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How One Day Changed This Entrepreneur’s Life

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Adrian Shepherd

There are moments in our lives that we will never forget. Some good and some bad.

But, rarely anything so substantial that it’s both life-threatening and life-altering.

For today’s guest, Adrian Shepherd, there is one date that will stick with him until the day he dies. Read on to learn the importance of December 26th, 2004 in Adrian’s life.

Q&A with Entrepreneur Adrian Shepherd

Give us a brief background of who you are for those that don’t know.

I was born in England, but left when I was young. I was eight at the time and one day, my parents told me we were moving to the Philippines. At the time, in our local library only had two books that even mentioned the Philippines. How the world has changed. We spent six years there then moved to Thailand. Growing up in Asia really shaped my life which is why I decided to go to Japan on a six-month study abroad program during college. After I graduated, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, but as I enjoyed my time in Japan, I figured why not give it a shot. Who knew that after 20 plus years I’d still be here? It’s been one heck of a ride, going from teacher to entrepreneur to time management expert to best-selling author, but as they say, “everything happens for a reason.”

What’s your role as a productivity expert?  What do you help your clients achieve?

When working with individuals I help them unleash their potential. For companies and corporations, I help enhance the teams’ capability by boosting each employee’s productivity and tweak existing systems to ensure they are making the most out of what they’ve got. I do this by first finding where their cracks are. When I say cracks, I am referring to those things that are holding them back – friends, vices, health, habits, planning, antiquated concepts or systems.

In essence I start by running a productivity diagnosis. Rather than say they should try using this technique or that strategy, I need to know who or what I’m dealing with. So ideally, I shadow them or their team for a day or two and take copious notes. Once I see what they need help with, then I write up a prescription. No two individuals or companies are alike, so I tailor-make my solution for each situation.

How did you go about this career path?

Not your usual route. I actually started out teaching kids for a school in Japan, but while the kids were cute, the work itself was very repetitive. I loved influencing their lives, but most kids left after a year or two and would forget everything I taught them. I wanted to put my talents to good use and really make a difference in people’s. I decided to open my own franchise which taught me a lot. Some good, some bad.

But over time, I felt handcuffed by the system and felt my talents weren’t being used to their potential. That’s when I decided to get serious about learning business. First with books, then audio programs and finally mentors and masterminds. While I’m on the subject, books may be your best bang for your buck, nothing beats audio learning. For under $100, you can learn from the best minds in the world. I once read that if you study for two hours a day on a topic, that within 5 years you’d be one of the top experts in the world. I’ve found that to be pretty close to the truth. I believe if you’re dedicated enough, you can become an expert at anything. That’s how I learned Japanese. That’s how I learned magic. And that’s how I became one of the top productivity experts in the world – I studied.

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Tell us about December 26th, 2004.  Why is that date significant?

Outside of wedding day and the day my son was born, no day holds more significance than Dec.26th, 2004. I suppose you could say that’s where my journey began. My wife and I were sitting in a bungalow at the Similana Hotel where we were spending a romantic getaway when suddenly the electricity went down. I know because the fan above us turned off. It was really quiet. The wrong kind of quiet. No bugs. No birds. Like someone had turned off the volume.

Then, in the distance, I heard someone shout something. It was faint, but it made me sit up. I saw a man running past the swimming pool and then right behind him this huge wave. Then he was gone, engulfed by the wave. I still didn’t think much of it as our bungalow was 6ft off the ground. I told my wife to take a look and we just sat there watching all this water come ashore. Within 30 seconds our balcony had disappeared under the murky waters which made me a bit nervous, but I still wasn’t panicking.

Then the water started coming into our room. Not good.

I thought we might need an exit and remembered there was a window in the bathroom so I tried to check how big it was. I never got that far. The whole bungalow started shaking. Like a strong earthquake. I could barely keep my balance. At this point the water was halfway up my calf. Then I heard the metal bending under the incredible pressure. It was horrifying. Then the supports broke and our bungalow was at the mercy of the water.

Next thing I knew I was underwater. I had 30 seconds to find air or that would be that.

Though I couldn’t see, I could feel around and knew roughly were I was. I had fallen into the bathroom, so I pulled myself through the doorframe and as soon as I did, I tasted fresh air. My wife was on the mattress floating in the middle of our ex-bungalow. Most of it lay somewhere beneath my feet. I took a look around and knew we had to get out as soon as possible. The only available exit was a window half submerged. My wife went first, then me. Just before I pulled myself through the window, the second wave rolled in.  It pushed us both to another larger structure, but we didn’t stop there, we ran through it and up the cliff towards the reception. The rest of the day was spent at an emergency center where we helped out where we could. Hundreds of people came throughout the day with all sorts of cuts and injuries. Considering what my wife and I had been through, it was amazing that we both had escaped with nothing more than a few scratches. The whole thing was surreal. I felt we had been given a second chance at life and though I’m not a religious man myself, I did wonder if I was put on the earth to do something special. In the years since, I believe that to the case.

What has changed in your life since then?

Pretty much everything. I used to teach kids and today I’m a top productivity expert. Talk about a 180. On top of that, I’m a bestselling author and have written for many of the world’s biggest publications including Inc.com, Business Insider, Thrive Global, The Good Men Project, Huff Post and more. I always wanted to help people live better lives and now I am. I’ve applied the concepts with thousands of people many of which have completely changed their lives, but my son has been the greatest recipient. Considering that at 10 years old he earned a black belt in Karate, a green belt in Aikido and attended two Junior Olympics for swimming taking home a bronze medal most recently. I’d say the ideas I’ve learned work pretty dang well.

I always remember Jim Rohn saying “time management is the best kept secret of the rich.” He continued by saying that both rich and poor people have “about 24 hours a day.” That’s when it hit me. It’s not where you’re born, what circumstances you are born into, or how little time you have, it’s what you do with what time you do have that determines your life. I worked seven days a week in my twenties (with Sunday afternoon my only break), but if I found time to change my life, anyone can.

What are aspiring and current entrepreneurs and freelancers missing when it comes to our productivity?  How do you help bridge that gap?

A lot of entrepreneurs are really just solopreneurs so they’re responsible for doing everything and many of them do just that. Big mistake. Today we’ve got access to incredible tools and sites that allow us to outsource work, get things done faster and make life easier. I always think that entrepreneurs and freelancers should focus on trying to free up as much time as they can. That way they can turn their work into a business that you can manage rather than be in. I love being in the trenches, but you need to find ways to get out in order to grow. If you really believe in what it is you are doing you owe it to people to get your message, service or product out there to the world and you can’t do that if you’re chained to your desk. When it comes to delegation, forget perfection, aim for 80%.  If people can do 80% of what you do then have them do it. It’s an important learning curve to have people work for you.

When I work with clients, I demand people carve out two hours a week pretty much from the get-go. It’s pretty easy once I know where the cracks are. Once people have time to “play with,” it’s remarkable just how much more they can get done and by showing them what’s possible, excitement grows. Most people end up seeking new challenges, others focus where they are. To each their own. I just want to show people they can do so much more than they are right now.

The One-Bite Time Management System.  What is it and can you share more about it?

While there are many effective time management programs on the market, what I found is that many of them required a big investment of time or a radical shift in their lifestyle. Those are the last things I think people who want to take control of their time need. I wanted to give people quick ideas that they could take and implement today and get results almost immediately. I believe that momentum is the key to success as it activates the compound effect. When people have trouble getting traction especially in the early going, they lose heart and give up. You want people to get quick wins to help them feel good and show them how easy it is to improve their productivity. The One-Bite Time Management System (TMS) is all about that – quick easy strategies and tips that people can see almost immediate results.

What is one resource (app, website, software, etc.) you use in your business that you haven’t shared with your readers and clients yet that we really should know about?

That’s a tough question. I share pretty much everything either in articles or in my trainings as I’m always eager to see just how effective new ideas are and want feedback quick. Just because I find something effective doesn’t mean the next person will. However, one of my favorite websites when I was starting out was – http://www.hardtofindseminars.com/ Not all the interviews are free, but there are enough good free ones to keep people busy for a while.

Favorite book and favorite quote. Go!

Favorite book, easy – Atlas Shrugged. Best book bar none. However, if you’re looking for ideas to take your business to the next level that’s a bit tougher. For people who don’t like to read (I used to be one) and just starting out I’d say Rich Dad Poor Dad.  Those who are already established entrepreneurs I’d go with The Adweek Copywriting Handbook.  It really depends where you are in your journey. I have over 800 books in my office and another 1000 plus books on my Kindle, so you’re looking for something specific (investing, personal development, marketing), reach out to me and I’m happy to suggest a few books.

Favorite quote, that’s not as easy. There are so many good ones. I suppose the ones I most commonly quote are “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better” by Jim Rohn and “People overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in ten years” by Bill Gates.

If you were just starting your business today, what would be the first 2 or 3 things you would do to market yourself and your product/service?  What would you do differently today vs. what you did to begin yours previously?

If I were starting my business today to market myself and my service, I’d write for big publications such as Thrive Global, The Good Men Project or Addicted2Success. It’s a great way to get found through search engines and not as hard as to get into as you might imagine. You want to be found in as many places as you can rather than concentrated in one area. I learned that from marketing legend Dan Kennedy and he’s right. You want people to be talking about you. Second, I’d do LIVE videos whether it’s FB live, Instagram or LinkedIn. Being able to communicate with people directly is powerful.

Starting out, I followed the advice of a mentor and wrote on my blog. I wrote over 500 articles – crickets. As Gary Halbert said “a starving crowd” is the single powerful tool there is. So, in the beginning, find an established audience and interact with them through video and articles, rather than trying to build your own.

What’s really killing it for you as a marketing channel today?

I think LinkedIn is the place to be. It’s where all the influential people are. Of course, there’s FB groups, FB Live, Instagram Stories (probably second place), and of course writing for major publications, but LinkedIn is powerful. Done right, any one of these can do wonders for your marketing. Remember, it’s all about giving. Don’t hold back. My mentors Kyle Wilson, Jim Stovall and Sohail Khan always go above and beyond for their clients and friends. I like to think I do the same.

Is there anything else you would like to share with Hero Story readers?

I started out teaching English to little kids in Japan. I didn’t have mentors to guide me through this. All I knew was I needed to make some changes. Now thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever to find people to help guide you along. Reach out to people. I think you’ll be surprised just how many people respond. Just remember, offer value. How can you help them? As my mentor Jim Rohn used to say, “Poor people should take rich people out to lunch and pay for them.” Many of the successful people I’ve had the privilege of meeting and talking to are some of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. They truly want to help people…but no one likes being taken advantage of.

How can Hero Story readers get in touch with you?  How can we purchase your products, services, and affiliate offers?

I’m on Linkedin, Facebook and Instagram pretty much daily. But if for some reason I miss your message there you can always drop me a message at info@isucceedbook.com. As for my products and services, just check out my websites – https://adrianshepherd.com or https://isucceedbook.com You’ll find my One-Bite Time Management Courses, consulting services, audio book as well as few free reports that are well worth checking out. Finally, as a gift for those reading this article, if you send me an email with the subject line “Joint Venture,” I’ll send you a free copy of “Profitable Joint Ventures” I co-authored with Sohail Khan.

Want To Make A Heroic Impact Like Adrian?

Learn from the top entrepreneurs making an impact worldwide with Hero Story. We discuss positive, uplifting business stories every Friday and send them straight to your inbox. Click here to subscribe today.