The Jay Kim Show #29: Nick Unsworth (Transcript)
Today’s guest is Nick Unsworth from LifeOnfire.com, Nick is a business coach and entrepreneur who has a great story about the power of vision. At the age of 28 with 11 failed businesses under his belt, he finally was fed up and he gave himself a goal that in two years’ time, by the age of 30, he would sell his first successful business. He believed in this vision so much that he went as far as tattooing it on his chest, a reminder so he could see every day what he had to accomplish.
How’s that accountability? After successfully achieving this goal and selling his Facebook marketing business, he realized the power that was harnessed in goal setting, visualization, and accountability. Now, he helps thousands of people achieve and find their goals through his company Life on Fire.
Let’s get right into the show.
Jay: Nick, thanks so much for coming on the show. For our listeners and audience out here in Asia who might not have heard of you before, can you please just give us a little background who is Nick Unsworth, what do you do for a living and how did you become an entrepreneur?
Nick: Absolutely, so my name is Nick Unsworth and I am a peak performance coach. My company is called Life on Fire. How that came to be is really because my life wasn’t always on fire. My life was a disaster as an entrepreneur. When I was a little kid, I always wanted to have freedom, I always wanted to live a great life. I looked around, there is a lot of kids that didn’t have their parents around. Baseball games or soccer games, football games and the parents weren’t there and I always thought … I never understood it as a kid, and I always wanted to have children one day and be there. I’m like, “I’m going to be different, I’m going to be an entrepreneur.”
Then, fast forward through college, I got into network marketing. I started building a business. I ended up having 11 different business failures. My journey was just trying one thing after the next, after the next. I ended up at a point where I was 28 years old, $50,000 in debt.
Nick: Had 11 business failures, I know, right. It was terrible. That was what the economy was like, completely flipped upside down here in the states. It was this moment where I either quit and do like everyone around me is saying and go get a job, and be more like my brother or I take the book that my mom just gave me called The Secret. She writes in, “I believe in you.” I get really inspired. I realize that I’m in control. You’re in control. We are in control.
Because we have the ability to choose our thoughts, we have the ability to therefore choose our emotions and to choose the life that we have. That book, it gave me this awareness. I said, you know what? I’m going to do it. Everyone is like, “You’re crazy, man. You’re in all this debt. Your attorney is saying to file bankruptcy.” I’m like, “No. I am going to sell a company by 30 years old just like I said for the past 10 years.”
Jay: This is when you were 28.
Nick: Yeah. Yeah.
Jay: Okay. You’re two years …
Nick: Yeah. Everyone is like, “Yeah, but dude, you just failed at another business. Now, you’re even in a worse situation than you’ve ever been. The economy is terrible.” They’re like, “Well, what are you going to do?” I said, “I don’t know. But I’m going to figure it out.” I am declaring and I am committed to that outcome that I’m selling a company in the next two years like I said it would, before 30.
Check this out, this is where it gets real weird and crazy in a good way is that I had … Even though my circumstance was terrible, I had such belief that I would do it. Then the key thing is I made a public declaration. A declaration means it’s something that you’ve never done before. It’s unprecedented and that you declare it publicly. Meaning you just speak it publicly. It creates public accountability. When I spoke that out and I shared it out loud. I always told everyone that I’m going to do this. I didn’t even know what I was going to do. What happened is that it got things in motion.
Next thing you know, I find out about an event. I’m getting goosebumps just talking about it. Because I put it out there, whether you want to call it the universe, I believe in God. For me, it was asking. I am going to sell this business by 30. I need a word. I need help. I got to figure out what it is, right. I’m on a timeline. The key thing is that when you put it out there, I started to attract stuff to me. All of a sudden, I find out about an event across the country.
At the time, I lived in Connecticut. Across the country, in LA, an event by this guy, Evan Piggin. It was five grand. I knew, I knew I had to be there. Imagine, 50 grand in debt. I’m like, “How am I going to pay my rent? How am I going to pay for food?” But I knew that this was part of the plan. Now, granted, I had bought many many online courses. I was a webinar junkie. I’ve been to many events and learn, learn, learn. There was something different about this. I ended up getting resourceful. For me as a coach, I can relate to my clients. I can relate when people are like, “Well, how do I start a business but I don’t have any money?”
Dude, you got to get resourceful. In that situation, I ended up talking my Discover card into bumping up from 2,500. I basically said, “If you want me to pay you the other 15 that’s on this card, I need a little bit more. I need a little bit more so I could get out of this.” It was amazing. It was my best sales conversation ever. They bumped it up because I had been with them for 10 years and all that. Never missed a payment. Then I’m like, “All right, well, I’m still $2,500 short.”
I start calling Evan Piggin and I call his team. “Nick, we can’t let you in. It’s five grand. You only have 2500.” I say, “Well, there has got to be a way. Can I bring someone else? Can I bring a partner?” They said, “You know what? We’ll cut you that deal. You could bring a partner.” Then I hop on the phone. I started enrolling people in my vision of going to that event and what it was going to do. A woman named Laura De Mayo, she says yes. She puts up the other $2500. Boom, now I get to go to the event.
Dude, I tell you, Jay, what happened at this event is that event is where I got a hold of a vision. I got clarity on who I was going to become, who I needed to be to sell a company by 30. Here is the key thing, the declaration, it has to have a date. The fact that I said by 30, notice how all these things were just coming together so that it could happen within this two-year crazy short timeline. All of the actions, everything was based around how am I going to build and sell a company in two years.
At the event, I get clarity. He is talking about timing. He is talking about what markets you want to be in. What are you interested in? What’s your why? I realize that the company that had failed that left me 50 grand in debt was because of bad traditional advertising. You’re talking radio. You’re talking print. You’re talking TV. My biggest pain, he taught me, was actually my biggest opportunity.
At the time, I mean, shoot, I love explaining this because every one of you listening, when you look back at your life and you were to draw at a timeline your biggest trauma, your biggest pain. It’s so hard in the moment to see why it’s a blessing, to see why there is a benefit. There always is. From a different perspective, there always is. When he taught me this, I said, “You know what? Maybe my purpose is to help show other businesses and entrepreneurs a better way,” because I lost everything through TV commercials that didn’t work. I took a stupid risk.
What if I learned Facebook advertising and I help people make a positive return on investment? Instead of investing 30 grand in a commercial receiving back almost nothing, what if they spend 30 grand in Facebook ads and make 500 grand? That became my story. I came back from that event. I told all my friends, family. “I got it. I got it. I got it. I’m going to be a Facebook marketing expert.” Guess what they say?
Jay: Here we go again. Number 12, right?
Nick: Yeah. Yeah. Here we go again. Then they’re like, “Nick, you’re not even on Facebook. Are you kidding me?” This is 2010, mind you. I wasn’t even using it. Usually what happens is, okay, let’s say you get clarity on a vision. You declare what you’re going to do. Well, the more people that try and steal that dream or the more challenges that come up and get in your way, those are just indicators. That’s another thing that I learned, that when people get in your way, it’s an indicator that you’re on the right track because they’re trying to keep you safe. They’re trying to keep you in your comfort zone. The more the people stepped up and said, “Nick, you’re not even on Facebook. This is the most outrageous thing yet. When you were selling vitamins back in 2005, I thought you were crazy. But dude …”
Jay: Yeah. At least that’s a tangible, something you could sell.
Nick: You’re slinging, picking vitamins. It was one of these things where I committed to it. I went a little extreme. I tattooed this goal on my chest now. I forgot to mention that part. It’s my punchline.
Jay: Yeah. Wow.
Nick: Before I went to then is when I got a tattoo of a cross. I wasn’t even into my faith at that time. I have the logo, the S from the Secret is in the middle. Then backwards on the tattoo says, “Believe 2012.” That was the year that I would be turning 30. What’s interesting …
Jay: You had it backwards so when you look at yourself in the mirror.
Nick: Yeah, exactly.
Jay: Wow. That’s brilliant.
Nick: You look at the beach you’re like, “Dude, what happened, man? Tattoo guy drunk?”
Nick: Hey. We’ve heard it, I’m sure all of us, many times which is your goals. You got to make them visual. You got to put them somewhere where you can see them. This declaration, this was how I burned the boats. When you go to take the island and you tell your men, “I’m lighting our transportation home on fire. The only place to go is through these people. We’re going to conquer them and conquer the island.” That’s what I had to do. I come back from that situation. People tell me I’m crazy. I was in a tough spot because I had to cover $3,000 to pay my bills. My rent was only $500. That gives you an idea of how much my interest payments were on all that debt.
Jay: Wow. Yeah.
Nick: I did what I told all my clients. I didn’t think, instead I just did. A mentor once said to me, “Don’t think. Just do.” Think gets you into trouble. You just have to go into massive action. I went into networking meetings. I went into BNI and networking meetings. I picked up the phone. I walked into businesses. All I did was my KPI, my metric was conversations. I knew, and for me to make more than three grand that month, I had to have conversation about Facebook ads. I had to have conversations about helping people solve their problem getting new business.
I only focused on profit-producing activities. In that month, I generated five grand. It was so liberating and life-changing because I finally got it. So many years before that, I was so fixated on the vision but if I get really honest and transparent, I spent more days staring at the computer. I spent more days learning on webinars. I spent more days acting really really busy. I would work 15 hours a day. But what the heck was I doing all day? I was emailing. I was learning stuff.
What I realized is you got to be focused on what’s going to get the business off the ground is profit producing activities. I did that. I’ll do a quick fast forward because I know you’ve got a lot more questions to go. I got into massive action. I got clients. I proved my value. People always say, “Well, how do you get clients when you’re new?” I guaranteed my work. If they weren’t happy, I’d keep going or if they weren’t happy, I’d give them their money back, very simple.
One guy, I’ll never forget this. I was on a podcast. What’s his name? Jordan Harbinger, Art of Term, he goes, “So basically, you’re a conman.” I said, “Absolutely not. Absolutely not. Every single entrepreneur starts from scratch. I’m more than the person that I was consulting. I had every right to help them. You know what? I was transparent. I had integrity. I said, “I’m going to go and go and go until I get your results.” I did. Nothing wrong with that. Everyone needs to be empowered and know that you can start from nothing. We all have to start from scratch.
I got into massive action. I got influential clients. Then fast forward, here I am approaching my 30th birthday. I have my biggest contract, was a five-figure contract who I met at that Evan Piggin event. Imagine, this guy, five-figure contract. That same guy, Scott, same guy, my first six-figure a year contract, part-time doing his social media consulting. Then as it came to where I was close to turning 30, people were saying, “Hey, man. Hey, millionaire. Sold your business yet?” I said, “Nope. You know what? I’m believing it’s going to happen.” “Well, you only got 90 days left. How is it going to happen?” I said, “I don’t know.”
The how is not my problem. I’m going to keep believing and keep pressing in. It’s going to work. Sure enough, Scott comes back and says, “Nick, I need more time.” I said, “Scott, I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. I can only give you so much time because I have all these other clients that I’m committed to.” Then he said the magic words, “How about I just buy your business?” It was in front of my face. I never even saw it coming. I remember being stunned. Imagine finding out you just won the lottery. I was just standing there, phoning him. Like oh my god. I can’t believe this has happened.
We negotiated out. Got it done before I turned 30. Once that happened, that was just a big life mission that I checked the box. Once I finished that, I realized that I’m selling the business was not the end I’ll be all. At the end of the day, I realized that I would much rather love what I do for work everyday than build something just to sell it because if you’re building it just to sell it, you’re inherently just focusing on the money. What I want to focus on is helping people, changing the world and loving what I do everyday.
That’s when I had this big epiphany. It was like, “I want to help people live their life on fire.” I started Life on Fire. Now, that’s my absolute mission is I light people up and help them with their vision. Help people love what they do for work. Make more money that they ever thought possible but also not sacrifice health, love, relationships along the way. That’s what I do now. That’s a long way of saying what I do.
Jay: Man, that’s such an awesome awesome little story. I mean, I’ve read your story. I’ve seen your stuff before. Every time I hear it, I think it really resonates with my past and a lot of entrepreneurs’ past. You touched on so much there. I think the power of goal setting, accountability is really really key. Maybe not to the point … I mean, you went all the way. You literally tattooed your goal on your chest, which is awesome. I’ve never heard of anyone taking it to that level. The power of goal setting is that, and with a deadline and accountability is that it forces you to literally figure out how to get it done. You know what I mean? You said it yourself.
It was 2012, Facebook hasn’t been around for nearly decade. You somehow figured out how to become an expert in this huge, huge over saturated market and turn that into a business that you were able to sell. The other great thing is when you flipped the script in your head to say, “Look, how do I help other people?” You found the outlet being Facebook marketing. How can I help other people make money? It’s not just, “How am I going to get mine?” That’s an amazing part of your story as well.
Nick: I got to say, Jay, that that piece right there, that was one of the biggest turning points because when I look at … If I really go into the details on some of the businesses that failed, I was always chasing the money. I chase money into mortgages. I chase money into real estate. Dude, when I chase money into real estate, I got into mortgages. I moved across the country. I moved from Connecticut to San Diego and then San Diego back to Connecticut. I did that right when I got out to San Diego. That was in the summer of 2007, right, as the economy imploded.
I was riddled with bad timing in all these businesses. I couldn’t stand mortgages. I’m not good at the finance side of things. I didn’t like it. I didn’t enjoy it. I said, “I’m going to do this for a couple of years. I’m going to make a ton of money. Then I’ll be happy.” That’s why it didn’t work. Because you know what? How can you excel at something that you don’t want to do. That to me pains me when people settle in their career or even worse, they become an entrepreneur. Then they work even more hours, make even less. They’re less happy. It’s like, you got to love it. Got to love it. You got to help other people, inward to outward focus.
Jay: That’s right. That’s right. Absolutely. Fast forward now, you are a life coach. I love your brand, Life on Fire. I think it in it of itself, it’s an accountability thing. You’re helping people but also you have to perform, right. You have to have tangible results for your clients. You have to ignite them on fire. That’s great. Tell us what a life coach does. I think a lot of people have a misconception about what life coaches or business coaches do. Until you actually explore the value and need to have a coach to take your life or your business to the next level, you don’t really understand. Why would I go on pay? I’m already operating at a quite high level of business or of commerce or whatever. Why would I have to pay extra money for a coach? What tangible results will I get out of it? What does a life coach exactly do?
Nick: Great question. I despise the name life coach. I don’t identify with it because …
Jay: Okay. Sorry to …
Nick: It’s okay. Technically, that could be a title. If anything, a Life on Fire Coach sounds a heck of a lot better.
Jay: That’s better, yeah.
Nick: The thing is for life coaches, I think that there is a lot of people that they got a certification somewhere and tried to build a business out of it. It’s like being a realtor. Anyone can be a realtor. I think there is a lot of companies that certify people how to be life coaches. I think that there is a lot of people that have met maybe an underwhelming person who is a life coach and have a bad stigma. I get that.
Now, outside of that, with what I do and why I personally seek out mentors for many areas of my life is that you hire a coach to help you do something that you’ve never done before, something that other people would deem to be impossible. For instance, when I look at life, we break it down. We call it the Four Embers of a Life on Fire. That’s money, it’s health, it’s love, and faith. For me, financially, we’re doing great. I’m madly in love with my wife. We just had a baby. My faith, I’ve got …
Nick: Thank you. Thank you. I used to think I was living my life on fire. About three years ago, I got into my faith and spirituality. I was like, “Wow. This is a whole new level.” That’s dialed in. Health has been okay. I went to some couple different doctors, got multiple opinions. Long story short is I had some pretty significant health issues going on. They related it back to weight and diet.
I was about 25 pounds overweight. Long story short, I used the exact same process that I just told you about which is I created a vision for my life, not just about being in the best shape of my life but how it would lead into more energy, lead into me changing people’s lives even at a more rapid pace. Lead into even more incredible relationship with my wife because of my confidence and feeling good and all this stuff.
Then I declared that I was going to do men’s physique fitness competition where I got to be that spray-tanned orange dude on the stage wearing board shorts posing in front of hundred thousand plus people. Now, when I declared that on Facebook, I took a picture of myself with my shirt off, it took me 30 minutes to write that post. It took me 30 minutes to push the button because it was sharing some big vulnerabilities. I was not proud of that photo. Here I am, Mr. Life on Fire and I was freaking fat, man. It’s embarrassing. I felt incongruent. How am I this Life on Fire leader guy and I’m fat?
I committed to doing something that is so extreme, so far outside of my comfort zone, it’s insane. Then when you think about it, so that’s vision. It’s declaration. Then my step three is writing a letter to yourself. I wrote this letter of what it’s going to be like after I’ve achieved it, so that’s a visualization process. Step four is to resource up. If I just declared that thing and I just tried to do it in my own strength, absolutely no chance. The same concept of me saying, “All right, well, just because I tattooed myself and I’m going to sell a business in two years,” dude, my history was I had freaking 11 business failures.
What makes me think that I’m all of a sudden going to just randomly do it now? The reason it happened is because I knew I had to be and become a different person to get there. How is it going to happen? Yeah, you can read books. Yeah, you can watch webinars and listen to podcasts but I needed a mentor. That mentor helped me get the business where I need it to be. Now, as far as my health, so what I did was I went and I hired a guy who has trained more winners of this men’s physique competition. Talk about giving myself an advantage.
I have no clue what the heck I’m supposed to eat. Clearly, it’s not working out for me. Dude, I’ve done vegan. I’ve done paleo. I’ve tried so many diets. You’d think I’d be eating McDonald’s all day being fat but no. I don’t know, metabolism, thyroid, whatever it is. I get the best guy. Then from there, dude, we’re talking in about 40 days, I’m down 15 pounds already. I will be the shredded guy that wins this freaking thing. I’m not going into it to just do it, to say, “I did it.” I’m going in there to win people.
These athletes train 12 months out of the year. I’m going to go in there and freaking rock it because I’ve got this guy. Where I’m going with this is that you hire a coach to achieve a very specific and measurable result that you had never done before. Someone hires me as a business coach. They say, “Nick, I want to make a million dollars.” I’ll go through. I will break down their history, what’s going on. I will get them to agree upon a specific result, whether it’s a million dollars, whether it’s getting engaged in the next 12 months, whether it’s dropping the 25 pounds. That’s the key thing is I won’t coach with anyone until we have this nailed down.
When you nail that down, the coach becomes the person that helps you get there. It’s awesome is just like that Facebook business, everything I do is based on results. We have a couple of coaches that we’ve trained. We’ve got so many success stories. What I am, Jay, so proud of is that there is a lot of people that sell stuff online. “How to be an expert. Start a podcast,” or do this or do that. How many people have real widely successfully success stories? Yes, everyone has some. What I really enjoy is I like seeing someone that has done something so profound that it’s borderline miraculous. That’s what we as Life on Fire coaches love because we love to prove our worth.
Anyone that’s like, “Yeah, just some life coach. Heck no. What’s the unthinkable for you? If you’ve never made a hundred grand, cool. Let’s have you make a hundred grand in the next six months. We don’t know how it’s going to happen. Let’s help you get there though. It’s achieving things that you just can’t do on your own.
Jay: Right. Do you accept clients from, let’s say your ground up or you’re living off your sister’s couch or something like that or do you only work with people that have existing businesses that are looking to level up?
Nick: What a lot of people do is they’ll just focus on just already successful people getting to the next level. For some weird, freakish reason, it’s who I attract. I attract a lot of people that are like me. They’ve had struggle. They don’t have a lot of resources. Quite frankly, it’s easy coaching successful people because they already have good habits. They already teams. They have resources that they can invest in themselves.
I have taken people that have made 400 grand, got them to two million in 12 months. I love that. For whatever reason, we attract a lot of people that are seeking clarity on what is their purpose in life. What my purpose in my life is is to help you find yours. I’ve known that ever since I wrote that letter and I got that tattoo. I didn’t know why I wrote that but I really enjoy helping people clarify their vision and purpose.
We work with a lot of people that we’re talking rags to riches type stuff where it is more challenging. As long as someone is committed and they have to be relentless. That’s the thing. We say no to some people. We’ve had some people that have credit card at the first payment, some people that have borrowed it or taken out loans. I don’t want anyone’s last nickel. We say no to some people if they’re not ready. If someone is willing to give us the hard work and they’re willing to do what we say and be coachable, then what I love is that I’m so confident in our ability as coaches that if it’s the right person that’s hungry enough, I don’t care if they’ve got nothing. If they don’t even have a business, heck yeah, we’ll get them a result. We’ll help them start it and freaking get to 10 grand a month inside the six months which is crazy for a new business.
Jay: Man, that’s awesome. Nick, look, we have to wrap up here. I know that we’re running a little short on time. But I just have a couple of last quick questions for you. Number one, what are you working on these days? What are you working on for 2017? Number two, what’s a final piece of advice for say an entrepreneur that’s on their 11th failed business and want to try to finally make that 12th one and live their life on fire?
Nick: What I’m really really excited about is my vision is to help a lot of people, many many people, thousands and thousands of people get clarity on their vision and their purpose because what happens is even without personally coaching with me or our team, when someone gets clear on their vision. It pulls them. Everything else is a struggle. Everything else is pushing a big boulder up a mountain. When you get so clear on that vision for your life, you become unstoppable. You get that relentless attitude. That’s something that we can teach to the masses and we can scale. What I’m super excited about, I piloted this over the past six months, we’ve got tons of testimonials, tons of people that loved it. I’ve got a five-day virtual coaching program which is called the Life on Fire challenge.
It’s 90 minutes a day for five days. We’re going to sell it for $500. What happens is you get live coaching once a day for five days consecutively in a group setting, virtually, using go-to webinar. In addition, you get a 10-minute daily call with one of our coaches. By going through this process, the outcome is that every single person in this group, we’re going to do it together. This is going to be a whole community behind it. Every single person will have their clarity on their vision, in their business or their life, whatever it is that they want.
We’ll redact it down to a vision board and we’ll declare it publicly. That will start their journey where they start attracting what they need to make it happen. They achieve that result. It’s all action in experience-based. There is nothing like it online. It’s not a course. It’s not a home study. Heck no. It’s together as a group. No man left behind. We’re not stopping ’til we get the result. I’m just super excited to roll that out. We’ve got a new website coming out. I’ve been working on that for a long time. I’m excited about that.
Then as far as advice about someone who maybe has had the 11th failure or is just trying to get going, I mean, the biggest advice, it ties is in is that without a vision of where you want to end up, it’s like driving a car. Picture driving a car with a newspaper that flung up from the road, in the rain and flopped onto the windshield. You’re not going to stay within lines. You’re going to crash. We’ve got to get clear on where you want to get to. You’ve got to master your own mind. That’s one of these things where thank God I spent a lot of time reading the books and different things and learning personal development because being an entrepreneur, everyone glorifies it.
It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do in your entire life. It will challenge and test you every single day. I don’t sugarcoat being an entrepreneur anymore. I used to, but no. For some people, it’s the worst decision ever. For some people, it ruins families. For some people, they make less money than a job. I have plenty of people that live their life on fire with a dang job. You know what? There is no shame in that. It’s actually smarter for some people. We’ve got to get mentally tough. To do that, you’ve got to really master your thoughts because what you think in our head is what’s going to show up. If you’re in debt and you’re thinking about that debt and you’re stressing about it, it’s going to keep beating the crap out of you.
Mastering your thoughts, that’s going to start with something like people knock the book, The Secret because it’s just about your thoughts. Secret plus action equals, I’ll let you know, a life on fire. That book for me, probably no joke, dude, probably the hundredth time I’ve listened to this book. Again, I listen to it every single month because I need to constantly be reminded that when life throws me a massive curve ball in the business or in life that I get to choose how I respond to that problem or to that trauma or to that death or whatever it may be. That choice of those thoughts will lead to what the feeling show up in my body that leads to the happiness I’m going to have along the way. It leads to performance, everything. Making sure that you’re choosing your thoughts. You’re mastering your mind. Get that vision dialed.
Jay: Man, that’s awesome. Thanks so much for sharing that. Where is the best place that people can find you, follow you?
Nick: Yeah. On LifeOnFire.com for sure. We’ve got a lot of free awesome content resources. Then on Facebook too, I share a lot of behind the scenes and a lot of cool just fun stuff on Facebook.
Jay: Nice, so you’re a Facebook guy.
Nick: That’s my platform of choice so find some things right there.
Jay: Awesome. Thanks so much for your time, Nick. I really had a good time catching up with you today.
Nick: You bet. You bet. Thanks a lot.
Jay: All right. Take care now.
Asia's latest investing trends and on-the-ground field research delivered directly to your inbox