5am in Miami

Life, perspective, and painting.

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Last Saturday I was at a friends wedding in West Palm Beach. Life and work has been really busy lately (see my last post), so I made the questionable decision to book the earliest flight out the following morning.

8/10 tan. 3/10 bowtie.

The result of that was a 5am wakeup and an hour long drive down to Miami Airport. Half asleep and totally regretting the decision — I hopped into an Uber and was greeted by a driver who had enough energy for the both of us.

9 out of 10 times when getting a ride, I default to putting in my AirPods and listening to a podcast. But despite being sleep-deprived and having no desire to talk to anyone, we quickly fell into conversation.

A natural progression in small talk — I asked him what brought him down to South Florida and what he was up to. He told me he moved down to spend more time with his grandparents a few years ago, and that he just recently quit his job to pursue something he was really passionate about: painting.

And when I say “really passionate” I mean like really passionate. It was one of those rare circumstances where someone else’s energy was so infectious you couldn’t help but lean in. It was the way he spoke about the craft, and his love for the smallest of details that was honestly just super admirable.

I don’t know, maybe I’m a little weird. But for whatever reason I feel really inspired when I’m around people who can display a sincere level of passion towards something. I feel like far too many people spend their time doing things they don’t want to do, or are in a job they don’t like, that it’s refreshing to hear the alternative. Even more so when it’s something most people probably find fairly mundane, like painting people’s houses.

He had spent the past year passing all of the requisite exams to get his license and certificates. His only issue: he was brand new to the field and getting customers was a challenge.

Now that we were talking business, I was just shooting the shit trying to think of ways for him to generate new leads and expand his book of business. While painting isn’t really my thing, growth certainly is. Given this was an hour long drive, we had some time to kill and work through a few different ideas:

  • Printing a shit ton of business cards and handing them out to riders. His personality was clearly infectious enough for me to write a whole damn email about him, I’m sure he could win over other riders and they’d gladly accept a business card.

  • Referral program and kickbacks where his clients would receive a portion of future bookings from people they referred. I.e. word of mouth, but with a little extra kick.

  • Leveraging platforms like Thumbtack, TaskRabbit, Fiverr, etc. to expand top of funnel leads.

He told me he had had tried using Thumbtack for a while but it was such a frustrating experience. The leads weren’t great, and he was hit with a different paywall at every step. The lack of success on Thumbtack was actually what led him to driving Uber and Lyft so he could earn and provide for his family while getting his business off the ground.

I’m not new to the concept of the gig-economy, but hearing his story in full really gave me a newfound appreciation for the power of these types of platforms. The flexibility Uber and Lyft provides people to start earning while they figure out other parts of their life is pretty empowering. I’d guess most drivers aren’t trying to be professional drivers, rather just in a tough spot or seeking some additional income. For Anthony, it meant having the flexibility to remain focused on his nascent painting business without having to give up and return to the workforce full time.

So what does this story have to do with anything?

I clearly came away from this hour long drive at 5am with an unexpected spark of appreciation and inspiration. But there were two big takeaways for me…

The importance of getting outside of your bubble.

It’s so refreshing. But I’m just as guilty as anyone else…

  • I live on the westside of LA.

  • I have a bunch of friends who work remote jobs in finance and tech.

  • I meetup with other tech founders here and there.

  • And I’ll spend a few hours per week in this tiny bubble called Twitter (or X or whatever).

But I always feel like I grow significantly more as a human when I travel, experience new things, and talk to people from all different walks of life. It’s inspiring to connect with others and better understand their circumstances, passions, and perspectives.

There’s for sure a business and entrepreneurial angle to it too — there is opportunity everywhere. You just need to put yourself out there and discover it.

I love helping other people.

I started this newsletter to share my stories and experiences building beehiiv in hopes that it can help others build a better business than I ever could. But helping others comes in all different shapes and sizes. Sometimes it’s just “putting good energy out into the world” as Anthony described it.

So here’s my attempt to do that as well. If you live in South Florida and need a paint job (or know someone who might), shoot me a reply. I’ve got the perfect guy for the job.

If you enjoyed this post or know someone who may find it useful, please share it with them and encourage them to subscribe: mail.bigdeskenergy.com/p/5am-miami

Credit: McCall Moore

Shoutout to McCall for the reader submission. I’m a huge pussy when it comes to the cold (why I spend most of my time in LA and Medellin), but this seems like a pretty decent setup if you have avalanche insurance.

And while we’re being supportive of others today, I clicked on McCall’s website in her footer and saw she’s an artist. Check out her work.

Reply with your own AI generated office and I’ll feature it in an upcoming issue.

Turn on, tune in, drop out. Click on any of the tracks below to get in a groove — each selected from the full Big Desk Energy playlist.

Some of my favorite content I found on the internet this week…

  • Saudi Arabia is scaling back their ambitions for their $1.5T Neom project (Bloomberg)

  • Donald Glover announced two more Childish Gambino albums, and how is that guy 40 years old (Complex)

  • Marques Brownlee shreds the Humane pin into pieces (YouTube)

  • Oklahoma City approves a tower tall enough to (probably) house the entire population of Oklahoma (Twitter)

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