My Interview on The Cashflowdiary.com Podcast

j-massey1
J. Massey of Cashflowdiary.com

I was recently interviewed by J. Massy of the Cashflowdiary.com Podcast.  Jay produced a special series profiling entrepreneurs who have reached the magical number of producing $100K in a month.

From J:

In this episode, I get to chat with Mike Schmidt, a pretty cool entrepreneur who just out of college started a web-design company. Mike’s company has now built around 1,000 sites, but not just willy-nilly. He systemized the business.

Mike is now taking his next steps, and his company is consistently earning more than $100K per month by automating the systems and creating recurring income. The main driver that pushed Mike and his team to go for the gold is the stress he felt at the beginning of each month. He says it felt like climbing a mountain, and it was getting old.

 

 

 

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My One-Month Four Hour Body Diet Check-In

Just over a month ago, I began my journey with the 4 Hour Body Slow Carb diet in an effort to kick off some serious weight loss. A few posts back, I talked about my DEXA scan, which if you don’t remember is the scan that measures your body composition through kind of an x-ray device. The DEXA scan is one of the three approved methods that Tim Ferriss suggests because of its accuracy. My first scan gave me a complete measurement of my body composition, including the percentages of my body that are consisted of bone, muscle, and fat. This morning, I went for my follow-up one-month appointment and got the results of my new DEXA scan, and I’m pretty excited about what I read.

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You can see the detailed information of this scan above, but to save you the effort of interpreting these results, I’m proud to report that in one month’s time I’ve reduced my overall body fat percentage by approximately 2%. This means I went from 32.3% to 30.2% body fat, which translates to a loss of 9.4 pounds of fat. However, I also lost approximately 4 pounds of muscle and this is the area I am most surprised about. Admittedly, this month I’ve been a little less active in the gym than usual. However, the technician running the scan had told me that one of the factors for the decrease in muscle could be due to the amount of hydration that I had from one scan to the next, which came as a surprise.

screenshot-{domain} {date} {time}You see, muscle is water-soluble, while fat is not. If in one scan I am very hydrated, it means that my muscles have probably absorbed water, which would make them appear bigger. When they appear bigger to the scanner, they naturally assume that there’s more mass there. Now this morning I could have been less hydrated for this scan than I was for the one a month ago. If that’s the case, that dehydration would result in less water being present in my muscles, making them have less mass. This, of course, would be interpreted as weight loss.

I’m not going to know for sure about the true nature of this muscle loss until I go back for another scan. One month ago I couldn’t tell you what my level of hydration was, but a lot has changed since then. I’ve now started writing down what I’ve done in the last 24 hours with respect to consuming water and exercising, and I’ll aim to replicate that same condition the next time I get a scan to see if that has any impact on my muscle mass results.

1Despite the loss of muscle, I’m very pleased with my results. I originally went into this hoping for 3 pounds of weight loss, and I have exceeded that by a long shot. My clothes are fitting better. My general attitude and feeling about myself is great. I am very pleased about how I’ve been able to stick to the requirements of the diet, and have had some real key discoveries about my own eating habits.

If you’re out there considering doing the 4-Hour Body Slow-Carb Diet (or any other diet for that matter), I highly recommend using the DEXA scan as a tool for measurement of body composition. It can really help you remain confident that the work that you’re doing is having the right impact in the right areas.

 

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Get Ready For the Debut of My New Podcast!

Middle-aged man listening to music in urban cafe.

I’ve recently begin recording a new podcast called “Entrepreneur on the Spot”, and I love it. Personally, I’ve wanted a podcast for the last few years. I’ve become a big fan of lots of entrepreneurial podcasts such as “Entrepreneur on Fire”, “Smart Passive Income”, and a lot of others. For me, one of the biggest hurdles to getting into podcasting is content: what the heck am I going to podcast about? I read a lot online about how to start a podcast and even pulled the trigger on some equipment that is currently sitting on my desk unused because I’ve been waiting for the right moment and the right idea to start this podcast idea off with a bang.

Yesterday while I was training for my half-marathon, I had an idea: what if I could start a podcast that didn’t require any planning? What if it didn’t require having to figure out in advance who the guest is going to be, meaning I wouldn’t have to coordinate schedules, and would simply allow me to pick up the phone and start an interview with an entrepreneur. Well, that’s what I’ve decided to do.

Right now, I have the ability to place a call and record it, and at the beginning of that call, I’m going to ask the person I’m interviewing if they have about 20 minutes for me on the phone. From there I’m going to launch into the introduction of that guest and asking them a few standard questions.

I’m most excited about this because I don’t have to plan it. I can spend just a minute or two putting together a quick introduction and bio. I think the spontaneity of this podcast is what will make it great: putting these entrepreneurs on the spot where they’re asked about something that’s important to them, as well as asking about their entrepreneurial activities without giving them a lot of time to prepare, is going to lead to a lot more real and raw of an answer (at least that’s what I’m hoping!)

Look out for this podcast coming soon: you’ll be the first to know when it debuts. We’ve already got two episodes recorded.  I’ve got a few guests in mind, starting with some close friends, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

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Can Salad Dressing Be Slow Carb and Taste Good Too? Yes!

Salad Dressings And Olive Oil

If you’re on the Slow Carb diet like I am, you’ve probably realized that the program aligns really well with the inclusion of lots of tasty salads. However, the big hurdle to overcome when preparing a salad on the Slow Carb diet isn’t the salad itself, but the salad dressing you put on it. So many salad dressings are terrible for you, so you’ve got to make sure that you don’t mess up by using a salad dressing that isn’t compatible with the program.

I’m almost embarrassed to admit how many salad dressings I’ve accumulated in my fridge over the years (and now that I think about it, I should probably throw some of those away.) Anyway, nearly all of those salad dressings are usually filled with sugar or dairy, neither of which are permissible on the Slow Carb program. This didn’t leave me with many options other than olive oil or balsamic, until I stumbled on this incredible recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 fresh garlic clove, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

This recipe really creates a nice, complimentary flavor for whatever salad you make, and the oil spreads nice and evenly over the salad. You get good coverage, there isn’t a bad-tasting “bite”, and there’s no lack of flavor. This is my go-to dressing from now on, but I want to know what you think. Let me know if you liked it in the comments!

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Are You Devaluing Your Expertise?

I was given the opportunity to speak to two different website design classes at Pima Community College. A colleague of mine, who is the professor, asked me to come in and present a little bit about what my company does, and how we do it. I didn’t come prepared with a long presentation, or predefined program of what I wanted to talk about, and I used it as an opportunity to allow the students to ask me, the owner/founder/CEO of a web design and internet marketing company, about what we do.

I got a lot of questions, ranging from how they better prepare themselves from an employment standpoint to how they might go off and start their own freelance businesses. They asked questions about the ways in which I’ve grown my business, such as where we get our business from and how we charge for our projects. It was inspiring to hear people interested in this field, and it was a great opportunity for me to reflect on, really, the depth of my own experience in this field.

I am a professional in my field, and I have grown numb to how much I knowledge & experience I really have.  When you become unaware of your own expertise, you are devaluing of that knowledge and experience. I know a lot more than I give myself credit for, and I have a much better skill set in communicating that expertise, than I have given myself credit for.  Putting myself in a classroom of students who are wanting to learn was kind of like looking in a mirror.  I was able to look back at myself, from the outside, and appreciate the experience of having 13 years in this business.  What a cool feeling.

I found that my initial answers to the students began at a much higher level.  It was me assuming they understood a lot more about the subject than they actually did. It put me in a position to give them even more context to better understand  my answer.

My main takeaway from the experience is this: My own professionalism, expertise, and success has an opportunity to grow in proportion to my ability to effectively teach and communicate my own experience and knowledge to those that seek it.

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Happy Life or Healthy Body? Pick one.

The 4-Hour Body Slow-Carb diet is not about losing weight. It’s not about using the strategies and tactics to game and trick your body into losing fat and gaining muscle without exercise. There’s a greater purpose that nobody talks about when you engage in the 4-Hour Body. That purpose is about creating a significant change in the habits that form your life. The habits that I’m talking about are the ones that help you have a healthier body AND have a happier life.

A lot of people view diets as having to give up on a happier life in order to have a happier body.  Quit doing all the things I enjoy, stop eating all of my favorite things and start doing things I hate. I say that’s bullshit. I don’t want to be a part of a program where I have to choose between whether I feel good or whether I’m happy. For me, excluding the things that I love in my life which might be sweet foods, beers after work… the things that create the experiences and memories that I’ll have forever.

I look at my slow carb experiment as an opportunity to shift, drinking and exercise habits. It’s a way to kickstart a lifetime of better choices in my future. It is creating the possibility of choice.  In the past I might have given into the temptation to drink every night.  Or, if I had one bad meal it would cascade into a waterfall of bad eating choices for days or weeks on end.

For me, Slow-Carb is not about losing weight through a series of tricks. It’s about using these techniques to help me understand that in every moment, at every meal, every day I have a choice to make. And sometimes, that choice is to eat a crappy meal, or drink too much.  It is when I am back in control of my choices, I can then blend my choices to create a balance that achieves both a happy life and a healthy body.

In this world I choose to have it all.

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How To Apply For A Web Design Job

While doing a Q&A session for students at the Pima Community College web design class, one of the questions I was asked was; What does an employer want to see as experience when applying for a web design job?

To me, there are a few critical components missed by most candidates that apply for a position with my company… and solving this screw up is a lot simpler than you might think!  SUBMIT A COVER LETTER!

Let me share a big secret about our hiring process. When we have a job posted on our website, we will ask candidates to submit a cover letter, resume and relevant details about their background.  The application form that they can fill out allows them to upload these pieces of information. The trick that most applicants fall right into is that we chose not to require any of those fields. So, they can leave any of the fields that we ask for blank.

A lot of applicants skip the cover letter.  Why?  I’m not sure, but I believe it’s the most critical to provide an employer a window into who you are, your background is and why you want the job.

Let’s face it most of the candidates are not perfectly aligned with what the position requires. You might NOT be the perfect fit, but that doesn’t mean you’re wrong for the job.  There are a lot of candidates that don’t have the exact skills or exact experience going into a job as the employer might want and that’s OK.

I explain the importance of the cover letter this way:  Nobody who is currently employed at my company submitted their application without a cover letter. In other words, if you don’t have a cover letter with your resume you are not going to get an interview. You are not going to get the job.

When writing a cover letter, let your passion and excitement for the position come through.  Build trust by demonstrating both you ability to be sincere and why you’re competent to do the job.  Explain how your job history is relevant and how activities that might not be on your resume make you a great candidate for the job.  If there are any gaps in experience, how will you overcome those challenges?  What are you already doing to learn and come up to speed?

If most employers have the same experience as I do, submitting a great cover letter is your best opportunity to set yourself apart from other qualified candidates.

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Avoid the “Inevitable” Slow Carb Meltdown!

explosion nuclear bomb in ocean
(Luckily, not an actual picture of my meltdown)

My I’m about two and a half weeks into the Four Hour Body (Slow Carb) Diet, and I’ve got to say that I have definitely been seeing some substantial results in this short amount of time. I’m really excited to report that I’ve lost 13 pounds so far! I’ll be writing a post soon that will catalog my full diet report after three weeks.

It was very easy to remain motivated in the first couple weeks, as all of it was new. Believe it or not, it’s overall been fairly easy to stay on track with all the components of the diet, like avoiding carbs, not drinking calories, and avoiding fruits. Overall, I’m kind of surprised to hear myself say that it hasn’t been a great challenge to remain faithful to the diet, mainly due to how simple and intuitive it is. Of course, anytime you see results it’s highly motivating!

With all that said, there have been times where remaining true to the diet has been tough. I found that in most cases where it was challenging, it was due to me putting additional constraints on myself that ended up setting me up for potentially eating poorly.

Let me tell you a story about a few nights ago where I messed up and what I think I could have done differently. I’m really hoping this helps someone out there who might be getting the point where they need to find some additional ways to keep themselves on track. I’m training for a half marathon and I went for my run after work. I did a five and a half mile run and I was feeling great. My endurance was there, my body felt great, and I was really proud of the time that I made in my loop around the park. Right after finishing my run and getting into my car, I saw a text message from my wife asking if I could pick up some food for us on the way home from Pei Wei. Now, you may or may not know this, but according to my personal research, Pei Wei is one of the more difficult places to find Slow Carb compliant meals. I know there’s some of you out there that will say that there are ways to make it work, but it takes an awful lot of modification and I just wasn’t in a mindset to do that.

I agreed to pick up my wife and daughter’s order from there, but I was planning to go across the street to another restaurant that I knew had a Slow Carb option, which was a really tasty lentil salad. I was really hungry at this point and after driving for 25 minutes and smelling Pei Wei and my lentil salad, I was totally ready to dive into the meal.

When I got home, I sat all the bags on the counter and prepared to dig into my salad. However, I quickly realized that it wasn’t just a lentil and lettuce salad– the lentils were mixed with rice. Rice is a big no-no; it’s a white carb which the Slow Carb diet doesn’t allow. At this point, I’m in no position to make a better choice about my eating habits. I had a fantastic smelling meal that I’m ready to dive into, I was crazy hungry, and the last thing I was thinking about wa how I can rearrange or prepare my meal in a way that’s Slow Carb friendly. You can probably guess what happened next: I gave into temptation. I put the salad together and just tore through it. In the moment, it felt great. Afterwards, I thought, “That was kind of dumb.”

After the meal, I began to think about what could I have done differently in that situation. Of course, beforehand I hadn’t known that the lentil salad wasn’t Slow Carb friendly; I just ordered it from memory. My blood sugar and energy were at a point where I felt like I really needed to eat. I really didn’t have any options at my fingertips. That’s when it hit me is that every time I’m making a Slow Carb meal at home, I’m more or less doing it from scratch. I am taking chicken out of the freezer, defrosting it, turning on the oven…no matter what, I’m not getting to eat until I’ve spent about 40 minutes cooking and preparing my meal.

Now what I realize is that in that moment if I had had a Tupperware container of lentils ready to go in the fridge, or some chicken, or some other raw components already assembled and cooked, I could have taken the other ingredients that came with the salad that I had bought and subbed out those things for Slow Carb compliant stuff. I’ve read online and other places people talking about spending their entire Sundays cooking a week’s worth of meals so that way, and it makes sticking to the diet easy for them. To me, that sounds boring, unoriginal, and uninspiring: it almost makes me not want to participate in the Slow Carb diet at all. Objectively though, I can see that in moments of pressure, having those items available would have allowed me to make a better choice.

The bottom line is that in the moment I realized that what I was about to eat was not conforming to Four Hour Body, I was unwilling to spend additional time to prepare food, and the smell and the temptation of what was before me was greater than my desire to remain true to the diet. Moving forward, this is unacceptable. To remedy this, my plan is to have enough food in the fridge that’s cooked so I can, at a moment’s notice, incorporate complaint food into what I’m eating or use them as meals on their own. That will be one more way that I can fight the temptations: and continue to change the old eating habits into the new ones that have helped me see so far 13 pounds of weight loss in just under three weeks.

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First Cheat Day Complete: Here’s How it Went

Ok, so maybe it wasn’t THIS bad…

Yesterday was my first cheat day on the Four-Hour Body Diet, and I’d been looking forward to it all week. Believe it or not, I’d actually been using the cheat day as a way to help me stay on the diet because I was able to deny any cravings for foods that were not on the diet because hey, I could eat it on my cheat day. The cheat day itself was, as you can imagine, pretty awesome. I got to eat everything and anything I wanted. I had sushi for lunch, probably at more than I should have had. Last night was a steak and lobster benefit for a group that I’m in and I had plenty of steak and lobster and chowder and ice cream and I can’t even remember everything else. I course, I drank a bunch yesterday too: any alcohol that I wanted. I didn’t limit myself in any way. After my wife and I got home and we dismissed the sitter, I dove into the leftover pizza and chicken nuggets that were sitting out and ate like a pig.

Not surprisingly, I don’t feel awesome today. Like I suspected, the fact that I feel bad is the point of the Four Hour Body Diet including a cheat day in the first place: it helps me connect those bad decisions with the bad way my body is feeling. Slow Carb isn’t about counting calories, but I was curious so I entered all of the things I remembered eating yesterday into the My Fitness Pal app and it told me that I ate over 5,000 calories yesterday. I really should be eating around 2,200, so I ate more than double what I should have! In addition to simply counting calories, The app has an interesting feature that tells you what your weight would be if you ate that daily amount of consumed calories every day, and it told me I’d gain 11 pounds in five weeks. That’s pretty crazy.

Now, every time I’ve used the app on the diet and saw the numbers, I came away feeling motivated. Well, when I ate like I did yesterday, that number went the other way. It’s not a surprise that I have made to the weight that I currently am based off of this understanding. The way I ate yesterday on my cheat day, I can’t honestly say that it’s that far off from a lot of the days over the week, especially if I’m drinking, because I always wind up snacking. I’ll come home from work and snack and then I’ll have dinner. Then after dinner I’ll have a drink then snack some more and steal a few chicken nuggets that I had made for my daughter. I’ll even put a few extra in the oven so I can snack on those, too.

One of the benefits of the Slow Carb diet has been getting me in the habit of actually tracking what I’m eating and paying attention to what I’m actually putting in my body. Just by tracking these things, I’m much more aware of the choices that I’m making (and their consequences) and I feel much more in control of my ability to manage my weight based off of those choices. With one cheat day down, I am excited to return to my new and normal eating habits and I’ll be putting off my junk food and drinking for another week, which has got to be helping me with my goal of losing weight. I can see how eating poorly like I did yesterday could easily turn into another day of eating poorly, which could lead to another, and another.

This morning when I got up, the last thing I wanted to make was a Four-Hour Body compliant smoothie; it just didn’t sound good to me at all. I wanted to have something greasy: I wanted to suggest to my wife that we go out and grab breakfast, a meal which would probably have consisted of eggs, greasy potatoes, cheese, bacon…things that would just make me revert back to my poor ways of eating. However, knowing that I’ve got to remain true to the plan which has given me the tools to make a different choice—which is to eat healthfully— I am going to spend this next week committed to eating well, as opposed to getting more and more into trouble each day by getting lazier about controlling the types of things that I’m putting into my body.

 

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How I Stick With The Four Hour Body Diet

When I was calorie counting or doing Weight Watchers, I’d have to pay such close attention to what I was eating that eating itself stopped being fun. So far, with the 4 Hour Body Diet, I haven’t found this to be the case. The biggest thing I have working against me— and probably everybody else who starts a diet—is my ability to stick with it. This time around, I’ve got a few things that I’ve put together that I am using as a method to stay on track and be true to it— because at the end of the day, I really WANT to succeed at this.

My Plan For Sticking With It

The MyFitnessPal App
The MyFitnessPal App

One of the first things I started doing was logging all the things that I’m eating in an app called My Fitness Pal. What’s nice about it is that it’s really easy to log everything I’m doing. It does technically count calories, though I’m not necessarily paying attention to that: the app is. What I’m paying attention to is what types of food I’m eating, and what is the level of protein that I’m getting in most of my meals. It certainly will report on carbs, sugars, and such, but as a result of the high focus on protein, and the natural elimination of a lot of those carbs, a lot of the other stats are in line which is also a motivating factor to see.

The second thing that I’m doing is telling my friends and family about my dieting. A lot of people going through substance abuse treatment will do the same thing because it helps them stay accountable. I’m fortunate because my wife is very supportive of my dieting, although she was reasonably skeptical. When I explained the diet to her, one of the things she asked me was: “Is this something that you could actually stick with beyond this initial 30 days? Is this something that becomes a lifestyle change as opposed to a fad diet?” I didn’t know what to tell her because to tell you the truth, I wasn’t totally sure yet. But so far, it seems to be attainable because I’m getting to eat the stuff that I like, and not necessarily having to limit quantity. I’m getting to eat meat: chicken, beef, and fish. I’m able to eat veggies, and luckily, I love veggies. The most difficult things I had to cut out were sugar, and carbs. However, I find that if I eat enough protein, those cravings for sugar, and the cravings for carbs are less drastic and, even in a lot of cases, totally gone.

I read that one of the key elements of the diet is to have at least 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up. Doing that has really staved off the cravings and the hunger that I have before lunchtime for things that are just not good for me, and I’m not finding myself snacking more than I should. If I end up feeling hungry, I’ve learned to solve it in one or two ways. First, by having some nuts. The second is I found that having some coffee, some caffeine, will knock out that desire, that hunger, and keep my mind off it for long enough to get to when it’s time to eat my next meal.

Better Coaching Through Technology

The third thing that I’m doing to remain accountable is using an app called Coach.me. It’s like a community of self improvement. If there’s anything you want to do, there’s a group on this app of people that are aiming to remain accountable to that activity. I’m serious: there are groups about learning to play guitar, losing weight, drinking more water: the topics are endless. Naturally, there is one for the 4-Hour Body, or Slow-Carb Diet. There’s a lot of people on there that are checking in every day saying that they’re holding themselves accountable. There’s a lot of people asking questions about the program and getting clarification, which leads me to the coolest component of this app (which happens to also be the way that this app makes its money.) The component is that people who have been active enough in this app can qualify to become a coach. For a weekly rate, you can hire a coach on this app, and you basically get a text-message buddy that’s going to keep you accountable, or at least talk to you through the process.

I said, “You know what? I’m going try it”, and so for the last few days, I’ve had a coach. She’s a woman from Austin, Texas, who originally lost 60 pounds on the 4 Hour Body Diet, and then after that, she has moved on to some other weight loss methods. She’s lost a total of 120 pounds. I like her approach because it’s not strictly Slow Carb, although that’s how she got her start. Her emphasis is on developing a versatile long-term program, and that’s where I want my focus to be right now: on developing a longer-term program for myself.

One or two times a day, we’ll exchange a message through the app. She’s asked me some really good questions in terms of what kind of goals I want to see for myself, as well as questions I should be asking myself but haven’t been. A good example of that is, I told her that one of the things I’d like to see as a quick win is a drop in three pounds in this first week on the diet, and she immediately told me that it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. I was glowing with encouragement, but she instantly shook me out of it by asking me “But what if it doesn’t happen? What are you going to be thinking?”

How I Get My Mind Right to Win At Dieting

It’s helpful for me to place the spotlight on that question. What am I going to do if this doesn’t actually work out? Am I going to quit? Am I going to go back to my old eating habits? What it comes down to for me, is that I have a choice to make. I can either continue working at it, or I can give up. If you’re like a lot of people, or like me in the past, you’ll give up. I don’t want to give up. I’d rather have the high fitness level, the healthy weight, the ability to feel good in my clothes and not feel lethargic or tired or embarrassed to take my shirt off. I want those things. When I look at it from that perspective, the question really becomes “is one week really enough to get that?” Obviously, it’s not. So why would I want to give up?

Having that coach and having someone to talk to about that has been helpful in a surprising way in that’s it’s helping me think about the questions that I truthfully already know but not asking myself. There was a really low-barrier of entry to start that program and get matched with a coach. It’s not cheap when you think about other things we pay for– it’s about 15 to 20 dollars per week, which equates to sixty to eighty dollars a month. That’s not cheap, but then again, if that’s the difference between me succeeding and failing, it’s totally worth it.

So those are the things that I’m doing to remain accountable to the diet and most importantly, to myself. Actually, there’s one more thing I’m doing: talking to all of you about my progress, so wish me luck! I’m feeling motivated about what I’ve got going on here, so I’ll definitely talk to you again soon.

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