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Progress Thread Committing and No Longer Selling Myself Short

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by InspireHD, Jan 29, 2017.

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  1. InspireHD
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    InspireHD Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    After wanting to start a business since 2003, it's finally becoming real!

    I'm currently employed full-time as a police officer. It's hard to put that fact out there because in today's world I feel like I have to protect myself. It's a job that pays well with awesome benefits, but it can be a drag. I don't wake up excited to go to work and it's hard to relate to people when you don't feel like you get a lot of support outside of the job. It's not fulfilling to me anymore. It scares me to think that one day I'll wake up and regret not starting a business because "my job paid well and I was comfortable."

    Back in August, 2016, a friend was visiting and while he was here, we went and visited his cousin who is a retired accountant. After talking to him about business, the stock market, and day trading, he said something to me that I will never forget. He said, knowing that I was a police officer, "you're selling yourself short."

    Years ago, between police jobs, I worked for my uncle who ran a business. After talking to him earlier this month, I decided I was going to do what he used to do. He told me he would help me as long as I committed to it.

    I hate to be vague at this point, but in the future, if it takes off, I could see myself going into more detail and helping others get started.

    During the start-up phase, I've spent about $500, which includes filing for an LLC, buying the domain name for my business, buying a business landline, and setting up a PO Box. In a couple weeks, I'll have to spend $160 for a registered agent, and I'm projecting that I may have to spend another $250 for a software license.

    I'm sure you're thinking that "you don't need all of that! Just go make some sales." The reality is that I actually do need it. Maybe not the domain, but it's going to be needed in the future so I bought it now while the name was available. Maybe not the software either, but it's a quality-of-life issue that my uncle is recommending from the point of experience. I haven't bought it yet so I may change my mind.

    As of right now, I am waiting for my paperwork to come back from the state. It should be another two weeks. After I have that, I will open up a bank account, fill out some more required paperwork, and then put together a packet of information and apply for some certifications. This is all required and for my benefit in the long run. Then, the fun part begins with making sales.

    I will be starting slow to get accustomed to the process and learn how the system works. I'm still learning a lot and will probably make some mistakes.

    Short-Term Goals
    1.) To make my first sale to learn how the system works.
    2.) To make at least 10 sales to prove that I can do this.
    3.) To earn enough money to payback my startup costs and get back to breakeven.
    4.) To generate enough average profit per month to pay my monthly expenses. This will set up the opportunity to go at this full-time.
    5.) To earn enough money to resign from my job as a police officer.

    This opportunity has given me focus and direction and I am incredibly excited to get started. I'm looking forward to updating this thread in the near future with lessons learned and some stories of success!

    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. InspireHD
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    InspireHD Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Every day that I have the opportunity to work on my business, I write down a list of things I need to do. The inspiration for that came from Vigilante's thread, Can a $2 tool help make you a millionaire?. Between a small notepad, a slightly bigger notepad, and a Five Star 5 section ringed notebook, I like the ringed notebook because it keeps everything intact.

    At this point, I'm still waiting for my paperwork to come back from the state. I'm slightly anticipating by the end of next week. The girl on the phone stated about 30 days, but find their turnaround time is around 21 days. It has now been 14.

    Since I can't do anything until I get my paperwork back, I spent a couple hours yesterday and today designing my website. It's amazing how DOING leads to learning. I'll probably leave the website as my "Under Construction" landing page until I make a few sales and get a feel for the system and my process.

    Yesterday, I called Chase Bank to inquire about their veteran's business bank account.

    Person 1 - "Let me transfer you to our business center."
    Person 2 = "Let me transfer you to our business specialist."
    Person 3 = "Let me transfer you to an account specialist. Here's the number in case we get disconnected..."
    Me = "That's the number I called to speak to Person 1!"
    Person 4 = "I will find the answer for you. Please hold. (a minute later...) My supervisor told me you need to call a branch directly."
    So I call the branch directly.
    Person 5 = "Let me transfer you to a banker."
    Person 6 = "Our business banker is not in today."

    Incredibly frustrating. I was 80% ready to ditch Chase since it was becoming difficult to get an answer.

    I called again today and spoke with the business banker who was super helpful. It's amazing how much more pleasant it is to work with someone who provides value and has the answers. At the end of our conversation, he thanked me for my service and said he looked forward to meeting me to help my business grow and achieve the American dream (he actually said that).

    For anyone who wants to know, Chase has a veteran's bank account that waives the monthly service fee and there is no minimum account balance. They give you 200 free transactions per month. Any additional transactions incur a $.40 fee. The account process takes about 1 hour and when you walk out, your account is ready to go and you'll get your debit card the same day. They just require your EIN, Entity number, LLC paperwork, two forms of identification, and proof of veteran status.
     
  3. InspireHD
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    InspireHD Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    The startup process has been full of obstacles and quite frustrating to say the least. Looking at it now, I wish I would have gotten started sooner and maybe done things a little differently. As much as LegalZoom has organized everything and made the process simple, I have quickly found they charge you quite a bit (and possibly overcharge for some things). It has been a learning experience given this is my first time starting a legitimate company. I'm not entirely sure I would use them again. There are cheaper options out there - or possibly doing it yourself.

    When I first filed for my LLC they gave me a 30 day window, but was told my paperwork would probably come sooner. Sure enough, they used every last day they had to get my paperwork to me. It's what I paid for, but I had a suspicion that they were just holding onto my paperwork when they could have shipped it out faster. They really didn't need to spend a week reviewing my paperwork when 90% of what they sent me was a template or in a generic booklet form. It was quite underwhelming when I opened the packet.

    The next step in my process was opening a business bank account and I couldn't move forward until it was opened. The goal was to do it yesterday, but hold on, let's throw an obstacle in the way. Yesterday was President's Day and banks were closed. I've only been waiting 30+ days, one more won't hurt.

    How about opening it today? I guess that's the next best thing, right? I have to work the next couple of days so I don't want to delay this any longer. I drove 16 miles to the bank I want to use. Sorry, the business banker isn't in today! You have to be kidding me! Fortunately, they worked their magic and had their Vice President of the branch help me out. *click click click* Oh sorry, we can't validate your business right now because your state's website is down! WTF, SERIOUSLY!?

    I didn't have time to hang out in the area as I had to be somewhere so I drove all the way home to wait until I had to be where I had to be. As soon as I got home, the website was back up. Story of my life! Then, I had the idea that when I was done doing what I had to do, I would race back over and try to get it done today.

    It all worked out and I got there right on time. The bank account is opened and things are starting to move forward again!

    Once I got home I started registering for the next account that needed to be opened. Now I just have to wait up to 10 business days for the system to talk with the IRS and migrate everything into their system. So, I wait some more!

    Everyone should learn this lesson. Quit waiting to start your business. Problems may pop up when you least expect them. I wasted nearly 13 years wanting to start a business. Don't do that! What I am doing has been slightly complex with quite a few steps in the startup process. In the beginning, I did not imagine that I would run into so many obstacles.

    Once everything gets up and running, I won't be thinking about how much I've had to wait, but either way, it's been a wild ride for sure.
     
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  4. Gareth
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    Gareth Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    The websites that I created 8 months ago are starting to bear fruit.

    Plant your seeds now.

    Between you and your dreams are problems. The faster you attack problems and solve them the sooner you get to your dreams. Every problem has at least 1 or more positive solutions. A problem can be an opportunity. Look for the opportunity.

    Don't get frustrated at the problems, just get used to solving them.

    And take 10 times the action you thought you needed to take (props to GC)
     
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  5. GMSI7D
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    GMSI7D Silver Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    it reminds me of an Eben Pagan program called " seeds of your success"

    this is about innergame and outergame , not just business

    you have to be the best you to have the best results with the best conditions

    the problem with success seeds is that we don't really know when the harvest will come

    or whether it will come at all because of bugs ( problems ) and so on




    sometimes it is better to do nothing that to take action and quit along the road

    either we do nothing or we do things completely

    that's why i do not commit to fastlane

    because if i quit, i will be very upset and very angry after a life of failure at 40

    very angry

    so i only do things that i am sure to finish


    " do or do not, there is no try " master yoda


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  6. OldFaithful
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    Interesting thread @InspireHD, please keep us updated. Thanks!
     
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  7. Gareth
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    Gareth Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    This really depends. Nothing wrong with exiting from something that doesn't work. By taking action, even if things don't work out...you learn!

    No action means limited possibility for practical learning
     
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  8. malindi
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    malindi Contributor

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    I think you are doing things in a smart way, but then again, sometimes not being smart or reasonable is what propelled us along in our business, it is a different way of doing things, kind of crazy and not for everyone (especially if you are supporting a family), but this is how we started, would be interested to hear other people's stories, whether you started out part-time or worked on your business in the evenings etc..

    When my husband and I started we both went full time in to the business immediately and we had no money to begin with. We soon got a bit of capital from a relative (we discovered that if you want capital, ask your friends and family, just ask everyone until you get what you need) and then we had to hustle real fast and make a product, make sales and just see what happened. We started on the 3rd July 2014, got funding on the 4th July 2014 and had a product ready to go out to market by October 2014 (we make chocolate bars, and when we started, we didn't know how to make chocolate or mould chocolate or anything to do with food or food businesses). This method is pretty crazy and v v stressful, but I have to admit it was a giant kick in the ass, we had no choice but to make sales and to make them straight away, we had no choice but to learn how to make chocolate and to learn fast, we got 100 shops on board in the first year and a national distribution deal at the end of the first year.

    Our first product ended up not being what the market needed, but we learned from that, made a new line of products and then discontinued the old ones. The new ones out-sold the old ones by 500% in the first quarter. I guess what I am sharing is that business to me has felt like they say 'jumping out of a plane and constructing a parachute on the way down', it's lots of mistakes and kind of just going for it. Has anyone else found that? It has been two of the hardest years of our lives, but we have learned so much.
     
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  9. amp0193
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    amp0193 Platinum Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    This was my favorite post that I read today.

    Action trumps everything. You can't possibly forsee every pitfall and mistake in advance. Do, learn, pivot, repeat.


    Your story reminds me of the start of Banana Republic. I think you'd enjoy this book: Wild Company: The Untold Story of Banana Republic: Mel Ziegler, Patricia Ziegler: 8601416256429: Amazon.com: Books
     
  10. malindi
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    malindi Contributor

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    Thanks amp0193, that means a lot. I will read that book, add it to my growing audible collection! Yes, for us action is really our only secret, along with knowledge, the more books we read, the more effective our actions are becoming, (we have taken some pretty stupid actions in the past, as we say to each other, sometimes the school of hard knocks charges a premium), plus having a coach in our industry we find really essential too. It's a thrilling ride hey?
     
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  11. MidwestLandlord
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    MidwestLandlord Platinum Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    This is a hugely important comment right here. I hope everyone reads it.

    There are two companies I'm involved in right now, that didn't listen to this advice. They offer repair services, and did OK with the service they sold. However, both of them were turning away customers that kept coming to them for services they DIDN'T offer, but easily COULD offer.

    But both business owners didn't choose to offer the new service, because "that's not what I do"

    They didn't react to what the market was telling them. Now they do (thanks to me haha), and it looks like both are going to sell much more service.

    @Andy Black has a story in one of his radio interviews about this too. An electrician that wasn't selling appliance repair, even though he had the skills and customer google searches showed him the market was there.

    (btw @malindi , if you put an "@" in front of someones name, it will show up as an alert on their end, so then they are less likely to miss that you responded to them. @amp0193 for example. Hope that helps)
     
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  12. InspireHD
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    InspireHD Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Life Is Short - Take Advantage Of It

    If you read my introduction to this post, you know that I am a police officer. I may be in the minority in that I am not entirely proud of what I do. The job is not physically demanding, but it's mentally and emotionally exhausting. I've had days where all I want to do is isolate myself. I've had days where all I want to do is sit down and turn my brain off. When I worked nights, I could barely get myself out of bed and function because my sleep cycle was so screwed up. I'm constantly fighting through periods of anxiety and depression. I read an email from work that an attorney wants to talk to me about an arrest I made and it bugs me for hours because I know that when I go back into work I have to deal with talking about it and possibly defending myself to someone who isn't happy. It's hard to please everyone and it's a direct result of the work I have to do.

    When I'm away from work, it's the last thing I want to think about. It's not the way I want to live. It's not the way I want to be remembered.

    The other day a coworker and I got called to the home of an elderly couple. The wife had fallen off her bed and her husband was not able to pick her up. We got there and she was not able to move or speak. Whatever her illness was, it had taken over and consumed her life.

    Afterward, we were standing outside and started talking about how short life can be. If you think about it, that lady was once just like us. Waking up every day, working, making dinner, spending time with her kids, etc., but now, she's barely able to function. It really makes you realize that we have to take advantage of every day that we have. Don't let another day pass by without doing something toward your dreams and goals.

    I have seen some of the worst things imaginable that make me reevaluate everything I'm doing. I have dealt with some very nasty and dangerous people, but helped many who needed a hand. Just to share a few of my experiences:
    • Gotten involved in many fights
    • Had someone spit on me
    • Heard a guy kill himself by putting a shotgun in his mouth and found him an hour later (I could hear the slug whiz by up above me)
    • Called to the scene of a guy who shot himself in the forehead and was found 2 days later
    • Called to the scene of a guy who died at least a month before he was found (trust me, it was not a pretty sight)
    • Investigated multiple suicides by hanging
    • Came upon the scene of a 3 vehicle crash. The passenger of one car broke his hip and leg from the impact on the door
    • Came upon the scene of a train crash into a car. The driver died 4 days later
    • Assisted at the scene of a vehicle vs. motorcycle crash. The motorcyclist was pronounced brain dead and died the next day
    • Responded to the scene of a van vs. motorcycle crash. The motorcyclist died at the scene, in the middle of the road, from not wearing a helmet
    • Responded to so many heroin overdoses. Some of them would have died if not provided emergency medical intervention
    • Responded to a home for a son who overdosed on heroin and died in his bed. He was found by his mother the next morning.
    • Assisted at the scene of a heroin death where the girl's boyfriend dragged her body across a yard and put her in her parked vehicle, then called for help
    • Spoke to a girl who has been addicted to heroin for years and would rather die than deal with the withdrawals and struggle of beating the addiction...again
    • Investigated countless natural deaths
    • Conducted CPR on several people
    • Had to give several death notifications to family members
    • Responded to many medical emergencies for people who could not function on their own
    • Picked up many elderly people who had fallen and couldn't get up
    All of this is sad, not only because of the circumstances, but because they are people too. All of them were once children, innocent and full of life. Some of them were people who may never have realized the full potential of their life. Some of them were people who decided they had enough of the daily pressures of their life, medical issues, or personal problems. Some of them were just out enjoying the day.

    When you realize how fragile life can be, it makes you step back and reevaluate where you are in life. Sure, I make a very comfortable salary for what I do, but it's not fulfilling. I can retire early, earn a pension, and have great health benefits, but the real value I want to add to this world outweighs the early retirement and benefits.

    Do you want to wake up when you're 80 and still be searching for that first business idea?

    Do you want to go to bed when you're 80 reading your 386th business book looking for more inspiration before you get started?

    Stop worrying about failure. Stop worrying that it's not the right idea. Stop worrying about losing some money. Make a decision and run with it. Learn as you go. You will learn so much by doing that thing you want to do.

    If you want to sell on Ebay, pick something from your house, take a few pictures, and click that Sell link. Doesn't sell? Who cares, relist it. Pick another thing and list it.
    Want to import from Alibaba? Take the time to research and start a conversation with the supplier.
    Want to create an app? Start learning how to code and code that app while you're learning.
    Want to do web design? Read the web design thread by @Fox and start selling your services.

    You know, several years ago I didn't know how to play the guitar. I decided I wanted to learn so I asked for one for Christmas. I didn't spend hours reading books on music theory. I didn't spend hours watching videos of others play so I could be inspired. I watched some tutorials, learned how to play some songs, and those songs taught me how to play the guitar. Am I good? Not even close, but I can at least pick up the guitar and put together chords to make it sound like I know what I'm doing. By the way, I still don't know what music theory is.

    My point in all of this is to not waste another day. Take advantage of the days given to you. Think about what you want your life to look like. Think about what you want your legacy to be. If you have an idea, if you want to add value to someone's life or to the world, you have an obligation to do so. It is your duty to create that thing that creates value in this world and inspires others to do the same. Go after your dreams. Don't wait another day. Do the thing you have always wanted to do. Don't let fear hold you back and don't give up.

    Most importantly, take care of yourself.

    Life is short - take advantage of it.
     
  13. InspireHD
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    InspireHD Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Note to self: If someone says it will take 30 days, but it could be sooner, it'll take 30 days. If someone says it'll take 7-10 days. Expect to wait 10 days.

    Waiting and being patient is one thing I am not good at; however, I am officially, officially in business. Everything that was required to get started has now been completed and entered into the "system."

    On January 19, I filed my paperwork through LegalZoom. 50 days later and jumping through a few hoops, I can finally start taking real action toward making some sales. According to my records, my business start-up costs were $675.

    There is still a lot to learn so I am taking this a little slow, but once I get comfortable and see for myself that the world isn't going to stop spinning, my goal is to work hard and diligently to scale the business. I already have a friend who said he is willing to help me any way that he can. The nice thing is that he works through the night and has a lot of free time available if I need something done like data entry.

    My first goal is to make my first sale, but most importantly, I have to start doing what I need to do to make that first sale happen. That is sort of where I need time to learn the system and give it time to work itself out.

    I plan on updating this progress thread often and at least ending each month with some sales numbers.

    Now, it's time to get to work and create some value in the world!
     
  14. G-Man
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    G-Man Legendary Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Keep after the business, and good luck.

    BTW, you make multiple references to starting to add value. Whether you feel like it or not, I hope you realize that most people believe that what you currently do adds value to lots of peoples' lives, whether they realize it or thank you for it.

    That said, life is definitely too short to keep doing something that makes you depressed, and I can't really blame you for not wanting to spend every day dealing with felons and lawyers. Felons, maybe, but getting interrogated by lawyers :thumbsdown: :rofl:
     
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  15. InspireHD
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    InspireHD Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I read this when you originally posted it, but I never really had the right words to reply. It's nice when we get thanked, but it's almost like those thanks never have time to sink in. One minute you're getting a thank you and the next minute you're responding for a drug overdose or domestic. The value provided never really has time to sink in.

    I've taken some time to think about it and some of the passing thoughts in my head are telling me that I don't completely believe in what I do. Talking to my coworker made me realize that the job isn't fulfilling and that it's okay to believe that there is more out there for me. There are times I enjoy it and times I hate it. And I could spend hours talking about it, but what it comes down to now is that I feel like I'm at a point in my life where I am ready to create something for myself. It's all about living the dream. It's about leaving a legacy. It's about proving people wrong that you have to be lucky or have things handed to you. And if there is anything I learned from this forum and all of you guys, it's about providing true value in the world.

    After a slow start, which I expected, I finally got moving on my business today. I spent a few hours on the business and learning the process and systems. I don't completely understand everything just yet so I am basically dipping my toes in trying to figure it all out without making any huge mistakes. I'd rather lose $50 than lose $3,000 upfront. I started feeling a little anxious when I realized I would have to make a phone call to another business, but I overcame it and made the call. It turned out that it really wasn't that bad! The guy was cool and he ended up calling me back with the information I was looking for. And then later in the day I called a business directly about a part and will hopefully have my first sale soon!

    I'm off work tomorrow so I'll be able to spend much more of the day doing research and getting up and running. I imagine once I have more experience and figure out how the systems work that I'll be able to scale my own time more efficiently.
     
  16. G-Man
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    :thumbsup:
     
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  17. InspireHD
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    Since March is now behind me, I wanted to take into account what I've done for the past two weeks or so. Unfortunately, I'm not here to report that I hit the jackpot or anything. Things have been a lot slower than I expected, which looking back on it, I had no idea what I was really expecting. It's sort of weird to think that "I own a business" because I don't really feel like I have a business. I just feel like I'm working on something in my free time. It's weird to talk to other businesses and have them ask me who I work for or what my company is called. It just feels like it's an imaginary thing that doesn't exist and I'm making it up.

    I definitely see what everyone is talking about when they tell people they need to put the time in and not jump around. It took me these two weeks to feel like, "hmmm, I wonder if something else would work faster." I spent 2 months waiting to get this baby rolling and now I have thoughts creeping in my head that I should try something else. I'm going to keep plugging away, but those thoughts are real.

    At this point, I'm still working on building up a routine and learning the system. I've tried reaching out to my uncle many times, but he's so busy that getting a response is few and far between. I'm sort of leaning on him for advice, but I know I really just have to dive into the deep end and figure it out.

    Without going into too much detail right now, I decided to come out with what I'm doing in case it may generate some feedback and lead to some guidance. My business involves government contracting as a vendor. My expectations going into this was that I would make a bunch of phone calls, quote a bunch of contracts, and then maybe I'd have a little trickle of income here and there. Two weeks is really nothing in the longer view of things, but when I was expecting contracts to be awarded automatically, I quickly came to find out that even a computer doesn't award things when quoting is closed. The last couple days (1-2 weeks after bids close) I've finally been seeing some contracts awarded. Based on the quotes that companies are winning with, there is no way I could even come close. In fact, one company I source from doesn't lower their prices for anyone and someone put in a bid $20 lower than what the item actually costs. I have no idea how they did it. A week or so ago, I had a company tell me they wouldn't give me a quote because they bid on contracts too.

    I'm also trying to figure out how I can do more. My motto right now is all about taking action so I know I can do a lot more and be more efficient with my time. I'm not satisfied with my level of action taking in March. Not really knowing if I'm doing this right and trying to figure out a routine is what is holding me back. It feels like I'm running through quicksand and tripping over my own feet. It's a struggle, but I'm still going at it.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to a better April!
     
  18. InspireHD
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    InspireHD Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    There is a point where you have to just say "F it" and go after what you want. If you've been around long enough, you already intrinsically know what you need to do.

    Ask yourself, what advice would you give someone else?

    If someone said, "I'm afraid to pick up the phone," what would you tell them?
    - You have to overcome those fears. Just do it. Nobody is going to hurt you. Just pick up the phone and call! Do you want to succeed or not?

    I had that moment today. I got off the phone with my uncle and felt a renewed sense of motivation. I've been dealing with a lot of stress in my personal life and feeling some discouragement that I'm running into a brick wall with this business. The more involved I get, the more questions I have. The more questions I have, the less work I'm doing. I'm trying to not lose sight of what I'm trying to accomplish.

    Since I had a bunch of questions, I had to make a bunch of phone calls to the buyers until I got through to someone. Once I did, it was quite amazing. I ended up talking to him for about an hour. He was super helpful, gave me great advice on where to start and what I should be doing while I'm still new, and provided some insight on what he does, what he looks at, and some behind-the-scenes information. He was completely honest when there was a question he couldn't answer and directed me toward a resource that may be able to provide those answers. It was later in the day so I'm going to try and make that call tomorrow, although I have somewhere I need to be late morning.

    With more answers, came more questions. Honestly, before getting into this 3 months ago, I didn't know what I didn't know. I have a lot more to learn about the whole process so I'm going to seek out those answers as quickly as possible. I spent about 2-3 hours after the phone call doing research, but never really found a good answer. It will most likely come down to reaching out to more people and being persistent until I get those answers.

    So, even though, on paper, I didn't get much done, I still feel satisfied. I have a better vision moving forward. I feel like I took advantage of today and was productive. I might be starting a business in a field that is super complicated and might not have been the best choice for someone's first business, but I think, once I get moving, it has incredible potential. Once I start seeing those breakthroughs, it's going to be awesome.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
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  19. InspireHD
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    InspireHD Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I'm still searching for that first elusive sale. What I am currently doing is super competitive and the margins are thin. The reason being is because it comes down to cost without discounts plus shipping. I've been strictly working with one supplier and the best way to compete is by accepting thin margins and trying to price the exact shipping to keep bids low.

    Since my last post, I did more research on a certain topic and ended up talking to a guy who explained everything I needed to know. It gave me a renewed outlook since it made the process easier. It also made it obvious that with what I had been doing, there was no way I was going to even come close. Since gaining a new understanding, I've found a few times that my bid was less than the previous purchases. I am optimistic, but it's still too early to tell. From what I was told, some businesses quote directly at cost and make their money from credit card cashback programs. With the new process I'm working on, I have to wait it out until the awards roll around - and that is not even guaranteed. Sometimes, the buyer doesn't get around to awarded them because they are so busy.

    I've been trying to be more productive, but I feel I'm stuck. It just doesn't feel like I'm doing enough. It doesn't feel like I'm taking advantage of my time. My plan going forward is to set up an account with another supplier so that I can go after some more business, but even then, it's still going to be competitive. Gaining control of this is pretty difficult since it's so competitive. I'm really trying to not be discouraged, but I would be a liar if I said I wasn't half thinking about figuring out a new business path. At the same time, I need to exhaust my opportunities here, which I've barely touched. I'm not seeing the other side of the mountain right now so it's hard to trust that the payoff is coming with consistent action.

    My routine has been to review all of the new requests for my one supplier, check if it's something I can do, and bid on anything that I feel comfortable I can handle. That takes about an hour and it could be one or two bids. It's not very many because there aren't many put out each day and some of them I can't do. I'm pretty much done after that. From there, I'll go to the gym to get away for a little bit. Usually, after I get back from the gym, I log in again and start reviewing the entire day's new requests. I have had no success from them even when I look over several hundred. Some are direct requests to huge defense companies and some are specific parts/items for small companies that don't provide parts on their websites. I spent over an hour today scanning through a couple thousand requests to see if there were any companies that provided parts directly on their website, but did not find anything.

    Since starting, I have learned a lot, made mistakes, began refining, reached out to people, and overcame some obstacles. Even though I haven't technically gotten anywhere, I'm still miles ahead of where I was 3 months ago when I first filed the paperwork to start. I'm enjoying the process and trusting that the process will work out.
     
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  20. InspireHD
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    April 2017 Update

    I've been back and forth on my outlook for this business. It has been pretty discouraging. At this point, I know that I am not doing nearly enough, but I am also only scratching the surface of what is possible. That is why I am still going at it. I've learned a lot and even though there have been some big obstacles, I'm fighting through them. There have been many days where my mind wanders off on doing something else.

    Maybe I should try Amazon FBA like everyone else is doing.
    Maybe I should try some kind of online web design or internet services.
    Maybe I should do that investing thing I've always wanted to do.
    Surely, there is something else that would work better.


    Thinking those things, I know in the back of my mind I have to squeeze as much juice out of this rock as I can. It's not a dead end. I just haven't found the right path yet. I'm mindlessly wandering through a maze that has many paths. Eventually, I will find the way through. Each time I learn something new, each day I continue working on my business, I take another step toward the light at the end of the tunnel. Giving up would be what everyone else would do when things get tough. Not me! I'm going to do the things that nobody else wants to do. I'm not going to suffer through 25 years just to earn a pension.

    Anyway, I still haven't won any contracts. The one positive is that since I learned that I was doing it the wrong way previously, the new way has gotten me closer to the lower end of the bids. Now, I'm just trying to hone in on what the big players are doing and see if I can accurately undercut them. With the one supplier I am working on now, it seems that the majority of the margins are around 4%. It doesn't leave too much to be desired as some of the smaller contracts may only net you $2-$3. Those dollars don't add up very quickly when the government is slow to award them and the competition is a race to the bottom.

    Getting started in March, I only bid on 20. April is showing 16. I'm not sure why I ended up with less. Probably some discouragement and being busy doing other things.

    May is looking good for bids as I almost passed up April within the first day. I'm still unsure of a few things and if I win one, I'm going to have to do some serious scrambling to make sure I do it right. I guess the government can be picky.

    There are a couple different routes I can go so I will continue to explore them. Within the last few days, doing some soul-searching, I've thought of a few other business ideas I may be interested in trying. My mind is always working, but it is time to get super serious and take massive action. It's time to take control. I'm getting married in a few weeks so business things are going to be slow. Once the wedding is behind me, it'll be time to ramp it back up.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
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  21. Walter Hay
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    Walter Hay Platinum Contributor Speedway Pass

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    My experience with tendering for government contracts might help you understand why you are not getting sales.

    My importing business handled among other things, items used on a very large scale by various government agencies. Almost all contracts were granted as a result of a tender process.

    I knew that our prices were competitive, while still allowing good margins, because I had the purchasing side of things in China sewn up. So I quoted on a number of the big contracts and never won. I found out (legitimately) what the successful bidder quoted, and next time round quoted well below those prices, while still determined to maintain a good margin. I wasn't going to work for the government!

    Still no contracts. I then decided that on one where my margin was biggest, I would quote at cost. I was beaten by 1/2 c per unit. Repeated the process, quoting at below cost, just to find out why no success. Again, beaten by 1/2 cent per unit.

    The answer? The system was being cheated with the help of insiders who had access to the quotes before they were assessed. I wasn't going to waste more time, and I certainly wasn't going to start bribing insiders.

    In passing I should add that from time to time, smaller contracts were awarded outside the tender process and I got some great orders at very high margins, because the process was fair and honest.

    Walter
    P.S. I operated via franchisees in 4 countries and the story was the same in each of those countries.
     
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  22. InspireHD
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    InspireHD Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Thanks for the reply! It is an honor to know that you were reading!

    It does feel like an uphill battle and I often wonder if I am just merely going to end up self-employed rather than owning a business. I mean, my vision is to have an office that employs people who send out quotes and source products and we kick ass because we're awesome. However, I feel like the competitiveness leaves you at the mercy of the government. I heard of stories where a guy working alone wins hundreds of thousands of contracts...by himself. Other companies that win $75,000 contracts within their first 30 days. I've barely scratched the surface of the government's wallet so I'm still trying to figure out where to get settled in.

    Right now, I'm only working on micropurchases so there really is not much more to the bidding process other than sourcing and submitting low bids. I do see the same 3-4 companies winning time after time - but this is only for one supplier. My company has no past performance so who knows if they will ever take a chance on me. Based on my limited experience with the micropurchases, I don't think it's sustainable unless I can be a jack-of-all-trades.
     
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  23. OldFaithful
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    OldFaithful Silver Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Wow, that's terrible. Admittedly, I was beginning to think along the same lines as I read the OP's posts.

    @InspireHD you can keep grinding away at this project, but I think I'd be having some serious doubts at this point. I tend to always encourage other members to keep pushing and never give up, but in this instance...idk.

    Best wishes.
     
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  24. AdamMaxum
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    AdamMaxum Tick Tock Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    ya, unless I'm missing something, I 2nd this.....is there a pivot you can take to avoid this issue?
     
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  25. InspireHD
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    InspireHD Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Sorry for the delay getting back to you guys. Ended up getting stuck at work on Wednesday. 16 hour shifts are not fun and getting less than 6 hours of sleep to go straight back in to a 12 hour shift is not fun either.

    Compared to the overall size of the government, the supplier I have been working on is similar to dropping a drop of water into the ocean. It's tiny. That is why I think there is still a lot of upside to maneuver into a better opportunity. I just don't know what that is yet. It's discouraging.

    The scale of the government is massive. It's said that they spend $500 billion every year. 23% of that has to go to small businesses. That's still $115 billion. Companies like Boeing and SpaceX are out there bidding on the largest of projects. They obviously have the resources to build planes and rockets so they are going to automatically win those contracts. But when you drill down to the bottom of the barrel, you have businesses like me who are bidding on small $50 orders. It's a race to the bottom. The most I've bid so far is around $500.

    The expectation was to win small contracts, build up some revenue, and grow it over time so that I can start bidding on much larger contracts or even getting into subcontracting. The government buyers know that something might retail for $100 so they are awarding these contracts to businesses who are quoting $105, whereas my cost is $110 and still only trying to make $2 out of all of it. The benefit is that the government will pay you if they award the contract to you and all of the packing and shipping is correct. In the back of my mind I keep telling myself, "there has to be a better way!"

    One thing that keeps me going is the tax deductions for running a business that will pass through my regular income. Other than my everyday, normal expenses, I don't need to spend any money trying to run this so I'm basically keeping it going because I don't want to give up when I've barely tried.

    I've had other ideas of things to work on. It seems like having gotten some momentum from starting this business has opened my mind to trying other things. I don't want to flip-flop, though. If I've been doing everything I could and still failed, then sure, I'd probably hang it up. It just feels like there is still so much more effort and action I could take. The problem is, I don't know what that is or what road to take. These past couple months feel like I've been doing everything the hard way. I definitely question the near future and wonder if I should possibly start trying to do something else on the side.