The Guppy Tank was full.
I didn’t care.
I had DECIDED.
This was my opportunity.
What is media buying?
No idea. Don’t care. Don’t need to know.
What is a guppy?
I just picture Nemo.
Move to Albuquerque, NM?
Never been, but sure. Why not?
I lived in Des Moines, so I can live anywhere (sorry Des Moines friends).
Quit a job, move across the country and work with a dude I met online?
Anything is better than my current reality.
My outer reality, peaches and sunshine.
My inner reality, turmoil and dissatisfaction.
Surround myself with entrepreneurs who are smarter than me?
A dream come true.
Is media buying a valuable skill?
I think so.
Not sure what it is, but sounds like it.
Sounds better than VacaPro, my current side hustle.
VacaPro sends pros on teaching vacations.
It’s cool, but it’s not scalable.
VacaPro made around $10,000 with around 10 million hours of work.
Anything is better than VacaPro.
Anything is better than my nine to five job.
After I had my DECIDING coffee shop moment in St. Simons, I became hyper-aware of opportunities.
I had already drawn my line in the sand and DECIDED to create change just weeks earlier.
I just didn’t know what.
I’m on online business forums for the first time in a few months.
In this case it was the Fastlane Forum run by MJ Demarco.
MJ is amazing. The community he has built is phenomenal.
And his writing resonates with me deeply.
The community can be harsh and not very welcoming to beginners at this time.
So I lurk. I read a lot. I don’t post often.
I’m scared of being called an idiot.
Browsing on this day, I see a post by one of the most well-respected guys on the forums at the time.
He shares an opportunity for a group of eight to ten people to move to Albuquerque and partner up learning media buying together.
The Guppy Tank.
A bunch of guppies learning a new skill.
The thread goes crazy.
Tons of people applying, commenting, gushing over how amazing this opportunity is.
Then I saw the date.
And that applications had closed.
And that everyone had already been selected.
In my current state, I didn’t really evaluate the opportunity.
I didn’t know whether it was good or bad.
It sure seemed good.
People were freaking out.
I’m now a DECIDER.
I already had my line in the sand moment weeks earlier.
I don’t have direction yet, but nothing will stop me.
Obstacles don’t exist in my mind anymore.
I don’t care if applications are closed.
I am going to be a guppy.
Whatever that is.
I reach out to the organizer and tell him that I’m joining the Guppy Tank.
And that I’m flying to Albuquerque to meet him tomorrow.
Super taken back, he tells me it’s full, but reluctantly agrees to meet me.
I’m in Albuquerque for one day.
I tell him that my wife and I are moving to Albuquerque in two weeks.
And that I can’t wait to get started in the Guppy Tank to learn media buying.
He says the Guppy Tank doesn’t start for another six weeks.
I kindly let him know I don’t care.
Can you really say no to someone that is so dead set on something?
So hyper-focused on making it happen?
He must have seen that “no” wasn’t an option.
I wouldn’t accept it.
We ARE moving and I WILL be showing up for the Guppy Tank.
Was I a bit annoying? Yeah, I’m sure.
I didn’t care. I’d work for free.
And did for awhile.
I quit my day job after that cross country drive.
I lied to my boss and told him that VacaPro, my side hustle, had taken off.
I was too ashamed to tell him that I’m quitting this cushy job to move to New Mexico to learn this thing from a guy I met on the internet.
Being there four weeks early, I’d go to the office everyday and start learning what media buying is.
What a landing page is.
What a banner ad is.
All of it completely foreign to me.
The organizer of the Guppy Tank comes into the room while I’m working.
And he says something that fundamentally changes my life.
At least my perception of what is possible in my life.
“It’s inevitable that you’re going to be a millionaire. Every single action you have taken to get here shows me that. No one does what you just did.”
That was the first time I’d ever heard anything like that.
It was a seed.
I needed to water it and care for it.
But, it was a seed.
I had a seed.
And if tended, seeds can grow into beautiful things.
That’s all I needed.
I became hyper-focused for the first time in my adult life.
And it felt really good.
It wasn’t just this high level focus of media buying.
It’s something that I explain as Top Down Focus.
I focused on media buying first.
Within media buying, I was focused only on selling health and beauty products.
Within that, I focused only on buying advertising space directly from websites.
Anything outside that scope, get it out of my face.
Stop wasting my time.
I don’t want to hear about Facebook ads.
Or Google ads.
Or Native Ads.
I had an incredibly clear objective.
Turn a profit on direct site media buys selling health products.
If other people can do it, and I know they are, I can do it.
I just have to figure out what they had already figured out.
When I break objectives down and become laser focused, magic happens.
Within a short three months of arriving, my media buys start to turn a mid five figure per month profit.
It was the first time in a very long time that I felt self-belief.
A belief that I AM capable of writing my own ticket.
It was incredibly liberating.
It wasn’t about the tactic and strategy of media buying.
I had given up my whole life to be here.
I’m seeing this thing through whether I enjoy it or not.
And I didn’t really enjoy media buying, but I liked the process of learning a new skill.
And this feeling of being incredibly focused.
The vehicle didn’t matter.
It was purely the realization that I am capable of amazing things when I harness that energy through focused work.
That’s all I needed.
Out of the eight to ten people accepted to the Guppy Tank, only around five showed up.
The Guppy Tank ended up being a bust after about four or five months.
There were just too many cooks in the kitchen with five guppies and four owners.
We couldn’t come to an agreement on what the future should look like.
In the end, it turned out being best for all parties.
Another guppy and I eventually left and started our own business.
A business that did really well for the last three years before I left this January.
Well enough to allow us to invest $250K into starting an ad network in 2015.
And the guys running the ad network are doing very, very well.
None of this could have been accomplished had I not truly DECIDED in that coffee shop.
DECIDED to create change for myself (If you want to understand why I harp on DECIDING and feel compelled to use ALL CAPS for it, read this).
DECIDING brings uncertainty.
It means you are creating change.
And change can be scary and uncomfortable.
With uncertainty comes growth.
With DECIDING comes power.
Without DECIDING, I wouldn’t have pursued the opportunity in New Mexico.
I would have closed the tab after reading that applications were closed.
I would have kept reading business books and listening to podcasts.
I would have kept waiting on that “perfect idea.”
It’s possible that I might still be waiting today.
And that’s scary.
If you want something, DECIDE.
And go get it.