YOP094: Life on Fire with Nick Unsworth

By February 23, 2018 Podcast Episode No Comments

Bio: I’m an entrepreneur & Social Media Pro that’s here to help make your life easier. I’m here to share all of the education and resources that I’ve learned in social media & online marketing so that you can create a tribe of raving fans, followers, and customers that buy everything you sell.

Wouldn’t it be nice if prospects & customers called YOU? Also, wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to spend money to get them to call you!?

So as you may have guessed…social media is the answer to that problem. However, what I’ve found is that many people are left feeling overwhelmed by the sea of information about social media and just don’t know where to start or what to do. That’s where my NickUnsworth.com blog comes into play.

The purpose of my blog is to help get you on the right track so that you can take advantage of this incredible wave of opportunity that social media represents.


I’ve got a unique Generation X perspective coupled with 9 years of experience networking and building a clientele base. I’ve taken all of these experiences and weaved them into the high level online & social media marketing training that I received.

Also, I’m an avid networker / connector and always have my head on a swivel to connect my new friends to other contacts that I have.


To live every minute of my life with purpose and to help inspire those around me to pursue their dreams.


Zephan: What’s going on everyone? This is Zephan Blaxberg, and I have mister Life On Fire himself. Nick Unsworth in the house coming to you live from California. So awesome to have you here Nick. I have been following you for quite a long time, and you’re just so motivational and inspirational. Thank you so much for spending some time with me today.

Nick: Awesome man! Well, I am fired up to be here. I love what you got going on, and congrats on all the success. Yeah man, I’m just fired up to dive in, you know?

Zephan: Yeah, you run Life On Fire, and this is something that so many people want, right? I was stuck in my life, and that’s where I kind of started the whole Year of Purpose Podcast, and this idea of Life Re-Scripted. I bet you can relate to being stuck and just not totally sure where you want to go.

What was that like for you when you were first starting your businesses and just getting started up front?

Nick: What I would say, ever since I was a little kid, I always knew exactly where I wanted to be, you know? I was always the dreamer. I was always so fixated on this thought of just living a Life On Fire: where I love what I do for work, where I was making a difference helping people, making a great living.

What really sucked is that for so many years there was so many challenges along the way. Things weren’t easy, and it was like just constantly battling through challenges. I had failed multiple times, near bankruptcy twice, but it was just like the thing that continued to propel me through everything was just never losing sight of the dream. Every time when people were like “Man, why don’t you just quit” or “Why don’t you be more like your brother” or “Just get a job.” It was just like I allowed that stuff to fire me up and fuel me, and I always knew that.

After reading enough books, every entrepreneur has a story, and every entrepreneur has to fail at X amount of businesses. For some, the X value may be zero. Some people just hit it out of the park in the beginning, and those are the people that you’re like “Wow.” They built this big tech company or something. You know, other people it’s like—for me, I had to fail at eleven businesses. I just knew that eventually I would make it. I had enough belief in myself just knowing that—I hope it’s not when I’m forty. I just knew eventually I would make it, and, in my head, I was fixated on selling a business by thirty-years-old.

For years, I always wanted to do that, and, sure enough, it happened by that time. I wish I picked twenty-three-years-old, you know what I mean? It was always just knowing that I had to just basically fail forward fast, and just get through enough of these failures. Then, eventually, I would find my rhythm and find what I’m really here, meant to do.

Zephan: I like what you said about kind of using what people said as fuel for the fire. It reminds me of this time where were out boating, you know, family vacation. There’s this huge cliff, maybe fifty, sixty feet up, and we see people jumping off of it. My dad turns to me, and I’m fifteen, sixteen, whatever, he’s like “I bet you won’t do that.” I’m one of those people where it’s like if you say I can’t do something, watch.

Nick: Oh yeah.

Zephan: I was like out of the boat without a life jacket before he even finished his sentence, climbing up, jumped off the cliff. First time I’ve ever gone cliff jumping.

I think that is such a great tool. Use the haters and use the naysayers and the people talking under their own limitations to fuel your own fire, right?

Nick: It’s kind of like the you won’t do it—like when someone says “You won’t do it.” It’s like “Oh yeah? I’ll jump off that cliff,” or “I’ll find a way to succeed.” That concept of like—as entrepreneurs, we have to finds ways to motivate us, which why all this—I was actually more driven to prove people wrong than I was to prove myself right. It’s pretty wild that sometimes we have to know what fuels us. One of the hardest things for most entrepreneurs is actually finding the deep-rooted motivation to do the thins necessary to actually be successful.

Because, when you look at most entrepreneurs and you look at what they’re doing, and why don’t they have the dream that they want to have, or why are they still working fifteen-hour workdays, and they’re not where they want to be. It’s because they’re not actually doing the things necessary, the proper producing activities, to get them to where they want to go. And why not is because, yeah they want to be an entrepreneur, yeah they dreamed about it. They have all these thoughts and visions, but they’re not either truly connected with their deeper purpose that’s pulling them through.

What I find is that it’s so interesting that—until you have that deeper sense of motivation, it’s like you’re pushing and pushing and pushing as an entrepreneur. You’re relying on discipline, stamina, and willpower, so go, go, go versus when you connect to your entire business to a greater purpose that’s bigger than you. It’s like Tony Robbins always says “That will literally pull you through.” Pull you through the challenges; pull you through all the things that you have to do.

Zephan: It’s almost kind of like being, you know when you jump on a surfboard and you’ve got to paddle out through waves, and the waves keep crashing into you. Once you figure out that meaning behind it, you’ve turned around, you’ve stood up on the board and the wave just kind of carries you were you want to go.

Nick: That’s good! I like that.

Zephan: It’s so true. Once you kind of open yourself up to this possibility of where you want to go because so many people are like “Oh, I can never do that, but that’s what I want to do.” Once you realize that, when you ask the world for this, it’s going to give it to you. Man, that’s where that wave just really carries you. I’ve seen it in my own life.

I mean, I started a business at sixteen. It was just a crappy computer repair business. My mom and dad had to drive me around to people’s houses to fix computers. Of course it failed because I just wasn’t in it. You know?

Nick: Yeah.

Zephan: I started my video business two years ago, and most entrepreneurs fail within the first year, and made it through the first year. Most who make it past the first year, fail in the second year!

Nick: Yeah. You know what’s cool? What I love about you is you got a coach, and you invested in yourself, and now look at where things are going. That’s the one thing, if I could change anything, it’s like—I got a coach when I hit thirty.

Yeah, I sold a business by thirty, but I was completely unhappy and unfulfilled because it’s not all about the money. I knew it wasn’t about the money, but that was like I spent, invested all of my twenties. I sacrificed so much: vacations, relationships, you name it. By the time I actually did it was like, man, sweet. I have a view; I’ve got a beautiful place; I’ve got nice stuff. But, I was single. The business had no meaning at that point, and—then I brought, got the coach, and it’s like—when I just think about with your story I think for you getting the coach, it’s like that will help you see things on a bigger level and then grow so much faster. And not be one of the 5% that actually makes it. It’s like getting into—instead of 95% fail, it’s like—with a coach, you just flip the script. You know?

Zephan: Yeah. It’s so interesting to hear how transparent you are in your story that eleven businesses. Right? It was eleven?

Nick: Yeah.

Zephan: This is not something that happens overnight despite what so many people see just because, they just see our on-line presence. They find our website. They are like “Oh man, this guy just woke up one day, and it worked.” It didn’t. That’s not how it works.

So, I’m curious to hear from you—what was, maybe, your hardest point in leading up to thirty? What was the biggest obstacle that hit you, and just totally caught you off guard?

Nick: I would say that out of all the—and I have a lot like train-wreck, bad business things that just totally kept screwing up. I had a pattern of feeling like I needed a business partner. I had gotten taken advantage of so many different times, where I was the workhorse, I was the idea guy, but I always felt that I needed someone else. I never had the full confidence to do it all on my own, and every single time I got just screwed. You know, workhorse. Did all the work, and then I reaped very little of the benefits. Every time we ended up—the partner somehow would end up kind of screwing things up, and—so that was just a constant pattern, so, finally, I created a business call the New Perks card.

This was after real estate crash. I was in real estate—I literally got into real estate right as it crashed. Imagine this timing. I moved to San Diego to get into real estate, to work on a big project with a friend, and two weeks after I get to San Diego, that’s when the meltdown happened in the economy. Just think of that timing! Of just—like literally the entire meltdown happens. And that project ended up totally being awful.

So, I come back to Connecticut, and I was like “You know what? I just need to do something on my own, no partners, and I need to do something that’s going to be meaningful, that’s going to help people.” So I come up with this concept where there is a card that was the size, I think of like a business card size, and it was called the New Perks card. It folded out like an accordion, so think of a business card that folds out, so it had a couple of different flaps to it. That card had discounts to about forty-five local businesses in the town that I lived in, in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Imagine how tough it is to go into a business and get them to give you half off a bottle of wine every Tuesday for the next twelve months when someone shows this card. Because they are like “Who are you? Why would I put that discount on the card?” So I had to create the vision of the New Perks card. We are going to have forty-five businesses in West Hartford. When someone buys the card for twenty dollars, ten is going to go to charity. You are being a part of something that’s charitable, and then the other ten is going to go to advertising.

I was like, my marketing plan includes on-line marketing, and I had this whole platform. And I said “We will literally have thousands of these cards in circulation. For the restaurants, I was like, listen “If you have—are you busy on Mondays and Tuesdays?” “No.” I’m like “Okay, perfect. If we get foot traffic on Mondays and Tuesdays, and they come in with the New Perks card, and they get half off of a bottle of wine, you think they are going to buy appetizers and food?” They’re like “Yeah!” I had to create the vision. I had to sell all these businesses on the card and have agreements. It was very challenging, but I was so driven because I wanted there to be—

What I had attached to is the fact that if I could get thousands of these cards in circulation, and then when someone buys card twenty bucks, half the money would go to charity, but the thing was, it wasn’t my charity. It wasn’t what I was passionate about. Do you ever see people that do the walk for breast cancer? They do the walk for whatever cause.

Zephan: Yeah.

Nick: Well, people are always asking their friends for money, but there’s not a value exchange. If more of a “Hey, do you mind just giving money for this cause because I have a family member that’s ill.” Now, of course we all feel like we want to support our friends. We fell awful about whatever their going through, but I was—there has to be a better way. What if there’s a value exchange? Instead of saying “Hey friends and family, would you just support this cause that’s important to me. Would you support this cause, but here’s this new perks card that you’ll save hundreds of dollars throughout the year. Whether it be at a restaurant, grocery store, dry cleaning, jewelry store.”

The cool thing is that people loved it. People wanted to buy it, and it got them thinking giving because they had to choose where the donation would go to. Now, it wasn’t what I was making them donate to, it was their choice. I negotiated with all these big non-profits: Heart Associations, Make a Wish. These organizations, it’s like I was trying to just give them money, but they were all skeptical. It took me months to allow me to give you money. I mean, crazy. I couldn’t use their logos on the site, nothing. They didn’t want to have any—you know? But I was like “Can I just send you check?” I’m going to put you in a drop-down menu when they check out. “No logo, I just want to give you money.”

So long story short, I create this whole business, and my vision was that this would help me build my brand. So, what’s in it for me is I would build my brand. I would do something good, and I was a realtor at the time, so I would be the person that everyone would know. Imagine in your town, you walk down the main street with all the cool restaurants, and there’s this like diamond that says “We proudly support the new perks cards of West Hartford.” I had these decals made for all windows, and everyone’s just like “Wow! This is cool. What’s this perks card?” It was super cool, and then it took off.

Everyone was loving it. I’m on TV. I’m in all the papers. What was cool is that this was like a business in a box. I was going to take it and then just sell little mini franchises to realtors throughout Keller Williams real estate across the country. It’s taking off. I’ve become a top producing realtor. Everyone’s thinking “Holy crap! Unsworth finally is doing it. He’s finally made it.” Sure enough, everything is going good, and then all the sudden people start saying things like “You’ve got to go to the next level. You’ve got to hire an advertising agency. You’ve got something here. You struck gold!” I’m like “All right,” and all the local business says “You’ve got to go to this one particular company.” I was like “All right, I’ll check them out.”

I went there, and I had my marketing plan just written out, it’s about eight pages or so. I go in there with it, and it’s all grass roots. It’s all word of mouth. It’s all gorilla marketing and online marketing. Now that I had some money I could put into ads. They say—they literally took it. Imagine in a swivel chair, the guy like we sit face-to-face, and the guy spins around, and just dumps it right in the trash, literally. “We won’t be needing this anymore.” I’m Like “What kind of a-hole does that?” You know what I mean? “You didn’t even read it.” He’s just like “We know what to do, and you need to be a, you need to do TV commercials.”

Long story short. They just say that that’s the only way. You got to do TV commercials, and advertise at the six-o’clock spot where the news is, and I’m thinking “This is crazy.” Isn’t it expensive for TV commercials? Isn’t it not targeted? Like whose ever is sitting in front of the TV. Six o’clock news—think of the demographics. Six o’clock evening news, that’s like anybody could be in front of that. At least for a show, if you were to advertise to someone that’s watching the X-Games, you could market energy drinks. The news is like—anybody, right? Except for kids. That doesn’t seem targeted. I was like “Why would we advertise to the entire state of Connecticut? My card is only good in West Hartford.” People aren’t going to drive two hours to save 10% on their dry cleaning. They are not going drive two hours for a free appetizer.

It didn’t make sense. I didn’t trust my gut. I just—they were so—we combated with it. They were like “we have your best interest in mind.” I said “you know what? Maybe this is why I’ve been failing. Maybe I just need to get out of my own way. Maybe I need to let the pros do it.” I decided to do it. I spent ten thousand dollars for a fifteen-second animated commercial. You would die if you saw this thing. I can actually send you a link. You may have to put this in the notes or something. It’s fifteen seconds, and it’s a little animation. It’s ten thousand dollars. You would just—we could probably make that on Fiverr for five bucks.

I do that, and they—I have this whole party. I’ve got people at my place. I’m living in a dump: no kitchen cabinets, old yellow nasty looking counter tops, just a rugged area of town. Have people over. Popping bottles of wine. We’re all excited. The commercial is coming. It’s 5:57. Three more minutes, it’s coming. Watch the commercial. We’re like “Wow!” Fifteen seconds go by, and I’m thinking “This is going to be great!” I go to my authorized.net merchant account. Wait a few minutes. Nothing. Go back an hour later. Nothing. I’m like “Oh crap!” I’m freaking out. It must be broken. It has to be broken. Has to be.

Because the ad set cost me ten grand a week, and I’m thinking I’m going to bring in thousands, right? Sure enough, it’s not broken. Out of a total investment of thirty thousand dollars, guess how much money I made back? In card—total gross card sales.

Zephan: Oh man, I don’t even think you broke even. From what I heard.

Nick: Okay. Breakeven would be, let’s say thirty grand.

Zephan: Yeah.

Nick: I had gross sales of two hundred and eighty bucks.

Zephan: Wow!

Nick: Half of that money went to charity. A hundred and forty dollars was my money back, and it was devastating. You know what I mean? I put so much into the business. I didn’t have money to build it, so I had some credit card debt going on. That pounded me into credit card debt, and it was devastating.

I’m freaking out with the advertising company. “Turn it off! Turn it off!” They’re like “We never had someone quit this fast.” I’m like “Dude! I’m not—I can’t blow thirty grand and make two, make a hundred and forty dollars. That’s insane.” They were like “You need to just do it more. It’s about frequency and branding.”

I kill that. Then what was wild is the traffic kept coming, and I’m freaking out. Saying like “I thought I said to turn it off. Why are you still advertising?” They assured me that they weren’t. A few days later, I found out that I had actually ranked on the first page of Google, unexpectedly. While it wasn’t converting because it’s marketing all over the state, it only made sense in my town, but what percentage of people were in my town? What was happening is I was getting all this traffic, but it wasn’t relevant. The offer wasn’t relevant.

Long story short is because I ran ads, and this is back in 2008, Google’s algorithm just proceeded to be valuable because of all the traffic. Then I actually got it to rank in the first page of Google, accidentally. I’m like “Wow!” Think of how that awful situation, instead of it being this is going to ruin my life, it was “Wow!” What’s the positive? Every single time I’ve failed, I always took it in stride. I always was excited. Now I know not to do that, and now I know every single challenge I always pulled out the positive, so the positive was “Holy crap! Look at what happens on Google. Look at what happens with this traffic that I paid thirty grand for. You know it’s not converting, but imagine if I had an offer that was.

Fast forward. I’m all—I’m still excited. People are still loving the cards. I go into my real estate office, and I get this letter. I’ve got the West Hartford news coming in for a meeting in the morning, and that’s my first meeting of the day. I open up this package, and open the package, it’s a freaking lawsuit. It’s a cease and desist from a big national eight-figure business, eight or even nine-figure business that said I had just ripped off their trademark. I was obviously devastated from that too.

I get this package. I got the West Hartford news in the office, and I’m like “Oh my god! How am I going to put on a happy face right now?” Then I call them up, and long story short, is they are coming after me with full legal team. They’re like “Mister Unsworth, we need to speak to your legal department.” Legal department!

Zephan: Speaking.

Nick: Dude, I’m twenty-six at the time. I’m so far in debt right now, I don’t have a nickel you can take. This is to benefit charity. Give me a little slack. Why? There’s nothing—this is a little small concept in one town, and they did employee benefits for corporations. Had nothing to do—not the same perks. Long story short is they came after me full-fledged, and what really stunk about it is that I asked my attorney to do a name search, which he did incorrectly. Because he was my real estate attorney, we didn’t have an agreement, so I had no recourse.

Think about who you hire, and getting stuff for free is not always the best. That advice from him ruined me. Then the advertising company that I asked about trademarking, they said “No, wait until you prove the concept.” I learned a big lesson about trademarking, and I’ll never forget it, and that lesson—I always, no matter what your name is, it’s like USPTO.gov, you have to search trademarks because you can build a business, and it could be gone [snaps] like that. That business got destroyed because of that. Within—it was a simple a receiving a packet in the mail. Within two weeks, it was—website was gone. If I had distributed anything, I was going to be sued to the fullest. You know, damages, everything.

The silver lining, once that business got leveled, was “Wow! Think about the power of online marketing. It was at that time and I said “All these local businesses recommended these knuckle heads,” and that’s who they think is good. I said “There’s got to be a better way.” I went another twenty grand into debt learning online marketing, Facebook advertising, and I said “What if I become someone that goes back to these same businesses and says ‘Do you think that these guys are good? They just lost all of my money. What if I could help you create advertising that made you money?'” Because what was normal was advertising for branding and then losing all your money, and I said “You know what? What about advertising and making the cash flow? If you put in a thousand buck, what if you made four thousand back?” That was revolutionary.

No one was making that, and that’s what I built my entire business on. That would have never happened if I wasn’t just failing forward fast, turning over stones. The moral of the story is sometimes you just have to go, have to pick something, have to do, and when you always have that mentality to look for the positive, you can always find your next move, and it only takes a handful of those moves to where you finally get into that sweet spot where you love what you do. Then money just attracts to you so much easier.

Zephan: It’s amazing to see where you are now because I love what you do. I’m very passionate about the changes that you’re creating in the world. I guess I just have to ask you, what does Life On Fire mean to you? Because so many people think they’re living. Until they kind of sit back and look at like, what is my life? That’s what I had to do. I had to literally script out what does my life look like, and what is it that I want? Just curious to hear your perspective on what is Life On Fire?

Nick: Yeah, what I love is that it’s—the definition can be unique to every single person in what’s important to them, but to me a Life On Fire is—it’s a life where I just love what I’m doing for work every single day. If you think about it, we spend more time working than any other task. More than—more time with your family. More time with friends. More time than you sleep. That’s what defines us. That’s the legacy that we’re building, so for me it’s—to love what I do for work, but if my work can impact others and make a difference, and if I can leverage my business to create cash flow that I can give back, I can make a difference in this world.

Now, the best part is if I can build up a business that gives back, and that if I can inspire other entrepreneurs to build a business and give back, my Life On Fire is thinking about, I’m creating this big massive ripple effect. Where if I can, over my lifetime, let’s say I donate ten million bucks in my lifetime, and that creates schools and orphanages and all kinds of cool stuff. But if I inspire a hundred entrepreneurs over my lifetime, where they each maybe give back a million dollars, you can see how that starts to just impact. It’s every single person that I work with, we always—part of what defines who we work with is based around the values of Life On Fire, which is making your money matter, making a difference with how you work, and I call it prospering with purpose because when you have purpose behind your business, that’s bigger than you, you’re going to be motivated, you’re going to excel, you’re going to attract people to the business.

Plus you’re just—what I realized is I made a bunch of money when I sold my business, but it’s for what? It didn’t matter. As soon as you have the mentality that you’re going to have a for purpose business, everything shifts. What’s cool is that, that’s, in my head, my Life On Fire is building that movement, and creating that tribe of clients that are out making a difference, but that’s one piece. That’s my career.

Outside of that, my Life On Fire is waking next to the woman of my dreams. To be able to wake up with her, pray, meditate, go walk on the beach for an hour before we start our day. To just own my life. To be madly in love. To have fun. To be able to do weekend getaway trips and not have to feel like I’m chained to a job, so I’ve got a level of time freedom where—as entrepreneurs it’s our choice on how we live. A lot of entrepreneurs, they build themselves a job. They build themselves so many walls where it’s like “I’ve got to work fourteen hours a day.” No you don’t.

If you’ve ever been on vacation, how much do you get done before that vacation. I challenge my clients and I challenge you, everybody right now to take an extra day off. I don’t schedule anything on Fridays. Fridays are just additional days that I have off. You find a way to get more done in less time, so it’s about having that enjoyment, and it’s really, when you think about it, that the old way of thinking, in my opinion, is to spend all your time and energy working towards this end destination. That’s what I did before when I sold the business at thirty.

What I realized is that it’s about the destination, it’s about loving what you do every single day. That’s what drives meaning and happiness and fulfillment. The people who have regret in life are the ones that spent all energy working towards retirement. Then they retire and they have no purpose. Or someone that wants to sell the business and make money, then they do, and they have no purpose. It’s like when you love what you do every day, you have meaning, and then if you create abundance in your business, you can take that. You can give back. You can have time freedom. Have time for friends, family, and love and all that good stuff. I just think of it as living to the fullest to your potential, and looking fear in the face, going straight at it, each and every single day.

Zephan: That’s so awesome.

Nick: That was my short answer for it.

Zephan: Yeah. That’s the short one. The long one would be here until next week.

Nick: The long one man, that’s a whole another session.

Zephan: Next time, I will make sure that we can produce a documentary for you. I’ll come over. We’ll interview you for two weeks.

Nick: Hey, that would be awesome.

Zephan: I’ll follow you around on your crazy trips and your walks on the beach, and maybe we’ll make that happen. For right now I would love to give everybody—what’s a URL where they can check out everything you are doing? You also post these really great videos on Fridays that I’d love to kind of tell people about, so they can check those out too.

Nick: Yeah. What I would say is just connecting with us at lifeonfire.com. Basically, we publish our podcast there. We do that on Mondays with our Life On Fire TV podcast, so we have audio and video. Basically, the whole purpose of that is we want to have awesome free content that can help you live your Life On Fire. That’s everything from marketing to time management, to motivation, to interviewing awesome people.

Then, also, Fridays we have a thing called Pay It Forward Friday. Where we go out on camera and do random acts of kindness. We’ve got a big one coming up where I’m going to be giving away my car to someone who really, really, really needs it. That will be coming soon, but that’ll be fun.