When I got fired from my cushy marketing job in the pool industry and broke up with my beautiful, but emotionally draining girlfriend, I was fucking miserable.
I got a job working as a marketing director at a restoration company. Not a cool car restoration company, but a your-house-got-destroyed-by-a-hurricane restoration company; the kind of company that is impossible to market. Instead of selling the idea of fun with swimming pools, I sold the idea of “sucks your house burned to the ground, need help?”
After 8 months with my ex-girlfriend who completely destroyed my brain, and during my time at work with two drug-addicted psychopath employees, I was starting to question if I was just a magnet for despair and destruction.
Then, a magical day was bestowed upon me: I was laid off.
I have to give some credit to my former boss. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think I would be writing this right now. I would be…well, who the hell knows where I would be? Probably still wasting my life in front of the TV in the condo I didn’t want, driving the BMW I didn’t want (which I used to call my consolation prize for my breakup). But he doesn’t deserve ALL the credit.
I was able to collect unemployment for about a year. I gave myself that time to take my business (SwimUniversity.com) to the next level. I needed to work fast to build it up enough to pay my bills when the unemployment ran out.
I was so determined to work for myself that I made a decision to give up as much as I could to achieve it. I sold my BMW first. Then, I rented out my condo. I got rid of all my bills and moved in with my brother, who graciously only charged me $500 and still does as I write this. Again, if I was going to make it, I had to streamline my life.
This was the first, and still one of the best decisions I ever made.
I worked every single day making videos, designing infographics, and writing articles. During this time, I was a part of a entrepreneurial training course called Fizzle. It was there I met Andrew.
We became fast friends because he had a site (this one) talking about personal finance, and I was looking to learn about personal finance. I needed to learn how to manage my money if I was going to be full time with no guaranteed income.
We Skyped a LOT. We just talked about each other’s businesses, until one day he asked me to partner up with him to re-brand this site. I agreed, because the trade off was him helping me monetize SwimU.
We teamed up in October of 2013 (exactly one year ago) and it was the same month I lost my unemployment benefits. Because of Andrew’s help, I was able to quickly monetize SwimU enough to fund the next few months of my life.
Meanwhile, I was helping re-create the Listen Money Matters brand using my design skills and marketing talents.
In November, we started our podcast after his wife thought our banter over Skype was amusing. It seemed like a no-brainer since I knew how to podcast and the site was called LISTEN Money Matters. So we did it.
As the spring and the summer approach, SwimU was making enough money for me to survive and every month got better, buying me even more time to keep going with both projects.
I have to admit, during this time I took a couple of freelance projects just to solidify my financial position, but it didn’t take much.
My life really changed on May 1st 2014. That was the day the podcast went from one episode a week to a daily show. It was meant to be an experiment, and it was wildly successful. We saw extreme growth in a very short period of time.
As we continued, things really started to get interesting. I was becoming better with my finances. I was learning things I never thought I would ever be in to. I was surrounded by people who actually listened to the words that were coming out of my mouth. I had fans!
I want to note that I’m used to having fans since I was formerly the lead singer of a pop/rock band back in the early 2000’s. But this was a feeling that didn’t even come close in comparison. While I had a few fans that loved my music, I never had fans of ME.
I wanted to engaged with them, I wanted to learn from them. I wanted them to be a part of whatever I was doing, and it made it very easy to keep the show going.
So, in short, Listen Money Matters changed my life. From a debt-swallowing, condo-dwelling miserable piece of shit, to a positive net worth, investing-loving, voice of personal finance.
I am not perfect, but I’m certainly better than I was a year ago. And better is all we can strive to be.
Thank you, to everyone who reads this, to everyone who listens to our show, and to everyone I’ve met since my last day of unemployment. Thank you!