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New Contributor
Speedway Pass
Feb 23, 2019
Hi all, I was somewhat hesitant to write an introduction, and then figured this is probably a good reason to write one. Pardon as I might meander around a bit. Hope it is interesting to some of you. Will go a bit into my path leading to reading MJs books and joining the forum, and a bit about where I am right now.

I stumbled across the books by the end of last year and immediately sensed that I could learn a lot from them. So I made the mornings free to work myself through them at high-speed, also urging my wife to read them as well. Surprise: I ended up checking out this forum! Following the recommendations, I started working my way through the golden threads and beyond. I am quite inspired by the many stories and nuggets of knowledge shared among the community here, and by the overall soberness, consitency of some, and focus on „the path". Over the years, I have grown tired of entrepreneurial hype BS gatherings that lack a mature understanding of both business and life and brim with "success stories" that are none once you inquire a bit further. I think I can learn a ton of stuff here from folks with real life experience.

Why is all that stuff relevant to me? I am 32 now and have been working on my own pretty much ever since. It started maybe when I was 10 or so, delivering flyers for a small pizza place next door. I remember when after weeks and weeks of saving, I suddenly had 100 bucks in my hand, and I kind of understood that this was the result of my efforts. (Actually, my brother back in the days was 18, and getting involved in a little business with a partner himself, I just remember now, writing this.) So there was an entrepreneurial spirit early on. Anyway. This making money on the side continued throughout my days at school and later University, but never with the intention on „making money“, but rather on "making a living“. My parents worked hard themselves to create a good life with their own house, which they achieved, yet accompanied by some severe health issues.

However, I can totally relate to the point of getting real life experience. I waited tables, worked in a metal factory, co-founded a little galery, worked in TV stations and what not. To me, this is priceless experience, yet one has to take care not to get stuck there. Early on I fell in love with observing people and creating stuff on my own, getting involved in new things. I think this is driven by a strong urge to be autonomous and not dependent on others and a reasonable portion of curiosity. However great this may be, I think it is also good to put stuff into perspective. Sometimes what looks impressive from the outside is actually easy on the inside and what looks like a strength might actually be driven by a lot of fear of something else. In my case, I can fall prey to shiny objects and comparing to others if I don’t pay attention or don’t do things that are important but scary. Over the years I have grown a bit wary of simple celebrations of how people go about their stuff. Finding some honest posts in here provides hope.

Among other things I studied design and business informatics. Founded a small network for creatives, leading to founding a design agency with two partners, age 25. We started out offering branding services and applied user centric design to larger problems, getting more involved with consulting around various topics, learning that we can actually have a larger impact on clients’ issues. In a way it was good to just start and figure things out on the fly, but it did not prevent us from violating CENTS in various ways, unaware.
Bigger jobs started to come in and we could upsell some clients too. At some point our portfolio and processes had grown so diverse that none of us could really take work off another's shoulder or communicate coherently to the market. Exhausting discussions and lost time, trouble making decisions. We also wanted to be busy. I remember when this dawned on me: It is actually not good if we are all busy with the daily ops stuff! It’s a false sense of control. We also need to become „useless“! Needs & perspectives unaligned, relationships got stressed.

Of course inventing products and services and basically creating your own type of work and seeing it sell is amazing. But I found myself more and more in doubt about what we were doing for various reasons. I could not apply what I was learning the way I wanted. Several things felt more and more off. In year 4 of 5 I finally developed a serious tinnitus and got pretty exhausted and hopeless. Luckily my wife and a close friend convinced me that I was not married to the whole thing and that it was OK to stop. But this is failing! We cannot fail! This would be the END! It took another stubborn year until it sunk in. Fortunately we had set up a contract which helped us find an ok way for me to leave the company after over 5 years of mutual efforts.

After a while, my health got better, but for the first time I had realized my physical limits and that one cannot pay for everything with superhuman energy and efforts. That became a new factor for me. What good are my efforts if I mess up my health like that! I took a timeout in hermit mode, and just did the work for clients that I already had. Realized several things about myself, like that I am to a much larger degree an introverted person than I had thought before, as I was usually the guy communicating with clients and reaching out.

Yes I know crazy shit is possible, yes getting up early is great, I know all that blablabla it’s cool, and I do it when it is needed. In Japan they say „Where you apply energy, you gain energy“, and that is mystically true. But in general, I have become much more careful with where and how I invest my money, energy and time.
I see how time proceeds. Parents get old, children are born, people die, and I want to be there for the people I care about. I want to be able to give and not just take. I met such great people and I want to carry forth what I have learned from them. I do not want to kiss asses and hang out at stupid events with free snacks and tons of bullshit. I want to pursue my path in a focused, consistent way and apply myself intelligently so that this becomes possible within the next 2-4 years. I want to admit when I am wrong and adjust accordingly. I want to maintain my integrity and health and not turn into a snappy sick a**hole. That does not mean I don’t work a lot. But I look out for good, experienced people to learn from and be honest about what I do not know. It’s just ridiculous to know it all yourself.

Current situation: Have an ok income stream through existing clients and projects for the next two years, with high autonomy and room to “unscribe” further and more effectively. Last year I developed 3 prototype services and tested them with clients. Resonance was good, but so far the models would still be based on me selling my time, which I don’t like. Also still a little unfocussed. Currently revisiting my approaches and business models for potential productization, and trying to get clearer on where to really apply myself the next quarter.

That’s it for now.
Cheers, H

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