For many years, Mike worked 9-5 in sales roles, desk-jobs, and training and management positions for major national financial institutions. Like many Americans, his time was consumed with the everyday “grind.” During this stage, he knew there must be a better way.
Taking his love for online marketing, Mike progressed to assist real estate agents with online marketing methods – namely, lead generation. Over the course of several years, his side-gig turned into a full time operation and later an online marketing training consultancy with a large student base worldwide.
A father, husband, and serial entrepreneur, Mike Paul lives in Apex, North Carolina. His business operates from Raleigh, North Carolina.
I met Mike through email. He’s a marketer and I am on his email list. Generally speaking, I don’t ask the people that are promoting goods and services to me for an interview (although I have once before). 🙂
But, one day, in my inbox, there was a different sort of email from Mike. One that linked to his blog, LiveToLetGo.com. I visited the blog and loved it right away–the topics there are similar to my own blog (parts of it, anyway), and I felt a kinship with this person I had not met. So I extended an invitation for this interview to learn more about Mike Paul 🙂
Cate: Thanks for joining me, Mike!
Mike: Cate, it’s great to finally connect – and thanks for having me on!
Cate: So, tell me a bit about your story–about your business and how it led to the creation of your blog.
Mike: Cate, I can start with a short background of my upbringing. Coming from a military family, I traveled the world with my parents growing up. Every 4 years, we’d move around the globe – places like the UK, Japan, and all over the US.
My dad instilled some basic ‘work ethic’ skills in me from the beginning… started working at around 12 years old. Through grade-school, I hated it. It just didn’t make sense to me. And the college route ended up with me dropping out after about a year and half. I got into a bit of trouble and was forced into a “real” job pretty early.
Cate: What age was that?
Mike: That was around, I’d say… 20 years old give or take…
Cate: Young and foolish…
Mike: Exactly…After several jobs, I ended up in the real estate business and then in the banking field. There, I got a cruel taste of what everyone says life is supposed to be. During all of this I was helping some real estate agents with marketing. That’s how the marketing gig got started.
Cate: That’s interesting. Were they teaching you or was this something for which you just had a knack?
Mike: Well, I uhh began generating leads for myself and some agents started to notice. So I started helping a few with online leads… at a time when most just didn’t get it.
Cate: So you just had a natural ability for this–that’s lucky for you!
Mike: Well, not exactly, Cate. I had a ton of help from a mentor. So, I saw some success in real estate–after some struggle… ended up moving from that city when my first child was on the way … then made the switch to banking. In banking I seemed to find decent success right away. Still, I had those I was helping with online marketing. I just wasn’t brave enough to jump all in because we had a baby on the way.
Mike: Yep. My first son came and I rarely saw him. Because of the 9-5, I saw my newborn baby about 30 minutes in the morning and when I got home. Gosh It was a struggle. Even the ones closest to me were telling me I had to just live with it.
Cate: That’s tough and all too common for parents who work outside the home.
Mike: Definitely, Cate. And you know what…this lasted several years until my second child came. He ended up in ICU for the first couple weeks of his life. And when he finally came home… I was called back to work. I had virtually no time with my newborn son. No bonding time, no seeing his first steps – none of that! And through all of this… none of my upper-management called to check on me or my son.
It was then that I realized I was just a number to them. As long as I produced the numbers they wanted, I was a shiny happy number. But when I was out (even for a good reason like my son) I was a dull and worthless number.
Mike: Yeah, but you know… who knows, maybe if I didn’t come to that realization, I wouldn’t have changed plans. You know, finally, it hurt bad enough and… I jumped. I quit at the bank to go to work for myself. What I was in for, was a surprise because – it didn’t work out at first. I went through 6 other jobs (most part time and short term) before things started to gel.
It wasn’t until I let-go, in a sense, that ‘life’ started to work with me. Or maybe I should say, I started to yield to life. And I am not talking about just in business. Because even when things were working, I was very unhappy. Stressed.
Cate: I love that phrase-”yield to life” 🙂
Mike: Me too, Cate. A lot of people see “Yielding” as a weakness. In reality, it’s one of the most brave and strong things to do. Some people see it as giving up. I really believe this is where the mistake lies. It’s not giving up. Instead, it is an inward acceptance for what IS. You take responsibility without fighting what is… in that moment.
Cate: How long ago was this?
Mike: hmm, this realization came not too long ago maybe 2 years ago? Years after my business started..
Cate: That decision to “yield to life,” fits right in with a lot of philosophies out there 🙂 had you been reading anything or associating with anyone that helped you to make that shift?
Mike: Definitely. Anyone who’s followed Wayne Dyer, has noticed his work changed as he approached death. He moved away from the traditional positive mindset style of teaching and into a more spiritual realm pointing out the wish to pull some of his previous books off the market due to his change of belief. Aside from his books and others, clues are all around us – they all point to the ONE life many of us miss.
Cate: Yes, I first read Wayne Dyer back in the early 80’s when I was in college. He did change his message slightly over time…
When did the idea for your blog come to you?
Mike: It came right away really. I have a student base who is constantly involved with the marketing methods. I noticed right away, many of them are constantly after the “next best thing”. And they never find satisfaction. There’s nothing wrong with trying to better your financial life. In fact, I find it commendable to want to live comfortably. But I think we all know, deep down, that externals won’t give us joy – although they may make us temporarily happy.
So I started the blog with no other intention other than to drop bits of encouragement to those on the email list. “Pointers” that could lead to something deeper than chasing a dollar.
Cate: Very cool. Typically when a marketer discourages chasing after shiny objects it’s just a marketing tactic…something to say to imply that their product is the last thing you’ll need. 🙂
Do you think there are many other marketers who are spirit or mind-set based?
Mike: They are there. And, by the way, I do promote different offers because it was that one method that led the way to find consistency in my business. But not my personal life. Like I was, many are totally oblivious to the fact that ego is running everything they do. I think many have grown up with the traditional “positive mindset” sort of teaching. The sort of instruction to “keep going”… “Grind it out”… “You need to live and breathe your goals” … but if we’re honest. Most are still struggling after implementing those teachings – even if they find what the world calls success and on the outside all seems well.
Cate: Right. There are differences –and my question wasn’t really worded the best –differences between spirit-based as opposed to mind-set based. I see a fair amount of motivational mind-set people and emphasis in the make-money-online world. And I also see a lot of these people, once they have that financial security, wanting to give back to their students. Which is refreshing!
But your choice to yield to life sounds more like the spiritual shift and like what I talk about on one of my blog pages, Life is Beautiful In the New Thought: A Perspective section. It’s a wonderful thing to feel supported and guided along…
Mike: Yes, I am familiar with it. I enjoyed reading that article.
Cate: Thanks–I enjoyed writing it (chuckle). So. Back to the blog. What are your plans for it?
Mike: No plans at the moment. I’m just going to keep writing what I want to write. If it evolves into something larger … I’m all for it.
Cate: Makes perfect sense for a man who has chosen to let Life lead. I think there are a lot of people who will love what you have to say.
Mike: I’m nowhere near being an expert on the subject, believe me. In fact, I’ve probably had an abnormal amount of ego to break down … which I admittedly, am still working on.
Cate: In my own humble opinion, the world doesn’t need spiritual “experts” so much as it needs individuals to awaken to their spiritual nature. To quote Emilie Cady: “If you want to make rapid progress in growth toward spiritual understanding, stop reading many books…What you want is revelation of Truth in your own soul, and that will never come through the reading of many books. Seek light from the Spirit of Truth within you. Go alone, Think alone. Seek light alone, and if it does not come at once, do not be discouraged and run off to someone else to get light .”
Mike: Very well put. I think books, social media, television… if allowed – they can cloud or distract us from what’s important. We all fall victim to this.
Cate: Definitely–they’re all fine within limits, but can also just be a means of avoidance to looking within.
Back to business now 🙂 Do you have any advice for wanna-be laptop entrepreneurs who are overwhelmed with all the choices?
Mike: There’s nothing wrong with trying multiple approaches. Carefully weigh the facts. Pick one that you believe in. Work at it until you find it works for you. If it doesn’t… try another method. Having too many things in place at the same time only confuses most. More importantly, don’t let making money online be primary in life.
And be honest – you may say it’s not the most important thing, but if your actions paint another picture, you’re making the chase for money primary. When this outer want is made secondary to what truly matters, things begin to fall into place much easier. (contrary to what most most self-help gurus are teaching)
Cate: I think that last point is what is hard for most people because the outer needs feel so pressing and it’s hard to trust that Spirit/Life will take care of things 🙂 I get it.
Mike: Understandably, it seems tough. Mainly, because of such a difference in perspective. It goes against everything we’ve been through.
Cate: Is there one single bit of wisdom that you wish you had known when you first started out online?
Mike: In the beginning I thought it was motivation. Then I thought it was discipline. I still think both are essential. But finding yourself tops all of that. And you can only find yourself in the present moment. It goes back to making your business, your goals, making money… secondary to life.
I know this is very vague but here’s what I think we should look for. If we are constantly thinking about past mistakes or future goals. Past regrets or trying to avoid some disaster in the future. This means we are rarely in the present. The now. It’s almost like we’re shunning life itself. Life is now. And when you find what’s always been there – life starts to work with you. Things start to fall into place. Real joy comes, not the fading happiness that comes and goes.
Cate: You sound like Echart Tolle 🙂 Was he an influence in your reaching your yield to life perspective?
Mike: (Laughing) Very much so. None of these ideas are my own. As Eckert says, this “New Thought” is clearly nothing new at all. It’s the core of most spiritual teachings.
Cate: Nothing new under the sun and all that!
Do you think your kids will follow in your footsteps–working online?
Mike: You know, I don’t really know. Don’t think about that very much to be honest. I want my kids to do what they want to do. Whether it’s working a 9-5 job, owning their own business, or becoming a vagabond… I want them to love what they do. That’s what matters.
Cate: Love it…a vagabond! I have a brother that once said as a child that he wanted to be a convict because he saw them on a work detail and thought working outside would be nice (chuckle). They are lucky to have that freedom to choose their own path!
Mike: Exactly. Of course, I say that lightly… and maybe vagabond wasn’t the right word choice, huh? I want them to be comfortable and protected.
Cate: That’s sweet–you sound like a good dad!
Do you have upcoming projects or current products that you would like to share with my readers?
Mike: I’m tossing around the idea of re-releasing a previous evergreen product called Local Freelance Funding Formula. It’s different from my other courses because the marketer just has to generate a business owner lead that needs capital. For things like expanding, remodeling, or even getting out of a pinch. Once the marketer generates the lead, they just refer the business owner to a “funding partner” and potentially get paid thousands in commissions.
Cate: Sounds interesting! Can you share a bit more or would you rather just let people read the sales page info?
Mike: The concept is quite simple. The marketer or local consultant will learn how to approach businesses without cold-calling, or mass mailing. It can all be done online. There are thousands of businesses out there right now that need business loans. In essence, the marketer becomes a broker. He or she uses the marketing methods taught in the course to get inbound inquiries from potential prospects who need money. I show them how to qualify the prospect, gather a few docs, and pass the information on to someone else who does the rest. Then they get a fat commission.
Cate: This actually sounds similar to something I looked into once–a mortgage broker–but this was more about getting the loans for individuals vs businesses. It’s an interesting concept!
Mike: I agree, Cate. It’s not easy, but the concept is much more simple… with less required compared to residential mortgages.
Cate: So where should interested parties go to learn more? Can you share a discount code of some sort for my readers?
Mike: Of course. Since relaunching this is still up in the air, either way, your audience can grab it now. Just have them go to >>Local Freelance Funding Formula<< and use the coupon code TAKEOFF30 to get a $30 discount.
Cate: Nice–thanks for that discount!
Well, it’s been a pleasure! I am glad that I got on your email list somehow!
Mike: Thanks for reaching out to me, Cate. I’m humbled to be part of the great work you are doing!
Cate: Sweet…same to you!