Who Succeeds, Who Fails?

The Nomad Summit just took place this past weekend and it got me thinking. Out of the 200+ attendees at the conference who will success and who will fail and their entrepreneurial journey? This year a few of the speakers on stage mentioned that just a year ago they were in the audience having no idea how to start an online business and partially through the inspiration of last year's conference, they now have a success and are in a position to share it on stage with this year's attendees.

But how many people try to become digital nomads that completely fall flat on their face and fail? 

It seems like 100% of the people that I met years ago who are still working diligently on their businesses are successful. It's actually pretty amazing as it seems like as long as you don't give up and stick through it, you'll make it happen one way or another. But what about the people I met that ran out of savings, went home to get a real job, or I just never heard from again for one reason or another? In this post I'm going to explore the two sides of success and failure and get to the bottom of why some people end up flat on their face and broke, while others make it work.

The Inspiration:

My buddy Derek Pankaew whom I met in Chiang Mai a few years ago at a coworking space recently wrote this on his wall about how he has seen his friends grow their businesses over the years.

I absolutely agree with his post as I've seen a quiet guy from New Zealand go from not knowing anything about ecommerce to becoming a huge success without ever mentioning what he was up to. I've also bump into people around Chiang Mai who used to worry about money who are now doing extremely well. But even more than that it seems like everyone is on the same trend of success and some people blow my mind with the amount of success they achieve as I had no idea it was possible for them.

The Flip Side: 

On the other side of the success coin are all of the people who I've never heard from again. Who may have gone home back to a 9-5 job, or have stopped paying their coworking space membership as it's now out of their budget and started working out of their Thai apartments.

I know these people exist even though I haven't bumped into any personally and I never hear from them. But I would assume that most people even if they end up going back to a normal job are happy that they got to travel and live in exotic places like Thailand for a few years and give entrepreneurship a shot. I'm sure there are also a few who are angry, hate the entire entrepreneurial scene and think that if it didn't work for them, that it must be a scam and everyone who thinks they are making money living the dream or trying to do so is delusional.

I used to let the one or two vocal doomsayers make me think maybe I just got lucky, but now that I've been doing this long enough and have met hundreds if not thousands of people who make a full time living running their online businesses, many who are far more successful than me, I've realized that I am now 100% sure that not only is it possible, but success is actually more common than we think. In this video of the 2016 Nomad Summit there are 11 speakers who are all successful with their online businesses and also a ton of people snapping away in the audience who are either already successful or on their way to be.

Keys to Success: 

There are a few qualities that every successful entrepreneur i've met has. So if you want the best chance at being one of them, here are some traits to keep in mind or to cultivate.

Grit and Hustle

To have grit is to have the courage and resolve; strength of character. To hustle is to move or work in a quick and energetic way. Most successful people I've met have both of these characteristics. They put in the work and keep pushing through until they find a success.

Unswayed Determination 

Sometimes even if your idea isn't the best, as long as you are ultra determined and keep pushing forward, you end up making it a success, and I've seen this tons of times with people who I thought their ideas weren't going to work but since they did, they proved me wrong and made it happen.

Follow Proven Paths

Even though it's entirely possible to pioneer a completely new way of doing business. The majority of people that I know who are successful simply found something that already works, and either brought it to a different market or followed the same steps in a different niche. One of the Nomad Summit speakers, Sam Marks gave his talk on how built and sold a $100 million dollar company by seeing there was a hot selling product in the U.S. and instead of trying to directly compete with them, he saw that he could follow in their footsteps but find his own niche, which is when he started selling it in the U.K.

The full talk is below, thanks to our sponsor Drip and all of the attendees that paid full price for tickets we were able to hire a professional film crew to record and edit the videos for everyone who couldn't attend in person.

Keys to Failure

Although nothing in life and especially business is guaranteed, there are a few common traits of people who fail or never become successful. The hope is to at least recognize these traits and do whatever it takes to avoid having them.

Laziness or Over Analyzing 

Two sides of the same coin both result on never getting started. The first is not being willing to put in the work. Common excuses are being too busy, tired, or not knowing where to start. These are qualities of people who want someone else to do the work for them. My advice, realize this very clearly, no one will do the work for you, it is not someone else's job to motivate you.

The other side are people who read too much into something before getting started. One common theme are people who worry about things that are twenty steps ahead before they even get started. People who worry about how to deal with returns what do do it paypal decides to hold your payments for 21 days are over analyzing as these questions aren't yet relevant to someone who hasn't even gotten started yet, or made their first sale.

The biggest problem is people like this think they are doing themselves a favor by knowing every step first, but these people almost never get started even with all of the information in the world.

Trust in yourself that you'll be able to figure out most problems as they arise. 99% of the things we worry about never actually happen and the ones that do end up being really easy to solve if they actually come up.

Pessimistic Mentality

A defeatist is a person who expects or is excessively ready to accept failure. This is similar to having a negative or scarcity mentality. Here is the honest truth, everything in the world has it's pros and cons. Often the best things in the world also have a ton of downsides. The only difference between someone who is successful and someone who's not is if they choose to focus on digging deeper and deeper into the negatives or if they simply look at the potential upsides and run with it.

If you see there's an opportunity to learn something and you don't do whatever possible to seize the opportunity you will most likely not be a successful entrepreneur. If you leave things up to other people to do for you, or blame others, you will most likely never be a successful entrepreneur.

Pick and choose any great product, person or place and google "negatives of" and I guarantee you'll find people on internet forums talking trash about it or saying it's a piece of shit.

Some examples are things like Apple Computers or iPhones. Clearly they are great products, as the majority of people who switch over to them are happy enough to never go back to Windows or Android. Yet since all products are downsides as well, you'll easily find 100 reasons why Apple products are pieces of shit and a rip off.

The same with moving to Chiang Mai, being a digital nomad, starting an online business, or Michael Jordan. Solution: Don't focus on possible downsides as there will always be some, especially if you're looking for it. Focus your energy on the possible upsides then do a cost/benefit analysis and ask yourself what you have to lose and what you have to gain.

Other Traits

A lady emailed me asking for a $11 refund because she couldn't her ticket that she bought to the Nomad Summit. I happily refunded her even though the event had already past and if she had told me more than a day before the event I could have resold her ticket for full price instead of the early bird special.

But honestly, I'm glad she didn't go because anyone who doesn't have the foresight to print, screen capture, or PDF her ticket when buying it, check her other mailbox folders that it most likely went to, contact the ticket issuer Eventbrite, or try to figure it out on her own most likely won't be successful regardless of what she learned at the conference.

If you expect things to be easy and done for you, or if you spend more time being a troll or hating on other people than you do working on your own business, you will most likely never be a success yourself. If you take pleasure calling out other people's weaknesses, kicking them when they're down, or seeing other people fail, you are only trying to make yourself feel better or superior and you will never be a success yourself.

My last Muay Thai fight. A loss by judge's decision.

My Failures

I'm not going to get into it as it's not the point of this article but I've failed hundreds and hundreds of times in the past and will fail hundreds of more times in the future.

I've started websites that never took off, got into partnerships that failed, spent years training for a sport I never became a big success in. But none of that matters as they were all learning experiences and make me who I am today. It's okay to fail as long as you give it an earnest effort and at the very least enjoy the process or learn something from it.It's not okay to never start, never give it your genuine 100% effort then spend the rest of your life trying to convince others not to do it because you yourself failed or worst off never even got started.

I hope this post doesn't come off as too harsh, but reality is a bitch and the truth is, most people fail at some point or another, regardless if it's following a diet, starting a business or publishing a book. Mark Cuban said it best when he said the beauty of business is that you only have to get it right once to be a huge success.

Best of luck to everyone in your journey and with your online business.

I truly hope everyone reading this and following the journey will be successful or at the very least, get off your ass and give it a shot and hopefully learn something for the next time around.

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD

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  1. How do you define 'success'?

    1. Have you tried not being an internet troll?

    2. It was a valid question =)

      suc·cess is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
      the attainment of profit.

      synonyms: prosperity, affluence, wealth, riches, opulence

      a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.
      "I must make a success of my business"

      synonyms: triumph, bestseller, blockbuster

      So yes, everyone has different aims and goals, but a successful business would be a profitable one. As a digital nomad, success would be having enough online/location independent income to continue traveling to wherever you want while having a positive bank account.

  2. I've seen so many people succeed, it's motivating! There is a law of abundance. More people are doing well and making a lot of money online than people realize!


    1. I used to think success especially with online business was a rare thing, I don't know if I'm just surrounded by more successful people now, know where to look and where to avoid or what, but now it seems like it's hundreds if not thousands of people that are successful.

  3. You only hear about success because who wants to tell everyone they failed? More people fail and slink off home than succeed.

    You confuse criticism as a pessimistic mentality. Pointing out that Apple products have faults and are stupidly over priced when you can get the same build for half the cost without the logo, well, is that pessimistic, or is that a sensible, realistic look at life? Pointing out obvious downsides to dropshipping or whatever people are aggressively pushing with the thickest coat of sugar in the world, is that not helping people rather than just taking their money and letting them discover the pitfalls once they're $1000 lighter?

    The problem is brushing everyone who brings up criticism as haters or pessimistic people who will never be successful, which you seem to do a lot.

    I am relatively successful, I built a company from nothing, yet to you I tick all the boxes of someone who is pessimistic and will never succeed. It took you 10 years before you struck it lucky, you've been selling courses in different niches, affiliate marketing and doing all the stereotypical "sleazy" entrepreneurial type things for over 10 years, and until 2 years ago you were dead broke. Now you're a business guru with all the answers? Please. It took me less than 2 years to build a product line, starting with less than $3000, and I'm proud of the fact I built something physical that doesn't rely on cheap tactics and promising returns. You know why I was successful? Because I looked at downsides. I followed my own path. I didn't jump on the latest trends or listen to people selling courses about sure fire ways to get rich, or take advice from those who make money by talking about how to make money.

    You know why you don't hear about failures so much personally? Because people are EMBARRASSED and they feel stupid for failing. After all, everyone is successful if they follow the course, and if you fail it's because you're lazy/pessimistic! Do you understand what I'm saying? Not only are you pushing stuff and leaving out any realistic look at things, but you're making people feel ashamed of themselves if they fail, and for dropshipping we know the failure rate for DSL alone is over 90%.

    I put it to you that your mentality and what you do is far more damaging, not to you, but to others around you in the long run.

    1. Congrats on figuring out your business on your own and doing well with it.

      The reason why it took me so long to finally become successful is because 3 years ago I finally said fuck it, let me just follow a course and do exactly what it says instead of second guessing everything.

      The problem with over analyzing everything is that 99% of people won't ever even get started in the first place, giving them a 0% chance at success.

      The second problem is making people second guess themselves once you've started by picking apart possible hurdles or downsides.

      This is why I tell people to stop overthinking and not to listen to pessimists. Listening to them held me back for 7+ years when I could have been successful 10 years ago if I would have just trusted my gut and went for it.

  4. Whoever that is you did this !you did that !get of the nuts sacks you're so negative i don't get what your point is?you sound like a internet troll,are you?wow i pay money to get away from people like you what a creep

  5. 3 Years ago Johnny was training Muay Thai, you sound like a bicth! thats what Grant Cardone woulds say to you,I'm pretty sure you hang on other peoples nuts sacks as well maybe you should get a hobby.Who cares about your bussiness you sound like a person i personally would avoid who are you?

    1. What does training Muay Thai have to do with anything?

    2. Who am I? Who are you? What does it matter who I am, what are you going to do, give me the evil eye next time I walk into Punspace? Get a grip you dingbat.

    3. Your a bicth I'll smash you nigga

    4. Now you know run up when you see me I'll show you a bicth,keep hideing

    5. Your a bicth I'll smash you nigga

    6. Evil stink eye?I'll slap da shit outta you harassment on my people in our native are

    7. Stop comeing to asia with yo baggae incovience in a major way believe me if your so happy with yo people go back to where your people come from don't harassment on my peeps wit yo loser ass drama America you nothing but a Jcat

    8. My people? Says the Asian guy calling people 'nigga' and talking pen when middle-aged like its something to be proud of. Typical dumb motherfucker.

      I holiday in Asia, 'homie'. 6 months a year. Come and go as I please. You can't even stay in the US without working on fishing boats like a chump and getting caught up on street corners. Raging 8 comments deep like a child about 'I'll smash u bucth!!!£-+' when someone calls you a dingbat online. Who's the fucking loser?

  6. Next time run up at punspace I wanna show you a bicth

  7. You didnt get the muay thai,you sound like a sex with kids tourist.

  8. O>M>G please delete all my comments so embrassed right now thanks!

  9. Well i see all the old white guys probably one of them is possibly you hella overweight your race Nate Diaz is 29? smashed the shit outta Connor white thrash felt so good .Im in better shape than all of your lifetime put together Nate Diaz say Bicth Nigga hes a winner and so i asked you who you were

  10. hey i'm alway sitting by myself i'm not 6 deep come holla at me yeah fucking stalker stop hideing lets talk in person! your point of view what is that New Zealand your dumb as fuck thats not how the rest of the world works i dont have to look at things from a new zealand prespective ,i'll look at it from a Camp Kilpatrick prepective if thats what you really want stop stalking people your no better than RAPE


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