• The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success
  1. Join 40,000+ entrepreneurs
    who are kicking butt and
    winning their dream life.

    Unscripted™ Entrepreneurship:
    A Business That Pays More Than Money, It Pays Time.

    "Fastlane" is an entrepreneur discussion forum based on The Unscripted Entrepreneurial Framework (TUNEF) outlined in the two best-selling books by MJ DeMarco (The Millionaire Fastlane and UNSCRIPTED™). From multimillionaires to digital nomads, the forum features real entrepreneurs creating real businesses.

    Download (Unscripted) Download (Millionaire Fastlane)  Register
    Registering for the forum removes this block!

EXECUTION Developing Fastlane Discipline

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by DamienRoche, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. DamienRoche
    Offline

    DamienRoche Bronze Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    105
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Gender:
    Male
    Rep Bank:
    $589
    I thought I would give this a try - just an extra bump to keep me focused and accountable to someone other than myself. Who is this for? For me, mostly... but also, eventually, for inspiration for others. It's only a matter of time before I achieve my humble goals, and hopefully it will give others inspiration and ideas on their journey to achieve the same.

    Background:

    I'm a web developer. I originally got into internet marketing about 9 years ago, gorged on all the information I could find and, predictably, didn't take an ounce of action towards any of it. I did, however, somehow stumble on web development. I built a random landing page for someone for a small amount of cash and a lightbulb went off. Cue 5 years of hellish grind across every freelance marketplace known to man. 16 hour days of coding, months of burnout, depression. The whole thing was like pulling teeth, but it did teach me grit - and it did teach me that I could teach myself pretty much any skill I wanted.

    I took that experience and knowledge into a full-time Ruby job. I stayed there for a few years and recently quit (about 2 months ago). I also let go of my apartment and dropped most financial commitments, let go of my GF, then let go of friends/family and moved to Thailand where I can live much more cheaply.

    What is the immediate goal?

    First of all, I do *have* to freelance to survive. I guess the immediate goal is to earn enough through my own business to quit freelancing for good. My current expenses are around $1000/m. To me, this is a fairly small goal and more than achievable. I have no doubt I'll build a business to $1000/m PROFIT with enough applied wisdom. My low expenses (can be lowered further if I want) allow me to work just 10-15 hours/wk. The rest of my 'work' time will be dedicated to my business.

    I have no intention of burning myself out so will not be engaging in 16 hour days of non-stop grind. I will likely fall into long bouts of grinding just through sheer enjoyment and excitement, but I'm going to be very careful about balancing my lifestyle. I've had bad burnout before and from experience it just isn't worth it. I'm only interested in long-term sustainable behaviour and living the kind of life I want to live NOW, not tomorrow. It's very important I largely enjoy the process.

    What have I done recently?

    I only got to Thailand about 3 weeks ago. I've sorted a condo ($500/m - could realistically be much reduced but I'd rather stay in a nice place as I torture myself), sorted a motorbike (rent), sorted a bike license, done enough freelance hours this month to cover expenses for next month. Found a nearby gym and been a few times, found a nearby martial arts place and planning to start training. Dated (eek), travelled around a bit nearby (eek).. and..

    What am I struggling with?

    I've generally wasted a bunch of time with my head in the clouds, swirling ideas around in my head and trying to motivate myself to actually do something that might not pay off in the slightest.

    A couple months ago I found a semi-active subreddit (about 5000 subscribers) that had an interesting problem. So, I started to build an application to help these people. I expanded on the original idea and have many ways I could potentially build revenue from it, but I was just interested in building a useful tool, and building something that wouldn't take me 6 months, but rather 4 weeks.

    Since arriving in Thailand I haven't worked at all on this. I've been freelancing mostly, or browsing work on Upwork, and trying my hardest to make the shift over to a fastlane mindset. That's the reason I've titled this "Developing Fastlane Discipline" -- my goals require me not to just develop discipline in general, but to develop discipline towards investing time/money/energy into inherently risky projects that might never pay off.

    What am I doing to improve?

    So, the first two major shifts I'm making are to change my mindset from that of a consumer to that of a producer. Instead of thinking about what I want, think about what I can offer that other people want. The second is to start helping people for the sake of it. Start looking for and solving problems with the skills and experience I have and, more importantly, LEARN. I've seen it advised many times on this forum and I think it is an excellent place to start. It removes a lot of the pressure to make money from something and gets you into the right mindset.

    Another thing I have started to work on is wrapping conditions around the things I want to do, buy or experience. For example, if I want to travel somewhere this weekend, I attach a goal that I must first achieve before I allow myself. If I want to watch a 30 minute show, I attach a goal (hit the gym). If I want to buy a new lens for my camera.. I have to stick to my budget for 30 days. If I want to buy a gaming pc and improve my entertainment setup, I have to get to $500/m profit in my business.

    Finally, I have made goals in such a way that I can't really lose. For example, I'm building an application using a couple of technologies I've not used before. Even if things don't take off, I'm still getting an ROI on my skills/experience. I can put the app in my portfolio and use it to attract potential clients. I can write about it in a dev blog and build an audience. This has helped with the risks involved in this kind of investment.

    Conclusion

    I've never really disciplined myself like this before but it feels useful (for me, at least). I've starting to sternly demand more from my inner child. He just wants to play and laze about and create random sh*t and chase temporary pleasure and just indulge himself. Well, I've got to stand up and start limiting this stuff, because if I don't I'll just freelance for the next 20 years and not get sh*t else done. I could live comfortable, sure, but I'd always know I failed to do what I wanted to do simply for lack of discipline. f*ck. That.

    Not sure if anyone read this far, but, thanks if you did! Feel free to follow along. I'll likely update every week as I want to keep my progress reports as meaty as possible while not losing sight of it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  2. Kingmaker
    Offline

    Kingmaker Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    383
    Likes Received:
    1,245
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Rep Bank:
    $299
    Seems like you're on the right track, I would also recommend running yourself through the 5 Whys Technique: 5 Whys - Wikipedia

    Here's an example from Tim Ferris book:

    Q: Why did we miss our $1M sales target this quarter?
    A: We made fewer sales calls than planned.
    Q: Why did we make fewer sales calls than planned?
    A: We had fewer leads to work this month.
    Q: Why did we have fewer leads this month?
    A: We sent fewer email outreaches than planned.
    Q: Why did we send fewer outreach emails than planned?
    A: We were short-staffed.
    Q: Why were we short-staffed?
    A: We didn’t plan around the fact that two people were on vacation.

    It identifies the root cause of your issue, rather than giving a surface answer like "I suck at discipline", and sometimes the real reason is not what you expected.
     
  3. DamienRoche
    Offline

    DamienRoche Bronze Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    105
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Gender:
    Male
    Rep Bank:
    $589
    Thanks! I've heard of that technique before but never applied it. I'll run through it the next time I'm stumped or looking to get to the bottom of an issue.

    In fact, to document the progress of applying what I'm learning:

    - I suck at discipline
    - why? - because I don't exercise it enough
    - why? - because I'm lazy at times, I'm afraid of something, I get easily distracted
    - why? - because I feel entitled
    - why? - because society promotes entitlement?
    - why? - I'm not a sociology major :p

    Ok, that went a little off track. But I get the crux of the issues. I have been lazy in the past because I've felt like I've already made it. I remember a lyric I heard recently:

    "There was a time when Mic weren't making moves
    Convinced I made it doing nothing till my days were doomed"

    I'm sure there a few contributing factors.

    I think one of the issues I have is that my life is so comfortable and I'm so content, that I don't feel the NEED to build a successful business. I feel the NEED to work on my own stuff, but the only reason money is involved is because I need it to survive.

    Right now, the thing that keeps me ultimately motivated is in that I know I would be very fulfilled having my own stuff to always improve, instead of being prescribed tasks by someone else.

    Interesting, thanks for the suggestion. Definitely helped to keep the cogs turning.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
    Determined2012 and Kingmaker like this.
  4. Kingmaker
    Offline

    Kingmaker Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    383
    Likes Received:
    1,245
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Rep Bank:
    $299
    Yeah I can relate, I quit my job with about a year's savings with the goal of learning coding and it's been an up and down battle because I can literally sit and do nothing and be okay for a while.

    So my 5-whys looked something like this:

    1) Why did I only code for an hour today?
    - Because I went out with friends to see what's new with them.
    2) Why was I more concerned with seeing what's new with friends than coding?
    - Because while programming is 'supposedly' my priority, I don't have a constant routine to work on it.
    3) Why don't I have a constant routine to work on programming?
    - Because I wake up at random times.
    4) Why do I wake up at random times?
    - I stay up late due to going out, or watching movies.
    5) Why do I go out and watch movies?
    - Because my brain seeks dopamine hits, and it's hard to re-focus on work after getting them.

    So without the 5 whys I would have answered the original question with something like "I was lazy today/wasted time" but as I dug deeper I found that my sleeping pattern and dopamine overload is an important factor. So I've been waking up earlier to do the grinding first thing in the morning and then let myself do all the other crap, and the progress has been much smoother.

    Cool thing is you can ask the 5 whys for everything, like I asked them on why I was afraid of meeting my gf's parents(lol) and once you dig deep and understand yourself things are much clearer, and you know what you have to do to fix the root cause.
     
  5. DamienRoche
    Offline

    DamienRoche Bronze Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    105
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Gender:
    Male
    Rep Bank:
    $589
    What's interesting about your whys is that, during the 5 years I taught myself programming, it mostly happened in the twilight. My sleeping pattern was all over the place, I would frequently get up at 6pm in the evening and work during the night. One thing that kept me on track was the fact I was attempting to build some kind of reputation on freelance marketplaces - my dopamine hit was receiving payment and a great rating.

    The big difference, however, is that I learned through necessity. I had no qualifications or any other marketable skills and I simply needed a way to make money, so I did whatever I had to to get there. Now, I'm more than thankful I fell into programming. It's one of the best decisions of my life -- I actually have something I love doing and I get paid to do it.

    So yeh, I feel you. I don't think I would have put myself through the increasing pain if I didn't need to. I guess that's why having a vision and having reasons bigger than yourself are important when aiming for long-term goals. Big motivators now, despite not needing to build a successful business, is that 1) it helps me escape the rat race (no freelancing), 2) it allows me the freedom to live life on my terms, 3) it can give me the finances to do amazing things for my family, such as bring them over to Thailand for holidays.

    Number 2 and 3 are no doubt what will keep me going.

    I remember during ACT therapy, one of the principles behind it was that you accept the state you are in, and then you move towards your values. One of my core values is freedom, and so I think it's important for me I keep that in mind when planning goals. If my goals aren't based on my values, then I will never follow through in the long-term.

    Perhaps you need to really think about what your values are and why coding fits in with those values?
     
    Silver Silk and Kingmaker like this.
  6. DamienRoche
    Offline

    DamienRoche Bronze Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    105
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Gender:
    Male
    Rep Bank:
    $589
    Hmm.. ok.. last post was November the 29th! I've got a lot of answering!

    What have I done recently?

    A few days after that post I had to take a trip to Laos to apply for my education visa for Thailand at the Thai Embassy. I'd only taken my Revolut card (bad idea), and it didn't work at ANY cash machine in Laos. Couldn't even get money to pay for visa for Laos, and had to ask randomers at the airport if I could transfer them money over Paypal in exchange for cash. It worked, and I got in!

    Then didn't have any cash for food or travel, had to walk pretty much everywhere. Someone helped me out on another forum and kindly put some money into Western Union for me. Then guy at the Embassy turned away last 6 of us on the first day I went after queuing for 2 hours. That led to a cancelled flight and a loss of £230 that I needed for rent. So yeh, not a great week and it seriously threw me off. Should have been in and out in 2 days, but that turned into 5 days of hell.

    Why am I saying this? Because I learned a couple of things from it. I've been living in the clouds since I got to Thailand 6 weeks ago. Cheap rent, plenty of girls, gorgeous food, sun all day every day... and then SMACK.. out of nowhere, due to simple mistakes on my part, I'm thrown into a sh*t-storm that became progressively worse. What it hammered home is that it doesn't matter how good your life is going, at any moment it can all be taken away and you can dropped into a ditch and be forced to claw your way out. It is extremely important that you embrace times like this and enjoy the climb, no matter how many times you are kicked in the balls.

    The second lesson was about rejection. On the second day I started approaching random foreigners, asking if they had paypal so I could somehow get some cash. I asked probably about 25 foreigners, including a group of 6 guys.. awkward looks everywhere, not a single person agreed to help me. Though I was in a really sh*t position, I did learn that when times are tough and I'm forced to, I will put my ego aside and work for something I need. I've never approached so many strangers in my life. Begging is no fun, but I'm glad I was forced to experience it. Also made me realise how fortunate I am that I don't have to beg to survive.

    I did, however, vent a little in a fb group between my friends, but nothing major. I did feel like I was going to crack at one point and that I was just being repeatedly kicked in the balls.

    What have I done to improve?

    OK -- so, I finally got back to Thailand and back to my condo with an education visa in hand! I can now stay in Thailand for at least a year. I'll likely apply again next year, and if that fails then hop to another country in SEA. One thing is certain: I am NOT giving up my freedom to return to an overpriced Western country ever again. I will never live in UK again, I already know that. There is no turning back, and it feels great. Do or die.

    Since then, in the last couple of weeks, I've probably put 20 hours into freelancing to keep funds up. I've also put around 20 hours into my projects. BUT the hours I've actually put in have been configuring my Kubernetes cluster and deploying some applications just to get things to a level where I can quickly deploy whatever I want. I'm actually at that position now, so I'll be working now on a few problems I've started to solve. I'm being watchful that I don't get too involved in the tech side of things and ignore the bigger picture. The tech really has to take a step back in favour of the overall product and operations now.

    The first problem is quite simple and doesn't necessarily involve any money, but I understand that I need to publish content, products, whatever - I need to finish things and put them in front of users and learn from the behaviour of those users. That's all that matters now. No more day-dreaming, no more half-finished projects that never see the light of day. I don't care how imperfect or how unfinished something is, I'm going to start publishing things first, then thinking about how to improve the quality of them later. I'll start with very small problems I can solve in weeks, then move onto bigger problems.

    I've also hit the gym a couple of times (definitely need to increase that) and went to a martial arts lesson today. I've been on a couple of dates and spent some time taking pics with my cam (another hobby).

    What am I struggling with?

    My sleeping pattern. Without the structure of a 9-5 I find myself going sleep at random times and getting up at random times, probably spending too much time in bed, and just not really following any kind of routine. I get up, I shower, I eat, I work, I do other random stuff, then when I'm exhausted I go to bed and sleep for 12-14 hours. For example, I got up today at 3pm and it's currently 3am.. no sign of going to sleep soon, though I would love to just wake up at 7, run through a routine and start the day productively.

    I also struggled big time to put work in while I was going through my personal hell in Laos. Not sure how I'll deal with that in the future, because I tend to withdraw into inaction when bad things happen or there is some major issue that needs to be resolved - everything else is neglected.

    That's about it. The grind continues.
     
    Determined2012 and Tiger TT like this.
  7. JP Alvis
    Offline

    JP Alvis New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Buenos Aires
    Rep Bank:
    $97
    That's something I can relate to...

    - After being stuck watching coding tutorials (action faking), I've decided to finish a website and deploy it and actually taking concrete steps towards it.

    - A couple of years ago I thought about a mobile app that calculated the price of a cab ride, never did anything more than a sketch and list a couple of features just to find myself saying: "Wow, I thought about that before!" a couple of months ago after finding a similar one in the marketplace.

    Thanks for sharing man!
    Wish you the best.

    JP.
     
  8. DamienRoche
    Offline

    DamienRoche Bronze Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    105
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Gender:
    Male
    Rep Bank:
    $589
    It is a long walk in the beginning! How long you been into coding? It's been a good 7/8 years on this side and it was horrific for 2-3 years. I still have times on new technology where I'll spend days smashing my head against the wall. Setting up kube clusters and learning about cluster networking was one of the most painful things I've done.. ended up learning what I needed to for my use-case and getting the hell out of there.

    If you're looking for ideas, head over to Indie Hackers or Product Hunt. Have you already got a website in mind or you in the middle of development or something? Have you validated it or done any market research? I've started to dodge certain aspects because I prefer to code, but it's deadly to any real progress.

    I ended up deciding to build an availability monitor (one of the initial features of pingdom.com). There is another one on Indie Hackers that reached around $1800/m. The idea now is to just build a boring, humble product to get me into the business of running a business. Fact is, it doesn't matter what it is, the learning will happen when I'm forced to juggle all of this every day when I have paying customers.

    Have also decided to use fresh technology (moving into kube/elixir/go) to increase my value as a developer regardless. I'll either sell a product or I'll become a better developer and have another project in my portfolio. I think software entrepreneurs are in an excellent position at the minute. No idea how it will change as times goes on, but definitely need to seize the opportunities we currently have!
     
    JP Alvis likes this.
  9. JP Alvis
    Offline

    JP Alvis New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    15
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2018
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Buenos Aires
    Rep Bank:
    $97
    Yeah, I've been coding since 2012, mostly in .NET and I'd like to learn more about Docker and Kubernetes; but I've decided to take action (no matter how small it seems) to get out of my comfort zone.

    Being in the software industry is great, but for most of us, it's hard to move away (at least a little) from the technical side to the business/marketing/sales one.

    So far I've started working on a website for my wife, so she can sell her products and online courses about scrapbooking. I know there's a market for that and I think of this as an experience to prove myself on releasing a complete website on my own (it's easier when you're on a company and you have people helping you out).

    I wish you the best and I'm sure that as long as we keep moving and getting support and learning we'll be ok.

    Regards,
    JP.
     
    Silver Silk likes this.
  10. Silver Silk
    Offline

    Silver Silk Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    129
    Joined:
    May 10, 2017
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Rep Bank:
    $690
    @DamienRoche How are things progressing over on your side mate?
     

Share This Page