Bio: I used to deliver bread for a living, now I write. You can see my words in cool places such as the Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Mind Body Green, the Good Men Project, Fox News, and many more. My books have sold over 100,000 copies and my new book, Stop Chasing Influencers, drops later this year. In the last three years, I’ve lost 170 pounds and moved our family to Maui, Hawaii. My goal is to help you create freedom in your work, health, and relationships and live your dream life. Join me at KimanziConstable.com and Kimanzi Constable on Facebook.
Zephan: Zephan Moses Blaxberg here from The Year of Purpose Podcast, and today I have an extraordinary gentleman and he used to deliver bread for a living and now he’s a writer. You can see his words in cool places such as the Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, mindbodygreen, The Goodman Project, Fox News and many more. His books have sold over 100,000 copies and his new book ‘Stop Chasing Influencers’ drops really soon.
In the last three years, he’s lost 170 pounds and moved his family to Maili, Hawaii. His goal is to help you create freedom in your work, health and relationships and to live your dream life. Please welcome Kimanzi Constable. How are you doing today man?
Kimanzi: Zephan, I’m excited to be here. I got the coffee next to me. I’m ready to go.
Zephan: Awesome. Are you calling in today? Are you in Hawaii today?
Kimanzi: I am in Hawaii. I leave a little bit later today for France, Israel and Egypt.
Zephan: Very cool. I was in Israel back in 2008. It’s been some time. Is this your first time or have you been before?
Kimanzi: I have been. I spoke there in 2013 and that go around, I did just a lot of touristy stuff. I did a lot of tours. I’m looking forward to going back just going around and maybe not doing as much touristy stuff, but actually hanging out with friends that I met at Podcast Movement.
Zephan: That’s awesome. My brother actually lives over there now and he’s studying I believe to become a rabbi. Such a cool place, so much history. It’s such a different culture.
Kimanzi: Yeah, they definitely keep you on your toes when you go there. I don’t know how it was when you went there but when I went there, there was a little bit of bombing going on and you could hear off in the background.
Zephan: We actually travelled in an armored bus with a couple of guards everywhere. It was on a guided trip for about 2 weeks. It’s a totally different life out there. That’s what you’re living today is a totally different life from where you were. I was watching your Ted Talk.
I heard a little bit of your story and growing up must’ve been tough and you’ve really gotten to a very cool place that I thought of sharing with our listeners today because I’ve seen you write so much. I’m actually crazy impressed by how many words I see you post on Facebook. Wrote 16,000 words today, and I’m like “Oh my God. That would take me a month.” I’m super impressed with that and would love to maybe just hear a little bit of your story and how you got to where you are.
Kimanzi: I had always loved to write. That was the one thing that you could trace back. My grandfather Foster, that love of books, of words because he would always get my brother and I a new book for our birthdays. He took a lot of time with these books. He really thought through these so it really fostered that love of books of writing. I would always write girls love letters. I’d write short stories, wrote some crazy end of the world novels when I was younger.
When I turned 17, I was homeless. My parents grew up really strict religious home and there was a lot of things going on. There was some abuse going on and at 17 I just left. I would rather be homeless than deal with that. At that point, I gave up on my dreams of being a writer. Dropped out of high school, had to get a job to survive. I met my wife while working at Burger King. It was interesting. I got married the day after I turned 18 and she said “Hey if you want to be a writer, you really should go back and get your GD and give yourself maybe a chance to do some college or something like that.”
That’s what I did. What ended up happening after I got GD, it enabled me to get dead end jobs, is what it did. I did dead end jobs for a few years, and at 19 I had the chance to start my first business. There was some guys that delivered a bread. It was called Brownberry Bread where I lived in Wisconsin. Depending on where you live, you probably know it is as Oroweat. That’s a thing that most people know it as but those guys that deliver that are independent contractors, meaning that they have to invest 250-grand to buy into the business.
They get a territory, they get 20% of the profits but for all intents and purposes, they work for themselves. They want to go on vacation, they have to hire somebody and they’re not just going to hire anybody off the street. My business was to cover these vacation routes so that these independent operators could go on vacation and because these guys hadn’t done it before I came along, there were guys that hadn’t been on a vacation seven years.
Zephan: Oh, wow.
Kimanzi: I’m not even exaggerating. When I came on and I did a good job for these guys, it took all of a month for my schedule to be full for the entire next year because everybody’s like “I want to go. I want to go.” With investing 250-grand, you’re not just going to trust anybody with your business. I had proven myself and had a good business there.
I did that for 12 years. The business grew beyond me. At its height, I had 5 employees working for me and we had business in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. The business is bringing in half a million dollars a year. It was a great business. The problem was me. As the CEO, President, whatever you wanted to call it, I didn’t understand business. Nobody was entrepreneurial in my family. I didn’t study business. I completely mismanaged it. I was the worst boss I could imagine.
I went through quite a few employees and it’s probably because of me as a boss. I wasn’t organized, completely mismanaged it. Mismanaged the money completely. Come 2011 after doing this for 12 years, I was 180-grand in debt with the business. I was 170 pounds overweight from bad habits that I picked up all those years of being on this bread truck at midnight and eating fast food and mountain dew all the time. That of course led to problems in my marriage. That year, everything just fell apart that year, Zephan. I couldn’t even open a bank account in my name because IRS would take the money out as soon as I put it in.
It was that bad. In the middle of that year, I had one of those come to Jesus conversations where you just sit out and you talk to yourself and you’re like “What is going on?” I had a long conversation, long thought, meditation, whatever you want to call it, a prayer. I realized that if things are going to change, I had to do something about them.
I wasn’t going to win the lottery even though I was playing. I wasn’t going to get an inheritance from a long lost relative because none of my relatives had money. The only way that this was going to happen is if I was proactive and I went out there and I took charge. That’s what I did. I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I went to Half Price Books to get some inspiration and it just so happened that right there in the shelf, I saw this book called ‘48 Days to the Work You Love’ by a man named Dan Miller. I’m like “48 days to the work you love, that’s me.” I want to be in my job 48 days, not realizing that the book is not about literally leaving your job in 48 days but that book helped me get that necessary mindset shift.
To switch from always doubting and having these self-limiting beliefs and doubting myself and doubting what’s possible, to see that there is a possibility for me to radically change my life if I was willing to do what it takes. It took the rest of that year to figure out what do I really want to do in life and I came back to the thing that I had loved so long ago, which was writing.
I honestly wanted to be a writer. I self-published a book that year in 2011 because I didn’t understand the marketing or internet stuff, the book flopped. It sold 5 copies in six months. Three of those were to friends, which was at the time, it was irritating. Looking back at it now, it’s funny. I wasn’t going to give up at that point, so 2012 I decided to research and understand what does it take to build a lifestyle business.
In 2012, it was a year of massive action. I wrote just blogs because I didn’t have any website traffic of my own. I figured if I write for other people’s blogs that have traffic and they link back to mine, I’m going to get some traffic. That year, I ended up having 60 guest blogs go live on various blogs, all the way as big as Michael Hyatt, all the way down to a blogger that you probably have never even heard of. It was a lot of post. I got on 80 different podcasts that year just sharing my story. I did horror requests. I did any way that I could find to get exposure, I did.
I spoke at my library. I was everywhere. I was hustling. By the end of that year, the result was I ended up getting half a million visitors to my website that year. I self-published a second book and I ended up selling about 40,000 copies of both books. I got some opportunities to come speak. I remember my very first speaking gig was at this social media event in Huntington, West Virginia. I remember I got off stage. The talk wasn’t that great. I wasn’t that great. Let’s just be honest. It sucked. I think it’s on Youtube somewhere, so don’t look for it.
I remember getting off stage and the conference organizer was there and she’s like “Here you go.” She handed me a check. It was for $125. That covered my travel and gave me $125 bucks. To me that $125 felt like it was a million bucks. I’m like “Look I got paid to speak like I’m a paid speaker.” It was a wonderful moment. By the end of 2012, I had a business that was consistently bringing in about 5-grand a month. We used all the money from the book sales to pay down the debt.
We paid down a very good chunk of that debt with the money from two self-published books. I quit my day job at the end of 2012. I gave the business to a friend of mine who is still doing it today and he’s thriving in it. He’s a lot better than I am at it and he enjoys it. That’s great. I left and I started pursuing my dream of being a writer, speaker/lifestyle entrepreneur full time. In 2013, 2014 those were really building years and I built this business. And in 2014, we wanted to fulfill one of our lifelong dreams of moving from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to our dream destination of Maili, Hawaii. We made that move about 18 months ago.
Then come 2015—as if I haven’t been rambling enough—come 2015, I had the cool experience of being on Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn in January of this year. Ever since that happened, things just went haywire. The business went from a decent business that was probably consistent in the 8-grand a month range to being in the 15-grand to $20,000 a month range with the different opportunity to sell. That show was a blessing to be on. In the last few months here, through the publications that I write for that you’ve mentioned, I just started to have some conferences and a few companies reached out and say “Hey, would you mind expanding upon what you’ve written about and come train on it at our company.”
Hence me leaving in a few hours to go to Israel, France and Egypt and I get to go train at some cool company that’s there. Here I am today. I’m living my dream life. I travel. I write. I’m the author of four books. I get to be there. I have flexibility where I get to be there for my kids and be there for everything in their life. I love this life.
Zephan: First, I have to say thank you because the fact that you’re getting ready to hop on a plane in a little bit here shows to me that you really took some time out of your day and I know that you’re super busy. First, thanks so much for spending that time with me. I think a big question that came up for me in all of this was why do you think people let it go so far to the point where whether they’ve gained weight or have gone into so much debt.
For me as someone who has 0 debt, has never had debt, it’s a scary thing. Even $5,000 or $10,000 in debt and I’d probably be freaking out, let alone over $100,000. What do you think it is that people are waiting so long to start fixing things? How do we create that turning point if we’ve dug ourselves such a big hole?
Kimanzi: I think that it works in the same way that it would work the other way. Let’s say you wanted to pay down the debt. The way that you would do that is unless you got an inheritance or won the lottery, you’d probably be doing that over time. If you wanted to lose weight, the way that you do that is you would have to do it incrementally over time.
I think that’s how a situation like that happens in our life. It happens over time and incrementally. That first year, getting the tax bill. A good year, $75,000 in income and they get a tax about the end of the year because you’re not paying quarterlies and everything else. Getting the tax bill for 10-grand. You’re like “I don’t have 10-grand. Where is that going to come from?” You just put it off and say “Okay I’ll pay that mid next year,” then it doesn’t happen. Incrementally over time, it doesn’t seem like it’s that big or daunting at the time and you put it in the back burner or maybe you’ll chip away at it.
Maybe you’ll pay a thousand dollars towards it and you’ll feel good because you’re like “Oh I made a little bit of progressing,” not realizing that the interest alone on that debt to the government is going to eat you alive. I think it’s a combination of it adds up incrementally. The interest doesn’t help from the government. Let’s say even if it was weight loss or weight gain. If it was weight gain, you start off with just bad habits. I think that’s the key right there.
You saw, how do you avoid getting there? I think it’s creating good habits in your life. Time and time again, that’s what I’ve seen because you can lose weight really quickly and probably not keep it off. Maybe you can, maybe you can’t but if you make your health like a lifestyle habit where your food choices, exercise. If that’s a habit that’s in your life, it keeps you from getting to that place. When it comes to counteracting all of that, you really have to have good habits in your life, whether it’s your house, whether it’s your mind, whether it’s your finances. Habits I think are the key.
Zephan: Absolutely, as we end off a year here and going into a new year, I’m sure a lot of people are going to be having that on their mind as far as building these new and healthy habits to keep them going throughout the year. I’ve been following you on social media. I saw an awesome post the other day of this video of you just sitting in a beach chair in the water with a laptop in your lap doing some work and you have really created an amazing freedom lifestyle but lifestyle that allows you such an awesome business.
Do you think that this is completely attainable for pretty much anybody? If so, where can they figure out what that passion is? You went back to what did you really love as a kid growing up. Is it possible for everyone? How do they figure out what they should be doing?
Kimanzi: Yeah, definitely. For those of you that are friends with Zephan and I saw that because I got a little flak for that video. People are telling me that this is one of those make money online. When you Google that, you’ll see. That video was part of a larger video that we have a kickstarter campaign launched, Jared Easley and I.
That video was just one snippet from a really large video. Is this attainable for anybody that wants to do this? Yes. I started this in 2011. I didn’t even own a laptop in 2011 Zephan. I didn’t own one. I didn’t touch it. I didn’t understand how to use it. I wasn’t on social media until June of 2011. I didn’t know anything about any of this stuff because I was a blue collar guy who worked with my hands.
I even tell when people would text me, I would say “Why are you texting me you weirdo? Call me.” I didn’t even do the texting. That’s how ingrained it was in me. When the first time I looked at WordPress, I honestly thought it was alien. I’m like “What is this? I can’t do this.” You learn once you have that passion, and I’m glad you brought that up because there’s been a lot of people that have said “Pursuing your passion is dumb,” or “Passion is dumb.”
I’ve seen a lot of that talk. Here’s the thing. if you don’t have a passion for what you’re doing, you can do it for a while but you’ll eventually burn out. I have people all the time that will shoot me a message saying “Hey I want to speak all over the world and I want to write for this and do that,” and I’ll say “Okay. How do you feel about writing?”
“Well writing isn’t my favorite thing.” Then they’ll do it and I’ll give them some tasks. Go write a few articles. After about a month or two of trying to do this, they’ll say “Man the writing feels like pulling teeth. I just can’t do it. Is there something else,” because they don’t have a passion for it. If you don’t have that passion, the passion is really what’s going to drive you past the times when you fail, the times when you want to give up, the times where you feel stressed like you can’t do this.
The passion is really what drives you so I’m glad you really brought that up. I would tell you, get honest with yourself. What is it that you’ve always wanted to do with your life? Some people might have several passions. I know a lot of people that way. Honestly, the only real way to know is to test. Before I ever wrote, I said that I’ve spent that year trying to figure out it out 2011. I thought I was going to be event planner. I had the chance to plan my sister’s wedding and it was disaster and not because I was a disaster but the experience of going through that and realizing what an event planner should do and realizing that’s not for me.
I’m an introvert. I can’t do that. Then trying out multi-level work, telemarketing and four or five other things just testing them out, to be able to come back and land on it. What do I really want to do? if you have several passions, it might mean testing those out and seeing what you really want to do but it starts with getting honest for yourself.
If somebody wanted to do this like a lifestyle business, the cool thing is that there’s a lot of good and bad information out there that can you teach how to do this. Honestly, in its simplest form, it’s creating a home base like a website where you’re going to blog, you podcast, you make videos. You have some place where you have ongoing content or you add value to people. You have things that you sell. Information, products or courses or books, some people will go and they’ll speak. Some people will coach and consult. There’s a lot of options there for you.
We live in a time where there’s billions of people on social media. There’s billions of people logging. There’s 2.5 billion people logging on to the internet every day. If you ever wanted to create a business, whether it’s online or offline, there’s never been such a targeted customer base in one place. Can you do it? Absolutely you can do it. I was a bread guy from Wisconsin so I’m pretty confident you can do it.
Zephan: That’s awesome and especially to hear it from you. I’ve been following some of your journey since we first met this past summer and it’s just been so great to see someone really make it happen and really be truthful on all of it. There’s full transparency.
We see what you’re doing, we know how many words you’re writing a day and we’re seeing the work that gets put into it. It’s not just sitting on the beach. We’re really seeing the whole thing. Thank you so much for being transparent and showing the full story and proving to everyone that if you want it bad enough, you can definitely make it happen. I guess I have to ask going into all of this, did you have any fears that could’ve held you back?
If so, what were they and how did you crush those because clearly you’re killing it now.
Kimanzi: Yeah, I think it’s the overall fear of that a lot of people have and that I still struggle with sometime and I think that’s imposter syndrome. When I first started doing this, I’m a bread guy from Wisconsin. Who am I going to be to teach anybody about personal development?
Then when I published my second book which was called “Are you Living or Existing,” and I put that out there talking about these major changes that I want to make in my life but I had not done them yet. I told the reader that “Hey I’m taking you on this journey with me.” The very first review that came in for that book, the person you could still see it on Amazon. The person went, it was like a tirade. This guy’s an imposter. This guy is a loser bread guy. Who is he to tell anybody anything?
It just fed into all the doubt, and fear and self-limited beliefs I had, just that imposter syndrome and that fear that I would never overcome feeling like an imposter. It took a long time to get over that and it took a long time to realize that. This isn’t about me. I’m doing this to help people. I’m doing this to help the working man and woman and if I was going to help them, I had to take the focus off of myself and had to focus on them and how I could help them. Instead of thinking about me or being the imposter, I started getting hardcore into the research and how can I help them, how can I add value to them? What’s really going to help them and that’s what I focused on.
Then I realized too, you’ve got to do the work anyways. No matter how you feel, you’ve just got to do I because ultimately doing the work, the hustle, all that is what makes you successful and what helps you get progress. No matter what I was struggling with, I realized I’m just going to do the work anyways and that’s going to best thing. I didn’t fear entrepreneurship because I was already an entrepreneur, not a very successful one but I was already entrepreneur.
The thing that you always fear I think in entrepreneurship is the sporadic income. Some ones are great. You’re living steak and lobster and then other ones, you’re eating ramen noodles and drinking water. There are ways to combat that to help it keep it more steady but at first before I understood any of that, it was the highs and lows of it and the fear like “I’m not going to make any money next month. I’m going to be broke. I’ll have to go back to a job.” Overcoming that fear and really figuring out how to strategically plan in the business.
Zephan: Very cool. I think that part of entrepreneurship and just going on this journey is fear because it’s the unknown. You’re setting into a place that you’ve never gone before and I think that it would be wrong if you didn’t feel some whether it was anxiety or feeling hesitant to take the leap.
I think it just means that you’re doing something bigger than what you’ve ever done before. I’d love to hear a little bit before we wrap up just about stop chasing influencers and what that dives into, and then share with everyone a little bit of info of how they could find more information about you and keep track of what you’re doing.
Kimanzi: Stop Chasing Influencers is my second traditionally published book. I co-wrote it with Jared Easley who is the co-founder of Podcast Movement, the conference where Zephan and I met, and a lot of other podcasters that listen to this, I’m sure. We wrote this book. It was about a little over a year ago that Jared and I were talking about how do you build this a lifestyle/online business and some of the things that we saw today.
One of the things that we saw that just really didn’t work as well as it used to was trying to connect with an influencer in the hopes that they’ll give you a shout out or give your business a shout out and bring some exposure your way. Then we start talking about what does actually work today. Not the hype, not the fluff, not the things that are designed to sell you on a course or program but what actually works. Jared said “Hey we should write a book about this.” I said “Okay, I’m the writer. Sounds like a plan.”
We started outlining this book and the first half of the book, Stop Chasing Influencers, the message is not that you’re never going to have heroes because I have heroes. I’m a huge Gary V fan. I’m a big Dan Miller fan, I’m a big Malcolm Gladwell fan. If I saw him, I’d be a fanboy. The difference is you don’t want to chase them. You don’t want to come at them expecting that they’re going to do something for your business. If you want to connect with a hero, somebody that you really respect because you want to make that connection and you expect nothing else, I think that’s great and I think that’s cool. I think people can sense when you want to connect with them and when you want something from them.
We all have that sense. When you sense that somebody wants something from you, it’s not really a good feeling. The books says “Hey don’t chase anyone. You can build your dream/business on your own and then this is how to do it.” The first half of the book is it’s all about dealing with those mindset, traps and self-limiting police and breaking through and realizing that you have everything inside you to do this. Then the second half of the book is all strategy. How you’d write for large publications, start a successful podcast, book paid speaking, book paid consulting, get on TV, successfully self-publish a book.
We’re really going through a lot of very specific how-to strategies in the second half of that book that anybody could read it and they could away from it and they can start implementing it right away. The book comes out in January, no official launch date but sometime later in January is when the book is going to come out and be in bookstores everywhere. Very excited about that and I think that’s a message that’s needed and I hope that the book is going to help some people.
If you want to find out more, you could head to stopchasinginfluencers.com and you can see it there. If you want to find out what I’m up to, you could head to kimanziconstable.com, that’s K-I-M-A-N-Z-I C-O-N-S-T-A-B-L-E. Google Kimanzi Constable. Believe it or not Zephan, I’ve misspelled my name plenty of times on interviews. You can go kimanziconstable.com and you can find out what I’m up to and a bunch of other things there.
Zephan: Very cool. Safest bet is to Google your name to find that website just in case. Awesome, and so you are heading out in just a few hours here to some crazy awesome trip and it’s all been part of building this business up and really stepping into who you are now. It’s so great to see that happen for you and thank you so much for sharing your story with everybody.
Kimanzi, you have safe travels and definitely would love to stay in touch with you.
Kimanzi: Absolutely. Thanks for having me and if you’re listening to this, the one thing I would tell you is I started this journey in 2011. We’re here in 2015. Four years later, I’m an overnight success.
Zephan: That’s awesome.
Kimanzi: That’s exactly how that works. I don’t want you to hear a 30 minute podcast interview and think that just happened overnight because it didn’t. It takes years and it takes a lot of hard work.
Zephan: Yeah, definitely man. Thanks so much for sharing your story. Safe travels and we’ll keep in touch.