“Two key qualities to have when we wake up every day: optimism and gratitude, because that’s what saved our lives” -Marcel Rosenberg
This month on the Thrive On Life Podcast, we're spotlighting ATX men and women who are work on/in multiple jobs/orgs/projects to help the community. They do not allow their “title” to define what they can or cannot do and they keep challenging themselves to learn new things, and help others do the same.
Wondering how to establish yourself in a brand new city after you’ve left your small town and all you know behind? If you’ve had the dream to get out of your small town but have hesitated to go all in and do it because you’re worried how you’ll make friends and make money, this conversation will open your eyes.
Myself and these next guests totally relate on leaving our home towns to come to Austin, Texas, and how we went from knowing no one, to having a THRIVING network of strong friendships all supporting each other in our businesses. Austin truly has a certain potent energy but you’ll find this conversation useful no matter what city you’re moving to–even if you’re going all the way abroad! It’s all about two things: NETWORKING and PUTTING AWAY YOUR EGO.
Today we have Ross Tschirn & Marcel Rosenberg, two best buds who grew up in the same small hometown in Louisiana, didn’t hang out so much during high school but reconnected after college and found a shared passion in going to the gym.
The three of us also relate in that we felt the only way we could grow and achieve our dreams of pursuing a different type of path than the regular 9-5 job, was to leave home.
What was the breaking point?
Many of us try to make the typical prescribed life work for a while…until we simply can’t anymore. I wanted to know, what was the breaking point for these guys where they’d finally had enough?
“I was making all this money just to pay rent and pay gas and bills and live. And I was like, well, I don't really like how my life is from when I wake up to when I go to bed. So why am I making this money just to have this life that I don't like? And I kept saying that over and over and over again.” -Ross Tschirn
Ross tells us how he started opening up his world to different opportunities and was chosen to be on a reality TV series on the History Channel where he was one out of 30 other civilians in the whole US who got the opportunity to train with the Navy Seals, Army Rangers, and the Green Beret.
“And I was like, you know, I'm this guy who's working these corporate jobs, but I am getting to train with Navy seals, one of 30 civilians in the entire United States, who gets to do this. Why am I in a corporate job? And I just kept asking myself like, I can be somebody different. I am somebody different. So long story short, that's like what kind of molded me.” -Ross Tschirn
Marcel on the other hand, always knew leaving home was for him. He’d been wanting to do it for a long time, and it just all came together when he visited a friend in Austin, fell in love with it, and Ross was ready to go.
Follow the path of least resistance and lean into your strengths
My number one tip I often give my clients or friends is to follow the path of least resistance, and that’s what Ross and Marcel did in terms of setting up their first online business after getting to Austin.
These guys were already in great physical shape and people asked them questions all the time about nutrition and fitness, and Marcel always wanted to be a health coach, so they built an online training program online and started selling through Instagram- do what you know and keep it simple!
Many of us shy away from labeling ourselves by our passion project or side hustle because it doesn’t feel “legit” or “real” since no one but ourselves gave us that title. But if you’re helping people, lean into it!
Your network is your net worth
Part of this mentality shift for both of them was to get out and start meeting people as soon as they got to Austin, which is exactly what I did as well.
“I knew that your network is your net worth, and we met with you at Central Market the first time we met. And you just said, ‘The first thing that I did when I came to Austin was I went and I networked with everybody.’
You got to know everybody. You showed up at everything and you were like, Ross, if you're the guy who shows up to any type of event with a camera, you're in great shape, people are going to be like, ‘Who is this guy? Like what is he doing?’ So that's what I did everywhere and I just kept shaking hands with tons of different people and now I feel like I can call on anyone for anything.” -Ross Tschirn
Ok..but what about money?
One of the hardest mental shifts for people is their financial mindset. People don’t like to take risks when it comes to money, and there’s a lot of fear around coming to a new city with no plan for a job and not knowing exactly how you’ll survive.
Marcel and Ross told me at one point they’d reached $2 in their bank account. It was stressful for sure, but they did anything they could to make both ends meet. And that’s the lesson I want people to take away from this too- is that you have to put away your ego and do the jobs that might not be “cool” or “prestigious”.
These guys did research studies, searched on Craigslist, serving events, driving for Lyft..anything they could. Because that’s what a CEO is when you’re just starting out in your business. One day you’re speaking at your event, that night you’re the janitorial staff cleaning up the event. It’s about what you do when no one’s looking.
The identity crisis
When you’re in a corporate job, there’s a very clear ladder for you to climb. You always know the next step up and what the expectations are to get there.
But when you walk away from that life, it’s up to you to determine the next step. The possibilities are endless! Great! And, the possibilities are endless…fuck. What do I DO? That’s what Ross started struggling with.
“Am I trying to be a personal trainer and online trainer? A businessman? What am I going for and where do I put my energy towards? That was a big thing of, okay, I don't have a job. So I have to be productive and going to the gym is one of those things, but I can't spend three hours in the gym every day. So where else do I spend my time? Oh, my computer. Then what? You know, it was a lot of like, okay, what do I do? What do I do? But the more that I met with you, just kind of, you know, talk to Marcel about the struggles that we're working with. We just kind of put the pieces together and we always realized…we just can't give up. That's why we would drive Lyft or do whatever we need to do.” -Ross Tschirn
For more on this, read my post about the 17 different ways I made money in my first year in Austin to survive.
“The first thing that we did was we literally sat down on our couch and we were like, all right, for the next two hours, we're just gonna send video DMs to as many people as we can and try and sell personal training plans.” -Ross
They’d come back together and each have three meetings set. Ross even sent a two minute video to a guy, didn’t even know who he was, who ended up paying him $1600, 30 minutes later!!
The most important thing, in my opinion, was they transitioned from being salsey to gaining trust, being vulnerable, and really creating a brand.
If one door closes, FIND ANOTHER DOOR
The next thing the guys tried was calling corporations to do corporate wellness programs, but they couldn’t get in front of the right people. So they considered other audiences who might need their services, and Marcel thought to approach senior/retirement communities. They made a list of senior communities in the area, and every single one answered.
When you’re transitioning from the corporate world, where it’s very task-oriented, you have to flip the script and become value-oriented. It’s no longer about what value can I extract from people, but what value can I add? What skills and value do I have that I can bring to this world and that MEETS A NEED? No one in their mid twenties is thinking, I’m going to go train the elderly population. But that’s what these guys did.
More from this episode
Other topics we touch on in this episode are imposter syndrome, how they’re hoping to scale their business, how you can bring more value to people, and our opinions about traveling a lot vs. planting your roots in one spot. Listen to the full conversation to hear more!
Follow/Support Ross and Marcel:
Ross’s Instagram: @rossman
Marcel’s Instagram: @marcelr_
Blog: Grow Your Network, Grow Your Business
Blog: How to determine where to spend your time?
Blog: Strive to be Valuable, not Busy
Podcast: Episode 9: ThriveOn Iteration w/ CJ Finley