Nicholas Kusmich is the leading Facebook Advertising Strategist in the world boasting the highest ROI’s in the industry. His clients were the Tony Robbins Group, International Best Selling Authors like Robin Sharma, Marketing titans like Joe Polish, Top Business Coaches like Taki Moore and other world class, A-List entrepreneurs.
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Worst Entrepreneur Moment
- Nicholas’ worst moment culminated in this powerful quote… I’d rather have a business that supports my lifestyle rather than a lifestyle that supports my business.
Entrepreneur AH-HA Moment
- Nicholas googled ‘easiest way to commit suicide’, THEN he had his ah-ha moment… and it’s a DOOZY. Don’t time travel, Fire Nation, and remember, compare and despair!
Small Business Resource
- Slack: Brings all your communication together in one place. It’s real-time messaging, archiving and search for modern teams.
- Asana: The easiest way for teams to track work, and get results. Do great things together.
- Focus@Will: Combines neuroscience + music to boost productivity.
Best Business Book
- Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
Nicholas: Absolutely, John Lee Dumas, light it up, baby.
John: Yes, Nicholas is a leading Facebook advertising strategist boasting the highest ROIs in the industry. His clients were the Tony Robbins Group, international best-selling authors like Robin Sharma, marketing titans like Joe Polish, top business coaches like Taki Moore and other world-class A-list entrepreneurs. Nicholas, take a minute. Fill in the gaps from that intro, and give us just a little glimpse into your personal life.
Nicholas: Yeah, you know what? It just came to me more recently, but I feel like I was literally put on this planet to really help build bridges between entrepreneurs and kinda their dream clients, and that's really expressed through my life and the business that we run here. We're in the business of matching solutions to problems and entrepreneurs to clients and thought leaders to their communities, but more importantly really getting the messages in the world that need to be heard out there into the world and getting the exposure that they need. Now obviously it took a whole ton of while for me to figure this out in my life and a whole ton of failures and lots of learning and a lot of grit, but really that's where we are today.
John: And what's home base for you?
Nicholas: Home base is Toronto, Canada.
John: The rot, the top hat of America, T.O. What do you prefer?
Nicholas: T.O. is perfect, but I gotta say two weeks I was hanging out not too far from you, and I might be making a change to head out in San Diego.
John: Okay, just be prepared for the tax bill. That's all I gotta say.
Nicholas: Ah, yeah, but it's worth it for the weather. It's worth it.
John: Pros and cons in everything in life, my friends.
John: So, Nicholas, you've been rocking and rolling for a while. I mean you have worked with A-list entrepreneurs across the board. Let's talk nuts and bolts, though, because, Fire Nation, we are entrepreneurs, small business owners. We're looking to build viable businesses, generate revenue with that business, so how specifically as a leading Facebook advertising strategist, how do you generate revenue?
Nicholas: Yeah, that's a great question, and there's really two ways that we do it. Way No. 1 is we run and operate a fully managed Facebook advertising agency, which means we run the campaigns for our clients. It's kind of an agency approach. They're the people who say, "Well, I don't want anything to do with it. I just want you to take it, and I wanna know how much money we made the last month."
The other side of it is for other folks, we run these implementation intensives where we literally bring ten to 15 people in a room, we roll up our sleeves, and rather than just teaching them what to do and how to run successful advertising campaigns on Facebook, we literally build these systems for them right there on the spot so that at the end of the two days when they leave, they have everything done for them. They just push the green go button, and they see the experience kinda play out in their own businesses.
John: I'll tell you what, Fire Nation, I am seeing a huge trend towards the done-for-you systems. I mean if you wanna become an expert in something, Nicholas has done it in Facebook. Maybe you wanna do it in LinkedIn, in Instagram, in Snapchat. I don't care what it is, but what do you wanna become an expert in? What do you wanna become a credible authority in? Then figure out a way to create a done-for-you service.
Fly out to their headquarters. Go out to their location, or have a Skype virtual session, and set it up for them. This is a high-end premium service that people such as myself who have disposable income are willing to pay for because we have very valuable time focus, and that's not on doing these other things. So love these points you're bringing up, Nicholas, and I really think, Fire Nation, you can kinda be thinking about how can you bring this type of revenue stream into your business because hey, it is a premium service.
Now, Nicholas, it hasn't always been awesome and cheesecake and all these unicorns flying through the air. I mean you weren't always working with the Tony Robbins Group, Joe Polish, Taki Moore, Robin Sharma. There's been some ups and some downs for you like every entrepreneur, and Nicholas, we start EOFire with the downs, with the worst of the worst. So take us to your worst entrepreneurial moment to date, and I wanna be there, Nicholas. Tell us that story.
Nicholas: Yeah, yeah, I wish we had three hours to talk about this because I have way more downs than ups, but well, I remember the one that kinda stuck out to me the most and really caused a shift in my life. I had made some really stupid decisions as I was younger, which ended up costing me a whole ton of money, but then I remember the specific moment. I think I was 19 years old at the time. I was in a direct sales career. What I typically did was I went on stage, and I sold from stage these kinda higher-level events and retreats and that sorta thing, and I had an event scheduled for that night.
But that morning my father had a heart attack, and I got the call from the hospital. He was on the bus. He collapsed. They rushed him to the hospital. It scared the hell out of me. I ran down to the hospital. I spent some time with him there, and here's where I can't believe I did this, but I literally left afterwards going to go to my speaking gig. It wasn't until later, but I realized I had actually prioritized my work before my family, convincing myself that I was actually doing it for them.
It wasn't actually at that time, but several years later my father passed away, and I really couldn't just shake that thought that I actually prioritized my bottom line and my business over my family, and it really kinda changed how I approached my business forever. Look, I, like every other entrepreneur out there, I'm in it for the hustle and the rise and the grind, and I work my tail off just as hard as anybody else, but I think no longer will I ever kinda do that at the expense of the things that are really most important to me.
Money I can always make. Time is not something I can ever get back, so that really was kinda one of my lowest lows in my entrepreneurial journey.
John: Fire Nation, let's kind of unpack this. As we're listening to the words that Nicholas is sharing, and we're looking at our own lives, and you just kinda ended so strong there, Nicholas, by saying money you can always make, and it's true, Fire Nation. I mean you have the tools, you have the knowledge, you have the skills, you have the ability to always make more money. In fact I made the comment very recently. I said hey, if I was to wake up tomorrow, and my bank account was wiped out to zero, I wouldn't be happy about it because I worked hard to get my bank account to where it is, but you know what? I wouldn't be scared because I know how to make money.
I know how to use my skills to generate a dollar bill, so Fire Nation, you have those skills as well, but what you don't have is just unlimited amounts of time. Fire Nation, time is finite. You have only so much. You have only so many opportunities to spend time with your loved ones, with your family, to see your kids grow up, take that first step. Whatever those things might be, it's all finite. This is the finite time that we have, whereas money, in some sense money's finite as well, but believe me, we can make enough of that to say hey, okay, I'm good, and if I need to make more, I can do that as well.
So love that point, Nicholas. I took away exactly what I just shared from that. You now sum it up for us. In just one or two sentences, what do you wanna make sure Fire Nation gets from that really difficult moment that you experienced and how you've transitioned since?
Nicholas: Yeah, I think the greatest takeaway for people is just that, and especially us as entrepreneurs, we've got our head down in the sand. We're trying to work our hustle to do what we need to do, but for people just to realize, and this is what I've realized in coming full circle with this is that there are more important things than my business, and I want to build a business that supports my lifestyle rather than a lifestyle that supports my business.
That was the greatest takeaway for me, and now I'm deeper in my conversations with people, I love my mother's here, my wife, like these are people who mean most to me, and if I need to walk away from the computer in order to spend some time with them or to go away on a trip, that's what I'm gonna do because really that’s the most important thing to me.
John: Wow, can you say that one more time? That was a business that supports my lifestyle rather than a lifestyle that supports my business.
Nicholas: Exactly, that's just it.
John: I mean, Fire Nation, those words. I mean we just need to tack those up and make sure that we are just looking at those and understanding them and absorbing them and hopefully acting upon them. That's so powerful. Now, Nicholas, let's shift to another story in your journey as an entrepreneur and your life. Let's talk about an aha moment. Let's talk about an epiphany, a light bulb that went on for you at some point, and I know you've had a ton. I mean I can just hear.
You can just tell with certain people. They have this certain energy, this kind of bubbling enthusiasm in their voice. I mean you have aha moments for breakfast, let's be honest, but this is the reality. I know that you know Fire Nation. We are entrepreneurs, small business owners. What's an aha moment that you've had that you think would make a great story for our listeners, and take us to that story. Take us to that moment. What do you got?
Nicholas: Yeah, it was only actually not too long ago, maybe six or seven years, that my life was literally falling apart. Everything that could've went wrong did, and just when I felt like I was at the very bottom, I mean it got worse, so much to the point – I don't wanna kinda get morbid about this, but I was actually Googling "what is the easiest way to take my life?"
Nicholas: And partially because I was a coward. I didn't want the hard way to do it. I just wanted the easiest, most painless way to do it, and I realized at that point that there was a bunch of things going wrong in my life. I was big into the self-help scene, but self-help was really no help to me at the time. I was reading the books. I was repeating the mantras. I was going through the motions, and the key point that I think changed for me, and I hope this resonates with people, but I know it might rub people a different way, but I remember walking.
In my office I had this vision board, and it was all the goals that I wanted to pursue, the car I wanted to drive, the house I wanted to live in, the amount of money I wanted to have, and I was staring at that, and it was just creating such negative energy in me, I walked up to this vision board, and I literally ripped it down off my wall. I ripped it into pieces, and I made a commitment that day to say that I was no longer going to live life in pursuit of these goals or in pursuit of this "happiness" because I then realized that there was no pursuit.
I mean there was no journey. I had the choice that right then and there, I have the choice to be happy now, or I can be sad now. I can make the most of now, or I could just think about things in the future. So for me the shift happened when I said, "I'm going to live life," and I know this is cliché, but it really struck a chord in me where I said, "You know what? For the first time in my life, no longer am I going to be in pursuit of anything. I'm going to live in the fullness of this very moment."
The moment that happened, John, I don't even know how it happened, but something inside of me changed, and as soon as I made that commitment and started to live it out, everything took off for me personally, professionally, my business life with everything. I mean it just took off from there.
John: Fire Nation, there are so many things that I want you to be taking out of this. I mean No. 1, don't forget that Nicholas started off his story by sharing that he actually Googled easiest way to commit suicide. I mean you don't do that when you're super happy. You don't do that when you're leading the kind of life that you hope that you're going to be leading when you're 5, 6, 7 years old and thinking about the future, but then he had his aha moment, and I think you put it so well, Nicholas.
I'm not gonna repeat what you said, but I wanna take a different angle that James Altucher says, a good friend of mine and someone I look up to. He always says, "Hey, don't time travel." You're living in the present. Why are you always thinking about the future and what might happen in the future and your dreams for the future? The same thing actually goes for the past as well, like why are you dwelling in the past? Why are you just disappointed about decisions you made or complaining or whining about things that happened or could've happened or should've happened? Just don't time travel. You are living in today's moment. Just stay there.
Stay in today's moment. Smile. Feel the sun on your face, the wind across your body. If of course you're in San Diego, and you can go outside this time of year, you can do those things, and the last thing that I wanna leave you guys with is compare and despair. I mean we can always go on Facebook. We can always go on Instagram. We can see people who are better looking than us, that have more money than us, that are at cooler locations than us.
I mean I was just in Haiti, Jamaica and the Grand Cayman Islands last week. I go on Instagram today, and I see somebody who's in Bali right now, and I'm like, "Man, I am jealous of them." It's like compare and despair. It's impossible not to. We're human beings, so stop comparing to other people, Fire Nation. Just live in the moment. Don't time travel. So that's my big takeaway, Nicholas, but I wanna toss the ball back in your court. What do you wanna make sure Fire Nation gets from your story?
Nicholas: Yeah, I think the greatest takeaway is just realizing that you can choose to be happy and to live in the fullness of life right now. Right in this moment we have everything we need, although it may not appear that to our mind, we have everything we need. We shouldn't be pursuing anything. I think we could just live in the fullness of the moment, and if you do, everything else will just kinda take care of itself.
John: So true. Nicholas, what's your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur?
Nicholas: Ah, that's a great question. I think it's my desire and ability to want to control everything. I have a hard time letting go and delegating and trusting anybody with anything because I feel like this is my baby, so yeah, my desire to control everything is probably my biggest weakness.
John: What's your biggest strength?
Nicholas: I think I had a shift where I realized that, and as odd as this might sound, I'm actually more interested in providing value to people than I am the bottom line, and sometimes that's to my detriment because that means I'll lose stuff on my bottom line, but everything shifted for me when I realized that if I could just make my life and my business about providing value and living my life that way as an entrepreneur, that everything else would kinda take care of itself, and in fact it has.
John: I mean that aligns with my journey so well. For 32 years, Nicholas, I was just chasing success. It was like success, success, success, financial – let's go to law school. Let's go to corporate finance, and then this Albert Einstein quote just hit me over the head, and it was "try not to become a person of success, but rather a person of value." It was such an eye opener for me to say, "Wow, this Einstein guy really is a pretty smart dude." He's saying to provide value, not just chase success, and so when I flipped it on its head and started doing this completely free, valuable and consistent podcast called EOFire, things turned around, so Fire Nation, think about that.
Nicholas, going back to your weakness, I mean controlling everything, that just happens when you're a Type-A entrepreneur. I'm the same way, but we gotta let go of this stuff, Fire Nation, because the fact of the matter is, and this is where Gary Vaynerchuk is so right. We need to amplify our strengths, and we need to mitigate our weaknesses. Don't try to be a champion of everything.
There's a lot of things I am crappy at, so you know what I do? I take money that I've made from my strengths, and I spend that money and invest it into people and systems that cover up those weaknesses or improve those, or they step up, and they take over those weaknesses that I have so I don't even have to deal with it so I can continue to focus on my strengths. Now, Nicholas, you have a lot of exciting things going on, but what's the one thing that has you most fired up today?
Nicholas: Well, I gotta say it's right here and right now, and staying true to what we've been talking about here, I mean talking to you, John Lee Dumas, serving Fire Nation, I'm just totally jazzed up about this, and this is what I love to do. This is what I live for, so I'm really fired up about it.
John: I mean you're living in the moment. You're here. You're present. You're with me. We're talking. Fire Nation, you're here as well. You're listening. I love this, and so don't go anywhere, Nicholas or Fire Nation, because we are about to crush the lightning round, but first we're gonna take a minute to thank our sponsors.
John: Nicholas, are you prepared for the lightning round?
Nicholas: I am. Bring it on.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Nicholas: I think it's still the same thing that's holding me back right now from kinda stepping out into things, and that's really the fear of failure. In the back of my mind, every time I try a new venture, I'm asking in my mind, "What if it doesn't work? What am I gonna do then?" So it's definitely the fear of failure.
John: What is the best advice you've ever received?
Nicholas: That's a great question because I think as I was in different seasons of my life, some really smart people spoke some really great wisdom into me, but the one that keeps coming back and has kinda solved a bunch of problems for me is I heard Brian Tracy say this. He said, "If you knew then when you got started what you know now, would you still be doing what you're doing? If not, get out." It was some of the hardest advice I've ever heard, but every time I've listened to it, it saved me years of pain, heartache and a sea of disaster, and every time I haven't, it just kinda dumped me into it.
John: A sea of disaster. Fire Nation, side note: you wanna avoid seas of disaster. What's a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Nicholas: I think that what helps me out a lot is the fact that I love asking questions, and I love having a beginner's mindset. I mean I'll go into any scenario, and I'll pretend I don't know anything about anything even if I might and just ask the right questions so that I can keep learning and growing as a person.
John: Can you share an Internet resource like an Evernote with Fire Nation?
Nicholas: Yeah, I got three. I couldn't live without three things. No. 1 is Slack. I mean it just helps me communicate with my team. Asana's a great project development tool that we're using, and although my wife hates it, focus@will, the site that plays music while you work. It's got a lot of these wa wa sounds, and my wife thinks I'm crazy, but I love it, and it keeps me focused while I'm going through my day.
John: I interviewed the founder of focus@will. His name is Will Henshall, which totally makes sense.
John: What is your favorite? What do you listen to on there? I'm an acoustical guy.
Nicholas: I'm always ambiance, and maybe that's why she might not like it.
John: Ambiance. Check out acoustical, and it's literally acoustical. That's the full name of it. Check it out. I love it. If you need a little more upbeats, you can actually change the tempo of that with a three-level low, medium, high. Now if you can recommend one book for our listeners, what would it be and why?
Nicholas: Great question. I haven't really read a book in a while. I've started a bunch. I haven't finished one in a long time, and there's different books that served me really well in different seasons of my life. Off the top of my head, for a really quick, short, applicable read, I really like Austin Kleon's book Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work. I think any entrepreneur can get through this book in one sitting, and it'll give them a ton of tangible things that they can do right away in their business.
John: Have you ever been to his conference? I think it's up in Montana, or maybe it's South Dakota. It's one of those states up there.
Nicholas: I have not, no.
John: I've heard raving things about it. I actually had him on the show, and I'll have to get him back on the show and talk about that so I can get an invite to that really cool conference that he’s got up there. Fire Nation, I know that you love audio, so I teamed up with Audible, and if you haven't already, you can get an amazing audio book for free at EOFirebook.com. Nicholas, I kinda wanna backtrack a little bit to what you said about starting a lot of books, and Fire Nation, I don't want you to feel terrible if you're in the same boat because I am, too.
I start a lot of books, and I don't finish a lot of them, and I'm gonna say why that's okay, and you can agree, disagree, or just remain silent, Nicholas. It's totally your call, but this is not a slap against business books or business authors. I think you guys are great out there, but the reality that I find is you have like 35 percent content that's amazing, and then you're just like, "Okay, I need to actually have a decent-sized book, so I'm gonna put in 65 percent of fluff in the end there."
So I find that by the time I'm in the 40 or 50 percent, I'm like this is just kind of going back to the beginning kind of fluffing it up a little bit. So don't feel bad, Fire Nation. If you start a book, and you feel like it's dragging, get out. You probably learned all the good stuff anyways, and just get on to the next one. When you find that book that you finish, then you know you've found a special book.
So, Nicholas, this is the last question of the lightning round, but it's a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world identical to earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have. Your food and shelter: we've taken care of it, but all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Nicholas: I love this question. I'm giving it some thought here, but here's what I would do, and it's kind of indicative of what actually I did to kinda get me to where I am today. If that was my scenario, I would literally go to Starbucks, I'd spend $6.00 and get myself an ice green tea latte, no sugar, light ice, ten scoops matcha and get the free wifi that it's gonna give me.
Nicholas: I'd then hop on Facebook, and I'd try to connect with a top influencer or a thought leader who is kind of undervalued in his space like really intelligent person, a guy or a gal who's just not really doing the best at getting their message out there. Then I'd go to them, and I'd make an offer that they couldn't refuse, an offer like hey, here's my rates, but let me serve you, and you only pay me if and when you get a result.
Then I'd focus the next several days or the next six days to crush it for them, which would then open up some more doors for me, which would rebuild my business and get me back to the place I am today. I then take the rest of the $494.00. I'd frame it and put it beside my office as a reminder literally that money is literally just an idea, and if you're willing to serve people, you can really make anything happen.
John: Money is just an idea, Fire Nation. Nicholas, let's end today on fire with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we'll say goodbye.
Nicholas: Yeah, so I think the greatest piece of guidance is just live in the now. Do everything you can. If you wanna learn more about what we do on the Facebook ad side, I got a great gift for Fire Nation if that's cool, John Lee Dumas?
John: Cool, I love it.
Nicholas: Yeah, so if anyone goes to just NicsBlog.com, N-i-c-s-B-l-o-g.com/fire, what I've done is I've spent a lot of my higher-level training teaching behind closed doors at these high-level mastermind groups, and I don't really make that to the public, but what I've done for a limited time is I've kinda put together the best teachings and this best workshop I've done behind closed doors. People were paying literally $25,000.00 to be a part of these masterminds, and I've put a summary of it in a workshop that people can get absolutely free.
It's the greatest kinda knowledge that I could offer anyone who's looking to use Facebook advertising for their business, so you can go there and grab that. I think my parting words would literally be live in the now, and as kind of cliché as that sounds, take a moment to ignore everything else that's going on. Be present in your conversations, be present in your business, be present with your clients, be present when you're writing that piece of content, and it will serve you for years to come.
John: Fire Nation, you are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with, and you've been hanging out with NK and JLD today, so keep up the heat and head over to EOFire.com. Just type Nicholas in the search bar. His show notes page will pop up with everything that we've been talking about today, and again, that special URL for you, Fire Nation, is NicsBlog.com/fire, N-i-c-s-B-l-o-g.com/fire. Nic, is that up right now because I feel like I wanna go check it out after this interview's done.
Nicholas: It is, yeah, and you can get full access to everything you need.
John: Ooh, killer. Nicholas, I wanna thank you, brother, for sharing –
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