I wanted to live the 9010 Life, but didn’t even know what it meant. It was February 29th, 2016, Leap Day, and little did I know that this day would be the day that I took a big leap of Faith.
I was working as a project manager for one of the Forbes 77 most valuable brands in the world. It was rewarding and challenging, but also took up all of my time and was located hundreds of miles away from my family.
In 2012, I seized the opportunity to pack up my life, and my 7-month pregnant wife to uncharted territories outside Portland, Oregon to manage projects for 5 states in the Pacific Northwest.
To be completely honest – I loved it, I’d still be doing it today, if not for events leading up to the leap. Personally, I had come to love high-stress roles, there’s something magical about coming into a hopeless situation and making it a success (which unfortunately I had to do too much of!).
A Hungry Conquest
Quickly rising to the call, I had been named top 5 Project Managers for the company nationwide in 2013, and every single month of Q1 2014 consecutively – the thrill was amazing. I’m an overachiever, and I’ve always been hungry to grow in every capacity possible.
As a project manager, there was so much that I had to do on a day to day basis, one of my productivity tricks was hiring a VA to help manage my personal projects. As a hobby, I’ve always loved doing websites and virtual projects for my own circle back in California – I took to freelance websites to just have some fun in my down time.
The Gig Economy
Some millennials belong to clubs, do sports, play video games, or join the choir – for me? It was project management. Even though I worked 10 hours (or even more) a day for my career – I’d spend 2-3 hours a night having fun on my projects, figuring out ways to push it to the limit.
Next thing you know, I have a team of 4 people, doing work FOR ME – on freelance websites, I would charge anywhere from 10-15 dollars an hour, and I would experiment finding resources for less to make a profit.
I quickly realized that FREELANCERS were pretty crappy to work with overall, especially when the project is over, and you need them to fix or build something else – they’re already off to another project.
So, I started to build my own virtual team, a team that I could leverage to do some pretty awesome projects. I started with social media management, moved into web design, and then found a sweet spot in virtual sales assistants. I found that most quality sales teams paid their account managers around $80-100K start after all expenses etc, but so many of them wasted their time on the least money-making activity of the job – finding leads!
The Exponential Growth
I stepped in and landed some pretty big contracts in 2014 for around 4-6K retainers which allowed me to expand my team by triple – AND crazy enough, it still required very little time on my behalf because on my “vacation” from work I traveled to the Philippines to train them myself on how to manage themselves.
To this VERY DAY, they do NOT have a manager. They are self-managed, and they are delegated properly with an onboarding process and standard operating procedure for each position.
I’ve even had my clients fly all the way from the USA to the office in the Philippines to work with me on developing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) and work on fine-tuning the team’s performance.
Things were going smooth, and it was a lot of fun, and still didn’t cost me much time because thankfully I had delegates successfully, it ran itself.
Then Life Threw a Few Hurdles Our Way.
First, my father had discovered a softball-sized tumor in his abdomen – I couldn’t believe it, he’s young, in his mid 50’s. He had a feeling for the past couple years, but it was worse than expected – he had late stage III-IV lymphoma and had spread throughout several lymph nodes, and also in his chest.
Shortly after, my grandfather had become ill – he had lost over 100 pounds and an awful lot of blood – having almost daily blood transfusions. We all knew in my family that he did not have much time left – even though I had expected him to have longer in him.
My wife and I had grown apart, our marriage was dangling only by our now three-year-old son, who had hardly known his own family being stripped far away with a once or twice trip for a holiday to California.
In life, we have a lot of choices. Sometimes we choose to focus on our career and on the financial stability of our families.
Other times we focus on making sure we get to spend enough time with each other.
Unfortunately, for me, at this time, these two important factors in my life hit a crossroad.
On top of that, I had just been “promoted” to Project Manager III – but it was a “reclassification” of my job – and now I was still expected to manage 5 states, and mentor the rookie Project Managers – but without being paid for my work above and beyond my work hours.
When I Knew I HAD to Live the 9010 Life:
My wife and I were so excited, we learned a little before Christmas time that she was pregnant!
The EXCITEMENT we had, my wife and I went to the doctor and they confirmed it, we were going to have another baby.
She was scheduled to go back and get her sonogram done at 10 weeks, we couldn’t wait to share the news.
We were about 9 weeks into our pregnancy when she and I made a snowman family with her, myself and our son – and a little baby snowman.
Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas and Happy New year we included a picture of our snowman family.
One week later, we found that we had lost the baby, as we still had message after message of congratulations from our distant friends and family on facebook.
We were devastated.
I had to remove the picture and contact people to let them know what happened, we randomly got messages the next few weeks saying – they heard we’re pregnant from so and so and congrats.
It hurt my wife so much, I spent weeks doing damage control, and I had to travel so much, her mom took emergency leave to fly up and be with her because I had business obligations – and no one to back me up.
I had requested to relocate to California to be with our family, three times actually – each was denied because there was no one to replace me.
From 8 PM to 3 AM With My Finger Over the “Send” Button
I remember typing up the resignation letter, it HAD to be perfect, it HAD to thank those I loved and I cared about.
It HAD to show grace, compassion, and gratitude for all the opportunities afforded to me. It HAD to be respectful, even with the mixed feeling of being undervalued, unappreciated and even treated like I hadn’t run the all the projects for the region for years as we experienced turnover after turnover after turnover.
I personally had gone through EIGHT managers in my 4 years there, and I trained 8 Project Managers – in which only 3 toughed it out, and the ones crazy enough to stay transferred to other regions.
Being twisted between the best job I’ve ever had, the best people I’d ever worked with, and the worst feeling of not being there for my family, and not being truly valued – I hovered over the “SEND” button for hours.
Torn. Broken. Excited. Crying. Laughing. I consulted my wife for reassurance.
She reassured me, that it was impossible to do this by ourselves. The one I will miss the most was a mentor to me through my career there, Wally. He ALWAYS had my back all four years, he was there to help me grow. From the first interview in Seattle area, to even this very day.
I’ve had great people who guided me along the way, Jim who talked me into applying for the Engineer position, and after the interview, I was actually promoted after 1 day to Project Manager. To the other Jim who encouraged me and showed me the ropes of the “back end” of the operations management.
To my absolute tag-team partner Shannon, she was really the only reason I lasted so long there through all the turmoil. Having the support of your direct counterpart who planned darn near every project with me, even going to the Library on Sundays to work out details because – she too was worked to the bone traveling.
I Did What I Had To Do to Live the 9010 Life
You probably know where I am going. I quit my job because I had to start valuing my time as my employer no longer did. It also gave me the opportunity to move back closer to my grandfather and the rest of my family.
I knew that it was the right thing to do, I remember not being able to sleep because I was just imagining what would be buzzing in the circles about me turning in my resignation. After-all, I was “the one” who toughed it out through it all before.
It Was One of the Hardest Decision of My Life
I also left a family behind. The teams that I worked with and so many HUNDREDS of projects and clients managed – whom both admired me and appreciated me as well, so the decision was not as simple as you might think.
What I can tell you is that I knew also at this time that there was something else calling to me.
I had been able to manage big teams in the corporate world but also had proven to myself that I could start developing teams and work on my own projects.
I had talked with so many people who could not at all comprehend HOW they could start to have other people help them with their life and their work.
To me, all of these processes I handed in the corporate world could be taught to anyone who really desired to grow a business and at the same time, have what I was about to.
The freedom to do both. The 9010 Life.
To be near family and have my own business become a success.
Living the 90 10 life is not just about playing golf or having more time to travel or just have fun – sure that might be someone’s 10% reality.
It is about working from home (or anywhere for that matter), it is about having my son come in and say, oh dad are you working with your clients today? (Which my now four-year-old son constantly asks as he tries to spy on my meetings).
This is days after moving back to be with my grandfather a few months before he passed, if I had NOT taken action, I would have never been able to get this time back.
It is about having the time to really say goodbye to my grandfather and to be there for my dad whom the same year developed cancer.
Above – my dad reunited with my son, his only grandson.
After spending the final months with my grandfather, I departed to the Philippines with my family – to achieve greatness, that he always saw in me – even when I didn’t.
This is the last time I saw my grandpa.
I know that this type of story you may have read before.
You have seen ads that tell you to just jump off that cliff take that risk and you can have it all.
I am here to tell you that taking a leap of faith does not mean not first studying how to leap and carefully examining what talents and abilities in yourself you truly have faith in.
Today, my life is truly where I thought it always could be, but the adventure continues, and I am always learning how to live my 9010 life even better and how to teach you exactly how to do it.
Above – my family on the rooftop near our Makati City, Philippines office – it’s like the Silicon Valley of Manila.
I just got my numbers back from the accountant last year – and it turns out the headline for 2016 goes a bit like this – “How I Built a Virtual Army to Make Me $5,288 A Week and Quit My 6-Figure Day Job to Travel the World with My Family” – that pretty much sums up 2016.
I have faith in myself and in my ability as a project manager to leap YOU forward in guiding you through the same EXACT systems I’ve used to delegate successfully over the years.
The challenge I faced was that as VA Staffer became larger, and I now serve 100 clients – and I’d love to take on the hundreds of applications I get every month to work with our team – it’s just impossible.
So… I’ve decided to take everything I’ve learned over the years growing my now TWO offices and 40+ virtual team – to build a completely interactive 9010 Life program on how to be an effective leader and delegate out the 90% of your life that’s sucking away your life.
It’s time to start living 100% of your life doing the 10% that’s really valuable to you….
SO, I created the 9010 Freedom Plan.