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GOLD! How I Lost a Million Dollars, But Am Happier And Stronger Than Ever

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MustImprove

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So you think it might be clickbait huh? Sadly not. :)

In fact it’s worse.

I lost 2 million.

No joke. I want you to avoid the same mistake, and I’ll tell you how.

Losing 2 million is kind of a big deal really (even for MJ!).


This is a real world case that absolutely backs up a key part of what MJ teaches in TMF . Chapter 41 for you fine scholars.


Unfortunately, I had not read TMF before I made choices that put me on the path to this post.

Oh well, my loss and stupidity is your gain!

I’m going to share some of my personal pain and detail so that you don’t give yourself the same pain and detail in the future.


I’d be spilling porkies (lies) like a new MLM convert if I said this doesn’t hurt. It darned well does.


Yet I am happier, stronger, more effective, and more focused on value than ever before. Life is terrific.

Interesting that isn’t it?


And here’s the deal …I want YOU to be happier and stronger than ever before but WITH the 2 mil in your bank account.

I hope I can pull that trick off for you!

Let me try…..


A Bit of Background


I’ve been busy for a couple of years, lurking sometimes, not posting, but proper busy. It’s probably been the most fascinating 2 years of my business life. I’m early 40’s by the way, so with a bit of time under my belt.

Now dear reader I don’t come from a wealthy background, rather like you I suspect.

Yep, I had a good upbringing, with loving parents who sacrificed themselves in slow-lane jobs for me to go to university and have “stuff”.

I am forever grateful to Mum and Dad (I love them dearly)….and heeby jeebies folks, the thought of not 1, but 2. Million. Dollars? …being lost in our family? Wowsers!

My family thinks that’s more than you win on the lottery!


This is a post I rather hoped I wouldn’t need to make, indeed in many ways I don’t WANT to write it.

It is painful to face, but I choose to do so because….

a) It could add several million dollars to your bank account, and I truly hope it does

b) I have learnt a lot from this forum, and as we know it’s important to give back

c) It’s probably cathartic for me….so maybe a little value for me too​

Let’s get into the meat of it…..



The Wind Up

About 14 days ago I signed the “winding up” papers for one of my businesses.

This business was a partnership. Now there’s a clue to the moral of the tale for you Fastlane Chapter 41 types.


I had 2 partners in the business (so 3 of us in total).


We’d reached the end of the line for our partnership.

Very different opinions about how to take the business forwards, frustration, irritation, even anger, and draining energy for nearly a year without any decent progress for the business meant it was time to put the beast down.

Frankly I was glad to sign on the line.

That writing was on the wall for a while folks.

In the time it takes to load a poor affiliate’s lander, four and half years of effort, creativity, drive, late nights, early mornings, and a part of my soul dissolved forever into the deed-of-dissolution as the oddly-celebratory coloured inked monikers dried.


That company and plenty hope was gone.


Contemplation and Stupidity

A few nights later I’m at home and thinking……


….but hey MustImprove (I said to myself), life ain’t bad. Look, there’s a million dollars in the bank! It’s true. Woo hoo! You’ve made it!


I cracked a beer. “Hey big spender, calm down!” I hear your cry. I know I know.


As it happens it was an excellent brew. I savoured the bitterness and simultaneously my moment of reflection.

Yep I contemplated a significant milestone in my business life. Making a big ol mil…wow. So many of us strive to hit that. I contemplated my good fortune to have had such opportunity, and possibly a little effective execution to boot.

But unfortunately I contemplated much, much more…..


I made it?….. err… I did right?

I mean a million, that’s what it’s about, yeh? Cool man! It’s the dream we all want I tell ya!


<cue an unscheduled halt, and out of tune end to the show band’s number, embarrassingly accompanied by a comically well-timed fizzling balloon expulsion….>


I haven’t made it at all.


I’ve been stupid!

Not just a little, “shouted out my former girlfriend’s name at an inopportune moment” stupid.

Not just “spoke to the lady like she was a secretary, turns out she’s the boss of your target customer” stupid.

….but grade A, monumentally, feed your money to the pigs, I blew 2 million dollars stupid!


How?

I’ll tell you how!


I looked through the damn company accounts, book-keeping, customer contracts, and employee contracts!!!!!!!

I told you I was stupid. :)

Nah, seriously, it was revelational rather than stupid.


The Revelations

Well, we were doing pretty good business. Hurray for the team!

We had many six figure deals. I remember massaging a deal for weeks/months and closing it personally for near enough 300k. Now that was sweet (for me/us) at the time. That might even have been a two-beer day!


Looking back, that deal was especially sweet for “us” (meaning my two partners). Now there’s another clue about the point of this for y’all.

Then I remembered prepping and closing another six figure deal, and another, and another. Hey there’s a pattern here isn’t there Batman?


There sure is boy-wonder, there sure is. And it gets better.


Now, memory fades. It happens to all of us, but fortunately for the lawyers, signatures don’t tend to.

I reckon that I discovered, created, closed, or had a majority hand in about 75% of the company sales revenue. Big hmmmmmm.


Please understand that I am not sharing this to toot my own trumpet. Quite the opposite actually. I got things very wrong.

I am generally rather modest (honest m’lud!). I just feel it’s important to get this message across because it can help you make smarter choices.

I hope you have an inkling of what’s coming here and that I am illustrating a serious and valuable point for you.


Anyway, on we go….

…but what about recruiting and managing employees/sub-contractors MustImprove? Maybe “us” (the other partners) took care of that?


Errrr….oops. I did it (again). They didn’t.

In fact I did it all. More stupidity!


We enjoyed having 10 employees/contractors join us over the years.


Recruiting good talent takes time. Managing the talent you recruited takes more time. It’s a luxury problem and it can be well worth the trouble, but it can be right pain in the rear….especially when you are running a business! J


Anyway, at the time we were all good soldiers. Committed types. In it together. That sort of thing.


“Take one for the team”, “don’t count the hours”, “think of the result”…..”it’s the end goal that counts for “us”!”, “someone’s got to do it!”, “It’ll balance up in the end!”


Well, now’s the end. So let’s balance up and look at the result.


Hot news folks! In today’s game it’s a resounding defeat for the “us” and most marvelous effort for the MustImproves!

MustImprove = 10 employee contract signatures and management

“Us”(2 partners) = 0 signatures​

Things that make you go hmmmmm…….(again).


A Little Reflection Now

So what I realise, and why I feel so darned stoooooopid, is that I developed and booked about 75% of the sales/demand side, AND I developed, managed and booked 100% of the employee/supply side of the business.


I mean what kind of idiot would do that?


That would be me, and possibly you.


I didn’t consciously set out for it to be like that. The situation developed over time. I was just full of drive, energy, and totally committed to making the business work.

I was blinded with enthusiasm and a burning desire not to let the team down. To be the one who pitched in first. To succeed.

I believed if I did it the others would follow.


To be clear, my two partners are good people.

They are still my friends and I respect them greatly. Of course they did work and did add some value along the way.

They didn’t do this on purpose. Again, it just “happened” to all of us.

It just turns out that we operate in different ways in business.

It just turns out that partnering even with good people can go wrong.


The Reckoning

Do you think I could have developed and closed the other 25% of sales deals? Maybe more? We can never say for sure, but I reckon I probably could have.

Did I need to have 2 partners?

No.

I sacrificed control and I chose a “bad” partnership.

I chose to give two thirds of the profit away without knowing I would get something back.

Stupid.

Stupid because instead of contemplating 1 million dollars I could be contemplating 3 million.

2. Million. Dollars. Lost.

That’s the cost of ignoring Chapter 41.

That’s my reckoning.



Happier and Stronger Than Ever

So why am I stronger and happier than ever before?

Well actually, just writing this post has crystalized much in my mind. Putting my thoughts on paper has been uplifting, and it feels like I am doing the right thing. I have new perspective. I actually feel good!

I truly never want this to happen to you. That is why I write it down for you guys today, and also for Fastlaners of the future.

MJ does his bit in the book, and I hope that I gave you all a real word complementary tale that internalises the lesson for you.

…but I have gained more than warmth and cuddles.



I know how to sell and close pretty big deals.

I know how to recruit and manage a team of international talent efficiently

I understand the importance of adding value

I understand control.


I’m ready for the next step. You can be too.


Conclusion and Summary

Whenever you are considering a partnership. STOP. Remember my experience. Remember MJ's TMF Chapter 41. Remember 2 million dollars.

Re-evaluate your options. Be smart not stupid!

If my story saves just one of you from making the same mistake, then this post will add millions of dollars of value. It’s not every day that I can say that about a post, but today I can, and it makes me happy (and strong).

In fact, I might just open a beer.

Cheers!:)
 
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Vigilante

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Marc B.

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Thanks for sharing your experience. It stings a little to think that you did most of the work to earn $3m, but it's also your silver lining. You have a good head on your shoulders and perspective to match. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors!
 

Maxjohan

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Great post. First third was a bit slow for me. But then it got better and better. Yes. Try to get partners who are at the same level. But you shouldn't feel too bad. Because there are a lot of people working for bosses who never get to see a $1 million exit. And CEO's for stock companies, basically work sometimes with 1000s of shareholders. And most shareholders, what are they contributing?? Not a thing.
 

JustAskBenWhy

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This is a common issue in real estate. Since obviously in large part RE goes around via OPM, the question of do I or don't I often comes up relative to partnership. I have strong opinions - @MJ DeMarco - perhaps this is a good post... (nice book btw; got it yesterday - half way through - reinforces everything I know to be true thus far...)
 

Chazmania

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I know how to sell and close pretty big deals.

I know how to recruit and manage a team of international talent efficiently

I understand the importance of adding value

I understand control.


Great thread. Seems like you're holding the winning hand, and a mil in the bank ain't so bad :D
 

Silverhawk851

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Epic post,

and brilliantly written.

I can almost smell the years of writing experience

Rep++++
 

Andy Black

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Great story and lesson. Thanks for sharing, and taking the time to write it up so entertainingly. Rep+


This is also a very timely post for me.

I've steered clear of partnering this last few years.

Previously I partnered with someone who ended up just waiting for me to get things going. All this did was hold me back. Time lost, but not money.

I also partnered with someone who spent the first 8 weeks filling up 4 A4 pads with research and planning. I was told to wait till he had the plan all done. That one didn't work out either funnily enough. At least that was an easy "break-up" and again, no money lost.


Now I am at the stage of wondering when and how to successfully partner.

If I may ask, what would you do different going forward? What checks would you base your decision on?
 
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Imgal

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I am very lucky to have one really good business partner that I work with currently, but the pain of reading this was raw... because been there, done that exact same thing @MustImprove. I equally still speak to the people involved and I see it now as a really powerful and actually pretty motivating lesson, but walking away knowing how much I bought to the table and was going to have to leave there.. well it took a good few gulps to swallow that pill.

Thank you for being so frank and honest about it all. As good and as powerful it is to read the success stories, it is also incredibly powerful to read those that didn't turn out well, especially when it comes from someone you have no doubt is going to bounce right back. In a way that's even more motivating.
 

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You didn't exactly "lose" 2 million. You just left it on the table.

Some people play sports, and some people sit back and criticize the players on the field.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Curious, and I bet your partners are smugly sitting back dispensing the opposite advice... "Don't go it alone... find partners who can execute!!!!"

Some people play sports, and some people sit back and criticize the players on the field.

@Likwid24 should have held out for a bigger offer from the Sharks!
 

Ron Dee

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Few things would frustrate/side track me from the actual business more than partners who wait for me to execute or just wanted a free ride.

Appreciate the first hand story reminding us of the consequences.
 

MustImprove

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Wow. Thanks everyone. I truly appreciate the supportive messages, likes, and rep.

I know I’m in the right community.:)

Your positive feedback makes sharing my experience even more worthwhile, and it motivates me to do more to help you.


…and my post even made GOLD. Almost worth the 2 mil in itself!

That’s a real honour, and it will ensure a wider audience for the message. Particular thanks to the folks who made that happen.


Now then, that nice chap Andy Black had a question…
 

Vigilante

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Here's what I can tell you about someone like you.

You're a lot like me.

Once, on the losing end of a huge deal, a judge said to me...

"the next time you do a deal like this..."

and at the time, I looked at him with steel eyes.

See, the judge knew more about me than I knew about myself.

The judge knew there would be a "next time."

Even before I knew it.

And you're the same way.

There's going to be a next time.

And next time... it will play out differently.

Sometimes you need to have your hands burned to realize the stove is hot.

Where you got burned creates tougher skin.
 

JAJT

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It's a little silly to argue the merits of money "lost" vs "not gained" unless you've been through a situation where you missed out on a life changing amount of money...

I once traded not paying $800 in exchange for not earning $50 - 80,000. That amount of money at that time in my life would have been life-changing for me in a BIG way.

I have to tell you, it felt a lot like losing it to me. And no amount of "hey, at least you have your $800" helped.
 

MJ DeMarco

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I once traded not paying $800 in exchange for not earning $50 - 80,000. That amount of money at that time in my life would have been life-changing for me in a BIG way.

The "Goofs and Mistakes" subforum is awaiting your post.... do tell!!
 

MustImprove

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Now I am at the stage of wondering when and how to successfully partner.

If I may ask, what would you do different going forward? What checks would you base your decision on?

@Andy Black

Honestly, I just wouldn’t “partner” in the shared equity sense of the word.

…but of course I’m a little sour on that right now. There could be a drop of bias in my view on this!


I’ve glanced at your post history and reputation, and I’ve got to say that there must relatively little you aren’t capable of on your own.


But you asked for the checks I might make, so here’s a brain dump:


Check 1) – Am I already a true fastlaner?

Fair enough, if you have already started several successful businesses and you’ve got your freedom with the pina coladas on tap, then by all means partner-up at the next rodeo.

In those circumstances you are not risking your dream….it’s just another calculated investment.


For the rest of us, (me included) remember that you are considering giving up maybe half, two thirds, or more of your super-dreammaking-machine/fastlane-vehicle. You are risking your dream.

That’s a heavy price.

If you haven’t “made it” yet, I suggest you stay behind the wheel and lock the doors.


Check 2) – Is there a VERY special reason why I DESPERATELY NEED to be in this one unique partnership opportunity right now?

Surely the honest answer to this question will be nearly always be “no”.

If you are driven and motivated enough, and this goes for all Fastlaners, there is almost certainly a myriad of businesses out there that you can make work whilst retaining 100% equity.

So why choose a business that needs the added risk and complexity of a partnership?

Play the smart solo game. The odds are more in your favour.



Check 3) – Will my agility sacrifice be SERIOUSLY compensated?

Your agility and ability to pivot quickly as 100% owner is one of your most powerful assets on the entrepreneurial chess board.

If you give that up you must be VERY sure that you get a piece in exchange that’s worth much much more to you.

Even if I didn’t need to give up equity, I would be hugely wary about sacrificing that agility.

So sacrificing agility AND equity? Don’t think so thanks.


So there you go. It's a quick-ish answer, but I think it conveys the way I would see it (even objectively). Hope it helps you make a smart choice! :)
 
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Jake

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Curious, and I bet your partners are smugly sitting back dispensing the opposite advice... "Don't go it alone... find partners who can execute!!!!"



@Likwid24 should have held out for a bigger offer from the Sharks!
He should have waited for a bigger offer from me..Hell, I offered likwid money when he was barely getting going. I offered nothing but a cash injection. I would be sitting on a beach while he did all the work.

He was smart enough to turn me down. Same with Vic. I know how to pick them I guess. I'm actually happy for them that they both turned me down. Saves me from reading about my name in a post such as this about the guy who offered them a bit of money and stole millions :woot:
 

RHL

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Curious, and I bet your partners are smugly sitting back dispensing the opposite advice... "Don't go it alone... find partners who can execute!!!!"

I was just going to ask if there might not be an opportunity here to "Demarco" them...

When they tank the company because they can't execute, buy back 100% of it for pennies on the dollar.
 

JAJT

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The "Goofs and Mistakes" subforum is awaiting your post.... do tell!!

Haha, actually it's pretty pedestrian, but a good lesson in Expected Value I suppose. Don't think it's worth it's own thread so here it is:

I worked at a tech startup that I would be very surprised if multiple people here didn't take advantage of (or considered) at one point in their business lives. I was one of the first inside salespeople hired into a team of maybe 8 of us. Part of the job offer included a bunch of stock options at silly low prices. I knew it was a private company and basically worth nothing at the time so didn't pay them much mind.

I worked there for 4 years and then got laid off "as an example" to the other team members at that time - we had all become quite comfortable making bank by the call-ins and nobody was motivated to make call-outs despite pleas from upper management. Hard to blame us - most of us were making very, very good livings just answering the incoming calls and cold calls for a $10 product made no sense (to us at the time). Anyway, I was actually the top salesperson on the team when they let me go (and remained there for 2 more weeks until the vp of sales demanded my friends/team leads at the time take me off the 'f*cking list' because it was embarrassing in management meetings to see a fired individual leading the team 2 weeks after being let go).

Part of the exit process was dealing with those stock options. I could buy them for $800 or let them die on my departure.

Now, here's my thinking at that time:

1. This was a private company, I couldn't sell the stocks like I could with a public company.
2. For 4 years our CEO said "we will never sell, if anything we're primed to be the #1 player in this field in a few years"
3. I had a pregnant wife
4. I have a new mortgage
5. I had a vacation booked for the following week
6. I had no job

In short, it sounded like they weren't going to be worth anything ever and they were going to cost money I didn't frankly have anymore to spend. So I said "nope". My HR rep even suggested I take them but her reasoning was a floundering "I always take them at any job" with no reason or explanation. All I saw was $800 I didn't have.

Less than 1 year after I was let go "as an example", the company sold to the #1 player in the marketplace and all my buddies who were hired with me when I came on board got these huge 50-80k payouts for their options. Many of them took a year or so off, changed careers, did things they always wanted to do, etc... all while telling me "man, yeah, that's not fair what happened to you, that sucks".

I didn't really "lose" that money, but it sure felt like it.
 

Andy Black

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@Andy Black

Honestly, I just wouldn’t “partner” in the shared equity sense of the word.

…but of course I’m a little sour on that right now. There could be a drop of bias in my view on this!


I’ve glanced at your post history and reputation, and I’ve got to say that there must relatively little you aren’t capable of on your own.


But you asked for the checks I might make, so here’s a brain dump:


Check 1) – Am I already a true fastlaner?

Fair enough, if you have already started several successful businesses and you’ve got your freedom with the pina coladas on tap, then by all means partner-up at the next rodeo.

In those circumstances you are not risking your dream….it’s just another calculated investment.


For the rest of us, (me included) remember that you are considering giving up maybe half, two thirds, or more of your super-dreammaking-machine/fastlane-vehicle. You are risking your dream.

That’s a heavy price.

If you haven’t “made it” yet, I suggest you stay behind the wheel and lock the doors.


Check 2) – Is there a VERY special reason why I DESPERATELY NEED to be in this one unique partnership opportunity right now?

Surely the honest answer to this question will be nearly always be “no”.

If you are driven and motivated enough, and this goes for all Fastlaners, there is almost certainly a myriad of businesses out there that you can make work whilst retaining 100% equity.

So why choose a business that needs the added risk and complexity of a partnership?

Play the smart solo game. The odds are more in your favour.



Check 3) – Will my agility sacrifice be SERIOUSLY compensated?

Your agility and ability to pivot quickly as 100% owner is one of your most powerful assets on the entrepreneurial chess board.

If you give that up you must be VERY sure that you get a piece in exchange that’s worth much much more to you.

Even if I didn’t need to give up equity, I would be hugely wary about sacrificing that agility.

So sacrificing agility AND equity? Don’t think so thanks.


So there you go. It's a quick-ish answer, but I think it conveys the way I would see it (even objectively). Hope it helps you make a smart choice! :)
Brilliant advice. Thank you. I wouldn't have thought of 1) at all. Rep+ again.

I also think I am one of those people @Vigilante describes who has to improve by getting burnt.

Certainly all food for much thought.
 

BKMoney

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I really enjoyed reading the topic as it reminds me of my current situation. Started a company with my best friend at the time and shortly after he decided to work with his father on their family business so I was left all alone. "Our" company was my only source of income at the time and I had put in my last money in so I had to make it work. And I did. Took me 3 years... Now he's getting a nice 6 digits annually while I do all the work. We barely speak to each other these days and he has no idea what's going on with the company. Even though I'm making more money than I have ever made before in my life I don't feel happy with the circumstances and I have listed the company for sale. Hope to find someone soon so I can move on. Moral of the story - partnering with friends is a bad idea. Choose your partners wisely.
 

Petahh

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Haha, actually it's pretty pedestrian, but a good lesson in Expected Value I suppose. Don't think it's worth it's own thread so here it is:

I worked at a tech startup that I would be very surprised if multiple people here didn't take advantage of (or considered) at one point in their business lives. I was one of the first inside salespeople hired into a team of maybe 8 of us. Part of the job offer included a bunch of stock options at silly low prices. I knew it was a private company and basically worth nothing at the time so didn't pay them much mind.

I worked there for 4 years and then got laid off "as an example" to the other team members at that time - we had all become quite comfortable making bank by the call-ins and nobody was motivated to make call-outs despite pleas from upper management. Hard to blame us - most of us were making very, very good livings just answering the incoming calls and cold calls for a $10 product made no sense (to us at the time). Anyway, I was actually the top salesperson on the team when they let me go (and remained there for 2 more weeks until the vp of sales demanded my friends/team leads at the time take me off the 'f*cking list' because it was embarrassing in management meetings to see a fired individual leading the team 2 weeks after being let go).

Part of the exit process was dealing with those stock options. I could buy them for $800 or let them die on my departure.

Now, here's my thinking at that time:

1. This was a private company, I couldn't sell the stocks like I could with a public company.
2. For 4 years our CEO said "we will never sell, if anything we're primed to be the #1 player in this field in a few years"
3. I had a pregnant wife
4. I have a new mortgage
5. I had a vacation booked for the following week
6. I had no job

In short, it sounded like they weren't going to be worth anything ever and they were going to cost money I didn't frankly have anymore to spend. So I said "nope". My HR rep even suggested I take them but her reasoning was a floundering "I always take them at any job" with no reason or explanation. All I saw was $800 I didn't have.

Less than 1 year after I was let go "as an example", the company sold to the #1 player in the marketplace and all my buddies who were hired with me when I came on board got these huge 50-80k payouts for their options. Many of them took a year or so off, changed careers, did things they always wanted to do, etc... all while telling me "man, yeah, that's not fair what happened to you, that sucks".

I didn't really "lose" that money, but it sure felt like it.

Ouch. That sounded like it hurt like hell.
Oh anyway. Hi I'm a new guy. Heh. Nice to meet you all!
 

RazorCut

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Everyone on this forum would be wise to heed the warnings here. I wish I could have read them a decade ago.

I've had two partnerships and one near partnership over the years. Collectively 2 of them cost me $30k of my own personal money and many sleepless nights. The other I was given a serious warning over...

Many years ago I was setting up a business with my cousin. It was a 100 seater fast food restaurant in a prime location in a major city. I was young, unemployed and had no money (absolute zero) but I had hustled and networked and had gotten a promise of some sponsorship money for young entrepreneurs then used that and the contacts of the biggest accountants in the city (who had agreed to work for us for free) to get a fat unsecured loan from a bank, (one of the partners of the firm was close friends with the area manager and he loved the business plan they had prepared).

The accountants had predicted 1st year profits of £250k which was around $500 or more back then. This was due to the site location and the lean startup costs as I had spent a lot of shoe leather finding all the shop fittings and equipment at rock bottom prices.

At one of our last meetings with the accountants I was taken aside and told that I should dump my cousin as they thought he was just there for the ride. I was stunned. They were right of course, he had not contributed anything up till that point save for moral support and £60 towards our licencing application. I was so caught up in it all I had hardly noticed.

Anyway it took best part of a year to set it all up and the biggest gamble was getting the change of use for the building from a clothes store to food use. This took forever as they postponed the decision several times. I still remember the feeling on the day we finally got permission. I thought I could take the world on. Then it all crumbled in front of me.

The company we were leasing the building off stopped returning my calls. We had only to sign the lease and off we would go. Then I get the news. Unbeknown to us we were being watched like a hawk watches a sparrow. As soon as we got the building approved for food use McDonalds purchased the building from the company we had agreed to lease from and set about creating yet another burger bar. It's still there today, nearly 30 years later.

Sometimes I wonder what would have happened to my friendship with my cousin if things had panned out differently. I doubt it would have gone well.

It would take something very special before I would ever consider a partnership ever again.
 

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Unbeknown to us we were being watched like a hawk watches a sparrow. As soon as we got the building approved for food use McDonalds purchased the building from the company we had agreed to lease from and set about creating yet another burger bar.

@RazorCut I'll tell you what, that must almost be worth a thread in its own right!

That's another example of how an administrative weakness can viciously bite your backside and blight your dream.

You did some brilliant prep work there, especially considering that at the time your youthful bumfluff had barely encountered a blade. Top work chief. What a lesson so early in a career.

I bet at the time everyone was all smiles, not least your cousin.

In terms of extracting the value for others now, I'm not a legal beagle, but I suppose it might have been possible to tie up your "first option" to lease before they could consider a sale, in a contract....since you were adding massive value by switching the building use that seems fair to me. Perhaps you could have made the contract subject to you getting the food use by date dd/mm/yy of course.

That way both parties would have some cover, and most importantly you wouldn't need to choke a little each time you munch a burger.

Anyway, hindsight is wonderful, and I could imagine many younger folks (including myself) trusting that it would just be OK like you.

I find it interesting to think how can we help other members avoid our mistakes, and I think your little lesson can do just that.

How would you advise your younger self now?
 
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RazorCut

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In terms of extracting the value for others now, I'm not a legal beagle, but I suppose it might have been possible to tie up your "first option" to lease before they could consider a sale, in a contract....since you were adding massive value by switching the building use that seems fair to me. Perhaps you could have made the contract subject to you getting the food use by date dd/mm/yy of course.

I tried, they gave me the run around stating that as the previous occupant (a clothing store) still owed them a load of back rent they couldn't lease it out again until the legal bods had sorted it out as, technically, the clothing store were still leasing the premises and so raking up a large bill every month. The rent and rates alone came to about $100k a year which was a lot back then so it did make sense in some ways.

The building had been empty for over a year and so I figured no one was interested (either couldn't see the potential or didn't have deep enough pockets). I had also checked and no other application of any kind had been registered on the building. Add to that I was also willing to pay the asking price and not demanding a rent free period (I was well aware I was unproven and punching well above my weight so had little leverage). The McDonalds move completely blindsided me.


I find it interesting to think how can we help other members avoid our mistakes, and I think your little lesson can do just that.
How would you advise your younger self now?

If I were to give advice based on years of my personal experiences and observations of others I would say this:

In business trusting someone, even a best friend, is for fools (and I've been too trusting too often so that made me one of the biggest fools).

The saying goes "Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me."

So, in ANY business dealings hammer out ALL the details between all parties then get it all in writing in a legal document that EVERYONE signs. NO exceptions.

For a partnership both take 48% of the voting rights and give the 2% so someone impartial you can BOTH trust whom you know will put the best interests of the business first (accountant, solicitor, mutual mentor etc.). This gives you someone not only with a voice of reason but also with the clout to make that voice mean something.

In show business they say never work with children or animals. In business I would say never get into bed with friends or family. The potential downside is just not worth it in my opinion though many people make it work.

There is another saying "Its better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same."

If you have any business dealing where you are not 100% protected you must be able to accept and be prepared for the worst case scenario of total loss. So unless you can afford it, and the upside is of such a high magnitude that the risk is worth it, walk away.

Any risk, ring fence it with an LLC or whatever. You never want to be put in a situation where your home and everything you own is put on the line.

These for many may sound like extremes coming from someone who has been burnt a few times. Please bear in mind I am an eternal optimist. It's better to be safe than sorry. Unfortunately in todays society peoples word is no longer their bond.

For those that have learnt these lessons the hard way you may find this amusing. Well it made me smile.

fool.jpg

The moral of the story, never put yourself in a situation where you need a chopper. ;)
 

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