I’d been putting it off for months…

I’d talked about starting a website, a blog, or an online store. I’d dreamt up designs, slogans, domain names, and dozens of “million dollar ideas.”

You see, Courtney and I had passionately been attacking our clutter and our debt for the past few months.

Round 1 of our stuff had been listed and sold on eBay and craigslist – and for the first time in several months our budget was starting to actually work.

One fateful night – several months earlier – we had pledged to sell everything we owned, pay off our $18,000 in consumer debt, and move to Australia.

Since then, we had picked up some serious momentum.

Everything in our personal life was clicking. Our mission was clear – and we were executing it like madmen.

But I had this funny habit.

Whenever it would come time to actually do something about my business ideas… I’d buy another business book. I’d tell myself I needed to learn more… that reading, thinking, and planning were an important part of the process.

I desperately wanted to be an entrepreneur.

I wanted to build a business that could support us as we traveled.

But, at the time, in this one area of our life… I just didn’t know how to take action toward that goal.

Looking back, I can see that it was a combination of naivete, laziness, and lack of clarity. What a nasty combo!

The Tipping Point:  ”Something just snapped…”

As it turns out, the two dozen business books I read were worth a tenth of the value I got from just one night of action.

It started around 3:30 p.m. – something just snapped. I was tired of waiting and fed up with putting off this idea any longer.

I registered the domain ManVsDebt.com and spent the next 4 hours walking through tutorials on how to set up hosting, domains, DNS servers, and WordPress.

To this day, I still remember feverishly searching the archives of ProBlogger for walkthroughs on how to get the technical stuff set up.

I had absolutely zero idea what I was doing (and zero technical experience). The only way forward was to put my head down and bust through it.

As night set in, my dream started to come to life. It was ugly, unoptimized, and bare bones… but it was alive.

I didn’t stop there.

Into the night, I outlined my first six posts. I focused on topics I was deeply passionate about and researched each of them for hours.

I started writing.

The last time I had written over 1,000 words in one sitting was high school. But somehow I couldn’t stop writing that night. Time moved quickly… or slowly… I wasn’t quite sure. I was in the zone.

When Courtney woke up early the next morning, she came to check on me. I was still typing. I was working on the 5th full post – some 8,000 words later.

Only in that moment did the feeling really hit me…

As the sun peeked over the horizon and in through the window, I could only think of one thing…

“I’m an online entrepreneur.”

I hadn’t had a single visitor to my website yet. That would come in the next few days.

I hadn’t got one person to subscribe to updates. That would come in the next week.

I hadn’t made a single sale. That wouldn’t happen for another year.

But I knew.

In the buzz of that all-nighter, I just knew.

I’m an online entrepreneur.”

*****

For those of you that have been following along for a while (a few of you from that first month several years ago), you know there are three main areas that have driven Courtney and my quest to reshape our life.

  1. “Sell Your Crap” – Our initial rejection of consumerism and purge of our possessions has radically shaped our life these last few years.
  2. Pay Off Your Debt” - Our journey to attack our $18,000 in consumer debt is well chronicled – and has freed us to focus our time, money, and energy on our passions.
  3. “Do What You Love” - The last part of the equation for us involves cultivating that entrepreneurial spark to align our passions, purpose, and “work” lives.

I fully realize not everyone wants to be (or should be) an entrepreneur or business owner. That’s fantastic! There are tons of ways to align your work and passion with starting a business or movement.

For me, however – and many of you (based on our conversations) – entrepreneurship is a natural extension of the personal finance journey.

Building Man Vs. Debt has been extremely stressful, but extremely fulfilling at the same time. It has and will continue to play a central role in Courtney and my life. And we don’t plan to stop there as Courtney has her own entrepreneurial aspirations and goals to foster.

You see, I have no problem being an outspoken fan of entrepreneurship – because I believe that people building business and movement around their passions is fantastic for our culture.

Introducing ”The Hustle Project”…

That’s why I’m so proud to announceThe Hustle Projectwith a good friend and mastermind partner of mine – Corbett Barr.

The Hustle Project” is the third leg of my own business tripod. Along with “You Vs. Debt” and “Sell Your Crap”, it’s the third area where I can really help positively impact people’s lives.

The Hustle Project” is a membership community for entrepreneurs looking to grow their online presence and revenue.

We have three very simple objectives:

  1. Arm people with the concrete tactics (and examples) they need to build momentum.
  2. Incite them into action.
  3. Hold them accountable to the actions and their goals.

“The Hustle Project” is part mastermind group, part mentorship group.

Our goal is for every member to add $12,000 in revenue to their online business over the next 12 months.

This isn’t a get rich quick program. It will require focused time, a lot of effort, and a bit of stress. But it’ll be worth it.

This certainly isn’t for everyone. But if you’re serious about online entrepreneurship – and ready to invest the time and effort we all know it takes – you need to check out this new project.

[Click here for "The Hustle Project" details]

*****

That one night – over two years ago – changed my life forever.

Another 6 months of planning couldn’t have come close to the feeling I got from just one night of focused action.

How much different would my life be today if I had read another book that night?

I don’t even want to think about that.

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Randy May 24, 2011 at 3:20 PM

Great idea! I am going to check that out right now.

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Kevin M May 24, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Good luck Baker. Entrepreneurship is somewhat of a lost art. I hope that changes.

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Baker May 25, 2011 at 12:52 PM

“Entrepreneurship is somewhat of a lost art.”

I love this Kevin. :-) I hope to hone my craft in the years to come. ;)

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Linda May 24, 2011 at 4:44 PM

Oh, I think I’ll just go read another blog before I decide what to do!——-JOKING! This sounds like a great idea, lots of luck!

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Baker May 25, 2011 at 12:53 PM

Hehe. :) Thanks, Linda.

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Peter Juhl May 24, 2011 at 5:17 PM

Hey Baker, I have enjoyed following your journey. When you were making plans to go to Aus. we headed from Denmark to California for a year. We sold our crap, or most of it, and had a blast. Our kids, then 11 and 14 had an exp for life. We are back in Denmark and have gotten rid of even more crap. We are getting out of debt and doing what we love.

You continue to be an inspiration. Thanks

Peter

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Baker May 25, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Thank YOU – Peter for following along for so long. Great to hear you are still doing so well. Keep it up!

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Bridget May 24, 2011 at 6:01 PM

Great idea, but it’s WAY more expensive than I was expecting. And it’s a monthly fee, not one-time fee. (Obviously this is smart for you, but means I won’t be signing up! Even at the half-off rate, I don’t have $600 a year to give you, sorry!).

Good luck though, the program looks good.

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Baker May 25, 2011 at 12:55 PM

No problem, Bridget! The program is designed for people who can easily and immediately make far more than the monthly price. Because we’ll be spending hours of time – multiple times per month – it couldn’t possibly be a one-time fee. :)

Thanks for the kind words! Best wishes!

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Rebeca May 24, 2011 at 6:22 PM

I’ve enjoyed perusing your site… inspiring stuff! We’re in the selling and getting rid of phase, planning and dreaming of our trip around the world with four kids in tow!
I linked to your site in my latest post.

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Baker May 25, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Nice, Rebeca! Keep us in the loop on how the travels go – we know how hectic it can be! :)

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Pete @ CashBlogged May 24, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Great post! Seriously considering signing up for The Hustle Project.

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Baker May 25, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Appreciate it, Pete – hope to talk more soon!

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Sunday May 24, 2011 at 8:59 PM

not quite ready to take the plunge myself, but baby-stepping to it. i will very likely be a part of one of your hustle projects at some point. i’m a relatively new reader, but i love it! thanks for sharing :)

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Baker May 25, 2011 at 12:57 PM

No problem, Sunday! Take your time – no offer or project you see is going to be right for everyone. If your business gets to the point where this is a great investment – we’d love to give you a kick in the pants every now and then. :)

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Danny May 24, 2011 at 11:45 PM

Way too expensive for people fighting debt. Especially coming from a website that is trying to teach people to fight debt. AND coming below the same post that speaks “stop reading” and “start doing”. This membership locks people in chains of more reading and more debt. And what do we get in return? A regurgitated motivation speak of many thousands of other bloggers. People need to simply realize what you posted above. More books and more reading doesn’t help to take action. You say “something just snapped”. When you figure out how to MAKE something snap, and write a book on how to make that thing “snap” at will. I will be the first guy to buy it. For a low debt minded price. $9.95

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Baker May 25, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Danny, this particular project isn’t for people fighting debt.

My website helps people in three areas – debt, selling crap, and entrepreneurship. There are people at all phases of the journey (myself included). This is the process we’ve gone through in the last 2-3 years.

You’ve made some big assumptions about my motives and my ability to help people – especially since you’ve not experienced it yourself! Hope we can meet someday in person.

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Tanja @ Minimalist Packrat June 6, 2011 at 1:13 PM

Danny,

I’m going to chime in with a dissenting viewpoint. Passing judgement on a course you haven’t experienced seems shortsighted to me. I have read extensively on online entrepreneurship and I have to say all that reading has come back to help me over the years…. to the tune of being successfully self-employed … and now out of debt as well.

I’m still on the fence about the Hustle Project, but I’m certain there will be gems in the course that propel some people from the stage of thinking about it and into the stage of successfully self-employed. Action is important, but so is research and networking.

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Sarah Russell May 24, 2011 at 11:46 PM

Count me in! I relate a lot to the story you share above – I’ve always had the entrepreneurial bug, which has lead to a pretty crazy range of successes and failures.

Looking for to getting to know more about you and your business story on the inside!

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Baker May 25, 2011 at 1:02 PM

So excited, Sarah. Can’t wait to get started!

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Iulian Dita May 25, 2011 at 1:12 AM

Really inspiring! Thanks a lot, man!

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Baker May 25, 2011 at 1:02 PM

You’re welcome! :) Thanks for stopping by.

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Lee Drozak May 25, 2011 at 7:36 AM

We did a little opposite of you to get out of debt, we worked like dogs many, many hours. We purchased fixer uppers and moved our way to a mortgage free house. We did not buy anything we could not pay off with overtime checks. Then it hit me, my kids were growing up with each other and not us. So while we are debt free it came at a sacrifice. No longer, as I continue on the road of entrepreneurship. Congrats to you and Courtney for doing it the right way.

Next goal, to continue to grow my business into a self-sustaining entity so that we can at least enjoy retirement. I am looking forward to what the Hustle Project has to offer to move me one step closer to my dream.

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Baker May 25, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Wow, Lee – this is powerful. I love it. I’m excited to have you aboard – this is going to be a blast.

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Steve May 25, 2011 at 7:58 AM

Thanks Baker. I know the exact position you were in two years ago because that is me, right now. I appreciate the inspiration. Stop planning and start doing. Figure out what to do while you do it. Learn as you go. Become your dream.

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Baker May 25, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Appreciate it, Steve. :) It’s a lot of work – but it’s been worth it. Keep at it!

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Adam May 25, 2011 at 12:39 PM

The difference between winners and losers is that winners do what losers are unwilling to do. Please note that I said :unwilling”, not “unable” Mose are capable, but few are willing to demonstrate the bravado to push themselves outside the envelope. Good job! Keep moving.

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Baker May 25, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Very smart thought, Adam. I might steal this and use it myself! ;-)

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Tim May 25, 2011 at 2:59 PM

I’m in the process of selling all my crap as I have a big move coming up and the start of several project ideas in my head. I’ve put them off for quite sometime, and I’m inspired by what you guys have done. I’ve done the same as you. For years I’ve wanted to do something, not sure what, but something. I’ll come up with an idea and sit- Thinking I need to research more. Learn more. Do something else beside the idea.

I feel like I have IAD, Idea Attention Deficit. Now my excuse is my move and getting rid of my crap. They are rational excuses but I’m trying to make sure that the move is a start not an end to some big changes for myself. Right now the getting rid of crap seems to be taking over most of my life (and I’m stressing about not being able to get rid of some of the bigger items). One step at a time. Or one leap if need be.

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Katie May 25, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Your post came at the exact moment I needed it. We’ve been talking about becoming financially free so we can travel, live an incredible life, etc. But it’s scary! I’ve read your blog off and on for a year or so…but sometimes I avoid it just so I don’t have to explore my own feelings towards my financial life, or life in general. Thank you for making your journey public, honest, and thoughtful…you are making a difference!!

I started my blog, Eco-Chic in Suburbia, last year. Then ignored it for 6 months. And now have put some effort in to but not as much as it needs…I would love for this to become an income generating site with ads, reviews, etc. I’m looking in to the Hustle Project to see if it’s for me. But even if it’s not for me yet…I’m going to work my butt off to be a successful entrepreneur…and not a scared consumer!

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Alex Humphrey May 25, 2011 at 9:11 PM

I love this idea, Baker!

I feel like I am you in the beginning. I’ve been hammering away at the keyboard, I’ve only now started to get a solid direction, and I am fired up and ready to work!

The Hustle Project is great for people like me. I can’t afford it right now, but I have definitely put it on my radar. As this business of mine picks up, I can’t wait to be a part of yours!

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SB (One cent at a time) May 25, 2011 at 11:11 PM

That entrepreneurship is very contagious. I think I too developed this. For me it was not a night, but a planning of few months, since I have decided to not work for a boss after age 45. I am having it tough to manage my own blog and day job which often runs in to nights and late nights. I haven’t earned a single penny from my blog, so can’t think of quitting my day job. But I still have 10 years to achieve my goal.

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Steve Frankenfield May 26, 2011 at 12:34 AM

Wow, my wife and I were just having a conversation about getting a business started about 10 minutes ago, and like you, my instinct was to keep reading ebooks about how to get one started (which I’ve been doing for months now) instead of taking just taking action on it. And lo and behold, I fire up your blog and this is the post I see. Awesome, just awesome!

While The Hustle is not for me right now, I wish you both lots of luck in your course…it looks great!

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Hulbert Lee May 26, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Hi Baker, thanks for sharing with us a brief history of how you got started with your website. I liked the part where you explained how “something just snapped” and you began to take action to get out of debt. I especially liked this line you wrote, “As it turns out, the two dozen business books I read worth worth a tenth of the value I got from just one night of action.” I could really relate to this, and I think a lot of starting entrepreneurs could relate to it also. I’m going to go check out Corbett Barr’s website now.

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Brian Cormack Carr May 30, 2011 at 7:40 AM

I had to smile reading this. I recognise that “4 hour online blog set-up frenzy” that you speak of! I’m not as far down the track as you yet, but I definitely recognise those beginning steps. I love that you can go from “wanting to be an online entrepreneur” to realising “I am an online entrepreneur” and that the bit in the middle can be a bit fuzzy!

We’re often told to plan this stuff meticulously – but that can seriously hold us back. Sometimes you just have to dive right in! Getting into the game – even without being sure of where it will lead – is a principle I steer all my clients towards. I remind them that taking action – even madcap, unfocused, flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants action – will bring them into contact with unexpected strangers and happy accidents, and it’s those chance meetings that can lead them on to some very exciting things…

Keep enjoying the journey, and thanks for sharing it with us!

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David | Move on, Move forward June 1, 2011 at 11:32 AM

I really like the advice here, and am interested to find out more!

I’m glad you mentioned the part about focussed effort, it’s not a get rich scheme, and I wouldn’t join if it were advertised as being the answer to everything.

Will look into this for sure Baker

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matt June 5, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Thanks for the inspiring insights on entrepreneurship. These messages seem to be coming to me all at the same time. Just the other day I read a tweet where someone said “stop reading, start doing”.

I think all the reading in the world can’t replace getting your hands dirty and just diving in to start getting true experience on the subject. I also think that more of what you read can apply much easier once you have gotten things under way.

Congrats on the new project, I’m sure it will be a great success.

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Alex July 24, 2011 at 5:26 PM

Inspiring post, I don’t think most people realise how much all of our material junk traps us. In reality most people use very little of the stuff they own and probably need even less. I think your model for living could be the way forward!

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Welcome Finance August 27, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Entrepreneurship is like a gamble but we are looking for a success, not to loose anything so before putting up we have to plan for the right strategy.

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