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INTRO Hello from Sydney, Down Under (Australia)

Cyberdeth

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Hi.

First off, I read The Fastlane Millionaire and it re-enforced my belief about where I want to go. Since reading that book and many other entrepreneurial books, they all pretty much sum up 3 main topics:

1. Create a product or service where the main goal is to improve people's lives. Don't start a business for the money. Money will be a secondary achievement.
2. Don't start a business that you are not familiar with. eg. If you are in software development, don't start a company in waste management etc.
3. The riches are in the niches.

Now a little bit about me. My name is Francois, 42, and I've been in software development for over 18 years. I used to do contract software development for over 13 years until 2015 when I could not land any contracts and I had a beautiful girl which placed me in great financial strife. Which forced me to get a permanent job to pay the bills.

During my contracting career I started 1 online store which did ok, about $2k a month serving a, you guessed it, niche. Unfortunately, a lot of competitors opened up as well as direct imports from China via eBay. Nowadays, I'll be lucky to get $10 a week! Now, according to Anik Singal, blaming the failure of sales due to competition is a weak excuse, and I sort of tend to agree. I should have pivoted to something else, or expand my business while the times were good.

I've also realised that contracting is definitely not an effective way to start/grow a business. Usually you can only get one client at a time and they usually want a warm body, me, on site 5 days a week. Which goes against the fastlane way. You're basically still just working for a boss.

During the last year or two, I've started and closed down two more drop shipping stores that produced 0 sales for the 3 months it was open. It's very draining to have started and pretty much failed 4 businesses already. So, I guess, my main purpose for joining this forum is to find inspiration, but more importantly to get motivation and mentoring to try one more time. To find my niche, to prove to myself that I am in fact an entrepreneur and not just another code monkey for someone else.

Some problem areas that I've identified is:

1. I tried to sell things I had no idea about.
2. I didn't do enough due diligence in identifying my market or niche.
3. I don't have any entrepreneurial friends, colleagues or support system where I could bounce ideas off of or advice on how to scale/pivot/start my businesses.
4. Australia is a very small market, and I'll need more information, help and advice on trying to market and sell products or services worldwide online. Should I venture into selling products online at all?

Now, I know that I am good at software development, and I don't really have any passions except for maybe listening to music, so I'm trying to figure out what niche to tackle. What service or product to create or sell that would make a difference to people's lives. Podcasts from Pat Flynn and John Lee Dumas has been informative, inspirational and reignited the desire to be my own boss. To be an entrepreneur. To be successful. To make a difference. To prove, not only to myself, but to my wife and daughter that I am more than just a warm body for someone else's dreams.

And that is why I joined this forum. To find like minded people who can help me achieve my goals. Is there anybody out there who can help me?
 

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MJ DeMarco

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Welcome to the forum.

2. Don't start a business that you are not familiar with. eg. If you are in software development, don't start a company in waste management etc.
I've never said this ... you must be confusing my advice/work with someone else.
 

GoGetter24

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Welcome to the forum

I've also realised that contracting is definitely not an effective way to start/grow a business. Usually you can only get one client at a time and they usually want a warm body, me, on site 5 days a week. Which goes against the fastlane way. You're basically still just working for a boss.
Could you explain a bit more about this? What kind of software was it that they needed you to be there physically, instead of producing it in your own office? Is this the norm in this kind of industry, or are there other software guys you know who work for multiple clients?

I've never said this ... you must be confusing my advice/work with someone else.
As I recall you spent 7 years in the limo industry as a driver before starting the limo services website that you got rich by.
 

MJ DeMarco

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As I recall you spent 7 years in the limo industry as a driver before starting the limo services website that you got rich by.
You recall incorrectly, and surely not because you spent any time reading anything I actually wrote.

I was not in the limo business (as a driver) for 7 years ... and I NEVER said this...

2. Don't start a business that you are not familiar with. eg. If you are in software development, don't start a company in waste management etc.
I HAVE said that domain experience gives an aspiring entrepreneur an opportunity to see unmet needs where others might not. (Definitely was my case). If someone gets a job as a mattress salesman, you might see opportunities in that industry whereas someone outside the business, would not.
 

GoGetter24

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You recall incorrectly, and surely not because you spent any time reading anything I actually wrote.

I was not in the limo business (as a driver) for 7 years ... and I NEVER said this...
  • Me? I spent ten years in the limo business. Know how many times I’ve rented a limousine?
  • I was dead tired working as a limo driver.
  • I put the limo in park and faced myself in dead silence with nothing but the fall of snowflakes to remind me how much I hated winter.
  • The limo job did something special: it put me at the forefront of an unsolved need that needed a solution. One of my limo clients asked if I knew of any good limo companies in New York. I dropped the passenger off at the airport, but he left me with a seed of invention. If I lived in Chicago and needed a limo in New York, where would I go to find it?
You're right. You didn't say 7 years driving.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Cyberdeth

Cyberdeth

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Hi GoGetter24,

Welcome to the forum



Could you explain a bit more about this? What kind of software was it that they needed you to be there physically, instead of producing it in your own office? Is this the norm in this kind of industry, or are there other software guys you know who work for multiple clients?


As I recall you spent 7 years in the limo industry as a driver before starting the limo services website that you got rich by.
Unfortunately it’s common practise in Australia. If I were going through a platform like freelancer, then I could work remotely or even delegate work overseas, however the rates on freelancer etc. is pathetic compared to contract software development. I do know some people who do work for multiple clients. I think the main problem I have is that it’s a money-for-time service and I’d rather not do that.



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GoGetter24

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Unfortunately it’s common practise in Australia. If I were going through a platform like freelancer, then I could work remotely or even delegate work overseas, however the rates on freelancer etc. is pathetic compared to contract software development. I do know some people who do work for multiple clients. I think the main problem I have is that it’s a money-for-time service and I’d rather not do that.
OK but I'm trying to understand why this is the case. Why are you in their office sat next to their employees instead of it being your office with your employees? (or hypothetically vice versa, why aren't they in your office instead of you in theirs). Is it custom enterprise software or something? Are these large companies? What medium do you get the contracts through, e.g. is it a hire agency, or your own outreach?

The reason I ask, other than trying to understand this, is that the usual course of action skilled professionals take to try to increase income and reduce time coupling is starting their own business, hiring their own employees, getting their own contracts (through outreach, advertising etc), and finding some specific widespread need they can do fixed contracts for (or better: retainers for) instead of hourly.
 
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Cyberdeth

Cyberdeth

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OK but I'm trying to understand why this is the case. Why are you in their office sat next to their employees instead of it being your office with your employees? (or hypothetically vice versa, why aren't they in your office instead of you in theirs). Is it custom enterprise software or something? Are these large companies? What medium do you get the contracts through, e.g. is it a hire agency, or your own outreach?

The reason I ask, other than trying to understand this, is that the usual course of action skilled professionals take to try to increase income and reduce time coupling is starting their own business, hiring their own employees, getting their own contracts (through outreach, advertising etc), and finding some specific widespread need they can do fixed contracts for (or better: retainers for) instead of hourly.
I think it comes down to trust. Most companies don't usually trust contractors that they've only worked once with. They want to be able to constantly check on their work. Also, I guess it's a case of the amount of skin that's in the game. When a standard daily rate ranges between AUD850 - AUD1000+ per day per person, I guess they feel that they need to make sure that work gets done. Most of the companies are very large companies (banks, other financial institutions). The software that needs to be worked on are definitely proprietary custom software that's consumed by millions of people.

I usually get my contracts through agencies. It's uncommon to land software development contracts without an agency. I would like to be able to not use agencies, and do the development off-site and get contracts outside the use of agencies, similar to consultancies. I actually have set up a company (my 5th try at business) and a website (I don't know if I may post the url here) where I created a software development as a service company. Similar to a software development house, But I haven't been able to get any customers yet. I have done advertising, but got very little interest. It could be that I'm not targeting the right customers or that the copy for the ad isn't attractive or maybe the site I set up is just plain shit. I don't know.

I do think that the company/site will work, and I think I'll just have to persevere with it a little more. But there's got to be a cutoff point when I will have to rethink what I'm offering or who I'm offering my services to.
 
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Cyberdeth

Cyberdeth

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Thanks


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Lee Wright

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Feb 28, 2018
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Hi.

I've also realised that contracting is definitely not an effective way to start/grow a business. Usually you can only get one client at a time and they usually want a warm body, me, on site 5 days a week. Which goes against the fastlane way. You're basically still just working for a boss.
Hi Cyberdeth.

Thanks for the intro. I'm also a fellow Aussie. I was in Sydney & still have a business there but did a tree change a couple of years ago out to Orange (about 4hrs drive). Anyway if you don't want to do software dev contracting that's cool but I would challenge your assumption that it's all in-house. I started out on-site contracting as an accountant/bookkeeper but was able to transition to doing it online & making it more of a business where I don't do all the work myself. I don't know too much about the software development industry but I have a friend that works for a company that provides loan application software to all the major banks & brokers & I believe it's done off-site. Another example would be packages like MS Office or Adobe Photoshop. Even the largest companies buy off-the-shelf products rather than build them. Therein lies the answer I believe. General contracting doesn't scale well. What you want to do is as you say, find a niche then "productise" some software so you can provide the solution over & over with minimal effort & just customise it for clients. There are so many companies like this. For example, some of my clients use an older version of MYOB accounting software but the updated tax tables are no longer available from MYOB unless you upgrade for $700 a year. Another company has created compatable tax tables that you can buy for $50. I buy 4 sets of them a year & it's an automated system, I just order & pay online & get emailed the updates. I really appreciate that someone took the time to provide that service.
Hope that helps. Cheers Lee.
 

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