One Year Lived – The $19,420.68 Business Lesson

One Year Lived by Adam ShepardAdam Shepard calls himself an author, speaker, and instigator.

Instigator? Hmmm… color me intrigued.

Small business owners, particularly entrepreneurs, tend to walk their own path. Our very natures demand we share insights and ideas that some consider odd or downright crazy.

An instigator should fit right in.

But a travel book? While I personally love traveling what the heck did this have to do with business? Or in my case small business finance?


And yes I was surprised by that. Let’s dig into…

Adam Shepard’s $19,420.68 Business Lesson

When Adam approached me about his book, One Year Lived, I was hesitant – was this just going to be a pampered, trust fund brat’s tale of travel? Would he throw the masses a bone with a few weeks of volunteer service, surrounded by self-indulgence and regurgitated business “insights”?

Although the book is about a year spent traveling the world, Adam is also quick to point out that it took him two years to save the money to take the trip. That took work, dedication and fiscal discipline.

As I hovered between “sure let me take a look” and “thanks, but no thanks” it was Adam’s genuine and enthusiastic approach that won me over. Adam was the one who contacted me. Adam made the effort to relate his book to my specific audience.

Plus (and this is a biggie), his interaction with me wasn’t in sales speak. Having since had the pleasure of interviewing him for Call a Biz Hero with Laura Petrolino, I can say it was written just the way he speaks. It was genuine.

One Year Lived Lesson #1: Make a Declaration

Lots of people say they’re going to travel the world. Start a new business. Launch a new idea. The list goes on.

Yet how many actually do it? What separates the dreamers from the doers?

Creating public accountability.

Adam shares how he told everyone about this plans, including specifics about timing. No one wants to look bad in front of others.

By sharing your goals with others, you gain their support and encouragement plus an incentive to make it happen.

One year Lived Lesson #2: Life is More

More what exactly?

Life is more than you. There’s a big wide world out there, and it’s easy to forget to take the focus off yourself.

Adam Shepard One Year LivedOn a personal level it’s easy to forget that there are others less fortunate than you. People who can’t even afford shoes. People who don’t have access to running water.

How can your business help make the world a better place?

I choose to support through my book sales and my consulting business. I’ve made a public declaration of this fact (see lesson #1), and researched the organization to ensure it was highly efficient in using its funds for the mission, not the executives.

Business life is more than you too.

Its so easy to focus on our own goals, needs and products. People should want to buy your products and services because they’re awesome. How could they NOT see that? Easy, they’re just as focused internally as you are.

Adam reminds us to stop and look around, often from an unexpected angle or perspective. Successful small business owners pay attention to the world around them, and the needs of the people in that world.

One Year Lived Lesson #3: Budgets Create Options

Yeah I said the B word – BUDGET.

Now $19,420.68 might sound like a lot of money, but keep in mind, Adam lived and traveled off that for a year. To put it in perspective, he had $53.20 a day for all his travel (including airfare), food, lodging and entertainment.

As Adam himself points out, he made this work by splitting time between lost cost places, like Honduras, and expensive locals such as New Zealand. If he was able to get by on $10 in Honduras, that meant he could spend $96.40 for a day in New Zealand (the average of these two days is $53.20).

It’s OK to splurge IF you cut back somewhere else in your budget.

Want to launch an amazing marketing campaign? Hire an outstanding coach? Purchase that rocking new laptop? If it fits in the budget, and you cut back elsewhere, then it IS ok.

One Year Lived Lesson #4: Comparisons Hurt

Now I’ve always considered myself an adventurous, well traveled person. Usually I’m the one telling the crazy tales about solo trips, volcano hikes, and odd food (termites… really?!).

Yet about a third of the way through the book I realized something was bothering me. I was jealous. Envious. Even a bit depressed.

Look at all Adam had accomplished. All he had seen. He was 10 years younger than me! And the kicker, he even entered the ring with a crazy bull and only a tablecloth as a weapon!

I snatched the scarlet tablecloth out of Jhonas’s hands and stalked out to the center of the [bull] ring. Take action or go take a nap.

Adam Shepard Bull Fighting

Instead of enjoying Adam’s amazing adventure, sharing in his joys and sorrows, I was focusing on myself and my perceived inadequacies. Somehow I turned his success into my failures.

In business, and in life, this is an easy trap in which to fall. Comparing yourself to a colleague, a peer, or even a competitor and determining you don’t measure up. Stop it – stop the winner / loser comparisons right now.

While it does make sense to look at others to set your benchmarks, create goals, and understand your market, the only business you are in competition with is your own.

Let’s say you reach your goal of $1 million in revenue this year. Does Joe Schmo hitting $5 million somehow reduce your achievement? NO.

Celebrate you successes. Learn from your mistakes. Own them, as they are all you can really control.

Get the Book for FREE!

When I finished the book I felt as though I had taken the journey with Adam. Even more, I felt like I had made a new friend, one who wasn’t afraid to share the good, the bad, and the ugly about himself and the world around him.

Adam has offered an incredible deal to all of my readers. For the next seven days you can get his book, “One Year Lived” as an eBook absolutely free. Simply leave a non-spammy, relevant comment below, and I’ll email you the download details for the book. This offer ends on May 19th at midnight CST.

That’s it. Your name won’t go on a list (although you’re welcome to sign up for my newsletter!). I won’t try to sell you something. Adam won’t try to sell you something either.

So the question is… are you going to take action, or go take a nap?


  1. I’m intrigued. I’ve been trying to think of ways to help others, so maybe this book would give me some ideas to think about.
    Christy Bower recently posted…Happy Star Wars Day 2013My Profile

    • While the book is great Christy, the chapter on Honduras is particularly enlightening (and in regards to volunteering as a business depressing). I’ve sent you the link to download. Enjoy!
      Nicole Fende recently posted…One Year Lived – The $19,420.68 Business LessonMy Profile

  2. I’d love to read this. I did something similar a few years ago, living and traveling off about $15,000 for the year. I often think of that time as having been almost magical, because even though my immediately available resources were limited, I always trusted that my needs would be met. I’m trying to figure out how to pull that confidence and trust into my rooted life and my business, but find it much harder to do and find myself longing for open roads and open skies again. Maybe this will provide a clue, or maybe it’ll just be reading for pleasure, but either way — great!

    • Wow Erin I’d love to hear (or read) your story someday. I bet it’s fascinating. Adam does a good job of pulling all those together, and yes I do believe that same mental state can be transferred to your business. Your email with the link is on its way.
      Nicole Fende recently posted…Boost Your Blog’s Traffic & Profit with Blog Engage My Profile

  3. So well reviewed Nicole, I love how you have been able to take Adam’s learnings and turn them into learnings for business and in particular numbers. I also admire your openness in expressing envy at Adam’s experience. As we get older it is easy to fall into the trap of believing it can’t be done anymore.

    Decades ago when I was 23 and in Greece we met a couple who seemed simply ancient to us then, maybe 55 or so. They were walking from Istanbul to London. I’ve never forgotten them, so I am sure in the same way Adam’s tale will inspire people to take the proverbial bull by the horns!

    I have a question for Adam. Often after such a momentous journey comes a hiatus or even a down period. How will you translate what you have learned in this year’s adventure into your day to day life today without losing momentum?

    Well done, people like you are truly what rocks our world.
    SandyMc recently posted…I just hate salesMy Profile

  4. Most enlightening and enthralling book review I’ve read in eons! (That’s a unit of time equal to a billion years) So what I’m sayin’ is … it’s doggone good, Nicole. ;)

    Adam’s $19,420.68 budget for his year-long adventure traveling the world reflects my annual salary. I envy and admire anyone who can turn that amount of dough into a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Kudos to you, Adam!

    My biggest takeaways …

    In business and in life, put others first and the rewards will be immeasurable.
    There’s a big beautiful world out there beyond your workspace so get out there and discover it.
    Numbers matter in designing a life and lifestyle that’s right for you. (If you don’t believe me, just ask The Numbers Whisperer) :)

    The Adam Shepards of the world deserve more time in the spotlight!
    Melanie Kissell recently posted…What Do a House Painter, an Author, and a Musician Have In Common?My Profile

    • High praise Melanie, high praise indeed.

      While that $19K sounds like a lot, once you break it down it’s not. On your end we need to do something about your salary – you are worth way more than that! Enjoy the book and if you have other insights stop back to share them.
      Nicole Fende recently posted…One Year Lived – The $19,420.68 Business LessonMy Profile

  5. This sounds amazing. I recently quite my 9-5 job (yes, in THIS economy) due to needing to have a super flexible job to take care of my special needs child. I’ve learned so much recently about a positive attitude and making decisions. I am VERY interested in Adam’s story. Thank you for sharing your journey!

    • Meghan that was a brave step you took, and a noble reason. Attitude IS everything in life. A situation like yours can be seen as an opportunity or a life sentence. Would love to hear more about your journey.
      Nicole Fende recently posted…One Year Lived – The $19,420.68 Business LessonMy Profile

  6. About 4 years ago I’d begun the process of entering the Peace Corps. It was so exciting to plan for a year long (maybe more) adventure abroad helping entrepreneurs in a 3rd world country. But my debt was the one thing holding me back. (They won’t take you if you’ve got financial obligations like mortgages or other debt.) I still hope to go someday, but then a friend said you know there are places right here in the US where people are living like it’s a 3rd world country…maybe there’s an adventure waiting for you here? Then I met Mr. Perfect and we put those dreams on a list for later. Now I’m off to visit Detroit next week (to see if it’s a place we could live and work in) and I’m feeling excited and nervous about the possibilities. I’d love to read Adam’s story on the plane. It would be so apropos.
    Tea Silvestre recently posted…Table Talk Q&A: How Do I Pick the Best Marketing Strategies for My Business (and Avoid Wasting Time/Money)?My Profile

    • I didn’t know you had considered the Peace Corps or that they won’t take you if you have a mortgage…

      Being from Michigan myself, with a sister who lives in the suburbs of Detroit, I hope you have a positive trip. Stop back and let us know.

      In the meantime, enjoy the book.
      Nicole Fende recently posted…One Year Lived – The $19,420.68 Business LessonMy Profile

  7. I, too, love to travel and am intriguedby incorporating helping other people into my travels. This book sounds like a very inspiring read, Nicole. Thanks to you both for this generous offer.
    Loran Hills recently posted…I have the answer to ALL your problems!My Profile

  8. I learned about this from Tea Silvestre on Facebook.

  9. Adam is amazing. End of story. Being able to interview him for Call A Biz Hero was just simply inspirational. I love the energy from people who fully embrace life and Adam is a poster child for that!

  10. Good-NESS I can’t wait to read Adam’s book. I’m of the opinion that there is no better teacher – in life and in business (subset of life) – than travel! Few find the balls to go, but those who do are forever changed. Thanks for agreeing to review the book Nicole!!

  11. I always like to read about other people’s journeys – to learn about what other possibilities in life there are.
    Lesson #1 is an interesting one…I think who you make the declaration too matters, as some people can end up feeling jealous and not supportive at all – that’s when you require a lot of courage to forge ahead towards your dreams!

  12. After the fact, but I’m practicing my follow-through, so here it is anyway.

    First of all, and yes, it’s a tiny bit mean, but I’m relieved and a teeny bit glad you had that moment, Nicole. I’ve been there myself, too many times, and I don’t think you ever quite got what I meant before.

    Secondly, thank you for the gentle punt-in-the-tailfeathers about not staying there when you find yourself in that space. Comparisons can be useful, IF they are applied in the correct way, but it’s all to easy to fall off that wagon and start wallowing instead.

    Thirdly, wow. Very kyool experience and like that! Will enjoy reading the book when the opportunity happens. :-) :>

    Will do my best to attend the show live, so will close out for now! :>
    Birdy Diamond recently posted…Observatory Outlook: We Are Not Alone (video)My Profile

  13. You can find the strangest and most thought provoking lessons in life from the oddest places – this is one. Great stuff. Not just lessons in life but for business owners as well – especially the point on budgeting.

  14. The big thing for me is you have to set goals and then have the discipline to work out a way of achieving them so you can live life to the full and not have regrets when you get older

  15. I am so happy I stumbled onto this! I love reading your blog for all of the advice it gives.

    @Lee – in the same vein I find that making myself “to-do” lists really helps me focus my day and make small accomplishments that lead to large ones!

  16. I love travel books. And to make a comparison between travel and business is quite great actually. I think many of these tips are things i need to work on myself.

  17. The book looks really interesting, iam downloading it, thanks for sharing it.

  18. I do like the first lesson to keep you accountable and proceed with those high arching goals. These days go by too quickly and whether it’s travel or anything else that’s important, being accountable may push you to achieve those goals. Good review!
    Joe S recently posted…Income Statement ExampleMy Profile

  19. Hi!

    I think this is rather interesting. Living and travelling for like 50 bucks a day is … wow! Okay I am already drooling. I am jealous seriously. Having too many commitments is bad and that is really holding me back.

    Hope to do when I hit 40 :)

    Definitely going to download the book and thanks for sharing!
    Reginald recently posted…Guest Posting Confession: Getting Started And Essential ChecklistsMy Profile

  20. Well its worth reading and I must say that it is highly encouraging and motivating post. An indirect message is given through the post. Well getting to know about the different people traveling experience helps you in understanding different life aspects.



  1. Episode 29 - Adam Shepard, One Year Lived - Call A Biz Hero - [...] Adam’s adventures and lessons learned range from eating termites (really!) to volunteering in third world countries with other crazy …

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