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INTRO I dropped out of college and got scammed by YouTube-gurus

Luck3R

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Aug 31, 2019
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Hi everyone, Lukas here. I'm a 22 year old guy from Sweden who likes to learn, discover new ideas and ways to do stuff, as well as analyze stuff and find loopholes. I also have a tendency to dabble with different projects, and I tend to regularly doubt and reconsider whatever I'm doing.

Most of all however, I’m really sold on the Fastlane way of life. I’m not there yet by any means, but for anyone interested, I've written a recap of my journey from my "F*ck this event (FTE)" up until this point in time.

If you're curious to see what happens if you dabble in a bunch of things, do black hat stuff, or just take people’s advice on YouTube really seriously, you may find this useful. If you want to become a digital nomad and work remotely, you may also be able to take something away from my own experience with working towards that.

Either way - happy to be here!

2016

The FTE. Sometime during my final year of high school, roughly 3-4 years ago, I had a realization most of you are probably familiar with:

"Shit, I'm growing up. Soon I'll have to get a job and continue working until I'm old and retire. I don't want that."

So I decided to something (you know, watch YouTube-videos).

TMF, self-dev and dreaming. Around this time was when I first stumbled upon The Millionaire Fastlane. The book confirmed my beliefs and opened my eyes to entrepreneurship, being the only path that could help me dodge a lifetime of working for other people.

I wanted to be free, to travel and experience the world. I watched a lot of YouTube-videos at this time, and was drawn in by the alluring notion of earning passive income while traveling the world and putting minimal amounts of effort in.

So I quit video games (I'd been a serious gamer throughout my teens) and decided to make Real Life my new video game of choice. Started going to the gym more often, socialized more, binge-watched self-development videos and read those same types of books until I knew all the analogies and references presented in them.

Applying for college. Soon enough it was time to apply to college, and I had to come up with an answer to the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?".

At this point I'd become really excited about the Digital nomad lifestyle I'd watched so many YouTube-videos about, and I realized my best shot at remote work was studying something that could be done from a computer. "Anything in IT will do", I thought - having no previous experience or interest in programming or anything like that. So I signed up for a degree in Information systems. Since college is free in Sweden where I live, I didn’t have to take any student loans. I could also continue living at home while studying.

College. College was exciting at first and I learned quite a lot during my first year, but the focus on drinking and partying really wasn’t for me. I also realized everything was designed to prepare us for working in the corporate world, something which I had no interest in whatsoever. I just wanted to live my Digital nomad lifestyle!

YouTube and my first SEO-experience. During high school, I'd been quite a serious Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) player and this was something I was still pretty passionate about. So, I started making YouTube-videos on the topic.

One day, I found a way to get my videos displayed to people in-game all over the world. I created a guide on the popular gaming platform Steam and embedded my video in it. With a little help from my gamer friends, I got the guide to rank at the top of the Steam CS:GO guides directory, which led to my videos generating thousands of views.

My top video got around 40k views, and my channel only had a handful of subscribers at the time. This was my first dip into the world of SEO.

I then made a website following YouTube-tutorials and started charging a couple of people $15 for analyzing their in-game recordings and providing feedback as to how they could improve their game.

Falling for a YouTube-guru's tricks. A cold winter evening, I stayed up late, watching a YouTube Live webinar by a guru I'd been following on YouTube. The bald guru was all about self development and passive income, and had just released a brand new course on building an online business for $1399 or something. My judgement must have been pretty clouded at that point in time, because I fell for his promises and spent all my savings on his course in the hopes of finally making some real money online.

I soon realized this was a mistake, so I took advantage of his 30 day money-back guarantee and got a refund (luckily).

Self-publishing on Amazon. I quickly found another guru calling bullshit on the first guru, and offering a better alternative: his Amazon Kindle Publishing online-course. The course was going to teach us step-by-step how to make a bunch of money with Kindle publishing. The guy wasn't very likeable but at least he seemed authentic, and his course was a lot cheaper than the other one, so I thought meh - let's go for it.

2017

Publishing Kindle books on Amazon. Following the course, I did keyword research on Amazon, identified opportunities, outsourced writing, cover creation and review generation, and published books to Kindle. I didn't have a lot of money to play with, so I couldn't do more than 2-3 books at a time. To save money, I wrote a couple myself too.

This online course "blueprint" actually kind of worked - at least for a bit - and I made my money back and then some. Soon enough however, enough people found out about it, and it became increasingly hard to find profitable keywords. As Amazon noticed the increase in low quality books with fake reviews taking up space in their search results pages, they cranked down on many of the outsource publishers, leading to hefty fines, bans and deleted reviews.

In the end, I decided it wasn't worth the effort anymore, as I didn't want to risk reinvesting everything only to have my account banned, so I stopped publishing new books. (One year later, I was indeed banned from the platform).

Discovering Digital marketing (as a career option). Still in college, I was convinced by another YouTube-channel to get into Digital marketing. At this point in time, I was still eager to leave Sweden for a warmer country and become a digital nomad, and freelancing in digital marketing could allow this to happen. I also reasoned that digital marketing was a key skill for me to learn, and that mastering it would make it easier for me to find sustainable success with my own online businesses later on.

So, I enrolled in this online course on Google Ads and SEO and proceeded to get a digital marketing interview for a company in Stockholm. I was only 19 at the time and didn't feel ready to start commuting to another city however, so I quickly turned it down and remained in college throughout the year.

2018

Taking a "sabbatical" (dropping out of college). As last year begun, I'd grown tired of grinding my gears in college working towards something I didn't believe in (a corporate future). Thus, I decided to drop out quietly by taking a sabbatical (I was still living at home and knew my parents wouldn't be happy if I dropped out).

My plan was originally to start freelancing, and I'd bought a course that'd help me get started with that. I also worked part-time as a substitute teacher at the time. In my spare time I'd taken an SEO-course on Udemy, so I knew the basics in theory.

Becoming an SEO-specialist. In the first few weeks of being out of school, I registered a business and started by reaching out to all of my friends. I told them I was able to help people rank in search engines with the hopes of getting a lead or referral from someone. (To be honest I'd barely ranked a website in Google by this point, but I'd been doing Amazon SEO and that online course so at least I guess I knew some more than a lot of local business owners.)

As it happened, I found out one of my friends had a stepdad who owned a small local digital marketing agency who were on the lookout for new talent. (Because most people don't even know what SEO or AdWords is, there's always a demand for specialists within these fields.)

In order to land an interview with his company, I audited their website and wrote down what needed to change for it to be SEO-optimized. This seemed to have worked well as I was invited to an interview. The following day or so, the phone rang, and I'd been hired full-time as an SEO-specialist at the agency.

Why did I get a job instead of freelancing? I figured a job would allow me to learn much quicker, from people more experienced and skilled than myself.
This turned out to be a good choice I think - in hindsight I've learned sooo much throughout my 1.5 years at the agency, much thanks to looking at what my senior colleagues are doing and trying lots of different things on my own. I remember the first few days I didn't understand any of the jargon and technical terms being thrown around, but it didn't take long before I kind of got the gist of it.

As if the new job wasn't enough of a change, two days into it I got myself a girlfriend...

All of this meant a big change in my life. From having been a student and single, I now found myself at an office all day, spending time with my girfriend during the evenings. Here's where the remaining time went:

Starting a website for high-school students. During this time, I noticed the need for a new website. When I was graduating high school, my class had used a website in order to vote and come up with personal "titles" for each other. In Sweden, there's a tradition to get descriptive titles like these when graduating. These titles are supposed to describe who you were in relation to your class during the past years.

Anyway, when my girlfriend's class was going to vote, I discovered the website was no longer around. So, I decided to build a better version of the one I'd used back in the day. I thought this would make for a fun side project where I'd also get to freshen up my PHP programming skills that would also come in handy at work.

I got an MVP of the website done just before the graduation period, which allowed some classes to use it and report potential bugs. This was a great learning experience, and I now had another year to really grow and improve the website before next years' graduation.

Negotiating a remote work agreement. As spring became summer, I sent out a quick application for a remote job at a cool digital marketing agency in Stockholm. Just like last time, I went ahead and provided value up front with an SEO-audit in order to get their attention, and it worked this time as well. After a long interview process with phone interviews, online tests and a visit to their office, I was offered a position as a junior SEO. After 3 months onsite, I'd be able to work from anywhere in the world, they said.

I wasn't sure about this. I was living comfortably at home in my hometown, with my girlfriend 10 minutes away. My current job wasn't bad either, in fact I had a lot of freedom and responsibility over my tasks. Noone micro-managing me or anything like that.

After discussing with my current employer, we came to an agreement that I'd get to work remotely at my current job, which led to me denying the other offer. (Right now, I'm thinking of moving abroad in the beginning of next year).

2019

Stepping down to part-time.
In order to free up more time to build my own business, I decreased my working hours to part time, 3 days a week.

Dabbling in freelancing. In February, I got my first SEO-client. However, I soon realized there was no real point in committing to freelancing on a larger scale. After all, the goal is to build a CENTS business as per MJs books.

Student website growing. Throughout the year, my student website had gained a lot of traction, and schools from all over the country were registering for free. Because of this, I started thinking of ways to monetize the user base. I wrote a buyer's guide for graduation clothes with affiliate links embedded and promoted it through e-mail. I also negotiated a deal with a company that could print sashes with the titles my users came up with using my website. As such, I started dropshipping those sashes to my users. Finally, I installed Google Adsense on the website.

By the time of graduation 2019, my website had about 17 000 registered users and addresses on the e-mail list. Since Sweden isn't that big of a country, it was a decent part of the total amount of graduates in the country for the year, so I was happy about that. As for the money generated, I made about $5 000. Not bad, but still a seasonal side business.

Starting a fashion website. After hitting a plateau with the student website and seeing the potential with affiliate marketing first hand, I decided to start a second website - this time in the women’s fashion niche. I didn’t have any experience nor interest in the niche, but on the other hand I help all kinds of companies’ websites rank every day at work, so I figured why not build an asset like that for myself. I got some recent high school graduates to help me write some content for pretty cheap.

Managing multiple writers turned out to be harder than I thought and I couldn’t afford to pay them a lot either, so I decided to just stick with one or two and then work up from there once I had enough work to justify having more. (Should have realized that from the beginning, but I was so up in the clouds with my world domination empire plans).

As of today, this website is my main focus. When the next article on it is done, I’ll be applying for affiliate networks. After that, I’m going to be making content around affiliate offers and building out an online store.

Getting my feet wet in digital nomadism. Last month, me and a colleague from work went to visit another old colleague and friend who was staying in Croatia for two weeks. This was my first real experience working online from abroad. Did I like it? Yeah, it was nice. Definitely something I could see myself doing. Over time however, I’ve come to realize that traveling and living in different countries - while great, don’t get me wrong - is not the part of freedom I’m after the most. Being in complete control of my own time and not have to be dependent on working for other people now feels most important to me, so that’s what I’m working towards.

Moving out. This week, I moved out of my parents’ place. I have about $40k saved up from working and doing a little bit of business as described in this post, while still living at home. I’m saving this money as “f* you money” - an emergency fund for when I take the leap and quit my current job.

I was hoping living alone would give me enough peace and quiet to focus - and it certainly is nice and peaceful. However, I've quickly come to realize that I need some more accountability - trying to grow a business and get stuff done in isolation just isn't cutting it for me. For this reason I'm planning to regularly report on my progress in the Execution subforum as well.

If you’ve read this far - I’m happy you’ve found my ramblings interesting enough. Also, I encourage you to comment below with whatever you’re thinking. I always appreciate new perspectives on things.

See you around!
 

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Entre Eyes

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Welcome my friend and WOW.

I was expecting it to be a rainy day here but your post is full of great inspiration.

Not only that I see some areas where you were stepping on even more dollar bills and did not even notice them.

Back to 2016...
"Quit Video Games was pretty good at it."

There is a guy who became a Clickbank Millionaire just for his gaming Tips eBooks.

You mentioned YouTube...you could have been the guy showing his game-play and making bank from views.

You built websites.
You know S.E.O.
They were generating cash and began to slow down.

Where is the You Sold It, Flipped it for a Nice Lump Sum Cash Windfall?

You got skillz that pay the billz!

Not to mention an eBook in your head others would benefit from.

You could be creating non Revenue Starter Websites and still be making bank.
But add proven income and Boom! Level Up!

No living in the past tho but nothing stopping you from still making a mint Flipping.

40 K in savings? That is a sunny day every day.

That means you can possibly leverage outsourcing and grow even faster.

I think we will be hearing great things from you my friend.
 

RazorCut

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
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May 3, 2014
1,683
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1,296
England UK
Publishing Kindle books on Amazon. Following the course, I did keyword research on Amazon, identified opportunities, outsourced writing, cover creation and review generation, and published books to Kindle. I didn't have a lot of money to play with, so I couldn't do more than 2-3 books at a time. To save money, I wrote a couple myself too.

This online course "blueprint" actually kind of worked - at least for a bit - and I made my money back and then some. Soon enough however, enough people found out about it, and it became increasingly hard to find profitable keywords. As Amazon noticed the increase in low quality books with fake reviews taking up space in their search results pages, they cranked down on many of the outsource publishers, leading to hefty fines, bans and deleted reviews.
This is the problem when people game the system on someone else's turf. Eventually the reaper comes along and cuts out all the deadwood (and rightly so).
The more people that join the bandwagon the quicker the reaper will come. Then they all complain and call foul when their revenue stream dries up only to head off into the sunset looking for the next fast buck.

But what they leave in their wake is often a ruin for those who were building a solid business providing value but who's only mistake was one of control.

You can have the best crop in the world but if you don't own the field you can't protect it from the locusts that spy rich pickings. A hard lesson but a valuable one.
 

Kevin88660

Bronze Contributor
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Feb 8, 2019
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The most important sources of reliable information come from business people who are still in the game. They teach you business strategies, industry knowledge and business thinking, not a step by step process. MJ is one.

Just to give an example. Business is dynamic. If you are trying to catch a trend in a new market, and by the time when a step by step process is being taught at youtube you are probably going into a market at late stage.

I have been following other businessmen people who teach others in a similar way.

To name some points I learnt elsewhere

-Entry barrier in a business is very important. In the early 2010s the greatest fear for Chinese start-up is to have tencents and alibaba replicate their business and kill them. The big boys just play a wait and see approach. After you have burnt your own money to validate a business concept, they will replicate it using more money and better connection (with their existing business network and infrastructure) to kill your own business. And in recent years they have switched to acquisition of these promising business as part of their expansion plan.

-Understand your own strength is important. There are business people of different types. Some are good in managing and dealing with people (clients and staffs). There are leaders type. Some are good in managing capital and money flow. These are financial types. Some are good at the core of the business- good product developer. Very rarely you have someone who is good in all. Understand this and play your game well. Work with someone to complement you. If you are a financial type of business person you should look to acquire existing business rather than developing your own product. There are plenty of rich business people who are bad at launching a product that is needed by the market (quite a counter intuitive observation).

-Speed is everything. We can all look at hindsight and talked about what worked and what didn't work. Most ideas will fail as a matter of fact. It is important to test fast, fail fast and fail gracefully.

-Apply math to your money game in business. MJ has one that is value based. I have read elsewhere one that is business based.

You business profit is directly proportional to gross margin x turn over rate x financial leverage. Turn over rate is the key thing here. Bubble Tea shop chains in Asia is very lucrative because they can serve a high volume of customer with minimal preparation time. F and B business is about how fast you can turn your tables- serving three rounds of dinner instead of two a night. In other products space high sales turn over means lower inventory cost.
 
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Luck3R

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 31, 2019
7
16
16
Welcome my friend and WOW.

I was expecting it to be a rainy day here but your post is full of great inspiration.
Haha thanks!

There is a guy who became a Clickbank Millionaire just for his gaming Tips eBooks.
Interesting, do you know who exactly?

You mentioned YouTube...you could have been the guy showing his game-play and making bank from views.
I actually made like 15 YouTube-videos before I quit. As of today I have a grand total of 397 subscribers :)

At the time, my reasoning was that I wasn't famous or professional or anything like that. I was at the highest rank in the game, so around the top 1% of players, but there were still plenty of people better than me. I actually considered making an online course and remember I started writing a landing page, but in the end I just didn't see enough demand for it.

Also, I reasoned that most of the gamers were pretty much broke and didn't want to pay for information - especially not from someone who didn't have the credibility and fame of being a professional. (There were actual pros on YouTube giving away information for completely free.) I couldn't come up with any other ways of monetizing either as YouTube had lowered their ad revenue for gaming channels by this time.

It's possible I was wrong about this though.

You built websites.
You know S.E.O.
They were generating cash and began to slow down.

Where is the You Sold It, Flipped it for a Nice Lump Sum Cash Windfall?

You got skillz that pay the billz!

Not to mention an eBook in your head others would benefit from.

You could be creating non Revenue Starter Websites and still be making bank.
But add proven income and Boom! Level Up!

No living in the past tho but nothing stopping you from still making a mint Flipping.
I've only built a few websites in total yet actually. Working on another right now.
I'd love to make a course or eBook, however I'd feel dishonest if I sold something that I didn't have a proven track reckord of. A book or course on ranking client websites with SEO could work I guess, as that's something I've done a lot at work. Although it's in Sweden and competition is lower here. Ranking internationally is harder.

Maybe that's just impostor syndrome though. What do you think?

40 K in savings? That is a sunny day every day.

That means you can possibly leverage outsourcing and grow even faster.

I think we will be hearing great things from you my friend.
Thank you my friend, I hope so too!

I'm kind of hesitant to blow my savings - to me that'd be like shortening the amount of potential freedom I have - time without having to work. On the other hand outsourcing would allow me to move faster as you say.

Another dilemma I have is that of focus. I could go and outsource a bunch of websites but that way I'd also split my attention in many small chunks. Maybe in SEO that's what you actually want to do though - build many websites. I'm not sure. Since the Kindle publishing days I've learned my lesson and decided to focus on value as opposed to shady tricks, and I feel like that's done best when focusing on one thing at a time and really taking the time to understand the target audience.
 
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Luck3R

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 31, 2019
7
16
16
This is the problem when people game the system on someone else's turf. Eventually the reaper comes along and cuts out all the deadwood (and rightly so).
The more people that join the bandwagon the quicker the reaper will come. Then they all complain and call foul when their revenue stream dries up only to head off into the sunset looking for the next fast buck.

But what they leave in their wake is often a ruin for those who were building a solid business providing value but who's only mistake was one of control.

You can have the best crop in the world but if you don't own the field you can't protect it from the locusts that spy rich pickings. A hard lesson but a valuable one.
Yeah, it was definitely a valuable lesson. Since then, I've been trying my best to stay away from that kind of low quality stuff and focus on value instead, with the student website. I'm going to continue doing that with the other websites I make. If I make something now I want it to be at least in some ways better than what's already out there. Otherwise I don't think it's going to be long lived. My books were like islands completely dependent on Amazon, and when they got a couple of bad reviews they were pretty much out. That's just not sustainable.

On the contrary, the student website was solving an actual problem people had, so the opposite happened there and the word spread from class to class. The only marketing I did for that was basic SEO and a little bit of follow-unfollow on Instagram, and it still kept growing larger and larger from word of mouth only. That's what I want my future sites or businesses to be like as well.
 

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Luck3R

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Aug 31, 2019
7
16
16
The most important sources of reliable information come from business people who are still in the game. They teach you business strategies, industry knowledge and business thinking, not a step by step process. MJ is one.

Just to give an example. Business is dynamic. If you are trying to catch a trend in a new market, and by the time when a step by step process is being taught at youtube you are probably going into a market at late stage.
Very true.

-Understand your own strength is important. There are business people of different types. Some are good in managing and dealing with people (clients and staffs). There are leaders type. Some are good in managing capital and money flow. These are financial types. Some are good at the core of the business- good product developer. Very rarely you have someone who is good in all. Understand this and play your game well. Work with someone to complement you. If you are a financial type of business person you should look to acquire existing business rather than developing your own product. There are plenty of rich business people who are bad at launching a product that is needed by the market (quite a counter intuitive observation).
Working with someone to complement me would be great. I'd get a lot more done too. The problem is just finding that someone... Any tips on how that could be done? I've been considered moving to Thailand or something in order to meet more like-minded people.

All good points man, I'll keep them in mind.
 

Entre Eyes

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Excellent Follow up high 5!

Sure this is the guy, started with gaming guides, (Own Product) next was doing Joint Ventures with prominent Marketers like John Chow.


Never hesitate about putting together a "RESOURCE"/eBook that will help others get what they want.

If you put together nothing but all failures it would still have value to someone who wanted to avoid them.

There was an Internet Marketer who saw the popularity of Adult Coloring Books.

He put together a resource on everything up to date and the people that were crushing it as case studies.

He did not participate in creating them but he helped those that may want to.

You compile everything you can on the subject, present it well and you are selling your own custom product.

Thinking about traveling? You are on the right Track I think. Also Asia does have its advantages. There are many Groups for Digital Nomads and your budget gets a boost often on exchange rate.

I would just like to place an Asterisk to it *

Like I tell my buddy's in the States, if you do not have discipline in States you damn sure will not have it Overseas.
Yea sometimes FREEDOM has a TAX. :)

You can be surrounded by Call Centers like in Philippines and those people can get off work and their Happy Hour is like 8.am It can blow your mind to see people singing Karaoke and drinking beers at 8 am. :)

There is a Public Speaker I like whose brand is centered around the theme "Everyday is Saturday!" Careful what you wish for. :)

Same for getting tasks done who will get you fired up to do the mundane tasks. Sometimes we do things because we have to.

That daily structured environment.

But once it is removed we need to become the Tough Watchful Supervisor of ourselves.
 
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