A Letter to Ourselves OR Letters to Our Sons in Their 20s

David 0:00
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Intro 0:46
Welcome everyone to the Firing the Man podcast a show for anyone who wants to be their own boss. If you sit in a cubicle every day, and to know you were capable of more than join us. This show will help you build a business and grow your passive income streams in just a few short hours per day. And now your host serial entrepreneurs David Schomer and Ken Wilson.

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David 1:10
Welcome everyone to the Firing the Man podcast on today’s episode, Ken and I have drafted a letter to our younger selves with advice on navigating life through entrepreneurship, and the entrepreneurial roller coaster. We have reflected deeply and incorporated some of our biggest life lessons that we have learned over the past few years of building and scaling our businesses. Ken, what’s going on man?

Ken 1:34
David, I’m excited to be in the studio today. This is a very important, I think, hopefully impactful episode to where we’re sharing with everyone lessons we’ve learned over the last, you know, decade or so. And hopefully we’re paying it forward. You know, you and I both have mentors and we both have people that we’ve learned from and so hopefully the podcast today can help and inspire and make have an impact on on everyone listening. So I’m excited.

David 1:59
Absolutely. You know, as we prepared for this episode, like just going through this exercise of I’d never written Have you ever written a letter to yourself?

Ken 2:07
I did maybe in like third grade, but yeah, no, nothing recent.

David 2:11
And I liked it. It was a super helpful exercise. And I don’t know, I would encourage our listeners to give this a try. I’m going to dive right into my letter. Here we go. Dear younger David. This letter is written to you from David from the future. My goal is to impart some wisdom on you that will make the next decade of your life more enjoyable, productive and fruitful in the business world and in life. The first thing I would like to share with you is that you are an entrepreneur. To deny this truth from yourself would be like denying a wolf from eating meat. Throughout the next decade of your life, your aversion to risk will pull you in directions away from entrepreneurship. But I can assure you this is in your DNA. It’s your life’s calling to be an entrepreneur. It will not always be the route that your peers choose or your parents recommend. But you have no choice. Embrace it, own it and put it to good use. Here are a few things I would like to pass along to you that will make your life easier and allow you to achieve your goals sooner. Number one, asking questions is the best way to grow as a human being. I would assume that you know nothing and try to surround yourself with people that are masters of their respective crafts. Once you find them, ask them as many questions as you can. The most effective way of achieving a goal is to find someone who has already achieved that goal, or something very similar, and ask them how they did it. Also, people inherently love to talk about themselves. Don’t be afraid to approach very successful people and ask them how they did it. Nine times out of 10 they will be glad to tell you their story. Number two, he that loves reading has everything within his reach. Up until now reading has not been an enjoyable part of your life. You were forced to read certain chapters in textbooks memorized content and vomited out on a test in academia. Most recently, you spent about 3000 hours over the course of four years of early mornings and weekends studying for the CFA and CPA exam. Most of which sucked. That was not fun, it was boring. However, you will find a lot of life’s greatest questions are answered in books written by the best minds throughout history on literally whatever topic you can think of. Lastly, on this topic, stop whatever you are doing and download the audible app and download the three audiobooks. These three audio books that will change your life forever. Rich Dad Poor Dad, The Four Hour Workweek in the Miracle Morning. Number three, the one who fails and gets up is stronger than the one who has never tried. Do not be afraid of failure. see failure as a feedback loop for learning. Do not let the fear of failure hold you back. back from anything. Also on this topic, you will encounter a lot of naysayers or people that are critical of someone who tries something new and fails. Fuck those people. This is a loser mindset. Anyone who has not failed has never tried anything. Sincerely, David from the future. PS in a couple of years, you’re gonna meet a guy named Ken Wilson at the St. Louis ecommerce meetup. asked him to lunch, your life will pivot in a great direction. As the two of you will start a podcast called Firing the Man where you will document your journey of quitting your corporate jobs and pursuing freedom as business owners freedom as vainly men in freedom in life. That was

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Ken 5:37
awesome. I really liked that letter, it was crafted very well. And if I was David from the future, then I would definitely be able to get a lot out of that. A couple of things that stood out to me that I want to reiterate one thing here that you listed, it says don’t be afraid to approach very successful people. And ask them how they did it nine times out of 10, they’ll be glad to tell you their story. Yeah, I can’t tell you how many like I was always afraid to like approach people successful people and ask them questions. But now I’m like you, if I’m in a room with very smart people, I’m fighting the smartest one I can and cornering them and asking them all the questions because you’re right, like most times are willing to share and open and honest and you’re gonna learn a lot if you listen. And so that was really cool. One other thing that jumped out at me that I think a lot of it took me a really long time to realize this. But a lot of the stuff that we do in our life sucks. It’s just does. And I think like if we can reflect back on those times that suck, we can we can think about how that’s impacted how we are now. And so for example, in your letter you had mentioned, you know, you had spent, you know, 3000 hours studying for the CFA and the CPA exams, and you are doing that to further your career. But also, it really sucked, but you did it. And so I think like now, when you’re working on a project or something, and it sucks, you have that to look back on and think like, Well, I used to do this one thing for i for 3000 hours. And I accomplished that. And so it gives you motivation to work on things now. And embrace the suck is kind of what I like to call that. And so if you’re listening and you’ve had several jobs, or you’re in a career, and you’ve worked really hard at certain things like you can dig out, you can reach back and dig those up and say, Yeah, I accomplished that. And it can help you in anything in the future. Sometimes we just think about how much that sucked. And we don’t think about how much that has impacted us as a person and helped us grow and achieve more. So I really liked it.

David 7:34
Thank you. Thank you. And you know, on the topic of lightning sucking, talking about failure being we’ve had that in business where we’ve had a failure in business, and to not treat that as a feedback loop, you’re missing, you are missing, you’re missing the bigger picture. And that’s something that I’ve had to learn and I constantly, like remind myself of is like, hey, this did not pan out how you wanted it, ask yourself why and then do better next time. And it’s something like as I raised my kids, I don’t want to discourage failure. Failing is okay. And if you can, like very early on in printing them, this is a feedback loop, then I think that will just help set them up for success in life.

Ken 8:10
Yeah, that’s absolutely like 100% accurate. I really, really liked that. And me, it’s like, the only time you fail is when you don’t learn. If you don’t learn something out of that, then you failed. If you learn something, it’s not a failure. It’s a feedback loop. I like that.

David 8:24
Absolutely. So Ken, let’s hear your letter.

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Ken 8:26
Awesome. All right. Let’s see here to younger Ken, I hope you’re having a great day. Now sit back and relax and read this letter with no ego or judgment. The details in this letter are designed to help you along in your journey. And to help guide your decisions as you learn how to become a better you section one entrepreneur, you are an entrepreneur. I’ll say this, again, you are an entrepreneur, the voices in your head are real. And no, you’re not crazy when you look at a product and the first thing that you think of is how to make it better. That is because you’re an entrepreneur, when you sell an old item from your closet or basement, and the first thing you think of is how can I scale that into more. This is the entrepreneur inside of you. You are an entrepreneur, so embrace this and let it guide you. Working for the man is not your life. It will bring you money, but not happiness or fulfillment section to listen to your gut, not your family and friends. Your family and friends are likely not entrepreneurs, their advice for you might be wrong. Please consider this and ignore other advice. Sometimes our family and friends have their vision of what type of person you should be. At the end of the day. If you turn into that kind of person, your family, parents and your friends want you to become it, it will lead to a life of misery. If the person giving you advice is not on the battlefield, doing what you’re doing. Do not give their advice much weight. If you have people in your life that are telling you you can’t do something you’ll fail He’s removed them from your life immediately as they’re toxic and will drag you down. Surround yourself with positive people who build you up and believe in you. No matter how crazy you sound. Listen to your gut, and your heart and follow your passion. This will likely lead you to a life of happiness and fulfillment. Section three, take more risks, your life will be full of opportunities. Once you learn how to find great opportunities, they will be around every corner. embrace these opportunities and consider saying yes, with every opportunity comes a chance to learn something new. Do not stay at a job for too long waiting for something happen. Go make something happen. It is okay to make mistakes. There are no failures ever just lessons learned. Try to improve as a person with every mistake you make and turn it into a positive learning experience. Take a shot on yourself when you feel the time is right. You will not regret it. You might regret waiting too long to take this chance. Next section. Education. Do not wait until you turn 38 To become an avid reader. Try reading a few books for topics you enjoy or want to learn more about. You’ll be surprised at how much you enjoy reading and learning on your own. Seek out other avenues for consuming knowledge. Podcast meetups, YouTube, conferences, etc. Lastly, if you want to learn something, if you want to learn how to do something, find someone who has done this successfully and ask them how they did it. Best of luck to you can have the future.

David 11:30
Very nice. Very nice. I really liked that. And and you know one thing that one common thread that both of our letters had was that we are self identifying as an entrepreneur. And I think Can you talk a little bit about that? Like why you think that’s important?

Ken 11:45
Yeah, you know, I think I never, you know, for so long I’ve had I think I had 17 or 20 jobs throughout my career. I think we’ve covered this before. And I’ve learned a lot from all of these, but from all of them. But they were never like fulfilling for very long. But whenever I’m you know, the last several years that I’ve focused full time on E commerce and being an entrepreneur, the fulfillment is there. Now whether that’s working for myself, or whether that’s working on problems that I like to solve, I don’t know, but but embracing that I’m an entrepreneur, and really just like weeding out all the other trash is been really, really helpful for me. And then also I’m having I’m a visionary. So having visions of me being an entrepreneur and three year and five years and 10 years is also very helpful before I couldn’t have those because of you know, in a career or whatever it was like it was all dependent on someone else. Now it’s as an entrepreneur, it’s largely dependent on what what path you want for yourself. And so that’s been that’s been huge.

David 12:38
Absolutely, you know, I was, I would say, like, my early days was hesitant to identify like this, because in college, there was in the business school, there was hard majors, there was accounting, finance, marketing, and then there was this entrepreneurship major. And that was a little less defined. Whereas like, you’re an accounting major, you go work for an accounting firm, entrepreneurship is a little more broad. And, and it really is like a lifestyle. And I think if you feel that calling, it’s good to just say, This is what I am. And this is what I’m gonna do. And I mean, we have them on the podcast all the time. Part of like, being an entrepreneur is like, sometimes being obsessive about things. And I would say there are, I can speak to my own life, there’s entrepreneur, and there’s mental illness, and they’re there close to where you just get so you get something in your head, you’re so excited about it, you want to execute it on it, I’ve got younger brothers that give me a hard time about like, you always are talking about turning something into a business. And it’s like, that’s me that that is me. And that’s who I am. And I think that’s important. Like if you recognize that about yourself, then then do it. You know, another thing that you mentioned in here, listen to your gut, not your family and friends. I think this is so so important. And can you talk a little bit more about this? Yeah, for

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Ken 13:51
sure. So So some things that like are personal to me is, you know, I had a I’m divorced, so had a relationship before prior. And that person that partner was toxic. They told me oh, you know, whenever I had business ideas and those crazy things where I’m like, oh, I should do this. They’re like, now you’re not going to do that. You’re never going to do that. You’re not going to finish that you’re not going to do that. And then that just kind of like it’s almost like getting punched in the gut. You’re like, Ah, you’re like shit. Like they don’t think I can do it. Well, dammit, I guess I can’t you know, and it took me a really long time to I didn’t realize it until after I was out of that relationship that that partner was toxic. And I was in a new relationship. And this partner was like, oh, yeah, you can do that. Like I’ll help your or what do you need from me or I’ll watch and root for you. And yes, I know you can do that you’re super smart. You’re can easily do that. And then I’m like, Oh, maybe I can do that. And so that for me personally, I’ve experienced that and that is It’s crucial. Like I don’t remove everybody out of my life that’s toxic, but But I spend less less time with them. If I hear some like negativity and toxic you know, anything, anything that’s negative or toxic, likely if they’re like a close family, friend, sibling, whatever, I’m gonna live in my time with them right or if they’re a friend or something, an acquaintance on I’m not going to spend time around them because it’s just not you know, there’s there’s no exchange of value. It’s toxic and negative. And so by identifying those people and removing them from your life, or limiting if you can, if you can’t remove them from your life, limit contact from them, and then just also know that they might have other issues going on of their life, that’s that behavior for them separating separating through there. But you know, that’s been one of the best things I’ve done is surrounding myself with other entrepreneurs, David mentorships groups, people that are positive and that are going to root for you, because it’s going to it’s going to help you along your path.

David 15:33
Absolutely. And, you know, I think that’s something that’s just deeply human is caring about what other people think. I think it’s something that everybody experiences at some point in their life. And you know, we had a guy come to one of our meetups, and he was very concerned about what his mother in law thought somebody I didn’t say that someone else in the group said, Was your mother in law ever run an E commerce business? And he’s like, No, she’s she works at a hospital. There’s something that clicked there where I was like, Yeah, you haven’t stood in the like, why should I care about your opinion? You haven’t done this. I think that’s a really good point. And I think there are certain celebrities that we admire this about them that, oh, they don’t care about what other people think. They marched to the beat of their own drum. That’s cool to people. That’s an admirable thing. And so yeah, I think this is a really good point. And last thing I wanted to comment on, is become an avid reader, or don’t wait till you’re 38 to become an avid reader. I’m just curious, like, if you had a couple book recommendations for your younger self, what would they be? What have been some that have really just rewired? How you think?

Ken 16:33
So a couple? That’s a good question. There’s a lot, let me grab two or three real quick, I think, Think and Grow Rich. I think it’s Napoleon Hill. That one is timeless. I think it’s a story that’s timeless, and it teaches you like a waste of think about stuff. And so I actually gifted that book to my son this year for Christmas. That’s how important that book is to meet Rich Dad, Poor Dad. That one is very, very impactful. And I think had I read that like, early early on, I would probably be doing something different right now. That’s how impactful that book was. And then the last one, the third one, I would say is Biden’s build. I know it’s a recent book, but had it had it been written decades ago. I would definitely have chosen to read that book as well. Those three so I’ll go through them again. Think and Grow Rich, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and by the build.

David 17:20
Absolutely. No, those are those are three awesome, awesome books. You know, the other thing I had read on my letter you also mentioned podcasts YouTube meetups conferences in they really all do, you can lump them all together, some people like YouTube. And there’s a ton of great content on YouTube, some people like podcasts. So there’s a ton of great content on podcasts. And books are a great resource. But I like how you you lumped in other stuff? Because it really is the the sum of the parts here.

Ken 17:47
Yeah, absolutely. And to kind of dive into that a little bit more, one of my old jobs that I had, and I and David also had one that week, we committed a lot. And so anyway, to get information in into our brain, our brain is like we need to input. It’s like I speak in tech terms. So like input devices, right. And so you have visual, audio, different things. And so as I’m Dre as I used to travel, the work, I would listen to podcast while I was working, if there wasn’t anything going on, there’s a YouTube, you know, on break a book. And so there’s all these different areas, and maybe you can learn something new or something different, maybe that person only has books, maybe that person only does a podcast. And so always like think of it as like an E commerce marketplaces are like, are like lanes on a highway. If you have more lanes on a highway, then you can get more traffic through there. And so open your eyes just be open to getting knowledge from different places. And you know, in the future, maybe or there’ll be, you know, VR ways to get knowledge through VR. There are years now, but so just be open to getting knowledge from different sources.

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David 18:48
Absolutely. This has been an incredibly helpful exercise to go through. I’m glad that we did it. And to all of our listeners, I encourage you to not just think about it. But literally sit down, put pen to paper, write a letter to yourself. I think this was really helpful and something that I’ll probably be doing again.

Ken 19:04
Yeah, absolutely. I agree it. And also, if you’re listening to this, hopefully some of the stuff that David and I shared helped you. And like David said, I definitely would recommend sitting down and writing a letter to yourself. And not only is it’s really, really good to reflect back on your life and things that you’ve accomplished to make you feel good. And that’s something that as entrepreneurs like I know, we don’t do that enough. And so to force yourself to do that, it’s good. Knowing the stuff that you have accomplished and it’ll lift you up, it’ll motivate you. And that’s what we all need. We need to motivate each other to do more and to be happy for what we’ve done and really kind of relish in that moment. Its energy. So appreciate everybody listening until next time,

David 19:41
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