Welcome! We are Jim and Louise McKenzie, parents’ to 7 fantastic children, obsessive coffee drinking, sci-fi geeks with a never say never attitude!
We have never been apart in twenty years (we’re crazy about each other!), have only ever worked together for ourselves (desks side by side) and we’ve fought fiercely for the opportunity to live our lives the way we want!
We have had and lost a self-made financial worth of 3.2 million and we’ve also had 25 cents to our name and lived on $26 a day with four children and a new born baby…so we know what works and what doesn’t!
What We Are All About...
We’ll tell you more about our story below but first a little about Inside Life 360 and what we’re all about.
We were inspired to create this multi-media site because of our journey to re-build our business, our love of all things entrepreneurship, the psychology behind it (highs and lows), and because we started with no budget (just half a printer cartridge, a couple of old outdated computers and a telephone line) we were always looking for successful strategies, solutions and content from all over the globe.
It was really tough trawling through the waste-of-timers and rip-off merchants to find genuine experts and businesses. We wanted to keep up with the latest opportunities, ideas and solutions in the industry but with our hectic work schedules it was challenging and we knew other folks would be facing a similar problem. We took trial and error to a whole new level!
So it made sense to create a hub providing fresh news, strategies, solutions, support and lifestyle possibilities for 21st Century entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs like us everywhere, with a network collecting content from a massive number of member blogs, experts, influencers and impactful trending news in the US and globally.
We also wanted to share not only the advice and applications on how to build businesses that create wealth and time freedom but also how to build and enjoy a great lifestyle that entrepreneurship provides, enabling individuals to take control of their destiny, and helping them to live their dream lifestyle.
What's Inside Life 360...
Within Inside Life 360.com you will find daily newsfeeds and articles with the latest content you should know about online business, social media marketing, content marketing, outsourcing, personal branding, lifestyle design, leadership, passive income, productivity, and more.
You will also be able to listen to the Inside Life 360 i-Radio Show covering news, questions & answers and interviews with the very best and most interesting businesses experts and people of interest who are making a positive difference in the lives of others. Show themes include
- Entrepreneurship and Business
- News and current events
- Health and Wellness
- Work, Life and Family Balance
You will also find our Free Tools, products, courses and programs to give you that extra help whether you’re overwhelmed by the prospect of starting a new business or you need actionable strategies to jump start and rejuvenate the business you have.
Join the Inside Life 360 Lifestyle
Grab some of our very best and most popular content and listen at your leisure on your commute home, or doing chores or walking the dog!
Join the Inside life 360 Community
We’re here for YOU! Contact us if you would like to share your blog posts, stories, be a radio guest or have a scoop or just to tell us what you would like to see, read and hear, and join the conversation!
Click here to join our member-only Inside life 360 Community, subscribe to Inside Life 360 i-Radio Show or follow us on Twitter@Insidelife360 . Click here on How To Submit A Blog Post, Click here on How To Be An i-Radio Guest. Click here for the full Contact Us list.
Jim was a highly respected and sought after lawyer, running his own law firm in London, England, and well known by judges for his stunning tie collection, when he met Louise fresh out of Law School! Love at first sight, we swept each other off our feet and we were married three months later. Nine months and one day after our wedding day, we had our first of our seven children and what we knew for sure that was we didn’t want to spend a minute apart from each other or our little ones.
Within four years we had three young children, had lived in four different properties (renovating them and selling them), coping not only with juggling the full time business of law, full time parenting and giving birth, but also with living in building sites! We just loved the challenge and we loved being our own bosses. We loved being able to have our children at work with us (even when it drove us nuts!) In all this time we hadn’t taken a holiday - we just loved being entrepreneurs!
Without realizing it at the time we had instinctively used what is now known as “content marketing, outsourcing and brand marketing” to grow our legal business beyond the limitations that we had put on ourselves in terms of the way we wanted to live our lives.
We were making a lot of money but that wasn’t our driving factor; we wanted to keep our independence but we realized we had become so successful that our work life balance had got a little screwed up!
So we forced ourselves to take our first holiday since our honeymoon. It was Christmas 2002 and we spent three weeks in the United States. When it was time to fly home we had already made the decision to relocate to the US permanently.
We relocated to Florida, when the property markets were booming and this was something we excelled in. We invested in properties and stocks, believing it were a safe place to park our money while we decided what we really wanted to do.
In 2004 we took a leap of faith and opened a large café and coffee shop, using innovative branding and marketing to grow our clientele. We created a huge media campaign, even coming up with the idea of collecting emails from all of our restaurant patrons and then emailing and interacting with them weekly with café updates, news and events - remember this was 2004/5 Facebook was in it’s infancy as was internet marketing and social media.
The result was that within three months the café was making a small profit, attracted amazing support and publicity from, and uniting diverse sections of the community, a rarity in the restaurant business.
From $3.2 Million To 5 Bucks & Pregnant!
At the beginning of 2008, we were now eight and a half months pregnant with our fifth child and the physical pressure and responsibility of running the full time kitchen six days a week became too much. One of our key staff got engaged and relocated to the other side of the country at short notice -the toll was just too much. It negatively affected Louise’s health and put our unborn baby into danger.
We had to make the difficult decision to call it a day. We found ourselves days away from having our baby without the income from the café, coupled with our tenants leaving town as the 2008 global economic crash started to bite.
We faced economic disaster, going from having a financial worth of 3.2 million dollars to now just having nothing but $5 in our pocket. We moved into our smallest former rental property, an old wooden 1,000 square foot house, putting all our children in one tiny bedroom. In the third bedroom, we set up an office despite the fact that it that was barely large enough for a single bed and had no windows! We lost nearly everything and initially we had to sell our valuables to survive.
We felt terrified but exhilarated at the same time. As strange as it might sound it reinforced how fortunate and grateful we were to have each other and our children. We literally couldn’t buy them a 25 cent candy bar let alone a birthday present, but we all pulled together and the children would make gifts from old boxes and anything else they could find from around the house. We were all just happy to still be together every day.
Finding Our Inner Genius
Of course we had no idea what we were going to do next and for the first time we had no financial resources what so ever. How were we going to start a business with half a printer cartridge, a couple of old computers, a phone but no money for gas in the car? We were house bound!
To make things worse we were living in Sarasota, Florida which had one of the worst house market collapses in America after one of the biggest booms. Add to that this was really a sleepy little place and a nightmare to do business in, with no money to relocate or even drive the car, heck we felt trapped.
Another problem we faced was that we only wanted to do something that had meaning and purpose - our ethic was at the core of who we were. We were in a terrible dilemma because we didn’t want our children to suffer but we wanted to stay together as we had always done. Our eldest were then 12, 11 and 9; we sat with them and asked whether they would prefer one of us to go and get a job or whether they would choose for us to start a business from scratch and do something positive - but that would in the short term mean they would have to live really uncomfortably?
Without hesitation they unanimously agreed they wanted us to stay together and that they believed in us. We still didn’t have the answer to go forward but the strange thing was that despite what was going on in our life, folks would always walk up to us and ask us our secret to being so happy and healthy as a family. It opened up our eyes to the terrible childhood obesity problem that had seemed to have arisen from nowhere.
We had always been philanthropic so we made the decision that while we worked out what we were going to do we would put an easy to follow health program together and go into our community through organizations like Girls Inc. and Boys & Girls Club of America and donate our time to teach healthy eating a couple of evenings a week. We connected with businesses such as Whole Foods Market to provide the food and before we knew it we were being asked to expand the program. It was such a success that we obtained company sponsorships and a grant from Washington to run it including from the National Heart and Lung Institute.
We knew that we had something when on behalf of the massive Saatchi and Saatchi marketing firm, the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation in Washington DC asked if we would share how our programs achieved such great feedback, participation and huge waiting lists!
It was the greatest feeling in the world - actually making a difference in these families’ lives! But there were three downsides 1) we could only teach up to 30 at a time and 2) that wasn’t going to help enough people and 3) this wasn’t going to provide the sort of money that we would need. It did however, present us with the answer as to what we wanted to do next, which was to share our knowledge and story with the word that you can eat right, look after yourself and your family and have quality of life.
Sharing The Passion
The next question was how were we going to share this passion with as many people as possible? The Internet was the obvious choice.
It was at this time we became obsessed with online business and internet marketing. We had to research and learn everything for ourselves, there were days when we were going hungry and we were worried that the power and water were going to get shut off. Initially on the side we were doing bits of legal consulting work just to survive but we found that it distracted us from putting our business together.
To do this we had to sacrifice and life got harder. Our air-conditioning broke down, the plumbing went screwy, we had to wash in a bucket in the shower and pour the water down the toilet. We were fighting an unfair bank foreclosure on the house so it made no sense to pay the $15,000 it would have taken to fix it (even if we had the money). Our children never complained; they only supported us and would you believe it we went on to have three more babies living in those conditions!
We set on launching a pregnancy, baby and parenting lifestyle online magazine, a subject we know lots about! We wanted to create a magazine in the traditional format but that could be read online not in the blog style but with the look and “feel” of a printed version; the result was that we created one of the first ‘flip’ online magazines - Every Little Thing! Birth & Beyond 360 Magazine.
Many, many hours went into researching the technology to do it. We also had to learn how to build a website, design, blogging, search optimization, effective copy writing and a whole ton more! The hours were tedious, repetitive and frustrating, especially living in Florida with no air-conditioning!
Once that was done that we needed to get it out there and build an audience so we put together a cause marketing campaign. We leveraged other people’s followings and connections. Before we knew it we had contributors, writers, experts, celebrities and regular parents from all over the world. But let’s be clear, for every pitch to get people on board, there were five who we would never hear back from!
We built up a loyal and trusted following, and now have renowned guest administrators and “influencers” from many blogs, social media groups and organizations who contribute to our media.
As more people knew about us they would ask how we achieved and did what we did. We were asked for advice and help so it seemed natural to set up AME Media & PR to cater for this market that had just grown organically.
Our mission and ethics produced another opportunity.
The Every Little Thing! Birth & Beyond 360 Magazine was the only parenting publication that had a Dads Section called Every Thing For Dads – fathers flocked to Every Little Thing! Birth & Beyond 360 Magazine and the dads’ section grew to a whopping 88 pages. We were inundated with letters from everyday dads (and moms) across the world who wanted to thank us for providing a dad oriented emphasis content, news and views. We realized that there was no real dad centric platform.
In 2014 we launched EverythingForDads.com, to cater to that market place, a parent media newsroom website with an emphasis on dads, a network collecting content from member blogs and impactful trending news in the US and globally. This website rose to the top 1 million websites worldwide and within the top 600,000 websites in the USA within six months.
How did we do this? We used simple low cost but high impact social media strategies and engagement!
By this point we wanted to have a focal point for our campaign and to bring our digital vision alive so we set about learning how to put on live events. We used the same process as before - we became obsessed with the subject and schooled ourselves in every aspect of it. The hardest part to learn was how to become a full on salesman and everything that entailed including the dreaded cold calls!
We didn’t have a budget so once again we looked for folks and businesses that were as passionate as us about improving family lifestyles put together a cause marketing campaign.
Without spending a dime we were able to gain major celebrity support. Retired NFL star and reality TV star Hank Baskett came to our first event; we also had WWE Superstar Titus O’Neil attend another of our events alongside a film crew provided by global entertainment company WWE (World Wresting Entertainment) itself.We got two one and half minute coverage spots on USA’s Monday Night Raw (an audience of four million) for free - something that costs millions of dollars for commercials!
It’s So Easy To Get In Your Own Way
There are so many fun and crazy stories to share with you about our journey but the lesson is this - if you want something badly enough you’ll make it happen! The problem for many of us is that we get in our own way, allowing fear or the possibility of rejection stops us before we get started. Sometimes, wanting to stay within our comfort level stops us from taking that step.
For a long time we lived on the edge, one month getting all the bills paid easily and then the next struggling. To begin with it the feeling was really draining and quite frankly depressing, but as we pushed forward, feeling physically and emotionally in discomfort took us to new levels. In the end we would laugh in the face of fear - people would say to us that they would love to have their own businesses but didn’t have the time, money, support or whatever reason as they happily tucked into their next Chipotle or Starbucks!
We tested and challenged ourselves in ways that we never would if circumstances hadn’t gone the way they did. In fact, true story, when we finally moved out of our “shack” of a house and moved into a house with air-conditioning it took us days to use it! As family we all got neurotic that it would make us soft and we would lose our edge!
If you had told us back in the day that we would be hosting our own i-Radio show, creating our own training programs for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and would be complete geeks for these topics and subject matter we would have laughed! The fact is that we’re the living proof that anything is possible if you tune, turn up and stay the course.
We hope that sharing our story will help you with your journey no matter where you’re at, and that the resources we have put together within Inside Life 360 will give you actionable solutions to fulfill your dream lifestyle.
Also, we love to connect with our Inside Life 360 folks so don’t be a stranger, feel free to reach out we’re here for YOU! Contact us if you would like to share your blog posts, stories, be a radio guest or have a scoop or just to tell us what you would like to see, read and hear, and join the conversation!
Thanks for taking the time to read this and we’re looking forward to connecting with you soon!