Nick Unsworth is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and founder of Life on Fire. Through Life on Fire, Nick helps teach ambitious entrepreneurs how to make more money and work less doing work they actually love. Nick sold his first business by 30 years old and has coached over 2,500 people to learn to do the same. He has consulted clients including Daymond John from Shark Tank, Mark Levine from NavySeals.com, Keller Williams Realty, Safeco Insurance, and many more.
Nick is frequently one of the top rated speakers at major conferences both online and offline. In this episode we will be discussing the best first step in taking the leap into creating a business. He shares the pitfalls and struggles that he experienced along his journey and how you can avoid his mistakes. You will also learn more about Nick’s four-step coaching process that leads to mastery of any subject.
Key Points From This Episode:
- The common characteristics of individuals who achieve high levels of success.
- The pros and cons of having a free mentor versus a paid coach to guide you.
- Why every industry is plagued by unqualified individuals and the impact the it has.
- Hear the story of Nick’s very first failure in the world of entrepreneurship and how it happened.
- Find out how Nick when from setting company sales records to being close to bankruptcy.
- How Nick recovered from losing everything he had worked to build, and how he chose the positive.
- Why Nick believes in shifting your mindset to be uncomfortable with being comfortable.
- Learn how to be motivated to do something by the challenge of it being impossible to do.
- What it means to choose faith over fear and how it can help you to find success.
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:
Nick Unsworth — http://nickunsworth.com/
Nick on Twitter — https://twitter.com/NickUnsworth
Nick on Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/nickunsworthlifeonfire/
Life on Fire — https://www.lifeonfire.com/
Daymond John — https://daymondjohn.com/
Mark Levine — http://www.marklevinshow.com/
Keller Williams Realty — http://www.kw.com/
Safeco Insurance — https://www.safeco.com/
Life on Fire TV — https://www.lifeonfire.com/category/life-on-fire-tv/
Life on Fire YouTube — https://www.youtube.com/user/LifeOnFireTV
“NU: Instead of a bucket list, I call it a Life on Fire list. You know, I've got doing that Men's Physique contest and then I'm going to do other things. I want to learn how to play the guitar, be a black belt. I will continue to do these crazy things because it's just, you feel alive, and you only get one shot at life.”
[00:00:22] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Fail on Podcast where we explore the hardships and obstacles today’s industry leaders face on their journey to the top of their fields, through careful insight and thoughtful conversation. By embracing failure, we’ll show you how to build momentum without being consumed by the result.
Now please welcome your host, Rob Nunnery.
[00:00:49] RN: Hey there, and welcome to the show that believes you are destined for more and that failing your way to an inspired life is the only way to get there. Today we are sitting down with Nick Unsworth. He's an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and founder of Life on Fire. Through Life on Fire, Nick helps teach ambitious entrepreneurs how to make more money and work less doing work they actually love. We'll be discussing the best first step in taking the leap into business, pitfalls and struggles along his journey and how you can avoid his mistakes, and you'll learn Nick's four-step coaching process that leads to mastery of any subject.
But first, if you'd like to stay up to date on all the Fail On Podcast interviews and key takeaways from each guest, simply go to Failon.com and sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of the page.
[0:01:41.1] RN: All right, welcome to the show. Today we have Nick Unsworth. He's a high-performance coach, international speaker, and bestselling author. As CEO of LifeOnFire.com, Nick's mission is to help you love what you do for work, relentlessly pursue your passions, and live the dream. Nick sold a business by 30 years old, coached over 2,500 people, and has consulted clients including Daymond John from Shark Tank, Mark Levine from NavySeals.com, Keller Williams Real estate. Safe Co. Insurance and many more.
Nick brother, welcome to the show.
[0:02:15.8] NU: Awesome, well thank you. Fired up to be here.
[0:02:17.9] RN: Awesome. To hop right into it, as the high performance coach, you’ve worked with obviously very successful individuals as well as individuals, probably just getting started out on their journey, what’s the commonality that you’ve seen in your clients and students that have achieved high levels of success?
[0:02:35.7] NU: People who take off fast or people that just create the success hands down, they’re the ones, they’re just relentless. They’re relentless with their action and they’re just taking fast action and I like to call it fast imperfect action.
Because it’s like so many people just try and think of what to do and they try and like make it perfect before they start, and it’s just so paralyzing and it takes so much time and you will never guess, you can never speculate the right product launch, the perfect product, you just got to get out and you got to get – it’s trial, error, it’s iterations, it’s quick pivots and it’s freaking action and so the ones that are just, that are coachable. I guess it’s two things. One is the fast action and two, they’re just coachable, they’re willing to listen to people who have done it.
[0:03:26.9] RN: Got you. So for people that actually don’t have a coach or don’t have a coach yet that are sitting at home or maybe have a job and they want to get something started, they just don’t know what that business idea is, they don’t know how to start or what to do. What advice would you give to that person?
[0:03:45.4] NU: I would do whatever you have to do, whatever you need to do to get the right coach and here’s why. Because if you’re finding yourself in a scenario where you’re listening to a lot of podcast, maybe you’re watching webinars, maybe you’re buying courses, you know, you’re going to events, that’s kind of like a progression, it kind of starts with you know, listen to a podcast. Then it moves to maybe buy a course and then you get a book, you get to an event.
Next thing you know, you’re spending money but you’re not really moving and you go from being the spectator that’s just kind of watching or listening and seeing other people have success and they kind of like, it inspires you, it excites you but in some ways and some cases, it kind of pisses you off. Maybe hear the person that has the podcast and you’re like, “I could do better than them and you know.”
There’s like this phases before you get started and what I found after coaching and teaching many people on how to clarify their life vision is that it is very difficult to just do it in your own strength. When you try and just keep doing it all alone, it’s hard to identify because you’re in your head, you’re not – as an outsider, I can sit down with someone for 30 minutes and by the end of that conversation, we know where they’re going. We know where they’re going, we know their next action, we know how to get them into business.
So I would say, whatever you got to do to get resourceful to hire the right coach that can help you get clear on the vision because when you’ve got the vision of where you want to go, taking the action isn’t, it actually isn’t the problem. People can’t take action because they don’t know what action to take. Once you get the vision of where you’re going, it’s like, it all of a sudden, you go from like being stuck, overwhelmed, pushing and pushing in life to like, it’s like someone just busts through a dam, you know? You’re just like, it’s like being pulled through life and you’re fired up, you’re waking up early, you’re taking action.
That for me is huge and so of course, you know, people may view that and say well, of course he says that, “He’s a coach, he’s probably trying to sell me but here’s the thing.” Dude, I am a coach because that’s what a coach did for me and it changed my life so much that I said, “This is now my new life vision, this is what I’m going to do.” It was so powerful and changed my life, it helped me build and sell a company and then since then, I said, “You know what? I actually want to do what this guy did for me.” I was a user first, you know?
[0:06:06.2] RN: Obviously there’s - you know, mentorship’s a huge deal in terms of finding success. Going through somebody that’s hit all of those roadblocks along the way already themselves so they can help navigate and speed up the learning curve for you. What would you say getting like a free mentor pursuing a free mentor versus going with a paid coach, what are the pros and cons there?
[0:06:31.4] NU: Yeah, I mean, you know, I would say, it’s a progression so you know, there’s a lot of great information out there. There’s a lot of great podcast like yours. There’s a lot of content out there. It’s just, you know, what action are you taking on that content? Now, when we think about — so that to me is a step in the progression. Now, as far as like working with someone for free, you just have to keep in mind that you know, we’re talking about your life here.
If you work with a coach that isn’t qualified or maybe they’re doing it for free, well they’re probably not a coach that’s been doing it for very long, you know? Unless they’re super successful and they just love you, they want to just like mentor you for free. I mean, if you’re in a scenario like that, that can be amazing. But here’s the thing; it’s all about where has that person been, do they have the values that you have and did they have the life that you want?
There’s tons of coaches that ruthlessly make a ton of money but I don’t want anything to do with them, right? Because I don’t want to just make money. I want to make a difference. I want to have free time and hangout with my wife and my child that we just had. I’m not in this business to be this workhorse workaholic that just puts myself into the ground by just grinding eight hours a day and “hustling”. It’s like, that’s not what I want to do.
Now, I will outwork many people so I am a workhorse for sure, but I want, you know, you want to have a coach that’s got the life that you want. That to me is super important and you know what? Oftentimes, that person, if you’re lucky and maybe it’s a relative or a family member hey, if you can get a free mentorship like for example like Daymond John from Shark Tank, he’s done some free mentorship for us. You know, some consulting for us because we added value for him, that’s incredible right?
[0:08:24.8] RN: That’s exactly what I was going to say. You know, that free mentorship’s not actually free right? It’s free in the sense that there’s no money exchanging hands but there has to be a value add on both sides, right?
[0:08:34.3] NU: Exactly. It’s like the ultimate decision factor comes down to, do they have the life that you want and are they qualified? Because if you're catching free advice from like, someone that just bought a course online about how to be a life coach, you’re playing with very dangerous fireworks that the fuse is so small, it will instantly blow up because the last thing you want is to confuse your life or have someone that doesn’t know what they’re doing point you in the wrong direction.
[0:09:02.5] RN: On that note, it’s shocking how many life coach certifications, business coach certifications there are that people have access to get without having any actual business experience. It’s actually nuts.
[0:09:15.7] NU: It really is. I think at some point there’s going to be a regulation that comes in because one knuckle head is going to give someone some advice and there’s going to be a suicide or who knows what, and someone’s going to come in and clean it up. Because what’s happening is that marketing online, if you market a business opportunity, it’s way easier to make money and marketers have figured that out. You’ve got this people with zero qualifications, zero results and experience and all these people are becoming life coaches.
I mean, it irks me especially because I put in the work, you know, I put in the money, I invested in myself and I’ve been through so many different types of legit trainings and I have all this classifications and certifications, we have hundreds of success stories and then you get these Yokels that are out there just like, “H about a course for $30 bucks,” and you know, as a coach, hey. That same phenomenon, you got to figure.
Shoot when I was a realtor I experienced that and not to knock on realtors but the hardest part of my job as a realtor was dealing with realtors because my commission, my livelihood was contingent upon me doing a deal with another realtor and if that realtor had no education, that somehow fogged a mirror and got a real estate license, the problem was that, what if they don’t call you back?
What if your client’s like, “Hey Nick, we put in the offer four days ago, where is it at?” The other realtor just hasn’t called me back in four days. I’ve called their office, I called their cellphone, I’ve emailed them. That’s the kind of stuff that you get in to. So every industry is plagued by it, it’s really just got to be heads up, you’ve got to trust your gut and you got to go with someone that has references, call those references, do your diligence because it’s your life you're talking about.
[0:10:53.2] RN: Totally. Even outside the actual certifications and stuff like that, you know, there’s nothing better than actual real world experience and failures and having been through the battles and journeys and I know it hasn’t been a completely smooth journey for you nor, I don’t think it’s been a very smooth journey for a perfect elder for anybody that’s found success.
There’s always – I always see that little graph in social media that shows and entrepreneur’s road to success and it’s like a bunch of circles and squiggly lines because there’s no straight line to it. With that said, let’s go back to what you would consider your very first failure in the world of entrepreneurship. What was it, how did it happen?
[0:11:35.7] NU: Man, there’s literally so many. Let me think of my first one, you know? First failure I would say that was when I was in network marketing. I sold telecom. This was back in 202 and so 2002, cellphones were actually brand new. I had just gotten a cellphone, I mean it’s pretty recent, you know?
So part of this failure had to do with timing part of it, how to do with not trusting my gut. Part of it had to do with being naïve you know? And people BS’ing in industry and hyping things up and me being young and excited and susceptible. What happened was, you know, I always have this dream of being financially free and, you know, having time freedom and making a difference. So I’ve been always, my whole life, I always obsessed with like for what’s my purpose, you know?
When this guy who I’d really trusted showed me network marketing and was like, “Hey, you can retire in five years. You recruit three people and they get three people and they get three people. You build this whole thing out,” and so long story short is, I just saw it as a vehicle that was different than a typical work for a corporation and retire at 65. I just went all in.
The more people told me that it was a bad idea, the more fired up I got, it was like crazy what psychologist call reverse polarity. The more someone says Nick can’t do it, the more fire I get to do it. It’s crazy. My wife motivated me doing a fitness competition that I had no desire to do by saying, you know, “You probably couldn’t do that, there’s probably no way, you probably wouldn’t have the guts for i,”t and I’m like, “Oh yeah?” Signed up.
I got really excited about this thing and you know, everyone told me no. I got going, long story short is, despite some very difficult challenges getting started, I ended up breaking the company record for getting to the regional director, top 25% of the company. It was a two billion dollar telecom company. I’ll do a couple of quick red flag moments, which was number is, the whole, is it too good to be true? People talking about big money, you know, flaunting cars and money. Rich people who are really rich, they don’t do that stuff.
It’s the people that flaunt the stuff are the ones who actually rarely have it, you know what I mean? So I was just naïve and I got into it, ended up following the model, going out and leasing a M3 BMW for $50 grand and just started taking on crazy expenses. I was always financially responsible my whole life and then I just got wrapped up in it. So I am living in this townhouse, I’m 21 years old, my expenses are crazy, recruiting kids in the college campus, crazy. Set the company record for this company.
The other red flag is that yes, the industry for telecom is very exciting because it used to be regulated with Mabel and different bells, they got de-regulated. So Excel came in and they became a $2 billion company quicker than Microsoft but I missed that boom. I caught the story, I heard about it but I actually missed the boom and I got in on the tail end and when I got in we were still selling local and long distance service to people that were starting to use cellphones.
So when all the kids at college were getting apartments they were like, “I’m just going to use a cellphone. I don’t need a home phone.” So my product sucked. So here we had to get products but we’re recruiting people. Just a quick fast forward is the product just wasn’t good. You know, you’ve got to have a good product and so it was more about the hype. So I graduate, I turned down jobs, I go all in, I’m making some decent money, I’m building a big team. I’m inspiring other kids to do this with me and sure enough, the company files for bankruptcy unexpectedly after their annual convention and it devastated me.
So my reputation was at stake, right? I had so many college kids that when they signed up for $400 bucks, they put their fate in me, right? This thing was legit and so I ended up having to dig into my pocket and I gave as many people as I could their money back because the company wouldn’t, the people that just signed up.
So I went from making money to being $30 grand into debt and then I’ve got this car payment and this townhouse payment and I went so far negative, so close to bankruptcy and imagine all the people like saying, “I told you so.” Imagine the humiliation, the shame, all these different factors from it and it was my whole world just got flipped upside down. I had so much trust for these people in the organization and it really sucked. It was really bad.
Fortunately the only thing that you can do in that scenario is you can quit, you can be a victim of your circumstance, or you can literally just decide. You just choose to say that there is a blessing in disguise here. There is something that I am going to learn from this. I know it hurts so bad right now and I may not discover what the silver lining is for another year but there is something, there is a reason why God or the universe, whatever you believe, why this is in my life, why I had to experience this and what’s so crazy is I adopted that mentality and it led me to my next move to my next business.
[0:17:16.1] RN: You were actually able to have that self-awareness at that time and that moment when you were just getting drained of all your money to think that there’s got to be a next step, there’s got to be a lesson here that you have to take.
[0:17:31.3] NU: I had to man, because if I didn’t it was so bad. I mean just financially, think about sleepless nights, literally not being able to sleep because it’s like, “Well how am I going to eat? How am I going to pay my bills, how am I going to,” — and I have never been late on a payment. My credit score is freaking flawless so all through that pain and I had multiple experiences like that. You know the only think you can do is trust and believe in yourself and to choose the positive.
I mean that’s the thing, when you choose the positive as much as it sucks and it’s hard as it is and it sounds so simple and cheesy like, “Oh yeah just choose the positive.” But when you really get in the state of mind that this is so big, and so much fear and so much pain that I just believed that there’s even that much greater blessing on the other side of that and I was excited about that. Even though I had no clue what it was, that’s what I clung onto. That hope.
[0:18:27.3] RN: That is a serious lesson learned. How old were you at that time?
[0:18:30.2] NU: So by the time it went bust, I was I think 22 after I graduated so it was ’04.
[0:18:36.6] RN: So you were still pretty young.
[0:18:38.4] NU: Yeah.
[0:18:40.2] RN: Got you. So also on the topic of failure, fail on is the mantra that we live by here with the idea being that if you are not failing you’re not growing. So how do force yourself to get out of your comfort zone on a day-to-day, but overall as well?
[0:18:55.3] NU: Yeah, I think that when you become aware that the life that you want is a result of courageous decisions to be uncomfortable and I love that you bring this up to become – a lot of people are talking about comfort zone but when you really connect the dots in your mind that all the things that you want and desire like if you want to help people build a legacy and all these cool things, it’s like this realization where you just wake up one day and you realize that, “I’ve got to actually learn to enjoy being uncomfortable.”
And what I find and why my company is called Life on Fire is our whole mission, much like yours, is to shift our mindset in a way where we are uncomfortable being comfortable like a complete flip, like the opposite of what the reality is for 99.9% of people. So I don’t feel like I am living, I feel like I’m dead inside like I’m settling, like I am being average, like I am playing small, like I’m going to meet my creator one day and just be filled with regret because I didn’t live out my potential and these possibilities.
It sounds hardcore but when you think about it there is no zest of life like playing it safe or small and all it takes is you’ve got to condition yourself. So it takes a lot of practice, it just takes time and it takes repetition and it takes a lot of consistent action. But when you condition yourself that it’s actually fun being outside of your comfort zone. We are not playing with hand grenades or Russian Roulette.
[0:20:28.5] RN: Well hopefully not.
[0:20:29.8] NU: Yeah, I know right? Like me signing up for this Men’s Physique fitness competition, that’s the furthest thing I could have picked outside of my comfort zone to get my health in check. But I had a reason why because the doctor gave me some really bad news that was very bad. I mean stuff you shouldn’t hear at 35 years old and I had to do something about it. So I spent two years trying diets and nothing worked.
So when my wife said, “You know you should do this and you probably won’t do it,” and I said, “Oh heck yeah I will.” The reason why I chose that because the last thing I’ve ever pictured myself doing is being spray tanned orange and being on the stage flexing in front of people. I’m not that kind of guy, but it is so uncomfortable, it’s so outrageous and I had so much fear that I’ve trained my mind that when I experience that much fear, it’s literally a flashing light to me.
It’s as clear as a flashing light bulb that’s like, “That’s why you need to do this,” because you’re going to grow so much and it’s not even about the abs, it’s not about any of that or the competition and all of that, it’s going to help you annihilate it even more with Life on Fire. You are going to inspire so many people to go for and live out their dreams and so for me the uncomfortableness or the fear, I’ve just reframed it. The more I experience, well it’s like, “Sweet! I’d better do that.”
Now instead of having a bucket list I call it a Life on Fire list. I’ve got doing that Men’s Physique contest and then I am going to do other things. I want to learn how to play the guitar, be a black belt. I will continue to do these crazy things because you feel alive and you only get one shot at life so.
[0:22:10.3] RN: That’s amazing man. You really embody the fail on mentality that we have here so I really appreciate it.
[0:22:16.8] NU: I’ve got a lot of them dude, oh man I’ve got 11 big time business failures and there’s plenty more outside of that. But yeah, it couldn’t be better timing man for us to be talking because I’ve had my share.
[0:22:27.4] RN: And on that note of the physique contest, I love that we talked a little bit before the show that the first thing you did after you said. “I’m going to do this,” is, what did you do? You got a coach, right? And then you got on a plan and then you stuck to it. So you’re living what you preach so I appreciate that.
[0:22:44.2] NU: Totally. Yeah and just real quick is it all comes down to five simple steps I teach. It’s vision, it starts with that. Then you publicly declare what you’re going to do because now you’re hooked in and you’ve got an audience. People that are watching so now you have to do it. It also attracts resources. Then you write a letter to yourself as if it’s already been accomplished which is a visualization technique, which has lots of proof and reasons why that works.
Then you resource up because who you are today is not the person that’s going to get what it is that you want. You’ve got to be — you’ve got to step into a new you to achieve it is what you want. So getting a coach, or reading the right book, or resourcing up and then the last one is every day you’ve got to choose faith over fear.
[0:23:26.8] RN: Oh I love that and I know you’ve got to run here, you’ve got a pretty hard stop but how can our listeners learn more about you as well as where can they find you?
[0:23:37.7] NU: Yeah, totally. So lifeonfire.com. We’ve all kinds of cool free content, we’ve got Life on Fire TV, as a podcast, YouTube show and there’s a lot of resources. I spend a lot of time and energy helping and giving because some folks that hire us of course that’s great but we have a much bigger vision than just having the clients that hire us.
We just love sharing what we’re learning, what we’re doing. So we’ll hook you up there and then I’ve got all kinds of fun, just crazy things going on and on my personal Facebook. So on Facebook just friend me up, just Nick Unsworth there and it’s an adventure man so buckle your seatbelt.
[0:24:14.9] RN: I love it. Thanks so much for joining us today and we’ll catch you next time.
[0:24:19.2] NU: Awesome, I appreciate it man. See you guys.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:24:24.1] RN: All right so you can find Nick at lifeonfire.com. He’s @nickunsworth on Twitter and of course, all the links and resources Nick and I discussed including more information on his company Life on Fire can be found at the page created especially for this episode. You will find it all on failon.com/015 and next episode, we are sitting down with John Goodman. John’s done an absolutely incredible job in the fitness industry, helping trainers create leverage so they’re no longer trading time for money.
Hugely valuable lessons on that transition going from an hourly rate or a salary to writing your own check basically. So a show you absolutely don’t want to miss and need to listen in on. And as I continue to build this project with the simple goal of getting people to once and for all decide that they are going to fail their way to creating an inspired life, if you could do one thing to support the cause I’d be ever so grateful.
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[0:25:32.7] ANNOUNCER: That’s all for this episode of The Fail On Podcast. For more resources, show notes and action items to help you find success in your failures, sign up for our mailing list at failon.com.
For more actionable inspiration, we’ll catch you next time right here on The Fail On Podcast.