My Story: From Blood Sugar Failure to Top 1%.
Diabetes & Professionally
Hi, I’m Matt Collins and this is my blog.
I discuss the art making extra money quite a bit on Instagram. (My preferred platform)
I think it’s really important to know who you’re working with when it comes to online, side hustle endeavors. That’s why I put together this brief history of my life. I’ve had my ups and downs. Successes and failures. Triumphs and failures. All of which have made me who I am today: A father, husband, well-educated person who’s passionate about making money.
One thing, though, that I want you to realize is that I’m just a normal guy. If I can do this, ANYBODY can (and should) do it as well. But, you must be motivated to do so. Dig deep and find your ‘why’.
For me, side hustling wasn’t a ‘nice to have’. It was a ‘necessity’. Why? Speed up to when I turned 15 to find out.
Or, “let’s start at the beginning. It’s a very good place to start.” ~ The Sound of Music
1982 – Mexico City, Mexico
The accident that started my life
I was born September 3, 1982 at Hospital ABC in Mexico City, Mexico. My folks and 2 older brothers (Josh and JD) were living in Mexico at the time as part of a foreign service assignment.
As the youngest of 3 (by a long shot), it’s safe to say, my abrupt arrival was not part of the plan. According to my older brothers (and the timeline that I’ve pieced together) my dad actually had a vasectomy well before my parents conceived me.
(…this luck would backfire on me in about 15 years.)
From the stories I’ve heard about my birth, it actually doesn’t sound too different from what a lot of families are experience today with COVID. You see, my dad was actually sick with typhoid at the time and couldn’t hold me for a month.
After my parents’ foreign service assignment in Mexico, my family packed up and moved to moderate house in Dearborn, Michigan where my dad continued his work with Ford Motor Company.
The year that changed my life
Coming into school that year, I was doing pretty well in a variety of areas. My schooling was going well. I was winning in most of my sports leagues (accept basketball – which I later realized wasn’t my thing). I was, for the most part, a pretty normal kid. Life was good.
…Until late October.
On October 30th, 1997 I remember feeling different. Something wasn’t right. I remember going to school and being so thirsty that I pounded about 4 Mountain Dews in less than 5 minutes. But, at the same time I had to piss like a racehorse about every 20 minutes.To make matters worse, my vision seemed to changing on me. I could barely see across the halls at my highschool. Super weird feeling.
What the hell was going on???!!!
I had no clue, but to be honest, I wasn’t all that worried. I thought it was just puberty. And, besides, I had a football game later on that night. “I’m fine.” “I’ll get through it,” I thought.
Then something really drastic happened that forced my parents’ hand to look into these strange symptoms I had a little further.
That night in the football game I managed to throw 52 passes and complete 1. Yup. In 52 pass attempts I threw for a total of 8 yards. Wow. Just, Wow.
So, this was strange. And, people were starting to notice. Lucky for me, one of those people was a buddy of mine’s mom who’s a Dr. Dr. Gosh politely approached my parents and asked them a series of questions:
Dr. Gosh: “Has Matt been losing weight?”
Parents: “Uh, yes. Quite a bit in fact.”
Dr. Gosh: “Is Matt really thirsty?”
Parents: “Yeah. How did you know?”
Dr. Gosh: “Is Matt peeing more than usual lately?”
Parents: “Yes. What’s going on?”
Dr. Gosh: “I’ll call the hospital. Take him immediately to the OR.”
My parents rushed me to the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and 20 minutes later I’m surprised to see my name at the top of the list of patients in the ER. “Why the heck am I #1 on the list (usually reserved for the folks in the most critical state of being)?” I thought.
A polite nurse came by and quickly ushered us to an exam room where Dr. Degnan (I still remember his name) uttered some words that changed my life forever…
“Matt, you have type 1 diabetes. You’ll need to take insulin and manage your blood sugars for the rest of your life.”
“Holy s#!t. WHAT?!”
I honestly didn’t even know what type 1 diabetes was. But one thing was made very clear to me by the hospital staff. This was going to be with me forever. And, if I didn’t manage myself, the consequences would be severe. Blindness, loss of limbs, even death.
It was fight or flight, baby.
I chose to fight like hell.
So, over the next few days, I learned everything on the face of the planet there was to know about type 1 diabetes and how to manage it well. Unfortunately for me, at the time, there really wasn’t a lot of info.
None the less, when we returned back home, my parents went the extra (100) miles to make sure I was well equipped to handle this disease.
To that point: I owe my parents everything. Without the support of my mom and dad, there is zero change I would be in the position that I’m in today. Zero. I only hope that I can be as good of a father to my daughters as my parents were to me when disaster stuck.
Thank you mom and dad!
Sport-filled high school – lots of broken bones, 1 state championship, and a college scholarship (Thank god)
Sports were and still are EXTREMELLY important to me. Both of my older siblings played football, baseball, and basketball and, not surprisingly, I wanted to be just like them.
With the dream of being a 3-sport pro athlete at the forefront of my mind, I played basketball on balmy 12-degree days in Michigan, baseball from April-August, and football in the fall.
Here’s a great shot of “dunking” with my 3” vertical on the adjustable backboard my dad installed. One of my earliest memories is playing baseball with dad in Dearborn, MI and hitting the ball I was playing with across the street.
I was a good baseball player. And the University of Michigan head coach at the time thought so too. I pitched in front of the UofM coach for 5 minutes my Junior year, and within a week I had a scholarship offer ready to be signed. And sign it I did.
Interesting Stat: I pitched in college but played shortstop in high school. For 4 consecutive seasons I hit a homerun my first at bat of the year. (Probably adrenaline.)
College…was a mess. Go Blue!
In the Fall of 2001 I started my baseball “career” at the University of Michigan. I had a mildly successful freshman campaign bringing in a 2.70 ERA with a 3-1 record.
But, this all changed when the effects of poorly managed type 1 diabetes reared its ugly head during my software season. I went from being the stud reliever for the Wolverines, to an 0-5 record and 11.15 ERA.
The reality is, the college lifestyle caught up to me. And, while drinking and partying wouldn’t affect most people. For me, as a type 1 diabetic, it caused my blood sugars to ebb and flow like the tide. It was horrible, and I could feel it.
The problem was, I didn’t understand the disease, so I couldn’t do anything about it.
Somehow, in the Spring of 2005 I managed to gather enough “General Studies” credits to graduate from Michigan.
2009-2011 Grad School
After several years of working fairly mundane jobs, in the Fall of 2009 I started at the University of Notre Dame MBA program where I majored in Marketing.
I took an internship between my first and second year with a young company in Boulder, Colorado where I began my medical device career that I still enjoy today.
During my second year, I decided to take part in the university’s study abroad program in Santiago, Chile where I eventually met my wife of 9 years (as of this writing).
I was “happy”…but something still wasn’t right. Something still felt off – like it had during my sophomore year of college when everything in my baseball career went downhill.
2013 - My Epiphany
If you’ve ever experienced a transformational, life altering event, you’ll know just how significant, important, and memorable they are. I had one in 2013 that, thankfully, allowed me to change for the better. My major event?
…I almost died.
Here’s what happened.
In August, 2013 I made a trip back to Michigan to visit my grandmother in her nursing home with the rest of my family. It was 3:00 p.m., two hours after my last meal, and I began to feel a little “tired”.
Maybe I’m just tired from traveling. Maybe I’m low, I thought. Let me check myself to make sure.
Cool. I’m not low, just tired – Famous last words.
The next thing I remember is me flailing hysterically in the parking lot of the nursing home, passing out, and nearly cracking my skull open on the pavement. Nobody understood what was going on. All my family knew was that I’d just checked my blood sugar and got a “good” finger prick reading.
The reality was, however, nobody was aware of just how quickly blood sugar could crash. I can’t imagine what was going through their heads.
“Is Matt just going crazy? Is he just sad to see Grandma in the nursing home?”
Nope. I was trending dangerously low, and didn’t realize it because I had minimal glucose visibility via the finger prick method of testing my blood sugar levels.
In retrospect, looking back on the situation, I’m lucky to be alive. Just as I passed out, my older brother, JD, grabbed me and gently lowered me to the ground, called 911, and revived me with juice and a shot of glucagon.
Given a different circumstance, I could’ve been unconscious in the street with no-one around to revive me.
Shortly after this event, I decided to take a trip to Colorado to go backpacking and reflect on what the hell just happened.
Sitting by the crackling fire I remember trying to put everything that happened that day, and my life, into perspective. And, to realize how differently things could’ve been.
And that’s when 3 things really dawned on me.
- I was really lucky. Yes, I had a nice job and all. But, that’s probably because I went to a good grad school. I went to a good grad school because I had a decent job prior. But, I only got a decent job out of undergrad because I went to Michigan.
…and I only got into Michigan because I could throw a baseball 90+ miles an hour. Yikes.
- While I liked my job, I wasn’t making enough money to pay back my school loans ($117k!), start a family, enjoy time with my wife, or eventually retire. Plus, insulin and medical device prices were skyrocketing.
- Life can change (or be taken away from you) in a blink of an eye.
The major take away was this: It’s extremely important you enjoy yourself while you’re here on this beautiful planet.
And, enjoying yourself almost always requires money.
Realizing that my earnings trajectory wasn’t increasing at the rate I wanted it to, I needed to take it upon myself to make extra money.
And, I needed to do it fast.
At that exact moment, I decided that making extra money via side hustle businesses was going to be a priority for me.
In addition to this, I decided to invest the time and money needed to learn the best type 1 diabetes management practices available. This included diving into new medical devices and insulin I previously resisted using.
Best 2 decisions of my life. …in addition to marrying my wife 😉
(Note – I always do what’s ethically and morally responsible as related to my current employer. For you, it’s also a good idea to read your company’s guides on extra income/businesses. Typically, companies will allow it if it A) doesn’t interfere with the time spent doing your day to day, and B) if the industry doesn’t compete with its own.)
2014 – My first side hustle
I managed to grow SizeSlim from scratch to over $180,000 in its first year. During this process I learned a ton about ecommerce, logistics, marketing, blogging, and most importantly, automation.
My time requirement for SizeSlim was minimal…2 hours/week on the weekend. Something that I use as a requirement for all side hustles today.
2018 – My first child!
2019 – My first book on Amazon
By 2018 I had perfected the art of blood sugar management. And, to help other type 1 diabetics achieve the same level of success, I penned the first edition of T1D Pro which sells on Amazon in both ebook and print formats.
Where I am today
In 2020 I understood that I had acquired a relatively unique set of skills in the arena of creating extra money with side businesses and online marketing.
What set my side hustles apart from the pack, though, is the fact that they’re all self-running with automation systems. As a full-time 9-5er, this was, and still is, a baseline requirement.
For similar reason why I wrote T1D Pro, I decided to create a blog to teach people about what I learned with my side businesses. I realize there are thousands of people and families like me who could use the help.
So, without further ado, in December 2020 I began to write the original copy for The Money Shark.
The site has, and always will be, dedicated to teaching people like you the art of the making extra money, so you can live any life you chose to live; whether you have an ailemnet you need to pay for (like type 1 diabets etc), you want your kid to go to a great university, or you just want some extra cash to enjoy your life as much as humanly possible.
Throughout the site there are several opportunities to learn about ways to make money, systems I’ve used to automate and enhance the experience, and ways to manage your income. There are also opportunities to share, like, and comment on each.
Please feel free to engage with your friends in this process. Always keep the conversation courteous. But please do challenge each other, and me.
This is a 100% safe environment for you to learn. There are no wrong or dumb questions. Fire away!
If you’ve made it this far, I wanted to personally thank you for taking the time to read about my life. It hasn’t always been easy, but every challenge has presented itself with an incredible opportunity.
If you’re like me and are fascinated by the art of making extra money, I’m so glad you came.
I hope my story encourages and inspires you to do something great for you or your family. I’ll keep this site going as long as people find it useful.
It’s only through visitors like you that make this site possible. I value each and every one of you. And I’m looking forward to getting to know as many of you as possible.
Best wishes to you all.