Follow Your Dreams – The Story of a Man Who Went from Delivering Bread to Selling Books

by STEVE BLOOM

dreams and wishes. 62/365

*Note: This is a guest post by Kimanzi Constable.

Are you living or existing?

That’s a tough question to answer.  At this point, I can honestly tell you I’m living.  It wasn’t always this way though.

If you would have talked to me three years ago, you would have been depressed.  It was a cold Wisconsin morning and I was doing what I normally did at midnight, I was delivering bread.  I had been doing this job for twelve years but still couldn’t get used to those hours.

More than that, I wasn’t passionate about the job.  I wanted more – so much more – but with no college degree and no special skills, what could I do?  I had so many doubts, so many fears, so many negative voices telling me I could never chase my dream.  I simply existed.

Enough was enough.  Three years ago I told everyone who would listen that I was going to make a change.  After thinking about what I wanted to do, something kept screaming at me.  A long lost love came back into my life: writing.

Writing?  Are you kidding me?  How can I make money writing?  At that point I didn’t care; the dream was just too strong.  I started a blog and took my journal that I had been keeping about work.

Ebooks were becoming popular so I decided to turn my collection of thoughts into an ebook, sell 10,000 copies and become rich and famous.  As you can probably guess, things didn’t exactly work out that way.

The book came out in August of 2011 and for the next six months sold five copies.  I was completely crushed.  After two weeks of crying myself to sleep, something really woke up me up to my dream.

A young man who regularly read my blog contacted me and said he was inspired to quit his job.  I asked him if we could talk and we did.  Even though I wasn’t a life coach or anything like that, I wanted to help.

We worked through his dream job and over the next month, he got that job.  At that moment my dream became clear: I wanted to help those people just like me – the ones who were existing, the ones who wanted more but didn’t know how to get it.

The rest is history as they say, right?  Not really!  At that point is when I truly became a writer.  Instead of focusing on myself, I started writing to help people and add value to their lives anyway I could.

When I opened up, people responded and a few of them bought the book.  Some shared it on social media and a few more people bought the book.  I then researched how to get the word out.

I’ll fast forward for you: I released a second book, I guest posted on some of the largest and coolest sites around.  Over the next two years, both eBooks ended up selling over 80,000 copies.

I don’t want to give you the impression that this just happened; it was a lot of hard work, sweat and tears.

When the books started selling, I got a little exposure.  I was invited to speak at a conference in West Virginia.  I never imagined I could speak, but once I did it, I wanted more.  In the last two years I have spoken at conferences all over the world: 11 states and 10 countries.

I just got back from a three-week speaking tour in Kenya, London and Paris.  My wife sure enjoyed the “perks” of my “job.”  If all this wasn’t enough, on April 8th, 2014, my family and I are moving to Hawaii.  One of our family’s main dreams is finally becoming true!

This can be your story

When people hear my story, they’re usually inspired.  What I want to scream from the rooftops is that this can be your story too.  One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that your dream will never be your reality if you don’t believe it.

Experts will tell you that you have to change your “mindset” but I say you’re choosing to believe in yourself instead of believing those doubts and fears.  This won’t be easy, but most “cool” things in life aren’t.

Once you truly believe, you can then do something about it; you can take action on your dream.

Figure out what your dream truly is.  Research the heck out of that dream.  Put a solid step-by-step plan together and take small steps.

Realize there will always be bumps on the road, have a shoulder to lean and maybe cry on.  Above all, focus on your “why” and keep pushing forward.  Do you want to do something cool in 2014?  Stop existing and start truly living, you can do this!

How will you start truly living in 2014?

This is a guest post from Kimanzi Constable. He is a former bread guy turned best-selling author, international speaker and life coach. His mission is to help people figure out what their dreams are and how to make those dreams their reality. Be sure to check out #DreamYear, a project to help you live out your dream by the end of 2014 (it’s FREE). Be sure to also connect with him on Twitter.

photo credit: Nicole Pierce

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement, Kimanzi. I want to use this fresh start to springboard to something great.

  2. Kimanzi, what an inspiring story. While I wasn’t doing or am not currently doing the same things you are, my life has taken a similar path. Nine and seven years ago, respectively, my husband and I left public school teaching to open our own guitar and tutoring business. We had to challenge some old, nonsensical beliefs that weren’t working for us. Was it hard? Yes, pretty hard, but it would be much harder to wake up twenty years from now with conversation starters like, “I wish I had …”

    So happy for you!

    • That’s a great story Tammy! Too often too many people are content to just go with the flow, that model just doesn’t work anymore! Congrats to you and your husband :)

  3. Love a good shot of inspiration. Thanks for the reminder ‘kick’!

  4. Very inspiring story.

    Great job making it happen Kimanzi!

  5. Hi Kimanzi,

    this is interesting and shows that having a great book and relying on word-of-mouth from your first few readers isn’t enough these days.

    I’ve heard stories of fairly established writers who have had poor sales just because they weren’t prepared to do the whole book launch/book tour thing.

    You know when a big name has a new book because you see them cropping up all over the place suddenly – e.g. Tim Ferris when he recently launched the 4 hour chef was promoting it like crazy, on every blog and podcast and grabbing every interview he could find (probably doing some guest posting too or maybe he’s beyond that now because he’s well known enough so just does interviews). Now it seems to be Gary V with his new book popping up everywhere.

    So how many guest posts would you say you did? Did you do interviews too or was it mainly guest positing & could you share an example – e.g. did these mainly just get your name out or did you explicitly talk about your book, or a mix of the two?

    thanks for sharing your experience & best wishes for your ongoing success,

    Alan

  6. Hey Alan :) I had a book launch team for reviews and exposure, about 80 people. I did 20 guest posts and had 40 people write about the book on their blogs. I did over 25 interviews, I had people sharing like crazy on social media.

    When I interviewed I didn’t promote the book. If I got some sales great but more than that, my goal was to spread the message that you don’t have to exist in life, you can truly live. I focused and continue to focus on adding value and helping people where ever I can, the sales come as a result of adding value. I would do all of this for free, I truly believe in the message :)

  7. As in 80 people who were just contacts of yours or 80 people you actually employed (presumably the former but I would be very interested if it actually was the latter).

    So you never mentioned your book in any of the 20 guest posts you did? Good going getting 40 people to write about the book on their blogs!

    There is an irony in business and in networking – if you truly and genuinely help people then you will generally find success, but knowing that, if you are helping people because you heard it’s a way to find success, it generally won’t work.

    So of course I believe you would do all of this for free – you’ve found success and that’s most likely why. People can see through it when we’re not genuine.

    All the same, there’s nothing wrong with some promotion, after all, you had a book to sell, which is why I asked the question(s).

    in any case, congrats on your success & your journey,

    best wishes,
    Alan

    • 80 people that were just friends and blog readers, other bloggers. People can tell if you’re fake. If you’re really trying to help, I think people understand that while you want to help, you still have to eat :) Plus, if you’re providing value, people will be willing to spend a couple of bucks.

      I think the biggest problem when most authors don’t sell books is they’re not clear who they’re talking to and what they’re talking about. They don’t know who they’re target audience is.

  8. How wonderful that you were able to make the shift to a life you want. I am always inspired by these stories. I hope one day I will find something to build my passion around. Now I am building all the skills I can because who knows what combination of them will bring me to my future career path.

  9. I love that this isn’t a story that speaks of just the success, and makes it appear like it was overnight. It took work. And relationships. And altruism. All great things!

    I’m glad Alan asked the questions he did – highlighted more of the work you did.

    Hats off to you, man! Great work!

    • Thanks Razwana. I think it’s not helpful when you hear one of those stories that make it seem like it happened overnight. This has been a 3 year journey that’s still being written :)

  10. Not giving up too quickly – that’s a lesson from your story

  11. What a great example of someone who is living their dreams. Anyone can if they take action on the dreams that they have. Great post!

  12. Kimanzi, this is quiet a story! From delivering bread to an international public speaker!

    So many good lessons and encouragement here: believe in yourself, follow your dreams, make your dreams a reality and keep persisting even when things don’t initially work out!

    We all need to check in with ourselves every so often and ask if we are living or existing:) And figure out how to make changes to live the life we want to live.

  13. I love this story! Thank you so much for sharing.

    You are so right – it is all about believing in yourself and believing that you deserve the life of your dreams. WE CAN HAVE IT ALL!

    It is all waiting for us, we just have to awaken the powerful creator within ourselves.

    With love,
    Jess

  14. Wow, this really inspired me to keep pushing forward no matter what!

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