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INTRO Patiently throwing off the shackles.

Jack Hammer

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Sep 19, 2018
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Hi, Jack Hammer here (not my real name, but damn, I wish it was). I thought I'd introduce myself and share my abridged story.

TL;DR My story's pretty much the same as everyone else here.

In college, I studied electrical engineering. About 3 semesters out from graduation, I told my dad I didn't think EE was for me and he convinced me to stick with it. I had to admit I liked studying the material, but I felt this sense of soul-crushing burden at the thought of working at a company as an engineer. Still, I went along with what he said.

I graduated with a good GPA and, for lack of other options, accepted a good-paying job with a big company. I mostly enjoyed life except the 40+ hours in the office. It was tolerable at first, but after a few years, I was pretty much Peter Gibbons from Office Space.

When I couldn't take any more, I quit and lived on savings with no idea what to do next. I felt pathetic and aimless. One day, I spent a few hours in a book store and found The 4-Hour Workweek. After reading about 1/3 of it, I put it down deciding I wasn't a sucker and I should get a real job. I did just that and spent the next few years alternating between having a job and being unemployed. I kept building up savings just to see it deplete. I had excuses for each job loss, but only one was completely out of my control. Somewhere in there, I got a masters degree to make myself more valuable to the market.

Six years after that day in the book store, as I found myself unemployed, yet again, savings dissipating, yet again, I decided I was a sucker for thinking that salaried jobs were for me. Perhaps they work fine for most, but not me. I downloaded the 4-Hour Workweek and this time, I read the whole thing and embraced the message (well, most of it. I still haven't hired anyone from Bangladesh). I had already started an entrepreneurial side project several months prior, so I hammered away at it hard. Ultimately, I realized my project was too ambitious and probably didn't have a large enough market, so I abandoned it. Shortly thereafter, I got the job I have now. It's great as far as jobs go- I can tolerate it without going full Peter Gibbons- but it's still a job, so I want out.

I started my second project right when I started the new job. It was a ridiculously stupid idea, had no viable market, and I quickly realized I didn't actually want it to succeed. Still, I finished it anyway because I wanted to create a narrative in my head that I could complete my projects. I put it out there and it failed, but hey, that's what I wanted.

My third project was much less stupid and had more of a viable market, so I was a lot more hopeful about it. I put it out there and the feedback I got back was mixed. I had to accept that it just wasn't what the market wanted.

I'm now working on my 4th project- a software product. During my third project, I needed some software to do a specific task. There were a bunch of products already out there and I must have tried over dozen, but they were all terrible. I ended up using the least bad of the bunch and it got the job done, but it was a pain in the a$$. I kept bitching about it and ranting about how much better I could make it. Looking on Google Analytics, I found that at least some people are looking for this type of software, so there's some market for it other than myself. I evaluated it against a few other ideas I had and decided to pursue it. I'm now probably about 75% finished and feeling pretty good about it.

A year or two ago, my mom, noticing I was working on all these side projects, sent me an article from a local newsletter highlighting a 20-something entrepreneur from her neighborhood who had built up a million dollar business. He cited The 4-Hour Workweek and The Millionaire Fastlane as inspirations. I had never heard of The Millionaire Fastlane, but kept it in mind to read at some point in the future.

While cleaning up old stacks of paper recently, I came across that article, realized I still hadn't checked out that book, and downloaded it on Audible right away. I approached it with caution just in case it was another get-rich-quick (aka get-rich-easy) scheme. It was not. This was the real deal. It affirmed that I was basically already heading down this road (except for my 9-5 job), but it provided a lot of great ideas to evaluate what I'm doing and keep me on the straight and narrow. It also hardened my resolve to help get me through the mushy middle.

I decided to join the forum to learn from others traveling the same path and, once I've actually developed a track record of success, pay it back to others.

Oh yeah, @MJ DeMarco, you said to tag you, so there you go.
 

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