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Progress Thread Set up to Fail, Driven to Succeed - Journey from 0 to Serial Entrepreneur

Discussion in 'Process / Progress / Execution Threads' started by ChrisJHarrington, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. ChrisJHarrington
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    ChrisJHarrington Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Hi guys,

    I've been on a hiatus from here for about a year - a year of executing, and mostly a year of failure (I don't like the term failure, to be honest - sometimes you win, sometimes you learn, so i've been learning)

    I'm going to keep this thread updated on a daily basis until I have reached the milestones I'm aiming for - and then I will retire this thread as a testament to all of those who come on here and look for advice on where to start and how to get from A to B.

    I'm going to provide a brief summary of who I am, my life, where I'm at, and where I'm going. Hopefully my journey thus far will be enough to motivate those of your reading to take action and achieve your goals.. but I'm just getting started.

    Family Background:

    My parents were both born from lower-class families.

    My father came from welfare. He had 6 brothers and sisters living in a cramped apartment with very little food, but always a cigarette to be found. When he was 18, he was kicked out and had to go fend for his own. He entered the workforce, and never had much of a chance or a vision to escape the grind. He worked all the time, eventually met my mother, and bought a house in the poverty-area he grew up. He later sold the house and 3 months after I was born, they bought a nicer house in my hometown and moved. He passed high school and that was as far as his education extended.

    My mother came from a second floor apartment with a single mother. Her father was never around. They lived frugal, and while not on welfare, definitely had a grind of a life to a similar extent.

    When my parents met and bought the house in the middle-class town around the time I was born, the struggle never seemed to end. Growing up, every fight was about money. They also hated their jobs.

    I knew around 16 that I couldn't suffer a similar fate. I had to do something different.

    My background - From Age 0-16

    I was always a scrawny, weak, insecure kid growing up who didn't have a ton of friends. I got bullied all the way through high school, and didn't really have any true friends - just a core group of kids I hung out with.

    My insecurities led me to escape reality and indulge in video games. I would play so much that I would literally hallucinate when I would go to sleep and think I was playing the game when I was simply dreaming.

    I stumbled across a mentor or two online at the age of 14, when my life began to shift forever. I tried to quit video games, but I couldn't get a grasp of it until I was 17.

    My background - Age 17-20

    As I neared the completion of high school, I broke the video game addiction. I realized I wanted more out of life, and life EXPECTED more out of me. I put down call of duty, halo, and World of Warcraft. I smashed every Warcraft DVD I had. I sold my Xbox on Craigslist.

    Then, I joined a gym and committed fully - it was my outlet, and my escape. It turned out to be the one thing that led me to grow into the person I am today. At age 17, I joined the local planet fitness and walked after school every day. I never stopped exercising from that day onward.

    Around the same time, I couldn't get hired for a job - no work experience, and no job wanted to give me any. So my mentor told me to start a business.

    I began knocking on doors with my dads push mower and started a lawn care business.

    Lawn Care Business
    The lawn care business had a year or so of failure - I just didn't know what I was doing, missed appointments, and lost clients. I had a business partner who I later fired. From 17-20 years old, I scaled the lawn care business from 0 to 25 accounts in 6 cities and towns. I bought a truck, trailer, and equipment, and continued to expand. This was my first taste of entrepreneurship, and it lit a fire that has never gone out.

    Retail Sales
    Around the same time, I got my first retail sales job. It was awful, and reminded me of the importance of running my own business and escaping the 9-5 that my parents never escaped. I was by far the hardest worker in the room, and made $8 an hour. After two years and making $8.55 an hour, I called it quits. My lawn care business had grown to a point that I had no other choice but to quit the retail job and continue my lawn care business, so I packed it in and worked on lawn care full time.

    High School

    I was a poor student in this time frame. My grades reflected my video-game work ethic, and I didn't really care for school. By junior/senior year, I had a lot more discipline from lifting and exercising, that my grades did start improving. In this late period of my high school life, I watched a few classmates die from making poor choices, which made me realize how important each day is, and that we only get one shot at life.. better make the best of it. I went on and graduated when I turned 18 and headed to community college.

    The Gym
    The gym turned into the only thing that helped me to gain the discipline and the work ethic to succeed in my everyday life. I started out at 100 or some odd pounds and between 17-20, I packed on well over 40 pounds of muscle and met one of my biggest milestones: I was featured on BodyBuilding.com's Teen Transformation of the week.

    Community College
    I went to community college after high school because my grades weren't good enough to get into anywhere else, and I didn't apply anywhere else. I had to decide on a business associate degree program, or a transfer program. I decided I'd transfer to a 4 year school. In community college, I worked my absolute face off, got over-involved in every organization, and ended up graduating highest honors with transfer scholarships lined up.

    Transferring Colleges
    When it became time to transfer, I realized I couldn't afford any other school. I applied for 3 top business schools, and was accepted to 2 and declined from 1. My top school rejected me, so I prepared for plan B. Fortunately, I had some great mentors at community college who reached out and dug into why I was rejected from my top school - with a few errors on their part (I had summer classes I was finishing at community college, since I did every semester including summers for 2 years straight, and they didn't realize I had some extra math-classes I was finishing), they sent me an acceptance letter.

    From here, I went to my parents. "I need a co-signer so I can go finish my degree"
    - No way in hell, son. "If you want to jump off a bridge on your motorcycle, I'm not buying you the parachute to do it. Figure it out, I'm not co-signing for you".

    With the days counting down on the deadline, I made some fast moves and negotiated my financial aid offer and had it significantly increased. I also drove back home on weekends to continue cutting lawns, I picked up a part time job, a work study, and ended up selling the lawn care business. I also negotiated with my parents for a co-sign on $15,000 (which I later found out this past year that it was approved without the co-signer..)

    I ended up becoming a resident assistant, worked every summer, and did an extra year at college to continue learning, networking, and growing from the top entrepreneurial school in the country. I graduated dead-broke, because everything went into college, and I stacked up a bit in student loans.

    The Entrepreneurial Experience at College
    I started several businesses while working. All have been marginally successful since the lawn care business - I was personal training but gave up during college because I didn't have the time.

    I started an amazon business and ran out of capital and just couldn't compete - which costed me $6,000 in lessons: don't chase money, chase VALUE.

    I started a direct mail company, and parted ways with the business and my business partner after he had a nervous breakdown.

    I learned that the college wasn't all I thought it would be - I thought somehow, getting a degree would somehow prepare me for the real world as an entrepreneur. It couldn't have been further from the truth.

    I don't regret college. I learned more about myself and grew into who I am today with the struggle and lessons I had in college.

    Also, the network I made in college and the people I had the opportunity to learn from was well worth the tuition money.

    I've sat down and had breakfast with billionaires. I've learned from them, gotten their advice, and gained insights that I never would have had the opportunity to without college.

    I had breakfast with one of the first founding members of a 10B in assets private equity firm.
    I took a class with a professor who left Boston Consulting Group to become a founding member at a start up that was acquired a few years later in which he became a hundred-millionaire.
    I learned from, and took a class with one of the founding members of blue buffalo dog & cat food and SoBe energy drinks.
    .. and many more experiences that made the tuition worth it.

    Post College
    I was going to either move and live like MJ Demarco did in his early tales of The Millionaire Fastlane (go move to a random state based on which one had the best criteria and live dead-broke while starting a company), or I was going to get this sales job at one of the top places to work in the city, which I had applied to. I declined all other job offers and only focused on the sales job. If that one didn't turn into a job offer, I'd go move states and live dead-broke and work side jobs to focus on entrepreneurship.

    I got the job offer, and started working in SAAS sales for an exciting tech company. In my first month after training, I smashed records. I did so well, they moved me to another division of the company where I could bring in more money because of the way I performed.

    I recently started personal training again, because it's been my passion. I've decided I'm going to start by building up a practical business (fitness training) and am aiming to open a gym.

    Action Plan Moving Forward

    Living Situation

    I live with cheap rent in an apartment with a few friends. To date, I hang out with friends for 3 hours a month if I'm lucky. My expenses are super-low, and I'm saving as much money as possible.

    Business
    I have a handful of clients on contracts for personal training. My plan is to have enough clients and cash flow to open a gym. I'm going to shift from 1-1 training to boot camps shortly, and when I have enough clients on EFT, I'm going to open my own studio space. I rent out of a gym for now and have the keys to the building.

    I also have a clipboard application for windows that I've been working on for over a year which has come to fruition - I'll be looking to fully test the idea and get sales shortly - I've ran beta tests and know I can sell it and I know it solves a real need (it's the reason I had it developed) - I just don't know how big the market will be for it. More on this later.

    My objective is to open a gym as soon as possible - possibly this year, but my focus is on an FHA property to significantly lower expenses (see next bold point)

    Future living situation
    The objective is to get an FHA loan and purchase a multi-unit property towards the end of the year to live rent-free. This will save me $7000-8000 a year more than I'm already saving.

    Flipping
    On the side, I'm going to spend a few hours a week flipping and selling stuff to pay for student loans.

    The Goal
    To be a serial entrepreneur. To be FREE from the 9-5. To be able to focus fully on how I can make the world a better place and build businesses around everyday problems.

    Before I can do this, I need to help MYSELF - make sure I can pay bills, learn all I can, and save capital to inject into business ventures.

    I'm saving money working jobs right now for a couple of years until I'm ready to pull the trigger and go all-in on a business opportunity. (Within the next 3 years) For now, I'm working nights and weekends when I'm not at work to build the businesses I outlined above.

    I have a checklist and, once all the boxes are checked, that's when I'll go all in on entrepreneurship and not work another job again.

    This is a few pieces of the checklist:

    Safety & Shelter:
    - Living expenses covered from income outside of a job
    - Emergency fund full ($7,000 cash)
    - Working Capital saved ($50,000)

    Strong Base:
    - Rent free (own a property, FHA loan, live in 1 unit, rent out others)
    - Student loan free (either paying off debt or have a side-stream of income to cover my $280/mo)

    Business Setup:
    - 14 fitness clients ($300/mo average income for each)
    - My own gym space
    - Profitable

    I'm going to keep this updated as frequently as possible.

    Hope this journey so far can inspire a few who are just starting out. I'm currently 23 years old and am just getting started.

    It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when.

    Godspeed.
     
  2. ChrisJHarrington
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    ChrisJHarrington Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I'm trying to keep this off the grid until it's officially announced (since my name and face are attached here) but I've got an opportunity that has presented itself that looks very very promising. Will have a *BIG* update on Tuesday.

    Heading to UNH this weekend for their entrepreneurship program kickoff - keynote speaker is Jeff Hoffman, one of my all time favorite serial entrepreneurs. (Founder of Priceline.com)

    Just finished training a couple of clients - I really like personal training, but realized I set myself in the slow lane (temporarily) - I'm working with a handful of clients generating around $1300-2000 / month on the side in revenue.

    Saving to open the gym and will be starting to do boot camps shortly.
     
  3. buylowsellhigh
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    buylowsellhigh New Contributor

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    This is a great post that I will definitely be following. It sounds like you've had a very similar upbringing as me and we seem to be pretty close in age (graduating from the top school in my state this summer).

    Just like you, I played a ton of video games growing up but stopped when I discovered the gym at 15. I worked at multiple gyms throughout high school and have been experimenting with running different types of companies throughout my time in college.

    Question:
    I've always wanted to start my own personal training company since I have years of knowledge about diet/fitness and genuinely enjoy it; but how do you train clients at commercial gyms without getting into trouble with the management?

    Once again, I'm excited to follow your journey man!
     
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  4. ChrisJHarrington
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    ChrisJHarrington Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Thanks for posting and following!

    Before I answer your question, I'll advise from 'following your passion'. Don't do it because you like it or are good at it, do it because there's a clear NEED. I've found that there's always a need for a personal trainer, but you need to identify what makes you different. You also need to identify how you're going to make it fastlane, otherwise you're just going to be a personal trainer and work IN the business and not ON it. Plan on hiring trainers that you can coach up to be better than you are.

    You have to get creative with the commercial gym thing. Here's a few ideas:

    - Train out of a non-commercial gym (talk to private-owned gyms and see if you can work out a sub-lease deal)
    - Train out of a park
    - Be quiet and sneak clients into a commercial gym to train (not advised)
    - Train out of people's homes
    - Connect with management at your commercial gym and work out a deal (maybe they get a cut for each client they let you train)

    Remember, you don't want to just be another trainer forever. That's slowlane. At least make sure the overall PLAN is fastlane - to build a client base, and then hire other trainers and work on the business, not in it.
     
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  5. InspireHD
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    InspireHD Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Interesting story. Any insights from the wealthy individuals you have met with? What are some of the pieces of advice that have stuck with you the most?
     
  6. ChrisJHarrington
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    ChrisJHarrington Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Yeah lots.

    From the top of my head:

    - Think outside the box (or don't even imagine a box at ALL) - you have to get creative. Founder of SoBe energy drinks was on his way to a convention in the early days - they decided to purposely slash their own tires near the convention - so there was no way they could carry all of the drinks in themselves. So they asked for help from people attending the convention: "hey, we got a flat. If you help us carry these drinks in we'll let you have a few for free"

    Then at the convention, everyone's walking around with SoBe energy drinks in their hands.. was one of their first biggest PR pushes..

    - Specialize in something - you have to be JUST good enough to understand every part of business, but you should really specialize and get good at one aspect of it. I decided to choose sales (with input from some of these mentors)

    - Take CALCULATED risks - When you're making $150K a year as a consultant at BCG but hate your life and hate traveling all the time, and you have the opportunity to join a startup that you truly believe in, that 50% pay cut you're going to take now is going to pay back dividends in the long run.

    Last one from the billionaire founding partners of the 10B asset private equity firm:
    - Industry is MOST important - someone in the burger flipping business and someone in the private equity business can both be equally as smart and work equally as hard - but one industry is just going to pay off better than the other. The kid working at McDonalds flipping burgers might work just as hard, if not harder than a private-equity analyst. One is in a much better industry than the other to succeed.

    Hope that helps.
     
  7. Young-Gun
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    Young-Gun Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Great story about the SoBe Guerrilla Marketing approach.

    I sometimes think about Marketing like a "tentacle monster" attacking a city.
    If there are tentacles bursting through the windows of your home and attacking you, then you can't ignore it.
    If there are SoBes in everyone's hand that you see, you can't ignore it. Lol :)

    In regards to the last quote from the P.E. guy -
    Could this be tied to @MJ DeMarco s "Law of Effection"?
    Burger Guy's business simply struggles to effect enough Scale with enough Impact... it's a 'wrong' Industry?
    P.E. Guy's business automatically focuses on Scale and Impact... it's a 'right' Industry?
     
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  8. ChrisJHarrington
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    Yeah, I think the industry thing is a result of some industries being more scalable than others. Some industries have more magnitude. Working hard means nothing.. if you're in the wrong industry, you'll never make it.

    The New Hampshire entrepreneur kickoff program with Jeff Hoffman (Founder of Priceline.com) keynote was cancelled due to weather. Didn't get a chance to meet him, unfortunately.
     
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  9. ChrisJHarrington
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    So no big update from Tuesday yet - will announce some things when they surface.

    In regards to my personal training and fitness company, I've taken a step back. I realized I have violated many fastlane principles, so I'm diving into what I have developed as a "Business Development Process (BDP)" which stemmed from my personal notes and takeaways from MJ's book.

    It's basically a business plan with step-by-step actions to take in order to launch a business.. starting from an Idea stage, launch stage, and grow stage. It's a compilation of my notes from a few different books as well (lean startup etc). I'll list out the brief framework of it below.

    Before I jump into that, some quick substance from the PT business
    - Realized i'm doing a lifestyle business more than actually building a business
    - Realized a lot of my previous efforts in the fitness industry failed and I kept trying anyways
    - Shifted focus to in-person training recently
    - Haven't gone SUPER niche yet but I need to
    - I've done somewhere between $15,000-$20,000 in contractual sales agreements since I started in July - all personal training revenue.
    - I'm planning on boot-strapping the business and opening my own studio
    - I do between $1100-2000/mo in revenue (some clients on freeze right now)
    - My goal is to get to $3K / mo and then open my own studio (this would allow me to break-even)
    - I'm adopting a boot-camp style model so I can scale - the numbers equate to about $300/hr in revenue at full capacity (10 clients per class, 30 min class, from my data each client will show up 10x per month, charging $150/mo, you do the math or trust my word for it)
    - Full capacity I suspect is about 100 members which is $180K in revenue
    - Before diving into that, I need to validate that people will actually join my boot camp, need to go niche, and get some clients in the door.
    - In the past, I've been able to bring on a client for around $100-500 customer acquisition cost. Lifetime value has been appx. $1800 (for personal training)
    - I ESTIMATE my CAC to be around $150-200 for boot camps, and LTV to be around $1K (they stay for 6 months). Conservatively I've been running numbers on CAC being 20% of revenue ($200/mo for every $1K/mo I bring in)

    I definitely need to take a quick step back before I start the boot camp model, validate the idea, and make sure I have systems in place since I work full time and DO NOT have capital to hire other trainers - also don't have CONTROL to hire other trainers - I sub-lease gym space for $350/mo, have the keys to a gym, but i SHARE the space so I can't employ people at the moment.

    My current steps looking forward:

    1. Walk through my business development process and make sure i build a fastlane business that solves an actual need (see below process)
    2. Do a bit of work on my website, setup marketing/landing pages/advertising/facebook ads (some sort of 30 day fitness challenge to launch the boot camp)
    3. Start running the boot camp classes and bring in more customers
    4. Hit $3K/mo and have some $$ in savings (approximately $15K)
    5. Open my own studio, equipment, etc
    6. Re-invest in marketing, get more clients in the door, get to capacity (appx 100 clients).

    Here's the process I'm going to start going through to make sure I'm building a fastlane business that will WORK:

    BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PROCESS:

    IDEA PHASE:
    In this phase, you should :
    • Fully identify why you will choose the path of entrepreneurship by identifying your WHY.
    This why should be GREATER THAN YOU. Not only should you seek to fulfill personal goals and fulfillment, but you should seek to satisfy a greater *WHY. When things go south, how you do it will be meaningless, but why you're doing it will propel you forward. Jeff Hoffman propelled forward because he was aiming to help the 300 handicapped children who couldn't afford a wheelchair.

    • Find a NEED in the market
    People don't buy what you sell, they buy why you're selling it. The main purpose of any entrepreneurial endeavor is to fulfill a NEED in the market.

    • Propose a solution
    You should aim to solve this need through a proposed solution, which will later be tested with market research, competitive landscape, feasibility, and fastlane metrics.

    • Identify our value-add
    If you're just another competitor in the marketplace, you have no value-add and can't differentiate your business or your products. Find where you can really bring the value, and what will separate you from anybody else.

    • Identify market opportunities
    Identify the market size and what segment we can aim to capture. Look to see if there is a big enough market for this to achieve scale.

    • Identify competitive landscape
    Identify who is already competing in this space, what their proposed solution is, and how well you can compete with them.

    • Run a feasibility check of proposed solution
    Identify if a viable solution can be made. Identify potential costs and ways to enter.

    • Aim to build a fastlane business
    Identify a way to make the business FASTLANE.

    • It must fulfill a need
    • There must be barriers to entry
    • You must have full control
    • The business must be scalable (price or people)
    • The business must be built independent of your time

    • Choose whether to pursue or not
    Identify if we should pursue the business. Not if the product can be built, but should it be built.

    LAUNCH PHASE

    In this phase, you should:
    • Build Assumptions
    Being in the startup space, there are too many unknowns. We must build a list of initial assumptions that will be tested in the lean prototyping framework.

    • Run potential cost analyses
    Identify the cash required to start this venture. List all associated costs and calculate your burn rate to see how long you can survive. Potentially build a pro-forma and identify your fit in the market, costs associated, potential sell price, revenue drivers, marketing paths, sales paths, etc. These analyses will be tested in the prototyping phase.

    • Begin to lean prototype
    We should look to build a prototype and test it with our market through the feedback loop. From here, we interact with our target market and adjust the prototype to better suite their needs. We test our assumptions and our MVP/MSP, modify, and decide whether to pivot or persevere. We then take on small batch sizes, grow, adapt, and innovate to our target market. In this phase, we aim to begin marketing and selling to our market in order to further validate our solution.

    • Build a business plan
    When we have identified the solution, adjusted, modified, and tested/adjusted assumptions, we build a business plan that will identify our grow phase.

    • Find ways to fund the venture
    From here, we seek to fund our business to be able to survive as we go from early-adopter stages to growth stages. We can self-fund, seek investment, or seek free money from accelerators, incubators, or friends, family, and fools. We may even aim to crowdfund.

    • Incorporate
    We then must separate the business from ourselves and identify how we want to incorporate.

    • Research
    For building a product, we must research potential manufacturers. For a service or software solution, we must identify software, CRM, etc that will assist our business in growing.

    GROW PHASE

    In this phase, you should:
    • Build your product
    The product has been built, and now it's time to make a first or second production run. The product should be tweaked to the customer's needs and ready to sell as a full solution.

    • Begin marketing
    Identify, confirm, and begin marketing to the audience we discovered through our feedback loop. Identify key ways in which we will get our product in front of this market.

    • Begin selling
    Identify how we will sell to this market once we've gotten in front of them.

    Identify our selling methodology

    • Build a team of accountants and attorneys
    As the business begins to grow, we should bring on a team of accountants and attorneys to cover us legally.

    • Build a brand
    We must build a brand around the consumer's need. People don't buy the commodity, they buy the need that's being fulfilled, and the experience of it. (The commodity is cosmetics, but the product is HOPE)

    • Build a team
    Identify key roles and functions that are required for this business to continue to grow. Bring on talent smarter than you to fulfill these key roles and functions as part of your team.

    ---

    I've omitted the "EXIT" phase for the time being - pretty self explanatory.



     
  10. ChrisJHarrington
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    Okay, figured I'd provide an update here on the 'big news'.

    So an executive-level professional and a CEO from a company reached out to me - asked if I wanted to work for them in a lateral-style move. I kindly said no thank you - would only consider working for them if they let me be at that next level - actually selling and closing deals.

    They reached out to me specifically because I've been able to build a good reputation over the past 7/8 months at the company I'm at.

    I've since been invited to interview for that role - and I've gone through the entire process. I'll know Tuesday if I have the job - would be 110K OTE (on target earnings) with equity. Very early-stage start up, series A funded company (SAAS company). I was very hesitant at first but they've checked all the boxes and it seems like a good risk-reward payout. Lot of potential, and if we build into something big (CEO has an excellent track record), I'd be one of the first few sales guys on the team while building up sizable equity - IPO or acquisition is not out o the picture over a 2-5 year window.. huge opportunity for me being 23 to make six figured in salary.

    The goal is to just become the absolute best sales-person I can, play a bit of defense and save boat-loads of cash, and then go on the offense in a few years. I'm partly on the offense with starting companies on the side, but I'd like to make the leap and be all in when I have expenses low enough and enough capital to leverage.

    Lot of people here would call it 'slowlane' - I see it as a very strategic move and a great opportunity to work alongside a successful team and CEO who has been in executive level positions for 5 different companies that went on to IPO or be acquired.

    I completely disagree with the mentality that you have to be dead broke in a basement waiting tables every night and bartending on weekends while building a company to make it as an entrepreneur. I'd much rather spend the time learning and mastering a skill (sales) and in 3-5 years, I can go all in on businesses of my own with 500K in the bank.

    Thoughts?
     
  11. ChrisJHarrington
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    Should have a bit more direction by tomorrow (Tuesday) or Wednesday..

    Personal training has been well - nice and stable, steady income - preparing to scale this up fastlane-style with boot camps VERY soon.. putting the moving parts together now to start an advertising launch. Official boot camp launch date is March 28th - a date im setting for myself to launch boot camp classes - which means i have about 4-6 weeks to get the advertisements up and running and get 'pre-orders' to validate that I can scale this.

    What i'm going to do is run a 30 day challenge or a 6 week challenge and there is going to be prizes etc. It's going to be a low-cost, something like $60-150 for the 30-45 days in which people will be able to attend any of the 14 boot camp classes per week (30 minutes each). I have scheduling software where they will book when they are coming in (that way I don't have to be spending 7 hours sitting in an empty studio without clients).

    During the challenge, I'll be signing people up for 6-18 months of the boot camp as they start having fun and seeing results. I'll sit them down and go over nutrition etc and then we'll discuss programs for after the challenge and I'll hopefully convert a large percentage into ongoing customers.

    The launch date is for the challenge - to which I'd like to gather 15-20 sign ups, minimum. Should cost me around $1,500 in advertising expense but hopefully it'll break-even or come close to it with the challenge, and then i'll have a high close-rate to have people continue to be clients after the challenge.

    I'm spending a bit of time on the side flipping for $ as well and just brainstorming ideas. Found two really good ideas recently.

    One is a popular brand that's been around for years - but they aren't really into apparel. There's a lot of demand for the apparel, though, and I found some easy to rank for keywords. Went and found inventory on Aliexpress and setup a shopify store with Oberlo integration (allows you to upload inventory from aliexpress to your shopify store). So i'm going to see if I can start driving traffic through PPC and organically and see if people would actually buy the clothing. I know there's a huge market for it.. let's see what happens.

    Another idea I just stumbled upon is basically turning people's junk (very specific product but I'm not going to say exactly what) into a functional object that can be used every day. It's a labor-intensive thing, but the inventory is literally free and easy to come by, and it would turn that junk into something useful that people would probably be willing to purchase. Going to test that as well and see what's up. I need to buy a tool that's going to help me to convert the junk into the functional object - so I literally just need to spend $15-30 on the tool and go find some inventory and see if I can get sales on it.
     
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  12. ChrisJHarrington
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    ChrisJHarrington Bronze Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Just received a SAAS sales executive job offer for $119K on-target earnings (55 salary / 64 commission).

    Series A Funded. 5k stock options.

    More details when finalized.
     
  13. ChrisJHarrington
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    So the plan here that I've been coordinating is a bit different from the traditional "entrepreneur struggle"

    I don't think its necessary to be dead broke in your parents basement trying to start a business and learning the hard way.

    I've decided that it's much more valuable to learn from others and join their business - scale my income, minimize expenses, and focus on saving insane amounts of money as I learn a skill and build equity in a company.

    In a few years, I'll look back and see what's been built, where I'm at, and what I'm doing in the entrepreneurship fast-lane. Then, I can figure out what the next strategic step is.

    I personally find it more useful to spend 30 hours a week on a fastlane business, have access to hundreds of thousands of dollars in capital, savings etc, not have to worry about bills being paid etc, and I can leverage that money to lower expenses (income property, live rent-free, etc). I also spend 40-50 hours a week working for someone else.

    The alternative (which i heavily considered for years) was to drop out or quit previous jobs and start a business and be dead broke, maybe wait tables, and find a way to pay the bills and spend 70 hours a week on a fastlane business.

    70 hours a week of being dead broke and having no leverage or knowledge or network around me to help me sounds far more challenging to become a multi-millionaire compared to going on to make hundreds of thousands of dollars and building a fastlane business on the side.

    Best case scenario: company goes public from what I helped build, I cash out, I made tons of sales $$ for myself, I built up a fastlane business on the side, I continue that.

    Worst case scenario: my fastlane businesses take longer and it's slow and painful, and I build up and save money and learn slower while working for someone else.

    To put it into perspective, making over 100K at 23 years old puts me in the 1 percent income bracket for my age. Go figure.

    Income Percentile by Age Calculator for the US: What Percent Are You? - DQYDJ
     
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  14. MidwestLandlord
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    MidwestLandlord Platinum Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    A high paid "slowlane" job can work really well for financing a fastlane venture. It can give you tremendous leverage/capital if you control expenses.

    That's exactly what I've done, and am continuing to do. Nothing wrong with doing it that way!

    Quite the accomplishment! Bravo!
     
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    Congrats on the new offer @ChrisJHarrington! I like your plan and I'm sure you'll get there in time. And thanks for sharing the input from the business pros!
     
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  16. ChrisJHarrington
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    Gave two weeks notice today for SAAS company #1 so I can begin at SAAS company #2 as one of the first sales executives - now I'm going to haul a$$ for the next two weeks to finish strong and keep strong relationships with the team I've been working with. Then, a week off, then, starting at the new place.
     
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    Absolutely love it man, great read. Makes me wish I could start over in my younger years(granted I am only 29 lol), and build with the information I know at this point in my life.

    I myself am definitely wanting to put in the hustle and grind to achieve success, and will follow this thread as a form of motivation.

    Great job man.
     
  18. ChrisJHarrington
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    You're in your 'younger years' again (early 20s) - what would you DO? and, what would you do DIFFERENT?

    Curious to learn from your successes/failures..
     
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    Well that's the thing. My dad worked two jobs, one in a warehouse with a Union as well as pumping gas. My mom worked retail her whole to this day, but makes good money doing so. At first that was what I thought I needed to do. If i could turn back time, I would not have joined the Military, granted it was a good experience, but did absolutely nothing for me in regards to a career.

    I worked multiple odd jobs once I got out. From tree work, to small retail stores, to eventually where i am today, which is a General Manager for a corporate Tire and Auto shop. Decent money, but not enough to where I feel comfortable supporting my wife and 2 kids as well as 2 foster kids I took in.

    I've scrounged for money for rent, food and clothes. I've lost jobs, acquired others in hopes I would move up the chain. If i had the entrepreneaurel spirit back then that i do now, i feel i would have started something meaningful.

    Recently I had wanted to start my own detailing business, got as far as getting business cards and starting a FB page. Reason being not having the capital to go any further. With some unfortunate financial issues, it just wasn't possible.

    I do have a couple things in play, and am awaiting to see how far I can go. However, i recently took a huge interest into real estate, and am going yo further educate myself to get my license snd start part time.

    No matter what direction i go, im going to work my ass off to be successful at it
     
  20. MidwestLandlord
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    I would make a game out of seeing how frugally I could live (without living in squalor lol)

    I would avoid alcohol and drugs.

    I would spend only enough time on women to know what a gal who is a good fit for me looks like, not chasing them for the sake of chasing them.

    I would build up a life full of like minded people who share my values, and very quickly cut loose the one's that don't.

    I would not use "youth" as an excuse for not being successful.

    I would learn absolutely everything I can about my chosen fastlane path, and passive money systems.

    I would find a cause in the world that resonates with me, and while I didn't have money, I would provide value to that cause by giving my time. I would use this cause to fuel my passion for becoming wealthy, knowing that later I can change the world in some way.

    I would learn and practice habits, and apply processes to everything in my life, right down to my daily routine.

    I would jealously protect the time I set aside to remain healthy and fit.

    I would use rogaine, and take saw palmetto and zinc daily to protect my hair.

    I would make time for family, friends, and fun.

    I would learn everything I could about controlling my mind. Meditation, breathing exercises, my spiritual beliefs, embracing fear, failure, and rejection.

    I would be well on my way to wealthy, and know myself better, before I committed to bringing wonderful little people into the world that depend on me for everything.
     
  21. ChrisJHarrington
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    Thanks for sharing guys.

    Been frustrated with personal training - mainly because I've realized it can't be scaled, people definitely have difficulty affording it, and the amount of excuses people come up with is maddening.

    The reason it's frustrating really just comes down to the fact that it's not that scalable, so it takes a lot of my time to get people in who don't end up signing up or I have to call them a bunch of times, they reschedule, or even worse is they come in and sign up but then come up with the most ridiculous excuses to not actually continue coming in and paying (I lost my wallet, cancelled my credit card, now my friend is in the hospital, then they stop responding after doing 2 sessions and I give them the benefit of the doubt).

    I've decided I'm going to stop building up my book of business with the personal training, and I'm going to focus on boot camps before and after work. I'll validate if this is actually going to go anywhere by doing a '30 day challenge' and inviting people to join for 30-45 days, pay up front, and join me in the first challenge. I'll see how many people I can get to pay and sign up, and how much it costs me in advertising $. Then, I need to see how many of those people I can get to keep coming back and stay as clients.

    Worst case scenario: it doesn't work and I just move onto something else where I feel like I can have a bigger impact (even a fully scaled gym can only impact so many people.. from my math it's around 100-150). I'll still keep training a few people here and there since i'm certified and have already agreed to help people along.

    Best case scenario: it works and I build up a massive fitness business - open a gym, 100-150 clients at fully scalability, etc.

    I've continued trucking along because I've had great ROI on the personal training: $100-150 of advertising can bring me in a new client that stays on board for upwards of 6-12 months.. but it takes so much work before that (calls, connecting, scheduling, rescheduling, calling again, etc)

    The boot camp model will be much more sustainable, cost effective, and scalable. Let's see how it goes.. I'm going to spend 30-60 days seeing how many sign ups I can get..
     
  22. ChrisJHarrington
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    Learning how to sell is dangerous..

    I've come to realize how simple it will be to become a millionaire and set myself financially free.

    There's really 3 rules to leveraging sales skills to be

    1. Be able to MARKET or have a marketing system in place that allows you to get in enough sales opportunities to yield positive ROI
    2. Be good at selling and improve your closing rate to a certain percentage that yields positive ROI on your marketing and high enough margins to do #3.
    3. Put systems in place where others can do the work you're doing (marketing, customer service, etc) so you can just focus on selling.

    Example:

    With personal training, I spent $1,000 to get 11 people in front of me for a consultation.
    Out of those 11, my closing percentage is around 40% - so I close roughly 4 people. The average deal is $1,500. I end up netting $5,000 - a 400% return
    Those 4 clients would be roughly 8 hours of work each per month (8x4 = 32 hours a month) and let's say they stay for 3 months - 32x3 = 96 hours.

    I net $5,000 and need to pay for 96 hours of labor.

    Hire a trainer @ $15 / hour
    15x96 = $1,440.

    $5000 net after ad expenses
    ($1,440) trainer fees
    ($2,500) facility fees, insurance
    -----------
    $1,060 EBIT

    And, the facility expense is flat - so the more clients I bring in, the higher this margin is going to increase.. you get the idea.

    If you have a high enough margin / ROI and get good at selling, this is how you can build a fastlane business..
     
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  23. ChrisJHarrington
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    Quit my corporate job today.

    Have a week off and start as an account executive for the 40 person venture funded company on March 20th.

    Will not miss corporate america one bit - and i only did it for 8 months.
     
  24. ChrisJHarrington
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    Sales, without scalability, is scary. Because you'll make yourself a ton of money and build your own slowlane job :)

    Hit $2,000 / month with active clients for personal training - and that's probably all I want to do. Not because I can't bring that a lot higher, but because I need to save my TIME and focus on building fastlane systems. The $2,000 a month was definitely a quick way for me to work my sales skills and prove that there's a need for the work i'm doing, and it's some income to put into the fastlane system.

    Next focus is launching some early-morning boot camps - 8, 30 minute sessions at 7AM/7:30AM 4 days per week - think of this as a fastlane 'beta' run - my goal is to get 15-25 boot camp sign ups ($150/mo) on minimum 6 month contracts. The $150 rate is going to be my discounted rate for the first 15-25 sign ups - minimum 6 month commitment I think. I'll be able to run these before work and it'll work great for my niche market as well. I'm also using scheduling software so if people don't schedule to come into any boot camp classes on a Thursday morning, I won't have to show up and I'll get that hour back. People have to reserve 24 hours in advance.

    So now that I've got some revenue, I'll focus on the fastlane system.

    Next steps:
    - Beta version of boot camps in sub-lease space
    - Bring people in the door, generate 15-25 active clients
    - Save up around $15-30K in cash, be generating over $3K/mo in revenue
    - Start scoping out gym spaces to lease
     
  25. ChrisJHarrington
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    Health first, and don't follow the slowlane formula!

    If your income requires you to be physically present at all times to complete the work in top physical condition, your formula is set up to fail.

    My good buddy is a workhorse. Works in HVAC service, hardest worker I know, has a pizza job on the side because he enjoys it, free food, shooting the shit, and getting tips and pay under the table. He also spends his weekends fixing up his mother's house (which he's been on the mortgage since he had a job and has been paying the mortgage since).

    He was working yesterday and fell down his stairs - tore his patella tendon in his knee. Out of work for minimum 3 months + surgery.. told him I hope he has good disability insurance.

    His goal to save $80K by the end of 2017 is definitely going to have a huge hit and delay with the new circumstance..
     
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