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Fastlane Success (8 figure exit!) - Now Back to the Starting Ground !!

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hustlebear

Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Dec 17, 2018
22
54
Thanks for contributing!

1) What's your process on validating ideas and when or how do you know it's a dud / move on to next idea?
2) Is it still a good time to get into ecom despite huge shipping costs eating into margin and logistical barriers?

Cheers!!
 
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izraelinspired

New Contributor
Nov 25, 2020
13
16
Congratulations on your exit!! I'm always delighted to read success stories like this
OK so there's a lot to my story - my journey and how it all happened (I'd be willing to share if there's any interest) - but long story short I have recently achieved the pinnacle of the 'fastlane journey' - selling my online business a year ago and amassing a low 8 figure net worth.

This was not a 'get rich quick' story either as this took the better part of the last 15 years to begin my entrepreneurship journey full time, and eventually build a business to the point of sale a decade later. I was working a full time corporate job (with my slowlane degree!) prior to embarking on this wild ride. I quit at 25 years old, and never looked back again or had a boss since that lovely July day. There were MANY failures, trials and tribulations along the way. If you want a 'process' and not an 'event' ---> I am no better example of that.

I am now at a point of figuring out what the best next steps forward are. Some of the things I have started working towards is thinking about starting another business for fun rather than just profit (orienting it closer towards a passion), currently investing the proceeds of the business sale, and gauging if there are other values to chase in this lifetime vs. the constant pursuit of building / scaling / selling businesses and building wealth for wealth's sake (once you figure out your 'enough').

I am late 30s with a small family (one child) and *think* I have close to enough to make my money last until the day I die, so pursuing extra wealth through hard work and additional sacrifice is becoming less and less appealing with each passing day. I have experienced all the exotic rides, dream vacations, top restaurants and parties (all responsibly of course) and many of all the other luxury goods we all aspire to. While great in its own right, and was a lot of my motivation from the get-go -- much of that has lost its charms on me over the years.

Additionally, I am looking forward to merging my life towards providing value to any/all that want help with business advice in any facet. My schedule is open now (as I consider myself partially retired) and I am open to mentoring / coaching anyone who is interested in entrepreneurship, scaling a business or just thinking of ideas / niches to pursue.

I haven't participated much on these boards while pursuing my entrepreneurial journey but am at a point now where I have the time, motivation and willingness to engage in helping others achieve 'the dream.'

In a way I am now back to ground zero - and yes, even though the pressures of day-to-day paycheck are further beyond me, I am in many ways faced with the same but different constraints that I was bootstrapping and growing a business, or trying to figure what is it now that I'm 'optimizing' for.

I am very conservative in my investments as well, so having money does not automatically enroll you in some special club where now 'making money' becomes much easier (in facts sometimes its the opposite when you are afraid of losing it all).

For those wondering how I made the bulk of my money it was through various e-com ventures, latest being an Amazon FBA business that led to an exit. The 'process' took me the better part of the last decade (the Amazon business actually was started exactly a decade ago this month!) - but I have been entrepreneurial in various facets since the age of 14.

While I haven't hit all the tenets of CENTS with my last business (primarily violating control and entry) - the rest of them were hit right on the mark to make it a success.

I'm still learning and browsing these forums weekly but will plan and contribute more as time goes on!
 

Deilux

New Contributor
Apr 13, 2022
1
5
OK so there's a lot to my story - my journey and how it all happened (I'd be willing to share if there's any interest) - but long story short I have recently achieved the pinnacle of the 'fastlane journey' - selling my online business a year ago and amassing a low 8 figure net worth.

This was not a 'get rich quick' story either as this took the better part of the last 15 years to begin my entrepreneurship journey full time, and eventually build a business to the point of sale a decade later. I was working a full time corporate job (with my slowlane degree!) prior to embarking on this wild ride. I quit at 25 years old, and never looked back again or had a boss since that lovely July day. There were MANY failures, trials and tribulations along the way. If you want a 'process' and not an 'event' ---> I am no better example of that.

I am now at a point of figuring out what the best next steps forward are. Some of the things I have started working towards is thinking about starting another business for fun rather than just profit (orienting it closer towards a passion), currently investing the proceeds of the business sale, and gauging if there are other values to chase in this lifetime vs. the constant pursuit of building / scaling / selling businesses and building wealth for wealth's sake (once you figure out your 'enough').

I am late 30s with a small family (one child) and *think* I have close to enough to make my money last until the day I die, so pursuing extra wealth through hard work and additional sacrifice is becoming less and less appealing with each passing day. I have experienced all the exotic rides, dream vacations, top restaurants and parties (all responsibly of course) and many of all the other luxury goods we all aspire to. While great in its own right, and was a lot of my motivation from the get-go -- much of that has lost its charms on me over the years.

Additionally, I am looking forward to merging my life towards providing value to any/all that want help with business advice in any facet. My schedule is open now (as I consider myself partially retired) and I am open to mentoring / coaching anyone who is interested in entrepreneurship, scaling a business or just thinking of ideas / niches to pursue.

I haven't participated much on these boards while pursuing my entrepreneurial journey but am at a point now where I have the time, motivation and willingness to engage in helping others achieve 'the dream.'

In a way I am now back to ground zero - and yes, even though the pressures of day-to-day paycheck are further beyond me, I am in many ways faced with the same but different constraints that I was bootstrapping and growing a business, or trying to figure what is it now that I'm 'optimizing' for.

I am very conservative in my investments as well, so having money does not automatically enroll you in some special club where now 'making money' becomes much easier (in facts sometimes its the opposite when you are afraid of losing it all).

For those wondering how I made the bulk of my money it was through various e-com ventures, latest being an Amazon FBA business that led to an exit. The 'process' took me the better part of the last decade (the Amazon business actually was started exactly a decade ago this month!) - but I have been entrepreneurial in various facets since the age of 14.

While I haven't hit all the tenets of CENTS with my last business (primarily violating control and entry) - the rest of them were hit right on the mark to make it a success.

I'm still learning and browsing these forums weekly but will plan and contribute more as time goes on!
Hey, dude Great to hear these great news :)
Congrats on exit !

I have exited too, just a month ago... just ...

I exited with a zero ... and I am happy about it...

It took me almost 12 years to come to that zero...

see, I was in debt (over 3M) and had to bankrupt my three brick and mortar companies and finally file a personal bankruptcy too...

Now I have plenty of experience (on what not to do) and I have gained some 10 years of experience how to live healthy, happy and in harmony... Fulfilled and wealthy life...

have one major idea - to help humanity and show the more harmonious way to live

over 15 years designed a program - Lifetime Project. Design and Build your (new) Life.

Any interest in developing together?

Also I have a couple of crazy and couple of tangible ideas in process around real estate business (everyone can participate in the global real estate exchange)
 

DCDeuce

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Speedway Pass
Dec 3, 2016
57
101
Washington DC
OK so there's a lot to my story - my journey and how it all happened (I'd be willing to share if there's any interest) - but long story short I have recently achieved the pinnacle of the 'fastlane journey' - selling my online business a year ago and amassing a low 8 figure net worth.

This was not a 'get rich quick' story either as this took the better part of the last 15 years to begin my entrepreneurship journey full time, and eventually build a business to the point of sale a decade later. I was working a full time corporate job (with my slowlane degree!) prior to embarking on this wild ride. I quit at 25 years old, and never looked back again or had a boss since that lovely July day. There were MANY failures, trials and tribulations along the way. If you want a 'process' and not an 'event' ---> I am no better example of that.

I am now at a point of figuring out what the best next steps forward are. Some of the things I have started working towards is thinking about starting another business for fun rather than just profit (orienting it closer towards a passion), currently investing the proceeds of the business sale, and gauging if there are other values to chase in this lifetime vs. the constant pursuit of building / scaling / selling businesses and building wealth for wealth's sake (once you figure out your 'enough').

I am late 30s with a small family (one child) and *think* I have close to enough to make my money last until the day I die, so pursuing extra wealth through hard work and additional sacrifice is becoming less and less appealing with each passing day. I have experienced all the exotic rides, dream vacations, top restaurants and parties (all responsibly of course) and many of all the other luxury goods we all aspire to. While great in its own right, and was a lot of my motivation from the get-go -- much of that has lost its charms on me over the years.

Additionally, I am looking forward to merging my life towards providing value to any/all that want help with business advice in any facet. My schedule is open now (as I consider myself partially retired) and I am open to mentoring / coaching anyone who is interested in entrepreneurship, scaling a business or just thinking of ideas / niches to pursue.

I haven't participated much on these boards while pursuing my entrepreneurial journey but am at a point now where I have the time, motivation and willingness to engage in helping others achieve 'the dream.'

In a way I am now back to ground zero - and yes, even though the pressures of day-to-day paycheck are further beyond me, I am in many ways faced with the same but different constraints that I was bootstrapping and growing a business, or trying to figure what is it now that I'm 'optimizing' for.

I am very conservative in my investments as well, so having money does not automatically enroll you in some special club where now 'making money' becomes much easier (in facts sometimes its the opposite when you are afraid of losing it all).

For those wondering how I made the bulk of my money it was through various e-com ventures, latest being an Amazon FBA business that led to an exit. The 'process' took me the better part of the last decade (the Amazon business actually was started exactly a decade ago this month!) - but I have been entrepreneurial in various facets since the age of 14.

While I haven't hit all the tenets of CENTS with my last business (primarily violating control and entry) - the rest of them were hit right on the mark to make it a success.

I'm still learning and browsing these forums weekly but will plan and contribute more as time goes on!
This is awesome! Congrats to both you and @NeoDialectic on the 8 figure exit! I really hope to be will be in your shoes one day with an 8 figure buyout. I just finished creating my Shopify site and am waiting on Amazon to approve my product.

I wanted to ask either/or both of you, how many products did you all have in your Amazon store? I also noticed @fastlane_dad said its a long journey that should not be taken alone, but I am having a hard time finding a business partner. When I started this journey, I had a partner, but he was never available. Do you either of you have any tips on finding a business part or maybe where I should look for one or more?

Again, congrats on the exit!
 
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NeoDialectic

Successfully Exited the Rat Race
FASTLANE INSIDER
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Feb 11, 2022
88
451
Phoenix, az
This is awesome! Congrats to both you and @NeoDialectic on the 8 figure exit! I really hope to be will be in your shoes one day with an 8 figure buyout. I just finished creating my Shopify site and am waiting on Amazon to approve my product.

I wanted to ask either/or both of you, how many products did you all have in your Amazon store? I also noticed @fastlane_dad said its a long journey that should not be taken alone, but I am having a hard time finding a business partner. When I started this journey, I had a partner, but he was never available. Do you either of you have any tips on finding a business part or maybe where I should look for one or more?

Again, congrats on the exit!
Thank you!

Off the top of my head, we have had 20-30 products on Amazon.

I don't think you necessarily need a business partner. In fact, many people probably couldn't be in a healthy business partner relationship. That doesn't mean they won't be successful. I don't think Steve Jobs would do well having a 50/50 partner for long, and we know how that turned out! But even without a business partner, you don't have to do it alone. There are communities like these that can help along the way.

If you are looking for any advice on finding a business partner, you can check out my post HERE

This is a pretty large topic, but here it goes. There are probably 2 seperate questions here.
  1. What traits do BOTH partners have to possess to foster a healthy business partnership
  2. What qualities/skills in a business partner mesh well with your qualities/skills
I think the following traits are very important for #1
  • Capable of setting boundaries
  • Capable of being confrontational and standing up for yourself
  • Capable of separating the friendship and the business partnership
  • Be willing to compromise
  • Have their ego in control
All these traits build a foundation to the partnership. Alot can be written on each of them, but to me, they allow the partners to be able to set expectations of each other and resolve issues when expectations change or are unmet. Most people focus on the first part, but find out when it's too late that the only constant in business is change and their partnership can't adapt to the shifting landscape.

Moving onto #2.

The following are a list of things that would facilitate a less rocky partnership
  • Your goals and values should be aligned
  • You should have similar financial habits
  • You should have similar work ethics
  • You should have compatible power mindsets. It's NOT OK if both people are stubborn leaders as they will bump heads eventually. It's NOT OK if both people are passive as this will hamper decision making. It's OK if one person like to take lead and the other prefers to follow. Its probably most IDEAL if both people have leadership qualities that they can exert, but also don't mind taking the backseat if the situation calls for it. This last one describes @fastlane_dad and I partnership and is probably one of our biggest strengths. We are both very easy going, but grab the reins when needed.
The follow are a list of things that would make 1+1=3 in a partnership
  • Specializing in separate skills. This refers to things you guys know how to do or specifically like to do.
  • Having different iritations. This refers to things neither of you may specifically like to do but don't mind doing
I haven't wrote specifically about this topic in the past, so I'm sure I am missing a few things. This is a good start to get you thinking in the right direction though. The advice to not start a business with friends is generally good advice. But that is simply because most people can't separate business & friendship and people also have very different personal financial habits that may not be immediately apparent. So it's not just because something is inherently wrong with starting a business with a friend.

It's no accident that alot of what I said is just basics of how to have GOOD RELATIONSHIPS in general. A business relationship brings additional intricacies, but many of the requirements are similar to building any type of relationship with someone.

Keep in mind that this advice is based on you wanting a long term good business relationship. Plenty of partnerships work long enough for people to become successful and then break up. But they were still successful so it's not the biggest deal. So it may be OK to get into business with someone that doesn't fit all your criteria. You just have to be cognizant of this and plan accordingly.
 
Last edited:

EquinoxS

New Contributor
May 19, 2021
6
11
Germany
Congratulations! It's hard to imagine what struggles you must have had - and overcome - over the years!

Maybe it sounds funny but I believe I would have an easier time growing and optimizing a business than getting it started. To me, the start of a business has always been the big mystery. Can you tell more about the moment you realized there was value to be skewed and how you figured out how to do it:
First, you need to realize there is some way, e.g. a modification, that could improve the product. Did you check existing products and have some kind of heureka moment as in "that can be done in a better way"? Did you have domain experience with those products (used them in the past, worked in that industry...)?

Second (and certainly more important) is the idea / knowledge on how to turn that modification into reality. Did you already have the skills to do so right away (e.g. sat down in front of your PC, opened a CAD program, designed the modification with your already existing engineering knowledge...) or did you have to have to learn those skills first?

Thanks in advance!
 

fastlane_dad

8 Figure Fastlane Graduate
FASTLANE INSIDER
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Jun 20, 2017
99
530
39
Scottsdale, AZ
Hey, dude Great to hear these great news :)
Congrats on exit !

I have exited too, just a month ago... just ...

I exited with a zero ... and I am happy about it...

It took me almost 12 years to come to that zero...

see, I was in debt (over 3M) and had to bankrupt my three brick and mortar companies and finally file a personal bankruptcy too...

Now I have plenty of experience (on what not to do) and I have gained some 10 years of experience how to live healthy, happy and in harmony... Fulfilled and wealthy life...

have one major idea - to help humanity and show the more harmonious way to live

over 15 years designed a program - Lifetime Project. Design and Build your (new) Life.

Any interest in developing together?

Also I have a couple of crazy and couple of tangible ideas in process around real estate business (everyone can participate in the global real estate exchange)
In many ways zero is a good place to start (or start over!). After I quit my job (and eventually funds ran dry) there were definitely several years where I was in the negative and had to fight hard to even get back to zero! Hopefully you are armed now with what not to do, and gathered knowledge, experience and lessons that will serve you well into the future.

What field were your brick and mortar companies in?

And good luck on building up your program. Will this be an online course?
 
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NeoDialectic

Successfully Exited the Rat Race
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Rat-Race Escape!
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Speedway Pass
Feb 11, 2022
88
451
Phoenix, az
Congratulations! It's hard to imagine what struggles you must have had - and overcome - over the years!

Maybe it sounds funny but I believe I would have an easier time growing and optimizing a business than getting it started. To me, the start of a business has always been the big mystery. Can you tell more about the moment you realized there was value to be skewed and how you figured out how to do it:
First, you need to realize there is some way, e.g. a modification, that could improve the product. Did you check existing products and have some kind of heureka moment as in "that can be done in a better way"? Did you have domain experience with those products (used them in the past, worked in that industry...)?

Second (and certainly more important) is the idea / knowledge on how to turn that modification into reality. Did you already have the skills to do so right away (e.g. sat down in front of your PC, opened a CAD program, designed the modification with your already existing engineering knowledge...) or did you have to have to learn those skills first?

Thanks in advance!
Here is a post I made that generally addresses some of your questions

Thanks for contributing!

1) What's your process on validating ideas and when or how do you know it's a dud / move on to next idea?
2) Is it still a good time to get into ecom despite huge shipping costs eating into margin and logistical barriers?

Cheers!!
1)

We like to call your selling point "the rub". It could be a new marketplace, a new product, a new marketing strategy for existing products, etc... Depending on which of these things you are validating, the process could be wildly different. If I had to distill it down to some basics that they all share it would be:
  1. Figure out what aspect of your entire business is providing the differentiating massive real or perceived value
  2. Find a way to provide that value but using the easiest/fastest/cheapest way were you may be very far from satisfied from the end result but it "gets the job done"
  3. See if there is any response at all. A strong response is a win, a weak response where you break even is a win, a weak response where you barely get any sales or a response where you don't get sales is a lose.
  4. If you lose, you can try another iteration or two to modify some variable. Otherwise you move on from that idea.
A lose does NOT mean that the idea isn't workable. It just means that under the conditions you tested it, the value you are providing isn't so large that it overcomes alot of the other issues. When you are just starting a business, don't you want to stack the deck so you run with something that has alot of market demand as it is? MJ kind of talks about this when he says the product should have a pull instead of you trying to push it on people.

So I can give you an example of this when the rub is the product. Lets say you realize how much of a hassle it is to always have to lug out your huge vacuum to clean your car. You look online and there are no such thing as portable car vacuums. It sounds like a GREAT idea, but I wouldn't invest 10s of thousands of dollars into developing one. The first thing I would do is find the smallest vacuum that is on the market and find a cigarette lighter inverter. I would make a marketplace listing for "portable car vacuum" and when something sells I would send that combination. Many people would point out all the flaws... Yea. There is a ton. Everything from poor conversions because of unprofessional looking product page to customers not being too happy that they paid X amount for what turned out to be a jerry rigged solution. You would likely be surprised to find that most people would still be happy with your product because it solved their issue and that is really what they cared about. But the most important thing is that you got a real world signal. You found out that people ARE looking for portable car vacuums and they ARE willing to actually pay for it. Then depending on the response I would invest either a little to make a beta version and keep testing or invest as much as needed to make a well thought out final product. So if the response was ok but not overwhelming, I would find a company that makes generic vacuums and contract them to just add a cigarette lighter transformer directly into the unit. It will still not live up to your dream of a product you would be proud of and one that would impress customers. But it will now be a professional looking package and that should raise conversions and give you a clearer signal.

2)

Absolutely. What does shipping cost and logistics have to do with anything? If it costs you more, you just charge more. That's how inflation happens, but that's a macroeconomics problem, not yours. If you are referring to just finding junk on Alibaba and trying to resell it; that's been a dying "new business" strategy for 2 decades. Chinese companies are selling directly to consumer on Amazon and you will never beat them on price. Everything's possible with enough ingenuity, but this isn't the type of business we are talking about here. I personally would always recommend against getting into a business where you have to compete on price, unless you found some kind of ingenious solution to make it 10x cheaper yourself.

We are discussing and working on making a write up that specifically answers questions like yours with an exact step by step process of how we would come up with an idea and put it on Amazon.
 

fastlane_dad

8 Figure Fastlane Graduate
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Rat-Race Escape!
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Speedway Pass
Jun 20, 2017
99
530
39
Scottsdale, AZ
Congratulations! It's hard to imagine what struggles you must have had - and overcome - over the years!

Maybe it sounds funny but I believe I would have an easier time growing and optimizing a business than getting it started. To me, the start of a business has always been the big mystery. Can you tell more about the moment you realized there was value to be skewed and how you figured out how to do it:
First, you need to realize there is some way, e.g. a modification, that could improve the product. Did you check existing products and have some kind of heureka moment as in "that can be done in a better way"? Did you have domain experience with those products (used them in the past, worked in that industry...)?

Second (and certainly more important) is the idea / knowledge on how to turn that modification into reality. Did you already have the skills to do so right away (e.g. sat down in front of your PC, opened a CAD program, designed the modification with your already existing engineering knowledge...) or did you have to have to learn those skills first?

Thanks in advance!

I will also add to this post a bit of personal experience -

Briefly in terms of how some of the ideas were born that ended up being profitable - for one there was an automotive accessories line that we carried. I had the product on my car, and soon enough people in parking lots / gas stations asked me where they can get a similar one! We experimented with a few products, made a mock prototype and a website and a store was setup! We improved the design slightly over what was already on the marketplace. We made a few basic videos and took some pictures of the products. One of the other value skews was great customer / phone support (that we were doing ourselves!). The ability to upsell the customer and explain your products was great at the time.The ironic part is that this didn't take of as a business until YEARS later, when we decided to take that idea more seriously.

Some other ideas were born strictly because I noticed a lack of a few ingredients combined into a personal care product many people use daily. I thought the combination of those several ingredients was a great value skew (as each one held benefits) - and now packaged up it carried even more weight (i.e. shaving cream BUT also containing an ingredient that prevents follow up razor burn).

Other products followed suit. All were typically born around something that is / was a part of my daily life. The value adds and iterations were not groundbreaking inventions, trying to break into a new market. For everything we sold, the market was already there or small and growing. Some products were more niche then others and only applied to a select group of the population.

I can spitball numerous products daily that I would like to see improved or haven't found a great solution to my needs (or haven't looked hard enough - i.e. a specific hiking bag, upscale quality wine opener, the perfect running shorts, etc). If I was to turn any of those into a business - I'd need to look at current market, potentially try out some other competitors, see where they are advertising and how, what's the barrier of entry, and how many value skews I would be able to add.

I would also need to picture where the business can go from there, can I have upsells, will the product form a productocracy (mj!), will there be repeat orders, how much can I charge, what is the multiple of manufacture to sale price, can I test the market before making product, etc. We are working on a post to go through all of this step by step and how to decide if the idea / market / product is worth pursuing and throwing time and energy into.

Another key takeaway, in between the ideas that took off - there were several misses where time/effort/brainstorming and testing was implemented that went nowhere or was dropped. Most of this was in the e-commerce space, with different advertising methods, different products, different platforms and value skews that were tried.

All I know is that the marketplace will still keep evolving and many of yesterdays 'methods' will not work today, or be anywhere as effective.
 
Last edited:

EquinoxS

New Contributor
May 19, 2021
6
11
Germany
Briefly in terms of how some of the ideas were born that ended up being profitable - for one there was an automotive accessories line that we carried. I had the product on my car, and soon enough people in parking lots / gas stations asked me where they can get a similar one! We experimented with a few products, made a mock prototype and a website and a store was setup! We improved the design slightly over what was already on the marketplace. We made a few basic videos and took some pictures of the products. One of the other value skews was great customer / phone support (that we were doing ourselves!). The ability to upsell the customer and explain your products was great at the time.The ironic part is that this didn't take of as a business until YEARS later, when we decided to take that idea more seriously.

Some other ideas were born strictly because I noticed a lack of a few ingredients combined into a personal care product many people use daily. I thought the combination of those several ingredients was a great value skew (as each one held benefits) - and now packaged up it carried even more weight.

Other products followed suit. All were typically born around something that is / was a part of my daily life. The value adds and iterations were not groundbreaking inventions, trying to break into a new market (think shaving cream BUT also containing an ingredient that prevents follow up razor burn). For everything we sold, the market was already there or small and growing. Some products were more niche then others and only applied to a select group of the population.
Thanks for the detailed answer!

So, most of the ideas for things to improve came by using them yourself - that makes sense!

If you don't mind, I'm really interested in the product generation part: you mentioned the automotive accessory. I take it you had this accessory on your car (bought from another company) and people came up to you asking about it. That's when you realized there is demand for this type of accessory.
Next, you thought about ways to improve the design. How did actually implement the new and improved design? Did you draw sketches, sent them to a supplier and they figured how how to build that product? Or did you create a (detailed) CAD model and asked for quotations from suppliers? Or did you outsource the whole thing - design & production ("would be cool if XYZ was attached to the accessory, you guys figure out what it should look like and build it for me")?

As for the personal care product, you combined two ingredients A and B that previously had only existed in separate products (think "2 in 1" shower gels and shampoos)? Did it take you many iterations to get a good result? I could imagine that the combination of A and B might behave very differently than one might expect. E.g. if you only knew elements sodium (explosive reaction with water!) and chlorine (toxic!), you probably would expect the combination of the two to be some very dangerous stuff, not table salt. ;-)
I could also imagine that it was tough to get your new product approved by some authorities since it comes in contact with skin? Think regulatory affairs hell...

Maybe I'm overthinking this but you make it sound 'so easy' and I'm pretty sure it wasn't!
 
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Joejordan95

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
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Speedway Pass
Sep 12, 2021
52
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OK so there's a lot to my story - my journey and how it all happened (I'd be willing to share if there's any interest) - but long story short I have recently achieved the pinnacle of the 'fastlane journey' - selling my online business a year ago and amassing a low 8 figure net worth.

This was not a 'get rich quick' story either as this took the better part of the last 15 years to begin my entrepreneurship journey full time, and eventually build a business to the point of sale a decade later. I was working a full time corporate job (with my slowlane degree!) prior to embarking on this wild ride. I quit at 25 years old, and never looked back again or had a boss since that lovely July day. There were MANY failures, trials and tribulations along the way. If you want a 'process' and not an 'event' ---> I am no better example of that.

I am now at a point of figuring out what the best next steps forward are. Some of the things I have started working towards is thinking about starting another business for fun rather than just profit (orienting it closer towards a passion), currently investing the proceeds of the business sale, and gauging if there are other values to chase in this lifetime vs. the constant pursuit of building / scaling / selling businesses and building wealth for wealth's sake (once you figure out your 'enough').

I am late 30s with a small family (one child) and *think* I have close to enough to make my money last until the day I die, so pursuing extra wealth through hard work and additional sacrifice is becoming less and less appealing with each passing day. I have experienced all the exotic rides, dream vacations, top restaurants and parties (all responsibly of course) and many of all the other luxury goods we all aspire to. While great in its own right, and was a lot of my motivation from the get-go -- much of that has lost its charms on me over the years.

Additionally, I am looking forward to merging my life towards providing value to any/all that want help with business advice in any facet. My schedule is open now (as I consider myself partially retired) and I am open to mentoring / coaching anyone who is interested in entrepreneurship, scaling a business or just thinking of ideas / niches to pursue.

I haven't participated much on these boards while pursuing my entrepreneurial journey but am at a point now where I have the time, motivation and willingness to engage in helping others achieve 'the dream.'

In a way I am now back to ground zero - and yes, even though the pressures of day-to-day paycheck are further beyond me, I am in many ways faced with the same but different constraints that I was bootstrapping and growing a business, or trying to figure what is it now that I'm 'optimizing' for.

I am very conservative in my investments as well, so having money does not automatically enroll you in some special club where now 'making money' becomes much easier (in facts sometimes its the opposite when you are afraid of losing it all).

For those wondering how I made the bulk of my money it was through various e-com ventures, latest being an Amazon FBA business that led to an exit. The 'process' took me the better part of the last decade (the Amazon business actually was started exactly a decade ago this month!) - but I have been entrepreneurial in various facets since the age of 14.

While I haven't hit all the tenets of CENTS with my last business (primarily violating control and entry) - the rest of them were hit right on the mark to make it a success.

I'm still learning and browsing these forums weekly but will plan and contribute more as time goes on!
Well Done @fastlane_dad

Hard work paid the f off for you! Maybe you should do nothing for a while and see if you become inspired to do something, rather than looking for something new?
 

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UPGRADED to GOLD, thank you for answering questions.

Side note: If anyone want to know "who" is buying Amazon businesses, here's a list of funded and capitalized entities that are designed solely for Amazon acquisitions.

 

fastlane_dad

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Thanks for the detailed answer!

So, most of the ideas for things to improve came by using them yourself - that makes sense!

If you don't mind, I'm really interested in the product generation part: you mentioned the automotive accessory. I take it you had this accessory on your car (bought from another company) and people came up to you asking about it. That's when you realized there is demand for this type of accessory.
Next, you thought about ways to improve the design. How did actually implement the new and improved design? Did you draw sketches, sent them to a supplier and they figured how how to build that product? Or did you create a (detailed) CAD model and asked for quotations from suppliers? Or did you outsource the whole thing - design & production ("would be cool if XYZ was attached to the accessory, you guys figure out what it should look like and build it for me")?

As for the personal care product, you combined two ingredients A and B that previously had only existed in separate products (think "2 in 1" shower gels and shampoos)? Did it take you many iterations to get a good result? I could imagine that the combination of A and B might behave very differently than one might expect. E.g. if you only knew elements sodium (explosive reaction with water!) and chlorine (toxic!), you probably would expect the combination of the two to be some very dangerous stuff, not table salt. ;-)
I could also imagine that it was tough to get your new product approved by some authorities since it comes in contact with skin? Think regulatory affairs hell...

Maybe I'm overthinking this but you make it sound 'so easy' and I'm pretty sure it wasn't!

Honestly it was more rudimentary than that. The automotive gadget was something that we were able to put together ourselves with common items found either in home depot, auto parts stores and/or some other more specific add on parts that can be bought online. When we put it together, we were spit balling ideas, and didn't take it seriously until later on in our journey decided to try some adwords spending to the site, and it converted well enough to keep it going and take it more seriously. We never got it (the product) to the point of being fully assembled / manufactured anywhere else, and had an employee that would put this product together / package it up ready for shipment.

As far as personal care products, there are countless labs (manufacturers) who are willing to work with you to help formulate new products, and advise if ingredients would not work together. These were all safe ingredients that we experimented with, and were commonly found separate, but not together (and that's what made the value add!). The labs will provide (many times free) samples for you to try out, and distill to your liking (whether its smell, consistency, effect, more or less of certain ingredient etc). Most the labs in the USA are FDA approved and know what they are doing. The bigger legal issue is always the claims and intent of use that you make/don't make on your products when you list for sale - so that you do have to be careful with.

Again - I'm highlighting examples and products that 'worked' for us. It's always 'easy' in hindsight, but the grind, process, experimentation, brainstorming, frustration, ideas that went nowhere, and lack of sales and advertising cost on countless other products is enough to fill three novels full.

Looking back, it always appears like the successful ideas and products should have taken no more than five days to formulate, put together a website and start advertising (or kick off a marketing campaign) but in reality it takes a heck of a lot longer then that to put it all in motion an make sure that its not a complete bust.
 
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fastlane_dad

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UPGRADED to GOLD, thank you for answering questions.

Side note: If anyone want to know "who" is buying Amazon businesses, here's a list of funded and capitalized entities that are designed solely for Amazon acquisitions.

Thanks!

The amazon aggregators are only growing day by day , and there are M&A firms that help and guide you to being acquired. Overall was a fairly simple, straightforward process.
 
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Chris Sciora

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I have exited too, just a month ago... just ...

I exited with a zero ... and I am happy about it...

It took me almost 12 years to come to that zero...
It sounds like you're in a good place at this point, so I'm going to say this made me laugh out loud. Similar story for me with smaller numbers. We were just shy of $1M debt in 2008 when the real estate market locked up. No one could get a mortgage to buy the lovely properties that had just finished being rehabbed. Even better, the listing company we were using filed for bankruptcy which prevented me from listing with anyone else for almost three months. Far too late at that point.

I spent almost three years being a reluctant landlord just to break even and pay back the private lenders.
 

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For those wondering how I made the bulk of my money it was through various e-com ventures, latest being an Amazon FBA business that led to an exit. The 'process' took me the better part of the last decade (the Amazon business actually was started exactly a decade ago this month!) - but I have been entrepreneurial in various facets since the age of 14.
Do you think it's possible to accomplish the same with Amazon starting in 2022?

The Amazon landscape is very different than ten years ago. I looked into Amazon FBA pretty seriously about three years and decided against it for several reason. Lack of control, endless fees, no customer ownership and Amazon literally stealing successful products and selling against you. I also became convinced that many, many people were starting FBAs due to a proliferation of guru courses, doing a crappy job running them and quickly churning out. It seemed to result in artificially low prices (due to the owner subsidizing losses) that penalized better run companies that might otherwise be successful.
 
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NeoDialectic

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Do you think it's possible to accomplish the same with Amazon starting in 2022?

The Amazon landscape is very different than ten years ago. I looked into Amazon FBA pretty seriously about three years and decided against it for several reason. Lack of control, endless fees, no customer ownership and Amazon literally stealing successful products and selling against you. I also became convinced that many, many people were starting FBAs due to a proliferation of guru courses, doing a crappy job running them and quickly churning out. It seemed to result in artificially low prices (due to the owner subsidizing losses) that penalized better run companies that might otherwise be successful.
The short answer is that yes it is possible. It is different today than 2012. But it is still very possible.

The slightly longer answer is that there is always room for innovative products or innovative marketing angles. However, I would definitely suggest NOT getting into Amazon in 2022 if your idea of selling is trying to be price competitive or dropshipping from alibaba.
 
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Chris Sciora

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The short answer is that yes it is possible. It is different today than 2012. But it is still very possible.

The slightly longer answer is that there is always room for innovative products or innovative marketing angles. However, I would definitely suggest NOT getting into Amazon in 2022 if your idea of selling is trying to be price competitive or dropshipping from alibaba.
I feel like you need something that is adjacent to a popular item, but not easy for competitors to see is selling well.

What *would* you launch on Amazon starting from ground zero again? I mean the process of figuring out the exact product, not a specific items. Although if you have any of those in mind, feel free to shout out and I'll start an FBA tomorrow.
 

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I feel like you need something that is adjacent to a popular item, but not easy for competitors to see is selling well.

What *would* you launch on Amazon starting from ground zero again? I mean the process of figuring out the exact product, not a specific items. Although if you have any of those in mind, feel free to shout out and I'll start an FBA tomorrow.
Chris, before you launch a product, you should ask yourself, “Would I be starting this business if I couldn’t sell with FBA?”

If your answer is yes, then proceed. Else I’d rethink it.
 
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Chris, before you launch a product, you should ask yourself, “Would I be starting this business if I couldn’t sell with FBA?”

If your answer is yes, then proceed. Else I’d rethink it.
Actually, that's close to my next question. @NeoDialectic It sounded like you were marketing your products directly instead of relying completely on Amazon. You mentioned starting with picking up the phone and upselling. If you can use Amazon for fulfillment without relying on it entirely for promotion, it solves a lot of the business problems for me.

Is that the case?
 

fastlane_dad

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Actually, that's close to my next question. @NeoDialectic It sounded like you were marketing your products directly instead of relying completely on Amazon. You mentioned starting with picking up the phone and upselling. If you can use Amazon for fulfillment without relying on it entirely for promotion, it solves a lot of the business problems for me.

Is that the case?

The business where we did a lot of phone support was a different venture, almost completely off amazon.

You can def use amazon just for fulfillment, and you should have a presence on there as well. Just know that promotion / advertising / standing out on amazon is a lot tougher (today) if you use that as your sole method of driving business.

As @biophase mentioned 'you should ask yourself, “Would I be starting this business if I couldn’t sell with FBA?”

That's a good place to start. And again always have promotion in mind of/and how you will be driving traffic to your listing.
 

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I feel like you need something that is adjacent to a popular item, but not easy for competitors to see is selling well.

What *would* you launch on Amazon starting from ground zero again? I mean the process of figuring out the exact product, not a specific items. Although if you have any of those in mind, feel free to shout out and I'll start an FBA tomorrow.

I just started a thread that will be a step by step guide. So far I have just wrote the idea generation portion, which actually answers your question. Here it is.
 
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tactfully

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Thanks so much for sharing your story and congrats, fastlane_dad and NeoDialectic. A success story is always great to hear and personally motivates me to work more on my goals.

I just wanted to ask, what is your opinion and outlook on NFTs and Web 3.0 overall. NFT collections for example can be successful with the right team and can generate millions in the mint phase as well as secondary fees, like BAYC and Azuki. Do you think there's any VALUE behind them, a business that people should pursue?
 

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Thanks so much for sharing your story and congrats, fastlane_dad and NeoDialectic. A success story is always great to hear and personally motivates me to work more on my goals.

I just wanted to ask, what is your opinion and outlook on NFTs and Web 3.0 overall. NFT collections for example can be successful with the right team and can generate millions in the mint phase as well as secondary fees, like BAYC and Azuki. Do you think there's any VALUE behind them, a business that people should pursue?
Haven't dove into this much yet, but I'm sure much wealth will be created in this space in the next decade or so. For now, a lot of it seems like speculation / hype. Based on my quick take, majority of the people currently actually 'making money' in this space are the ones talking and writing about it. Many of the others are just gambling and speculating. But an interesting topic and way forward nonetheless. I will be curious to learn more and understand where all this is going to potentially open up some new opportunities even for myself!
 

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There was no one single home run 'event' occurring in any of our business. Much / many of the days were very uneventful - with many of them actually felt like they were 'wasted away' brainstorming, researching, reading and/or deliberately trying and executing on a mini plan we made.
I am on my journey, currently figuring out how to get to the next big step with my business (700K$ revenue today and growing roughly 10% yearly), and this is exactly how it feels. Small challenges and next steps, seeing the big vision but working on the next few steps ahead, and tackling unforeseen circumstances, day in and day out. And I'm loving it.
 
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It's timely because I launched a content site last year, built it to 50,000 pageviews/mo through SEO, and started building an email list with hopes of launching an e-commerce product Q2 - Q3 this year.
Hey!
Would love to hear how you built up your website to 50k/month in pageviews and then built an email list. Well done!
 

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Haven't dove into this much yet, but I'm sure much wealth will be created in this space in the next decade or so. For now, a lot of it seems like speculation / hype. Based on my quick take, majority of the people currently actually 'making money' in this space are the ones talking and writing about it. Many of the others are just gambling and speculating. But an interesting topic and way forward nonetheless. I will be curious to learn more and understand where all this is going to potentially open up some new opportunities even for myself

OK so there's a lot to my story - my journey and how it all happened (I'd be willing to share if there's any interest) - but long story short I have recently achieved the pinnacle of the 'fastlane journey' - selling my online business a year ago and amassing a low 8 figure net worth.

This was not a 'get rich quick' story either as this took the better part of the last 15 years to begin my entrepreneurship journey full time, and eventually build a business to the point of sale a decade later. I was working a full time corporate job (with my slowlane degree!) prior to embarking on this wild ride. I quit at 25 years old, and never looked back again or had a boss since that lovely July day. There were MANY failures, trials and tribulations along the way. If you want a 'process' and not an 'event' ---> I am no better example of that.

I am now at a point of figuring out what the best next steps forward are. Some of the things I have started working towards is thinking about starting another business for fun rather than just profit (orienting it closer towards a passion), currently investing the proceeds of the business sale, and gauging if there are other values to chase in this lifetime vs. the constant pursuit of building / scaling / selling businesses and building wealth for wealth's sake (once you figure out your 'enough').

I am late 30s with a small family (one child) and *think* I have close to enough to make my money last until the day I die, so pursuing extra wealth through hard work and additional sacrifice is becoming less and less appealing with each passing day. I have experienced all the exotic rides, dream vacations, top restaurants and parties (all responsibly of course) and many of all the other luxury goods we all aspire to. While great in its own right, and was a lot of my motivation from the get-go -- much of that has lost its charms on me over the years.

Additionally, I am looking forward to merging my life towards providing value to any/all that want help with business advice in any facet. My schedule is open now (as I consider myself partially retired) and I am open to mentoring / coaching anyone who is interested in entrepreneurship, scaling a business or just thinking of ideas / niches to pursue.

I haven't participated much on these boards while pursuing my entrepreneurial journey but am at a point now where I have the time, motivation and willingness to engage in helping others achieve 'the dream.'

In a way I am now back to ground zero - and yes, even though the pressures of day-to-day paycheck are further beyond me, I am in many ways faced with the same but different constraints that I was bootstrapping and growing a business, or trying to figure what is it now that I'm 'optimizing' for.

I am very conservative in my investments as well, so having money does not automatically enroll you in some special club where now 'making money' becomes much easier (in facts sometimes its the opposite when you are afraid of losing it all).

For those wondering how I made the bulk of my money it was through various e-com ventures, latest being an Amazon FBA business that led to an exit. The 'process' took me the better part of the last decade (the Amazon business actually was started exactly a decade ago this month!) - but I have been entrepreneurial in various facets since the age of 14.

While I haven't hit all the tenets of CENTS with my last business (primarily violating control and entry) - the rest of them were hit right on the mark to make it a success.

I'm still learning and browsing these forums weekly but will plan and contribute more as time goes on!
.Wow great!!!,
Congratulations to you ( @fastlane_dad and @NeoDialectic). Your journey is very inspiring. I am glad to read such stories in this forum. This forum is changing the way I see things in business. .I hope one day to share my experience as well to inspire others.

I read this whole thread and it is really very interesting and I found that you have already answered all the questions that I would need as a beginner. I have a little trouble asking questions to strangers. .I don't ask enough questions right now because my big concern right now is getting coding skills, because I know with those skills I wouldn't miss any opportunities. .I have already started and do enough on HTML5 and CSS 3, I have already acquired a little but it cannot yet allow me to create a solid website. So when finished, I would really need this thread to build my very strong fastlane business.

.I'm currently a beginner in business, I'm at square one to be a little clearer. But to tell the truth the reason why I am writing this text to you is this: currently, I am facing total indecision. .and I have to make a decision to be able to focus better on one activity and become more productive, because I feel like I'm wasting my energy. .apart from my coding apprenticeship, I work as a hitchhiker for a company., I am a hitchhiker for a company named Epigpanthéon ( www.epigpantheon.com ), it is still at its starting point. So no gains first. .but the problem with this company is that the family intervenes too much in it, and moreover, I have the impression that we do not have the same vision of things. And they refuse to establish work rules. It was created by a fellow student and his big brother. .so they who manage things and have all the control. Now I want to make a decision and really become more productive, because I feel like I'm procrastinating. .because me, currently I'm the type to want to have management control of everything I'm going to do. Because I have wasted enough time in relational marketing networks, I know the consequences of being in a company that you have no control over. .it's for this reason that i want to leave the business and focus on building my own business that lives up to the five commandments, outlined by dad MJ in his book. I especially want to leave because I am not too focused on my own activities. .for example, last week I didn't read the discussion threads of this forum (fastlaneforum.com) nor made much of my own purpose because I was taken up with the activities of this company.


.I wonder if it's a good idea to do it that way. s If so, I think I'm thinking of starting a journey thread, to share what I do on each of my days in order to stay motivated, more focused.

Any advice would be accepted, I look forward to hearing your advice. .I am willing to answer all kinds of questions in . thank you
 
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Skroytz

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Congratulation on your success. I am a little disappointed because I have started a e-shop with Shopify but the products are from aliexpress.
You suggest this does not gonna work and I am a little worried now if I did the right choice. I started this shop 4 months ago and I run only one time a FB add campaign and I had 2 sales. But I had no profit because the money for the advertisement was way more. I want this to be my first step to stop my rat race work ( I am a Front Developer). I will try some tik-tok ads again and I will try the products for about 5 months and If the situation stays the same I will drop it. And I want to use that to stop my rat race because I am trying something else at the same time.

At the same time, I am trying 1,5 years to create an app about nightlife with a partner. It is very difficult but I believe compare to other apps I will add a twist and I will make it better for the people and for the stores. Unfortunately, the people in my country (Greece), do not have the same mentality as the rest of the world. So for example, if you want to have a reservation for a night club the deposit or the prepayment is something that is unacceptable and they will think that you are crazy ( I know that in the USA you will do a deposit or a prepayment to have a reservation in a night club). So I am trying to figure out how I will combine these 2 thus to make the app international and not only in my country. Do you have any advice about that ?
 
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fastlane_dad

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Congratulation on your success. I am a little disappointed because I have started a e-shop with Shopify but the products are from aliexpress.
You suggest this does not gonna work and I am a little worried now if I did the right choice. I started this shop 4 months ago and I run only one time a FB add campaign and I had 2 sales. But I had no profit because the money for the advertisement was way more. I want this to be my first step to stop my rat race work ( I am a Front Developer). I will try some tik-tok ads again and I will try the products for about 5 months and If the situation stays the same I will drop it. And I want to use that to stop my rat race because I am trying something else at the same time.

At the same time, I am trying 1,5 years to create an app about nightlife with a partner. It is very difficult but I believe compare to other apps I will add a twist and I will make it better for the people and for the stores. Unfortunately, the people in my country (Greece), do not have the same mentality as the rest of the world. So for example, if you want to have a reservation for a night club the deposit or the prepayment is something that is unacceptable and they will think that you are crazy ( I know that in the USA you will do a deposit or a prepayment to have a reservation in a night club). So I am trying to figure out how I will combine these 2 thus to make the app international and not only in my country. Do you have any advice about that ?
What are you selling with your shopify store that the competitors are not? If it's available on aliexpress I imagine you did not change / value add much at all to the product you are offering?

It is possible to arbitrage products found on certain websites - but without knowing exactly what you are doing, I'm trying to figure out if you are bringing anything 'new' to the table with your offering. FB marketplace is saturated, and ad prices are high - so you either have to think about playing long game (email list building, upsells, etc.) - or rethink about what you are selling and where.

As far as the app goes - we do not have much experience building or marketing apps - BUT again you need to make sure what you are building , you will have a MARKET in place that wants what you have. Obviously local is a good place to start, but you are saying that there might not be a market locally for your app. Are there competitors for your app outside of Greece?
 

NeoDialectic

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.Wow great!!!,
Congratulations to you ( @fastlane_dad and @NeoDialectic). Your journey is very inspiring. I am glad to read such stories in this forum. This forum is changing the way I see things in business. .I hope one day to share my experience as well to inspire others.

I read this whole thread and it is really very interesting and I found that you have already answered all the questions that I would need as a beginner. I have a little trouble asking questions to strangers. .I don't ask enough questions right now because my big concern right now is getting coding skills, because I know with those skills I wouldn't miss any opportunities. .I have already started and do enough on HTML5 and CSS 3, I have already acquired a little but it cannot yet allow me to create a solid website. So when finished, I would really need this thread to build my very strong fastlane business.

.I'm currently a beginner in business, I'm at square one to be a little clearer. But to tell the truth the reason why I am writing this text to you is this: currently, I am facing total indecision. .and I have to make a decision to be able to focus better on one activity and become more productive, because I feel like I'm wasting my energy. .apart from my coding apprenticeship, I work as a hitchhiker for a company., I am a hitchhiker for a company named Epigpanthéon ( www.epigpantheon.com ), it is still at its starting point. So no gains first. .but the problem with this company is that the family intervenes too much in it, and moreover, I have the impression that we do not have the same vision of things. And they refuse to establish work rules. It was created by a fellow student and his big brother. .so they who manage things and have all the control. Now I want to make a decision and really become more productive, because I feel like I'm procrastinating. .because me, currently I'm the type to want to have management control of everything I'm going to do. Because I have wasted enough time in relational marketing networks, I know the consequences of being in a company that you have no control over. .it's for this reason that i want to leave the business and focus on building my own business that lives up to the five commandments, outlined by dad MJ in his book. I especially want to leave because I am not too focused on my own activities. .for example, last week I didn't read the discussion threads of this forum (fastlaneforum.com) nor made much of my own purpose because I was taken up with the activities of this company.


.I wonder if it's a good idea to do it that way. s If so, I think I'm thinking of starting a journey thread, to share what I do on each of my days in order to stay motivated, more focused.

Any advice would be accepted, I look forward to hearing your advice. .I am willing to answer all kinds of questions in . thank you
It sounds like you are asking a question that will be impossible to answer without knowing your values and risk tolerance.

Personally, we did not feel confident enough to leave our "standard career path" that would pay for our daily lives until we actually started making money with our businesses. So if you are depending on your paycheck to live, then I recommend trying to build your business in your spare time. But that is just based on our values and risk tolerance!
 

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