My youngest daughter, "Pink," as the sun sets over the Potomac.

My youngest daughter, “Pink,” as the sun sets over the Potomac. (photo taken by Danielle Sheridan)

I was reminded of an incredibly important reality this week after receiving the following email from an attendee of a marketing conference I spoke at this past Tuesday:


I enjoyed your keynote in Raleigh this week very much. High energy, engaging, and full of nuggets I hadn’t thought of…you probably get that a lot. I have to tell you, though, the best part for me was at the very end when you started talking about getting back (home) to coach your girl’s (softball)team, and how your success has given you the freedom to enjoy the things that truly matter.

That hit home for me, got me a little choked up, and I could tell by the change in your speaking voice that it really was coming from your heart too. Thank you for that and best wishes on your continued success.


Family, Freedom, and Looking Back

Jim wasn’t the only one that mentioned this to me after the Raleigh event this week. In fact, almost everyone I spoke to after this particular speech wanted to talk about how content marketing (or blogging, or inbound marketing, or whatever you’d like to call it)  had given me a life of freedom—one that involves more time with my family than I’ve ever been able to experience before.

You see, when I was a “pool guy” and the business was on the brink, although I may have slept in my bed each night, my wife and kids almost never saw me. I was working 60-75 hours a week (along w my partners) in an effort to keep the business afloat and the whole time my home-life was mediocre at best. Of course, at the time I didn’t even realize it was suffering, but today, with hindsight, there is more clarity—a clarity that has been known to leave me shaking my head in disappointment.

That being said, I’m not one to dwell on failures, and looking ahead with hope and optimism has always seemed like such a better choice, which is exactly where I find myself today.

And speaking of today, I’m truly humbled and happy to say that I’m spending more time with my wife and children than I ever have before. Yes, I travel a decent amount these days for speaking and consulting opportunities, but when I’m not flying in the air you can be assured I’m home, often times spending those precious moments with my family, and certainly looking to take advantage of every opportunity I get.

Coaching my daughter's softball team has been a tremendous sense of joy for both of us.

Coaching my daughter’s softball team has been a tremendous sense of joy for both of us.

For example, right now I’m coaching my daughter Danielle’s softball team—The Lions :-) The idea of coaching any team a few years ago would have been ridiculous but today it’s a reality, a reality that means an incredible amount of quality time with a young lady who is growing up so fast I can hardly believe my eyes.

I'm stunned at how quickly Danielle went from a newborn to a young lady in what seems like a flash...

I’m stunned at how quickly Danielle went from a newborn to a young lady in what seems like a flash…

As for my next child, Joseph, he and I have already spent more time fishing together this summer than the previous 4 combined. Instead of planting myself in an office all day, I’ve literally handled consulting calls with clients in the middle of the Potomac River just to make sure we are spending time together.

Me and son Joseph, and another night on the Potomac River

Me and JT…doing what we love. (photo taken by Danielle Sheridan)

I could literally go on and on about the blessings I’ve received since my first blog post in March of 2009 with River Pools and then in November of that same year with The Sales Lion, but I’ll just stop there with this one point:

Of all the benefits of content marketing (or better marketing) we read about each and every day, the one that far and away brings us the most joy is the blessing of time—time with those we care about, love, and cherish. Time with those that, before we know it, will be leading their own lives, a life in which we as parents are no longer the stewards.

I’ve had people tell me before that I get too excited about “marketing.” Well, if someone can’t get excited about a life that went from financial and family struggle to one of financial peace and family togetherness, then what the heck can they get excited about??

This is my inner “why” and it’s also the one gift I hope to give to my readers as well—Time.

Your Turn:

A couple of thoughts folks…I’d love to know how better marketing has changed your life, be it business or family. I’d also invite you to share any goals you may have as you look forward into the future and assess where you are right now.

Your voice matters, so let it be heard.


36 thoughts on “How Content Marketing Changed My Life, My Family, and My Future

  1. I hope you don’t stop writing, there is some rich info out there!

  2. Couldn’t be happier for you Marcus. You live the dream I hope to provide for my family someday. Appreciate your continued inspiration my friend.


    • You are clearly on your way Mr. Hanley. Your pace, zeal, and enthusiasm for this work are one of a kind my man. :-)


  3. The personal stories Marcus are always moving & amazing.

    I’m actually in a transformation 2013. I’ve changed my diet, daily routines, in the process of selling businesses that cause stresses and cut ties with area’s that weigh on my life. I look at my children growing so fast (7,9,11) and don’t want to miss anymore of their lives with little personal memories. This year we’ve already taken so many road trips as a family and this summer many more will follow.

    To your question how has marketing changed my life be it business or family, I’m still learning. I know though that your blog (podcast) and others that I listen to are helping me shape the changes I’m making in 2013 in my life to be a better person, friend, father and husband. (Not materially but emotionally & physically present.)

    Thanks for everything you do and wishing all entrepreneurial successes! Mike

    • I hope some point we’ll be able to sit down and chat about all these changes and developments in your life Mike. It’s comments like these that truly give me lasting smiles.

      Cheers my friend,


  4. I cannot express what Content Marketing has done for myself — my family and my business. Truly being able to help businesses grow has also allowed myself to grow too.

    • Thrilled it has made a difference for you Beth :-)

  5. Marcus, I’ve been following you probably since you started to turn the corner to greater success. I’m very, very happy for you. I think a big shout-out should go to your wife Nikki for believing in you and hanging in there during the dark days and giving you encouragement. One of the top killers of marriage is “financial strain.” You are not only a role model marketer, but you & Nikki are a role model marriage.
    Sheryl Kurland
    The Relationship Insider

    • That’s incredibly kind of you to say Sheryl, my wife truly is an amazing person that has been patient and long-suffering with a very imperfect husband at times.

      And thank you also for your support over these many months, really, it means a lot to me to see that big smile on your avatar shoot across my screen. :-)


  6. I was fired from a 6 figured dot com travel job back in 2000 and it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

    I was a single mom with 3 young kids. My father was basically raising my children so that I could spend long days working far away with people I didn’t like or respect very much. I met my future husband and just as we were planning our future together, no job. I was immediately offered several great positions in NYC. Nice salary but hours of commuting back to the rat race.

    My husband understands my love of travel and gypsy heart. He encouraged me to start my own travel company Vacationkids based on the simple idea of teaching parents how to travel with their kids. It wasn’t called “inbound marketing” back then but I never paid a dime for advertising. I grew thru straight PR, smart SEO and client recommendations.

    I have since enjoyed a 14 step commute to my office. I’ve been home to enjoy dinner with my loving husband every night and watch my kids grow up. Vacationkids gave me the opportunity to return all the love and care my father gave to our family during his final years and journey to heaven. NO big ass dot com salary could ever match these blessings and gifts.

    Admittedly Vacationkids and my marketing efforts has taken a bit of a back seat over the past few years due to family priorities. Web marketing has changed and fractured into a million directions. I have complete confidence that your inbound marketing coaching will catch me up to speed in short order. I look forward to seeing you once again at Inbound this year. I agree that doing things from the heart and for the right reasons are all you need to feel successful.

    • Sally, you truly sound like an amazing mom and person. Please come up to me at Inbound, OK??! :-)

      Thanks so very much,


      • DONE!!!! If you get time to breathe, coffee on me – no doubt you’ll need the caffeine as I’ve seen you in action (don’t know how you do it ;-)

  7. Beside being a Hypnotherapist and a Life Coach I’m also a Stress Manager and this usually comes always first. For me success is earning enough money in a honest way so that you have more free time to spend doing what you like: staying with family and friends, go fishing, travel around the world, whatever.

    Exaggerating a bit for me a successful one is someone who works 4 hours a day at most and then enjoys life. This is also a pre-requisite to have a long life. The rat race instead kills people soon.

    For me is totally nonsense working all life 10 or more hours per day whatever the money that comes in because after a certain amount money isn’t everything; the same is for social recognition. When someone gets sick friends and family are those who stay beside not followers or fans.

    All this to say that imho you got the right kind of success if you’re able to spend more time with your family and doing what you really like. Life is what happens when we are not working or sleeping so the more it is the better for us.

    I don’t remember exactly who of the Rockfeller family when old was immensely rich but could eat only milk and rice due to serious illnesses of the digestive system brought by working too much; is it worth it?

    For me definitely not.

    Kudos to you Marcus. :)

    • Andrea, love how you strive and seek for balance my friend. Well done sir, keep it up and I again want to thank you for all your support of this blog.



  8. Marcus- EVERY DAY I think about how content marketing is changing my life for the better. On the journey, I’m somewhere between “Marcus the Pool Guy,” and “Marcus 2013.” :-)

    I started into it almost 2 years ago as a customer of some folks who were knocking content marketing out of the park. I was at a transition point in my career and was training myself up on some topics I was interested in. I found some great online teachers, and over time, they helped and connected with me in ways I’d never experienced.

    At the time, I hadn’t heard of “Content Marketing.” I just thought these guys had cracked the code on how to work with customers and “sell.” My ongoing frustration with that very topic had led to the career transition in the first place. Once I realized what was going on, I knew instantly, I had to find a way to help others the same way. It’s not a marketing thing, it’s a life thing.

    I think it’s “connection” that makes content marketing so powerful. In the corporate world, we often need to be artificially guarded and often someone we aren’t. How many times do you hear people say, “I’m a different person at work than at home.” That’s crap!

    Done right, content marketing allows us [requires us] to open up, share and be ourselves. When you let that happen, it spills over to every aspect of life in a good way.

    • “It’s not a marketing thing, it’s a way of life…”

      One of the coolest statements I’ve EVER heard about content marketing.

      You truly “get it” Marshall. :-)


  9. Very interesting story how content marketing changed your life. You have shared some nice photos with us. In fact, it hasn’t changed my life, I am where I am for a long time. I believe you have worked hard to where you are – well done.

    • Shalu, that’s very kind of you to say, I do appreciate it :-)



  10. I tell the story of back in the early 2000s we visited my wife’s family in Germany. She came from a very small village in the mountains in central Germany, the economy then and now still was hit hard by the new economy. Young people were moving away for jobs in the big cities.

    There was a big stir because a young family had come in and bought a house. The talk became even louder when they started receiving and sending DAL (German UPS) shipments almost every day. Turns out the family had a website and was shipping worldwide.

    This is what I think the Internet and content marketing give you – the opportunity to live in a great place, raise your family on your own terms. I have been pursuing this since.

    Thanks for the reminder and telling us your story.

    • Mike, now *that* is a cool story…boy would I love to hear the whole thing–what, how, why, etc…

      Really appreciate you adding your thoughts bud :-)


  11. I can’t say that content marketing has changed my life yet, but I hope that it will at some point.

    My reasons aren’t that different than yours. I’d like to get into farming more, but I am restricted by location, so at some point I’d to have that freedom to live where I’d like so I can pursue farming more.

    Once I have kids, it will allow me to spend time with them.

    Hope that isn’t too off topic.

  12. Thats pretty cool Mike,
    Its amazing how things can change for us all of a sudden. i think its all about working hard now so we can enjoy the benefits later as Pat Flynn always says in the intro of his podcast.

    Content marketing has really performed lots of wonders to many people’s lives and I’m glad to admit that I’m also of the beneficiaries :) though, I’ve not gone far but, I’m happy for the success I’ve had so far.

    Thanks a lot for sharing Mike, wishing you more content marketing success :).

    BTW: You have such a very beautiful daughter, i never knew you have such a big girl as your daughter, was thinking your children are still small. Congrats man :)

  13. Wow it looks like doing content marketing would lead to great life. More family time and doing things you love. Great article.

  14. Excellent story Marcus… and nice Social Tool shirt BTW. Those Raven shirts are the bomb and I love getting reactions when I wear mine.

    Not sure how content marketing has changed my life yet. I mean, it changed business as usual for the previous company I was at, but I focussed on creating the content map for them, while leaving my own “story” to go stale on my sites,a and in my life.

    That, I hope, is about to change. Working the business plan to start my own company back up, and get content rocking for that, and to help other companies get their content marketing initiatives in place. It’s pretty scary at this moment and time, but I feel it is the right move.

    Crossing fingers…


  15. This is what I love about you bro … you have a “Why” that really, really matters. You have your priorities aligned and show that business success and personal happiness (spiritual,, family, physical health, mental health, time etc.) are not mutually exclusive. In fact, those who are truly wealthy know that they are interdependent.

    • That’s exactly it B-D’. And I know we share this my friend. :-)

  16. Hey Marcus, I really enjoyed reading your post. I was stuck not knowing my next direction in my career was about a year ago so I decided to write. Since starting to write I’ve had so much fun. I have made so many new friends, have learned so much and now I’m doing what I enjoy. I do some traveling but not to much. Last night I was playing ball with my 2 sons. They just love the simple stuff. Kids grow up so quickly I don’t want to miss out.
    You are one of the guys I was so honored to meet and get to know and looking forward to hanging with you again some day soon!

    • Are you kidding Ian? You’ve only been writing for a year? I’m super impressed by all you’ve done in that time.

      And I’m 100% with you. True wealth goes way beyond $. Sure it’s great to have it, but time, meaningful time with family is irreplaceable. Getting to play ball with your sons is what life is all about. That’s why I’m so passionate about teaching people the power of marketing and why I love Marcus’ message.

      If it’s done right, you help lots of people, can make lots of money and most importantly have lots of time for family, friends and yourself while making a difference in the world.

      Keep killing Ian!

      • Hey Don, thank you so much for your feedback. I started in June last year. I went to blogworld in New York and met with people like Marcus and Mike (Stelzner). I was very lucky to meet and get to know them. Two of the nicest guys you could ever meet.
        Thanks again Don!

  17. Aw, man. Just choked me up.

    As you know, similar motivations keep me doing this thing. This summer has been absolutely insane because I’ve been balancing coaching two baseball teams with business. And to be honest, business undoubtedly suffered. But the freedom to pull back on business a little bit to focus on the things I love are what makes this path so awesome.

    Thanks for sharing your story, Marcus!

  18. Marcus, though I don’t know you from Adam’s house cat, I feel a great deal of synergy exists between us. I share your worldview and values, especially that of prioritizing your life so that family comes before business. I’ve been down the business first road and almost lost my family as a result. That is a mistake I will NEVER make again. Thanks for the inspiration. Keep it coming!

    • It’s powerful Paul that you can look back and own the mistake and now look forward with so much zeal. Yep, we’re on the same page man.


  19. I really enjoyed reading this article, with so many priorities that accumulate in life people get lost not remembering why they work so hard in the first place, which I believe is to enjoy life with people you love. Looks like content marketing is going good for you, I wish you the best.

  20. Thanks for telling us your very motivational life story. We all are working hard to keep our families together and happy and we will keep on doing this. May you and your family live long and happy life.

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