DiscoverThe Tim Ferriss Show#249: How to Make a Difference and Find Your Purpose -- Blake Mycoskie

#249: How to Make a Difference and Find Your Purpose -- Blake Mycoskie

Update: 2017-06-284


This episode of the podcast features Blake Mycoskie (@blakemycoskie). Blake Mycoskie is the Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS, and the person behind the One for One® business model, which helps a person in need with every product purchased. This simple idea has grown into a global movement: TOMS Shoes has provided more than 60 million pairs of shoes to children since 2006, TOMS Eyewear has restored sight to more than 400,000 people since 2011, and TOMS Roasting Company has helped provide over 335,000 weeks of safe water since launching in 2014. In 2015, TOMS Bag Collection was founded with the mission to help provide training for skilled birth attendants and distribute birth kits containing items that helps women safely deliver babies. As of 2016, TOMS has supported safe birth services for more than 25,000 mothers. In this episode we cover: Early entrepreneurial ventures The power of journaling How 'the stool analogy' changed Blake's life Lessons from Ben Franklin And much, much more… This episode comes from my new television show Fear(less), where I interview world-class performers on stage about how they’ve overcome doubt, conquered fear, and made their toughest decisions.  You can watch the entire first episode with illusionist David Blaine for free at (To watch all episodes, please visit DIRECTV NOW). We recorded three hours of material and only one hour was used for the TV show. This podcast episode is almost entirely new content that didn’t appear on TV. Enjoy! Show notes and links for this episode can be found at This episode is brought to you by Inktel. Ever since I wrote The 4-Hour Workweek, I've been frequently asked about how I choose to delegate tasks. At the root of many of my decisions is a simple question: 'How can I invest money to improve my quality of life?' Or, 'how can I spend moderate money to save significant time?' Inktel is one of those investments. It is a turnkey solution for all of your customer care needs. Its team answers more than one million customer service requests each year. It can also interact with your customers across all platforms, including email, phone, social media, text, and chat. Inktel removes the logistics and headache of customer communication, allowing you to grow your business by focusing on your strengths. And as a listener of this podcast, you can get up to $10,000 off your start-up fees and costs waived by visiting That's This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world's largest marketplace of graphic designers. I have used them for years to create some amazing designs. When your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99Designs. I used them to rapid prototype the cover for The Tao of Seneca, and I've also had them help with display advertising and illustrations. If you want a more personalized approach, I recommend their 1-on-1 service. You get original designs from designers around the world. The best part? You provide your feedback, and then you end up with a product that you're happy with or your money back. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run...

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the more the he this episode is brought to bite him to tell use them personally ever since I wrote The Four Hour Work Week I've been asked over and over again how I choose to delegate tasks how I do eighty twenty analysis and so on at the root of many of those decisions is a simple question actually two questions number one how can I invest money to improve my quality of life he's an investing as well the second how can I spend a little money or moderate money to save significant time Intel is one of those investments there a turnkey solution for all of your imaginable customer care needs I used Intel during the launch of the for our body which was very very involved in the provided twenty four seven customer service from a land rush campaign because it was critical for me to take care of every person who purchased my books and participated this allowed me to focus on the things that I am better at my strengths like the marketing plan that would work on for six months implementing that Intel trains their experience customer service reps to know your business your products inside an out n make your customers raving fans they answer customer service requests every year and they can do so across all platforms including email phone social media text even chat leaving your customers with poor service or just mediocre service which by the way in a competitive pool is a huge liability long wait times are unanswered messages carries a massive cost and risk your business Intel removes the logistics and headaches of this type of communication to focus on your strengths and grow your business it can be a real competitive advantage I see many many e commerce companies and tech companies thinking of customer service as a good enough check box or an afterthought and it just like air being reuse design ways to be a competitor and to win that you can do same thing with customer service so as a listener of this podcast you can get up to ten thousand dollars off discount ten thousand dollars off your startup fees and costs by visiting Intel dot com forward slash him to check it out for more info go to tell dot com I N K T E L dot com forward slash to the zips is brought you by ninety designs I've use ninety nine designs for years for all sorts of graphic design needs whether the new logo website cover anything else ninety nine Designs was created to make Greek designs accessible to everyone to make the process of getting designs much much easier so when I first started out for instance testing prototype covers and getting prototype covers for our body I want the contest route that is one option this is a great solution feeling for fast affordable design work and the ability to choose from dozens of options risk free it say you need something late night quick turn around while people in other times other countries can also help you solve the problem since then I've worked with ninety nine designs on a separate path or different option and that is the one to one project service self in a number of cases are you one example when I wanted to create the cover for my audio book The Tao of Seneca this was a very import product to me I decide to use their one to one project service in with the service you can invite a specific desired your project agreeing a price and then work together until you're satisfied that the rate provide feedback and all the stuff and I haven't shared yet we also got some incredibly good release of the best illustration I've ever seen from using this one to one project service with a handful of different designers and illustrators blew my mind Nina Designs makes this all very easy and efficient so you can check out The Tao of Seneca design and other work that I and your fellow listeners for that matter have done on ninety nine designs at ninety nine designs dot com forward slash Tim and right now you can get a free nine dollar upgrade on your first design again this ninety nine designs dot com for such to him the Hello boys and girls mom was way way this is Tim various recording in monthly kick the can vary show each and every episode is focused on deconstructing World Class performers from all different fields in this episode features Blake Mike Haas key and say hi to Blake on the socials Twitter and so on Blake Mike Husky M Y C O S K i e we knew each other for quite a few years Blake is the founder and chief shoe giver of Toms and that makes him the person for One business model which helps a person need with every product that is purchased but there many many stats and some very impressive numbers related to his bio and his business and we will get to that shortly and keep this initial intro very very short this episode we cover a lot we talked about earlier for an aerial ventures Estrada in English early on Taipei New Year you think that's French English either anyway early entrepreneurial ventures the power of journaling how all the stool analogy change place life lessons from Ben Franklin and much much more this episode comes from my new TV show fearless ten episodes to full season world class performers on stage in front of a studio audience about how they've overcome doubt conquered fear in me their hardest decisions you can watch the entire first episode of this TV show fearless with illusionist David Blaine where he actually performs magic on stage with guests from the audience as well he was in for free at a T T dot net for slash fearless eighty T dot net for trash fearless to watch all of the episodes and are physical involve demos on stage please visit Direct TV now calm only one team that not direct Space TV but DirecTV one work DirecTV now the com or go to Tim's blog for such fearless and we recorded three hours of material for this particular session with Blake all of it was awesome we used one hour for TV so this podcast episode is not to duplicate it is almost entirely brand new content that did not appear on TV so I hope you enjoy this chat as much as I did with Blake like Husky the the uh uh uh their lists the most embarrassed in on this stage will be deconstructing world class performers of all different types and cover the specific tactics and strategies I've used overcome doubt tackle the hardest decisions and ultimately succeed on their own terms show fans how many of you guys own a few pairs of shoes that is everybody in the room how many on around ten pairs of shoes more than half how many of you do not own a single pair of shoes aren't that big fat zero my guest tonight has built a company is giving away more than sixteen million pairs of shoes to those who need the most during a trip to South America recognize the unique opportunity to blend business and philanthropy since its founding Toms has given away millions of shoes help restore eyesight and provided safe drinking water to those in need across the globe ladies and gentlemen please welcome to the stage the founder of Toms lake like asking if I I I uh I I uh the uh how did your morning and at different times of parenting styles that's good question my dad was more serious and in more kind of intellectual and the things that he taught us and then my mom was much more you know kind of hands on and carrying both are very caring but but I think that my mom's new kind of was just so over attentive to our first child and I think the first targets that no matter what family this is the parents are so afraid of messing up I know I am my material so my dad was always like tt i like the moral you know kind of you that use the True North in the family in the kind of was a disciplinarian when that did happen and he was kind of the year the intellectual I would say it was interesting in Israel my mom became to this bestselling author and every publishing come in the world flying Arlington Texas to try to court her and then my dad realizing like Wow this is like totally changing our families you know kind of hold on and to live in the cool thing I think I lurve my dad was like he like you cut down his practice fifty percent started supporting her traveling with her going to be the talk shows infomercials but he was a total role reversal and I think that really taught me alot about relationships because it was like such beautiful things even though it wasn't like in like I wasn't really understanding all what I was seeing at that age but now is like he she was there putting him through medical school my parents little E's to sell their blood to go pay the rent they were so poor during medical school I mean that at all the stories being in New Orleans at Tulane and by going on in my mom always says my dad get more money for his blood because is more rare than hers is to piss her off and I caught all these things that she was she was working you know you know as a waitress nothing here and there and everything to put him to Mavs was all about his career the longest time for the moment my mom create something that was in it had some energy instead of him being threatened by that I think a lot of men would have better he said this is amazing it's your turn now and then I think that's my parents married for forty seven years and yeah I I uh I I think that was that was something seeing that was another part of that whole that whole experience that really had a big impression on me not only what my mom created but the support my dad played the was the cookie stand her first business experience I think so it seems like such a cliche as it there yet early take a little I was selling them myself but I was trained at a young age you know it is almost like kind of like as if there's some great cliches in entrepreneurship and the cliches because they're the same Schaefer reason like having your first business be lemonade stand the cookies and you hear that but yeah I mean like I had a little rage Nat my mom made these amazing cookies and I recognize my grandmother live on and off course and so on Saturdays and Sundays you have hundreds of people who mostly know my grandmother who is a real character coming through the off course and stove I sat there right on the eighth pole I think she's on the green and I was rescued all that like I can still eat right and the great thing about this business model was like him is my mom to make all the fifties but did not charge me for making them at zero cost a good soul hundred percent profit margins of the terrible cook yeah there was a fantastic business well last invited a couple summers ago that some clientele and they like that could be so much that they would buy him for that eating occasion they would buy mine from the freezer to have for weeks so I had a pretty good thing going I think that was about now is like nine or ten but yeah it was as though the first I think on to avenge the second one was and what were very few people know this is not al easily been at public but my dad when I was six eight eighteen freshmen in college at this point I had never had a real job is my dad's it's like I mean I was training to be a professional tennis player so every single day after school i train from three thirty till Little E bedtime and I was incredibly obsessed with tennis and dye my hair is totally supported that but the ecologist playing college tennis and remember my dad after the season is over and he said you know this summer I really think a new job at a younger brother and sister my brother and sister had like they were eight years younger in four years younger they get jobs like the dry cleaners or the clothing store the mall or that they always replaces their much younger than me and my dad's like you've got a college scholarship you're doing your thing this summer you need to have a job and I was like okay like I was really excited about that but I I said fine and it wasn't unlike the workers or clipart worked hard on something I cared about that was tense and so I talk to people is that what's happening make the most amount of money when you're eighteen years old in a part time job still need practice sense in that answer I got time time again was to get a job at a restaurant that had high price points but that had a pretty quick turn or not fine dining but like a bit more expensive restaurant and then kind of fast service and so there were you asking for but I was asking like anyone in college that I had thought was all roomies had made some money or that had any any form of and like the hats more experience on and then in friends of mine who are over me in school had done add in some of them were even bring themselves to school that way there's the so called Papa doze in Texas and if you've been there to tell people so it's like seafood arm anyways it's pretty expensive but the tables turn fast and so I went and had no experience and some people this is their career I mean isn't a part time job it's that good of the restaurant job but what the hiring manager is a huge tennis fan and so we talked about tennis and she played in college at a rival school and I was playing at all as in so I was like I can do this job thing I really had the seller on me so I got the jobs I came home and as like my dad as a guide John ie job I got job to make a lot of money this summer and I as the next part of if you work in restaurant is memorizing the menu why hate memorizing things I mean just like that is the worst for me like studying cramming for tests is not my thing is after two or three days like this is miserable like I'm not going to memorize this menu and I found out you don't even get paid the first two weeks because this training and my summers only like nine weeks long like that's like fifteen percent in mining page this is that this is sounding less and less appealing everyday so this is where the moment came in I think this is truly my first entrepreneurial kind of snaps is when off my brain at our house next door house there was a tennis court and I clearly did you learn become a great tennis player and I knew that there were a lot of kids in our neighborhood that he says lists and maybe even some other adults that went as lists and any witnesses core we can use anytime and how much my parents paid for tennis lessons for me growing up Ms a huge investment for me and so I just said before I go into work this next week This weekend I made these flyers put SMU college tennis player training for the next eight weeks kids adults classes the whole thing same way as you see a country club and I've made five thousand flyers Superman flew to me like two days every single mailbox in the entire neighborhood and denied that point I had my own phone line and change my voicemail like legs tennis camp or something and I'm starting calls and like within a week I had like every hour the day booked and instead of making like I was charging as I was I think it pop and O's with tips and stuff I'd average rise can be making like the fourteen or fifteen dollars hour which would have been really good back then but teaching tennis because that each kid paying fifteen dollars an hour at five to the time as me eighty bucks now and so I had to set up my dad came home he thought as the work of pop as he sees me teaching a whole group of kids and my mom delivering cookies and lemonade to the What the and I said you know this this isn't still a job and making four times the money that I was and that was the moment where I really felt like I started Mountain Rogers knew dat way to get a job to earn money or was it because when you have the experience of like reporting to someone else clearly was the latter but with learning where you could argue when you'll make eighty dollars an hour me crazy every time or an airplane the first thing I do if it's not getting a cup of coffee is is start journaling have I have a massive safe in my office that has hundreds and hundreds of journals were actually making a documentary film about the whole Tom's experience in a big part of the film is going back and grabbing random journals reading these injuries you're like I can't believe I was saying this are thinking this because you tenderly I tended to be warped even though I confess all my fears I turn into kind of news journal as a way of positively setting the tone of the next day the next week next month now and I it's something that I love doing in and it's that I'm really glad I did because I think it helps me understand my life which I think is good because understanding your passes they can really be more proactive your future totally I have so this is a shared habits I've probably bought a two book shelves worth of journals I've kept them all since around the same age fifteen sixteen but it started with weightlifting thing I wanted to track my progress and to understand what worked what didn't sell it but it's turned into what I've heard described her name is Julia Cameron should book called The artist's Way she described journal in the first time the confessional yeah as spiritual windshield wipers meaning you get that down especially in the morning and the way I look at us or trapping my monkey mind and my anxieties on the page yes I can get all of the day and the morning journaling habit was actually introduced to me by and by the way I like the The Morning Journal specifically isn't something i start until about three years ago at the recommendation because I think is a lot of people I've been journaling for a long time and then I stopped for a while and I would only use for goals yeah but I didn't do that other thing so critical and I like how that's like the rah rah positive thinking like I don't even get all the secret with you I got there that sell I then ran into any brine complement his screenwriter along with his writing partner The illusionist solitary Man Ocean's thirteen billions the co creators that show the current huge hit he does it every morning yeah he said You have to start more I think this is going from him I started and it was immediate the difference in not just my performance but also my well being I think I haven't heard the spiritual windshield wiper which I like that term because that's what it does for me is it anything that is like like controlling my thoughts like stress related or like you know or I feel like I've too many things in my mind are meant to do list or I think one thing get on the page than I can just like sing really focus on the most important things of the day you know I know you've spoken about like do that for the two most important things right away in your day and by journaling a healthy organize what are those really things when you're writing about it you kind of it's art you whatever's being the most attention typically the thing you don't want that to do with the you need to do about it but it really does I think help you clean your day and then in the day too I think it also can serve as a way to kind of a license to relax and get ready for bed and like get over with today if you've had some stuff on your mind so it's interesting that writing it you think you'd make it even more it's something you think about but I finally once written I let it go I close the book it's like the problems are in the book they're no longer at me and holy and it is a positive thing that I think it is reinforcing the never forget this so interesting how going back to these little moments the life that can really change trajectory that oftentimes it can be someone that you me or you hear listen or listen to our book to read so there is a guiding bought dad and bought Evan his eZ Pass now the time he was a self made billionaire and he gave more money to SMU in University of Texas I think than anyone ever you are a group in a trailer park and start off as a lawyer and ultimately where he made his real fortune was You recognize that Goff clubs country clubs were becoming more and more popular in the seventies the eighties but it is very expensive to maintain the golf course and the rest on everything and you made money by selling the real estate around it so he started doing is creating clubs with multiple courses but one crew that serves multiple courses in Agnew anyone greens keeper for three clubs in three times the amount of real estate sales one kitchen all the things and it became to think of club court when he passed away was the largest under Gough golf courses and tennis courts in the world and his amazing guy and is in Dallas Texas and he loved sense he'd come out to watch our tennis matches and used eccentric billionaire guide watches matches and I and for whatever reason and after get what was I think it was raining we couldn't practice today and our coach said you what does it seems your dad and me times watching the matches since rain say we can practice run watch a video of a commencement speech that he gave for the MBA program University Texas weeks ago and seeing more from reference of how wise this guy and you're the speech was basically about having a life path and thinking of your life is a stool and every stool has three or four legs and what is going to be the legs of your life or in your path the mean one is your talents when is your interest one is in all these different things I care exactly was but I remember leaving that day and I just hurt myself thinking I don't think my stool is going to professional tennis player actually think my life is about other things and I started recognizing these kind of power talent was deftly self discipline in all these different things and so I remember watching that video and having peace that the idea of not continuing down this and this fat The View another great Ben Franklin story that I've read that actually had a huge impact on early days of Tom's I was reading a biography one of the ones Me written and I'm so in he had the Farmer's Almanac right now as they like to recognize that that is that he needs for Fortune was was for the Almanac in most the things we know Ben Franklin for actually happen after he retired at age forty six Old Farmer's Almanac had money that I'm retired and in all its dimensions and then came out of the curiosities afterwards but when my favorite stories was Ms there was this person when advertise the Farmer's Almanac and Ben Franklin did not agree with his ethics and his morals and ideals but he needed to take advertising money to keep his Almanac going and so when you decide to do was that night he instead sleeping in his bed in his home he slept in his office on the floor with only a piece of bread to eat and he woke up the next morning and was just as happy as he was the day before and that's when he said he would never take advertising dollars from someone he didn't believe that was a huge thing with me with their The Toms like we will we will say a hundred percent focused on the mission whether we make it or not because we're going to be going to be happier doing it the way we feel that way as is the right thing to do in cutting corners to make extra money and that I read it out I I I I that I know only that but you can live with the worst case there is that right now that that's what he proved so this is going so we're going to keep kind of peeling back the onion here because I mentioned earlier part of the reason I suspect Ben Franklin did that as he was a huge center cafe yes in Seneca specifically he has a collection of letters called the moral letters to kill use door is going to be long and that there's letter I think it's thirteen called on feasting on festivals and fasting that and I know the name because I've read so many times and part of it is set aside a few days making up the time period every month where you will go with the the cheapest of dress the scant is the fear of the roughest of bad asking yourself all the while is this the condition I so feared yes and I have a close buddy Kevin Kelly whose amazing chemical is the founding editor of wired magazine is done millions just incredible things and what he would say to him self the kind of bring it into contemporary times because he spent a long time backpacking as a kid news like I was always thrilled even it's just like dirt bag college student backpacker have sleeping bag has lots of sweet Magnolia oh yeah fun stuff to sell out this isn't selling out is dropping and and so but I'd started this thing it was it was kind of working and I had employees and this responsibility and that felt much more real than going to class like you know talking about Descartes or whoever whatever philosopher I was talking about the time I'm in so I I remember calling my dad was really nervous because my dad as we talked about before is just really accomplished doctor you know did I mean how many years of school college medical school residency I mean he had like May life of education and I was going to tell him after eighteen months dives and drop the couch and and and I was also the oldest grandchild of of all my other cousins and stuff to size like the one everyone was looking at now and I I you know his response to that was was like the most amazing to this day I still kind of baffled understand how his response was this way he basically said you know you've you've taken on the saying you have a responsibility now to a lot of people it seems like you have a lot of fun and so I think it's bad it was like a joke but this could have been working all month on the preparation for this call was to scared to do it in person I didn't even know my parents live in our way I on the phone calls as does the time it needs to hang up get out of it I could stand and he was totally supportive and I think it's a big test made my dad and his belief of like giving people the chance to fail and need to learn on and but it was it was an amazing point because this cough and insert his ability for me kind of be curious to try something and also im stressing how I had really now that I had employees I'd taken on more responsibility than just doing something for myself was bigger than just me and that has really stayed with me through all the different businesses and I think that's why we invest so much and are employees of Thompson in there for well being not just their financial well being and also the point was my dad and I made into was I was going to my own financial so I dropped out like I was being supported by my parents was in college is Mo's lot of kids are not every kid has a fortune but many of the kids in my school is okay if you're dropping out like your business needs the support you like you need to be able to support yourself and so that was a real physical reality of first to win which created a lot of fear and a lot of like Oh my gosh now I have to make this work because my parents are supporting me more and and that also is a great motivation I think those great move on his part around and keep your feet to the fire for the safety net the one of the things the question I get all the time it's the 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#249: How to Make a Difference and Find Your Purpose -- Blake Mycoskie