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(Literal) Text Transcription of the video :
Olivier Roland: Hello George!
George Shepherd: Hello!
Olivier Roland: How are you?
George Shepherd: Good!
Olivier Roland: George is what I call “a homeless millionaire” because he sold his house a few months ago and he is currently living a really interesting lifestyle because he doesn’t have a house; he is travelling with his wife and just enjoying life. Before we get to the story, can you just introduce yourself to the people who are viewing this video right now? Who are you? What is your business?
George Shepherd: My name is George Shepherd. I have run several businesses, like most entrepreneurs, we see opportunity everywhere. So, one of the decisions that I made early on was not to let any opportunity slip through my fingers. This is a very bad decision to make because with opportunity, when you know how to market, you experience success. So trying to run several successful businesses puts a lot of weight on your shoulders. It caused me at one point to realize that I’m working more than an average hourly employee.
Although, I had lots of businesses running, doing stuff that I enjoyed doing but because I enjoyed doing it so much, it never really seemed like it was a problem. Only, after a period of time, which was seven years of doing this, my wife said “This has to stop. We need to spend time together.” I realized that why I got into this business was not because I wanted to work so many hours, I wanted actually to not work so many hours. I want to have more freedom.
Olivier Roland: Interesting.
George Shepherd: So, in that realization, I said I have to do something that is radically different. I have to basically follow the principals that I was originally brought to this business from and thought about, which was work two or three hours a day maybe at most. How can I make that happen? I realized that it’s never going to happen unless you make a serious shift, a serious change.
Olivier Roland: So, you have this Internet business that was looking great. You made a good amount of money but you were working twelve hours a day.
George Shepherd: Yes. Sometimes, fifteen.
Olivier Roland: Oh my God! And seven days a week?
George Shepherd: Almost seven days.
Olivier Roland: Almost, right. What was your business?
George Shepherd: Well, I had domain names so I’d make money off of PPC revenue. I have done magazines, so I have a lot of physical products, email marketing, courses. So, one product would lead to another and I would be working on all of these businesses all the same time. And I had a staff but I still had to kind of micromanage things to make sure things were done the right way or the way that I wanted them to be done. I didn’t rely on my team enough with that point.
So, I had a shift in consciousness of I need to rely on people more and actually find the right people in my team to take that to the next level, not necessarily replicating myself in its entirety but replicating portions of myself and bringing in team members just to do those portions of things because that’s what I really wanted to do.
Olivier Roland: You had this realization that you are working too much, and it is not what you wanted at the beginning. So, you decided to do something that would make a big change. What was that?
George Shepherd: That was put everything in storage, selling the place that I had, and living on the road.
Olivier Roland: Selling like your house.
George Shepherd: Basically, I was renting at that time, so, it wasn’t too big of a transition. But still, the issue was putting stuff on storage doesn’t give you much of a safety net. There is no nest, there is no home to go back to, so you are on your own. It’s kind of like flying in a trapeze without a safety net. You have to really trust in yourself. And an online business can allow you to do that but you have to have that confidence inside to know that you can make this happen.
Olivier Roland: And you have to do it.
George Shepherd: You just have to do it, that’s the key. How do you learn how to swim? No one can teach you how to swim. You have to get in the pool because you don’t know how buoyancy is, how it is to be able to control yourself. You know that you are relying on yourself to swim, you are not relying on someone else to keep you floating. So, I had to get in the water and get in the water that was so deep that I was forced to swim, sink or swim at that point.
Olivier Roland: It’s interesting. You had this online business that was doing well for seven years and you had the possibility of working less if you wanted to but you were, I think, in this spiral, you always wanted more. You wanted more security, more money, more traffic, more things. How did you stop this addiction to that?
George Shepherd: That’s a good question. I think, only when the time comes, when you realize you can’t continue like that any longer, there is a fundamental shift in the way that you have to view life otherwise you burn yourself out completely. And I realized at that point when I was at the… I was not at the lowest point but I realized that I wasn’t doing the thing that I was telling everyone is possible. With that being said I felt almost like a fraud in a way because telling one “internet lifestyle’s great. You can have a business and run it everywhere.” But my wife always came to me and said “We can’t run this business everywhere because you work fifteen hours a day.” What are we going to do? There is no vacation, there is no travel, and I said “That’s right, it’s important, holy cow!”
I said “I have to do this the way I have to do it.” So, I just pushed everything aside. I think one of the key focuses I found which you help me make this realization, I had to fill my time if I am going to do this the right way, the other time, the excess time that I am supposed to having fun with activities because I found that the fifteen hours a day work came from not having something to do. And I was looking for more stuff to fill that time with.
Olivier Roland: “Fill in the void, like Tim Ferris said.
George Shepherd: Yes, and I couldn’t watch TV for ten hours a day and work for a few hours a day. Just that’s not in my style.
Olivier Roland: Sure.
George Shepherd: So, I had to find things like going out experiencing new restaurants, travelling to a destination, going hiking, doing things that really make me crazy like sky diving or paragliding, those types of things, hang-gliding. So, I started filling my experiences, having experiences with these new adventures and it became a very easy lifestyle, something that I’ve started to become accustomed to. Going back to working fifteen hours a day now feels very foreign because I tried that once to twice during a launch situation where I had to work for eight hours or something. At the end of six hours, I was totally exhausted. I was like “This is horrible.”
Olivier Roland: How could I do this?
George Shepherd: “How could I do this?” That’s what I was thinking. I did twice as much. So, it’s that shift that really made me say, this is something that I think every entrepreneur goes through in their life. Just we realize that there’s so much opportunity and there is a serious, I don’t know how would you say it, there is a serious challenge of how do we manage ourselves? I think someone in a group said ‘At one point, you have to protect your business from yourself sometimes.” And it’s very true.
Olivier Roland: It is. It’s very interesting because you had this realization. It was overwhelming for you so, it was like a life decision. If you really wanted to live and keep your life perhaps, you had to make this big shift. You needed the big realization, the big motivation and then, it’s just a matter of habit. Because like you said, you became addicted to work and it became a habit. It’s just because you didn’t have anything else to do. So, when you have free time, what do you do? You work because it’s your habit, you don’t ever think about that. You just open your computer and you are working.
Usually, it’s not a very important task. It’s like you work for work sake. So, it is one of the key. If you have an online business that is doing great, you already have the possibility to have an awesome lifestyle, in the style of the “Four Hour Work Week”. But it’s not because you have the possibility that you will do it, you have to actually do it. It’s the same with the body, we have the possibility to learn how to swim but to do that, we have actually to go to the swimming pool, like you said. So it’s interesting, a lot of entrepreneurs, I think, have the possibility of having such an awesome lifestyle. They can do it but they will never do it because it’s just a bad habit. It’s like smoking, you know it’s bad for you but you can’t help it.
George Shepherd: You can’t stop.
Olivier Roland: Yes, exactly.
And at one point, you have to decide what is really important for you in your life and try it. For you, it was, first, you started with your personal life, leaving your house. You wanted to create occupation for you, activities for you. It’s what helped you to really remove yourself more from the company. You didn’t begin with the company, by creating your free time first, you created activities beforehand.
George Shepherd: Right.
Olivier Roland: It’s important because most people think, first, I have to create free time in my life, but it’s not the case. They have to create activities first.
George Shepherd: Yes.
Olivier Roland: And the work time will be lower, naturally.
George Shepherd: Because you just replace the work time with the activity. One of the things that helped us to make that happen was, there is a couple of sites that are called like LivingSocial, Groupon where you can buy things at a discount but their activities you pay in advance. So, my wife went out on this shopping spree and started buying all these activities for us to do, paying in advance, and we had to use these activities by a certain date or we would lose those. Literally, we would buy an activity in Maine, for example, Maine, United States, and we would buy something out in California, and we would buy this other experience, so, that forced us to go travel.
Olivier Roland: Great.
George Shepherd: So, it’s kind of like stepping forward and making that commitment to do it. And it’s not just saying “Yes, I will do this.” It’s actually you have to put something out into the universe and for us it was paying for that experience.
Olivier Roland: And have a deadline.
George Shepherd: Exactly. The deadline is very important.
Olivier Roland: Yeah. It’s really great point. You pay for it, you have a deadline, it’s a good motivation for you to really do what you want to do. How many hours you are working now?
George Shepherd: Between two and four hours a day.
Olivier Roland: Wow.
George Shepherd: The agreement that I have right now is, during the day my wife plans our entire lifestyle. So, she will make the plans for going out to restaurants, going sightseeing, doing crazy things – the sky diving was her idea, which was really funny – She makes these fun activities for us and when we come back to the hotel at night, that’s my work time. Typically, that’s going to be somewhere between 6 pm and 9 pm. And you don’t have much time to work at that time. It’s almost like it forces you because I don’t want to stay up until 2 a.m. in the morning working.
Olivier Roland: Exactly.
George Shepherd: So, two to four hours maybe; sometimes, not even at all.
Olivier Roland: You have these activities that only leave you three hours a day to work and it forces you to really focus on what is really important. Like it’s mandatory, if you don’t do it you’re just screwed.
George Shepherd: That’s so important focusing because what I realized is that I was spending so much time on things like research, coming up with other ideas. And by shutting off my email and sending all my emails to different folders, I was eliminating all the clutter and all the noise that was going on, like all the interaction people trying to get me to buy this or buy that. I eliminated all that stuff, I stopped looking at those webinars and stopped looking at other people’s material and only focused on the stuff that was most important, the things that I committed to working on and learning. And by doing that, I had a void so I had this time to really start thinking. I think not enough entrepreneurs sit down and really think about their business.
Olivier Roland: That’s true.
George Shepherd: I think between thirty minutes and ninety minutes a day, you should just have a quiet time and think about where you are going with your business because if you don’t take the time to do that, you are flying in your ship and you don’t have a map because you are the person that’s actually at the rudder, you are steering the ship but you don’t know where you are going. And with so many distractions going on, I was not able to think about those things. So, I started relying on my team more to do little parts of my business and doing so, I became more focused on what was the most important thing. So, the first step was: find the thing that made me the most money that was in my unique ability.
Olivier Roland: You did a 20/80 analysis of your company.
George Shepherd: Yeah, in a way. I didn’t do it as scientifically as that. What was the thing that made me the most money that I love to do because it’s not just about having a job that just pays you because you might hate law but you might be a lawyer. That’s not the lifestyle we are trying to live, we want to be able to enjoy what we are doing.
Olivier Roland: Doing what is our passion.
George Shepherd: Exactly.
I found that unique ability of mine and I wanted to make sure that I focused and lived in that unique ability as much as I possibly could. I just focus on doing those things and then, scaling my business up. So, I created automatic in evergreen sequences. Once I did the work once, I can turn around and have that broadcast again and again and again. I didn’t have to worry about doing that live. The last four days, I had two evergreen sequences running. I haven’t checked the stats yet, they won’t be finished until Saturday which is a couple of days from now. But they have each done five figures each while I’m at this event which we are hanging out at right now.
Olivier Roland: So it’s just like passive income on a computer just click on, it runs and that’s it.
George Shepherd: Exactly. And the great thing about it is the thing that I am selling to people, which is good information that helps people because it’s transformation type material. That’s stuff that they get great value out of and my value is I get to live the lifestyle that I want. So, instead of saying “Ok, how am I going to make enough money to pay for hotels rooms and air travel and rental cars?” Let’s see “What can I give of value to my people so they can help me support this lifestyle?” I can give this back to them because at some point, this creates a story that’s a motivational experience for them. It’s basically “Look! I can do it. If I can do it, you can do it.”
Olivier Roland: Exactly.
George Shepherd: I don’t have… I don’t have a college degree in marketing, I have only studied things online, buying courses from people and checking out blogs and such things, learning. I am a drummer, I have a lot of jokes about drummer not being quite the smartest people in the world. But so, if a drummer can do this, anyone can do it.
That was the idea. I want just to say “Look! You can do this.” And I can’t in honesty and in integrity tell people to do something that I am not willing to do myself.
Olivier Roland: Sure.
George Shepherd: That’s what made that shift to say “I have to do this.” It’s not even a matter of “Do I want to do this”, it’s a matter of “I have to do this” at this point not only from a personal standpoint but just from an educational standpoint, to live in integrity with the message that I was giving people.
Olivier Roland: So, you got rid of a lot of stuff.
George Shepherd: Yes
Olivier Roland: Like what, emails? You do drop some products that were not really selling…
George Shepherd: Yeah. I shut down a couple of magazines because one of my businesses was actually physical and virtual magazines. So, I shut down a few magazines. I eliminated the people in my staffs that were time suckers; they just drain time out of work. They weren’t really completing the project on time. So, I got rid of those folks. I focus on the core, what’s going to take us to this next level. Who can I actually count on and trust? That process takes time to really develop. It’s quiet frustrating but you have to ask the right questions to get the team that really going to be supportive of you. If you don’t ask the right questions, you’re basically setting yourself up for failure and it’s then your own fault if you hire the wrong people.
Olivier Roland: What about the revenue? Was it divided by two or…?
George Shepherd: Yeah we forgot to talk about that.
Olivier Roland: Yeah.
George Shepherd: Normally, I would think that I just need enough to sustain myself by focusing on my unique ability and doing the things that generate the most money, that I had control of, the stuff that I love. My revenue actually doubled by working less, which was a shock to me.
Olivier Roland: Doubled by working less.
George Shepherd: By working less
Olivier Roland: That’s so impressive.
George Shepherd: It doubled the revenue by working 1/4 of the time, may be even 1/10 of the time.
Olivier Roland: So, you multiplied by eight what you earn in an hour. That’s awesome. Wow. Tim Ferris says that most people can multiply their output by ten and you almost did it.
George Shepherd: Yeah.
Olivier Roland: When you hear this for the first time, you say “Bullshit. It’s not possible.” But there are a lot of examples of people that did that because… yeah. Wow
George Shepherd: I used to think the same thing. I’d watch videos similar to this, I’d see someone shoot a video, whether to be on a YouTube channel or someone’s website trying to sell something. And I would say “Oh, you know, they must have been paid, they are actors, it’s not real.” But until you get to experience it, all you need is that taste. The moment that you start making any money online is the moment where everything changes. Then the next step, it would snowball, it just starts growing.
As long as you keep doing what you have been doing, you’ll get to that point. But you have to change what you’re doing right now because if you are not getting the result that you want in your life right now, you have to change. You can’t expect to keep doing the same thing you are doing in life and get a different result. That’s insanity.
Olivier Roland: Exactly.
Yeah. A lot of people want something else in life but they keep doing the same thing for twenty years. And they wonder why nothing changes. That’s crazy. We are human. It took you seven years to realize that you didn’t have what you wanted. It’s normal, sometimes we are just… not thinking, locked in our habit and that’s perfectly Ok, we are not perfect. But one day, you get this realization and you have to act on it. Perhaps, one realization can come from this interview. If you are still watching, I think, it’s because you are interested.
And like George said, a lot of people are watching these interviews, these videos “Oh, it’s great but is it real? Will it work for me?” You have to test it. You have to take the risk to fail because you believe in something instead “Oh, yeah, pff! We will see about that another day” and another day never comes.
George Shepherd: Yeah. Procrastination is a horrible thing because it’s so easy to fall in that comfort zone of “I will do it tomorrow, or the next time. I just don’t have time right now.” Excuses are … there’s dozens of excuses that you can come up for any single issue. The thing that you need to do is eliminate these excuses from your life and step up to a point where you are like “This is what I really want and I’m willing to take that risk.”
The risk is I think what most people are scared of these days, “What if I fail, what if it doesn’t work out the way I planned on it working out.” You have to get past that because if you never get past that you‘re never going to improve your lifestyle or your wealth or whatever the motivation is, some people it’s wealth, some people it’s lifestyle, some people it’s spending more time with their family.
Some people, they want to have more experiences like sky diving, hang-gliding, floating in space, whatever that might be; going back to school even is an experience. And I realized also I’ve done this many times in my life. It’s a pattern, I know, at least, for me, I know it was a pattern. But for seven years I forgot that pattern. I forgot to take that risk, I moved from Ohio, where I was originally born, and I moved to a College in Boston Massachusetts with no money. I was going to go for one semester. And I went there and said “I know nobody in Boston, a big city, I come from a small town, I have to make it. This is my dream.”
And I end up staying for almost four years, I never completed the course because I realized that I was becoming “the city-type” so to speak which… for my character, I just like to be more friendly. I noticed when I was walking down the street, I wouldn’t look at anyone in the eye. I was not as passionate…
Olivier Roland: It was making you harder.
George Shepherd: Yeah, that’s a great analogy. It was hardening me.
Olivier Roland: Like a lot of big cities, I mean
George Shepherd: Yes, and once I realize that, the same shift that came into play. I said “I have to stop this, I am not the person that I wanted to become.” So, I decided to pack all my stuff up, again and I moved back to Ohio for a couple of months just to see my family and then, I moved straight to California. I had $100 in my pocket and I had one month’s rent. And I moved to a place, on the West coast, which was three times as far away from the place I’ve just gone from and I did it all again. I started completely over at that point.
This was the next step for me which was making this different shift in my life now that I’ve been able to actually experience a certain amount of success and I had that confidence. Because I would have never been able to do what I am doing right now without having a least a little bit of confidence in my own abilities.
Olivier Roland: Very interesting. I hope this video will be like an invitation for you to do a reality check.
Do you have what you really want in life now? If you have an Internet business, do you have the possibility of doing what George did? Will you focus on what is important and working less because I know a lot of people are working so much. It’s not only one story about that, of people that decided to focus on what is really important and made more money by working less because we are often our own enemy, and “you have to protect your company from yourself.”
Do you have a last tip for people who want to act now? What is the first thing to do?
George Shepherd: The first step that I advice people is that if you take just ten minutes even and you write down what if you won a lottery today. You don’t have to work again another day in your life, what will be the thing that you did after you got off the cough and stop watching TV for a while. Most people would say “Well, let me go just sit around and do nothing.”
You have to fill your day with something, what are the five things that you would do? And then from these five things, because those are your passions, they are the activities that you enjoy. Pick the things that you would enjoy the most and start living those right now. That includes not just making them into a business or idea for business, but turning them to make something you actually can engage in on a regular basis. And these five activities would be the start of tens, thousands of different things that you can end up doing. But it takes sitting down and visualizing for yourself.
What is my perfect day? What would I like to be doing each day? And really map that out like sit down with a piece of paper and just say “When I get up, what time would it be that I get up in the morning?” After that, what would I eat for breakfast? Who would I eat breakfast with? What temperature is it outside? What location am I in?
Olivier Roland: Every detail you can think of.
George Shepherd: Every detail, be absolutely as detailed as possible.
Olivier Roland: Your perfect day.
George Shepherd: Exactly. I believe until you put that on paper and put this out into the universe, it can never come back to you because it’s all energy. Our thoughts are energy, everything that comes into our possession and everything that we let go of is energy. So, you should let go of the things that hold you back and try to embrace and bring to you, attract the things that you want in your life. So that is the first step, in making a shift.
Olivier Roland: Awesome, if you are still watching this video it’s because you are really motivated. So, right now, take that piece of paper or open a document on your computer and do this exercise.
Thank you George, that’s awesome. Great story.
George Shepherd: Thank you.
Olivier Roland: I think it’s really inspiring for all of us so thank you and see you next time. Bye!
George Shepherd: Bye bye!