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Bonus: Andrew Warner – Millions In Your Twenties, Then What?

Jonathan Bailor: Hey everyone, Jonathan Bailor back with another bonus Smarter Science of Slim Podcast. A very cool and unique show in store for you today. Today’s guest is a unique man. I don’t know how many of the listeners are actually familiar with his work, so I brought him on the show to tell you his story. He has an amazing philosophy on life and an amazing track record to prove it. All at a very young age. He is very passionate. He is the CEO and founder of mixergy.com. Andrew Warner, welcome to the show brother.

Andrew Warner: I wish that more people would note my work. I hate that I am a big guy in a small pool and the pool is tiny. I have to do something to give myself a bigger name in not just this space but in the whole world. I don’t want to die a nobody here.

Jonathan Bailor: Before we get into what you want to do in the future, can you tell us a little bit about what you did in the past? Your story? And then we’ll go from that.

Andrew Warner: I had an online greeting card company, where we basically did hundreds of thousands of greeting cards on our site from user to user. My brother and I built it years ago. I took a lot of time off to enjoy life years ago to enjoy cycling, running, travel, and then I started this site mixergy.com, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their companies. We go in-depth about how they got their first user and then their second user, their first dollar, and so on.

Jonathan Bailor: one of the key reasons I wanted to bring you one of the show, Andrew, is that there are not many people who create $30 million a year in sales businesses in their 20s. When you hit that high point so early in life, it gives you the opportunity to take a step back and evaluate things that a lot of people don’t have the opportunity to do. What drove you to step back? And what did you realize upon stepping back?

Andrew Warner: There was a period there where I thought that I was going to lose it all, and I said “oh no”. I always wanted to make a lot of money so I could go and date and women would finally find me interesting.. If this whole thing goes away I’m never going to get to do that. I’m never going to get to learn how to date. I’m never going to learn how to have fun, I’m never going to learn how to do any of this stuff that I was going to be a billionaire and then go do on the high-level. Then I said, “if I can ever recover, I will go and do those things.”. I will figure out how to do them. I did recover, it was not as bad as I thought it could be. It was pretty dangerous there for a while. And I said “screw it” I’m going to go try to do some of the things that I always wished that I could do like I remember seeing this picture in some magazine of a guy riding his bike in the middle of nowhere and I thought “that looks like such a liberating experience”. Just alone with your thoughts and activity to keep you busy. But I could never do that. Well I got to do stuff like that. That’s what drove me, and that’s what I ended up doing with all that opportunity.

Jonathan Bailor: You talk about the importance of – obviously in the business space or entrepreneurial space or space in which so many people focus on getting him to get out – you focus now much more on being mission driven and having a calling. For people who aren’t very driven type a personalities that want to build empires, how can those individuals also embrace that passion?

Andrew Warner: I think it’s a matter of trying a bunch of different things, seeing what interests you, and then sticking with that thing even when it’s boring. Even when it is challenging. Even when you just feel like it’s the biggest mistake you ever made. Stick with it. For me, with interviews, there were so many times when I said “I’m not good on camera”. I stuck with doing those interviews. I said “I stinky getting people to answer questions because my questions go on forever”. I still stuck with it. Today I have a big audience, and I am getting to interview the people who I admire. It’s about trying a bunch of things, finding one that works, and sticking with it even when most people would give up. Even when it feels a little bit boring and uninteresting or you feel like you’re a failure at it.

Jonathan Bailor: When you say finding one that works, do you mean that as more of an internal barometer? When you find it satisfying and the rest of the external world doesn’t realize it as satisfying? Which one are you looking at?

Andrew Warner: I think it’s both. For me it was a mixture of what just feels right. I had an opportunity to say what feels right? With the first company, I said “where the hell is the money?”. I kept trying everything until I found something that people cared enough about that I could make money with. That’s what we kept at.

Jonathan Bailor: How important do you think dedicating yourself is? Really bringing it down to earth and saying dedicating yourself to something larger than yourself – is that liberating? Is that intimidating? How would you best characterize that?

Andrew Warner: Its both. I remember saying that I wanted to do my interviews so that someone in the audience will listen to them, use them, and then build a successful company based on it. Then I thought, “well, now you are admitting that publicly. If that never happens, and nobody ever listens to you except for a few frienemies, then they’re going to laugh at you. Maybe behind your back, maybe with your friends, maybe to your face. Then not only are you going to be a failure at these interviews, then you’re going to be a laughingstock that people feel pity for”. In that sense, it is intimidating. In the other sense, where I can say “well yeah this is tough, but there is someone out there that I am helping. Doing this interview with you, I am kind of exhausted, but there’s got to be one person out there that’s got to be listening.”. That is a bigger mission than anything else and a bigger reason to keep going and doing this interview than somebody coming to my site and buying something. That’s keeping me going. I could give up if I didn’t have that mission. I could say “maybe Jonathan isn’t going to send anyone to my site, maybe nobody’s going to buy anything – I don’t really have much to sell on the site – what the hell is the point?”. But I feel like there is a bigger mission than that. I’ll do this even for that one person. That one person who is listening right now saying that they agree with me right from the start. “Nobody else gets me but Andrew and I are similar.” That is the person I want to reach. That is the power of having a bigger mission.

Jonathan Bailor: You use the word “brilliance”, and that inspired me. You also talk about building a company. What are some of the things, Andrew, that you found – strategies that can be used to build companies – that can be used to build a brilliant life?

Andrew Warner: I do think that that consistency matters. How many people do you know who start one thing and then go to the next and then go to the next and never complete it? It’s easy to do that at work. There are so many opportunities I could have jumped on and as soon as I landed on what I could’ve moved onto the next one and another one would’ve come up that’s even better. But same thing even outside of work. I run marathons, both organized marathons and I run marathons on my own in the street. I could never have done it if I were had to started running, and then said “hey you know what? Maybe I should take a basketball to. Or maybe I should go and try rowing.”. No. I stick with it. Almost every day, I go out for a run. I keep doing it. There were times early on where I said “I am not a runner, I can’t even do 3 miles. I should give up.”. Are there times where I said “my knees hurt too badly, maybe I wasn’t meant to do this”. I wanted to move on. I was worried that I would be a quitter, but I stuck with it. There are solutions for knees. There are solutions for having a bad day. There are things you can do. By sticking with it, I found the solutions, and today I get to enjoy running so much that – I had a really tough day yesterday. I did so much work, and I was exhausted, I had been feeling a little bit out of it this week because of all the work that it did. I went out for a run this morning, and I ran into the office, and I felt great doing it.

Jonathan Bailor: Andrew, so much of what you are talking about – being courageous, having this persistence, dedicating your life to a compelling mission – this can be terrifying. At least, I have found. This spectrum of highs and lows you experienced – how do you deal with that? When you are this focused, and this driven, when stuff is clicking your at an 11 out of 10. When you’ve committed all of yourself to one brilliant mission and things seem to be veering off-track, you’re at a zero. How do you deal with those peaks and valleys?

Andrew Warner: I like to have one other thing that I do – one other thing outside of work – that feeds my confidence. I’ve talked about this before, when work stinks and I have a good run, I feel great about myself. I feel more accomplished. I think you need to just find that one other thing. I told you that I was dating. I was dating full-time. I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have anywhere to get up and go. I would wake up in the morning, go to the gym, or go cycling all day, or go get coffee, or read, and then sometime around maybe six or seven o’clock I would go out and have dinner with someone for drinks and then go out somewhere. That would be when my day really started. I focused on it. I wanted to date. There were nights in weeks maybe where I just kept getting shot down. The girls who were into me I wasn’t into. I was thinking “who my drawing? What is wrong with me that I’m trying the women that I’d don’t want to me?”. I really felt bad for myself, and I really spiraled down. At the time, I was big on cycling. If I go for a long bike ride – like 60 miles in a day – I couldn’t feel bad about myself. I never got to do that before. That is an amazing experience. There is something in me that will get over other difficulties. If that happens in cycling, I can get over these difficulties in dating. We need to focus on what we are extremely passionate about, and not allow ourselves to get diverted. This is the way that works for me. Then have one little thing on the side that will fire us up when fire us up when we can’t get the big focus done.

Jonathan Bailor: That thing on the side – you mentioned cycling – there are a lot of people, myself included, something physical or something that you have complete control over. Oftentimes, that other thing you don’t have complete control over. A lot of people really like cycling or resistance training because there is no politics. You either get on the bike or you don’t. You don’t have to wait for someone to show up and throw you the ball. You just lift the barbell. It’s all on you. Andrew, what do you think the role of a family and deep relationships are to a person who is living this very deliberate mission?

Andrew Warner: For me, it is an escape from the mission. It is also in support of the mission. I love that my wife will push me to do things that I care about. I used to think that if you got into a relationship, you are going to get distracted from work. If you are married, then it meant that that’s it. You can never stay out late at the office. You can never really focus on your work because you always have to be back and pay attention to someone. The nice part about being married – Olivia and I haven’t been married that long – is that there is a support system there. If I wake up in the middle of the night freaking out about something that I said on the mic, or something that I didn’t do it work there is someone there to bring me back to my sensibility. If there is something that I need to do and I am not pushing myself enough, it is nice to have someone there to say “remember what you stand for. Remember what you care about”.

Jonathan Bailor: In terms of next steps, obviously you have a very clear vision, you are a very driven individual. Where do you see yourself in 10 years, 20 years, or do you even think that far in the future?

Andrew Warner: I do without tremendous clarity. My goal is to leave a legacy. The people that I admire didn’t die when they died. Their ideas lived on. In a sense, they got a chance to continue living on. That is what I would like. I think after doing all of these interviews and after talking to my audience and after exploring my own interests and my own ideas, I think I’ve got something that can help me leave that legacy. What I’ve noticed is a problem that comes up a lot with my audience of entrepreneurs is that we know what we need to do but we somehow don’t get it done. Maybe it is making phone calls, maybe it is to do that writing for our blogger writing that book or even running. We know we need to do it, but we have a hard time doing it. It is tempting to say what I used to say to myself back at the greeting card company, which started with me writing all the content. The days that I didn’t write anything I would beat myself up thinking that I was in a good writer. It wasn’t that I was a procrastinator. It wasn’t that I wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t that I wasn’t living up to potential that I had. There was something going on in my head. If I could’ve addressed it directly I would’ve eliminated all of my procrastination and all of my distractions. This part of me is what I want to explore, because I noticed that other people have that too.

Jonathan Bailor: Andrew, the idea of just doing the e-mails, doing the work, doing the actual work. It is been my observation that it is very easy – especially in the Internet age – to spend a lot of time doing virtual work. It’s like reading about how to cycle instead of actually cycling. Or talking with people about how to cycle versus actually cycling. Not that you would never want to do those things that you need to do those things. But what do you find to be the balance of doing versus talking about doing?

Andrew Warner: I’ll give you an example away from business so that everyone can hopefully relate to it. There was a time when I looked down at my belly and I said “why is this thing growing?” I had no excuses. I made Argentina, living here to get away from all the distractions, and I said to myself “I have time to run, I have a room with no distractions, why am I not running?”. Then I finally stopped feeling bad about myself and stopped feeling like I was a procrastinator and said “I see what it is. I have all these negative thoughts linked up with running like ‘running is tough, running takes too long, I’m not a runner, other people are runners” that is what Me from running. Not that I was a procrastinator, but somehow because I linked up these thoughts with it. When I questioned it, I said “is running really boring?”. And I realize that I actually enjoy running. I don’t enjoy other sports but I do enjoy running. Then I said “am I not a runner?”. Then I thought “well I have been running, what does it take to be a runner? All you have to do is run.” Is it difficult to start? No. Basically, I examine these thoughts that were keeping me from running. I call them counter-mind thoughts. Anything I want to do, there  is a part of me that counters it. It is like an annoying roommate. Once I recognized it, it lost its power. Once I questioned it it really reduced its power to almost nothing. If those counter mind thoughts aren’t true, then what is true? That’s when I realized that I love running. Running feeds my energy. Running gives me this runners high. Running makes me feel free. I actually feel free of worries, obligations, there’s nothing else I could do. I just focused on the running. I call those true mind thoughts. These are just phrases that I made up for myself so that could be aware of what I’m talking about. Then I thought “how often do I live these true mind thoughts such as running makes me feel free?”. Then I realized hardly ever. All I think about is counter mind thoughts when I thought about running. That’s why I didn’t run. I came up with ways to train myself to remember these true mind thoughts like running makes me feel free. Once I did that, that’s when I started to run. I ran a marathon in Argentina. I came back and lived in Washington DC for a little bit. I I ran a Marine Corps Marathon. I ran a marathon on my own. Then I did over 30 miles of my own. A person listening to me, maybe one person has this self-awareness that when he or she sits down to write there are these counter mind thoughts that say “writing is too hard. I don’t know what I’m supposed to say. I am not a writer. Other people are writers. Stephen King wrote even when he was a kid. I didn’t do that.”. Those are the kind of counter mind thoughts that are making you procrastinate. You can feel bad about yourself or procrastinating with, or you can start to recognize that this is part of your head that is screwing you up. Once you do that, you can address the real problem. That goes for everything. Why you not making those phone calls? Why are you not speaking up? Why are you not running? Why are you not doing all those things that you want to do? Recognize those counter mind thoughts and I think you will be amazed.

Jonathan Bailor: Andrew, that is just pure gold. I so appreciate your time and insight. Folks, his name is Andrew Warner. You can learn much more about him at his wildly successful website for mixergy.com. Andrew, to close, what is next for you short-term?

Andrew Warner: Thank you for saying that. It is wildly successful for me. Short-term for me, we are going to start having more people at the house. I moved closer to San Francisco so that I could be closer to the entrepreneurs that I interview. We have a nice place here and Olivia and I are going to start to invite more people over and have good brunches. Have Scotch nights, dinner nights, and really get to know them in person.

Jonathan Bailor: I love it. Well again folks, get to know Andrew. Andrew it has been a pleasure. Thank you so much brother.

Andrew Warner: Thank you for having me on.

Jonathan Bailor: Listeners, I hope you enjoyed this weeks show is much as I did. And remember: this week and every week after; eat smarter, axis I smarter, and live better. Talk with you soon.