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INTRO Planning My Work & Working My Plan

Suds

New Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 13, 2018
11
8
20
New York
@MJ DeMarco Thank you for writing your books. The Millionaire Fastlane has served as my guiding light through the past 7-8 years. My story so far:

My Background:
I am from India. I grew up in a middle class family. Got 3 degrees (yes, three) and student loan. Have been working in the US for the last 2 years. Will return home in another 2-3 years. By that time I would have paid off my debt and saved up enough to strike out on my own. That's the plan.

My Early Years:
I grew up in an environment where education was the only option for advancement in life. When my father was a kid, he had to walk 3 miles to school everyday. He was brilliant but could not even afford books. High-school was as far as he could go before he had to get a job. He got a government job which provided stability and more pay and advancement as you got higher education. I watched him build his career and reputation from nothing to everything around me. He was the most educated, most successful person in our community and extended family. As as I was growing up, I saw my own environment being upgraded every year from living frugally to being well to do. This became my template for success and achievement - More educational qualifications = better life.

The Business Bug:
Since I had seen the difference a little more money can make to the quality of life, I figured money is the solution to all problems. When I was 14 someone gifted me a book on "success". I was hooked because it talked about achieving limitless success and "prosperity". I thought I found a way to achieve what I wanted. When my peers were reading Harry Potter books, I was reading books on success and career. At this same time my daily newspaper started publishing weekly supplements on Education and Career. I understood very early on that a job is not a career. I got more focused on learning how to build a career over time and become a CEO. The media romanticized the position of CEO and I found enough books about it to devour. But always at the back of my mind I was chasing money, I was always looking for a lucky break that would make me rich overnight.

As I entered college for my Bachelors degree, I found out that entry-level jobs don't come easy. My father paid for the college but education in India was not expensive at that time. I wanted to get the highest paying job possible. When my classmates were fooling around, partying, skipping classes, I was reading how to write a good resume and crack the interview. The more I read the more I realized that it's difficult to get a job. Every new information would make me fearful and doubt myself. I didn't have the stellar experience/ extracurriculars. I didn't realize that I was far ahead of my peers because I was better prepared than anyone else. Despite my best efforts I didn't land any good internships because they went to the people with "connections". That's when I got introduced to MLM.

Desperate college students make good downlines for smart MLM operators. A classmate told me that he was not looking for a job anymore because he had already got a business and he's made profits during summer break. Next year when we graduate he was going to buy a car. I couldn't believe him, so I went to attend his business meetings. I got trapped. I spent the money my father had given me to buy books for the next semester on joining the MLM opportunity. I told him I won't need books because I was going to be rich. He was furious but still gave me more money to buy the books. He said within 2 months you'll be back to studies and you'll need the books. That's exactly what happened.

I considered this to be my first real education about business. I learned what leverage means. And that's when I knew, if I had to achieve anything substantial, it can't happen with a job. I needed to start a business. But I ended up with more questions than answers. I didn't know what to do, so I thought let me get a job and I'll figure things out as time goes on. If I couldn't start a business I could always rise in my career and become a CEO myself.

First Job:
I got a degree in an advanced scientific discipline. That was my first ever plan. Before I joined the college, that was one of the highest paying jobs in the market. I thought I'll be working on cutting edge R&D in an evergreen industry, so I'll never have to worry about money. But then I learned the importance of having a Plan B. By the time I graduated, there were so many graduates that Masters degree became the minimum qualification. The pay was proportionately higher too. I applied everywhere and got rejected due to lower qualification (no Masters). I couldn't afford to get a low paying job so I joined a call center supporting small office customers from the US. It was in those days when the term "Bangalored" was coined and outsourcing was spreading like wildfire in India. The entry-level call center jobs paid much more than what my degree-related job would have paid. The night shifts were horrible but I stayed for the money. I didn't see any growth in the career of people who had joined 3-5 years before me. It was a dead end. There was also a stigma attached to this job. People who worked more than 1 year in such jobs were not hired for anything else because you never learned any skills. This was a dead end. I had to quit before it was too late. I also remembered a job doesn't make a career. So I hatched my next plan.

More Education:
I had earned enough to pay for my Masters degree. Education was still cheap in India. My new plan was a copy of the previous one. I had just replaced Bachelors with Masters, the jobs were growing in number, and the people I knew were getting well paying jobs after completing Masters. Little did I know that I hadn't learned my lesson properly. Life took a turn for the worse by the time I graduated, this time, in the middle of the 2008 financial crisis. Jobs evaporated. Entry level R&D jobs were the first to go in my industry. And the new minimum qualification this time was PhD because there were a lot of them on the job market and companies could hire them at lower salaries than previous years. My plan had failed. No. I had failed because I didn't have a foolproof plan. This time I had learned my lesson. I wasn't going to spend the next 5-6 years on a PhD. I had read a lot of books on success and strategy and this was the time to put everything to work.

I worked on my next plan, which was to get a job within 6 months no matter the impact of recession. The only available option was to do a short-term full time course in which the institute assisted in job search. I knew I would get a job this time because I had calculated all the probabilities. I could see my future clearly. I knew this was the right decision. I knew it in my bones. When I joined the course within a few days I was reassured of my belief. All the years of resume refining and interview preparation would not be in vain. During the introduction class I was the only person who knew why he was there and what he wanted out of the course. Everyone was there for a job but nobody knew what that job looked like. Since I had done so much research before taking this step I was already ready. If I would have applied for a job on the first day of the class I would have still got it but the job market didn't work like that. It was gated and you had to pay this toll (course fees) to get in. I was the first one in that class to get the job. Nobody was surprised. For the first time my plan had worked but I wasn't happy. I was content. I knew how everything was going to work out at a high level even before I made the commitment. This was the beginning of my self-fulfilling prophecies. I took Sun Tzu's Art of War principle to heart: You don't enter a war you can't win and you win the war not on the battleground but even before you start it. All my future plans were based on this principle.

My FTE:
I remained vigilant in my new job and averted problems which would have happened due to restructuring, I switched to a higher paying job within 6 months. My colleagues who didn't pay attention to my warning got the short end of the stick. I was safe and secure in my new position. I was really good at my job. I didn't work hard I worked smart. Every few days I would blow everyone's minds with my ideas. I was a rising star. At 1 year on the job I was performing 2-3 times better than people who had been doing the same thing for 5-8 years. I was that good. And then I got passed over for promotion. I had never worked so sincerely in my entire life and suddenly my reality collapsed around me. I felt betrayed. That was my first FTE.

New Plans:
I couldn't leave my job because too many short stints would have reflected poorly on me. And I was part of an industry where everybody knew everybody. I decided to wait another year and learn new skills to make myself more valuable. During that year I noticed a strange phenomenon, this field was being saturated rapidly. Companies were creating 3 levels between positions. Today there are 5 levels in that industry at each position and you can't progress unless you spend 2 years at a level. I predicted that within 4-5 years progressing would be impossible. I was feeling more cornered. Couldn't leave, couldn't stay. I had to make a new plan.

I did my research and charted the course for an MBA from the best business school in my country. It wasn't going to be easy because I had a lot of gaps in my resume. But I made my plan for next 3 years to build my profile so strong that it would get me into that school. It was a lot of work but it was my only way out.

Changing careers is very difficult in India. There are too many people with the right qualifications. So nobody gives you a chance. I still tried and failed. My goal was to move into a position which would pay much more than my current role. I was tired of slogging for $150 per month salary (today I make that much in a day). People at my experience level had only one option. Get an MBA.

I got my MBA. This time it wasn't cheap and I was saddled with a loan. This time also I was among only a handful of students who knew why they were there and what they wanted. I got the job I came for. The job was much better and well paying. Due to my numerous qualifications I have a unique profile. Due to my good performance and client requirements I got transferred to the US. This time I didn't chase promotion. I knew I had a short period and wanted to earn as much as I could. But I was in a new country with a very competitive job market. I was running out of time and had to do something. New plan. More education.

I spent 1.5 years building my skills for the new economy. I spent a fortune on Udemy, resume reviews, interview coaches, etc. Didn't socialize. Didn't get much sleep. My colleagues thought I was on drugs or something. But the investment paid off finally. I picked the right company and got a job with a great salary. Enough to let me pay off my loans when I return.

Why Join the Forum Now:
I have become really good at predicting how the market will change in my industry with respect to my job/ role only. Very limited clairvoyance but that's my superpower. But it only works for me. I have tried helping others but they never know what they really want. They are not honest with themselves about who they are, their strengths and weaknesses. I never commit to anything until I know I can do it well. I understand the situation I am in, then I find the most surefire way out of the situation and then I work non-stop until I get what I want. For me the last decade on the slow lane has been about digging myself out of one hole after another and not just surviving but thriving. I have left all my peers behind. People didn't heed my warnings and are stuck in the same jobs. I offered to help but they were always comfortable in their position.

When it comes to my career, I have bent the universe in my favor in many difficult circumstances through my sheer will. But this is as far as it goes. I realized last month that I can't grow in my career at the same rate any longer. Only a divine intervention would give me my next break. Every job that I have switched had earned me a salary jump of 50-80%. That can't happen any more unless I make some breakthrough in the next 2 years. Realistically speaking that's not going to happen. That was my latest FTE. I always knew that I'll be an entrepreneur some day. Around 2020. That was the Plan C at the back of my mind. It's still a blank sheet of paper but the important thing is that it's been there and now I'm ready with the pencil. All my career breakthroughs have happened in 3-4 year cycles. It takes me that amount of time to get ready for the next challenge. I just know it in my bones that it's time. Just like every other time before, I know what I need to do next. And as usual everything will fall in place at the right time or I will bend the universe to make it happen.

Many Failed Businesses:
MJ says that most businesses fail because they don't even start. It was 2012. Given that I was going to be stuck with my job for the next couple of years, I decided to start a business with my friends. We wanted to start a retail fashion outlet. We were going to take a loan because of course within 6 months we would break even and be profitable. It never got off the ground because our combined net worth wouldn't even pay 1 month rent of the cheapest store available. My heart wasn't in this thing but I joined only because they were my friends. After this fell through, I started looking for ways to make money online. That's when I fell in the trap of make money online schemes. As I mentioned before I was making only $150 per month. I had a full time job, long commute and I was preparing for GMAT (exam for MBA admissions) at the same time. I used to buy 7 dollar reports thinking that I'll find some secret formula. Given my circumstances getting an MBA had higher probability even though I had a poor profile. But the false hope inside me remained alive. Just like in college when I thought I could get rich off of MLM and then I won't need to study again, I was hopeful this time I could do it because online business is so easy. Anybody can do it. Even if you have no experience, no domain, no website, no list, no .... you get the idea. I tried a lot of free methods but never made a buck. Blew all my savings on PPC campaigns. I made 4 bucks on Fiverr but it was too less for withdrawal. The flame of entrepreneurship was burning brightly inside me but I knew something was missing. I just didn't know what.

When the Student is Ready the Teacher Will Appear:
During one of my bouts of frustration I ordered some 15 books with the word millionaire in the title. I didn't even read the reviews. I would have read 3-4 books when my frustration peaked because nothing was making sense to me. And then out of the pile of books I picked the next one: The Millionaire Fastlane. My mind was blown with every page. I read the whole book over the weekend. I couldn't put it down until I finished. I was voluntarily constipated because my other bodily functions stopped and MJ had my full focus. He saved me from going down a spiral. I didn't understand everything he said. But I remembered to follow the principles he taught. I never invested in stocks or mutual funds or forex. Didn't buy a house. I knew this wasn't the right time for me to jump into a business. I had to put out a lot of fires first. I invested in myself and took steps to advance in my career.

Last month when I had another FTE, I knew the time has come to start working on a new plan. This time for entrepreneurship. And I knew the right place to get started. So I read through Unscripted and now I am reading TMF again. Having lived in US allowed me to appreciate the nuances in both the books. I am going to take the next 2-3 years to absorb the wisdom in this forum and within the next 5 years I'll have a successful business.

Why the Long Post:
I didn't know it would be so long. This is my first post so I didn't know whether I'll be able to edit it. Also this is the beginning of my next journey. I wanted to write it down here to serve as a public proclamation that I am going to do this. I might have 3 degrees, 10+ years of experience, nice job, good car, but that doesn't make me special. It's not going to help me with what comes next. My story is all I've got. It's the only thing unique to me and that's what I am most proud of. This is my armor in the battle and this is my only weapon. Entrepreneurship is a battle and here I come.
 

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Andy Black

Any colour, as long as it's red.
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
8,341
35,241
4,306
Ireland
Welcome and thanks for the intro.

3 degrees? Holy moly...

Point that drive and determination at entrepreneurship (and likely deprogramme a lot of what education has done to you) and you’ll be flying.
 

George Appiah

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Aug 16, 2018
210
412
213
39
Accra, Ghana
Thanks for the amazing introduction and for sharing your very interesting life.

For the first time I feel like I've met one of my kind in this forum: someone whose "humble beginnings" parallels my own.

As Andy said, point your drive and unflinching determination at entrepreneurship... and I have no doubt in my mind you'll be soaring like the eagle.

Thanks again for sharing your very interesting story, @Suds. You have my first rep transfer!
 
OP
OP
S

Suds

New Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 13, 2018
11
8
20
New York
Welcome and thanks for the intro.

3 degrees? Holy moly...

Point that drive and determination at entrepreneurship (and likely deprogramme a lot of what education has done to you) and you’ll be flying.
Thanks @Andy Black, I really need to deprogram myself. I am here to learn from others and switch lanes.
 
OP
OP
S

Suds

New Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 13, 2018
11
8
20
New York
Thanks for the amazing introduction and for sharing your very interesting life.

For the first time I feel like I've met one of my kind in this forum: someone whose "humble beginnings" parallels my own.

As Andy said, point your drive and unflinching determination at entrepreneurship... and I have no doubt in my mind you'll be soaring like the eagle.

Thanks again for sharing your very interesting story, @Suds. You have my first rep transfer!
@George Appiah Thanks for your kind words. You provide me encouragement.
And thanks a lot for the rep transfer and follow.
 

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