What’s Next… (& How You Should Make That Decision)

What’s Next… (& How You Should Make That Decision)

Isn’t it annoying that as soon as you finish something, people always want to know “Whats next?

You could’ve just finished climbing a mountain, running your first marathon, or selling your company… and the only thing they want to know is… what’s next?!!

After Clarity got acquired (Dec ’14, but only announced in Feb ’15) I was bombarded with this question everyday.

For me, it was a conscious decision to take some time off.

A whole year.

After hustling back to back for 15 years building 5 companies (2 failures, 3 wins) and having recently become a father of 2 amazing little boys I thought what better time.

So that’s what I did.

I started Jan 1st, so I’m 6 months in and I’ve come to realize some interesting things about myself.

1) If I’m not creating something, I’m not happy.
2) I can’t read unless I’m going to share what I’ve learned.
3) I don’t enjoy spending everyday on the beach.

Now, I’m not complaining… and I feel extremely blessed to be in a position to not have to work.

I’ve really enjoyed living in San Diego, spending time with old friends and getting to play a super active role in my kids lives…

.. but at the same time – i’m not happy.

I’m not happy because I feel like my life doesn’t have the same level of meaning it used to.

What I’ve learned over the years is that happiness is a bi-product of meaning.

Having a purpose, a mission, a lofty goal to strive for is what amplifies life’s beauty.

That’s probably why I love building companies with ambitious goals.

Setting a lofty vision and waking up everyday to take one step forward is energizing.

Even though I had lost that over the past 6 months, that changes today.

So whats next for me?..

… well, before I let the cat out of the bag (more on that below) let me share some thoughts on how you might find your next big thing.

Do The Thing You Do When You Procrastinate

If I asked you “What do you do when you’re putting something off… killing time, or procrastinating?”

What would you answer?

Do you play video games? Do you jump on Facebook? Do you clean the house? (that’s what my wife does… still blows my mind – but I love her for it :).

That answer will bring you closer to where you could have a HUGE impact on the world.

Imagine if everyday you got to work at the thing you goofed off doing?

Some call it passion… but I like framing in this way better.

As a kid my dad always told me “Do what you’re passionate about!”

Which I replied “but what if I want to flip rocks?”

And he’d answer “then be the best rock flipper in the world.”

There’s so much truth in that answer.

However, the challenge was that the the word “passion”.

At the time, it didn’t stick with me because I didn’t understand it…

…but I did understand “having fun!”

I think what stops most people is they don’t believe they could make a living doing what they love.

They can’t understand how playing video games could turn into a high paying career.

Trust me, it can – it just might not look the way you think.

Explore The Opportunity

Instead of discounting your dreams of becoming the worlds best rock flipper, give yourself permission to explore the opportunity.

Here’s 3 ways to accomplish this.

1 – Google every type of job that requires that skill. Ex: Playing video games = Q&A Tester. Cleaning (Cleaning houses). Rock flipping = Excavator Operator. etc…

2 – Find people doing that job and ask them to meet for 20 minutes… tell em’ you’re working on a project and you want to interview them. Meet up and ask a lot of questions.

3 – Read the books. Go on Amazon and see if anyone’s written books on that career or building a business in that industry. You’d be surprised how many books have been written on every obscure thing.

Doing those 3 steps will open your mind to what’s possible.

Once you’ve expanded your thinking you can’t go back.

You’ll have so many new reference points to take inspiration from.

Maybe listening to someone else’s journey will inspire you to take action.

It could even be a simple as witnessing someone doing that thing you love.

Whatever it is, the key is to become a student of that role & industry.

Geek out.

Learn everything you can about it.

It’ll be a wise investment, trust me.

The next thing you’ll want to do is scare yourself.

Outside Your Comfort Zone, But Inside Your Magic Zone

On Sept 9, 2014 I had the privilege of helping organize an event where we had John C. Maxwell come and speak.

That day his presence was felt across the city.

He delivered an amazing talk but the one thing that continues to resonate in my head is his suggestion to “Get outside your comfort zone, but stay within your magic zone.”

It hit me like a tonne of bricks.

It’s not enough to force yourself to be uncomfortable…

… but you need to do it towards an area that you feel you can be magical at.

For example, operating on someone would definitely push me outside my comfort zone, but I have no magic in that area. No interest. No innate skills. No desire.

But ask me to create a technology that connects the worlds entrepreneurs in a network to get advice to move their dreams & goals forward – that’s a fit!

That to me is when you know you’re on the right track.

Yes it’s scary, but if you could do it – you know you’d be amazing at it.

That’s your magic zone.

So, What’s Next?

Where do I start?

Well, first off… I’m not building another technology company – not for the foreseeable future.

What I’ve come to realize is my default procrastination is helping entrepreneurs.

It’s been a common thread throughout my entire entrepreneurial life.

Anytime I was working on something I hated (like paperwork) I would either organize a Founders Dinner, help a friend who was having business issues, or answer some questions on Quora / Email / Facebook / My Blog / Clarity Answers / etc.

Helping others helps me cement my thinking and makes me a better entrepreneur.

The other thing I’ve realize as a bi-product of deciding to not go to any events this whole year is I MISS MY FRIENDS.

What can I say… I’m an extrovert.

I love people. I love sharing ideas. Hearing their stories and getting excited for them.

Deciding to travel less and not attend any events has resulted in me feeling like I’ve grown apart from the people I love.

That also changes today.

The other thing I’ve learned by creating videos for my blog has been the power of the new media world we live in.

It’s mind blowing!

In 4 months I’ve had 60,000 views to my videos, 30,000+ fans on Facebook, added 10,000 emails to my personal newsletter and had 100K+ people visit my blog.

Prior to that, no videos, no fan page, no emails and about 27 people a day visiting my blog.

The world is/has changed and I feel like I’m way behind.

Just look at the growth of podcasting lately. It’s blowing up!

When you’ve got Tony Robbins being interviewed on all my friends podcasts, you know there’s something in the air.

Did you know 40 Super Bowls worth of viewers happen every day on YouTube?!

AND… for an avg of  $0.06 cents per view, you can have your video played ONLY to your ideal customer in your city, or country?

Anyone can do it in seconds…

there’s no more gatekeepers.

My journey over the past 6 months has really been about discovering my voice, what drives me, and developing a new skill set for a changing world.

And all that lead me to here.

So that’s whats next for me?

I want to serve millions of people by teaching them what I’ve learned starting, growing and building technology companies.

I want to teach others what I’ve learned about managing my time while I grow a venture backed company, have 2 kids and contributing to my community.

Not because I think I’m an expert, but because I KNOW I’m a student.

I’m a student of life & business.

Up until this point I didn’t do a good job codifying any of my ideas or strategies.

Sure I’d give some talk about entrepreneurship or marketing but I never took the time to really reflect and build a framework that others could use and teach to get similar results.

The crazy part is I took a stab at my first one (Framework) – Building a Growth Engine – and it’s gotten 1500+ social shares, and over 11,000 unique visitors in just the past 7 days!?

That was another “sign” slapping me in the face saying “GO ALL IN!”

So that’s what I’m doing today.

Yes this means a speaking, online courses and eventually a book.

But it also means sharing everything I’ve learned about business & life with the world.

My true north star in all of this are my two boys.

My kids will be entrepreneurs. There is no other option in my mind.

Some parents want their kids to be doctors or lawyers… mine will create value and get paid for it.

Everything I will write, shoot or produce will be through the lens of helping Max & Noah get access to the best possible training I can offer.

That gets me f-ing excited.

That pumps me up to kickoff this journey.

So after 15 years of holding back – doing this as a procrastination – it’s time to go ALL IN.

It’s time for me to JFDI.

P.S. If you have any experience in the “Expert” industry and are willing to help – shoot me an email, or leave a comment below. I’m a student and would love to learn from you.

  • http://www.SiliconPrairieNews.com/ Jeff Slobotski

    Great reminders Dan + excited for what’s in store…

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell


      Thanks man!

      As you know, finding out what to do next is tough… you never have a clear picture, just a spark that you need to follow.

      That’s what I want to do… I don’t know what all this entails or how I’m going to get there but at least now I’m fully committed to it and able to share more publicly.

      Feels liberating.


  • stevenbrsitol

    Congrats! I’m in, how can I help?

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Thanks Steven!

      My mission in life is to help 1M entrepreneurs personally (in person / live) over my career.

      How do I do that? Not sure … but I’ll figure it out.

      So I guess anything you can do to introduce people to my content would be a huge help.

      I promise to only share / create / produce the BEST stuff I know how.

      Appreciate our friendship!


  • marcyswenson

    Dan, you are going to be *awesome* at this; great choice, and entrepreneurs all over the world will benefit!

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Thanks for the kind words.

      I’ve got A LOT to learn but some great people to guide me (like you 🙂

      Thanks for all you do!


      Miss you.


  • ThomasRankin

    High fives!

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Thanks Thomas!

  • BC

    Great post as always Dan. Its kind of serendipitous for me. I’ve been struggling to jump in to my next venture, and two days ago forced myself to sit down and start exploring the opportunity. I’m taking a very similar approach to what you wrote here, with some minor tweaks. Your posts always seem to hit me right when I need a kick in the ass…Please keep on publishing great content like this, and I’ll be sure to share it with as many people as possible. All the best with whats next.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Consider me your official ass kicker 🙂

      Glad it resonated.


  • Jason Billingsley

    The second you posted your first set of inspirational quotes I figured this was your new mission. Great fit. You’re going to help a mess of people. You’ve likely got Cam Harold’s ear on this already. I’d recommend doubling down with him on the book and speaking portion. Excited for you, Renée and the boys.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      I remember when I started creating those quote cards and felt dumb that I never shared those in the past… as they’re a big part of my life.

      I read every day. I journal. I have quotes all over my house… but I never shared.

      That’s what’s changed for me.

      Giving myself permission to show the world who I truly am and what shapes me.

      Definitely going to ping Cameron!

      Appreciate the support.


  • Jay Gould

    Dan, I must get that question 5 times a day since we sold Yashi in January of this year. Good post.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Isn’t it annoying?

      What they should ask instead is “What did you learn?”

      That’s a better question and one worth digging into.

      Obviously congrats on the sale and we should definitely sync up when you’ve got time.

      All the best.


      • Jay Gould

        Let me know when you’d like to sync up

  • http://blitzmetrics.com Dennis Yu

    Our mission is to help young adults be entrepreneurs, since in the future nobody will have a “job”. We’ll all be independent contractors who have to prove immediate value– not just turn in a resume in exchange for instant employment. Love to catch up in San Diego soon. We are doing at training at UCSD on July 1st, if you’d like to speak.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell


      Appreciate the offer but I’m back in Canada for the summer.

      Definitely keep me in mind for future events.

      Totally agree with you… we’ve seen how “jobs” are being decoupled from employers with the peer-to-peer economy and it’s only going to continue.

      Wether we like it or not, everyone will be an “entrepreneur” / freelancer in the future.


    • http://www.spindows.com/ Clay Hebert


      I agree completely. I’m good friends with Dan and just moved from NYC to San Diego (we’re in Poway). Happy to learn more about the training at UCSD on July 1st. I just DM’d you my email address.

      Excited to catch up.

  • http://razorcreative.blogspot.com richgould

    Dan, this is a really really cool post! No BS…Your energy is so contagious!

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Thanks man… you more than most would understand my drive and passion – just glad to finally have it out so I can push at 110%.

      Appreciate all the help lately.

      We’re going to create some beautiful work.


  • http://fitnessreloaded.com/ Maria B.

    Hi Dan! Congrats again for your success. I’d like to highlight Dan Pena (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDLSaWsECz93uRk8m7ZtN5A), the “50 billion dollar man,” as someone who’s doing things differently in the expert/coaching industry. He took his company public in the 90s and later he started organizing his seminar in his castle in Scotland.

    Best of luck!

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell


      Totally… I’m a big fan of Dan Pena for being 100,000% authentic.

      It’s raw and honest… definitely a cool dude 🙂

      Appreciate the support.

      More to come…


  • Andrés Max Peña

    Thanks for sharing Dan, this is beyond inspiring.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Thanks man!

      Miss you bro.

  • Jared Whitman

    This is so moving Dan! I’ve been blessed with opportunities to ask myself a similar set of questions recently. I now work with Dennis Yu after a decade of sales and sales management jobs and I didn’t know I could be this happy and fulfilled! I wish you all the best on this journey!


    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Jared, great to hear … it’s truly a blessing when everyday can feel so empowering.


  • jsonmez

    Awesome Dan! Glad to hear about your new direction. Helping people is where it’s at. Nothing more rewarding.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Jon, Thanks.

      You definitely inspired me… so many people I’ve gotten to meet that showed me whats possible.

      More than appreciated.


  • Sean Michael Keegan

    I’ve always hated having nothing to do as well. Every summer after school ended I would always just clean the house because I wasn’t used to not being at school all day so I needed to keep myself busy. I was always looking for new things to keep me busy, my favorite random thing I did was I just decided to learn German and now I speak it fairly well. This is truly inspiring and very relatable, Thanks for sharing Dan!

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Sean, absolutely my pleasure .. appreciate the comment.


  • MarkBlack78

    Great stuff Dan. As for the expert space, if I can share anything with you that I’ve learned, I’m happy to. I suspect there may not be much I can share that you don’t already know, but if I can help, let me know

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Mark, I doubt that… I’m able to learn from anyone especially someone who’s doing it for a profession!

      Appreciate it.. will circle up.

  • Silverborn

    Hey Dan, We met briefly after the talk you gave to the San Diego Tech Founders group (awesome talk by the way!). If you haven’t met Scott Britton of Life-LongLearner yet he’d be a good connection on being an Expert. Formerly biz-dev at SinglePlatform he’s been teaching Biz Dev and Sales to Entrepreneurs through Udemy, Skillshare, and Fedora. He does some Life Hack stuff too. Can intro if you want. Looking forward to your “whatsnext”!

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell


      What’s funny is we’ve emailed (was a Clarity expert) but we’ve never met in person… I’m gonna ping him now to change that.

      Appreciate the reminder!


  • https://doubleyourfreelancing.com Brennan Dunn

    Nice Dan! Let me know if I can help in any way. Would love to rekindle our last conversation.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell


      Thanks… been watching your transition for the past few years and really inspired.

      Excited to sync up.


  • http://startupcfo.ca/ Mark MacLeod

    Dan, you’re sending so much positive energy and knowledge out into World. Glad to see you making this your full time purpose. Think you were meant to do it.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Mark, can’t tell you how energized I feel now know that I can do this full time and for the rest of my life.

      There’s never been a lack of ideas / content … but I always pushed it through the filter of my startup, now it can go full on as part of my personal values & beliefs.

      Some might like it, others wont – and I’m TOTALLY cool with it (and expect it.)

      Truly appreciate our friendship and hope to see you soon.

      Actually, in TO June 24-25th, will email you now.


  • http://www.rosssimmonds.com/ Ross Simmonds

    Great stuff Dan – Excited to see the new journey.

    A few experts who have been killing it lately are Lewis Howes and Eric Thomas. I’m sure you know them. One specific channel they’ve been owning lately is Instagram. With just a little over 200 posts and in only 4 to 5 months, my company account @HustleGrindCo has broke 13k followers and is getting 50-60 email sign ups from Insta a week. The brand is still pretty new but we’ve learned the ins and outs of Instagram quite a bit and I think it’s a huge opportunity for folks in the expert space.

    I don’t know if Instagram is a channel you’re aiming to leverage for this, but if it is, I could definitely see you growing your account quickly and driving video/newsletter subscribers as a result. Whether it’s a hack like commenting on your quote posts with a series of hashtags or exchanging shout outs for shout outs with other relevant accounts – there’s a lot of great hacks that can help you grow your account. I wrote about a few of these hacks for SM Examiner (www.socialmediaexaminer.com/build-an-engaged-instagram-following/). One of the best expert tactics I’ve seen is that Lewis has @success driving back to all his content & podcast.

    I’ve learned lots from reading your content over the years so I hope this helps. And if you ever have any questions, drop me a line.

    Keep inspiring and keep hustling.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell


      Let me start off by saying I totally agree with you IG is a great newish channel that’s driving results.

      I actually interviewed the guy who taught / supported Lewis for my newsletter members ( Private video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPgCWhAHFOo )

      That being said, here’s my thinking on marketing.

      Since I’m always looking for repeatable / scaleable I need access to a deep audience and away to scale.

      That’s why I always focus on networks that have an ad platform. The ad platform provides the tools to scale a marketing channel where others that don’t have that limit growth.

      Again, I love IG, but until they launch their ad platform – which is soon – it’s not for me.

      Another reason is I learned a long time ago that chasing the next new thing only diluted my ability to go deep and build long lasting scaleable value.

      So that’s why I’d rather kill it on Facebook, YouTube & Twitter (those are my 3) for now and scale up (profitably) to millions of followers, subscribers, etc for now.

      Obviously I love IG and use it everyday, but when it comes to marketing… I need the ad platform to justify the time & energy.

      Just some food for thought especially since I have a lot of startups reading my site and I see them do this all the time.

      If you discover a repeatable & scaleable way to do it on IG be sure to share.

      What typically happens on all the platforms – another example would be pinterest – is just best practices… but they typically fall short of scale.



      • http://www.rosssimmonds.com/ Ross Simmonds

        Makes sense!

        The only scalable aspect of Instagram I’ve seen and used successfully so far is an app called Instagress. A lot of the most popular accounts use it but you’ve got to be careful with execution.

        The app allows you auto-like and auto-comment on posts with specific hashtags. The idea is that this will get you on the radar of some people sharing content with relevant hashtags. (Ex: #startups) I’ve found it to be great for likes but comments can get weird.

        Either way, definitely get where you’re coming from re: scale and appreciate the thoughts. I’m looking forward to seeing the Insta ad network as well.

        PS: The @ThinkGrowProsper video is awesome. Thanks for sharing!

      • http://www.mundoexperts.com/en Jackie Damelian

        Re Instagram, Nathan Chan from Foundr Magazine is killing it on Instagram and has a great strategy to grow your insta account really fast, not only that – it’s an important source of signups to his magazine. I’ve followed his strategy to the tee and it works. He’s grown his account to 200k+ in less than 8 months – worth checking it out.

        Great interview by the way..

  • http://Inspower.co/ Gonzalo Arzuaga

    Powerful stuff, Dan. Way to go dude.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      More than appreciated … took me a while to come to terms with it, but after publishing it’s like it unleashed my inner speed demon.

      Excited to really give this next phase of my life my ALL.


  • http://theleanstartupmachine.com Trevor Owens

    Great post, Dan. This is smart thinking on your part!

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell


      Thanks man, especially coming from another founder.

      It was a tough decision… a big part of that was my family and the lifestyle.

      I’m honest about the time & focus it takes to win building a venture backed company and I didn’t feel that was the right thing for me to do next.

      Thoughts about becoming a full time investor (got approached by a few funds) but I’m too much of a creator and positive dude to have to say no 98% of the time :).

      Honestly, I thought of doing this back after Flowtown and I jumped right into Clarity believe it was a nice hybrid… but it’s not the same.

      Product requires a different thought pattern than training curriculum or writing.

      All that to say is I’m excited for the future… everyday is a perfect day of creating and being with my family.

      I’m in NYC June 23/24th – will drop you a line.


  • Caleb Ulffers

    This is awesome! Really appreciated you sharing what you’ve learned this far and seeing where you’re headed is exciting. Obviously always promoting Big Omaha to be on your list, and would love to chat about some future things sometime. Until then, loving this content as it’s relevant, insightful, and actionable.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Caleb, thanks man… lets sync up soon.


  • Luke Miner

    Dan, thanks for sharing… Its inspiring to hear, and feels like some clarity for what I’m experiencing as well. Keep writing!

  • AndyStoll

    Congrats Dan! Love the guru energy you’ve always put off and would say your new focus is spot on and aligned with one of your super powers (as they say). I’ve always admired that about you, good to see you putting it front and center. I launched myself onto the US college speaking circuit two years ago (just about the time I saw you last in Sioux Falls), if you wanna to crib my note on that audience, always willing the share what I’ve learned. On a somewhat related note, we just had Seth Godin in for a conference we put on (along with Trevor Owens, who I saw gave a shoutout above), and I’ll tell you, after watching Seth speak live, he is truly a master of the craft. I’d use him as a role model and seek him out for some advice for sure–he’s incredible on stage, one-on-one and in writing (as you likely know). Good luck and let me know if I can be of any help! #Onward

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell


      Really appreciate the kind words… definitely feel aligned with this goals (both purpose & meaning).

      Seth is an incredible human being. When I started Clarity he sat down with me for ice cream and reviewed our business model, drew out the challenges and shared his lessons learnt at Squidoo – I’ll forever be grateful.

      Definitely gonna model his approach and bring my own flavour to it 😉

      Hope to see you soon!


  • http://SmartMarketers.com Brandon Middleton

    Great post Dan! I share the same passion/procrastination! I’ve been in the “Expert” industry with SmartMarketers.com for 8 years and anything I can do to help you the way you have helped me over the years, you just let me know dude.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Thanks man… definitely need some help when it comes to funnels / emails / tools.

      More than appreciated.


  • http://www.chillik.com/ Zain Abiddin

    Really excited for you Dan! Keep inspiring!

  • Bestcanta Promosyon

    great dan.

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