A man on a mission
Here’s my story…
Let’s go back to when I was a wee lad. I was a trouble maker, there’s no other way to put it. I would act out for acting out’s sake. I had a disdain for authority and hated being told what to do. Rules were always a hindrance to what I wanted to do which was explore, create, and do things my own way.
My rebellious and adventurous spirit led me to take action before thinking sometimes. When all my friends were contemplating a new skateboard or snowboard trick, I would always be the the first one to go.
I guess you could call me a risk-taker.
So I knew that about myself growing up, but as I grew up a little more and got into high school, it was hard to find direction.
I mean, I did all the things that you should do in high school to broaden your horizons and stay active – sports, band, cadets, and music. But I had a hard time finding role models to look up to.
Sure, there were the celebrities on TV that seemed like far-off dreams in another reality, something that’s not really possible. But the mediocrity that I saw in my immediate surroundings was uninspiring to say the least. Nothing against the adults in my life around me, many of them carved out fine lives for themselves, but I just knew that wasn’t me.
I wanted to do more.
Fast forward to when I was 16 years old. I was in a career counseling class and my teacher was going on a big rant about how you can do anything that you want in life if you just set your mind to it. Then he went around the class and asked everyone what they wanted to be when they grew up.
I said, “I just want to be myself”
He said, “I mean what do you want to do for work?”
I replied “I don’t want to work”
He got agitated and exploded about how you have to get a job and work – “how hypocritical,” I thought, “when just a moment earlier you harped on the idea of following your dreams and doing anything you want in life.”
Well, that’s what I wanted. Or so I thought.
Looking back on it now, I see his perspective. He had come from a rough background and a specific skill set, a solid paycheque, and self-esteem derived from performing a hard-days work were exponentially better than where he came from.
However, I dared to dream, and although I didn’t know it at the time, my dream was only a seed of a much grander and deeper vision. The rough-shot idea of “being myself” and “not working” took root in my mind. It drove me and guided me through the next phase of my life.
In my young 20s, any consciously and subconsciously sought out opportunities to “express myself” and be acknowledged for it, I took it.
My first foray into this personal expression was going to music school to get a diploma in contemporary style majoring in vocal performance. My reasoning for this was that being the lead singer in a band was the ultimate in personal expression – it was just you, the microphone, and a room full of people watching you strut your stuff.
After I graduated from music school, I joined a pop punk band as the lead vocalist. Pop-punk was so alluring to me because of its counter-culture ethic. The punk style, the grungy lyrics, the obnoxious distortion on the guitars – I loved the edge that it brought to the otherwise sterile and bubble gum pop music scene of the time.
This phase of my life served my purposes well and I had a creative outlet for my expression and rebellion.
But I started to think, how much of this was truly a manifestation of personal expression, and how much of it was my wrestling with my personal circumstances and limitations? Of course, a tattered cutoff hoody with patches on it looked counter-culture on the surface, but if everyone in this scene wore the same things, were we really that counter-culture?
And as far as personal expression went, it’s the easiest thing in the world to wear some weird clothes or get a funky haircut – anyone can do it really. Becoming a one-of-a-kind person, and living a one-of-a-kind life, now that is the ultimate in “being yourself”.
As it turned out, the barrier to entry to personal expression was higher than I originally thought.
Fast forward a few years, the band did well locally, but we never really took off. This was basically due to the fact that we didn’t understand the business side of the industry. The world of promoters, distributors, managers, and marketing was a mystery to myself and my band mates so we didn’t have a hope of going big.
I took it upon myself to then learn about business so that I could be creative at a higher level. To do this, I started attending university to get a degree in commerce.
Around the same time, I got into another creative pursuit – body painting and airbrushing. Some of the concepts that I was learning in university gave me the confidence to start a business in this extremely niche industry.
The next few years of my life involved traveling around to bars, clubs, festivals, and other events to bodypaint.
The pieces started to come together – I found that this was an amazing outlet for personal expression. I was also now making some money, and it was fun. In fact, it was so fun that I would’ve done it for free at that point in my life!
My dream of “not working” and “being myself” actually seemed in reach! I actually had a lot going for me at the time. The fun job, some money in the bank, and a sense of freedom.
But after a while, I started to feel like something was missing. Going to yet another party or festival made me feel like a carnival worker, like a cheap traveling salesman. The same tired ritual of everyone getting drunk and blowing their discretionary spending on momentary pleasures played out repeatedly until it just wasn’t fun anymore.
It got me thinking, what about the body painting was truly rewarding?
Sure, the excitement, the money, the girls, and all the attention were titillating, but what really made me love it so much? After all, if it was freedom that I was seeking and I could do anything in the world, why did I choose to do this?
After a lot of self-reflection, I realized that I enjoyed helping people.
The high that I got from the bodypainting actually came from putting a smile on someone’s face. To see someone that wasn’t having a good day decide to get the bodypaint and then see them beaming with excitement as I transformed them into a walking canvas. They would go around the rest of the day as the center of attention – an eye-catching collaboration between body and artist.
I was selling a unique experience and an opportunity to become an instant celebrity.
I realized that the ability to help someone with your unique gifts and talents is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do – a reward that it seems many modern people will never get to experience on a deep level.
Around the time of this realization, there was an economic downturn in Canada. The discretionary spending in people’s wallets dried up and the parties and events started to shut down. Airbrush bodypainting just wasn’t a sustainable option for me anymore.
I was just finishing business school and was eager to take everything I learned from my first company to blast into a new venture – the world of internet marketing. I was drawn to internet marketing after reading about people like Tim Ferris who had leveraged the power of the internet to achieve freedom, design their lives, express themselves, and help a ton of people in the process.
My first foray into online business was a blog where I essentially brain dumped all my knowledge of airbrushing and bodypainting into Metastatepaint.com. I built the blog up to a few hundred dollars a month in passive income, and used this experience to leverage for a job in digital marketing. As I educated myself, I became more and more obsessed with what was possible.
My idea, my grand manifesto was to go for broke. Reflecting back to my high school days all the way through the experiences of my 20’s, I yearned to integrate my vision.
The reason why I told my highschool career counselor all those years ago that I didn’t want to work was that I was uninspired by the adults that I saw around me. It seemed to me that most people begrudgingly picked a career that would merely pay the bills but never strived for true fulfillment.
Maybe my attitude in my teenage years was tainted with a smartass demeanor and a lack of perspective. Of course, there will always be work that needs to be done despite not tickling the depths of your spirit – that’s life.
But this kind of work your entire life…
I was determined to find a better path, one where I was not a slave to a system that is clearly not concerned with your “freedom”, “creativity” or “fulfillment”.
After getting a taste of it, I knew I could never go back.
Digital marketing is my foray to living the good life and I want to bring you all with me.
The purpose of this site is to teach you how to live a life of passion, freedom, creativity, adventure, and fulfillment. The idea is to find your unique gifts and talents, build a monetizable venture around them, and leverage the power of the internet to scale it, make money, and help a ton of people in the process.
If you’re anything like me, and you’re compelled by this vision, stick around to learn. This site gives you the hard-nosed marketing tactics and tools that you need to build your online business around your strengths, all for the betterment of your life and the lives of others.
Thank you for reading about my story. It is my sincere hope that you find what you need from this site so that you can live your dreams.
All the best,