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Stripper business with 14y, sold it with 18 & than trapped in hunting shiny objects - Lessons learned so far

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jhnns_98

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Jul 20, 2021
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Hi there,

after reading all MJ books, I finally decided to join the forum and start giving back. @MJ, your books kicked me out of my "shiny object syndrome" and helped me stay on track building real ventures again.

That's my story:

Since 4th grade I started rowing and soon won the first competitions. To get better, I got into a sports college and had training for 6 hours, every day. That quickly payed off and I won several national championships. Things started to look prosperous- until I encountered a disc prolapse at the age of 13. From one night to next, I should never sit in a rowing boat again. But anyway, my back recovered!

Actually, this turned out to be the best experience of my life. Suddenly I had 6 hours free time every day. Awesome! "Earning some money could be nice", I thought. But I was too young to get employed (lucky me hehe), so I started my own business and sold websites to local store owners. I actually had no clue about website, but the owners were like "he is young, he has grown up with internet and knows this stuff". Money came in quickly. Yess!

One owner introduced me to an interesting guy who was running a "model agency" (he called it that way, but in reality he acted as intermediary between strippers and bachelor-party organizers). We used to talk and all of a sudden I asked him, if he ever considers to also focus on B2B clients. He answered, there is no market, but if I wanted to try, I could do it and if it works, we would be partners and found a company together.

It worked out. Companies needed our "models" (festivals, alcohol TV spots, TV shows etc) and we had many of them. One year later (being still 14 years old) I was running a 6-figure stripper-business next to getting my high school diploma. Not bad! Actually, a very fun time with lots of great contacts ;-)

However, when my partner wanted to expand into other "business verticals" (escort service) and put under pressure to study for my high school diploma instead of dealing with strippers by my parents, I decided to leave the company and sell my shares to him. Exit with 18 years? Check.

Being bored learning all day, I found an exciting video about "How to make 7 figures with Amazon FBA". That was the fist time, a shiny-object catches me. So, still in high school, I founded another company and - as promised in the video - made >30k revenue within 4 months with only a couple of shitty products (hair bun makers etc.). Not bad, I thought.

Then, I got admission to Germany's no 1 business school and totally lost focus on the business. My head was full of "scaling" and "venture capital" and "unicorns". My business was too small to be cool, so I tried scaling it from 8 products to >1000 and at the same time started internationalization (selling in 7 markets instead of 1). I hired my friends from business school, and it seemed to work out, for a couple of months.

And then? Crash. I focused so much on growth, that I lost track of our liquidity and items on stock. It hit me out of nowhere that our bank accounts were empty, so were our stocks at the fulfillment centers. A downward spiral started, we've lost our Amazon listings, sales went down 95%, I had to fire our team and couldn't re-order new products. We even had to destroy >500.000 pcs of inventory to avoid storage fees (without good listings, we couldn't sell these items on Amazon). And then, it was over.

The funny thing is that it brought me lots of press coverage which in turn led to e-commerce consulting jobs in which I earned more money than I've lost in the previous venture. Lucky me!

But I couldn't accept being a failure and begun to desperately seek my new "successful venture". That's when the shiny-object syndrome really hit me. I tried it all:
- high ticket coaching
- e-books
- affiliates
- dropshipping
- design t-shirts (that's probably the most embarrassing after reading MJ's newest book but hey- I had 3 sales! (75€))
- crypto investing / staking / mining etc.

All failed or didn't "feel right". I then thought, the problem was inside of me. That lead to the "personal improvement trap" where I jumped from self-help book to the next, from one seminar to the next and so on... Until it brought me to the realization, that I don't need all of this because it just re-emphazied, that I am not ready to achieve my goal yet and still a failure. If I already achieved my goals and be successful, would I still read this books? Hell no, I thought, I'd write my own, just like MJ haha. So I stopped reading these self-help books and begun to contribute and build things other people want.

But: Going through all of these NLP, coaching etc. I stumbled upon on topic, which I soon developed a passion for. At the same time, I studied all of MJ books, applied the concepts and soon realized, that it wasn't only my passion, but HIGHLY valuable to lots of people, highly in demand, with almost no competition, moderate entry-barriers, scaleability... And created a thriving mobile app business around it. YES - now I'm back in the game working on growing my Fastlane venture (and keeping both eyes on the numbers while scaling haha).

More humble, with both feet on the ground.

And excited to contribute in this forum, meet new people and get some insights as well :)
 
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thechosen1

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Aug 25, 2020
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Wow, what a crazy story! Tell me, why haven’t you started a modeling agency?

That was the best CENTS business you mentioned!
 

jhnns_98

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Jul 20, 2021
4
11
Wow, what a crazy story! Tell me, why haven’t you started a modeling agency?

That was the best CENTS business you mentioned!
Good question - I never thought about this, probably because I was always pursuing some other ventures and never took the time to reflect on that.

Right now, after some reflection, the reason is also: In my mind, running a modeling agency is like a "dark spot" or sth. I think about as "I've done that already, can't do it again". Weird, but interesting... So thanks for the "awareness hint".

At the moment though, I will stay with my new business (mobile app + ecommerce).
 

thechosen1

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Good question - I never thought about this, probably because I was always pursuing some other ventures and never took the time to reflect on that.

Right now, after some reflection, the reason is also: In my mind, running a modeling agency is like a "dark spot" or sth. I think about as "I've done that already, can't do it again". Weird, but interesting... So thanks for the "awareness hint".

At the moment though, I will stay with my new business (mobile app + ecommerce).
There's no reason why you couldn't start the same thing today. If you did it now, you'd likely be more successful because you are older, wiser, and with more experience.

But if what you're doing is working, don't stop

Write a book on running a model agency and I’ll buy it right now

Great story
Me too! Wow!
 

Private Witt

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Feb 20, 2018
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Id buy this model agency book too, so there are three sales right there for yah. Ive been in the 420 model game for 7 years now and could learn from a pro. My team stagnated during Covid but now that Im getting established in a state market where we can gather Im going to build a new local squad, the talent is strong in Oklahoma. The national leader who is a friend of mine that got me into this madness has a 10k model roster with an estimated 1k active at any given time. There is actually money to made in this vertical but as a male owner I tread with great caution as the landmines are immense, including BFs and exs who become potential dangers.
 

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