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GOLD! 24 Years old: QUIT six-figure Job, Launched two Businesses

Aaron T

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I am catching up on all the years I missed out by not being a part of this forum and saw this Post and I just had to say, WOW what a great motivational post @G_Alexander! I really enjoyed seeing this, seeing the courage it took to leave a steady well paying job, and the focus on being unscripted!

To add to your comment on just getting one sale, recently looking at data at a company I was at we determined (over millions of individual sales events and average daily users of over a million so the data is statistically sound) that once a client we supported got off the ground and did only 5 sales, they had a greater than 87% chance of success. That is HUGE to know! HUGE! That means that if you can get something going and get to the point of that single sale, regardless of size, and then follow through to 5 sales, you have a really good chance of being a success.

Sadly so many people I know go through the motions of starting a business and never really followed through to event he first sale. After spending time and effort why would you stop that? And of course 5 sales doesn't mean you are making money, or guarantees success, but the probability was good.

I just wanted to share that data because it is very validating for what we are trying to do here.
 

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StevieB

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I'd normally point you to go read all the threads I have already recommended, or to read the free eBooks I posted about in here... but I'll give you a couple quick tips my friend (because I get PMs like this all the time too)!

When picking your Niche for an ecommerce store:
  1. Think about your hobbies when picking a product (and try to be between $100 - $500 per order retail price point)
    • Use Google "Keyword Planner" to find out if your primary product search keyword gets at least 10,000 searches per month
      • Or if the combination of your top two keywords gets 10,000+ per month
  2. Once you find a keyword that is a hobby and meets that criteria... go type it in google and check what the top three results are (organic results)
    • If the 1st result looks like crap (old website, no customer reviews in place, no social media accounts)... then you're onto something.
    • If the 1st result looks good but the 2nd and 3rd look like crap... you still might be onto something.
    • If all 3 of the top results look like amazing websites with lots of traffic, customers, reviews.... then your niche may be too competitive... so start over with another hobby product
Thank you for this piece, it's helped me make a decision.
 

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Fox

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Why the huge decline in July? And have things bounced back to normal for you?
I am pretty sure it is because he posted it on the 19th (doesn't show full months revenue).
 

PhilPhil

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I'd normally point you to go read all the threads I have already recommended, or to read the free eBooks I posted about in here... but I'll give you a couple quick tips my friend (because I get PMs like this all the time too)!

When picking your Niche for an ecommerce store:
  1. Think about your hobbies when picking a product (and try to be between $100 - $500 per order retail price point)
    • Use Google "Keyword Planner" to find out if your primary product search keyword gets at least 10,000 searches per month
      • Or if the combination of your top two keywords gets 10,000+ per month
  2. Once you find a keyword that is a hobby and meets that criteria... go type it in google and check what the top three results are (organic results)
    • If the 1st result looks like crap (old website, no customer reviews in place, no social media accounts)... then you're onto something.
    • If the 1st result looks good but the 2nd and 3rd look like crap... you still might be onto something.
    • If all 3 of the top results look like amazing websites with lots of traffic, customers, reviews.... then your niche may be too competitive... so start over with another hobby product
  3. Make sure your product isn't super heavy
    • You don't want to get burned with high shipping costs that you can't pass down to customers
    • If you do have an item that is heavy, check to see if your potential competitors are offering free shipping or if they are charging customers shipping (just do a pretend checkout on their store, but don't actually order)
  4. Search for USA suppliers (if you're in the USA) of your product by typing in "[Your Niche Product] Distributors" or "[Your Niche Product] Manufacturers" (manufacturers sometimes drop ship or can point you towards a distributor they use)
    • You want your suppliers in the same country you are drop-shipping product to, otherwise your lead times to ship to customers are WAY too long and you won't have happy customers
  5. Call the distributors and open accounts (let them know you are an expert in your field and you are launching a new website soon). Suppliers want your business. They want to make money too. Convince them that you can help them make more money (i.e. sell lots of shit for them)
Man, @G_Alexander, thank you so much for the insight. I really appreciate the feedback and good luck to your current/future ventures. Cheers.
 

Qstyle

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I absolutely enjoyed reading this thread. Your beliefs, perseverance and energy are contagious.
What I love most is how you adore this forum and the friendships you have created and cherished.
Good luck with your next milestone!
 
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Why the huge decline in July? And have things bounced back to normal for you?
I am pretty sure it is because he posted it on the 19th (doesn't show full months revenue).
Precisely, @Fox! Thanks for responding. If you guys didn't already know... Fox is awesome.

Finished July strong!

Thanks to everyone else for the kind words. Glad to help you guys any way I can!
 

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@G_Alexander - when you were starting out and you were selling other brands products, what was your USP that made you different and people buy from you and not one of your competitors?
 
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@G_Alexander - when you were starting out and you were selling other brands products, what was your USP that made you different and people buy from you and not one of your competitors?
My niche had lots of older, terrible looking websites that were hard to navigate, had bad/grainey pictures, no reviews and and a lack of product info (both product listing descriptions and general resources on the website). These websites don't exude "trust" to the customer.

What I did to build trust and credibility was had suppliers ship me samples of each product (or I paid for them myself and then returned later... so I was only out shipping costs) -- and I took great pictures, 360 degree videos, and wrote amazing (SEO/keyword Juicy) product descriptions. I also implemented Yotpo.com reviews system throughout the webpage and mobile webpage.

In addition to these things, I created a section on my website for "learning" about the products sold, eliminating many questions customers had before ever needing to call us. These resources also make you an "expert" in your product field and can earn you organic links from other websites/forums/blogs who use your information to educate their own followers.
 

Laughingman21

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My niche had lots of older, terrible looking websites that were hard to navigate, had bad/grainey pictures, no reviews and and a lack of product info (both product listing descriptions and general resources on the website). These websites don't exude "trust" to the customer.

What I did to build trust and credibility was had suppliers ship me samples of each product (or I paid for them myself and then returned later... so I was only out shipping costs) -- and I took great pictures, 360 degree videos, and wrote amazing (SEO/keyword Juicy) product descriptions. I also implemented Yotpo.com reviews system throughout the webpage and mobile webpage.

In addition to these things, I created a section on my website for "learning" about the products sold, eliminating many questions customers had before ever needing to call us. These resources also make you an "expert" in your product field and can earn you organic links from other websites/forums/blogs who use your information to educate their own followers.
That's brilliant to hear as I'm looking to do exactly the same thing myself in a niche I've spotted that's outdated. Do you think your approach would work in any market with outdated websites serving it?
 

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G_Alexander

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Happy Friday! I always love making Friday night posts - I figure most other people are out getting bottles and I'm just over here refining my business :smuggy:

**Milestone Alert** $3,000,000 in sales
Sometimes I don't want to share these milestones, because I expect more of myself and have wayyyyyy more planned for the future... but I know it is important to reflect along the way. The last 3 and 1/2 years have been a total blur. I think it is because my online business would be plenty to fully occupy most people's time, but then I have the B&M Private Equity business with my partner... and that thing has been ripping along too. One of the big reasons I come share is that I don't want to wake up regretting that I only look forward all the time - so I come here to share with you guys and remind myself of where I started (+ set measurable goals). With that:
[GALLERY=media, 78]2million-2017 by G_Alexander posted Oct 6, 2017 at 9:44 PM[/GALLERY]
[GALLERY=media, 77]1million-2017amzn by G_Alexander posted Oct 6, 2017 at 9:44 PM[/GALLERY]
That's my little online business crossing the $3,000,000 Sales mark for 2017.
  • $2,002,000 on the main website
  • $1,011,000 on Amazon
At this exact time last year, I was posting how we just hit $1M on the website (and $1.3M including amazon).... can't believe we are more than double that now in just 1 year's time.

My stretch target was increased to $4,000,000 this year. Hoping we can hit that! Honestly, if the B&M business didn't take so much time I think this could have been an even bigger year for the online business. I'll have to buckle down for the holiday season to hit the stretch!! We now have 3 full time employees though, and have and have great plans for 2018 (Walmart.com & more of our own brand) :smile:

I know it might be a little confusing in this thread sometimes because I have two companies in one thread (and I haven't been sharing much about the B&M business with you guys)... but I will share more about that business in the future. We just closed on one of the new locations I mentioned a page ago (a $2,000,000 acquisition) with another one due to happen this month, God willing! Pretty insane.

Keep on keepin' on men (and women)!
 
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Argie

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WOW this is very inspirational!!

I really feel motivated by this thread specially because is not success caused by luck or by @G_Alexander being spoonfed, is a work in progress based on hard work and confidence that the effort is worth it.

Keep the updates coming @G_Alexander !!
 

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Came onto this thread from your Lambo thread and man..

This is one crazy inspiring success story detailing your fastlane journey from start till now.

Kudos and keep breaking records!
 

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@G_Alexander does your primary eCommerce site focus on 1 product, or do you offer multiple products?

Have you had better sales with one or the other?

Are you still only using the dropship method, or are you now taking on inventory?
 
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Thank you all for the kind words!
Can't wait for your update of this year's events @G_Alexander . :moneybag::moneybag::moneybag:
Definitely can't wait to share more with you guys this year. I have a HUGE learning lesson to share soon. Lost ~$29,000 last year to fraud. Was attacked over the course of 1.5 months. It's not always peaches and cream running businesses... but that is part of the risk/ cost of doing it. Update coming on that soon. Was painful for an entire day... but I will say that I have moved on and the business has become better/tighter because of it.

Also - I'm too focused on growth to let it slow me down. I have fully accepted and come to terms with it. I have way too much to be happy about to be sad!

does your primary eCommerce site focus on 1 product, or do you offer multiple products?

Have you had better sales with one or the other?
1 Niche. Many products.
 

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Wow!!
I just read virtually every post in all 11 pages of this thread.
In one word, you're simply a beast of an achiever.
And I mean that with every sense of positivity.
The way you hit (and super-exceed) your goals every year is incredible. And they are not even small goals to begin with.
You're simply exceptional.
Thumbs up man!!
 

Angelo_Dhi

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Dude! I'm just like you. An NYU Stern business grad and worked in IB for a year and had the same sentiments regarding health and lifestyle issues. Now I'm trying my hands on some entrepreneurial activities. I'm also 24 y/o. Let's link up if you want.
 

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Counter

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Man, that is one hell of a judgement call. Leaving your six figure salary. Many people would have called you an idiot or branded you senseless. But i am happy that it worked out well for you. It is the quality of successful man to fellow your instincts and gut feeling.
 

Hijena1

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This is one of THE BEST threads on this forum. So thrilling, stunning, inspirational and most important genuinely. It makes me feel so good. It makes me think " I want start Ecommerce".

Thank you for such value.
Rep+.
 
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albertut77

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What an incredible journey, @G_Alexander. I have no doubt if it hadn't been this specific venture, it would've been something else. But your insatiable ambition, resourcefulness and disregard for working hard no matter what would've brought you success one way or another.

These are the skills I truly admire and respect the most from people like you - no matter where in life you find yourself in, you will succeed. Congratulations on everything you've achieved, and thank you for inspiring others (such as myself) with your story.

After reading through all of your story, I keep asking myself the same question, but I don't seem to find an answer for it. If you can spare a couple of seconds to help me solve this doubt, you will have done my brain ache a massive favor!

Please correct me if I'm wrong - as I understand it, your eCommerce business started by
(1) localizing a niche where the competition's offering (websites) was visually unattractive and simply not very reassuring;
(2) setting up an attractive, actual webpage with a reassuring layout and, I'm guessing, better user-friendliness than your competition;
(3) identifying and contacting national manufacturers, inquiring about dropshipping availability, and;
(4) linking your webpage orders to the manufacturers that accepted your requests, twitching along the way

This, to me, is a very sound strategy. The only thing I don't seem to understand is this: why would the manufacturers let you middleman their products instead of setting up a webpage of their own, where they can make both the profit margin they make by selling to you and the profit margin you make by selling to customers? This is what I would do if I were the manufacturer. Why would I let someone else eat my profits when, in the end, I'm the one making, packaging and shipping the product to the customers?

I guess what I mean is what value did you add to the manufacturer? If you had been a big retailer already, then I would understand - you already carry a significant customer base on your shoulders that they can benefit from. However, as far as I understand you had nothing to offer them (and I mean no disrespect at all with this). Why would they agree to sell cheaper to you than they can sell to customers?

I hope this doesn't come across as disrespectful or attacking. I have only admiration for you and for anyone in your situation, and it's my ignorance and lack of experience I'm trying to satisfy.

Thank you in advance!
 
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G_Alexander

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Thank you my friends for the kind words! Things are crazy, and growing crazier as always. I wanted to come back and give an update for those asking here and in PMs.

eCommerce Business
The eCommerce business continues to grow and challenge me. More competition (including one or two new good-quality competitors, who copy my website directly) have come on to the scene over the last 12-18 months.

This hasn't slowed me down though! I now have 4 full time employees & me (5 total in the business). We just passed $5,000,000+ in 2018 Sales for the first time ever this year on Dec 1st. Hope to finish around $5,500,000 this year! I cannot believe the hard work has taken us to these heights with a small niche eCommerce business. I am so blessed to have information gathering be my strongest gift, and application of that information being the second strongest (along with an instinct to kill haha). I sometimes forget to celebrate these "wins"... because I am so busy pushing the ball forward and setting higher goals. But I understand that $5,000,000+ Sales in one year (and now over $11,000,000+ Sales since the beginning of the business) calls for a celebration and a memento. So I got one to remember it: Breitling Superocean Heritage II 44mm



As to our new / heightened competition that I mentioned; we are Apple... they are Microsoft/Samsung. Always copycatting. Never innovating. My only real regret in this business is that I am only able to spend 30-40% of my time on it due to my other brick and mortar business, which I have to nurture as well. But I do like having diversity-of-income from multiple businesses.

I really want to take this business to $8,500,000+ next year (2019) and to $10,000,000+ in sales in 2020. Goal has been set. Team is in place. Will achieve through combination of selling many more items in our niche we previously haven't offered/gone after + increasing our output of product videos on YouTube, and continuing to be the best at offering our bread and butter products & customer service.

Brick & Mortar Business
I updated many people in-person at the meetup this past February... but I have been keeping this one a little more quiet on the forums. We now have 35 employees and 3 locations. Just me and my one partner. Currently in process on 2-3 more locations for 2019. Revenues for the current combined locations are $2,500,000+ with much higher margins than the eCommerce drop-ship business... But the cost to open these locations (and the debt load) make them more stressful than an online business (but more stable long-term, 20 yrs+).

The equity upside on each location (as well as the cash flow) is amazing as well. My only issue with the business is how much time the deals take on the front end. But knowing I can make $1,700,000 on average per deal makes it worth the time (although... I do wonder if I could make more just opening more/ bigger ecommerce ventures in my vertical and other similar ones, and producing more of our own products). If anyone has any input here, I'm all ears.

Personally:
This February (2018) I got anxiety pretty bad (about a month after I got my Lambo). It lasted well into August. I just grew too fast and hadn't paid attention to my emotions since the time I was 18 (so about 10 years). I guess I was having trouble coming to terms with my success too... which sounds silly - but it isn't. You lose friends (that you've outgrown), you realize success is not a destination, but a journey (which is preached all the time). And I guess for me I just always felt like life would be/feel a bit different once I had "arrived". It doesn't.

What's MOST important in your life are your relationships: the friends and family around you, your relationship with yourself, and serving others. That has become my mission (not just customers, but my employees). But first, to take care of others you need to take care of yourself. You need to love yourself and you need to learn about yourself inside (study YOU). We study everything else so much, but tend to neglect OURSELVES. Why are we doing what we are doing? What's the meaning behind it? Money CAN buy you happiness (trust me, you will be happy when you buy a Lamborghini or even just a nice dinner or nice pair of shoes), but money can't buy you fulfillment. They are very different things.

This year has been an amazing year of personal growth for me and a good re-balancing of my life (and the businesses kept growing too). I am so ready for 2019. Let's go get a Murcielago SV or Huracan Performante!!
 

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Thank you my friends for the kind words! Things are crazy, and growing crazier as always. I wanted to come back and give an update for those asking here and in PMs.

eCommerce Business
The eCommerce business continues to grow and challenge me. More competition (including one or two new good-quality competitors, who copy my website directly) have come on to the scene over the last 12-18 months.

This hasn't slowed me down though! I now have 4 full time employees & me (5 total in the business). We just passed $5,000,000+ in 2018 Sales for the first time ever this year on Dec 1st. Hope to finish around $5,500,000 this year! I cannot believe the hard work has taken us to these heights with a small niche eCommerce business. I am so blessed to have information gathering be my strongest gift, and application of that information being the second strongest (along with an instinct to kill haha). I sometimes forget to celebrate these "wins"... because I am so busy pushing the ball forward and setting higher goals. But I understand that $5,000,000+ Sales in one year (and now over $11,000,000+ Sales since the beginning of the business) calls for a celebration and a memento. So I got one to remember it: Breitling Superocean Heritage II 44mm



As to our new / heightened competition that I mentioned; we are Apple... they are Microsoft/Samsung. Always copycatting. Never innovating. My only real regret in this business is that I am only able to spend 30-40% of my time on it due to my other brick and mortar business, which I have to nurture as well. But I do like having diversity-of-income from multiple businesses.

I really want to take this business to $8,500,000+ next year (2019) and to $10,000,000+ in sales in 2020. Goal has been set. Team is in place. Will achieve through combination of selling many more items in our niche we previously haven't offered/gone after + increasing our output of product videos on YouTube, and continuing to be the best at offering our bread and butter products & customer service.

Brick & Mortar Business
I updated many people in-person at the meetup this past February... but I have been keeping this one a little more quiet on the forums. We now have 35 employees and 3 locations. Just me and my one partner. Currently in process on 2-3 more locations for 2019. Revenues for the current combined locations are $2,500,000+ with much higher margins than the eCommerce drop-ship business... But the cost to open these locations (and the debt load) make them more stressful than an online business (but more stable long-term, 20 yrs+).

The equity upside on each location (as well as the cash flow) is amazing as well. My only issue with the business is how much time the deals take on the front end. But knowing I can make $1,700,000 on average per deal makes it worth the time (although... I do wonder if I could make more just opening more/ bigger ecommerce ventures in my vertical and other similar ones, and producing more of our own products). If anyone has any input here, I'm all ears.

Personally:
This February (2018) I got anxiety pretty bad (about a month after I got my Lambo). It lasted well into August. I just grew too fast and hadn't paid attention to my emotions since the time I was 18 (so about 10 years). I guess I was having trouble coming to terms with my success too... which sounds silly - but it isn't. You lose friends (that you've outgrown), you realize success is not a destination, but a journey (which is preached all the time). And I guess for me I just always felt like life would be/feel a bit different once I had "arrived". It doesn't.

What's MOST important in your life are your relationships: the friends and family around you, your relationship with yourself, and serving others. That has become my mission (not just customers, but my employees). But first, to take care of others you need to take care of yourself. You need to love yourself and you need to learn about yourself inside (study YOU). We study everything else so much, but tend to neglect OURSELVES. Why are we doing what we are doing? What's the meaning behind it? Money CAN buy you happiness (trust me, you will be happy when you buy a Lamborghini or even just a nice dinner or nice pair of shoes), but money can't buy you fulfillment. They are very different things.

This year has been an amazing year of personal growth for me and a good re-balancing of my life (and the businesses kept growing too). I am so ready for 2019. Let's go get a Murcielago SV or Huracan Performante!!
WTF? I can't make this GOLD it's already GOLD! You trying to get me to create a "PLATINUM" tag? Congrats on the growth and the new trinket! Measured rewards!
 

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@G_Alexander I am so impressed by your progress! You are huge inspiration for me. I am pretty sure you will make even more sales than you expect. Enjoy your journey and keep it going!
 

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Thank you my friends for the kind words! Things are crazy, and growing crazier as always. I wanted to come back and give an update for those asking here and in PMs.

eCommerce Business
The eCommerce business continues to grow and challenge me. More competition (including one or two new good-quality competitors, who copy my website directly) have come on to the scene over the last 12-18 months.

This hasn't slowed me down though! I now have 4 full time employees & me (5 total in the business). We just passed $5,000,000+ in 2018 Sales for the first time ever this year on Dec 1st. Hope to finish around $5,500,000 this year! I cannot believe the hard work has taken us to these heights with a small niche eCommerce business. I am so blessed to have information gathering be my strongest gift, and application of that information being the second strongest (along with an instinct to kill haha). I sometimes forget to celebrate these "wins"... because I am so busy pushing the ball forward and setting higher goals. But I understand that $5,000,000+ Sales in one year (and now over $11,000,000+ Sales since the beginning of the business) calls for a celebration and a memento. So I got one to remember it: Breitling Superocean Heritage II 44mm



As to our new / heightened competition that I mentioned; we are Apple... they are Microsoft/Samsung. Always copycatting. Never innovating. My only real regret in this business is that I am only able to spend 30-40% of my time on it due to my other brick and mortar business, which I have to nurture as well. But I do like having diversity-of-income from multiple businesses.

I really want to take this business to $8,500,000+ next year (2019) and to $10,000,000+ in sales in 2020. Goal has been set. Team is in place. Will achieve through combination of selling many more items in our niche we previously haven't offered/gone after + increasing our output of product videos on YouTube, and continuing to be the best at offering our bread and butter products & customer service.

Brick & Mortar Business
I updated many people in-person at the meetup this past February... but I have been keeping this one a little more quiet on the forums. We now have 35 employees and 3 locations. Just me and my one partner. Currently in process on 2-3 more locations for 2019. Revenues for the current combined locations are $2,500,000+ with much higher margins than the eCommerce drop-ship business... But the cost to open these locations (and the debt load) make them more stressful than an online business (but more stable long-term, 20 yrs+).

The equity upside on each location (as well as the cash flow) is amazing as well. My only issue with the business is how much time the deals take on the front end. But knowing I can make $1,700,000 on average per deal makes it worth the time (although... I do wonder if I could make more just opening more/ bigger ecommerce ventures in my vertical and other similar ones, and producing more of our own products). If anyone has any input here, I'm all ears.

Personally:
This February (2018) I got anxiety pretty bad (about a month after I got my Lambo). It lasted well into August. I just grew too fast and hadn't paid attention to my emotions since the time I was 18 (so about 10 years). I guess I was having trouble coming to terms with my success too... which sounds silly - but it isn't. You lose friends (that you've outgrown), you realize success is not a destination, but a journey (which is preached all the time). And I guess for me I just always felt like life would be/feel a bit different once I had "arrived". It doesn't.

What's MOST important in your life are your relationships: the friends and family around you, your relationship with yourself, and serving others. That has become my mission (not just customers, but my employees). But first, to take care of others you need to take care of yourself. You need to love yourself and you need to learn about yourself inside (study YOU). We study everything else so much, but tend to neglect OURSELVES. Why are we doing what we are doing? What's the meaning behind it? Money CAN buy you happiness (trust me, you will be happy when you buy a Lamborghini or even just a nice dinner or nice pair of shoes), but money can't buy you fulfillment. They are very different things.

This year has been an amazing year of personal growth for me and a good re-balancing of my life (and the businesses kept growing too). I am so ready for 2019. Let's go get a Murcielago SV or Huracan Performante!!
Wow! I got goosebumps while reading this, that's
inspiring.
 

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