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9 years after I first posted a process thread from the depths of the slowane. Then vs Now. FIFO working on a gas plant to $1m and exponential growth

Anything related to matters of the mind

safff

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Well Well..

I can't believe it has been an entire 9 years since I posted this.

So I've been putting off posting a progress thread, partially because I guess I wanted to absorb as much information as possible, partly because I didn't want to put too much out there, and partially because over my younger years I'd gotten into an aweful habit of not saying anything if I don't feel I'm qualified to ask or say what I'm thinking. So that in mind, I suppose me writing this thread is for my benefit as much as anything, as a point of reference that I can refer back to.

I actually wrote this a long time ago in my diary, and didn't post it, but as it's the start of my journey I put it here and put int in spoiler tags so you don't have to scroll through it all as it got a bit rambly.

Spoiler
At the part of my life that I refer to as wandering, I spent most of my younger years in a single mother environment where money was far from surplus. From the age of around 15, I used to buy and sell items mostly on ebay turning a profit of several hundred a month. Nothing major but at the time to be living at home, with a low-effort income while friends worked in shops etc for less - I was cemented in my thoughts pretty early on that I never want to be a 9 to 5er, trading my life away in exchange for a paycheque. I hated the idea of following the crowd, get up, go to college, do homework, get a weekend job and 'survive'. I'd spend time researching products, methods to get them cheap (in its infancy, I discovered that ebay was ripe for the picking, with people selling on it with mis-spelled ads with no information, with auctions ending at 1am on a week night, or during the day. I started sleeping as soon as I got home and getting up at 2am to bid on items, or sneaking off to the library, sending payments by means of coins taped to a peice of cardboard and posted because paypal wasn't what it is now) Typically at 15 the emphasis was on getting rich, buying gadgets and things for the house to help mum out from time to time. I had a dream that I carried since this part of my life, being able to earn a living without having to 'hustle' on top of doing a 9-5 (college then, but seeing my mum work long hours in a job she hated, I saw that to be 'work' so had no disillusions that it would change), having a toyota supra, and having a dodge viper or a lambo diablo(which became a murcielago) (both rarities here).

But from 17 I got the life plan sales patter from mum, the careers advisor, my peers. The part of my life I always think of as the sales pitch. I actually laughed when I read TMF and the references to the 'lie' as for me it was a true ''I KNEW it!'' type of moment where you've had a thought, but everyone is insisting to the contraire and you begin to let people viewing their goals and ambitions as normal so much that you start to think you're living in a dream world. The sales pitch to me was you MUST go to university if you want to get anywhere. You MUST then start at the bottom earning 30k a year. You MUST expect to work for 10 years before you start to capitalise on this. You MUST build your career off this 'exciting launchpad' and by the time you're 40 you will be able to afford a good house in the city suburbs with a nice audi. And I went along with it to a degree. I knew full time university just wasn't for me, I hated studying. Instead I found a small Project Management firm posting for a trainee quantity surveyor. I applied, and blagged my way through the first interview. I didn't know what the role entailed as such, but I knew I could probably learn. In this interview there were more sales pitches.. In the second interview, they asked what I wanted to do long term, possibly an ambitious career to someone who is 17 with no idea how an industry works. I replied with 'eventually I Want to be on top, overseeing and managing entire projects'.

The woman interviewer retorted 'you can't. it doesnt work like that, it's a different job.' I didn't get the job, but days later the male interviewer called and said he was impressed by my ambition and referred me to a HR consultant in one of the larger contractors in the UK. That same day I got my first full time slowlane job. Reasonable salary for the age, and potential to learn and study at the same time once a week. Did so for 5 years, and found myself making slightly over the average wage at around 23 but the 9-5 wasn't working, it was hard to get up in the mornings and face going in for more of the same crap, living paycheque to paycheque for the promise of advancement maybe not this year but next. I began to sell cars on the side. Buy one, fix it up, sell it, buy another etc etc. It meant that I always had a nicer car than people thought I 'should' have at that age, but also that some extra money was coming in. Mostly spent on indulgences to convince myself that the 9-5 can work for me and it's 'not so bad'. I have always said 'I want to retire by 30' but never knew how and resigned to the fact that the slowlane job might get me there, I just had to get paid more. At this point I decided it wasn't my future and once qualified, an old contact called and said there was a vacancy at a company he worked for, some 15,000 miles away. The CEO called me for an interview and made me an offer which I had a week to accept. around 4 weeks later, I had leased my appartment, sold everything I owned or given it to family and arrived in Australia with around $3500 in my account. Funny that. 5 years of my life, and although I enjoyed much of them, at the end of it I had $3500 and an appartment that someone else was living in to show for it. The catch was, that I wasn't going to get paid for two months, rent was a grand a month and that's without a deposit. The next two months were a struggle. I remember walking around 6 miles to find my first client's office in the rain, because I didn't want to have to spend $100 on a taxi.

The next two months were a struggle. I moved in with a few people who I didn't know under the false pretence of that instant freindship forged by people in a similar situation. I managed to get finance on a relatively decent car and once the pay started rolling in as well as payrises it started to pay off. I used the time to make contacts, and built on a good knowledge of databases and excel and vba and sqs coding which I picked up during college as I thought it would be much more beneficial and fun than learning about coastal erosion.. Turns out it was and clients kept me around for a long time because of the way that I could manage their projects in a lot of detail. I produced a few software based solutions for clients and in turn they often kept me around longer than their actual staff. When I moved on I still produced solutions for them to supplement my paycheque. The problem being, that I was still trading time for money. In the literal sense of actually billing for each hour I did.

I can't resent my slowlane life as it's led to me being 27 and taking home an extremely good salary with some great learning be it life lessons, relationships or general technical knowledge. Realisation? As many here can attest to, it's not fastlane, and it's not what I want out of life. I spend my life looking around at people in the 'this is it' stage of their journey, where they're aged 35-60 and beyond, still working away doing overtime, then bragging about how they ''own'' 3 houses, or a fleet of cars each worth 20k each when the truth is, (which again was another thing that really resonated with me from TMF ), they're a few paycheques away from disaster. Their lifestyle depends on their job, and high paying jobs are getting scarcer by the day here. It also gave me the realisation that these people may have one mortgage almost paid off and several other mortgages etc, but they are in no shape or form looking at retirement. So a few months ago I decided that I would start my own business, totally unrelated as soon as my residency status would allow me. I got the business set up but things were slow coming together, like a blank canvas that I Was too busy with the slowlane job to stare at it long enough to get inspiration, and not committing any resources to the cause. Then by chance I stumbled on TMF after seeing a Tai Lopez video and amongst other things perhaps the most powerful thing it has done for me is validate things that I had been conditioned to believe were crazy fantasies, and to start seeing the whole thing as a process rather than an event. I work a month remotely far away from home and then have a week off.

So basically my slowlane job has hit a point where it gives me a week a month to go full throttle with my fastlane, whilst preparing for it in the month in between. I won't go too far into what the business is in too much detail at this point for a variety of reasons unless necessary but I suppose recording somewhere gives me that nudge to not become complacent.

What have I realised?
Consultancy is nothing but a glorified slowlane pathway if done what seems to be the traditional way. IE it's very much a job with a better exchange rate on the time you trade.

The long term career is exactly that. LOooooong term.

What I want to achieve?

  • Get a bit of focus on my business, how I can scale it, how it can grow, how it can get off the ground.
  • Do something everyday whilst away from home that directly benefits my business in some way shape or form. That could mean taking on information, making plans or purchasing something to support it
  • Identify other revenues of income and take opportunities as they come
  • Grow my business and acquire or start other businesses providing a passive income
  • Be free financially - be able to retire by 30. By retire, I mean get to a state of being able to get up when I please, even if it still means stopping by an office or for a meeting, having passive income streams, having financial freedom
  • Purchase my dream car - I know that many will disagree with having it as an achievement - but as a self certified car nut, it's my true passion and a very important thing for me personally

That is truly terrifying.

But at a point where a few things have changed lately and I found myself shrouded in a little self doubt and exhaustion, I found myself in need of taking a slight breather for the week, and reflecting on how the journey has come along, good and bad. Then I remembered the book and forum after trying to figure out what to listen to on drives.

So for my own musing but also in the hope that it might help new comers that may be at the same stage I was when I initially wrote this.


Life is quite different to how it was at the age of 27 when I had written the above. Arguably for one reason or the other I existed for a while in a hybrid of the slow and fastlanes and have eventually fully shifted into gear.

Then vs now

August 2015


barrow.png


That was the typical sort of experience I had working remotely.

Employed, working a 4 hour flight from home, where I'd sleep in a camp bedroom about 4x4m in size on a site with around 1500 workers.

Convinced that $250k was freedom

Wanting to figure out a better way with a scattergun approach, endless cycle of courses, great ideas, trial error and half efforts.

July 2024
  • My father passed away a few years ago now, which was a long time coming, but life changing in many ways. His legacy amounted to nothing much. A few memories from friends that weren't around him on his death bed, andmost of his money siphoned off by internet would-be brides (scammers) and alleged carers. It reminded me how fickle and short life is, and what I want to leave behind me. Not to mention the lost years.

  • Wife, Kids, home and some land for another and a completely different outlook, approach and mindset, with the same young woman that I had recently met in 2015. Key to this was understanding where her mindset was more 'traditional, focusing on shared dreams and most importantly communicating. Day noon and night until we were blue in the face at times. It's all well and good to find someone completely on your wavelength, someone that challenges and contrasts with you, yet shares dreams, goals, morals and outlooks can be immensely powerful.

  • Set up my 'dream' business, which has seen slow and steady growth in the automotive industry. Didn't go 'all in' and spent my spare time working in it - eventually realised there was more profit to be made in my other business and this one would be how I occupy my time when I can work on my own terms. It is a passion based business that has a lot of benefits in existing, just not if I waste my time in it as a sole or even heavily involved owner. That's OK I just needed to accept this and either adapt the business to operate without me - or take it for the benefits it bought to my journey and acknowledge it would be a slow burn.

  • In accepting this, a bolt on extension to the business was launched online which gave it a hands off revenue generator which is growing, steadily.

  • My 'day job' transitioned in to a consultancy, I specialised in certain skills, built a workflow of how to consult to huge clients occasionally on a time basis or on a lump sum basis. Several big contracts, a domain name that matched precisely what I do came through lots of negotiation. I seek clients, not employment which was the biggest transition. Specialising in contractual claims and adjudication has lead to my launch pad whilst giving me a solid background that allows me to earn good money essentially on demand. I effectively help huge construction projects to be profitable, and well managed. If you change your thinking, it is incredibly simplistic to demonstrate value for your services.

    Time based consulting is still very much a job with more opportunities. This lead me to find a way to systemise much of the work, allowing me to stack multiple clients and charge an agreed time-based fee whilst essentially pocketing the efficiencies for myself. Occasionally this meant being present at a client's premises, at other stages it meant working from a laptop whilst on holiday. Effectively, the conversation was ''OK we agree to a purchase order of 30, 120, 300 or whatever amount of days at x rate" with me knowing that in and around that I would be able to spend a true amount of time that meant a multiple of my return. At times my income went from $8k as an employee a month to $4k a day.


  • Realised that $250k is now a very bad year. My consulting income sits at around $1m / year and I have recently implemented delegating work and growing my number of consultants which will grow exponentially.

  • Developed my fastlane - a SAAS product with its routes based in a wealth of experience in consulting for huge construction projects. The target for this product is a minimum of $1.2m which will be extremely passive. A Conservative forecast is $2.8m for the year ahead.

  • Working on a $11m Acquisition. It will either go through and change the game, or I will work on the next.


I'm at the start of a period of exponential growth. "Smelling the roses" has un-doubtedly slowed the journey down a little but I wouldn't change it for the world. I'm currently building a 2.5 acre property and am soon to be a father of three. My partner and I have been through the best and worst times and have grown together. I've learned so many nuances around the entrepreneurial journey an relationships and mindset that I almost don't recognise the person that wrote the original post.


A good place to round off I suppose would be to evaluate how I went against the hitlist of targets that I set in the original post.


  • Get a bit of focus on my business, how I can scale it, how it can grow, how it can get off the ground.
    • This absolutely happened over time
    • Business went from employment, to time-capped but well paid - to thriving and being primed for mass scale
  • Do something everyday whilst away from home that directly benefits my business in some way shape or form. That could mean taking on information, making plans or purchasing something to support it
    • Something I never stopped doing; which has directly led to where I am now (not to mention that I completely stopped being away from work)
  • Identify other revenues of income and take opportunities as they come
    • Again - this never stopped.
  • Grow my business and acquire or start other businesses providing a passive income
    • Many came, many went and the niches focused down eventually
  • Be free financially - be able to retire by 30. By retire, I mean get to a state of being able to get up when I please, even if it still means stopping by an office or for a meeting, having passive income streams, having financial freedom
    • The potential for this to occur was there. In reality changing circumstances meant that my goals and ambitions changed and the plan evolved. I wasn't in a place to 'retire' by 30 - but through changing the level of comfort that was associated with rather than through underachieving. Ultimately I had to take the wants and needs of my family into account whilst also hammering home my destiny and maturing was simply understanding that it may cause some delays, but inject some happiness and purpose at the same time.
  • Purchase my dream car - I know that many will disagree with having it as an achievement - but as a self certified car nut, it's my true passion and a very important thing for me personally
    • Again, many will lament that goal - yet it's probably the one on the least that I have the least criticisms of and was happily ticked off. It had a huge personal meaning to me and I've had some cars that will be nothing to some, but are my main hobby and passion outside of my family.

My main thoughts on seeing my early goals?

They simply weren't specific and tangible enough. Serialism took a while to truly leave and marketing is something that I have constantly see-sawed with, partly due to focusing on the wrong metrics. (no of likes do NOT matter anywhere near as much as a new entrepreneur believes they do)

Social media is toxic to your mindset. Rather than go cold turkey, regiment your mindset to be able to co-exist with it, that is true mastery of will power.

Mastering my mindset has been the best weapon in my arsenal. The Mindset blog that I started early in this process changed name shape and form constantly but I was forever doubling down on my mindset.

My personal brand was intrinsic in my journey. The confidence to put yourself out there and stop hiding behind 'side hustles' is everything.

The next year looks something like


Absolute minimums:
100% freedom to work as and where I like
$2m revenue from the consultancy
$3m revenue from SAAS

Targets are double that. I find it great to set targets but you have to accept that you may or may not reach them and that if you don't, it will go on.

But whenever I have set an absolute, it has been as irreputable as finding something to eat tomorrow. It happens without fail.

These aren't lofty goals, entirely reachable and an absolute minimum.

Time to grow my mindset blog and courses. I've shyed away from courses; I love sharing my thoughts but have shyed away from 'training'. It's a bit of a saturated trend in some regards with stand out great individuals mixed in with chancers. But it is something I enjoy and I'm hoping to produce a course on consulting in my industry and on mindset.

I've paid for some good 'mentors' or coaches over time; arguably I'm not sure a return came directly from it.

Don't take this as a warning against engaging with training by any means, more a reminder to research and engage with any potential mentor or trainer, be clear on your expectations, the outcomes and be selective in the exact, specific field of improvement that you are seeking rather than simply ''someone that will help be achieve success''. Define what is success, and assess how each mentor's programme plans to address what you specifically need. That formula has been what has delayed me from diving in rather than a case of imposter syndrome.

Funnily enough, skills learned in a course that I engaged in here to learn webdesign, contributed directly to several opportunities over the years, a constant skillset that I've used over the past 9 years or so, and led to one of my closest friendships over the past decade or so.

Something about making $5m out of telling someone how to make $1m for example, that didn't sit right but is undoubtedly something I will explore when the timing is right.


Part of success has been to trust your internal compass and not get lost in a sea of quick ideas, gurus that claim that MLM, Affiliates, Ecommerce, Dropshipping, whatever else are the answer you need.

Figure out your why, when and where first, and you can start working on the how, levelling up with an affinity for purposeful action rather than just jumping from pillar to post. Trust the process. Trust YOUR process and be brutally honest with holding yourself to account at regular intervals.


I'm sure I've missed heaps in the 5 minutes taken to update so will add as and when it comes up
 
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safff

Redlining
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Jun 11, 2015
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Another big pickup over the past 9 years that I can't stress enough is that you can't expect to get the best results by copying and pasting from success.

There are SO many iterations of 'master systems' out there that claim that their way is the way. What I've tended to find, is the vast, vast majority of people out there selling proven methods are either now running an agency, or have achieved a level of success in a niche and are selling their system of succeeding in ANY niche.

Generally, the rule is go in eyes open and be aware of where you are learning or copying. You need to disseminate the principles of what you're seeing and reframe it in to your exact position along with some of your own experimentation. A lot of people I have spoken to or who have asked for help present the same themes. I tried x y z system, but I didn't find it worked.

I was forever replicating what others were doing because they were telling me that it worked for them and would work for me. Proven formulas. You know the ones. Some was an instant hit, others complete duds.

The problem is, any given formula tends to only come out with the same results - if you replicate EVERYTHING. But when you apply a tactic to YOUR situation, unavoidably - something is bound to be different.

Like cooking a fine meal, you have:

A methodology, (how long to sear, season and cook for - when to post, what to say)
A list of ingredients (what goes into it, sugar, flower - your content, your product)
A Cook - YOU
A taster - your client or customers.

The problem comes when you take a recipe that worked for someone and replicate it, almost all of the above falls into just being a guideline - it's all highly variable like it or not.

How long to stir will depend on the quality of ingredients coming in. They might be using premium aged steak, (a business that has been going for a long time or is leveraging off a reputation or email list). You might be picking up a supermarket T-bone (a complete new starter). Their sauce might be loaded with MSG (a product that is an easy sale and mass appeal) and easily picked up, yours might be a more acquired taste (a great product that appeals to a few) that is harder to grind out.

You the cook might be a dab hand on the grill, but the recipe calls for a wok. You might get better results learning the wok, or you might actually achieve near the same results in your natural environment

Your taster might be pre-disposed to fine dining whilst theirs might be happy with a McDonalds. (niche vs mass appeal audience)

This one was fairly prominent for me. My Clients, generally are huge companies with many layers of managers. Trying to hunt down the correct person to engage with is a challenge. Trying to market to the right person is a challenge. But a lot of the course runners out there would tell me that cold calling and cold emails would be enough.

It really, really isn't.


My point is that you have to look at every aspect of your process and validate what you try to pick up.


A few examples over the years include an "M&A expert" who acquired a few childcare and cleaning businesses, who's approaches were near useless for me trying to approach engineering companies, and a body builder that started training people for financial freedom, but who had limited advice to give outside of building communities and having a mass market training product. Nothing intrinsically wrong with what they were teaching, but it was all very niche specific. Some was transferable.

The latter was particularly interesting because the type of people who have made money from coaching and teaching; are generally not well versed with for example, taking a high ticket piece of software to big blue chip corporations. And the sales agents pushing the courses are predisposed to saying 'yes' when you question whether something is a good fit.

I wouldn't say money spent on training has all been a waste; far from it - just that some of it over the years has been time inefficiently spent due to the level of relevance. A lot of it is targeted at people wanting to get somewhere else rather than to a specific destination - it's what makes it mass-sellable. Just be aware of it and be prepared to tweak and experiment with what you learn along the way.
 

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