A journey of self-actualization.

Category: Entrepreneurship

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Dwelling On The Past As An Entrepreneur

I have several kinds of memories that hover within my mind throughout the day. They are not so deep that they are subconscious, while they are not so conscious that…

I have several kinds of memories that hover within my mind throughout the day.

They are not so deep that they are subconscious, while they are not so conscious that they remain at the forefront. All are extremely painful. They hurt and inhibit me in the way that Dr. House's leg hurt and inhibited him.

Every day I wake up, life presents me with a choice: To give up or keep going.

The notion isn't necessarily tied to entrepreneurship; entrepreneurship is only an externality. At the core of the choice is my why, my reason for living. It's my reason to live that drives me to accomplish a goal; the goal is therein accomplished through entrepreneurship (largely, at least; though, not entirely).

My goal is to rebuild my culture. And if willpower is the product of emotion and why, then my pain goes hand-in-hand with my willpower. They are inseparable. The pain never subsides; it only increases as I grow older, accumulating more mistakes through the process of growing, self-actualizing.

It's conventional wisdom not to dwell on the past, but I don't feel as if I can help it the moment I question the reasoning behind any action I take, any decision I make throughout the day.

In general reference to any daily action, large or small, is what I'm about to do not rational? Then, it's wrong. If it is not efficient, then why and how can I become more so?

The process of answering these questions in order to maximize my productivity in the right direction requires me to reflect, indirectly. And doing so cannot be accomplished without pain.

Memories of people I've loved and cared about who've negatively misjudged my character, how their assumptions, doubts, lack of empathy, and inaccurate gossip hurt and shake the trust I put in people, as well as make me second-guess my own actions that led to them having such low opinions of me, in the first place, as I've tried to figure my life out without much guidance. Memories of specific wrongdoings committed against me as a child. Feelings of sorrow and regret at wrongdoings I've committed against others as I've grown. Hard interpersonal sacrifices I've had to make in the process of staying focused and aligned with my mission.

These all weigh on my mind, all day. Every day. As I work. Sometimes, they overwhelm me and I need to take a break. When I do, I have to remind myself not to beat myself up for doing so. To embrace the limits of my own mortality, which are greater than some...but less than others I admire.

It is like moving through molasses, climbing a mountain with weights on.

So, you can imagine how easy it is, to want to end it all sometimes. If not through literal suicide, then at least to give up on myself, in general.

Why not cash in my laurels to spend the rest of my life playing video-games (or something)? Why keep going? Why strive to make it to point Z, when I'm already technically at point B?

What helps greatly is my marriage, the family I've rebuilt. The thought of my wife and children. I am so fortunate to be one of the men in the world to have such a supportive wife. There are many women, an increasing number throughout our civilization in fact, who don't support their husband's work or ideas. Indeed, they compete with their husbands instead, or show little interest or respect for what he wants to do with his life.

Sometimes, they use the long hours required to make a dream come to fruition as the very excuse for divorce.

What I've done is integrated work and family, together. I'm always home and always at the office of my marketing firm, because I work and study from home. This has not been an easy task, because, for most people, working from home is a pipe dream. Very few pull it off, but I have.

I had the willpower to, which simultaneously means that I had the necessary depth of pain to.

Meanwhile, my wife and I work to build the same business: I'm the CEO; she's the VP. So, being at the office for her is being at home all the same as me. We just may work in different rooms.

The challenge is in differentiating between the two: the time for work, and the time for romance and family. Though, I will admit that what we've set up as a family gives us a major advantage over many other marriages in the world, who have spouses typically work apart from each other in an unrelated way.

Therein, my family, the new one I've built rather than all those I've had to disconnect from my life for one reason or another, is my greatest strength and greatest weakness. Work would be a potential pitfall that would break us apart if we didn't structure our lives in such a way as to build our businesses from home.

So, how do I deal with the depression that comes with dwelling from the past as an entrepreneur, then?

It never gets easier; you just have to get stronger. You have to look ahead of the road before you and see where the pitfalls are as much as you can. Then, structure your life in such a way as to prevent yourself from falling in them.

The rest is courage, what would be needed to make the decision to face life head-on anyway, even though you could stop at any time.

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Overcoming Narcissism As An Entrepreneur

People tend to become their parents. So, while I’ve been the victim of narcissistic abuse as a kid, I must stay ever aware of my Jungian shadow, which has that…

People tend to become their parents.

So, while I've been the victim of narcissistic abuse as a kid, I must stay ever aware of my Jungian shadow, which has that element of the dark triad within it, as well. I'm too self-reflective to have been diagnosed with the full-blown disorder; though, I'll admit forthrightly that I have some narcissistic traits that inhibit me from accomplishing my goals.

Here's a video from my marketing firm that touches on my experience:

What counter-intuitively ended up being a good thing was my first publishing of Fighting for Redemption, the very first version, no longer on the market. Why? Because the ugliness of my tumor-exacerbated shadow was on full display in the way the book was written.

When I published it, I received a wave of criticism: Some of it was warranted; some of it wasn't. The criticism that wasn't came from genuinely malicious from people from my past who knew how to hurt me, rather than seeing a wounded person who was struggling that they could help.

In the bird's eye view, though, looking back on everything, it didn't really matter whether a person was malicious in their criticism or not; what mattered is that I did, indeed, put myself out there. By exposing the ugliest part of myself to the light of the world, I was able to become self-aware. By becoming self-aware, I was able to individuate with my shadow. By individuating with my shadow, I was able to get somewhere real in life through self-development.

I was able to become a better person, even if it's taken baby steps to do so.

I just had to make it through the emotional turmoil that was the process, to overcome suicidal depression, massive embarrassment, and go deep into the source of why I had the weaknesses to my character that I did.

Attention is like a drug; the neurotransmitters it elicits are euphoric. However, there's a social stigma attached to attention-seeking behavior that isn't totally logical. For instance, what are industry influencers and celebrities if not people who are professional attention-seekers? They attract people's attention in waves; this makes them natural billboards with the potential for great profit. Movie stars, social media influencers, politicians, etc. may often not be the most likable characters of our world; yet, they are critical elements of it, and they wouldn't be able to continue existing if there wasn't market demand for them.

Attention is a critical element of raising a healthy child. There was a story I've once read about (though, I can't remember where from) about experiments the Nazi scientists used to perform during WWII. In one of their cruel (yet fruitful) experiments, I heard that they deprived a newborn completely of attention. They made sure that all of its nutrients were there; everything the baby technically needed to survive in theory was provided. They just wanted to see what would happen when they'd deprive the baby of attention.

...the baby died.

So, attention in and of itself is a natural part of life. It's not attention that's bad, nor is it the act of seeking attention.

...it's the way one goes about it that is the problem, how much they need, and for what purpose.

For instance, it's fine if a person is motivated by attention if the way they'd like to earn it is by curing cancer. Curing cancer would bring you waves of attention, without a doubt. You'd go down in history. You'd get more attention than any singular human being could probably ask for...in exchange for something you did that genuinely helped humanity in an immeasurable way.

Personally, I have zero problem with that; the ancients had a name for that kind of attention-seeking: glory.

The pursuit of glory is as old as recorded time itself.

However, there's a difference between going on a hero's journey to earn glory at great risk and sacrifice in an honest manner, and being a willful disrupter who can't or won't earn it.

I've worn both shoes at different times in my life, as I've wrestled with my mind with the genuine intent to become a better person. It's not been easy, and every new major accomplishment I've achieved has directly coincided with a new and deeper level of my own pain that I've been able to face and overcome through self-reflection.

Therein begs the question, from whence cometh my pain?

Some of it is genetic; some of it is environmental. It's a combination of both.

I can't blame my parent(s) for everything, just quite a bit pertaining to specific actions they took at different times that heavily scarred me (such as locking me in a closet with a spider I was terrified of, among others).

A combination of horrific experiences, multiplied by inhibitory genetic memory pertaining to slave evolutionary psychology have made for considerable hurdles for me to continually overcome.

Therein, as I've moved in baby steps, like a drug addict would decrease their dosage and type of drug use to something progressively mild until their nervous system could take being totally clean again, I've had to manage the kind of attention I'd seek.

As I've written before, people like me need to write, if not for other people than simply to face the literary mirror of my own mind. The process of thinking, writing, reviewing, and revising my own thoughts is in and of itself a form of meditative reflection that helps me to face the past and heal.

As I heal, I'm able to take greater steps onto higher levels of success through self-actualization.

This is why I was on Facebook for several years, writing the way that I was. It wasn't all for attention, but part of it was. Undeniably.

It's well-documented how addicting the validation that comes with people's reactions to posts are. For some, that's the extent of where they get hooked and sucked in by the void of social media. For me? It was a transitory phase to something better; hence, the gradual decline in posting and eventual shutdown of my entire, personal, public page, itself.

What helps me to gain the willpower to go into deeper levels of healing is my own personal hero's journey. I may not be a hero of the world in the ancient Greco-Roman sense, but I am a hero of my household, and it is because I need to be there for people who depend on me, people that I love and care about far more than I do myself, that I have to reach deep down, sacrifice of myself, and do whatever I need to do to reach the next level not for myself, but for them.

The reason why I want to do this is to give them a better life than I had. And the reason why I want to give them a better life than I had is because I care about and love this world, despite how dark of a character I can actually seem to be: By giving my children a better life, may they grow into better people. By growing into better people, may they make the world a better place by living in it.

This is not the same thing as me striving to live vicariously through my children, though; that's a form of narcissistic parenting. All are potential pitfalls that I should be constantly aware of, to become the best parent (and thus person) I can be, despite my scarring.

So, it's not actually narcissism that is the struggle. Narcissism, in my specific case, is an externality, a symptom, not the source. The real struggle I face pertains to the multitude of wounds inflicted upon my soul as a child that still hurt every day, and finding the strength to keep going despite them.

Because if I fail my family, if I fail my people, then a great hope is lost.

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A Breakthrough In My Marketing Firm’s Business Model

So, I’ve made a breakthrough in business experience pertaining to my marketing strategy firm: After a little over five years of trial and error, I’ve solidified four reliable methods of…

So, I’ve made a breakthrough in business experience pertaining to my marketing strategy firm: After a little over five years of trial and error, I’ve solidified four reliable methods of delivering consistent, predictable revenue to the company in the form of client contracts.

  • Freelancing websites
  • Direct e-mail
  • Paid advertising
  • Trade shows/conferences

As we are 100% self-funded so far, my team and I have tried a multitude of different ways to bring in clients despite our budget restrictions. I’ve had the most success with my Upwork profile; that’s what’s kept us afloat during financial downturns.

Even if I’ve pulled in much more, I’ve deliberately chosen to only live off of roughly $20,000 per year while reinvesting every other dollar into experiments of varying forms.

I’ve learned not to reinvent the wheel

For a while there, I actually wanted to get off of Upwork. In the beginning, I viewed it as a crutch that, to rely on for revenue, demonstrated the weakness to my character as an entrepreneur.

Then, as I evolved over the years, once I actually developed the ability to get off of Upwork, I realized that, no, that’s exactly one of the best ways to build a marketing firm for a multitude of reasons. Most of the reasons involve the credibility and trustworthiness of my firm: its services and my leadership as a CEO. Once I developed enough skill to pull in clients without Upwork was the moment I decided to keep Upwork as a revenue stream.

For instance, let’s say I would officially leave all freelancing websites entirely and pull in clients without them.

Then what? How do I go into that exchange feeling safe in such a way that I will be consistently paid for my services?

Oh, I know, a great way to conduct international business would be with an escrow. What’s a great escrow I can use, hmmm….

…oh, that’s right: Upwork.

Meanwhile, as people leave 5-star reviews on my profile, the world knows that they are not faked because those reviews are verified by a credible third-party. That instantly shuts down the majority of people who may think me some kind of scam artist (of which many marketers are, sadly), which greatly plays into my favor.

If I’m a legitimate entrepreneur, then in my industry, freelancing websites like Upwork only serve to help me because they back me and protect my reputation in multiple ways.

So, in other words, I had actually started off doing the right thing from day 1. I burned a lot of time thinking that my success had to be an uphill battle: If something was working too well, there must be something wrong with it.

No. That’s exactly how not to think.

The way to think in this situation is to identify what’s working, and triple-down on that. Then, expand what works through experimentation.

How OMI is putting its Chess pieces in place for a long-term strategy

For me, what’s worked to build an international marketing firm from the ground up has been those four things listed above.

So, I’ve led my team to expand into other freelancing websites, such as PeoplePerHour.com, to expand our presence and ability to conquer market share.

Then, experiments with highly targeted cold e-mail have also proven to deliver leads reliably as well.

Paid advertising speaks for itself and should be a staple of any business to some degree or another, so long as they’re able to get their ROI to the right ratio.

And then trade shows/conferences require the investment of money to fly, to buy the event ticket, pay for the booth you’ll speak at, the hotel, etc. However, what I’ve found is that not only do people trust you that much more in person; what I call gold clients are what are in abundance at those shows.

I classify gold clients as the VC-backed entrepreneurs and well-established corporate businesses who can afford to pay the $70,000 – $150,000 per year contracts.

You have to put yourself in your best client’s shoes

And it makes sense why they would be the ones at those shows, because it takes money to be at those shows, which investors will also be at, as well.

Everyone’s trying to find each other there. And the price you have to pay to be there is kind of like a filter that creates a cultural standard: If you’re there, then you’re at a certain level of budget by default, in most scenarios.

There are people who gamble with a low budget to afford being at those things; however, they are the minority: the exception to the rule.

The general rule is this: If you can afford to be at those shows, then you’re typically either an investor who knows entrepreneurs who would love to hire you, or an investor-backed entrepreneur who is already looking to hire you…both having the budget to do so.

Therein, within the past week alone, I’ve developed the leads of two gold clients just through one of our channels, and we’ve only just begun with our paid advertising.

So, what I’m going to do is seek one or two solid gold clients, ones that I can build a beneficial, mutual, business relationship with for the long-term. Then, I plan on still living within my means of only $20,000 to $30,000 per year in personal income while I reinvest everything into scaling the company’s passive income streams by developing our paid content.

That way, I can keep my business relationships who may not pay me/us millions of dollars per year. Yet, we will still make millions of dollars per year through my firm’s passive income streams, such as by the paid content that we advertise to the masses that haven’t contracted me as their marketing strategist, but pay to access the company’s private content and attend our mastermind groups.

For instance, if I land two $6,000-per month contracts (which I’ve absolutely done, several times), then that’s ~$12,000 per month. I only need $2,000 to $3,000 to live comfortably off of with my family. which means that’s anywhere between $9,000 to $10,000 extra per month that I can reinvest into growing my business: Paying my worker’s salaries, paid advertising, affording events, etc.

Building my brand in general.

It’s been a very good week of progress.

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Dealing With Insecurity Through Entrepreneurship

My Facebook page has cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost contracts: people who were highly interested in contracting my marketing strategy firm. With me, though, it’s never…

My Facebook page has cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost contracts: people who were highly interested in contracting my marketing strategy firm.

With me, though, it’s never been my inability to intuit when something about my behavior is inefficient. It’s always been about my level of emotional maturity and stage of healing.

A person like me needs to write. It’s how I process psychological scarring from childhood trauma in a safe and healthy manner enough to maintain being a high-functioning citizen without any drugs or medication, legal or illegal. It’s how I organize my thoughts both vertically and laterally. It’s how I extract wisdom from past actions and situations by reflecting and self-observing as needed to evolve into a better person over time.

For a long time, my Facebook account served that purpose until I reached the right stage of maturity necessary to let it go. I still write, of course; that’s why you’re reading this post right now. However, I write for an evolving purpose as I develop as a character.

For writing’s many benefits though, the way I sometimes allowed the distracting and addictive element of social media to lure me to show off was very detrimental.

Insecurity can be a powerful emotional fuel that can lead people to accomplish great things up to a point: the will to prove someone wrong.

It’s no secret that I come from impoverished and chaotic origins. Along with that comes the judgments and projections of others that are most often inaccurate, especially from the people who knew me from my hometown before I joined the military, traveled the world, and became an entrepreneur.

The initial assumption was that I wasn’t going to become successful, which is a relative judgment because one should define success, to begin with, for there are tiers.

Then, there’s the international reputation of being black. NOTE: I do not say “white oppression,” (for I don’t buy into far left-wing politics) but the reputation tied with being black in a high-IQ, highly competitive corporate business niche.

In other words, at the beginning (and still even so to a degree) there’s the assumption that I’m not an honorable character. And maybe I’m not depending on your philosophical viewpoint. For instance, a communist would think me dishonorable for being an entrepreneur.

What I mean by “not an honorable character,” though is in the typical “who is he trying to fool?” low expectations that have little to nothing to do with me as an individual.

Meanwhile, I have the memories that I dwell on at times pertaining to those who thought so lowly of me before this journey started. People who were supposed to be my friends and family.

I wanted to prove them all wrong. These variables made the Petri dish of my growing insecurity. My growing insecurity led to a cycle of posting every single success (large or small) on social media. And doing everything I could to verify, re-verify, and seek the public validation of success.

…when some of the most successful people on the planet aren’t in the public light at all.

So, unpublishing my Facebook account was healthy, and doing so was long overdue.

My productivity has shot through the roof. I’m not bombarded by notifications from people devoid of good intentions. Arguing with them, or obliging the insecurity of always wanting to prove other people from my past wrong, would lead to something I’d say or do indirectly that may cause the unintended loss of a contract, therein defeating the point.

I was less successful with a Facebook account, even though I had, indeed, proven many people wrong throughout my growth.

I can focus on reaching higher and higher tiers of success, though, (including spending more time with my family), with social media as the next sacrifice I’ve chosen to make to get there.

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