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GOLD! The Greatest Lesson MJ DeMarco Taught Me

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BizyDad

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Two years ago today, my life unraveled. My ex-wife asked for a divorce. And she meant it. I spent the next 9 months in various stages of disaster, grief, self-anger and hopefulness. Yes, hopefulness. If there is a word for the emotion or feeling like God or fate is present in your presence presently, I was in and out of that stage too. It's a mind shift going from being a "we" to being a "me" again, especially when all I wanted my whole life was wrapped up in the concept of being a "we" in the first place. I'll never forget that first Saturday after the divorce went final. I woke up to an empty house. First time in years. No wife, no kids. I got out of bed, stretched, and asked myself, "Self, what am I going to do today?" And my self responded, "Let's check with (insert ex-wife's name here)." My brain froze as the slowest 2 second realization washed over me. I don't have to check with her anymore. I don't have to check with ANYBODY anymore. I can do anything I want to. Anything. And. So. I. Did.

One year ago today was not a great day. I knew it going in. I didn't want to get out of bed, but I did. I didn't go to work though. I sat and stared. I reflected, I thought and I stared some more. I did not drink. Drinking would make it easier. There was a time, a glorious time years earlier, when my relationship was new, and everything seemed possible. And I missed those times. What made those times so special was I was surrounded by people like me. People who had goals, vision, dreams beyond just "what am I going to do today?" I felt connected and plugged in. And I wanted that again. So I opened my browser and I Google millionaire fastlane forum. That was the day Summit tickets went on sale. I joined Insiders immediately. Something wasn't working, so I texted this guy @MJ DeMarco who I'd met years earlier, to ask it everything was cool and if he could look into it, maybe, if he's not too busy. I didn't think he'd text back so quickly. Bada bing, bada boom, I got my tickets. Something about being plugged in with other entreprenuers just felt right. I decided to start reading, maybe I'd meet some cool people. My first read was by the "Apple guy" who flipped MacBooks for profit, which gave me an idea. I knew a way I could get assorted electronics cheap, so I did, and I did what he said. I flipped a few laptops and a phone and made my money for the tickets and membership back in a couple weekends. I didn't come back to the site for a couple weeks.

Thanks Apple Guy, wherever you are. You kicked off a crazy cool year. But you were right about the problem of scaling and meeting people in parking lots.

However, you're reading this for the MJ story. Ok, back on track. Let's go back 10 years or so. It was a simpler time. There was calamity, yes, but there was opportunity and Phoenix was rife with it. I had left my job as an investment banker to start an online pet products business. I quickly found myself working for the guy who built our website, just slinging websites by day, learning SEO by night. Turns out I couldn't sell any websites by day, and I couldn't rank any big dog bowls at night. But I wasn't going to give up. I decided to start a little club for people to learn internet marketing. I used meetup.com to bring them together. See, I had been in financial services up to that point in my life, I really didn't understand tech. But I figured if I can get a room of people who wanted to learn, that would give me an excuse to call some experts and see if they'd like to come speak to a room of interested people.

And it worked.

Now I was onto something. People would take my calls. People would call me back. Leaving messages like, "I run a club of entrepreneurs and someone requested you to come speak to our group. I'm calling to see if you'd be interested. Please call me back at..." tend to get returned. And when speakers would speak, I'd take them out for a drink afterwards as a thank you, and we'd chat. I'd often get a few tips on how to better market my website. Win win.

Knowing how to network helped too. At networking events, I wasn't there to sell websites anymore. I was the guy running the Phoenix Internet Marketing Club. People wanted to talk to me. And they wanted to come to my events.

Soon, people just assumed I knew a bunch of good internet marketers, so I must be a good internet marketer. Doors began to open that normally wouldn't have opened. I met the future founders of some awesome companies, many of whom are still friends. And I met some bigger names in marketing too. I got to meet guys like Dan Kennedy, Joe Polish, Pat Flynn. Sharon Lechter came to speak to my club once.

Then one day I got the email. Now before I finish this story, I have to say the following: MJ DeMarco is the single most difficult entrepreneur I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with. I mean that in the best way possible. Let me explain.

When I was running these clubs I never got solicited by a speaker. So I get this email out of the blue. He's an author having just published his first book. This being a first, I'm curious. But skeptical. What's he want? I hop on a call with the guy. He wanted to come speak my little internet marketing club. I was taken aback and suspicious. No one had volunteered out of the blue before. Keep in mind, this is my memory from 10 years ago. Our first conversation went something like this. I get on the phone. We exchange pleasantries. In the back of my mind, I'm wondering what's this guy's angle. But he's talking, and I'm not really listening. He said something about wanting to speak. An author? Crap, it's my turn to talk.

I blurt out. “I can’t pay you. It’s a free club."

“No Problem. I don’t need money”

Knucklehead that I am, I don't have a response. No money, that’s good. Now what do I want to ask this guy? Why didn’t I prepare for this call? I should prepare for these calls from now on.

"Let's sayyou do come speak, um... Would you talk about your book? What's your book about?"

"Entrepreneurship. It’s called The Millionaire Fastlane..." I start tuning out, Charlie Brown teacher voice starts setting, and I'm bracing for the get rich quick pitch.

To his credit, he didn’t pitch. He just talked some more. But he wasn’t salesey at all. AT ALL. How is this guy going to sell books? Maybe he's being crafty. Guard is still up.

“Well, that doesn’t sound like our topic. We’re an internet marketing club. Could you speak to something like that?”.

“Oh yeah, sure. I sold my XYZ online business for XYZ dollars. Twice, actually. I sold it, bought it back, and sold it again. I could talk about my journey with that business.”

“That sounds amazing! Can you tell me a little more?”

More interesting details provided.

“I’d love to have you speak to the club.”

“All I ask is that I can give a little plug for my book at the end. Would that be ok?"

“That’s more than fair.”

“I can even bring a few copies to hand out.” (Doesn’t this dude want to sell his book?)

“Sure man, that’s great.”

I ran that club for a few years. MJ gave a top 3 presentation. And I got me my first edition copy of TMF. I read it that same week.

But the story doesn't end there. He actually showed up to my club a few times after. On his second visit, I excused myself just so I could go to the parking lot and see if there was a Lambo parked there. There was. In my first two or 3 interactions with MJ I just kept looking for "the catch". I suppose I expected him to, on some level, be really full of himself. Or just out for himself. Or want the attention on himself. Or, pardon my language, but I suppose I expected more douchiness or dickishness.

And there was none of that. Not a whiff. From what I could tell, this guy is about as good and down to earth guy as you could meet. Who happened to drive a Lambo. And he seemed to really want to help others.

See at my club, after the speaker would speak, we'd have these roundtable discussions. Q&A time, for 30-40 minutes. Little brainstorming opportunities. And MJ would contribute. And over time, my suspcision faded. I made a decision. I really wanted to help this guy out.

AND THAT'S WHERE THE FRUSTRATION SET IN.

See, I've always believed in the following principle for business. "Begin with the end in mind."

I've always been a planner. But my plans aren't rigid, one way things. My plans got backup plans, and my back up plans got back up plans. I've just always been wired this way. I remember when I learned Seneca's principle of premeditatio malorum, and I was like, "YES! This guy gets it!". This has always my blessing and my curse.

And I decided to use every bit of this humble superpower to MJ DeMarco's benefit.

But I couldn't.

Because he didn't have a goal. He didn't have a plan!

Remember, the guy didn't even try to sell his book in my club. And I didn't really know anyone in publishing or author promotion, so I didn't have any "easy answer".

But I've been in the same room with MJ maybe 4 times, and you know I know the power of a question. So in those times, whenever I could, I'd respectfully probe MJ looking for his goals. His plans. I really wanted to make them better. I certainly could do that much. He had to just be hiding it. He must be playing it really close to the vest. And in response to my questions he'd give these really insightful answers that showed that he really understood life and business and money, BUT I COULDN'T GET HIM TO SPEAK ABOUT ANYTHING I THOUGHT RESEMBLED A PLAN.

So. Frustrating.

I even took him to coffee once, and I thought we might find ways to work together. He seemed open to the possibility. But with no plan, there was nothing I could latch onto to propel me forward.

The last time he showed up to my club, I remember this moment. Someone else was talking, and I leaned forward in my chair. I was so ready to point out the obvious glaring flaw in his "strategy". At the right moment, I was just going to say, "Bro, don't you know if you fail to plan, YOU'RE PLANNING TO FAIL?!?!"

But I was hit by a thought. Who am I to argue with the guy who has a paid off Lambo in my parking lot?

In a rare moment of humility, I leaning back in my chair.

The room must have picked up my vibe, because a few minutes later, someone else asked MJ some question like, "But what if you fail?" And he proceeded to give one of the clearest expressions of a philosophy of business I'd ever heard. It went something like this:

"If I fail, that just means the market didn't like what I had to offer. And if that happens, then I'll just go do something else. I've failed before. Failing isn't a big deal. But right now I'm having fun. I'm trying to get the word out about my book. I'm enjoying getting up every day. I'm planting seeds all over the place. I came and spoke here a few weeks ago and some of those people might read my book. And then someone might like it and tell their friend. And they might go buy my book. And they'll tell their friend. That's the market. Or maybe I'll list my book on Amazon, and maybe it will sell or maybe it won't. Right now, I'm just trying to get the word out. And if the market likes what I have to say, then I'll keep doing it. That's business, right? The market decides."

The market decides.

I didn't do his speech justice. I remember it being more coherent, more cogent. And that's when I realized why I couldn't help this guy. He was satisfied. He was self sufficient. He was just on a different level. And he was right.

The market decides. I could commit many more sentences to unpacking those three words, but MJ already wrote his books, so go read them. :rofl:

Most every business person I'd met to that point had a conqueror mentality. Marshall the troops and let's get us some market share! Something about MJ's speech felt more Zen. More like an explorer. But the kind of explorer you just knew would get where he was going.

The market decides.

I've thought about that moment so much in the decade since. Here was an entrepreneur who didn't write out some grand business plan. His approach just seemed more akin to the old proverb, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." He knew he was smart enough to get the ball rolling, and to figure things out as he went.

Ten years ago I had my worst financial year ever. Exciting as those days were, starting that business and changing careers, I didn't even make $20k. But when times got tough, I drew strength from the thought that I was planting seeds, and the market was responding. Somehow, my boss and I pulled that little company through an epic economic collapse. And we have continued to grow it ever year since, even in the midst of the latest economic collapse, we continue to harvest seeds. Now I'm a partner in the business, and last year I started running the company.

I've lived a blessed life. When I turned 37 years old I accomplished the third of my 3 childhood dreams (Became a dad). But I did it with plans upon plans. Without a plan, I used to feel unmoored.

So two years ago today, when the ultimate result of all my planning felt like it was failing about as spectacularly as possible, I flailed around for a bit. My plans didn't mean squat. The "wife market" had spoken. What's that saying? "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans". Yeah. that's the one.

But I drew strength from the people I'd met in my life, like MJ. People who didn't need external motivation. That's why, even in my most darkest days, (that's like darker than the darkest) I somehow held onto hope. I knew things would get better. I didn't know when, but I had faith they would. Even without my plans within plans, I knew things would work out as they are meant to.

I want to thank all the people on the forum who've had an impact on my life. Most of you know who you are. I've enjoyed our exchanges immensely. And to the few I've bumped heads with, I'd like to thank you too. Because you've all helped me to become a better person. And I couldn't be happier to be amongst a group of striving entrepreneurs again. I'll leave you with these final thoughts.

"Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
"The market decides."

Young or old, your life's experiences have forged you. You are exactly who you need to be to face this next moment.
 

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ZF Lee

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Two years ago today, my life unraveled. My ex-wife asked for a divorce. And she meant it. I spent the next 9 months in various stages of disaster, grief, self-anger and hopefulness. Yes, hopefulness. If there is a word for the emotion or feeling like God or fate is present in your presence presently, I was in and out of that stage too. It's a mind shift going from being a "we" to being a "me" again, especially when all I wanted my whole life was wrapped up in the concept of being a "we" in the first place. I'll never forget that first Saturday after the divorce went final. I woke up to an empty house. First time in years. No wife, no kids. I got out of bed, stretched, and asked myself, "Self, what am I going to do today?" And my self responded, "Let's check with (insert ex-wife's name here)." My brain froze as the slowest 2 second realization washed over me. I don't have to check with her anymore. I don't have to check with ANYBODY anymore. I can do anything I want to. Anything. And. So. I. Did.

One year ago today was not a great day. I knew it going in. I didn't want to get out of bed, but I did. I didn't go to work though. I sat and stared. I reflected, I thought and I stared some more. I did not drink. Drinking would make it easier. There was a time, a glorious time years earlier, when my relationship was new, and everything seemed possible. And I missed those times. What made those times so special was I was surrounded by people like me. People who had goals, vision, dreams beyond just "what am I going to do today?" I felt connected and plugged in. And I wanted that again. So I opened my browser and I Google millionaire fastlane forum. That was the day Summit tickets went on sale. I joined Insiders immediately. Something wasn't working, so I texted this guy @MJ DeMarco who I'd met years earlier, to ask it everything was cool and if he could look into it, maybe, if he's not too busy. I didn't think he'd text back so quickly. Bada bing, bada boom, I got my tickets. Something about being plugged in with other entreprenuers just felt right. I decided to start reading, maybe I'd meet some cool people. My first read was by the "Apple guy" who flipped MacBooks for profit, which gave me an idea. I knew a way I could get assorted electronics cheap, so I did, and I did what he said. I flipped a few laptops and a phone and made my money for the tickets and membership back in a couple weekends. I didn't come back to the site for a couple weeks.

Thanks Apple Guy, wherever you are. You kicked off a crazy cool year. But you were right about the problem of scaling and meeting people in parking lots.

However, you're reading this for the MJ story. Ok, back on track. Let's go back 10 years or so. It was a simpler time. There was calamity, yes, but there was opportunity and Phoenix was rife with it. I had left my job as an investment banker to start an online pet products business. I quickly found myself working for the guy who built our website, just slinging websites by day, learning SEO by night. Turns out I couldn't sell any websites by day, and I couldn't rank any big dog bowls at night. But I wasn't going to give up. I decided to start a little club for people to learn internet marketing. I used meetup.com to bring them together. See, I had been in financial services up to that point in my life, I really didn't understand tech. But I figured if I can get a room of people who wanted to learn, that would give me an excuse to call some experts and see if they'd like to come speak to a room of interested people.

And it worked.

Now I was onto something. People would take my calls. People would call me back. Leaving messages like, "I run a club of entrepreneurs and someone requested you to come speak to our group. I'm calling to see if you'd be interested. Please call me back at..." tend to get returned. And when speakers would speak, I'd take them out for a drink afterwards as a thank you, and we'd chat. I'd often get a few tips on how to better market my website. Win win.

Knowing how to network helped too. At networking events, I wasn't there to sell websites anymore. I was the guy running the Phoenix Internet Marketing Club. People wanted to talk to me. And they wanted to come to my events.

Soon, people just assumed I knew a bunch of good internet marketers, so I must be a good internet marketer. Doors began to open that normally wouldn't have opened. I met the future founders of some awesome companies, many of whom are still friends. And I met some bigger names in marketing too. I got to meet guys like Dan Kennedy, Joe Polish, Pat Flynn. Sharon Lechter came to speak to my club once.

Then one day I got the email. Now before I finish this story, I have to say the following: MJ DeMarco is the single most difficult entrepreneur I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with. I mean that in the best way possible. Let me explain.

When I was running these clubs I never got solicited by a speaker. So I get this email out of the blue. He's an author having just published his first book. This being a first, I'm curious. But skeptical. What's he want? I hop on a call with the guy. He wanted to come speak my little internet marketing club. I was taken aback and suspicious. No one had volunteered out of the blue before. Keep in mind, this is my memory from 10 years ago. Our first conversation went something like this. I get on the phone. We exchange pleasantries. In the back of my mind, I'm wondering what's this guy's angle. But he's talking, and I'm not really listening. He said something about wanting to speak. An author? Crap, it's my turn to talk.

I blurt out. “I can’t pay you. It’s a free club."

“No Problem. I don’t need money”

Knucklehead that I am, I don't have a response. No money, that’s good. Now what do I want to ask this guy? Why didn’t I prepare for this call? I should prepare for these calls from now on.

"Let's sayyou do come speak, um... Would you talk about your book? What's your book about?"

"Entrepreneurship. It’s called The Millionaire Fastlane..." I start tuning out, Charlie Brown teacher voice starts setting, and I'm bracing for the get rich quick pitch.

To his credit, he didn’t pitch. He just talked some more. But he wasn’t salesey at all. AT ALL. How is this guy going to sell books? Maybe he's being crafty. Guard is still up.

“Well, that doesn’t sound like our topic. We’re an internet marketing club. Could you speak to something like that?”.

“Oh yeah, sure. I sold my XYZ online business for XYZ dollars. Twice, actually. I sold it, bought it back, and sold it again. I could talk about my journey with that business.”

“That sounds amazing! Can you tell me a little more?”

More interesting details provided.

“I’d love to have you speak to the club.”

“All I ask is that I can give a little plug for my book at the end. Would that be ok?"

“That’s more than fair.”

“I can even bring a few copies to hand out.” (Doesn’t this dude want to sell his book?)

“Sure man, that’s great.”

I ran that club for a few years. MJ gave a top 3 presentation. And I got me my first edition copy of TMF. I read it that same week.

But the story doesn't end there. He actually showed up to my club a few times after. On his second visit, I excused myself just so I could go to the parking lot and see if there was a Lambo parked there. There was. In my first two or 3 interactions with MJ I just kept looking for "the catch". I suppose I expected him to, on some level, be really full of himself. Or just out for himself. Or want the attention on himself. Or, pardon my language, but I suppose I expected more douchiness or dickishness.

And there was none of that. Not a whiff. From what I could tell, this guy is about as good and down to earth guy as you could meet. Who happened to drive a Lambo. And he seemed to really want to help others.

See at my club, after the speaker would speak, we'd have these roundtable discussions. Q&A time, for 30-40 minutes. Little brainstorming opportunities. And MJ would contribute. And over time, my suspcision faded. I made a decision. I really wanted to help this guy out.

AND THAT'S WHERE THE FRUSTRATION SET IN.

See, I've always believed in the following principle for business. "Begin with the end in mind."

I've always been a planner. But my plans aren't rigid, one way things. My plans got backup plans, and my back up plans got back up plans. I've just always been wired this way. I remember when I learned Seneca's principle of premeditatio malorum, and I was like, "YES! This guy gets it!". This has always my blessing and my curse.

And I decided to use every bit of this humble superpower to MJ DeMarco's benefit.

But I couldn't.

Because he didn't have a goal. He didn't have a plan!

Remember, the guy didn't even try to sell his book in my club. And I didn't really know anyone in publishing or author promotion, so I didn't have any "easy answer".

But I've been in the same room with MJ maybe 4 times, and you know I know the power of a question. So in those times, whenever I could, I'd respectfully probe MJ looking for his goals. His plans. I really wanted to make them better. I certainly could do that much. He had to just be hiding it. He must be playing it really close to the vest. And in response to my questions he'd give these really insightful answers that showed that he really understood life and business and money, BUT I COULDN'T GET HIM TO SPEAK ABOUT ANYTHING I THOUGHT RESEMBLED A PLAN.

So. Frustrating.

I even took him to coffee once, and I thought we might find ways to work together. He seemed open to the possibility. But with no plan, there was nothing I could latch onto to propel me forward.

The last time he showed up to my club, I remember this moment. Someone else was talking, and I leaned forward in my chair. I was so ready to point out the obvious glaring flaw in his "strategy". At the right moment, I was just going to say, "Bro, don't you know if you fail to plan, YOU'RE PLANNING TO FAIL?!?!"

But I was hit by a thought. Who am I to argue with the guy who has a paid off Lambo in my parking lot?

In a rare moment of humility, I leaning back in my chair.

The room must have picked up my vibe, because a few minutes later, someone else asked MJ some question like, "But what if you fail?" And he proceeded to give one of the clearest expressions of a philosophy of business I'd ever heard. It went something like this:

"If I fail, that just means the market didn't like what I had to offer. And if that happens, then I'll just go do something else. I've failed before. Failing isn't a big deal. But right now I'm having fun. I'm trying to get the word out about my book. I'm enjoying getting up every day. I'm planting seeds all over the place. I came and spoke here a few weeks ago and some of those people might read my book. And then someone might like it and tell their friend. And they might go buy my book. And they'll tell their friend. That's the market. Or maybe I'll list my book on Amazon, and maybe it will sell or maybe it won't. Right now, I'm just trying to get the word out. And if the market likes what I have to say, then I'll keep doing it. That's business, right? The market decides."

The market decides.

I didn't do his speech justice. I remember it being more coherent, more cogent. And that's when I realized why I couldn't help this guy. He was satisfied. He was self sufficient. He was just on a different level. And he was right.

The market decides. I could commit many more sentences to unpacking those three words, but MJ already wrote his books, so go read them. :rofl:

Most every business person I'd met to that point had a conqueror mentality. Marshall the troops and let's get us some market share! Something about MJ's speech felt more Zen. More like an explorer. But the kind of explorer you just knew would get where he was going.

The market decides.

I've thought about that moment so much in the decade since. Here was an entrepreneur who didn't write out some grand business plan. His approach just seemed more akin to the old proverb, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." He knew he was smart enough to get the ball rolling, and to figure things out as he went.

Ten years ago I had my worst financial year ever. Exciting as those days were, starting that business and changing careers, I didn't even make $20k. But when times got tough, I drew strength from the thought that I was planting seeds, and the market was responding. Somehow, my boss and I pulled that little company through an epic economic collapse. And we have continued to grow it ever year since, even in the midst of the latest economic collapse, we continue to harvest seeds. Now I'm a partner in the business, and last year I started running the company.

I've lived a blessed life. When I turned 37 years old I accomplished the third of my 3 childhood dreams (Became a dad). But I did it with plans upon plans. Without a plan, I used to feel unmoored.

So two years ago today, when the ultimate result of all my planning felt like it was failing about as spectacularly as possible, I flailed around for a bit. My plans didn't mean squat. The "wife market" had spoken. What's that saying? "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans". Yeah. that's the one.

But I drew strength from the people I'd met in my life, like MJ. People who didn't need external motivation. That's why, even in my most darkest days, (that's like darker than the darkest) I somehow held onto hope. I knew things would get better. I didn't know when, but I had faith they would. Even without my plans within plans, I knew things would work out as they are meant to.

I want to thank all the people on the forum who've had an impact on my life. Most of you know who you are. I've enjoyed our exchanges immensely. And to the few I've bumped heads with, I'd like to thank you too. Because you've all helped me to become a better person. And I couldn't be happier to be amongst a group of striving entrepreneurs again. I'll leave you with these final thoughts.

"Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
"The market decides."

Young or old, your life's experiences have forged you. You are exactly who you need to be to face this next moment.
Thanks for the tale.
Although you paraphrased the actual convos a lot, it still feels like something MJ might say himself haha.

I saw another lesson in how MJ conducted himself there...he didn't show off NEEDINESS-even when getting his offers to the market.

Neediness gives off an air of desperation, and the buyer starts wondering if his stuff is really solid or not.

To give an analogy, it's like dating.
If I had a girl messaging (or selling to) me every minute, I would be wondering, 'Doesn't she have work to do?'
And then I would be seriously worried if she even works at all, to make herself a decent individual.

Another way to chop off neediness would be obviously- to have multiple channels of sales for the business.
So you come from a position of strength- if this talk didn't bring in any buyers, then I still have my other marketing channels to help keep the lights on. Like a forum, podcasts, YouTube...
 

Raja

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amazing post, will read it again
 

sparechange

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Nov 11, 2016
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Two years ago today, my life unraveled. My ex-wife asked for a divorce. And she meant it. I spent the next 9 months in various stages of disaster, grief, self-anger and hopefulness. Yes, hopefulness. If there is a word for the emotion or feeling like God or fate is present in your presence presently, I was in and out of that stage too. It's a mind shift going from being a "we" to being a "me" again, especially when all I wanted my whole life was wrapped up in the concept of being a "we" in the first place. I'll never forget that first Saturday after the divorce went final. I woke up to an empty house. First time in years. No wife, no kids. I got out of bed, stretched, and asked myself, "Self, what am I going to do today?" And my self responded, "Let's check with (insert ex-wife's name here)." My brain froze as the slowest 2 second realization washed over me. I don't have to check with her anymore. I don't have to check with ANYBODY anymore. I can do anything I want to. Anything. And. So. I. Did.

One year ago today was not a great day. I knew it going in. I didn't want to get out of bed, but I did. I didn't go to work though. I sat and stared. I reflected, I thought and I stared some more. I did not drink. Drinking would make it easier. There was a time, a glorious time years earlier, when my relationship was new, and everything seemed possible. And I missed those times. What made those times so special was I was surrounded by people like me. People who had goals, vision, dreams beyond just "what am I going to do today?" I felt connected and plugged in. And I wanted that again. So I opened my browser and I Google millionaire fastlane forum. That was the day Summit tickets went on sale. I joined Insiders immediately. Something wasn't working, so I texted this guy @MJ DeMarco who I'd met years earlier, to ask it everything was cool and if he could look into it, maybe, if he's not too busy. I didn't think he'd text back so quickly. Bada bing, bada boom, I got my tickets. Something about being plugged in with other entreprenuers just felt right. I decided to start reading, maybe I'd meet some cool people. My first read was by the "Apple guy" who flipped MacBooks for profit, which gave me an idea. I knew a way I could get assorted electronics cheap, so I did, and I did what he said. I flipped a few laptops and a phone and made my money for the tickets and membership back in a couple weekends. I didn't come back to the site for a couple weeks.

Thanks Apple Guy, wherever you are. You kicked off a crazy cool year. But you were right about the problem of scaling and meeting people in parking lots.

However, you're reading this for the MJ story. Ok, back on track. Let's go back 10 years or so. It was a simpler time. There was calamity, yes, but there was opportunity and Phoenix was rife with it. I had left my job as an investment banker to start an online pet products business. I quickly found myself working for the guy who built our website, just slinging websites by day, learning SEO by night. Turns out I couldn't sell any websites by day, and I couldn't rank any big dog bowls at night. But I wasn't going to give up. I decided to start a little club for people to learn internet marketing. I used meetup.com to bring them together. See, I had been in financial services up to that point in my life, I really didn't understand tech. But I figured if I can get a room of people who wanted to learn, that would give me an excuse to call some experts and see if they'd like to come speak to a room of interested people.

And it worked.

Now I was onto something. People would take my calls. People would call me back. Leaving messages like, "I run a club of entrepreneurs and someone requested you to come speak to our group. I'm calling to see if you'd be interested. Please call me back at..." tend to get returned. And when speakers would speak, I'd take them out for a drink afterwards as a thank you, and we'd chat. I'd often get a few tips on how to better market my website. Win win.

Knowing how to network helped too. At networking events, I wasn't there to sell websites anymore. I was the guy running the Phoenix Internet Marketing Club. People wanted to talk to me. And they wanted to come to my events.

Soon, people just assumed I knew a bunch of good internet marketers, so I must be a good internet marketer. Doors began to open that normally wouldn't have opened. I met the future founders of some awesome companies, many of whom are still friends. And I met some bigger names in marketing too. I got to meet guys like Dan Kennedy, Joe Polish, Pat Flynn. Sharon Lechter came to speak to my club once.

Then one day I got the email. Now before I finish this story, I have to say the following: MJ DeMarco is the single most difficult entrepreneur I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with. I mean that in the best way possible. Let me explain.

When I was running these clubs I never got solicited by a speaker. So I get this email out of the blue. He's an author having just published his first book. This being a first, I'm curious. But skeptical. What's he want? I hop on a call with the guy. He wanted to come speak my little internet marketing club. I was taken aback and suspicious. No one had volunteered out of the blue before. Keep in mind, this is my memory from 10 years ago. Our first conversation went something like this. I get on the phone. We exchange pleasantries. In the back of my mind, I'm wondering what's this guy's angle. But he's talking, and I'm not really listening. He said something about wanting to speak. An author? Crap, it's my turn to talk.

I blurt out. “I can’t pay you. It’s a free club."

“No Problem. I don’t need money”

Knucklehead that I am, I don't have a response. No money, that’s good. Now what do I want to ask this guy? Why didn’t I prepare for this call? I should prepare for these calls from now on.

"Let's sayyou do come speak, um... Would you talk about your book? What's your book about?"

"Entrepreneurship. It’s called The Millionaire Fastlane..." I start tuning out, Charlie Brown teacher voice starts setting, and I'm bracing for the get rich quick pitch.

To his credit, he didn’t pitch. He just talked some more. But he wasn’t salesey at all. AT ALL. How is this guy going to sell books? Maybe he's being crafty. Guard is still up.

“Well, that doesn’t sound like our topic. We’re an internet marketing club. Could you speak to something like that?”.

“Oh yeah, sure. I sold my XYZ online business for XYZ dollars. Twice, actually. I sold it, bought it back, and sold it again. I could talk about my journey with that business.”

“That sounds amazing! Can you tell me a little more?”

More interesting details provided.

“I’d love to have you speak to the club.”

“All I ask is that I can give a little plug for my book at the end. Would that be ok?"

“That’s more than fair.”

“I can even bring a few copies to hand out.” (Doesn’t this dude want to sell his book?)

“Sure man, that’s great.”

I ran that club for a few years. MJ gave a top 3 presentation. And I got me my first edition copy of TMF. I read it that same week.

But the story doesn't end there. He actually showed up to my club a few times after. On his second visit, I excused myself just so I could go to the parking lot and see if there was a Lambo parked there. There was. In my first two or 3 interactions with MJ I just kept looking for "the catch". I suppose I expected him to, on some level, be really full of himself. Or just out for himself. Or want the attention on himself. Or, pardon my language, but I suppose I expected more douchiness or dickishness.

And there was none of that. Not a whiff. From what I could tell, this guy is about as good and down to earth guy as you could meet. Who happened to drive a Lambo. And he seemed to really want to help others.

See at my club, after the speaker would speak, we'd have these roundtable discussions. Q&A time, for 30-40 minutes. Little brainstorming opportunities. And MJ would contribute. And over time, my suspcision faded. I made a decision. I really wanted to help this guy out.

AND THAT'S WHERE THE FRUSTRATION SET IN.

See, I've always believed in the following principle for business. "Begin with the end in mind."

I've always been a planner. But my plans aren't rigid, one way things. My plans got backup plans, and my back up plans got back up plans. I've just always been wired this way. I remember when I learned Seneca's principle of premeditatio malorum, and I was like, "YES! This guy gets it!". This has always my blessing and my curse.

And I decided to use every bit of this humble superpower to MJ DeMarco's benefit.

But I couldn't.

Because he didn't have a goal. He didn't have a plan!

Remember, the guy didn't even try to sell his book in my club. And I didn't really know anyone in publishing or author promotion, so I didn't have any "easy answer".

But I've been in the same room with MJ maybe 4 times, and you know I know the power of a question. So in those times, whenever I could, I'd respectfully probe MJ looking for his goals. His plans. I really wanted to make them better. I certainly could do that much. He had to just be hiding it. He must be playing it really close to the vest. And in response to my questions he'd give these really insightful answers that showed that he really understood life and business and money, BUT I COULDN'T GET HIM TO SPEAK ABOUT ANYTHING I THOUGHT RESEMBLED A PLAN.

So. Frustrating.

I even took him to coffee once, and I thought we might find ways to work together. He seemed open to the possibility. But with no plan, there was nothing I could latch onto to propel me forward.

The last time he showed up to my club, I remember this moment. Someone else was talking, and I leaned forward in my chair. I was so ready to point out the obvious glaring flaw in his "strategy". At the right moment, I was just going to say, "Bro, don't you know if you fail to plan, YOU'RE PLANNING TO FAIL?!?!"

But I was hit by a thought. Who am I to argue with the guy who has a paid off Lambo in my parking lot?

In a rare moment of humility, I leaning back in my chair.

The room must have picked up my vibe, because a few minutes later, someone else asked MJ some question like, "But what if you fail?" And he proceeded to give one of the clearest expressions of a philosophy of business I'd ever heard. It went something like this:

"If I fail, that just means the market didn't like what I had to offer. And if that happens, then I'll just go do something else. I've failed before. Failing isn't a big deal. But right now I'm having fun. I'm trying to get the word out about my book. I'm enjoying getting up every day. I'm planting seeds all over the place. I came and spoke here a few weeks ago and some of those people might read my book. And then someone might like it and tell their friend. And they might go buy my book. And they'll tell their friend. That's the market. Or maybe I'll list my book on Amazon, and maybe it will sell or maybe it won't. Right now, I'm just trying to get the word out. And if the market likes what I have to say, then I'll keep doing it. That's business, right? The market decides."

The market decides.

I didn't do his speech justice. I remember it being more coherent, more cogent. And that's when I realized why I couldn't help this guy. He was satisfied. He was self sufficient. He was just on a different level. And he was right.

The market decides. I could commit many more sentences to unpacking those three words, but MJ already wrote his books, so go read them. :rofl:

Most every business person I'd met to that point had a conqueror mentality. Marshall the troops and let's get us some market share! Something about MJ's speech felt more Zen. More like an explorer. But the kind of explorer you just knew would get where he was going.

The market decides.

I've thought about that moment so much in the decade since. Here was an entrepreneur who didn't write out some grand business plan. His approach just seemed more akin to the old proverb, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." He knew he was smart enough to get the ball rolling, and to figure things out as he went.

Ten years ago I had my worst financial year ever. Exciting as those days were, starting that business and changing careers, I didn't even make $20k. But when times got tough, I drew strength from the thought that I was planting seeds, and the market was responding. Somehow, my boss and I pulled that little company through an epic economic collapse. And we have continued to grow it ever year since, even in the midst of the latest economic collapse, we continue to harvest seeds. Now I'm a partner in the business, and last year I started running the company.

I've lived a blessed life. When I turned 37 years old I accomplished the third of my 3 childhood dreams (Became a dad). But I did it with plans upon plans. Without a plan, I used to feel unmoored.

So two years ago today, when the ultimate result of all my planning felt like it was failing about as spectacularly as possible, I flailed around for a bit. My plans didn't mean squat. The "wife market" had spoken. What's that saying? "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans". Yeah. that's the one.

But I drew strength from the people I'd met in my life, like MJ. People who didn't need external motivation. That's why, even in my most darkest days, (that's like darker than the darkest) I somehow held onto hope. I knew things would get better. I didn't know when, but I had faith they would. Even without my plans within plans, I knew things would work out as they are meant to.

I want to thank all the people on the forum who've had an impact on my life. Most of you know who you are. I've enjoyed our exchanges immensely. And to the few I've bumped heads with, I'd like to thank you too. Because you've all helped me to become a better person. And I couldn't be happier to be amongst a group of striving entrepreneurs again. I'll leave you with these final thoughts.

"Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
"The market decides."

Young or old, your life's experiences have forged you. You are exactly who you need to be to face this next moment.

I was skeptical about reading 5 million words but ended up enjoying the post, thanks.

''The market decides'' that is a great line.

I think MJ is extremely genuine, and maybe doesn't even care that much if the books sell or not.. he does have a youtube video on the push/pull strategy mentioning make them come to you rather than pushing out your stuff which is a great marketing strategy. Having productacracy based marketing is the best way to build a business, don't chase the cat as MJ says.. hold a can of tuna out and wait.

And if MJ reads this, looking forward to book #3 !
 
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BizyDad

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I was skeptical about reading 5 million words but ended up enjoying the post, thanks.
I snorted my morning coffee! Hilarious! Glad you liked it. I guess writing a lot of words is "on brand" for my intro post.
Thanks for sharing, and for the inspiration!
amazing post, will read it again
I'm glad you both enjoyed it. It's a heck of a thing to write 5 million words, push publish and hope if anyone will even read it, much less enjoy it and get something out of it. Thank you.
Thanks for the tale.
Although you paraphrased the actual convos a lot, it still feels like something MJ might say himself haha.

I saw another lesson in how MJ conducted himself there...he didn't show off NEEDINESS-even when getting his offers to the market.

Neediness gives off an air of desperation, and the buyer starts wondering if his stuff is really solid or not.

To give an analogy, it's like dating.
If I had a girl messaging (or selling to) me every minute, I would be wondering, 'Doesn't she have work to do?'
And then I would be seriously worried if she even works at all, to make herself a decent individual.

Another way to chop off neediness would be obviously- to have multiple channels of sales for the business.
So you come from a position of strength- if this talk didn't bring in any buyers, then I still have my other marketing channels to help keep the lights on. Like a forum, podcasts, YouTube...
So true. He really needed nothing. I think that's another reason why I couldn't think of ways to help him. I love the dating analogy, I use it often in regards to sales. Thanks for posting, you made several great points.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Thank you so much for writing this ...

Unfortunately my memory is pretty poor, but I thank you for the knocking out some of the cob-webs.

I can actually provide some insight to your story. At the time, I knew I HATED public speaking. I knew I had to get better, whether it was on an interview, or in a group. So I sought situations to speak in front of groups. My motivation was to "get better" at my weaknesses ... which was a primary reason to solicit a speaking gig. Not to sell books, but to provide value to my audience, and to better myself as a speaker. Any book sales was secondary.

Funny reading this story today, and you trying to figure out my motives. I had forgotten that I was the solicitor, ha ha.


, I'd respectfully probe MJ looking for his goals. His plans. I really wanted to make them better. I certainly could do that much. He had to just be hiding it. He must be playing it really close to the vest. And in response to my questions he'd give these really insightful answers that showed that he really understood life and business and money, BUT I COULDN'T GET HIM TO SPEAK ABOUT ANYTHING I THOUGHT RESEMBLED A PLAN.

To this day, much of my philosophy is the same.

The market is a great guide -- which is why business plans are pretty futile.
Be value driven, the money comes later.

I do have plans (1/5/10 plan) but they are more "outcome" based, rather then execution oriented.

Business is like setting sail in a hurricane -- as soon as the storm hits and the waves pound your boat, your float plan becomes pretty worthless.

And if MJ reads this, looking forward to book #3 !

Thanks!
 

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What a great post! It’s one of those posts that I’m going to have to re-read.

It was great meeting you at this year’s summit. I hope to see you at the next!
 

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Nice story, thank you for the value, it makes entrepreneurship less "scary" suddenly.

Like MJ said, alot of people focus on the push. Seriously even stumping @BizyDad

How many people granted the opportunity to sell a book (or product/service) would just push out with sales tactics during the speech? I'd say 99% of people would be saying how great the book is, why they should buy it and so on.

And MJ? Nope, take it for free!
 

mon_fi

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Like MJ said, alot of people focus on the push. Seriously even stumping @BizyDad

How many people granted the opportunity to sell a book (or product/service) would just push out with sales tactics during the speech? I'd say 99% of people would be saying how great the book is, why they should buy it and so on.

And MJ? Nope, take it for free!


Yes, but...two things:
1. I don't think MJ wrote the book to "make money", so the pressure to sell was not there.
2. I think he knew his product was high value and would sell "by itself" anyway, which decreased even more the need to push for sales.

When you don't know whether what you are selling is "needed" or not, using marketing at the beginning may not be a bad idea to give yourself a bit of boost.

Am I right? I don't know tbh
 

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Ing

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A long text... but I got through like in a moment.
Thanks for the story. Interesting.
 

Bekit

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Amazing post! What a story.

Now I wanna hear about your pet supplies biz.

Thank you for sharing. Great stuff. You deserve the good post!!
 

BizyDad

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So I began yesterday with a 6 am zoom meeting where I was the presenter. On a topic I've never presented before. To twelve men, ten of which I didn't think would enjoy what I had to say. I was nervous.

I nailed it. The feedback was instant and overwhelming positive. It was humbling really. That started my day off right.

Then, the day after my forum-versary, my intro post gets marked gold?! What? My first gold, just a few days after I got my first notable.

Thank you.

I can actually provide some insight to your story. At the time, I knew I HATED public speaking. I knew I had to get better, whether it was on an interview, or in a group. So I sought situations to speak in front of groups. My motivation was to "get better" at my weaknesses ... which was a primary reason to solicit a speaking gig. Not to sell books, but to provide value to my audience, and to better myself as a speaker. Any book sales was secondary.

Funny reading this story today, and you trying to figure out my motives. I had forgotten that I was the solicitor, ha ha.

I never even considered that. Hahaha. Seriously, you were one of my favorites, so the thought never crossed my mind. You made me want to build a business, sell it, get it back and sell it again.

Heck I still want to do that!

The other funny thing is the roles are kind of reversed now. Part of the reason I post and write so much in my posts on this forum is because I've never allowed my writing to be consumed by the public before. But I want to write a book someday. So this forum is one of the ways I practice the habit of writing to improve.

I do have plans (1/5/10 plan) but they are more "outcome" based, rather then execution oriented.

I know, I heard you at the Summit! (Chiiiiickeeeen)

I was laughing to myself about the planning part too. A tiny part of me was like, oh no, where is the Zen business sensei?!?! But of course your way of planning makes a whole lot of sense. It's not all rigid and linear.

And the whole time my internal voice was rooting for you to break out, "If you fail to plan, YOU PLAN TO FAIL!"

Nice story, thank you for the value, it makes entrepreneurship less "scary" suddenly.

This is one of the best compliments I've gotten about my writing. Thank you. I'm glad it helped you.

What a great post! It’s one of those posts that I’m going to have to re-read.

It was great meeting you at this year’s summit. I hope to see you at the next!

Thanks bro, the feeling's mutual.

Yes, but...two things:
1. I don't think MJ wrote the book to "make money", so the pressure to sell was not there.
2. I think he knew his product was high value and would sell "by itself" anyway, which decreased even more the need to push for sales.

When you don't know whether what you are selling is "needed" or not, using marketing at the beginning may not be a bad idea to give yourself a bit of boost.

Am I right? I don't know tbh

I think you have some good points.

But the book was published in 2011, and I met MJ in Feb/March. He had just launched it. He can correct me if I'm wrong on any of the details. The guy I met was deservedly proud of what he had produced. I think by the time I met him he had gotten some positive feedback on his book, but I don't think he knew it was going to be such a hit. He definitely didn't think it was going to sell itself, or he wouldn't have been practicing his public speaking. He was confident, but he was far from certain. Some part of MJ still considered the real possibility that he might end up with boxes of books in his garage.

So I wouldn't say the pressure to sell wasn't there. But it's not like he had to sell to put food on the table either.

Amazing post! What a story.

Now I wanna hear about your pet supplies biz.

Thank you for sharing. Great stuff. You deserve the good post!!

Thank you.

The pet biz story is nowhere near as exciting. I feel like any lessons that I have to share from that experience have already been told in many threads on this forum over the years. It never became a success.

It was my ex's idea. I had quit my job to help her launch it. After three years she burnt out on entrepreneurship. She learned a lot about herself, and one of the things she learned was she actually enjoys being on teams and not having to wear all the hats. When she was pregnant with our first, she got called by a recruiter who offered her twice what she'd been making in the business to come work for Giant Pet Corp. One thing led to another, she ultimately found her calling and is much happier now.

Meanwhile, I thought I had married an entrepreneur and found myself divorcing a bureaucrat. She was going just going to shut down the business when she got the offer, but I wouldn't let her. I kept that as a side hustle for four more years.

It was a drop shipping setup. Orders come in, money goes into the bank, I send an email, supplier charges a credit card. I'd make five to 20 bucks a sale just for sending an email. There was a local warehouse that's supplied a couple products for us, so I occasionally had to go box up some products and take it to the post office. It was paying all our bills and then some, I couldn't let her just shut it down.

I used the site as a test bed for my SEO strategies. So in my agency I was able to tell people I wouldn't do anything to their site that I hadn't already done to mine. We derived traffic off the blogs she wrote, and her guest posting was a large part of our SEO strategy. Well, writing about dogs isn't my thing.

There was never enough money to hire the staff I would need to replace all her skills. And if I devoted too much of my time to it, it took me away from my agency, which I felt had more resiliency and profit potential, especially in the short term. If I'd ever come up with my own dog product, this would have been a different story. I tried selling it a couple times, but I got offers which were six months profit. I know if I kept it I just make more money than that. But since it wasn't my thing, it slowly withered.

It was great side hustle income. But after 4 years, I just got tired of handling those few returns a month. I got to the point where I was just like I could just sign one more client and make more money than this thing is spinning off. So I shut it down.

By any objective measure, the business did not succeed. But it propelled both of us to where we ultimately ended up, and we both ultimately ended up somewhere where we're really happy.

So in that sense, how could I possibly call it a failure? It's an essential part of my story, and I'll always look back on that time fondly.
 

mon_fi

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So I began yesterday with a 6 am zoom meeting where I was the presenter. On a topic I've never presented before. To twelve men, ten of which I didn't think would enjoy what I had to say. I was nervous.

I nailed it. The feedback was instant and overwhelming positive. It was humbling really. That started my day off right.

Then, the day after my forum-versary, my intro post gets marked gold?! What? My first gold, just a few days after I got my first notable.

Thank you.



I never even considered that. Hahaha. Seriously, you were one of my favorites, so the thought never crossed my mind. You made me want to build a business, sell it, get it back and sell it again.

Heck I still want to do that!

The other funny thing is the roles are kind of reversed now. Part of the reason I post and write so much in my posts on this forum is because I've never allowed my writing to be consumed by the public before. But I want to write a book someday. So this forum is one of the ways I practice the habit of writing to improve.



I know, I heard you at the Summit! (Chiiiiickeeeen)

I was laughing to myself about the planning part too. A tiny part of me was like, oh no, where is the Zen business sensei?!?! But of course your way of planning makes a whole lot of sense. It's not all rigid and linear.

And the whole time my internal voice was rooting for you to break out, "If you fail to plan, YOU PLAN TO FAIL!"



This is one of the best compliments I've gotten about my writing. Thank you. I'm glad it helped you.



Thanks bro, the feeling's mutual.



I think you have some good points.

But the book was published in 2011, and I met MJ in Feb/March. He had just launched it. He can correct me if I'm wrong on any of the details. The guy I met was deservedly proud of what he had produced. I think by the time I met him he had gotten some positive feedback on his book, but I don't think he knew it was going to be such a hit. He definitely didn't think it was going to sell itself, or he wouldn't have been practicing his public speaking. He was confident, but he was far from certain. Some part of MJ still considered the real possibility that he might end up with boxes of books in his garage.

So I wouldn't say the pressure to sell wasn't there. But it's not like he had to sell to put food on the table either.



Thank you.

The pet biz story is nowhere near as exciting. I feel like any lessons that I have to share from that experience have already been told in many threads on this forum over the years. It never became a success.

It was my ex's idea. I had quit my job to help her launch it. After three years she burnt out on entrepreneurship. She learned a lot about herself, and one of the things she learned was she actually enjoys being on teams and not having to wear all the hats. When she was pregnant with our first, she got called by a recruiter who offered her twice what she'd been making in the business to come work for Giant Pet Corp. One thing led to another, she ultimately found her calling and is much happier now.

Meanwhile, I thought I had married an entrepreneur and found myself divorcing a bureaucrat. She was going just going to shut down the business when she got the offer, but I wouldn't let her. I kept that as a side hustle for four more years.

It was a drop shipping setup. Orders come in, money goes into the bank, I send an email, supplier charges a credit card. I'd make five to 20 bucks a sale just for sending an email. There was a local warehouse that's supplied a couple products for us, so I occasionally had to go box up some products and take it to the post office. It was paying all our bills and then some, I couldn't let her just shut it down.

I used the site as a test bed for my SEO strategies. So in my agency I was able to tell people I wouldn't do anything to their site that I hadn't already done to mine. We derived traffic off the blogs she wrote, and her guest posting was a large part of our SEO strategy. Well, writing about dogs isn't my thing.

There was never enough money to hire the staff I would need to replace all her skills. And if I devoted too much of my time to it, it took me away from my agency, which I felt had more resiliency and profit potential, especially in the short term. If I'd ever come up with my own dog product, this would have been a different story. I tried selling it a couple times, but I got offers which were six months profit. I know if I kept it I just make more money than that. But since it wasn't my thing, it slowly withered.

It was great side hustle income. But after 4 years, I just got tired of handling those few returns a month. I got to the point where I was just like I could just sign one more client and make more money than this thing is spinning off. So I shut it down.

By any objective measure, the business did not succeed. But it propelled both of us to where we ultimately ended up, and we both ultimately ended up somewhere where we're really happy.

So in that sense, how could I possibly call it a failure? It's an essential part of my story, and I'll always look back on that time fondly.
So much value nuggets in your post, it is incredible all that you have done and the lessons you have drawn.

There is so much books and stories about successes, and we rarely speak (i may be mistaken) about failures, but I think failures are much important on the road to success.

I'd love to host once a business failure festival, where entrepreneurs that failed would come, explain what they wanted to do, what went wrong and why they failed. The team that would draw the biggest lesson would win a prize for their next venture.
 

BizyDad

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This is a great idea @mon_fi .

I'd love to host once a business failure festival, where entrepreneurs that failed would come, explain what they wanted to do, what went wrong and why they failed. The team that would draw the biggest lesson would win a prize for their next venture.

Tell you what. Why don't we do a test run right here on the forum?

You start a thread called "VIRTUAL BUSINESS FAILURE FESTIVAL". Explain the rules, and set a time limit. Get people on the forum to share the lessons they've learned from failure.

Then you pick the winner. And I'll pay for a year of insiders for that person. I've been looking for a reason to do this, and this is cooler than anything I've come up with.

If for some reason you pick someone who has like a lifetime subscription to insiders or something, then the winner can choose to gift the year to someone else deserving.

Could be fun. What do you think?
 

Sethamus

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Nice story, thank you for the value, it makes entrepreneurship less "scary" suddenly.
@BizyDad I agree. This short story was what I needed to read this weak. The past 3 months have been little to zero action entrepreneurship wise. I seem to be able to take the small leaps except the the one big one that I need. My industry is down this year which means I either start over, wait for it to pick pack up, or ACTUALLY start my business. I have been using the excuse that I do not have the time (raising my 10th month old since I have been laid off - which I love!) But it was the fear of not fully having the plan laid out keeping me from starting.

100% Gold
 

BizyDad

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@BizyDad I agree. This short story was what I needed to read this weak. The past 3 months have been little to zero action entrepreneurship wise. I seem to be able to take the small leaps except the the one big one that I need. My industry is down this year which means I either start over, wait for it to pick pack up, or ACTUALLY start my business. I have been using the excuse that I do not have the time (raising my 10th month old since I have been laid off - which I love!) But it was the fear of not fully having the plan laid out keeping me from starting.

100% Gold
Thanks man. That's awesome feedback.

And you know I can relate to the joys of being a dad. I never imagined I'd end up working from home and having this much time with my kids. It was never a goal of mine, and its been incredible.

I think starting a business in a down time is a great time to start. I think it makes you hungry and resilient and creative in a way that maybe you aren't if you start when everything is going great. If nothing else, when the next downturn happens you'll have more confidence that you'll make it through.
 

Thinh

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If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans"
Thank you, made me laugh. It's a good one.
After reading Nassim Taleb's books, couldn't agree more.

There should be an asterisk with the saying "Failing to plan is planning to fail."
Planning is about known variables and environment. So yeah, you can plan meals of the week, or a workout routine. But when it's about entrepreneurship, market and economics, any form of planning is mere wishful thinking.
 

BizyDad

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Planning is about known variables and environment. So yeah, you can plan meals of the week, or a workout routine. But when it's about entrepreneurship, market and economics, any form of planning is mere wishful thinking.

Respectfully, I disagree. If you don't have a plan, don't use that as an excuse to not chase your dreams. But there are many types of planning that are useful endeavors. Just off the top of my head, Biophase's posts are often full of examples of smart planning.

I write a little about this dicotomy in my post about interviewing business owners.

There were 2 kinds of entrepreneurs that got to "success". The knowledgeable and the determined.

The knowledgeable is fairly self explanitory. They understand the industry, the competitive landscape, and they saw a way to either actually do something better or at least market themselves better.

The determined is the classic story of the person who figures, "there has to be a way" to accomplish x. They often don't even think of starting a new business. The have an idea and talk to people and those people suggest this is a good business idea. Many of these people often grow bigger than the first type, but they also often consider themselves blessed, fortunate, or lucky. They have an idea, they start bringing it to fruition, and then one day they meet someone or several someone(s) who really help take things to the next level, etc etc.

So depending on what you mean by success, the first group is much more likely to build a profitable enterprise, and the second is more likely to build it bigger.

The knowledgeable business owner often sets out with a goal in mind, plans for contingencies, etc. I'd say most people who start their business start because they have some experience in the field, or at least a related field. For these people, planning is a little easier. Planning is no guarantee of success, but planning is a helpful way to mitigate risks.

My hope is that people walk away from this post realizing they can be the determined kind of entrepreneur. This forum is constantly preaching some variation of the mantra: "Find a problem that people will pay you to solve", and that's a great place for any business owner to start.
 

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KenCorigliano

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Two years ago today, my life unraveled. My ex-wife asked for a divorce. And she meant it. I spent the next 9 months in various stages of disaster, grief, self-anger and hopefulness. Yes, hopefulness. If there is a word for the emotion or feeling like God or fate is present in your presence presently, I was in and out of that stage too. It's a mind shift going from being a "we" to being a "me" again, especially when all I wanted my whole life was wrapped up in the concept of being a "we" in the first place. I'll never forget that first Saturday after the divorce went final. I woke up to an empty house. First time in years. No wife, no kids. I got out of bed, stretched, and asked myself, "Self, what am I going to do today?" And my self responded, "Let's check with (insert ex-wife's name here)." My brain froze as the slowest 2 second realization washed over me. I don't have to check with her anymore. I don't have to check with ANYBODY anymore. I can do anything I want to. Anything. And. So. I. Did.

One year ago today was not a great day. I knew it going in. I didn't want to get out of bed, but I did. I didn't go to work though. I sat and stared. I reflected, I thought and I stared some more. I did not drink. Drinking would make it easier. There was a time, a glorious time years earlier, when my relationship was new, and everything seemed possible. And I missed those times. What made those times so special was I was surrounded by people like me. People who had goals, vision, dreams beyond just "what am I going to do today?" I felt connected and plugged in. And I wanted that again. So I opened my browser and I Google millionaire fastlane forum. That was the day Summit tickets went on sale. I joined Insiders immediately. Something wasn't working, so I texted this guy @MJ DeMarco who I'd met years earlier, to ask it everything was cool and if he could look into it, maybe, if he's not too busy. I didn't think he'd text back so quickly. Bada bing, bada boom, I got my tickets. Something about being plugged in with other entreprenuers just felt right. I decided to start reading, maybe I'd meet some cool people. My first read was by the "Apple guy" who flipped MacBooks for profit, which gave me an idea. I knew a way I could get assorted electronics cheap, so I did, and I did what he said. I flipped a few laptops and a phone and made my money for the tickets and membership back in a couple weekends. I didn't come back to the site for a couple weeks.

Thanks Apple Guy, wherever you are. You kicked off a crazy cool year. But you were right about the problem of scaling and meeting people in parking lots.

However, you're reading this for the MJ story. Ok, back on track. Let's go back 10 years or so. It was a simpler time. There was calamity, yes, but there was opportunity and Phoenix was rife with it. I had left my job as an investment banker to start an online pet products business. I quickly found myself working for the guy who built our website, just slinging websites by day, learning SEO by night. Turns out I couldn't sell any websites by day, and I couldn't rank any big dog bowls at night. But I wasn't going to give up. I decided to start a little club for people to learn internet marketing. I used meetup.com to bring them together. See, I had been in financial services up to that point in my life, I really didn't understand tech. But I figured if I can get a room of people who wanted to learn, that would give me an excuse to call some experts and see if they'd like to come speak to a room of interested people.

And it worked.

Now I was onto something. People would take my calls. People would call me back. Leaving messages like, "I run a club of entrepreneurs and someone requested you to come speak to our group. I'm calling to see if you'd be interested. Please call me back at..." tend to get returned. And when speakers would speak, I'd take them out for a drink afterwards as a thank you, and we'd chat. I'd often get a few tips on how to better market my website. Win win.

Knowing how to network helped too. At networking events, I wasn't there to sell websites anymore. I was the guy running the Phoenix Internet Marketing Club. People wanted to talk to me. And they wanted to come to my events.

Soon, people just assumed I knew a bunch of good internet marketers, so I must be a good internet marketer. Doors began to open that normally wouldn't have opened. I met the future founders of some awesome companies, many of whom are still friends. And I met some bigger names in marketing too. I got to meet guys like Dan Kennedy, Joe Polish, Pat Flynn. Sharon Lechter came to speak to my club once.

Then one day I got the email. Now before I finish this story, I have to say the following: MJ DeMarco is the single most difficult entrepreneur I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with. I mean that in the best way possible. Let me explain.

When I was running these clubs I never got solicited by a speaker. So I get this email out of the blue. He's an author having just published his first book. This being a first, I'm curious. But skeptical. What's he want? I hop on a call with the guy. He wanted to come speak my little internet marketing club. I was taken aback and suspicious. No one had volunteered out of the blue before. Keep in mind, this is my memory from 10 years ago. Our first conversation went something like this. I get on the phone. We exchange pleasantries. In the back of my mind, I'm wondering what's this guy's angle. But he's talking, and I'm not really listening. He said something about wanting to speak. An author? Crap, it's my turn to talk.

I blurt out. “I can’t pay you. It’s a free club."

“No Problem. I don’t need money”

Knucklehead that I am, I don't have a response. No money, that’s good. Now what do I want to ask this guy? Why didn’t I prepare for this call? I should prepare for these calls from now on.

"Let's sayyou do come speak, um... Would you talk about your book? What's your book about?"

"Entrepreneurship. It’s called The Millionaire Fastlane..." I start tuning out, Charlie Brown teacher voice starts setting, and I'm bracing for the get rich quick pitch.

To his credit, he didn’t pitch. He just talked some more. But he wasn’t salesey at all. AT ALL. How is this guy going to sell books? Maybe he's being crafty. Guard is still up.

“Well, that doesn’t sound like our topic. We’re an internet marketing club. Could you speak to something like that?”.

“Oh yeah, sure. I sold my XYZ online business for XYZ dollars. Twice, actually. I sold it, bought it back, and sold it again. I could talk about my journey with that business.”

“That sounds amazing! Can you tell me a little more?”

More interesting details provided.

“I’d love to have you speak to the club.”

“All I ask is that I can give a little plug for my book at the end. Would that be ok?"

“That’s more than fair.”

“I can even bring a few copies to hand out.” (Doesn’t this dude want to sell his book?)

“Sure man, that’s great.”

I ran that club for a few years. MJ gave a top 3 presentation. And I got me my first edition copy of TMF. I read it that same week.

But the story doesn't end there. He actually showed up to my club a few times after. On his second visit, I excused myself just so I could go to the parking lot and see if there was a Lambo parked there. There was. In my first two or 3 interactions with MJ I just kept looking for "the catch". I suppose I expected him to, on some level, be really full of himself. Or just out for himself. Or want the attention on himself. Or, pardon my language, but I suppose I expected more douchiness or dickishness.

And there was none of that. Not a whiff. From what I could tell, this guy is about as good and down to earth guy as you could meet. Who happened to drive a Lambo. And he seemed to really want to help others.

See at my club, after the speaker would speak, we'd have these roundtable discussions. Q&A time, for 30-40 minutes. Little brainstorming opportunities. And MJ would contribute. And over time, my suspcision faded. I made a decision. I really wanted to help this guy out.

AND THAT'S WHERE THE FRUSTRATION SET IN.

See, I've always believed in the following principle for business. "Begin with the end in mind."

I've always been a planner. But my plans aren't rigid, one way things. My plans got backup plans, and my back up plans got back up plans. I've just always been wired this way. I remember when I learned Seneca's principle of premeditatio malorum, and I was like, "YES! This guy gets it!". This has always my blessing and my curse.

And I decided to use every bit of this humble superpower to MJ DeMarco's benefit.

But I couldn't.

Because he didn't have a goal. He didn't have a plan!

Remember, the guy didn't even try to sell his book in my club. And I didn't really know anyone in publishing or author promotion, so I didn't have any "easy answer".

But I've been in the same room with MJ maybe 4 times, and you know I know the power of a question. So in those times, whenever I could, I'd respectfully probe MJ looking for his goals. His plans. I really wanted to make them better. I certainly could do that much. He had to just be hiding it. He must be playing it really close to the vest. And in response to my questions he'd give these really insightful answers that showed that he really understood life and business and money, BUT I COULDN'T GET HIM TO SPEAK ABOUT ANYTHING I THOUGHT RESEMBLED A PLAN.

So. Frustrating.

I even took him to coffee once, and I thought we might find ways to work together. He seemed open to the possibility. But with no plan, there was nothing I could latch onto to propel me forward.

The last time he showed up to my club, I remember this moment. Someone else was talking, and I leaned forward in my chair. I was so ready to point out the obvious glaring flaw in his "strategy". At the right moment, I was just going to say, "Bro, don't you know if you fail to plan, YOU'RE PLANNING TO FAIL?!?!"

But I was hit by a thought. Who am I to argue with the guy who has a paid off Lambo in my parking lot?

In a rare moment of humility, I leaning back in my chair.

The room must have picked up my vibe, because a few minutes later, someone else asked MJ some question like, "But what if you fail?" And he proceeded to give one of the clearest expressions of a philosophy of business I'd ever heard. It went something like this:

"If I fail, that just means the market didn't like what I had to offer. And if that happens, then I'll just go do something else. I've failed before. Failing isn't a big deal. But right now I'm having fun. I'm trying to get the word out about my book. I'm enjoying getting up every day. I'm planting seeds all over the place. I came and spoke here a few weeks ago and some of those people might read my book. And then someone might like it and tell their friend. And they might go buy my book. And they'll tell their friend. That's the market. Or maybe I'll list my book on Amazon, and maybe it will sell or maybe it won't. Right now, I'm just trying to get the word out. And if the market likes what I have to say, then I'll keep doing it. That's business, right? The market decides."

The market decides.

I didn't do his speech justice. I remember it being more coherent, more cogent. And that's when I realized why I couldn't help this guy. He was satisfied. He was self sufficient. He was just on a different level. And he was right.

The market decides. I could commit many more sentences to unpacking those three words, but MJ already wrote his books, so go read them. :rofl:

Most every business person I'd met to that point had a conqueror mentality. Marshall the troops and let's get us some market share! Something about MJ's speech felt more Zen. More like an explorer. But the kind of explorer you just knew would get where he was going.

The market decides.

I've thought about that moment so much in the decade since. Here was an entrepreneur who didn't write out some grand business plan. His approach just seemed more akin to the old proverb, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." He knew he was smart enough to get the ball rolling, and to figure things out as he went.

Ten years ago I had my worst financial year ever. Exciting as those days were, starting that business and changing careers, I didn't even make $20k. But when times got tough, I drew strength from the thought that I was planting seeds, and the market was responding. Somehow, my boss and I pulled that little company through an epic economic collapse. And we have continued to grow it ever year since, even in the midst of the latest economic collapse, we continue to harvest seeds. Now I'm a partner in the business, and last year I started running the company.

I've lived a blessed life. When I turned 37 years old I accomplished the third of my 3 childhood dreams (Became a dad). But I did it with plans upon plans. Without a plan, I used to feel unmoored.

So two years ago today, when the ultimate result of all my planning felt like it was failing about as spectacularly as possible, I flailed around for a bit. My plans didn't mean squat. The "wife market" had spoken. What's that saying? "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans". Yeah. that's the one.

But I drew strength from the people I'd met in my life, like MJ. People who didn't need external motivation. That's why, even in my most darkest days, (that's like darker than the darkest) I somehow held onto hope. I knew things would get better. I didn't know when, but I had faith they would. Even without my plans within plans, I knew things would work out as they are meant to.

I want to thank all the people on the forum who've had an impact on my life. Most of you know who you are. I've enjoyed our exchanges immensely. And to the few I've bumped heads with, I'd like to thank you too. Because you've all helped me to become a better person. And I couldn't be happier to be amongst a group of striving entrepreneurs again. I'll leave you with these final thoughts.

"Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
"The market decides."

Young or old, your life's experiences have forged you. You are exactly who you need to be to face this next moment.
It was refreshing to hear your story. I honor you for putting yourself out there and on this forum. Your confidence, hard work, decisiveness, humility, and introspection is a circular path we all seem to continuously take.

ken
 

KenCorigliano

TCMethod
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I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jan 29, 2020
50
44
110
Washington DC area
Two years ago today, my life unraveled. My ex-wife asked for a divorce. And she meant it. I spent the next 9 months in various stages of disaster, grief, self-anger and hopefulness. Yes, hopefulness. If there is a word for the emotion or feeling like God or fate is present in your presence presently, I was in and out of that stage too. It's a mind shift going from being a "we" to being a "me" again, especially when all I wanted my whole life was wrapped up in the concept of being a "we" in the first place. I'll never forget that first Saturday after the divorce went final. I woke up to an empty house. First time in years. No wife, no kids. I got out of bed, stretched, and asked myself, "Self, what am I going to do today?" And my self responded, "Let's check with (insert ex-wife's name here)." My brain froze as the slowest 2 second realization washed over me. I don't have to check with her anymore. I don't have to check with ANYBODY anymore. I can do anything I want to. Anything. And. So. I. Did.

One year ago today was not a great day. I knew it going in. I didn't want to get out of bed, but I did. I didn't go to work though. I sat and stared. I reflected, I thought and I stared some more. I did not drink. Drinking would make it easier. There was a time, a glorious time years earlier, when my relationship was new, and everything seemed possible. And I missed those times. What made those times so special was I was surrounded by people like me. People who had goals, vision, dreams beyond just "what am I going to do today?" I felt connected and plugged in. And I wanted that again. So I opened my browser and I Google millionaire fastlane forum. That was the day Summit tickets went on sale. I joined Insiders immediately. Something wasn't working, so I texted this guy @MJ DeMarco who I'd met years earlier, to ask it everything was cool and if he could look into it, maybe, if he's not too busy. I didn't think he'd text back so quickly. Bada bing, bada boom, I got my tickets. Something about being plugged in with other entreprenuers just felt right. I decided to start reading, maybe I'd meet some cool people. My first read was by the "Apple guy" who flipped MacBooks for profit, which gave me an idea. I knew a way I could get assorted electronics cheap, so I did, and I did what he said. I flipped a few laptops and a phone and made my money for the tickets and membership back in a couple weekends. I didn't come back to the site for a couple weeks.

Thanks Apple Guy, wherever you are. You kicked off a crazy cool year. But you were right about the problem of scaling and meeting people in parking lots.

However, you're reading this for the MJ story. Ok, back on track. Let's go back 10 years or so. It was a simpler time. There was calamity, yes, but there was opportunity and Phoenix was rife with it. I had left my job as an investment banker to start an online pet products business. I quickly found myself working for the guy who built our website, just slinging websites by day, learning SEO by night. Turns out I couldn't sell any websites by day, and I couldn't rank any big dog bowls at night. But I wasn't going to give up. I decided to start a little club for people to learn internet marketing. I used meetup.com to bring them together. See, I had been in financial services up to that point in my life, I really didn't understand tech. But I figured if I can get a room of people who wanted to learn, that would give me an excuse to call some experts and see if they'd like to come speak to a room of interested people.

And it worked.

Now I was onto something. People would take my calls. People would call me back. Leaving messages like, "I run a club of entrepreneurs and someone requested you to come speak to our group. I'm calling to see if you'd be interested. Please call me back at..." tend to get returned. And when speakers would speak, I'd take them out for a drink afterwards as a thank you, and we'd chat. I'd often get a few tips on how to better market my website. Win win.

Knowing how to network helped too. At networking events, I wasn't there to sell websites anymore. I was the guy running the Phoenix Internet Marketing Club. People wanted to talk to me. And they wanted to come to my events.

Soon, people just assumed I knew a bunch of good internet marketers, so I must be a good internet marketer. Doors began to open that normally wouldn't have opened. I met the future founders of some awesome companies, many of whom are still friends. And I met some bigger names in marketing too. I got to meet guys like Dan Kennedy, Joe Polish, Pat Flynn. Sharon Lechter came to speak to my club once.

Then one day I got the email. Now before I finish this story, I have to say the following: MJ DeMarco is the single most difficult entrepreneur I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with. I mean that in the best way possible. Let me explain.

When I was running these clubs I never got solicited by a speaker. So I get this email out of the blue. He's an author having just published his first book. This being a first, I'm curious. But skeptical. What's he want? I hop on a call with the guy. He wanted to come speak my little internet marketing club. I was taken aback and suspicious. No one had volunteered out of the blue before. Keep in mind, this is my memory from 10 years ago. Our first conversation went something like this. I get on the phone. We exchange pleasantries. In the back of my mind, I'm wondering what's this guy's angle. But he's talking, and I'm not really listening. He said something about wanting to speak. An author? Crap, it's my turn to talk.

I blurt out. “I can’t pay you. It’s a free club."

“No Problem. I don’t need money”

Knucklehead that I am, I don't have a response. No money, that’s good. Now what do I want to ask this guy? Why didn’t I prepare for this call? I should prepare for these calls from now on.

"Let's sayyou do come speak, um... Would you talk about your book? What's your book about?"

"Entrepreneurship. It’s called The Millionaire Fastlane..." I start tuning out, Charlie Brown teacher voice starts setting, and I'm bracing for the get rich quick pitch.

To his credit, he didn’t pitch. He just talked some more. But he wasn’t salesey at all. AT ALL. How is this guy going to sell books? Maybe he's being crafty. Guard is still up.

“Well, that doesn’t sound like our topic. We’re an internet marketing club. Could you speak to something like that?”.

“Oh yeah, sure. I sold my XYZ online business for XYZ dollars. Twice, actually. I sold it, bought it back, and sold it again. I could talk about my journey with that business.”

“That sounds amazing! Can you tell me a little more?”

More interesting details provided.

“I’d love to have you speak to the club.”

“All I ask is that I can give a little plug for my book at the end. Would that be ok?"

“That’s more than fair.”

“I can even bring a few copies to hand out.” (Doesn’t this dude want to sell his book?)

“Sure man, that’s great.”

I ran that club for a few years. MJ gave a top 3 presentation. And I got me my first edition copy of TMF. I read it that same week.

But the story doesn't end there. He actually showed up to my club a few times after. On his second visit, I excused myself just so I could go to the parking lot and see if there was a Lambo parked there. There was. In my first two or 3 interactions with MJ I just kept looking for "the catch". I suppose I expected him to, on some level, be really full of himself. Or just out for himself. Or want the attention on himself. Or, pardon my language, but I suppose I expected more douchiness or dickishness.

And there was none of that. Not a whiff. From what I could tell, this guy is about as good and down to earth guy as you could meet. Who happened to drive a Lambo. And he seemed to really want to help others.

See at my club, after the speaker would speak, we'd have these roundtable discussions. Q&A time, for 30-40 minutes. Little brainstorming opportunities. And MJ would contribute. And over time, my suspcision faded. I made a decision. I really wanted to help this guy out.

AND THAT'S WHERE THE FRUSTRATION SET IN.

See, I've always believed in the following principle for business. "Begin with the end in mind."

I've always been a planner. But my plans aren't rigid, one way things. My plans got backup plans, and my back up plans got back up plans. I've just always been wired this way. I remember when I learned Seneca's principle of premeditatio malorum, and I was like, "YES! This guy gets it!". This has always my blessing and my curse.

And I decided to use every bit of this humble superpower to MJ DeMarco's benefit.

But I couldn't.

Because he didn't have a goal. He didn't have a plan!

Remember, the guy didn't even try to sell his book in my club. And I didn't really know anyone in publishing or author promotion, so I didn't have any "easy answer".

But I've been in the same room with MJ maybe 4 times, and you know I know the power of a question. So in those times, whenever I could, I'd respectfully probe MJ looking for his goals. His plans. I really wanted to make them better. I certainly could do that much. He had to just be hiding it. He must be playing it really close to the vest. And in response to my questions he'd give these really insightful answers that showed that he really understood life and business and money, BUT I COULDN'T GET HIM TO SPEAK ABOUT ANYTHING I THOUGHT RESEMBLED A PLAN.

So. Frustrating.

I even took him to coffee once, and I thought we might find ways to work together. He seemed open to the possibility. But with no plan, there was nothing I could latch onto to propel me forward.

The last time he showed up to my club, I remember this moment. Someone else was talking, and I leaned forward in my chair. I was so ready to point out the obvious glaring flaw in his "strategy". At the right moment, I was just going to say, "Bro, don't you know if you fail to plan, YOU'RE PLANNING TO FAIL?!?!"

But I was hit by a thought. Who am I to argue with the guy who has a paid off Lambo in my parking lot?

In a rare moment of humility, I leaning back in my chair.

The room must have picked up my vibe, because a few minutes later, someone else asked MJ some question like, "But what if you fail?" And he proceeded to give one of the clearest expressions of a philosophy of business I'd ever heard. It went something like this:

"If I fail, that just means the market didn't like what I had to offer. And if that happens, then I'll just go do something else. I've failed before. Failing isn't a big deal. But right now I'm having fun. I'm trying to get the word out about my book. I'm enjoying getting up every day. I'm planting seeds all over the place. I came and spoke here a few weeks ago and some of those people might read my book. And then someone might like it and tell their friend. And they might go buy my book. And they'll tell their friend. That's the market. Or maybe I'll list my book on Amazon, and maybe it will sell or maybe it won't. Right now, I'm just trying to get the word out. And if the market likes what I have to say, then I'll keep doing it. That's business, right? The market decides."

The market decides.

I didn't do his speech justice. I remember it being more coherent, more cogent. And that's when I realized why I couldn't help this guy. He was satisfied. He was self sufficient. He was just on a different level. And he was right.

The market decides. I could commit many more sentences to unpacking those three words, but MJ already wrote his books, so go read them. :rofl:

Most every business person I'd met to that point had a conqueror mentality. Marshall the troops and let's get us some market share! Something about MJ's speech felt more Zen. More like an explorer. But the kind of explorer you just knew would get where he was going.

The market decides.

I've thought about that moment so much in the decade since. Here was an entrepreneur who didn't write out some grand business plan. His approach just seemed more akin to the old proverb, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." He knew he was smart enough to get the ball rolling, and to figure things out as he went.

Ten years ago I had my worst financial year ever. Exciting as those days were, starting that business and changing careers, I didn't even make $20k. But when times got tough, I drew strength from the thought that I was planting seeds, and the market was responding. Somehow, my boss and I pulled that little company through an epic economic collapse. And we have continued to grow it ever year since, even in the midst of the latest economic collapse, we continue to harvest seeds. Now I'm a partner in the business, and last year I started running the company.

I've lived a blessed life. When I turned 37 years old I accomplished the third of my 3 childhood dreams (Became a dad). But I did it with plans upon plans. Without a plan, I used to feel unmoored.

So two years ago today, when the ultimate result of all my planning felt like it was failing about as spectacularly as possible, I flailed around for a bit. My plans didn't mean squat. The "wife market" had spoken. What's that saying? "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans". Yeah. that's the one.

But I drew strength from the people I'd met in my life, like MJ. People who didn't need external motivation. That's why, even in my most darkest days, (that's like darker than the darkest) I somehow held onto hope. I knew things would get better. I didn't know when, but I had faith they would. Even without my plans within plans, I knew things would work out as they are meant to.

I want to thank all the people on the forum who've had an impact on my life. Most of you know who you are. I've enjoyed our exchanges immensely. And to the few I've bumped heads with, I'd like to thank you too. Because you've all helped me to become a better person. And I couldn't be happier to be amongst a group of striving entrepreneurs again. I'll leave you with these final thoughts.

"Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
"The market decides."

Young or old, your life's experiences have forged you. You are exactly who you need to be to face this next moment.
It was refreshing to hear your story. I honor you for putting yourself out there and on this forum. Your confidence, hard work, decisiveness, humility, and introspection is a circular path we all seem to continuously take.

Ken
 

lovetodance

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Sep 30, 2020
13
9
15
Amsterdam
Two years ago today, my life unraveled. My ex-wife asked for a divorce. And she meant it. I spent the next 9 months in various stages of disaster, grief, self-anger and hopefulness. Yes, hopefulness. If there is a word for the emotion or feeling like God or fate is present in your presence presently, I was in and out of that stage too. It's a mind shift going from being a "we" to being a "me" again, especially when all I wanted my whole life was wrapped up in the concept of being a "we" in the first place. I'll never forget that first Saturday after the divorce went final. I woke up to an empty house. First time in years. No wife, no kids. I got out of bed, stretched, and asked myself, "Self, what am I going to do today?" And my self responded, "Let's check with (insert ex-wife's name here)." My brain froze as the slowest 2 second realization washed over me. I don't have to check with her anymore. I don't have to check with ANYBODY anymore. I can do anything I want to. Anything. And. So. I. Did.

One year ago today was not a great day. I knew it going in. I didn't want to get out of bed, but I did. I didn't go to work though. I sat and stared. I reflected, I thought and I stared some more. I did not drink. Drinking would make it easier. There was a time, a glorious time years earlier, when my relationship was new, and everything seemed possible. And I missed those times. What made those times so special was I was surrounded by people like me. People who had goals, vision, dreams beyond just "what am I going to do today?" I felt connected and plugged in. And I wanted that again. So I opened my browser and I Google millionaire fastlane forum. That was the day Summit tickets went on sale. I joined Insiders immediately. Something wasn't working, so I texted this guy @MJ DeMarco who I'd met years earlier, to ask it everything was cool and if he could look into it, maybe, if he's not too busy. I didn't think he'd text back so quickly. Bada bing, bada boom, I got my tickets. Something about being plugged in with other entreprenuers just felt right. I decided to start reading, maybe I'd meet some cool people. My first read was by the "Apple guy" who flipped MacBooks for profit, which gave me an idea. I knew a way I could get assorted electronics cheap, so I did, and I did what he said. I flipped a few laptops and a phone and made my money for the tickets and membership back in a couple weekends. I didn't come back to the site for a couple weeks.

Thanks Apple Guy, wherever you are. You kicked off a crazy cool year. But you were right about the problem of scaling and meeting people in parking lots.

However, you're reading this for the MJ story. Ok, back on track. Let's go back 10 years or so. It was a simpler time. There was calamity, yes, but there was opportunity and Phoenix was rife with it. I had left my job as an investment banker to start an online pet products business. I quickly found myself working for the guy who built our website, just slinging websites by day, learning SEO by night. Turns out I couldn't sell any websites by day, and I couldn't rank any big dog bowls at night. But I wasn't going to give up. I decided to start a little club for people to learn internet marketing. I used meetup.com to bring them together. See, I had been in financial services up to that point in my life, I really didn't understand tech. But I figured if I can get a room of people who wanted to learn, that would give me an excuse to call some experts and see if they'd like to come speak to a room of interested people.

And it worked.

Now I was onto something. People would take my calls. People would call me back. Leaving messages like, "I run a club of entrepreneurs and someone requested you to come speak to our group. I'm calling to see if you'd be interested. Please call me back at..." tend to get returned. And when speakers would speak, I'd take them out for a drink afterwards as a thank you, and we'd chat. I'd often get a few tips on how to better market my website. Win win.

Knowing how to network helped too. At networking events, I wasn't there to sell websites anymore. I was the guy running the Phoenix Internet Marketing Club. People wanted to talk to me. And they wanted to come to my events.

Soon, people just assumed I knew a bunch of good internet marketers, so I must be a good internet marketer. Doors began to open that normally wouldn't have opened. I met the future founders of some awesome companies, many of whom are still friends. And I met some bigger names in marketing too. I got to meet guys like Dan Kennedy, Joe Polish, Pat Flynn. Sharon Lechter came to speak to my club once.

Then one day I got the email. Now before I finish this story, I have to say the following: MJ DeMarco is the single most difficult entrepreneur I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with. I mean that in the best way possible. Let me explain.

When I was running these clubs I never got solicited by a speaker. So I get this email out of the blue. He's an author having just published his first book. This being a first, I'm curious. But skeptical. What's he want? I hop on a call with the guy. He wanted to come speak my little internet marketing club. I was taken aback and suspicious. No one had volunteered out of the blue before. Keep in mind, this is my memory from 10 years ago. Our first conversation went something like this. I get on the phone. We exchange pleasantries. In the back of my mind, I'm wondering what's this guy's angle. But he's talking, and I'm not really listening. He said something about wanting to speak. An author? Crap, it's my turn to talk.

I blurt out. “I can’t pay you. It’s a free club."

“No Problem. I don’t need money”

Knucklehead that I am, I don't have a response. No money, that’s good. Now what do I want to ask this guy? Why didn’t I prepare for this call? I should prepare for these calls from now on.

"Let's sayyou do come speak, um... Would you talk about your book? What's your book about?"

"Entrepreneurship. It’s called The Millionaire Fastlane..." I start tuning out, Charlie Brown teacher voice starts setting, and I'm bracing for the get rich quick pitch.

To his credit, he didn’t pitch. He just talked some more. But he wasn’t salesey at all. AT ALL. How is this guy going to sell books? Maybe he's being crafty. Guard is still up.

“Well, that doesn’t sound like our topic. We’re an internet marketing club. Could you speak to something like that?”.

“Oh yeah, sure. I sold my XYZ online business for XYZ dollars. Twice, actually. I sold it, bought it back, and sold it again. I could talk about my journey with that business.”

“That sounds amazing! Can you tell me a little more?”

More interesting details provided.

“I’d love to have you speak to the club.”

“All I ask is that I can give a little plug for my book at the end. Would that be ok?"

“That’s more than fair.”

“I can even bring a few copies to hand out.” (Doesn’t this dude want to sell his book?)

“Sure man, that’s great.”

I ran that club for a few years. MJ gave a top 3 presentation. And I got me my first edition copy of TMF. I read it that same week.

But the story doesn't end there. He actually showed up to my club a few times after. On his second visit, I excused myself just so I could go to the parking lot and see if there was a Lambo parked there. There was. In my first two or 3 interactions with MJ I just kept looking for "the catch". I suppose I expected him to, on some level, be really full of himself. Or just out for himself. Or want the attention on himself. Or, pardon my language, but I suppose I expected more douchiness or dickishness.

And there was none of that. Not a whiff. From what I could tell, this guy is about as good and down to earth guy as you could meet. Who happened to drive a Lambo. And he seemed to really want to help others.

See at my club, after the speaker would speak, we'd have these roundtable discussions. Q&A time, for 30-40 minutes. Little brainstorming opportunities. And MJ would contribute. And over time, my suspcision faded. I made a decision. I really wanted to help this guy out.

AND THAT'S WHERE THE FRUSTRATION SET IN.

See, I've always believed in the following principle for business. "Begin with the end in mind."

I've always been a planner. But my plans aren't rigid, one way things. My plans got backup plans, and my back up plans got back up plans. I've just always been wired this way. I remember when I learned Seneca's principle of premeditatio malorum, and I was like, "YES! This guy gets it!". This has always my blessing and my curse.

And I decided to use every bit of this humble superpower to MJ DeMarco's benefit.

But I couldn't.

Because he didn't have a goal. He didn't have a plan!

Remember, the guy didn't even try to sell his book in my club. And I didn't really know anyone in publishing or author promotion, so I didn't have any "easy answer".

But I've been in the same room with MJ maybe 4 times, and you know I know the power of a question. So in those times, whenever I could, I'd respectfully probe MJ looking for his goals. His plans. I really wanted to make them better. I certainly could do that much. He had to just be hiding it. He must be playing it really close to the vest. And in response to my questions he'd give these really insightful answers that showed that he really understood life and business and money, BUT I COULDN'T GET HIM TO SPEAK ABOUT ANYTHING I THOUGHT RESEMBLED A PLAN.

So. Frustrating.

I even took him to coffee once, and I thought we might find ways to work together. He seemed open to the possibility. But with no plan, there was nothing I could latch onto to propel me forward.

The last time he showed up to my club, I remember this moment. Someone else was talking, and I leaned forward in my chair. I was so ready to point out the obvious glaring flaw in his "strategy". At the right moment, I was just going to say, "Bro, don't you know if you fail to plan, YOU'RE PLANNING TO FAIL?!?!"

But I was hit by a thought. Who am I to argue with the guy who has a paid off Lambo in my parking lot?

In a rare moment of humility, I leaning back in my chair.

The room must have picked up my vibe, because a few minutes later, someone else asked MJ some question like, "But what if you fail?" And he proceeded to give one of the clearest expressions of a philosophy of business I'd ever heard. It went something like this:

"If I fail, that just means the market didn't like what I had to offer. And if that happens, then I'll just go do something else. I've failed before. Failing isn't a big deal. But right now I'm having fun. I'm trying to get the word out about my book. I'm enjoying getting up every day. I'm planting seeds all over the place. I came and spoke here a few weeks ago and some of those people might read my book. And then someone might like it and tell their friend. And they might go buy my book. And they'll tell their friend. That's the market. Or maybe I'll list my book on Amazon, and maybe it will sell or maybe it won't. Right now, I'm just trying to get the word out. And if the market likes what I have to say, then I'll keep doing it. That's business, right? The market decides."

The market decides.

I didn't do his speech justice. I remember it being more coherent, more cogent. And that's when I realized why I couldn't help this guy. He was satisfied. He was self sufficient. He was just on a different level. And he was right.

The market decides. I could commit many more sentences to unpacking those three words, but MJ already wrote his books, so go read them. :rofl:

Most every business person I'd met to that point had a conqueror mentality. Marshall the troops and let's get us some market share! Something about MJ's speech felt more Zen. More like an explorer. But the kind of explorer you just knew would get where he was going.

The market decides.

I've thought about that moment so much in the decade since. Here was an entrepreneur who didn't write out some grand business plan. His approach just seemed more akin to the old proverb, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." He knew he was smart enough to get the ball rolling, and to figure things out as he went.

Ten years ago I had my worst financial year ever. Exciting as those days were, starting that business and changing careers, I didn't even make $20k. But when times got tough, I drew strength from the thought that I was planting seeds, and the market was responding. Somehow, my boss and I pulled that little company through an epic economic collapse. And we have continued to grow it ever year since, even in the midst of the latest economic collapse, we continue to harvest seeds. Now I'm a partner in the business, and last year I started running the company.

I've lived a blessed life. When I turned 37 years old I accomplished the third of my 3 childhood dreams (Became a dad). But I did it with plans upon plans. Without a plan, I used to feel unmoored.

So two years ago today, when the ultimate result of all my planning felt like it was failing about as spectacularly as possible, I flailed around for a bit. My plans didn't mean squat. The "wife market" had spoken. What's that saying? "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans". Yeah. that's the one.

But I drew strength from the people I'd met in my life, like MJ. People who didn't need external motivation. That's why, even in my most darkest days, (that's like darker than the darkest) I somehow held onto hope. I knew things would get better. I didn't know when, but I had faith they would. Even without my plans within plans, I knew things would work out as they are meant to.

I want to thank all the people on the forum who've had an impact on my life. Most of you know who you are. I've enjoyed our exchanges immensely. And to the few I've bumped heads with, I'd like to thank you too. Because you've all helped me to become a better person. And I couldn't be happier to be amongst a group of striving entrepreneurs again. I'll leave you with these final thoughts.

"Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
"The market decides."

Young or old, your life's experiences have forged you. You are exactly who you need to be to face this next moment.
Cool. Thank you!
 

justindircksen

Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jun 17, 2020
12
30
26
41
LaGrange, KY
Two years ago today, my life unraveled. My ex-wife asked for a divorce. And she meant it. I spent the next 9 months in various stages of disaster, grief, self-anger and hopefulness. Yes, hopefulness. If there is a word for the emotion or feeling like God or fate is present in your presence presently, I was in and out of that stage too. It's a mind shift going from being a "we" to being a "me" again, especially when all I wanted my whole life was wrapped up in the concept of being a "we" in the first place. I'll never forget that first Saturday after the divorce went final. I woke up to an empty house. First time in years. No wife, no kids. I got out of bed, stretched, and asked myself, "Self, what am I going to do today?" And my self responded, "Let's check with (insert ex-wife's name here)." My brain froze as the slowest 2 second realization washed over me. I don't have to check with her anymore. I don't have to check with ANYBODY anymore. I can do anything I want to. Anything. And. So. I. Did.

One year ago today was not a great day. I knew it going in. I didn't want to get out of bed, but I did. I didn't go to work though. I sat and stared. I reflected, I thought and I stared some more. I did not drink. Drinking would make it easier. There was a time, a glorious time years earlier, when my relationship was new, and everything seemed possible. And I missed those times. What made those times so special was I was surrounded by people like me. People who had goals, vision, dreams beyond just "what am I going to do today?" I felt connected and plugged in. And I wanted that again. So I opened my browser and I Google millionaire fastlane forum. That was the day Summit tickets went on sale. I joined Insiders immediately. Something wasn't working, so I texted this guy @MJ DeMarco who I'd met years earlier, to ask it everything was cool and if he could look into it, maybe, if he's not too busy. I didn't think he'd text back so quickly. Bada bing, bada boom, I got my tickets. Something about being plugged in with other entreprenuers just felt right. I decided to start reading, maybe I'd meet some cool people. My first read was by the "Apple guy" who flipped MacBooks for profit, which gave me an idea. I knew a way I could get assorted electronics cheap, so I did, and I did what he said. I flipped a few laptops and a phone and made my money for the tickets and membership back in a couple weekends. I didn't come back to the site for a couple weeks.

Thanks Apple Guy, wherever you are. You kicked off a crazy cool year. But you were right about the problem of scaling and meeting people in parking lots.

However, you're reading this for the MJ story. Ok, back on track. Let's go back 10 years or so. It was a simpler time. There was calamity, yes, but there was opportunity and Phoenix was rife with it. I had left my job as an investment banker to start an online pet products business. I quickly found myself working for the guy who built our website, just slinging websites by day, learning SEO by night. Turns out I couldn't sell any websites by day, and I couldn't rank any big dog bowls at night. But I wasn't going to give up. I decided to start a little club for people to learn internet marketing. I used meetup.com to bring them together. See, I had been in financial services up to that point in my life, I really didn't understand tech. But I figured if I can get a room of people who wanted to learn, that would give me an excuse to call some experts and see if they'd like to come speak to a room of interested people.

And it worked.

Now I was onto something. People would take my calls. People would call me back. Leaving messages like, "I run a club of entrepreneurs and someone requested you to come speak to our group. I'm calling to see if you'd be interested. Please call me back at..." tend to get returned. And when speakers would speak, I'd take them out for a drink afterwards as a thank you, and we'd chat. I'd often get a few tips on how to better market my website. Win win.

Knowing how to network helped too. At networking events, I wasn't there to sell websites anymore. I was the guy running the Phoenix Internet Marketing Club. People wanted to talk to me. And they wanted to come to my events.

Soon, people just assumed I knew a bunch of good internet marketers, so I must be a good internet marketer. Doors began to open that normally wouldn't have opened. I met the future founders of some awesome companies, many of whom are still friends. And I met some bigger names in marketing too. I got to meet guys like Dan Kennedy, Joe Polish, Pat Flynn. Sharon Lechter came to speak to my club once.

Then one day I got the email. Now before I finish this story, I have to say the following: MJ DeMarco is the single most difficult entrepreneur I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with. I mean that in the best way possible. Let me explain.

When I was running these clubs I never got solicited by a speaker. So I get this email out of the blue. He's an author having just published his first book. This being a first, I'm curious. But skeptical. What's he want? I hop on a call with the guy. He wanted to come speak my little internet marketing club. I was taken aback and suspicious. No one had volunteered out of the blue before. Keep in mind, this is my memory from 10 years ago. Our first conversation went something like this. I get on the phone. We exchange pleasantries. In the back of my mind, I'm wondering what's this guy's angle. But he's talking, and I'm not really listening. He said something about wanting to speak. An author? Crap, it's my turn to talk.

I blurt out. “I can’t pay you. It’s a free club."

“No Problem. I don’t need money”

Knucklehead that I am, I don't have a response. No money, that’s good. Now what do I want to ask this guy? Why didn’t I prepare for this call? I should prepare for these calls from now on.

"Let's sayyou do come speak, um... Would you talk about your book? What's your book about?"

"Entrepreneurship. It’s called The Millionaire Fastlane..." I start tuning out, Charlie Brown teacher voice starts setting, and I'm bracing for the get rich quick pitch.

To his credit, he didn’t pitch. He just talked some more. But he wasn’t salesey at all. AT ALL. How is this guy going to sell books? Maybe he's being crafty. Guard is still up.

“Well, that doesn’t sound like our topic. We’re an internet marketing club. Could you speak to something like that?”.

“Oh yeah, sure. I sold my XYZ online business for XYZ dollars. Twice, actually. I sold it, bought it back, and sold it again. I could talk about my journey with that business.”

“That sounds amazing! Can you tell me a little more?”

More interesting details provided.

“I’d love to have you speak to the club.”

“All I ask is that I can give a little plug for my book at the end. Would that be ok?"

“That’s more than fair.”

“I can even bring a few copies to hand out.” (Doesn’t this dude want to sell his book?)

“Sure man, that’s great.”

I ran that club for a few years. MJ gave a top 3 presentation. And I got me my first edition copy of TMF. I read it that same week.

But the story doesn't end there. He actually showed up to my club a few times after. On his second visit, I excused myself just so I could go to the parking lot and see if there was a Lambo parked there. There was. In my first two or 3 interactions with MJ I just kept looking for "the catch". I suppose I expected him to, on some level, be really full of himself. Or just out for himself. Or want the attention on himself. Or, pardon my language, but I suppose I expected more douchiness or dickishness.

And there was none of that. Not a whiff. From what I could tell, this guy is about as good and down to earth guy as you could meet. Who happened to drive a Lambo. And he seemed to really want to help others.

See at my club, after the speaker would speak, we'd have these roundtable discussions. Q&A time, for 30-40 minutes. Little brainstorming opportunities. And MJ would contribute. And over time, my suspcision faded. I made a decision. I really wanted to help this guy out.

AND THAT'S WHERE THE FRUSTRATION SET IN.

See, I've always believed in the following principle for business. "Begin with the end in mind."

I've always been a planner. But my plans aren't rigid, one way things. My plans got backup plans, and my back up plans got back up plans. I've just always been wired this way. I remember when I learned Seneca's principle of premeditatio malorum, and I was like, "YES! This guy gets it!". This has always my blessing and my curse.

And I decided to use every bit of this humble superpower to MJ DeMarco's benefit.

But I couldn't.

Because he didn't have a goal. He didn't have a plan!

Remember, the guy didn't even try to sell his book in my club. And I didn't really know anyone in publishing or author promotion, so I didn't have any "easy answer".

But I've been in the same room with MJ maybe 4 times, and you know I know the power of a question. So in those times, whenever I could, I'd respectfully probe MJ looking for his goals. His plans. I really wanted to make them better. I certainly could do that much. He had to just be hiding it. He must be playing it really close to the vest. And in response to my questions he'd give these really insightful answers that showed that he really understood life and business and money, BUT I COULDN'T GET HIM TO SPEAK ABOUT ANYTHING I THOUGHT RESEMBLED A PLAN.

So. Frustrating.

I even took him to coffee once, and I thought we might find ways to work together. He seemed open to the possibility. But with no plan, there was nothing I could latch onto to propel me forward.

The last time he showed up to my club, I remember this moment. Someone else was talking, and I leaned forward in my chair. I was so ready to point out the obvious glaring flaw in his "strategy". At the right moment, I was just going to say, "Bro, don't you know if you fail to plan, YOU'RE PLANNING TO FAIL?!?!"

But I was hit by a thought. Who am I to argue with the guy who has a paid off Lambo in my parking lot?

In a rare moment of humility, I leaning back in my chair.

The room must have picked up my vibe, because a few minutes later, someone else asked MJ some question like, "But what if you fail?" And he proceeded to give one of the clearest expressions of a philosophy of business I'd ever heard. It went something like this:

"If I fail, that just means the market didn't like what I had to offer. And if that happens, then I'll just go do something else. I've failed before. Failing isn't a big deal. But right now I'm having fun. I'm trying to get the word out about my book. I'm enjoying getting up every day. I'm planting seeds all over the place. I came and spoke here a few weeks ago and some of those people might read my book. And then someone might like it and tell their friend. And they might go buy my book. And they'll tell their friend. That's the market. Or maybe I'll list my book on Amazon, and maybe it will sell or maybe it won't. Right now, I'm just trying to get the word out. And if the market likes what I have to say, then I'll keep doing it. That's business, right? The market decides."

The market decides.

I didn't do his speech justice. I remember it being more coherent, more cogent. And that's when I realized why I couldn't help this guy. He was satisfied. He was self sufficient. He was just on a different level. And he was right.

The market decides. I could commit many more sentences to unpacking those three words, but MJ already wrote his books, so go read them. :rofl:

Most every business person I'd met to that point had a conqueror mentality. Marshall the troops and let's get us some market share! Something about MJ's speech felt more Zen. More like an explorer. But the kind of explorer you just knew would get where he was going.

The market decides.

I've thought about that moment so much in the decade since. Here was an entrepreneur who didn't write out some grand business plan. His approach just seemed more akin to the old proverb, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step." He knew he was smart enough to get the ball rolling, and to figure things out as he went.

Ten years ago I had my worst financial year ever. Exciting as those days were, starting that business and changing careers, I didn't even make $20k. But when times got tough, I drew strength from the thought that I was planting seeds, and the market was responding. Somehow, my boss and I pulled that little company through an epic economic collapse. And we have continued to grow it ever year since, even in the midst of the latest economic collapse, we continue to harvest seeds. Now I'm a partner in the business, and last year I started running the company.

I've lived a blessed life. When I turned 37 years old I accomplished the third of my 3 childhood dreams (Became a dad). But I did it with plans upon plans. Without a plan, I used to feel unmoored.

So two years ago today, when the ultimate result of all my planning felt like it was failing about as spectacularly as possible, I flailed around for a bit. My plans didn't mean squat. The "wife market" had spoken. What's that saying? "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans". Yeah. that's the one.

But I drew strength from the people I'd met in my life, like MJ. People who didn't need external motivation. That's why, even in my most darkest days, (that's like darker than the darkest) I somehow held onto hope. I knew things would get better. I didn't know when, but I had faith they would. Even without my plans within plans, I knew things would work out as they are meant to.

I want to thank all the people on the forum who've had an impact on my life. Most of you know who you are. I've enjoyed our exchanges immensely. And to the few I've bumped heads with, I'd like to thank you too. Because you've all helped me to become a better person. And I couldn't be happier to be amongst a group of striving entrepreneurs again. I'll leave you with these final thoughts.

"Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
"The market decides."

Young or old, your life's experiences have forged you. You are exactly who you need to be to face this next moment.
Time to write YOUR book. Just sayin...
 

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