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Hustle & Heart

Hitting the Pause Button…

tyler durden 2

This is an important post, so I want to separate it into three parts: What, Why, and You.

And right at the start, I want to let you in on a secret.


No, I’m not Tyler Durden.

But, every so often I take stock on where I’m at in business and in life.  You should, too.

At the end of last year, I wrote an entire article about everything that happened that year, and then I wrote another about where things were headed.

But I left out something huge.  Like, the BIGGEST thing of all.

I had to keep it a secret.

I was selling my business.  GiReviews, Ok! Kimonos, etc. ALL of it.

When you’re selling a business, it’s imperative that the process doesn’t damage current relationships or devalue the brand.  For example, I had a site that made money from ads and if the advertisers thought I was leaving, they might jump ship.  Then, if the business didn’t sell, I hurt the brand (and revenue!), without any upside.

So things had to stay quiet.

Outside of my mastermind group and my family, I told nobody.

It took SEVEN months.  Seven long, grueling months until everything was finalized and I could officially step away.

But that begs the question: Why sell a business that’s doing well?


Part of taking stock in my life and business was that I had to ask myself a hard question:  After 5 years of working on something, was this going to be the business that allowed me to make the money I wanted and provided insurance and long-term security for my family?

The thing is, that I have it great right now. I’m a really good teacher who gets roughly 3 months off per year. I’m paid well and work at a school that, despite being located in a really rough part of Chicago, does really well.

When I built my business, I was running away from my job. I hated teaching and realized that I could never do it for the rest of my life.  I wasn’t building a business that I could truly run toward.

Sure, I love designing apparel that people wear all over the word.

That shirt was an idea in my brain that combined a famous Beatles shirt with my favorite Japanese MMA (JMMA) organizations.

kenji osawa in tshirt

But building a business based on my passion for jiu jitsu was the fast-track to ruining that passion and creating a business that didn’t scale long-term.

When I considered that, to get where I wanted to go with the business, I’d have to be regularly sending checks of $20,000+ to factories I had no control over in China and Pakistan, I realized this wasn’t for me.  Early in my business, I had a factory steal $2,000 from me and there’s tons of other horror stories like this one:

why im quitting the bjj industry

If I sent a huge check and my factory stole it, or got flooded and was out of commission for six months (this has happened before), then I might not be able to pay my bills.

No bueno.

I’d also be in the apparel industry, which means a constant churn in goods, dealing with shipping to customers, designing things, and a million moving parts.

But I saw a light.

I started my podcast because I’m a teacher and wanted to share what I’ve learned about business.

I promoted a course on my podcast and via webinar and made $4k, as well as picking up a few coaching clients for another $6k.

I made that money without even making the product yet, or having

This was a game-changer for me.  If I wanted to be where I said I wanted to be in life, this needed to change.

I went on to create the Productivity Fundamentals course and it did fairly well, too.
There was just no reason to keep putting my sanity, my family, and my efforts at risk to pursue something that wouldn’t work long-term just because I was stubborn.

Don’t get me wrong, I went through a huge process of letting go and moving on from something I put my heart into for five years.  (This is another post in and of itself).


The fact of the matter is that I refuse to be one of those fake gurus teaching business without actually having a business.

So, I’m starting a new business (more on that below).

And the goal is, that once I’ve again proven that I can build a business that allows me to live the life that I want (without wrecking my family life), I’ll come back and share exactly how I did it.

“But Brendan, why don’t you teach as you go?”

Great question, but I hate that advice.  That ‘feel good’ nonsense is what people tell newbies to get them to buy thing digital product.  Don’t teach as you go. Build something and go all-in and teach it. Don’t ‘play’ business by saying you’re teaching what you learn, just do it.

Another reason that I’m not doing it is that it’s twice as much work. Not only do I have to do everything, but I have to document and report it.  It’s actually 3x as much work.  Which means everything takes three times as long.

And since the goal isn’t (and never will be) to make money online by teaching people to make money online, I really don’t care about that.

What this means to you is that, for the time being, everything at Hustle & Heart is going to stop.

womp womp

I won’t be offering coaching. I won’t be writing new articles, and I won’t be in our Facebook group.

I have to have singularity of purpose with my new business and need to go all-in.

I’ll keep the FB group, and the email list, and the blog active and you’ll likely get updates from time to time, but it won’t be my focus.


doge 2

If you’ve read this far into this post, I’m grateful.

But don’t feel like you have to keep reading because most of this won’t apply to you. :)

What I’m building next is a multi-part marketing agency for photographers.  It has a B2C side that offers posts, guides, and courses.  It also has a B2B side that offers done-for-you services.

There is a whole process that went into how I decided on it and the nearly 15 step process that I went through.  I still think I passed on two other good business opportunities to start it, but I had to say no to good things to make something great.



It would mean the world to me if you’d introduce me to your friends who are photographers.  I know that, between weddings and family photos, you know at least one photographer.

I’m building case studies of the work that I can do for photographers and I need your help.  If you’re interested, it’s super simple.

Just drop a comment at the bottom of this post and say ‘I’m in!’

I hope H&H has been a valuable resource for you and that you’ll be a part of launching my next venture.

As always, thanks for your time and attention.  With a family and a business, I know how valuable it is.

Thank you,



Did we just become best friends?

Did we just become best friends?

You've read the entire post! Your photo has been hung in the Entrepreneur Dad Hall of Fame.

Better yet, I want to send you all of the resources I used to build a six-figure business without ruining my family.

You're in! Let's go do karate in the garage!

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