Season 3 / Episode #57 : Don Abad
Don is on a mission to elevate values-driven leaders and creators to embrace their sovereignty and lead a life of significance. That only starts once we rediscover the fundamental values of FAITH, FAMILY, and FREEDOM as the anchors of life and society at large.
Guest, Don Abad is the founder of sovereign stories and a coach at team sovereign. And what they do is they help to elevate values, focused leaders and creators to embrace their sovereignty and lead a life of significance.
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[0:48] The Good Note – Story of Success
[3:49] The Bad Note – Story of Failure
[9:18] Practice Makes Progress
[16:39] Gathering Fans
[20:52] Learning from the Best
[26:16] Guest Solo
Tim Melanson: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to today’s episode of the work-at-home rockstar podcast. Excited for today’s guest. He is the founder of sovereign stories and a coach at team sovereign. And what they do is they help to elevate values, focused leaders and creators to embrace their sovereignty and lead a life of significance.
Very excited to be talking to Don Abad. Hey Don, are you ready?
Don Abad: I’m always ready to him. That’s rock.
Tim Melanson: Perfect. Start off with a story of success. Tell me a story of success in your life or your business. That can be inspiring.
Don Abad: I’ll probably have to chalk this one up to the last 23 months. Know, I don’t want to be insensitive or any, I mean, I like everybody else have experienced, uh, you know, family members, friends, um, losing their livelihoods.
Um, but had a couple of, I lost a couple of family members over the past couple of years. Uh, so I don’t want to be insensitive to the fact that, uh, [00:01:00] uh, this crisis has impacted all of us in different ways, but that being said. Um, the last two years have been a wake-up call for my wife, came in and I to really take a look at our priorities and, uh, reevaluate those priorities, uh, in a nutshell.
And so, uh, one thing that we’ve always wanted, or at least I always wanted to do was start and stay consistent with a podcast. And so I have a flagship show, uh, called sovereign, uh, which I began about six months. Um, Prior. And I actually came up with another show, um, a couple of months ago, which is, uh, specifically geared towards, uh, our network marketing business because that’s, uh, a big area that we’re involved in.
Now. We actually, I actually had a show, um, uh, called creators creed that I launched about three years ago. And there’s a stat out there saying that most podcasts die around episode six and not to be out done. I [00:02:00] did seven episodes. And then I quit, but it wasn’t so much a loss because it really wasn’t my voice.
And I was sorta just trying to force myself to have a show without really thinking about the purpose behind it. So that’s sort of why it sort of fizzled out all that time. But now. Now that, uh, I really do want to get serious with my brand. I decided, you know what, I’m going to start something and I’m going to follow through with it.
And the past two years has been a big focus on brand building, but in terms of the success, the success is just really gaining, um, really, um, me deciding that I’m going to be consistent. And, uh, that’s, that’s really, it, it’s nothing big. Everything’s still ongoing. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m just glad that I was able to take this thing that I’ve always wanted to do and just keep going with it
Tim Melanson: right on. Yeah, I hear you like with the insensitive part of [00:03:00] it. Cause you know, it’s, it’s one of those things where a tragedy happens and a lot of people did not do so well. And actually I was a musician, so I lost a fair bit as well. But it also is an opportunity too, to reinvent yourself and to, you know, do something different.
And so very happy to hear that things worked out well for you. So good, good on that now, uh, you know, with the good note, you know, there are some bad notes along the way as well. And I’m wondering, can you share something in your entrepreneurial journey that did not go as planned and how you’ve recovered from it and maybe how we can avoid it or recover from it? If happens to us too.
Don Abad: Well, it’s, it’s, uh, in a similar vein. Uh, I remember one particular moment. This was a couple of years ago. So I took my master’s degree in film and media production, um, at the New York film academy in LA. And that was right after I met my future wife at the time, uh, proposed to her left from the [00:04:00] Philippines to LA, uh, did film school there for a year.
And then try to find work. And as I’m sure you can probably relate to, I was a struggling artist all that time, because I didn’t really know how to monetize my passions at the same time, because I just met my wife. I was introduced to this whole world of network marketing and the idea of creating side income, which I thought, Hey, as an artist who wants to pursue his passions without compromising on his values, without having to go through that barista phase, the weight or phase that you know, most people think they have to go through in order to be, to be.
Um, I wanted to get that business going as well, but long story short, those next two years, even when my wife was my wife and I were able to reunite later on, after I graduated, it was just a, it was just a battle really to make ends meet for the two of us. And there was one more. At a convention that we had for our, uh, business or [00:05:00] network marketing business.
I was talking to my mentor, Mike Wilson. He’s been in the industry for about four decades. So he’s pretty much seen it all. And we were just, uh, we were, that was the moment we decided actually to switch gears and move back to the Philippines and start over. Um, but obviously. You know, that was a big let down for us.
We thought we were going to make it, you know, chase the American dream and all that. And not that I don’t believe in the American dream, it’s just, I, we knew that there was a pivot moment coming. So I was just telling Mike and, and we’re we’re Christian people. Uh, we, we believe, um, uh, in DOD guiding our steps.
And I was just asking Mike it’s like, Mike, I wish that. What give even a hint of a break because it’s been nothing but failure after failure, after failure in business. And in my film career, I don’t know to do. And Mike just looked at me, my mentor, and then he was like, you know, Don, I can’t speak for God, but may I encourage you to be grateful for what you have.[00:06:00]
A great woman by your side, who hasn’t left you in spite of all the failures who really believes in the potential that you have to offer. And the fact that you’re making this decision to go back to the Philippines. I know you’ve been a little lonely here in the U S because you’ve been living by yourself.
You’re going home to friends and family, people that you love. And that, that was a life changer for me. It really taught me. And I guess the failure there, or it wasn’t really a failure, really, because it would have been a failure if I kept on feeling sorry for myself and blaming other people, you know, in this case it was God was the environment that the lack of opportunities, whatever it may be.
So I was blessed really to stop myself short of giving. Judah just finding other things to blame and finding other things to change. But myself and I was glad that I was able to, uh, have a mentor like that, which we’re going to be talking about later on in this conversation. But [00:07:00] that’s really it. That was a, that was a crossroads moment for me.
And, uh, give me an are glad we got. Wow.
Tim Melanson: So a little bit about me. I actually spent about 10, 11 years in network marketing as well. And, uh, I did end up building a quite large organization in the very end of it, after a good five years of struggling. And, uh, I would say it was the, the best and worst of times in, in, in that business.
And, you know, you do end up learning a lot about gratitude because, you know, When you’re in a family like that, like I found that the, the environment was just so good and so bad at the same time. Right. It was, you know, you had people that were struggling and, you know, their, this was their last chance. And so you had all that desperation there, but you also had people that all wanted something and wanted something in their lives.
And, you know, I found that, that. [00:08:00] Motivates you, and it just makes you think, wow. You know, especially considering there’s so many people have so many different backgrounds that you see yourself as being ahead of somebody and behind somebody at the same time. So it was a really good experience. And I definitely encourage anybody to do it because if it wasn’t for that experience, You know, you learn a lot about sales, marketing, about relationship building, about, uh, leadership, you know, so many things that you learn about in network marketing.
So I strongly recommend anybody. You know, if you haven’t done it before, you know, try it, you know, you might be surprised,
Don Abad: I always like to say that a network marketing isn’t just network marketing. It’s a personal development seminar course training program in the guise of a direct sales venture.
Tim Melanson: Yeah. And, and you might, you might get paid as you go to, so that’s just a bonus. Uh, now, so, you know, speaking of learning and growing and getting good at what you do and all that stuff, I, I used to say practice makes perfect. Now I say practice makes progress because, [00:09:00] uh, I think that captures it a little bit better, but I’m wondering for you, how do you get good at what you do?
Don Abad: We’ll just, uh, uh, taken off from the, uh, the last point I mentioned. You know, dedicating these next couple of years to a branding myself, brand development. I sort of liken it to my craft as an artist. I’m a storyteller. I always, I always like to say that, um, you know, I wear a lot of hats when I’m a storyteller at heart.
And so a lot of what I’m doing right now is just trying to find a way to really optimize my origin story and the path forward. And that’s through my podcasts. Uh, as I mentioned, It’s through my creative agency, which again is a lot about understanding the human condition and telling stories that sort of illustrate what people desire and what people want.
And on a practical level, that just means a lot of writing. I do a lot of [00:10:00] writing, um, to get better at my craft to get better at my speaking, to get better at my podcast, to get better at my filmmaking, really the whole, the whole. And even that even applies to our network marketing business, which we’re still very much active in.
Uh, and we’ve sort of moved into, uh, the internet marketing space and using the power of social media and the web to really, uh, take our business further than we ever did doing it the traditional way. And it’s the same deal. It’s all about storytelling. If you listen to the, your sovereign downline podcast, which is a, the platform that I use to.
You know, talk about our experiences and lessons we’ve learned over the past. Uh, collectively 15 years in the direct sales industry, about 80% of it is made up of stories about our failures. About lessons learned about failures and lessons learned by, you know, our mentors and the people around us. And that’s, that’s what I suggest to anybody.
Who’s looking [00:11:00] to build a brand of any kind of their solo preneur. If they’re a small business owner, if they’re a freelancer nowadays, now that everybody has this sort of the digital divide, this divot, this digital wall between them and. The know like, and trust factor is more important than ever before.
People always say that, you know, we live in the information age. I disagree with that. We live in the attention age now, especially after this whole crisis came about at the, you know, at the beginning of 2020 now everyone’s online now everybody’s starting podcasts. Now everybody isn’t as an influencer effectively, if you have a social media profile.
And so the way you break through that, The way you stand up above the crowd and winning the attention economy is to be able to tell your story better and unashamedly authentically, completely vulnerable, because people want real people. The people want to follow real people. That’s the type of person that folks will gravitate to because there’s so many other people doing exactly what you’re doing.[00:12:00]
What differentiates you, your story?
Tim Melanson: Yep. Absolutely. And so, and you’re, you’re touching on a whole bunch of things that a lot of people say is that, you know, people do business with people. Right. And so the know like, and trust thing is so important. And so if you don’t really know your story, I think a lot of people focus too much on their, their, their craft, which is great.
I mean, you’ve got to get good at what you do. However, I assume that if you’re in business in the first place, well then there is some type of skill that you have, and there are going to people that are going to want it. So what’s going to differentiate you from anybody else is, is your story. And so like, how do you go about.
Like do you have like a framework of how you build your story or, or like, how do you, if I was thinking to myself, okay, well, I don’t have a story. I’m not telling a story. I’m just, you know, a programmer, whoever you are. How do I go about starting to craft that story?
Don Abad: Well, there’s a couple of different frameworks, but a really good three step framework that you can start [00:13:00] with is hook epiphany solution.
And that’s really, if you’re an entrepreneur or somebody who’s offering something, you have to offer value first. But before that you have to be relatable. So the hook. If you’re a podcaster, or if you have a YouTube channel at the beginning, you’re going to suck. You know, there’s no getting away from that.
You, you probably can relate to that as well. Tim, I certainly can. Um, and the thing is those early struggles, including how, how bad you are at the beginning, that’s forming an overarching narrative over time. That’s actually the story of your. As a personal brand and people want to see that. And so all of that, uh, all of your perceived shortcomings and weaknesses and flaws and all.
Don’t hide it. That’s your hook. I always say, I always say that the challenge is the hook. If you’re having a struggle right now, don’t fret. Don’t think that you’re in PA you’re an [00:14:00] imposter and worry about imposter syndrome. In fact, I suggest you write down that current challenge, or if you uncover a weakness that, you know, you watch yourself on, on, on, on screen for the first time.
If you put up your first YouTube and you’re like, oh my gosh, I stutter a lot. I stuttered like 20 times. And in the first minute don’t. Try to edit that out. Even write that down, that is part of your hook. So that later on down the line, when you’re a hundred episodes in, you can say, Hey guys, watch my first video.
You think I’m good? Now I was a human being just like all of you from the very beginning I stuttered on under times in the first minute, that is the hook. And people will gravitate to you because of that. And then epiphany epiphany is what you found out the lesson learned. Okay, you have a challenge, but then you persevered through it.
How, what was that shining light that really got you through that moment? Right? That’s the epiphany, you know, people want to see you rising up, you know, hero’s journey and all that, and then solution. This is a, [00:15:00] the call to action. You know, if we’re talking about content marketing, this is when people will be more than happy to.
To buy, whatever it is that you’re selling. Really. If we’re talking about it on a purely practical level, because you know, nowadays there’s a lot of talk about how do I, you know, how do I pitch my services? How do I sell my craft without appearing, salesy and sleazy? Because again, we’re, there’s a lot of noise here, right?
But we want to appear as authentic as possible. How do we not look like, you know, that sleazy salesperson, if you prefer. Enough value. And if you were able to make yourself relatable using the first two parts of that framework, your hook and your epiphany, people are going to be clamoring for more value.
And that’s how that’s, when they’re going to say, you know, I don’t care, whatever it is you’re selling. I want to be a part of it. I want a piece of it because you’ve given me more than what I asked for in this free thing that you’re offering, which is your content platform. So [00:16:00] that’s a one way I go.
Tim Melanson: Don.
That’s so good. And you’re a hundred percent right. That the relate-ability is important. And you know, that place that you’re in right now, if it’s in a bad place, that that’s what people are going to relate to because the people that need your help are also in that place, otherwise, why would they need your help?
Right. Yeah. So now, okay, so let’s just say I got my story. I’m all set. Ready to go out there and get some fans. What do I do? How do I get.
Don Abad: How do you get fans? Well, you turn on the camera, you turn on the microphone and you just go at it. You start telling you a story. And, uh, you know, whenever I tell people, I always, always, always preached the whole content is king thing at which everybody’s done to death.
And. Always the common concern that comes up is I don’t have any expertise. And again, I know I’m sort of beating a dead horse here, but it comes down to just telling your story at first, like make the first 10 episodes or so about what drew you to what you’re doing right now. What inspired [00:17:00] you to share the message that you’re trying to share through your platform?
And that’s, what’s going to attract fans to. Now, here is a great strategy that, uh, I only learned recently, I sorta knew it logically at the back of my mind, but I never really took it seriously until now. And this is actually why I’m on your podcast right now, Tim, which is I made a set of goal for myself to appear on 30 podcasts, um, in the next couple of months, because I’m actually launching a product for my network marketing business, uh, in the middle of March.
And before that launch. Obviously I’m putting out content, I’m doing all that. I’m trying to build a tribe. Um, I’m trying to build an audience of people who, uh, love what I’m given now, who see value in what I do. And that’s good. But one thing that a lot of people say, aside from the, you know, I don’t have any expertise you’ll build.
Just tell your story. But the second, um, the second concern people have is, you know, they’ve been doing, they’ve been cranking [00:18:00] out episodes. They’ve been cranking out content after piece of content, but their audience just doesn’t seem to be growing. I know one guy that I was talking to and he had a podcast that he’d been doing for 18 months and he doesn’t get more than I think the most downloads he’s gotten on an episode is I dunno, a hundred, a hundred downloads on an episode.
He doesn’t get more than 20 people or something. I’m listening in every day. So basically it’s not moving the needle forward, you know, in his business, he was like, I’m doing the content thing. I’m being consistent with it. What can I do to get better? And then, you know, I was helping them fix, you know, some of this messaging and the way he structures his episodes and all that.
But I also recommended to him to get on other people’s shows, get on other people’s shows and leverage the list that these influencers Mo Mo most likely. Ahead of where you are, where you want to be. They already have an audience. The easiest way to build up your audience is by leveraging the audience of [00:19:00] the next person.
And what’s great about this exercise as well, is that it really forces you to learn how to give value unconditionally, because if you want to get on other people’s shows, you can’t just pitch for the next 30 minutes, hour, hour, and a half, however long, the conversation is you actually have to. Pure unadulterated value to even get permission to then pitch your thing.
And that to me has probably one of the most valuable things I’ve I’ve ever done in, uh, this little brand development journey that I’ve been on one of the best lessons and really an underrated lesson. What we’ve we always hear that content is king, but before that, it really, really, really helps to have people come to.
Content platform in the first place. And that’s by partnering up with other content creators in a similar vertical, as yours and getting on their show, invite them to your show and just get that partnership going, because really that is a tie that raises all. [00:20:00]
Tim Melanson: Yeah, I can speak to that too. Cause I’ve actually recently been invited to be on some other people’s podcasts and it is a totally different experience.
And I mean, you learn so much about yourself, first of all, because you, you actually do realize that you have more to give than you think you do, because people are asking you questions and you’re answering them and you’re going, Hey. Geez. Okay. That was pretty good. Right.
Don Abad: Uh, so it should write that down.
Tim Melanson: Yeah. I’m going to write that down. That’s going to be part of my course. Yeah. And then on top of that, like you say, I mean, you get the opportunity to create more relationships and all that stuff. So I definitely think that’s a good strategy as well. Now you mentioned earlier about a mentor and so I want to talk about learning from the best and learning from other people.
Uh, what, what’s your impression of that? Like, did you always know that you needed coaches or something like that? Or was this something that sort of just dropped into your lap? Somehow
Don Abad: I’ve known that. You know, I’ve known that it’s always best to look to somebody who’s already [00:21:00] done what you want to do, or to look at somebody who’s ahead in some other field, that’s not necessarily the same as yours, but they have a certain perspective on life and a certain perspective on, you know, rising to the challenge and breaking through their obstacles that you can learn from.
So basically learning from experienced people, that’s always been something. You know, I put a lot of value. In fact, when I was in back, when I was in college, they actually had a mentorship program, really one of the only schools of its kind to do that. Once, once you enter, you get a professor, uh, or other faculty member assigned to you and, uh, you know, you, you do mentoring sessions with them after school.
And that’s been huge in my personal growth, my academic growth, my spiritual growth. And now that carries over into my business life as well. Personal life, marriage, all that. And, uh, uh, really, uh, mentorship and apart for mentorship, community support groups, associating with like-minded people like yourself that is [00:22:00] equally valuable.
Because, you know, I am really, I really am an artist. If you, if you take everything else out, I really am just the type of guy who likes to create things, but not necessarily is knowledgeable about how to monetize it. And that was one of my biggest issues from the very beginning. And if I didn’t find mentors, if I didn’t start reading like crazy and looking into people like Gary V and Grant Cardone, all the usual suspects on internet marketing and modern entrepreneurship and all that, and, uh, rubbing shoulders with.
You know, like-minded people in different groups, other, other artists, groups, other groups of people who own creative agencies, um, learning, learning from people who’ve already done it. That’s been so invaluable. It’s really filled those gaps, you know, between. My passion and actually being able to provide for my family, which is more important to me, um, than, than just doing my art, you know, uh, it would have been okay if, if I was single and I didn’t have to put food on the [00:23:00] table for anyone but myself, but, uh, you know, ever since, uh, I got married, uh, half a decade ago, and now, now we have a two year.
You know, I, I really take, um, mentorship, uh, seriously, because anything that I can improve on to better my game to really scale everything up that is, uh, it’s priceless. You can’t put a price tag on the right mentor.
Tim Melanson: Yeah. Yeah. And, and you’d be surprised how, how, how willing people are to be mentors, right?
Don Abad: Oh yeah.
Tim Melanson: I found that a little. Surprising. I think because when I first started in, you know, sort of business, you sort of have this idea of people who are super successful as being sort of snobby and I’ve found the opposite. I’ve found them to be very, very helpful and very willing, especially if you are somebody who’s hungry, right?
Don Abad: Yeah. Yeah. If you really, if, if you really come off as somebody who’s genuinely there to learn, you know, not, not [00:24:00] like you come up to somebody for the purpose of getting something out of them, you know, if you’re a legitimately curious student. Yeah. A lot of people are going to be flattered to, to share what they know because that’s appreciated.
That that’s, that’s a flat that’s the sincerest form of flattery really is. It’s telling them, Hey, I value what you do. I appreciate what you’ve done. I admire you. What makes you tick? I want to learn.
Tim Melanson: Yeah.
Don Abad: And very few people are going to say no to that. Well,
Tim Melanson: and, and, and I mean, if you’re ever on the, on that, that end of the mentorship, and then you recognize how, how good it feels to help somebody who’s hungry, get to where they want to be.
So it is a win-win. Now, how do you go about finding your mentor?
Don Abad: Well, you know, I’ve been blessed that, uh, in our network marketing community, we already have, uh, mentors, uh, in place. So, you know, I, I don’t really have to look far, but now [00:25:00] that, uh, again, I’m looking to expand my horizons with this whole internet marketing thing and building a brand in 2022.
And I’ve been. Really one of the ways I’ve been doing it is again, in addition to mentors, it’s rubbing shoulders with like-minded people. So through this whole journey of trying to get on 30 plus podcasts, I’ve already met over a dozen amazing people that I, you know, I’m still in contact with right now.
It’s just, it’s just upping that circle of influence for. And, uh, really it’s, it’s free, you know, it’s free the barrier to entry. There’s no, there’s no gate-keeping, uh, for the most part to find great people who just want to partner with other great people. It’s, it’s easy. Like now that everybody’s looking for, you know, socialization, everybody’s looking to, you know, find people who are positive, find people who are solution oriented, everybody’s hungry, hungry for.[00:26:00]
And, uh, you know, if you, if you just look outside your bubble, it’s, it’s easy to find the right person.
Tim Melanson: Totally. And especially now with this whole zoom thing, it’s so much easier now to get in touch with people and to get them to sit down with you. Right.
So now it is time for your guest solo. Tell me what’s exciting in your business right now.
Don Abad: Well, I am well, two things I’m excited about. I’m excited to really double down on my flagship podcast, sovereign, and really nothing to pitch, except if you value faith, family freedom. If you’re a storyteller of any kind and by storyteller, I really categorize that as either an artist or an entrepreneur.
And not even that that’s your profession, an artist or an entrepreneur. If you’re a creative professional. If you believe in innovation and getting out of them and you know, uh, living life out of the box, if you want inspiration on how to just level up your life in ways that you never thought [00:27:00] before, and you want to listen to amazing high achievers, who’ve really changed the game in their industries.
That’s what the sovereign podcast is. It really teaches you how to. Sovereign human being. I always ask at the very end of the podcast, what does it mean to you to be a sovereign human being? It’s sort of like a gimmick just to cap off the show, but oftentimes that answer is kind of unnecessary because through the conversation you feel through their energy, through their stories, there’s that word again?
How, how it is to be a sovereign human being. And I want to inspire people, you know, because we all need a little more inspiration, positive. Nowadays. And so I’m excited to really double down, find even better guests and really become more consistent with putting out amazing episodes on sovereign. Other than that, um, or Kimmy and I, my wife were really laser focused on.
Really building up our network marketing business, and again, mentorship or learning from great people right now and using the power of internet marketing to really take this in a, in a [00:28:00] direction at a speed that we’ve never done before, uh, doing it the traditional way. And. If you are somebody in this industry, uh, if you’re a network marketer yourself, and you want to learn how to build a sovereign downline, you want to build a modern down on using the power of social media and the web.
Uh, you can listen to the podcast, your sovereign downline, your sovereign downline, and this March 15. I’m actually, uh, launching a program it’s called sovereign downline. And it lays out. Step-by-step exactly how Kim and I were able to create an automated system using sales funnels, using a content machine, uh, to attract the right prospects, attract the right recruits and customers into your business.
Even while you sleep. And we’re excited for that. So again, if, if, uh, you want to be among the first, uh, to get beta access to sovereign downline roadmap on March 15, uh, listen up to your sovereign downline, the podcast, and you can even go to your sovereign [00:29:00] downline.com. I have a free five day video course, uh, which sort of acts as a teaser to the main event coming this March 15.
So again, your sovereign downline dot com.
Tim Melanson: Awesome. Thank you so much. Done your sovereign downline.com. Thanks for rocking out with me today. Don It’s been a lot of fun.
Don Abad: Yeah, it’s been fun. Thanks Tim.
Great to the listeners. Make sure you subscribe, rate and comment. We’ll see you next time with the work-at-home rockstar podcast.