Adversity can be your best friend…

A few years ago I learned something about myself, and I want to share it with you. I was 23 when I had an epiphany, and the way I looked at the problems I was facing took a 180 degree turn.

The Start of the Beginning

“If you do well you will have the option to move up to General Manager of the company.”

Me as a warehouse worker in my early 20s

Me as a warehouse worker in my early 20s

Those words slowly sank in…

I was in that meeting to plan my departure from the company where I started as a simple warehouse worker and climbed my way to Plant Manager. I was ready to move onto something more challenging… Videography for Student of the Gun.

At 23 years old I had a huge decision to make:

  • Do I stay in my comfort zone and work towards a (basically) guaranteed position as General Manager?
  • Do I follow through with my initial decision to part ways with the company, who had treated me very well over the past few years, jump into something completely unknown with ZERO guarantees, and start a brand new career field of video production?

Long story short, I decided to part ways (on good terms). It was time for me to move on to the next chapter in my life –– opening a production company called Think On! Productions (named after my family history). I had absolutely no idea where I would end up; but I knew I would be able to help more people on this new path; and I loved the idea of conquering a new challenge.

The Ugly Side of Business (That Nobody Talks About)

It was nearly 1 year after I started my business and times were tough, I remember this day like it was yesterday…

I had drained my life savings, my credit cards were maxed, and the business wasn’t producing income like I expected it would.

The Problem: It didn’t matter what problems I had, the bills were still due soon.

Your Bills Don't Care About Your Feelings

Your Bills Don’t Care About Your Feelings

I was, quite literally, on the verge of a breakdown so I called the people that help keep me sane… My parents. First, I called my dad because he is my business partner, and we are in this venture together. I’m sure he, too, was feeling similarly, but he gave me solid advice and echoed words he had said before. They really sank in this time…

“…Sometimes life isn’t fair, Jarrad. You just have to figure it out…”

Of course that isn’t what I wanted to hear, but it is definitely what I needed to hear. Dad is known for saying what needs to be said, not what makes you feel good. After I hung up with him, I called mom and she offered similar advice, but in a motherly fashion.

“Look how much you’ve already accomplished, son. Everything happens for a reason, and it’ll all workout the way it’s supposed to.”

That didn’t make me feel much better at the time because I was too busy wallowing in self-pity and trying to find others to blame for the problems I was facing. I finally decided to take responsibility for my problems and work to find a solution, which took some effort.

The Solution

After plenty of research on logistics and how-to’s, I decided that a membership (or continuity) program was an immediate solution to the problems I was facing. I was just starting out on this journey, and I didn’t have any valuable information to offer as a “business consultant” but I was in luck…

Dad and I were already a year into Student of the Gun Radio, and I knew we had listeners that we could provide with more value. At the time, we released two hours of radio each week so I proposed the idea of a premium membership called “The Grad Program”, following along with the name Student of the Gun. We would include an extra hour of radio every week (a “Bonus Hour”) and a monthly newsletter (“The Tactical Tutor”).

As I had hoped, Dad thought it was a great idea. We had absolutely no idea how this would affect our businesses, both Student of the Gun and Think On! Productions, but it changed everything. We immediately had 141 members sign up, each paying $8.95 per month, an instant $1,261.95 increase in revenue each month, which doesn’t sound like much now but it was a life-saver back then.

Since the launch we have upgraded The Grad Program. We now deliver even more value than when we first started, and we are able to charge $14.99/mo. This seems to be the “sweet spot” for pricing with the current amenities we deliver. A private, members-only group is one of the most valuable amenities we provide. We communicate with members, and they support each other when adversity strikes.

The Liberty Mastermind is our members only group.

The Liberty Mastermind is our members-only group.

Adversity Breeds Productivity

After the launch of The Grad Program, I needed to dig deep and analyze myself. I had a couple questions for myself that I could not answer:

  1. Why did I get more of a high from coming up with the solution than I did the actual launch of the solution?
  2. Why didn’t I think of that solution before?

Turns out, the answer to both questions was simple: Adversity.

Jarrad Markel's Epiphany Face

This is my epiphany face!

  1. The launch gave me a huge high because of the adversity I was overcoming to make it happen. All those problems I was facing were literally leading to the launch of The Grad Program.
  2. I didn’t think of the solution before because there was no adversity to overcome; why fix a problem when you don’t even know it exists yet?

My Epiphany

After I was able to answer those questions I had an epiphany…

I love the process of overcoming adversity more than the result that comes from the process. Weird, right? Absolutely NOT.

Hear me out…

If I was addicted to the end result that is produced by the process itself, we would have never actually launched The Grad Program. I would have been stuck fantasizing about the end result instead of tackling each task required before the end result could be achieved.

The Punch Line

I say all this so I can say one simple sentence…

You have to be addicted to the process of making shit happen if you want to achieve the result of making shit happen.


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Jarrad Markel
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Jarrad Markel

Founder & President at Think On! Productions
Not just another pretty face, Jarrad Markel has experience and training beyond his years. He has been training to be a fighter since elementary school when he first learned the art of collegiate wrestling.

Now skilled in Jujitsu, Judo, Muay Thai, Sambo, the Way of the Fighting Pistol and Fighting Rifle, Jarrad is a well-rounded, tactical athlete with several professional MMA & boxing fights under his belt.

More than a brute, Jarrad has brains as well. He is the C.O.O. at Student of the Gun and owner of Think On! Productions, with years of experience producing, directing, and distributing all manner of digital media.

As a certified email marketing specialist, Markel has turned customers into raving fans by building a community of like-minded individuals. His appreciation for community led him to become an Infusionsoft Certified Partner, leveraging marketing automation to scale the human touch in his businesses.
Jarrad Markel
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