Brock McGoff is the Founder of The Modest Man, an award-winning digital media brand that publishes in-depth, practical advice for men on style, grooming, fitness, dating, and lifestyle. He was also a digital marketer focused on increasing traffic, leads, and conversions through inbound and organic techniques. McGoff specialties include SEO, email marketing, conversion rate optimization, and blogging.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I grew up in upstate New York and then the suburbs of Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC. I had five siblings, supportive parents, lots of pets, and tons of freedom. My dad eventually quit his corporate job to start a business, so entrepreneurship has been in the family since I was a little kid.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

I’d tell my younger self to forget about money and pursue whatever I was interested in (for me, that was playing music). If you chase money, you *might* find it. But if you chase passion and interest and take that as far as it can go, the money will find you.

Life is too short to spend years at a job you don’t like. We’re not all cut out for the cubicle life (in fact, most of us aren’t). So if you’re in a position where you can spend some time figuring out what you like doing, then doing it, you should.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Be everywhere. It’s tempting these days to want to have a presence on every platform. That’s why you see all of these small businesses with Twitter accounts. Does a local dry cleaner need a Twitter account? No way!

Don’t try to be everywhere, and don’t just syndicate your content on every platform. Figure out which platforms make sense for you (this depends on your content/product and audience), then put all of your efforts into that platform.

As Ron Swanson said, don’t half-ass two things. Whole ass one thing.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was very depressed throughout much of high school. I went from being top of my class in a small school to being dead average in a much larger and more competitive school. I lost the friends I grew up with and made new friends, some of whom weren’t the best influence. I self-medicated and lost a lot of self-esteem.

It took many years to build this backup. Everyone says “be more confident” but that doesn’t work. You can’t will confidence out of nowhere. You have to give yourself a reason to feel confident. Confidence is a byproduct of action. For me, fitness, martial arts, and building a profitable business all helped me feel confident in myself.

These days, I’m very happy and motivated!

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

Endurance. Most people don’t start. Those who do give up too soon. Simply outlasting the competition is often enough. I’ve built a moderately successful website over the course of seven years. It doesn’t have to take this long, but if I had given up in year 3, 4, or 5, I never would have been able to go full time and start building a real business.

What is your morning routine?

I sleep in until 8 am and have a nice, slow morning. I drink a bottle of water, make an espresso drink and eat a good breakfast. I’m not a morning person, and that’s fine. I don’t rush into things or try to overachieve in the morning. After breakfast and before lunch is my most productive time. 2-4 focused hours is often enough to get the most important tasks done.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

I’ve made fitness a priority. This has manifested itself in martial arts, lifting, running, jump roping, and other forms of exercise. It doesn’t really matter what I’m doing. The point is, I prioritize exercise and don’t eat junk food very often. This improves my mood and impacts every other area of my life.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

I ignore most emails! But seriously, each day, I make a to-do list and try to knock off the 2-3 most important tasks. That’s really it. With tasks like writing that I have some resistance to, I set a timer for 20 minutes. It’s such a short amount of time, I can get it done no matter how I’m feeling.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

The most influential book I’ve read, by far, is The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. This book opened my eyes to the possibility of time freedom and location independence.

The main premise of this book is separating your time from your income, which is more possible than ever before, now that we have the Internet.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

You can make more money, but you can’t make more time, so time is way more valuable than money. You can, however, use money to buy some of your time back (for example, hiring someone to clean your house or buying TSA Pre-check).