"Fastlane" is an entrepreneur discussion forum based on The C.E.N.T.S Framework outlined in the two best-selling books by MJ DeMarco (The Millionaire Fastlane and UNSCRIPTED®). From multimillionaires to digital nomads to side hustlers who are grinding a job, the Fastlane Forum features real entrepreneurs creating real businesses with one goal in mind: Freedom— both financial and temporal.
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Wow, it's been a long time since I've been on this forum.
Hey guys, I'm Xolorr. I'm 21 Y/O from South Africa, and here's my story of how I kicked my a$$ into gear, finally started making some bread, and have some actionable advice that won't be fun but has helped me go from a broke-a$$ 21 y/o to now having $7k pm in MRR.
So, if you go back in my profile it'll be a picture-perfect display of action faking. I first found out about MJ and TMF when I was like 16/17, and I was hooked. What followed was years of mental masturbation and "attempts" at businesses. Looking back I'm disgusted to even call those attempts, and are more indicative of a millennial who's grown up on social media's expectations of overnight success, even though back then I swore I was working hard and "hustling".
Such is life, and I'll probably look back on this time in my life being like "wtf was I doing" in a couple of months.
If you don't feel slightly embarrassed/cringe about your past, you aren't growing.
(Not trying to act all high and mighty or as if I'm a millionaire, because I'm far from that lambo, but progress is still progress)
ANYWAYS, let's dive into what you all came for!
How did a broke-a$$ 21 Year old who had $35 in his bank account get to now having a business cash flowing $7k?
It's a long story, and I know that if I try to explain it all, it'll turn into a mini-book. But here's the gist of it.
I blame it all on grit and most importantly, an FTE.
You see, I've been reading and learning about business since I was like 16. I don't know why, but I've always had the surety that I would "make it". Ever since around 15 - 16 I realized school was BS, and I had to make it on my own if I wanted to personally be happy.
That being said, I grew up with bubble wrap. Middle class family, born into complacency in a small town, with no real hardships growing up. Yeah life was a rollercoaster and I have my fair share of childhood trauma, but there was always food on the table, and I lived in complacency. Never really had to work for anything, and kinda just had comfortable life in a small town in the middle of nowhere.
As soon as I turned 18 I wanted to leave, and after highschool I took the normal route of going to uni, except all I did was move to a uni-town, and study online.
I barely touched my books, and tbh had no clue what I was doing with my life. I'd spend all-day on TMF reading and rereading threads like this, and convincing myself I was taking action when truly I was just taking 2 weeks to build a terrible dropship Shopify store, buy an IG shoutout, and quit at the first signs of it not working. I convinced myself I was "taking actions", when tbh I was borderline depressed and lost.
From there I started freelancing photo and video, with whatever jobs came my way, and not actually going out trying to find my clients.
I had a lot of fun and crazy experiences in photo/video, but never earnt more than a couple of hundred bucks per job.
This brings me to the first biggest lesson:
Who you surround yourself with matters.
My roommates would go to uni, eat McDonald's, get drunk, and talk about girls they'd seen on Instagram all day. Compared to them, I was killing it making my $2000 per month off of random freelance gigs.
Things changed completely when I got a friend who "forced" me to start working out. I taught him about photo and video, and he'd train me, which is where everything started to click, and it was the first time I'd worked hard at something over multiple months as opposed to a couple weeks. The simple act of working out nearly every single day and the delay of seeing the results suddenly made me understand business, and how you aren't meant to see results for the first couple months.
After this, my video work started to take off and life improved. I quit drinking, started spending a load of time outdoors and really just feeling happy and passionate, but I definitely didn't have a business or any sustainable income.
Then I found the thread on here about a digital marketing agency, and decided thats what I was going to do.
Months went by of little to no work.
Making the perfect logo
Making the perfect website (Multiple times)
Building slideshow pitch decks
(None of which move the needle at all)
And time just carried on going by.
Then this year things started to change.
My family started to hit some financial struggle, and I saw the effect that it had on them
I made a load of money (at least what I thought at the time) by filming music festivals in the summer (December), but it made my lose my passion for videography and made me hate being treated with a lack of respect. I filmed 13 music festivals in one month, from 3pm to 3am, and finished the edits the next day every time. I slept in some crazy places, on friends couches, in my car, wherever I would find myself in the early hours of the morning, and at the New Years Eve festival, I vowed that it would be the last time I filmed out of necessity for money.
That's when I met my "mentor", who's now one of my best friends.
He had a youtube channel and he was visiting South Africa, and I sent a crazy DM offering to film his videos for him.
Somehow, it worked out.
For the first 5 months of this year, I worked myself to the grindstone.
Outreach during the day for Facebook advertising, in the evenings I would edit whatever I filmed that day and manage the channel.
I didn't get paid a cent, but he let me live with him and covered my food, so I was rent and grocery free for 5 month.
Nothing seemed to be working, and by March I had burnt through all of my savings, and had a whopping $35 in my bank account.
My Instagram made me look like a king from my video work (Trips to Dubai, Greece, Italy, Massive Parties, Jetskis, Etc.) because it was all a part of the job I was doing.
But I was broke asf.
That's when I believe my mental game finally switched on, and when it came to outreach I was on another level.
I would record 10 - 20 videos auditing companies every day, and send them out trying to get meetings, and finally one budged.
I signed my first client in April for $750 + 15% of the return from ads.
And after that, everything had clicked, and my next 2 clients came in like clockwork, taking me swiftly to a reoccurring income of $4000 per month.
More money than I'd ever seen in my life.
And that brings us to today, where I'm managing 5 client accounts (it was six but one dropped after a month because of a silver bullet 20ROAS expectation) and I have 3 deals in the pipeline.
Okay, your stories kinda cool, but tell me how to make money.
Well, I can't.
I'm but a guppy in this wild ocean of entrepreneurship, and there are much better sources than me who have given all of their secrets out on this forum.
You have it all in front of you.
What I will do is give you some very practical advice on what has helped me!
#1) Trim the fat.
I don't mean go work out (Even though I should be). What I mean is trim the fat on your time.
Distractions and timesucks are what hold you back the most.
Do yourself a favour and check your screentime on your phone, and audit this CONSISTENTLY.
Hours are stolen by that little infinity box every day and you don't even realize it.
Unless you're crazy famous or an influencer, delete Instagram.
This will do WONDERS for your mental health and wellbeing, and I think everyone should do it.
It literally brings ZERO value to your life, whatsoever.
If you're so addicted that you can't be without it, check it on your computer. It's a much less enjoyable experience on your computer for some reason, and you'll spend ridiculously less time on it.
Same goes for TikTok!!!
I won't rant about this because we'd be here for days, but IMO it's the most brainwashing invention on earth, and it's turning people into zombies with a 2-second attention span.
#2) Prioritize sleep and get out of bed.
The days of "I'll sleep when I'm dead" and "Hustle 24/7" are gone. Save those for the meme pages.
You're a lot more emotionally stable, high energy, and effective when you sleep properly. It should be prioritized above all else.
Get 7 - 9 hours of sleep a night, and wake up at the same time every day.
Like hitting the snooze button? Create a system to stop it.
Download alarms or military alarm, and set it so you have to scan a barcode in your kitchen or do some physical activity to turn off the alarm.
This will work wonders in stopping the fight against yourself.
While you're at it, buy a cheap second-hand phone just for your alarm app of choice and music/podcasts. That way you're disconnected from mainstream BS until you finish your morning work. My main phone doesn't get turned on until 13:00 when I just have calls for the rest of the day.
You can get more done in a morning deep work block than most people can in an entire week if you get rid of distractions.
#3) Get a high-value skill and sell it
I'm not writing about making a new invention, coding, real estate, or anything like that because I've never done it, and to add to that, it takes capital.
My goal has always been to get a cashflow business running on autopilot, and then self-fund more scaleable ventures from there.
IMO the best way to start from zero is to learn a high-value skill, sell that skill, and then hire to do fulfilment.
This doesn't mean that you don't know how to produce the results, but it frees up time from delivering work for clients and being a freelancer, to be able to keep prioritizing sales and allows you to scale to a certain extent.
#4) The internet is the great equalizer
This one goes out to all my third world homies reading this.
YOU HAVE THE BIGGEST ADVANTAGE OVER EVERYONE IN THE STATES AND YOU DON'T EVEN REALIZE IT.
You might think I'm crazy, but let's do a little maths here.
Off a google search that probably has very sketchy data, the average monthly costs for a single person in the US is $2,643.
I believe it's higher, especially in big cities. I mean, rent in LA is like $2k for a one-bedroom.
I'm currently writing this from a prime position, modern two-bedroom apartment in Cape Town, that costs me less than $900 a month, and this is me being extra and flexing my money.
If you're in a third world country or anywhere where your cost of living is low, imagine how well you could live on $2000 per month?!
You'll be spending less than the average American, and probably having 2-3X the quality of life.
SO DO BUSINESS WITH AMERICANS!!
With the internet, nothing is stopping you.
All of my clients are US based, and pay 3X more than what I would get working with local brands, FOR THE SAME AMOUNT OF WORK?!
Why would you not want to get paid 3X for the same time and effort?
Leverage your low cost of living to enjoy life while being frugal (in the eyes of the US).
#5 Quality & Quantity
This applies specifically to sales based models and getting it off the ground, but in today's day and age copying and pasting a "good cold email script" off of Google isn't going to get you anywhere.
People are getting hit up more than ever, and you need to go above and beyond to get even a modest attempt to client ratio.
With the system I use, I expect a 6% attempt to meeting ratio, and I understand that if I send out 100 outreaches in a month, I can sign 1 - 2 clients per month, at around a $1000 - $3000 MRR and a minimum of a 3-month contract.
In the beginning, all of your time should be spent on finding and getting in contact with prospects.
Whatever you're doing now, if you don't have an income stream you can create one with zero capital, and whatever device you're reading this on.
Some good examples:
- Digital Marketing (Getting saturated, I'm already planning on what to do if Facebook ads were to go belly up)
- Email Marketing
- Web Design
I hope this all made sense, it's right before bed and I wrote this all off the top of my head.
As I mentioned, $7k per month really isn't a lot compared to the big dogs, but I'm glad that I'm able to save around 50% of that every month while living an extremely comfortable life, and the next steps are scaling this to $30k per month, and using my resources and skills to create new income streams which have more leverage and potential.
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