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EXECUTION Grabbing Life by the horns

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by TKRR, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. TKRR
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    TKRR Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    For years I've been interested in getting something going, but the time is now to do it.


    I have my grown up job as an engineer, but I started my adult life as a musician, this is something I’ve kept going ever since I started, over 26 years ago now. While I eventually got my electrical engineering degree at 30 after working a lot of dumb jobs, ever since getting my “real” job, I’ve constantly been thinking, “When are you going to grow up and do something with your life?”


    I have a fairly comfortable job, I work for a good company, but looking ahead I know what my options are staying in this field as an employee. It’s not that I’ve capped my earning potential as an employee, but it can only go up so far. What I see in my horizon is that by the time I pay off my student debt my kids will have take out 5 times as much as I did and I’ll be paying their debt too. In my current position, even best case scenario, there just isn’t that great of a future ahead. The idea of ever retiring or being financially independent seems practically impossible. That is, unless I do something about it.


    Prior to finding this forum and reading Unscripted (95% complete), I had already got the wheels moving. Here is what has happened in just the last 30 days.


    My wife and I had a fight about life and money. What came out of that fight was some hurtful words, but my mind just ran with it till I turned it into something positive. What resulted was an idea for a blog and potential branding opportunites. Though I know blogs are not what they were, and not a way to riches, I’m using it as a testing ground. A couple reasons for it are: 1.) Wanted to have a place vent and try out ideas, 2) To learn how to write better and more often, and most important 3.) a way to help people and myself. At this point I haven’t monetized this blog or anything, but I’ve posted on it daily for 20 plus days, not missing a day, I have a goal of at least doing that for a year. It has been slow going as far as readership, but since I don’t really know what I’m doing, I’m just taking it as a learning opportunity.


    The idea of the blog is to motivate me and others not to be so hard on themselves and expect to be perfect, that the idea is that you should just do something, anything. If you don’t do something, then nothing will change in your life. With that in mind, I had to practice what I preached, so I decided to write the book I’ve meant to for over 10 years now, but never had to courage to go forward with.


    I started writing 16 days ago and finished the first draft yesterday. I will spend the next month or so editing it. This book fills a need in the music market, but honestly, I wrote it because I wanted to have something to show my kids. I wanted them to know they can do anything they want and that if one day they want to know what I’ve learned in music, they could hear my thoughts. It is a pretty heavy theoretical book, and well over 30,000 words now (which is a lot for a music book of any type) and I still need to add musical examples (in music manuscript), it will probably be around 250 pages long in the end.


    I have also petitioned multiple world class musician friends who want to help me edit it. Some of them are published authors as well, so I’m trying to find out what I can from them in the publishing game. If this gets picked up and takes off a bit (likely for college music majors), it could either be a text book or a book that turns into a class. It could also lead to masterclasses, article opportunities and video lessons. I’m willing to go self-published, but I want to see if I can leverage a publisher for some credibility. Also, I want the writing and quality to be unmistakable. This is the product of passion, but I know that I don’t want it to turn into hate. Music is the love of my life, but between gigs and this book I have always done stuff my way. I purposefully have not taken the money gigs or money book ideas, however, this book fills a pretty cool niche.


    The third project in motion, and most important is starting a tech/engineering company. While at work in the past month, I kind of just reached a point of no return. I’m sitting here trying to fix sh*tty engineering other companies are doing. This is not uncommon either, yet these companies get hired over and over again. They do crappy work, the customer knows they do crappy work, but they still hire them. This comes from multiple reasons, mostly because the customer just doesn’t understand my industry, they just know they want and need it. The company I work for does business the right way (for the most part), but I’m looking at this thing and there is just so many ways to do better work than most of these companies. There is potential in not only customer service, best practices, but also standards. This can save companies thousands, possibility millions, just to improve standards. Then the old hats of the industry that create the software we use are slow and non-open platforms. There is room in this market to really change everything, like Space X. This market is currently at 250 Billion, and expected to triple in the next 10 years alone.


    I don’t know exactly how to put this plan in motion, but I have a strategy for creating a company that will eventually lead to taking bigger and bigger chunks out. Starting with an open source platform, exceptional customer service and standards. I want to make sure the customers stopped getting screwed over and over again. They need a voice of reason. They need up to date options. You’d think these things would be obvious, but trust me, it is not the game that is being played by the big guns.


    To plan for this venture, I have started my research, started a business plan (I know that is not needed in some ways, but I’m getting conversations going with other engineering company owners and they all ask about it). I’d prefer to not take any money out and get started with a leaner approach, my attitude is changing a bit however, because having some more capital would put me in a better place to pounce on these ideas faster and more efficiently. Either way, I will continue to move it forward.


    A few things I have in my favor: I’m insanely hardworking and creative. I often don’t watch TV for months, never got into video games. I am obsessed with music, but I think there is something to the proverb of giving the busy person something to do, because they’ll get it done (like writing a 30,000 word book on a very technical topic in 15 days).


    I’m also tech literate. I always call myself a round peg going into a square hole. I came from the artsy musician/art world, but have the problem solving skills of an engineer. I have learned multiple programming languages, particularly in my field, and know electrical engineering. I am a big picture person though, not a details person. I know this is something I’ll have to fight with, or get someone to catch my lack of attention to these things. However, I have experience leading large teams on complex projects, dealing with everyone from janitors to CEOs, and I find those interactions very interesting. I have a lot of opinions on leadership style and general PM skills, and I’ve learned a lot about different ideas.


    So after that mouthful; here are the steps in place right now:


    1. Finished first draft of book, getting it edited over the next month (including help from colleagues) and will begin pitching to publishers.
    2. For company:
      1. Started business plan
      2. Bought and put up landing website page
    i. Part of my strategy is to create a blog that is giving away good engineering practices and stuff related to my field. Plus constantly updating the website will hopefully add to its appeal. My company will have global appeal if we want it.​

    1. Have 2 dinners already planned with friends who are entrepreneurs, first one this Friday (right before a gig, haha)
    i. I am going to start planning some more soon.​

    1. Joined local community entrepreneur “club”. I live in a affluent neighborhood and the community takes entrepreneurship very seriously.
    i. We will be contacted by a mentor in the next couple days to go over our business plans and just learn some stuff.​

    1. Have a weekly meeting with a fellow engineer who is also starting up a venture, though in a different area, we are bouncing ideas off one another and plan to help each other if the need arrives. Meaning, I have known potential sub contractors I can use, prior to needing to have to hire anyone.
    2. I created a smart spreadsheet that helps me calculate expenses, building sizes needed, tax information etc.. this may one day turn into an app, but I’m still tweaking it. I didn’t see something like it in the market place so I just created what I needed.
    3. In the next few months, after I’ve got the business focus strategy honed in on, I want to start the selling process. I have to be a little careful with my current company because we have a no compete clause in our contracts. So this is why I have to be crafty with the type of service we will be offering.
    4. One of the potential ideas is to create a software that will be used as a customer acquisition strategy (helping to give them industry know-how), but I’m not sure I want to do it. I don’t want it to be an action faking idea. I want to only do it if it makes sense for the plan ahead. Too many ideas flooding my head, so I need to make sure my focus is strong.

    My goal is to get this business started up and running full time in the next 12 months. I have targets for when I would quit my job, but there is a bit of a conflict of interest, so I can’t really do both at the same time. I need to sell a job then use that as a means to quit. The other option is getting the funding I need to go at it full steam either through bank or investor, however, it would have to be good terms.


    Eventually this can all turn into some kind of fast lane thing, but I believe it will take me a few years to get it going. As I said I like being busy, I like creating things, and I love helping people. It is time to stop playing by the rules and do something with my life.


    Part of the re-ignition to entrepreneurship and something I’ve thought about a lot is the following experience:


    Last year, I took my wife and kids to Ft. Lauderdale for a week. We walked and drove by these houses on the water with Yachts the size of cruise ships. My wife said… “how do you get one of those? “ I said… “Not by working for someone else.”


    Here’s to the journey. I’ll try and keep you up to date on these multiple fronts. Anyone who has started an engineering firm, I’m all ears. Luckily, despite the fact engineers are “techy” so many of the websites and marketing is very old school. I think there is an avenue there to bring the newer tech company attitude to the market. Luckily silicon valley has made the “young eccentric” engineer look fashionable and knowledgeable. This will help create a company I can be proud of, not just old hat.
     
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  2. TKRR
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    I'm near the end of the Unscripted book and he just mentioned Monogamy.

    This is obviously a problem for me in a way, as I know my mind is always doing a million things at the same time. I know that the only real business idea I need to working towards in the engineering company, the other ideas; blog and book are distractions from that goal.

    However, I feel like I need to get the book done, I've begun editing it and will soon get others involved. Then I can hopefully launch it in the next month or so, however, getting it going had two reasons, 1 to actually do it, but the second reason was to learn about the book process. One of my ideas and intent to create a lure of "knowledge" was to write a specific book in my field of engineering. I wanted to get the music one out of the way, because that was a life goal, and maybe it will turn into something and gain some buzz, but it is very small niche. However, the engineering book would appeal to not just a bigger crowd, but a crowd with 100s of times more money and possibilities.

    The blog test is also a way for me to learn about blogging, promotion, because another strategy for my engineering company is to be on top of social media and all that, I want to have some know how on what it takes. The work of getting used to daily blogging has been very good for the habit forming, at some point I see those daily/weekly blog posts shifting to the engineering website. So the blog is a testing and learning ground for all of these pieces.

    So it may seem like action faking, but there are motives behind every decision of the moment. Because I was able to write this book, it has given me the confidence that I can take on much bigger things, like learning the code I need to do for some of the parts of my engineering business plan and presenting are company as cutting edge. I thought I might have to outsource some of that stuff, but I don't know that it makes sense, I think, I know, I can be more productive than just about every person I've ever met. I don't want to take on so much, but despite enjoying leading a team of aspiring people, I like to be aware of all the aspects of everything I'm working with. So I will probably get help later to polish it up, but I want to have first try at it and make it the way I'm envisioning (it's just code afterall).

    That reminds me, I wish I were more into code as a child, though in some ways I think I'm a better coder because I don't love doing it. One thing I love about code though is that it is the "Great Equalizer". I bet the Rothchilds', Rockefellers' etc.. must get annoyed with the new generation of billionaires. The old money dominated for so long, but Bill Gates is worth more than most of those old money people combined. It's like that other software company heads will will be dwarfing them soon as well. Then again, probably no reason to fret. I would be curious how the world looks to someone like Jeff Bezos now that old money can't intimidate like it used to.

    So...get through first edit of book this week, send it out next week to musician colleagues.

    Finish up business plan, learn how to manipulate databases with python and make desktop apps, meet with entrepreneurs in the tech industry, hone in on most straight forward entry point into work.
     
  3. TKRR
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    TKRR Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Had our first meeting with a entrepenuer. They work in an engineering field too, though in manufacturing, and it was really good to be able to bounce some ideas around. I learned a few things too. The biggest thing I learned, is I really need to work on my 30 second pitch of what it is I'm trying to do. Part of the reason it is a little unclear is I'm a little unclear of what area to attack. There are so many angles, but I'm trying to center in on a few. He also had a bit of a pre-concieved notion of what I did, so I had to work through that understanding. However, by the end of the conversation he was getting pretty excited about what I want to do and had ideas of his own, and a couple potential contacts to get started.

    It was kind of exciting talking to someone who wasn't my wife or family about all of this, particularly one that we only know a little. (he is a neighbor where we moved a year ago, but has always been a super nice family). His wife is also involved in the company and my wife was picking her brain about stuff. It was a nice meeting.

    Talking to him also made me think more about what kind of service/product we are really going to put together and has my wheels turning and moving forward.

    To the next steps.
     
  4. TKRR
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    TKRR Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    MEETING WITH some seemingly "unscripted" entrepreneurs cont....

    The meeting also gave me some confidence on a hunch I had last week about a way into the market. And it's making me invest more in that avenue.

    He made a lot of good points to me though. Here are a couple he pointed out that I need solutions for:

    1.) My business, especially at first, is going to be feast or famine. We might get very large orders that consume all our time, and starting out lean with really 1 person will be tough not having someone selling. Though, I'm hoping the first couple orders either make us hire or sub contract people or are something I can handle. So I need to make sure I have a way of always selling that are happening all the time, however the idea I'm talking about above would be something that could potentially lead to lead generation and sell-able.

    2.) He mentioned how he knew quite a few people who didn't make it because they wanted the nice office etc... before actually getting things settled. He started in what essentially a garage with used everything. Even now, 30 plus years later a quite set financially, he doesn't spend money on frivolous things at work.

    3.) He created products that were better and more customizable than his competitors. There was the "old" guard in his industry who told the customers they had to "deal" with it, when it came to not having the right size products. He treated the customers like they were special, and now he has all their customers.

    4.) He mentioned he had almost lost everything, things were bad, he told the only person working for him to find work, and right about then a deal went through that changed the company, however, he needed to hire a bunch of people and not mess up. He said, "When you get that first big job, that will only happen once, and you have to NAIL IT." no messing around. You have to do whatever you have to make that order perfect and on time.

    5.) This person lives in my neighborhood and he and his wife chose to not take on a huge new house and chose instead to just update their own house. They bought a 6 figure RV that they leave for months at a time, while the company ticks away. Time shares in multiple places in the country. He works about 4 to 6 hours maybe 4 days a week now, but he mostly doesn't have to be there. His wife goes to the office maybe once a week. I'd say they pretty much live "unscripted". They work cause they want to now, but it took time and perseverance.

    One of the most pleasant things was just talking to people who didn't immediately judge us for wanting to be entrepenueurs. They said the same thing my wife and I have been saying... "Some people think it is scary to start a company, but for us, it is way scarier to think we will just be working for the same people 10 years from now."

    I think that might be an entrepreneurial prerequisite.
     
  5. TKRR
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    I'm definitely starting to see things differently right now. I feel like I'm finally taking some control over things. Though I haven't made a sale yet or put all the pieces together, every day for the last month I've done something to move forward to something more fulfilling in my life. Though it is taking some time to get sorted, I feel like I've gotten in the habit of working towards a goal now. Every night, without fail, I have moved forward despite the fact that I have a lot of responsibilties at the moment, I can see some way to getting towards my goals.

    Again, writing the book has given me a lot of confidence to finish things that once seemed impossible. Now I'm working towards learning Python (I already know some other coding platforms, but Python seems more appropriate for my target, and frankly it is a lot easier than Java and C++ for me.) and integrating it with web development, that it will be integrated into my engineering field. It seems to me, every day at work, that there is such a gap here. But it will take some time to develop correctly. I want to start putting the idea in some businesses minds and see what sticks.

    We are supposed to meet with some more entrepreneurs soon, and the ones we already had dinner with want to get together soon to discuss some ideas, and I think maybe even hire us possibly, or at least see if we can help.

    Working on the coding, working on my sales pitch (I need to hone in on the particular "products/services" we plan to offer a little more exact, but I want to meet with more owners to see if what we are suggesting is where the work really is, or just where I think it should be.

    Also started reading, "Ready Fire, Aim" Only a chapter in, but can already tell it will be a good one. Thanks for the suggestion Fast Lane Forum.
     
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  6. TKRR
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    Well, I’ve continued working on stuff and learning. What I haven’t done this week though is be more specific about figuring out exactly what I’m selling. I’m taking in a ton of information and it’s like I can see where I basically want to eventually go, but there is a lot of fog in between. I’m starting to get concerned that I’m just stacking on a bunch of busy work and not actually creating something of value.



    Like I mentioned last week, I began reading “Ready, Fire, Aim” and this has me thinking about things a lot different than before. I know that I need to really start trying to sell as soon as possible. The problem, in my eyes, is the thing I think I kind of know how to sell at least, and something that I could start right away, is a service. Meaning: My time for dollars. I know that this isn’t a scalable model, at least not at first, though I could start adding employees and all that, but it’s hard to grow that and the costs are expensive. However, it would at least be mine. On the other hand, the thing that I want to develop is HUGE. I know that it is huge, and it is going to take me time to put it all together. What I don’t know is if I’m just stalling, in some sense, or if I’m on the right path trying to develop all of this stuff.



    I mean, where is the line between doing what you need to for your company and just doing extra work that doesn’t maybe matter ultimately?



    Since I work in the service industry, essentially, I guess that’s all I really know how to grow and develop. From engineering to music everything I do has been service and not product oriented. So part of my strategy is to make a product that is good for the service people of my industry. The problem is it is quite complex. I could see larger companies spending tens of millions on developing it potentially (though 90% of that would be wasted time). But I’m working on a way to take a smaller chunk at first, but I don’t know if I’m just turning the crank to just turn the crank.



    I realize products, I really do, have the most scale-ability. Where service is tough cause it’s an hours trade thing. Can anyone who’s built sustainable good consulting/other services business comment on how to create a “Fast-lane” type service? I guess in one sense, I could see how I could continually build up the amount of employees, sell the work, just keep getting more work. Encourage the managers to sell and make their own decisions etc… but it’s tough to control people. It is also expensive when sales diminish. So it seems we would have to get into products, because they can make money even when we’re not working.



    My thought originally, was to create a service, take over my time, score some bigger jobs, get some people to work on it and in the mean time we would also begin creating the products I think are needed. Then the products sell our service and our service sells the products, etc… But that seems like a fairly complex business model. However, at least, I’d be in charge of my time. At least I’d feel like the time I spent on it was improving the value of the brand.



    So that’s what I’m working through right now.



    In the meantime though, I’m spending time learning Python, Deep Learning and Webdesign (more advanced web design) that I believe will help tie the gap between all of these things. What I feel like I need to do soon is hone into whatever my main service or product is going to be and start trying to sell it and see if anyone is even interested. I need to determine what I’m doing, evaluate it against competitors, improve it, and see where they’re selling and try to hit that market place. I don’t want to look back in a few months and realize that I have still not worked out what I’m trying to sell and haven’t even tried to sell anything.
     
  7. TKRR
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    So an interesting thing happened today.

    Last year, I invented a game. It started as a phone app idea, but it eventually became a card game. I invented it last year, but never printed it out or anything. Last week my wife mentioned something about it, and I was like...you know what? I already did all the work for that. And then create paper sheets of the cards (like 12 a page). There are about 300 cards.

    Anyways, it's a pretty funny game, think Cards against humanity. We decided we were just going to print them out and bring them to the family festivities this weekend. My wife, being crafty and all, took the sheets down to Fed Ex or some place and decided she wanted them on better paper. The guy that was helping her asked her about them, and started reading through the cards... She said he was dying laughing and said, "You have to find someone to help you get this thing out there. It's amazing"

    Not to side track, but does anyone know anything about getting games out there? I know these kind of things probably do well on the Kickstarter thing, if done right.

    We are going to play the game, for the first time, this weekend. I really already did basically everything (or at least the MVP of it) so all we'd really need to do is find a good printer etc... and put some money into it. However, I didn't necessarily make it originally to turn into anything, but I'm serious when I say, it's actually pretty goddamn funny. I almost died reading through the cards, and I haven't even edited them or anything for over a year.

    I'd like to do some trial runs with a bunch a people at some point. Might be a good thing to keep me laughing in the background. If anyone knows anything about Card games/ or that whole market or anywhere to look, I'd be interested. I think there is actually a huge branding opportunity here too.

    I'm sure the game will need refined, but ultimately, I think this thing is ready to pounce. Too bad I forgot about it till now, seems it would have been a great Xmas gift thing, however, depending on how it goes this weekend, might be something that should be pounced on ASAP.

    ** In other news. Updated the Engineering Website to be more in Sales now mode. Previously I just kind of had a landing page that was more "blah". Now it has a message of intent to get people to contact me. It needs refined and the copy isn't great, or probably even good, but so far the website is looking pretty good for not spending a ton of time on it (I've built a lot of websites). I also kind of want to see what part of the business project types would be most interesting to customers...some I don't totally know how to do yet, but know I could learn if given the job.

    Thanks
     
  8. TKRR
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    Lots happening.

    My Book:
    Finished editing my book. I now have 6 grammar freaks and detail oriented types who are reading it as well, including a few authors. It was a lot more work editing than writing it, and I figure I have about 4 times as much work still to do to get it right. I haven't even worked out any of graphics details and such yet. Still have to add some pictures within the book too, which I have been sadly procrastinating.

    ** I actually wrote a kids book last year for my daughter, about 2500 word book, mostly for 6 year olds and older. I want to look into releasing that as an Ebook just to see what it's like to self produce. I want to draw some pictures and get the artwork sorted and see how it goes.​

    My Card Game:

    Wow, this thing is kind of taking off, especially considering a few weeks ago I had completely forgotten about it.

    1.) We played the game over christmas with my family, and it was a HUGE success. They all want to be involved, and actually the game play went really well. There aren't many tweaks at this point, however....

    2.) We have lined up 13 groups to play the game that were extremely interested in it. So we will see if it makes sense to them without us being around to help it going. We are currently tweaking the language on a few cards and the directions. (Which my siblings are actually helping with). Also adding a few more cards.

    3.) For the 13 groups we are still keeping it a bit low profile, so we are printing out on cardstock (about 300 cards per set) and cutting them out and actually stamping each card, but it looks pretty cool actually, however it is a lot of work to cut out 2700 cards.

    4.) We are looking at vendors to get started. It almost makes no sense to even order less than 500 sets it seems, the price dramatically drops at some point. However, we are trying to work the kinks out first.

    5.) I need to start a social media presence on it ASAP. We need to build it up. Luckily, I've learned how to at least grow Instagram pages, thanks to my music stuff, pretty quickly. However, I'm trying to figure out exactly what we even post on these things. One idea is to create a comic. I'm a pretty good artist (artsy fartsy musician afterall) so I think I have a few ideas. However, it is a lot of work doing all of this stuff.

    6.) Bought two web domains and made a landing page. Need to add possibly a pre-order thing, though I don't suspect it will really work, maybe it will. ​

    Engineering Business:

    1.) Still making progress, but I know we need to start selling. I've contacted multiple entrepeneurs I know for guidance, but I know I need to get out there and start talking to companies and see what they want. I've been stalling a bit, and I know that. It's lame, however, with the card game and book lingering...I felt like I needed to get those moving ASAP, before I don't have time to develop them any further.

    2.) I did join multiple tech start up community groups in the area, so I hope to get it going. Also, looking at starting Toastmasters potentially, but only if it looks like people there might be potential customers.

    3.) I'm also going to talk to my current employer and tell them I'm interested in moving my role more to a profit generator than just a tech guy. I figure I might as well learn from them as much as I can.
    Other stuff:

    Read some good books recently. "Ready, Fire, Aim", "Automatic Wealth Generator", and "You are a Badass at making money", and "Starting a Software Engineering Company". I'm a fast reader, and also had the week off.

    Finally... Thinking about releasing 2 albums this week. I have about 100 recorded songs that aren't on any albums I've been a part of, solely my creations, however, they sort of just sit in the ether of random website (my music website). Since I'm always making different styles of music from metal to classical to jazz to techno, I pretty much alienate anyone who ever gets into my stuff. So I was going to make different brands for my different musical sides and release some EPs of already recorded stuff. It's just one of those things that has sort of been gnawing at me. Plus it just puts a few more notches in my cap on the musical front. I've put out 6 albums with other people so far in about 4 different projects and frankly, it kind of sucks "sharing" the responsiblity, since the other people hardly ever do anything to help. So I have to decide... "is it worth it for me to do all the work?" and usually I talk myself out of it, but if I am the only active party in the release, I only have myself to blame.

    *** Through all of that*** Main focus this week. Card Game. Book is being edited. Anything else is just on the eventual agenda.
     
  9. Mattie
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    Mattie Platinum Contributor Speedway Pass

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    [​IMG]Bulls are always stubborn, never allow any obstacles get in the way, bull doze right through anything that gets in their way. An encouragement from another stubborn bull. I believe the horns are ready to plow through 2018, if you really want it! How bad do you want it? Horns are good, you can poke other Entrepreneurs out of the way.
     
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  10. TKRR
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    Yes! Thanks for the encouragement. I think all the ducks are in a row for me to pounce this year. We have multiple fronts moving forward. Got to get in there and take it.
     
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    Really like this thread! *bookmarked*

    I'm really intrigued to find out if you decide to go with the cartoon on your social media, and ultimately how it works for you. Lately, a lot of ads for card games have found their way to my Facebook feed - but they're rarely engaging. It's like "here's a game that is superfun when *insert a situation*" or just "buy this game" without a context. I don't know how games are being marketed or what kind of content is being made in the US, but it would at least be somewhat unique and "clickable" over here.
     
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  12. TKRR
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    Wow, that's great to know. I mean, the Exploding Kitten games have been very successful by the use of comics (of course they built those first). The game is funny and crude, seems like a perfect reason to make crude and inappropriate comic. Plus it lets me be creative. I have some ideas, but will probably just try my best and hopefully it will get better and better.

    Thanks for reading!! I'm very excited about the game. My wife is really into and wants to take over all the "businessy" stuff, while I stay in creative land (where I'm best suited anyways).
     
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  13. TKRR
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    Well, I drew my first comic last night. Digital and all. Developed a "Character" and everything. I think I'm honing in on what the actual comic will be.

    It is interesting, my goal of the comic is not to "advertise" the product, at least not directly. I'm hoping to just make it, like the game, fun and funny. As fun and funny as possible for people.

    The problem is it will probably take at least 3 to 4 hours a strip to make it, and that's going pretty fast. Though if I just do 1 or 2 a week it's not too bad. I may try and do a few the next 2 days, then release them every 4 days or something. I'm trying to keep them short for now. Since they do take some work. But I think it might actually be a relatively viable solution. Plus, it has the chance to grow from both sides. The comic can get people to the game and the game can get people to the comic.

    Let's see how it goes.
     
  14. TKRR
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    A decent amount of stuff has been happening:

    Card Game:
    1. We will be sending out 13 decks of the cards to testers tomorrow. Had to get a few items, ran out of ink on our printer, got a paper cutter, etc... had to get boxes, but the boxes were way too big, so we ordered some smaller ones.
    2. Created Instagram and Facebook accounts and am starting to grow them. I've been reluctant to do the follow un-follow thing because frankly, it seems like the wrong approach. however, maybe just having 1000 plus followers helps it grow more organically to 10k/100k etc.... My music page has great feedback (150 to 200 likes per post, and 10 plus comments) on just less than 1000 followers, and I grew that more organically... we will see though. I'm up to about 20 followers, none that are friends or anything, on the Instagram page. If it takes too long to grow to 1000, I'll probably implement some of the less loving techniques.
    3. Created a few comics, though I haven't released them yet. The stuff I'm putting on social media is going closer to the overall theme of the product, and trying to entertain people with it.
    4. I have another good idea for putting on a sort of 'tough mudder" like event that goes closely with the idea of the cards. Actually, I think this has some huge potential too.
    5. The thing I like about this product is that though the game has potential, the brand itself has even bigger potential in my eyes. It makes me wonder why no one has done it before?
    6. Which brings me to a question...anyone have experience building brands? Or good resources? Or is it all part of the same thing?
    Engineering:

    1. Something has happened that has me staring a potential opportunity in the face and wondering why I'm not jumping on it. My initial plan was to create a service based company that eventually developed its own service. However, a really big service opportunity is sort of staring me in the face, but it has a few moral implications.
    2. Here's the scoop: The sister company of the company I work for now (and whom I used to work for) just got some massively huge orders. The kind where they need to double their staff this year. Now we have a "non-compete" clause in our contracts, so I've been sort of skirting around how to get into this industry, however... my thought is to talk to the president of the company, who I know needs help...and basically tell him, I've created something and I want you to hire us to help you through this struggle.
    3. Of course I don't have a staff yet or anything, but my goal would be to take on something that would take about 7 engineers to do, and hire from there.
    4. When I say they are in trouble, because of how much work, I mean it. Plus I know some more of their people are probably going to quit. So they'll be in a worse position. Plus, anyone who has taken a 40 person company to 80 people in a year knows how tough it is (I was part of this happening before when it went from 10 people to 50 in about a year) and it sucked for everyone, and the jobs were rough.
    5. My problems/fears:
      1. Technically, we are not allowed to do this. It's against the contract I signed.
      2. What if he tells my new bosses and they fire me?
      3. What if he tells me they'll sue me?
      4. What if he tells me they'd never hire me cause I suck
    6. I know these are stupid fears, part of me thinks to answer those questions above:
      1. They can make whatever rules they want. They made the rules.
      2. If they fire me then I'm free to do whatever I want
      3. Then I hang out and focus on the card game, or find another job
      4. This is not likely, at least not for that reason, but words are just words.
    7. I guess another question though is... is this something I would really want?
    8. You know what I'm not worried about though? Something my wife mentioned was: Well how would we afford to pay for 7 employees? Or even 1.
      1. The odd thing is this doesn't concern, I mean of course it does a little. But I feel like if I had a PO in my hand for 2 million dollars or something... I'm gonna figure out how to get the money to pay people.
    9. So what's stopping me?

    The Book:
    It's still in the hands of the 6 people helping me read through it. Getting some good comments back though, but still work to do. Need to learn about publishers and such or self publishing.


    Which brings me to my biggest point

    What the f*ck am I doing???
    I mean, seriously, WTF? I am so all over the place. I know that this has always been my worst enemy. In music I play every style, all over the place. I do art, I do engineering, I do musician stuff. I can't get my sh*t together. I'm quite the mess. Everything is moving forward right now, but nothing is really getting my undivided attention. Hell, I even have 2 gigs this weekend.

    I can't focus to save my life. I listen to books in my car on my way to work and I'm listening to "You are a Bad a$$ at Making Money". And though, I'm not a huge fan of it really (gets a little too fluffy), she mentioned this comment: "Entrepeneur's are often very creative people, and what does that mean? It means as soon as you get one idea, you have a million ideas. But you can't go after those ideas, you will screw yourself. You have to pick 1."

    You know, I know this. I know I need to really pick one. I just don't know how to. I can't decide. I feel like all the ideas are pretty viable...well the card game and the engineering one, well and even musical one (with the right approach that I've never taken). And I just can't decide, so I bounce around, waste time getting frustrated, look up sh*t on how to decide, keep coming up with more ideas that interfere. I'm all over the damn place.

    I think for the first time in my life I have realized how my constant creative spirit has been sabatoging me from the getgo. Yes, it is a good thing to be creative, to be a creative problem solver etc... these majorly assist me daily, but because I can't focus, I am barely adept at anything.

    I don't know how you do it? How do you focus? How do you pick one thing?

    For me, it's really down to 2, if I'm honest. It's the card game idea and the engineering company. Here are my thoughts with each:

    Card Game:

    Pros:
    1. It's fun
    2. It's creative
    3. There is huge branding potential
    4. It's also vulgar
    5. It's something that could be fastlane definitely
    6. It is my creation.
    Cons:
    1. How the hell do you sell card games?
    2. Does anyone even buy them?
    3. I don't know anything about products.
    4. I don't know anything about creating a brand or growing a crowd.
    5. It seems crazy that I could make money with a game.
    Engineering Firm:

    Pros:

    1. I know the industry.
    2. It's something I'm doing right now.
    3. I can visualize how to make money and who to talk to
    4. The allure of having a "tech" company.
    5. Seems like a big person kind of company
    6. It will take time, but possible to be very very very large company one day.
    Cons:
    1. Doesn't seem fastlane.
    2. Trading hours for dollars
    3. Could require a lot of capital to really do correctly
    4. Lots of hours working
    5. Harder to scale.
    6. Large liability.
    7. It seems like a big person kind of company
    I don't know.... I want to change my perspective on things, and I struggle with it. So here I am sort of half doing both. Obviously, if I have that talk with the other company and they do offer to hire my company... things would change. Is that what I really want?

    I don't know that I know or understand what I really want out of life aside from the fact that I don't want what I have. I don't want money to get fancy stuff, I want money so I can be creative, so I don't have any debt, so I can show my kids what's possible. So I can become unscripted, cause f*ck all that sh*t. I don't want to rely on a 401k, or getting a raise at work. I don't want to be stuck at my 2 to 4 weeks vacation, student loans for the next 25 years and just getting by.

    I want to live.

    Till next time. Thanks for reading.


     
  15. TKRR
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    Card Game:



    Cut the last of the cards last night and stamped the sets going out to testers. It is unfortunately taking longer than I hoped to get these games out, a big part was I worked probably 80 hours last week at my job, plus travelled a bunch, I had basically no time at all. Getting home at 8 or 9 and waking up at 4am. Which is definitely an excuse, but I was struggling to stay awake in general.



    We started researching good Kickstarter campaigns and are going to ramp up for that action. We have our lower goal determined, based on manufacturing costs, but I think we could do a really good job at the video stuff, and the rewards. I noticed a lot of the card games just don’t have very creative awards. They usually just have 3 things: simple donation, buy 1 set, buy 2 sets with free shipping. There might be another category, like buy 5 sets for 100 dollars or something. But it sort of takes the fun out of the kickstarter thing for me. I like the idea about a lot of weird rewards, I think it gets people to consider buying something more than just the game. Who knows though… maybe those methods are proven. I’ve also been surprised at just how “low-quality” most of the videos are… I’m trying to determine if that is a good or bad thing (authenticity, or whatever).



    I have made a few comics, though I haven’t pushed them out yet. I would really like to at least do 1 a week. The Instagram and Facebook pages aren’t going anywhere yet, but I’m kind of slowly getting them going so they have a little more history.





    Book and music:

    Haven’t got too many comments recently on the book. After I get these games out, I’m going to focus on editing the book up again, and getting all the musical examples in place. I plan to finish that this week and probably send updated copies to the people helping me out.



    Along with the book, once I had the musical examples, I plan to send an idea to do some masterclasses for a few of the biggest music master class websites out there. If none of them bite, though I feel confident that one of them will, I may just go ahead and build the masterclass myself.



    Also along with the book, probably cause my memory sucks, but I have actually written 2 other books that I really need to get in the Amazon E-Book store. They are part of a music related technique method I invented. Not only did I invent it and write it, I even had a test group go through the motions about 5 years ago…and I’ve just sat on it since then. I guess I just thought it was much harder to publish things on Amazon (or wherever) than I now know. The first book in the series, in particular, really doesn’t need that much more work to it. I also was able to see a pretty good increase across the board in anyone participating, including myself. It’s also a market that people are always looking for a shortcut in. And considering it is a much “simpler” book than the theory one I created. I have no problem selling it in that E-Book window of 2.99 to 9.99. In fact, that would be kind of cheap for this kind of book, but it makes no sense to sell it for more, based on the money distribution category. So, after I get the musical examples in the big book, I’m going to work on getting this series out there. The simpler book is likely to do way better financially than the big book, simply because it is a much larger niche and the price will be around 7 to 10 dollars, which most anyone will try out, just for the hell of it.



    Along with the books… this is turning into a music post, I’m going to release 2 albums. Mostly low key, but I have probably 400 recorded songs, most I can live without, but I think I can put out two different albums that will get my name out there more. Plus, they’re just kind of hanging there annoying me.



    I realize, without a doubt, that my biggest problem is being all over the place. My wife keeps saying… “you have all these brilliant ideas, but you really need to focus on who you’re trying to sell to”. So, my intent right now is just to get this crap off my lap so I can move things forward. However, everything that I’m trying to release has some correlation with something else that I’m releasing. For instance, the 1 album I want to release could be a big calling card for the second set of books I’m talking about. Being that it is very technically advanced music, and those books are all about playing faster.



    I think the book thing has been really good for me, cause I can see where not only do I like writing, but that I have really already written about 4 or 5 books that mostly just need editing to be ready for release. They are just sitting there, waiting for me to share with the world.



    Engineering:



    I have done so much engineering the last couple weeks, I’ve had a hard time getting myself motivated for this task. We are starting to lean away from doing a firm. 1, it’s not Fastlane, in that it is hours for dollars, 2, I haven’t sufficiently cornered what niche I’d like to get in. I know I need to go much deeper. Maybe this week will be less hectic and I’ll be able to clear my head and start moving forward with this.
     
  16. Real Deal Denver
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    Well, my friend, first off, you are out of my league. Hats off to you. I'd say you are out of almost everyone's league. Nevertheless - here I go...

    I was a component level electronic tech for a long time - about ten years. So I have the ability to digest the technical stuff which most people hate. I like it. We have some similarities in that regard.

    I see you as being brilliant, but I also see two weaknesses - to a small degree. First, you shouldn't be wasting your valuable time doing stupid things like cutting out cards and stamping designs. Spend some money to have a printer do this job - from start to finish. Your brains and time are sooo much more valuable in overseeing and guiding things to get done.

    Next - delegate. You have a wife that obviously sees and appreciates your work. Give her the ball to run with it. I'm thinking of the card game. She might also have more insight as to how to market and sell it, as women are many times more attuned to the consumer side of things. You are a brilliant engineer, so be brilliant. Let your wife navigate through the world of commerce. You have to realize, and control, your limitations. Or, put another way, maximize your strengths. You can't, or at least shouldn't, try to do everything.

    Here is some very practical advice. Years ago, I used to go to a specialty game store called "Games by James." I found them from very high recommendations from friends. I bought a few games from them also. There's a starting point. That may be all you need. However, I also have an "idiots Guide" book to the toy industry, as I have a couple toys I've been thinking about marketing. I know there are big toy conventions every year. The distributors go to these shows to find the most unique toys. Toys are big business. You have google - get the book - find the conventions. Patent your game first, of course, although it might be easy to change the theme and design, and rip you off. I'm researching that slimy underbelly part of the business myself, so I can't help you there. I think there is much more to know about not being killed in the toy business, than actually inventing the game itself. That information, though, is hard to come by.

    I always wanted to be an electrical engineer myself, but thought it was a dead end job. How many power supplies, gate arrays, etc. need to be designed? I guess I was completely wrong there, wasn't I? If I were you, I'd keep my job in that field. You know it - and it pays well. Those things are not easy to find.

    Your thread is incredibly interesting. Please keep us up to date.
     
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  17. TKRR
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    Thanks so much for the thoughtful reply. I appreciate the kind words. I suspect you're not wrong about a lot of what you said. Actually. My wife has done much of the card crafting and she was the one who secured just about every year group. I would say you're correct. She's a lot more level headed than me though...i pretty much don't live with two or even one foot on the ground. She is also building up a business now, so I can't expect her to take on most of my crazy ideas.

    I do need to get back on track with the engineering ideas. I just want to be careful to not just be trading hours for dollars. Working 80 hours last week at my current job drained me and I didn't make a dime more than when I work 40. So I'm not all that thrilled with it at the moment, haha. There has to be a better way go spend that time and make better money with it.

    Thanks for the advise on the game stuff. I'll definitely check it out. Cheers!
     
  18. Real Deal Denver
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    Working 80 and paid for 40? That changes the picture dramatically.

    A healthy salary does have some expectations that come along with it. I have been salaried, and never got away with just a 40 hour week. 80 though - what are the word to describe that? I can think of several, but I want to maintain the G rating this forum enjoys...

    As a boss (which is double S O B spelled backwards, if you ever need a zinger) I would never even THINK of abusing my people that way.

    As the one who endured that treatment - well I did, twice in my life. I quit both times. The last time, I took a swing at my boss, and drew blood. I thought I was going to actually kill him, but the blow glanced off. I don't advise any of the tactics that I have used. They didn't work out.

    In the end though - I got what I wanted. I got the knowledge to boost myself to levels I never thought I'd ever reach. I consider myself "winning" in that regard. But I could have played things out so much better to my advantage...

    One notable piece of my past was when I was working at IBM. Hey - I name names because inquiring minds want to know! After completing a huge project on time, there was an awards ceremony of sorts. An in office mini one - not a dinner at a posh restaurant with open bar. I received a check for my efforts, and they were massive efforts, by the way. I was so relieved. I told myself, "yes, life is good, and now I am going to partake of the payoffs for doing such a great job!" My check was for $20. No kidding. Why even waste the paper to print a check like that? That event greatly shaped who I am today. Working 80 hours is even more a slap to the face. Much more.

    I can't tell you how to handle that - but I know I'd be calling in sick tomorrow to at least think it over. Maybe the next day too.

    I've often said that God made cuddly kittens, and he made alligators too. I'm not a lovable cute kitten.

    Was this a one time thing, or does thing go on as a regular event? Good luck with this. This is complicated.
     
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  19. TKRR
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    It's not regular you work that much, but 50 hours is pretty regular, and I've worked 120 hours before though. However, in my field that is sort of expected. I'm sure most world think an 80k salary is pretty nice or whatever, but, for me, with little kids, I'd honestly want to know I was getting three times that much to make it really "worth it" in a lot of ways. Which is more or less what we charge customers for my time anyways. (I'm always billable too ... even at 80 hours).

    Even better would bee making the same but working 15 hours a week on that and spending the rest of my time either with the family or inventing and creating.
     
  20. TKRR
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    Btw, thank you. You're helping give me renewed spirit into building an engineering firm and or consultancy. I think I have to hone into a niche, but I think it could be good.
     
  21. Real Deal Denver
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    Let me throw this out there for you.

    This has happened twice. 30 years ago, and just one year ago.

    The first time, four key employees banded together and bought the business. It went very well for them.

    The second time, a good friend of mine that is a master plumber was promoted to supervisor for the entire company. A year of so later he bought the company. He was basically doing all of the important work anyway, so it was not a big step for him. That is going very well for him, as well.

    In my line of work, I have had "worker bees" like myself take a side step and open their own shops where they are the boss and they run the show. This has made millionaires out of many of them.

    I may have missed the boat on that one, but I don't love my job too much anyway, and I don't have much patience for below average people that need to have their hand held - so maybe not.

    Think about things from that point of view. You may be much closer to the big time than you think you are...
     
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  22. TKRR
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    Things are moving along, sort of, but need a lot of patience. I'm realizing my job is really getting in the way of ton of progress. I've been working a lot lately, plus raising kids, etc... I'm lucky if I have any energy to get anything done at any point in the day. I'm trying to figure out a plan of getting out of my job so I can focus on my opportunities with a full head.

    Quick update:

    Book is still getting looked at by multiple people, though it's going slow. I did add musical examples to 3 of the chapters (12 to go).

    Card Game: We still haven't sent it to testers. We were going to, but I wanted to add a few more cards that are no brainers to me now. Also, created 2 more characters for the comic.

    Music: About to release a bunch of old tunes... I have over 8 hours of music recorded, just in the last 6 years. What is wrong with me? I need to be better about putting this stuff out there and branding it.

    Engineering company: WTF am I doing here? Nothing. I'm concerned about the hours that go along with it, but I probably should do something with it, but I'm not sure that's where I should be going with things.

    Blog: I've been bad about doing stuff for the blog lately, but I did move it all to a wordpress one, instead of just the one that came with ipage.com. I only used that to begin with because ipage has a couple hours or days you have to wait when you start your domain before the wordpress installer will work for some reason. Anyways, I have over 38 posts in there...and basically no traffic. Despite all that, I know I'm just not doing it right at all. But the content seems pretty good and helpful to people. I just need to get people to see it. If I've learned anything about myself, it is that I don't know sh*t about marketing. With all the music I've put out there, it has basically not gone anywhere.....ugh....

    Again, I have way too much going on. I know I do. I know I have about a million more ideas too that I'm suppressing. I feel like I need to get a lot of this stuff off my chest, it is suffocating me. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I want to push out some stuff.

    My problem is never that I'm lazy or unmotivated, it is that I never stay focused on one task. I see that if I put all the work I've done up there into one of these things... like the card game, then I'd probably have already sent it out and have most of the artwork done for the official sets.... but no, I'm diverted. WTF is wrong with my brain, haha. I just want to make things, invent things, create things, and it gets me in trouble.
     
  23. cottonbuds
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    Congrats you are really pushing it. I am also like you and can't focus on one thing. I will share something I read recently that is helping me focus below:

    “There’s a parable of a donkey that is exactly equidistant between two buckets of water; one is 30 feet to the left, one is 30 feet to the right. He keeps looking left, looking right, keeps looking at both buckets, can’t decide because they both look equally appealing and eventually he falls over and dies of thirst.

    The reason the donkey was in that situation or the reason the donkey died of thirst is that donkeys can only see the present moment. They can’t future think and say, “Oh well, you know what, I can walk over to that one first and then walk over to the other one next.” Donkeys can’t think that far ahead. So whenever people are feeling like they’re in that situation, it’s because they’re not thinking far enough ahead. They’re living too much in the present moment only and not looking at the long term."
     
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  24. TKRR
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    TKRR Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Right on... wow, that's a good parable. And you know what, you're exactly right. Something I've been good about is almost always staying "present" in the moment. Which until this very moment, thought was the ideal. It's mostly kept me happy, etc.. cause I see things for what they are, generally... but damn, if you aren't right that when you stay in the present moment, you're not putting actions into motion for your future.

    Wow....what a thought.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  25. TKRR
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    TKRR Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    This got me thinking....

    If you want to make wave, do you do it by throwing 100 small pebbles into the water, or do you do it by throwing 1 large rock in the water?

    The large rock will always make bigger waves.....

    ----Some of the pebbles will be out of phase with the other pebbles and cancel their momentum out....(see I am an engineer ;-) )
     

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