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My journey (Engineering School & Bartending)


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Feb 18, 2018
Dear Fastlaners, thank you!

tl;dr: This introduction relates my journey from when I am eighteen years old up to today. I feel a bit lost at the moment, so I thought it would be a good idea to use this introduction post as a way to take time to think and remember how I ended here.

Thank you for the insane amount of quality content that you are publishing on this forum, it's marvelous. I want to be like you when I grow up!

I am 24 years old, and I live in Paris and almost did a huge mistake a couple of months ago... But TMF has saved me from doing it. Thanks, @MJ DeMarco !

When I was 18, I joined a private Engineering School in Paris. Pricetag: 10000€/year, for five years. My thoughts at the time: "I will have to hustle alongside, that's good because it will toughen me up."

One of my role model at the time was a guy named Youcef, a successful 26 years old self-made entrepreneur who owned several shops in Spain and Paris. He was very generous and hard working. He started working at a very young age because he had to provide for his family. He advised me to start working as a bartender to make money.

Those two decisions I made when I was 18 have strongly influenced my life up to this day.

When I started school, I wanted to learn how to be a leader. So I took on the role of project manager in every team assignment or project. It was simple to get other people to accept because it mostly represented extra work for NO extra point... I was also studying smartly; I was learning the material before it would be taught in class. At the end of the year, I was ranked in the top 10% Students.
Fun fact: I was also learning Web Development in my spare time with the objective of creating a libertine dating website. (Spoiler, never happened).
I also tried to obtain a position in the Sales department of the School's Junior Enterprise, but I was rejected and was offered a spot in the Communication department. I failed the "Well, Sell Me This Pen" Test.

In parallel, I was working as a waiter, but I was so clumsy that I kept on getting fired for a year.
Every time I was laid off, I added a line on my resume. Then I would print a pile of resumes and enter every bar and restaurant of a district, and ask to see the manager with a big smile.

I was financing my first year partly with a loan, so I was doing ok financially... But at the end of the year, the bank told me they didn't want to give me another see . My whole world shattered. I found another loan in another bank for my second year, but I knew it was the last loan I would be able to pull off.

Suddenly I had to find 10000€ to finance my third year and 5000€ to finance a semester in Montreal. I had to do so in twelve months, alongside school. It seemed impossible.
So I started to work more seriously as a waiter, I was shit scared of getting fired.

I was working as a bartender on weekends. And I realized it wouldn't be enough to attain my objective. So I started to work more, something like 40 hours a week, condensed on four days over the weekend.

Every two weeks I also had to take school exams on Saturday mornings. My life was like a never-ending week drawn in booze, caffeine and sleep deprivation. At the end of the year, I was ranked in the worst 10% students.

I went to Montreal. But didn't feel accomplished about it, actually I was depressed and tired. I feel ashamed of having work that much for an objective, only to be incapable of seizing the day when I was finally where I wanted to be. I was apathetic and depressed.

At the same time, I started to poke an interest in Bio-Informatics and started a MOOC. I haven't made it past the 1st week.
So I came back to Paris in 2014; I decide to work fewer hours as a bartender every week so I can focus on running as President during the Student Office Election.

In France's Universities, The Student Office is the association which organizes every big event throughout the year. To become the Student Office, one has to create a team of 30 people (called a list) and to get elected during a campaign.
In my school, the campaign opposes two teams and lasts two days. Each list has to organize one big party in a nightclub, one after work (as a warm-up for the other list's big party) and has to provide an ongoing flow of food, entertainment and goodies on the campus during the day. Then people vote.
It goes like this:
The School only gives 500€ to each list, so each list is responsible for the funding of the campaign).

It was hectic, a massive dose of action produced every day. Even though I was feeling insecure and full of self-doubt, I was making things moving forwards every day. And we made it, started from scratch, our campaign was acknowledged "The Best One Ever Seen."
But... We lost. 1300 Total Votes, we were 17 votes short. Glaring at the deception of my 30+ amazing team-mates and all our friends and supporters, that was horrible. I promised them we were going to be the best, that we were going to win... And I didn't deliver. That was harsh.
To alleviate the deception and shame, I decided to find another project to work on. A friend was going to become president of the Sailing Club of our school but was in cruel need of members. So we joined forces At this time the Sailing Club was not doing very well, it was a minor club of the school. Spoiler, now it's one of the most important.
In parallel I remember, I purchased a class named get your first 1k/month business. I decided to launch a consulting/ebook on how to get good grades without studying too much. I helped two friends for free when they were studying. My idea was to use the experience from helping my friends to launch the business. It will remain as an idea forever. Well, at least I helped two friends, and they still remember some of the tricks I taught them. So that's cool.

Ironically, even though I was teaching study tricks, my grades were shit, and I almost failed the semester. I doubled up on my working bartender hours. At that time I couldn't find another loan. So I will have to pay the school cash every month.

The 4th year of Engineering School was harder than anything I've ever seen. Plus, I chose all the hardest electives instead of taking the "free-A" ones. I was working at the bar 4 nights a week if I remember correctly. That was hardcore, but that was my fault. If I hadn't chill out too much at the beginning of the semester, it would have been easier.

After this first semester of hell, I decided to get my shit together. So when the second semester started, I worked hard and made it back in the top 5% at the end of the semester. Well, everybody else was chilling out, so it's not very outstanding. But it was still a victory for me who had been one of the worst students for almost three years.

I planned to take a gap year from studying so I can work like hell during one year and pay back all my student debt, CASH. Then I would do my last semester of class as an exchange student in Korea. I chose Korea because I wanted to discover Asia, and one of the universities there had a Genetic Engineering class.

I found a summer internship in a startup where I was basically the only one developer (and also the only one employee). Because my boss didn't have an office, I was allowed to work from home. I discovered that working from home is not easy at all.

Plus was still working two jobs at this time. I burnt out in three months, shaved my head, and packed my stuff to go work in Australia.I thought it was a good idea because Australian salary is higher than French salary. Detail, the cost of living is also higher.

At the time I read the book Rich Dad Poor Dad and liked the idea of gathering skills of Financial Literacy and also to never work for a salary but to work to learn.So I refused every bartending job offer I got and aimed for the top venues. I was all about learning mixology and serving fancy drinks in fancy clothes. Well, I got rejected of all those fancy venues. Plus I have already declined the offers of venues that I deemed too low-level for me. Well done, Rémi.

Also, I was learning Python programming in my spare time. I gave a second shot at the Bio-Informatic MOOC and managed to go further than the first time. Didn't get past the second week.

So here I am, in my backpacker hostel in Sydney, wondering how the heck I am gonna earn the 1600AU$/week I want, to be able to pay back my student debt and pay for my last year... So I am talking with this guy, Oliver. Fascinating guy, and a Jack of all Trade, successfully run a side hustle when he was in HighSchool and was trying every manual work he could. He tells me I have only two solutions to make that amount of cash: Sales or Labourer.

I remember about this book "Ready, Fire, Aim" where I remember that in the initial phase of a business, Sales is all that matters. So I'm connecting the dots, and here I am, Trying to find a job in Sales. I found one, 100% commission, no salary. I'm like "Yeah I'm gonna be an entrepreneur." For every sale I make I earn 60% of it, but I have to pay for the entry in the Mall where the stall is. If I don't want to pay a fee, I have to set up (illegally) a stall in the street or do door to door from business to business.

I quit three months after starting, decided to do Construction work. Well, I quit construction two weeks after and went back straight to sells. So basically I started as a very very bad salesman, and I ended as a bad salesman, I almost never was profitable, and my stock of cash was burning. I tried to the very last until all my accounts were dried empty and had to go back to France, broke, eight months after arriving. My goal was to make 40000€ in a year; the result was I exhausted all my money.

I learned a couple of things in sales: First I corrected my too thick French accent so that people can understand me when I try to sell them something. Second, I learned that I am weakly minded: I am very pessimistic/negative, and I overthink a lot.

Back to France, I had to find a way to finance my last year's semester abroad in Korea, as well as the tuition fee. So I did the only thing I know how to do, I traded my time for money. I hustled as a waiter for a couple of months and negotiate an agreement with my school so that I won't have to pay the last year immediately.

I decided to move to Korea one month earlier so that I can road trip on my own. It was liberating. It helped me to get a sense of clarity and a sensation inner peace I hadn't felt in a long time.
When the semester started, I discovered sadly that the Genetic Engineering class I wanted to take was not available in English, only in Korean. So I decided to switch my focus on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence because those were available in English. Plus I already had a class on A.I. back in France and liked it.

When class started, I discovered that I severely lacked the prerequisites, so I studied Mathematics intensely to make up for my deficiencies. My regimen was: four days a week studying, three nights a week partying. Sunday afternoon was used to visualize the week ahead. I had a fantastic time. I was genuinely happy for the first time since longer than I can remember. But every good thing comes to an end. And so as the semester ends, I go back to Paris.

Then my goal was to find the best graduation internship I can in the field of A.I.
In January 2017, one company contacted me because they liked my profile. I discovered that they are almost at the cutting edge in A.I. and are working with Deep Learning algorithms. Awesome! The problem, I don't know shit about Deep Learning, and the interview call was scheduled on the following day. I can't miss this opportunity. So overnight, I cram as much material as I can about the subject. My goal was to look like I am competent, to understand my interviewer language.

The call came, and I was doing alright for 40 minutes, then the interviewer asked another technical question, and my mind blanked out. "Sorry Remi, I don't think you have the qualifications we look for in an intern..." So I tell her that I can be hardworking and I can learn anything necessary. End of the call.

The day after I received a mail: "Well train yourself on this Data Science competition and keep us updated on your progress. We will see if you acquire the skills we look for in an intern." I decide to go all out on the project. Other companies wanted to hire me, but I knew I wanted to work with them. So after a week and a half, I sent them a huge mail explaining what I have done. While sending it, I thought it was so good that I was dancing in my room. Then, no answers for a couple of days. And finally: "Cool, it's a nice start. Here are some suggestions <insert here a huge dotted list>. Keep us updated.". Huh, LOL, I remember thinking "I'm done for, this was already my best. Well anyway, let's push further and see what happen."

Here I am again, going all in for another week. But this time when I send my mail, even though it was bigger and included graphs and pictures, I was not very confident that it will give me the job... Here again, no answer for a couple of days. And then here it is "Great! Congratulations on your effort, we would like to meet you for a face to face interview". HOORAH! So I got the job! I couldn't believe it (Btw, the face to face interview was horrible, I felt like I was the dumbest guy on earth ever. I think that what saved me was my last question. "What are you guys looking for in an intern that I have?")

So Here I am working as 9 to 5 engineering (intern) job. I was learning a lot. The company I was working for was great. People were cool. Pay is kinda great. I can finally eat sushi every lunch if I want too.

I tried to get to the next level by studying in my spare time. But I struggled to put in some extra work as I was also working as a bartender on Friday and Saturday nights. So I tried to adopt a healthy morning ritual; I finally manage to meditate more than three days in a row for the first time in my life. I manage to wake up two hours and half before work. But it's not enough to crack some deep work. I am just not moving forward. So I am thinking about my future career path and how fast can I get to the top of the game in AI. I am settling for less.

And one day one of my dear friends tells me to "Stop anything you are doing now, and read this book."
The book was called The Millionaire Fastlane with a Fastlane on the cover, and I'm like "Damn, how scammy can this shit be?". But, injunction of my friend "Shut Up and Read." Well... It turns out this book changed my life and was a huge wake-up call. I was about to get scripted even more, and it kicked me out of it like Morpheus with Neo. So I decided to stop my 9-5 job and to pay my expenses with my weekend bartending job. Like this, I can have five days a week to study A.I. so I can create an A.I. startup A.S.A.P.

So here I was, studying at the library. The problem I still had debts to pay. I projected that I would be bankrupt in October. I managed to push to November where I got a brilliant idea: "Hey let's take the few of money I have left and that I need to pay back my student loans like this months and let's invest it in aliexpress + Shopify drop shipping business. It's okay I just need to turn 300€ of profit in three weeks with no experience, look there are many guys on youtube doing it; no big deal..."

Well... That was a magistral failure. After that, I had to borrow money from my dear friends. I had to take a second bartending job, this time on Wednesday and Tuesday nights to be able to pay them back.

I have three days off per week. I am also living at my parents' house, so my cash flow is positive. I planned to invest it in dropshipping. I decided that I will pursue on the drop shipping road because I believed it could help me reach financial independence.

It has been three months already since this decision, and I have been action-faking this whole time. I have launched only four FB ads and three designs of Print on Demand on three months. I basically feel pathetic.

The only thing I achieved in three months is to assemble a crypto mining rig. Well, it's making (very few) money while I am sleeping but it's not Fastlane.

Three weeks ago I had an opportunity in the second bar I work. The owner wants me to become the manager. I accepted because I think I can learn from the experience.

I am concerned now by my lack of progress. I want to continue learning about data-science, and I also want to create a business, but I feel stuck. I want to be an entrepreneur. I am afraid of being weak-minded that I will give up on my dreams. I believe I need some form of accountability to keep me going. I think I am going to document my process in the execution part of this forum.

I wrote this long post because I was in need of clarity about what I am doing with my life.
Now I am going to sleep in the hope of a clearer tomorrow.

Thank you very much if you read that long introduction post! It means a lot to me. I hope I will learn a lot alongside this community and that I will be able to give back even more than I take.
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