The “How To” Economy

Our economy is transforming into another age.

We once had the industrial age and the time of mass production and growth.  Then, we transformed as a society to an information economy and information-based existence.  Today, money and trust is changing hands in tidal waves of currency thanks to the web.


This is exactly why today I think we’re in a version of the information economy titled “How-To Economy”, and it’s one of the best times to be in business ever!  We, as a society, are consumers.  We consume information, content, and we’re doing it faster than Kobayashi consumes hot dogs.

Remember years ago when students relied solely on the “classroom experience” for learning?  There was one teacher and one text book shaping the minds of many of my classmates.  Some learned fast, some learned slower, but we all learned at pretty much the same pace.  The difference then was the dependency of what we learned rested on the shoulders of one educator or one book.  The loop was extremely closed.

Contrast this with today and the endless possibilities.  People are learning entire trades online without ever setting foot in a classroom.  I know people who are terrific photographers and they’ve learned their skills entirely online.  YouTube is reinventing what it means to be an educator.  Instead of speaking to classes of 20 or 30, one video has the possibilities to educate thousands or millions.  I learned how to launch my blog via numerous YouTube videos of people who have been there and done it.

We also have the ability to change the channel and learn from someone else in just seconds if we so choose.  We can juxtapose positions and arguments almost immediately and see both sides of the story for ourselves.  Our opportunities to learn are as limitless as our wi-fi connections allow.

I think about this from my own perspective and the post-graduate education available to ALL of us if we choose to consume it. Below is a list of possibilities to learn today:

  • Online training courses
  • E-Books
  • Podcasts
  • Blogs
  • Audiobooks

Each of these are available to us and each author has a unique experience to share with the world.  It’s not owned by one recording studio or one publishing house.  We are the publisher.  I am the publisher of this blog.  The only one stopping me is my own schedule.  If I need to learn a new skill or fine-tune one, the responsibility completely falls on me, not the teacher.

Here are a list of people I currently follow online who are doing a masterful job in building BIG businesses from their understanding of the How-To Economy.  I haven’t had the chance to meet these gentleman yet, but it’s definitely on the list.

  1. Pat Flynn & Smart Passive Income 
  2. Michael Hyatt & Platform
  3. Casey Graham

After reading all this, I’m not saying the education system is dead, or that the investment in a post-graduate education is wasteful, although I would think long and hard about my goals.  There are more options now than ever to create what you’ve been dreaming of and you can share it with dozens or a few million.

ACTION ITEM: I encourage you to continue your learning by writing down one or two new skills you’ve been wanting to tackle.  Go online and research the topic for a little while and then dive in head first for a week.  You’ll be amazed at the content available to you and the plethora of experiences others are willing to share.

Halftime Adjustments for 2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 3.50.20 PM We’re about a week away from June 30, which is also the halfway mark of 2014.

Pretty hard to believe isn’t it?  

It’s almost time for the 4th of July and it’s a really great time for reflection.  If you haven’t gone back and looked at your 2014 goals, now is the time.  Every all-time great coach understood the art of making halftime adjustments to win.  This should be no different for you or I. I’m a glass half full kind of guy, and there is half of the year left to achieve my goals.  If you don’t have goals written down, do it soon!  You have the rest of 2014 to achieve them. Good goals follow the acronym S.M.A.R.T.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Results-Focused
  • Timely

In order to help the audience, I’m going to share with you some of my personal goals and precisely where I stand.  Although I may not share with you the exact number (for personal privacy reasons), I will tell you what I’m doing about each of them.

  1. Debt Reduction Goal – My wife and I had the goal to have zero debt (with the exception of our house) by August 1, 2014.  I can tell you we will accomplish this goal by the beginning of July.  This feels fantastic!  It provides a tremendous amount of freedom and flexibility for us to attack all that life has to offer without fear.
  2. Savings Goal – Along with our debt reduction goal, we have a goal to maintain growth in our savings to hopefully build a house some day.  I can tell you we’re about 70% along the way to our goal today.  Maintaining our current plans should put us in a position to achieve the goal by September or October of 2014.
  3. Vacation Goal (Unplug Time) – Our goal was to take a great vacation before the baby arrives in August.  Beth and I spent five days in San Francisco this spring and it was AWESOME.  At the end of this post, there are a few quick pics to document our visit.  We relaxed, walked a TON, and enjoyed each other’s company without phone calls, emails, and interruption.  I highly encourage you to do this in 2014 if you haven’t already.
  4. Income Goal – I have a goal to increase my income 35% in 2014.  I thought about this a great deal a few months back and I’ve had to reevaluate where I’m spending my time and who I’m spending it with.  I had NO chance of hitting my target.  I will tell you I got angry with myself and had to reflect on what I was doing to positively impact this goal.  I can tell you I’ve seen a great deal of change after a serious self evaluation and I’m excited to see where 2014 ends up.  More to come on this at year-end!
  5. Volunteer Goal – I set a goal to volunteer three times in 2014 at places where I’ve never done ANYTHING for in the past.  This would cause me to get uncomfortable, meet new people, and help with others.  This next statement is extremely selfish, but it is the truth.  When I volunteer, I feel really great afterwards.  I need to get my ass in gear on this one.  I’ve got six months left to make good on this promise.
  6. Daily Focus/Meditation Goal – This year I committed to spending a focused amount of time daily clearing my mind and more recently practicing meditation.  It’s something I picked up early in 2014 and something I’ve fallen in love with.  The goal is to spend 20 to 30 minutes focused on relaxation and transforming my thoughts.  The challenge in this goal is the word DAILY.  I’m going to work harder on the daily focus of this goal because I can literally feel the results in my efforts when I remain diligent in the process.

I hope you enjoyed my look at a few of the goals I’m attacking in 2014.  I hope this will give you the energy and excitement you need to tackle your goals.  It’s extremely helpful for me to share these goals publicly for accountability.

ACTION ITEM: Take a moment to review your 2014 goals.  If you don’t have them, work some time into your schedule to get them written down.  Next, it’s truthful reflection time.  What’s keeping you from attaining the goal?  Lastly, here is a link to Tony Robbins goal setting workbook.  It’s fantastic.

San Fran Pics:

Zac & Beth visit Google World Headquarters

Zac & Beth visit Google World Headquarters

San Francisco Selfie

San Francisco Selfie

View from our patio

View from our patio

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

The Beauty in Paranoia

I don’t think paranoia is a dirty word when used correctly.

When you think of paranoia, how do you feel?

  • Anxious
  • Worried
  • Scared
  • Cowering
  • Trembling

A couple weeks ago, I was watching an episode of Shark Tank I had on the DVR and Robert Herjavec said something I’ll never forget to a show guest.


The Most Paranoid Wins

He said, “In this and any other business, the most paranoid wins!

The most paranoid wins?  Are you nuts?

This statement may have sent shock waves through thousands of viewers throughout the country, but I think they’re missing the boat.

Paranoia in business isn’t about fear, Xanax, or meetings with a mental health professional.  I believe it’s the exact opposite.  Paranoia in business is about being proactive.  The more paranoid, the more prepared.  This was Robert’s point.

The business world today is being recreated weekly if not daily.  New triggers and trends are impacting our world from hundreds of different angles.  Mistakes are being made in the thousands if not millions, and people are learning from these mistakes at a phenomenal rate.  The business owner looking for funding on this specific project wasn’t paranoid enough and Robert sensed it with his super-human shark senses.

That said, how can you be more paranoid about your business today so you don’t make the same mistake?  Below is a list of five questions you can ask to be better prepared (or more paranoid).

  1. What keeps your client awake at night?
  2. How can you make your product/service offering better immediately to the end user?
  3. What are you missing to achieve more scale with your efforts?
  4. Are you building a business or collecting transactions? (There is a difference)
  5. Have I taken time alone this week to think about our client/customer?

Paranoia in business revolves around two key words.  Solutions focused.  Paranoid leaders are challenging leaders inspecting their team’s work and process.  Paranoid leaders think of their offerings from the client perspective instead of always from the business owner’s viewpoint.  Paranoid leaders don’t know all the answers, but they’re not afraid to ask the questions.

Lastly, paranoid leaders think a great deal about their PEOPLE.  Are they challenged? Are they having fun? Are they growing personally and professionally?  This is the leader’s responsibility, and the paranoid leader isn’t afraid to challenge themselves to get better daily.


Tough times never last; tough people always do

ACTION ITEM: Try and be a little more paranoid this week and utilize one or a few of the five questions listed above.  If you put them to use and see results, I’d love it if you’d share your outcome with the group.

When Money Isn’t An Excuse, Then What?

The answer to this question is different for every individual and every scenario.  Here’s mine.

I had the idea of starting this blog for about six months.  Here is a snapshot of my ideas.  I’ve probably got notes in three to four different notebooks around the house of different blog post ideas and perspectives.

What took so long?  What was I afraid of?

I’ll tell you exactly what was going through my head:

  • I was afraid of what someone might say.
  • What if someone challenged the thoughts I believed in my heart and soul?
  • What if no one read it?
  • Could I stick to it and continue to publish?
  • Would my friends be honest with me and offer candid feedback?

At the exact same time in my life, I happened to be listening to an audiobook last summer aptly titled, “Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work that Matters”.  Read it or listen to it.  Here is a link and image to Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters

Jon begins the book with a story (No! I’m not going to give it all away) about a flight he was  on from Dallas to Baltimore.  A wise Grandma leaned in after reading Jon’s book and said to him, “What do you do when all the excuses you use to not chase your dream are gone, what do you do then?”

Kick in the nuts!

A change in thinking occurred.  What if I wasn’t asking the right questions?  What if I wasn’t afraid of everything that wouldn’t happen and instead was afraid of everything that COULD happen?  Please read this statement again.

  • What happens when thousands of people read the content?
  • What happens when people use this blog to make better decisions?
  • What happens when readers of this blog communicate without me being the conduit?
  • What happens when the response and feedback is AWESOME?
  • What happens when the content changes someone’s life?

After listening to Jon’s book a few more times, I came to the realization that many of us are more afraid of how great something could be and the work that will come with it, instead of the fear of starting.  I understand this may sound crazy, but the reality is I had absolutely no excuse and nothing to lose choosing to START this blog.

Truth be told, I spent a couple hundred dollars on the hosting, the URL (for a few years), and a couple other odds and ends.  These investments are monetary.  The investment of my time and learning (as I’d never built a blog before) was the real investment.

ACTION ITEM: I really recommend reading Jon’s book.  I also recommend sitting down by yourself with a pen and a blank pad of paper.  Answer this question: What is keeping you from your AWESOME?

Five Lessons from Mr. Keeney on Father’s Day

FIve Lessons on Father's Day

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share with all of my readers five key lessons my Dad taught me, especially on Father’s Day.  The list below contains life lessons and I’ll never forget them as long as I live.

Furthermore, now that I’m an expecting father of another Keeney boy, I hope to pass them on with the dignity knowing they came from my Dad.

For those of you who don’t know or haven’t met my Dad, here is a picture of the two of us goofing off nearly five years ago on Beth and I’s wedding day.

Beth and Zac's Wedding Day

Bernie Keeney & Zac Keeney 2009

As promised here is the list.

Five Valuable Lessons from Bernie Keeney:

  1. Hard Work –  I must start with this quote from Thomas Edison, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”  My Dad’s life is a living example of hard work.  Obviously I wasn’t around, but I know he didn’t grow up anywhere near the standard of living he provided to my sister and I.  He got where he did because of a tremendous amount of hard work and discipline.  Nothing was handed to him, and I’ll tell you he wouldn’t want it if you did.  Today, many look for the easy way out.  My Dad will tell you there is no such thing and to stop complaining.  The same effort refocused would yield the results. 
  2. CoachableMy Dad taught me at a young age the need to be coachable.  He continued to remind me of this through my adolescent years and hundreds of athletic events.  I think it’s a great lesson, especially for younger leaders as there is so much to learn from so many.  You have to be willing to listen, especially when the feedback is something you don’t want to hear. 
  3. Lifelong Learner If you’ve ever heard me talk about my Dad, I’ll say he’s a better version of Bob Villa, a true Mr. Fix It.  The only way you get to be this skilled at so many crafts is to have an appetite for learning.  He continues to learn even more now in his retirement.  Every day is a new adventure, a new story to be told, or new challenge.  He’s never backed down from a challenge and is one of the smartest guys I know.  
  4. Tough & Fair My Dad spent his career (30+ years) as an educator.  He had thousands of students, but there were two he looked after more than most, my sister and I.  With each of us he was equally tough and fair.  If we screwed up or were out of line, he was always fair with our punishment.  We always knew where we stood with our Dad and I can only hope to be the same with my son.
  5. SupportiveNo matter the need, Dad has always been there to support.  If I need advice, help on a construction project, a trailer to haul something for a move, or any tool known to man, Dad will be there.  Most of the time it probably didn’t fit in his schedule, but that really didn’t come into his head.  He continues to be there for our growing family and I can’t wait to see what he’ll pass along to his grandson.

I’ll leave you with this.  I believe one of the primary jobs we have as Dads is to provide our kids with a better life than we had.  If I were the teacher and handing out a grade to my Dad, it would be an A+.

ACTION ITEM: If you haven’t already, tell your Dad “Happy Father’s Day”.  If you’re one of the many with their Dad looking down from above, do something to remember him today.

You Wouldn’t Believe What Happened To Me

You Wouldn't Believe

I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m 100% sure I’m tired of hearing this.  “You wouldn’t believe what happened to me!”

I’m not entirely sure when it happened, but I feel like one of our biggest challenges societally is victim thinking.  It’s a borderline epidemic in our country and continues to spread.  Like any horrible plauge, “this one is airborne,” so watch out! keep-calm-and-avoid-the-plague-5

If you’re unsure or may have a tough time putting your finger on what I mean exactly I’ve listed a few of my personal victim thought favorites below:

  • It must be nice to have <insert anything you deem of monetary value>
  • My boss just doesn’t get it.  She doesn’t want me to succeed
  • Nothing ever seems to fall in my lap like it does for <insert friend>
  • We never have any money to do what we want
  • I can’t do that.  They’ll never let me!
  • Zac is sooooo lucky.  I wish I was that lucky
  • Woe is me…

Do you know any of these people?  I know I sure do and there is one common thread in all victim thinkers.  Everything happens to them, nothing happens because of them.


If you’ve read previous posts on this blog you’ll know I despise “Keeping Up With the Joneses” or living someone else’s life.  I liken victim thinking challenge as equal to the challenges noted in the last sentence facing us today.

It’s easy to live wanting, hoping, wishing, and EMPTY lives.  It’s easier to explain to those around you that it’s entirely someone else’s fault for: where you are, who you are, and what you may become.  You’re a punching bag and everyone seems to get two turns throwing haymakers.

Stop.  Good news alert!

There are three holes in our head we can focus on to impact massive change to victim thinking.  They are:

  1. Your mouth
  2. Your left ear
  3. Your right ear

The simple control of what comes out of #1 and into the latter two holes is life changing.  The beauty and simplicity of this is each of us controls this choice.  No one makes it for us.

If you have 12 minutes (and I know you do) you must meet Sam Berns.  He makes every word written on this post come to life!  Sam could easily be a victim, but he made the difficult choice not to be.

 ACTION ITEM:  Control victim thinking with your ears by being able to spot it quickly and decisively.  The next choice is up to you.  My common response is “run like hell” when you hear it.   The second control should be predictable.  Speak less often about what happens to you, and find opportunities to reflect on things that happen because of you.

Lastly, if you find value in this message and have implemented any of the above or even have a comment for the readers of this blog I’d really love it if you would share.  It would mean a great deal to me personally!!