Brand Loyalty

The Danger of Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty is dead.

Now I’m sure that when you think about brand loyalty, you generally think it’s a good thing. The purpose of this post isn’t to dissuade you of that belief or to tell you that brand loyalty is bad, but to shed some light on the flip side of that coin.

While as a brand, we would want our customers/audience to become & stay loyal to our brand, but being a loyal customer doesn’t necessarily serve us well. To broaden the scope of this discussion, let me expand on what I mean by giving a more broad definition of brand loyalty using several examples..

Are You Loyal to Any of These?DS Brand Loyalty Image

  • Car Manufacturers
  • Clothing Brands
  • Tech Brands
  • Music or Book Genre
  • Sports Teams
  • Political Parties
  • Religious Organizations
  • Your State/Country
  • Family (even extended family)

Chances are that you’ve said yes to one or more of those examples; but before I cover the potential downsides of brand loyalty, let’s go over some of the benefits.

Benefits of the Consumer

As a consumer, there are a few benefits you get by being loyal to a particular brand. First, it can be quite helpful if you have trouble making decisions.

Think of your favorite (car, tech, or clothing) company coming out with their newest edition, and how your natural inclination might be that “it’s time for an upgrade”. You don’t have to research all of the alternatives, you know that your favorite company provides quality products that are in your price range and that suit your taste.

Another big benefit can be the “community” aspect of brand loyalty. Think of the connections you have with other people that pertain to the organizations (sports, political, religious, family, and local community) you’re involved with. You have these common interests that bring you together.

Well so far, everything looks good. Brand loyalty is good for both the brand and consumer, right?

Maybe, maybe not. There are obvious benefits with this loyalty, provided that they keep putting out a quality product at a good price, but that’s not the entire picture.

The Danger of Brand Loyalty

Brand Loyalty IconThere are a few dangers of blindly following something, be it a brand, organization, etc.

One big danger is that it can cause you to stop using critical thinking. Many bad decisions can be made when you don’t focus on the possible outcomes or consequences before taking action.

Something else to consider is that times change. Companies change. You change. Those brands that are on top today will likely fall by the wayside tomorrow and beyond.

Also, many times this brand loyalty has been handed down to us. The ‘social’ brands (like politics, religion, nationalism, and family) tend to be heavily influenced by our upbringing and surroundings.

Think of it this way: if you met some of your extended family or your current co-workers for the first time at a community picnic or other social gathering, would you give them the time of day based solely on their attitude, personality, mannerisms, etc.?

If the answer is “no”, then why would you elevate their status based on factors that you’ve had little or no control over (being born and/or hiring your co-workers).

That example above may seem a bit cold, but I’m trying to make a point. Doing activities you don’t like or spending time with people you can’t stand aren’t good ways to have an enjoyable life.

(And obviously friends, family, and co-workers fall into different social categories.)

You are an Individual

stand outI believe it’s vital that critical thinking is employed in every area of life.

Avoid the ‘herd mentality’ and do a personal audit. Make adjustments to the areas of your life that need it and choose what’s best for your personal situation – each and every time.

Avoid guilt! It’s OK to root for a sports team that actually wins, rather than rooting for the team that’s based in the same geographical location as you.

If your favorite car company starts cutting corners with their quality or puts out a design you don’t like, make the switch to another brand.

Now let’s bring it back to something a little closer to home for me..

Back to the blog

Personally, I follow several different blogs, podcasts, and YouTube channels. As much as I enjoy consuming new content from these brands, they are only a few bad posts/episodes/videos away from my finding replacements.

There are too many great brands out there to keep following those that stop providing value on a consistent basis. Click To Tweet

Knowing that your audience can walk away at any time will keep you on your toes. Consistent growth and improvement is how you stay in the game.

I hope this post has helped you find a different way of looking at things. Keep providing value to others, and make sure that others keep providing value to you.



DS Renaissance Soul Featured Image

The Renaissance Soul – Book Review

DS Renaissance Soul Featured Image

For this post, I have something a little bit different than usual. I think it’s fitting to talk about a book that really aligns with my philosophy & temperament. The subtitle is Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One, and that about sums it up.

If you’ve read more than one of my posts, you’ve probably been exposed to a variety of topics & ideas, and that’s the way I’ve intended it.

This stands in stark contrast to the ‘niche’ mentality.

Niches are Boring

Basically, it can get boring talking about the same thing every time, and variety is a great way to learn & grow. A niche can trap you, make it harder for you to redefine yourself, and can even handicap you in other areas when you put too much of your focus in one place.

The Renaissance Soul

DS Renaissance Soul ImageWhat this book does, is introduce you to the idea that it is perfectly normal to resist having only a single field of interest. Think of Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo Da Vinci, and others who excelled in a variety of fields.

The book smashes the stereotype of the ‘jack of all trades, master of none’. You can indeed be a master of many trades. The concept of the ‘career for life’ has been dying for decades now, and this book is your invitation to embrace this reality.

The author lays out a great framework for the different types of ‘renaissance souls’ to be able to blend their many interests into their work, free time, studies, and social circles.

My Experience

I have both a gift and a curse. The gift is that I can quickly become 80% (or more) proficient at whatever endeavor I set myself too, be it sports, business, language learning, and so on..

The curse, is that since I can get to 80% so quickly, the idea of putting in the necessary time to get from 80% to just 85% or 90% proficient is totally unappealing. Why would I spend one week getting to 80, and then 2 years to get to 90?

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#selfhelp #hustle”]Growth is the only evidence of life.[/tweetthis]

What this means

This means that I need to be involved in a field that is either:

  • rapidly changing
  • very broad in scope
  • very competitive

If 1 or more of these criteria are met, I’ll have enough space to breathe. This is the appeal of blogging, my income & investment strategies, and the digital nomad lifestyle.

Fork in Road Choices

What about you?

I’m sure you have at least a couple different interests, probably a lot more. The Renaissance Soul is about leaving the old model of ‘you work so that you can play’ into the new model of making your work seem like play.

Life is meant to be enjoyed. Don’t waste it by spending time on things that don’t excite you, help you grow, or enrich your life.

The Sampler Platter

She talks a lot about a ‘sampler platter’, which is the main metaphor for choosing up to 4 interests and integrating them into your life. It helps to make this conscious choice

The Impact

possibilities road signThe biggest impact this book had, was in helping me to focus on a few projects instead of many of them. Using the sampler platter technique, I’ve been making good progress on 4 projects, rather than meager progress in 8-10 projects.

If you like the idea of pursuing multiple paths at the same time, then be sure to check it out this book. It will help you integrate them into your life without becoming too scattered.

Here’s a link to the Kindle version on Amazon: The Renaissance Soul

That’s it for now. Next week I’ll be giving an in-depth look at a potential digital nomad destination, which happens to be the city I’ve been living in for the post 3 months.. Medellin, Colombia.



2016 Goals Post

New goals for 2016? Nope.

2016 Goals Post

As the new year begins to get underway, I thought it might be fitting to write the ‘customary New Year’s post’. While in one sense, I don’t like jumping on the bandwagon by writing about goals & resolutions, in another sense, it’s nice to harness some of the collective energy out there to start building (or maintaining) your momentum.

This is also the time that you typically see a swarm of Income Reports or Goals & Motivation for the New Year posted on blogs of all types, and I didn’t want to disappoint. But since this blog has only just begun, I don’t have much to report on those fronts.

Instead, I want to focus on the mechanics of how I set and achieve my goals. First, let me clear the air..

I Don’t Believe in New Year’s Resolutions

As I hinted at in the title, I strongly dislike the concept that we should begin moving toward new objectives on January 1st. It should be an ongoing process.

In the same way you usually don’t feel older/wiser on your birthday, but that new insights and instances of personal growth are felt at random intervals based on your experiences & revelations within certain situations.

Why I still make “New Year’s Resolutions” notepad and coffee

Not to contradict everything I’ve just stated, but I do make some plans & set new goals around the new year. It’s one of those rare times that you can tell those around you about your goals, and have them be encouraging & supportive.

Also, since I regularly set goals and evaluate my progress, I’ll use just about any excuse to pause and re-evaluate my situation.

What’s WAY better than resolutions?

In my opinion, resolutions are typically made in the “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” fashion. In reality, the majority of them aren’t kept through the month of January, let alone the entire year.

To make things worse, I often hear people mention new goals in October & November, but say that they’ll wait until January to get started on them.

So What’s My System? set and reach goals

I’m currently using a system that is ongoing, and doesn’t rely on a single date on the calendar to start & stop. It is a combination of a long-term plan (updated annually), coupled with shorter sprints, which are then broken down even further into daily actions.

Long-Term (5-years)

This might seem a bit complicated, but it’s really quite simple once you get into it. It starts with a 1,3, & 5 year plan. This covers different areas of your life – Income, Lifestyle, Accomplishments, etc.

Something important to remember:

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#goals” remove_twitter_handles=”true”]People often overestimate what they can accomplish in 1 year & underestimate what they can achieve in 5 years.[/tweetthis]

It isn’t too in depth. Just a sentence or two for each area of life, and 1-2 specific accomplishments I’d like to see in those areas.

Short-Term (90-days)

So once you have this big bird’s eye view of your ideal 1/3/5 year vision, you can break it down into smaller, actionable tasks. This is the part where we break it down into 90 day sprints.

This is a technique I learned from Jack Canfield’s Success Principles (Principle #8: Chunk It Down).

Now it’s time for a 90-day sheet where I list the smaller objectives & benchmarks that will help me accomplish the long term goals. These are broken down into: Active & Passive Income, Personal Development, Leisure, and Life Events/Milestones.

Again, this is just a brief outline. 2-3 objectives in each area is sufficient.

Weeklycomputer and journal

So now that our lofty 5-year goals have been broken down into what we intend to accomplish in the next 90 days, we can begin to break those down into weekly objectives.

I’ve found that having 3 important objectives of the week is more than enough to accomplish most/all of your goals. All it takes is 15 minutes before each week starts.

Once this has been done, you can get to work on your daily action plans.


Now it’s time to break them down even further. Each evening before I go to sleep, I choose the 3 tasks for the next day that will best move me forward. These tasks move me towards my weekly objectives, which in turn move me towards the 90 day and beyond time frames.

[tweetthis remove_url=”true”]A successful life is created 1 day at a time. Make each day a success, and you can’t help but create a successful life.[/tweetthis]

I realize that this system may seem a bit complex and time consuming, but it’s rather easy to implement. Here’s about how long I spend at each step:

  • 1/3/5 Year Planning – about an hour
  • 90-day sprints – another hour
  • Weekly – 15 minutes to plan it out, and another 15 minutes midweek to check on my progress
  • Daily – usually only 5 minutes

If that seems like a bit much, consider this: If you won’t take a few hours to plan for success, you won’t put it the time & focus needed to be successful. Period.

What Now?The 65 25 10 Formula

With all of this planning & goal setting, I’m sure you’re wondering how I these plans into action. I use something called The 65-25-10 Formula. In two weeks, I’ll be dedicating an entire post to that topic.

Until then, set some goals, and I’ll see you in the next post.



Personal Update Post

Personal Update – Relocation

Personal Update Post

Personal Progressset and reach goals

Every time a month with 5 Fridays comes along, I like to dedicate that 5th Friday to a sort of ‘Personal Progress Update’, which includes both personal & business updates and goals..

Often, the simple act of measuring something can improve your results all by itself. Add to this any actions & course corrections, and you can achieve extraordinary results.

Hence the tagline: Plan, Do, Check, and Adjust.

Personal Updates

Most of my personal updates this time around relate to my upcoming trip to South America. Passports, check. Plane tickets, check. 1st month of accommodations booked, check.

Takeoff Quote ImageThe major work here lies in selling everything* we own. Mostly via Craigslist, but a bit on eBay as well.

*Excluding 4 suitcases of goods, and a few totes stored with family.

This is the 3rd time I’ve sold at least 50% of my possessions in the past 6 years! So although it involves creating 100+ listings on Craigslist, it really only takes a little bit of mental energy, since the process itself is pretty quick & easy.

I’ll also need to cram in some language learning, since English won’t be very common. Between the Pimsleur audio lessons and the DuoLingo app, I should be OK.

Those are the main highlights, now on to the business updates.

Business Updates

The business updates fall into 3 main categories: active income, passive income, and brand building.

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#passiveincome”]Active income pays the bills today, but remember to add passive income streams.[/tweetthis]

Active Income

For the active income, I’ll be experimenting with another micro job platform and increasing my output on Fiverr. I’m basically looking to spend the least amount of time possible on active income while still covering the bills and adding to my reserves.

Passive Income

Passive income is probably my biggest focus at this time. I’m finishing up my 2nd book, about to start my 3rd, and would like to get back to my 1st book and put out a 2nd edition with some needed updates.

Beyond books, I also have a couple of video courses lined up for the beginning of next year.

Brand Building

repurpose your contentMy main objective with brand building is to take care of two things at once: begin building an audience and content creation that can later be re-purposed into books and/or video courses.

So far I’ve been able to stay consistent with my blogging schedule of one post each week, and I’d like to throw in a guest post or two each month.

Beyond that, I need to finish up my resources page and write an autoresponder sequence for new subscribers.


Besides progress with my 3 income categories, my top goal is to have a successful relocation; all our possessions sold and a safe arrival in South America, and enough Spanish learned to get by (for now).

Until Next TimeIm Off Quote Plane

There is quite a bit I need to work on until the next update (which will be the 5th Friday in January), so I have about 90 days to make a big dent in this list.

I’ll also be taking the month of November off, and will resume my normal weekly posting schedule the first Friday of December.

So until next time..


[ Update ] How did things go when I arrived? Find out here.

Becoming Location Independent

The Journey Toward Location Independence (Part 2)

Becoming Location Independent

Location Independence; dream or reality?

So in Part 1, I gave a brief overview of my journey toward location independence. Now in the 2nd part of this series, I’ll be going over the specific steps I’ve already taken, and those I plan on taking in my business and personal life.

Personal LifeTakeoff Quote Image

The main area of focus here is the continued scaling back of our possessions so that long-term travel/relocation is more easily accomplished. This has been a focus for the last year anyway, but now it’s time to really get serious about it.

The goal is to get the core of our belongings to fit into 4 suitcases (2 per person). Anything beyond that would be sold before leaving, and then re-purchased at a later date if need be.

Here is some of what has been done so far:

  • Migrating my expansive (physical) book collection onto my Kindle.
  • Scanning all of our pictures, old journals & notebooks, etc., and then throwing out the originals.
  • Selling/donating anything that hasn’t been used in a year or more.
  • ..and we had already downsized our possessions quite a bit when we moved into a nicer, but smaller place.

While some of this might seem a bit extreme on the surface, having space that is unused or possessions that are being stored away (often in a storage unit with a monthly payment), is not really doing you any good at all.

[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#essentialism #digitalnomad”]Having fewer things allows you to have nicer things.[/tweetthis]

In Businesslaptop

There are a couple of goals in this area. First is the transition to income derived entirely online. Next, having flexible deadlines for any non-passive income is a must.

My business is already paperless, and having dropped my smartphone plan in early 2011, my communication has been almost entirely online for a while now. To put things into high gear, we’ve dumped Windows and moved to Chrome OS via Chromebooks.

With that, I’m putting a lot of trust in Google and ‘The Cloud‘. While I do have a secondary backup of my most important files (both physical and in Google Drive), my pictures have all been moved into Google Photos, and my music library now resides inside Google Play Music.

To learn more about the technology I’m using to become location independent, check out my free report HERE where I list 21 of the top resources I use that will allow me to run my business & life from anywhere.

In addition to my free report, I’ll dedicate an entire upcoming post about the switch to Chrome OS, and the pros & cons about moving your business entirely into the cloud. (Spoiler Alert: The Pros far outweigh the Cons.)

In Summary

So, in essence, it’s not about becoming a minimalist, decreasing your quality of life, or settling for second best. It’s about focusing on what is actually important. Becoming agile (i.e. able to move quickly and easily) is vital to location independence. It is equally important to be mindful of your actions & experiences.

In my next post, I cover a tactic that lets me live rent free, which also happens to be the topic of my next book.



[ Update] If you want to see whether I’ve become location independent, check out my ‘progress report’ series here.