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EXECUTION From Entrepreneurial Virgin to Conquerer

Lex Love

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I want to go ahead and get started chronicling my journey even before I have a set business idea in motion. There is a lot I can do now to move the needle and perhaps it could eventually be helpful for someone seeing how I, who literally just read the books last week, jumps in and takes actions.

So first, my context:

I am 27, married, and have a third kid on the way. My wife (who stays at home with the kids) is cautiously open to all of my new zeal for entrepreneurship. Selling her completely will be a process.
I have what many would consider to be a great opportunity for a job. I am a freight broker making good money (I estimate I will finish this year at about $100K). I run my own book of business setting up trucks to pick up loads for my customers. The job is essentially all commission and I oversee the entire process. It's about as close as one can get running his own business without actually owning it.

Because of the unique nature of my job, quitting right away probably wouldn't make sense for a few reasons:
1. It's not ENTIRELY slowlane. I don't get paid salary or hourly wages and have much more leverage over my income than most jobs offer.
2. I have a family and well... they get hungry
3. There is a great deal of the UNSCRIPTED principles I can apply directly to my job now that will likely A.) increase my revenue and thus paycheck, and B.) be a great learning experience for the future
4. I can grow my income while simultaneously freeing up more and more of my time. The more revenue I produce, the more assistants I am rewarded to delegate work to and the more time perks I receive. I can eventually work 3.5 days a week while bringing in a handsome income. This would both provide me with time and money to invest into my own business.

In the meantime, I am generating ideas and will be working them through the first few few steps of 7 P's of Process. My goal is to be in the prototyping stage with business plan that makes C-E-N-T-S by Christmas (7 months from now. If at any point it simply makes more since to drop my job to dive entirely into my own venture, I am prepared to take the leap (now my wife on the other hand...).

I am also applying as many principles and processes from UNSCRIPTED as I can with my current job. While Control and Entry are kind of a moot point here, I do think I can find ways to skew value (Need), separate my time more from my work (using HR systems and finding ways to automate parts of my job), and of course try to scale it up as much as I can.

My hurdles:
1. The big one, RESPONSIBILITY. And right now I have a lot of it. I am the sole earner in my home and kids are freaking expensive (we are spending 6 grand just to have a baby!). In both money and time, my family has needs
2. I'm still a little green. Other than MJ's 2 books, I don't have a great deal of knowledge about entrepreneurship.
3. Personal Weakness: I can be idealistic, impatient, and inconsistent.

Other than that, I'm excited and eager. Looking forward to looking back on this first post a few years from now.
I hope to have a process laid out here that will be helpful to others in the future.
(Also very open to feedback, even if it's critical)
 

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NMdad

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Married with almost 3 kids, and you're the sole provider--there's some motivation.

The good news is it sounds like your day job has potential for boosting your income more than the paltry 2-3% annual raises of most jobs, and earning more doesn't necessarily mean working more.

"Selling" your wife on entrepreneurship: She'll be sold when she sees actual money coming in. For me, when my part-time consulting was consistently paying more every month than my day-job, my wife was the one pushing me to quit my day job (I liked the security of the regular paycheck).

Expect to run into hurdles, disappointment, frustration, and delays in your entrepreneurial journey. But if you can minimize YOU being the bottleneck, things will go faster.

I keep saying this to folks who want to ditch the day job: That day job could be a goldmine to freedom, since it's given you industry-insider knowledge & experience. What problems do you see in your industry that people/companies would pay to have solved?
 

Lex Love

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Married with almost 3 kids, and you're the sole provider--there's some motivation.

The good news is it sounds like your day job has potential for boosting your income more than the paltry 2-3% annual raises of most jobs, and earning more doesn't necessarily mean working more.

"Selling" your wife on entrepreneurship: She'll be sold when she sees actual money coming in. For me, when my part-time consulting was consistently paying more every month than my day-job, my wife was the one pushing me to quit my day job (I liked the security of the regular paycheck).

Expect to run into hurdles, disappointment, frustration, and delays in your entrepreneurial journey. But if you can minimize YOU being the bottleneck, things will go faster.

I keep saying this to folks who want to ditch the day job: That day job could be a goldmine to freedom, since it's given you industry-insider knowledge & experience. What problems do you see in your industry that people/companies would pay to have solved?

Absolutely man. I can be impatient and rash so continuing to take advantage of my job here can be a challenge. And I think you're right about my wife. Even my job now is a pretty big risk compared to most others and of course she's sold on those paychecks.

If you don't mind me asking, what did you mean by "if you can minimize YOU being the bottleneck"?
 

NMdad

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To answer your question/clarify what I meant by minimizing YOU being the bottleneck to your progress:

For example, say you're building a website (just an example, but the principle is the same regardless of your business). There are lots of things to be done (design, create content, configure opt-in, generate traffic, etc.). If you're the sole person doing it all, don't allow a single day (or multiple days) to tick by without moving things forward. If you're outsourcing pieces of it, same thing: don't let a single day pass without delegating something or reviewing/replying to your contractors on what they've delivered.

Don't let a single day pass without moving things forward.

Identify the very next hurdle in your path (often it'll be calling people/prospects). Take action--not action-faking--every single frigging day, no matter if you "don't feel like it."

If you're waiting for prospects to get back to you (i.e., OTHERS are the bottleneck), fine, but be professionally persistent (e.g., call them to check in every 1-2 weeks). Fill your sales funnel with lots of prospects so you're not relying on a single prospect for your entire business.

Your mindset should be: Done. Next.

Also, just to re-emphasize getting the wife on board: I was pretty reluctant to ditch my day-job, since I really liked the regular paychecks--even though they were smaller than my part-time consulting revenue. It took a couple conversations with my wife to convince me to ditch the day job so I could grow the consulting; I phased out the day job over ~3 months, first going 30 hours/week, then 20 hours/week, then 10 hours/week. That phase-out made it less like jumping off a cliff.
 

Lex Love

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
May 21, 2019
46
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112
To answer your question/clarify what I meant by minimizing YOU being the bottleneck to your progress:

For example, say you're building a website (just an example, but the principle is the same regardless of your business). There are lots of things to be done (design, create content, configure opt-in, generate traffic, etc.). If you're the sole person doing it all, don't allow a single day (or multiple days) to tick by without moving things forward. If you're outsourcing pieces of it, same thing: don't let a single day pass without delegating something or reviewing/replying to your contractors on what they've delivered.

Don't let a single day pass without moving things forward.

Identify the very next hurdle in your path (often it'll be calling people/prospects). Take action--not action-faking--every single frigging day, no matter if you "don't feel like it."

If you're waiting for prospects to get back to you (i.e., OTHERS are the bottleneck), fine, but be professionally persistent (e.g., call them to check in every 1-2 weeks). Fill your sales funnel with lots of prospects so you're not relying on a single prospect for your entire business.

Your mindset should be: Done. Next.

Also, just to re-emphasize getting the wife on board: I was pretty reluctant to ditch my day-job, since I really liked the regular paychecks--even though they were smaller than my part-time consulting revenue. It took a couple conversations with my wife to convince me to ditch the day job so I could grow the consulting; I phased out the day job over ~3 months, first going 30 hours/week, then 20 hours/week, then 10 hours/week. That phase-out made it less like jumping off a cliff.

Got it that makes sense. Yeah for the past year and a half I have been MAD cold call selling my freight brokering services. When I compare that to the thought of peddling my OWN business that I have worked to build and perfect, it isn't even close. That sounds way better.
 

Jeff Noel

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Don't let a single day pass without moving things forward.
Can I add this to my signature and quote you ? That's quite a notable advice.
 

Lex Love

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Alright it's been six days since my initial post. Here are some updates:

1.) I've employed the Kaizen Process.

The chapters in both of MJ's books as well as posts here and other sources have been kicking my butt about action-faking. I love reading. I love game-planning. I love strategizing. It's so easy for me to feel like I'm being productive when I'm doing these things. So I decided to jump right in to having a process that kept me accountable to taking real action and the Kaizen process seemed more than adequate.

It's only been three days and I am already seeing a big uptick in productivity. I'm making more sales calls, finding more opportunities and overall having a clearer focus on what I'm doing.

2.) I'm finding myself wavering back-and-forth on how to treat my job.

On the one hand, my current strategy seems solid. Build my book of business to the point of both increasing my revenue (and thus my paycheck) while simultaneously freeing up more of my time because of the additional personnel. Once I have more free time and resources, I can really kick it up a few notches with my investment into my own business.

But, simultaneously, I fear splitting my focus will hinder my overall goals. Just like starting a business, success at my job requires dedication, focus, and persistence. I am not simply performing mind-numbing tasks and running out the clock. I am generating leads, qualifying prospects, handling the accounts and so on. It's no so much the time investment I'm worried will hold me back but the heart and head investment.

Still, I know I can pursue my own business daily while trying to grow my book here at work. Having a stable 6-digit income flow, along with flexible hours to pour into my own venture is a very attractive and reasonable goal. Also by immediately applying the fastlane principles to my current job, I feel I am in a way already investing into my own business, for skills and experience if nothing else.

3.) I think I have a business idea

Well, correction. I have, and have had, many business ideas. For me the issue hasn't been coming up with ideas, it has been finding one to commit to. I've come up with at least a half-dozen very solid (seemingly) ideas in the past two weeks and kept bouncing them around. But this newest one feels pretty big. Control is great, very high bar of Entry (intimidatingly high), obvious Need, separation from Time, and massive scale.

As much as I would like to stay in the comfortable arena of mental musing over possibilities, I think it's time to at least start coming up with a Plan and pursue some soft proof. It will likely be over a year of prototyping so I have to take the soft proof really seriously. I plan to have updates with how this is going next week.


Anyways, if anybody has any feedback on any of these items I am all ears.
 

Lex Love

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Updates:

1. Encountering personal hurdles.

Alright, I am confirming once again in my life that I am a little ADD. I have been working hard to set a schedule for my days to increase productivity. While it is serving its purpose, I'm noticing my brain quickly getting distracted from the task I set for myself at that time. If I drink too much caffeine this problem is amplified further. I have a book with a chapter on focusing. Probably gonna have to nose back through that.

Also, I'm already seeing that self-doubt will be a problem for me. Throughout my life I have had moments of intense doubt, even existentially. I have doubted jobs, schools, my beliefs about God, and even whether or not to marry my now wife! Even number 2 on my post above betrays how quickly I doubt my game plans. I am noticing with my current business idea, one day I'm over the moon in love with it and the next day I'm doubting its feasibility at all. Luckily, because of my history with self-doubt, I've already learned some ways to mitigate it. I will definitely be having to fight against this.

I love to live in the world of ideas. It's a constant discipline to get myself out of the "thinking zone" and into the "acting zone". Utilizing the Kaizen Process to offset this tendency. Pleased with the results but have a lot of room to grow.

2. I am applying the C-E-N-T-S modal to my freight-brokering job HARD.

It's becoming increasingly obvious how the principles from UNSCRIPTED can be directly to applied to my job and really any sales job for that matter. There's a lot I could get into here but for brevity's sake, here is how I am applying the 5 Commandments of Productocracy to my job:

- Control: Not a ton I can do here. As merely being sales agent of a company I don't own, there's obviously a lot outside of my control. However there are some things I can take more control over, namely marketing. My company doesn't put a lot of stock into marketing so I'm taking over marketing myself. I am creating marketing videos to email my customers and prospects and am even considering creating my own landing page.

- Entry: Initially, I didn't see a way I could manipulate the entry to my work. I mean it's technically an entry level job and all you have to do to get in is get hired by my company or a competitor. Training is included and everyone is paid during their training. Pretty low bar. BUT, I did discover a largely untapped market mostly due to the higher learning curve of the commodity. It requires specialized equipment that is much more difficult to find. Out of the 4000 brokers at my firm, there are currently 3 seriously penetrating this market. To get the right carrier contacts I will have to pay out of pocket for access to load boards for this equipment. It will take time and effort to learn the industry and there is no training provided to us on how to operate in this field.

- Need: I am compiling a list of all potential value attributes of my service and am looking for ways to skew value. Because each broker is given considerable liberty on how he/she operates their business,there is a lot of room here.

- Time: I am hunting down ways to separate my time from my work. The most obvious way is to utilize human resource systems. As stated earlier my company will staff me with more assistants based on my revenue. I can eventually acquire high-level assistants that can really take the work load off of me. As well, I am trying to innovate clever ways to automate the more menial tasks of my job.

- Scale: I'm trying to rely less and less on cold calling as a my primary means of customer acquisition and look into replicable and repeatable methods. My job can have decent magnitude (we are talking on the order 6-digit annual revenue from a single customer). If I target bigger accounts and find quicker and easier methods to reach them, I can scale more quickly.

I've been able to re-instill confidence in my game plan for my job, especially because it will be increasing my skills in sales, marketing, and leadership, all things that directly apply to my business idea.

3. Speaking of my business idea...

Alright, I think I'm sold on it and gearing up to make steps toward prototyping. I'm in the soft proof step stage now and already getting good confirmation that my solution is needed in the market. There really isn't another service out there that is fulfilling my target customer's needs in a meaningful way. I admit, it's a bit revolutionary. There's nothing else out there completely like it. It would be a massive innovation in the field and honestly that kind of scares me. Initially I was more attracted to business that improved on a concept already in existence as that felt safer and easier. This would not be that. The bar of entry is pretty huge. I'm talking an easy year or two to get it off the ground. Likely, the end product will be way different than the idea in my head. But it could potentially prove to be a massive shake-up in the sales/marketing industry.

Let's get it.
 
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Lex Love

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Gonna try to start leaving shorter posts or this will be an impossibly long thread.

1. The Soft Proof Stage

I have been digging into forums for my target audience (incidentally, there's probably plenty of folks in my target audience here but I don't think I want to go down that path. This forum serves a different purpose for me). I do feel like a confirmation of the need is here. Next step would be to compile a list of companies to call. I am targeting startups and have been really surprised at how hard it is to find phone numbers for these. I have been cold-calling for years so this isn't daunting to me at all and really I am just trying to confirm the need in the marketplace, not sell anything. There will be a lot of work to make this business a reality and I don't want to skimp on this stage and pour into something that isn't wanted.

2. Personal Growth

Time management is going to be big. I have a baby due in a couple weeks, I am about to be down from two assistants to just one, and the projects I want to complete both for my job and my own business are going to be demanding. Currently I have been planning one day at a time. I think it's time to incorporate monthly and weekly planning too to see how all my daily activities fit into the bigger picture.

Emotionally, I think I am starting to sense how lonely of a journey this will be at times. My brother literally thought that trying to start my business was ludicrous. That didn't upset me at all (I mean the dude has been fired more in the last 8 years than I have fingers) but more and more I realize the further down this rabbit hole I go, the fewer people around me will be able to understand. So be it.

Kicking doubt's a$$ this week. It's easy with a win-win mentality. Either my business explodes and I become rich, or it fails and I learn a shit ton. Win-win.

I am realizing how hard I can be on myself. If I miss one checkbox on my Kaizen sheet I beat myself up. I have learned however how unproductive this can be. I get more done when I reward my wins than when I punish myself for losses.
 
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Lex Love

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Progress

1. Just Gonna Start Cranking

I hope I am not being too naive here, but I want to just go in and start the process of prototyping in the midst of continuously proofing it along the way. It's one of those ideas where it just feels "obvious". My solution doesn't fully exist and it seems so helpful that I want to get going. I'm not too worried about getting discouraged if it doesn't end up working. I know I will glean a lot of valuable experience so win-win. Honestly, what worries me more is waiting too long and having more competition than if had just started.

With that being said, I'm gonna have to learn some stuff. No matter which way I come at it, I think I'm gonna have to learn to code. Part of me wants to outsource it but it would be hard to make the financial investment and I want to maintain control. If I build the website/app myself, I can exert greater control of its functionality and adapt quicker to the demands of the market. As well, I think I'm kind of wired for this stuff anyways. I'm both analytical and creative with a sharp bent towards design. I can really see myself designing attractive and intuitive websites and apps.

2. Increased Clarity
The original idea has been a bit refined and focused. My original idea seemed too broad and was trying to accomplish too much in one solution. I was originally targeting essentially any new/young business that needed help with sales/marketing. Now I am focused on B2C startups with an emphasis on the marketing side. I think that while it perhaps lowers the entry bar and scale a bit, it feels more realistic and narrowing the focus will increase the likelihood of offering a solution that's actually helpful. I can always add to it later if the needs present themselves.
 

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Lex Love

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Progress Report

1. Juggling

No way around it. My wife is due in a week and a half, I have to grow my book of business at my job, and I have to continue to find ways to contribute to my own business goals. I sense that this would not be sustainable long term but I don't see a way around a temporary sprint. This whole next half will probably be pretty intense. But I have very clear goals, clear paths to reaching them, and an invigorated picture for my life. I'm almost excited at the tough rough ahead because I already sense the change and character growth it will produce in me.

2. Personal Growth
I see this as being a big deal for me in this season. Currently reading 7 Habits for the first time and light bulbs are going off everywhere. I'm taking better care of myself physically as I see no way around it. To be the husband and father I need to be, freight broker I need to be, and entrepreneur I need to be, I will HAVE to have the equipment (myself) operating smoothly. Waking up early and exercising every morning, constantly reading, planning days and weeks (created my own planner from scratch because I couldn't find one suitable enough for my needs). I've essentially cut out any frivilous activity. Not because I'm a miser but because I just won't be able to incorporate it. Drinking alcohol, playing games, watching shows, reading fiction, Youtube vegging, aimless internet perusing... just don't have time to squeeze any of that in.

3. My Job
More and more I am operating as if this was completely my own business. How I manage my assistant, how I handle customer service, how I sell and market, how I collect my bills. All of it I am trying to act as the owner. this really is an entrepreneurial job and I am milking as much learning from this as I can. I am anticipated explosive growth in my business this half. I want to grow my team from 2 (me and my temporary assistant) to 4 (me, a permanent personal assistant, and 2 temporary assistants.

4. My Business
I've got a fairly decent game plan I am beginning to execute on. I am generating a list of leads to interact with, rough mapping my website, and will soon jump into coding it. Honestly a bit daunted about squeezing coding into my already busy schedule, but if I don't maintain some sort of momentum I fear I will fizzle out.
 

Lex Love

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A long break from the last post. Just had our baby last week so that's been a wild transition. Here are the updates from the last few weeks.

Absolutely Convicted
Let me just take a moment to be shamelessly immodest: I will invariably be a legendarily rich man. I will. My goal is a net worth of at least $100 million (of today's money so adjusted for inflation). I don't know how I know so confidently that I will reach that goal but I will reach that goal. I just have this unshakable conviction that I have already embarked on a massive journey that I will see through to the end. If I had a word for it, it would be "fate". Somehow I know that I was made for this.

I'm currently sitting at my ghetto-rigged home office, trying to balance a desperately tired wife, 2 loud kids sick and tired of being stuck in the house for days, a newborn baby, a book of business that my assistant bailed me on today forcing me to run a one-man show from home that's usually managed by at least two with the amenities of a whole office, and very little sleep. And I am absolutely elated. I'm elated because I know what my future is, and I know that today is simply one of many trial-ridden days I will face along to that journey.

Improvement
These last couple months have been somewhat of a personal growth snowball. I have managed to consistently exercise for the first time in years, improve my diet in ways I have never previously, drink 100+ oz of water everyday (minus the night of the baby's delivery), plan my days and weeks, essentially banish all entertainment, read like 2000 pages, broken life-long bad habits (it's only been a couple months so I'm gonna get ahead of myself here) and on, and on.

But much more importantly, I have had a tremendous change in attitude, almost an enlightenment. A realization that I am not a victim of my circumstances. A realization of my actual ability to discipline myself, prioritize my life, persist in the face of adversity, act with courage, humility, honesty, integrity, empathy. I realize almost exactly what sort of life I want to lead and feel confident that the only thing stopping me from leading it is myself.

I have decided to define my life, in all that I do both vocationally, with family, in my church, in my community, with 4 words: "Create value. Communicate value." It is of course inspired from MJ's books and others but I think best simplifies and consolidates the principles I want to live by.

It is no longer just about wanting to start a business that will make me a bunch of money so I have the freedom to do what I want. The very act of building a business, giving people jobs and treating them well, improving people's lives through the business, using the fruit of that business to reinvest where it's needed, creating a dream life for my family, that's what it's about. A business isn't a means to my desires, it IS my desire, because it's consistent with my goals as a man. It isn't a grind with a bright light at the end of the tunnel. It is the bright light itself, and even then one of many. I won't be a slave to my own selfish desires. That isn't a happy life, I don't care how much money there is in it.

Side Note
I regretted almost immediately what I titled this thread, but now I kind of like it. It's so tacky and cheesy, so obviously from a greenhorn who had no idea what the hell he was doing or talking about. I love it. I love that I started this thread so early. I can't wait to look back on that adorable little 27-year old dreaming big and grinning at this little bastard who actually did this shit.
 

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