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5 Years on the Fastlane Forum

amp0193

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So I get this notification today:



5 years?

I can barely remember 5 years ago. 3 jobs ago, 2 apartments ago. All the business knowledge I now take for granted, was not even a thought in my head.

I don't remember how I ended up here. I guess I was trying to "get on top of my finances" and pinch my pennies on bags of dry beans like a good slow-laner, and then found a link somewhere.


Year 1: One of the first threads I remember reading was @biophase's soap thread. He made it look so easy. Also @Vigilante's Passive Income Deposit thread. In that year, I mostly lurked, posted like a noob when I did post (cringeworthy posts, yikes), and action-faked on doing ecommerce product research but didn't so much as order a sample. Fail.

After reading some of @snowbank 's posts, I decided to try buying some websites on Flippa. I sold hip-hop hoodies and contracted some snowplowing in Ohio. Also bought a scam site for $5,000. Oops. Sold off everything and moved on.

Year 2: Started by generally feeling sorry for myself for getting burned so badly. After 4 months of pity, decide to take another stab at ecommerce. My wife tells me not to. Importing from China sounds like another scam. But, my daughter is born and I have to find something. I can't work in a job the rest of my life. I will find a product to sell. Hours of product research at 2am with a newborn on my lap. Find the product. I order first $300 order worth of product and it sells out on Amazon in 3 days. I'm hooked, and all in. After the initial success, the business kind of goes sideways for the next 6-months, as I don't really have a clue how to get traction on Amazon. End of year 2, I join a skype group of Amazon sellers from this forum.

Year 3: The fastlane amazon group was rocket-fuel for my business. I fixed everything in a month, and went from a couple sales a day to 15 sales a day overnight. Kept at it, grew that listing to 60 sales a day and in the top 500 of the baby category, and kept adding more skus. I still kind of thought of this business as more of a "side-gig" and didn't put my all into it. I actually started an appliance repair company simultaneously, and tried to have a go over the summer of doing both, to see if I could make more than my teaching job, so I could quit. I didn't. And decided to give up on the appliances. And had to go back to teaching.

Back to teaching for another year... I spent every morning before work packing ebay orders. I spent every night working on Amazon and talking to suppliers. Fast lead times and fast inventory churn snowballs the business quickly. I do my first (and only) tradeshow and pick up some wholesale accounts. The end of my day-job was in sight.

I like the idea of location independence and put the systems in place to do so. It progresses from me doing all the work --> College kids at my house doing all the work --> College kids doing all the work at their own houses --> 3PL warehouse. End of Year 3 I quit my day job with the business making twice my teacher salary.

Year 4: Start the year off by enjoying my location independence with a 2 month trip to Europe with the family. I only work a couple hours a day that summer. Come back and I get the chance to work "full-time" for myself for the first time in my life. Make a big-a$$ whiteboard and spend 3 months crossing big things off and making revenues go up. Finish the whiteboard, and realize I don't have any plan for what's next... and for various reasons I don't really care to make those plans. Decide I need to sell. But, it turns out you need financials (books) to sell a business, whoops. I go through 6 months and 4 cpas to get that done. Meanwhile business is steadily churning profits. Not growing, or shrinking, just coasting.

In the mean-time I start to think about what's next. I don't have too many ideas, but then it hits me one day the products I need to sell. I get a prototype made. My son is born.

Year 5: I finally get the books to broker and start the selling process for real. Go through a long process of trying to find buyers and going through due diligence. Sell the business. Pay off all my debt.

In the mean-time, testing the prototype for the new business and people are loving it. Open up a site for pre-sales. Pay the factory with the pre-sale money. Lease a warehouse. Have the entire container sold out within a week of receiving it. Then, have major unexpected quality issues. Things are falling apart (literally). Then a cease and desist for trademark infringement from another company. In the next 6 weeks, I want to quit the business 4 different times. Customers are calling me pissed, and there just isn't a solution. Something tells me to push through, and figure it out. Day by day things start looking better. Back to drawing board for a couple of months, then I place a re-order for another container. The issues become distant in the rear-view mirror, and the pain subsides.

I go to fastlane forum in Scottsdale, after pussing out the previous 3 years. Life-changing event. Connections made, alliances forged. Where would I be if I had gone in 2014 like I wanted to...

Go to China to visit factory. Launch the re-brand. Hire first employee, Get first celebrity endorsement. People calling every day wondering when I'm going to be back in stock. Pre-sell a bunch more. Use that money to start a 3rd container. A dealer in CA calls and wants to set up west coast distribution for me.


It's been 8 months, but business #1 is scarcely a memory, as business #2 consumes my daily thoughts. That 2nd container is showing up on Tuesday. We have 5 days to ship out loads of pre-orders. Then a 2-day commercial shoot. Then leaving to go on another family trip to Europe for 2.5 months. Never have I been so motivated to go to work and GSD. We are building dreams and changing the world here.


It's been, and continues to be, a wild ride. Certainly more interesting and rewarding than if I hadn't ended up here. Thanks to all that have helped me along the way... there's too many to name here.

New forum members... think of where you might end up, if you just stick around. Where will you be in 5 years?
 

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PRO2018

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Great story! Very inspiring!!

It's amazing how when you look back some of those tough months or years we tend to describe in a sentence or two, when the pain at that moment looked insurmountable. So imporant to plough through it. Well done man!
 

MJ DeMarco

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Congratulations brother, so glad to hear it. You might not know it (or be a millionaire yet) but you sir, are living the Fastlane. Being able to travel for months on end, having some control, getting acclimated to the swings of business ... that's Fastlane. And the Fastlane eventually gets there. Congrats again.
 

socaldude

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This made me realize that iv'e been on this forum for 6 years. :happy:

I've logged on almost every single day for those past years.

Not until these recent years have I really been a self-sustainable entrepreneur. Which that in itself is an incredible feeling making enough to pay the bills and not working a job.

When you read TMF it basically serves as a "seed" in your mind. A new cognitive structure that has the potential to grow into something more powerful.

You might not be an overnight success after reading it but keep it close and it can reap rewards.

Apply Kaizen to your mind. Constantly be self-aware and re-evaluate your thinking because 90% of the battle of being a good entrepreneur is right in your mind.

The secret if there is any, is knowing how to think and having the correct propositions and axioms burned into your mind.
 
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amp0193

amp0193

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Great story! Very inspiring!!

It's amazing how when you look back some of those tough months or years we tend to describe in a sentence or two, when the pain at that moment looked insurmountable. So imporant to plough through it. Well done man!
Haha, that is funny isn't it?

December 2017 was completely soul crushing at the time. Now I just sum it up in a sentence.
 
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amp0193

amp0193

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Congratulations brother, so glad to hear it. You might not know it (or be a millionaire yet) but you sir, are living the Fastlane. Being able to travel for months on end, having some control, getting acclimated to the swings of business ... that's Fastlane. And the Fastlane eventually gets there. Congrats again.
Thanks @MJ DeMarco !

No, I'm not a millionaire (yet). Even if I never get there (I will), my life on-the-daily is awesome!

See my wife and kids a ton every day, work whenever/wherever I want, 3-day-weekends every weekend (because 4-3 is way better than 5-2), and making money while I do it!

This summer, all my friends in Texas will commence complaining about the heat. I won't be complaining, I'll be wearing jeans and a light jacket in Scandanavia, enjoying 60s-70s all summer long. It's not total control, but having the option to just "nope" my way out of stuff that I don't want to do is great!
 
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amp0193

amp0193

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When you read TMF it basically serves as a "seed" in your mind. A new cognitive structure that has the potential to grow into something more powerful.
That's a great way to put it.

When I first joined, it was a seed. I can't remember if I joined here or read the book first. Either way.

You can't de-program 25 years in a day. It takes time. You spend enough time here, and the thoughts of the fastlane become your thoughts. Then, you just put those naturally put those ingrained thoughts to action.

Every day I make decisions based on some truth that I've learned here or from a book. Some nugget that stuck out to me, that is now guiding my path. And the nuggets add up. And the bigger the pile of nuggets, the easier new nuggets stick.

The learning accelerates. It's an exponential curve. It's painfully slow at first. Action, even small action, helps this along greatly.

The secret if there is any, is knowing how to think and having the correct propositions and axioms burned into your mind.
Yes! This is exactly what I was describing above!

The axioms become a part of you.
 

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amp0193

amp0193

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Awesome post man!

I will confess that as I read your year to year summaries, I got the distinct feeling that the best ones haven't been written yet.

I'm REALLY looking forward to those!
The next 5 years are going to blow my mind. There is so much cool shit to be done.

Can't wait to post my "10 years on the forum" update.

Assuming I don't completely crash and burn the thing to the ground... which is totally possible, when you're shootin' from the hip, and flying by the seat of your pants.
 

IGP

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Congrats Aaron! - Five years goes by so fast. It goes by even faster with 2 kids... ;)

Looking forward to hearing about your continued success!
 

Ravens_Shadow

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Just goes to show where quality action can take you. Congrats on the success and I'm sure within the next 5 you'll be light years ahead of where you are now. Rep++
 
Last edited:

Tom.V

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Great post Aaron, as always. It's the rocky roads we take and how we navigate them that make every future endeavor that much easier. I've learned there will always be hard times, and there will always be good times. On this path we are all on here, the good times always outshine the bad with enough time and effort. In another 5 years even the worst of days will be a distant memory.

Keep on killing it!
 

Meditations01

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The next 5 years are going to blow my mind. There is so much cool sh*t to be done.

Can't wait to post my "10 years on the forum" update.

Assuming I don't completely crash and burn the thing to the ground... which is totally possible, when you're shootin' from the hip, and flying by the seat of your pants.
Hey, how can I join your amazon private group :)
 
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amp0193

amp0193

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Just goes to show where quality action can take you. Congrats on the success and I'm sure within the next 5 you'll be light years ahead of where you are now. Rep++
For me it was less about quality action, and more about consistent action.

I've definitely had my fair share of action faking and being really unproductive. But, I pretty much did something, even if it was a little something, every day.
 
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amp0193

amp0193

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Tommo

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So I get this notification today:



5 years?

I can barely remember 5 years ago. 3 jobs ago, 2 apartments ago. All the business knowledge I now take for granted, was not even a thought in my head.

I don't remember how I ended up here. I guess I was trying to "get on top of my finances" and pinch my pennies on bags of dry beans like a good slow-laner, and then found a link somewhere.


Year 1: One of the first threads I remember reading was @biophase's soap thread. He made it look so easy. Also @Vigilante's Passive Income Deposit thread. In that year, I mostly lurked, posted like a noob when I did post (cringeworthy posts, yikes), and action-faked on doing ecommerce product research but didn't so much as order a sample. Fail.

After reading some of @snowbank 's posts, I decided to try buying some websites on Flippa. I sold hip-hop hoodies and contracted some snowplowing in Ohio. Also bought a scam site for $5,000. Oops. Sold off everything and moved on.

Year 2: Started by generally feeling sorry for myself for getting burned so badly. After 4 months of pity, decide to take another stab at ecommerce. My wife tells me not to. Importing from China sounds like another scam. But, my daughter is born and I have to find something. I can't work in a job the rest of my life. I will find a product to sell. Hours of product research at 2am with a newborn on my lap. Find the product. I order first $300 order worth of product and it sells out on Amazon in 3 days. I'm hooked, and all in. After the initial success, the business kind of goes sideways for the next 6-months, as I don't really have a clue how to get traction on Amazon. End of year 2, I join a skype group of Amazon sellers from this forum.

Year 3: The fastlane amazon group was rocket-fuel for my business. I fixed everything in a month, and went from a couple sales a day to 15 sales a day overnight. Kept at it, grew that listing to 60 sales a day and in the top 500 of the baby category, and kept adding more skus. I still kind of thought of this business as more of a "side-gig" and didn't put my all into it. I actually started an appliance repair company simultaneously, and tried to have a go over the summer of doing both, to see if I could make more than my teaching job, so I could quit. I didn't. And decided to give up on the appliances. And had to go back to teaching.

Back to teaching for another year... I spent every morning before work packing ebay orders. I spent every night working on Amazon and talking to suppliers. Fast lead times and fast inventory churn snowballs the business quickly. I do my first (and only) tradeshow and pick up some wholesale accounts. The end of my day-job was in sight.

I like the idea of location independence and put the systems in place to do so. It progresses from me doing all the work --> College kids at my house doing all the work --> College kids doing all the work at their own houses --> 3PL warehouse. End of Year 3 I quit my day job with the business making twice my teacher salary.

Year 4: Start the year off by enjoying my location independence with a 2 month trip to Europe with the family. I only work a couple hours a day that summer. Come back and I get the chance to work "full-time" for myself for the first time in my life. Make a big-a$$ whiteboard and spend 3 months crossing big things off and making revenues go up. Finish the whiteboard, and realize I don't have any plan for what's next... and for various reasons I don't really care to make those plans. Decide I need to sell. But, it turns out you need financials (books) to sell a business, whoops. I go through 6 months and 4 cpas to get that done. Meanwhile business is steadily churning profits. Not growing, or shrinking, just coasting.

In the mean-time I start to think about what's next. I don't have too many ideas, but then it hits me one day the products I need to sell. I get a prototype made. My son is born.

Year 5: I finally get the books to broker and start the selling process for real. Go through a long process of trying to find buyers and going through due diligence. Sell the business. Pay off all my debt.

In the mean-time, testing the prototype for the new business and people are loving it. Open up a site for pre-sales. Pay the factory with the pre-sale money. Lease a warehouse. Have the entire container sold out within a week of receiving it. Then, have major unexpected quality issues. Things are falling apart (literally). Then a cease and desist for trademark infringement from another company. In the next 6 weeks, I want to quit the business 4 different times. Customers are calling me pissed, and there just isn't a solution. Something tells me to push through, and figure it out. Day by day things start looking better. Back to drawing board for a couple of months, then I place a re-order for another container. The issues become distant in the rear-view mirror, and the pain subsides.

I go to fastlane forum in Scottsdale, after pussing out the previous 3 years. Life-changing event. Connections made, alliances forged. Where would I be if I had gone in 2014 like I wanted to...

Go to China to visit factory. Launch the re-brand. Hire first employee, Get first celebrity endorsement. People calling every day wondering when I'm going to be back in stock. Pre-sell a bunch more. Use that money to start a 3rd container. A dealer in CA calls and wants to set up west coast distribution for me.


It's been 8 months, but business #1 is scarcely a memory, as business #2 consumes my daily thoughts. That 2nd container is showing up on Tuesday. We have 5 days to ship out loads of pre-orders. Then a 2-day commercial shoot. Then leaving to go on another family trip to Europe for 2.5 months. Never have I been so motivated to go to work and GSD. We are building dreams and changing the world here.


It's been, and continues to be, a wild ride. Certainly more interesting and rewarding than if I hadn't ended up here. Thanks to all that have helped me along the way... there's too many to name here.

New forum members... think of where you might end up, if you just stick around. Where will you be in 5 years?
Congratulations on an awesome journey. On a personal level this is just what I needed to read this morning, thanks for the inspiration.
 

MJ DeMarco

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A profile pic and more than one post is a good place to start.
Ha ha, how about it.
 

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