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INTRO 42-year old from Belgium (long introductory post/rant)

djcoax

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jan 21, 2019
52
97
120
Belgium
So. Introductions.

In all honesty, this is going to be hard to write for this audience because while reading TMF and Unscripted I had to resist the temptation to bang my head against a wall a few times. I'm a 42 year old guy from Belgium and I have only recently "seen the light".
I've never been a sidewalker, always reading books, going to seminars and teaching myself things like digital marketing, bit of coding, some photoshop etc.. From 1999 to 2016 I was a full-on wage slave and during this entire time I've been complaining to people around me about the jobs I was in.

I was saying things like "I can't work for a boss", "I don't respect authority" and as someone who already as a child had an acute sense of our time on this earth being limited - i managed to be basically unhappy about my working situation this entire time. "Why am I doing this while I'm going to be dead soon".

What kept me in those jobs is that the last job from 2011 to 2016 , was very cool. It was performing fraud investigations, this brought me all over the world - chasing money trails - seeing all kinds of crazy situations. Catching bad guys, accompanying police while they're literally kicking some company's door in. Doing "stress tests" at an airport, walking through TSA with a big a$$ knife in my luggage and one strapped on my back. Pretending to be a pilot and trying to sneak through security. But while this all was very cool, i had a boss who was micromanaging me, to the point of absurdity. For example, he demanded that all male personnel would sit while peeing (i'm not kidding- he came knocking on the stall door to ask you if you did that) or he would freak out if the toilet rolls were hung backwards. Or he would go to my trash can to see if I didn't print anything in color and then threw it out, for which he would berate me, stuff like that. I could write a book on that dude.

All this time I was planning an exit strategy. But my problem is low self-esteem. "If I go it alone, what would I do". "I have nothing to offer the world". "I'm a generalist, not a specialist, and nobody is paying generalists for their skills".

I started doing things on the side since 2005, because no job was ever able to hold my attention. I worked for a few hours and then I would work on my ventures. But I half-assed things and was still firmly in the slowlane mindset. I just did those things to have something of my own. I didn't know what I wanted. I wanted to be a writer, a journalist, a sommelier, a public speaker, ... all I knew is I didn't want to have a boss.

Let's see, in 2005 i started a wine business. Gave tastings, hauled crates, built a website with webshop. I remember being scared out of my mind when someone actually ordered, because I hadn't thought about shipping. So i quickly shut down the webshop. Margins were so low i just quit that business.

Then I started an online magazine, a lot of work. Minimal readership and no business model behind it. Started and shut it down three times in a row. I wanted to "write", i was an "artist" but did not think about money at all. I started a film magazine, only to realise nobody wanted to read my crappy reviews.

In 2008 i started to get serious about playing poker - spent all my time learning the game and spending lots and lots of time at this illusion. Beyond a 1800$ finish in the PokerStars Sunday Million I lost a full year in time and a bunch of money.

In 2009 i started daytrading - another form of gambling, if you will. I managed to build up my meagre 5K to 130K buying and selling options. Then I received a letter from the SEC I was identified amongst one of the world's 2000 institutes or individuals that qualified as a "large trader". I had to file all kinds of paperwork. I flipped out and instead of keeping that 130K i went long AAPL calls with my entire cash reserve. I was like, I'm quitting this, let's go all or nothing. I ended up with 18K and probably lost a few years of my life stressing out about the SEC mailing and calling an unsuspecting Belgian dude.

Next up I started a website that was going to copy brainpickings.org - a bit the same but more for a male audience. Once again A LOT OF WORK - writing for hours every day. Added a donation button to the site - added some Amazon links. Learned about Facebook ads - drove traffic to my website. But didn't think about why I wanted that. Then my website got hacked and I didn't have a backup. Rebuilt the site - then added Amazon affiliation. Made the first three sales and then Amazon swooped in to say my application was rejected.

Then I was going to start a digital forensics firm, this time more calculated. Really studied the market, couldn't see a business model.

In the meantime, life was happening. Got married, three kids, bought a house. You know, the script was being deployed. And I needed the money so I kept going.

It has to be said that I'm lucky that my wife is going at it as well. She owns 20% of a software company with 50 employees, has an MBA from a top school, invests in real-estate etc. She's not joking around and supports me in what I'm doing.

It wasn't until 2016, when two older gentlemen I knew started their own cybersecurity services business asked me to come work for them. So I gave up my job and incorporated. Now i'm a freelancer, worked for a full year and got 700$ a day (before tax). But I'm still trading away my time for money. But still , reading books , following free courses and growing.

Then there were two books that really made me think. In The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb he states that whores, cooks, consultants and cafe owners are idiots because they have to perform the same service every single day to get paid. Better to write a book, so you work one time and then your book can be multiplied without cost. That really hit home. Then I read Robert Kiyosaki's cashflow quadrant which quickly squashed my good feelings about finally "not having a boss". I was still sitting at the wrong side of the equation.

I finally started to see my ventures as business systems. And I'm daily trying to build automated business systems. My two latest ventures is I've now become a partner in that cybersecurity business and I can invoice half of the margin of every consultant we outsource. And I also run a website that is a collection of reading lists and book summaries (bit the result of my own research) - monetized by Amazon affiliates (this time I am approved). I also created a course on Udemy. Zero sales , but put it on free and now have 2000 students and rave reviews. There is some potential there.

So of course now reading MJ's books - I can already see where i'm violating the CENTS principles. The road has already been long and eventful and I have so much more to go. The thing is nobody is giving me tough love, it's like everyone around me is waiting for me to fail again.

In all those years, it's only the last year that i started thinking about what value I can give the world instead of "I don't want to have a boss". It's probably not a coincidence that things now finally have started moving in the right direction.

Looking forward to learning a lot here and giving back. God know I made many mistakes.
 

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Andy Black

Any colour, as long as it's red.
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
8,433
35,736
4,306
Ireland
So. Introductions.

In all honesty, this is going to be hard to write for this audience because while reading TMF and Unscripted I had to resist the temptation to bang my head against a wall a few times. I'm a 42 year old guy from Belgium and I have only recently "seen the light".
I've never been a sidewalker, always reading books, going to seminars and teaching myself things like digital marketing, bit of coding, some photoshop etc.. From 1999 to 2016 I was a full-on wage slave and during this entire time I've been complaining to people around me about the jobs I was in.

I was saying things like "I can't work for a boss", "I don't respect authority" and as someone who already as a child had an acute sense of our time on this earth being limited - i managed to be basically unhappy about my working situation this entire time. "Why am I doing this while I'm going to be dead soon".

What kept me in those jobs is that the last job from 2011 to 2016 , was very cool. It was performing fraud investigations, this brought me all over the world - chasing money trails - seeing all kinds of crazy situations. Catching bad guys, accompanying police while they're literally kicking some company's door in. Doing "stress tests" at an airport, walking through TSA with a big a$$ knife in my luggage and one strapped on my back. Pretending to be a pilot and trying to sneak through security. But while this all was very cool, i had a boss who was micromanaging me, to the point of absurdity. For example, he demanded that all male personnel would sit while peeing (i'm not kidding- he came knocking on the stall door to ask you if you did that) or he would freak out if the toilet rolls were hung backwards. Or he would go to my trash can to see if I didn't print anything in color and then threw it out, for which he would berate me, stuff like that. I could write a book on that dude.

All this time I was planning an exit strategy. But my problem is low self-esteem. "If I go it alone, what would I do". "I have nothing to offer the world". "I'm a generalist, not a specialist, and nobody is paying generalists for their skills".

I started doing things on the side since 2005, because no job was ever able to hold my attention. I worked for a few hours and then I would work on my ventures. But I half-assed things and was still firmly in the slowlane mindset. I just did those things to have something of my own. I didn't know what I wanted. I wanted to be a writer, a journalist, a sommelier, a public speaker, ... all I knew is I didn't want to have a boss.

Let's see, in 2005 i started a wine business. Gave tastings, hauled crates, built a website with webshop. I remember being scared out of my mind when someone actually ordered, because I hadn't thought about shipping. So i quickly shut down the webshop. Margins were so low i just quit that business.

Then I started an online magazine, a lot of work. Minimal readership and no business model behind it. Started and shut it down three times in a row. I wanted to "write", i was an "artist" but did not think about money at all. I started a film magazine, only to realise nobody wanted to read my crappy reviews.

In 2008 i started to get serious about playing poker - spent all my time learning the game and spending lots and lots of time at this illusion. Beyond a 1800$ finish in the PokerStars Sunday Million I lost a full year in time and a bunch of money.

In 2009 i started daytrading - another form of gambling, if you will. I managed to build up my meagre 5K to 130K buying and selling options. Then I received a letter from the SEC I was identified amongst one of the world's 2000 institutes or individuals that qualified as a "large trader". I had to file all kinds of paperwork. I flipped out and instead of keeping that 130K i went long AAPL calls with my entire cash reserve. I was like, I'm quitting this, let's go all or nothing. I ended up with 18K and probably lost a few years of my life stressing out about the SEC mailing and calling an unsuspecting Belgian dude.

Next up I started a website that was going to copy brainpickings.org - a bit the same but more for a male audience. Once again A LOT OF WORK - writing for hours every day. Added a donation button to the site - added some Amazon links. Learned about Facebook ads - drove traffic to my website. But didn't think about why I wanted that. Then my website got hacked and I didn't have a backup. Rebuilt the site - then added Amazon affiliation. Made the first three sales and then Amazon swooped in to say my application was rejected.

Then I was going to start a digital forensics firm, this time more calculated. Really studied the market, couldn't see a business model.

In the meantime, life was happening. Got married, three kids, bought a house. You know, the script was being deployed. And I needed the money so I kept going.

It has to be said that I'm lucky that my wife is going at it as well. She owns 20% of a software company with 50 employees, has an MBA from a top school, invests in real-estate etc. She's not joking around and supports me in what I'm doing.

It wasn't until 2016, when two older gentlemen I knew started their own cybersecurity services business asked me to come work for them. So I gave up my job and incorporated. Now i'm a freelancer, worked for a full year and got 700$ a day (before tax). But I'm still trading away my time for money. But still , reading books , following free courses and growing.

Then there were two books that really made me think. In The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb he states that whores, cooks, consultants and cafe owners are idiots because they have to perform the same service every single day to get paid. Better to write a book, so you work one time and then your book can be multiplied without cost. That really hit home. Then I read Robert Kiyosaki's cashflow quadrant which quickly squashed my good feelings about finally "not having a boss". I was still sitting at the wrong side of the equation.

I finally started to see my ventures as business systems. And I'm daily trying to build automated business systems. My two latest ventures is I've now become a partner in that cybersecurity business and I can invoice half of the margin of every consultant we outsource. And I also run a website that is a collection of reading lists and book summaries (bit the result of my own research) - monetized by Amazon affiliates (this time I am approved). I also created a course on Udemy. Zero sales , but put it on free and now have 2000 students and rave reviews. There is some potential there.

So of course now reading MJ's books - I can already see where i'm violating the CENTS principles. The road has already been long and eventful and I have so much more to go. The thing is nobody is giving me tough love, it's like everyone around me is waiting for me to fail again.

In all those years, it's only the last year that i started thinking about what value I can give the world instead of "I don't want to have a boss". It's probably not a coincidence that things now finally have started moving in the right direction.

Looking forward to learning a lot here and giving back. God know I made many mistakes.
I enjoyed reading that. You’ll do just fine I’m sure. Use that revenue stream as a consultant (and now from the margin of other consultants) and build some other revenue streams.

If you were to “grow what you know”, then what would that entail?
 
OP
OP
djcoax

djcoax

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jan 21, 2019
52
97
120
Belgium
I enjoyed reading that. You’ll do just fine I’m sure. Use that revenue stream as a consultant (and now from the margin of other consultants) and build some other revenue streams.

If you were to “grow what you know”, then what would that entail?
Hey Andy, thanks for the feedback.

That's exactly what I'm trying to do. But it's nothing really bold at the moment.

- Got a website that curates reading lists and where I make book summaries.
- Made a Udemy course on speedreading non-fiction (because I hate all the fluff in all the non-fiction I read)
- Hold a 10% stake in a cybersecurity company

Grow what you know is a difficult one. I'm very good at condensing a huge amount of data into the essentials. There is a market for book summaries (Blinkist etc.. ) and there are no real "reading list" websites out there. There are things like "mentorbox", which offers business books in a subscription model. I'm going to keep growing my mailing list and then figure out the optimal way to serve that audience. Right now i'm spending 20€ per day on Facebook traffic towards the site where they get a popup , which has a 20% signup rate. Might become a bit more aggressive on the ads front. These people are funneled through a mail sequence where I keep track of their interaction with my content and I'm classifying them as such.

Right now i want to drive some numbers through it to see if there is some actual money to be made.
 
Last edited:

Andy Black

Any colour, as long as it's red.
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
8,433
35,736
4,306
Ireland
Hey Andy, thanks for the feedback.

That's exactly what I'm trying to do. But it's nothing really bold at the moment.

- Got a website that curates reading lists and where I make book summaries.
- Made a Udemy course on speedreading non-fiction (because I hate all the fluff in all the non-fiction I read)
- Hold a 10% stake in a cybersecurity company

Grow what you know is a difficult one. I'm very good at condensing a huge amount of data into the essentials. There is a market for book summaries (Blinkist etc.. ) and there are no real "reading list" websites out there. There are things like "mentorbox", which offers business books in a subscription model. I'm going to keep growing my mailing list and then figure out the optimal way to serve that audience. Right now i'm spending 20€ per day on Facebook traffic towards the site where they get a popup , which has a 20% signup rate. Might become a bit more aggressive on the ads front. These people are funneled through a mail sequence where I keep track of their interaction with my content and I'm classifying them as such.

Right now i want to drive some numbers through it to see if there is some actual money to be made.
What I mean was: What’s currently paying your bills? Can you grow that?

Maybe the second radio interview in my signature might be of interest.
 
OP
OP
djcoax

djcoax

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jan 21, 2019
52
97
120
Belgium
Thanks a lot. Right now I'm doing consultancy - so trading time for money. But actively doing sales to add additional consultants at similar companies. Also, just heard a large corp is interested in buying the company i have a stake in - that would definitely bankroll me for other projects. Thx for that link - i'll check it out this afternoon
 

TJH

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jan 28, 2012
20
16
29
You sound a lot like me. I pursued work, and lots of reading, in military intelligence, software / network / systems engineering and cybersecurity. I never hit on anything entrepreneurially successful, and I have mostly played the role of worker building and supporting various business operations. Some of the other things you listed (wine / daytrading / writing), I've also made attempts at. Investing has been one my few "successes", if only to help me better understand business analysis and fundaments, capital allocations and good money management.
 

jadkki

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 18, 2019
10
14
17
Hi @djcoax,

Looking at your post makes me feel that I have achieved so little in my life, I am 35 this year. It’s inspiring to see someone like you despite having did so much, stay so humble. Great post!
 

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