Living Bueno

Living the good life. From traveling the world to luxury real estate to stories of experiences in business, travel and relationships. This is the guide to limiting the clutter, focusing on results and effectiveness and living a life worthy of envy and praise.

How to Quit Smoking in One Week In Style

 

Photo Credit - Delete 08 

 

I first heard about E-cigarettes when I saw one of those mall kiosk guys sitting there, smoking what I thought was a cigarette in the middle of the mall. After commenting on how ballsy he was, my fiancee razzed me and let me know that it was just one of those E-cigarettes.

My smoking voyage began soon after, and lasted way too long. 

I bought my first pack of cigarettes when I was 23 years old. Oddly enough I was at a bus station in Buenos Aires, Argentina waiting to board a tour bus for what would be an 85 hour trek to Lima, Peru. Knowing that my mp3 player could only keep me distracted so long I went to the gift shop to browse for a hobby to distract me. I left with a pack of menthol's and since that day, I have always been off and on with my smoking habit, always going back sooner or later.

 

 

How I Quit Smoking in One Week

For years after that bad bus station decision, I would smoke daily. Not in large volumes per se, but a pack or two a week. This would frustrate my parents, fiancee, reduce my health and stress my cardiovascular system to the point where a staircase would get me breathing heavy.

My clothes, hands and face always smelled bad and it was a habit I was really struggling with kicking, something I would sneak outside for to try and hide from others. I was hooked. 

My Ephiphany- Why Smoke, Just Vape It

While I lived in Arizona, I became very good friends with my roommate Tone and his best friend Nhan. They were So Cal guys, who showed me a whole new world in culture and gave me a crash course on the coolest spots in Phoenix. I can't remember very many better times in all my travels than the time I spent in Phoenix with Tone, Nhan and their immense group of friends which we took on the town with weekly.

Hanging in Tempe With Tone & Nhan

About six months ago I saw Tone and Nhan posting alot about vaping, which I had no idea what vaping was at the time. When Nhan decided to start Vape Central, a Vape shop located in Phoenix next to Tone's thriving business Snoh Ice Shavery, I got even more curious.

Sidenote - Nhan is gonna kill it with Vape Central and if you are in Phoenix, stop in and check out his shop on Camelback, and grab some Snoh from Tone next door while you are at it.

 

I called around to at least 8 smoke shops locally in Seattle and finally located one that sold me an Ego CE4 Vape Pen. I sampled many different e-juices that week from Pink Lemonade, to cupcake, to Pear and I was instantly obsessed. I have not had a cigarette since I started Vaping that day and furthermore, I have had no craving, irritability and most importantly no smelly clothes and hands!

 

Shopify Build a Buisness Contest

I am a long time fan of Tim Ferriss, the author of the 4 Hour Workweek. Recently on his massively popular blog, Tim posted about the Shopify build a business competition that started on October 1st. With mentors available like Tim Ferriss, Daymond John, Gary Vaynerchuk (who I've actually met before) and Mark Cuban, it was quite an interesting proposition to compete to win $50k and meet with these high profile mentors in person.

I sat at my computer squinting through my Vape smoke to read through the article and requirements and suddenly had an "AH Ha!" moment.

I had to call 8 smoke shops over a 3 day period and drive 40 miles just to buy my vape pen, shouldn't there be an easier way? 

Now in Cali, there is a vape shop on every corner and Cali is clearly leading the trend in the country but in Seattle and around most of the rest of the country...? Very few shops selling Vape Pens and Mods and yet the trend is blowing up.  

Why I Chose This Business

I knew that if I hated myself for smoking, but couldn't quit, there were others out there just like me who could benefit from a business that brought the best Vape products right to their front door. Not only is vaping a tremendous heath improvement to smoking, it also is wildly convenient. Ever tried smoking in your car? Ever stood shivering in the rain to feed a craving? Now these annoyances are unnecessary.

You can Vape inside without having a disgusting smelly apartment or car as the vapors don't stick around to stain your walls and sink into your seats,. Vaping is a trend that will undoubtedly continue to grow, despite the top tobacco companies shoving out money to try and curtain the spread of this emerging trend.  I can only be in a business that I understand, love and am excited about and this is just the business for me, helping others to improve their lives and their health and selling really cool products, spreading the Vape message across the world.

Our Voyage into Business Together

My fiancee and I decided to start JustVape.it and with my skills in running social media campaigns, writing and creating websites and blogs and her expertise in guerrilla marketing and relentless networking and hustle we make a great team. She motivates me everyday and this is a business that is bringing us even closer together everyday as it is so fun to work on a project like this with the woman of your dreams!

My beautiful business woman and fiance

JustVape.It 

Our website is up and we are rolling in the orders! Visit the website to check out our products, made for  all vapers beginners to pros. We will soon be posting informative articles and videos on the sites blog to get you up to date and informed on what vaping is and how vaping works etc..

Help us win this competition, join us in improving our health and become the coolest kid on the block with our custom designer Vape pens and mods.

Email me directly anytime if you are interested in vaping but want more info on how it works as well. RickAGriffith@hotmail.com or Info@Justvape.it

Chad- How I Learned to Sell from a Crazy British Man

Photo Credit- Marydimonoco

 

It was dumping rain monsoon style and I was in my 93 Ford pickup squinting through the windshield at the dark, flooded road ahead.

"Yellow just means head on through a bit quicker Rick, come on the bar closes soon." Chad chirped in his distinctive British accent, as I slowed to a stop and rolled my eyes.

As he continued his rant on the economy, the awful postal system and his inquiry to whether my mother was interested in dating him, I sat silently zoning out. I was worn out from a night of drinking and his relentless self flagellation. This is what a night on the town with Chad always consisted of, and yet for some reason I had agreed to meet him once again for drinks. He was like the Jack in the box drive thru at 2:30 AM, you know you should just call it a night, and yet you end up coming back all too often.

For the sake of visualization, Chad was a Bald,short and sturdy, 50 something man with small hands, who liked his booze. I cannot tell you who exactly Chad is, what he has accomplished in his life, or what he is doing now, as all I can know for sure is that we were for a time drinking partners and wrapped up in a wildly inefficient business venture that crashed and burned in its infancy.

I can tell you that despite the British accent, the prominence he portrayed and the outlandish claims of past successes, I could see right through the bullshit, and yet I held on to see how things would all play out. It was just too interesting and entertaining not too. The fact that he repeatedly bought me free drinks and dinners in an effort to get in my good graces and attempt to date my mom didn't hurt either. I knew she was far from interested and she appeared to be just as entertained by his forwardness and blatant advances which she would laugh off.

Though I paint a picture of someone I am not fond of, the truth is that I liked Chad quite a bit. He was instant entertainment, someone who you were drawn to whether you liked it or not.

We eventually made it to the bar at about 12:30 and ordered up some drinks as Chad continued to pitch the business plan of our new venture with great enthusiasm. Occasionally I would try to cut in, give my take on things, before being interrupted and told about why it was a bad Idea. I don't know how many times he told me he was the CEO of Merrill Lynch 20 years ago, but it had to be over 50. There was no evidence of this anywhere, yet nearly everyone believed what he had to say. It is amazing what you can get away with when you have a charming British accent.

Despite inaccuracies, half truths, and blatant lies, Chad had managed to amass quite a large property management business during the real estate boom in Arizona from 2002-2007 and even in the crash he kept many of his clients. In analyzing his business, that he said I would be a partner in, I was shocked by what the little bastard had actually accomplished, managing nearly 80 properties throughout the valley.

As the Karaoke continued, Chad harasses the dj for a song list and came back to the table.

"You are in for a treat partner, I haven't sang professionally in years, but tonight is the night!" He shouted with joy.

I could not wait, what a treat.

Chad had taken out office space at a new brokerage, that was big enough for my mom and I to have desks and insisted on branding the new venture with his full name followed by the word "team" which gave us alot of comfort as partners surely. He said he was just to well known in the area in order to brand the business in any other name.

Being new to the area and holding on to the only thing we had going at the time, we followed along blindly, had many meetings with top brokers and plugged away at getting all the records cleaned up which were a complete disaster. In a business like property management where being organized is a must, the company records were either misplaced or non existent, leaving us to hold tenants to their lease by "good faith" or in Chad's case, empty threats.

Chad was such an anomaly that I had to study how he had made such a profitable business with such little actual good work.

He was a master of selling himself. I learned that as a salesman you should always present the best possible version of yourself. In this light however, I also learned that your lies, inaccuracies and inefficiency will inevitably catch up with you. While as a salesman you must present yourself as someone more than worthy of your clients business, the over-promise, under deliver model is bound for swift failure.

In the end Chad would leave us a voice mail a day before moving into our new office letting us know that the business had been sold. He had received an offer he could not refuse (valuing the business at about half of what it was worth profit wise, in order to make up for the nightmare he was passing along to the buyer).

We never saw Chad again, but heard he left town that day. I'm sure he must have had a pressing matter to attend to for a very important company back east. Or perhaps it was five o'clock somewhere.

The Next Dos Equis Guy- Making a Living Traveling Europe

He sat silently in a full wetsuit, boots and a helmet. Though there was a palpable sense of anxiety from those around him, he was calm, cool and confident. He would soon be repelling down rock walls, sliding down natural rocks and jumping off cliffs into small pools.

Imagine white water rafting, minus the raft. (check out some video footage here)

In this challenging 8 hour trek you overcome one obstacle, just to be thrown into another. But this is just a euphemism for the way that Gary lives his life.

A little adventure wasn't going to rattle him, he knew this feeling quite well, it was what he lived for.

After all, he had jumped out of planes, eluded sharks (or dolphins?), and mingled with Russian spy's in the past few years. A little canyoning wasn't going do anything but get him excited and provide new stories and memories that would last a lifetime.

In his newest journey, Gary had combined the hustle and business savvy with his insatiable appetite for travel and adventure. The company Gary joined up with Bus2Alps provided him the experience to work with fun, like-minded people and help other travel enthusiasts realize their dreams of traveling Europe on the cheap, while seeing amazing destinations that you just can't see from a 737.

 

The wacky travel lovers he works with may sleep just a dozen hours per week, they are driven by the next adventure, the next stunning destination, the new memories that will never leave their mind.

Who needs sleep anyway?

Gary isn't new to wandering the globe. He has done the spring break thing, island hopping in the Caribbean taking a vacation to relax and getaway. Deeper travel adventures include living in Argentina, Europe, spending significant time in each destination, turning Gary into a cultured, language nerd and changing his perspective on the world. It seems every place he goes, he learns something new, grows as an individual and comes back forever changed.

He's learned to accept things the way they are even if they are not up to our cultural standards, learning that we are all the same and the good in humanity resides in all places, people and cultures, shining through in different lights, but infinitely present.

I asked Gary to tell me about how he got involved with this new adventure to begin with.

"As you know after Comeclean.it, I was exploring Argentina for a while. I had applied for dual citizenship for Italy my first time around 5 years ago and while in Argentina I got an email. The consulate gave me 3 months to come back and finish the process so I hopped on a plane, spent way to much money in New York, got my shiny new passport and I was off.

I landed in Napoli, where as a citizen signed up for university at L’orientale(Eastern University). I had my Spanish background from Argentina and thought, eh I’ll pick up the language in no time. Well let me tell you the first 3 months of learning French and Chinese in Italian was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever endured.

Sitting in a class of 300 hundred people trying to make sense of everything and going home after and by hand translating everything with the help of friends and family. All exams are oral. EEEEK! It was insane, not to mention I was also paying for life by teaching English at the time, But sure enough it paid off, I now speak fluent Neopolitan with a hint of Italian haha.

So one day my buddy from high school that I haven’t spoken with in a while hit me up on Facebook, so I told him to fly over and stay with me in my ghetto little apartment in the “Quartieri spagnoli” a place my Italian friends wouldn’t even visit. When he showed I started talking with my cousin in America who knows someone who works at Bus2alps.com, he shot an email over for me and told me there might be room for new staff.

With 993 intern applications last semester, I couldn’t believe it. I sent the email and forgot about it. I took my friend to Rome on his last day to see the sites and they responded. “Gary when can you get on Skype to have an interview?” I said sorry I can’t today because I’m in Rome showing my friend around, little did I know so were my future teammates. “Oh perfect can you meet us in 1 hour?” Sure no problem I said.

We mt at campo de fiore for a quick meeting and I instantly felt in place. When can you start? You have to move in to one of our apartments in Rome, we can give you more details this week.

I impulsively said tomorrow.

Well from that day it’s been bus2alps.com and I’m happier than ever. Grabbing a bag in Naples and running back to Rome, none of my Neapolitan friends nor I knew what happened. After 3 months, I'm now the Assistant City Manager Of Sales and officially live in the Twilight Zone. Awesome!"

Working with Bus2Alps has provided so many great new memories. Waking up on the bus to Interlaken Switzerland and peering out at the surreal majestic scenery is an unforgettable experience. The snow capped alps provided an unreal backdrop, a landscape that was otherworldly.

Oh, and that is just the location of their headquarters.

Another great thing about Bus2Alps is that most all of the trips can be done by flying in from ANYWHERE. Everything is included but the flight in, so come land and take off on the trip of a lifetime.

Trips to the massively popular Almafi Coast provide the best bang for your buck to travelers in the region on a non stopped trip down the stunning Italian coast abutting the warm,light blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

In just 3 days, travelers voyage from Florence to Sorrento, to Capri, to Positano and finishing in Pompeii, a voyage many just dream about.

Another favorite, (and an area I can vouch for it's stunning natural beauty) is their trip through Croatia. The exotic natural beauty, pristine beaches and the stunning KRKA National Park waterfalls make this journey a nature lovers paradise. With transport and hotel accommodations with breakfast included it is cheaper than nearly any one way flight. Why not take your time, see more, travel deeper. I'll take that deal.

The fall and spring break voyages are massively popular as well with 10 day tours that explore the amazing cities on the Eastern Loop. Budapest, Krakow, Prague and Ljubljana are storybook cities with mid evil charm that are quickly gaining popularity as the top hot spots. If you are looking to travel to this stunningly beautiful cities, you will quickly find out how rich in history and culture they are and how amazingly cheap they still remain.

So how has Gary's life changed since pulling 12-14 hour days in Brooklyn running his own business?

He still pops up at 6:48 AM every day, sips a bit of Yerba Mate and answers emails. The company's partnership with local universities and study abroad programs puts Gary in the loop with so many other like minded travelers seeking advice on the trips to take, the places and things to see. He loves this role working as a "travel specialist" 7 days a week. The chance to get young students out on the road on their first journey is eternally exciting. Thinking back to when he had just left home and started his exploration, Gary prizes the opportunity to network with these eager young wanderers looking to wet their appetite with new adventures. If their journey is anything like Gary's, they are in for one hell of a decade ahead of them with experience many of us do not get to enjoy in a lifetime.

The great thing about Bus2Alps is that it is an affordable and adventurous way to travel through Europe. it is affordable even for students on a tight budget. Many students studying abroad in Barcelona, Florence or Prague enjoy great experiences in these new places, but never get the chance to see the rest of Europe. Bus2Alps changes the game here, enabling even those with not a lot of spend to enjoy a fun and wild ride through Europe's most popular and beautiful destinations.

To give you an idea of how this innovative company is run, here is a quote from Gary himself when I asked him how he like working there.

"Dude, Bus2Alps is awesome. It’s a serious physically and mentally demanding job, but it always has a pay off. We sell the best thing ever. Fun. But because the company is so cool I think even if we sold ceiling fans, I would like it. After 10 years of business it’s still ran by genuinely awesome people. They understand fun and what drives people and that we as Americans need to travel in this ever changing world. It was started by travelers and adventurers and still ran by them today. They listen to opinions and act on it, skipping the board of directors and all those other gatekeepers and this helps the company evolve. I find myself saying we, a lot instead of them as a company. With a 100% growth a year, the proof is in the pudding, we want this."

  There are so many great adventures in this world, why not take a leap and book a trip today. As Gary likes to say, "Some will laugh, many will follow". I will continue to follow along in Gary's adventures and his lifelong quest to become the next Dos Equis guy.

You can follow Gary's latest adventures GaryMisner.com and you can contact him at gary@bus2alps.com or by calling +39 348 815 1934.

For information on Bus2Alps, visit the following links- 

Bus 2 Alps

(Gift code Gary saves you 5%!)

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/bus2alps.travel

Twitter- https://twitter.com/bus2alps

Blog - http://blog.bus2alps.com/

Language Hacking Before you Come -

Speak From Day 1

Why Anything is Possible & How Croatian Stingrays Can't Kill Me

 

It is Monday night, 2:04 AM.

I guess it is Tuesday morning. The serene ambiance in my dimly lit living room is a welcome reprieve, though I know in a little over 4 hours, my 3 year old daughter will make that all too familiar plop out of her crib, and sprint into our bedroom, shattering this peaceful aire with utter fierosity in the 12 pounding steps she takes each morning before swinging our door open.

I do not mean to make this sound like I am bitter, but hopefully you get the picture, I am not a morning person. However all is quickly forgotten when she comes over to my side of the bed, sheepishly grins up at my squinting and clearly annoyed glance and pours out "good morning daddy".

This is how she gets me every morning and though I would like to yell, throw a fit, turn over and catch another hour of sleep, she knows I am hers at that moment and cartoons and breakfast are in her near future.

This is a chapter in my life that is being written daily as I succumb to normalcy and responsibility that I had previously avoided more than entusiastic mormon kids on bikes. The time to wonder, get lost, live each day in the moment and plunder and pillage though foreign lands without an agenda is gone.

I am realizing that these are the roots I need, the support that I am building in order to keep from toppling over and losing the life I am building. I realize that building a great life, a family and leaving a legacy requires this sacrifice and a temporary stay from the many vices that ones laid seige on my existance.

This is the post "find yourself" period, I now know who I am.

I've learned what makes me great, what I suck at and that just because you know what you want, doesn't mean that anyone is going to hand it to you, or even help you get it for that matter. This may be the truest thing I've written since I arrived home from Europe a few years back. I remember at 25 saying that "I feel old, but not wise tonight".

Yet tonight I feel grown, matured, stable and ready for more for the good things in life. Gone are the frustrations that drove me around the world in a search for myself. I've realized that there is for many of us, no "big break" where someone we idolize runs across our ramblings and decides to become our running mate, propelling us to fame and riches.

It simply does not work that way for the majority of us. Humans are by nature selfish and opportunistic, especially the successful ones.

That is ok though, I feel at peace with that knowledge.

What is even better than the aformentioned scenerio, is the empowerment that stems from building a stong business, a strong family and a great life all on your own through real tough times, with very limited assistance. This has really taught me how I need not be dependent on anyone but myself, that I was good enough to replicate this success, reguardless of if I went bankrupt tomorrow and had nothing. It is pretty damn cool to realize that you hold all the pieces of the puzzle, and you alone can play them as you like to build whatever life you see fit.

In the summer of 2011 I stayed at a hostel in Berlin, Germany. It happened to be the peak of allergy season and I would wake up each morning scratching my eyes out and sneezing uncontrollably every few minutes. I decided to instead of braving the elements and grab some allergy medicine, I would simply drink enough beer to forget about it. Shockingly enough, this method actually worked quite well.

In my weeklong daze in Berlin I met an Irish backpacker by the name of Micheal Craig. Mikey was slight in stature, but made up for it in personality, cussing out more than a few of the stuck up Germans we encountered, much to my enjoyment of course. But Mike wasn't just a hot headed young lad bulldozing his way through Europe. In all my travels, he seemed to be one of the deepest and most caring guys I encountered. The type of guy I'd want in my corner in any fight, even if the odds were insurmountable, I would never have to question his loyalty, or willingness to take it all the way, a rare quality these days.

We roadtripped down through Prague, Budapest, Zagreb and Split and made a nightly hobby of buying the local beer at a corner market and taking late night booze walks though cities we had never seen. No directions, no maps, just freedom and great conversation.

I feel like I learned more about Mike in our few weeks together than I knew of most of my friends back home.

One night in Split, Croatia we went down to the city beach late at night and walked out until the water was to our shoulders, the dark night sky streching above us and the water dimly lit by the flickering lights of a nearby beachside nightclub. Mikey's drunk ass thought he saw a stingray, so we cautiously, drunkenly stumbled toward the object. I talked shit to him, saying he was a pussy and it was probably a tire or a left behind swimsuit.

As we got even closer I saw a tail and there was a darting of sorts through the dark water toward us.

We ran like hell all the way back to shore, screaming loudly like school girls that just saw a spider, splashing our way to shore, laughing our asses off.

 

It was this beach but night time

As we looked up, the nightclub was letting out and a long line of locals, expats and traveling partiers were exiting staring, pointing and laughing at us. Mikey appeared to give about as much of a shit as I did and we proceeded to call eachother queers among other things for our failed manliness in securing a stingray as out Croatian souvinier.

This was life. Moments I could never replicate, things I will never forget.

Tonight I understand that these are the kind of things that mold you, that drive you forward. On that day I had nothing, scrapping by to buy a plane ticket home a few days later. If I lost it all, I might just end up back on that beach, or on another one before building everything back again.

You cannot buy that moment. You can put yourself in a great position. To enjoy your daughters smile every morning, learning to love the grind everyday, knowing that you are building something great. There will be more moments, more accomplishments, more trips and more work. It is all cyclical.

Balance is essiential and it is something I struggle with daily with work, life, family and memories of the great days of freedom. But living a great life requires equal parts of all these things. The days before I stayed in that Hostel and met Mikey I remember laying in the top bunk in a roomshare in Berlin depressed as all hell that I had made nothing of myself, feeling alone and lost halfway around the world as I wrote this post.

Nothing is as big of a deal as it sometimes seems, most depression you will face is merely a temporary choice. We are capable of nearly anything. If I can travel the world on a shoestring budget, make new friends in every place I go, come  back broke, move a few states a way, find an amazing woman, become a great father and build a successful and profitable business from scratch, I can do anything.

I can lose 60 lbs, pay for a wedding entirely on my own, become the absolute best at what I do, be a great husband, brother and son and forge a legacy that survives well beyond my alotted time on this earth.

That is what I am going to do. Great experiences are waiting both here at home, as well as in foreign lands I now know nothing of. The choice is only mine to make, this is my empire to build, my everlasting freedom being created every day with every decision I make to move forward, continue learning, growing and seeking the greatest things this world has to offer.

Join me?

 

Buenos Aires- Drinking and Stumbling on a Warm Summer Day

It’s inevitable.

Complacency will always show its lazy, unchanging face, no matter how ambitious your goals and dreams are.

Buenos Aires, Argentina 2010

It was noon by the time I awoke and peeled myself from my seat soaked bed, feeling the ringing in my ears that comes along with a long night that stars with 2 for 1 well drinks and ends with hot dogs and beer at 4 AM. It was summer in the city and my little apartment in San Telmo didn’t include air conditioning in the outrageous $320 a month rent I was forking out.

Bummer.

These are the kind of mornings that make you take a short look in the mirror, indentify that you look about how you feel and then proclaim that you must accomplish something with your day and attempt to forge a more productive path in your future.

It was 2 months into my South American excursion and I decided that today would be the day that I finally shot some video for my blog which had become quite popular in recent months. I always felt like an idiot trying to shoot video while traveling. After all, I travel alone and being an oversized gringo, I just felt like I looked funny holding out a flip cam in an effort to document all the fun I was having.

For one, it kept me from having as much fun, but secondly, I just hate looking like a tourist. The best travel moments it seems cannot be caught on tape and are better off remembered through your own embellished memories that you will forever encapsulate in your own further embellished stories.

But I regress.

Today, I was going to capture some fucking video, one way or another.

In the following video, I documented my little day in the sun. From wake up to pass out on my journey through Buenos Aires, trying to give people a firsthand idea of what my experience was like. Through editing and the realization that sitting and talking to the camera wasn’t an option, the video is basically a music video of me messing around in BA, with Kid Cudi playing in the background, my jam at the time.

It is funny to me that I was trying so hard to make a video for my followers to see what I was doing, when in reality I never posted it because I was embarrassed to. I know look back at this and laugh. It reminds me of all more solo journeys through cities I’ve had that have been so random and awesome, heading out in an unknown city and just taking everything in, while throwing back some cold ones.

It took me forever to even make the video and I never even posted it…

Until now.

So check this out and enjoy my idiotic stumbling through a foreign city from when I was up, up and away in BA.

 

Why Seattle is the Best City in the World (and my marriage proposal)

 Via- Aaron GustafsoThe Back Story

 

At a deliberate pace that would annoy any frenetic city dweller that happened to be drudging angrily behind us,  my soon to be fiancée and I strolled arm and arm down 5th Avenue. We were making our way to a free wine happy hour at the Vintage Park Hotel, a nightly bonus to guests of the hotel. Of course we weren’t staying at the hotel that night, but we were however resourceful thinkers.

 

Our agreed upon destination was Seattle’s tallest building, the Columbia Tower.  We would never make it there.

 

 

 

 I digress…

I’ll come back to this story later on, but for now I’d like to tell you why and how this monumental night came to be. This city, the city I now call home, is only 35 miles from where I was born and raised. But it is only recently that I’ve discovered how amazing Seattle really is.

 

 Why I Love Seattle

Via- Surrealize

Now let me be clear, I am not one of those hometown people who think their city is amazing just because they have never been anywhere else.  In fact for a while, I was a hater.

I blogged in 2009 about how fed up I was living in the area and how I needed to get away fast. This was before I ever discovered my hometown for what it really is. Living in the suburbs nearby a city IS NOT anything like living in the city.  

After traveling throughout the US, South America and Europe extensively, let me tell you why Seattle, my hometown tops the list of my favorite cities in the world.

The Culture & Diversity

Seattle is hugely diverse. Rainier Valley, just east of the city is actually the most diverse neighborhood in the country.  Now I normally try to avoid that area, but when I do go through, it is usually ok as long as I don’t smile, wink, nod or wave and make sure I take off my watch and ring.

In all seriousness it is a dangerous neighborhood in spots, but it isn’t that bad and Seattle as a whole is a pretty safe city, safer than most that I have lived in. The food here is also on another level. So many options, nearly anything you could want is nearby and they do it pretty damn well. From food trucks parked at the gas station to the high end boutique restaurants you can get whatever you need.

Diversity is welcomed here, similar to how I felt in Berlin (save for the stuck up Germans, which were definitely the minority), Seattle is a melting pot where everyone lives in cohesion with one another and generally we all get along. Sure this might be the image the entire US tries to convey, but things seem much less segregated here than in places like Arizona, where it feels more like the races stay more separated. I can’t explain why this is true, but I can feel it when I travel between these cities.

The Attitude

It is true, there is a bit of a tree hugging, hippie vibe here and you will get scowls for not using the recycling bin. You smell pot on the city streets, and it is basically legalized here. We are overall pretty accepting and welcoming. Sure there are a lot of annoying hipsters and dirty may be the new clean as many guys seem to go for the “Unshaven, withdrawn, wanna-be rockstar on a bender” look. But for the most part, people are pretty normal and nice. I would venture to say it is easier to make friends in this city than most others that I have traveled too.  Ballard is where I live, and along with Wallingford, Fremont, Greenlake and Capitol Hill, these are the neighborhoods that are where young professionals and young families are coming too in huge numbers. 

The Neighborhoods

The Cha on Capitol with the ladies

Capitol Hill is more the mecca for the young singles, but it is where we all go to party and check out the weird, but awesome bars.  Cha Cha Lounge and the Unicorn are among my favorites and the atmosphere and the diverse crowd are great for chilling and people watching, just plan your cab ride home, you’re not driving.


Ballard has changed immensely since the 90’s and home prices, rents and the demographics here are changing daily. Take a gander down Market St. and stroll Ballard Ave and you will get a feel for this areas personality and the ever changing town center. Cranes rise high above of 15th Ave NW and new housing is springing up like crazy in this area. Old houses are being knocked down and new 3200 sqft homes are erected in their place, making better use of these in city lots that are becoming so scarce from the high demand.

 

 

Via- Transit Nerds

South Lake Union is quickly becoming the epicenter of the tech savvy, young entrepreneurs of the city and the Microsoft, Amazon and startup crowd all hang out around this area as new apartments and high end skyscrapers seem to be popping up monthly. A mass movement of high paid, business minded young professionals are flooding the area, driving demand for housing and services up and creating an entirely new, hip community (think San Francisco).

 

Via- SeattleRachel

Greenlake is dope during the summer and in general is a pretty cool place to congregate. Forza Coffee is among my favorite places in the area and it is actually where I am writing this from. You can chill, have a coffee, meet clients and hang out and work as long as you’d like, but do be warned, they play Dave Matthews sometimes. They also serve beer which is awesome if you want to call it in early and have a little happy hour action going on. A great way to liquor up your clients and get them to sign the contract for their new home, (kidding, kind of).

 

Via- Photocayote View from Wallingford

Wallingford is sweet, as is Freemont. Similar vibes here, Wallingford has some of the best views of the city in places and is centrally located between the best neighborhoods and nightlife. Fremont is pretty cool too, right across the bridge from Queen Anne and a quick ride into downtown. There are some cool local spots here and I would imagine this area is going to transform in the coming years, much the way Ballard is now.

Via- IRQ506

Downtown is pretty awesome too, and my fiancée and I will take the D line from Ballard into the city to hang out all day and knock back some cold ones before catching a bus back. The Yardhouse is pretty awesome, yes it is a chain, but I love every one of them. Downtown is well laid out and it is easy to walk around to nearly every major attraction weather permitting. If you get a chance, you have to hang on the rooftop deck of the Hard Rock in the summer time, one of the city’s best vantage points overlooking Pike Place Market. This is a good place to saddle up and catch a buzz while in the midst of the massive steel and glass skyscrapers rising to all sides around you.

Where Did I Leave Off?

Stopping at the Vintage Hotel for the free wine, I let Nicole know we would not be making it to the Columbia Tower tonight. She seemed disappointed, I understood. After all, that was my plan, I had to throw her off my scent.

Via- LarryUCS57

 

She tried to keep a positive outlook and we headed to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory as she wondered why I wasn’t ready to propose at the Columbia Tower, Did I have cold feet?

 

 

 

After an amazing dinner we headed back to our room at the Westin which is in two circular skyscrapers that look pretty damn cool and provide great views from nearly every room.  I conveniently couldn’t find my room key and Nicole opened the door and turned the light on.

 

 

 

 

 

 “What the Hell?” She exclaimed as she followed the rose pedals through the entry way into the room and saw the dim flicker of candle light off a bottle of Malbec, our favorite wine. As she turned around she saw this on the bed…

 And as she turned to me, I dropped to a knee and once again proclaimed my love for her, letting her know that there is no other woman in the world for me and there never would be.

Thanks to Mom and Dad for staging the room!!

She shuttered a tearful yes and my plan had come to fruition. The city I love, the woman I adore and our future together, building out careers and our family in this one of a kind place, Iit is more than I could ever ask for.


Seattle is the one for me, the city I will always call home. Though I may stray at times on trips around the world to see, learn and grow, I will always come back here. I have made my choices, chosen my city, my bride, my career and the future is bright.

Bling Bling

Now it is Your Turn

If you’ve been here, if you are from here, tell me why you love Seattle. What is it that draws you to this wonderful city?  I still am a newb having only lived in the actual city since January. Tell me what are your favorite places, bars, restaurants, things to do in and around Seattle?

Use the comments section below, I’d love your feedback!

Living Bueno is Back! What I learned from a Year of Hard Work

Preface- Why so few posts in the past year?

It is no secret, I have been away from the blog for a while, caught up in pushing through one of the busiest and most challenging periods of my life. But now my friends, I am back!

I had blogged consistantly for nearly two and a half years and it was time for me to focus on living life, building a family and a career and more recently moving into and adjusting to a new city.

I started Living Bueno not just as a travel blog, documenting my new experiences while transversing the globe, but rather as a lifetsyle and self improvement movement. That movement is continuing now.

Building Your Best Life Today

Via- Shadowplay

Next week I will be turning 27, not nessesarily the most monumental of birthdays, I'll admit. However this year has definetly been a defining time in my life. I rebuilt my career and had an excellent year in real estate, got engaged to my beautiful fiancee and begun planning our wedding and moved to Ballard, living in the city of Seattle for the first time. This has been stressful and chaotic without question, however I feel like I am in a better place now than I have been ever before. What is exciting and inspiring to me is that making huge, difficult, but nessesary changes in your life is not nearly as difficult as it may seem.

How to Get What You Want Out of Life


Conquering any task you desire is possible. What is first nessesary however, is the concious decision to focus. Focus is by far one of the most underappriciated game changers in our society today. Nearly anyone who has accomplished anything great has had the ability to set everything else aside and single out a specific goal, driving forward with precision and unrelenting focus until the task is achieved.

The Power of Focus


Via- HammaD.TN

I decided about this time last year that I would get back into the real estate industry and that would be my chosen career path. It just made sense. I was damn good at it, I enjoyed it and I had all the connections in place to make it happen.

However without focus, this endeavor would have not been successful As a real estate broker, staying focused and on task is not the easiest thing to do. No one tells you what to do and you are in charge of your own business. Furthermore if you do not focus and create results, there is no wage to fall back on, commission only, no pay check will come in that you do not earn.

Having a strong focus and driving forward is what ultimatly propelled me to having a very good year in real estate sales. Focus however, seems to be a lost art in todays ADHD inducing society.

Most of us cannot get though ordering lunch without scrolling through facebook updates and it is a miricle anyone accomplishes anything with how distracted we all seem to be on a regular basis. Focus is overcoming the distractions, worrying about only the prize on the horizon, shunning the unimportant nuances that aim to destroy our dreams.

I do not speak of this as an all knowing guru who has conquered these deamons, but rather as someone who has suffered with this precise hinderance for too long and who is now attepting to change by overcoming it. Though adderal, ephedrine and other pharmacuticals can without question do one hell of a job in helping to fight this battle, at some point we all need to possess the ability to maintain prolonged focus and discipline in order to achieve our goals. Otherwise anything we dream up is nothing more than a new years resolution that is doomed to be broken when we lose focus a few days later.

More than anything this year, I knew that I know had a family to support and a life to build with my soulmate and partner. This goes along way in helping you focus on what is really important. If you are trying to achieve something great right now, you will simply have to want it bad enough to change and possses the ability to maintain your focus long enough to make it happen. THAT IS IT.

Focus and win or lose focus and perish.

The end.

Going forward

 

I'll be writing much more on how to build a great life in the coming weeks, something I am proud to say that I have done. I also have some huge goals for this year and  will be making some big moves here in the next few months to find out what I have up my sleeve. Improving my health by losing a ton of weight, learning new interesting skills and expanding my business tenfold are on my shortlist at the moment and for you travel nuts out there, I will be taking a trip near the end of the year!

 

 

 

Enclosure

The Art of Hustle- In the Beginning

THE LAWS OF HUSTLE

Law #1- "When things are going crazy, you must stay sane"


I graduated high school in 2004. Despite above average grades and strong test scores, it seems that every teacher comment and counselors recommendation echoed the same sentiment.

Very intelligent with a lot of potential... IF he would apply himself.

I didn't see myself as a college type of guy. Another 4 years of school seemed like a brand of torture that I wasn't quite ready for. I opted to make a 2 year commitment and attend community college, dropping out about 3/4's the way through my freshman year.

I had big dreams and a whole lot of ambition, but no stability, no foundation and no life experience to guide me through the coming turbulent times.

Photo Credit- VinothChandar

It was at this time that I had begun a career in real estate in early 2005. At 18 years old, it wasn't going to be easy to convince my elder clients that I should be in charge of what is most people's largest asset. Again it seems that it would involve me having to actually apply myself.

I got lucky.

The market was peaking and by partnering with my mom, I had given myself a bit of much needed credibility. In the next three years we would enjoy moderate success in the real estate market as prices exploded and nearly everyone with a pulse signed up for an adjustable rate mortgage. Of course this madness would eventually come to an abrupt end, the crash leaving me in a tough spot.

I was young and admittedly rather careless financially. My income had grown every year, I had accumulated assets and bought and sold my own property for a handsome profit. I had a waterfront condo, a Mercedes and an extravagant lifestyle for a 20 year old, but mostly I had a big shit storm on my hands.

Photo Credit- Carolynconner

Naivety and irrational thinking that was brought on by this huge market boom had taught me in my first years as a real estate professional of a market that was not sound, artificially inflated by unsound mortgages backed by reckless government entities. I wasn't sophisticated enough at the time to understand fully why the market was so phony, it seemed as though prices would always rise, deals would always be out there and my income would only grow year over year.

Everything I had evaporated in a matter of months. My income stopped, prices fell and there was no way I could continue the lifestyle that I had adopted. Going from making six figures, to being broke and unable to get much more than a bartending gig, that will change your perspective pretty quickly.

A purging of our housing market was necessary, that is now quite obvious in retrospect. Along with this adjustment, my two properties I owned currently would get foreclosed on, my Mercedes repossessed. I say this honestly to you to point out one of the biggest and most costly lessons I've had to learn.

When things are going crazy, you must stay sane

I was at Rock bottom cleaning houses, bartending and doing freelance writing work over the next few years in order to make ends meet. I was down, but not out. To get back I would need to do what so many mentors before had instructed. I would be forced to apply myself in all facets

Stay tuned for part two...

Following Your Instincts to Obtain Your Dream Lifestyle

 

Photo Credit - Paul Bica

Trust your instincts always.

Emotions are dangerous, instincts are much more stable.

Too many times in life I have put another's wants and needs before my own, shunning my true instincts to appease the emotional needs of another.

Now is my time. As a man, like it or not, you are the leader. Your life, your family and where you end up is solely to your own discretion.

Lead boldly and be unrelenting while trusting your instincts and moving toward the lifestyle of your dreams. In the end lifestyle is what we want to idolize. If you want a family, expendable income, trips around the world and a work less, live more lifestyle, you had better do what is necessary to get there.

For too long, longer than I even care to mention, I completely failed in this pursuit. I lived more, worked less without the necessary structure or discipline to get to my end game lifestyle. I was comfortable, not hungry. My life's compass was broken, not seeing tomorrow, only confined to my immediate worries of today, keeping everyone else happy, focusing not on what drove me forward.

A revolution of clarity has now captured my focus. It is not easy to wake up, break out of your rut and gain a firm directional bearing, knowing exactly what you desire in life. It is damn hard in reality and takes more than a little aimless wandering and self exploration to gain an understanding of what is truly important to you.

The fact is that you may now be completely lost like I was just a year ago today, having many accomplishments, experiences and relationships, yet no purpose or higher calling. Keep wandering, keep making mistakes and keep searching and when the time is right, follow your instincts.

 

NYC, where I made a decision that would eventually change my life.

Photo Credit - Leo Newball Jr.

 

A year ago today I flew from New York City to Seattle. I wasn't quite sure why at the time.

I was booking my plane ticket back to my home in Phoenix and was pissed off that the fare to Phoenix was $300 more than the one to my hometown of Seattle. I decided to take a trip back to Seattle and catch a cheap flight to Phoenix a few weeks later.

A split second decision forced me to follow my instinct and book the flight to Seattle instead, I felt a bit homesick and thought it was time to return after being gone for well over a year. Something told me to just book that flight, sleep on my brothers couch for a few weeks and see old friends.

Two weeks turned into two months and I met a girl.

I would leave two months later after having some of the best times of my life with my brother, bonding with my dad while hiking every weekend and meeting a woman who would change my life forever. I would sadly board a plane to Phoenix after not sleeping a wink the night before, wondering why I was leaving.

I would wander only a bit more in Phoenix before realizing that what I really wanted was back home all along. I talked with that girl everyday I was gone for three months and she was the first person I saw the day I returned in December.

We have been dating for 7 months now, my instincts tell me she is the one. She supported me through some of the hardest times in my life, encouraging me to get back into Real Estate, a career I thrive in and have since become very successful in, in only 3 months time.

Life pulls you in so many different directions. Trust your instincts always.

Your life, your happiness and your future could be dependent on that one split second decision to book that flight home.

Go with your gut, it may save your life!

 

Going Hard- Conquering the Seattle Real Estate Market

***Disclaimer- I know I’ve gone a little soft in the past few posts and gotten a little deep so here is your uncensored post proving I am still pretty Harrrrd. Enjoy.***

(The following paragraph may require some knowledge of baseball)

Photo Credit- Mr. Empey

The bases were loaded, I was 12 and we were down a run in the 4th inning in the district all-star baseball tournament. I remember these specific details quite well.

Homeboy on the mound thought it would be a good idea to try and sneak a fastball by on the outside corner, clearly he was scared. I was in fact the clean-up hitter and at 12 years old, I was 6ft tall and I'm sure a bit intimidating.

I swung hard, real hard and crushed the hell out of that fastball for an opposite field grand slam, giving us the lead and what would be the winning runs.

Now I am not trying to live in the past with this post, but rather to explain my take on things. I have always been and all or nothing type of guy. Mediocrity just seems too damn boring.

It was always a strike out or a home run, a no hitter or a bad loss where I’d walk (or bean) like 8 dudes (some on purpose out of frustration).

Confidence/Swag/Boldness/ whatever you’d like to call it

Excerpt from Robert Greene’s Phenomenal book The 48 Laws of Power

Law 28- Enter Action with Boldness

If you are unsure of a course of action, do not attempt it. Your doubts and hesitations will infect your execution. Timidity is dangerous: Better to enter with boldness. Any mistakes you commit through audacity are easily corrected through more audacity. Everybody admires the bold; no one honors the timid.

Photo Credit - Ian Sane

Got Swag? Why the hell not?

Why do anything half way? Why not enter into anything you do with boldness?

Swing for the damn fences already, life is too short as it is.

That is what I have tried to do for the past 3 years and documented here on this blog. While not everything has always been perfect, I have created an amazing life for myself and enjoyed experiences and places most people my age only dream of. I am uninterested in what others say is foolish, impossible or not practical. I am interested in doing amazing things, living an amazing life and becoming the best I can be in all areas of interest I pursue.

Set Big Ass Goals

  • ·         When I was 330lbs I set a goal compete as a bodybuilder. I ended up losing 100lbs and deciding stepping on stage wasn’t nearly as important to me as just being in good shape. But the crazy goal drove me forward getting me close, showing me what I really wanted.
  • ·         When I wanted to start traveling I set a goal to live abroad 3 months a year. I did this not once but twice and after seeing much of Europe and South America, I was content to stay home for a while and build a solid foundation in Seattle, but make a point to take sporadic long term trips throughout life.
  • ·         I wanted to build a popular blog, get a few hundred hits per day. This is something that really took off and I was astonished that I pulled in my one millionth visitors earlier this year and my following shows me that there are a whole bunch of people that this message resonates with.

Not all my goals have worked out, but most of them did. The one certainty is that the goals I didn’t write down never even got off the ground.

 

So What Am I Doing These Days?

In a word, Hustlin’.

I started my career in real estate when I was 18 years old and did quite well for myself before the market crashed, buying a few properties before I turned 20. Of course the market crashing took away my income and wealth I had built and this downfall was what propelled me to make many positive life altering decisions, many of which I’ve documented here on this blog. This momentary defeat in retrospect was a mere bump in the road that has driven me forward with a new energy.

Having been down to my last dollar many times and spending my last few quarters on a beer or two, I know a little bit about struggling now. Trust me, that shit isn’t fun. But it sure creates a hunger inside you.

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. ― Mike Tyson

I hit the mat hard, but I got back up, I always will, til death.

Stunningly enough I feel much better having hit bottom. I feel relentless with nothing to lose and it is pretty damn liberating. After all there is more than one billionaire in this world that at one time has been bankrupt.

My City

Photo Credit- JustunMarty

I returned to Seattle in December and after a brief hiatus and world wandering I have returned to the real estate business here with one goal. I will become the best realtor in Downtown Seattle, focusing my efforts on the in-city condominium market.

I’ve been doing pretty damn well so far and have managed to drum up quite a bit of business, but I am not aspiring to make a mere living. Naturally, I want to conquer the market and crush all competitors.

I am made for the big city atmosphere. When I arrive in downtown an immediate feeling overcomes me, a different energy arrives to deal with the frenetic pace of the city. I was made for this.

I know as a buyer I would want to work with an agent who was young and hungry, not withered and comfortable. After hitting bottom, I know that I can never and will never lose that hunger.

I am, forever, a shark. I will take on all comers relentlessly. The time is perfect and the condo market in downtown is heating up. Better yet no one is doing it right. There is blood in the water, its kill time. The absence of hunger around downtown is alarming, no one seems to want to step up and conquer the market.

I do though.

Goal- Sell $5 million of real estate in the next 12 months

I'm swinging for the fences and aiming for the top of those high-rises.

Used to not be allowed in the building, but now we on the rooftops-Wiz Khalifa

Up we go…

Suppressing Selfishness- The Key to Finding Unconditional Happiness

Photo Credit - tipiro

One of life’s great mysteries that transcends from billionaire bankers to down and out drunks is the search for everlasting and unconditional happiness. It is not surprising however that very few of us even have a clue as to what would truly provide us with this elusive and possibly unrealistic dream of eternal joy.

I have always looked forward, dreaming of the future and creating my castles in the sky in my daydreams, mentally molding my future empire, excluding no detail in these wishful ponderings.

What I am now realizing is that nearly all ambitious dreams and materialistic yearnings stem from some form of selfishness and vanity. While these two principals can be tremendously effective motivating factors, they are not what any great man should base his life’s plan on, as these pillars will crumble when more important, more fulfilling and more righteous needs inevitably arise.

Applying This Idea to Everyday Life

 

Here is the way I see things. At different points in my life I valued wealth, travel, creating a business and fitness over all other things in my life, literally all things. All of these things can unquestionable be rewarding in their own way, in no way should they be put in front of the things that truly matter in life.

Valuing others needs above your own may be the only way to ever experience unconditional happiness. Putting your family, friends and occasionally even a perfect strangers needs above your own, making this selfless sacrifice is something that so few of us in today’s society even consider.

The bottom line is that new Mercedes, waterfront property and that flashy suit might temporarily give you a feeling of satisfaction, but do nothing to cure the emptiness and yearning for more that lacking a real selfless purpose creates.

The Danger in Isolation

 

To dig further, let me use an anecdote from my own life.

For years I prized travel as the most important activity in my life and my wanderings did teach more about the world and its people that I could have ever imagined. What it also did however was teach me a great deal about myself. While the drunken nights and unforgettable journeys will always bring a smile to my face, this is not to say that being across the world and not knowing a person in the city I was in didn’t wear on my mind. That feeling of utter and complete loneliness was something that made me realize that no matter where I went and what I saw, I had left so many things I loved deeply back at home.

This isolation made me realize that it is not the places or the things that will matter when we leave this earth; it is the lives that we have affected and the legacy of good or evil that we have left in our wake that will remain.

My Reconciliation

 

My point is that we need a purpose. Wealth, the urge to travel, the yearning to be great at what you do, these are all more than noble pursuits. But they must be done in conjunction with an overarching story and purpose and such pursuits without these principals are done in vain.

My urge to provide for my girlfriend and our family, to be able to help my parents as they get older and to help all those who I hold dear as friends to create a brighter financial picture through real estate is what drives me forward. I am in a unique position where I have the ability to completely change the financial future of my clients with relative ease, setting them up for their selfless pursuits in the future.

My goal is to create the urgency in you to have an overarching purpose. Not just for the next trip overseas, the next promotion or pay raise, but rather for the greater good of your family and your loved ones. Without this commitment to the greater good of selflessness, all too many of us will allow these pursuits to fall by the wayside, waiting for brighter days which may never come.

Loving outwardly and having a selfless purpose that you can direct your pursuits in is in my opinion the only way that you will ever find unconditional happiness.

So now... What is your purpose?

Spring Cleaning- Time To Clean Out My Closet

By- Rick A. Griffith

Photo Credit- Nicholas_T

It is drizzling outside, not cold, but certainly not warm.

The bare branched trees line Colby Avenue in downtown Everett as I suck down enough caffeine to kill an Olsen twin at Starbucks and pound away violently at my laptop keyboard. Apparently typing powerfully with a purpose creates the best blog posts; in my mind anyway.

It has been almost 3 months since I arrived back in Everett, a city located just north of Seattle, and I am settling in quite nicely. Though in past years the mundane grey skies and continuously mediocre weather would wear on my spirit, today I feel that I could not be any happier than I am right here on soggy Colby Avenue surrounded by liberal hippies and Mac book flaunters. Yes the very same things that used to annoy me to no end are now almost endearing in this place that I have left and come back to, seeing it with new eyes, gaining a fresh perspective on my own hometown.

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. - T.S. Elliot

But the skies will clear; at least that is what we are to believe. When they do spring will come and remind us why we all love the Pacific Northwest so much. It seems that up here, as in life, it takes the cold, solitary, dull days in order to make us fully appreciate the bright, warm and beautiful ones. I’ve learned to find happiness amidst the chaos, the monotony and the indifferent times. This is what growing up feels like.

Next week I begin an ascent back to a position that is not unfamiliar. A career and lifestyle I have always loved yet fell out of touch with. The high stakes, limitless possibilities and complete creative control make for a career tailor-made for my own rebellious and ambitious personality.

I am settling in for good here in the Seattle area, diving head first into a career that I enjoyed for years, yet took a sabbatical from, leaving in search of deeper meaning. After seeing the world, what I wanted and more importantly what I did not want from life; the time to focus in and build a strong foundation for my life and future aspirations is now.

Without any further foreshadowing, what I am speaking of is my decision to again renew my career as a real estate professional here in the Seattle area. Being a professional in the real estate industry is something that I am damn good at; I wouldn’t say this if I was not. This is an industry in which I am truly built for and now am prepared to thrive in with the important lessons that I have learned over the past few years.

I will not sales pitch anyone reading this that is not my intent with this post. I will say that I am quite gifted in this role as a tireless researcher, relentless negotiator and unbelievable deal finder. These are things that have only grown since my time away from the business, with my maturation as a man and my commitment to doing things the right way, something that stemmed from lessons that I have learned from my past mistakes.

My Intentions

I have a few objectives right now and I will share them with you here so you know what I am about, straight up.

I intend to live my life according to God’s plan, doing my very best in everything I take on.

I intend to provide an amazing lifestyle for myself and my family.

I intend to always be learning, always be growing and never let my pride inhibit my progress.

I intend to always do my best in motivating, inspiring and guiding my friends, clients, readers, etc… never placing my own motivations over those in need.

Cool?

An update was in order, it’s been a while since I posted anything. I’ll continue to travel throughout life, improve my fitness, and write about my life, my adventures and my business here on the blog.

If you need a house around Seattle, I will find you the best deal period. If you need travel advice, weight loss advice, I’d love to tell you what has worked for me. It is humbling that nearly a million readers have visited LivingBueno in the past year, I hope my advice and stories continue to inspire, challenge and push my readers forward in the direction of their dreams.

 

Top 10 Life Goals After Turning 25, What Do You Want From Life?

 

Photo Credit - Reinhard Pantke

Split, Croatia

June 2011


It was just uncomfortable. Warm, crowded, and even smelly.

In fairness it was my probably my own fault, as I was in fact wrapping up a one and a half month backpacking tour through Europe. Needless to say, my clothes weren't spring fresh. But I will say it anyway. I smelled like someone you might find at your local Whole Foods wearing a hemp t-shirt and dread locks after a 2 week bender.

Perhaps my lucky seat partners in the waiting area were even a bit unhappy as I sat shoulder to shoulder in an inordinately crowded airport terminal in Split, Croatia. It was a warm summer day and my backpack of dirty clothes was perched high in my lap,  as I sat sweating and waiting for my flight to London.

Seconds later the attendant mercifully announced that my flight was ready to board. I boarded the plane and fell into my seat exhausted and slightly hung over. I let my head tilt upward and just smiled thinking about my crazy journey. Sometimes travel can be painful, but that smile is proof that the temporary pain is worth the everlasting memories. I remember thinking for a moment, if this thing crashes, I didn't do too damn bad, my life I thought was a success.

I was wrong though...

The fact was that I just hadn't answered my why yet. What did I want from my life?

Other than a checklist of goals I had set aside, I had nothing much to show for. I had no source of inspiration, no legacy to leave behind. I had nothing but great experiences all over the world and a checklist of cool things I'd accomplished in my journey of self discovery.

 

Photo Credit - Dawn

But How Did the Idea of This List Ever Come About?

A while back now I created a post, listing of the top 25 things I wanted to achieve before my 25th birthday. I made lists on both my 23rd and 24th birthdays in an effort to track my self improvement efforts and set out goals that I wanted to achieve.

I guess you could say this was a quarter life bucket list of sorts and I am proud to say that many of the goals I set out to conquer were achieved. Now that I am 25, and in fact rapidly approaching 26, I feel that it is time for a new list.

The New List

Turning 25 was really when it hit me that I was a true grown up. It was quite easy to mess around in my early 20's and simply get by, much of society encourages this in fact. For myself, I did not have a clear picture of what I truly wanted with my life and instead underwent a 2 + year period of self exploration and improvement. That period of my life is much of what is documented here on Living Bueno and I am glad to be able to look back and reflect on this important time in my life and provide ideas for other going through a similar stage.

Tonight however, things feel different and it is once again time to look forward, this time far beyond a one or two year window. I feel compelled in fact to make a new list of goals, a list that will serve more as a life plan that I can share with you. While my previous lists were more goal driven, including fun trips, physical goals or new skills, this list will focus on the bigger picture.

I write about this tonight because I have recently had a moment of clarity where the past, the present and the future all seem to make sense and I am able to answer the question many of us cannot;

"What do you want in life?"

It is a tough question to answer and I am not saying that I know all the answers. However if I can make a list of goals and dreams geared toward self improvement, amazing vacations and physical goals, I can surely make an attempt to figure out 10 things that I want to live my life for moving forward. Here goes nothing...

The List

Photo Credit - Hamed Saber

1. To Hold God First in my life- I am realizing now that I have been treating God like a buddy in the passenger seat of my car, instead of letting him take the wheel. While I did not grow up religious, having seen the inside of a church maybe twice before my 18th birthday, I have begun the process of growing my relationship with God and according to his plan.

I am a very proud and hard headed person and it has taken me awhile to come around and give up the reigns. The amazing thing that I have noticed is that once you let go, commit to living your life the right way according to gods plan, life seems to get a whole lot easier.

2. To Build an Amazing Relationship and a Strong Marriage- This is something that will likely shock many friends who know me. For a while now I have been completely jaded, unwelcoming to the idea that I would ever get married and start a family.

Things have changed. After finding a best friend, who after a few months become my girlfriend, I see clearly that life is not supposed to be lived alone. Independence is a great thing to enjoy, however there is no greater force in this world than love. I am glad I found it and want to spend my remaining years being the best man and provider I can be for my spouse and family, with God at the forefront of everything.

3. Family Comes First Always- Growing up it is easy to let you personal ambition, busy schedule and personal probelms consume your time. It is so easy to forget about the what really matters in life, your family. We spend our time worrying about what new venture we are going to start, what fire we have to put out at the office or what vacation we are planning and we fail to realize that these are mere hiccups in the plan for our lives.

Our family is the cornerstones, the pillars that hold us up and enable us to build a life in the first place. If that client at the office throws a fit, it will be ok, it really will. If I were to lose a family member and know that I wasn't the son, brother or cousin I should have been, that is not ok.

We have no excuse in life for not loving our family to the fullest of our abilities and this is something I intend to focus on forever. Rebuilding and maintaining the relationships with loved ones that they deserve.

4. Live A Life That My Grandchildren Will Be Proud Of- This goes along with the first three on this list, however it takes things a step further. It is one thing to live a good life you can be proud of, but it is another to leave a legacy, your true mark on the world, affecting and improving the lives of others both while you are here and after you are gone.

Photo Credit- Kevin Dooley

5. Realize My Full Potential Physically- I've made some amazing progress, realizing many of the goals I set out to accomplish on my 25 before 25 list. Now is the time to take things to the next level getting my body to another level and looking and feeling amazing.

I am over 100 lbs lighter, but I have weight to lose still and muscle to gain. I want to be a role model, showing others that you can not only lose weight and get healthy, but also enjoy an amazing physique no matter how bad things are for you right now. I still have a ways to go, but I will get there.

6. To Always Do My Best and Do the Right Thing- This one is damn hard, I'll admit. I am sly, too smart for my own good and overly creative sometimes when trying to figure out how to make things work. The truth is that if you vow to always not skew the lines, bend the rules and instead conduct yourself with integrity, honor and respect, you will prosper handsomely and also be able to sleep at night. Its a hell of a personal struggle, but this is something that I always want to be known for.

7. Always Encourage and Inspire- There is nothing that bothers me more than someone who pokes holes in everything. Those negative influences in your life who tell you all of the difficulties with nearly any endeavor you try to partake in. Everything is not possible for everybody, this is a fact. However I never want to impose limiting beliefs on anyone else. Positive encouragement with realistic helpful advice trumps negativity and nay saying any day of the week.

8. To Travel The World Slowly With My Family- Solo travel is great, its amazing. In all my adventures traveling the world I have to say that the only thing missing while out on the road was those loved ones who matter the most. I want to be in a position where I can share the amazing things that I have seen around the world with the people I love the most. There is a time for independent exploration and a time to live life hand in hand and for me the latter is where I am at now.

9. To Do My Best In Maintaining Friendships Around The World and At Home- I have met so many amazing people while traveling and right here at home in Seattle. I want to reconnect with old friends and continue to stay in touch with everyone I have met along the way. Living a life with a large social network of great friends of all different cultures and walks of life is truly rewarding. This is something that can only encourage growth and continual learning throughout life.

10. To Never Forget, Yet Let Go of The Past- Looking back is something that can be very productive in life and this blog has been my way of doing so in the past few years. However while reflection is productive, dwelling on the past does not help anyone. I never want to project feelings from past experiences of when I have been wronged on new people in my life.

Learning how to let go of the tough things that have happened and learning to trust, love and grow with someone new is a must when moving forward. Never forget where you can from, but build for the future and live in the present.

Coming Full Circle- If You Feel Lost Consider This

By- Rick A. Griffith

"Reflection is priceless"

Photo Credit - Ian Sane

Have you ever had the feeling that everything that has happened in your life has prepared you for this very moment?

Lately something is quite different within me, a change that I cannot explain.

For years now I have wandered through life in search of something, although I did not know exactly what it was that I was looking for. In this process I learned some invaluable lessons that I otherwise would have never discovered.

I remember in a 2009 interview I did with Ross Jeffries, a question that I asked about what tips he might have for people in their early 20’s trying to find out a direction for their lives. His response was that it is up to the individual to find their own path.

“Do not be scared to be lost, this is natural.” He said.

“I thought I wanted to be a comedy writer in my 20’s and it took me a while to realize that that just wasn’t what I was made for, or even wanted from my life”

"I would always tell myself, No ordinary life! I didn't want an average life, I wanted more."

Of course Ross went on to become well known for being featured in the NY Times Bestselling book “The Game” as well as being one of the subjects that Tom Cruise based his character in the movie Magnolia off of, not to mention building a successful business in teaching men how to be successful with women as a top dating coach.

I know now that being lost, seeking answers and experiencing turmoil in your personal life can be an amazing experience. Sure this can be extremely uncomfortable; you will be unstable, reckless, emotional and at times flat out depressed.

However what else could ever force positive change. Having a life that is just good enough not to make positive change is the epitome of misery as you are truly inhibited from ever achieving your dreams.

To find a balance between pipe dreaming and reality, you must at some point leave your comfort zone and test the limits of what is possible, putting yourself into tough situations in order to see what is and is not possible for you personally.

Over the past few years I’ve tested these boundaries in many different areas of my life.

  • I’ve been flush with cash and unhappy as hell.
  • I’ve had my back against the wall without a dollar to my name and still been happier than ever.
  • I’ve traveled all around the world in places where I had no idea where I was, how to ask for directions or what I was even doing in this place. The thrill of this was unreal, some of the most fun I've ever had.
  • I've at times been depressed coming back to ordinary life, trying to make life at home as fulfilling.
  • I’ve been over 100 lbs overweight miserable, having health issues and extremely depressed.
  • I’ve been 110 lbs lighter swimming in the Mediterranean Sea off the beaches of Sicily with a shit eating grin on my face.

My point is this. I get some flak for being irresponsible, unstable and unrealistic. That is fair.

However I would like to counter by asking you this.

Do you know your own limits?

 

Have you been up and down enough in life to realize exactly what it is that you want?

Or

Have you spent your life holding on as hard as possible to avoid ever having to change?

I am not championing my lifestyle the past few years, however I am also not quick to condemn it. This period has been essential in my growth into adulthood.

My mistakes and triumphs have painted a clear picture of EXACTLY what I am capable of and what I am not. I now know my limitations.

I write this today because things in my life have changed in a very real way as of late. I have come full circle in the past few weeks and I have realized that it is possible to live an amazing lifestyle, shunning the status quo lifestyle and seeking greatness all while right here at home in Seattle. It took a few years of gallivanting around the world and finding myself to realize this, but it is now hitting me like a Pacquiao left to the face.

It was ok to be lost, to wander through my early to mid 20’s in search of meaning, direction and a sense of self. It is ok for you to wander too, in fact I highly recommend you to do this in order to find exactly what it is you want.

At some point down this road, an abrupt change in your mindset will occur. For me it literally happened within a few days of arriving back in Seattle this holiday season.

Travel, weight loss, self improvement, writing, this blog, these were just tools in getting me to this point. Life skills and experience I acquired along this crazy road.

I have discovered the career path that I want to follow, the place I want to live and a person who I care about deeply. And this realization all happened at once when I realized that I was finally happy with being who I was, who I had become because of this period of being lost.

And so I ask you again,

Have you ever had the feeling that everything that has happened in your life has prepared you for this very moment?

Until recently, I had not.

Today I can tell you that I have. The proof however is in execution, not in blog posts.

You will notice a new voice on the blog, more confident, more realistic, and less idealistic. This is a maturation of thought, not an abandonment of optimism.

I hope that you will follow my journey into a more stable lifestyle. That being said you can be sure that I will never stop challenging myself and whatever journey I embark on, I will always attempt to be the very best that I can be, this time within my own limits.

 

 

Cough Medicine & Supermodels - A Story About Finding Success & Thriving In the New Year

By - Rick A. Griffith

Photo Credit - Dave Marrow

New Years Eve, December 31st 2003

Mukilteo, WA

I pried 4 red pills free from their packaging and slugged them down with a sip of Miller Lite as I sat alone in complete darkness in my room looking out at my neighborhood sullenly. The drug was Cordiciden, a cold & flu remedy that my brother and I had also discovered worked quite well as a hallucinogenic in higher doses during our latest bout with a head cold. The truth was that other than a plugged nose and a broken spirit, I was fine. This New Years Eve however would be a night that I wanted to forget, however looking back now it is one that I will always remember.

I was a high school junior, had many friends and a witty sense of humor. I was also an above average athlete though this fact got lost easily as my brother, one grade older than I, was a superstar in sports throughout our years growing up. I would have to be content with living in his shadow, something I had gotten used to.

Now before you slit your wrists let me say that I am going somewhere with this. Tomorrow all around the world we will be ringing in a new year once again. We will make promises and break them within mere weeks as we get distracted by our own busy lives and fall into old habits. Some of us however will make a change and stick with it. This is not because of our goal setting, will power or ability to enjoy a fresh start, though these things don’t hurt our efforts. Those of us who succeed in our efforts to make positive change in our lives will do so because for once a light went on and we stood up and proclaimed that we were sick and tired of finishing second, being mediocre and living an unfulfilling life. This moment I am referring too happened to me back on that cold depressing night in 2003 as I dosed off from a mega dose of cold medicine.

In the weeks leading up to the New Years Eve, I had begun building a closer relationship with a girl I had grown up with, (let’s call her Cindy even though those of you who grew up with me will likely know who I am mentioning anyway).

I had always seen something in Cindy even though she was not considered the prettiest girl in Elementary, Middle or High school. I always did have a keen eye for opportunity and talent, something that would prove true in this situation as well.

Cindy was very pretty but didn’t really come into her own until late in High School and thereafter. With this being the case, I had a shot with her being a popular although admittedly chubby kid growing up. We had hung out a few times and I of course had formed a stronger liking for her as I had a crush on her for many years growing up.

A few days earlier we had hung out at her house while her parents were out of town. It was a fun night of drinking and hanging with friends. I had invited my brother over to partake in the partying. We all had a decent night and I felt as if things couldn’t be going any better, I was content.

Later that week was New Years Eve. My brother and cousin urged me to come hang out, though they didn’t know what they were going to do at that time. I declined and instead decided to stay home as I was a bit plugged up and didn’t feel like drinking. At about 8:30 I got a call from my brother, Cindy had invited him over to hang out and he was very excited about this. Clearly I was not as enthused, however playing the role of a back up for most my life, I wasn’t about to ruin his party and instead decided to spend my night unconscious.

I remember washing down the few pills in an effort to get a little buzz and take my mind away from the turmoil I felt within. As the ceiling spun above me I made a promise to myself that I would no longer accept coming in 2nd place, watching anyone else live the life I wanted for myself.

The following 6 months I shed 60lbs of fat and got into the best shape of my life. I worked out every single day, ate flawlessly and learned how to take care of my body. Friends at school even mistook me for my brother at times and going into my senior year of high school I looked like an entirely different person, a far cry from the chubby kid I had left on that bed on New Year’s Eve.

Senior Pic

I internalized the pain I felt, turning it from negative energy into motivation to never relent in reaching for my dreams and never live a life of mediocrity. It is one of the reasons that I still today prefer swinging for the fences and either striking out or hitting a home run in any venture I choose.

No I didn’t sweep Cindy off her feet, this after all isn’t a Hollywood production. In fact looking back I was quite immature to feel so hurt in the first place. We both went our seperate ways as communication dwindled, we were in fact going to two different high schools which made this easier.

Cindy went on to become a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model and is currently dating(Update- engaged to) a Grammy Winning R&B Artist (told you I had an eye for talent).

While I can’t say I have the same flashy resume as her, I can say that this is something that taught me how to define a turning point in my life and set out in the direction of my dreams. I learned from this one defining moment how I could turn things around and become better.

What I learned more than anything is that in the end you will not be making a major change in your life for any other person. The only person that you can and should change for is you. When you reach the point of frustration in being unable to see the results you want in any part of your life, you must define your turning point and funnel that frustration into frantic action and eventual positive results.

So 2012 is here now. Have you reached your own turning point? Is there anything in your life that frustrates you enough for you to stop immediately and say, I am done!?

I hope you are. I know that I am.

Today is not for writing down crazy goals and forgetting about them next week. Today is a day to pause, reflect and take a deep look at what is wrong in your own life. This is merely a time to stop all the frantic madness of everyday life and declare your commitment to living a better life in the New Year.

I wish you all a very happy 2012 and thank you for following Living Bueno into the coming year. I hope this little story can provide a little kick start to help you light the fire that will push your forward, hitting the ground running into the New Year.

One Way Ticket to Freedom

By- Rick A. Griffith

Photo Credit - Paul (dex)

On some level many of us often wish to be free from a daily life that seems to bind us to certain schedules, places and people. This is one reason why travel appeals to such a wide array of people from different backgrounds and cultures. We all have within us an innate sense of curiosity that longs to one day be exercised freely without being held back by the expectations of society.

We may at times have the chance to dabble in this exercise throughout life, many of us taking one or two week trips to new places, maybe even foreign lands where we get a glimpse of the life being lived outside of our own small lens. These experiences will prod at our curiosity throughout life creating dreams, ideas and plans that often times, never come to be.

This is quite a depressing admission by many and while many poor souls spend their final days reminiscing on the life they lived, I’d be willing to bet that in these days, the thought of "what if?" often comes into play. Many of us in fact, will never get to experience many of the things we hoped for as death is an indiscriminate monster that does not cooperate with the dreams or aspirations we have set forth.

There is however, one terrific way to at least hedge your bet against your exploration of this curiosity before death steals away your opportunity. Right now in fact you have the opportunity manage this situation by taking action, instead of sitting back, hoping, waiting and wishing.

Within about 5 clicks of your mouse and possibly some minimal data entry, you can right now make a commitment to yourself that this curiosity is worth at least exploring.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” - St. Augustine

If you have the guts, if you are feeling the message, go ahead and just do it.

Buying a one way ticket to a foreign country where you may not even speak the language is a fascinating experience. In late 2009, after months of soul searching and hundreds of hours of research, I bit the bullet. I booked a one way flight to Lima, Peru a place I knew very little about. Upon receiving my e-mail confirmation, I cannot explain the feeling of excitement, adrenaline and fear of the unknown that came over me all at once.

One month later as my flight glided into Jorge Chaves International Airport in Lima, I got the same rush. As we landed my eyes were closed, my smile couldn’t be withheld and the journey of a young man into the unknown began.

As I look back nearly two years to the day of when I booked this first one way ticket to South America, I cannot explain how much the decision to explore my nagging curiosity has changed my life. I have grown more in two years than in the previous 23, though not literally. In fact I’ve lost 100 lbs, began a career as a writer, made many friends all around the world and seen remarkable places that I once only dreamed of.

Sure there have been annoyances like long bus rides, lonely nights in places with no one to talk to and friends or family who become jealous or simply can’t understand the idea. However these things come and pass and you realize in the end that this fear that prohibits so many of us from every truly living is completely unwarranted. We realize that in fact, this exploration is perhaps the best way to figure out what we truly want in our lives and that maybe what we were working toward before was just not that important. A figurative and literal world of possibilities opens up to those willing to take that first step, book a ticket and roll with the punches.

That feeling I felt on that runway, that rush that comes with hitting the road. That is what life is supposed to feel like. That is what it feels like when you let your curiosity lead the way.

An open mind, 5 clicks and a bit of data entry can change your life. Who knew it was all this easy?

 

 

The Next Trip - Vote To Choose My Next Destination

The Next Trip

I was talking to a buddy on the phone today who was heading to Buenos Aires, one of my favorite cities, and he was looking for a few travel tips. During our conversation he said something that caught me a bit off guard.

"Don't you kinda feel the itch already to go hit the road? I mean I know you just got back"

Photo credit- David Berkowitz

Dammit.

I'd be lying to say that I hadn't thought about another plunge overseas. The truth is nearly everyday I end up, at some point taking a peek at the current prices of flights and dreaming of where I might take my next voyage.

So tonight I decided that even though things are quite busy here at home in Phoenix, I could find a way to make some time to travel in early 2012, but I'd have to pick a destination that is:

A) Within a reasonable distance so that the flight is not too expensive.

B) Located in a Spanish speaking country.

C) A place that I can go for two weeks and get a good feel for the city.

The locations that I came up with were:

Destinations

Photo Credit- Eneas

Mexico City,Mexico

While you won't find much good press about Mexico City here in the US, I have heard from many travelers from around the world that this is a great city to come and see firsthand. I have a buddy from here I might even try to persuade to come along with me and see the city through a natives eyes.

Photo Credit- Ricardo y Marta

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Probably the safest play on the list, but still an excellent place to spend a few weeks and also a place where I wouldn't mind hanging out at the beach and getting aquainted the local food and drinks.

Photo Credit- Szeke

Cartagena, Colombia

Bourdain sold me on this little jewel in Colombia. If I come here I'll probably end up rolling down to Medellin and/or Bogota by bus. My only reservation (sorry Tony) is that I feel I might need more than a few weeks to get a good feel for the city.

Photo Credit- Purotico

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

From everything that I have heard this is my kind of place and if this city tops the list I'll be more than happy to go and see what all the fuss is about. This is another city where I might reach out to a travel buddy and coax him into coming along.

The Choice Is Yours

Now I have decided to take a page out of my blog friend Colin Wright's book and empower my wonderful readers with the choice to decide where I will be going in March of 2012. In the Sidebar on the top right please cast your vote for the location that you would like to see me check out and unlike last time when I forgot my camera cord, I will take many pictures, videos and of course share with you some fun stories from the trip.

No Bullshit

Please Vote Now and I promise that I won't panic in late February and vote 900 times to make sure I go to may favorite spot. The choice is truly yours and I hope through this exercise I get to see a great place I may not have otherwise chosen. I have a great group of readers and trust you guys to send me to the right spot, so let's see it!

A Peek Back at My European Summer

As many of you know, I am know back in Arizona running a start-up business and starting to build a life and a network of friends and acquaintances here.

Adjusting to life at home after being on the road so long can be a bit tricky and sometimes you need to just remember the times you've enjoyed and know that better days are soon ahead.

I watched this video tonight of me being drunk in search of some late night drunchies, while all alone in a Berlin Subway and thought I'd share it with you. These are the memories that keep me moving forward every and will never fail to put a big smile on my face. Enjoy...

 

Why Right Now is the Time to Hustle Your Ass Off

Me N Gary V

“Stop Crying and Start Hustling, Hustle is the most important word ever.” - Gary Vaynerchuk Web 2.0 Keynote 2008

I see things every day that make bother the hell out of me. Whether it is Facebook status complainers, helpless comments about the way our once extravagant lifestyles are diminishing or sulking about the inept policies coming out of Washington, this daily dose of negativity is so damn overblown.

It isn’t that I don’t understand the frustration. In fact, we all are guilty of these sorts of comments, and I even occasionally blog about this sort of thing and how it may affect all of us.

The problem is that instead of doing anything about these issues, many of us sit idly by and instead become overwhelmed with the negativity. The victim mentality that is spreading like wildfire is absolutely dumbfounding to me. The biggest successes in this world have been started from scratch in dire economic conditions, and yet instead of innovating and capitalizing on the massive opportunity that comes in a depression, we do nothing but bitch and moan about the shitty cards we were dealt.  

Here is your wakeup call… Nothing worth building is easy.

 Photo Credit - Molajen

 The way that we live our lives today is stunningly different from ten years ago. This change has brought on massive opportunity and you had better capitalize on it now, or someone else will.

It has never been easier to reach a massive audience to promote your brand virtually free of charge. The way that we are able to connect today with people all over the world within seconds is something that has never before been possible. A $10,000 marketing budget that immediately puts your startup company in debt is no longer necessary. Instead your can literally hustle your way to brand recognition. To do so however your must be completely transparent, and more than anything, care deeply about your customers.

The area where I see massive opportunity and where I am in fact starting my own business, is in the customer service sector. It has never been easier for small businesses to win out over large corporations than it is today.

Forming a real connection with your customers and actually caring about them is the name of the game. This is the new age of branding and it is going to be very difficult for the big boys to beat out small businesses when caring is the name of the game.

Whatever your idea is, whichever journey you choose to embark on, I like your chances if you love people and truly care about their needs and solving their problems efficiently.

 

Photo Credit - Dave Morrow

Think about these facts

  • Small Businesses cannot get loans right now
  • Everyone’s credit is shit
  • There are a massive number of businesses right now that are failing.
  • Many industries are stuck in the past, not up to speed with the way the world is changing.
  • Many companies are enforcing fees, penalties, and scrapping to get as much revenue as possible to make up for their poor decisions. (i.e. Bank of America anyone?)

Can I get a hell yea?

This is amazing news for the entrepreneur who has a small budget, big ideas and a whole lot of hustle. 

All these problems really are when you strip them down are:

  1. You must now make better decisions and not go into debt that burdens your company’s growth.
  2. You must generate real revenue before expanding your business too quickly
  3. The competition is getting weak and dying out, creating massive opportunity
  4. It has never been easier to change the way business is done within an industry by making things seamless and automated through the use of the amazing technology available today.
  5. The market is wide open for companies who care about their clientele and realize that sticking it to their customers doesn’t constitute as good customer service, or is even feasible as a long term business plan.

Remember Four Things Before You Get Started

  1. An idea is not a business. If it is not generating revenue, it is simply an idea. Find a way to monetize this idea in the meantime before ever putting any money into your ideas.
  2. Find an industry that is poised to succeed during tough economic times. Selling Hummer’s may not be the best gig right now. Find a way to start a business in an industry that generates revenue even in tough times.
  3. You do not have to be in love with the tough, grunt work that may be involved in your business. This can be delegated later and trust me we have more than enough folks now and in the coming years looking for employment.
  4. You MUST kill every competitor in your industry in customer service. Enough said.

It’s Now or Never

Here is my position. The past few years I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the world, you can read a whole lot about that in nearly every other post on this blog.

But this is not merely a travel blog. In fact I see it as more of a lifestyle blog, attempting to encourage people to live a better life, take advantage of opportunities and build a life worthy of living.

Right now it the time to buckle down and focus on the basics. As much as I love to travel around the world, learn new things and discover amazing cultures, there comes a time when we all need to simply settle down and grind.

The tough times, blood, sweat and tears are what make travel such an exciting endeavor in the first place.

I have started a business here in Phoenix and things are already taking off based on the principals I’ve mentioned in this post. The truth is that it really does not take much to be successful in business. Spot an opportunity or problem, provide a solution, service your customers like no one else and grind and hustle your ass off. That’s it.

Stop complaining and go get your money…