Read about my debt story in this second post for episode #2 of “From $656k Debt to Financial Freedom” here with me, Jerry Banfield. I’ve got myself in the situation I’m in because I’ve been so concerned with being a big star and with being #1.
My $656K Debt Story — Being #1!
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You may want to read the first part of this blog post: My $656K Debt Story + Exit Strategy — Episode #2
As I said, I’ve got myself in this situation because I’ve been so concerned with being #1.
Also, I’m just working with my hypnotherapist and studying on deprogramming the need to compete with others.
I was aiming to be the #1 instructor on my first Udemy profile and I was on my way to being the #1 instructor on Udemy.
Competition often causes problems and I did the same thing with the cryptocurrency Steem. I was on my way to being the #1 witness and I wanted to be the number one author.
Also, I was the #1 author in terms of followers.
At one point, I was up to 12 or 13 witnesses out of all the users who’d love to just earn money. I was earning $1,000 a day at one point as a witness on Steem up in that top 20 rankings.
What I see today is that competition has caused a lot of my problems. There is a place for competition. Sports can be fun to watch.
For me and my business, when I’m competing, I’m off the path.
The path for my business specifically is to just do the best I can and essentially the only person I compete with is myself.
Now, I want to make better videos than I made last week or last year. I want to make better courses than I made last week or last year, or five years ago, and want to do a better job with my business than I did last year.
I’ve finally stepped in my business up to the best level it’s been at, which is a sleek lean business.
When you’re going for competition, you’re trying to beat others. It makes sense to be bloated to spend a lot of money to do anything to reach those top spots.
But when you’re just trying to survive and do a great job helping people, it makes sense to have a lean business and to get out of debt.
What I have learned is with making money, often using my gifts will give me the best chance and a lot of the worst deviations I’ve gone on were when I purely thought about making money.
Even with this amount of debt, I’m focusing on what can I uniquely do that’s the most helpful to other people? Because if I go around looking for, “How do I make money versus how do I help other people with what I’m doing and earn enough?”, those are very different questions.
One of the reasons I’ve got into this debt is because of often looking for, “How do I make money instead of how do I provide value to other people?
I’ve had some great money-making schemes, things that have earned lots of money, for example, I hired a freelancer on Upwork for a few thousand dollars to make a video course that made millions of dollars in sales.
I’d qualify that as a money-making scheme because that actually took me off of my path in terms of making my own video courses and all the follow up with that caused a lot of problems with me simply being able to show up and make my own courses.
Thus, I am learning today to stick to, “How do I do what I do best and help other people do what they do best?” and that helps me not be tempted when the next money-making scheme comes along.
That is because there can be lots of good ways to make money and they may be appropriate for you. Google Adsense Arbitrage, may be a great way for you to make money and sustain your life.
The key for me is I have to enjoy it. If I don’t enjoy what I’m doing to make money, I might as well go to work if I don’t enjoy what I’m doing to make money.
The mortgage I have on my house is around $260k and the house is worth maybe $300k.
This is the path I’m on.
The playlist is going through and documenting my path to financial freedom from $656k in debt. We’re doing this in real time from the very beginning, and then going forward, one day at a time.
Alex: How much time do you think it will take to pay off all your debt?
I imagine it will be paid off relatively soon.
What I’m seeing is that making an exact timetable for it ignores all the things I don’t know that I don’t even know.
For example, maybe Uthena might sell for a hundred thousand for all I know. I might have a bunch of earnings coming from my online courses. All of my debt might be paid off within 6 months and it’s possible.
It is also possible that I might get a couple of amazing business deals that come in that I’m not even aware of yet.
So, it might take 5 years. I just don’t know. Those are things I can’t control.
I’m more comfortable with uncertainty today because trying to force certainty in my life has often caused me a lot of problems.
The most uncomfortable thing about the debt I see is simply the uncertainty of it, not knowing exactly how the money will come and not knowing whether I’ll be able to make the minimum payments on the debt alone.
Thus, I’m not sure exactly how long it will take to pay the debt down.
What I’m excited to do is share with you the entire journey of it from start to finish. This is essentially week 2 and from here, all the way to the end.
Then I’ll be able to say, “Look, if you want to see how I got out of $656k in debt, go back to the beginning in this playlist, watch all of the videos and you’ll hear about my life on a day-to-day basis.”
I don’t need to be the best online course creator.
All I need is to provide useful online courses that help other people.
Over the last 8 years in my business, I’ve learned a lot of things that are very valuable to create courses on.
In fact, I have so many course ideas that focusing completely on making online courses, I’m unlikely to ever run out of things to teach because I am learning new things, and then I can teach them.
The nice thing about creating online courses is you don’t need to be an expert to create an online course about something.
There is a big misconception that, for example, if you wanted to make a course on Adobe Photoshop, that you would need to have used it for years to be an expert to teach an outstanding online class. That’s not true.
All you need to teach a course is to know a little bit more than the person who’s going to buy it.
Now, think about that for a minute, for example, I just made a TikTok course. Now, will it be the very best TiKTok course online?
I don’t know, but when you take my TikTok course and you don’t know anything about TikTok, I know a little bit more than you, and that can help save you the time and energy of learning the things I did.
For example, if I put 20 hours into learning something, I can teach a 1-hour course for beginners that shows the basics of how to do something.
This way, I can have courses on all kinds of subjects and I single-handedly give people a well-rounded education about all the different things I know about and I’ve learned about.
What I’ve found is familiarity is often more important than quality. I’d rather watch a video from somebody I’ve already watched a video from than see somebody else do a better job with it who I’ve never seen before.
This is why people tend to blow up on things like YouTube, movie stars and actors because most of us value familiarity more than quality.
We’d rather see an actor we already know play a part than watch somebody new play that part even if they could do a better job at it.
Now, this is not the case in every single scenario, but this is the case for a lot of us.
If you think about how we listen to music, I listen to music mostly by creators I’ve already listened to before. It seems to take a little bit of extra energy or effort for me to try to listen to somebody new.
Therefore, as a course creator, there’s a huge opportunity to just simply teach everything you know, get people in the door on simple beginner courses, which are very popular, and then teach on subjects that you know a lot about in depth.
What I’m so grateful to share is that I just feel so good. I feel so good, which you could look at it and say, “Jerry, you shouldn’t feel good being in the worst financial situation you’ve ever been in by far.”
I have 2 children, a wife and our family debt. The mortgage is about 400k and the debt includes student loans, credit cards and I’m responsible for the majority of it.
In fact, I racked up most of it this year alone and I’ve gone through so many feelings and frustrations like, “What an idiot. How could you do this?”
I’ve been frustrated like, “I read this book. It said I should just spend money to make money. It didn’t work and now what do I do?”
I’ve been through all that and I’ve gotten to a place where I’m really happy that I can actually document this journey. I can meet you where you might be at today because I’ve gotten burnt out on people telling me what I ought to do.
I realized that someday I will have zero debt and my financial situation will look amazing. I imagine people will want to know.
They’ll say, “Jerry, how did you get out of $656k debt?”
I guess they’ll go watch this playlist on YouTube.
That’s what you need to see where I’m in the middle of the debt.
I’m struggling financially.
I’m asking my wife for money to cash out her investment account so that we can make the minimum payments.
I’m dropping almost all of my business expenses, cutting back my personal expenses, asking everybody to help me, getting rejected for loans like crazy by friends who have lots of money in the bank and who won’t give me anything at all as a loan, and yet, I’m loving the changes I’m making and I’m loving all the learning I’m doing out of this.
This is fun and a challenge. What I’m really happy with is my faith. My belief is rock solid on this and that’s something I can control.
I can’t control how much money the credit card companies say I owe or how much money I have in the bank. What I can control is my belief, my vision for the future and the actions I take.
I’ve nearly finished cutting expenses and I’ve just been going ham hard as a mother. So, I’ve been going ham on cutting my expenses the last two weeks after looking at how much debt I had.
I realized I had $75k more debt than I thought I had.
Drew: Familiarity over quality doesn’t apply much to online universities. Most people want to learn from an expert, look at the instant success of a master class.
Drew, what you said has some validity. I love watching Master Class because of familiarity. I watch a master class and got to know Deadmau5 and Armin van Buuren there, but what’s really attractive about the master class is I have heard of the people there.
Even the master class is a good example of familiarity. They get you in the door because they’re actually people you know teaching courses. Most of the courses I’ve bought are from people I’m very familiar with.
In fact, when I actually bought a $500 course, the highest-priced course I’ve ever bought, I had a lot of familiarities as I had seen a ton of courses and videos from the instructor before buying that.
I just had an interview with Jewel and Auret that you ca read here: How To Promote a Single Release on Spotify with Auret Music. They were talking about buying a $1,000 course.
What they said is they had seen the teacher of the course live at a speaking event and that seeing them was critical to actually buying the thousand dollar course.
If they hadn’t seen that person speaking at a live event, they would not have felt safe buying that thousand dollar course, and a lot of people have bought my courses just because they’ve gotten familiar with me and seen me for free.
However, you do have a point. Lots of people do just want to learn from experts and lots of the books I read are from clearly established experts in certain areas.
I think there’s a balance and there’s an opportunity. There’s an opportunity to teach what you know as an expert.
The courses people liked that I’ve made are areas where I had the greatest expertise like Facebook, YouTube, and teaching online. These are 3 of my best-selling courses.
I hired experts to make video courses with me and their courses sold well, and there’s a balance in life. There’s a place to teach and be an expert.
Ideally, you start from what you’re an expert on, but once you’ve already taught everything you’re an expert on, there’s a great opportunity to branch out and teach some other things that can bring people into your own expertise.
Drew: It’s good you have such a positive attitude.
Thank you, Drew. Having a positive attitude is something I can control and that makes a huge difference, but I’m only able to control it by choosing the people, places, and situations I’m in.
I see that what I take in makes the difference to my attitude and I constantly am taking in positive things.
It’s just like the food I put in my mouth and what it’s like when it comes out are very closely related.
I’m always listening to inspirational books, watching inspirational videos and one thing that helps me be positive a lot is when I get into negative, I talk about it, just to me like the eating analogy.
If you want to have a healthy body, it takes food going in and food coming out and lots of times, I end up taking in negative things or negative things come up within me, I have to talk my way out of them.
I got to confess to someone else that I’m struggling and I’m in a negative space. That helps me to stay positive. Thus, I really lean into the negative in my life. I embrace the suck, so to speak.
Yesterday, or the day before, I had a crying breakdown in the morning about one thing or another, and that is something that usually happens a few times a week.
I accept that if I want to be positive, sometimes I need to just get the negative out, and to try to get it out and as loving as possible.
Alex Do you think your life is unstable and random? For example, there are people who only work. They don’t have any investments or passive incomes.
Alex, this is the most stable my life has ever been. In fact, my intention going forward is to build the most stable business I’ve ever built before.
I had a business that was making $1,000+ a day for about a year, and then there was a big disruption to that where most of that income was lost, and I see that if I want a stable business, it’s up to me to set it up in a stable way.
As long as I’m competing with other people, trying to be better than other people, endlessly hustling and striving, I won’t have a stable business.
My business has been very unstable because I just hadn’t learned how to have a stable business. In other areas of my life, I’ve learned and made that transition. I used to drive fast and my driving was unstable. There was a time where I might run somebody off the road or scream and cuss or be all stressed out.
My driving now is very stable and consistent. It took the conscious realization that, “Oh, I’m an unstable driver. I need to fix that.”
I looked and I said, “I’m an unstable business owner or I have been.” My actions indicate that and it’s time to fix that. It’s time to get a vision of what a stable business looks like.
What I see is that today, a stable business is based on a minimum amount of expenses and it’s based on diversity, having my courses on lots of different websites and it’s based on sticking with doing what makes the majority of the income as the main activity.
I deviated over the last three and a half years, and I’ve made massive deviations from my top income-producing activities.
Sometimes the only way to learn is to learn the hard way through experience.
There’s a place to be an expert at something to teach what you’re very good at, and then there is an opportunity also just to help somebody else out who’s one step behind you. The idea with this vlog is to help somebody who’s one step behind me.
It is to say, “Look, if you’re not comfortable with your debt and you haven’t talked about it, you haven’t figured out how much it is.” For me, that was the critical first step to doing better.
I’ve listened to over 250 books on Audible from start to finish in the last eight years plus I’ve taken lots of online courses, watched a bunch of YouTube videos and I’ve completely finished 2 master classes.
Also, I’ve started several other master classes.
I’m always learning and growing.
I think learning is a key to growth and one reason I love teaching is because I love learning most of the time.
Installing a new WordPress theme and trying to figure out how to get this thing to work, sometimes this can be aggravating.
I appreciate you watching or reading this today and I trust if you want to make sure to see the rest of these, you’ll subscribe to my YouTube channel and turn those notifications on.
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This is a part of my playlist “$656k Debt to Financial Freedom.”
I suggest watching this if you’re in debt and if you’re struggling with finances. I think just seeing how I go through it might help you.
I’m putting all of the videos in that playlist.
So, if you missed one week, you can just go to this playlist and I’ll have all the videos on it.
I love you.
I appreciate the chance to serve you today and I will see you again soon.
Edits from video transcript by Michel Gerard at www.michelgerardonline.com.