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22 Years Old: First Exit & Mini-Retirement. Lessons from a 5+ Year Journey

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Consolation

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So, there’s a couple of common themes and lessons here. First…

WTF is Business, Anyway?
In the end business is just a financial strategy — A method of generating income where the entrepreneur has more control over the variables that determine his financial well-being than if it were to come from the traditional route of employment.

Business isn't an end-all be-all. I have accepted that someone can still become happy, healthy and wealthy from other routes. If you look up the fatFIRE community on reddit, you'll see that business only becomes a topic of interest when people with traditionally high-paying careers hit an income ceiling and can't go beyond without changing vehicles.

With added maturity and hindsight, I’d be happy to work for someone else given the right opportunity and personal autonomy as a stepping stone to something bigger — But back in those days I’d rather die than work for someone else because 1) I was hungry and 2) I attached 100% of my worth as a person to my business.

Attaching your personal worth as a human being to your success or failure is a very dangerous position to be in. On one hand that ego can make you work very hard but is utterly soul-crushing when things don’t work out.

I was very extreme in my approach to everything back then — Now I’ll still ride a wave of inspiration every once in a while, but I’m a bit more balanced and approach things not as a do-or-die martyr now. This is very important to your mental health and personal productivity.

So, If you want to get in to business I’d recommend you…

Get a Life First
Entrepreneurship is hard. Don’t make this any harder than it has to be by sacrificing your current joy. Business is ONE aspect of your entire life, and shouldn’t ever be your all-consuming focus for longer than necessary. Sure, there are times where you’ll have to sacrifice sleep, friends, or your health to an extent. But ONLY in the beginning stages when you’re getting it all started. At some point you’ve got to live a bit — to live in a way that serves as a reminder why you work so hard.

It’s also not the answer to all your problems. There’s some things more money won’t fix, and there are situations where you may have more money but not a life you’re happy with.

You’ll be in a better position with more money obviously, but you'll also be less disappointed as an entrepreneur if you understand what you’re sacrificing and can accept that before jumping in, and how it’ll affect the rest of your life. It’s for this reason that I’m content with having a business that doesn’t necessarily provide massive wealth, but allows free time for me to explore my endless interests outside of business.

The “Hustle 24/7/365” culture that is so pervasive in entrepreneur circles isn’t healthy or sustainable long term, or anything worth aspiring to in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, making money and building something is fun. But in the grand scheme of things I work to live, not live to work.

So, how do you get a life?

Understand yourself deeply, and the path becomes clear
If you don’t know what you really want, who you really are, and develop a deeper understanding of how the world works, it will be extremely difficult to direct your thinking in a productive direction and make life work.

It was Sun Tzu that said “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” Both are incredibly important. Understanding yourself and the world around you comes from engaging with it; sometimes from poor judgement and retroactively learning from it.

Everything around you (Culture, Peers, Parents, Social Media, even this Forum) will try to tell you who you are, what you want, and how you should live. It’s a projection of their values onto you. Without knowing what’s most important to you and connecting to a larger “why” for your existence, you will never know whether you’re listening to your own voice or someone else’s.

It’s for this reason why I’d recommend taking a lot of time digging into this.

Put yourself in an environment where you can thrive
So, if you’d still like to be in business, let’s talk about entrepreneurial loneliness. There are two factors we need to consider to mitigate its effects — Culture and People.

1) Culture.

I grew up in the Deep South where the people aren’t my favorite and examples of success were virtually non-existent. I was very resentful for a long time, but only because I inherently did not fit into that culture.

The problem with this thinking is you don’t choose where you live, so it’s your sole responsibility to find a culture where you can thrive. Sometimes that’s changing neighborhoods, driving a few hundred miles away or flying a few thousand miles away. Getting a taste of different places will help you understand where you can thrive. If I recognized moving was a necessity sooner, I would’ve traded my time in resentment for time actively seeking a way out faster.

2) People.

Entrepreneurship is only lonely because it dominates your thinking most of the time, and you won’t have anyone to relate to unless you actively seek them out. Online is fine, but preferably moving to an entrepreneurial city or even starting a hustle house is ideal.

More to come…
Damn. That nailed me.
 
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SarahO

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Title says it all — I have exited my first business and am in mini-retirement. I say “Mini-Retirement” as this won’t make me filthy rich, but it HAS provided me substantial financial breathing room for the next best opportunity.

Admittedly, I was a poor fit for that business. Thankfully not all is lost as I’ve gained significant experience from engaging in commerce these past few years. It's also amazing to see that, yes — it IS POSSIBLE to build something from nothing, and exit a few years later with a nice chunk of cash.

Which brings me to this post.

I’ve seen some “success” as a young dude, but there’s others my age much more successful than me. There’s a lot for me to learn still. If anything this sale means not much more than hitting the reset button on life. I’m not a hotshot and have no reason for you believing I am; I wasn't even planning on posting about this for a long time.

That said, I have a moral obligation to share these lessons because there are a LOT of young guys on the forum trying to make life work, who are receiving an appalling amount of misguided advice. As a guy who’s seen some early success, I believe I’ll lend some accurate perspective by posting the biggest lessons from this 5+ year journey.

I’m not posting this for you to be impressed with me. My story isn’t important, YOURS is — if this helps just ONE person who can relate, than taking the time to write this was well worth it.

I’m not too inclined to speak on the business or sale for the most part (Here’s the insider’s thread for that) — There isn’t anything I could say here that hasn’t been stated before, and I’d rather speak to the lessons from the trenches. Not just about success, but how to make life work in the grand scheme of things.

I’d like to lend a special thanks to these guys:
@Andy Black @Fox @Ronak @Vigilante @AgainstAllOdds @Kung Fu Steve @lowtek @Scot @G_Alexander @TheTruth @Davidla @ZCP @snowbank @biophase @jimmeboy @Water @Duane @Borregoed @eliquid @Get Right @V8Bill @JasonR @Greg R @Gary @Powderhound @csalvato @EvanOkanagan @Ravens_Shadow @Envision @LightHouse and many others I could be forgetting.

Also to my Fastlane Brothers in the Puerto Rico Hustle House @Tom.V and @RayAndré who watched massive change unfold over the past 9 months...

...and most importantly, @MJ DeMarco for kickstarting this crazy adventure for so many of us.

You’ve all been along for the ride and have helped one way or the other, whether through 1-1 conversations or simply contributions to the forum, which I collectively owe a huge debt to.

Sincerely, thank you.

I have much more to add, so watch this space over the next few days…

Amazing! Congratulations! I wish I had started my journey at your age!
 

Borregoed

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@UnrealCreative Yeah buddy! Not at all surprised. Its been amazing watching your journey and glad we stayed in touch! Can't believe it was 2018 summit is when we met. Time flies! Looking forward to seeing your inevitable growth and success:thumbsup:
 

Pat D. Rick

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Title says it all — I have exited my first business and am in mini-retirement. I say “Mini-Retirement” as this won’t make me filthy rich, but it HAS provided me substantial financial breathing room for the next best opportunity.

Admittedly, I was a poor fit for that business. Thankfully not all is lost as I’ve gained significant experience from engaging in commerce these past few years. It's also amazing to see that, yes — it IS POSSIBLE to build something from nothing, and exit a few years later with a nice chunk of cash.

Which brings me to this post.

I’ve seen some “success” as a young dude, but there’s others my age much more successful than me. There’s a lot for me to learn still. If anything this sale means not much more than hitting the reset button on life. I’m not a hotshot and have no reason for you believing I am; I wasn't even planning on posting about this for a long time.

That said, I have a moral obligation to share these lessons because there are a LOT of young guys on the forum trying to make life work, who are receiving an appalling amount of misguided advice. As a guy who’s seen some early success, I believe I’ll lend some accurate perspective by posting the biggest lessons from this 5+ year journey.

I’m not posting this for you to be impressed with me. My story isn’t important, YOURS is — if this helps just ONE person who can relate, than taking the time to write this was well worth it.

I’m not too inclined to speak on the business or sale for the most part (Here’s the insider’s thread for that) — There isn’t anything I could say here that hasn’t been stated before, and I’d rather speak to the lessons from the trenches. Not just about success, but how to make life work in the grand scheme of things.

I’d like to lend a special thanks to these guys:
@Andy Black @Fox @Ronak @Vigilante @AgainstAllOdds @Kung Fu Steve @lowtek @Scot @G_Alexander @TheTruth @Davidla @ZCP @snowbank @biophase @jimmeboy @Water @Duane @Borregoed @eliquid @Get Right @V8Bill @JasonR @Greg R @Gary @Powderhound @csalvato @EvanOkanagan @Ravens_Shadow @Envision @LightHouse and many others I could be forgetting.

Also to my Fastlane Brothers in the Puerto Rico Hustle House @Tom.V and @RayAndré who watched massive change unfold over the past 9 months...

...and most importantly, @MJ DeMarco for kickstarting this crazy adventure for so many of us.

You’ve all been along for the ride and have helped one way or the other, whether through 1-1 conversations or simply contributions to the forum, which I collectively owe a huge debt to.

Sincerely, thank you.

I have much more to add, so watch this space over the next few days…
I like that you are so humble with your amazing success. At your stage a lot of other people would start looking down on everyone else.
 
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ADayattheRoxbury

Contributor
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Mar 23, 2019
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Title says it all — I have exited my first business and am in mini-retirement. I say “Mini-Retirement” as this won’t make me filthy rich, but it HAS provided me substantial financial breathing room for the next best opportunity.

Admittedly, I was a poor fit for that business. Thankfully not all is lost as I’ve gained significant experience from engaging in commerce these past few years. It's also amazing to see that, yes — it IS POSSIBLE to build something from nothing, and exit a few years later with a nice chunk of cash.

Which brings me to this post.

I’ve seen some “success” as a young dude, but there’s others my age much more successful than me. There’s a lot for me to learn still. If anything this sale means not much more than hitting the reset button on life. I’m not a hotshot and have no reason for you believing I am; I wasn't even planning on posting about this for a long time.

That said, I have a moral obligation to share these lessons because there are a LOT of young guys on the forum trying to make life work, who are receiving an appalling amount of misguided advice. As a guy who’s seen some early success, I believe I’ll lend some accurate perspective by posting the biggest lessons from this 5+ year journey.

I’m not posting this for you to be impressed with me. My story isn’t important, YOURS is — if this helps just ONE person who can relate, than taking the time to write this was well worth it.

I’m not too inclined to speak on the business or sale for the most part (Here’s the insider’s thread for that) — There isn’t anything I could say here that hasn’t been stated before, and I’d rather speak to the lessons from the trenches. Not just about success, but how to make life work in the grand scheme of things.

I’d like to lend a special thanks to these guys:
@Andy Black @Fox @Ronak @Vigilante @AgainstAllOdds @Kung Fu Steve @lowtek @Scot @G_Alexander @TheTruth @Davidla @ZCP @snowbank @biophase @jimmeboy @Water @Duane @Borregoed @eliquid @Get Right @V8Bill @JasonR @Greg R @Gary @Powderhound @csalvato @EvanOkanagan @Ravens_Shadow @Envision @LightHouse and many others I could be forgetting.

Also to my Fastlane Brothers in the Puerto Rico Hustle House @Tom.V and @RayAndré who watched massive change unfold over the past 9 months...

...and most importantly, @MJ DeMarco for kickstarting this crazy adventure for so many of us.

You’ve all been along for the ride and have helped one way or the other, whether through 1-1 conversations or simply contributions to the forum, which I collectively owe a huge debt to.

Sincerely, thank you.

I have much more to add, so watch this space over the next few days…

Congratulations man! Can't wait to hear the story >:]

Edit: Just read the story. Your words are SO inspirational man. You're wise beyond your years! Glad I decided to hop on the forums this late on a Sunday rather than "Netflix and Chill" :p.
 

MTF

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Mike Partee

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@Mike Partee, any updates? How are things going now?
Wish there was more to update on but...
— Took most of 2020 off with proceeds, so relatively unscathed financially
— Joined an M&A startup doing something similar to a project I was working on
— Bored out of skull, looking into a different j.o.b. in the meantime doing project mgmt
— gf started a rental biz, I'm coaching and it's doing VERY well, first month (march) did 1k

Where it's going from there...

As of now, my work isn't so bad. I make more and work less than ever.
BUT it's now boring. So, looking for something new/better fit. Working for people is weird.

I haven't started a new biz since the sale. I've been EXTREMELY careful not to chase shiny objects and only consider a shortlist of *real* opportunities that I know with good certainty will work and will be worth the immense pain & sacrifice required.

Anything else is discarded. The criteria is extreme, but it leaves me with 2 opportunities.

— The rental biz is showing REAL promise, so once the next j.o.b. is in place, I'll pour more money & time into this as it's been really cool to see the growth. It was my gf's idea not mine, but she doesn't have a biz background so it's a great dynamic.

— I have another "scratch my own itch" productized service in the recruitment space I'm considering; will let that simmer and potentially go the MVP route within the next 1-2 months.

Ah, but I should finish the story, yes? I'll take a look at what I wrote and see what gaps need filled in. I'm not the best at finishing threads.
 
Last edited:

MJ DeMarco

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— Joined an M&A startup doing something similar to a project I was working on

this is your job? Or something unrelated? I don’t understand how you would want a job after getting a taste of entrepreneurship...
 

Mike Partee

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I don’t understand how you would want a job
Haha, who does?

To be fair, Thought it'd be better to join something instead of competing — But it didn't turn out to be a better setup. So to use a biblical comparison, it's mana in the desert. Would prefer to do my own thing, now that I know what it's like :)
 
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