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I've failed at this for 9 years... what now?

College Dropout

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I was conflicted about writing this post. But MJ's books are what gave me the initial idea to pursue entrepreneurship back when I was in high-school, so it seems fitting I tell my story here and see if the community can help me figure out what to do now...

Age 16 - I learned about shopify, digital marketing, etc and began reading into it.

Age 17 - My parents introduced me to a "neat book they found" which was MJ's Unscripted . I cracked it open and immediately became obsessed. I began consuming entrepreneurial content like it was my job... books, podcasts, youtube, forums, reddit... I was on a mission. I started a few shopify stores selling various widgets but never made anything.

Age 18 - I saved up from a summer job and purchased Tai Lopez's original SMMA course and spent the next month obsessively taking notes, rewinding, and absorbing as much "knowledge" as possible. I launched my site, prepared my service packages, and began cold calling. I landed one appointment and ultimately was unable to close.

18 - I went to college for one semester and learned absolutely nothing. I wasn't going to pay $30k a year for my business professor to teach me about gender. So I left.

19 - On the drive back home from college I listened to Unscripted on double speed. I knew that it was time for me to make this online business thing work. My future was on the line. But, after a month of bouncing from idea to idea... website launch to website launch... chapter to chapter... I stumbled across a comment MJ made in the book. He said... if you don't know what your big idea is, get a sales job. The skills will translate when it's time. So, that's what I did.

20 - I spent about 9 months selling gym memberships for an underfunded and underperforming location of a major Gym. The job was crappy. The pay was sad. But, the idea that I could make money just by talking to people was captivating to me. We had no marketing budget so they would often send me to sneak into the local Walmart to try and "collect leads" while the managers weren't looking. I told myself it was shitty but if I could sell a gym membership in frozen food isle, I could make it as an entrepreneur. And I did. I materialized business out of thin air and busted my a$$ to the point where one of the gym members offered to hire me to sell his digital product.

21 - I quit my gym job and began working for an SAS company in the day trading space. In reality, it was selling bullshit to gambling addicts... but hindsight is 2020. Within a year I had quadrupled their sales from the year prior. I called every single motherf#cker there was to call. I sold bundle after bundle. At the end of the year, my mentor... the guy who recruited me from the gym built 2 custom lake houses. A month after that... there was nobody left to call and he decided having me around was an unnecessary expense.

22 - I'm now jobless in a luxury apartment trying... once again... to make this entrepreneurship thing work. I started reaching out to people I knew who owned businesses and offering my services in exchange for partnership. First, it was real estate wholeselling... then I witnessed my business partner lie and deceive an 85 year old woman to get her house under contract at half the market value. I handed him the keys to the company beamer I was driving and said "no thanks." Then I tried to start my own sales training/ Lead Generation company... partnered up with my neighbor who owned a struggling SMMA (Tai Lopez had a wide reach) and ultimately spent another 3 months d*cking around with ways to get more clients before ultimately throwing in the towel.

Maybe I wasn't destined for entrepreneurship. Maybe I was too young. So I went after my second love... food. If I couldn't drive a lambo maybe I could be an artsy culinary jedi kicking a$$ at a fancy restaurant. Hell maybe I could own my own one day. But I had to start modest because I had no skills... so I accepted a dishwashing job for $9/HR. Worked my way up to linecook over the course of a few months. It was a culture shock to say the least, $9 an hour barely put a dent in my bills, and my savings would not last forever. I was basically paying to be there and play chef. So I moved to a much bigger city with better pay and secured a job cooking for a big restaurant group. It was still less money than I needed to survive but I knew they had a reputation of moving people up quickly so I opted to work there. Then COVID hit... and the restaurant industry was done.

23 - I get out of the city and move to Colorado while attempting to build up a freelancing career as a copywriter. I found out pretty quickly than Upwork isn't paying anyone's mortgage... probably isn't even paying their light bill. That there are people on that platform who are top rated with 20 years experience in their field who haven't even made $15,000 pre-tax/fees in their entire Upwork career. Since I don't live in Bangladesh... I had to get another job. This time spraying lawns for $13 an hour in 100+ degree heat.

Within 6 months I was burnt out... going home and drinking/smoking every night. I thought I was going to be an entrepreneur. I was going to be like MJ... and now I wasn't just a wage slave... I was doing literal slave work and STILL couldn't pay my bills. Not even close.

24 - I become an electrician. $15 an hour to dig in the hot Arizona sun and crawl through 150 degree attics full of asbestos. Benefits? Nope. Overtime? Think again. But my dad always said "you should be an electrician... they make really good money" which is utter garbage.

I would wake up at 5 AM and go dig until 3 PM. Then I would drive 30 minutes, change in my car, and go wash dishes at my second job until 1:30 AM. Home by 2:15. Asleep by 3:00. Up by 5 to do it again. And STILL couldn't afford to do anything but work and sleep and I had become addicted to cigarettes and energy drinks to keep up with it all.

After a particularly long night at the restaurant... I got an Ad on my Instagram for a course. The ad said "START your own OnlyFans Management Agency." Normally I'd never buy a course... but it was 4 AM. I was covered in dish water and old food. My life sucked. What if my work day consisted of marketing for super hot chicks instead of scraping bacon grease? I know how to run ads. I know how to sell. Yeah... the industry is morally questionable... but so was every successful business owner I'd encountered in my life. That software scammer... Beach houses and New cars. That real estate dirt bag who lies to grannies... he has a garage full of supercars. What's the worst thing that can happen? I lose $300? I'm already broke. Alright... F*ck it. I click the ad and I buy the course.

Over the next 8 months, I built my agency... signed 30 models... hired 8 staff... and acquired a business partner. Initially we were able to significantly grow our clients' revenue by improving their selling to existing subscribers. But after 8 months we'd sold to everyone there was to sell to and could not figure out how to get new subscribers. In other words... I was a good salesperson and a shitty marketer. So that business did about $40k in sales and then fizzled out. I had exhausted myself building it... 16-18 hour days running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to make something happen in an industry where the good strategies are gate kept. I had put 100% of the money I made back into the biz and opted to live out of my car and work at starbucks in order to grow it faster. But, ultimately... I was unwilling to kill myself attempting to rebuild a business that relies on weak h#rny men sending money and I wasn't sure if I was capable of fixing the marketing issues. I'd given it my all. So I went back to wiring houses.

25 - NOW - I'm almost 2 years into my electrical apprenticeship. I make $19/hr when I show up to a jobsite. My boss makes $66 without being there. When he has bills to pay or a new project to buy parts for... he will spend my pay on it and then go "oh well we're just waiting on a few checks to come in." I will then receive a partial paycheck 2-3 weeks later and he will say "as soon as we get that check for xyz I'll pay you the rest." I've wired multiple homes for him top to bottom. Responded to emergency calls where wires were literally flaming. It's been 3 weeks since my last paycheck and yesterday he told me "you know I think you're overpaid."

So...

I'm going to try and make something work online while I'm applying to new jobs. But, clearly if I was capable of generating lasting income online with my own thinking it would have happened by now... so I'm asking the community for insights. What is it I'm doing wrong? Any advice?

I'm trying to leverage the skills I've built through my various attempts at online business... for instance I'm exceptionally fast at graphic design, websites, branding, copywriting, etc... all those little digital services that take practice... because I've done it over and over through various ventures.

Here is my most recent...

https://www.instagram.com/serviceninja_?igsh=YmI0Ymg5djdzNWEz

It's not perfect, obviously but I'd be open to any feedback!

Thanks for reading, guys!
 
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Bounce Back

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I'm exhausted reading this but what I don't understand is why you went from "I can sell like a badass but screw these sketchy companies" to dishwasher, starbucks, and being an electrician (assistant?). Why didn't you just look for a more highly paid sales job in a reputable company?

Like I'm not really hearing the allure of entrepreneurship here just a bit of scattered approach to making a bit of cash. (No offense is meant here - I genuinely am curious).
 

College Dropout

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Nov 22, 2017
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I'm exhausted reading this but what I don't understand is why you went from "I can sell like a badass but screw these sketchy companies" to dishwasher, starbucks, and being an electrician (assistant?). Why didn't you just look for a more highly paid sales job in a reputable company?

Like I'm not really hearing the allure of entrepreneurship here just a bit of scattered approach to making a bit of cash. (No offense is meant here - I genuinely am curious).
Im exhausted too. No offense taken. I started with confidence because I was a child. My parents had been pumping me full of Tony Robbins and Rich Dad Poor Dad since I was an infant. When I started interacting with the world and learning my value in it, that confidence started to progressively drop. Wouldn't yours? In regards to the sales job... maybe. Generally that whole ecosystem is annoying to me "hustle n grind" "high blood pressure is normal... have some more coke and coffee" Plus... I'm not convinced I'm all that good at it. I mean yeah I made a lot of money for that one guy and signed a lot of OF models but that SAS company was primed and ready and every other remotely attractive woman on IG has an OF. I'm also slightly the asperges spectrum. I mask extremely well due to previous sales roles but the idea of walking into an office full of dudes in skintight company polo's and TRT to "get after it" like Andy Elliot gives me mad social anxiety lol I'd like to build something that makes me money online so I don't have to interact with society.
 
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