Archives For Epic Living

It’s time to look back and reflect on 2014. I’ve done this for the past two years now. The reason I started doing it was because I never did it. If I wanted to get different results in life, I needed to do different things. An annual review seemed like a great idea because I could review what went well and what didn’t go as well.

Therefore the next, I could continue to do more of what was working well and less of what wasn’t.

If you’ve never done one before, I encourage you to answer those two questions.

If you want to go more in depth in your year in review, I’ve created a free worksheet that has questions to help you review your year and plan for the next. By filling it out, you will learn a lot about yourself.

Download it, print it out and find a quiet time to complete it. Don’t rush through it. These questions will really make you think. Be honest with your answers. These are just for yourself.

If you find it that you don’t have much to write down, then next year make sure you consciously do more. It could be because you’re in your comfort zone too much. Make it a goal for next year to be stretch yourself and take more risks.

If you’ve never done a year in review, try it this year. You’ll learn more about yourself. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Don’t just fill this out and put it away. I encourage you to put it in a place where you can access it and refer back to it throughout the year. Because you need to remember the parts of your life you said you needed to eliminate or improve.

Download the worksheet now (right click to save)

What went well in 2014

Working for myself

This was the first time in my life I began and ended this year as an online entrepreneur. I didn’t realize that until I began writing this.

That’s a huge accomplishment for me and a dream I’ve had since probably 2005. It’s a great feeling to know that I did that. Last year was the beginning of this new chapter.

In June 2013, I quit my full time job finally and went all in with my online business. It was scary to take that leap before I was financially ready, but I just could not take wasting my time doing a job I hated. It was scary and went through some low points before finally seeing the results of the hard work pay off at the end of 2013. 

That momentum carried in 2014 and this year has been my best year yet.

Being my own boss is great but it also means that I need to get myself to do the work. I don’t have anyone telling me what I should be doing. For the most part I’ve done a pretty good job of that this year. The results have shown that.

Travel

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One of the reasons I’ve always wanted to have my own online business is to be able to travel when I wanted. This year I took full advantage of that.

Last year, my wife and I didn’t travel much after June because I wasn’t getting a steady paycheck anymore and living off savings until the online income went up. So we cut back on spending in many areas of our life, including travel.

We hated that because we love traveling, but we had to.

This year we made up for it.

Febuary started off with a trip to London and Paris thanks to a mistake fare that was published a few months before. We were able to get roundtrip tickets for $400 per person. A bargain we could not turn down especially we had been dreaming about going to those cities.

We stayed two weeks total and used a combination of hotel points, cash, and Airbnb for our hotels.

[If you want to learn more about how to travel in luxury without paying full price, here is a guide created by Chris Guillebeau. He inspired me to start travel hacking and I’ve been loving it ever since.]

On the way back we stopped in New York City for three nights. Got to try out the tallest hotel in North America which recently opened. I booked one night with points and one night with cash.

Got  upgraded to a corner room with a priceless view of Central Park.

After that the traveling continued.

  • April – Long Beach to visit family
  • April to June – Taipei
  • July – Portland for World Domination Summit
  • July – Las Vegas for my birthday
  • August – Dallas for Podcasting Movement
  • September – Chicago to play tourist
  • September – Denver to watch a Broncos game
  • October – Jamaica for our three year anniversary
  • November – I didn’t go anywhere but my wife went to New York for a week to meet a friend who visited from Taiwan
  • December – Amtrak ride from Denver to San Francisco. Then flew to Minneapolis to see the Mall of America

What helped us save so much money this year was having the Southwest companion pass which I earned in early 2014. What that allows is when I book a ticket, my wife flies almost for free! She has to pay like $5 for fee but that’s it. That’s why we decided to go to so many places this year.

Early 2015 is the best time to get the companion pass. Why? Because when you qualify for it, Southwest gives it to you the rest of the year and then next year. So my companion pass was good for this year and all of 2015! And Southwest now flies internationally and the pass can be used for that too. That’s why we went to Jamaica for our anniversary.

Here is a great blog post that explains more and helped me earn the companion pass. 

Teespring.com

IMG_1184At the beginning of the year, I had no idea that I’d make more money than I ever have by selling t-shirts online. 

I knew about Teespring in 2013 but didn’t understand how it could turn into a business until earlier this year when I learned that people were making lots of money. I decided to try it out because I’ve always wanted to design t-shirts. I can remember reading the 4 Hour Work week in 2007 and the idea of buying a printing machine and doing it in my garage crossed my mind. Just seemed too much to invest upfront and I had no idea how to get people to see my shirt.

Now that dream is possible thanks to Teespring and Facebook. At the end of this year I’ve been paid out by Teespring $195,000+.

It’s given me more confidence that I can do even more in life. Now I’m thinking bigger

In December when we went to San Francisco, I was able to stop by the Teespring offices to get a tour and meet some of the amazing people behind it.

Launched the podcast

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Last year I was disappointed I didn’t launch the Get Busy Living podcast. I had wanted to but put it aside in order to focus on making money. I’m glad I did because I now realize how much time goes into podcasting. This year though I wanted to finally launch it.

Since I did in January I’ve had 195,000 downloads! I was featured in New and Noteworthy and climbed as high as #56 overall in the whole iTunes podcast section and #4 in the self help category. Even more important was getting feedback about how much you enjoy it.

I thought it’d be easy to just hit record and talk. It was the second episode that I realized it wasn’t. That episode took hours to finish. I kept messing up with sentences so I’d have to stop, delete what I just recorded and do it again. I almost wanted to give up. I was sweating and just tired. So the next few episodes I typed out every single word I would say. I read those episodes to sound as natural as possible.

I don’t know when the shift began but now when I record an episode I don’t have to read every single words and feel more comfortable talking in front of a mic. That just came from practice.

It’s an important lesson to remember that you’re going to be a beginner when you start and it’s going to be ugly. You’ll get better when repetition.

FOX News

This was a complete surprise.

Not only was I surprised that I ended up on FOX News, but I was surprised how fast it happened.

You can read the whole story here. but this is how it looked on live TV. It’s an experience I’ll never forget. And I’m still shocked that she thought my game and Candy Crush looked similar.

What didn’t go so well

Writing

Unfortunately this is a repeat of last year. Last year I put writing aside because I was spending most of my free time on reskinning apps. This year I’ve been selling on Teespring and podcasting. I knew something had to go and it was writing.

I hate that it’s not in the section above because I didn’t do a better job of making it a priority. Could I have made more time for it? Of course. Even 30 minutes a day was possible, but I think the problem was that it wasn’t made a regular part of my day like brushing my teeth.

When I had free time, I would do something else. Instead I need to do my writing at the same time every day. That way I have a routine.

I’m going to do a better job and find a way to get this into the section above one year from now. Two years in a row in this section is not good.

Podcasting

I had to put podcasting in the corner as well. I started off great and in a rhythm with one episode a week. Then Teespring came along and took up a lot of my time. Then a new episode would come out once every two weeks maybe. I didn’t have a set schedule and I feel bad about that. That’s not what the top podcasters do.

If I’m serious about it, I have to treat it more than just a hobby.

I enjoy podcasting, despite someone trying to sabotage my podcast, so I will keep doing it. In fact, I want to do another podcast as crazy as that seems.

What will I do in 2015 to improve? I’m thinking of choosing a day and making it my podcast day. So I know every week on that day it’s time to record. Also being a few episodes ahead is important.

Gonna improve so podcasting will not be in this section next year.

My health

I’ve been up and down with my level of fittnes year. Most of the year has been down. With all the traveling came a lot of eating and not much exercising. The negatives I’ve seen of it have been occassional headaches and disappointment in how I feel. It’s not the number on the scale mainly but more of how I feel.

I did do a 21 day cleanse after we came back from London, Paris and NYC. I had enough of eating too much and feeling like crap. The 21 days were tough, but I did it. I felt amazing. I felt lighter. I had more confidence. Clothes were looser. I felt great, but slowly I went back to old habits.

I’d love to be more consistent with it but the problem is that I love to eat too much. I know I have to control how much I eat, but that can be hard when traveling.

This is going to be a challenge in 2015, but I don’t want to feel this same way.

Distractions

Though my results were amazing this year, I know I could have done more. I didn’t track it but I bet I wasted a lot of time by multitasking, checking email, and having interruptions. But at the same time, it shows that I’m not perfect but was still able to have a great year.

In fact, I just went off and did ten other things before I realized I was in the middle of writing this section. Crazy! It’s second nature to me and I’m sure many of you.

Finding ways to stay more focused and minimize distractions is important for me. That way I’ll have enough time for Teespring, writing, podcasting, and whatever else I work on in 2015.

What’s next for 2015?

To be honest, I don’t know yet. I’m going to continue with Teespring for sure. I don’t plan creating any new apps. I didn’t do any in 2014. I want to read more books too. Again it’s a thing I just have to make time for.

I’d love to self publish a book on Kindle so that’s a goal I’d love to say I did one year for now. In January, I’m going to set aside time and figure out what I want to prioritize in the year.

I always want to make the next year even better than the previous year. 2014 was my best year yet so I have a lot of work to do to achieve that. I do believe it’s possible though.

We will do as much traveling as we can in 2015. It’s the last year for the Southwest Companion pass so we want to use it. In February, we’re going back to Taipei. Book business class seats on Cathay Pacific. A few hundred dollars out of pocket only and the rest came from points collected from credit cards. Excited about that.

It’s not going to be all pleasure next year. I know if I want to keep this level of success, I’ve still go to put in the work.

I look forward to one year from now and doing an annual review and reflecting back on what a great year it was. 2014 was full of surprises so I’m looking forward to what good surprises 2015 has.

Thank you for following along in 2014.

What about you? What went well for you and what do you want to accomplish in 2015?

I’m walking through the aisle at Wal-Mart and I’m trying to figure out what I want for dinner. Actually it wasn’t that difficult of a choice. I was going to eat what I craved the most and would probably miss the most the next 21 days – pizza. I went to the frozen pizza aisle and got one with with sausage and pepperoni.

I felt like a death row inmate enjoying his last meal. I finished every bite even though I was beyond full. I couldn’t leave any leftovers.

Four days later

My wife and I are walking through the same aisles at Wal-Mart. This time I tried so hard to resist the pizza. It wasn’t only the pizza that was tempting me. It was the Oreos or the bag of Lay’s KC Masterpiece BBQ potato chips that I love. I was starving, but I needed to resist.

99% of my body wanted it, but I stuck to the 1% and walked out without a frozen pizza or any of the other junk foods that I love.

We dropped off some groceries at my mom’s house. While we were there, pizza was still on my mind. The past three years whenever I’ve had the tiniest bit of a craving, I’d satisfying it. I’ve always lost the battle. I tried to think of an excuse to have pizza.

It really felt like two voices were talking to me. One said, “Go ahead! What’s the big deal??” while the other one said “It’ll taste good, but you’ll regret it afterwards if you eat it.”

We went home and I immediately made a salad. The hunger went away and felt pleased that I resisted my temptations.

Why am I doing this?

The day after my final pizza I began a 21 day cleanse. The 21 day cleanse would have me eating a lot of fresh natural foods. No more dairy, carbs, processed foods, gluten, refined sugar. and meat. No pizza, fast food, and no ice cream. All the things that I absolutely love.

Why did I want to do this? Because I’ve been feeling like 100% crap. Not just recently, but for the past three years. Ever since I ran my last half marathon in February 2011, I’ve slowly gone downhill.

When I finished my last half marathon, I was in amazing shape, but then I went to Taipei to visit Eleanor and slowly went back to my old ways. When I got back months later, I couldn’t run a mile without being out of breath.

I love to eat. When I eat, I don’t just eat a small portion. I eat until I can barely breath. If there’s opportunity for dessert, I always say yes. It’s a terrible cycle.

I’ve gone through phases since college when I’ve been in great physical shape. That’s how I’d love to be all the time. However it’s always been an up and down roller coaster.

But as I’ve gotten older, my body started to change. Not sure what factors but maybe metabolism slowing down, exercising less, and eating more junk. Probably all three.

Because of the way I was eating, it had side effects. I remember last year being on vacation and I’d get these really bad headaches after taking a nap. Felt like migraines. I’d want to take a nap often because I had a huge meal. I noticed that when I went to bed, my heart was still beating really fast. That wasn’t right. I should be relaxed and calm.

I didn’t like how I looked either. I had this beer gut without drinking any beer. I looked at pictures of me and couldn’t believe this chubby guy I was looking at. It was embarrassing.

Willpower alone did not work

It seemed like everyday I’d tell myself that I was going to change.

I’m a sugar addict. I feel that is my biggest problem. I’ve tried just using willpower to eat less sugar. I sounded like a broken record cause I would always say, “No more sugar for a week” or “I’m not eating this much anymore.”

Yet I’d be back the next day doing the same thing. How good I felt while I ate sugar overpowered any thoughts of long term consequences. I only looked at instant gratification and the more I did, the weaker my willpower got.

I truly believe that sugar is an addiction just like a drug. I always thought just using willpower I could cut back on sugar. It’s not that easy.

I’ve wanted to do a 3-day juice cleanse that has become so popular. Surely I could handle that. I tried once and I made it only one day.

I tried fasting 24 hours twice a week. I survived for a couple weeks, but the problem was after a fast I’d have a huge meal.

I kept looking for a quick fix where I could still eat the foods I loved and still lose weight and feel great.

I had to stop trying that.

21 Day Cleanse – The First Attempt

In October I saw on Facebook a friend’s wife going through the 21 day cleanse. She’d post daily photos of what she made and commented often how good it tasted. I read more about the program and seemed like something I needed.

The benefits of 21 days were:

  • reboot my body
  • clean out whatever toxins I had built up
  • feel great
  • lose weight
  • get rid of food cravings

That’s exactly what I wanted.

Buying the program was not going to guarantee success. Sure I was motivated, but I’ve been motivated before when starting.

But could I do it? Could I not eat meat for that long? What about rice or bread? Would I feel irritable cause I couldn’t have sugar?

For the 21 day cleanse, I liked that it gave me a lot of recipes with great photos. It had a day by day plan of what to eat each meal. I looked through the recipes and some looked good, while others I wasn’t sure about.

I would give it a chance.

I started in November. We went to the health foods store to buy all different kinds of nuts, seeds, and other foods I’ve never bought before. My wife wasn’t going to do it. She looked at the meals and knew she couldn’t survive. She did try some of the meals and snack and loved them.

The first three days I felt fine. I thought I can do this. I wasn’t having headaches or dizziness that some people reported because of withdrawals from caffeine.

The fourth day I hit my wall. Hard. I was so hungry. Anything I couldn’t have sounded so good.

My family wanted to eat Chinese buffet on the fourth day. I hadn’t told them I was trying to do a 21 day cleanse. We go occasionally and I always eat too much. I was torn. It sounded so good. I could have said no.

Then my instant gratification side starts coming up with excuses. My thinking was I’d get rid of my craving and pick back up the day after. I’d be like a cheat day once a week. I eat clean the next six days, but this cheat day would help the cravings.

That was not part of the 21 day plan. I was bending the rules.

I went and it tasted like a 5 star meal.

The day after I ate healthy, but the day after that I had a pizza. The craving came back and I made an excuse that it was okay to have it. So much for going six days of healthy eating. I don’t know what it’s like to be addicted to drugs, but I felt like I needed my pizza to calm down. After that, I never got back on track.

I went back to my old ways. Eat out a lot. Big meals at home. Eating ice cream, chocolate and cookies.

Then we went to London, Paris, and New York in February. It’s easier to eat a lot on vacation and that’s what I did. I had the headaches and just overall discomfort again.

While on the trip, I told my wife when I got back I was going to do the 21 days. She said okay sure, but I don’t know how much confidence she had in me that I’d stick with it. Since we’ve been married, she’s heard me complain about my weight.

I was serious this time. I had my breaking point. This madness had to stop.

I needed to. I hated how I always felt. I especially hated how I looked. I’ve been complaining about it for so long. I got tired of hearing myself complain.

Continue Reading…

(This is part 2 of my story. If you haven’t read part 1 yet, do that first so you’ll know what’s going on.)

I told you about my decision to finally quit my job. I first want to address some points that weren’t so clear. It was brought on by comments by Sam, who runs a blog called Financial Samurai.

Quitting my job was harder because it was a family business. While my mom would have welcomed me back anytime if I wanted a job again, I still felt bad to quit. She relied on me a lot to oversee the restaurant when she was off or out of town. There was no one else she could trust. So my guilt made me stay longer than I wanted. I felt my mom has given me so much so I should help her out. However, that was at the expense of my health and happiness.

Looking back, I wish I would have taken the leap to go on my own sooner. I didn’t though. I was scared. I got too comfortable getting that paycheck.

Yes I could have quit, tried to make more money online, and if it didn’t work go back to work in six months. I would have a job and my old salary in a second, but I didn’t want that at all.

When I did decide to quit the restaurant, I didn’t want to look back. I didn’t want to have that safety net of being able to go back to the restaurant if needed. If I had that mindset of “I could always go back”, I wouldn’t be so determined to make it on my own.

In 2013, I finally felt that way. Enough was enough for me.

May 2013

We just got back from a four month overseas trip. It wasn’t all pleasure while we were away. I had to think how I was going to earn more money this year.

Now I had all this free time. At first, it felt strange. I’m never home on a Friday or Saturday night. It felt nice, but strange.

I’ve often repeated this advice because it helped me so much at the beginning. If the results I’m getting aren’t what I want, then I’ve got to try something different, or else I’m going to keep getting the same results. 

My app sales seemed to want to stay about $60-$100 a day on average for all of 2012 and the beginning of 2013.

No matter how much money I was spending into updates or new apps, it remained the same.

In 2013, I could not keep doing the same thing. I had to try something different.

My plan to make more money in 2013

One goal of my mine was to create a product for this blog. I had been working on one since 2012. I released Get Busy Living in 30 while we were in Hong Kong in March 2013. I hoped for a January release, but it wasn’t ready. Finally in March I had to get it out there and stop trying to make it perfect. I imagined if I could sell one a day at $49 that would be a great monthly addition to my income.

However, it hasn’t done what I hoped.

Maybe cause it’s I don’t market it that much. I just have it advertised in my sidebar and it’s mention when you subscribed to my list. That’s it. Maybe I should do more marketing for it.

The most important thing though is I know it’s not because of the content. I’ve gotten feedback from many people who said the course has truly helped them. Some call it life changing. That’s the best thing I can hear.

I wasn’t going to be financially independent from just this course so I had to try something else.

In 2012, I learned about re-skinning games. The idea behind that is taking an already created game that is sold by the owner as a license. It means I don’t own the game. I just own a license to sell the game and change it however I want. Usually just changing the grahpics is enough. The game play is the same. The games are monetized by ads and in-app purchases.

Games are a huge market. That’s where all the money is made in the App Store.

Continue Reading…

Going All In - Get Busy Living

I don’t want you to believe that my life is perfect. I’m not a fan of people online only show and write about the great things going on in life. Especially from people who write about personal development or how to make money online. They choose only to publicize what’s awesome about their life.

That can create a false sense of reality for all of us. It’s easy to leave out the struggles and only show the good stuff. It makes it seem like life should be one easy ride to the top. That doesn’t help us at all.

I like real people. People who will tell you how they failed before but also what they are doing about it.

Success isn’t just about the results you get. It’s about how many times you get your ass knocked down, but get back up.

I can do more to inspire you to take the action needed in your life by sharing what’s not perfect about my life and what I’m doing about it.

I’m no one special. I am not immune to problems, failures, worry, stress, and most of all fear. I just do my best to improve myself so that I can handle it. It’s not always easy, but the other choice is to let it get the best of me.

I have come a long way in three years when I decided that I was going to seriously turn my life around. I am proud of that, and my life has had many great moments. It’s also had its failures. I’ve screwed up. I’ve made dumb mistakes. I’ve sat on my couch cause I have so much on my mind and wondering when it’ll all get better.

About a year ago, I had to make a huge decision. One one hand, the decision would fulfill a dream. One I’ve been putting off for years. On the other hand, it would leave me with an uncertain future.

It’s been almost a year and I’ve kept my story silent because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I’m finally ready to open up and share what this past year has been like.

2011 – Life Changing

Many of you know my story that two years ago I released my first iPhone app, Photo 365 in August 2011. It came at a time in my life when I finally decided to take control of my life.

One year before that, in October 2010, on a drive home from work, I decided I was sick of the person I had become. I hated my job working in the restaurant business. I hated myself. Why was I unhappy? How in the world did it get to this point?

I made a decision to stop all the shitty excuses and laziness that night. I wrote a letter to myself and taped it on my wall. Fast forward to the following year and the app came out. I was just so happy that I actually started and finish something. If I didn’t make one dollar, the whole process was a great learning experience.

Then I was in for the biggest surprise of my life. My app got featured by Apple, not one week, not two weeks, but three weeks in a row.  It reach rockstar status when it was App of the Week.

I earned about $30,0000 that first month. I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me. I had struggled to find ways to make money online for many years and now I had a way.

That money didn’t go in my pocket. I ask my parent’s accountant what should I do so I wouldn’t have a huge tax bill next year and he said create a LLC. That’s what I did and I officially had a business.

I remember someone online asking me if I was going to quit my job. That was the ultimate goal. I had been wanting to do that since 2005. Quitting my job right away didn’t cross my mind though.

If I had won millions of dollars I would have, but I knew realistically that I wasn’t going to be earning an average of $1,000 a day forever. So I was going to wait until my sales continued to do well enough that it could cover my living (mortgage, insurance, all that stuff) and have money left to invest back into apps.

That was the ideal situation. Be able to pay myself every month, and have enough to spend on my apps.

How long would I wait? I wasn’t sure. Not too much loner I hoped. I wanted to see how Photo 365 would do.

So I kept working in the restaurant business. The job I hated. The one I’ve been trying to leave. The one that made me feel sick to my stomach driving to when I had to work. The one where I worked nights, weekends and holidays. How bad did it get? I grew to hate Christmas. It used to be my favorite holiday, but when it was Christmas I knew I had to work and it would be busy.

Despite having that app, this blog, and a new attitude about life, my frustrations about work remained the same. Not having a definite date when I could quit made it worse.

I did not want to quit yet because the security of a paycheck. It was my worst enemy! It was so hard to give up. With a paycheck, I knew how I was going to pay my bills every month. Without it, I wasn’t sure.

2012 – Waiting is the hardest part

Life wasn’t all bad though. I got married in October 2011. In 2012, I wanted to travel more since we were married. My wife and I drove up the coast from Los Angeles to San Francisco and went zip lining and white water rafting in Costa Rica. We took short trips to Atlanta and Orlando.

The job I hated did have one benefit and that was taking multiple vacations. I always hated coming back home, because the next day I’d have to go right back to work.

Photo 365 was consistently earing $50-100 per day. Doing some quick math, it seems good, but not enough to quit my job. The money I did earn mostly was going back into new features. One that would hopefully increase sales.

I started seeing other apps similar to mine enter the market so I had to try and stay on top.

I turned my focus into making more apps. I thought with more apps, I could have more revenue every month. I spent money on new apps like Gratitude 365, Bucket List, and Life Quotes.

It all didn’t turn out so well.

Continue Reading…

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You might feel stuck, but you’re unsure why. I’ve listed 12 behaviors that are possibly holding you back from where you are now to where you want to be.

You can start to make changes now. Stop denying yourself from becoming the type of person you truly want to become. Get rid of the old you, and start allowing the real you to come through.

You need to stop…

1. Being too safe – No pain, no gain. Playing it safe gets you nowhere in life. You want to play it safe because you’re so afraid of failure. By being too safe, you don’t even try. You don’t see what’s can possibly happen.

To reach your full potential, the road will be bumpy. It’s intentionally that way to find out who wants it the most. The weak ones get left behind, while the risk takers forge ahead and see what’s further down the road. That’s where happiness is. Where there is happiness there will be success as well.

2. Doubting your own dreams. – It doesn’t matter what your dream is. It could be starting a business, writing a book, finding love, or something else. The first thing you have to do is believe in yourself. Don’t seek validation from others. Believing in yourself might be hard because you’re just beginning, but you have to believe in what you’re doing without seeing the whole road in front of you.

3. Being influenced by negative people – You cannot be a positive person if you’re surrounded with negativity all the time. Sometimes these people are long time friends, but they’ve decided to take their life in a different direction than you want. Usually it’s no direction. It’s not a healthy relationship anymore. If someone isn’t adding any value you to your life, it’s best to say goodbye.

4. Expecting everything to be easy. – Stop expecting life is going to be a smooth ride. It’s not. Life is like sailingl across the Atlantic ocean. It’s going to start off real smooth. During the journey there will be huge waves and heavy rains. It’s part of the journey. The person sailing knows that and has to prepare for moments like that. Instead of wanting a life that’s easy, become a person that can handle the choppy waters.

If you remove all struggles from your life, you’re not going to find out what you’re truly made of. Success feels even sweeter when you’ve overcome your struggles and thrived.

5. Letting everyone else decide for your life for you. – You think it’s easier to just let other people decide for you because you don’t know what you want. Maybe you’re afraid of making the wrong choice. If you let people dictate your life, you will live a life that you don’t want.

If I listened to my parents, I’d either be an unhappy doctor or lawyer. Don’t give your life away to others who put you on a path that has no meaning for you.

6. Living in the past. – Would of, could of, should of. There’s moments that you wished you could go back and have a do over. Try not to dwell on the opportunities you missed out. You can’t go back anyways. Keep moving forward and if opportunities comes again, you will be better prepared to take it.

Living in the past guarantees that not have the future you desire.

7. Ignoring the lessons – Everything happens for a reason and you can learn and grow from. When something bad happens, and it will, find the lesson behind it. What could you have done better? What would you do if faced with the same situation in the future?

8. Holding on to resentment. – If you’re carrying baggage from your past, you won’t have room for all the everything else you want. Holding onto resentment, past failures, a broken heart and hate for others is going to keep you living in the past. Let it go so you can finally move forward. You  start by writing a letter to yourself.

9. Being too hard on yourself. – If you screw up, give yourself a break. Everyone makes mistakes. When you make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world. So it’s not as bad as you think. Pick yourself up and try again. Nobody is perfect an neither are you.

10. Being so pessimistic. – You often spend way too much time why you’re not good enough, why you don’t deserve to be successful, and why you can’t do it. You waste too much time with that inner voice that won’t shut up. You walk with our head down. It’s time to turn that frown upside down.

Instead of thinking “Why me?” think “Why not me?” Why can’t you be a bestselling author? Why can’t you become an actor? Why can’t you start a million dollar company? If others have done it, why can’t you?

11. Giving up too soon. – Most people give up right before their big breakthrough. Of course they don’t know it’s coming, but they give up too soon. If you choose something you believe in, then go after it with everything you have. Someday all that hard work and sacrifice will come together.

I tried so many different online businesses and failed. When I had unbelievable success with my first app, it looked like an overnight success, but it wasn’t. I never gave up hope that I’d have an online business. I just didn’t know when it would come. I just kept trying something until it worked for me. Because of the struggles I had, I can look back and smile about how resilient I was and didn’t give up on my dream.

Candy Crush Trademark Candy

It all started with an angry tweet on Sunday.

The previous Tuesday I released my slot machine game which I called “All Candy Casino Slots”. I just wanted to make a game with a fun theme. We all love candy.

That Sunday I got an email from Apple.com on behalf of King.com LTD, who own Candy Crush. This is what the email said:

Dear Benjamin,

On 1/15/2014, we received a notice from King.com Ltd that King.com Ltd believes the app listed below infringes their intellectual property rights. In particular, King.com Ltd believes you are infringing their trademark. Please see their comments below.

C. Developer: Benjamin Hsu

Provider: Benjamin Hsu

App Title: All Candy Casino Slots – Jewels Craze Connect: Big Blast Mania Land

Apple ID: 788815470

Comments from Complainant: We are the owners of CANDY, in the EU, US and elsewhere. The prominent use of our mark by this developer infringes our rights and is likely to lead to consumer confusion and damage to our brand. Please remove this app as soon as possible.

You can reach King.com Ltd through Sophie Hallstrom (email: sophie.hallstrom@king.com), copied on this email.

We look forward to receiving written assurance that your application does not infringe King.com Ltd’s rights, or that the parties are taking steps to promptly resolve the matter.  Please keep us apprised of your progress.

Should you choose to remove your application, (for example, while you make any necessary changes) use the steps provided below.

This had to be a joke, right?

My initial reactions were disbelief, then anger. How could they own the word “candy”? It’s such a common word and the App Store is flooded with so many games with a candy theme and the word candy in the app name.

Candy Crush was not the first candy game. Remember Candyland?

Candyland Candy Crush

 Now they own the word and I can’t use it, nor can others?

I went to a couple Facebook groups I’m a member of with other app developers. I shared the emailed and ask what should I do.

Their reaction was the same as mine. How could they own the word? How could they even be approved for that trademark?

It was ridiculous for them to trademark the word candy.

After re-reading the email many times, it stated that my game led to “consumer confusion”. How? It looked nothing like it. I didn’t copy the candies in their game. There seem to be a gazillion candy games in the App Store. So were they just going after me or everyone else?

I replied back to the contact in the email and nicely stated that I did not not believe my app was causing any confusion. A search of the word “candy” in the App Store brought up a long list of candy themed app. In no way did I believe I was infringing on their trademark.

Got another lovely reply.

Hi Benny

Thank you for your email.

As you will know, King.com Ltd develops and produces online, social and mobile games, including the hugely successful “Candy Crush Saga” game.  In addition, King owns the trade mark CANDY (CTM 011538147), which covers for example “online gaming, interactive poker, online gambling services; casino services; casino services delivered via the Internet” in class 41.

Your use of CANDY SLOTS in your app icon uses our CANDY trade mark exactly, for identical goods, which amounts to trade mark infringement and is likely to lead to consumer confusion and damage to our brand. The addition of only the descriptive term “SLOTS” does nothing to lessen the likelihood of confusion. You will appreciate that we need to take action where our marks are being used without our consent, with the consequent risk of our marks becoming diluted or damaged in any way or consumers believing that the goods originate from or are otherwise endorsed or approved by us. 

We understand that you might not have been aware that this was an infringement.  Now that you are aware of your infringements, please amend the name of your App accordingly.

We are aware that there are many games on the app store with CANDY in the name, this is largely due to the popularity of our game Candy Crush Saga. We review each of these apps in turn and take action where necessary.

I hope this helps to answer your questions.

We reserve all rights.

Kind regards

Sophie

That is absurd. Let’s do a side-by-side comparison.

Not Candy Crush Slots Trademark

The word CANDY is about as generic as can be. The candy lollipops aren’t even in their game.

What a bunch of idiots.

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