In a stroke of pure luck I met up with Danny Flood of OpenWorld Magazine in Bangkok a few weeks ago for an on location podcast interview.
We go over some of my “humble” beginnings (I’ll be the first to admit I’ve always been blessed) as well as going pretty deep into a lot of my recent marketing that has me as one of the top “names” in my industry (serving residential cleaning businesses for those of you that don’t know what I do )
Fun fact: if you join my email list you’ll get automated emails for ~2 years after, even if I’m hit by a bus (paging Debbie Sardone) or simply stop showing up. (discussed at minute 27)
We also cover how ZenMaid has become one of the go-to resources for other big names in the industry looking to promote their events, products, and more (discussed around the 20 minute mark)
Sharing my 2017 goals for the year for reflection purposes later, a little public accountability, and of course, in case this motivates someone else to take action and achieve their goals.
My 4 goals for the year:
1. $100k per month for ZenMaid 2. BJJ Blue Belt
3. Meditate 2x per day
4. Improve my Personal Branding by helping others acheive their goals
An important note: Other than goal #2 I consider these to all be “stretch” goals. I’d be happy with “inferior” results but have set these goals to push hard and aim high.
I’ve gone back and forth in the past between sharing goals publicly and not sharing them at all.
I started out more on the share-everything side of things but found it detrimental as I started ZenMaid. I identified the reason as being sharing the goals, making steps toward them, then sharing those accomplishments, was giving me subconscious approval and the feeling that I was already accomplishing them. Essentially I would do something one time but share it with multiple people and feel like I’d accomplished much more than in reality.
This did not help my productivity, even though it was designed to give me some sort of public accountability.
After a conversation with my business partner, Arun, I switched to the other opposite extreme to get both perspectives. I found that when I let my actions do the talking (only bringing things up publically when they were complete) to be quite empowering and help me to be more internally driven, rather than doing things for others.
At the same time though not sharing my goals with others sometimes led to me quitting them when I would have preferred to stick with them and public accountability would have helped.
This year though, I’m back to sharing my goals publically. You’ll notice this post is going live a few weeks after New Year’s … this is because I set my goals at the start of the year and have been executing on them daily on my own.
I did this on purpose to set goals for myself first, and share them now that I believe it doesn’t matter:
There’s little external accountability that I can receive from writing this post that would affect my focus and efforts toward achieving these 4 things in 2017.
The 2017 Goals I’ll be basing my life decisions around accomplishing:
1. $100,000 per month for ZenMaid – this is my number 1 goal for 2017, it’s what I’ll be optimizing all my other decisions around. It’s a massive stretch goal for our business and would literally require larger month over month growth than we’ve ever had before (for 12 months) but our thinking bigger is already paying dividends.
With this goal it’s less about actually acheiving it than aiming for it. My other goals below are achievable for sure, this one may or may not be, but we’re damn well going to try.
2. BJJ Blue Belt – To be completely honest I don’t care about actually getting my blue belt, I care a lot more about getting to a blue belt level. What’s the difference, you ask?Because I travel and live in 4 or more places (that vary) per year, I don’t have a “home” gym. Most instructors are hesitant to award belts to people that are not “their” students and hence I don’t know who would actually test me for the belt.
If someone were to test me I’d have to be so obviously above and beyond a blue belt that my ultimate focus is on the level, not the belt recognition.
3. Meditate 2x per day – The actual goal here is to meditate daily but I’m enjoying doing a morning and evening meditation so 2x per day is the “stretch” goal, along with working my way up to longer meditations
4. Build up the personal brand – I’m currently working through Neil Patel’s guide to Personal Branding and have identified that I’d like my brand to help me connect with higher level entrepreneurs (like Neil, Tim Ferriss, Ramit Sethi, and many more). I don’t have any intention of monetizing my personal brand but believe it will directly make me more money (and more successful) through positive influences and being able to attract better help to ZenMaid and my other projects.
A lot of this will be sharing my experiences and thought processes (like this post for example) and I also hope to help others acheive their goals though I don’t have 100% clarity on how/what that might be.
I’m bringing a friend to join me in Thailand and work on ZenMaid in person. I wrote this post as an email to him as a packing list of what to bring, and thought it’d be helpful for any digital nomad, especially those making their first or early trips.
1. Your laptop –
duh. You run your business or work through your computer as a digital nomad. Your computer is necessary.
I currently run a 6-figure business off a $200 Chromebook (linked below), on purpose. If my laptop were to ever fall off a train, bridge, or scooter, I can replace it for very little virtually anywhere in the world and all I need to do is to login to Chrome and I’m good to go with my business. This approach gives me total peace of mind. I will be upgrading to a way nicer machine in 2017 but I won’t need to, which is freedom.
For focus, audiobooks, and much more (like music?). The headphones I selected are the kinds you see in recording studios so you get $300 sound for less than $100. The reason the price is so low is these offer virtually no noise cancelling. If I were still commuting on BART in San Francisco regularly these would not cut it. In Thailand (at least where we’ll be), they’re perfect.
These come in handy on flights and travel days, plus it’s nice to not always have to remember to charge your phone before running out the door. This is probably a nice to have but once I started packing it in my day pack (rather than deep in my main bag that wasn’t carried daily) I’ve found myself using it often.
The charger below is from Anker, a company I’ve come to trust more than most. I have a different version of this charger, also from Anker, but I’ve actually ordered the one below already as it can charge devices twice as much as my current one (which is still great). At under $20 (by a penny, black version is $16) this is a “why not” buy.
You’ll need a pair of shoes (preferably a pair that can be worn without socks) and a pair of flip flops. Expect to wear flip flops 90% of the time in Thailand (on Koh Phangan) but they are very, very easy to get. You don’t need to worry about bringing any if you don’t already own some. They’re cheaper and easier to obtain here, we can get you some upon landing for $10 (that are surprisingly good)
I’m an exception here in that I normally wear shoes (video below). Believe it or not they’re crocs brand shoes but to my knowledge no one would know from looking at them. Just a personal preference, I never would have considered this before but these shoes don’t absorb sweat, have great ventilation, and are easy to clean (plus they look clean as fuck)
Don’t ask what that video was about, it’s from Chiang Mai a few weeks ago 😀
2. Shirts –
Most of the laundry on the island is done for you, returned folded, for 40 bhat per KG. We do laundry 2-3 times per week due to my jiu jitsu training so honestly you only need 3-4 shirts, though I imagine you’re bring more. Do not bring more than 8-9 shirts, you won’t wear more than that, trust me.
Definitely bring any dri-fit type shirts you have, and maybe one long sleeve shirt for good measure though I doubt you’ll need it.
You probably want throw in a dress shirt for good measure but honestly, you probably won’t need unless we want to take a “fancy” instagram photo. I wear the Mizzen+Main brand, which has dress shirts made of the Nike Dri-fit material so they’re literally the most comfortable shirts I own, and the best looking:
Here’s another brand I’m looking at getting next time I’m in the states. Looks to have all the same benefits with different styles and is $50 or so cheaper last I checked:
Oh, snap, took a look when linking to this for the article and they have one for under $50 (with a discount code) I may order and get delivered to Thailand (via my sis) 😀
3. Shorts –
You’ll wear shorts a lot. Like every damn day. The best shorts on Earth, to my knowledge, are Bird Dog Shorts. Their marketing can be off putting for some but the pockets they provide are nothing short of amazing for digital nomads, they’re comfortable as fuck, and they look great (having amazing legs like mine certainly helps). 90% of the photos you see on the sidebar to the right and across my photos feature them.
Did I mention they have an antimicrobial lining and can be worn 5-7 days at a time without picking up a smell? Amazing.
I’m wearing them in the video above, but here are a few more photos for good measure (hey @birddogshorts, if you’re reading this let me get a pro sponsorship 😉 )
A photo posted by Amar Ghose (@the_united_states_of_amarica) on
4. Pants –
You only need one pair of pants while here, which you’ll probably wear on the flight over. I have two pairs of pants with me because that’s all I own but I don’t need them when here.
I recommend jeans or a pair of light khakis. We can also buy you some sweet Thai pants that will make your legs look like wacky waving inflatable tubemen.
Personally I have a good, carefully picked pair of Levi’s, and the Mizzen+Main khakis (same brand as my dress shirts) that are really comfortable in Thailand, but aren’t made to be worn as often as I’d like.
5. Underwear –
Bring a lot unless you plan on wearing your swimsuit most of the time as shorts (see below). I only need two pairs while I’m here because of the shorts I wear and the pairs I have are also antimicrobial and designed to wear extensively without smelling (I actually have something like 9 pairs of underwear with me that get used for jiu jitsu but outside of that …)
www.meundies.com – yet another recommendation from Tim Ferriss. They have female underwear as well (Aga has a pair)
6. Swim suit –
Swimsuit should be obvious, we’ll be at the beach almost daily. These are easy to find on the island so not a big deal if you don’t bring a pair.
Did I mention those awesome Bird Dog Shorts above work as a swimsuit?
7. Workout gear –
Bring whatever is necessary to stay healthy and fit. For me that’s my MMA shorts and dri-fit shirts for jiu jitsu (plus all the extra underwear)
1. Sleep mask & inflatable pillow –
I got this travel set before coming to Thailand this time and it’s already served me well. Just remember to keep it handy on your flight over and you won’t get off the plane with a sore neck from sleeping the wrong way.
The sleep mask has also been a god send as it’s often very bright here in Thailand before you’d want to get up.
These will make your life easier when used properly, trust me. I can be completely unpacked and moved into a new closet within 10 minutes (more likely 5) thanks to these. If you get a set I can show you how I organize my stuff when you arrive (we could probably create some content around it as well)
If you’re a nomad or entrepreneur and want to join two other highly focused individuals on a tropical island for a few days, this is for you.
We’re looking for an entrepreneur/nomad to join us (myself and Aga from www.SheisonFire.com) on Koh Phangan (island in South Thailand) for 10 days, from January 7th to January 17th in 2017.
We both run our own online businesses that we work on full time (ZenMaid and theCalisthenicsAcademy respectively) and would like a fellow entrepreneur (or nomad) to work alongside us for a few days. We’re both “non-technical” though Aga is heavily involved with her product development while I focus almost entirely on sales, marketing, and support.
We’re happy to help and trade ideas with whoever (whomever?) joins us, and would love to find someone that could potentially compliment our skills so all 3 of us can move our businesses forward significantly in our 10 day sprint.
We have an awesome two bedroom house a couple minutes scooter ride from the beach. Check out the video below from when we first toured it. You’ll get the first bedroom you see in the video for 10 days. We’ll be the very first people to ever live in this house so it’s spotless and all the furniture is brand, brand new.
We usually work 6 hours during the day with a lunch break and late afternoon break, and are often back at work in the mid-late evening (3-4 nights a week at least). We essentially hit the beach daily as part of our breaks and go out a few times to some of the local spots for drinks after our night work sessions. You’ll be invited to join us for any and all of these
Price: $300 (paid through PayPal) or 11k bhat cash
If interested please fill out the TypeForm below and we’ll get back to you:
Since reading the 4 Hour Work Week ~10 years ago I’ve made a habit of “worst case planning”. I’ve found that when I can predict potential worst case scenarios and things that can go wrong it’s easy for me to identify ahead of time what I would do to resolve them, and that puts my mind at ease and allows me to operate in the vast majority of situations in a highly confident manner.
Tonight was one of the few times that the actual worst case scenario in my head happened, and I was prepared.
I had to pull over on the side of the road on Koh Phangan in Thailand earlier. Now during the day, stopping quick to fix my helmet would be a completely normal thing, but at night a couple extra factors come into play that I was conciously aware of, and it paid off nicely.
The 3 things I predicted could happen were:
1) Getting side swiped by an aggressive tuk tuk driver (much more likely to happen at night when you’re hard to see
2) Getting mugged. This is an unlikely situation to pop up but you never know, was somewhat random this popped into my head
3) Dogs. They don’t like scooters, they don’t like motorcycles, and they tend, at least on the island, to get more aggressive at night.
I quickly came up with 3 quick solutions, 2 of which were the same. For #1 it was as simple as pulling farther off the road than might have been necessary. Simple, just moved to a spot it would be unreasonable for a tuk tuk to drive.
I made the quick decision to leave the bike running and the kickstand up while fixing my helmet in the event that either #2 or #3 occurred.
And, for the first time, since I can remember, one of these actually happened, and I was prepared. Within a few seconds of pulling up the scooter and the engine going idle, 3 dogs came out from behind some shrubs, very aggro, and started approaching, then chasing when I hit the gas.
Usually the worst case scenario prep I do is to put my mind at ease and make whatever happens seem more palatable (it’s a habit now and pretty instantaneous in most situations these days with practice). In this case however, the few seconds I took to run through the potential issues/danger probably saved me from getting rabies (and having to hurt a dog)
This post was inspired by my friend Ark, who recently shared his favorite tools he was thankful for, and was similarly inspired by others.
Today I wanted to quickly share the list of tools that I personally utilize at ZenMaid to run our marketing, sales, and various parts of the business.
I’m personally grateful to the creators and operators of every single one of these as they allow me to live the life I do, from anywhere.
I keep my hardware as simple as possible because A) I have little appreciation for things like better sound and video and B) The more replaceable my stuff is the easier it is to relax and enjoy myself while on the road.
1. Chromebook – I bought a Chromebook recently on Amazon (will find a link here shortly) brand new for $235 that does literally everything I need it to operate my business, in large part because of my choice of tools in the section below
2. Headphones – I have a pair of highly rated earbud headphones that I got off of Amazon for $35. I’m happy to replace them in an airport or local shop if necessary but prefer to pick up a highly rated pair of Amazon when my location allows.
I also have a pair of blue tooth over-ear headphones. I honestly don’t use these all that much and they may not make it into my bag when I take off again in a few weeks (leaving for 6-8 months). They’re great headphones and I highly recommend them, I just don’t personally utilize them enough at the moment.
3. Speakers – I have usb speakers I can plug into my computer or any other for Netflix, YouTube, maybe even Courses if I’m trying to get my learn on.
4. Phone – My phone is a Piece of $hit. I hate it and am absolutely going to replace. I’d rather not talk about this situation but let’s just say that unlike everything else on this list, if I lost or broke my phone right now, I’d be relieved and happy.
Also, I’m on T-Mobile which offers an international plan. Everywhere I land I get a text welcoming me to the new country (aww) and letting me know of rates. 2 or 3g data is usually available the instant I touch down and I can still call ($.20 per minute) or text (free) with anyone on my US number.
5. Charging – I have a trusty Anker charger that I use to recharge my phone in emergencies. It’s always charged before any sort of travel and comes in handy most when I just have to finish that damn podcast episode and my phone is dying. Although the Anker charges my phone (or headphones) faster than my computer so I find myself using it quite often even when I’m settled in somewhere.
NEEDED – I’ve realized that I need to get a mobile hotspot of some sort to give me internet in business emergencies. Thus far I’ve stuck to places around the world with good internet but there’s always a chance that I lose access when I need it. There should be an affordable convenient option I can find.
The Software, Apps, and Extensions
So many business and personal tools to list, many of which overlap
1. Google Chrome – Sounds obvious but I don’t think people appreciate what these browsers can do often enough. Chrome allows me to login to it on any computer in the world and almost instantly pull up my extensions, logins, and bookmarks, so I instantly feel at home (or rather safe in the office) to work on whatever I need to.
2. Hangouts, Drive, PlayMusic, GMail, Google Calendar – I’m obviously pretty darn deep in the Google eco-system. The move to Chromebook has forced me away from Dropbox but other than that I don’t really miss anything from my old computer.
3. Evernote – it’s taken some getting used to to get on the web app but once I made the change I adjusted (obviously). Can’t say it’s better or worse, just different, but it’s still a very, very useful tool for so many things.
LPT: check out this awesome article on how to get started on, and make the most out of, Evernote:
(fun fact: I used Evernote to quickly find the article about evernote above for you. So Meta)
4. Audible – Why I haven’t been on this sooner I don’t know. I’ve been “reading” like crazy thanks to this awesome app. Any time a friend recommends a book I find it on here and add it to my wishlist.
Book recommendation for y’all: the Fish that ate the Whale – fascinating story on a dude who started a banana business and went on to build the entire railroad system in a central American country and at one point overthrew a government that was co-operating with his competitor. True story. You’re welcome.
Ending here for now, will update this article shortly
LinkedIn is one of the best marketing channels for my SaaS (software as a service) company ZenMaid.
I recently started sharing my experience at ZenMaid and helping other businesses to market their services and products on LinkedIn. I also share a lot of my more general thoughts relating to entrepreneurship specifically to the list here if you’re interested: