Tonight, I am at the Hyatt Andaz Resort in Scottsdale, AZ, and yes I am working to push myself to the limit as usual, but I do not feel the stomach sinking feeling I did a few years ago at the Days Inn pool at 3 AM in Bradenton, FL, when I was worried my credit card would not get approved for the $49 nightly rate.
At that time in 2018, I had been in a transition between Medical Bill Gurus and another startup I was deeply vested in and was in the Tampa area to pitch 2 of the biggest clinics in the industry that could potentially change my life in the blink of an eye.
The company I was in town to pitch was Medical Bill Gurus, a medical billing company I had started in 2017 that assists patients with billing their insurance for medical treatments at medical providers who do not accept insurance and cost anywhere in the range of $10k-$500k for cash-based medical services.
Since quitting my engineering job in 2016 following the passing of my father, I had blown through my life savings, two 401(k)’s, and joyfully found myself on the receiving end of $100,000 in credit cards that Amex joyfully reminded me of on a weekly basis.
Denying the reality of the hole I had dug for myself, it was on a lovely March day on my way to fly to Reno, NV to pitch a client, that I received a text message from Chase Bank that I had overdrawn my account, and I had the surreal stomach sinking moment of realization that I had officially spent all of the money in my bank account, cashed in all of my savings, and maxed out my entire $100k+ credit limit.
As I was limited on my expenses for having next to no income and Medical Bill Gurus was yet to be cash flow positive, I found myself putting all travel expenses to pitch clients on my personal credit cards, hoping for one opportunity to do free work for them and prove why my services were worthwhile.
The surreal moment of knowing you are on the brink of financial failure, and you have little to show for the thousands of hours of work and sacrifice, only to question everything you had done for the last few years and questioned yourself on whether you should have taken the risk or not, and just stayed on the trajectory you were destined for as a humble engineer in the Galleria of Houston.
It was at the Days Inn pool in Bradenton, FL at 3 AM where I had 3 times previous following my financial collapse that I realized I had to do something or else I would have to throw in the towel on Medical Bill Gurus and go back to engineering to support myself financially and avoid bankruptcy.
I decided I needed to create another company that would offer digital marketing services and finds a way to support myself instantly vs waiting for the long term play of Medical Bill Gurus to play out, without any other person or entity in the way of me paying my bills.
As a former engineer, I am very technical and keen to details that gave the upper-hand against my competition in the world of web development, lead generation, and a variety of services in the world of digital marketing.
Having only generated free food delivery through a crappy site I built called Free Food Hacks, I started going to local businesses in Denver to pitch them on digital marketing services, and pitching them that I would do all their marketing for free, but if I exceeded KPI’s, they would either need to hire me or I would do it for their competitors.
Within 30 days, I had 4 clients and found myself working on Medical Bill Gurus during the day while studying Youtube video, and staying up all night to figure out how to do digital marketing for the companies I had promised.
It is always fun to fake it till you make it, but when you are on the brink of bankruptcy or finding a way to pay the minimum on your credit cards, it is amazing how quickly you can learn a new skill and find ways to innovate that you never thought of possible.
Going back to where I am tonight, hail just hit the Front Range of Colorado, and one of my main clients called me yesterday morning at 7 am today as I boarded my flight to Phoenix from Denver.
At Empathy First Media, we specialize in performance-based digital marketing, meaning I love to take the risk of earning higher percentage points on leads I generate in exchange for covering all the cost of doing the work and overhead for free.
This client, in particular, I have an arrangement for roofing and paintless dent repair (PDR) Leads, and since the hail just fell in certain areas he needs me to step up and put together a digital marketing playbook to generate leads for his sales reps.
After enjoying a COVID flying experience and then spending 8 hours with one of my new clients in Scottsdale, AZ yesterday and today with only 4 hours of sleep, I have yet again found myself yet again at the hotel pool working the 12 AM – 4 AM shift to magically make hail damage leads appear for my client, catch up on emails, and prepare for my next day of meetings starting at 9 AM with a clinic photoshoot, catered lunch, and 6 hours of meetings to discuss insurance billing and treatment protocols for cancer and Lyme Disease.
Looking back at the last few years since I started this journey, I have found myself time and time again at the hotel pool in the middle of the night hitting my sour diesel vape pen, listening to Fleetwood Mac and Mac Miller, while grinding on the night’s objective to hopefully find whatever it is we are looking for in life.
For some reason, I feel a strange sense of stress, nostalgia, and motivation working at the hotel pool in the middle of the night with no souls in sight to bother me or distract me from getting shit done.
The last two years, I have spent on average 100+ nights in hotels visiting clients around the country to pitch them and maintain relationships, in the hopes that one day I would not need to work all night until I pass out on websites in order to pay my bills and extend my financial runway from the brink of bankruptcy.
Tonight, I feel humbled as I smoke one of my favorite strains at my favorite luxury hotel chains listening to the same playlist I built 2 years ago traveling around the country at the cheapest hotels I could find wondering if I was going to be successful or a complete failure regretting that I took the road less paved.
The difference between tonight and the last few years is I have fine-tuned my skill set with digital marketing that I am able to generate high ticket clients that appreciate the hard work and dedication and understand the sacrifices I have made to get where I am today.
While the last few years were full of financial setbacks, I find myself the most financially comfortable I have ever been, but yet stressed more than I have ever been in my life on the constant brink of burnout and wondering what sacrifices are worth it to keep pursuing the path of being an entrepreneur.
You see that while I can win six-figure digital marketing clients, the difficult part is replicating my skill set and finding talented individuals who can help me scale the business so I am not working at the pool till 3 AM anymore to provide results that justify that price point.
I am a fan of working to the point of killing yourself, sleeping, and then doing it again the next day, but I have found myself at the hotel pool in all parts of the country stressing myself to wake up to panic attacks in the morning, endless amounts of phone calls, and the question of is this worth it?
Each day I am blessed to have the freedom to do anything, travel anywhere, and make a habit of creating wreckless memories, but I find myself wondering what I can do to build a team and escape the anxiety-filled world I have created for myself.
The difference between working at the Days Inn Pool and Hyatt Andaz Pool is not only the views but the realization on my journey that while I can generate business and close deals I used to only dream of, I know I need to focus on the human element and build a team that can help me handle the work before I work myself to death.
I look forward to the days when I can enjoy sleeping in my hotel bed more than working at the hotel pool, but until then it is back to studying algorithms, responding to emails, and grinding to ensure I never rely on any person, entity, or company to pay my bills ever again.
Frustrated by how terrible I am recruiting talent and training, I am blessed to have my operations manager Kenna, who has helped me to coordinate weekly training, and is always on the hunt to find the next rockstar for my team of millennials in the art district of Denver, CO.
Cheers to the journey, grinding is touch, but I have to say I can’t wait for my drive this week to hit the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and remind myself of why all the sacrifice was worth it. Follow my journey on Instagram @ambitiouslynch.
FYI all those lifechanging clinics I financially sacrificed myself for in Florida, I got all 3 of them as clients, and sacrificing everything was 100% worth it for the ROI