Solopreneur: You Are Your Business!

Part II: Self-care Makes You Bulletproof

The only way to get strong in all the areas – from health problems, relationship drama, mental state to spiritual struggle – is to keep taking care of them on a daily basis. Keep taking care of you.

You need to take care of your physical health, mental wellbeing, spiritual growth, and cordial relationships; not once in a blue moon, but every day.

Then you will become bulletproof against business obstacles.

Bulletproof Me

In the last decade, I suffered from depression for a couple of years, if not more.

I went through maternal difficulties and parenting challenges (two words: three teenagers; that explains everything, right?).

I started from scratch three different careers (authorbusiness coachbusiness owner).

I had been experiencing spiritual darkness for about a year.

For five years, I had been working full time, while growing my side hustles. Then, I still had been working part-time in a corpo world for another five years.

Continue reading

Three Collaboration Success Stories in My Business

In the first article in the How to Beat an Isolation as a Business Owner Series I explained how isolation turns smart business owners into morons. Today, read about the other side of the coin: success stories of collaboration in business.

I have an aesthetic taste of a brick and I didn’t know that. When I started my author career, my Fiverr designers created covers for my books according to my guidelines… and they were absolutely terrible!

While working on my third book, I’d already connected with other authors in Facebook groups. When I shared a mock cover for my next book, one guy from the group took pity on me and made a much better cover for me, for free. Then, he revamped covers for my first two books.
Continue reading

4 Things to Do when You Lost a Battle for Productivity

Photo by Keira Burton from Pexels

I’ve just had a strange week. I had perfect circumstances to be highly productive — I rested on a weekend at the PwC’s (my employer) getaway; my wife started a new job and she was away from home between 10 am and 7:20 pm (she is one huge distraction when at home); I had dealt with the urgent minutia of my business and had brain power to spare on the bigger-picture tasks.

Yet, I fumbled through the days barely doing anything. I took a couple of naps practically each day. I wasted my time on news websites and social media chasing a dopamine high. I did household chores. Basically, I distracted myself to oblivion.

I just didn’t feel like working, and I could do nothing about it. I felt helpless.

The Mental Struggle

To add insult to the injury, I totally failed to remedy the situation. In fact, I made it worse.

I wasn’t productive, so I tried to force myself to do something, usually to no avail. Then, I felt guilty about my actions and my inability to improve. The guilt trips sent me chasing after anything that could give me a dopamine high — reading books, reading news, and watching funny videos. But all those activities actually wasted my time, so I felt even less productive. I beat myself even more, my guilt increased, and I was chasing for another dopamine boost…

Have you ever been caught in such a vicious cycle? You are a human; I bet you have been.


I wasn’t my usual productive self, nicknamed Mr. Consistency. What the heck happened? Well…

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.

— James Clear

The above quote is from the Atomic Habits book, in which James Clear argues that our environment has much bigger influence on our behaviors than we care to give it credit. We overestimate the influence of our willpower and motivation and severely underestimate the influence of the external factors.

I examined my week and found several external factors dragging my productivity down.

Lack of accountability.

My daily accountability partner went for a 3-day vacation.

Change of a daily rhythm.

My wife stayed at home for the last few years. She usually was waking up between 9 and 10 am, when I was already engaged in work. This week, she was on her legs at 8 am, so when I finished my morning ritual, I engaged into interactions with her. It delayed the moment of starting my work. I’m the most productive in the morning. I felt like I was catching up with my workload for the rest of the days.


The older I’m getting, the more influence the weather has on my physical wellbeing. I don’t know if it has to do with my volatile circadian rhythm or with my ultra-low blood pressure (110/70 is my norm and it can get even lower). This week the weather was terrible, gloomy, dark, and we had a few rapid air pressure changes. It surely contributed to my aptitude for naps.

Random distractions.

One day, I had my car’s check-up in the morning. Then, I recalled I haven’t paid the tax for it yet, and I spent a couple of hours on chasing the IRS with all the legal mumbo-jumbo.

Bad habits.

Give me the good fiction book and I will sit down and read it to the end. Thus, I avoid them. However, my wife asked me to return her books to the library when she was at work. While packing them, I opened one of them — a Jack Reacher novel… and you know the rest of the story. Two hours were gone.

The same happened a few times a day with my favorite YouTube series and with reading news websites.

Feeling unwell.

Apart from the coma attacks, I suffered other symptoms — brain fog, mental exhaustion and unusual hunger pangs. It might have been my system fighting off COVID — I experienced similar symptoms in the recovery phase — or just the symptoms of overall exhaustion. I do try to take care of myself, but if I err, I err on the overworking side of things.

So, it appears a lot of external factors coalesced together, and their alliance went through all of my productivity routines like a hot knife through butter. I was caught off guard. I simply had no chances against my environment.

Avoid the Vicious Mental Cycle

I have several ideas, but the most important is this one. All the others practically come back to avoiding a mental meltdown and self-beating. I know it’s easy to say and much harder to do. So, let’s get over some things you actually can do.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

1. Summon Help.

Lack of my daily accountability was the crucial issue for me. And it is for most of us — well, it’s more crucial to most than me! As far as I know, I’m on the extreme side of the introversion spectrum. I like being alone, and I’m pretty good at dealing with a multitude of tasks with sheer willpower.

Yet, my productivity went down the drain without my accountability partner. And I know it’s not an accident because he was on a longer vacation at the end of August, and I experienced a drop of productivity as well.

We are social animals to the core, even the introverted ones. This is a fact. Accountability works for us, period.

I had a mastermind call on Thursday. My buddies asked me about my output, and I admitted my struggles. They asked me some follow-up questions. Thanks to that interrogation, I was able to logically think about my lack of productivity instead of being stuck at beating myself up. My accountability partner was back on Friday, and the last two days of the week were much better for me than the first four.

When you feel stuck, when you feel low, summon help. Talk to your spouse, friend, mastermind — anyone. Just get out of your head. When you are alone, it’s incredibly hard to get the perspective.

2. Be Gracious to Yourself.

Again, I’m in the extreme camp here. I judge myself very harshly. And I draw way too much self-value from my output, so when my productivity decreases, I tend to be even harsher.

Of course, giving yourself some grace works better when you are too harsh to yourself. If you have been a lazy bum for most of your life, it won’t do you much good. But for self-tormentors like me? It’s golden.

So what, I had a weaker day? There will be the next day? So what, I felt worse than usual and napped more? When you hit some real limits of your body, you’d better pause and take care of yourself. A breakdown, whether physical or mental, will have much more serious consequences than a lost day or week.

3. Plan.

I’m always, and I mean ALWAYS, more productive when I take five to fifteen minutes in the morning to go over the list of projects and tasks in my mind and write them down.

I haven’t done it in this ill-fated week. It is so powerful, I should do it even at 2 pm, or whenever I had realized I’m not my usual optimal self.

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

— Benjamin Franklin

Plan. Planning shaves off 20% of the time spent on long-term projects. If you set your intentions first, you are much more likely to follow up with them than when trying to just power through your day.

Planning doesn’t have to be very elaborate. What works best for me is just jotting down a few tasks in my notepad. Then, I cross them off as I’m going.

4. Be Humble.

Part of being gracious for yourself is a deep understanding — and accepting — that you are just imperfect, like all the human beings. Don’t believe in the curated reality of perfect Instagram photos. Nobody is perfect, it only looks like it.

If not my pride, I could recognize so much sooner that I was too weak to face my environment. Instead of self-beating, I could have engaged into self-compassion, or just give myself internal permission to indulge for a few hours. But I didn’t, and I simultaneously chased the dopamine and chastised myself for doing it.

You are a human being. You will have some weaker days. Prepare for that. Accept that.

Hide your pride in a pocket. Summon help. Plan. Cut yourself some slack, when it’s needed.

Just don’t beat yourself up into a pulp. That’s the least productive thing you can do.

Originally published at Medium.

The 7 Podcasts I Listen to Regularly

podcasts I'm listening to regularly There is a plethora of podcasts out there, but there are only 7 podcasts that I subscribe to on my iPhone. I’ll tell you why those specific shows are part of my personal space and I’ll finish with 6 podcast episodes that were mind-blowing for me.


I consider listening the best way to connect with people you look up to and want to be like them- in other words, to change your personal philosophy.

I don’t listen to audio materials very much nowadays. Listening is a great way to keep your mind occupied whenever you do something manual (like doing the dishes) or you do nothing at all (like waiting on a train).

But I value prayer much more than listening and whenever I can hide inside my mind I’d rather pray than listen.


However, I still made a room for listening to podcasts in my daily schedule. A part of my morning ritual is stretching for about 15 minutes and during that time I can listen to about 25 minutes of a podcast episode (I use 1.5 acceleration to consume more audio content in a given time).

I listen to personal development and business stuff. I love the shows that mingle both of those things together.

Let’s dive into the list:

1. The Business on Purpose

This is a show whose host I know personally. Scott Beebe is my mentor and he is a member of my mastermind, IronSharpensIron. I met him in Nashville twice.

His podcast is done in a short snippets, usually 4-7 minutes at a time. It’s recorded in the trenches, usually when Scott goes back with a coaching meeting with a business owner.

While there is a lot about building a business in his show, there is also quite a lot personal development advice. Scott is a firm believer that business is not “just a business” but incorporates you as a whole person.

2. Brian Buffini Show

I discovered Brian less than a year ago. And I immediately fell in love with him. He is the most Jim Rohn-like person I ever (virtually) met. No wonder. Jim was his mentor. Early in his career Brian attended Jim Rohn’s seminars. Later, Jim was a speaker on events Brian organized.

I love that Brian is sharing so much good stuff of Jim, stuff that is not talked about very often. For example, I feel like I and Brian Buffini are the only two guys on the planet discussing personal philosophy. When I listened to his episode about changing one’s mindset I was like: Wow, this guy totally stole my “Trickle Down Mindset” book 😀
It was because we both learned from Jim and we teach what he taught.

I love everything about this show. It’s a weekly podcast in a diversified format. There are plenty of interviews, but also some keynotes from live events or solo shows by Brian where he dives deeply into one topic.

I’m addicted to the Brian Buffini Show and every Wednesday morning I consume the latest episode.

3. EntreLeadership

This show is an amazing mix of business, leadership and personal development with the more of the latter. Ken Coleman, the host, is a master interviewer. I loved many episodes of EntreLeadership, especially with nonfiction authors talking about concept from their books.

The episodes are usually concise, half an hour long or shorter, an exact fit to my stretching routine.

There were so many episodes that it was easy for me to pick from their archives only the things which applied well to my situation.

4. 12-minute Convos

The host of this show is Engel Jones, my only friend from the Caribbean. He is super-amazing guy fascinated by variety and underlying universalism of human beings. He holds the Guinness world record for the most people interviewed in 3-month time!

On his podcast he interviews people from all over the world in the same fashion, with the same questions.

I listen to it because Engel is my friend, because his voice and Caribbean accent immediately soothes my ears and mind, and because the variety of his guests are mind-blowing.
He already interviewed over 2,000 folks on his show! Binge-listening through 12-minute convos archives is not an easy feat!

5. Book Marketing Mentors

The host of this show is Susan Friedman. This is a podcast for authors, mostly self-published and it’s about all things marketing.

I had followed a few high-quality self-publishing podcasts in the past – Rocking Self-publishing and Authority Self-Publishing by Steve Scott… but they ended their shows!

I value Susan for her non-standard approach. Yes, there is a lot of basic advice for beginners, and it’s nothing new for me, but she also interviews people who are outside of the self- or even publishing world altogether and bring their tactics to the table.

If you are an author, you will find something good for you in Book Marketing Mentors podcast’s archive.

I also had the pleasure of being interviewed by Susan and had the opportunity to meet her on a video call. She is as great in person as on her show.

6. Business that Lasts

This is another podcast I had the privilege of being interviewed on. However, I subscribed to it not because I listen to my interview over and over again.

I love Jay’s concept of the business – the one that doesn’t wear you out, stress you out, and make you ready to quit. This is the formula for entrepreneurship success – creating something that lasts while living your life at the same time.

Jay is doing a terrific job of bringing amazing guests on his show (don’t judge it by my appearance; I was lucky to get there). His guests usually have businesses that lasts for decades and more often than not they are millionaires.

There is also quite a lot of personal development in his show. Jay is interested in the holistic approach to building a business and it shines through his questions for his guests.

7. Smart Passive Income

This is the first podcast I ever listened to. In fact, thanks to following Pat Flynn I discovered what podcasting is.

The fact that I still listen to this show speaks volumes about the quality of the show and the host.

Pat Flynn is an amazing dude who was laid off his position in an architecture company in 2008 and started an online business. After initial success, he started teaching others how to build and run a successful online business.

His episodes are an excellent mishmash of personal lessons, great interviews, success stories and business lessons.

SPI is one of the very few podcasts that publish their whole transcripts to every single episode. I love this. I learn by reading, not listening. I can find the specific information in a written document 100 faster than by trying to go over an audio file searching for this 15-second point which captured my interest. And when I find something in the transcription, I can copy and use it. I quoted Pat Flynn in my books in my books using his podcasts’ transcriptions.

The three of the six podcasts episodes that hit me really hard were produced at Smart Passive Income.

The most impactful podcast episodes I’ve ever listened to

Sometimes, very rarely, the episode I listen to blows my mind. It struck straight into my heart. It’s not the host, it’s not the guest, and it’s not the show. Usually, it’s just one or two sentences that hit hard and a light bulb comes off. The below six episodes did that for me:

1. What’s the best approach to goal setting.

Internet Business Mastery was a company behind Pat Flynn’s online success. The two hosts of the podcast with the same name recorded hundreds of episodes. Plenty of them are darn good. I listened mostly to those that touched personal development and they have plenty of them.

I am no longer a subscriber of this podcast since it became a solo show, but I can easily recommend the first 300 episodes or so.

Anyway, this particular episode was about goal setting. Jeremy Frandsen shared one of his recent goals- to be able to take his family to a no “no” trip to a Disneyland. What’s no “no?” He agreed to everything his daughters asked him. Buy this or that thing? Take this or that [karuzela, widowicho]? Yes, no problem.

I listened to this episode while commuting back from work. I waited for a train on the platform.

Hearing how Jeremy describing his trip I suddenly burst into tears. I would love to do this for my family too. I yearned for that. We had gone through awful financial struggles at the beginning of my marriage and we lived very modestly ever since I joined the workforce.

The kind of experience Jeremy described was like an impossible dream for me.

2. How happiness fuels your success.

Have I said Ken Coleman is an awesome interviewer? You bet! This podcast episode was one of a very few which I listened to several times with a pen in my hand and noting down snippets of it.

In this episode, Shawn Achor explains the scientific basis of happiness research. I listened to this episode in autumn 2015. Back then, I already had been practicing gratitude for three years.

And I had no idea how powerful it was!

Listening to this episode was eye-opening. I finally could connect so many missing dots in my own journey. I understood why I was able to change my life so quickly, how my mindset changed and how I improved practically every single area of my life. It was all thanks to gratitude.

I shared discoveries from this episode in several Quora answers and articles and they always resonated very well with my readers. Two of my six top Quora answers are about gratitude, including the #1 answer.

I had been sending people over to this podcast episode so often that finally I saved it in my reference file.

3. Change your thoughts, change your life.

The tagline on my blog says “Change Yourself, Change Your Life, Change the World.” So, this particular podcast episode was right down my alley before I even started to listen to it.

And it is about shaping one’s personal philosophy. This is so neglected in today “self”-help world.

I listened to the episode and I swelled with pride. Here was a goy’ (I love this Irish accent!) who own 47 companies and hires thousands of people. His company provides coaching to tens of thousands of small business owners.

And his teaching was like directly taken from my book “Trickle Down Mindset.”

Brian’s advice is right on the spot. Unlike pitiful gurus who teach to “just believe in yourself” or “just think that…” Brian says exactly what to do, in tangible steps. No magic, just common sense and you can enhance your mindset for good.

4. Changing the world.

This is an awesome episode in itself, telling the story of Adam Braun and his initiative, Pencil of Promise, which funds schools around the globe.

I was excited to listen to it because it says in the title “how to change the world” and I’m personally interested in this subject.

I wasn’t disappointed. At the end Pat asks his guest:

What is the mindset we need to have in order to affect the most people in the world?

And Adam provides the precise answer.

5. The Miracle Equation.

Pat from time to time does some fanboy interviews with guys and gals to whom he looks up to. This is one of them.

However, Pat doesn’t stutter in awe when he has his heroes on the podcast. He asks intelligent and insightful questions.

In this episode he dissected the newest book of Hal Elrod, “The Miracle Equation.”

Again, I was deeply encouraged by what I was hearing. Hal’s conclusions, and he is far more successful than me, were exactly in line with my own findings.

I wrote this piece at the very beginning of my transformation, barely a year into it. I wrote it more from my studies than experience. Yet, my post was a mirror copy of Hal’s equation.

Of course, I like the most Pat’s line from the episode:

“It is extraordinary to be consistent.”

It’s nice to be called extraordinary by one of my personal heroes.

6. Why people hate us online?

This is an amazing episode for everybody who is going to do anything online. Writers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, youtubers – they all need to memorize this episode by heart.

I started to put my stuff out there in 2013. This was fresh after Pat Flynn overcame his struggle with a hater. I took Pat’s advice and applied it diligently. I got my (un)fair share of negative reviews and hate. It bothered me very, very little, despite the fact I was at the beginning of my journey- full of self-doubts and insecurities like all beginners.

Thanks, Pat Flynn.


However, I got the most from this particular episode in regard to my personal life.

“Hurt people hurt people.” – this phrase stuck with me. I will never receive personal attacks in the same way.

Thanks again, Pat Flynn.

Off you go to listen to those awesome podcasts! Please, share with me the particular episodes that have blown your mind in the comment section.



Start Right Now

Start Right Now
Babson College’s performed an extensive research on their graduates. This longitudinal study went for 13 years to determine how many of college graduates launch a business and what differentiates them from their peers who didn’t. The study concluded that success in business comes down to just two essential things: get going and keep going.

That’s the recipe for success in any area. Both the above elements are tricky. They are found to be simple in theory, but not easy to execute.

Part of my personal philosophy is the belief that if I don’t try, I won’t know the results. I will always wonder, “What if?”

Start Right Now to Expand Your Possibilities

When I started thinking about writing, publishing and getting paid for my work in this area, I had no idea that such a thing like Amazon even existed.
Continue reading

Fourteenth Income Report – May 2014

Are you curious about a one-year delay? I explained it in my first income report.

May 2014 was quite uneventful.
Fourteenth Income Report May 2014
Well, there were some fireworks. On 9th of May my post about a rock star from UK was noticed on Twitter by one of his fans and then retweeted. I got several retweets by people with followings that numbered in thousands. I got the surge of visits on my blog… and then my website provider encountered some technical problems. The site went down.

But it’s not the end of the story. The next day I found this in my Twitter feed:

Continue reading

The Accurate Future Reading without Woo-Woo

slight-edge2Here is the method of the accurate future reading. It’s relatively easy and quite reliable.

Even better, you can decide if you like your destiny and adjust your action to change your life’s direction and in the effect – its destination.

You can do it using The Slight Edge philosophy. Take a look at the chart and I’ll explain it.

The author of the book, Jeff Olson, states that your lifestyle is the product of your results which come from actions which eventuates from your attitude which are the effect of your personal philosophy. Only 5% of population achieves success, because only 5% is driven by their values on an everyday actions level.

They embrace the discipline and responsibility for their lives. The rest of us decide to rather do what’s comfortable now and don’t care about the future fallouts. That’s the way of the downward curve, which leads to failure.

Why this idea is revolutionizing and made this book a bestseller? Because success and failure boil down to the simple things you do every day. And they all are small, easy to do and easy not to do.

Continue reading

How to Write a Personal Mission Statement?

How to write a personal mission statementIt seems to be the single most searched phrase regarding the matter of personal mission statement, not “what is it?”, not “how it works” and not “why it works”.

I suppose it’s because Stephen R. Covey had quite a good way of explaining how it works, what and why in “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.
In contrast, the part about writing your own mission statement wasn’t as brilliant as the rest. His collaborators tried to fill that gap by publishing “How to Develop Your Personal Mission Statement” after his death, but this work is skewed towards “what and why” too.

Of course my opinion is biased, because I also wrote a book about creating your personal mission statement. But other readers share my point of view.

Anyway. I‘ll explain to you in less than 1000 words how to write a personal mission statement. It is easy. It is less about writing, really, than about analyzing yourself.
Continue reading

Your Life Has a Meaning p. II

The most effective way I know to Begin with the End in Mind is to develop a personal mission statement or philosophy or creed.
-Stephen R. Covey

Why is it important to Begin with the End in Mind? Let’s face it—because there is an End. It is how this world functions. You have been inexorably approaching the moment of your death since you were born.

Mr. Covey gave a few thousand words to explain why you should keep the End in your mind. I would have to quote him extensively to explain it as well as he did, however, Google doesn’t like quoting.
Continue reading

Transform Your Body; Transform Your Life.

transform your body transform your life

I think that what hiders us most, you and me both, is hidden in our own minds. The external circumstances don’t determine your standings in life. You know this. You can pretend otherwise, but in the depths of your heart you know better. You use the excuses to abstain from action.

The way to see this truth clearly is really simple. Just think of your biggest obstacle, your biggest fear or doubt.

Then think of someone who had the same obstacle or fear and overcame it. Or better yet, think about someone whose obstacle was twice as big as yours.
Continue reading