The Shippers is an interview series featuring #ship30for30 alum who have completed at least one cohort and published at least 26/30 days during it. You’ll meet a new creator, hear how Ship 30 impacted the way they create online, and what they took away from the experience.
Today we meet Danny Reeves, who found that his 300+ day publishing streak changed every aspect of his life.
If this interview helps you decide to jump aboard a Ship 30 for 30 cohort please consider signing up with this link as it helps me cover the (admittedly small) cost of putting these together.
Introduce yourself and the main topics of your writing
Tim: Guess what I wanted to say, to start with was, um, I saw something that you wrote about like having written for, I wanna say like 300 days in a row and that how the, how that’s kind of changed like a lot of different parts of your life. And yeah, that was like, made me want to do this. Like, when I saw that I was like 300 days and it’s like, kind of playing out in all kinds of different areas of your life. I wonder what it would be like if I tried to publish an interview every day for 300 days. So that’s kind of where I’m going with this is that, um, there, you know, in ship 30, there’s all these, all these people with like, you know, like insights into things that I have no idea about. And it’s like, that’s been the coolest thing to me to be kind of part of the community is like just these little windows into stuff that otherwise are inaccessible to me, whether that’s because, you know, it’s different jobs or different parts of the world or different backgrounds, I’ve just, and that really eye-opening. So that’s why I want to talk to you. And I just wanted to also start out by saying that, you know, that tweet that you shared and the impact that you’ve seen is what made me wanna, um, try to do this. So thank you. Maybe, with that being said, you can introduce yourself and, and talk a little bit about the types of things that you like to write about, especially in the context of ship 30.
Danny: Sure, absolutely. Well, Tim, I mean, first off, amazing, uh, you know, just an amazing intro and words, uh, there, and, you know, honestly, if I’ve inspired anything for anybody, then that’s a net win for me. Uh, so that’s really cool and gratifying to hear you say that. So that’s amazing. Um, and I definitely think if you do just about anything that isn’t like, you know, completely destructive for you for 300 straight days, it’s gonna make some difference.
Tim: Yeah, it would have to isn’t it,
Danny: But, uh, uh, but going back to your question, um, so I guess my name is Ms. Danny Reeves, I currently live in Dayton, Ohio, uh, with my family here. I’m a sales manager for a large legal publisher. Um, so I run a sales team, uh, and kind of, uh, and what I write about tends, it, it kind of has evolved over the last 10 or 11 months or so, but what, what it is really what I’ve come to focus upon is really what, what gives me energy, which are my kids and my family. So I write about philosophical dad stuff. Um, you know, just moments that make you think as a father or that make you appreciate things as a father or make you, um, and then talk about it, I’ve been talking about sales leadership more and more. Um, although I would say my authority there is very low as I’m a relatively new sales leader.
Danny: And so it’s kind of a work in progress. And then kind of, uh, kind of the third kind of, kind of, part of the tripod I talk about is how I kind of let myself get really unhealthy for a while. And then when the pandemic hit, it was a real wake-up call for me. It was a real kind of check yourself mode moment. And I had that moment in the mirror where I, you know, saw that the path I was on, the things I was doing, the way I was treating myself, especially, uh, was, was, was not leading to the things that I wanted outta my life. And in fact,, I would say they were taking me further away from the things that I wanted. Yeah. And so I, I, I had that moment where it was like, are these things important to you or are you, or are you just kind of lying to yourself and everybody else? Yeah. And that was a real change moment for me. And so those are the kind of three things I write about. I write about, you know, you know, my kids and sales leadership, and how I almost squandered everything but managed to manage to, you know, get back to health and that’s, you know, which, which then led to, you know, ship 30 and everything else that’s come from that.
Tim: Nice one, I guess what I’ve found is like writing can be a way of keeping honest about these types of things. Is that part of what you kind of found as you, as you kind of honed in on these topics? Is that
Danny: You kinda, I think so. Yeah. When I first started ship 30, like most people, I probably had some preconceived notion about what I wanted to write about. I mean, you know, like around the corner from me on, uh, you know, on the basement wall, there are still the remnants of a hundred sticky notes of what I thought my first 30 days was gonna look like. Yeah. And after about the first 15, I was writing, playing out tropes and stories and parables about Optima. I mean, it, it, it was, it was not, there was nothing new that I could offer on these subjects. Yeah. And so nobody cared, which was freeing in a lot of ways, but it wasn’t necessarily what I wanted out of the writing. And, uh, and so when I leaned into what made my life more unique and interesting to some people, that’s when it started to be a lot more fun for me. And also that started to resonate with a lot more people because it came from a much more sincere and authentic place. And it, it, it’s not even something that you affect when it’s, when it’s coming from, you know, like when it’s coming from there, you just do it naturally. Like you don’t even think about it. It just flows in a way that, you know, that is a, you know, that is, you know, very, you know, much in tune with your life, I guess.
Tim: Yeah. Kind of irresistible to you, you can’t help, but you can’t help. But do it. I was kind of thinking though, as you were talking about that preconceived notions idea, I wonder if like, one of the things that I found cool about chip 30 is that the fact that you have this kind of like preconceived ideas and then they lead to you writing some, maybe kind of play dad stuff because it’s like 30 days of consecutive writing. It’s almost fine. Like, it’s good to get that outta your system. Like you, you write it down, you publish it and it doesn’t have the impact that you want or whatever, but at least you kind of got the thought outta your head and that yeah. By doing that,, you move forward onto them wherever it is that you wound up. Do you think that sounds like it, right?
Danny: I definitely think so. And I, I think I had to get through that. I kind of had to slog through that part too, you know, to have those realizations and the beautiful thing is I continue to have those realizations, I think, uh, I don’t know what day of down, I think I’m on day three, 20 now or something. And I continually have these revs and these types of revelations. Um, just whenever I might try something new or try something that bombs or try something that was a shot from the hip that ends up being, you know, you know, that ends up being really good and really fun to write even. Um, and so I think the con and so the first 30 days were, you know, really great for me. Um, but being that I didn’t really lean into kind of my, you know, what started to become my voice until about three weeks into it at the end of the 30 days, my, my mindset that was such that I, I thought I have found some, I’ve found some answers. I’ve definitely, you know, you know, become more intentional about what I’m doing here and about what I want to get out of this, but I haven’t found all the answers and maybe they’re out there. I don’t know. I, I keep saying it’s like the X Files, the answers are out there
Tim: Classic. Yeah. But,
Danny: And so I, I, um, there was this other guy in the program, Jeremy gin, um, who, who at the time, he said, I’m gonna write for 500 straight days. And I thought, well, I don’t wanna overshoot somebody
Tim: <laugh> yeah. Or,
Danny: You know, steal their thunder, anything, but I don’t wanna aim lower than anything. That’s the than anything, less than the most audacious thing it’s yet been put out there by, by the people that were in my circle at the time. And so in my writing circle, that 500 number was the big number on the scoreboard. I mean, it was the big, you know, the big, hairy, audacious goal number. I said, okay, let’s try to do that. I don’t know how I’m gonna write for 500 straight days, but see if it works. And so on day 31, I said, let’s go, um, you know, let’s go for 500 and there have been, I mean, there, I don’t know how many times, there have probably been a half dozen times where I’ve Al where I’ve said, is it really, what am I doing? Is it about a streak? Is it about a number? Am
Tim: I actually,
Danny: And so I’ve almost had that, that moment, like from forest Gump when he is running in the desert and just stops because he realizes he’s not running for anything. I’ve almost had that a few times, but every time I’ve pushed through, even if the essay is garbage, even if it’s garbage, I push through the next morning or a few days later, or a week later, something comes unlocked somewhere. That seems to, that seems to deliver, um, you know, in new inspiration or new insight that I lacked previously, just almost from just staying disciplined about it. Right. Um, which I, you know, I mean, I’ve written about it, nausea at this point, but then, you know, the three main things I’ve gotten from ship 30 and then by extension writing every day, uh, you know, I’ve absolutely just been, um, you know, just, you know, discipline, clarity, and focus.
Danny: Yeah. Without question. And I mean, for sure when you write about your life every day, or you write about what’s going on at work every day, you don’t wanna write about the same problems over and over and over again. And no one wants to read about the same problems over and over and over again. They wanna see, you know, I mean, people wanna see progress. That’s why we watch movies with montages and shit like that. That’s why we, I mean, that’s why we tell stories about the hero’s journey. We don’t wanna see someone just, you know, fucking hitting their head against the wall over and over. I mean, that’s why we, I mean, that’s for comic strip stuff. That’s not for, you know, like that’s not for, you know, the types of things that inspire us to, you know, to do more and be better and make more of our lives. That’s the stuff we want to see. And the most inspiring things to actually really live that, to actually do that. And then like to share that with people on the off chance that you get on a call like this, and someone says, Hey, you inspired me to do something a little different, man. Yeah. What’s, that’s amazing.
That’s so amazing. And, um,
Tim: I’m hearing, I’m hearing a lot about the exploratory part of it too, to where, you know, you said you like to find your voice. And I think that maybe that idea for me has always been about you, you start out not really knowing, and you kind of stay not really knowing, but you kind of know a little bit more every time you do it to where, you know, you, you really kind of develop a better sense of yourself and the world just by staying with it as long as, as long as you can, which in your case is a pretty epic 320 days. That’s kind of, that’s kind of wild. Hey,
Danny: Well, I mean, before shift 30, before writing 320 days plus, and still going, I mean, I had never done anything constructive like that with such consistency. See, and I’ve kind of talked about the ancillary benefits through my essays, but you know, what I got from, from that, from that discipline and clarity and focus was I got really specific about what I wanted from, from my time and from my life and from my efforts. Um, and, uh, and, and from that, from that specificity came immense clarity. And from that clarity, the path of what I had to do, you know, was fully lit up. Whereas before I, you know, I, I don’t know, I kind of liken it to video games almost, uh, like, like a little bit how, when you’ve got a game and there are all kinds of side quests that you could go to, you can go do all the side games, all the stuff on the side.
Danny: Yeah. But there’s the main quest too. Right. Um, you know, the main objective, you know, slang the monsters, rescuing the village or, or the princess, whatever else. And I feel like, for a long time, I did all the side quests and neglected to work on the main quests. Right. Right. And so I, the shift of the mindset, what that focus paid immediate dividends. And I think the writing, the writing was weird because that, because being disciplined and, you know, have written every day being disciplined, all excuses about showing up every day, went right out the window. Yeah. Cool. But that also happened when it came to working. Um, and so the weirdest thing was I became very way more disciplined at work. And so it was, uh, and so at the time I was just a visual, a client manager. And so it, it, it was, and so it’s very much, you know, large, large customer territories, large customer bases, um, and, you know, and with uncap kind of compensation.
Danny: And so you can, you can hit your numbers and work pretty, pretty hard at it. Or if you wanna make more money and, and get more bonuses, rewards, whatever else you can get after it, if you really want to, you can hit the drum harder. I mean, we have thousands and thousands. I mean, you can hit the drum harder and ship 30 led me to really see the value in my time. And it really occurred to me as, as I was, as I got to know all these other creatives, like people that had quit their jobs to start writing people who had quit their jobs to start not to start, you know, you know, like into, like, into forays into the creator economy, whether it was building templates for notion or city and, or, you know, courses or, you know, or, or, or going into YouTube or whatever else. I was all of a sudden thrust among all these other creative people with all these amazing things that they were building, but they were starting from scratch. And most of them do not make anything on it. And so I looked at that and said, that’s great. I want to do that at some point, but the highest ROI opportunity I have in front of me today is my current job.
Tim: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s,
Danny: It’s motivating weirdly cause I got after it at work. And so then I started and so I made a graph about it.
Tim: Um, <laugh> nice
Danny: At my end of year review, I, I, I, I had to do a self, a self-evaluation and I started and I started looking at my numbers and my numbers when shipping 30, cause I started shipping 30 in May. And so on, in May of 2021 and my numbers just hockey stuck.
Tim: That’s cool.
Danny: I mean, right when I started to ship 30, I mean, it was an immediate difference in my production and results. Um, and I mean, it’s like, as a 50% jump in my sales, like in my sales numbers and then sustain that over the next 10 months or something. I mean, and so, um, and so I sent Dicky an email about it. I was like, Hey, Dicky, I, I, I ran into something curious today. That’s not related to writing that you might be interested in, but it is related to writing. And so I, uh, and so he was like, he is like, great, write that up. And so like a month later they published a ship 30 success story about how ship 30 led me to get a huge raise at work and get promoted and be an all-around better dad and husband. I mean just an amazing transformation from writing every day. Amazing stuff.
What was it that got you over the line joining ship30for30?
Tim: So you said you started in May and I wonder what it was that got you over the line in may like ship 30 existed before that maybe you were aware of it, but something clicked for you. What was it that got you over the line?
Danny: Yeah. Great. Uh, I think I started falling Dicky like December of 2020 or something. And I thought, man, this guy’s got some interesting ideas. He’s got some cool, you know, he’s got, got some interesting ways of looking at a kind of at kind of, kind of the career warfare aspect and kind of how, how we, how we con how we conduct ourselves in the workplace. And, uh, he ended up tweeting something. I put it on my wall and it’s still there. Okay. It’s things that compound quickly being processed, reputation, experience, and relationships. And I, I remember, and I thought, wow, like that is such a good, you know, way to boil down, simplify what seems complicated, but it’s really not. It’s really, you know, like navigating the corporate world, getting a promotion, getting a raise, getting respect, get, I mean, whatever it is that’s a way to do it right there.
Danny: And then my, and then, and then we had, uh, our second baby, which was great. And then a week later my dad died, which sucked. And then a month later my mom got super sick from cancer, which was that. And then I got, did not, I got, uh, turned down for a promotion. Oh. And then got turned down for TEDx. And so it was like one joyful thing. And then a bunch of bullshit all back to back to back. Yeah. And it kind of led me to equate a place where I was questioning, you know, a questioning, what am I doing in my career or what am I doing with my hobbies with my free time. Um, and I think what really, what really made that jump when I was going, uh, you, I was at, I was at my parents’ house going through my father’s stuff after he passed.
Danny: And years and years ago, I’d given to him, uh, like a nice leather-bound notebook. And he lived such a cool life. He, you like, um, he, uh, like he grew up in Europe, came to us, uh, for college, met my mother, joined the army in Vietnam, spent his whole career as a federal agent, you know, and stuff, you know? Uh, so he did a lot of cool stuff, but he never talked about it. Just a quiet guy by nature never shared anything. Never really talked about his, anything about his past, even when he was a kid. And I always wondered about that. Cause my father-in-law to cause my father-in-law and me, we, you know, we talk about those things. We talk about what we, what we hoped for when we were kids and the, we did when we were younger and the, you know, and the stuff we got into and got in trouble with. And I never heard any of those stories from my father. So I gave him this notebook, just hoping he’d share some things. And when he passed, I found the notebook of, you know, like in his closet and opened it up and it’s just completely blank save for the, I put in there that Christmas. And I thought, what a, what a bummer.
Tim: Yeah. That,
Danny: That he’s gone. And I’m gonna miss out on
Tim: That, that <laugh>.
Danny: And it was. And so I thought if my kids care, if my kids want to know me, I’m gonna leave. I’m gonna leave a record.
Tim: You make it easier.
Danny: And so, uh, I think all those kinds of things came to do ahead. And then with my dad dying and my mom being sick and just everything else I thought, wow, we are really not guaranteed anything here. And if all these things that are important to me, whether it’s writing or building a career or being a good dad, the clock is ticking and it’s ticking now. And so I thought if I don’t get started on these things immediately, I am missing it. I’m All I’ve already, I’ve already wasted too much time. And so then when the ship already came, I was like, that is it. That is, I mean, that’s, that’s, that’s part of, at least that gets the, you know, at least that gets the notebook part, you know, started and gets the, but then the notebook became everything. Like the notebook became, uh, an entirely new social framework to my life.
Danny: I mean, I never had online friends before, man. Like, I, I mean, I’m pretty gregarious by nature. Uh, you know, it, you know, I, you know, I, I met my wife in a parking garage. It was after a running club event. I promise it’s creepy as it sounds. And I mean, but I just said, Hey, you know, Hey, you know, what’s, I, I mean, so I, I never did online gaming or anything like that. It was just, and so the craziest thing was I came to ship 30 and never expected to meet amazing people and have a whole new network of folks that inspire me and drive, honestly, drive me to be a better version of myself every day. I wake up every morning and check, and I check my phone to see what all my creative and amazing friends did while I was sleeping. And it’s a complete transformation across the board. Uh, I dunno, just, I
What was the technique, tip, framework, hack, or whatever that helped you the most?
Tim: Dunno, that is an amazing, amazing story. When you said they were completely blank. I was like, oof. That was like, that made me wanna make me think about the same thing. I’m, I’m wondering like, 320 days aiming for 500 days, right? Like, um, they, one of the things that are great about the program is they give you a lot of tools, frameworks, methodologies, um, what, what of that kind of, uh, support have you found particularly impactful? Is there any, anything that has been helpful in kind of keeping the, especially helpful in keeping the street going
Danny: For sure? Well, the programs evolved so much, even over the last 10, you know, over the last six cohorts that I’ve done, um, it’s gotten more and more sophisticated and it, so I think, and, and there’s so much to it. There’s so much information, there’s so much value in it that it’s almost impossible to, you know, to take it all in at once. And so I think the thing which got me really, and so there are a couple things prob I mean, obviously the, you know, like the templates that we can use and, you know, and just kind of how we structure things, you know, too, to improve their readability of our writing and you know, how things are structured to kind of hook the audience and pull them in and keep them reading to the next sentence. And I, those are all very helpful things.
Danny: I, I, I think for me, I was always scared, uh, you know, to share whatever my thoughts were or my writing was, I was scared of rejection, scared of Chris, you know, like all the normal things that people are scared of. But, but to me, it’s so threatened my central, my central, you know, like world view as, as, as an educated, good writer. I don’t know, like whatever, like an egotistical notion of myself, I built up in my head, you know, having someone not like what I wrote was just incompatible with that. Yeah. And I think the first, the first group call for ship, 30 Cole gets up there and he says, you know, to paraphrase, no one is sitting around on Twitter waiting for you to write, waiting for you to post something on there. Yeah. And I thought you were absolutely right. Literally, no one is sitting around waiting, waiting to read something I wrote today. At least not yet, maybe someday, but not today. And that was freedom. And it reminded me of, you know, kinda like Voltaire, you know, saying like, you know, like we are free the moment we wish to be <laugh> and it was kinda like, you’re absolutely right. Why, why is there this sense of pressure that I have to deliver for nobody?
Danny: I mean, it’s like, I have an audience of zero, not even my mom, you know, like, not even my wife, like she doesn’t read, you know, stuff, you know, like I write every day, she doesn’t read every day, but it, it, it was such a freeing thing to be like, you know, too, just to, to know that no one, if someone doesn’t like what you wrote, they’re not going to come to your house. They’re not going to make fun of you. They’re not going to come to beat you up. They’re just going to keep scrolling and that’s it. Yeah.
Tim: That’s it. That’s and you found that ringing and I guess too, like, if
Danny: You’re like that then right. Better <laugh>
Tim: And it kinda relates back to the idea too, of like more or less, it sounds like you’ve been doing this for yourself and kind of the connection between you’re doing this to discover your own voice and get better at a bunch of things. And like, saying like, you don’t have an audience nobody’s gonna care that much one way or another. So you might as well just do it, I guess that sounds like that was a big unlocking moment for you.
Danny: Yeah, because I think that gave me the courage to start going down, those played out tropes, which then gave me the courage to start exploring more vulnerable topics about when I’d failed about when I was unhealthy, but, you know, you know, but pulled myself off the mat. Uh, about times when I, when I feel like a shit dad, you know because just can’t win ’em all. Um, and so I think once I started really writing about those things, uh that’s when it really opened up. And that’s when I think both my, both my ideas and writing, and even, you know, like whatever you wanna call it, whether it’s a brand or, you know, a niche or whatever else, that’s when that stuff started to really by blossoming and becoming a lot more clear is when I think I dropped all the pretenses.
Danny: And also, I think the big thing also was ego, um, you know, was also just dropping the ego and, um, you know, and just, and, and then I think just giving to that community aspect, that that was some like I mentioned before, or I never expected that to be really the best part about it. I mean, all the cool changes in my life are great, but all the cool people that I’ve met because of it. Um, and, you know, and, and talked to regularly through the program has been, you know, has, has enriched my life as much or more than <affirmative> than actually becoming a better father or getting promoted in a nice raise. And the job I got denied for a year ago, you know, how, like how fucking cathartic was that?
Tim: I bet.
Danny: I mean, I, I mean, so it is so tall, all, all these things just add up to, you know, obviously in like life, it, most things in life, you get out of it, which you put into it. Um, and I, and for me writing, um, was a Keystone habit that I didn’t even know that I, that I didn’t even know that I needed, but it allowed me to organize my thoughts and galvanize my courage, um, and put my myself out there in a way that I never had before and to ask and to start asking for what I wanted, start telling people what I thought and asking what I wanted and that kind of, and that kind of confidence BR just bred more confidence to try more new things and to put myself out there even more, whether that was at work or on Twitter or on different platforms, or even when it came to being vulnerable with my family, um, you know, all these things have, have, have, have, have paid immediate dividends or, or, or continue to, or I’m starting to see the value. Now. It’s, I mean, just, just an amazing, an amazing transformation, uh, just in all ways.
What reasons would you tell someone not to do ship30?
Tim: Yeah. Awesome. Is there any, anything that you could say like if, if somebody was like, I’m thinking about doing it, I’m not sure? Is there anything that you’d say, you know, if this is true about you, then maybe it’s not, is there any, anything that you, you could recognize is a good reason not to, to join some, some ship
Danny: 30? Yeah, probably. So we love overnight success stories. We love them. We talk, you know, like we do new stories about ’em all the time you read about ’em. Um, most of the time it’s made up, you know, the truth is, you know, there is no shortcut really. And I think for anyone looking to join ship 30 as a shortcut, it might be, um, but it’s probably not. Yeah. Uh, the reality is just like everything else you get out of it, which you put into it and you, and if you, but when you start putting in the work, it is amazing how quickly things start to change.
Tim: Yeah. And that sounds like in ways that you might not expect, like, may, maybe that’s the other thing too, is like, if you’re not open to the idea that this investment is gonna pay off in a way that you not really clear on, then it’s not for you, but if you’re open to the idea that you’re gonna do this and something’s gonna happen maybe, and if you keep at it that maybe thing gets more and more solid, something like that.
Danny: Yeah, I think so. I mean, as I said, I joined ship 30 for me. I joined ship 30 to write for, for me. And then it evolved into so much more and it became so much more and it is so much more and continues to be, and it will be, uh, you know, like for me, I, I, I, I become a kind of a weird evangelist for writing in public, uh, which I never expected. I, I mean, I, I never expected, but yes, everyone should do this, but I don’t know. I, but yeah, but maybe there’s something to that. Um, because I mean, I guess, you know, cuz now I, I, I don’t know, cause now I can check off some cool stuff. I mean, I’ve gotten paid for some writing that was always kind of, you know, like a, you know, like a, a cool bucket list, if you wanna call it that kind of item, you know, but beyond that, like, I guess I never, as I came, like I was saying, uh, so I came to write for me. I didn’t come to become a better dad. I didn’t come to make a lot of friends. I didn’t come to get promoted at work. I didn’t come for all those things, but that, those are all the things I got from it. And they were all surprising and they were all so much better than anything I expected to get out of it. Um, it’s probably, I mean, it, it’s not hyperbole to say probably shift 30 is probably the best money.
Tim: Nice one. Well, can you tell us, um, as a kind of closing thought, is there anything that you wrote that you’re particularly proud of or anything that you, you, if you, if you wanted to share with some people listen to this, that, that you’d ask them to check out?
Danny: Um, I don’t know about anything specific, I’d say, uh, you know, just that just cause I write every day, if you wanna follow up along with philosophical dad stuff and sales leadership, and, uh, I’ll tell some silly stories about how I mess stuff up and screw things, uh, from time to time, uh, you know, can always, you know, just come to follow me on Twitter. It’s at Danny Reeves one, uh, you, you know, pretty simple there. And I have a website where I post everything I don’t like.
Tim: Nice one. Well, look, this has been so cool to hear all this stuff, and too, you’re, you’re a good storyteller. Like, um, I was following along and feeling a lot of stuff as you were talking. So I really appreciate you for the time to share and, and being as open as you have been.
Danny: Absolutely. Well, I appreciate the opportunity, Tim. You know, it’s just amazing, you know, to speak with fellow shippers and, you know, talk about this process. Um, you know, it’s been a great thing for me and I hope it brings good things into everyone else’s lives as well because I think it really can.
Tim: Nice one. Well, I’m gonna stop recording now.
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