The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success

INTRO restarting at 40

justacar

Contributor
Oct 27, 2018
25
89
24
Hey, I just read both books in a week after having my FTE. I was fired 6 months ago shortly before getting married (at least I had time for my honeymoon). After 63 applications, I was just about to sign for a job I thought to be really great when they made a "strategy change" and got rid of the position altogether. Just after that, a recruiter approached me on linkedin with something I would have thought to be a great opportunity in the past. I told her that I'd rather slowly castrate myself with a butter knife than to ever be employed again... and also quit all other ongoing applications.

I'm now working out regularly, changed my eating habits and lost 15 pounds. To support my family (instead of watching my accounts head towards zero), I've taken up a freelance consulting gig 1 day of the week (which is enough to cover all costs) and I'm working the remaining 6 days of the week on ideas. Currently, I'm somewhere between 8-10h / day. I'm guessing that'll go up to 12-16h once I know what I'll be working on. My problem is not finding an idea, it's deciding on / finding out which of the ideas can deliver the most value and impact the most people. So, polygamy - I need to pick one (carefully) and then stick with it. I'm ok on execution (need to improve, get organized better and be more disciplined).

Here's my why:
- I want to be able to care for my parents in their old age.
- I want to give my wife the house she's dreaming of.
- I want to spend time with my kids as they grow up.
- I want to never - ever - worry about money again. Or ever work for anyone else again but my customers.

Anyway, not quite sure why I'm signing up and what I'm expecting here. I guess it's a way to not feel lonely, since my peers & family probably think I'm crazy. My background is in computer science and I've done projects for big names in the past, so I could just go and find employment. But just the thought of that makes me want to jump out the window. So it's either succeed or die trying.

edit: oh, and also - although i'm free of debt and can grind it for a year without doing any side work, i'm scared shitless. no one in my family & friends circle owns a business and in germany, we're indoctrinated to be good little employees.
 

Become a Fastlane INSIDER to view the forum ad free.

G-Man

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jan 13, 2014
1,763
9,497
2,186
Welcome. I also lost my job shortly before getting married a few years ago. Because I was scared, I took the first job that came along, which I regret. Stay calm and good to have you here.
 

Andy Black

Any colour, as long as it's red.
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
8,160
34,615
4,306
Ireland
www.andyblack.net
Welcome.

An IT contract finished just before my wedding nine years ago (aged 38). I told my wife I wasn’t doing IT anymore and was going to have a go at this AdWords stuff I’d stumbled across. She cried, bless her.

I’m *delighted* I turned my back on a decent daily rate and took the plunge. Your safety net is that you can get a job if needs be. When you find your path you may well take a job or freelance as an IT dude to just keep the money coming in. I actually took a couple of jobs to reskill and even another IT contract to get some funds.

Good luck. Good to have you on board.

EDIT: I like your Why’s. They’re exactly the same as mine. I also have an itch I can’t scratch - and lots of things I want to do and people to help.
 

George Appiah

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Aug 16, 2018
207
404
210
39
Accra, Ghana
www.georgeappiah.com
Thanks for introducing your self, @justacar, and welcome to the Fastlane community forums!

My problem is not finding an idea, it's deciding on / finding out which of the ideas can deliver the most value and impact the most people. So, polygamy - I need to pick one (carefully) and then stick with it.
I'm never able to comprehend it when people say they cannot come up with any ideas at all. Every single day that I engage a business, I experience big flaws in their execution and I want to build a better mousetrap!

Here's my why:
- I want to be able to care for my parents in their old age.
- I want to give my wife the house she's dreaming of.
- I want to spend time with my kids as they grow up.
- I want to never - ever - worry about money again. Or ever work for anyone else again but my customers.
Just add "I want to emigrate to Canada" to this bucket list, and you have my WHY :)
 
OP
OP

justacar

Contributor
Oct 27, 2018
25
89
24
Just add "I want to emigrate to Canada" to this bucket list, and you have my WHY :)
:-D Thanks for the support. My wife is actually in the foreign office of Germany & would like her next stay to be Canada. We loved it in Toronto. With the earth warming up, guess it'll be a good place to be.
 
OP
OP

justacar

Contributor
Oct 27, 2018
25
89
24
Balance... not sure I know how to do that or whether that's possible. Mine is 16 months old, he's going to preschool now, so he's away from 8:30 to 15:00. My wife picks him up and spends the afternoon with him. Short answer: I dropped everything except work and family from my life.

I don't watch news (or anything else). I don't read unless it's related to sth I need to know / solve. I don't play games, listen to music, go out, visit friends etc. So my schedule roughly looks like this every day:

4:30ish get up, start working
7:30ish prep breakfast for the family
7:45 get ready (shower etc)
8:00 feed the kid, get him to preschool
9:00 workout
9:45 work
17:00 prep dinner
18:00 dinner with family, time with wife
19:30 plan tomorrow
20:00 work
22:00 sleep

this gets me to roughly 12h of work. I only work 4h on sundays (morning & night). So in total, it's 70-78h / week. unless I have a week with a one day consulting gig, in which case I can only do 60-68h / week. So far, I'm slowly able to keep that rythm and improve.

My 3 biggest learnings:
1) don't sacrifice sleep, health or family time. I see this as a marathon & need to pace myself.
2) preparing ahead. When I do dinner, I also put some oat in water to prep breakfast. I lay out clothes for the next day. I try to be better organized in general.
3) Use the little slots of time. I usually have an audiobook or my kindle handy while I'm waiting / going somewhere. Or jot down notes with my moleskin in my backpocket at all times.

So it's the little things really. Once all the stupid time drains are gone, the days actually feel relaxed. I used to be a big gamer, I love comics, sci-fi etc basically anything geeky and nerdy. But when I had my FTE, I put that identity on hold.

The best support is my wife. I told her that the next 4-5 years will be hell but if I can stick to butting my head against the wall and provide some real value to people out there, it'd be worth it. She's a tough cookie and is standing by me. If I had to fight her on this, it wouldn't work.

So, yeah, no balance, but I don't feel distracted. Thinking back, it'd be tougher if one of us had to take care of him the whole day. Then again, babies sleep a lot.
 

Sadik

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Jan 26, 2017
108
345
173
35
Kolkata, India
Balance... not sure I know how to do that or whether that's possible. Mine is 16 months old, he's going to preschool now, so he's away from 8:30 to 15:00. My wife picks him up and spends the afternoon with him. Short answer: I dropped everything except work and family from my life.

I don't watch news (or anything else). I don't read unless it's related to sth I need to know / solve. I don't play games, listen to music, go out, visit friends etc. So my schedule roughly looks like this every day:

4:30ish get up, start working
7:30ish prep breakfast for the family
7:45 get ready (shower etc)
8:00 feed the kid, get him to preschool
9:00 workout
9:45 work
17:00 prep dinner
18:00 dinner with family, time with wife
19:30 plan tomorrow
20:00 work
22:00 sleep

this gets me to roughly 12h of work. I only work 4h on sundays (morning & night). So in total, it's 70-78h / week. unless I have a week with a one day consulting gig, in which case I can only do 60-68h / week. So far, I'm slowly able to keep that rythm and improve.

My 3 biggest learnings:
1) don't sacrifice sleep, health or family time. I see this as a marathon & need to pace myself.
2) preparing ahead. When I do dinner, I also put some oat in water to prep breakfast. I lay out clothes for the next day. I try to be better organized in general.
3) Use the little slots of time. I usually have an audiobook or my kindle handy while I'm waiting / going somewhere. Or jot down notes with my moleskin in my backpocket at all times.

So it's the little things really. Once all the stupid time drains are gone, the days actually feel relaxed. I used to be a big gamer, I love comics, sci-fi etc basically anything geeky and nerdy. But when I had my FTE, I put that identity on hold.

The best support is my wife. I told her that the next 4-5 years will be hell but if I can stick to butting my head against the wall and provide some real value to people out there, it'd be worth it. She's a tough cookie and is standing by me. If I had to fight her on this, it wouldn't work.

So, yeah, no balance, but I don't feel distracted. Thinking back, it'd be tougher if one of us had to take care of him the whole day. Then again, babies sleep a lot.
I love this post. This is something I so really really want to do. Have a schedule, organize myself. I can keep to a schedule for a few days but then I get distracted with Sci Fi or meetups with friends and it ends up messing everything up again for a few days... Thanks for the motivation man and ALL the best! You will make it, there's no doubt about it!
 
OP
OP

justacar

Contributor
Oct 27, 2018
25
89
24
what helped / helps for me is to schedule my friends in as well (right now, it's every two weeks for a few hours). i was sick a few days ago and had difficulties to sticking to my schedule & concentrating at work. I fired up amazon prime as an old habit...
but: nothing seemed appealing although there were a few shows and movies i didn't know. it just felt like a waste of time, so i got back on reading about influencer marketing.
i think the "why" is the biggest motivator for me, plus I - literally - have nightmares about being back in a job or not making it. and i'm super angry at myself for having wasted 20+ years to wake up. if it's difficult to discipline, you're not pissed off enough. or as palpatine said:
"i can feel your anger. it makes you stronger. gives you focus!"
 

Andy Black

Any colour, as long as it's red.
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
May 20, 2014
8,160
34,615
4,306
Ireland
www.andyblack.net
1) don't sacrifice sleep, health or family time.
100%. We’re no good to our family if we’re too tired, ill, or distracted when with them.
 

Become a Fastlane INSIDER to view the forum ad free.

OP
OP

justacar

Contributor
Oct 27, 2018
25
89
24
*** UPDATE ***
So here is where I am after 1 month. First off, the schedule is tough to keep. I'll be taking a step back from moving the company forward and focus more on getting the schedule in & the habits down to be successful in the long run. As I see it, this is a marathon and I need to be able to keep going regardless of circumstances. Old habits still keep creeping back in & I need to make it more effortless.

To the company: I've almost set up my consulting system. The consulting is just step 1 of the plan. The idea is to generate enough income with 1-2 days / week of consulting to keep investing into the real business. I now have 2 clients and I've generated about 10K this month, but haven't billed them yet (thanks to german tax bureaucracy). Those 10K are enough to pay all hosting, hardware, software, online platforms and content for the next year. Next year, I'll probably get another 30-50K of consulting business in.

I will use my savings to cover cost of living (calculated around 25K for next year). Any revenue I'll make with the business (not counting the consulting) will be put right back to it to grow it like crazy, so I won't be taking any money out of the business in the first year (assuming it generates some).

As to the business, I am down to 3 ideas, already started testing bits of them. I think it'll be a corporate training tool & program that I'll go with, simply because I know the demand and need is there, current competition exists (but sucks) and barrier to entry is quite high (lots and lots of work to get it right). Also, I think it can scale way further than the German and North American markets (lots of demand in Africa and Asia that is unanswered... but that's like step... 100?).

Right now, I'm buying / building / setting up parts of the system that I want to put in place & automate. So, I'm learning about online marketing and sales funnels, community building, b2b sales etc. Lots of balls in the air. Got activecampaign to automate marketing, hootsuite and mention to build an audience, drift to engage customers, zapier for further automation. Just 4 weeks ago, i didn't know about any of those tools and why they'd be necessary for what I'm building in the first place. Lots of learning happening.

Also, first three crash & burns:

1) I gave a workshop at a very high profile conference. People loved it. I gave handouts & free content pointing to my website & signup page. People went at it... and the signup didn't work because I screwed up at connecting wordpress with the mailing program. I had a few people contacting me on linkedin about it. So, I succeeded in identifying demand (people running after me to buy) and I f***d up it actually selling anything because my process isn't working (yet). All in all, I invested about 40h and 60€, making 500€ total. Ah well, live and learn.

2) I cooperated with another company to set up another workshop. Same principle as 1 - I'm using those events to identify and test customer needs, create and improve the product and to build an audience before I launch. Unfortunately, I was naive enough to leave the marketing of the event to the other company. A total of 7 signups (they were expecting 50ish). We postponed the whole thing and I'm taking over the marketing side. Burned about 300€ there.

3) Sold my current client the (non-existent) training product. Got them on mural.co as a test environment / prototype of what is to come. They loved the presentation, but couldn't access any of it due to internal IT restrictions. I spent close to 500€ for the demo and the accounts and they can't use it. Should have checked with their IT first. Won't make that mistake again.

So current status: very energized, loads of stuff on the wall to work through, a little worried that it won't create any revenue before the end of next year (which would force me to search & take more consulting contracts).

Right now, I'm also thinking about pricing a lot. Most competitors offer something similar at around 300-400€. My offer will be around 200€ and I'm aiming for a total of 50K individual customers or 60-70 corporate customers in 4 years. That would get me to 10 million € which is my goal by the end of 2023. Writing this to strangers sounds pretty crazy, but it has become my morning mantra. But what's more, the financial goal is somehow becoming less important as I think about the value I could give to people. I'm curious to see whether I can create enough trust to have that many people invest their hard earned money into something I built. Don't get me wrong, I really really want to hit that goal and have started to work my a$$ off for it. But I'd also love to build sth that really helps people; sth they grow to love to become long-term customers of mine.

I could do with a little more sleep though (any tips for a teething toddler? if you solve that one, you'll definitely become a millionaire - guaranteed!).
 
OP
OP

justacar

Contributor
Oct 27, 2018
25
89
24
*** UPDATE ***

New year. I don't have any resolutions - I've been repeating my goals for the next years every morning, so that's enough for me. I'll probably update here every month or two & ask for advice or browse the forums. That's all I can spend on this for now. Now the update:

2 stable consulting clients at 1d/week. That's a total of 57600€ secured revenue for the year. This is only the "feel secure & able to provide for the family" income. It's my backup. Basically, I see it as a lost day. But I won't be taking any of the revenue I create from the business for private use, I'll reinvest right away.

Finished market research. Saw various competitors to my business, which felt good once I got over the worry that I'll have to compete. Competition means market validation. Also, I found various things they don't do well and some things they don't do at all. Surprisingly, there were customer reviews and comments with people ASKING for or being frustrated with certain features. No reaction from the competition. Great for me. I'll be focusing on those. Also got my pricing point for 2 digital products. Around 40$ and around 400$ (I've decided against dropping the price - the data shows that 400 is what people will spend). I'm aiming for 500 paying customers for the second one. I'll need a list of 2500 - 5000 people for this. I already have 700. To get 2500, I'll have to reach around 50000 people. To do that, I'll need to be seen by around 1-1.5m people. I have to focus on the little steps because that number is just friggin scary.

Got my tech stack set up, now I am building & integrating everything. For the sales funnel, it's wordpress, activecampaign, buffer, olark, useproof. To do ongoing research & optimization, I am using buzzsumo, kwfinder, mention. I'm also regularly putting time aside to look into groups discussions, comments and reviews on amazon, linkedin, facebook and xing. To build the product, I am using supernova, wordpress and vimeo, plus a few wordpress plugins. For the office I have zapier, zoom.us, calend.ly and gsuite. My total IT costs are around 2000€. Another 1200€ for a new mac and a video production setup I'm going to get. I could do with what I have now but it'll do a better impression with my current clients. Right now, I'm typing on my old gaming laptop with its broken keyboard.

Before I launch, I want to identify and connect to potential customers via content marketing and seo. So I'm creating content pipelines for linkedin, facebook, instagram, youtube and my site. I'll be cross-posting a lot. My initial tests put me from 500 followers on linkedin to 1600 followers in 6 weeks. I also got 3000 views on a single article & about 50 new contacts (some of them very high profile - to my surprise). Total views was around 5000. So if I need 5000 views to get 50 leads, I better keep writing & optimizing. I'll probably have to spend around 500€ on design, 2000€ on copywriting and 3000€ on ads to get the TOFU i need. Anyway, I know about tofu, mofu, bofu now. I was clueless 8 weeks ago. Step. By. Step.

So the next 4-6 months will be getting the TOFU to start pushing for sales. I'll also be organizing a virtual conference, speaking at different events and writing guest articles to leave breadcrumbs on the web. Meanwhile, I'll keep refining the product with the 30 test customers I have. The deal is, they get it for free & I get real feedback. Technically, half of them aren't getting it for free as they are employees of my consulting clients. I have a 50-50 split to do some A/B testing.

That's it on the business front. Privately, from the occasional anxiety I'm settling into my routine (so is the family) and have days that are super productive. I actually find time to spend with friends or watch something on occasion. But games & entertainment have somehow lost their pull on me. I'd love to just keep working on the site, the sales and watch the numbers.

Man, if I knew at 20 what I know now... back then, I could work on something for days nonstop without taking a break, showering or anything else. Can't do that with 40 and a family around you. If you're reading this at 20-something and don't have a family: you don't know the amazing freedom you have. All you need is a laptop and an internet connection. Just grit your teeth and grind down on your own business for a few years. Whatever topic / business / skill you pick, you won't be able to work non-stop once you have people around you. 3 months ago, I had to focus to work. Now, I have to focus on my family to stop thinking about work. Crazy.
 
OP
OP

justacar

Contributor
Oct 27, 2018
25
89
24
*** UPDATE ***

Got sick 4 times. Kid is picking up every germ and spreading it to us. So I kept up the consulting (you know, income) but was slow on building the business.

In any case, learning a lot on linkedin, fb and instagram marketing. I experimented with content a bit and went from 900 followers to 2000 on linkedin, going from 1200 to 1800 contacts in about 8 weeks. Starting to get the hang of it. Last article had 9000 views and 90 comments. Starting to build a brand. That'll be important once I start b2b sales.

On the sales bit, I can get a list of 10.000 potential customers in Germany for about 1.7K and could get meetings with 60 of them arranged for 4K. I am still debating with myself whether I think pay up. Part of me says it'll save time, the other part says it doesn't make sense at this point. Gut feeling tells me I should probably go towards the pain, stop being lazy about it and do the research to create my own list of 500, sit my a$$ down for 10 weeks straight and call ten each day.

Not much else to tell. Winter + sickness got me down a bit, so need to keep spirit up, think long-term and keep pushing each day.
 

nyc217

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jul 7, 2017
43
49
115
24
New York, NY
Welcome!

It's inspirational to see your attitude and how your purpose has given you fuel! It in turn motivates me!

Look forward to seeing you succeed.
 
OP
OP

justacar

Contributor
Oct 27, 2018
25
89
24
so, update...

i have 3 clients now, with the business generating 6 - 8 K per month. not where i want to be, but moving ahead. need to get 2 more clients to up this to around 10K per month and then reinvest back into the business to build online funnels. started to outsource and employ freelancers (3 right now)

but... bad news on the tax / regulation / bureaucracy front (note to self: get a damn tax lawyer). german offices are pestering me. i should have incorporated in estonia... or someplace else but here. everything is a paper hustle. it's really my weak point and I need to pay someone to take this off my table.

what else? reduced hours from crazy burnout level to a regular 9 to 5 (except my hours a slightly different). i'll be building up an online product now complementary to the consulting business. then take the earnings and dump it into content production and sales to build brand and get more clients. then slowly move from working in the business to on the business.

it'll probably take a few years, so, you know... stick around. i'll try to update once a month.
 

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.

Post New Topic

Please SEARCH before posting.
Please select the BEST category.

Post new topic

Fastlane Insiders

View the forum AD FREE.
Private, unindexed content
Detailed process/execution threads
Monthly conference calls with doers
Ideas needing execution, more!

Join Fastlane Insiders.

Top Bottom