2016 Year in Review

This year (2016) was even more special and I wanted to share my highlight reel with you. I’ve never cared much about my birthday, but this year has been different.  I see how much I’ve learned, grown, enjoyed and created in my first 40 years and it excites me so much to think about what I will be able to do in the next 40 years.  Plus, I set a goal to live to 2100 – so I’ll have another 40 years after I’m 80 to continue living the good life.

Coolest Things I Learned

Each month at my CEO peer group meeting we share the coolest thing we learned.  Here’s recap of mine:

  • “Floating” in a sensory deprivation tank is cool. I’ve done it a few times and look forward to doing it again.
  • Creating a “25 Year Focus” list – the things that will remain important to me in 25 years – has been an effective tool to help make both short and long term decisions.
  • While many areas of my business and life I rate a 10 out of 10 – there is still so much room for improvement. The journey is never complete.
  • Utilizing a very powerful way to access my subconscious called The MacGyver Method.
  • We got Southwest Airlines Companion Passes based on the info at 10xtravel.
  • I’m Enneagram Type 7 – The Enthusiast – which led to an insight about my desire to “not miss out” on fun and excitement.
  • The Automatic Customer influenced a new pricing model. (I interviewed the author on how to build a saleable business a few years ago.)
  • It’s amazing how humans can be influenced by things we don’t consciously see – Robert Cialdini provides unbelievable examples in Pre-suasion.
  • Perhaps the most interesting book I read this year – Disrupt You – offered a ton of great ideas.

Business Recap

Freedom Wealth Advisors continues to be my core focus.  I added a small handful of ultra-affluent families as clients.  More than ever they understood how I could serve them.  The goal is to increase their prosperity – not just their wealth, but also their happiness.  I still don’t market this company – we don’t even have a website – but through referrals we continue to grow.

My Freedom Income Fund, where we create income from uncommon debt sources, was in transition this year.  We exited our most significant pool of investments and tested new areas to find the best fit.

My Freedom Real Estate Fund, which buys income producing real estate, acquired interests in great assets around the country.  We partner with operators that need capital partners and we typically write checks for $2mm to $3mm.

Along with Chris Roehm , CFP, I wrote my third book: 20/20 Vision: Who Will Own Your Company in 2020?  Around the time it was published, as a result of a variety of influences, I sold Freedom Business Advisors to Chris and he merged it into a local CPA firm, Daszkal Bolton.  My experiences in this business brought me to a new level of competence in a host of areas.

The CADsourcing team came down to me in January for our annual meeting.  The plans we laid out for the year were exciting and aggressive.  The year was good.  We retained our best clients, added 10 people to our team, started rehabilitating federal inmates by providing them CAD drafting work, brought in some amazing new business, and made loans via Kiva to over 30 entrepreneurs in Cebu, Philippines where one of our offices is located.  I’m expecting 2017 to be a break out year.

For the past 3 years I’ve been partners with Ace Chapman, who has spent his career buying and selling profitable internet companies.  This year we partnered on a training platform called Website Mogul and agreed to create the Freedom Internet Fund, which we expect to open in January.  Our plan is to do what Ace has been doing for 16 years – but on a larger scale – buying profitable websites, growing their profits, enjoying the cash flow and selling them for a profit.  It is incredibly exciting for me to lead the charge into this new area for my clients.  I expect it to be very rewarding professionally and personally.

I also invested in Illuminati Studios, a digital marketing agency with a focus on helping multi-unit brands and franchisors.  My involvement focuses on strategy and process.  We made progress internally but it required us to say goodbye to customers that didn’t fit with our value proposition.  That change was painful as we had to replace about 30% of revenues. We are now positioned to scale our Local Light platform, which generates incredible results for local marketing.

Family Adventures

We spend a lot of time, energy and money curating new and fun experiences.  The year got started with a trip to Disneyworld to celebrate Amanda’s birthday.  For spring break, we visited Houston with friends.  I’d never been to Texas – the rodeo and fair were certainly outrageous.  As the weather got warmer, the kids and I went sailing overnight with our cousins.  They are still talking about it.

Perhaps the highlight of the year was celebrating Amanda and my 40th birthdays by packing 40,000 meals which were distributed to our local food pantries.  Bringing together 150 friends in the spirit of serving the community was a real treat.

Our summer started when Eden graduated preschool.  It felt like a huge milestone.  We took off right away with a quick trip to celebrate our cousin’s Bar Mitzvah in NJ and to see some old friends.  Then, Amanda’s parents treated us to a wonderful cruise where we got to spend a week together with our nephew and brother in law.  Next, we spent 3 weeks travelling the coast of California, from San Francisco down to San Diego.  It was amazing – seeing friends and family, the scenery, and dozens of new experiences as a family.   Summer capped off with a trip to NJ to visit family and friends, and for a cruise to Bermuda that my parents hosted.  It was 6 years since our last family vacation.  We now total 16 between the 3 generations.

In September, we started boating as a family and got a few days out on the water entertaining local friends.  Adding this activity to our routine has been a treat.  Thankfully Amanda’s mom could come to stay with the kids at the end of the month so we could go to Boston for an Entrepreneur’s Organization conference with a bunch of friends.  As much as we enjoy time with the kids, being together the two of us is always our favorite.

For Eden’s birthday, instead of a party she wanted to go back to Disney where we got to do the “Not So Scary” celebration.   That place never seems to get old.

The holiday season gave us a chance to go back to Curacao to celebrate Thanksgiving for the third year in a row.  The snorkeling there is so incredible and easily accessible so the kids could be immersed in ocean life.  I saw my first lionfish, and then ate one that night.

With Hanukah starting so late, we won’t celebrate many nights with the kids.  Instead, Amanda and I will get to spend some time together while the kids enjoy the company of their grandparents.  The kids call it a win-win-win because they’re excited, we’re excited and the grandparents are excited.

What’s Next

I decided to commit to a quarterly update where I’ll share what I’m learning as well as what I’m doing.  I seem to learn more now than I did in college!  If you’d prefer not to get the message, I’ll remove you from my contact list.  And if this is the first you’re hearing from me in quite some time, use it as an opportunity to reply and say hi.  Let me know what you’re up to.

All my best,

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