Over the past few days we’ve gotten more emails and questions than any of us have ever gotten before (Thank You!!!) So many of them were asking about how we can afford to do what we do that I thought it would be quicker and easier to answer you here than via email.
I don’t have money. I really don’t. In 2007 I was coming to the end of my time at Equinox and I was the same as all of my friends that worked there. I was broke. I couldn’t afford to do anything. I couldn’t go anywhere, take the courses I wanted to take, or buy the equipment I wanted to buy. The funny thing is I was making more money working for them than I am now.
2006 was a year of deaths and divorces in my family. I have no doubt that everyone reading this has had one of those periods in his or her life that ended in reflection. I had decided to make some big changes and the first thing I decided was my waiting was over. I liked Equinox but I was finished. It was safe and secure and largely supportive but I was bored and complacent. I needed a challenge so I quit and decided to go out on my own.
I know that most people have a concrete business model for this kind of big move but I did not. I just wanted to be free.
I have always lived low. No car payments, no house, no kids or wife or any of those pleasures. I am largely self-absorbed when it comes to my life. I spent most of my childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood alone. It is easy for me to strip my life down to a backpack and walk away.
I have left my life behind more than once before. You can ask around, I never go back. I don’t know why. I always have one or two close friends that hold over but otherwise I am on the wind.
I live in my gym. It is a loft that I split with my brother from an older life. I live upstairs and work downstairs. I live in Oakland across the street from Oakland Technical High School (Clint Eastwood went there :-) ). Someone gets shot in front of that high school every couple of months.
I have a 92 Jeep (which I love) that I never drive. I’ll hop the transbay bus to work in San Francisco. I take the train and I walk everywhere. My big monthly expense is the gym I belong to in downtown Oakland because they have a pool, an indoor track, and a good whirlpool/sauna/steamroom.
I’ve got 2 cats. They are pretty cool and are good company (which is good because I don’t socialize much). I never go out anymore. I take the $200 I would have spent at the bar and I buy a VISA. The $1000 for Vegas? That’s a plane ticket and a train ride. When I go to SFO to fly out I take the bus, to the train, to the airport. It is super easy once you get the feel.
I have a few clients that are steady and are very dear to me. They believe in me and support me. They are my family. I know I could not do any of this stuff without them. But I have my business stripped down to 2 full days a week plus online training. It allows me the flexibility to travel and teach workshops.
Our workshops are priced low because we love to teach and travel. We give small group discounts and the Military discount to make it accessible. We know that if we get to a certain number we can make the trip. We are not really worried about making a big profit (just ask the people who have hosted us). We get our cut and the host gets their cut even if it is small. Fair is fair. As long as we can cover we are coming.
I know that this is not a million dollar business model but our model is not designed to make millions. It is designed to make us free. I feel very free.
Most of the travel we do is paid for by the workshops. The other stuff (like this trip to Siberia) is paid for by sweat and sacrifice. I could have fixed the jeep twice for what I spent to get here but I will probably end up selling it to by those new weights of kettlebells (14,18,22,26 etc). It’s just who I am, I don’t know why I am like this.
The one thing I do know is this. All of this shit may blow up in my face. I take a lot of risks and one day I may get smashed and end up digging ditches. I am cool with that because I know that even if I grow old digging ditches I’ll be a guy who took his shot. I was afraid but I did it anyway even if I looked silly or out of place. I won’t die wishing I had spent my life doing something else. I am doing this now and I am doing it with all my heart. Maybe in ten years I’ll be doing something totally different but I will also be doing that with all of my heart.
I will dig a ditch the likes of which you have never seen, they will talk about it forever.