Tag Archives: business

Book Review · The Billion Dollar Secret

Reading The Billion Dollar Secret (2019) by R. Badziag

Recommend. 328 pages. It’s a quick read and starts well. Like much else in life, you may 80/20 the content. In my opinion, you’ll find the 80/20 in Chapter 6 (The Six Skills of Business Mastery) and Chapter 7 (The Six Habits of Wealth).

I won’t give up too much of the book, but the principles outlined probably sound very similar to other books on entrepreneurship and personal development. On the six skills of business mastery, five are people skills. On the six wealth habits, I’d say one can summarize them as constant improvement of the whole person towards a goal.

I enjoyed how the book opens with stories of rags to riches. The one that sticks out the most is the story of Infosys and its founder, N. R. Narayana Murthy. I’ll quickly summarize it here. In India, 1981, at age 35, Narayana founded Infosys with several partners. Infosys is a computer company. He founded the company with frequent power outages and with no computer.

Back then, he needed a license to obtain a computer, and he spent three years and 50 visits from Bangalore to Delhi to get that license. The distance was 1,500 miles, and he was too poor to afford a plane ticket. So, he traveled two days each way (four days round trip). That’s 200 days over three years just commuting, fighting bureaucracy!

So what about doing any computer work during those three years? Narayana found a customer in America who allowed Infosys to program on his computer. Six of the cofounders went to America while Narayana remained in India.

What about communicating? On average, it took about five to seven years to get a phone line back then. Infosys only took one year. In the meantime, Narayana used a public phone at a post office to reach the cofounders and customers in America. However, if they needed to call him, they couldn’t. When Narayana finally did get a phone line, most of the time, there wasn’t a signal, and when there was, it was usually busy.

How did the American team send work back to India? It would’ve taken about three weeks by mail to send programming code one way. Infosys decided to use fax instead, which generated additional problems, which no doubt made for an even more incredible story to hear.


Starting Life Over at 40

It’s been a while since I’ve written. I’m not sure why I stopped. I enjoyed writing book reviews, but then, I threw too many hurdles in my way.

So much in 2021. I turned 40, and finally retired from the military. It wasn’t what I hoped it’d be. No, not even close; in terms of both what my pension and disability compensation would look like, and what I’d be doing after I retired.

I’m starting a video blog at my YouTube channel. Click the YouTube link on this site. I have a few other upgrades to this website, but not many. I’ve got to attach an autoresponder, and that’s about it.

My goal is to keep this simple. Share content on life after the military, books, and business.

The photo in here is of my friend Nicole’s birthday. We’ve been friends for three years now, and I still don’t know her age.

Book Review · The Elite Investor

Reading another great book

From one successful military hustler to all of us struggling up the mountain.

I’ve met Mike and his team. Until recently, he ran his business out of here, Fayetteville, NC, or the Fort Bragg area. Awesome book. Quick. To the point. Relevant to his audience. And coming from a position of years of experience, sophistication, and success.

In his book, Mike adapts concepts gained while serving in U.S. Special Forces into real estate investing. As well as shares lessons on real estate investing while still serving on active duty.

Among many lessons, he points out to newbies the importance of knowing one’s team. Those new to the game may not realize that sometimes nine different people play into a real estate transaction – buyer, seller, lender, attorney, property manager, tenant, contractor, inspector, and appraiser.

Another lesson, which feels very military, consists of backward planning, rehearsing, and contingency planning before coming to a deal. Furthermore, acknowledge Murphy and embrace that something always goes wrong.

A few different parts of the book cover list-building, or what he calls having a clientele database. Most digital marketers I’ve studied identify this effort as their “one thing” that stands out as most significantly producing success.


Book Review · The Agency – Build, Grow, Repeat

Reading another excellent.

A story worth reading on developing a digital marketing agency.  302 pages.  Business management, digital marketing.  I think many would readily connect with Luca’s backstory of years of initial struggle before serendipitously discovering his niche in life.

I love how organized Luca wrote the book.  The title itself outlines the contents and leaves the reader with a way of thinking that organizes into success.  Even if one doesn’t intend to create a marketing firm, he can use this as an example of how to write a book.

Like many other bestselling internet marketers, Luca doesn’t go into the tactics or step-by-step instructions on button-pushing.  Technology today moves too fast.  He aims for a more evergreen approach in sharing his strategies and principles leading up to his success.  The following represent three of my biggest takeaways from each section of the book.


Build.  Purpose-driven, flat, and fast.  Within this section of the book, Luca shares a description of the general structure of his agency.  He emphasizes purpose first.  Our previous generations seem to hate getting asked why, but what other question proves more critical?  What other question drives the team during uncertainty?  Luca also shares the importance of flattening hierarchies and decentralization to achieve the speed needed to win in today’s world.


Grow.  Attend networking events, and conduct networking events.  Among the chapters in this part, the mention of leading a networking event triggered a lightbulb moment for me.  As in, “Oh, yeah.  Why didn’t I think of that?”  Call it a house party in today’s world of COVID-19 or hold a virtual get-together.  But you don’t have to wait for someone else to announce an event.


Repeat (or Scale). Avoid weak language.  Well, among the other principles in this section, this one resonated with me as an author.  Too many written systems, as well as correspondence, suffer from fillers – words that don’t further value.  One easy hack to discover the written equivalents of “umm” or “so…” consists of simply asking whether a portion of writing contributes to the intended message.  It seems obvious, but many of us don’t write the way we speak.  In so doing, we swing the metaphorical pendulum too far the other way, into wordiness and trying too hard to sound smart.


Book Review · List Building Lifestyle

Brian, reading a great book on email marketing

Recommend.  91 pages.  Entrepreneurship and email marketing.  Igor Kheifets, like nearly all of my favorite authors and entrepreneurs, push through the grind for years before finally striking the epiphany (or set of epiphanies) that rapidly precipitated his success.  Rapid, that is, in comparison to the years before.

He hosts a podcast titled “The List Building Lifestyle Show.”  On the show, Igor has interviewed legends in American entrepreneurialism such as Robert Kiyosaki, Russell Brunson, Chris Voss, Anik Singal, and Mark Manson, to name a few.  I’ve read books by all of these men.

In the book, Igor jumps quickly into the meat of his content, adding his personal experiences along the way.  My favorite parts of the book consisted of Igor relating his struggles with such platforms as Facebook, Google, and even within his own niche of email marketing.

My three big takeaways from this book:  (1) marketing success may narrow to just two parts, a great offer, and the right audience; (2) your audience wants to hear about its problems, and not yours; and (3) build your own ladder and climb it.


First, make a great offer to the right audience.  Some writers suggest beginning the entrepreneurial journey with the product – your passion, your unique value.  Others suggest starting with the audience.  Igor subscribes to the latter, and on p. 65, quotes Gary Halbert as saying that the “most profitable habit you can cultivate is to always be on the lookout for hungry markets.”  With the size of the planet, it doesn’t matter where you start, so long as you do.  Although, by beginning with the audience, in a way, you already possess a soft proof of concept.


Second, talk more about your audience’s problems than yours.  Igor brings this up in response to his clients’ questions about what to talk about in their emails.  Emotional connection precedes physical connection, whether that means intimacy or negotiating a deal.  Consistent with advice on allowing for vulnerability and putting “yourself out there,” Igor shares that that does work.  But talking about the other person’s problems works even better on conversion rates.  The market doesn’t care about your hopes, dreams, and struggles – it cares about itself.  Give the audience what belongs to the audience.


Third, build and climb your own ladder.  If you left your job (or intend to) as a way to become your own boss, it follows then that you shouldn’t let platforms like Facebook or Google become your next boss.  When the algorithms inevitably change, expect a slap to your income.  Your email marketing list represents your own ladder, your own platform.

Book Review · The Iceberg Effect

The Iceberg Effect (2020) by Dean Holland

Recommend.  163 pages.  Entrepreneurship, internet marketing, and direct marketing.  Dean Holland began his entrepreneurial journey in the early 2000s.  Today, he collaborates alongside marketing legends such as Russell Brunson, who wrote the foreword.

The book begins with his outward journey of struggling with school and work, wanting more from life, and achieving initial successes and setbacks.  He then delves into the inner journey, citing themes familiar to readers of entrepreneurship and success stories.  He discusses Carol Dweck’s illustration of the growth mindset vs. fixed mindset, Sakichi Toyoda’s “Five Whys,” and Vilfredo Pareto’s “80/20” rule.


My first big takeaway from the book is to put it in writing.  The writing becomes the system of systems.  Two sections in the book leave room for writing.  I think most readers prefer to skip the homework suggested by authors.  However, homework like this takes a life of its own in clarifying goals and their necessary steps.  If one hasn’t already done something similar, it carves a path towards success.


Second, the death of traditional affiliate marketing.  For those new to the model, affiliate marketing means promoting someone else’s product.  The link to Dean’s book here consists of an “affiliate link,” meaning that if you click it and buy the book, I get a small payment as commission.  Dean labels as traditional, the model of promoting one product with nothing further.  This worked well enough in the early 2000s.  Since then, the cost to acquire a one-time customer has increased dramatically.  Therefore, it no longer proves as profitable to promote only one product and nothing further.  This brings us to the Iceberg Effect.


Third, the iceberg. Successful marketers, whether affiliate marketers, or other types of entrepreneurs, offer a front-end product (the tip of the iceberg), and a back-end.  The back-end represents the value ladder that a repeat customer, or raving fan, ascends.  Dean describes how he structures his funnel or value ladder.  In general, the further along the customer journey, the more intimate the interaction.