Today, we're chatting with a best selling author and speaker. He's also the founder of FUNancial Freedom and The ReThink Academy, two groundbreaking initiatives that have seen in feature in Forbes Magazine and achieved global recognition. I think this is going to be fun and informative. Paul O'Mahony, it's great to meet you. Welcome along
Thank you very much.
For anyone who's not discovered you before and also the great work that you do, maybe we could just start with a brief background?
Sure, absolutely. I am the son of two teachers. My entire young life was based around academia, getting a permanent job, which meant going to school, doing well in exams, going to college. My background was actually a degree in industrial biochemistry of all things.
Then I did a year in chemical engineering to get my graduate diploma and then I worked in a corporation for nine years where I was in a position as a director, as a medical device company, got an MBA, became a project management professional, and I was the youngest ever director in that company at the age of 30, all set to scale the heights of the corporate ladder.
And it was at that time that I realised I was over half a million euros in debt from purchasing two houses in the middle of the Celtic Tiger in Ireland in the mid-2000s. And while from the outside looking in, everybody would've said, "Oh, look at this. Amazing. You're doing a successful career. You're doing well. You've got yourself a car, a house, an investment property, and a good job." But the absolute reality was I was completely riddled with debt, 500,000 of negative equity of money that wasn't mine in the first place. And now, suddenly, this was a reality of somehow at 30 years of age, having done everything to the book of how to succeed in life according to the educational system. I was in a massive, massive dilemma
And I ended up going to a conference out of pure desperation in Ireland in Dublin in 2009, which was basically, I think it was called 'Life Lasting Success' and it was a kind of an event about motivation and there was hints of how to maybe set up an internet business, which wasn't too keen on. I had a complete shutdown perspective on all of that, but long story short, went to that event, ended up investing in three of the products. A month later, went to a Tony Robbins conference, quit my job that night and three months after that, lost all my money that I'd saved on the stock market.
And actually, so in July 2009, I was still in the negative equity, but now I had no job. I had kind of burnt my bridges at work and I had no source of income. I lost all savings on the stock market. And that was when I realized, okay, this internet stuff has to work for me. And the reason why I turned to it, even though I'd done the three courses, hasn't really done much with them, it was a cost, literally nothing, but my time to get started.
And within four months I was generating $10,000 monthly from Twitter actually originally. Within a year, I'd made my first million dollars with my business partner. And you can imagine, it took quite the while for even my mindset to catch up with the money, because it was so far beyond any of my wildest dreams. And it's been a crazy ride ever since to... because I had no history of entrepreneurship or anything like that in my family, so it was very much a case of going from the complete sceptic, completely, completely dismissing what I heard from those original speakers in that day in 2009 until literally one, and sorry for the long story, but this is the compelling moment for me was when they were trying to get each other to high five each other and say, we're awesome and that does not work with an Irish audience, but one speaker really spotted what was going on.
And he basically called us out and said, "Look, here's the problem. You think we're here to brainwash you," but he said, "Ironically, you guys are so brainwashed, you actually don't see the wood from the trees." And he said, "Let me explain." He said, "The vast majority of you in this room today are between age 20 and 65, which means the vast majority of you are in debt. You owe more than you own. In fact, if you were a child, you would be better off financially than how you are today."
And it was kind of this very sobering moment. And then he said, "Let me explain why." He said, "Because the belief system you have is that wealth is connected to qualifications, to letters achieved after your name." He said, "I found as a high school dropout that wealth is not connected to letters. It's connected to numbers in your bank account." And I'll never forget when he said it because as a 30-year-old with my MBA, a corporate director, felt that I knew how the world worked, the world was completely pulled from under me because he was 100% correct. I was totally broke. I was massively in debt. There was no way out of it with the career that I was pursuing.
And it just suddenly woke me up to you can be so certain in something that's completely wrong and just because you're certain in many cases, doesn't mean you're right. And your environment is just very much, and if you are surrounded by people who think the same way as you, who don't challenge you, who very much are brought up to believe in the way we live to follow the path of education designed hundreds of years ago, it can be a very unforgiving place when you're looking for opportunities outside of that.
It's been an incredibly interesting journey, not just from a financial perspective or career perspective, but from a personal perspective to go from really feeling that you are on the crux of having reached the apex of what you could achieve in corporate world to realising you had now reached the bottom of a mountain from a financial perspective and to work your way back up that mountain with a whole new set of skills and tools that I'd never used in school. Sorry for the long answer, but it kind of will lead into a lot of why I got into what I did at a later stage then.
It's a well-known phrase that everything happens for a reason. In order to achieve something, you have to sometimes hit rock bottom. Is that what you found, Paul, in your experience?
I mean, I think relatively speaking, my rock bottom was a dream for 80% of the world, living in a developed country, having a house over my head, a car that I could drive, but in that sense, it's certainly not rock bottom having a broader perspective. But at the time, it was a very insular view about me being the most important thing in the world. Of course, it felt from a very selfish perspective that I hit rock bottom after pursuing, I guess, a dream for 30 years that turned out to be a complete nightmare
Absolutely. With all that happening in your life, you then decided to take the leap of faith into working online. What was the first thing that you did?
I attended three separate workshops from three separate coaches on the topic of online marketing. That was the very first thing I did and they were in London.
And from that, what was the next stage for you?
What was the thing that you developed to get things rolling?
I attended the first one, thought, okay, this is great. I got really annoyed because the speaker offered something else and I got really frustrated. I said, "Well, hang on. Why are you offering me something else? I came for this." And I actually ended up a little bit annoyed at the end of it, never acted on the training despite having all the intentions of doing it, went to the second workshop. I'd never been to anything like this before, so it was such an eye opener. Went to the second one then was expecting this kind of offer of the next stage, which annoyed me further. And I said, "Okay, they're telling me that if I don't do this next level, I won't do it by myself. I'll show them the last time that I didn't make it happen was because I just didn't follow up soon enough."
I felt that, okay, this time I'll do it. I'll hold myself accountable, et cetera. And then that didn't work again. Then in the meantime, I quit my job. By the time the third one came, I now had quit my job. I'd gone to Tony Robbins. I had lost all my money at the stock market. I literally had to stay in my aunt's apartment in Ironville, two hours train ride outside London, because I couldn't afford a hotel. And it was at that point that I ended up purchasing a mentoring programme from the guy who became my mentor at that time when I had less money than ever before, but I had a realisation that until I actually pay for somebody who's been there, get the shortcut, be held accountable, that I was basically chasing a dream. It took me three shots at it to finally realise that I was the problem and not the coach.
And a very, very sobering moment when the coach said that to me that, "You said you couldn't afford the first time this happened. You can't afford the second time. Now you have no job and you're still telling me you can't afford it. It was never a fact that you couldn't afford it. It's just you don't value getting knowledge, shortcuts, and education, and then willing to put in the work behind it."
And what changed then, Paul, once you had actually embraced that?
What changed for you at that moment?
I had certainty. I had clarity. I knew what to do. I knew what the first steps were. I knew what the second steps were. I was very much, you got to take for a moment here where I'm coming from a supremely confident director in what I do, because I've been doing it for 10 years to literally knowing nothing, but still portraying these characteristics that I kind of knew stuff.
My mentor was like, "You need to get this ego of yours and completely set it aside. You're a complete newbie. You're a complete beginner. Stop trying to improve the system, adjust the system, ask me why don't you do this? Why don't you do that?" He said, "You just us need to become a student again." And it was very humbling. He literally said to me, "You can approve what I do when you make your first million." And I remember thinking, "Geez, wow, this guy's putting me in my box." And he was younger than me, which again makes you think, wow, I was measuring everything by qualifications and suddenly you realise how narrow a field of range of view that is. It became tough love and it became, you need to learn how to crawl before you can walk and walk...
But the thing is, it was very straightforward. Then it was like, create an ebook then turn that ebook in into a video course. Turn that video course into something that little bit longer. Let's create a webinar. At that event that I went to, I literally made two sales. My first two sales online, $44.20 while I slept from Twitter at that event and remember thinking, wow, I need to sleep more. I am literally making more money while I sleep than while I'm awake. And this is when I joined the mentoring programme. He said to me, "Do you want to make $44 every now and again like that or do you want to make life-changing money?" And that's when I said, "Isn't it obvious?" He said, "Not to me." I said, "What?" He said, "Well, you told me yesterday how you didn't like this course and this other course because they offered other stuff, but you basically told me that you are not willing to invest in yourself to learn these things."
And of course it sounded salesy. I'm Irish. We're so allergic to anything that's salesy, but at the end of the day, if you don't listen to people, or if you're not willing to listen to people who know better in that area, doesn't make them better people, doesn't make them any... and that's what you have to separate is you've to separate the person from the message, and you've to learn that when somebody tells you what to do, don't improve it until you've done it first yourself. Just literally dumb it down, implement it, get the results, and then start to scale that. Don't over-question it. Don't try to see the end of the road before you've turned the key in the ignition.
The metaphor I use is don't try and learn how to drive in a Ferrari. Learn how to drive in a crock, get from A to B and once you lower the rules of the road, then upgrade, then start pursuing your dream business, pursue your passion, all these things, but get the basics right first. And that's kind of a huge realisation that you kind of need to humble yourself a little bit before you open your ears and eyes enough to realise that there's nothing handed to you. You literally have to put the work in, but you can shortcut it dramatically if you have somebody who's willing to show you how.