Climbing towards success

With each new step...

***Note: This is one of those articles that may sound a little ‘me, me, me…I ,I, I’, but please understand that my only goal here is to help others learn from my successes and failures***

I’ve talked so much about how blogging and content marketing can change one’s business over the past year, but today I want to discuss a more personal, and quite possibly more rewarding, aspect to blogging.

As some of you are already well aware, about two years ago I wrote a small book on ‘Selling’ that I had extremely high hopes for. But after many weeks of utter rejection from agents and publishers alike, I realized one day that as long as I had no personal brand, and as long as no one (at least outside the swimming pool industry) knew who Marcus Sheridan was, it was foolish to expect a publisher to take a risk on some 32 year old kid without a lick of value to bring to the table.

It was in this moment of self-realization that I decided to change my future. I would build my brand through a blog, and ultimately it would put me in a position to become a well-known author and speaker—something that I’ve always felt I was meant to do so as to help as many people as possible reach their potential.

I can vividly remember a conversation I had with my wife during this time period (Oct 2009). It went something like this:

Me: I need to tell you something and it’s important.

Nikki: OK, what is it?

Me: As you already know, I’ve had no luck with my sales book, and this is basically due to the fact that no one knows who the heck I am. So, in order to change this, I’ve decided to start a platform for my own voice—a  place where I can write and others can hear my thoughts, and thus attract attention.

Nikki: Sounds good. And what do you expect to be the result?

Me: In the coming months, incredible things are going to start to happen. I’m going to attract success into my life through the content I write, and eventually a publisher or publishers will approach me for a book deal. No more will I go to them. It’s time to turn the tide.

This being said, in November of 2009 I started typing away, and The Sales Lion was born.

Looking back, and despite writing 3 articles a week during those first 6 months or so, very little happened. In hindsight, I now realize that I was doing a solid job with my writing, but my networking stunk. In fact, it was terrible. Because sales and marketing is such a saturated and competitive niche, my blog was essentially a billboard in the desert….and no one could see it.

Was I frustrated? Yeah, sure I was. Content alone had caused my swimming pool blog to go nuts (that means grow big in Marcus language) and I figured the same would happen with The Sales Lion. But alas, after spending hundreds of hours producing content, I had about 40 subscribers to show for it. Ouch….

Luckily I had somewhat of a personal ‘Great Awakening’ in the second half of 2010 when I realized two critical aspects to blogging success that had up to that point escaped me:

1. I needed to embrace the idea of community through comments, tweets, shares, etc.

2. I needed to focus more on giving value and promoting others than I did on myself.

I know, sounds rather silly, doesn’t it? Like, duh Marcus! But from this realization everything started to change.

The First Big Break:

As you all know I’m a huge fan of Hubspot and inbound marketing in general. This being said, because I had experienced so much success as a customer for Hubspot I decided to write a review of their product here on TSL. After contemplating the write-up for almost a month, I sat down one day and finally put my thoughts to pen. After hours of arduous focus on creating what I felt was the ‘perfect’ article,  “The Most Important Customer Review of Hubspot You’ll Ever Read” was born.

To make a long story short, the first day the article was published it was read 1500 times. The people at HS loved it and so did their customers. Before long, Google started loving it too. In fact, today it ranks on the first page of Google for a mountain of ‘Hubspot’ related keywords, and has brought thousands upon thousands of people to TSL.

Having gotten Hubspot’s attention with the article, they flew me out to Boston a few weeks later where I made my first of two appearances on Hubspot TV (watch hilarious video here). A few months later, I spoke at a conference for HS customers. Finally, I was able to get in front of an audience and discuss marketing. As you might imagine, this was quite thrilling and forming relationships with an incredible company manned by an army of inbound marketers has since done wonders for my blog and my brand.

Community Builds:

Along with the HS relationship, after I started investing time in other bloggers and their work, the Law of Reciprocity soon took over and comments on my blog shot through the roof. Finally, my writings were getting in front of people, and my relationships with some awesome folks (like JK, Ingrid, Tristan, Troy, Mark, John, and others)  grew and grew.

Book Interviews:

As I continued to discuss the wonders of content marketing and its affect on my pool business, all of the sudden and out of the blue authors started ringing my phone for interviews. Ann Handley was one of the first and our simple 20 minute conversation on the phone ended up being the basis to the first chapter of her best seller, ‘Content Rules’. Since that time, I’ve been interviewed by many other authors and bloggers as well (books yet to be released) and each experience has been truly rewarding.


This past January I woke up one morning to see Seth Godin had commented on my blog. After letting out a huge yelp I think I read the comment 3 times just to make sure it was really him. Even Chris Brogan has kindly mentioned a few of my articles in tweets over the last few months. Again, knowing that such incredible men are reading my thoughts is exhilarating, to say it in the least.

The Next Big Step:

Yesterday I was invited to speak a Content Marketing World in September. This is an event put on by Junta 42 and as you might imagine, it’s chock-full of some of the brightest content marketers in the world. Knowing that I’ll be sharing a stage with so many incredible people is absolutely thrilling, and I have a feeling the experience will be yet another quantum leap along this path to success and fulfillment.

Willing Success

Although all of these transpired events have been amazing, I’ve honestly not been shocked or surprised with any of them. In fact, I’ve always expected these things to happen. As I told my wife those many months ago, great things would inevitably happen if I but put in the time.

The great Jim Rohn once said ‘Success is something you attract by becoming an attractive person’.

These past 16 months of blogging have verified this statement to me again and again and again. As I look forward, I can see the day when I get that phone call from a book publisher. When will it happen? Honestly, I have no idea, but I can tell you it will. If I but continue to walk this path, success will have no choice but to accompany me along the journey.

Your Turn

So that’s my story (at least part 1 ;-) ), now I would love to hear yours. What are you doing to will success into your life? What does your future look like when you close your eyes and envision ahead? Please open up and share your thoughts, as they are what make this blog a true ‘community’.

photo credit

92 thoughts on “How to Will Success into Your Life….One Blog Article at a Time

  1. Marcus, This personal success story IS what blogging and social media are all about. You’ve outlined your success – after identifying your initial failures – of how your blog has helped market your business and establish you as an inbound marketing leader. By networking, commenting, really interacting with others you’ve built relationships, relationships that help establish your credibility, reinforce and grow your network. Win-win.

    FWIW I don’t have such lofty aspirations really, just fighting the good fight… and getting ready for my next trip. I am trying to work smarter, doing things and making choices so that as I build my business, I can focus more on the kind of work I really enjoy doing. And discovering what that really is, in my case it’s been about the writing and networking, commenting and engaging. For my next trick, I’ll turn that into a paying gig. ;-)

    • You’re funny Davina, for my next trick…

      I like your common sense approach – fighting the good fight, loving what you’re doing, working smarter, etc.

      Sorry Marcus, didn’t mean to jump ahead of you here – I just wanted to give Davina’s comment a Thumbs Up!


      • Thanks Lori.. I’ve been thinking about them for my own site, but Marcus – you always gets such good comments you might want to think about some LIKE buttons or something. ;-)

        • Thanks for the suggestion Davina. Yesterday I was looking around and I said to myself, “Hey dummy, why don’t you have better like buttons on your posts?” So look for that in the coming days ;-)

          Thanks again…

      • I’m glad you jumped in here Lori. We agree on Davina. That lady rocks! :-)

    • Just fighting the good fight Davina? Heck girl, I think you’re doing GREAT things. You’re not only fighting, but you’re winning. I mean that. Of all the bloggers in the ‘sphere’ that I really pay attention to, you and Ingrid at Nitty are the ‘wittiest’ of the bunch with your writing approach. You know I just love your style and from the looks of it, your snowball is ready to roll down the mountain.

      Curious about your monetization plans though Davina. Have you gotten clients directly from your blog yet? I know you’ve got a solid following. Heck, I’d hire you to be my social media gal ;-)

      Thanks so much for your comments and constant support Davina!

      • Not yet Marcus, not directly. This quote from a science blog I read/shared a while back, I may be paraphrasing: “Credibility is built inside the echo chamber, popularity outside” sorta speaks to that. I am getting noticed by peers in PR, by those in SM, so the referrals and networking are kicking in. I’m working on taking it to the next level, outside this sphere to that proverbial sea of biting fish. ;-)

  2. Hey Marcus

    Great story.

    The part that those of your readers who are starting out on their journey – or thinking of starting out – should take note of is that you wrote great content for 6 months and nothing happened.

    Things only started to happen for you when you reached out and started networking and creating relationships.

    That’s exactly the same for me. I spent 3 months putting a bed of content on my website – and once I started reaching out to people it’s started leading to bigger things…such as my first guest post at a great website that you and I both know well! Plus that process has led to other guest posts too…so you might see my name a bit more around the blogosphere!

    But without reaching out to people and providing value, the path is much longer, lonlier and harder. Great content on its own isn’t enough. As Corbett Barr at likes to say, great content is just the price of entry. (Great phrase that, wish I’d thought of it!).

    What I find funny is that there will be people out there who think that you’re just getting lucky. I’d like to tell those people that it’s no coincidence that the harder you work, teh luckier you get.

    Keep on, keeping on.


    PS Lions are cool – Wolves are cooler!

    • Yeah Paul, Wolves are pretty cool….until they make the Lions mad and then get eaten. :-) LOL

      Seriously though brother, you’ve just made an awesome comment and greatly added to the conversation here. Corbett’s quote is perfect and fitting. There must be balance when it comes to blogging success. You’re now doing all things, and if you keep doing exceptional guest posts as you did here on TSL, your rocket won’t be landing any time soon.

      The hard work part of all of this simply can’t be escaped. Most people, especially newer bloggers, can’t appreciate the hundreds upon hundreds of hours I’ve spent on this baby. Notwithstanding, with passion and an inner pulling, the hard work is truly a labor of love and purpose.

      I’m so glad to know you Paul and look forward to watching your journey….and am thrilled to have been a part of it. Keep steadfast my friend.

      • Hey Marcus

        Thanks for the kind words – had a thought. (and yep I know, it’s dangerous when I think!).

        In this day and age you don’t have to wait for a publisher. In fact a publisher is starting to become an outdated publication model anyway.

        There are plenty of options for you:

        1) eBook
        2) Kindle (+_Apple’s Version of their iBook Store)
        3) POD – either Create Space or to make more profit, Lightning Source. My friend Marina published a book via Lightning Source. At some stage I mean to interview her about it as a resource post.
        4) The Domino Project. The Domino Project is Seth Godin’s latest venture with Amazon – you can apply to promote a project. Google it and you’ll find it. If not, I can send you the link.

        I think you need to define WHY you want to be published. Is it the ‘cachet’ of being a published author? Is it to make cash and get fame? Is it to add credibility to what you do and lead to consulting business or speaking engagements or other services?

        If you did self publish you’ve already proved that you can build an audience (which is getting bigger). I think that audience will get bigger via the ******** idea we talked about in our emails). The only benefit of self publishing a book that’s not met by self publishing is POSSIBLY (and only possibly) you lose a bit of cachet associated with publishing if you do it yourself.

        however you can make that up if you could get people like Seth and Brogan to comment on it. And other rock stars of marketing.

        Seriously – I think you should define your goals with the book and THEN work out the path that best achieves them. It may not be the traditional publishing method.


        • I would also suggest Ebookling. They have a great looking website, and an affiliate program that won’t take away from the author’s cut of the book (author receives 50%).

        • Paul, wow, you continue to amaze me man. These are some great suggestions, they really are.

          Honestly, I think there are a few reasons why I want the traditional route. Yes, the ‘cachet’ component is legitimate. There is something about a major book deal with a major publisher and then all of the sudden the snowball seems to grow from there. Granted, one can actually make more money (on the book itself)going other routes (as with the excellent list you mentioned above), but I think the long-term residual/after-market money is great with the traditional model.

          But honestly, it ain’t about the green for me. Don’t get me wrong. I love money and we have a great relationship, but I want to influence, touch, and inspire as many people and businesses as possible.

          For me, the guy I want to be like the most of any I’ve ever seen is Jim Rohn. Everyone has their favorites, but I think he’s the greatest ever, and he had tremendous influence on business and personal development– both of my great passions.

          Also, I see guys like Brogan and Godin and Gary V and they all do the traditional method. They could easily write an ebook and put it on their sites, but they don’t, so the question is why?

          Anyway, I will clearly look into the Godin site you mentioned Paul and will keep my options open, but that is honestly my best answer at this time.

          You’re awesome bud. Thanks again for making me think.


  3. Jon


    I like your “me” post here because it is proof of concept that perseverance in this game can and will pay off. You also had/have a plan which is also an essential component.

    “My blog was essentially a billboard in the desert.” – Funny!

    Congrats on Seth and Chris giving you attention. That must have been validating for you to see big names like that taking interest in your thoughts and perspectives.

    I’m following your lead, Marcus. Since the start of the year I’ve been working hard to grow my social graph on and offline in an effort to demonstrate my value. To give freely and help others “wake up” and start achieving their goals. There is also a joint-venture in its infancy right now that I’m quite excited about as it’s leading to a community-based program (a major goal for me).

    All because I started willing this into existence from late 2009. And now it’s gaining momentum because people can “feel” my passion for it. Just as your book deal will come because you’re causing such a stir in this universe, my friend.

    I close my eyes and see my project(s) in full swing, working jointly with great like-minded people, and helping one entrepreneur at a time. Loving it all the while.


    • Jon, wow, that was inspiring my friend. Great things are happening for you. I’ve really started to notice that and I know it couldn’t happen to a better person. You should be proud, but it’s also just the beginning.

      You mentioned that people ‘feel’ your passion. Yes. I can attest to this. When I read your stuff, that’s exactly what I experience, which is what makes your thoughts appealing. Honestly, if I don’t sense passion from someone when they write, I move on as I realize the ‘relationship’ ain’t going to work.

      Can’t wait to see what happens with you these next six months Jon.

  4. Hey Marcus, Great stuff and I love the pic. This is not a ‘me’ blog because you are talking about every small business owner out there who runs a blog/website and doesn’t have the budget to hire a large digital marketing agency to do it for them.
    Thanks for sharing this great tool with us.

    • That’s right John. These days, we’re all our own little digital marketing agency. But heck, that’s what is so dang awesome about a blog platform. It’s the cheapest (other than time) gospel spreading medium in the world…and I love it. May I just say that I’m glad I was born at the dawn of the information and technological age. :-) Good times my friend.

      Looking forward to Skyping soon bud.

  5. Congratulations on your level of commitment Marcus!

    That is what stands out the most to me in this article. From the inception of your desire to bring your work to the world, you were more than committed. You didn’t let the obstacles deter you. You didn’t let the “billboard blog” cause you to give up. You continued to push towards what you believed in, and what you wanted for yourself.

    Clearly that determination and dedication has (and is) paying off. You’ve put your best foot forward and you keep doing so. Thank you for being such a great example and inspiration.

    If I took the time to share my vision for myself here it would turn your “I” post into a “Marlee” post, and this comment would far out do my niche vs. topic novel last week.

    Suffice it to say, I whole-heartedly agree with your philosophies in play. I’m whole-heartedly committed to my personal vision of success. And, I whole-heartedly believe in the BIG dreams that I hold in my heart to empower others and be a light in the world.

    Have a great weekend Marcus and thanks again!

    • Wow Marlee, another inspiring comment you’ve added to the conversation here. This was great.

      I do think it has so much to do with that powerful word– “Commitment”.

      Let’s face it, there are times when we’re too tired, or busy, or unmotivated, or whatever to post our next article. It can be tough. But an undaunted commitment always overcome such moments.

      As an example, I got home at 11:45 last night from 8 hours on the road for work, but I knew that I needed to write an article for this morning. Thus, at 1:15 am, I was able to click ‘save’ on this as a word document and finally catch some shut-eye.

      And do I regret any of it? Of course not.

      You’re awesome Marlee. Thanks again for your support. :-)

  6. Marcus,
    I have to say I love this post, but you had me at the title. I’m months and months behind you but your story gives me confidence. In my earliest days, when I had nearly no readership, what I focused on is giving each article everything I had. You know what they say, continue to do the thing you did to become successful once you ARE successful. I’m not successful yet, but I’ve jumped in, I’m in the swim, loving the company and the exercise, and I still give it everything I’ve got.

    I love too how you know your book will be published even though you don’t know how. It’s funny how you just know some things and you can’t even say why you know, or support it with any evidence. But you know nonetheless!

    Let us know when it happens!

    • I’m not successful yet, but I’ve jumped in, I’m in the swim, loving the company and the exercise, and I still give it everything I’ve got.

      That, Lori, was as good as anything I’ve read online this entire week. :-)

      You are in the swim. And not only that, you’re a pretty darn good swimmer :-)

      I watch your blog and community grow with each new post. I can tell you pour your heart and soul into it. Obviously, it’s a labor of love. And it shows.

      Thanks so much for your kind words of support Lori.

  7. Marcus you are such an honest giving guy who always tries to make things better for others and this post is no exception. The only ‘I’ witnessed was the ‘i’ in inspirational. We all get there together and when we put people up not down, and give them a lift it lifts us to contribute more and naturally allow that contribution returned. You are a true contributor to blogs and people’s lives.

    I will tell you that your blog is one that I never miss from reading as you are one blogger who makes my day, my week, or my mind up for me. If it’s greater success you are experiencing it’s because you deserve it through the benefits you bring and that you fab man you are. I hope there’s more and more my friend it’s been a total pleasure for me from Day 1 to know you.

    • Wow John, I swear that’s as kind and heartfelt as any comment I’ve ever had. I don’t even know what to say other than ‘Thank You’…seriously, you’ve really made my Friday evening and my cup over-floweth with gratitude for people like you.

      Big smiles coming from this little Lion to you sir. :-)

  8. It’s great to have that confidence that something (book) will happen, even though you’re not sure how. Hard work has a lot to do with it, Marcus, and you sure have laid the groundwork with that. You will obviously persevere and get that book deal, and I’m sure a lot of other cool stuff will happen to you as well.

    Although my subscriber list is small, and my blog “a billboard in the desert”, I have high hopes and a long time line in which I hope to “make it”. I just had my best ever day for page views, and I believe the only way to go is “up”, as I’m confident my writing will only get better.

    I have to thank you for some of the inspiration. Your posts, with their valuable content, make me want to kick it in high gear. This month, I committed to at least a post once a week to build readership, and to get better at content creation.

    Congrats on your awesome success so far, and what’s to come.

    • Wow Joe, this comment brought a huge smile to my face man. I’m absolutely thrilled to know some of the things I’ve written here have nudged you a little bit and you’re seeing the fruits of your labors. Sounds like you’ve got a great goal for this month and I look forward to your coming articles.

      Thanks for your constant support my friend.

  9. Hi Marcus,

    You’ve hit the real “sweet spot” in blogging, in my opinion. I’m glad you shared your story and I dropped by to read it. (I also watched the HubTV spot you did and enjoyed that, too… I ‘m taking some “me” time today. Having fun visiting some of my favorite blogs.)

    I’ve actually been putting together a “me” post, too, and have been wondering if I should finish and publish it. So your “Note” in the beginning of this post made me smile. Did you have doubts about whether or not to post it, I wondered?

    My story, in brief, is that my success came relatively fast. However, that also caused a bit of a dilemma for me. Was this the path I really wanted to take, or did I just go for the opportunity because it was there in front of me? Is there a better path for me? If so, what exactly is that? And like Davina (commenter), can I turn that (whatever path) into a paying gig?

    Anyway, great read, Marcus! Thanks for sharing more about you.

    • This was really sweet Deb. So glad you watched the other video too.

      Yes, I debated over this post, as I always fear people will read articles like this one and think, “Yeah, that Marcus thinks he’s so smart, what a jerk!!”, ya know?

      But, after considering both sides of it, I’ve always felt honesty was the best approach and being that I felt inspired to write this yesterday, it’s what found itself onto the screen.

      Bloggers need to see the big picture though. Most people only see guys like Chris Brogan now and think he was an immediate superstar. Fact is, the dude paid his dues for 5 years before he stuff went ballistic.

      I’m curious Deb, you’ve said you’re not completely sure as to where you’re now headed with your blog. Ultimately, what do you want to feel, see, and know when you’ve reached the goal. What’s your summit? I’d love to know.

      Thanks again for the wonderful comment Deb.

  10. Marcus, you’ve got a truly inspiring story, man.

    I feel like you did months ago. I’ve been busing my ass to produce content but it seems like I’m only doing a ripple into what I believe I should be doing. I’ve realized its not the content I produce but that I’m too quite in promotion and networking.

    The rest of this year is taking a good change of direction. I’m focusing more intently on the people I want to interact with, cutting out low quality type posts and making a true attempt to network with those that I will be able to provide value to (and hopefully vice versa).

    Your story is very inspiring; it reminds me that things take time – I can’t expect everything to simple happen. I feel that I’m close to the tipping point but there’s so much more to go. Glad to have met ya at this moment in time :)

    • Murray, great to hear from you man and big props for your transparency and honesty here. Very refreshing. Very real.

      I know things might be taking a little longer than you’d like bud, but let me just tell you I think you’ve got the goods. I’ve read a lot of your articles over the past 6 weeks and you really pour your heart and soul and a lot of sweat into your writings. And your community knows it and appreciates it. I say this and please understand that I’m not blowing smoke here.

      So stay the course my friend and I have zero doubt you will soon be reaping the harvest of your labors.

      Thanks again for the comment Murray, it’s appreciated.

  11. Hi Marcus,

    Thanks for the wonderfully inspiring post! You can write “me” posts any time you want because I love to read them.

    I like that you weren’t looking for the Easy Button, but you had goals and went after them. When it wasn’t going the way you intended, you sat back, though about it, and made a new plan of attack. Great stuff, Marcus.

    “My blog was essentially a billboard in the desert.” – I’ve been there too and like you, I’ve taken steps to broaden my community.

    Funny enough, I just did a “me” post on my blog too. :)

    Wishing the best,

    • Hey Peggy, thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

      I think many bloggers resist making that change when things aren’t right and they’re not getting the results they hoped for. If I hadn’t made such a cultural change in my approach, I might have done what so many others do when the fruits of their labors don’t show– QUIT.

      But boy and I glad I didn’t.

      You should be proud as well Peggy. You’re quickly become the PLR person on the web, all because of your balanced approach. Very impressive.

      Keep up the great work and thanks again for the wonderful comment.


  12. Marcus – I can’t even tell you how proud I am of you man. In fact, since your email the other day, I’ve been thinking about it non-stop. Since we first connected, I knew there was something special about The Lion.

    I’m glad you decided to create this post. I loved it because it’s a direct example of the benefits that you tell us about. While I’m excited, and of course surprised (not because of your accomplishments, but because of the timing), I’m more so like “ha, I told you so” to myself. Because I knew this was your future…the passion isn’t a mystery when it comes to you. It started to become VERY CLEAR with each post you published…to the point where I sent you that email: “YOU GOTTA WRITE A BOOK” (bad english and all)!

    I’ve been up to attracting success as well. For myself, my journey has been in a personal growth phase. Over the past few months, maybe about 5 months now, I’ve transitioned from one point in my life, to a new one. What this means for me is that I’m growing as a person. I’m letting the walls of defense drop by my side. I’ve left limiting thoughts (to be honest, still have much more work to do) that I picked up from childhood. These things, for me, have been liberating. I feel like a hatched eaglet, learning, watching – so I can soon soar wherever I want. I don’t just say that…I MEAN IT… I have faith in it. So I guess you can say I’m a construction site…strategically building one piece at a time.

    By the way, you’re of the few that I watch…thank you for leading the way.

    You’re the hustler…I’m the student!
    I’m proud of you man.
    PPEEAACCEE (emphasized)

    • Dang JK, you know how to make a guy feel good my friend. :-)

      It’s funny how our relationship has grown over these past few months. What’s even cooler is that I know it’s just beginning, and we’re going to be a major support and fan of each others for years to come along this journey.

      The fact that you were kind enough to send me an email many weeks back and tell me that I needed to write a book….with the passion in which you said it….was special and something I won’t soon forget.

      One thing that you teach me each day JK is how to build relationships—real ones—and how to be utterly kind and thoughtful along the way.

      Glad to consider you as a true ‘friend’ and look forward to catching up in person very soon.

      Continued success to you and your blog JK as you find your voice and your genius….much thanks :-)

  13. Marcus,

    What a great success story.

    There are two parts to a success story. 1. The value added to the successful person. 2. The value added to a business or organization.

    We all want to win. And we want to acknowledge and to be acknowledged. We cheer on our favorite team and give them trophies. We hope our favorite movie gets the Oscar. We want our children to be successful and we reward them for there efforts.

    Being acknowledge for our efforts is part of the game, it is part of winning. Just look at the emotional tone level that such acknowledgment comes from. It is cheerful, enthusiastic it is joy.

    A success is testament to what works, to what is right. It give credibility and creates good PR. Witness your experience with Hubspot. Expressing your success increased their value and credibility.

    I would expect a lion to share his success with a great big roar.

    Let your light so shine.

    • Wow that was sweet and thoughtful Sheila. Gosh, I really an blown away with your kindness.

      Your support is amazing. Thank you again and again. :-)

  14. Hi Marcus,

    What an inspiring story! We just have to be persistent in what we do and patiently wait for our breakthrough. One big lesson that i learn from you is to having self-realization when things are not going your way.

    It’s great to always visualize things in different angle so we can try out different approach.

    Thanks for sharing mate.


    • Hey Lye and thanks so much for stopping by. Yes, persistence and patience are powerful virtues every blogger needs to have, especially in the early days, as it ain’t always easy to keep things going when one feels there is little reward and almost no light at the end of the tunnel.

      Thanks again for commenting Lye, I really appreciate it.

  15. This was a great idea Marcus, the me, I and You inside the post really made it more credible. Thank you for deciding to share.

    I will start by saying, your story relates with my blogging goal too and I have been able to achieve some modicum of success. This week through my blogging endeavours, I got a mail that informed me that my articles will be featured in one of the top daily newspapers in my country (Nigeria), The Guardian Newspaper.

    Boy, was I thrilled!

    One thing your story reminded me of, was the same approach I had in mind when I decided to start publishing my contents freely online. That mindset is captured in your words;

    “No more will I go to them. It’s time to turn the tide.”

    This is my philosophy too. Why beg them to give you a chance to prove yourself, when you can do great work that will make them come find you. I believe results are the only unquestionable facts in business. Once you can achieve results, consistently over a period of time, even the most doubtful skeptic will beat a path to your door.

    In this era, focus on making your own mark and there wouldn’t be any need to beg them to notice you. They will come looking for you, and that kinda feels great, doesn’t it?

    • Tito, man, what a great comment and a huge CONGRATS to you man!

      The Guardian….Wow, that’s awesome. Tell me, how many of your buddies did you email, tweet, and call when you found out? I probably would have been screaming news like that from the rooftops! Seriously, that’s great news and I’m sure it’s the result of lots and lots of hard work, late nights, and personal sacrifice.

      But when such rewards come, all the hard work melts away and it just seems so very worth it, ya know? :-)

      And regarding getting them to ‘come to us’, I see we share a very similar paradigm in that area. But hey, why not? In this day and age where we have the ability to create momentum, value, and a great brand; why would we not go with such an approach?

      Again, great thoughts Tito and continued success my friend. Appreciate the comment.

  16. Hi Marcus,

    I was really touched and inspired by this article – it really resonates with me, and I think it will resonate with a lot of people that I know (I’m sharing it on Facebook – I know they’ll thank me for it!).

    We’ve all hear a thousand times how you gain by giving, you need to put others first, focus on creating value, yadda yadda yadda… but somehow that seems to all go out the window when we come to talking tactics… we create content, and try to drive people to it (like cattle!), with the vague idea that once we have a big audience, we’ll give something back.

    You’re absolutely right that the big audience needs to be earned, one loyal friend at a time. I’ve been on a similar journey, and as much as I love the growing traffic numbers, the strong relationships that are being built with other bloggers are just as, and often more valuable to me.

    All to say that I loved the article, and thank you so much for writing and sharing it!

    • Wow Danny, kind words my friend and thanks so much for stopping by again to leave such a great comment.

      I like your ‘cattle’ metaphor. I was definitely that guy. Didn’t work though. But today, I’m just another vendor at the farmers market, trying to sell my goods but promote everyone else’s, ya know ;-)

      Continued success Danny.

  17. Marcus, don’t worry about the ‘me, me, me’ theme of this post, I find it interesting to learn about others and what their backstory is! It helps to add an openness to the conversation which we have, and it makes me feel more secure because here is someone who is willing to be open and honest with me. So I’ll do the same.

    As you know, I’ve cut back on my commenting somewhat recently. I’m certainly getting more writing done, which was the aim, but I wonder now whether or not my networking is starting to suffer. I realise now that I was (perhaps naively) relying on guest posts to bring the traffic in, but I haven’t had a guest post released in a while; a couple have been rejected, and I’m still waiting for responses from the rest. So as a result, my traffic has started to drop a little.

    What I wonder now is, how do I get past this? How do I find a solution that will enable me to write, as well as not limit my networking? I don’t have an answer yet, but I feel that some reflective work is required, as well as some soul-searching. Who knows, I might come up with a new masterplan…

    • Hey Stu, great to hear from you and I so much appreciate your honesty here, as I’m sure many can relate to you. I read your new post and you referred back to this article, so you already know how I feel but I’ll just reiterate that as long as you continue to believe in yourself and work hard and network and give back then things will fall into place. Just don’t put a hard time frame on it. Allow it to happen but do your part. You’re a good dude Stu. :-)

  18. It’s great to read more of your story. It’s posts like this that keep me coming back. I’m already sold on inbound marketing and have been using it for years. So having said that.

    I bring success into my life by connecting with and helping as many people as possible, always moving forward, and only looking back to ensure I didn’t miss anything. With perpetual movement and the ability to adjust comes the added ability to spot and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

    That’s how I roll.

    • If that’s how you roll then I’m diggin your style Robert :-)

      Seriously loved how you said, ‘always moving forward, and only looking back to ensure I didn’t miss anything.

      Wise words my friend.

      Appreciate you readership Robert. Thanks man.

  19. Marcus, I love this post and thanks so much for the mention – very cool of you : )

    You are living proof that good things happen to good people who are leveraging social media for the right reasons and in a productive way.

    You deserve all of the success and much more you’re experiencing – I believe it’s from all of the serving and giving to the community. You’re a great example to learn from on how to leverage these platforms to build effective relationships and a rockin brand.

    I also love how hard you work. My motto is “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” I don’t care who doesn’t agree with this – it’s has provided me many successes over the years. There may be many with more talent, but you’ll be hard pressed to find another who can match the production outflow :)

    Keep learning Mr. Lion – I’ve noticed very clearly that you liberally share your new insights with the community – it’s a great place to learn and be inspired. That’s what will take you to the top of your game and keep you there Marcus.

    I’m a big fan!!!

    • Thanks Mark, that means a lot to me coming from a guy like you, as I know you’re not one to just throw words around.

      I agree with your ‘hard work’ motto. It seems like these days there is this trend that you ain’t got to work hard in order to experience huge success. I honestly think a few too many people have been drinking the Tim Ferris cool-aide. (Good guy with great concepts, but not reality for most folks).

      I work hard to have a quality life experience every day– whether I’m talking pools, writing about marketing, chatting with my wife, or playing ball with my kids. And I love every minute of it.

      Thanks again Mark for your support and friendship.

  20. Marcus
    You were born to succeed and this blog is testament to that.

    Perhaps I can lighten things up a little with a quote from Rich Halls book “Self help for the Bleak” a great read.

    “When audiences ask what qualifies me to be a lecturer. I always answer with one word – Failure !
    Successful people have little to teach us. We learn from mistakes. And friends, I have a Ph.D. in mistakes”

    Guess that applies to so many of us but we also need guys like you Marcus – to show us a little success.

    • You’re just about the nicest guy in the world Keith. From the comment you wrote on my last blog to this one, I just can’t properly put into words how good you make me feel and how much people like you help me to continue to plow forward. A huge Thank You my friend. :-)

  21. Great blog post here! I love how inspiring your posts are and this is no exception!

    Also, I like your tick box that says you’re not a spammer, I’m not a spammer and I like lions too ;)

    • Ha! So you like me little check box, eh Harriet ;-) Yeah, I like it too :-)

      Thanks for the kind words and stopping by, I very much appreciate all your support.

  22. When we open our valves to receive positive energy then our world changes before our eyes.

    So, what am I doing to ensure my success? Working like hell, staying positive and feeling worthy to receive what I want.


    • Working like hell, staying positive and feeling worthy to receive what I want.

      Wow Alex. That was awesome bud. Love it.

  23. Sarah arrow

    What a great story Marcus and you are blessed with a supportive wife. My ambition is to speak at Junta 42, an thrilled that you are :)

    • How right you are Sarah. She has been an amazing support during this most interesting time.

      And that’s cool that you want to speak at Junta 42. We’ll have to talk about it when I get back!

  24. I have a feeling that if I woke up one day and found Seth Godin had left a comment on my blog, I would want to retire and be on the top of my game, like so many athletes talk about doing. That’s an incredible achievement as Seth is one of my personal idols.

    As for what I’m doing to make sure I succeed? For one thing, I’m trying to take advantage of the little time I have to keep creating. I’m not writing nearly as much as I should on my blog, but I am still writing. Same goes for leaving comments, tweets, etc. I feel as though as long as I keep moving forward, inch by inch, I will get to the top eventually. If I give myself a hard time about what I am doing, I will most likely not do anything at all and never get anywhere.

    It’s tough to balance between work and life as a new father, but reading your blog is a great reminder of what can be done – especially considering how busy your household is compared to me just having one toddler running around.

    I’m hoping to find some time to myself tonight to watch some of your videos and read through your review of Hubspot, a service I had been thinking about utilizing but sitting on the fence about it. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story with us all!

    • James, I didn’t know you had a little one, that’s awesome man. Kids are great, aren’t they? :-)

      So glad this blog helps you a bit. It sure helps me too. (except on the sleeping part, but hey, it’s all good ;-) )

      I thought you made a GREAT statement here:

      If I give myself a hard time about what I am doing, I will most likely not do anything at all and never get anywhere.

      This is huge my friend. I see many bloggers beat themselves up all the time– which usually causes them to end up quitting entirely, which is a tragedy in my opinion.

      Keep up the great work James. Like you said, little by little you’ll get there.

      Oh, and don’t hesitate to call me sometime regarding HS. I’ll give you some very frank and honest feedback on whether or not it’s a good fit for your situation.

  25. My dear Mufasa – you’ve left me a little speechless here with that little mention of yours :)! Thank you for considering me as one of your friends – for you know the feeling and respect are mutual. Seems like you and I share the same sentiments when it comes to people like Troy, John, Tristan, Mark and a few others. Wonderful peeps indeed!

    Also – I’d like to thank you for the flattering compliment you said about me in your reply to Davina. Yes, I read comments ;). There’s always so much to learn from them and some great take-aways.

    Reading this amazing post of yours I was kinda thrilled in seeing a sort of continuation to your awesome comment on my latest Bring IT! post :). Your journey so far is truly remarkable and you’re definitely getting the attention you deserve – actually, you deserve a lot more!

    Now I’m kinda jealous that Seth Godin left a comment for ya – especially since he doesn’t have a comment section of his own lol. I’m also kinda jealous that Brogan RT’d a few of your posts. But in all honesty – I’ll live and I’m happy as hell that they did! But I’m just as happy with the meaningful comments I get from my amazing community.

    Now, I know those 2 fellas are most people’s A-listers and they have every reason to be – but I gotta’ tell you – the way I define an A-lister (I actually mentioned my criteria in one of John Falchetto’s latest posts) – makes YOU most certainly one of mine! You, my friend do what an A-lister should and more – in my eyes. You share the work of others and care about them, you engage with people and take the time to get to know them (you show real interest), you reply to everyone, you take the time to help others if they need you, you listen to them, you create value by sharing your knowledge and by using your personal life experiences, you’ve built a community that trusts and respects you, you’re genuine, you have a voice that stands out – one that is honest and charismatic…the list goes on! Basically – you know your shit and you’re a darn good Social Median ;).

    I have no doubt that you’re gonna’ rock the hell out of them at Content Marketing World and I for one would love to see a video of your presentation for that afterwards. I’m think Junta42 (Joe) made the right decision by asking you.

    Thanks for sharing a part of your journey and successes with us. There’s even more to come!

    Now I’m off to read your HubSpot review :). Or maybe I’ll keep that till tomorrow – Uhh…I mean today but when it’s not dawn.

    If it wasn’t clear through this comment, I LOVED this post!
    Once again – nicely done Mr. Sales Lion.

    Happy Sunday to you and your family.

    • Holy Stinking Guacamole Ingrid!!! This comment was amazing.

      I’m telling you, for a girl that hit 7 triples, with 42 stolen bases and 107 RBI’s in college, you sure know how to write HOME RUNS :-) (For those of you that don’t know, Ingrid was a sick little softball player back in the day )

      As for your jealousy of me and my two BFFs Chris and Seth, well, I can only apologize ;-) But you know what they say, ‘Birds of a feather……’ LOL!

      Seriously though, your kind words here, as they always seem to do, have made me feel better than ever and are essentially why I write and appreciate having a community in the first place. Meeting good people is fun, ya know? :-)

      Thanks again for all Nitty…..

      • LOL!
        I can’t believe you went through the individual records files hahahaha. I haven’t gone through those in years – I just thought after so long the new girls would have thrashed a few my stats/records and I wouldn’t even be there anymore. And they did a few! Good for them.
        A couple other ones are missing though – I guess they took out a few categories – oh well…lol

        But…I’m still the only Lebanese All American hahaha.
        Thank YOU Marcus – for bringing the best days and memories of my life :) – and for actually taking the time to look for that. Wow.

        Have a great week.

        • I bet you can smack the leather off a curve ball – eh?

          : )

          • LOL Mark,

            Only twice ;). On the stitches. And I kept both of those balls to this day.
            It’s funny cause I use to use that line a lot with my teammates – “smack the cover off the ball”.

            I actually couldn’t believe it.

  26. Dia

    Hi Marcus,

    I love reading stories like this ;) and I’m very positive my friend that you many publishers will be contacting you because you deserve it Marcus and I mean it.

    For me personally, since I’ve been blogging for the past 9 months or so, I had many successes as well. I’ve created 3 products, focused on SEO, writing around 3 articles a week, networking, and started doing many guest posts this year. I must say that all have contributed to my success as well.

    Now many of my articles rank on page 1 or 2 in google, gained many subscribers, especially from doing guest posts, and of course from networking with others.

    I have read some bloggers who like to focus on a few of what I mentioned. However, I personally like to focus on ALL (SEO, guest posts, networking, commenting, using social media, article directories, and writing 3 times a week) Of course this takes a lot of time, but I believe just like you success will be knocking at my door as well very, very soon ;)

    Thanks for sharing Marcus and I really enjoy your blog and learn from you a lot. Keep up the excellent work

    • GREAT comment Dia. You do have one of the most complete and balanced approaches of anyone I’ve seen out there. Somehow, despite being busy like the rest of us, you continue to church out unique content every few days and have built a huge network and big momentum with Google. That’s great man. Keep it up buddy. And thanks so much for your continued support here. :-)

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  28. That’s a great story, and I love to read about “the man behind the blog.” Keep on adding the personal perspective and especially things you experience from blogging and marketing in general.

    I especially like what you’re saying about willing success. You need to be attractive in order to attract people, it’s as simple as that.

    I have had a different approach when it comes to blogging, and it’s not the best approach, I know that. To me, blogging has been a process of learning. I started blogging in order to learn more about blogging and especially marketing in general. I wanted to learn, because I didn’t get the money for the conferences or the courses I needed through my job. So, to me blogging was the best way to learn. I also wanted to share everything I was learning on my blog. It was like a personal journey in marketing.

    That was several years ago.

    Now, things are different. I have discovered inbound marketing, and I have sort of discovered that I need to build a personal brand (and a platform). I have always thought about being as anonymous as possible. I wanted to stay behind a curtain and let other people shine. But, it’s actually a lot more fun when people tell you that you are doing a great job other than if you don’t get any feedback at all (and if I am anonymous, I won’t get the feedback I need in order to keep going).

    At the moment I am writing a novel (my debut), and I am doing a lot of thinking about how I should be doing the marketing. I have been thinking about inbound marketing, and if it’s possible to get publishers and agents to come talk to me instead of me contacting them.

    You are a real inspiration.

    – Jens

    • Wow Jens, this was a great personal comment, and I really appreciate every word of it. Thrilled for you and your future, especially because I know you truly understand the powers of inbound marketing and the difference it can make with a business and brand. Tell me, do you have a completion eta for the novel? Have you approached any publishers or agents yet? I’d be very curious to know.

      Big thanks to all your support my friend.

      • I’ll probably finish the first draft in a week. Then, I’ll get a couple of friends to read it. Then, one of my friends who’s a designer will design the book (the cover and the pages). Finally, I’ll send the first draft to some publishers and agents.

        I don’t know how long this will take, before I contact the publishers, but maybe about a month.

        I am going to send them my first draft, so they can see what I am writing in an early stage. But I don’t want to just send them 400 pages of a word document. I want it to be nice, and different. I want it to stand out from the crowd. :)

        • Sounds good Jens. I’ll be really crossing my fingers for you bud and hope that you keep your readers informed.

          • Thanks. The only problem when it comes to my readers is that 99% of them are not from Norway. And I am writing my novel in Norwegian :)

  29. It really does pay off to learn how to network with the blogging community, and that’s great stuff you’ve shared on how well it’s worked for you. Pillar articles are supposed to help one establish their blogs well, and I need to think about doing one that’s way different than the one driving most traffic to my blog now, which I shall clamp my mouth shut on. lol

    • Hi Mitch, and thanks so much for stopping by TSL :-)

      Yeah, Pillar articles help. What’s funny is often times we never know what our pillar articles are going to be until they soak a little and then take off. But such is the life of a blogger and so we just need to continue to plow forward.

      Appreciate the comment very much Mitch. Thanks!

  30. Yes! Any article that starts off with a sweet pic of a guy climbing is tops in my book. Looks like England…?

    Anyway, GREAT article, Marcus. Really inspiring, man. You’ve accomplished some freaking awesome things, and I’m really, really excited to see where you’ll be in the future :)

    As for me… Things are getting good :) I’m a speaker at Podcamp SLC this next weekend. I’m scared, but it’ll be a lot of fun. And then next week I’ll finally be launching my first product. It’ll be the beginning of phase 2 for my blog. I have a feeling that I’m going to be much more motivated to bring people to my blog when I can actually make money from it!

    What else is in store for this year? Two words: product creation. I really want to create a rock climbing information product (it’ll be a video course). And then there are about a bazillion other blogging-related products.

    I get so excited when I think about my future! Sure, there’s uncertainty, but I know what I’m capable of and I know everything will turn out. There’s that one verse in the D&C that’s one of my favorites… “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.” It’s just going to be… awesome :)

    Oh, and thanks for mentioning me!

    • Phase 2 ehh? Love it man, and looking forward to watching it all happen. :-)

      Dude, your products are looking SWEET. A video course sounds like it could be huge, especially with the fact that they can have some pretty nice margins.

      Also, that’s AWESOME that you’ll be speaking at Podcamp SLC. Very stoked for you there T’ and would love it if you could maybe shoot me an email when it’s done to let me know your thoughts/what you learned/ all that jazz (of course, you’ll probably be writing about it anyway so I’m sure I’ll get a chance to give it a look)

      Have a great 2011 bud. :-)

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  32. You’ve really come far since you started out back in 2009 :)
    You wrote really well back then (you do write better now though) but you have really taken measures to move your blog from decent to awesome by networking.

    I didn’t know Seth Godin had commented on your blog, that is pretty cool.

    Keep up the good work buddy!
    Soon you will be able to sell that book, no problem :)

    • Kind words Daniel. If anyone has seen my progression, it’s you, and it means a lot to me that you notice a difference from the ‘old days’. As a writer, it’s tough to sometimes see that, ya know?

      All the best D’, and thanks for your support over the last year.. :-)

      • I am glad you found me in those early days. Still don’t know how you did it ;)

        You were a great writer back than but if you read some of those posts I think you will notice the difference yourself.

        I know that when I read my old posts all I think is “Oh my god! How could I publish that?!”

        Hopefully I won’t feel the same about the posts I publish today in 12 months ;) (probably will though).

  33. What does your future look like when you close your eyes and envision ahead?

    Great question. I see my self as a best selling author, greatest of all time in the realm of music, a philanthropist and living life to the fullest. I do what makes me happy and desire to be the best in it.

    • You’re a thought leader and a go getter Jonathan, no question, and I believe that if you but continue to work hard and improve your skillsets, all those things will, in time, happen.

      Thanks for keeping it real like you always do.

  34. This is awesome Marcus,
    I love that Jim Rohn’s quote! I’m glad you made it through. You really put your best into this and now you’re really enjoying the gain. It’s great to hear that Seth commented on your blog :) You are FAMOUS TO THE FAMILY. haha :) Rock on bro!

    • Yeah, Jim Rohn was the man Samuel :-)

      Thanks for your constant support bud.


  35. It is really an inspiring of success story. Your story confirm that the contents is really important but still the networks is needed to make the great contents come out into internet surface.

    • Hey Dana, great to see you here again. Appreciate your kind words and support!

  36. Wow Marcus, thank you SO much for sharing your story with us. I personally enjoyed hearing how you also struggled in the beginning not seeing any results from all your efforts. The important point everyone should grasp here is to not give up. Instead, that should just light a fire under you to figure out how to get it all going.

    Like you, I was rather stagnant for awhile and silly me. I visited other blogs but never took the time to leave my reply. In my mind, I thought they might find my words silly because I was still a nobody. It took me awhile before I realized that I have just as much to contribute as anyone else. Since then, my information has been taking off as well and my business has continued to grow along with some amazing relationships. Thank you so much for reminding us all of this. Consistency and believing in yourself is definitely the key.

    I appreciate you Marcus and thank you again. Congratulations on your success up to now. You are going to get so busy soon that it will be hard to find time to write but I hope you’ll always have at least a few hours to give us your thoughts.


  37. Before I comment (er, aren’t I already commenting?), I just want to say that you have the natural tendency to get the chatterbox out of me. I haven’t realized that until now, but it’s true. I don’t write nearly as long posts on other blogs as I do on yours! I don’t know what it is – kinda freaky actually. o.O

    OK. Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system…

    Congratulations, Marcus, for such a job well done! Your progress has been phenomenal, and it’s only the beginning! You still have many more rewarding years ahead of you, and I can only wait in anticipation as I watch this blog continue to build, expand, and grow.

    I’m really excited for you and your success. And have no doubt that this post is motivating in the extreme. Thanks for sharing your story, and I can’t wait to see what the next year will bring. :)


  38. Hi Marcus,
    I loved this post. I am actually coming from the opposite angle. As an education professor, professional speaker, and author, I have done a great deal of traditional print. I am finishing up my 5th book Ordinary People Extraordinary Planet and I have published over 100 articles in joournals and magazines. As this next book is released in the fall (my first inspirational book as opposed to educational) I am thinking about beginning the blogging process.

    I loved the tips! Thank you so much. To learn more about me and my mission to globally educate, entertain, and inspire please see this feature article in Obvious Magazine: Best wishes on your endevours and keep up the great tips!
    Shellie @shelliehipsky

    • Hey Doc, a pleasure, and welcome to the world of blogging— you’re going to love it, as it sounds like producing content is second hand nature to you by now. ;-)

      If you do plan on blogging, and mingling with folks like me and the many awesome people in this community and others, I’d suggest you grab an avatar (that little face or Lion ;-) ) next to your name. You can find that at and it’s free and will take seconds to do. From that point on, it will show up simply by you entering your info when you go to comment.

      Also, if you’re just getting started and want free advice, I love helping people through this process. I’m on the road quite a bit and would be happy to answer any questions or give pointers as needed. Just shoot me your number on my contact form or email me your number and when I’m on the road (which is a lot), I’ll give you a shout.

      Thrilled you stopped by Shellie and a huge congrats on all your success up to this point. :-)


      • Thank yo so much for the gravtar tip! I wondered why it didn’t ask for a pic. I hope it works this time. This will be a good check. I am delighted with your offer to help me navaigate the new blogging and social media world. My publicist Aubrey Divito @divito32 started me on Twitter recently when we did a promo tour fo r the upcoming book. I am enjoying it thus far but wonder how so many non-celebrities have such amazingly high numbers. Any insights?

        • Now that’s a GREAT avatar Shellie!

          As far as insights go….yeah, I’ve got lots, and like I said before, I’m happy to chat about it anytime or you can scour the articles on blogging here, because many are all about how to build communities that rock, like this one. ;-)

    • BTW, LOVED your interview….

      Mother, Wife, & Teacher….

      I’d like mine to say: Father, Husband, & Teacher

      Looks like we’re cut from a similar cloth Doc ;-)

      • Thank you! I am going to keep your email handy and I am following you on Twitter. While I have my Mentoring Magic site for my last book, the Ordinary People Extraordinary Planet book is so much more widely marketable (I have presold/preorders of over 600 books globally and it doesn’t come out until Sept.) It is a cool one because it is based on people who were interviewed by Ray Leonard and heard in 75 countries on his radio show. They have conquered incredible obstacles and have gone on to do incredibly inspirational things. Because of a deep passion for giving back, 25% of the profits will be split between the charities featured in the book at benchmarks. Thank you for helping us spread the word by providing tips you have learned!

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