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t15

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 2, 2021
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Hello, everyone. I read the The Millionaire Fastlane and recently finished the Great Rat-Race Escape . Everyone I know in real life is a slowlaner and through my own fault, I haven't put myself out there to find and network with fastlaners. So joining this forum is my first step towards fixing that.

A bit about how I got here. I've never shared this story anywhere (only my wife knows) but part of my current transformation is to stop hiding and being ashamed.

Life was rough growing up. My father made bad decisions which plunged our family into dire straights throughout my teenage years and they haven't recovered since. My relationship with my parents were fraught with constant tension and pain.

At the same time, I was a screw-up in high school with tunnel vision. I loved programming and would skip all sorts of classes to make games in the computer lab. I routinely came out on top there but at the cost of everything else. By the time graduation came along, my grades were in shambles and it's a miracle I graduated at all. I also lost interest in programming.

For the next several years, I worked a number of odd jobs, read a lot, and indulged in soft drugs and alcohol. I lived paycheck to paycheck and often barely had enough to survive, but the nightly inebriation helped me escape that reality. At one point, I found myself living in an unheated attic and eating a single packet of $1 Uncle Ben's a day and spending the rest on vice.

At 26, I felt like I'd hit rock bottom and it was time to change. I got a more stable job at a call center. One of my strengths is my voice and ability to make people feel comfortable over the phone, which helped make me the top performer there. I went on to work at a few other call centers through referral while looking for something better. I eventually landed at a daytrading firm where I became a jack-of-all-trades assistant to an up-and-coming executive. Another of my strengths is that I'm really, really great at learning and picking up new things, and I did everything from copywriting to graphic design to data analysis to managing a QA team. By this time I was 31, making 70k per year, renting a room in a house, and financially stable. I had so few material interests that I saved money without trying. I also had my vices under control (one drinking session per week).

I did well enough that I was sent to Europe to help launch a startup stock exchange. At this point, I hadn't been on a plane for 20 years and had never been to Europe, so of course I said yes. All I wanted was adventure and I had nothing to lose. I was supposed to be there for only six months but I kept extending my stay (partly by request of the CEO there). I eventually spent an incredible two years there and met the woman who would eventually become my wife. I knew I didn't want to go back to the parent company because despite the positives, it was a toxic, racist place and I knew I had to do better. I went through a ton of humiliation and abuse there but I had to stick it out for the long game. I was always going to be the "jack of all trades" there and once people have a perception of you, they'll resist you changing.

So I picked up programming again while in Europe and also taught myself core computer science concepts. The parent company eventually got tired of me not coming home and fired me. A few months later, I landed my first professional programming job at a major investment bank back in my home country (Canada).

You might be thinking why a traditional firm like that would hire someone without a degree. It's because I learned an esoteric language that was up-and-coming at the time, and the bank desperately needed the talent and couldn't find any, so they took a chance on me (value-skew, right?) :)

Things took a dark turn here. My wife (girlfriend at the time) joined me in Canada and our spending went up (driven by me). We had an expensive apartment, a car payment, outings, etc. All things I previously didn't have or didn't do. So despite making 105k at the time, I was living paycheck to paycheck. It also meant that any emergency then went on the credit card, the start of my debt. I was also unhappy at work because of the bureaucracy and the poor quality output. Things were constantly falling apart. I eventually moved on to another bank where I was lucky to work on a green-field, low-latency algorithmic trading system. I learned a ton there but my debts kept piling up. Worse, my wife needed to return to Europe for some extensive surgery with a specialist.

At this point, I was 36 with 40k in CC debt, a car payment, and zero savings. My attempt to escape this lead to a bad nightly drinking problem. It didn't affect my work and I was never violent, but I was clearly an addict. I remember this one time where it was my wife's birthday, my CC was maxed out, my bank account was empty, I had a $5 bill in my pocket, payday was tomorrow, and all I wanted to do was buy a beer. I remember my wife sitting in the car wondering whether we were going to celebrate (she had no idea all I had was $5), and my driving to the liquor store.

Things had to change, again. I had to get out of debt, and find the funds for my wife's medical care.

So I started looking for a remote technical gig which would allow us to move to Europe for her medical care. I went through the usual technical interviewing experience. Hazing, bait-and-switch, long take-home assignments, etc. An opportunity that both paid well AND was remote proved elusive to find. Things were desperate until by divine luck, I found a gig interviewing software developers. It was a job at a talent sourcing company where I would get paid to interview software development candidates using a structured interviewing process. I would get paid by the interview, could do as many as I like, and because the company was taking off, the demand for interviews was high. So I put both hands in the pot. I quit my programming job and started interviewing candidates from 8am to 11pm every day, seven days a week. This gig paid so much that I cleared ALL my debts in two months. And because it was remote, it allowed us to moved back to Europe for my wife's medical care. For the next four years, I kept up this pace. 12-14 hours a day, seven days a week. We returned to Canada in 2019 and I continued. There were months where my monthly check was over mid 5-figures. And because of my communication and writing skills, I was number one there as judged by candidate feedback and placement rate.

In April 2021 of this year, the gig finally ended. It had begun tapering off since C0VlD but limped along a few more months. In the end, this gig enabled us to buy a house with a $125k downpayment, and save up a $600k nest egg, most of which is in index funds. I've spent the last two months introspecting over the last 20 years and undergoing a change now. I've patched relations with my parents, my wife and I have a stronger bond than ever, I quit drinking (and all drugs), I'm in good shape, and I meditate regularly. I'm also making a stronger push to put myself out there, work through my shame, and talk with people.

My current state...

Right now, I have no income and about a year's worth of living costs set aside. I'm working on a free Natural Language Processing course I intend to release this fall. It's a thank you for all the amazing free technical content others have put out (e.g. MIT OpenCourseware) which helped me launch my technical career, and also a way to teach myself a new skill and reposition myself in the market.

I'm also wondering what to do next. All I know is that I'm 41 and I want my financial freedom by the time I'm 50. I'm serious about it. I've calculated my Escape Number (painfully high pre-tax because of Canada's high cost of living), and put together my 1-5-10 Planasy.

I can get another programming gig and if I really apply myself, probably get a FAANG job, but I don't want to develop software full time. One of my core strengths is my communication skills. Combined with my technical skills, I figure I'd find an edge in something like pre-sales engineering where I can work with clients all day and not worry about implementation as much. But at 41, I don't think I can reach my Escape Number this way.

On the entrepreneurship side, I have a lot of ideas and true to my nature, they're all over the place.
- Non-alcoholic spirits infused with natural nootropics.
- Cloth diapers with eco-friendly, wood-pulp inserts to catch pee and poop that you can dispose of.
- A SaaS app that helps people stay in touch with their network automatically.
- Lentil-based food products.
- Nomad resources (visa policies, investment opportunities, cost of living, etc).
- An NLP-based eCommerce API (i.e. virtual shopping assistant)
- Purchasing an existing SaaS business and growing it. Perhaps have a "portfolio" of them.
etc.

So the question is: after the course is released, what do I do?

My strengths: fast learner, ok technical skills, 11/10 communication skills, willing to take risks, strong work ethic, willing to change my mind, highly adaptable, highly empathetic.

My weaknesses: find it difficult to put myself out there and network with people (working on this), don't like being loud and self-focused (I think people like Gary V. are clowns) which sometimes makes it hard to self-advocate and speak up, procrastinator when I haven't come up with a clear roadmap, historically had a difficult time setting boundaries (getting better at this), interested in basically everything leading to scattered focus.

As you can see, I have been very, very fortunate in my life. And I feel fortunate now having read the books and discovered you guys. If you've read this far, know that I appreciate it and welcome any feedback you have. And if you think I can help you, let me know.
 
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LifeDeathTime

It's funny cause we're all going to die anyways
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Apr 28, 2017
35
72
121
FL, USA
what do I do?
Do a Weighted Average Decision Matrix (WADM) on all the ideas you listed. (Reread the book if you forgot about this) Think carefully about all of the variables that go into each. Then objectively score them. Choose the winner - go all in.


I think people like Gary V. are clowns
find it difficult to put myself out there and network with people (working on this), don't like being loud and self-focused
These statements can be very telling.

You have to stop internally judging other people, to break your own barriers.

To overcome your weaknesses you need to act more like a Gary V persona. (He's extreme but the personality traits are the same)
Yet, you call him a clown.
Of course, you don't want to be seen as a clown, so you'll never risk acting like him.
You never risk acting like him, you never overcome your weaknesses.

One thing I realized in life, is that you can't do both.
You can't internally think someone is a clown, jackass, loser, etc., and then hope to conquer your weaknesses, which are their exact strengths!

I don't like social media and never post there personally. Gary's style doesn't appeal to me either. But he's successful and it's one way to reach people. There's a million.
Ignore him AND wish him nothing but the best.
 

t15

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 2, 2021
18
33
20
Do a Weighted Average Decision Matrix (WADM) on all the ideas you listed. (Reread the book if you forgot about this) Think carefully about all of the variables that go into each. Then objectively score them. Choose the winner - go all in.




These statements can be very telling.

You have to stop internally judging other people, to break your own barriers.

To overcome your weaknesses you need to act more like a Gary V persona. (He's extreme but the personality traits are the same)
Yet, you call him a clown.
Of course, you don't want to be seen as a clown, so you'll never risk acting like him.
You never risk acting like him, you never overcome your weaknesses.

One thing I realized in life, is that you can't do both.
You can't internally think someone is a clown, jackass, loser, etc., and then hope to conquer your weaknesses, which are their exact strengths!

I don't like social media and never post there personally. Gary's style doesn't appeal to me either. But he's successful and it's one way to reach people. There's a million.
Ignore him AND wish him nothing but the best.

Yep, that's a good point. To be completely honest, I've been jealous of people in the past who've been able to do this. But you're right, there are a million ways and shouting your way through with platitudes doesn't have to be one of them. I've also been conditioning myself to stop caring.

Thanks for the feedback.
 

SharpeningBlade

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
May 26, 2021
54
118
123
San Francisco, CA
Congrats on sobering up and turning it around! Most people have a screwed up childhood with dysfunctional relationships so I wouldn't get too hung up on it.

I don't think an entrepreneur worth $200 mil could accurately be described as a clown. He's always putting out positivity how can you be against that?

In terms of the discipline needed to have a business and execute an idea, you have to be self-focused or you're screwed. In terms of actually creating value, that's when you shift to focusing on others. Its good at least to recognize where you are weaker. I can recommend two books that are helping me lately with my mindset because I also am an extroverted introvert: Be Obsessed or Be Average, and The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone.

41 is young man colonel sanders was 73 years old when he got rich and he didn't have access to TMF ... you could get there way before 50 f*** it execute!!!!!!!

(edit: Using colonel sanders as an example but tbh I have a strong hatred for the meat industry, but he just had great execution and business acumen so we can admire him as an entrepreneur much in the same way that we can admire pablo escobar for his entrepreneurial success even though he was a piece of human garbage. There will be legends like sanders in the plant-based field as well.)
 
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t15

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 2, 2021
18
33
20
Congrats on sobering up and turning it around! Most people have a screwed up childhood with dysfunctional relationships so I wouldn't get too hung up on it.Imust01

I don't think an entrepreneur worth $200 mil could accurately be described as a clown. He's always putting out positivity how can you be against that?

In terms of the discipline needed to have a business and execute an idea, you have to be self-focused or you're screwed. In terms of actually creating value, that's when you shift to focusing on others. Its good at least to recognize where you are weaker. I can recommend two books that are helping me lately with my mindset because I also am an extroverted introvert: Be Obsessed or Be Average, and The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone.

41 is young man colonel sanders was 73 years old when he got rich and he didn't have access to TMF ... you could get there way before 50 f*** it execute!!!!!!!

(edit: Using colonel sanders as an example but tbh I have a strong hatred for the meat industry, but he just had great execution and business acumen so we can admire him as an entrepreneur much in the same way that we can admire pablo escobar for his entrepreneurial success even though he was a piece of human garbage. There will be legends like sanders in the plant-based field as well.)

Thank you for the encouragement! Thoughts on lab-grown meat?
 

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