. The voters couldn’t picture Jeb standing up for them when the times were tough.

“Build the Wall” was simple, catchy, and repeatable. “Drain the Swamp” is similar. They are new phrases never used before in politics. Trump was running against 16 opponents and needed catchy positions. Does anyone remember a policy by Carly Fiorina or Ted Cruz? I don’t.

Talking past the sale

“We’re going to build a wall, and make Mexico pay for it.”

This is a typical car salesman trick. By talking about the color of the car, the buyer isn’t focusing on whether or not they actually should buy the car. They instead imagine the car as already theirs, which warms them up to the idea of purchasing it.

How powerful is this? It took Obama 6 years to convince the country to pass Obamacare. It took a month or two to convince the country that a wall would be built if Trump is president.

If you think this would never work on a world leader, well, you’re wrong. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox spoke about how “Mexico wouldn’t pay for that fucking wall“. Even funnier, a month later Fox apologized to Trump and said there would be a compromise on the wall. The current Mexican president suggested Mexico might even build it themselves.


Reframing is adding new information to make people look at old information differently.

As Trump says in Art of the Deal:

When a reporter asks why I build only for the rich, I note that the rich aren’t the only ones who benefit from my buildings. I explain that I put thousands of people to work who might otherwise be collecting unemployment, and that I add to the city’s tax base every time I build a new project.

The story changed from “Trump only builds for the elite” to “Trump employs thousands of people”. That’s reframing, and Donald does it all the time to deflect criticism.


“Make America Great Again” is pretty hard to twist into a negative. People have tried saying America was never great, but no one believes that.

On the other hand, the Clinton campaign has changed their slogan around quite a few times because the Trump campaign kept blowing them up. Finally they settled on “I’m with Her”. At his next rally, Trump said: “I’m with you“. This makes “I’m with Her” look self-serving in comparison.

You can still hate Trump if you want

He’s loud, outrageous, and has offended more people than I can list in this space. Maybe you hate his policies. Maybe you don’t like these techniques. But I don’t think he is simply “lucky”. And he’s certainly no buffoon.

If you underestimated him, don’t worry. So did everyone else in the video below.

(Like this post? You’d love my book Meme Magic: How Stupid Pictures of Badly Drawn Frogs Influenced the 2016 Election)

CEO’s are dangerously underpaid

The image of CEO's as evil scammers is everywhere. Above: The Wolf of Wall Street.

I read that some CEO’s get 500 times more than the lowest paid employee. That’s outrageous! CEO compensation should be 10,000 times more than the lowest paid employee. CEO’s are dangerously underpaid.

The image of CEO’s as evil scammers is everywhere. Above: The Wolf of Wall Street.


I lead a pretty good life. Travel all over the world, stockpile of money, limitless options to what I can do. Right now, I can do ~50 different jobs that make 6 figures per year, without additional training. I know several dozen different programming languages/frameworks, multiple advertising channels, professional gambling, and normal things like sales.

And CEO’s have me beat by a mile.

Some CEO’s have a broad range of top-tier skills, while others are the top 0.1% in their field. Elon Musk is known for doing an engineers job for them if he’s unsatisfied with the work (and then fires the employee). Steve Jobs was involved with almost every facet of designing the Mac, right down to the typography.

90% of new businesses fail because the owner has to do everything at the beginning: accounting, marketing, HR, development, IT, etc. The learning curve is really high. But the average employee will always say things like “That’s not my job”. A CEO doesn’t have that luxury. They have to do 7 jobs at once. And that’s why they get paid like it.


An Uber driver asked my opinion on college. College [itself] is a scam, but there’s one redeeming factor: networking. It was worth a lot to my career that I was surrounded by people who would later go on to work for companies scattered around the country. Getting jobs and clients from your network is a very real thing. Was paying six figures for a network worth it? Doubtful, but it’s certainly a bonus.

Even if a CEO isn’t right for the job, their network alone can be worth it to the company. Tesla and SpaceX recruit the top talent out of colleges because it’s cool to work for Elon Musk. Mark Zuckerberg could bring limitless value to a company just by introducing them to government officials around the world. Kanye West and his wife can bring worldwide legitimacy to a brand just by Tweeting about it.

A normal person might ask a friend of theirs to help them move.


The average person refuses to quit the job they hate. So they work 40 years in a terrible career, self-medicating with drugs. That’s how much normal people avoid risk. Most people throw away their entire lives rather than try something new.

The average person is scared to ask that guy or girl out on a date for fear of being embarrassed for 30 seconds. Embarrassment isn’t even real. It’s a tiny chemical reaction in your brain. You can’t even prove that your embarrassment exists. But it stops people from doing anything remotely interesting with their lives.

CEO’s try new things all the time. And when it doesn’t work out, they get dragged through the mud after being unceremoniously fired. And then the CEO gets up, dusts themselves off, and gets immediately rehired because 99% of people hate taking risks and doing new things is what it takes to succeed.


The gym is filled in January and empty by March. All of the “New Year’s Resolution” people fail before they even get started.

The average working career is 40+ years. Why not spend 5-10 of them trying new things to make sure the other 30 years are stellar? Very few people are willing to commit several years to something that might not work out. But here’s what happens: the time passes anyway and these people who never tried are in the exact same spot.

Amazon.com has never been profitable. Yes they do a lot of business volume, but the profit the company makes is put back into the company. They are on a 20 year timeline to profitability.

Elon Musk wants to go to Mars. His companies Tesla and SolarCity, which won’t have made a profit in their first 10 years of existence, are merely stepping stones to exploring space. It’ll take another 20 years to get colonies on Mars.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, works 16 hour days. 8 hours at Twitter and then 8 hours at Square. Neither company is profitable or looks to be profitable in the future. He’s been doing this for 10+ years.

CEO’s have 10, 20, and 30 year plans where they devote their entire lives to the cause. The average person can’t use a treadmill a few times a week for a couple months.

“What would you do with a million dollars?”

If you answered “two chicks at the same time” or “invest and live off the interest” then you will never be rich by your own efforts. The people that have money are constantly working, improving, and pushing themselves. We lived in one of the richest areas of Minnesota (Lake Minnetonka), and the lights on all the houses were dark at night. Those expensive lake shore properties rarely threw parties or saw the boats get used. Because the owners of those million dollar homes were always working.

It’s popular to hate on CEO’s

The world is better than it has ever been in human history, by any metric: health, wealth, or peace. CEO’s like Elon Musk are solving the energy problem by converting cars and homes to solar. CEO’s like Bill Gates are curing Polio and Malaria. CEO’s like Steve Jobs gave the average person with a smartphone more computing power in the palm of their hand than the entire world had in 1980.

Do you really think these people are underpaid?

Fear Isn’t Useful

That little purple guy is an asshole. Kick him out of the group.

Fear isn’t useful in modern society. It helped our ancestors survive tiger attacks and that’s why we have it. Non-fearful people got eaten. But now tigers are in the zoo, and we are afraid of ghosts.

That little purple guy is an asshole. Kick him out of the group. (Inside Out, Pixar, Disney Pictures)

What is fear?

Fear is a tiny chemical reaction in your brain. It’s gone in a few seconds. You can’t even prove your fear is real. No one can touch it, see it, or hear it. To other people, your fear is literally imaginary.

Yet this thing that doesn’t even exist stops people from living the lives they want.

I can destroy your fear from across the internet

Think of the thing you fear the most. It could be death of you or a loved one, embarrassment, not living up to your potential, whatever. Concentrate on it for a moment and feel it.

Got it? Feel the fear?

Now spend 2 minutes here and come back.

Your fear is gone. Sure you can summon that fear again by concentrating on it, but why would you do that? Any time you feel the triggers of fear, steer your brain to something else. Wallowing in your fear doesn’t help anything.

How to solve your fear: plan for the worst case scenario

Our brains like to fantasize about what COULD happen. But reality is actually quite boring. If we plan for the worst case scenario, we can stop our brains from creating horror movies in our minds.

Example: Ask that guy/girl out on a date.

Our brain starts the horror movie:

  • I’ll get turned down
  • He/she will laugh at me
  • He/she will laugh at me with all their friends and co-workers
  • He/she will tell my boss and I’ll get fired
  • I’ll be depressed forever
  • Can’t get a job because of depression
  • Cats, lots of cats to comfort sorrows
  • Die

Here’s what will actually happen if you get turned down: small chemical reaction in the brain makes you blush and feel like a dumbshit for 2 minutes and a few future conversions with this person will be slightly awkward. The End.

See? Reality is so fucking boring. That’s why your brain tries to liven it up with make-believe of how your life will be destroyed forever because you think someone is attractive.

But what about the upside? What if that person said Yes and you spend the rest of your life with them? Alicia turned me down the first time I asked her out. I would have missed out on my life partner because of a tiny chemical imbalance in my head.

What are you missing out on because of something that doesn’t even exist?

Inside Out memory balls
Here, Joy is looking at all of the thousands of chemical reactions that happened THAT DAY. Chemical imbalances happen when you eat, sleep, talk with someone, or actually do anything. And one of these little things is stopping you? (Inside Out, Pixar, Disney Pictures)

Here’s another one where you quit your job to pursue another job/career/company.

The horror movie starts in your head:

  • New job doesn’t work out
  • Never find employment again
  • Spouse leaves you
  • Children disown you
  • Heroin addiction
  • Cats, lots of cats to comfort sorrows
  • Die

The boring reality of the situation is that if the new job fails, maybe you’ll have to move in with your parents for a few months while things get sorted out. There’s literally billions of jobs out there and you need ONE. But our brains prefer to dream up ridiculous nonsense.

And consider the upside: what if things work out and your dreams come true? Our brains frequently leave out this part.

Baby steps

Another way to kill fear is to expose yourself to it. Slowly.

I had really bad social anxiety when I was a teen and early 20’s. Like I would wait to walk 50 feet to the bathroom until the hall was empty because making eye contact with people in the hall was too much for me. A few years later, I’d be able to meet people anytime, anywhere. There were a few steps in between.

I started small. I’d walk around the Mall of America making eye contact with women. At work I’d speak up in small groups to get practice speaking in front of an audience. When I first started, I’d blush so hard I could feel the heat radiating from my face. But every time got easier because my mind couldn’t keep making up horror movies. There was too much evidence that everything would turn out fine and my mind was overreacting. The blushing stopped. The fear went away.

Do something tiny every day to whittle away at your fears.

On the other side of fear lies everything you want in life

What you’ll eventually come to realize is that fear is a spice. Roller coasters wouldn’t be fun if they didn’t feel dangerous. Some of the best memories you have right now are when you felt the fear and did it anyway.

Now I chase fear, risk, and pain because I know fear is an indicator of where the good stuff is. We got rid of our house, rental property, and stable lives. Do I know what is going to happen in the next few years? Not even remotely… and that’s why it’s fun.

Fear kept early humans alive from tiger attacks. But today’s tigers are Paper Tigers. It’s an ancient Chinese saying that implies something is scary on the surface, but in reality is completely harmless.

College is a scam, and Kanye West figured it out first


With record unemployment, skyrocketing tuition, and stagnating wages, America has finally learned that college is a scam. But if you were paying attention, Kanye West called it out first back in 2004 with his debut album: College Dropout.


“The name of my album is called The College Dropout,” [Kanye] said of his debut. “All that’s saying is make your own decisions. Don’t let society tell you, ’This is what you have to do.’”
– Interview with MTV

Tuition went crazy high

Everyone believed that you needed college to get a good job. So the government started giving out huge amounts of money for college… with a catch: you could never get rid of that college debt by bankruptcy. So colleges knew they had what people thought was necessary, billions of dollars from the government, and the students had to pay it back no matter what. So colleges jacked up the price. Prices rose 300-400% over ten years.

What were people going to do? NOT go to college? All the successful people before them had gone to college. But people didn’t realize yet that the internet changed everything (more on this in a moment).

The actual degrees are useless

This nigga graduated at the top our class.  I went to Cheesecake, he was a motherfucking waiter there.
– School Spirit

A liberal arts, humanities, or gender studies degree qualifies you for a job at Starbucks. Ask the barista what their degree is in, and it’s almost never Computer Science or Engineering. Colleges are pretending like all degrees are equally valuable. Art degree graduates only make 29% more than high school diploma holders while engineering grads make 138% of what high school grads do.

But everyone knew liberal arts degrees were useless. Here’s a quip from the Simpsons in 2000 that shows society wasn’t totally in the dark about terrible majors:
Dr. Hibbert:  Your playing days are over, my friend. But, you can always fall back on your degree in…
[reads chart]
Dr. Hibbert: communications? Oh, dear Lord!
Anton Lubchenko: I know! Is phony major. Lubchenko learn nothing. Nothing!
No one cares about your college experience

Not a single person cares about your college experience after you get a “real job”. Even in our language, we refer to life after college as the “real world” because we all know college is nonsense.

As Kanye puts it:

after all the partying and crazing,
And don’t forget about that drug habit you picked up at school being around your peers!

– School Spirit (skit 1)

I’m 37. If I ever mentioned what I learned in college to a prospective client or employer, they’d rightly laugh me out of the room. No employer wants to hear about where you lost your virginity.

And it’s not just because that was 15 years ago either. I could talk about a programming project I had at my first programming job to illustrate how experienced I was.

Colleges love to sell the idea that you need even MORE college to succeed

You pick up all those books that you’re gonna read and not remember
And you keep it rolling man
You get that associates degree, okay?
Then you get your bachelor’s degree
Then you get your masters
Then you get your masters, masters
Then you get your doctrine
– School Spirit (Skit 2)

“But you need college to make money!”

  • Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft: Dropped out of college
  • Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook: Dropped out of college
  • Steve Jobs, Found of Apple: Dropped out of college
  • Jack Dorsey, Founder of Twitter: Dropped out of college
  • Mark Cuban, Owner of Dallas Mavericks: Never went to college
  • Daymond John, CEO of FUBU: Never went to college
  • Evan Spiegel, CEO/co-founder of Snapchat: Dropped out of college
  • Kanye West: Dropped out of college

Sure some people went to college and succeeded. See if you can spot the trend:

  • Peter Thiel, Co-founder of PayPal: B.A. Philosophy
  • Elon Musk, Founder of Tesla: B.S. Physics
  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Founders of Google: B.S. Computer Science
  • Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon: B.S. Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
  • Brian Acton, Co-founder of WhatsApp: B.S. Computer Science
  • Pierre Omidyar, Founder of eBay: B.S. Computer Science

That’s right, our economy is run by college dropouts and computer nerds.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) degrees are the only kind of degrees that are useful. For all the rest, read a book.

I’m going to get super smart, so I, too, can die without money.
But I’ll be the smartest dead guy! When I’m dead, know what’s gonna keep me warm? That’s right, those degrees
– Lil’ Jimmy (Skit)

So how do you fix college?

The easiest way to fix college: let people declare bankruptcy. Tuition will come back down and the worst colleges will die off. And this solution is literally free to the country and takes 5 minutes for a vote in Congress. But it won’t happen because the dirty politicians got paid to implement these rules in the first place.

That leaves us, the people, with only one option: stop going to college unless it’s for a STEM degree. Your general education is available on the internet for a tiny fraction of the price. You can do anything because of the internet. Even get paid for drinking beer.

As Kanye says, you just have to pick up leave behind what is broken. And don’t look back.

Now let’s go, take them back to the plan.
Me and my Momma hopped in that U-haul van.  Any pessimists I ain’t talk to them, plus I ain’t have no phone in my apart-a-ment.
– Touch the Sky

And if your alma mater has the brass balls to call you and beg for money, lay into those fuckers. Colleges cheated an entire generation out of their future. And Kanye West knew it first.

Want to Get Paid for Drinking Beer?

This wouldn't even rank in the top 100 most ridiculous ways of getting paid.

Yes you can get paid for drinking beer. Don’t believe me? It wouldn’t be the most ridiculous way people make money. Not even close. Let’s look at a tiny portion of the ways people make money before I tell you how.

Tucker Max is an asshole. He says it right on his book, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. It’s a collection of stories of Tucker being a bastard in every way possible. It became a best seller.

This wouldn’t even rank in the top 100 most ridiculous ways of getting paid.

Jackass is a movie where they kick each other in the balls and drink horse semen. It started as a group of skateboarders screwing around, daring each other to do stupid things, and laughing at each other’s physical pain. They recorded the idiocy on video and it would later be picked up and broadcast.

Grumpy Cat is just a house cat with a sad looking face on him. The owners created video of this cat and posted in on YouTube. They made so much money that they quit their jobs. The goddamn cat has an agent.

EL James, creator of 50 Shades of Grey, started out by writing erotic Twilight fan fiction. Fantasizing about Edward lead her to a net worth of $90 million.

@TweetofGod is a Twitter account that was made into a Broadway play.

@ShitMyDadSays is a Twitter account that was made into a book and a short-run TV show starring William Shatner.

Fashion Instagram bloggers are people that Alicia worked with while at Target. They’d pick out clothes in the store, go to the dressing room, try them on, take selfies, and post them in Instagram. And not even buy the clothes! These people make 6 figures and are flown to fashion shows around the world.

Video games are an endless ecosystem. Pick any popular game and there will be streamers, fan websites, strategy websites, coaching, professional players, and mod creators. When that video game goes stale, move your audience to next game of the year.

Bloggers of all types make their living online. Mommy blogs, DIY blogs, Investing blogs, Travel blogs, and I even heard that some sites on the internet are about sex. Pick your interest and I guarantee there’s an audience out there no matter how ridiculous you think it is. Like underwater basket weaving.

I spent 2.5 years as a professional online poker player. It paid for Alicia’s wedding ring, her BMW x5, and our destination wedding to Aruba with a $1,000 subsidy to each of the groomsman/bridesmaids.

Don’t like poker? Why not try sports betting? Heck, there are even professionals playing fantasy sports.

If you like socially acceptable gambling and not being treated like a heroine-addicted-child molesting-reject, think of becoming a day trader. Yes the stock market is gambling. Take it from me, a former professional gambler.

The Starters are a TV show on the NBA channel who started as a simple podcast. They did the podcast daily for years, eventually getting paid for their work by websites. And later, the NBA itself.

Jenna Marbles creates girly videos on YouTube and makes millions per year. Topics include makeup, boys, and “OMG” stories.

PewDiePie plays video games and uploads them to YouTube. He’s the most watched YouTuber. In 2014 he made 8 million dollars.

Ken M is a professional online troll. He goes to comment sections of websites and tries to trick people into stupid arguments for his enjoyment. This started his writing career and now in addition to writing for Comedy Central and other websites, he was named one of the 30 most influential people on the internet by TIME magazine.

Andy Samburg and his Lonely Island crew started out on YouTube. He’s since gone to SNL, starred in movies, and has a TV show called Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Justin Bieber made his debut on YouTube and a producer clicked on his video by accident.

E-Books have broken the rules of traditional publishing. It’s easy to release a title on Amazon or other online book sites with minimal effort.

Etsy is a way to make arts and crafts without having to worry about the hassle of setting up a website.

StichFix is a company that gives fashion advice for people. Think you have an eye for fashion? Become a consultant and work from home!

Mythbusters were just a group of guys that liked blowing things up.

Vine NBA parody guy makes short videos mimicking professional NBA players. These 15 second videos pull in 6 figures.

Rick Steves put out TV shows on public access for years before taking off as the travel authority online.

Reaction Videos are simple video blogs where the user is commenting or ranting on a particular phenomenon. Yes people make a living at this.

Online stores are just that. Selling things. Go to Shopify and set one up for yourself. Like selling offensive T-shirts few people will have the guts/stupidity to wear in public? That exists.

SEM/SEO/Social Marketing are skills that are desperately in need by companies, but you can’t go to college for them. Learn about them online and then try them for yourself.

A British teen makes tens of thousands of dollars helping Chinese parents name their babies.

Amazon has professional book reviewers. They wrote so many reviews that companies pay them to read and review their books.

Web comics flourish without the traditional newspapers. Can’t draw? No problem. Not funny but you can draw? Sure.

EatWith is a site for hosting people in your home and cooking for them. Like your own private restaurant.

Take a few years off and teach English in foreign countries. Easy job in exotic locations.

Airbnb lets you rent out empty rooms [you weren’t using anyway] to travelers.

Tripadvisor tours are great ways to give a service in your town. Wine tours, pub crawls, walking tours, fishing tours, historical tours, boat tours, whatever.

Upwork/eLance are freelancer sites to sell your services to people.

Copy writing has become fashionable with digital nomads.

Subscription boxes are small packages that arrive every month in the mail with a new thing to try. There are shaving clubs, wine boxes, candy, BarkBoxes for your dog, and more.

Mike Cernovich has become a media personality with nothing more than a website and Twitter.

Fiverr is a place for people to do their ridiculous skills for others at a low cost of $5. Are you an attractive woman who will record a 5 second video for someone? Great, you just made $5 for doing practically nothing. And you can include a $50 add-on where you will blow a kiss to the viewer. Or blow up a balloon with a message on it that explodes.

Mr Moustache found out how anyone can retire at 30, just by using math.

Buzzfeed is a $100 million dollar company that spews “listicles”. You know, the Top 6 Ways Peanut Butter Will Cause Your Death? That crap.

Programmers will always have jobs, so learn for free at CodeAcademy.com. Gain experience by building stuff and submitting bug fixes to open source projects.

OK, so people make money in all kinds of ways

Here’s something you probably didn’t catch: the above costs almost nothing to start. The device you’re using to read this probably has a camera on it and is connected to the internet. That’s all you need to start on one of the above.

So I hope you can see that almost anything is possible.

What else is required?


It will probably take a long time to show results for your effort. The downside is that to become world class at something, you need to spend 10,000 hours on it. That’s a lot of time. The upside is that many skills are transferable and you probably have put a lot of time towards your activity anyway. For example, all that time I wasted debating people on forums over video games drastically helped my writing. As did time spent writing memos in my office job. All the time I spent writing on this blog, Reddit, Twitter, or Facebook also helps my email communication to clients. All the activities I choose to do improves my skill at writing. I suspect you have a talent or hobby that you’ve kept for awhile and are similarly good at. Start there.

Gaining a following will take more time than you’d like. There’s no simple or single route to success other than keeping at it and trying new ways to get your message out there. Sorry. The best advice I can give here it to read Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk. Most people try to close the sale (right hooks) with everything they do and forget that providing value to people (jabs) is actually the more important part.

Next up, courage. People will look at you differently for breaking tradition. They may even look down on you. Others will tell you that you “have” to do this and “have” to do that. You don’t. Take advice from people whose life you want to imitate, or from people who have direct success at what you want to achieve. Have the courage to take risks. You will lose friends as you succeed. It’s a cost few people talk about, but it’s there.

Get good at being delusional. The most successful people I know, meet, and read about all have a positivity force-field which blocks all reason. To these people, success is right around the corner at all times. They know that putting in the effort will get them there.

This post was inspired by someone on Reddit who lamented: “Follow your passion? No one will pay me to drink beer!”.

I disagree.

Craft breweries and pubs are growing like weeds. Become a beer expert (read: get drunk). Know everything about how it’s made and the different styles. Create a beer tour that goes around to different pubs and breweries. Make a simple webpage and put reviews from friends and family on Tripadvisor to start. Pay $10 per week for AdWords advertising and start a Facebook page. Start a subscription box with beer that you curated. Sell beer T-shirts and accessories. Make a YouTube channel all about beer. MAKE STUFF.

When I walk into a liquor store, I am overwhelmed with choices. Hundreds of beers that I’ve never had before. So you might be thinking that no one will pay you to drink beer, but I’m saying that’s exactly what we need right now.

SEO is Dead


SEO is dead. It died back in 2010 but people still refuse to acknowledge it.

Here is the easiest proof that SEO is dead, the search results page (SERP) itself:

Click for large

The first organic result is barely on the page… or even below the fold!

Any remotely commercial search has tons of ads above the organic results. Even if you’re #1 for your search, your result will still be buried. Mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic years ago and it doesn’t look like anything will reverse that trend. On mobile, it takes several swipes to get to the first organic result!

Aiming to be #1 in Google means you’re still invisible!

Honestly, it’s hard to overstate this point. #1 in Google still means you’re not even shown until the user scrolls down… IF they scroll down.

Ad are more enticing than organic results

The ads have pictures of the product, pricing, reviews, and sitelinks to other relevant areas on the website. The organic links are bland text that blur together.

Which do you think the user is going to click? In the image above, there are 11(!) ads above the first organic result that all have extra information an organic ad is lacking.

Our agency saw 25% drops in organic traffic for clients, across the board

We have clients in vastly different niches, and all of them saw the same trend: in Q1 of 2016, organic traffic dropped like a rock. This drop coincided with the changes to Google Shopping and removal of right hand side ads. Google didn’t just remove the right hand side ads, they put additional ads in the main column. Our clients didn’t make any huge changes and never invested in scammy SEO services that would get them penalized.

The elimination of the right hand side ads and introduction of more ads appearing in the main feed pushed organic results farther down the page. More scrolling + More ads = less organic clicks.

Ads are now nearly indistinguishable from organic results (other than the cool features ads get and organic doesn’t)

Searchengineland has a great article on how ad appearance has changed since 2010.

“AdBlockers are a thing! People won’t see the ads!”

Guess where the majority of AdBlocker’s revenue comes from? Google, paying the creators to not block their ads. When the next AdBlocker extension gets big, Google just hands them a pile of money to neuter it. Paying a few million dollars to get a few billion dollars is a great investment on Google’s part.

SEO is too slow to be effective – paying for ads is better

Here’s why most people give up when trying to start an online business:

Start a new website. Google indexes roughly once per quarter. That means if the site is new, it’ll take up to 3 months to even get ranked!

So they waited 3 months and now you see their rankings: they suck because the site is new. Do SEO things like like put out content and get links. Wait 3 months for the next index to come out.

It’s now 6 months in and they still don’t have sales because they don’t have traffic because the rankings suck. Most people gave up 3 months ago, but they push on! They’ve put 100’s of hours into cranking out stuff no one sees.

9 months later, they finally have good enough rankings to have some traffic. Still no sales because they couldn’t test conversion optimization, which they start to do.

One year after starting, the website owner is burned out. There’s a few thousand dollars in sales which don’t even begin to cover the cost of the owners’ time.

SEO is a means to an end: getting traffic. Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc are all willing to sell you more traffic than you can possible handle! Before you complain about the cost, remember that SEO isn’t free. It’s the most expensive way of getting traffic out there.

Paying for traffic means you can start seeing results immediately. In SEO, if you picked the wrong strategy, not only will it take months of work to fix, you won’t even know if your new strategy is working several months after that! With paid advertising you can get immediate feedback and change your strategy from day to day. The second you find a profitable niche, you can duplicate it and increase the budget and see results that day.

So what should you do?

Knowing the basics of SEO is still a good thing. There’s no reason to ignore it when the basics are so easy.

View each platform as a search engine. Google is the #1 search engine, but can you name the second? It’s YouTube. People don’t think of it that way, but you should. Buzzfeed reports that social greatly outperforms search for them. They also used email newsletters to bring people back to the website. Stop thinking that search is the main way you get traffic!

Step 1 is creating good content. Good content will always have a place. Unfortunately I don’t have any advice on this topic other than to practice. Create content every day, get feedback, and try things.

Step 2 is spreading your content across as many platforms as you can: Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Amazon, etc. Yes you would have to create content specifically for that platform. For example, I could put together a little e-Book from a collection of posts on here and put it up for $1.00 on Amazon. The main purpose wouldn’t be to make a killing on the book itself, but act as a gateway for people looking on Amazon for travel to come here.

On the site I created for SEO testing where I got 100,000 sessions a month in ~6 months, I made sure to use as many “search engines” as possible. Each article had images that were tagged to show up in image searches, videos put on YouTube, links from social media such as Reddit, and links from community forums. There were plenty of ways to find my content because I put it in a lot of different areas. That in turn gave me good rankings in the search engine. But by that point I didn’t really care as my brand was larger than the traffic the search engines were giving me.

When you start out, you probably won’t be good at making content. That’s why I don’t suggest putting money behind your efforts right away: paying to distribute bad content won’t work. But once you find your content being liked and shared, it’s time to get out your wallet.

Step 3 is paying for traffic to build on what already works. If you’re good at creating content, you can get to this step in a week or two. This is also the time to work on optimizing conversions.

The internet landscape is constantly changing

This is the split of traffic sources for this site. The key is to not rely on any one source!

Don’t get stuck thinking Google is the portal to the internet. Instead of trying to game Google to be hidden under a pile of ads, spread your message across the other search engines that you didn’t think were search engines. And when you find something that works, pay for traffic and watch your site take off.

I was a Professional Poker Player


I was a professional poker player for 2.5 years. My database had 3,000,000 hands of poker. I was Supernova on Pokerstars which is defined as the top 1% of the top 1%. My winnings are immortalized in that they bought my wife’s wedding ring and our destination wedding in Aruba. Here are my thoughts on poker as a profession.

These thoughts are going to be scattered, so feel free to jump around. If you feel I left something out, ask in the comments.

What does a professional poker player do?

Here’s what I looked at while playing every day:

Click for the large version

Here are some thing you might not know:

  1. My database was running in the background collecting data on everyone playing. This isn’t a cheat, it’s open to everyone. If you play online, it’s against people who will have this software. You’ve been warned.
  2. The numbers beside the players represent different ratings for common things someone might do, like bet, raise, or fold. These ratings can quickly show how someone acts in very complicated situations.
  3. Macros or scripts were used to determine bet sizing. If I right-clicked, the bet amount would be 2/3 pot (the money in the middle). If I clicked the mouse wheel, full pot. Rolling the wheel moved the bet up and down. It was important to do this because there were often several decisions to be made per second.

6 tables typically got through 400 hands per hour. That means at least I had several decisions per second, for hundreds of dollars per decision. It’s stimulating for sure.


I played 2/4 ($400 buy-in) No Limit Hold-Em on Pokerstars. 6-tables at a time meant I had $2,400-$5,000 at risk at any given moment.

My bankroll for this was $8,000 which was built up over a few months prior to starting professionally. That career change wasn’t exactly planned. I was a verified winner for years prior to this, so don’t think I went from nothing to pro in a few months.

Truths about online poker

  1. There are X professionals at the table, where X is the table limit minus 1. So at a 10 handed table, assume 9 professionals… and you. Guess your odds of winning.
  2. The banking systems behind these companies are at risk of being shut down at any time because they are glorified mob transactions (see: Full Tilt)
  3. There are bots online capable of winning in heads-up play and some tournament structures
  4. ~70% of online poker players lose
  5. ~23% of online poker players break-even after bonuses/loyalty programs
  6. ~7% of online poker players actually win money
  7. Less than 1% of online poker players can make a living at it

Statistics gleaned from my 3,000,000 hand database and talks with other professionals and their huge databases.

Pros of being a professional poker player

  • Challenging and Rewarding
  • Get to shit-talk the losers AND take their money AND listen to them cry
  • No boss
  • Every month you’ll feel like you’re the best poker player ever

Cons of being a professional poker player

  • Everyone will treat you like a drug addicted child molester
  • Legality is debatable
  • No one actually believes you win money at poker, even when shown evidence
  • Can’t verify employment / credit history for apartments or loans
  • Everyone waits for you to go broke
  • High Stress
  • Rule/Rake changes can make beatable games unbeatable
  • Everyone will try and tell you about that one hand they lost 10 years ago that’s completely boring
  • Every month you’ll feel like you’re the worst poker player ever

A professional poker player’s day schedule

  • Wake up at 11 AM because I was up until 2AM
  • Log onto twoplustwo.com and read thoughts by other pros
  • Eat lunch
  • Work out early afternoon
  • Warm up session of poker around 4pm
  • Eat dinner
  • Play video games or read the internet
  • 8PM – ?? AM play poker

A poker player is on a weird schedule because your work time is everyone else’s leisure time. Playing in the day time is usually only against other professionals. That’s not exactly a good way to make money.

How much poker I played per day

Depends on how the day was going. Some days not at all. Some days 3,000 hands. I 6-tabled and averaged roughly 400 hands per hour. Live poker averages 30 hands per hour.

Playing over 6 hours a day is almost impossible due to the lack of mental energy. 6 tables simultaneously means 1-2 decisions per second for several hundred dollars each. My winrate would severely decline after 4 hours of play that day, so I’d pass the time with World of Warcraft.

“What’s the best you’ve ever done?”

My best month was making $18,000. Typical months were between $4,000 and $8,000. At the beginning of my career it was closer to the former, and at the end closer to the latter.

My hourly rate looked awesome though: $100+/hour! Sadly, it was difficult to play more than 50-60 hours in a month due to mental fatigue and motivation. Sometimes when you get kicked in the nuts for a few grand you just have to take a few days off or you’ll waste your entire bankroll in rage.

“What is the worst losing streak I’ve ever had?”

I think I broke even for 40,000 hands but still came out ahead after bonuses. I had one month where I lost: that was my last month.

My worst dollar loss was $30,000 at 5/10 ($1,000 buy-in) over a month. Interestingly enough I actually made money because of this! Playing with better opposition propelled me to beat my regular games at a much higher rate.

No one wants to hear your bad beat stories. Especially not poker professionals.

I’ve played 3,000,000 hands of poker in my career. That means I got dealt pocket aces/kings ~28,000 times. Even with aces/kings in the hole, you’ll lose roughly a third of the time. So I’ve lost with aces or kings 9,000 times. That’s more hands of poker than most people will play in their entire lifetime.

Your average poker night with the guys will go through 100 hands. Let’s say you have a poker night every week and get aces or kings every single hand. You’d have to lose every hand of aces or kings for two straight years to reach my level.

Losing with a great hand to a perfect hand became routine: quads over quads, straight flush vs royal flush. You could even see it coming in some cases. I’ve lost in ways you didn’t even know were possible, like the US government seizing Full Tilt bank accounts including one where I had a $3,000 dollar check coming my way. But I’m not complaining: I’ve taken far more out of the game than the game took from me. Losing big sometimes was just part of the deal.

No one believes you win money

My barbershop was a real man’s man place with Playboy and Penthouse magazines on the rack. I can’t imagine these guys had ever cut a woman’s hair before. They were just a block away from my place so I went there often.

They were also problem gamblers. Blackjack at Mystic Lake Casino, mostly.

I went to them for two years, and each conversation we had they tried to figure out how I made a living. They’d ask I got money through tax deductions since they could deduct their substantial tax losses each year. I told them I didn’t even know that was possible to have a casino print out your total losses each year for tax purposes. They’d ask if I worked with a string of other professionals to work against the fish. Nope.

They simply could not comprehend how I made money. I thought they were alone in their thinking, and I was wrong. Everyone assumed some form of illegal activity (selling drugs) or just leeching off my parents or the government. There was literally one person on the planet who believed that I actually made money at playing the game of poker, so I married her. It meant a lot to me that she saw poker as a skill activity instead of a mental health issue.

“Do you still play poker today?”

No. As a hobby it would be too frustrating because I wouldn’t be as good as I was and as a money-making activity it pales in comparison to anything I can do with online marketing. That’s why I got out: the games were getting harder and there’s too much opportunity in business.

“Should I become a professional poker player?” No.

First, you’re not good enough. Before I went pro I had been playing for 5+ years, read a dozen books, and posted on forums for advice. As I mentioned before, I was listed as the top 1% of the top 1%. If you’ve never been in the top 1% of some measurable competition (grades, sports, income, hobby), you don’t have the skill. I’m not trying to be a bastard here. I’m trying to save you money and heartache.

Second, if you ARE good enough then there’s far better ways to make money. The top guys in the business make their money from licensing deals and investments, NOT poker. Poker players are very aware that they don’t make money when they don’t play, so at some point it becomes a job with an hourly rate. No one working for an hourly rate ever gets rich.

But realistically, no you’re not good enough. A 6-handed table will have 5 professionals playing on it and one fish. When the fish leaves, the table breaks up. So not only do you have to be good enough to beat normal people (you aren’t), you have to be good enough to not get your ass handed to you by other professionals. The skill level required is off the charts.

“Is online poker rigged?”

No it’s not rigged. There were some online card rooms that reported shady dealings, and people quickly fled.

Are there some card rooms with rake so high that a player can’t be profitable? Yes, but that’s a different question and it’s in no way underhanded.

“What was your worst experience?”

Playing live poker at Canterbury Park, MN. It was early on a Friday night so the table was mostly sharks waiting for the fish to arrive.

A guy sat down at the table, still in work uniform and with the permanently oil-stained hands that signified he was likely a mechanic. He didn’t really know the game and had to be helped by the dealer. Some people tried to spark up conversation with him and it became apparent he wasn’t “all there”. He lost $400 in 20 minutes.

I got up and left. I preferred not to know I was taking money from the mentally handicapped and played almost exclusively online after that.

“What was your best experience?”

Buying my wife’s engagement ring, her BMW x5, our destination wedding, and giving $1,000 to each bridesmaid/groomsman to come to Aruba.

Most people go into debt or have their family pay for their wedding, and it was nice that a “gambling degenerate lowlife” like myself could afford these things. It made me feel legitimate.

“Do people collude online?”

I’m sure some people do collude online. Overwhelmingly they do not. If you’re good, it will make no difference to you because of the concept of “implicit collusion“. From each player’s point of view, it looks like the entire table is against him/her because there can be only one winner.

There have been times where I suspected collusion, but that’s easy to combat: tighten your range (don’t play mediocre hands) and shove (go all-in) more hands. Since at least one of the other players is in the hand by decision and not by card strength, they will be forced to leave the hand. And if they don’t then you have a good enough hand to win.

Fact: two bad players colluding online still won’t win.

The card rooms also check for this behavior and ban players attempting it. For example, two people at the table playing from the same IP address would be banned. They also look for accounts that regularly play together.

“What is your starting range of hands?”

This is the least important question that gets asked over and over again. Against raise happy professionals I’m very tight. Against non-professionals I get asked if I’ve ever folded in my life.

I don’t believe in the stock market

Poker professionals always fantasized getting out of the game, especially in the rough stretches. Many went to Wall Street or became day traders. Wall Street liked poker players because they were in the same business: gambling. All our words like “bankroll” and “variance” and “rake” were just other words that Wall Street used with stocks.

Take it from a professional gambler: the stock market is 100% gambling.

“Will you play in my home game?”

I’ve done this before and it never ends well. I place in the money or win outright, all the while listening to people complain about how lucky I am. And people get really angry about losing their $20. Meanwhile, the money I win is meaningless to me and the challenge is non-existent since I’m used to playing 6 tables with 4 other professionals at each table. Playing a single table against terrible poker players is excruciatingly boring.

“Any regrets?”

Not really. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if I really tried to become great at the game instead of just grinding out money, but I was just a different person at the time.

My plan during my career was just to make it another month and stay out of the hell that is the modern office job. That’s actually still my goal. I’ll consider my life a success if I never have to go back to being a wage slave.

The best thing I ever learned in poker

Don’t gamble with the rent check

Seems weird that this is what I’d learn, right? How could I not gamble with the rent check when that’s how I made money?

Professional gamblers have a “bankroll”: a total amount of money used for gambling that can withstand the up and down swings of the game. The whole point of the bankroll is to make sure you don’t lose all your money gambling. The lower my bankroll got, the higher my stress became. Which in turn lowered the quality of my play… you can see where this is going. Bad days became bad weeks which became bad months spiraling out of control.

Today I keep a lot of cash on hand so I don’t have to worry about “OOPS” payments. I’m willingly losing money by not investing, just for this “feel good” mood. By knowing that my immediate future is secure, I can branch out into other things like growing our business or starting new ones.

Some of the early months in poker I was living hand-to-mouth, putting off buying necessary items until my check came. My stress levels were off the charts as could be seen in my face: stress brings out my Roseaca (adult acne).

If I could suggest one thing to people: get rid of debt and save up an emergency fund. The mental benefits are fantastic. It’s like being high all the time.

Despite the stress and being thought of as an addicted mental patient, I’d do it all over again

Because it’s too much fun to take some loudmouth’s money away from him.

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