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Discussion in 'Forum Introductions (Who are you!?)' started by Ludachris, Mar 17, 2017.

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  1. Ludachris
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    Ludachris Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane

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    Oh the irony. Here I am registering an account on a forum to ask questions and try to contribute something that might help others. I got my start as an entrepreneur 15 years ago... building forums out of all things. Back then it was all about vBulletin. It's nice to see this site using Xenforo, my new favorite forum software. After spending the last few years navigating through FB groups looking for help and having my inbox filled with entrepreneurial-related emails, it's only fitting that I end up back in a forum reading through threads that have delivered more valuable insights than all of the FB group discussions combined. And everyone likes to talk about how forums are dead :)

    I'm here because I realize that my mindset is holding me back from achieving my goals. I had a little success early on in niches I enjoy, creating forums and monetizing them. I actually quit my job for about 8 years and we lived mostly on the advertising income and consulting income. Instead of running it as a business though, I ran it like a freelancer and ended up being forced to go out and get another job. My original forum still brings in some decent passive income, but revenue is on a downward trend due to the niche, even though the site still draws 200k+ uniques per month.

    It's been about 5 years now since I went back to being a slave to an employer and I've worked on several side ideas trying to get back to being self employed, but nothing has produced results. The stakes are higher now than they were the last time I made the jump, having 2 young children and being the sole bread winner. I'm subscribed to several entrepreneurial email lists and FB groups - one of which I even had D. Halpern take a shot at me because I pointed out (in my usual cynical tone) how the trend seems to be to make a little bit of money online and then pivot to selling info and training to entrepreneurs on how you did it, a-la Pat Flynn :)

    I feel like I've been watching scores of people around me find success, while I chug along in the slow lane - a hybrid state of being a business owner and making extra income on the side but not generating enough income to be my own full time boss, and no real solid path to get there, only ideas. And it has to change soon.

    I've recently focused on offering digital services, mainly because I have a lot of experience that clients find valuable, but I'm not sure if that's where my heart is. It sometimes feels like I'm trading one boss for several. I also lack a good system to scale the effort well, running things like a freelancer again - and yes, I plan to buy the book this weekend ;)

    One thing I feel I struggle with is limiting myself to ideas involving only niches I enjoy. Then I spend a lot of time trying validate the ideas and determine if they'll actually generate enough profit to justify diving headlong into it. I know that part of the reason I had success with the forums is because they were built around niches I knew well, which made it easy for me to work on it and not see it as hard work.

    I've built countless Wordpress sites and am intrigued by the idea of creating a blog (not to be a professional blogger, but instead more of a community/niche) site that is focused on content I enjoy. I tried it a couple times just to test out the process, not as a serious effort. My dream has always been to make a living doing something fun and completely different than the majority of society, not being a slave to the work, and ultimately being my own boss. I'm not sure I have the personality that will draw people in like many of the top bloggers, but I am willing to do the work to make it a success. I just don't want to keep living in the slow lane trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole, which I feel like I've been doing for the past 10 years.

    I'm off to go read more threads and start the process of transforming my mindset. Hopefully I can contribute and some can benefit from my experiences in some way, though I feel like I may not be the best person to get advice from just yet. Looking forward to getting into some discussions with a lot of you in here.
     
  2. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Great introduction my friend, welcome to our little corner of the internet, a "safe space" from a safe space mentality.
     
  3. Ludachris
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    Ludachris Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane

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    Of course, I go to do some forum searches and get the dreaded memory limit error:
    Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 134217728 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 32 bytes) in /home/discussf/public_html/community/library/Zend/Db/Statement/Mysqli.php on line 294

    Gotta love forums LOL!
     
  4. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read The Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Hmmm, what did you search for? I'd like to investigate and fix if possible.
     
  5. Ludachris
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    Ludachris Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane

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    I searched for the term "deserve", hoping to find the first thread that drew me in to this site.
     
  6. Mattie
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    Mattie Platinum Contributor Speedway Pass

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    Welcome to fastlane. Maybe it was a sign. lol Maybe the first thing is to know the ego believes we're entitled or deserve to be rich, but seems in my experience it's been more about busting my ego, and getting away from the "Individual" versus the "Networking" and adding value to the whole group. But that just may be my personal journey. I think when you first start, it's more about thinking of yourself, thinking it's all about you, and then it ends up turning into adding value to society and being part of something bigger than yourself. Really finding a balanced perspective.
     
  7. Ludachris
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    Ludachris Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane

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    :) I wasn't searching for that word because I feel I deserve to be successful, it was to find the thread where people were discussing the topic though. It was an interesting discussion that I wanted to go back and reply to.
     
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  8. Maite
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    Maite New Contributor

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    Your post resonates with me. It sounds like you have many projects running. Is it possible that you're scattering your energies too thin? And thereby don't give the individual project the focus it deserves to blow into something bigger?
    I certainly found myself guilty of that and started being more brutal now by either killing, pausing or putting projects back on my "business ideas list" for later. Through that, I've not only been able to cut costs but less maintenance (e.g. niche websites, content, etc.) also means more time and less stress/pressure. The current "experiment" is to focus all attention on the 1 project that I have most hopes for and that I am 100% passioned about. Maybe that's an approach to try out? Or, similarly apply the 80/20 rule. This can be hard, especially when you've put a lot of sweat and hours into them - but then isn't it sunk cost anyway?! And how costly is it to keep something alive just for the sake of it, but forego time investment in more lucrative projects that you'd feel more passionate about?

    You also mentioned that one of your income drivers is on a downturn. I found that it helps to take a step back and evaluate if there's any tweaks or pivots you can do to your niches to keep uptodate with their trends and developments. For example, can you provide more value in a different way? Or, has there been shifts in your target market and what they're interested in?

    Lastly, mindset is definitely a big one. Any fears, doubts, blocks that you have at the back of your mind, whether finance, confidence related or anything else, almost immediately slows you and your business down. It's junk baggage on the entrepreneurial journey. It's so important to address it and to get your sh*t together. Sometimes I spend half a day or more prepping myself and my mindset, whenever I have to deal with something that lies out of my comfort zone for that day. What works for me is a whole list of Youtube videos where I turn to for inspiration, music or pep talk when needed. I hope my 2 cents were somewhat useful.

    Good luck with everything and keep going!! ;)
     
  9. Ludachris
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    Ludachris Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane

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    Thanks for the reply @Maite - yes, I am stretched a little thin at the moment. I have 4 main forces that are always competing for my time. My family (a wife and two young daughters), my '9-5' job (which I've come to hate), my side projects that make extra money in the evenings/weekends, and my constant obsession with building a business that leads to becoming financially free. There is also a fifth - a poor attitude, that creeps in on occasion and sucks time/energy from all of them - usually when I'm reminded by a financial event that I've made myself a slave to others.

    I have put myself in a challenging situation in terms of time management. We depend on most of my side income as well as my employed income right now, which is not ideal. Any project I focus on and apply my new process to will have to take away time from something (family, work, side projects - most likely family). My side income is made up of service work and declining passive income from a niche forum. My plan is to try and outsource as much of the service work as I can to free up more time to work on a new project that has a higher probability of success than anything else I'm working on now. I might also be able to increase my forum revenue by trying some different strategies, but I'm concerned that I'll focus too much time and energy on that only to get a few dollars back.

    I spent some time over the weekend reading the TFM book. I'm about halfway through. Much of what is covered in the first 1/3 of the book I had already subscribed to deep down, though I can really appreciate the way @MJ DeMarco frames it all. I feel like I've already been able to relate to the basic mindset for the past 20 years, and some of it I've already been working on, albeit maybe not in the right way. I need to find the right focus and start looking at everything as a producer and not a consumer. I've removed myself from all of the entrepreneur FB groups and email lists - the Ra-Ra attitudes and "amazing" stories are great, but when you know you're just part of a sales funnel it makes it less authentic. There appears to be quite a bit more authenticity around here, which is more appealing.

    What I feel I lack most is the ability to identify and measure market demand for my ideas. Instead of gauging market demand I tend to put a lot of energy into planning and creating assets (usually a website/community) that I don't have any real data to tell me is even needed in the market. As I've gotten older I've picked up some bad habits along the way, I'm more stubborn and usually try to come up with ideas around topics I enjoy - which might be holding me back. My time management and project management skills need improvement.

    I'm a car guy. I volunteer to help a cars and coffee organization that raises money for cancer and other causes. I just happened to go to an event yesterday and got to see a brand new Lamborghini Aventador SV that someone brought out a day after receiving it. MJ's story about the Countach is very much my story (I had a Countach poster as a kid too, I grew up in the 80's). I'm not sure when things changed for me, but up until recently I never doubted I could be in position to be that guy with the Aventador SV. Not because I have a desire to flaunt wealth or indulge in the lifestyle of the rich and the famous. But because I love cars and I want the freedom to enjoy a few things in life that I've always loved. And because I would love to be an inspiration to young people who might not think they can change their own fortunes to own one someday too. I'm 40 now, so I hope I still have some time to enjoy it all by the time I get there.
     
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  10. Ludachris
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    Ludachris Contributor Read The Millionaire Fastlane

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    I'm roughly 90% through the book now... and just read the part where @MJ DeMarco talks about Liquid Web and their customer service. I had to smile. I started using Liquid Web ~12 years ago and they've been by far the best hosting company I've ever used. I tell everyone I can about them. I can't count how many times they've gone above and beyond what any other host to try and solve issues I've had - some of them being software issues that fall outside of their support specs. They now offer a Wordpress hosting solution and I push everyone I know to use it. I have clients using them, my employer, and I use them for all of my projects (I have a dedicated server with them). Whether it's a dedicated server, a VPS solution, or a shared server, they always seem to deliver SUCS - superior unexpected customer service.

    It's been fun reading the book and I'm finding that I can relate to a lot of MJ's entrepreneurial path, hell if I were to write this book I'd use a lot of the same analogies. It's reinforced my belief that I started out as an entrepreneur hitting a double, and I've since been focused on hitting singles instead of home runs. It's helping me identify some of the mental roadblocks that have been limiting me on my journey, causing an open loop of frustration, flawed project choices, and poor execution. The most important thing is that I haven't lost the drive and I still strongly believe I will earn the freedom I always envisioned having, even if it means working through several more failures and gut punches before I get there.