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INTRO Hi, I'm Rich (well, in name anyway)

Discussion in 'Forum Introductions (Who are you!?)' started by Rich Milburn, Aug 9, 2018 at 7:33 PM.

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  1. Rich Milburn
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    Rich Milburn PARKED

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    Winterville, NC
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    I stumbled on a reference to The Fastlane Millionaire while going through a video about how to be more successful in dating. I've read a lot of the self-help books that network marketing groups tend to recommend, as well as the 4 Hour series, but I had never heard of this book, and thought it was worth a read. At the end, found a reference to UNSCRIPTED, and am now reading it. I finally decided to check out this forum though. I don't want information overload, but MJ says introduce yourself, and I don't want to pretend to be too smart to follow simple guidance. :)

    Origins
    I was raised by a dad who was an employee doing computer work until he was laid off around 2003, and due to hip-replacement disability, couldn't find more work. I remember in 1975 or so, he earned about $75,000. In today's dollars, that's about $351,000. I followed in his footsteps, reluctantly, was further along in my computer consulting career, and topped out around $150,000. Yet, all my childhood we lived paycheck to paycheck, and were house-poor. When he was laid off, he had to file Chapter 7, was foreclosed on, and when he died a few years later, I had to pay off some bills and pay for his cremation (I was living paycheck to paycheck, and got the funeral home to match prices with another mortuary). I knew I didn't want to end up like that.

    Family
    I've got three kids - 25, 22, and 19. I had two different marriages, and both said that I was always so busy working I never had time for them or the kids. Well, I was trying to get where I could make enough to outpace expenses and bills! We tried to live Sidewalk, but never really even had the money to do that. I never had money to take the kids on vacations, when they reached 16, it was all I could do to find $2,000 for a car for them... sports and extracurricular activities were too expensive... and at the end of 2016 I learned I was getting a second divorce. Enter FTE #1.

    Employee Background
    By all accounts, I'm a successful computer consultant, even though I hate fixing computers and swore I'd never get into that. I'm good with computers but am not a geek. I was making six figures for several years, and by early 2017 I was making about $135k with benefits. I have a BS in General Business, and I was working from home every Friday and sometimes other days. A situation at home came up where my soon-to-be-ex was afraid for her safety (threatened by her ex), and I arranged with management to work from home every day for a couple of weeks while getting a protection order. My performance at work was stellar, I would get awards every quarter for "Core Values." Yet, after a couple of weeks, I was told that I was being taken off that account, was called in for a 1-on-1 and summarily fired. FTE #2. I decided as soon as I had the opportunity, I was going to finally take control of my income, so no one could do that to me again.

    I lived off my 401k, draining it dry by the time I landed a new job at $150k. This was a work from home job as a Microsoft Security Architect for a large services company. About the same time, I bought a new Wrangler. Dating hadn't been going so well, so I decided to spend June - August spending every weekend in the Colorado mountains. We'd finally managed to move there in 2015, and I enjoyed it on the weekends. But the weekends were so crowded there, and a friend who dabbled in real estate and other things (mortgage arbitrage for example), would keep saying "hey Rich, I'm going to do [Red Cone Trail] tomorrow, let's go!" And I'd respond, it's Wednesday, I have to work.... One day, helping him move to a new $800k house, he mentioned he was going to go do some insurance adjusting. He said it was easy to learn and paid $1000 a day. He said he also might do some drone work for $1,800 a day. Well, that was enough money for me to switch. Plus, being divorced now, and kids ready to leave... no spouse or girlfriend to leave behind so why not?

    Wantepreneur
    My parents tried to do Herbalife when I was 15. I was going to do it too, and we were going to be millionaires!! Herbalife seemed great but everyone in Dallas had heard of it, so Dallas was saturated (nonsense I know, but anyone who's been in MLM knows that line...). We went to events, my dad quit his job to move to Colorado where they'd do Herbalife, and I was going to do it, too - as soon as they'd let me. I was looking at a 1984 Corvette - the first year of the new body style - on the showroom floor. It was the first car I ever drove on a street, and it was a test drive. Not MJ's Lambo but I've always loved Vettes, and I was going to have one! Well, the week before we arrived in Colorado, the news reported that someone in Denver died from Herbalife. No one would touch it.

    In 1994, a guy in a BMW approached me at a gas station. Henri (pronounced Onry). There was this mysterious meeting he wanted me to come to. It was (yes, MJ), Amway. I've never had a big network, but supposedly that didn't matter, and we went to events, etc. Never made any money, but we had Amway peanut butter and TV dinners.... I listened to lots of tapes about 6 red balls, finding diamonds, and such things. These guys made sense, but... my friends liked Dawn soap and Peter Pan PB and Energizer batteries.

    Later I tried MonaVie. I loved the taste, but $37 for a bottle was like liquid gold. I tried to get friends to try it, gave out tons of sample bottles, but couldn't get anywhere with it.

    Then I tried ViSalus (what's with the random capital letters in the names??). I decided I was going to make it work. I lost some weight on it, and spammed my friends on Facebook. I had 1500+ friends, and my second wife and I both made (rising star? I forget). I listened to all the self help stuff I could find, we went to events instead of paying the car payments, and everything else our upline said to do, to explode our business. A lot of the stuff (especially Jim Rohn) seemed to make a lot of sense. But all that exploded was our mailbox with past-due bills, and we had to file Chap 7 in the end. I tried Ocean Avenue, Nerium (learned how to use AdWords with that one), some drop shipping thing going from Amazon to eBay... but nothing really went anywhere, except my money, to my upline.

    Through all this, my mindset was gradually changing from being a contented M.O.D.E.L. Citizen to wanting to find how to live UNSCRIPTED, but not really knowing how. Jim Rohn was perhaps the biggest influence there. I knew there had to be a better way than being an employee, but MLM just didn't seem to be it. I mean, maybe if someone could come up with a product that people wanted and needed and would have bought anyway, but instead of spending more money on a product, they could save money (no, not Refer 3 Get Yours Free!), and make money when their friends wanted it... then maybe. But a lot of people I knew just didn't have an extra $400-600 every month to spend on a handful of horse tablets and granola bars.

    Self-Employed
    When moving to Colorado in 2015, I read a book called Be Your Own General Contractor. It's about building your own house and being the GC. Well, I'd always wanted to build my own house, and being a GC sounded just like the technical program management I did and excelled at with computers! But you need credit, and I'd filed a chapter 7 and included the house (financed for twice its value - thank you, mortgage crisis). But builder margin is 25%? Mental seed planted.

    I got an invitation in April 2017 to a Flip or Flop free seminar. I convinced an old college friend, who'd flipped houses and did property management, to go with me. They upsold us the $2000 3-day course, and $999 tax lien membership. I took my 19 year old son because she couldn't go that weekend. At the weekend course, it was more upsell - this time $79,000 for the package we need. WTF?? I had no more 401k, I had no real credit limit - if I had $79,000, I would have put it down on a flip! But I did get a taste that this is something I might enjoy, if I could ever get funding.

    Back to adjusting. This friend called me on a Thursday a week later, and said "if you want to go, we're leaving Monday." f*ck it. Let's do it. I asked my son, who was working for the local "municipality" doing water, and snow plowing, and driving a tractor, and supervising lawn crews (at 18 I was proud of him). He said heck yeah let's go. So, Monday we started driving to Houston. I took my last week vacation and decided to see if this would work.

    Well, this "friend" knew a lot more in his mind than he was able to relate, and while we looked at a lot of claims, we couldn't get anything submitted much less paid. After a week, with encouragement, I decided to give it another week and use my sick time. Another week went by and I was out of sick leave. I made the leap of faith that we'd get paid any day, and it'd be ok. We were going to go to Florida to work Irma, we would make piles of cash.

    6 weeks after leaving Colorado, my float money was gone. My son and I left Florida to live with my brother while we tried to figure out just how to get these claims written up and accepted. We got paid after 10 weeks - the day my jeep had a repo order put out on it. I had to end the house lease early (4200 sq ft house in Colorado), lost the minivan the ex was driving... but finally started to get paid. That 10 weeks was the most stressful time I've ever experienced. 20-22 hour workdays, sleeping in the car at times, shotgunning 5 hour energies so I could drive back or stay awake more, sleeping for 20 minutes and waking back up because I had to get an estimate finished before 6am Thursday so it could get paid... But after a few months, we had both become proficient adjusters, and were reviewing other seasoned adjusters' reports before submission.

    Doing adjusting, I got a taste of real piecemeal pay. A lot of what we did was hourly commercial work, some was flat fee per claim... and sometimes paychecks were $6-10k. I learned to set money aside instead of spending through what was in bank. We got an ocean front Airbnb on the beach in North Carolina, and would watch the sunrise some mornings from the deck. Some days there was no work, or only a few hours of work, but money was comfortable, no one could tell me when to work and when not to. I could go drive on the beach at 11am, or 2am - the autonomy was amazing. I initially had this idea that I'd buy a business, or some rental properties... but there was never that much money. It started slowing down, we were finishing the claims and no more came through.

    Then I met another adjuster who said she was keeping busy by selling roofs, and making a ton of money. She introduced me to a general contractor she was working with. He was impressed with my estimating ability, and we talked about making $1000-5000 per roof, each, depending on the size of the roof. It sounded great. But then this friend had a disagreement with the GC, and started causing trouble for him.

    I met a wonderful woman around this time, and we were going to do the roof thing together. Things were going really well, the roof thing looked very promising, but then the GC kept getting tied up with the drama caused by this other woman. Even as that was going on, I decided to move in and rent from my girlfriend (several issues at work there), and my girlfriend put in notice to quit her job. She bought a bed because her back had been hurting so badly before, and with a few thousand a week, we'd easily be able to afford it.

    Weeks turned into more than 2 months of no money, and my savings by now has been depleted. My girlfriend (whom by this point I had started feeling like might be the one I'd been looking for all along) started freaking out about the money, and decided I was just another guy promising everything and delivering on nothing, whom she'd have to support. She decided it wasn't working, and now I'm back at my brother's house, interviewing for computer jobs. The roof legal issues might have just cleared up, but I feel like I'm at square one. FTE #3 but really the biggest one.

    Entrepreneur
    I started reading UNSCRIPTED a few days ago. I see the biggest thing I've missed now: I don't have control. I've left full time employment, but I'm dependent on Chris to send me claims, or distribute payment when he gets it. Or on Gary to get roofing materials ordered (I don't have the net worth or knowledge to get a GC license, or the money to get liability insurance, to just do all that myself). And when a disgruntled associate decided to go rogue, my income was delayed by yet something else out of my control.

    I haven't gotten to the part where I figure out an idea. I've had a few, but they've been done:
    - auto-leveling shock system to counter lateral g-forces when a car turns. Rolls Royce has that, and probably performance cars stiffen their suspension for anti-roll (or use mechanical means, or braking - not just filling the outside shocks with more air - I thought of this when I was 15 though).
    - preset air pressure for air kiosks. They exist but not widespread - but for $1.00, or $1.50... are people going to go out of their way to find a gas station that lets you preset the pressure so it'd cut off when it reaches the PSI? Are gas stations going to pay more for this? It's nice but doesn't add much value (I think??)
    - an idea about a type of grill, based on my experience smoking and grilling, but I've seen it on a few at Home Depot (finally), and even if I could do it better, manufacturing grills seems like a market with a high barrier to entry. Now, my recent reading says that's an ideal scenario - a need, with a high entry barrier... so maybe.

    The main thing is that I'm very computer literate. I could do something online, but I can't think of any needs to meet yet. I'm good at a lot of things to a point, but nothing super exceptional that gives me an edge over someone else. This is the place where I'm hoping this book is going to enlighten me, because I really don't want to have to take another computer job. If I need to, to pay bills and get my own place to live, I will. That will be FTE #4 though....

    Final Thoughts
    I'm also facing the fact that my brother and sister-in-law are very traditional, and believe in highly paid traditional jobs because they live comfortably like that (She's Indian, has two masters and is on the dental school faculty, and he just finished his business degree). No real retirement but two people live decently on their income. And my brother had a "nice job" in Denver with the government, with a pension that he can go back to, and climbed all 58 fourteeners. He says they are insulted when I talk about SCRIPTED concepts, that college and a job isn't stupid, and he had plenty of work life balance when he used to go climbing all the time. And now, they've been traveling locally almost every weekend. I'm dependent on them for the moment, so I'm trying to keep a low profile till they can see results.

    And while I used to make a decent amount of money working from home doing computer work, I also found myself doing a contract for "the most evil company in the world" (voted in 2012) and a beer company - in both places I felt like the job I was doing made little difference in the overall scheme for the company or the world. And if I was making the companies better, was I helping them be more evil?? I'd like to find a way to add value that's more meaningful than that, in addition to having time and money to do things with a partner, and my kids, and grandkids.
     

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