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Harrison-Alley

My name is Harrison and welcome to my blog!

I’m a real estate analyst at an investment firm by day (and a blogger by night).

I’m also a health nut, fitness junkie, and I love stories (TV, movies, books, etc.).

I started this blog to:

  • document my journey to health, wealth, and wisdom
  • help you in your journey to health, wealth, and wisdom

Let me break that down for you.

Why blog about health, wealth, and wisdom?

Though cliche, I believe health, wealth, and wisdom really are the foundation for a happy and fulfilling life.

Health, wealth, and wisdom also happen to be my passions.

  • I’m fascinated by fitness, nutrition, and health in general
  • I love reading about entrepreneurship, business, and building wealth
  • And I’m deeply interested in learning best-practices whether that’s learning to speak a foreign language, learning to play a musical instrument, or learning and applying any relevant knowledge (wisdom)

Also, you typically don’t learn learn about these things in school (at least I didn’t).

More About Health

I believe optimal health involves pursuing your dreams and prioritizing relationships while minimizing:

  • disease and
  • injury

and maximizing

  • cognitive function
  • fertility (in fertile years)
  • and functional longevity (or as some experts call it: health span)

This view of health means that optimal health will be different for everyone.

For instance:

optimal health for a marthoner will look different than optimal health for a bodybuilder.

Each of these individuals must take unique account for the mental, physical, and relational toll their passions will have on them.

But neither should have to give up their dreams for the sake of health.

I also look to evolutionary adaptation as a framework for evaluating health.

In other words:

If I want to know if something’s healthy, I think:

“Would a caveman have lived like this?”

For example:

Scientific studies are indicating that light from the blue end of the spectrum may inhibit sleep.

It wouldn’t surprise me if this were true.

Why?

Because when I think of the life that our bodies are designed/have evolved for (the life of a caveman), it didn’t involve any blue light at night.

A caveman didn’t have any electronic devices to inhibit his sleep – just the light of the moon and the dim reddish hue of a flame.

I explore these concepts and how to optimize your health in my health related articles.

More About Wealth

I believe that true wealth is freedom to do what you love and spend time with the ones you love.

And I know plenty of people who have extraordinary monetary wealth but lack these freedoms.

Perhaps you’re tied to a corporate job and have forgotten how to live on less than $200,000 a year.

Or maybe you’re stuck in a job you hate but cannot leave because you don’t know how to generate your own cash flow.

It seems the vast majority of people in the corporate lifestyle are stuck in this hedonic treadmill.

And I want to find a way out.

I’m still living and working in the corporate world because I myself haven’t fully achieved this wealth myself.

But I’m sharing everything I learn along the way here on the blog.

More About Wisdom

Learning new skills, information, and subjects makes life more interesting and more fun.

And I haven’t found many learning “best-practice” resources.

So I hope to share learning best-practices I’ve discovered here on the blog.

More About Me

Here’s a more in-depth version of my story.

The neighborhood in which I grew up is currently ranked the 22nd wealthiest in the US based on median household income.

This is where I spent my formative years, with four siblings and a single mom who never made more than $60,000 a year.

Sound like a paradox?

It was.

You see, my parents got divorced when I was born.

Before I came into the picture, our family was part of a wealthy elite.

After they split, my mom didn’t receive any child support or financial help whatsoever.

So we moved out of our mansion into a rent house in the same expensive neighborhood where the landlord heard our story and gave us a deal on rent out of the kindness of his heart.

My mom has lived there ever since.

Thanks to scholarships and anonymous donors, I was able to attend private schools from elementary to high school.

Once it came time to go to college, I did what many of my friends with wealthy parents did and attended the highest ranked school that accepted me, regardless of price.

That school was the University of Southern California.

Despite a significant two-thirds needs-based scholarship, I still had to take out $80,000 in loans, which ballooned to $90,000 by the time of my graduation.

I didn’t go into all this debt to obtain a degree with high earning potential like engineering or computer science.

I graduated with a degree in French and a minor in Business Administration.

Side Note: I didn’t actually switch majors till half way through my junior year so I completed nearly all the business major requirements. However, I couldn’t afford to double major in French and Business because USC had a rule that you had to take more general education classes to double-major (even if you did complete the major requirements for two specializations – stupid in my opinion). So even though I could have (and nearly did) complete all class requirements for both majors in 4 years, I couldn’t have completed the additional general ed classes in that time frame. And I wasn’t willing to spend more time and money at USC to complete the double-major.

You might be wondering why on earth I would go into enormous debt for a degree with low earning potential.

For starters, I was an immature kid who didn’t foresee the consequence of my actions.

I didn’t think about the ROI of my major, I just took the classes I enjoyed the most.

I didn’t realize that, in terms of earning potential, your major/specialization matters more than the university you attend.

Also, at the time I thought I might pursue an MBA.

(Some mentors I spoke with that pursued an MBA themselves recommended I do something different for my undergraduate degree since graduate schools would be looking for diversity in backgrounds.)

And for some reason, I didn’t make the connection that when my friends went to school, their parents paid for them, but when I went to school, I would be stuck with an enormous bill.

Even though this was a poor investment decision, certain aspects of my college experience paid off big time.

For instance, I met my wife and some of my best friends (like Matt) at college.

That said, my college degree’s lack of practical application and clear career path made my job pursuit an interesting one.

During my senior year, I sent out 100+ custom resumes for various positions across the business and marketing spectrum.

I actually landed an interview for a position at DropBox but didn’t make it to subsequent interview rounds.

After graduating, I moved into my mom’s house back home to save money.

When I heard nothing from nearly all the companies to which I applied, I decided to ditch the conventional method of sending a resume and hoping for a response.

Instead, I found a local company I wanted to work for and sent one of their founders an email explaining how I thought I could help them.

This landed me an interview and ultimately a part-time social media manager position with Foot Cardigan, a sock subscription start-up.

At about that same time, I reconnected with a neighbor of mine looking for someone to manage the social media for his non-profit.

The position at Foot Cardigan didn’t work out.

They knew I was trying to transition into full-time employment, but they couldn’t afford to pay someone a full-time salary for such a small position (understandably so).

The good news is that I had built my neighbor a new website for his non-profit and had expanded my role beyond managing social media.

Thanks to these efforts, he was willing to take a chance on me and take me on as a full-time employee.

After about a year working for this non-profit, I received a call from an old boss of mine offering me a job at the hedge fund where I interned.

You see, before I left for college, I got a list of business contacts from my good friend’s dad.

In the summer of my freshman year, I regularly called one of these contacts and bugged him twice a week until he agreed to give me an internship for the summer.

During this internship I tried to do my work well and became good friends with other people in the office. My boss was impressed with my work and most importantly, got along well with me. In fact, he too came from humble roots and felt compelled to help me any way he could.

So when the time came for them to hire someone to help with a small real-estate fund they had started, my former boss gave me a call and offered me the position.

If you’re like most people, you probably think “big money” when you think hedge fund.

The reality is my starting salary wasn’t big money. It was $35,000.

So the burden of my debt still weighs heavily on me and has been a significant motivator for me to look for other ways to make money.

As I’ve learned more about business, entrepreneurship, and making money on the web, I’ve come across some valuable lessons – lessons I want to share with anyone interested; anyone also on their journey of learning to make money on the web.

I’ve learned some of these lessons from great books like Zero to One* and the Four Hour Work Week* (two of my favorite business books).

I’ve also learned a great deal by launching a few businesses of my own, most of which have failed.

For instance, in college I tried to lead a team of engineers to make an idea I had for an iPhone application – it never even made it to the app store.

Shortly after graduation, I made a website for my then girlfriend now wife where customers could place an order with her to have her paint a photograph of their choice (the website received few visitors and never made a sale).

In early 2016, I started a t-shirt line with my friend Matt and we made 1 sale before we shut it down.

Each of these failures taught me some painful yet valuable lessons; lessons that I’d love to share with you.

Again, thanks for visiting my site, take a look around, and sign up for my email list below or on the home page!

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About Matt

You may notice that I occasionally mention a guy named Matt in my posts.

Matt is one of my best friends from college and a fellow aspiring internet entrepreneur.

We’ve partnered on some projects together, but mostly we act as each other’s business accountability partners.

We offer each other advice and feedback for different business ideas.

Matt is also an occasional proof-reader for the content on this blog.

You can read more from Matt here.

In the spirit of full disclosure, links marked with an asterisk are affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you decide to purchase anything through the link. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. In fact, sometimes I am able to offer a lower price (or bonuses) not available elsewhere. Your support in purchasing through these links empowers more people worldwide to blog with less worry and less hassle and enables me to continue to provide free blog content and to provide for myself and loved ones. Thank you! 🙂