How hard are you willing to work to escape the 9-5 grind and achieve freedom? If you know an independent lifestyle is for you, then you don’t want to miss this interview with Alex Nerney. Alex has built two hugely successful blogs, Create & Go and Avocadu, and, together with his teammate Lauren, their blogs generate six figures per month. They also allow Alex and Lauren to live anywhere they desire and make money from their laptop.

In this episode, Alex shares:

  • The different phases of business he went through to get where he’s at
  • What signs and lessons have led him to go against the status quo and create his own life
  • How to keep following your gut as you chase your biggest vision


Alex started Avocadu with his teammate Lauren McManus in hopes that they could escape the 9-5 grind. A few years later and they have built Avocadu and their other blog, Create & Go, to earn six figures per MONTH and allows them to work anywhere. Click through to hear Alex's story and advice.


Podcast Episode

Transcript of Interview with Alex Nerney

Leah Gervais:  How hard are you willing to work to escape the nine to five, grind and achieve freedom? If you know an independent lifestyle is for you, then you don’t want to miss this interview with Alex. He has built two hugely successful blogs, Avocadu and Create and Go, together with his teammate Lauren. Their blogs generate over six figures per month most of the time. And most importantly, they allow Alex and Lauren to live anywhere they desire and make money from their laptop. In this episode, Alex will share the different phases of business he went through to get where he’s at. I love how candid he is about this. For any of you out there just starting out. He’ll also share what signs and lessons have led him to go against the status quo and create his own life, and most importantly, how to keep following your gut as you chase your biggest vision. Let’s get to the episode.

Leah Gervais: You’re listening to your biggest vision. I’m your host, Leah Gervais. This show is designed to expand your vision, your business, your lifestyle, and of course, what’s possible. Enjoy the latest episode, and thanks for tuning in.


Alex Nerney: Be easy on me. First time.


Leah Gervais: Yeah, it’s your first time podcast. I’m honored. Well, let me just read a little bit of the professionalism about you. And then we can just chat so Alex is a personal trainer turned to full time blogger. He has a business that generates six figures per month, which he founded with his teammate Lauren McManus. He’s a Texas native, but he is now a location independent, and he travels all over the world while working from his laptop, Alex and Lauren, run two websites, Avocadoo, a wellness and fitness website and Create and Go where they teach bloggers to create profitable blogs. So thanks again. Alex.


Alex Nerney: Stoked to be here. Appreciate you having me.


Leah Gervais: My pleasure. Yeah, so my show is all about your vision and the vision that you have for your life. And the vision that we have had for our lives that a lot of people kind of, you know, dim. So you didn’t do that. Before you kind of were living this life that you have now, though, take us back a little bit to like, maybe high school or college and what did you think then that your life was going to look like?


Alex Nerney: Back in high school or college was really when this all started, I was kind of disenchanted with like, what people really wanted for my life. I couldn’t see myself as being like an engineer, like my dad, or being like a teacher, like my mom, or even in sales and stuff like that. The biggest vision for myself was like, maybe, like, all run a company one day or something, but really, you know, what messed everything up was I actually got a copy of the four hour workweek. And I was like, I think I was Sophomore year in college. And it really like opened up my mind to, like, hey, this doesn’t have to be like this. You don’t have to be like everybody else. Because I never felt like everybody else. So it was like, it was very important, like, key moment and like, in creating that sort of, and that vision evolves over time, obviously, but that was that was really the one where I was like, oh, things are wide open. And you can kind of figure out your own path. That make sense.


Leah Gervais: Yeah. So do you think that there can be just as much value in listening to like, what you’re not as what you are?


Alex Nerney: I think I’m more valuable, I think, I think it’s like you’re like a plinko set, and you’re like plunking down and like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no? And then yes. It feels like you need to try so many different things to really find those things that really speak to you.


Leah Gervais: Yeah, well, I love that you share that you just like kind of knew what you weren’t. And one of the things I talked about my journey started when I decided not to go to law school, which had been like my plan through undergrad, I took the LSAT, I was working at a law firm, it was like “the plan”. And I could not see myself as a lawyer. I never could, even though I worked at a law firm. And even though I took the LSAT and I talked about how, you know, following your vision is important. But also paying attention to when you can’t see yourself as something is like, just as much, if not more important. So I agree.


Alex Nerney: I agree. I think sometimes we even idealize things in our life that we think are like going to be the vision and they have to pay attention. And when you feel differently when because it changes. It evolves. You know, like, back when I was a kid, it was probably driving, you know, sports cars and doing all this stuff. And then later on, it was like, nah, I really just want to be able to work from wherever I want to buy organic food. Like that was like the highest [unknown].


Leah Gervais: Shoes optional.


Alex Nerney: Yeah, it’s optional. I might not be wearing pants right now.


Leah Gervais: And you don’t have to, because you’re not in a nine to five job. Awesome. So you kind of like stick with the gut of what you know, you don’t want you don’t go on to be an engineer. You don’t go into you know, be a teacher. But you’re going to be a personal trainer. And so then when was the tipping point of being like, all right, well, I didn’t do those things that my parents or society kind of told me to do. But this isn’t it either. And I’m like, not going to just wait anymore.


Alex Nerney: I always felt like with the personal training thing. So I did start doing some of that in college. And it progressed on through, you know, that young professional life and I know with the Personal Training, I’ve felt better than the corporate thing, because I was sort of dictating my hours, but the same time, I was still very much indentured to my clients times. And so I always think, like, with entrepreneurs and stuff like that it’s that level of frustration, that one hits that really inspires movement. And for me, it was like those 5:30am mornings, you know, like, I had some really high paying clients, you know, I was doing very well as a personal trainer. But that didn’t matter when you’re 5:30am is booked up every morning. And you can’t go out and party with your friends. Because, you know, I have to be up and three hours. So that’s not going to work. Right. And, and at that level of frustration just built. It wasn’t, there was not one time when I felt like, oh, my gosh, the, you know, everything toppled over. And now I need to go do this. It was just a day to day like getting more and more frustrated with what I wanted for my life versus what was.


Leah Gervais: Yeah, right. And so you don’t have sort of, like one moment where you’re just like, I’m sick of hearing myself, be frustrated and I’m, I’m done.


Alex Nerney: So what happened, the real big shift was, so I was always feeling like that. I was always trying new stuff. Like, yeah, I wasn’t just a personal trainer, guys. I was a I was a bouncer for a while. I was the door guy. I was in a movie as a football stunt double.I did quite a few different things. sighs I was bouncing around figuring again, plinkoing around trying to figure out myself. And and you know, I don’t know. Sorry. I lost. I lost a little bit of track of where I was headed with that.


Leah Gervais: I was just wondering if you like, if you were all one moment where you’re just like, I’m done.


Alex Nerney: Oh, yeah. So what happened is I actually had a personal training client named Justin Olligan. And he had this tickets, this millionaire Fast Lane meetup. There’s just this meetup for entrepreneurs. And he’s like, you should go and I was like, no, no, about a month goes by. And it’s like, a week before that conference. And I was like, all right, fine, I’ll go in, I like caved at the last second bottle a second flight because they were cheap. Justin ended up not even going. So I was there by myself at the conference. Yeah, some Silicon Valley like panic attack, or something like that is, this is a crazy story. It’s, it’s insane. But I show up at this thing. I know, nobody. I’m not a part of the forum. I read the book one time and thought it was really good. Other than that, I know nothing. But what I did get out of it was I sat there. And I saw like, all these entrepreneurs coming up. And you know, and they were not in the blogging space. These people were like, starting their Kickstarter, or something very unique and very different. And I remember just thinking, like, I need to do this, like, I need to really get serious about starting something for myself. And that was the moment that toppled over it was more just seeing all these people and, and hearing their stories. And that confirmation of like, you can do this like, you can figure this out, trusting yourself, you know, like to figure this out.


Leah Gervais: Yeah, yeah, there’s so much Actually, I’ve what you just said that I think is valuable. So one of the things, we don’t have to get too deeply into this. But one of the things I think about a lot is in being an entrepreneur, sort of in the online business space, versus coming up with some sort of, you know, physical product or not, but some sort of idea where you like, need investors, and you need, you know, VC’s and everything. And I think that one of the things that we don’t talk about enough as online business owners is the low amount of investment you need to put in at the beginning, and how incredible that is. And I know that I think a lot of people can get freaked out when they’re starting it, because they think it costs money to start a website, or if they have to hire someone. And I get that because I went through all of that too. But hearing those kinds of things, I’m often like, “oh, my God”, I can’t believe that ever complained about having just certain spend money to start a website when it’s so much less expensive, and a lot of other entrepreneurial options out there.


Alex Nerney: So the investment comparatively, is comical. We started our website, you know, you get hosting and domain, right, you pay for stuff up front. So let’s say stay sharp, $150 bucks, you need a few more additional things. Let’s say you’re $500 in the hole. What. So I spent $500 to make 10 grand a month, 20 grand a month? Or our best month with 100 grand a month? Where, where are you going to find that investment, you know?


Leah Gervais: Right. And then even like, our monthly cost, or overhead is a small percentage of having to spend rent on like a brick and mortar, brick and mortar business, or tons of staff and everything like that. One of the things I think we will I know, that I take for granted. And so it’s worth pointing out, but okay, that’s awesome that you went to this thing you thought was possible, you realize that it was possible for you to, and then you have to start taking more risks. And it sounds like you were already like, pretty entrepreneurial. And maybe it wasn’t such a huge surprise to friends and family that you were going to do something on your own. But it’s still is different. What you ended up doing. So how did you deal with risks then? And how do you deal with it now,


Alex Nerney: So we dealt with them by going all in, you know. It was one of the things are building a website, I was building something Lauren saw me building this thing was like, “hey, I can do that”, you know, is struggling like creating some images or something like that. And she’s like, you suck at this. Let me help you. And so just started to build. And at one point, we were on this hike in Seattle. And we’re like, what if we just, like, quit for like, a year? Like, what if we just like, she was working as a CPA, I  was a personal trainer? So like, what if we just quit everything, and just went all in for a year? Where would we end up? Yeah, and it was on that is on that hike, we were just hiking around with with her brothers and her dad. And it was like, all right, we should do it. So I actually talked to my dad who actually has a place out in Seattle was like, “Hey, I’m gonna live in your house for a year”. He’s just like, Fine, whatever. Like, I was more convincing than that beautiful speech I just gave you. But the, the thing was, is like, it was like, all right, like, let’s just go all in. Let’s just do it to see what happens. So we sold all our things, we quit our jobs, we literally packed everything and still have the photo of five suitcases worth of materials, and possessions and items that we that was it, that’s all we had to our name. And when all it um, and that has consistently been how we manage that risk is we just, when we feel pretty strongly about it, we just move our chips all in and see what happens. Because I don’t know, it just seems to work out in the sense of like, yeah, I made some huge mistakes. And sometimes, like, things have cost me a lot of money. But the wins are so much greater. It’s almost like a hedge fund, you know, where, you know, they’re, they’re betting on 30 companies and really, they just want one Uber, you know, like, that’s almost how you view business in a way where it’s like, try it and keep trying it. And then the one that succeeds is all that matters at the end of the day. That’s really how we manage those risks.


Leah Gervais: Do you, do you think? Or do you think with your personality, that there is something to be said, for not having a plan B, for like, putting in your brain that like, this is it I have this, I’m gonna make this work, or I’m gonna make this work, whatever, or this is?


Alex Nerney: It’s so funny, because, yeah, because we could have continued to work on like, the blog without quitting the jobs like you didn’t have to quit, right, is, I think it was just the action of like, now, let’s just burn the bridge and see what happens. That like, puts you in that mindset of like, sink or swim. Like, we would wake up every day, and Seattle and I would work you know, a 16 hour day easy, because I had to, I had to make this succeed. I wanted this life for myself, if I wanted to wake up when I wanted to, and drink coffee when I wanted to, and not wake up for those 5:30am clients. I had to make this work. And that need to make it work put me in that mindset of like, of just a half to make it happen. And it ended up working out


Leah Gervais: Well, I love that you share that. And I totally agree. When I know, when I declined Middle School acceptances, everyone, including the law schools was told told me just tougher for a year, we can still keep your acceptances for a year. And then you don’t have to take the LSAT again. And if you decided to your you want to come back then you know, you’re already in and it takes out that risk. And I just at the time, I didn’t know it, like kind of in the way we’re talking about it now. But I think something and we knew that was not going to actually help me having like, too many options. Yeah, it was not going to serve me. So I love that you pull it out. And I think it’s really useful for people to hear that are on this, you know, you and I, like are working for ourselves now. But for those that aren’t, your parents probably are going to tell you to have a backup plan. And so it’s nice to hear the other side that there is a benefit. And, and it’s sort of like, you know, kick that can come with not giving yourself any other option.


Alex Nerney: For sure. For sure. Again, it puts you I don’t know, I feel like we’re really strong. I remember learning this, like in football and in multiple areas of my life. Or like, where you are pushed beyond like, what you thought was possible, and how it’s like the best thing ever, because you realize, like, how resilient you actually are. There’s this really kind of popular movement on YouTube, it’s like this channel yesterday that I really like, but it’s just like, seek discomfort. And I really agree with kind of the perspective that that’s coming with. Because you can you realize you’re not, you’re not soft. If you’ve ever been hit before, as a weird analogy, but you’re been punched in the face before. Like, you realize you’re not made of glass. And like it’s going to be okay. Yeah, I think those things are are valuable.


Leah Gervais: Yeah, my fiance when he’s like, wanting some motivation, he watches like a Navy Navy SEAL video. And it just reminds you of like, the potential of the human spirit. And you’re right, we’re capable of so much more than we know. And the other thing that you said that I just want to point out before I go on to the next question is something that I think is so key to entrepreneurship.You know, the only way you’re really going to enjoy it is if you embrace that idea that you are going to mess up all the time. And you can see it as you know, it’s often talked about popularly like, oh, you’ll fail, and then you’ll win some, you know, that is, I guess, technically true. But I still think even the word fail, if you can see it more as a game or something that you’re going to have fun with. I think it’s such a better experience. And I think so many people come into it so afraid of every time they quote, “fail”, that they forget that, like, that’s kind of what you signed up for, is to mess up some of the time and to not know all the answers. And it can be so much more fun if you just kind of know that when you are going about it. So it seems like you’ve really adopted that mentality.


Alex Nerney: For sure. It’s just, it’s just that frame of like, viewing failure as a learning opportunity. You know, like, yeah. And that’s, that’s, that’s everything. Because, like, you can let those things beat you up for you and be like, Oh, I learned something and then just move on, you know,


Leah Gervais: Yeah, I love it. Well, so, okay, so you go from working 16 hour days in Seattle, you know, you did not leave your nine to five with a huge net, or like, you weren’t making as much from it already. And then fast forward, I found you and Lauren on YouTube the first time I guess I like movies were with your beautiful travel channel. So clearly, you’re not working 16 hours a day in Seattle anymore. So when, you know, when did the teeter totter shift?


Alex Nerney: It just again, it happens through moments. I don’t think there’s ever like an individual. Like, I think it’s easy for us like to project like, “Oh, yeah, this one thing happened”. And yeah, I just noticed things like we got to a certain point in the business where, like, I didn’t have to be as involved. I remember one day I sat on my couch. I binge watched, like, every episode of Entourage. Every episode of Entourage. Just It was a work day. And I was just like, No, no, don’t talk to me. I’m watching entourage today. And like, yeah, I kind of felt like a slob afterwards. But at the same time, it was like, it was one of those times where I was like, I can do that now. You know, I got my did business didn’t blow up the next day, it was still there, it was still making money, you’re still right. And so you know, then it brought in travel started to travel around and start to realize this balance that happens between what you do and there’s something that we’ve learned. And something that’s very valuable is that there’s there’s kind of two phases in at least online business. And what we do is that there’s this growth phase and the growth phase, don’t get don’t get it twisted like it requires and obnoxious amount of work. And if you walk into this thing, thinking that it doesn’t, you are going to fail, and it is going to be brutal and ugly. Because you’re going to wonder why you can’t go out and party all the time, or why you’re not succeeding as well as as as quickly as you’d like, as those guys on YouTube driving the Lamborghinis, that’s the growth phase.


Alex Nerney: There’s another phase to this, which is more of like a maintenance phase. And that’s a phase that you can get to over time, it takes a lot of work takes an incredible amount of upfront effort. But yeah, around the three, two year mark, I mean, I just did a 50 states road trip where I did not work it was it was six months-ish, five months of traveling to all 50 states in my car, there was not a ton of work being done. But that’s because I’m in sort of like a maintaining and maintenance phase right now. And then you shift you go back, like right now, I’m now back in the growth phase. Now, I’m, like, interested in like, hey, I want to take these things to the next level. But if you can view it from that mindset, I think it really helps people. Because when you see those ads on Facebook, or like some guy like me, is like laying on like some lawn chair, you know, like, you want to live the life you want hot babes, or whatever it is they’re promoting, it’s helpful to understand the phase that that person is in, they might not be lying to you, they might have actually achieved that. But that’s because they’re in some sort of maintaining and relaxing phase, which is very different from aggressiveness.


Leah Gervais: Yeah, again, so many great things I like to tell my clients, it’s about the chapter that you’re in. And if you can think about it, that way, it makes the growth phase a lot less brutal. Because, you know, it’s just a phase, it’s not your forever, you’re not building a business that you’re going to be enslaved to. But you do need to embrace that position that you’re in. So I think it’s really valuable that you’ve focused on that. And that, in fact, it sounds like you run your business with a really conscious awareness of the different phases you’re in. And it’s so funny, you mentioned that you were in a maintenance phase while you were traveling across the country. Because for those listening, Alex and I have the same virtual assistant. And when when I was hiring him, he was like, so one of my clients is literally traveling around the country right now. I think I can help take some things off of your plate.


Leah Gervais: Yeah. So, um, that’s great, that you kind of got to that point. And I would, I would agree that it’s not, you know, it doesn’t, you don’t wake up one morning, and you’re like, and now that chapter is done. But for those listening, I think it was about the two year mark to where things really felt like they started to take off for me. So you guys are still working there. You know, it’s not fun to compare. And I’m not trying to do that. But just there is light at the end of the tunnel.


Alex Nerney: For sure. I think. I think it’s so important, though. I mean, because, again, it’s that mindset of like, I’m working really hard now, that one day things can be different, you know, or that I can live a little bit differently than other people. And I think that’s a very healthy mindset, because you’re gonna have to say no a lot, especially in this game, where, again, I think, I think the easy analogy was, for us, it was like, we had to say no to parties, brunches, things that we really enjoyed. And, um, and that was just part of the process. And it was part of why we did went to Seattle, because there’s so many distractions around us. And we just needed this like, alone time away from those distractions to really focus.


Leah Gervais: Yeah, I do agree with you. I know that sometimes, especially in the more personal development space, there’s a lot of talk about how we don’t need to hustle so hard things can be easier, and I don’t necessarily disagree with them. But I think the danger is, when you think that, you know, you can skip over some of the the beginning phases and you know, I agree that it does, I firmly believe that during the first couple of years, you need to work and absurd amount of hours and, and people won’t understand that’s part of it. So I like that. You’re really honest about that.


Leah Gervais: So at Create and Go, you guys teach about business strategy a lot. I know that you have two blogs, and your first one was not Create and Go. Your first one was about Wellness and Fitness. Right? But because you were so successful with that you wanted to kind of, you know, show others the strategies that you guys use, so that they could use it, whatever focus they want. And so we know business strategy and mechanics is such a big part of it. And then, as we’ve been talking about that, I just want to pull out again, mindset is the other huge component, and you’ve talked a lot about, you know, how to sort of like, believe in yourself and shut out the noise and all that kind of stuff. But what do you do when you want to take things to the next level, and even if you’d like, put yourself to a place where you really believed in yourself to get to this point, and then you still have to do something new like this never ends. So how do you keep pushing yourself? Or how do you keep staying hungry? How do you keep staying inspired?


Alex Nerney: That’s a really good question. Because I think a lot of the 50 states thing was, you know, I haven’t been hungry for a while, you know, so I’m kind of getting back into that. I think sometimes it’s setting, I mean, you’re talking about your vision here you’re talking about the things that you want in your life it’s almost just setting that benchmark higher is a is a quicker way to do it. So you know, have goals have things you know, that that you’re making right now, and I just, I just kind of bumped that up a bump that up to match kind of where I’m at in my life and the things that I want to do the things that I want to accomplish. It took like some consciously like writing things down. But at the same time, I only use this as a rubric. I’m very open to how things change. Lauren and I talk a lot about this and it’s one thing. Nick Saban is like the winningest coach like of all time for college football for the University of Alabama. Him and Bill Belichick, the guy who is the coach for the Patriots and I know, I know.


Leah Gervais: Love, love them or hate them. He’s built a hell of a brand. I get it. But I do hate them.


Alex Nerney: I understand. Listen, I wasn’t rooting for them. I was very upset that the Rams didn’t show up. Yeah, but the thing was, is that with those guys, they talk about it a lot. It’s like the process and the process is, that really all you have right now is the present moment like that, that’s really all you get. And you can future cast and creative vision, and do those things. And those are great, and you should have somewhere that you’re going. But at the same time, all you have is this moment on. So every day, you know, there’s the sheet of paper that I have, and it’s my list. And it’s in order of the most important things that I need to get done that day. And that is the process every day I wake up and make that list and I follow the process. And I just you know, it’s it’s analogous to waves on the beach, you know, like, you just you gotta be that steady are waves, maybe waves eroding the rocks, you know, where it’s like that steady flow over time, that really, really leads you to success. So, it’s intermixed. It’s intermixed with like, a higher vision of what I want and some bigger roles. And that’s how I stay hungry though, is, you know, I just, I feel good, I feel good when to knock out the things on that list?

Leah Gervais: Yeah. So, hearing this from you, you’ve achieved so much and you worked really hard, and, you know, you have so much to be proud of. And I think that someone could think, well, it’s easy for you to trust the process because look at where you are. Do you think that you used to not have as much trust in the process? Or do you think that you always had, and that’s what kept you going from day one, when things weren’t the way they are now?

Alex Nerney: I didn’t trust myself enough. Now, that would be the other thing that I would circle back to, is that I put more stock in what other people told me was correct than what I felt was correct. And that held me back for a long time. There was a certain point where that tipped over, where I just, you know, and this is maybe a little bit ironic, but I just I stopped listening to books. I stopped, I stopped, I just completely turn them off. I was like, nope, I’m just gonna listen to myself. And that was like, a very big thing. So I turned off books, and then to turn off podcast, but and now what I do is I focus on like, I have like, just a few, like a few, like, very small things that I circle back to that I feel is truth. And that’s all I do. Because like that for me, I don’t know, it just keeps me trusting myself. I think what happens is like, when you read like 1,000 audible books, like I have on my phone, you get introduced and indoctrinated into different people’s philosophies on stuff. And sometimes I don’t think that can damage how much you just honestly just believe in yourself.

Leah Gervais: No, I totally agree. I’m actually so happy you brought that up. Because I think that, you know, we’re all, especially entrepreneurship push to listen to more and read more. And, of course, it is great to learn from other people. But it can over power your intuition. And at the end of the day, that doesn’t help you at all, you know, at the end of the day, your intuition probably is kind of what has gotten you to any success you might be experiencing. And if you lose track of that, then it defeats the purpose of a lot of those messages to begin with. And a lot of the stories we hear are because other people follow their guts or listen to themselves or knew who they were. And if we’re not careful, then we can let their sort of experiences trump or wash over our own. So I actually love that you brought that up. And I think that that’s a really good piece of advice, depending on where someone is at.


Alex Nerney: Depending on where they’re at! That’s sort of the hard part about that advice. Because at the beginning, I needed those books.


Leah Gervais: Yeah, me too. There’s only reason I did this.


Alex Nerney: Mhmm, yeah, you need it, you need that daily encouragement to be like, “hey, keep going, you’re gonna survive, it’s okay”. But then eventually, the skills will tip I think, for most people.


Leah Gervais: Yeah, but I think it’s, I think it’s, it is great advice. And even what I’m about to say here, and what we’re saying is not blanket advice. But, you know, I just I totally agree at the beginning, I needed to sort of saturate my mind with a new way of thinking and a new way of believing and what was possible for me. And I think that there can be a point where you start to think, well, what would you know, “so and so” do in this situation, and that sort of like where you kind of want to step back and think, well, what about me? What do I want to do in this situation? Not this author, not this podcast, not this coach like this is about me and my journey. So I love that you brought that up. So my last question for you, which I think you sort of answered is, you know, if you could go back, what would you tell yourself and it sounds like a big thing for you is, trust yourself more, if there’s anything else, you’d go back to yourself when you’re either… you can tell us if it’s either in your personal training days at 5:30am, or a 16 hour day in Seattle.


Alex Nerney: So I’ll just I’ll relate it to a story. So I, you know, worked hard at this for a while to figure out kind of blogging and a big pivotal thing is making your first income and made a few like Amazon sales here, there. And this goes back to trust yourself. And I bought a bunch of products that other people had created a bunch of different email marketing, like super special tactics like sort of deal, and pay lots of money for those things that didn’t work and was trying them out, trying not trying them out, trying them out again, desperate, hungry, 16 hour days, like going to sleep with anxiety and waking up, downing coffee, kind of ready for it again, you know, like let’s get back in the ring and then I built an email funnel one day I was just like, I don’t know if I should cuss on here… I was like fuck it and I built my own funnel. I was like, I’m not gonna say but I’m just gonna sing what I think will work, and you know, set everything up and sit down like this discount and offer this like free product for anybody who bought and put it up and then like I think it was a day later like I got a sale.


Alex Nerney: Then I got another sale and then I got like five more sales and I remember that night I’m like walking out and like I had this moment of like, as like you were right like, that was the biggest feeling to me it was that if I could go back and like tell myself something I’d be like you’re right keep going. Because that’s the hardest part you don’t know if you’re right you’re guessing at it you’re trying and yeah and that was like the biggest moment to me because I was like I knew if I could sell that one thing I could bunch of things and yeah and it worked out but I would say you’re right keep going.


Leah Gervais: Do you think about that a lot?


Alex Nerney: Yeah.


Leah Gervais: You do? That’s awesome. I love that.


Alex Nerney: There’s that moment, there’s a few moments in particular that stand out as… they’re just, they’re better than sex. They’re beautiful like little bits and pieces that you get in life, especially if you you work really hard at something before achieving that thing. I don’t know they’re just, they’re special, there’s the time you know, I made the football team at Arkansas, there was you know those first few sales, there was that cresting the hundred grand a month mark. There are a few things like that, where I was just like, okay. They were life changing.


Leah Gervais: They really made you feel like you made it. Whatever it is, I love it. So I kinda want to a follow up question to that really quick, before I go into my your biggest vision questions, because I think one of the things that keeps people not even necessarily stuck but definitely unhappy or feeling unfulfilled in this journey is that they they do have little wins, you know, not to say that any of those are little wins. But the things like your first sale or things like your first thousand email subscribers, or your first you know, whatever, and they don’t celebrate them, or they don’t remember them, or they don’t remember the takeaway they felt during that because they are still then just go into what else they could be doing, or what else needs to be done, or how else they could do better or yeah, they have 1,000 email subscribers, but so and so has 10,000 email subscribers. So how do you preserve those moments that you know, you do work really hard for and that need to be celebrated and not get too caught up in what else isn’t done? Is that something you’ve had to consciously do? Or are you naturally like that?


Alex Nerney: Sometimes, yeah. Sometimes you have to consciously do it. When it comes to a certain dollar mark, especially on the internet, you’ll never be satisfied. There will always be somebody who’s better than you, making more than you, more successful than you,


Leah Gervais: Sleeping less than you.


Alex Nerney: Yeah, sure. Yeah. bigger and better things. Elon Musk-ing it. I’m over here blogging and this guy’s trying to go to Mars.


Leah Gervais: You’re changing lives too.  


Alex Nerney: Yeah, sure. I don’t, I don’t think there’s anything you can say other than that it’s just, I almost feel like it’s where you put people’s expectations at the beginning, at least I learned that as a personal trainer. If I sit you down, and I go, hey, we’re going to lose 10 pounds in a month and you lose eight, you’re going to feel like crap, because even though you lost eight pounds, I put this in your head, you know. But if I say, hey, we’re just going to work on it. We’re going to see what happens and you lose eight pounds, and you’re like I lost eight pounds, this is great!


Alex Nerney: So I think it’s more of the expectation that you come into it with, we talked about it on this one blog post. It’s like poop to profits or something like that. But it talks about like, you know, most of your blogging career is going to start out in this like, really flat line, which I call the poop phase, where it’s like, everything you do, like as an entrepreneur, nobody cares. What you’re doing is bad. You don’t even know what you’re doing. It’s just all food. Nothing is good, nothing is good. And then you kind of go through this teenager phase, where it’s like, I equate it to like the emotional roller coaster. You’re up, then you’re down, you’re up, then you’re down. You get a small win, like what you’re talking about. But then you’re back being blue because this other guy did better than you are this, this other girl kicked your ass at podcasting, or whatever, and then you’re down, then you’re back up and you’re down. But if you can suffer through enough of that down and up and you and you do it right, and you scale and you work through the process, you work they’re doing things, there’s this exponential kind of growth is this leveling out.


Alex Nerney: As long as you’re understanding that, and being conscientious of that, like hey, this is part of the process. Some days, I’m gonna feel awesome. I’m going to feel stoked about my wins. And some days, I’m going to feel like crap, I’m just going to feel like absolute shit, then I think that expectation in your brain, it will help at least. Some people won’t be satisfied no matter what, they might be super successful one day. And some people might get to satisfied. So it’s hard, it’s managing those expectations. I think it is our job as people who have been through the path before, to manage those expectations with people and to properly you know, outline what to expect.


Leah Gervais: Right, expectations are a good thing to think about. And I think that sort of, like teeter totter of, you know, staying hungry and being proud of what you’ve done, like, the way that I have really tried to think about it is that it does not need to be a mutually exclusive thing that they actually can and have to coexist, you can be really psyched about everything you’ve accomplished and celebrate. And you can be super hungry for more and for wanting more. And I think that the danger comes, which I’m guilty of, to, you know, a feeling so much like one or the other feeling like, Oh, I did so much. I cannot work for a couple days, or a week, or whatever, or blow all this money or something or other hand just being like, Oh, I did that. That’s great. But I don’t really care. So it’s, it’s about doing both at the same time.

Alex Nerney: So for sure, for sure. And then just having that expectation that you need to do both at the same time.


Leah Gervais: Yeah exactly, expecting doing both. That’s key. All right. So you actually answered a lot of these questions, but I’m just going to do a quick one. So do you have a book or podcasts that you recommend?

Alex Nerney: Um, so what I would say obviously, this podcast, obviously, urban20something and creating a vision clearly. Um, I would say there’s one that I really liked the Millionaire Fastlane, horrible title, cheesy, cheesy guy at times. But I’ve met him. He’s actually very humble. He’s a very big introvert. And it’s so funny, because, like, his cover is again, he’s the Lamborghini guys. But the book speaks an inordinate amount of truth towards what we’ve been talking about. Towards this, this expectation of how much you have to work in the beginning versus later on. That was a big one, how many hours you should actually be putting in your business, I tell this story, and I use it lightly, only in the right context. But I gave that book to Lauren. And it gave Lauren anxiety and in a good way, which is weird to say, because I know that’s like, that’s like a hot issue right now.


Alex Nerney: But the thing was, is it needed to give her anxiety because it needed to show her like, hey, working as a CPA isn’t going to get the things in life that you want to get. And it was just a very monumental book, obviously, like the four hour workweek. But for hour work week, sometimes books are best at the right times, right? So like, the four hour workweek was pivotal to me at the time now, today wouldn’t be relevant, right? The Millionaire Fastlane, again, was pivotal to me at that moment, but not, you know, that relevant anymore. I would say my big thing, though, is if my message might be a little bit different. And my message would be if you’re reading more than one book a week stop. Yeah,

maybe trickle it down to one really good book every two weeks and really focus on it and don’t just like the walk and just like, let it, you know, infiltrate your brain like actually like digest and think about it and focus on it. I think that would be more of my recommendation than anything.

Leah Gervais: I think that’s great advice. I reread so many books. Like, I read my favorite book once a month, which is a ton.


Alex Nerney: What’s your favorite book?


Leah Gervais: “The Science of Getting Rich” is my go to read. By read, I mean, I listen to it on Audible. And so it’s just one of those things that just always puts me in the right frame of mind. It’s not like, I don’t know what it’s about anymore. But when find a book that just click with you, it can always bring me back to sort of the place I need to be. So I think that that’s great advice. And a lot of people are sort of like, it’s crazy that you read so many books, but how many books do any of us read, and then we forget, or we don’t actually learn the things that they’re teaching. So I think that your advice is great, too.


Alex Nerney: I couldn’t agree more. I couldn’t agree more. There’s this one book I was circle back to called “Models” by Mark Manson. If you don’t know Mark Manson is the guy that wrote “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” that orange book that you see absolutely everywhere. Yes. But his first book was actually about dating. But it really wasn’t about dating. It was kind of a manual for like, it could go by a bunch of different words, but trusting yourself essentially is like the ultimate thing that you should do in your life. It’s definitely more geared towards guys. Obviously, it’s a dating book. But for guys, but the but the message in it is, so on point on like your life I circle back to that all the time, just because it’s like, it’s such a such a great refresher. And I think that’s how you should view books. And that’s how you should digest them. You know, you should it should be a Hey, let’s go back. But I mean, all my other favorite book is “Steal like an Artist”. That’s, that’s another book. And I just, I’ll cruise that thing once a month. Yeah, similar to you.

Leah Gervais: Yeah. Awesome. I think that that’s good advice. And then the other thing I just want to pull out of what you said, before we wrap up, thank you so much for everything. So it’s been amazing. But the reason that it gave Lauren anxiety is the exact same reason that I started this. And so everyone who listens to this podcast, if you follow me, you probably know this, because I talk about it a lot. But maybe not, they don’t so much anymore, because it was so long ago. But what Lauren realized what I realized is it doesn’t matter if you’re a CPA or a lawyer, or a doctor, if you are trading time for money, there is a ceiling on your income potential. And the freedom that you will have in your life, you will always be trading an hour for an income amount. And that is problematic. And that’s probably what freaked her out about it. I don’t want to like put words in her mouth, but I just think it’s worth pointing out that our society really puts a lot of, you know, they put these big high paying careers on a pedestal, and it really takes some stepping back, which a lot of I think young people don’t do and really thinking, okay, great. That income amount sounds great. But you’re not really looking at this transaction that you will be trading for the rest of your life. And when I realized that, that’s when I said no to law school, too. So I hear ya. And I think it’s a great thing to point out to anyone.

Alex Nerney: Literally your pitch, right there was “The Millionaire Fastlane”.


Leah Gervais: Oh, yeah. Okay, perfect. So yeah, if anyone out there is like, you know, thinking about a career path that excites them, but they’re doing it for the income, do consider how you’re trading it?

Alex Nerney: You gotta, like, you gotta frame that properly, right? Like, let’s say you’re working on a blog, right? And you make 60 grand a year, right? But you work from home and your time is your own, like, you might look at a lawyer, right? Let’s say, Yeah, you’re a lawyer out here in Texas, in the same value market, you know, making $120,000 a year, are they really richer than you? You really need to be honest with that question. Because they work 80 hours a week, are drowning themselves in coffee and alcohol just to survive. Their health is like in decline, because they’re working hard. They’re so stressed out all the time. Don’t let societies perception on like, what is valuable and what is not, influence how you honestly think or feel about it. If that’s something that you want, you want that stature and prestigious right, sure. But like I would argue that the person who works from home at 60 grand a year is much richer.


Leah Gervais: I’m not trying to say everyone should be an entrepreneur. But the other point of your comparison here is that that person that you know, is a blogger, whatever, that makes $60,000 a year, they did it on their own, they know how to do something. If you’re a lawyer, and you’re making 120K a year and you get fired, you still have to go find another law firm job. And that could be a while you don’t know where you could get it. Something could happen. But if you know how to do things on your own, you have a skill, you’ve learned how to do something that’s completely yours. That is a security that you will never have in any other nine to five job. I don’t care how reputable it is there anything. So I’m sure you and I could go on and on about how we feel about our paths. But I just want to thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. You gave so much valuable insight and you’re very inspiring, and I’m sure you’re going to help more people than you already have. So thanks so much.


Alex Nerney: It’s a lot of fun. Appreciate you having me.


Leah Gervais: Before I forget. I’m sorry, I almost did. But how can people find out more about you? And do you have anything you want to share with listeners?


Alex Nerney: Go to if you’re interested in starting a blog or just starting your own online business? If you want to, if you have a website or have something that you want to drive more traffic to. Our Pinterest traffic avalanche course is very good. I also think our six figure blogger course slides under the radar. But it really I mean, I’ve we’ve helped people like go from 3 grand 20 grand a month. And I’ve had that happen multiple times now, but so that one’s that one’s good. But overall, like if blogging or writing is something you’re interested in, and you are a hard worker, that’s what I preface it with. If you don’t feel like you’re not a hard worker, I doubt you listen this podcast.


Alex Nerney: But if you feel like you’re a hard worker and you feel like you’re not getting the things like you want like blogging is a path to do it. I am not something special. I am the opposite of whatever special is like I am not a good writer, I am a mediocre marketer at times. There are there are giant holes in in who I am and who Lauren is, as far as being successful bloggers go but we were just willing to put in the man hours. We’re willing to put up the upfront work and and sometimes that’s nice. Sometimes it’s nice knowing that somebody has a plan for you. And all you have to do is like really work the plan. You don’t have to walk into this being the next Hemingway you can you can walk into this and be and be a personal trainer rolling in off the street and make it happen.


Leah Gervais: Awesome. Very inspiring. Alright, well thank you again, Alex.


Alex Nerney: Appreciate you.


Leah Gervais: To keep your vision alive and well, we have put together a short and sweet checklist of five practices you can do every single day to make sure that your days are LED with the intention toward your biggest vision these tasks on long they shouldn’t take you more than 20 or 30 minutes all together if they will have a profound shift in how you spend your time your energy and of course how you spend your life so to download that go on over to and you can download this free checklist immediately.


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