I don’t understand people sometimes. I guess it’s best not to because if I try and understand why people act the way they do I’d get nothing else done in life.

I got a comment on a post I wrote awhile back about being featured on New and Noteworthy for Photo 365. Of course I was so excited about it. My first app got featured in the second week it was out. It was beyond my wildest imagination.

Did I get lucky? I’d be the first to say yes.

But I put myself in that position in the first place by creating an app. After that, being featured or not by Apple is completely out of the developer’s hands. No one knows exactly how you get featured. It’s not based on number of downloads or how many ratings you have. I’ve seen apps featured on New and Noteworthy with no ratings or reviews.

I really thought my second app, Gratitude Journal 365, would be featured by Apple as well. I thought the design was great and the features were nice. However it got nothing. That’s how it is for indie developers.

Here is the comment that made me write this post.

This is from another app developer. I’ve removed his link to his app because he doesn’t deserve the link or free promotion. To me, he sounds super bitter.

I couldn’t let it go and say nothing. Here is the rest of the conversation.

Since he felt like giving his “realistic opinion”, I’ll give mine.

My guess is he is upset that his amazing app didn’t get featured by Apple. He sees other apps, like mine, that have been featured and think his app is so much better. He believe his app actually does something valuable instead of letting users save one photo a day. Also he’s not making much money back on his app either, hence the comment about how much money I’ve made. He’s spent a lot and not nearing his break even point.

And really, being featured on New and Noteworthy does not determine the success of an app. Yes the recognition is nice, but it only lasts a week. Being featured isn’t going to make us rich or poor. I know developers who have never been featured and they make a comfortable living from their apps. So I’m not sure why he is so upset about the process. Complain to Apple.

Secondly if he’s going to argue it’s easier to win the lottery than be featured, at least be right.

Currently there are 900,000 apps in the App store. A lot of them aren’t even close to be worthy enough to be featured. So that eliminates a whole bunch. Every week they feature 30 apps in the New and Noteworthy section. That’s 1,560 apps a year.

Recently the Powerball jackpot was $600 million. The odds of winning that were 1 in 175,223,510. I’m not that great at math, but just looking at the numbers, I would say winning the lottery is much harder.

I’ve bought way more lottery tickets than developed apps and I have yet to win the lottery.

I know it’s just one hater and they’re all over the internet. Yes I let his comment bother me, but one way I like to get my frustrations out is to write about it. I did it last time another developer ridiculously accused me of copying her app.

I posted a link to his comments on Twitter and these responses from friends.

 

They’re right. There are going to be people are going to hate your success. It also made me realize one thing.

Being jealous is a waste of time

People are going to be jealous about anything. They might look at someone and be jealous they have a better job, more money, more success, or more recognition. They may be working hard, but don’t have the amount of success as someone else who seemingly doesn’t work so hard and just gets lucky.

They’re wasting their time and energy if they spend it on being jealous. What good does it really do? What good does leaving a comment like the one above?

Instead of focusing on what they need to do, they’re constantly thinking about that other person. They’re not thinking nice things either so all that negative energy gets them upset inside.

I don’t want that to be you and I don’t want you to associate yourself with people like that either. The friends you spend the most time with are so vital to your success and happiness in life. If they’re nasty and jealous, that’s going to rub off on you.

The reality is there are going to be people ahead of us in life.

I’ve seen interviews of other app developers who are making way more money than I am. Am I jealous? No. It makes me focus more and work harder so I can get to that level. I don’t waste my time being jealous.

Those jealous people just try to bring the rest of us down to their level.

Maybe you have friends that see you much happier because you are doing something they only dream about. They’re going to be jealous. Why? Because you’re doing what they aren’t doing. They have a million excuses why not to, while you’re taking control of your life. Since they can’t be happy, they don’t want you to either.

So they say things about you, talk behind your back, or even talk in front of your face. They want to bring you down to their own low level.

Do no let them do that. Do not let them win.

Let them stay there complaining and doing nothing, while you ignore them. If you really have friends like that, you truly need to find new friends.

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Writing To Heal

No matter where my life takes me, I know I’ll always remember one vivid point in my life that changed everything. It happened one night back in October 2010.

I think many of us want to find that one moment that feels like a pivotal turning point in our lives. A moment when we leave our past behind, and get busy living. We stop making excuses and ready to do what it takes to have the life we want.

We wait for that moment to come. It’s frustrating because we have no idea when it will come. We hope it comes sooner than later though.

The truth is we are waiting for a moment that may never happen.

What if you could create that moment instead of waiting for it? 

You can do that through the power of writing. Writing can help you if you’ve got a lot of emotional baggage, have a lot of pain and anger, or feel stuck in life. It’s benefits have been scientifically proven.

It’s not only about writing, but more specifically writing letters.

It has turned my life around as it has for the four stories I share today.

Let’s jump in the Delorean, hit 88 mph, and go back in time first.

“I hate my life.”

Why did life turn out like this? I definitely didn’t expect this after graduating college.

I had a nice house filled with whatever I wanted, drove a BMW M3, and took long paid vacations every year. What was so bad about my life?

What I hated so much was my job.

I worked at my mom’s Japanese restaurant. The type of restaurant with teppanyaki tables and chefs cook in front of you. It’s a fun dining experience. We also served some of the best sushi. I’m biased of course, but lots of regular customers have said the same.

I started working there soon after I graduated college in 2000 since I had no idea what I wanted to do. I thought I’d work to earn some money and have something to do. My parents have owned restaurants before I even started kindergarten. So I’ve been around the business all of my life.

I didn’t mind it growing up, but I never thought it was going to be a career for me.

Most people thought life was great for me. From the outside, it looked like it. They assumed I would take over the business one day.

In my mind I thought no way. I hated my job. I would dream of natural disasters, or getting into an accident just so I didn’t have to work. Minus seeing regular customers who I’ve become friends with, I didn’t like anything about the business.

The life of a restaurant manager (my position) is tough. The money is good and can afford nice things, but it’s not worth what I had to deal with and the hours.

For example, when families are excited about Christmas Day, I didn’t look forward to it. Why? Because I had to work since that is one of THE busiest nights of the year. I don’t understand why so many people go out to eat that night. Sometimes I had to put on my best fake smile, and other times i didn’t even bother to hide my frustration.

I had good days and bad days at work. Most days, I’d dread going to work. During work, I’d be so pissed off. After work was the only time I was happy cause I got to go home.

For so long, I couldn’t figure out what other job I could do. I didn’t want to work in the restaurant any longer, but I had a mortgage that I couldn’t stop paying. Plus it’s family so it was harder to quit. I spent a lot of time researching other job opportunities. I kept waiting for that turning point in my life. I wanted to wake up and become a different person with a different life. I wanted to DO something with my life.

I spent five long years feeling like this.

The Power of Words 

One night in October 2010, I drove home from another shitty night at work. It was so busy. I already didn’t like my job, so when it was busy it was 100x worse.  I was physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. I just stared at the road, one hand on the wheel, and the other hand holding my head up wondering how life could have gotten like this.

Where was the younger version of myself that was going to do great things in life?

Nights like this were way too common. What was it going to take for me to get some urgency in life? I needed to stop wasting more years of my life! 

I just couldn’t find the motivation to do something about it.

You know how some people have a near death experience that makes them appreciate the second chance for life? They stop sleepwalking through life and start living life to its fullest. I wanted my own near death experience without actually having a near death experience.

Something about that night was different. I wish I could explain why. I’ve made that drive hundreds of times. I usually come home and do the same routine. I’d take a shower, go to my office, turn on the computer, turn on the TV and spend hours trying to forget about reality until I was tired enough to go to sleep.

That night when I got home I went to my computer first, opened up a blank document on my computer, and started typing. I wrote what came to my mind. I didn’t edit. I just let the words flow.

Despite hating my life, there was a part of me that knew I could do more in life.

Here is exactly what I wrote:

This is it. This is when I start to make changes to the life I want. It starts now. Stop wasting time. It’s been more than five years since you’ve wanted to find a new career. You need to start doing it today. Today. Tomorrow and everyday until you reach your desired lifestyle. Life is too short to be unhappy when working. Start working hard everyday to find your passion and reach your goals. Focus, focus, focus. Open your mind and allow it to attract great ideas and answers to your questions.

I printed two copies. One I put on my bathroom mirror and one on the wall right behind my computer. I knew I couldn’t miss seeing them everyday.

This was a wake up call for me. I still had my crappy job, but writing that letter changed my attitude about life. The life I wanted to create and the person I wanted to become wasn’t just a burning desire in my mind anymore. By writing it down, and seeing it every day, it became something I must do. The letter reminded me of that night and how I felt driving home. I didn’t want to feel like that anymore.

It was my near death experience without actually having to experience it. I decided from that day forward no more of the same old shit. What I wasn’t doing wasn’t working, so if I wanted to change, I had to change what I was doing. I needed to because I don’t know how much longer of that kind of life I could have handled.

No more waiting around for a miracle. I took life into my own hands.

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How to Set Up a WordPress Blog. How to Easily Install a WordPress blog on Bluehost.

Since I started with my first WordPress blog back in October 2005, I’ve been in love.

My first blog was a sports blog where I gave my funny (sometimes) opinions (all the time) on sports. I loved doing it for two years. At the time, sports blogging was still young so it was great to be a part of that. I made some money off it from advertisements. Not a whole bunch, but enough to pay for my domain and hosting every year.

(I did some searching and found my old blog in the digital archives. Wow looking at it brings back a lot of great memories.)

Even when I went through my phase of “What should I do with my life?”, I knew I wanted to have a blog of some sort. I love the ability to communicate through a blog. I love the community and meeting others writing about the same topic. I loved how it wasn’t static like a website and the newest content would always be on top.

Last year, I wrote a post last year about 10 reasons to start a blog today and I still believe all 10 are great reasons to start a blog.

Don’t start a blog thinking about money though. That’s a mistake many make, including myself. Don’t get me wrong, money can be made from your blog or because of your blog.

However, if you’re starting a blog with the sole focus of making money, you’ll lose sight of the other amazing benefits.

Starting a blog should be around a topic you enjoy. It could be an outlet for your creative writing, a collection of your travel stories, sharing your newborn baby with friends and relatives, your favorite dessert recipes or yoga for kids. Seriously the possibilities are endless.

When you start a blog, you will get so many benefits that money can’t buy.[click to tweet]

Here are just some reasons:

1) You will meet a variety of great people

Whether it be through comments, e-mails, or social media, you may be surprised at how quickly you meet people on-line. And by meet people, I mean legitimately form genuine relationships.

Bloggers are some of the nicest people out there. The blogging community is friendly, encouraging, and genuinely cheering for you to succeed. You can join that by having your own blog.

I’m not comfortable networking in a big room full of people I don’t know. So having an online presence is a much easier way for me to meet people so when we do meet face-to-face it’s like seeing an old friend.

2) You can reach unlimited people all over the world

If you’re talking to the person sitting across from you while having coffee, you can only share your message with that one person. If you’re doing a speech, you can only share your message with however many people are in the room.

If you have a blog, you can reach an unlimited amount of people all over the world. You could be sleeping or on vacation for a week, and still share your knowledge, expertise or advice with anyone who wants it.

3) It is a great creative outlet

Some people like to knit, paint, or play a musical instrument. I like everything about blogging. By having a blog I get to be creative. My blog is my online piece of real estate. It started as a blank page, and I was able to design it however I wanted. I love that.

Writing has become a great outlet for me too. I used to hate writing in high school and college, but mainly cause I was writing about essays I didn’t enjoy. Now I enjoy taking what’s in my mind, organizing it in a blog post, and sharing it here. It’s very satisfying.

4) It can lead to a book deal

Do you dream of having your book published and on shelves of major bookstores? Start a blog first.

If you can start a blog and build a huge audience, your chances of getting published increase dramatically over having no blog, no audience, and just a book idea.

Pamela Slim has a book called Escape From Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur (great book)which started out as a blog by the same name. She didn’t start the blog with the intention of writing a book, but later was approached to write a book on her expertise.

Another blog to book is 1000 Awesome Things, by Neil Patel.

Neil started posting awesome things every weekday, the site grew, got a book deal, and it turned into a New York Times #1 bestseller.

In this post on Tim Ferris’ blog, a first time author wrote about how he got a seven figure book deal.

And remember that, in a very real way, publishers aren’t buying just the idea.  They’re buying your “platform” (blog readers, Twitter followers, Facebook fans, etc.). Remember this term and use it.

And you can begin to get those readers, followers, and fans from your platform – a WordPress blog.

5) It changes YOU

I started blogging as a personal tool to journal the changes that I was making and sharing that. But somewhere along the line, blogging began to change me. It has allowed me to tap into parts of me that make me feel alive.

While there are many articles written about why you should blog to grow your business or become an expert or make a whole bunch of money… the best recommendations are still found in the personal realization that blogging changes you – the writer.

Setup Your Own WordPress Blog Before You Sleep Tonight

If you’re looking for an easy way to create a web presence and start sharing your ideas online, the best way to do this is to create a blog.

If you’ve wanted to start your own, but unsure how, this tutorial is for you.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to:

  1. Get a domain name and web hosting for your site
  2. Easily install WordPress and get all of your content up on the web. I take you every step of the way.
  3. Configure your settings and site so it looks more professional
  4. Optimize your site with plugins and widgets
  5. Create your first post, page, and a simple contact form

I recommend you follow along in order I present it below.

You don’t need to be technical at all. We’re not going to be tweaking any code. Trust me I barely know how. Later down the road, if you want to learn a bit, you can, but creating a blog with WordPress is very easy for non-tech people.

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Natalie Sisson

Today I share with you an interview I did with Natalie Sisson, who is on of my favorite entrepreneurs online.

I’ve been following her almost as long as I’ve had this blog. She has been awesome enough to interview me on her podcast about developing iPhone apps and asked me to contribute to her project, $100 Change.

Natalie helps women (and some men) start from scratch and build a business online that gives them more freedom in their lives. Today her and her partner Natalie McNeil have opened their flagship course, WE Mastermind, for a limited time.

But first I wanted to asked her questions that I get from readers a lot because she is the expert at running an online business.

I follow you online and you definitely do live out of your suitcase traveling the world. Where are you doing this interview from and where have you been in 2013?

I’m currently in the beautiful and eclectic city of Berlin. Germany. I’m going to be here for around 6 more weeks before further travel for Ultimate Frisbee tournaments in Europe, and onto North America. The first 4.5 months of this year I was in South East Asia (Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei and Philippines) and South Korea!

Can you tell us a bit about how you got to this point? I know for many people having an online business is not something they imagined doing at first, but now they wouldn’t want to do anything else. 

I’d love to say it was a straight line to online entrepreneurship but in reality, like most success stories, it was two or more years in the making. I had a pretty successful career in the corporate world, rising up through the ranks in various brand management, marketing and business development roles for almost 8 years.

But the 9-5 rat race I experienced in London in 2008 pushed me over the edge. So much so that I quit forever and went to Vancouver, Canada with the dream of starting my own business.

Instead I found the next best thing, my business partner who I ended up co-founding a technology company with. That was a wild rollercoaster ride into the world of entrepreneurship – especially in the fast faced tech startup scene and I learned a ton. It was during that time I started my blog, mainly to share my learnings with others in the hope it would help them, and to interview successful female founders (of which there were – and still are – few of in the tech scene).

That blog is now the Suitcase Entrepreneur and it’s changed a lot since then as I’ve found my unique special proposition (USP) and developed my own voice and brand. It’s coming up 3 years this month that I’ve had my business and I love it more everyday.

You had a successful career in the corporate world. What made you shift to wanting to work online?

For me it was never being able to `own’ the outcome. I mean in all of my roles I had a relatively large amount of autonomy which was great. But often I got roadblocked by senior management when I was wanting to launch a new initiative or project. Nothing frustrated me more, especially as that’s what they had hired me to do. I also tired quickly of office politics, bureaucracy and working within pointless constraints. I wanted the freedom to do my own thing at my own pace.

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Billy Madison

(My course, Get Busy Living in 30 is now open again. See the end of the post for details.)

When I was in school, I took a lot of classes that I knew I would never use. Calculus? Physics? English literature? For some, it was an important class, but for the majority of us, it was stuff we would never use again.

I wish they would have taught classes that would have been more useful to the majority of students. A class that we didn’t think we needed at the time, but ten years later, we’d think, “I’m so glad they taught that class.”

Maybe like a class titled “Life Lessons: The Honest Truth”.

I would love to be a guest lecturer for a day to high school and college kids and tell them about “real life”. Instead schools don’t teach us this stuff and that’s why there are 30 year olds who refuse to grow up and act like life owes them something.

I was one of those. When I turned 30, I was more lost and confused than when I was 20. My life was going backwards. I knew how much my life sucked, but I didn’t want to deal with the responsibility of putting my life in my own hands.

It’s a lot of power. What if I made the wrong choices? What if I can’t decide? I would have preferred someone else make the tough decisions for me. Despite being an adult, I didn’t act like one. What I was doing was waiting for someone else to come along and point me in the right direction.

Wasn’t gonna happen. I now realize there were plenty of people out there willing to help me, but they weren’t actively looking for me. They were just there.

I had to seek help myself.

I’m not going to blame the school system for not teaching me this. I’m not going to blame my parents. They were just focused on wanting me to make good grades and going to a good college like typical Asian parents.

It would be nice if schools now taught kids real valuable life lessons. Took me till I was 32 to understand the real truth.

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19,519 miles and eight flights

19,519 miles and eight flights

I’m ready to do this trip all over again in a heartbeat!

In early March we finished a trip that had been planned since last July. The day I booked the tickets I had no plan to go traveling anywhere. However word spread online that there was a great opportunity to book Singapore airlines with United miles. Judging by the number of blog posts travel hackers were posting, it was a big deal.

Waiting for the trip was the hardest part. I think I was more excited about the flying part than where we were going. I had flown Singapore Airlines before, but that was 10 years ago. It’s consistently ranked as one of the best airlines in the world. So I couldn’t wait to fly with them again.

I wrote in detail about booking so you can read that post to get the backstory. In that post, I wrote about going to Bali, however, we changed it to Hong Kong a few months later.

We had been talking about going back to Bali since we were there two years ago, but she suggested going to Hong Kong instead. She had never been there and it had been about five years since I had been. Plus she wanted to go visit her dad and stepmom who live in Zhuhai, China, which is just a hour ferry ride away from Hong Kong.

That’s okay with me, but on one condition.

NO WAY did I want to change our flight from Singapore – Tokyo on the way back. Why? That’s the flight we would be in the A380 suites. It has been a dream of mine to fly it since Singapore Airlines began flying the A380 in 2007!

I never thought I would get the chance to experience it cause of the cost. Even now it’s not cheap at all. New York to Singapore round trip costs $15,750 per person.

We got very lucky cause Singapore Airlines changed the plane on that route from the 777-300 to the A380. Since we were already booked in first class, that meant we would be in first class on the A380. First class in the A380 are the suites.

I wanted to know how much it would cost for the suites on this route so I checked online. It would be $8,949.44 for two seats. That’s just one way. If I divided that by seven hours we would be sitting on the plane, that’s $1,278.49 per hour.

Great value for 260,000 miles and $393.76!

So we could fly to the North Pole if she wanted, but as long as we were still flying from Singapore – Tokyo.

Before we start, I just want to say this anyone can do this. I’m not a millionaire. I’m just a regular guy who started to learn about this exciting world of travel hacking, and have amassed around 1 million miles and points to date.

In fact, there are much more experienced travel hackers who find ways to squeeze every drop out of every online deal. I have just squeezed it a few times, and have been enjoying the result that I have gotten.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Flying to Taipei

When I booked those tickets, I had it leaving Taipei because we would be back around Chinese New Year anyways. My wife wanted to go to Sydney during that week because her mom would be on vacation and she could go.

I used 240,000 Delta Skymiles plus taxes for both of us to fly China Airlines in business class from Los Angeles. To get to Los Angeles from Jacksonville, I just bought the tickets outright. Not worth spending points on it.

I think I was a little bit too excited the morning of our flight to Taipei because we got to the airport too early. We still had to wait 30 minutes before we could even check in.

IMG_1205

The flight from the west coast to Taipei is a solid 14 hours. Sitting in economy is tough on my whole body and mind for that long. I’ve done it more times than I can remember though, but it’s nice to fly with more comfort.

So I was really looking forward to flying in bigger seats, bigger TV screens, better food, and more intimate service.

China Airlines Business Class

 

It was my wife’s birthday the day we flew, so I told her this would be her birthday present. She was pretty happy with that idea. We had good food, great service, had so many movies to choose from, and got some good sleep. It was nice to get off the plane and not feel achy and tired.

Taipei – Beijing – Singapore – Sydney

After two weeks in Taipei, it was ready for our big trip.

When I booked this ticket back in July, something hit me that I found so funny. A direct flight from Taipei to Sydney takes 8 hours. I’ve done that flight once before in 2008.

The flight I booked would take a total of 28 hours and 40 minutes. That included a 8 hour layover in Beijing. Talk about taking the long way to Sydney! I’m glad my wife didn’t yell at me for wanting to spend so much time flying and waiting in airports.

The longer way meant more flights and more airport lounges to enjoy, so it was a great trade off.

China Airlines Lounge Taipei

China Airlines lounge

We started the day in the lounge in Taipei. Food would be a theme these next 29 hours. It felt like we were always eating.

Air China Business Class

Air China Business Class

The first flight was on Air China in business class. This was a two cabin plane with no first class. So business class is like first class here. Service and food was good. Nothing spectacular. Wasn’t a full cabin at all. This was just the warm up for the next two flights.

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