Category Archives: Business

Announcing My Newest Business Endeavor and Passion Project: BreakParallel.com

About a year ago I had the idea to start an aggregate website in the functional fitness industry similar to what I ran in the BMX world for so many years. As a fan of CrossFit and functional fitness I never found a place online where I could see all the best videos, keep up the industry news, and see cool photos on a regular basis, and I knew that some day someone would fill that void. I also knew I had the potential to fill it, but honestly at that time I didn’t want to start a company that would force me into a full-time job. However, after mulling over it for months and telling a few friends in the industry about my idea I finally was in the right mental space to bite the bullet and commit to the project.

Break-Parallel
In February of this year I met a friend based in Austin, Texas, named Jarret Schienman who I partnered with to start the site. Jarret and I have done a lot of work on the back end of the site to get us to this point, and we were happy to officially go live one day before the 2015 CrossFit Games started.

As the Editor I’ve been working every day since then to keep the site updated, and recently we brought on another good friend of mine from the East Coast named Jordan Samuel as a third partner and associate editor.

BreakParallel.com is now up and running and the three of us are really excited to see where the company takes us. We have big goals and plans, so be on the lookout!

If you’re into fitness or just want to help us out, please click on the site and take a look around. If you like what you see it would really mean a lot to me if you shared it with a friend or on your social networks!

While you’re at it, please follow Break Parallel on:
Instagram (@BreakParallel)
Twitter (@BreakParallel)
Facebook (/BreakParallel)

I would also like to give a big thank you to Scott Greci from Guru Design for the logo design and Mike Smick for the WordPress build! If you ever need any graphic design services or web development, hit them up!

Introducing My New Podcast – The Expansion Project

I couldn’t be happier to share this with you guys! After many months of thinking, learning, planning, and executing, I have launched a podcast that is available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Thumbnail
The Expansion Project is just that—a project based on the idea of expanding. Expanding what exactly? My mind, and myself as a person. It’s also a way for me to do something fun and creative while delivering free content to the world that will hopefully help to motivate and inspire other people.

I plan to release an new episode every week, so please subscribe and help spread the word by telling a friend or sharing a link on your social networks.

Eight episodes are already available. The first is a simple introduction, and the others are interviews and conversations with professional BMX riders, a coach, business owners and entrepreneurs, an artist, and an author. Download one or all of them and please let me know what you think! Any feedback or criticism is welcomed and appreciated!

You can learn more about The Expansion Project from the podcast’s dedicated Web site (theexpansionprojectpodcast.com), and of course please subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher, give five starts, and leave reviews!

Subscribe-on-Itunes Subscribe-on-Stitcher

My Personal Goals for 2015

Download my 2015 goals here. (MS Word or PDF)

Most people know I’m an open book, and I’ve posted a ton of personal things on my social networks and here on the blog over the years, but this post is about to divulge the most intimate information I’ve ever shared. However, if I can help inspire or motivate other people to improve their lives in some way, then I’m all for it, so for the first time ever I’m posting my annual goals document.

Fat-Tony-CrossFit

 

I’ve been typing out my goals in a document like this for about seven years now. In that time I’ve watched my net worth grow 1,800% (that’s not a typo). I’ve also gone from working more than 320 days a year at a full time job to to working only 120 days a year for myself while doubling my income. Among the many other noteworthy things, I’ve also traveled to more than 20 new countries. Perhaps most importantly though, in those seven years I’ve learned a ton about myself and have grown tremendously, becoming a better version of myself every year.

About three years ago I added another section underneath my goals that outlines what an ideal life looks like for me. This helps me stay focused on what is important in life. I believe that if you want a certain type of life you can write it out, set goals, and ultimately build that life for yourself. If I am faced with a difficult decision I can look at this outline and see if my actions will help move me closer to my ideal life. If something doesn’t move me closer to achieving the life I dream of, then I don’t do it.

The document here is slightly modified. I took out specific dollar amounts because even though I’m trying to be as transparent as possible, the subject of money and personal finance is still  pretty taboo and I don’t want my numbers to be the subject of conversation. That’s not the point of sharing this and there is a bigger picture to see here. Also, I’ve taken out the specifics about a business I’m going to start because…well, business is business, haha!

If you gained something from this, please let me know! Leave a comment or send an email. I’d love to hear your feedback on this post and my goals. Also, if you think I’m missing something or leaving anything out, I’d want to hear that too! I don’t think I have all the right answers, so if anyone reading this can help me improve myself, I’m all ears.

Download my 2015 goals here. (MS Word or PDF)

For some practical tips on setting goals, Wikihow has a pretty good article you can check out. (I’m not endorsing Wikihow, but their article saves me from having to write one.)

My Top 10 Favorite Blogs

I spend quite a bit of time in front of the computer, and over the years I’ve stumbled upon a handful of blogs that ended up in my bookmark toolbar that I visit on a daily basis. I know it’s really easy to spend TOO much time online looking at useless content, but these sites are all great for ideas, inspiration, motivation, education, and of course…entertainment. I typically only spend a few minutes on each site, and if a post looks like something I may want to dig deeper into later I put it into a folder on my toolbar I have labeled “TEMP.”

Here are my top 10 favorite blogs in the order that I look at them ever day…

URL Bar with Cursor

Continue reading

How Two Books Changed My Life Forever

The Back-Story
This is the first time I’ve publically told this story. It is extremely personal to me and sharing these experiences will expose a lot of what is underneath my surface that most people have not seen in person or on the Internet.

I’ve always been extremely self-motivated and goal oriented, and I’ve never doubted that I was on a path to great success in life, but something happened about four years ago that sent me on an amazing journey of personal growth and development. After a horrible low time in my life I was introduced to two books that changed me forever and helped play a huge part in shaping me into the man I am today.

So what are the two books? Well, I’m going to get to that, but I can’t tell you until you hear the whole back-story. Without that important information you may be tempted to judge me as many of my peers have done when they heard only a small part of the story.

Continue reading

Your Questions Answered – Topics From My Readers

People email me with random questions about photography, BMX, and other topics on a regular basis so I figured I’d open up a little discussion with my friends and readers here on the blog. A few weeks ago I made a post asking for your questions, and a handful of really good ones came through. From photography, to bike racks, to cars, and back to photography, I answered them all… Thanks for sending them in!

Continue reading

Business Tips – Using A Net Worth Calculator To Achieve Financial Freedom

Several years ago I met a great man named Jim Matush who became my friend and financial mentor, and one of the first things he told me to do was start tracking my personal net worth every three months. Being able to see how your assets and liabilities have fluctuated, where your money is allocated, and where your net worth is tracking is key to increasing your net worth when you are trying to achieve financial success, or even better…finical freedom.

This post will answer several questions about personal net worth, including:
– What is personal net worth?
– What is net worth important?
– Why should I track my net worth?
– How do I increase my net worth?
– How do I track my net worth? (With free Excel net worth calculator.)

Net Worth Tracking Line Graph

Here’s a simple line graph showing what your personal net worth could look like after you start tracking it. Seeing the visual up and up helps keep you motivated to keep it growing even more.

Continue reading

10 Must-Have Items For Your Home Office

I’ve been working a full-time job from my home for just over a year now and running a side business from home for about five years. And before that I was running my college and home life like a business, too, so I think it’s safe to say I know quite a bit about spending lots of time in a home office. Here is a list I came up with of 10 must-have items that will help transform any room in your house into a comfortable and productive home office.

If you have other tips of your own please post them in the comments of this post.

Here's a look at my personal home office in my bedroom. Keeping your space simple, clean, and free of clutter will always help keep you working more effectively.

1. Comfortable Chair
If you are going to spend up to 2,000 hours a year at your desk, you may was well spend a few extra bucks to get a nice chair that you’ll be comfortable in.

2. Second Monitor
Using a second monitor (combined with proper workflow techniques) you’ll be able to get twice the amount of work done in half the time.

3. Good Mouse
This goes hand in hand with a second monitor and proper workflow techniques. A mouse with two buttons (left and right click) and a track wheel will save you a ton of time while working.

4. File Cabinet
Being organized on your computer and hard drive is super important, but having all your paper files organized is crucial as well—especially when April 15th approaches. If you keep your files organized throughout the year, and you’ll have much less hassles when it comes time to do your taxes.

5. Cutting Board, Xacto Knife (With Extra Blades), & Metal Ruler
If you don’t do any kind of hands-on work, this one may not be a “must-have”, but if you do any type of creative work, these items make a big difference and produce much better results than scissors.

6. Good Ink Pen
Aside from the inconvenience of when a cheap pen decides to stop working for no reason, having a good pen that you love to write with will put you in a good mental state when you are writing. I’ve been using Uniball’s Fine Vision pens for years and wouldn’t want to change pens even if you paid me to.

7. Stapler, Tape, & Scissors
These items are basics of any office environment, and they are basics for a reason and should never be left out.

8. Hard Drives
Backing up your work is the only way to go. In a digital age you have to be prepared to pull up work from years ago in a matter of seconds. You can’t afford to lose your digital assets if one drive breaks so it’s important to have your files on at least two different hard drives. I have one drive stored away for every year in addition to the large drive I use throughout the year that has multiple years’ worth of work on it.

9. Fast Internet Connection
Getting your job done quicker helps everyone involved. The only thing a slow Internet connection is good for is adding frustration and stress to your life.

10. Assorted Sized Permanent Markers
From big ole fat ones that can write on cardboard boxes to little skinny ones that can write on DVDs, you should be able to write on anything and everything whenever you need to.

Basic Mac Workflow Tips – 18 Easy Ways To Improve Your Speed & Productivity

I’ve been using Apple computers with the Mac operating systems for nearly a decade now, and as a graphic design student turned professional Web site editor and photographer I’ve become extremely proficient at getting a lot done on the computer in a short amount of time. A lot of that can be attributed to practicing good workflow tips that allow me to move around within my machine quicker than the average keyboard jockey. After helping a friend speed up her workflow recently I realized that just about anyone can increase their speed and productivity on a Mac just by learning a few simple tips and tricks. Here are some of the basics and my favorite Mac workflow tips…

1. Use A Mouse With A Track Wheel
There is no way you can work as quickly without one as you can with one. Having a mouse with two buttons (right and left click) and a track wheel is one of the best things you can do to improve your overall workflow speed. The track wheel can quickly scroll down through documents and Web pages.

Nothing fancy here, but I've been using this same mouse for several years and it gets the job done quickly and efficiently.

2. Use Arrow Keys Within Folders
Often times when navigating through a series of folders through OSX’s finder it is quicker to use the arrow keys as opposed to a mouse.

3. Use Space Bar To Preview Documents
When searching for a particular file, instead of double clicking a document to open it, when it is highlighted simply hit the space bar to see a preview of the item.

4. Use Two Hands
Having one hand on the computer will only let you do half the work as two hands. Keep either both hands on the keyboard, or one hand on the mouse and the other on the keyboard at all times.

5. Use Keystroke Shortcuts
Use as many keystroke shortcuts as possible while using the finder and while in applications. At the bottom of this post I have a list of some of the most common Mac keyboard shortcuts that will speed up your workflow.

6. Keep Your Open Documents To A Minimum
The more documents you have open at any given time, the more energy your computer is using. By keeping only the documents you need open, you will free up the short-term memory on your computer, which will allow your computer to work faster. Also, the less windows you have open, the less visual clutter you will encounter.

7. Keep Your Visuals Simple & Clean
By keeping your desktop clean, organized, and clutter free, and keeping a simple image set as your desktop background, you will have less visual distractions. Visual distractions lead to mental distractions, which lead to more stress and less productivity. Likewise, keep your Internet browser theme clean looking for less visual distraction.

Here's how my desktop looks on any given day. I also feel that a relaxing, beautiful photograph helps with your energy and mental state while working.

8. Save Your Work Constantly
Saving your work every few minutes (or seconds) by hitting Command + S will ensure that in the event of a system or program crash you can jump right back into working on your project where you left it off. If you loose half of your work because you forgot to save the file before the program crashed you’ll have that much more work to redo, and a lot more frustration and stress.

9. Use Tabbed Internet Browsing
Once you get comfortable using “tabbed browsing” in Firefox or Safari you will be able to navigate through multiple Web pages much more quickly.

From within your browser, click on the preferences option and open this tab.

10. Hold Command Key When Opening New Links
When you are opening multiple Internet pages, hold the “command” key when selecting the links to open those pages in new tabs of the browser. A good example of this is when you are using a search engine like Google to look for articles on a particular topic and you aren’t sure which of the top five articles will best suit your needs. Open all of the top five articles in new tabs, go look at each one, and if none of them work for you, close them out and you still have the Google search left open.

11. Right Click In Dock To Quit
Depending on what you are working on and what you have open, it is often quicker to right click and select “quit” from an application in the dock as opposed to maximizing that application and quitting it from within the program.

If an application is hidden, then reopening the program window and scrolling to File > Quit (or even hitting Command + Q) takes longer than simply quitting the program from within the dock.

12. Use Search Properly
Learn to use the spotlight search (the magnifying glass in the top right corner of your computer to locate documents, files, or programs on your hard drive. Also, learn to use the search function of Internet browsers (Command + F while in the browser) to easily find what you are looking for within Web pages, and the search function in your word processor to locate items in your written document quicker.

13. Use Colored Labels For Folders
To help visually organize folders and files on your hard drive, select the item and right click on it. Then select a colored label for the item. You will have to figure out a labeling system that works well for you. For instance, I have one folder for my invoices. If the invoice has a green label I know it has already been paid. If it has a red label, I know it is still pending payment. This organizational technique eliminates the need to break one folder of invoices into two separate folders.

14. Use Hot Corners
In the System Preferences of your computer there is a section for “Expose & Spaces.” By setting “hot corners” you can perform a number of tasks simply by pushing your cursor into a pre-set corner of your monitor. I find it most useful to have my top left corner reveal all open windows and my bottom left corner to reveal my desktop.

15. Compress Items Into A .Zip
Instead of attaching multiple files to an email, compress multiple files and/or folders into a single .zip file so you only have to attach one item. To do this simply select all the items you want to compress together, right click them, and choose “Compress X Items.”

16. Enter Changes File Names
Instead of double clicking on a file or folder to change the name of it, when it is selected, simply hit enter/return and type the new name.

17. Keep Your Dock Basic
The “hiding” and “magnification” effect of the Mac OS X dock is kind of fun at first, but not very convenient for a serious worker. Turn the hiding and magnification off, make it small, and keep it at the bottom of your monitor. It will make opening applications quicker and will allow you to see which programs are open easier.

18. Organize Your Folders
Keeping your folders and files organized is probably the thing most people have trouble with when using a Mac. I keep only two folders on my desktop at all times, and those are used on a daily basis. Most files are within those folders and their sub folders, and all other items that aren’t used as often are kept in the dock (as opposed to on the desktop), or on my hard drive. When trying to figure out how to organize your folders, think about what you use your computer for the most, and then break those needs into sections.

Most Common And Practical Mac OS X Keystroke Shortcuts
Command + A = Select All
Command + C = Copy
Command + X = Cut
Command + V = Paste
Command + Q = Quit
Command + W = Close Window
Command + Z = Undo
Command + Y = Redo
Command + M = Minimize Window
(In Most Programs) Command + H = Hide
(In Most Programs) Command + N = New
(In Finder) Command + N = New Finder Window
(In Finder) Command + Shift + N = New Folder

Private & Personalized Mac 101 Classes
If you live in the Southern California area and would like a private lesson of these techniques and more, along with a personal analysis on how you can use your Mac more effectively in the workplace, please email me at fattony4130@gmail.com.