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JJ Hunter, Fatherhood, & Dark Matter

By: Michael Blankenship |

“We should not, like sheep, follow the herd of creatures in front of us, making our way where others go, not where we ought to go.”
~Seneca

Greetings from LA and Hawaii.

This week we get advice from a serial entrepreneur, sign up for a free daily newsletter that helps men become better fathers, read a trippy sci-fi book, and learn from 30 seven-figure business owners. Our challenge is for you to write.

Advice From Jeff

This week we spoke with Jeff J Hunter, the Chief Growth Officer of Branded Media, which has worked with companies like DOMO, Mixpanel, Telestream, and Pluralsight, and the founder of VA Staffer, which has 125 team members and does over $1M in sales every year. He’s also an expert copywriter and contributor to more than a dozen top-shelf publications.

When we asked him what has contributed to his ongoing success, Jeff told us about his past, attributing much of his success to the work ethic that his father instilled in him:

“I grew up poor, my dad worked at a car wash and put my mom through a nursing program to become an RN. We were on food stamps, living in a single bedroom with my mom, dad, myself, and my little sister. My little sister and I were on the floor on an air mattress in the room. I never knew we were poor until I went to college, because everywhere I lived was a poor neighborhood, and we were doing better than most of the others. My dad started a company when I was in junior high – he did entertainment for company picnics. He would get paid $75 an hour to paint faces, MC sack races, and tie animal balloons. At the age of 12, I was recruited to work for him and I spent most of my weekends as a teenager tying animal balloons at parks. I hated my father for making me work when all my friends got to play and have fun but now looking back, working with my dad and learning at a young age about entrepreneurship instilled a work ethic that stayed with me.”

So what advice would Jeff give to other people trying to build businesses and find success in their careers?

Here it is…

“Don’t settle. It’s very easy to get comfortable in your profession, whether you work for someone else, or yourself – you have to push yourself. You need to always grow and push your barriers to knowledge. Surround yourself with people who can push you and expect big things from you like my grandfather Jesse did for me. Another piece of advice I’ve learned over the years as a business owner is that you have to hire the right people, looking back the #1 reason I’ve faced failure in my business has been from hiring the wrong people.”

If you want to learn more about Jeff, check out the links above or follow him on Facebook.

The Daily Dad

The Daily Dad is a daily email that “helps you become a better dad, every day.” And we’ve (Alec and I are both dads) very much been enjoying the content. Here’s a snippet of one of their recent emails that hit home…

“We have to understand that what we want as parents is paradoxical. We want things to be easy and yet we know that all the good developments will be hard. We have to anticipate that there is going to be pain in all the phases of this job we signed up for. We have to understand that even our successes are going to be slightly bittersweet—and sometimes just plain bitter.

When we get it, we have to remind ourselves, ‘This is what I wanted.’ We have to remember that it’s better than the alternative—that we’d rather be chasing them than not, being talked back to than not, having them be independent than not. It won’t be easy, it will drive us nuts, it will sometimes break our heart, but such is our fate.”

You can sign up for free over here.

Dark Matter

Do you like science fiction thrillers? Does quantum physics and the possibility of a multiverse fascinate you? Then you’ll probably love Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. We recently read this book as a way to break up all of the non-fiction we’ve been reading. Its 300+ pages were easy to read and hard to put down. We especially enjoyed the theme of the book which discusses the individuality of a person — what makes you you and me me? Is it the choices we make? Is it the emotions we experience? Or something more abstract? Highly recommended.

“I’ve always known, on a purely intellectual level, that our separateness and isolation are an illusion. We’re all made of the same thing—the blown-out pieces of matter formed in the fires of dead stars.”

Bye Bye, Bezos

On July 20th, a couple weeks after Jeff Bezos steps down as the CEO of Amazon, he’s going to climb aboard a rocket designed by his space exploration company, Blue Origin. He’s also bringing his brother along for the ride.

Here’s NPR’s report,

“Blue Origin’s rocket is called New Shepard, and it’s reusable – the idea being that reusing rockets will lower the cost of going to space and make it more accessible. The pressurized capsule has space for six passengers. There are no pilots.

This will be the first time a crew will be aboard the New Shepard, in a capsule attached to the rocket.”

If you have deep pockets and want to join the Bezos brothers, you can bid on the final seat — the high bid is currently $2.8 million.

It’s an exciting prospect for humanity — within a decade, maybe sooner, the average consumer will be able to catch a ride to space as a top tourist excursion.

But also, we’re glad not to be the first.

30 Days

In 2017, Russell Brunson, the founder of ClickFunnels, sent an email to all of his “Two Comma Club” winners — people who’d driven more than a $1M in sales with their online businesses — a hypothetical question:

“You suddenly lose all your money, along with your name and reputation, and only have your marketing know-how left.

You have bills piled high and people harassing you for money over the phone.

Plus, you have a guaranteed roof over your head, a phone line, an internet connection, and a ClickFunnels account for only one month.

You no longer have your big guru name, your following, or JV partners. Other than your vast marketing experience, you’re an unknowable newbie.

What would you do, from day 1 to day 30, to save yourself?”

He then compiled their detailed answers in his book, 30 Days. And while we haven’t read this book from cover to cover, we have skimmed it — each time, we’ve been fascinated by the generosity of the entrepreneurs who contributed and by the ideas themselves.

If you’re trying to build an online business, then it’s worth getting a copy.

This Week’s Photo

Arif Ali / AFP / Getty

“People cool themselves in a canal on a hot summer day in Lahore, Pakistan, on May 30, 2021” via The Atlantic

Extra Stuff

Here’s some other stuff that caught our eye this week…

The Weekly Challenge

Writing is a powerful form of human expression. It improves creativity, memory, and might even relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. And for those of us who know and understand language — for those of us who know how to write — it’s a birthright. Anyone can grab a piece of paper and a pen and start writing. Our challenge to you for the week, then, is to write… for as long and as often as you want, about whatever you like.

Until next week,

Mike & Alec

Join the movement below and challenge yourself to be better every week!