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comfort’s the enemy of growth.

our thinking and life is driven by habits.  a big change in your life requires a big change in your thinking (first), and then your doing.   people and businesses love to sit around basically doing the same thing year after year, hoping for more…when in reality they’re afraid of going ‘all in’ to make the changes necessary to create the breakthroughs.

change is scary for most people.

change requires uncertainty, by it’s very nature.  again, very scary for most people.

you have to embrace the fear and learn how to be ok with uncertainty, not run from it, if you want to go big in life or work.

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i’m feeling jealous.  it happens in the technology world all the time, to everyone, since there’s always a new hot company, a new big fundraising round or exit, or a new big publicity stunt.

it doesn’t happen to me as often as it used to when i was younger, but it happens.   i doubt 99% of humans can avoid it?

we all get jealous.  whichever business icon you see out there (elon musk, richard branson, etc) probably gets jealous of someone else’s family life.  a super happy parent might get jealous of a rich person, or of other parents with kids who had a music prodigy, or a million other parenting reasons..  or one entrepreneur of another who’s younger, did it faster, bigger, whatever.

whoever you’re jealous of is probably jealous themselves of a slim person.  or someone who can grow a beard.  or run fast, jump high, dance, make music, clothes, doesn’t have to deal with paparazzi… there’s an endless list of what you COULD be jealous about.

when it happens to me, i let it fuel my ambition, learning from others, and i also practicing ‘changing the station’ and think about all the amazingly happy parts of my life.

because if you “compare and despair” and let it rule you, it’ll suck any joy you do have out of your life.  it’s a no-win game to play with yourself.

it’s all a paradox

March 31st, 2015

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need to make more money?   you need to work harder to get that idea done.

or maybe you need to stop working, so you can come up with a better idea.

kids frustrated or fighting?   you need to give them more structure and discipline.

or maybe they’re just rebelling against the current structure and need more freedom.

in a troubled relationship?  you need to take a break from it and refind your priorities.

or maybe you need to go all-in and fully commit.

there’s a reason why you will always get conflicting advice for any problem you have – life’s a paradox, and there are no fixed ‘rules’ you can rely on.  well, maybe being honest with yourself and others.

the point is you need to learn to feel the best thing to do for you in each situation, not depend on others’ advice.

this is why anxiety is such a problem, because it blocks you from listening to you, and why fear-based decisions point people in the wrong direction.

 

late nights

March 29th, 2015

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the work never ends as a dad, and especially a dad-entrepreneur.  it’s 10:30pm and i finished getting kids to bed, dog walked / etc around 10pm.  then spent half an hour fiddling with email and responding to a couple of webinar comments.

and i have to get up at 5:30am tomorrow to help everyone get ready for school…

starting & growing a business can be a lot of work – with great rewards.

a family is a lot of work – with great rewards.

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having a family has been the #1 motivator to me to grow my business and income.  there’s nothing like having bills to pay, and needing (wanting desperately) to get a bigger house, private schools, medical, food, etc bills paid to light a fire under my ass!

in other words, when i was alone, i didn’t have enough purpose or passion around making money to really go for it in a big way.  but getting married and having (a lot) more kids did that for me.

in fact, i realize – as i work on the sequel to Predictable Revenue around massive revenue growth, like Zenefits growing from $1m in revenue to $100m+ in just two years?! – i’ve been following a lot of the same principles personally that the companies i’m writing about have done too.

small bites

March 27th, 2015

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i haven’t written on here for what seems a LONG TIME – mostly because i’m so focused on both my “predictablerevenue.com” and “dad-of-5-and-growing” and “husband of 1″ jobs.

i work my ass off all week, though only about 20-30 hours is at pr.com.   so by the time i have free time, i’m rarely feeling like writing!

so i thought i’d try just posting some bites up here more regularly.

as an experiment.

starting today.

luckily i have a great team of support all around, between work and family, which has allowed us to grow income 10x over the past 3-4 years, and family size 3x, while working the same amount and actually having a lot more fun.

i know a lot of people are scared of having kids for the first time, or more than 1-2 kids.  i get it, i’ve been there.  but when you go ‘all-in’ (as my friend dr. phil would say) it all works out.

i’ve found in growing a business the best way for me to create financial wealth, while in growing a family’s been the best way to create emotional wealth.

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i’ve had a bunch of friends reach out recently around doing more consulting, writing books to build a business, etc.  and i have a business that’s on the way to being 7 figures, while working 25 hours a week (usually but not always – since specially lately i’ve had to work harder to keep up & for client travel).

so i thought i’d jot down a few ideas i’ve been sharing…

 

* focus focus focus on a niche!  aka unique genius

why: people don’t buy general help.  they buy very specific help for specific problems.  that’s why though i write books and blog about many ways of growing sales fast, 90% of my consulting is around outbound prospecting.  it’s my unique genius (at work), my specialty, what i’m the best in the world at.  and what i can charge real money for.   consider radio stations – every station has a single specialty, because who’d listen to a station that played a jumble of “rock pop jazz classical blue grass country etc etc”?   that’s confusing, and confusion = “no”.

how: one step: ask friends and clients the question, “what’s the one thing you hired me for, or would hire me for?”

the idea of focusing this way tends to scare people…you come up with fears like “it’s too narrow”, “it’s not interesting”, “i don’t want to be limited”, etc – but you will shoot yourself in the foot by being too many things to too many people.

 

* do as many free talks as you can to get started (whether live or webinars)

why: it might help finding clients, but for me it mostly forced me to crystallize my ideas and messages into a few, compelling ones

 

* don’t expect to make money selling books

why:  the royalties are nice…but you need to sell a LOT of books to make much $ (in my mind, six figures a year+).  5% of the money i make is from royalties, 80% is from consulting, 15% from speaking.  or something like that.

how: i self-published my first three books, and it worked great – but now i’m partnering with a “hybrid publisher” called FGPress.com.  i would recommend you avoid traditional publishers – who don’t do squat for you – and find a good hybrid partner.

 

* sell money to make money  

why: i know you want people to feel good, to have more time, less anxiety, better teamwork… but people don’t really buy those things.  the frank truth is everyone wants money.   (and in some other areas, they’ll pay money for health & relationships and a few other niches).  but my speciality is in business, so to business experts/coaches i say “sell money to make money” – that is, you have to show them how they will make money, save money or have less risk of losing money, to be able to charge much money.

 

* figure out how to charge more per hour, usually by doing projects that have concrete outcomes

why: you’ll be limited to lower per-hour amounts, and smaller projects, when doing per hour work.   FYI – my effective rates (for different situations) are $1k-$3k+ an hour.

how: check out www.uniquegenius.com/money-video for ideas

 

* comfort is the enemy of success

why: i know how easy it is to coast along, doing just enough.  but when you’re comfortable, you’re not getting outside your comfort zone to push yourself in new ways that help you break through into the next level.    you should be doing things that make you nervous.  constantly.   this isn’t just about hours worked, though that can be part of it.   it’s mostly doing things that scare you – like doubling prices, public speaking, writing a book, or even reducing/limiting your hours.

 

* what lit a fire under my ass

getting married and having kids…

http://pebblestorm.com/2015/03/27/my-most-incredible-motivator-to-make-a-lot-more-money/

 

so – what other questions do you have?

 

 

 

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on july 1st, 12:03a in the morning (just after midnight), our new baby daughter, Darcy Elizabeth Antoinette Ross, was born (9lbs, 1oz)!

thankfully it was an easy birth!  (Pari – who was 10lbs 1oz, was a lot harder).  darcy’s been home with us for a week, and she and mom are doing great.   she’s luckily a very easy baby.  she joins our other kids at home, Aurora (11), Valentin (9), Maverick (5), Pari (2).   we also have two more kids still in an adoption process.

i’m making July a family month, taking a break from work, which includes a new book with Jason Lemkin, The Predictable Revenue Guide To Tripling Your Sales.

and some pix…

baby darcy birth shots

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New ebook (free)…

Ebook cover - triple your sales

 

 

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6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person

well done sir!

 

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i mentioned before that i’ve begun taking my bigger kids on business trips (valentin to boston), and over on PredictableRevenue.com, i put up a new post that aurora put together (with my help laying it out) about ‘how to make a boring conference fun‘ for kids.   pretty neat!

check it out here, and here’s a video of her on stage with me:

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Why I Work 20-30 Hours A Week

October 2nd, 2013

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Over on PredictableRevenue.com:

Why I Work 20-30 Hours A Week

predictable revenue inside sales ideas insights hours work too hard

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for quite awhile i feel like most of my PebbleStorm has been mostly about family & adoption, rather than prior years’ focus on ‘Unique Genius’.  it’s funny how everything i do is all facets of the same gem: perhaps seemingly different on the outside, but all different reflections of the same thing, with my family influencing my work, and vice versa.

for most people, i think work and family/afterwork are like oil and water – but do they have to be?

over the past few years the ‘Unique Genius’ ideas have transformed my PredictableRevenue.com business; i learn every day, working ~25 hours a week, with great people and a best-selling book.  i’m taking baby steps in developing my ‘Unique Genius Selling’ ideas, helping people learn how to make ‘selling’ (themselves, their ideas or products) a life skill that’s effective and fulfilling.

milkshakes

and my family continues to influence who i am and how i work, plus becoming a part of my content (as in the Hubspot presentation above), and coming to talks in person.  and with milkshakes…

my 10 year old daughter Aurora is my ‘unique genius sales apprentice,’ to learn more about teaching young kids healthy business & life skills early, such as being impeccably honest, empathic, and helpful.

for example, i’m teaching her a couple of simple sales/marketing techniques to use on her mother (shhhh, don’t tell Jess) such as “WIIFM”: What’s In It For Mom.  “Ok, so you want a milkshake – but how can you ask mom for one not in a demanding or selfish way, but rather a way that she gets something valuable too out of it?”   the idea is to teach empathy, value and communication while helping her get her milkshakes :)

anyway, i could turn this into a whole separate post in itself (and will sometime, after making more progress), but back to the point, i only see this trend continuing of seeing all my main interests merging or greatly influencing each other, step by step, year after year…

do you have some top interests that seem vastly different, yet – how could you begin to combine, share or merge them to improve them for yourself and others?  no step is too small to take in getting started or trying something new.

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news

so – we’ve had lots of good news over the past weeks, plus some recent bad news…


1. death

my wife’s grandfather passed away on Monday;she was very close to him.  it was a stark reminder of how fast life goes by, and what it takes to not waste it.

making the most of your time isn’t about “taking it easy” (though that sounds good); you’ll find that happiness, wealth and fulfillment come from the temporary discomfort of getting out of your comfort zone and taking on new ways to grow, speaking of which…

2. life 

we’re adopting two more kids from Ethiopia next year:
adopting again; next stop = six kids

i’m now taking the older kids on business trips:
valentin comes with me to Hubspot’s Inbound Conference

…and using lots of family pictures in my Predictable Revenue talks:
Hubspot talk: Simple, Sane & Successful Inbound Marketing

 

3. news from Predictable Revenue

(if you’re not on the Predictable Revenue newsletter yet & want it, you can subscribe at PredictableRevenue.com):

“#1″

Predictable Revenue hit the #1 spot on Amazon.com best-selling list for sales & marketing ebooks (and was the 16th of all business books)!  thank you to all of you who’ve bought, read, recommended and reviewed it!

9 takeaways from a sales leader discussion

the team at SalesLoft did a great job summarizing a Hangout video discussion between myself, Kyle Porter (CEO SalesLoft) & Ken Krogue (President, InsideSales.com).  Check it out here –
http://blog.salesloft.com/sales-leader-discussion

audiobook now available: 

after a two year wait, there is now an audiobook version of Predictable Revenue!  i found a woman with a wonderful voice to record it; i like to think of it as Jane Austen (you’ll see what i mean when you listen to the voice artist) meets Glengarry Glen Ross:  check it out on Amazon.com

new “get to your first million” ideas

i’m doing a 4-part mini-series on the Sales4Startups blog on ideas around getting to your first million in sales.  the most recent post:
Part 2: What Kinds of Pricing Or Packaging Options Generate The Most Revenue?

sept 15 Predictable Revenue special 

if you’re a CEO or sales leader and are working on getting to your first million in sales, or want to speed up new sales by 2x-3x, email us about what it’d be like to work together, since we’re offering some ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ deals for companies who sign up by Sept 15 (to hit our own goals) …email alicia@predictablerevenue.com.

 

adopting again; next stop: 6 kids

September 4th, 2013

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in my last post here i said people who adopt have to be INSANE, and listed out why…and lo and behold, here we are now adopting another two kids, a 8 year old brother and 3 year old sister, from Ethiopia.

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buy a badass tshirt & help out

my wife and daughter put together a funny tshirt idea to help us raise adoption funds & encourage more people to adopt, watch aurora’s video and then check out the tshirt page!  the campaign ends tonight, Tuesday Sept 24th, so this is your only chance…

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check out the Lifesaving TShirt Fund page

six kids & counting

so probably by Fall 2014, we’ll have six kids.  and we’d like to have another biological, and can see adopting more…so who knows how many we’ll end up with?  my wife Jessica and I both love having a big family.   neither of us had big families (i had two siblings growing up; she had one) or are religious, we just really enjoy it.

it’s been three months since we brought our 4-year old son Maverick back to the USA from China, and he settled in very quickly.  he’s a funny, funny guy!  having such a great experience with him just reaffirms our desire to keep adopting and having kids…

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sharing

it’ll be more work having six kids (but not 6x more work), and more kids = more love and fun to us.  i’ve already seen how all the kids are good for each other, they learn so much from each other so quickly, such as in learning how to share.

baby Pari (who’s now 18 months) never had to share until Maverick showed up.  it was rough for awhile learning to share toys, mommy, food etc with her big brother Maverick – there was a lot of screaming and crying at first.  but now they’ve both become (usually) great at taking turns and sharing.

Pari now (usually) happily shares some food with Maverick when he asks, and they’re (usually) happy taking turns at say, riding in the bike with me or in their little plastic car.

IMG_0550 cute pari mav in red car

 

kids can be $$$

i know it’s especially expensive to have kids in metropolitan areas, and it seems like “the magic number” of kids is 2.  right now, i can’t think of anyone I know in California with more than three kids from a single marriage.

that might make sense in a very expensive state like California.  zach james (founder, ZEFR) said something that really resonated: “some people plan kids around finances; some plan their finances around kids.”

(hmm – some people plan their lives around their finances; and some plan their finances around their lives…)

don’t let the media scare you

in the New York Times, a few days ago i skimmed an adoption horror story, one that involves a child dying and international drama.  it’s the nature of news that most of the stories around adoption (or anything) are going to be negative, since that’s what makes for more popular “news”.  and the ‘worse’ the story, the more likely it can make the front page!

i hate to say it, but to the media, happiness is boring and usually just doesn’t make for a good story (“child is loved!”  vs. “child is abused!”)  go the the front page of the New York Times, and count how many stories are positive vs. negative.  then, if something is calling to you to adopt, don’t let the media scare you or your spouse.

badass 

did you see the Badass Life-Saving TShirt yet?

the most badass life-saving tshirt – save 2 kids in africa

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i’ve started taking one of our big kids (my son valentin – 8 years old; my daughter aurora – 10 years old) on my business trips, when i speak at events or conferences.

i want them to learn what real life is like by experiencing it hands-on when they can.  plus it’s more fun for me and keeps the trip light :)

in august, i spoke twice at Hubspot’s huge Inbound Conference in Boston (one talk: Create Predictable, Scalable Sales Revenue;  the second “Simple, Sane & Successful Inbound Marketing” -> which if you check out, you’ll see that i’m using a lot of funny family pictures in my presentations now to help make my points and further complement work and family)

valentin came with me to this trip to boston:

IMG_0644 dad bud hubspot conference

 of course we had to build a fort at the hotel from just about everything we could pick up or move!

IMG_0684 bud fort boston

warning: you gotta be careful goofing around with a jacket over your head –

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IMG_0681 cute bud dad

IMG_0664 speaking at hubspot bud in audience

IMG_0651 cute dad bud

valentin was very proud of is “VIP” title!

IMG_0648 bud proud of his vip badge

renting bikes and biking to Fenway Park

photo 4

took the Fenway Park tour

fenway park

heading home…

virigin america

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maveric april 2013have you or if you’re married, your spouse, ever thought about or wanted to adopt?

but concerns or doubts stopped you / them…

i mean, life’s already busy and expensive enough – who’d want to add MORE on top of that by adopting?  it’d mean:

* more work (and you’re already overwhelmed)
* more unknowns / risks (so many things can go wrong)
* more expenses (it’s daunting paying for everything already)
* less free time and freedom

…and if you adopted a “special needs” (mental / physical challenges) child – you gotta be CERTIFIABLY INSANE!  who knows what you’ll have to do or give up to be able to care for them?  and will they ever be able to have a “normal” life?

i mean, if you’re going to adopt, you might as well get a perfectly healthy baby, to make it easier both on you and them – right?

well…they way our human minds work is funny.

humans fear losing something specific much more than being able to appreciate a vague gain in the future.

in other words, the “big loss” outweighs an uncertain gain, so we do nothing.  whatever we say…our lizard brain prefers the devil we know to the one we don’t.   this is why people do funny things like:

  • we don’t start that business we’ve talked about for years, or take a leap to the next level.
  • we don’t quit a job working for a toxic boss / team.
  • we don’t bail out of a toxic relationship.
  • and…while your heart or something calls you to do it, you don’t adopt, giving into you or your spouse’s perfectly logical and reasonable doubts why it may not ‘make sense’

unfortunately, you don’t create a life of love, wealth or fulfillment by being reasonable.

i love this famouse quote: “The reasonable person adapts themself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adopt the world to themself.  Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable person.” —George Bernard Shaw

we need more insanity in the world

well, call me and my wife bonkers. nuts.  wackos.  fruitcakes.

(i’m sure our families and friends think we are.)

we’re crazy enough to adopt and learn to love a 4 year old boy from china who’s not “ours.”

to adopt and learn to love one who has special needs, something called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC).  basically his elbows and knees don’t move well, making it hard to do things like eat, go potty or change clothes.

so he has special needs, so what?  in reading about his personality and what kind of boy he is, he’s kind, loving, and caring of the other kids around him.  his personality just jumped out at us.

another picture of Maverick Henry Lilei Lu Ross…

maverick henry lilei lu ross adoption adopt international amc Arthrogryposis special needs

so we already have three kids, so what?

more kids to us = more fun and love.  we’re firmly in the “more is better” camp around kids.

call us insane

we’re insane enough to go for something that make not be reasonable, but has called to us.

we’re not doing it for him – this isn’t for noble reasons – we’re doing it for selfish reasons.  because we know that along with the extra work, tears and expenses, we’ll have more fun, love and fulfillment.

is having any children – biological or otherwise – all ponies and roses either?  nope, but it’s totally worth it.

is starting your own business a piece of cake?  hell no – but again, it’s totally worth it.

is adopting all rainbows and unicorns?

nope, but it’s totally worth it.

while i haven’t legally adopted any kids yet, i essentially did the same thing emotionally in getting married to my wife Jessica, who already had to children from a prior marriage.

i call them my son and daughter (not step-son or step-daughter); they call me dad, not step-dad.

being a “dad” to them in belief and actions (rather than a “stepdad”) has been a lot like adopting, and has been equally fulfilling.  it just takes the emotional leap to go in 100%, rather than 99%…not holding back at all in making them mine.

if you haven’t had kids yet, or adopted, the fear of the unknown can get in your way…but I tell you that what’s on the other side is TOTALLY WORTH IT if you go all-in.

fulfillment doesn’t come from having an “easy” life

i know it may be hard to appreciate, but easy = boring.

fulfillment comes from using your full self, which means challenging yourself to use everything you have to offer, through both the ups and downs.  (and it’s the ‘downs’ when you really get to stretch yourself fully.)

the world needs more insanity of this kind.

don’t be scared of it, embrace it!  and inspire your spouse to get over their fears and embrace it too!

…whether this is about having kids, starting a business, adopting, or some other “leap” that you’re holding back from…

so be insane (or at least a baby step or two more insane),

Aaron_Ross_SIgnature

 

 

 

PS – update from China, 5/30/13: we have “little mav”, lilei, with us now, we picked up him just a few days ago, and we’re happy to be getting some smiles already from him (being adopted is hard on kids; they’re leaving everyone they know):

IMG_0427 all four kids small

IMG_0155 super cute maverick wide eyes

PPS: Update from the USA, 7/22/13: Maverick’s adapted really easily to being a part of our family, and to moving to a new house and country.  he is a character and laughs a lot!  he’s been very attached to his “ba-ba” (chinese for “dad”).  he’s learned two or three dozen english words so far, and we don’t have any problem communicating between those and body language.  he sleeps in bed with us right between Pari and myself every night (which has been great for bonding).

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IMG_0613 cute dad mav pari in pool

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it’s hard to believe how fast the last year has flown; but we’re about to fly to China to adopt and pick up our new son, Maverick Henry Lilei Lu Ross!

maverick henry lilei lu ross

we leave May 23rd for China, and will be back June 7… more to come :)

air

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Galina Belyaeva recently interviewed us from Guangzhao, China (where she lives).  Small world – we’re traveling there in a couple of weeks as part of our process to adopt our new 4-year old son Maverick!

[Galina] Today I’m interviewing not one but 2 entrepreneurs who are even married.   Aaron and Jessica Ross.  Aaron is the author of the best -seller predictable revenue and Jessica works on Bond Girl Boot camp for ladies and the spy girl high for teenage girls.

We also have guest appearances of the baby, a nanny, a dog and a cat…

Click here to see the interview

Galina Belyaeva freelancing minority women

 

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i’d never heard of Alan Watts until i saw this, but this video was getting passed around – it’s short, sweet and he’s very eloquent.  today when my buddy Randy Hamilton forwarded it over again, it reminded me i should share it here…

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funny directions

February 15th, 2013

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does life also take you in funny directions, when you let it?

i’ve been spending all my time on two things the past year:

1) my family (I can’t believe Pari is about to turn 1!) which is growing again this summer to a total of 4 kids, when we pick up our adopted 4-year old son “Maverick” from China, and

2) growing my sales consulting business “Predictable Revenue“, which has a brand new website I’m excited about!

what’s funny to me is that even 3-4 years ago, i NEVER would have guessed that I’d have such a large and growing family, or that my ‘main’ business would be helping companies grow sales.  but, my sales consulting’s evolved into a really fulfilling business and i’m surrounded by great people who I enjoy working with.

i know it’s easy to get stuck in a job thinking “this is boring” or frustrating.  but 90+% of that frustration either comes from your attitude or the people around you.  (by the way, if they or your manager are toxic, Get Out).

the people I work with matters so much more (like 98% importance) than what the heck we’re actually doing (say 2% importance).  with my current team, we could be doing a gardening business, or coffee cups, and still be having a great time.


Unique Genius + Sales?

by the way, i’m putting together a ‘merger’ of Unique Genius and Predictable Revenue…

“selling” is a necessary life skill to accomplishing anything, whether you’re an adult or teen, getting a job, starting a non-profit or inspiring people to take action… and you can ‘sell’ in ways that bring in money and feel good.

take a look here for more: “Unique Genius Sales: Are You Scared Or Sick Of Selling? v1.0″ (warning to perfectionists – it’s just a first draft).

lastly, hope you and your family are well these days,

Aaron “Air” Ross

Aaron_Ross_SIgnature

get out

January 27th, 2013

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Escape ladderi’m writing up a new course for Predictable Revenue, called “Energize Your People.”

yet sometimes, if you’re an employee, one of the people a CEO wants to energize…you can’t be and your only option is to GET OUT.

do you work at a company close to a toxic CEO, disrespectful executives or an unpleasant manager?   is anyone you report to regularly emotionally irrational, causing you endless anxiety because you don’t know when they’ll explode at you, or what their mood will be day-to-day?

maybe they make arbitrary demands, swear at you, publicly berate you, take you for granted, change the rules on a whim to suit their desires, or never respect your family or private life and time.

it’s in our nature to hope things will change…yet in the case of emotionally unstable people, nothing worth waiting for will change them.

hopefully at some point a personal or business cataclysm (or better, a series of them) happens to them and “forces” them to wake up and see the reality of how they treat other people, and they choose to become more understanding, respectful and thoughtful.

but even if that were to happen, it’s a process that takes YEARS to go through and “settle out into”…do you really want to be around while they go through it, and wait hoping the change actually sticks…or may not?

just get out.  figure out how to get out from your manager, or get out to another company, one at which people like yourself are respected.

no matter what your role is, what you’re learning, the prestige, money or benefits – none of it is worth working for energy vampires.

the only thing you can do is escape and find good people to work with.

the people you work with make a far, far bigger difference to your enjoyment and personal growth than the type of actual work you do.