Around 22 years of age, our next guest was making $50,000 – $60,000 per month. Then he had a quarter life crisis, shut it all down, and tried to figure out life for the next three months.

Since then he’s gone on to build and sell his second business, as well as create the wildly successful podcast, Think Different Theory.

He’s here to tell you the highs and lows of finding online success at such a young age, and how he views life differently now.

Please welcome Josh Forti.

Episode highlights:

  • 0:26 – Josh Forti’s background
  • 11:46 – Business Starts
  • 16:28 – Status on Social Media
  • 17:50 – Platforms
  • 26:29 – Acknowledge

Learn more about this guest:

Podcast Episode Transcripts:

Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.

Damon Burton learning from others today. Josh Forti. He’s super excited to talk with you, Josh. Thanks so much for jumping. Yeah. Damon, thanks so much for having me on. I’m excited. Yeah. Returning the favor here, jumped on the other side of the mic. This is cool. Um, so I’m going to let you like you’re into like so many things which, which we’ll get into, uh, I’m going to let you do the justice and intro yourself.  

Like, who are you? Why do we care? You know, give us a pitch, man. I tell ya. It’s always funny for me to do this because. Growing up. My parents always taught me, like, be humble. Don’t talk about yourself. Right. But others praise you. And then like half the podcasts and half the interviews that go on, everyone’s like, Brag about yourself and I’m like, go counterintuitive to what I grew up knowing I say these things to just bring credibility and differentiate from the fact that I actually know what I’m talking about.  

Um, versus everybody else not to say how great I am, because I think anybody can do it. But, uh, I’m a 25 year old entrepreneur. I’ve sold two companies, um, have grown and managed over 5 million followers on social media between Instagram and Facebook specifically. Um, we’ve done. Between my own success of closing deals for myself, my companies, and. 

Past businesses that I’ve worked for in sales, and then also student success, it’s over $5 million in sales, um, combined total. I mean, I’m not all directly responsible for that, but the programs and the, you know, the things that we’ve taught and done, it’s over 5 million in sales now. Um, and we’ve worked with some big clients, um, pretty much more, most of the upper staff at ClickFunnels, um, which is, you know, a hundred million dollar in 5,000 or 500 now I think company, um, We’ve done deals with grant Cardone, grant Cardone actually promoted our Instagram course on his website during the first 10 X growth con um, Ben featured in entrepreneur and a bunch of other cool like magazines and yeah, so the spiel, I mean, like I have some credibility, I know what I’m doing.  

Um, but uh, my, my jam is social media, specifically social media sales, um, and like designing sales processes for, uh, social audiences. Success is a weird thing, right? Like, just like you said, uh, you gotta be humble and, and, and even if it’s the reality of what you’ve accomplished, like, you can’t just say, this is what I’ve accomplished without sometimes sounding like a douche bag  

Right. It’s so difficult because like, it’s this weird balance. Cause like, in my, in my groove, right? Like when I go to my events where like, that’s my people, right. Um, I’m relatively well known. Right? So for me to say some of those things. Makes total sense there’s context around it. Right. And then people ask me, it’s also funny.  

Like, I’ll go out to dinner with my girlfriend and we’ll, you know, have dinner with someone that they’ve never met. And they’re like, so what do you do? And I’m like, all right, I’m a marketer. As they told me that, you know, that they’ve just graduated from college and that, you know, they’re $60,000 in debt and going to go be something that I think is completely stupid.  

Right. And like, it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. Not that I’m saying I’m better than them, but I’m like, I just, I default time just a marketer. It’s so, so this is so funny that we’re talking about this because the last thing I did before I went to bed last night is I’m talking to, um, uh, my wife’s nephew.  

And I don’t remember if we talked about him briefly at when, when you and I chat on your podcast, but he’s 18 fresh out of high school. And then like last, last year he says, Hey, I’m about to graduate. Um, And he’s talking to my wife. He goes, I don’t know what I want to do. And she goes, why don’t you talk to Damon?  

And so my wife told me that, so I hit him up and I said, well, let’s go do lunch. I’ll I’ll just puke on you. And I’ll say, here’s the pros and cons of everything and not guide you anywhere, but just like, say here’s all the options. And then let you decide. So after that conversation, he decides like, okay, um, College, nothing, nothing wrong with college, but it’s more for like, if you need it right.  

Your attorney kind of thing. And so I’m going to go pursue the entrepreneurial world. And so last night, when I’m going to bed, he sends me this message that that’s a screenshot of conversation between him and his friend and his friend is you’re an idiot. You’ll never make it. You need a college degree and it’s so hard, but like just being an entrepreneur, you just get.  

Crapped on left and right. So like when you’re starting, everyone says you’re an idiot as your buddy. Oh gosh. As you’re starting to get some ground, they’re like, it won’t last, then you make it and you can’t talk about it. Right. Because then you’re the conceited a-hole that is just full of himself. Uh, such as the life choices of an entrepreneur.  

Alright. So tell us how you got into, so the majority of your success is in the digital world. Um, how did it all start? So I did traditional, uh, sales before this, when I was 21 years old. I, uh, had dropped that at college or stopped taking college classes, um, and got a sales job, um, at a small life and health insurance firm in Indiana.  

Where I lived at the time, but it was B2B sales. So I sold life and health insurance, like group policies to businesses. And so, um, I would go around and, you know, I’m this charismatic, friendly, good with everybody person. So cocky, confident me at the time was like, I’m going to kill it. And the sales game, um, what out there did like 500 sales calls made one sale the whole summer.  

Um, and like my boss kind of even like helped me with it. Like she showed up to the, like the meeting. So like I got this. Brutal taste of reality. Like actually had doors slammed in my face. Like not like, Oh yeah, slam the door, like actual physical doors. And, you know, so like I kind of have a taste of what that’s like.  

Um, and so like, I remember just being so frustrated at the fact that I could not for the life of me sell, right. Like, For whatever reason. And I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. So I was like, sales is kind of this important thing that I feel like I have to learn. And so for me, I started looking for like, learning about sales specifically and you know, what it took to go and do that now around that time.  

I was looking for, you know, biz-op how to make extra cash type deal on the side and stumbled upon an Instagram course, um, where the guy was like, pitching like, Hey, uh, you know, I’m going to teach you how to grow followers on Instagram. And once you have an audience, you can make money, like not a great pitch, but at the time it sounded awesome to me.  

Right. Because it was like I’m 21 years old. That sounds awesome. Right. Um, I tried like a little bit of Facebook ads and like stuff like that, like nothing really worked. So. I got into this Instagram world as I’m still in the sales job and started to grow followers, not making any money, but 70, 80, a hundred thousand followers in what were they following you for?  

What, what was your content? The content was just like viral, like fan page type stuff. Right? Like, so it wasn’t even like business specific, like entrepreneurial quotes. Um, some of them were like fashion pages. Some of them were fitness pages. None of it was his own content. Like we, we got like rights to reshare it and like we would tag, but this was back when Instagram was super young.  

So there’s only a couple of hundred million people on it. And now there’s like over a billion. So it’s like five or five times bigger than it was back. When I got started still, like growth was way easy. Compared to what it is now. And so we started doing this and then like business owners, and I say business owners, very lightly internet marketing type business owners that like, weren’t just selling affiliate products like that actually had online businesses, came to us and we’re like, Hey, can you grow Instagram followers for us?  

And it started in the fitness niche because people started to realize that if you had, you know, people on Instagram that had a hundred thousand followers, they can move a lot of product with that. And so it started there and I ended up quitting my job into going into Instagram, um, and selling Instagram services.  

And we had an Instagram agency. And for me, it was literally the, that was my way out of traditional like sales, because I realized that that was something that I actually knew how to sell. Now. I had no idea why I knew how to sell that, but, you know, that’s something that I understood. I realized there was a demand there, but what got me into even looking at the online space was I can’t say the name of the company  

It’s, it’s pretty well known company. Pretty big apparel company, um, that we did life and health insurance for more of like the worker worker man’s clothes, kinda like a Carhartt. Um, they, we were in their boardroom one time cause they were a client of my bosses. And I remember like the C has like the marketing officer, the CEO, like top, top executive dude, like the owner type guy.  

And he was like, um, all the sales we’re seeing everybody’s going online. And like this was back, you know, five years ago or four years ago. And so I was like, well, then why aren’t like, then why aren’t you guys like there? You know what I mean? Like, why aren’t you doubling down on that? Cause they were talking about like radio ads and all this stuff at the time and I’m like, well, why wouldn’t you double down?  

Yeah. On social and your conversation at this moment. You’re still the, the insurance sales guy. Yeah, absolutely. The insurance sales guy. Yeah. And I didn’t ask him this because I’m just 21, 22 year old and with my boss. Right. And my boss was like, kind of. Educating me on the everything. And like I was helping and assisting, but when he said that people are making money online and like that a lot of like sales are going online.  

That’s when I went home and started Googling like how to make money online, which is what got me into the Instagram world. And so that just kind of took off. And, you know, when you catch a trend, which Instagram was the trend at the time, digital marketing is still very much in play. And, you know, I think digital is not going anywhere, but yeah.  

Nobody knew Instagram at the time and anybody that can have success with it. Yeah. I was one of those early movers in the Instagram entrepreneurship world. So that like, when people wanted to hire someone to grow their followings, like they would come to us. Not because we were great at sales, but simply because there was very little competition.  

And so thankfully I got to learn sales. Even though it was difficult and hard for me at the time I had enough like trial and error of just keep picking up the phone and going, I had enough business. There are people interested because it was such a niche market that nobody else was in at the time. So, so you’re around 21 at this time.  

And were you making like. Obviously you made enough money that you quit your day job, but, but were you killing it or was it like just sufficient to pay your bills and do your thing? So when I quit, I was 22, almost 23. I quit. Um, and September, uh, my brother’s in February and I had, so I turned 22, so 22 and a half, something like that.  

Um, I quit the second. I had enough money to cover my bills. Like I did not like working at a job at all and to be very fair, like I had a good job. Like my boss was awesome. Right. Like, it’s not like I had a job like that. You know, people would hate, like, it was a good job, but I didn’t like it. So at the beginning, probably for the first like seven or eight months, like it was just enough to pay the bills, but.  

We invested every single penny outside of that, like back into learning, like the second we have like $10,000 in the bank, we would go spend it all on a mentor or on like training or like stuff like that. And it was me and my business partner. And so I was living alone. He was living with his parents, um, because like they were, he was from not from the country  

He was from the Dominican Republic. So he had to stay with his parents to be in the States. And so, I mean, I remember every day is when we’d have. 200 bucks in the bank and you know, the next day there’d be 10,000 and the next day there’d be like three grand. You know what I mean? Like it just all over the place, but that’s what ultimately led us to get really good.  

And it took us about, yeah, probably like eight months of, of like super, super hustling to figure it out. And that’s when we started to have a lot of big success. What, what was the thing that you figured out, like, is there an underlying. Part of the service that really made everything start clicking. So like for us, the, um, once again, I think that timing was really good for us in the Instagram space in the sense that like, we.  

We were able to fail a lot and still make enough money to live. Right. Because so many people were interested in it, but what really caused us to blow up was understanding that social media is not really any different. From a psychology standpoint than say traditional business, social media, when used properly like there’s influencers, right.  

And content creators. Those are not business owners, right? Like making money on Instagram happens two ways. One you’re a creator and you have a million followers or 500,000 followers. They follow you for your content and you make money through either brand deals or maybe you have your own product or what have you.  

And then there’s. Business owners that make money on social media, Instagram, Facebook, what have you, where. They actually have a legitimate business, but they’re using social media as a means to get their product out there. Right. And so for us, when we realized that, Oh, these business owners are not hiring us for the vanity metric of followers, like we thought, right.  

Because when you’re 22, you think you’re so freaking lit when you have a hundred, 1000 followers. Like we were, we were down in my. I’ll never forget this. Like I grew up pretty conservative. So like hitting on girls was like, wasn’t my thing. Right? Like, I wasn’t really like, I didn’t date around. Um, but like my business partner and this is not to shame him at all.  

I thought it was hilarious at the time we were down in Miami and everything we did was for content. Right. And so we, like, we were taking pictures in front of the cars or whatever, not that they were odd. We didn’t claim that they were honest. We thought it was cool content. And these girls walked up to us and were like, Oh, is that your car?  

And he’s like, no, but I have followers on Instagram. Right. And they’re like, Oh, I’m sure you do. So he literally just pulled out his phone and shows them that they have like a hundred, he has like a hundred thousand followers. And it was like the car wasn’t even there. Like at that time, if you had like a a hundred thousand followers, you were way cooler than any dude with the sports car, right.  

At 22 years old, like that’s just not a good ego to have. But anyway, so once we figured out that like, Hey, whatever business that you have, if you’re not on social media, you’re going to be irrelevant. And like that was, that became our pitch. We’re gonna keep you relevant for the long term, because I don’t care where you are now.  

In like two or three or five years from now, and you’ve already seen it drastically go that direction. Like if you’re not on social media, producing some form of content, like you don’t exist. And so all of a sudden we started bringing these businesses on and providing them with a platform. To have an authority.  

Um, yes. Some people came to us, typically two types of clients, one type of client came to us and they’re like, we are a, you know, a company or, or, you know, a personal brand, like a Russell Brunson. I mean, I didn’t work with Russell directly, but people like that that are like, we need to be legit. Right. Make us look cool or credible.  

And then the flip side of it was people that were like, Hey, we’ve got these products and we know. That unless we’re on social media, like all of our competition is going to beat us there and we’re going to be irrelevant, fitness products, stuff, clothing, people, entrepreneurial, like software, like people, you know, things like that course creators, anybody like that, they came to us.  

They’re like we got to have a presence. And so once we realized that, okay, This is not a game to these people. They don’t care about social media. Like I do. Right. Like I loved it. I was like, heck yeah, adrenaline rush. Dopamine hits every time I log in. It’s great. They did not write. They thought social media was super dumb, but they knew that you had to be on that to like be relevant in business.  

That’s when we really, I think, started to take off and then studying what’s marketing, not how to grow followers, dude. I was pretty broke, like, like barely scraping by and was managing over a million followers. Like how’s that, how’s that a thing, right? Like, and that’s the sad reality of most of you? I S I saw an interesting post yesterday from, from, um, another Facebook kind of guy.  

He’s not like the real douchey kind of guy. He’s like, he’s more like, Hey, be legit on social media, don’t do the fake stuff. And he had a F I’m going to slaughter the quote, but it was something like, um, I went to the bank yesterday and I said, Hey, I want to deposit some good intentions. And they’re like, sorry, sir.  

We only take cash and checks. And so he’s like, guys, if you’re on social media, And you’re a year into business. And, and I see you saying like, what have you learned in the last year? And you’re saying things like, Oh, I learned who my audience is and I want to figure it out. The one thing I don’t hear you saying is you’ve made money  

So like, there’s a big difference between, like you’re saying, you know, you can be perceived to have this huge status on social media and be totally brought up. Yeah. And I think it’s important because. Most people like they just get social media wrong and there’s nothing wrong with being a creator, but like, don’t act like you have a business because like, those are two different things.  

And I always love it when I meet someone who like, they’ll have 200,000 followers and they’re not making a whole lot of money right now. And I’m like, Hey, have you thought about monetizing it? And they’re like, that’s not our intention. Our goal is not to build a business. Our goal is to like, The viral sensation someday.  

Right? Like our goal is to go out there and like be a creator where we create movies or we create like, stuff like that. And I respect that. Right. And so like, their goal is not to like build some business. Their goal is to build a following so that they can get into movie roles or that they can get into, you know, have distribution.  

Like if that’s your goal. Great. But understand that, like, you’re not like, just because you have two or three or 400,000 followers, right. Doesn’t mean, you’re going to make a whole lot of money on the flip side. If you treat it as a business and you leverage that to your advantage, I’ve seen people make seven figures with.  

8,010,000 followers on Instagram, right? Like literally seven figure launches with it. So when you know your audience and when you know what your intention is on social media, then I think you can be much more intentional with building it and having a lot of success with it. So in Instagram, all the successes on Instagram, but I know you from Facebook, so is Instagram a service and Facebook is more of your platform.  

Well, it’s funny because a lot of people still know me as the Instagram guy, but Facebook is where I be came me because like the, the single biggest mistake that I made in growing on Instagram early on was I did not build my personal brand on Instagram. So all of our pages were for clients or fan pages and stuff, pretty much just designed to move product.  

So. If they didn’t have a face to it, it didn’t really matter. Like, especially like fitness pages, we just posted whatever got followers. Whereas as now I have much more, I think I had like 26,000 followers now on Instagram. Facebook was the place where I taught Facebook was the place where I educated Instagram was the place where I did write, like I did.  

And I was really, really good at it. I mean, I knew the algorithms, my hand, but where people knew me and the fact that it was good at something and where we got an overwhelming majority of our clients was on Facebook. And so. That happened. And I, you know, I have a Facebook group of 30,000 people in it that we never paid a dime for.  

Right. Like we’ve never spent one penny in advertising on that. And there’s 30,000 people in it that came because we provided really good value on there and started like making a name for ourselves in that space. And then once I sold the Instagram agency, which was. We’re over two years ago now two and a quarter year, something like that.  

I sold the Instagram agency. That’s when I went onto Facebook primarily and was like, Hey, I can help you build Facebook groups because I know how to build Facebookers built dozens of, you know, thousand member, 5,000 member, 10,000 number Facebook groups, um, for people. And it’s all the same. Like Instagram is a different platform than Facebook, a platform than Facebook, but yeah.  

You use the same concepts for growth. And so it’s just delivered differently. And so we just, I just became this whole like Facebook, Instagram guy, and a lot of people know me from my Facebook group and on Facebook simply because that’s where more of our ideal audience hung out at the time. Now everybody’s on Instagram.  

But when I first got started, it was like for young kids, Yeah. So, so now a lot of people know you from your podcast, think different theory. So help close the gap between when you sell your Instagram business to you, then have another agency, which you recently sold yourself, your, your portion of as well.  

So how do we get from selling an Instagram business to this other company and then ultimately your podcast as well? Really good question. So, um, growing up, like I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I. I was a pretty arrogant, cocky kid. Like my parents did a pretty good job at teaching me like really good values, but you get out into the real world and you give a 22 year old kid some money and you get a big head.  

Right. And so I, when I sold my first Instagram agency and it’s just true, right? Like I was, I was, I was arrogant and there’s like, I was a loud mouth. I was polarizing. Like, I knew how to get attention. Right. And that’s not always a good thing. Um, so for me, I sold my Instagram agency and then I kind of went on this journey of after I sold that, I was like, I know how to make money.  

And so I started this like brokering deals. I started being the middleman for, for several months and I was killing it. Like I was doing like 50, 60, $70,000 a month, just brokering deals for like, what kind of deals. Instagram services, Facebook ad services, funnel services, anything like anything online? I just knew people because like all of a sudden I had followers and I had, when I sold the company, the Facebook group, I think had like 10,000 members in it.  

And back at the time, like that was a pretty big Facebook group. And even now, like most people don’t have a 10,000 member Facebook group. Right. So like, And we had been on grant Cardone’s show. We had been, you know, done deals with, you know, some bigger names at the time. So like I would go to an event and people started to know who I was.  

So, because I knew everybody and I was good with people. I could, I knew how to get in touch with people. Anybody could come to me. And because the media was a way less saturated market, people would be like, Josh, the social media dude, just go to him, he’ll figure it out. So I started brokering deals and was killing it, making 50, 60, $70,000 a month.  

My one downfall, well, I’m sure besides my, you know, ego and everything else that went with that was like, I had no team. I had no systems. I did everything myself. So imagine, you know, I was doing 50, 60 grand a month. By myself, trying to manage all the clients. Some of them that were paying me to the tune of five, six, seven grand a month, right.  

For the services multiple of them. And some of them that were relatively big names, like executives at companies that wanted personal brands. You know what I mean? And so from there, like I got to this point, and this was in November of 2017. Yeah. November. Yeah. November of 2017, I’m trying to remember back.  

Yeah. So that’s what it was. So funnel hacking live of 2018, which is a huge for those of you guys that don’t know it’s a big marketing company. I went down there, I spoke at an event and it was funny because when I got, they introduced at the event, I was like, one of the there’s three of us that put it on.  

I was one of the people that actually put it on and there’s like 45 people there. Um, and. It was a mastermind that the guy that I partnered with on it or that like was also speaking, he introduced me and he’s like, Josh, you know, pulled an all nighter, which I had, you know, just getting ready and preparing for you guys and, you know, blah, blah, blah.  

He’s such a hustler. And I’m like, I wouldn’t like brag about that to anyone. The reason I had to pull an all nighter is because I literally was so far behind on client work that, you know, like I had to, you know, like it wasn’t, it wasn’t a choice. Right. It was like this thing. And so literally like two weeks, three weeks after that, I was set to move to Chicago, but I came home and I just like fell apart, like totally broke.  

And I canceled. Like I went from making 50, 60 grand a month to canceling every single client I had and going down to like $3,000 a month, if that, um, for your own personal wellbeing. Right. But I like freaked out. Like I collapsed on the floor and just like bawl my eyes out, like just like mental midnight or quarter life crisis breakdown had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and blew up.  

John and money during like, trying to figure it out because like, you know what I mean? Like I had to refund a bunch of money, but like, I’d still made good money. You know, like I think that year, I know it was like 300 grand or something like that. Like that’s more money than I’ve ever seen in my life  

Right. Like I was used to making 25, 30,000 a year. So, you know, I would fly to Vegas and I didn’t even gamble. Like I just hung out, you know, and like go to Miami and I’d stay in these hotels or whatever. And it was weird. So. From there. I was like, all right, whatever I do next, I’ve got to like, really be like all about it.  

Like I’ve got to really figure this out. And so for the next year, eight months, I was determined to study mindset because I was like, whatever. I don’t like, I don’t have whatever mindset is. Right. People talk about having a good mindset. I thought I did. I thought I was crushing, you know, making all this money at 23 or 24 years old.  

But here I am like crying my eyes out and trying to figure out life, you know what I mean? So kind of sucked so eight months and tens of thousands of dollars in personal development and studying and, you know, books and reading about the mindset and quantum physics and, you know, habit creation and identity shifts and, you know, everything you can think of in the personal develop realm.  

I finally like. Figure out who I am a little bit more. I’m like, Oh, like I can control my emotions. I can show my identity and not be so wrapped up in money. Right. Cause like, you know, my whole entire identity was in money. Right. And make money on her great lose money. Right. So I figured that all out. Did you have cash in the bank while you’re going through the self discovery phase or were you like no, thankfully I did.  

Yeah. I, I, that was a huge, I don’t know how I would have done it if I didn’t. So because there was like three or four months there where I didn’t make any money. I just lived off savings, which I can’t imagine, like being super, super broke and going through a quarter life crisis. Like I did, mine was pretty bad.  

Like I freaked out and, um, so studying the whole mind to this mindset of this, I started to realize, okay, I’ve belonged through. Tens of thousands of dollars, like multi tens of thousands of dollars worth of cash in the past few months. Um, I need to get back on track and I need to get back to doing what I know, which was, you know, social media.  

And so for me, I put together a course, um, because so many people were asking about it. Like I’m not one just to sell things, to make money. I’m like, what’s the solution out there. So I ran surveys. I still have an audience at this point. Right? Like when your audiences are sweet, When you got to, you know, when you’ve got a buyer list, like, Holy cow, I, are you, are you, are you hitting up your social media audience?  

Like during this meltdown and saying like, I’m having a melt? Like, are you acknowledging this? No. And that’s like, that’s the thing at the time. I, I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t tell my parents. I didn’t tell my family. The only person that knew this at the time was one of my best friends. Like he is my best friend.  

And like, he knew. Um, cause like I told him, I was like, I’m freaking out, you know, like trying to go through this or whatever. And then I met my girlfriend. We weren’t dating at the time, obviously like a couple months into it. And I was like, just out of rock bottom, like I was on the upward decline of like studying mindset, like getting back into the whole swing of everything.  

And so I would hang out at this bar every day and I don’t even drink. So like it wasn’t, I wasn’t drinking alcohol. I was just sitting there every day, just researching and studying to get out of my. Apartment, you know what I mean? Like just to be out of the house. And she was the GM of the sports bar or became the GM of the sports as I started going there.  

And so she just literally saw me like chilling on a laptop every single day at the corner of the bar. And I was like, what, what are you like, what do you do? You know what I mean? Like, you’re so weird. And so that’s like, she kind of saw a little bit of it just because, because like we kind of started dating and like she was this person that knew.  

Nothing about me. So she had no clue that I had any success or any fame or any, anything, which is awesome. And so like, I could be a little bit more open, but I was not vulnerable about it, which I don’t know. I may have done it differently if I could go back, but I also am okay with how that went down.  

Cause I’ve been pretty open and honest with my followers about everything up until that point. And also like, after that point about what went on and like, sometimes you just need your space. Like sometimes you don’t figure things out in public when, and I’m pretty open about it. So anyway, that happens and I put together a training, like get some cash in proof, prove it, um, kill it with some of the results.  

I mean, like some of the students they’re just crushed it. Um, But like, I still had a problem with the internet marketing space. Right. Like I hadn’t figured out how to differentiate myself and I didn’t want to be the course dude. Right. That just sold course is live. The lifestyle. So end of last year was when my business partner, my former business partner, who is a really good friend of mine, she and I partnered up and we’re like, alright, look.  

W she had just had a kid, um, and she didn’t want to, to be in the spotlight anymore. Cause she was kind of an influencer to had a Facebook group or whatnot. And we’re both like, we want to build a real business and going into it. I was like, I don’t want this business longtermSo I’m going to build it to sell.  

And she’s like, great. I don’t want to be the face of it. I want to be behind the scenes. I’ll run all the fulfillment. Can you do sales? I’m like, sure. That’s awesome. I know sales. So we. Partner up the end of last year, end of 2018 and then shut down all of like all of her. Cause she had a couple of programs.  

I had one program, so we shut them all down. We did one final push and we’re like, we’re focusing a hundred percent on this agency last chance to get our stuff, got some cash, took that cash and invested into starting the company. And so it took us like a month and a half, uh, or so to figure out. Like who we were serving and what we wanted to do.  

And we didn’t have very much cash, like hardly any cash flow come in and that’s, you know, you know, kind of figuring it all out. But then once we figured out our market in the sweet spot, like a month and a half in, it was like overnight, we did like 30 grand and then the next month it was like 60 grand 

And so like, I think came in and what are, what are you selling? So essentially we’re selling sales funnels, but we couldn’t call them sales funnels because nobody knew what that was outside of the click funnels world. So we called it an automated sales system where we would go in to people with an existing proven offer.  

And that was the key point for us, that expedited growth. When we first started, we tried to go in with people that had an idea for a course, or maybe even had a course laid out, but hadn’t proved it at all. And, or, or a product, a coaching program or anything. And we would try to like design it all for them.  

And we found that number one, we would clash with what they wanted a lot, because like they had set expectations of it and we’re like, well, if the market doesn’t like that, then it’s not, it doesn’t really matter. Right. Yeah. Then on the flip side of that, it also took for ever to deliver on it. So we switched and we pivoted and we’re like, well, that’s okay.  

I only work with people that have an existing offer. And so that’s what we did. And we started with one guy and he brought us like four more clients because we did such a good job for him. And then we don’t lead to more referrals and we did some paid advertising, but like kind of similar to you, like most of our client work.  

Came through referrals or warm network, just because we got results. And you’re like one lady we booked, she sold a $10,000, maybe it’s 8,000, like almost five figure offer around a five figure offer. And in the first, like 90 days from launching like 90 consecutive days, like we got to like a hundred booked appointments completed, like actually showed up, not like just leads, opted in, like actually showed up to the appointment call.  

Um, We know for this offer, you know, somebody else we had to shut down, like turn off the marketing funnel because they booked out there the clients in the first two days after launching. So like we would start to do these things and we became super picky with who we worked with, because we’re like, if we can’t get your results, we’re not going to sell to you because we know there’s a market out there.  

And so, and then, um, you know, uh, we got to the end of it. I started my podcast around that same time. And the reason I started my podcast, then. Was because my podcast was not a business and I didn’t sell it. I still don’t sell anything on it. I still don’t make any money with it. It’s cashflow negative. 


Right. Um, but. For me, that podcast was a passion project. It was my way of finding my voice and talking all about mindset because people saw that I had a fall off. They didn’t know what was going on, but they saw Josh everywhere there. And then all of a sudden they saw Josh nowhere for like three months.  

And so they knew something went on. And so they’re like, how the heck did you go from that to who you are today? And I was like, well, it’s all about, you know, mindset and identity. And so that’s what the podcast. Blossom devout of in January of this year. And now we’re, you know, seven months or eight months into it now  

And I just sold the company as I’ve been building alongside that. And I’ve had no desire to sell the company this soon, but it just happened. Yeah. Yeah. So a couple of things. I mean, awesome story. Congratulations. Um, I want to talk more about podcasts. Yeah. But real quickly just on selling the business. So, um, you don’t have to talk exact dollars, but I assume that you made enough that like, cause I know you’re going to go travel.  

You’re going to go check out the world for a couple of months. Um, Like, was it a life changing amount or was it just like a really good amount? You can go do something cool for awhile. Okay. It was a good amount. It’s not a life changing amount. No, but an imp a very important factor here. And a core reason why I sold the business was number one, it was designed from day one to sell.  

Like from day one, we hired a project manager and we outsource like, or we built systems around everything. So we weren’t dealing with fulfillment. Like that was huge. And number two, I probably would have held onto the business for much longer. The only reason I didn’t was because my brother passed away in March.  

And so that totally radically changed my life in so many areas that I can’t even fathom and explain, like I’m such a different person, not only because of his death, but just like. Be like, that was the turning point for so many things. And so for me, all of the sudden, my pride of what was important in life changed before it was, yeah.  

Become a multimillionaire. But before the age of 30, which is, it still may happen. Right. But that’s not the goal anymore. And like all these different things. And now I’m just much more aware of like, I can die tomorrow and I want to go travel and I want to see, and I want to experience things. Whereas I was like, I can do that later  

Right? Like let me build a business in my twenties. And so. When the offer came in and someone was like, Hey, I want to buy you out. And part of the offer was not all cash. So part of it was cash, but part of it was a lot of help on the podcast side of things from an exposure standpoint, from an asset standpoint, from a networking standpoint, like there was a lot of stuff in there that was super attractive to me that wasn’t just a cash payment.  

So I got a cash payment enough to go be awesome, you know, like do awesome things for the next, you know, five, six months plus then have connections that I would not have otherwise had. Yeah, what I think that’s a great segue to, to go more into your podcast. Um, and so like with your brother’s death, and then it opens up your eyes to like, Hey, I look at the world differently now.  

Like, it seems like a lot of that made you double down on the podcast. So like, what was the first thing after your brother passed away? Like, what was the first thing that you thought, like the changed in your perception of the world? Yeah, so like I grew up really conservatively religious, um, which. I’m thankful for it because I think that it brought a lot of discipline as well.  

Um, and so more than anything, I’m thankful for the, you know, the discipline side of things and the hard work and the morals and values that were instilled. Um, the biggest thing that changed for me was the fact that we, we actually can prove very little about God and I, I am. I believe there’s a God, I believe in the body.  

Like I am a hundred percent a Christian. And I think that the Bible is the most accurate book out there. However, um, I think that, you know, for Christians that take the Bible very, very literally, and don’t look at context and understand that it’s been translated 2000 over 2000 years and you know, all these different things like it made me really go and say, okay, I’ve got to know why I believe what I believe.  

And for me I’ve always been this polarizing person that. I pretty much just speak my mind and on social media, like I knew how to get attention because I would make just radically bold statements. And at the time I was like, who cares? If I’m wrong, then I’ll change it when I know otherwise. Right. Like, but right now this is what I believe  

So here’s what we’re gonna do. And now I’m starting to realize like, okay, like I is absolute truth out there. I believe that. But like, where does that come from? Where does that STEM from? Um, my brother was super big into knowing why you believe what you believe. And he was a big apologist I’m. I don’t consider myself a philosopher, but I, you know, I’m very much into philosophy and like studying those types of things.  

And so like for me, I’m like, okay, there’s a whole lot more to life than business, a whole lot more to it. And while I love business and while I will always have a business, like not, everybody’s cut out to be a business person. And I think that we need to have a much needed conversation about. Living a healthy lifestyle about being successful in all areas of life, about the importance of family, like the importance of family and community became very, very apparent because my brother passed away and he was pretty influential in the sense of like, he was pretty successful in what he did in the media world.  

He owned a public relations company or whatnot, but like we’re talking tens of thousands of people. Reached out like it was all over the news. It was, it was, it was on NBC. Like it was national coverage. They raised, it was hundreds of thousands of dollars where the primary donation was like 35 or $40 in GoFund me’s from people like just massive amounts of support everywhere.  

Um, for everything that he had done for the community, because my brother was very community focused, very family focused, and he was 29 years old. He left behind a son, a baby on the way, and now a widow, right? Like, so like the crazy amount of like priority shifts in your life that happened there. You’re like, Whoa.  

And so for me, I, my whole life up until this point was business, business, business, business, business, and it shifted to go. Yes business, but business for good. Yes, business, but business with purpose and meaning not business for the sake of profit. That makes sense. Yeah. And, and that’s, that’s, that’s what I take away from your podcast is like, that’s your goal?  

And so it’s good to give the listeners the context and that background on, you know, where all that comes from. So what’s the goal with the podcast then? So you have all this happen that makes you really look at things and give the podcast a focus. You say, it’s a passion play right now. Do you know what you’re gonna do with it longer?  

So I think it is my longterm play. It started off as. A passion project designed to be the longterm, play my longterm brand. Um, I didn’t want my longterm brand to just be me. I wanted it to be about something bigger than me, which is why think different theory is that, um, my longterm goal is to tie it tracked people that want more out of life and show them that that’s possible.  

While equally showing them that they can be kind to everybody else in the process, because one of the big problems that I have, and I’m pretty political, um, I am very well informed in the political arena. Um, I don’t mind voicing my opinions and whatnot. And so for me, like I look at I’m going to use the Trump issue.  

Like, I look at the absolutely  of that. And I can’t comprehend why people hate Donald Trump so much. And on the flip side, the people that support Donald Trump, I’m equally critical of them because they’re sitting there calling everybody else, you know, liberal snowflakes and you know, all this stuff. I’m like, that’s not kind and right either.  

Right? So I’m like, Hey, if you want more out of life, go live your best life. Go have massive personal responsibility. And go be amazing, but also be kind to everybody in the process and also understand that like, there are people out there that have a radically different life and upbringing than you do.  

And guess what? I am a white male in America while I do think that there. Are some people that blow the privilege of white males out of proportion. I understand that a white male in America in 2019 is pretty much the greatest time to ever be alive in history. Right? So like there’s radical perspective changes that people I think need to realize.  

And so the point of the podcast is to say, I’m all about personal responsibility. I’m like, if you live in America, if you live in a developed country, anything that happens to you is your fault, right? Like own it. Don’t blame somebody else. It’s not the government’s job. It’s not your parents’ job. It’s not the church’s job to take care of you  

Like it is your job to take care of yourself. Are there exceptions to the rule? Yeah, but like, go be awesome. Be amazing. And I think everybody should have some form of entrepreneurship in their blood. Like not everybody’s cut out for that, but like everybody should learn sales skills. Even if you’re not a sales person, sales is about communication, listening, and problem solving.  

Everybody should have that. And so. It is like, Hey, this is the podcast where you come to learn really good life skills to own personal responsibility, to break free from the, the radical stupidity of the world and to free your mind so that you can go out and live your best life while making the world a better place in the process.  

So I got, I got two questions about social media and then, um, I actually have some questions when we got a few minutes left. I have some questions that I had. Some people provide us for. Yeah, absolutely. So. Regarding like you, you brought up Trump, um, and you’ve got this big debate that you’re gonna be doing here after, after our call here.  

And you’ve got some negative feedback and more than once where you can make a statement about Trump and you get like really extreme feedback and I’ll in a moment, I’ll, I’ll let you kind of give some of those examples, but like, do you, you get these threats and how do you take them? Do you have any, any part of you that takes them seriously?  

And you have a little bit of fear out of them. So, no, I don’t fear, but also because I’m not married, don’t have kids. So I think I might take them a little bit more seriously if they threatened family. And I, you know, I’m very aware that I’m, you know, chill with where I’m at right now. Um, For me, I am very much aware because I’ve studied mindset so much that any time that someone is yelling or being derogatory or degrading somebody else, it’s because of own personal insecurities in their own life.  

Right. So I have nothing but love for people that hate on me. I don’t wish them any ill being. I have been told to, you know, go F myself, go to hell to go die. That people are I, that my brother died because I, you know, been vocal in my support of Trump or not even Trump as a person. Just, I think that his policies are good and that the economy is doing well.  

Right. Um, yeah. And people will get mad at me and tell me to die. So like, I look at that and I go, there is clearly a. Problem where we cannot have a civilized debate anymore about a politician or about, uh, anything. And so for me, I look at it as if people are going to get mad or unfollow me or not be my friend, because I want to have a civilized debate about something and discuss civil disagreements. 


Then I’m okay with that. And I’m going to do that for what I believe in there. And there’s a lot of people that say, stay out of politics and business. I think some businesses do need to stay out of politics depending upon the business that you’re in. But for me, I’m not in business to make money. Um, I’m in business to create a, uh, uh, stainable form of good in the world.  

Right. And if my business can’t stand up or if I can’t stand up for what I believe to be right. And in this case, having a normal discussion, then I think that’s an issue. Yeah. All right. So one last question from me, and then I got two questions from the audience. So, um, your girlfriend, you said that, you know, she didn’t have any texting on your, you know, social media, status and fame at whatever level.  

Is it weird for her to now, like be able to quantify your influence online? So I don’t think she’s fully really understands it quite yet. And I mean, by that is she gets it, but she hasn’t seen it because I live in Omaha, Nebraska, the middle of nowhere. Um, when I go to events, she hasn’t come with me to any events just because she works a lot too.  

Um, and so when I traveled to events, it’s primarily alone. Not that she couldn’t come, it’s just that the schedule has not worked out. So she understands that I’m. Gosh, it sounds so cocky. Right. And I run in right. Like people know who I am, but she’s also super cool with just being herself. She has absolutely no desire to be famous.  

She like will. Go in front of the camera if I put the camera in her face, but like she pretty much stays off camera. Like it was off social media almost entirely. So it’s actually a perfect balance because she has no desire to do what I do. And she manages 70 employees. I have absolutely zero desire to manage 70 employees.  

So, yeah. Okay. First question. Uh, Kyle Goldie. Uh, part of this we’ve already answered, but I’ll read the whole question. Uh, why did you sell your share of your high ticket company after getting out of the digital course and what’s next after traveling? So maybe focus on that latter half. What do you, so you’ve got a bunch of travels coming up.  

What are you gonna do after the troubles? Yeah, that’s a great question. And I know Kyle, Kyle shout out, um, specifically the reason I sold it was cause of my brother’s death. I mean, we’ll just put that there. I could have made a lot more money if I held onto it for two years and really built it up. Um, I needed perspective.  

I needed to know what I believe. And I just don’t where I’m at right now. I don’t care about money a whole lot. Like I would. Literally be willing to go back to $0 and start over and it wouldn’t affect my identity or my perception of myself. Um, for me, truth is more important. What’s next? I don’t really know  

I think that I am going to figure it out on the trip. Hopefully I know that. As of right now, the trainings that I have and where I’m focusing is on teaching sales, because I believe sales is for everyone. So I have a program called selling with confidence and I’m not here to pitch it at all. I’m just, you know, context around it.  

Um, and so my goal is to help provide quality education to people, uh, to help them better their lives. I think that will primarily be in the entrepreneurship space, but it may slightly evolve after that. And I do imagine some digital products coming back. Once I get back. Okay. I know you’re gonna laugh at this next one.  

So this one’s from taxi. Ooh. Taxi. A taxi wants to know why you love Logan Paul so much. It’s, it’s a legitimate question though. It really is. So for those of you that don’t know who Logan Paul is, he’s a huge utuber. He’s got, I think his total reach online is like 50 something. Million people. He’s got 20 million subscribers on YouTube.  

Um, Logan and I Logan’s a terrible role model. Right? Like he really is like, I would not, I would not, I don’t even know if I’d let my kids watch Logan. Right. Which is terrible. I relate to Logan so well because he and I are about the same age. He’s just under a year younger than I am. Um, and our trends, like our life cycles, obviously his is at a much larger scale than mine is, but our life cycles follow each other.  

Like. Almost identically. Like when I hit my success depression and like dropped off, that was when he released his viral Japan suicide forest video. And like went to be the most hated person on the internet. Right. So like, Our upbringing, like our success trends were the same, our downfalls sabot on the same time.  

We’re both going through like midlife crisis is yes, he’s worth, you know, $15 million and I’m not, but like he grew up and has way more money than he knows what to do with. And at that time I had more money than I not known what to do with it, but like, I just, I had never seen a hundred thousand dollars in my bank account before type deal.  

So I think the reason that I like him so much is number one, because I can relate to him so many levels. And number two, I actually genuinely believe that if I ever became friends with Logan, Paul, I could do a lot of good in his life. That sounds once again, kind of cocky and arrogant, but like I listened to his podcast pretty religiously, and I see some of the struggles that he’s gone through and I know that I’ve gone through a lot of their struggles, but that I’ve actually.  

I don’t want to know, figure it out is the right word, but have perception of, because of my upbringing and because of having great parents and great mentors growing up, that I could be like, yo dude, maybe try this out. I think we could be homies. And I think that if I could ever like, get ahold of him, like I’ve met him.  

You know what I mean? Yeah. W what was it like, what was, was wasn’t what you hoped kind of like, he gave me his home address. And he was like, cause I was like, yo dude, I was like, I’m gonna be honest with you. Like, I’ve been following you for a while. And like, boy, I am, like I told him, I was like, but I’m not trying to be a fan boy.  

Like I’m, I’m a fan boy, but I’m not trying to be one. And I’m like, I’ve watched all your episodes of your podcast, dude. Like I watch it pretty religiously, but I was like, I want to be cool. And I’m like, I want to send you something. I got this really cool thing. We made him like this. This metal cut out of his parrot, his, his brand.  

And so he’s like, dude, that’s amazing here. Here’s my address. I’ll send it to you. And so like, I Googled it and it’s his house, right? So like he knows who I am. Like, you know, if he saw me, like I made a lasting impression on it and he made like, he’d see me up there and he’s good. Oh yeah. This dude’s making a, gonna make a billion dollar someday mr.  

Entrepreneur over here. So like he saw my shirt, they use cool, but I don’t want to be the fan. Boy. I want to be the homie. So I’m dreaming 100 in him. I am anybody that wants to be friends with Logan. Paul wants something from him. I don’t like, I don’t want, I don’t need him to shout me out on his YouTube channel.  

That’s not my demographic. I don’t care if he never puts me on camera. I just want to be his friend. Yeah, I just genuinely do it. So yeah, that’s, that’s one of those, uh, relate-ability dilemma, spirit animal things like I know. Yeah. All right. We got to go here soon. I want to give you an opportunity to put out contact information, and I know you’re not here to pitch your thing, but go ahead and pitch your thing if you want.  

Um, I’m in the podcast, Uh, if you got to, you can subscribe on your favorite platform. Uh, we have some sweet. Super cool interviews on. There was some pretty big names, James I’m. In fact, Logan Paul’s manager we’re in talks with right now, actually to get him on the podcast.  

That’d be cool. Cool. I’m his Instagram at Josh  J O S H F O R T I  would be my Instagram. And then if you want free material Mindshift playbook. If you go to I wrote a book, all about mindset, five pages, 65 pages long free. Uh there’s I don’t even think there’s an upsell on the page anymore  

So it’s just a hundred percent free. It’s got writing in their videos, in their exercises in there. If you want to learn more about mindset, changing your identity, changing your habits, things like that. Check that out. So all over, I Very cool. Last thing I’ve been asking guests lately.  

Uh, I think you kind of touched on this before, but I’ll let you give a formal answer. How do you want to be remembered? Um, I want to be remembered as the person that seek that sought truth and lived in accordance with that and, um, left behind a legacy of caring about people. And I think that if I do that, then my life will be successful.  

And I think that truth be that religion or otherwise. Right. And I am a pretty religious person. Um, If I do find truth, then my life should speak to that truth with kindness and joy and you know, the positive impact that I live in the world. So known as the secret truth and someone that lived that and known as someone that was kind of people.  

I like it. Well, congratulations on all your success, Josh. I appreciate your time. Good luck with the travels. We’ll stay in touch and all that jazz. Awesome. Damon, thank you so much for having me on here. I appreciate it. 

What did you think of this podcast?

Around 21 years of age, our next guest was making $50,000 – $60,000 per month. Then he had a quarter life crisis, shut it all down, and tried to figure out life for the next three months.

Since then he’s gone on to build and sell his second business, as well as create the wildly successful podcast, Think Different Theory.

He’s here to tell you the highs and lows of finding online success at such a young age, and how he views life differently now.

Please welcome Josh Forti.
Josh Forti: Finding Success and Purpose Early in Life

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