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INTRO Wantrepeneur says hello

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Lucifer

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jun 4, 2020
3
4
14
22
Netherlands
Hello everyone on the fastlane forum,

This is going to be my story, telling (broad-line) details about myself, so a lot (especially the first part) is going to be in the "I" form, as it is the way I experienced it. It includes the events that lead to my way here on the forum, not the entire process behind it. It is a long story on it's own (and sometimes a bit ranty, as it involves my experience/feelings along the way). The objective is to give you a broad overview of my life prior of me joining here whilst giving you a bit of an impression about my character. Every comment is welcome, don't try to spare me in any way it's about the feedback and things I need to work on. This is one step in my process I felt I needed to take.

If you think the story is too long here is the "chapters" you can skip to them if you like:

1. Intro
2. Childhood
3. Choosing entrepeneurship
4. Failures
5. How I got in touch with this community
6. Some idea's so far
7. Concluding


1.
I'm Etienne, 21 years old from the Netherlands. I have been trying to follow the road less travelled all my life, starting off young to always be the biggest hellraiser in class. I eventually graduated high school (higher general secundary education) at 16, and decided (always being disappointed in the learning facility's available, as I learned much more outside of classrooms etc.) to quit and finally make a honest living working hard in construction, working hard and hoping to work towards my own company. As I was advised (since at first I wanted to join the army for the sake of adventure) to learn a trade first, to have something to fall back on, I did, so I started working in construction at first, then switched to one of my (perceived) "dream jobs" as a bricklayer/gardener (someone that paves and builds your garden for you). Also doing roadwork and paving of brick streets (infrastructure in general) for the company. Effectively joining the grind as a sidewalker/slowlaner. Don't get me wrong I love learning new things & skills, as I do and achieve, not sitting at a dusty desk thinking of a way to get out of there.



2.
Now some background on my personal situation. I was raised in a broken home (my parents divorced when I was 6, then fought over custody, which my mom eventually won in a 70-30% split). This was the start of my dad's decline, he started his own company and got annihilated in the last economic crisis, raising me to never endeavour on the path of entrepeneurship as it would make me poor. On the other hand my mom & stepdad raised me to work hard and follow your goals and dreams, my mom saying "life is just a big monopoly game, you just need to learn how to get good at it & then play it to your best means". My stepdad motivated me to the fullest of his ability's (he was not totally able to anymore trough multiple medical conditions since I was 11), eventually motivating me to get the job in construction to learn how to work on a rythm and with discipline and to get experience in general. I also got my financial education from them, as my stepdad used to own a big company, which he sold and then (kind of) retired. Kind of a Robert Kiyosaki "Rich dad, Poor dad" situation going on there...



3.
Anyway my stepdad passed away a year ago, upon which my mom moved away to the holiday house and me having to live with my dad fulltime (yes I didn't buy/rent an appartment yet, because all my time was consumed by my job. (usually 04:00-17 or 19:00 workdays, not always sleeping home as I sometimes had to sleep on the job, which was the case when my stepdad was admitted into hospital just before he passed) And me not having a relationship left me with the choice of either living at home and have some company or living on my own & getting a cat...). This life event after having lost my granddad and brother in law in the same half of the year let me astray on the working long hours and saving up for better times path. I realised that spending time with the people you like and love is a way bigger life goal than chasing money, a lesson my stepdad also preached. A lesson that he will never be able to repeat or explain futher upon, to my displeasure. Also in this time I lost my drivers licence due to DUI (shoutout to @MJ DeMarco I know how it feels, luckily I didn't crash my dream car, but it was a possibility). My decision was clear, I need to better my ways and change. How would I be able to get a (legal & contributing, not devious & extortionist (way easier by the way, also risky & unreliable)) business launched, contributing to people rather than just pushing things that they might not want in the end.



4.
So, starting with dropshipping (multiple websites), it might have been a good niche but due to my mismanagement it blew up in my face, twice... (also the idea of selling another brand was not the best start either). My idea was flawed and as I later discovered the CENTS principle was nearly calling the police as it felt really violated... The stock brokering scheme I had involving compound interest fell trough nicely (altough it made a profit). Then I moved in the jewelry business (I still have a project running on that), buying lesser known gem's at auction and reselling them (not very profitable on it's own). I learned adding value could help but when I learned this the gold price started to go up, making the concept I had in mind (placing the gems on a gold ring) unvaluable as my "value add" suddenly was a big & more risky investment in a time when jewellry (a complementary good) isn't on peoples buying list). Then we have my lovely retail business which I started buying overstock and then pushing it down peoples stomach, it involved quite the big marketing/cold calling/mailing (unsollicited & starting off humiliatingly unprepared). So, I had followed all the "guru" tips & BS I could find around (only being sane enough not to buy into their programs or taking out big loans to start off...). Leaving me quite pissed off & out of options, turning back to my old friend education again, searching far & wide for some (cheap or free) knowledge (hey, don't judge, the Dutch are known to be cheap & always in need for free stuff or a sale). Doing all the ventures whilst working a busy job, leaving me with 2-6 hours of sleep at most.



5.
And at my moment of, just F this I'm going to scam everyone very hard and very good and very wide to make me very very rich... I found... TMF (yes MJ, the title implies the easy "get rich quick scheme" indeed as you stated in your book, guess I combined the right keywords... The message on the other hand changed my ways). Devouring the book within a month whilst taking notes (I took some time off to focus my energy on improving my situation & train of tought, now targetting myself instead of scamming) and look who we have here, my old entrepeneurial/learning spirit kicked in. Ever since I first started doing work & "hustles" on my own I dreaded bosses, being bossed around etc. It took me a while to adjust in the new environment of work. From my 17th and on I had started doing my own landscaping projects on the side, but as TMF made me realise, this will make me work hard IN my company but not ON my company, also chasing money. Also it made me realise the reasons why my businesses failed, and how I can improve myself on those points. Becoming intrested as TMF proved not to be an upselling scam and also shared the message of my (basic) financial knowledge, and teaching how to apply certain things more usefully. UNSCRIPTED was next on my list, which I'm still reading. But I'd rather get busy and read/learn-on-the-way as I usually do, my only problem or be it my contemplating time, the bloody pandemic... The past months left me action faking as I was trying to set my mind straight, converting myself not to chase or scam my way to the money, but actually going to provide value and making the lives better for people. Frankly the idea is more appealing to me as I'd rather be the "hero" of the people I help than to be a momentarily or fake "hero" like the "guru's" I was contemplating on copying.


So the big question for me was the past couple of weeks, in the events and aftermath of covid... what value can I, or better said we provide as I hope that you guys will give me feedback and support along the way. As will I try to give the most information that I can provide and try to share (which is one of my weaker points, as I'm kind of a lone wolf, contradicting my extrovert character COMPLETELY...). Just this post is a step for me to just admit that I'm a screw-up learn from all the stupid stuff I have done and build something out of it. Starting out & again is the hardest part, I have been trough all the 3 B's the couple of weeks, as I was staring myself blind upon the "golden goose" of idea's, convincing myself that I was in fact, doing something... I have a tendency to go fast & hard, sometimes just too much for myself to handle. It landed me in my current job tough, which I have kept as the "plan B" (I don't like plan B's, but my brother & father both recommended me to start something that works next to my job instead of quitting and jumping into the next abyss to figure it out as I go, seems like the right thing). Altough my dad added that he didn't see me pulling anything off, which really had me on the edge of quitting anyway and jumping.



6.
Going back to the idea phase, I have some prospect on starting out as a DJ, as I could collaborate with a friend of mine, he has some quality's of my "bad side" and vice versa. This sounds more like a "do what you love" thing, but if the brand and (tweakable) music style catches on, it could be an instant fastlane. I just need to get started on that but my problem is that I see it as a side hustle thing "just for fun" hence no brand or mastered song has been released yet... Or I need to learn everything and take control totally, but that leaves me with the "mentor that doesn't have time" problem...

Next on the list, I have kind of shot down this one already, but; starting my own construction company, as there are a dime a dozen but the market needs them to be a cent a dozen. Problem is, with this market downturn I don't see any real customer potential in the (1-3 year) future, since most money for landscaping and garden improvements are spent from complementary budget, which dries up with the covid (aftermath) crisis... That would leave me high and dry competing in a saturated market (as all those companies did too in the last economic crisis that more than halved the Dutch construction industry) which lead to the industry only recovering to a reasonable price range just in the past 1-2 years. (yes I started in the industry at a low wage, battling the crisis and learning hands on working hard on "..." jobs for "..." prices... All because I saw potential in the industry, not realizing yet that the big profits are never made by the employee...)

Now where I see the need arise is in elderly housing & care, as the biggest population group is in the (nearly) retired people, who will need to be looked after. I have done some research on it, most of them want to grow old (and die) in their own homes, unwilling to sell their house that they have worked hard for. Getting into this market and establishing a monopoly (which will take some time), will to my estimates be profitable within 3-10 years. I should look into this a bit more as to who I should serve (companies that give care, or the elderly themselves, what will be the need that I can provide for)

Another option is, using the capital I have & maybe a (business) loan to buy an existing company offered at a reduced rate on the marketplace (provided it is not riddled with debt). Then go and develop the company into something better (avoiding the start-up work, and improving my chances of succes exponentially). It still will be a hard road because it involves me learning to drive whilst the car is already moving, but heck that sounds like the fun part. Another extra motivation would be that I have money invested (and maybe an extra loaned amount), which drives the motivation not to quit "putting myself on dead ground". If I were to start a start-up the bailing opportunity's are way higher (in my opinion/experience).

I want to avoid "idea jumping" but I first have to make an action plan with the goals etc. in mind, maybe search a partner to team up with & get things done! Provided that these things have a future in them after the government finishes launching anti-virus restraints.



7.
Well this just my brief introduction on my story, how I got here and what's kept me busy the past time. I have come to the conclusion that I don't want to get back to my job, but in the short run I will have to do it. Also it might help me shine perspective on some needs, uncovering them etc. I will however go back on a reduced number of days, or not at all if they want to push me back into the long grind, in which case I have to dig into my savings. Maybe a job in another branche will help but the job market during the crisis isn't that good, will have to find a solution to that as my resume isn't the most appealing one out there (no degrees etc.). It is going to be either me figuring it out all on my own whilst paying some experts and looking on over their shoulder how to do it, or doing it all by myself using the internet wherever possible.


What would you guys do if you were in my shoes?
 

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ZF Lee

Platinum Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
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Jul 27, 2016
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Woah, what an odyssey! Thanks for sharing, @Lucifer.

This was the start of my dad's decline, he started his own company and got annihilated in the last economic crisis, raising me to never endeavour on the path of entrepeneurship as it would make me poor.
I think there could have been other factors at play:
- A shaky personal life
- Cash management gaps (even in this COVID-19 lockdown, companies had to beg for bailouts, after they blew their savings on share buybacks during the good times)
- Shaky clientele (especially when the entire industry gets hit)

The key to resolving this is to ensure you have reserves- both in your actual cash account, and even your skillset and emotional bank account (i.e. your mental tolerance and life's meaning)

My stepdad motivated me to the fullest of his ability's (he was not totally able to anymore trough multiple medical conditions since I was 11), eventually motivating me to get the job in construction to learn how to work on a rythm and with discipline and to get experience in general.
Good advice!
Can apply to any industry.

It landed me in my current job tough, which I have kept as the "plan B" (I don't like plan B's, but my brother & father both recommended me to start something that works next to my job instead of quitting and jumping into the next abyss to figure it out as I go, seems like the right thing). Altough my dad added that he didn't see me pulling anything off, which really had me on the edge of quitting anyway and jumping.
Reasonable to work on your biz on the side, while you have your job.
For myself, I am majoring in Finance and Business Analytics, while doing freelance copywriting on the side.

Here's the thing:
A job ensures that not only you can earn money for bills (before the biz matures), but also adds more context to your side business.

If I had quit my studies to do freelancing or some other business, I might not have the financial or data background to write copy for products like crypto or insurance. Most freelance copywriters rely too much on Cashvertising or marketing tricks, instead of considering the inner contents and worries of the industry itself.

Of course, managing a job and side business can be a struggle.

For myself, it's still tough to find time to research and write emails or landing pages, while worrying about a college data mining project at the same time.

In my case, I find all kinds of ways to research and write faster- and also keep my brain in decent shape. But that's outside the scope of today's post.

Now where I see the need arise is in elderly housing & care, as the biggest population group is in the (nearly) retired people, who will need to be looked after. I have done some research on it, most of them want to grow old (and die) in their own homes, unwilling to sell their house that they have worked hard for. Getting into this market and establishing a monopoly (which will take some time), will to my estimates be profitable within 3-10 years. I should look into this a bit more as to who I should serve (companies that give care, or the elderly themselves, what will be the need that I can provide for)
Feels very promising. Maybe a door-to-door senior care service...?
Find ladies to contract their cleaning/care services out?
See if there are current companies operating here, and their gaps....

Maybe a job in another branche will help but the job market during the crisis isn't that good, will have to find a solution to that as my resume isn't the most appealing one out there (no degrees etc.).
Wouldn't hurt doing a job you already know lots about, for a start.
Also would be alright to find a different job, provided you know how to transition-and its scope is similar to what you've worked on before.

While your early businesses, such as that stock brokering and dropshipping, didn't work out fully as you wanted, I'm sure they did give you some small wins and skills to talk on (e.g. on digital marketing)

You can either mention them in your CV, or direct calls/emails with your prospects for jobs.
 

Lucifer

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jun 4, 2020
3
4
14
22
Netherlands
First of all, thanks for your reply! I have given it some tought, you are onto some good points here!

I think there could have been other factors at play:
- A shaky personal life
- Cash management gaps (even in this COVID-19 lockdown, companies had to beg for bailouts, after they blew their savings on share buybacks during the good times)
- Shaky clientele (especially when the entire industry gets hit)

These factors were all at play, personally I've had my fair share of stepmoms... Also lawsuits between my mother and father didn't help & risky accounting did the last trick on it.
The business was more like a job than a company. He was under contract with one newspaper severely limiting his competitiveness in the market (as he couldn't do texts for other newspapers). Also writing copy wasn't what he wanted so he didn't pursue that opportunity (that was back in 2014/15, a time where that sector was on the rise).


Reasonable to work on your biz on the side, while you have your job.
For myself, I am majoring in Finance and Business Analytics, while doing freelance copywriting on the side.

Here's the thing:
A job ensures that not only you can earn money for bills (before the biz matures), but also adds more context to your side business.

If I had quit my studies to do freelancing or some other business, I might not have the financial or data background to write copy for products like crypto or insurance. Most freelance copywriters rely too much on Cashvertising or marketing tricks, instead of considering the inner contents and worries of the industry itself.

Of course, managing a job and side business can be a struggle.

For myself, it's still tough to find time to research and write emails or landing pages, while worrying about a college data mining project at the same time.

In my case, I find all kinds of ways to research and write faster- and also keep my brain in decent shape. But that's outside the scope of today's post.

At this moment I don't have a big cost of living, so the bills department is quite ok. My biggest expense to date has been my leisure money... It would come in handy for me to buy tangible assets with that money. That is a road I'm researching right now, because I think some small buisinesses would need a (partial) bailout as the government handouts aren't going to cover the full cost for them. In that case I need to know where the best growth path lies (which niche) and identify the opportunity's therein, so that when I become a (major/partial) shareholder I can have control over my investment trough my vote. That is where the job-part comes in, it is just the contract I have to show next to my financial plan with my investment to get qualified for a loan if neccesary. Which will make me able to leverage debt into cashflow eventually.

Feels very promising. Maybe a door-to-door senior care service...?
Find ladies to contract their cleaning/care services out?
See if there are current companies operating here, and their gaps....

This is quite the good idea! Should call some of my previous dates, as they were mostly nurses... (I really don't know why but they attract me, usually without me knowing that they are a nurse, must be something with their "allure" is my best guess as of yet...). In the Netherlands there were huge job cuts in healthcare during the crisis, that sector still hasn't recovered the man (or rather girl)power it needs, so aquiring nurses for my new business would involve me bidding against other companies with wages and benefits, this is not a feasable thing for a start-up in my opinion... But there will be a lot of people that are going to make a career switch in the near future. Given some time it would take them to learn the new trade, my guess is that there will be an abundance of healthcare employees after 2 years, as the sector currently retains it's need for employees.

So maybe making the framework and connections, market the business and look for customers that will "pledge" to be willing to receive the care in the future (targetting the pensionado group). So when the time comes the company would be already known, and enjoys a base of support that will be approachable when they are in more urgent need of care. This is just my train of tought, maybe there are more efficient ways that I'm overlooking.



Wouldn't hurt doing a job you already know lots about, for a start.
Also would be alright to find a different job, provided you know how to transition-and its scope is similar to what you've worked on before.

While your early businesses, such as that stock brokering and dropshipping, didn't work out fully as you wanted, I'm sure they did give you some small wins and skills to talk on (e.g. on digital marketing)

The thing is, the construction sector in the Netherlands was being hit already before covid. This was due to more strict CO2 regulations being imposed by the government upon farmers, builders & also traffic. Then covid hit, and the CO2 crisis (and protests/strikes that were going along with it, some of the biggest in years) were drowned out because the priority lay with the virus, not the carbon. So when covid is under control, the regulations will be imposed regardless. This creates opportunity to make more durable solutions/companies for the construction sector, providing there still is one after the sector has been mauled by covid & the regulations (this will also impact permits for new buildings, road work projects etc. etc.). Also this sector was hit hard in the last crisis, so the guys who stuck with the bad wages/margins are more likely to quit now, not risking a financial struggle again. Concluding, if I stick with doing what I know, the future doesn't look very bright, as I'm on the bottom of the pile (and my contract has some clauses in it about concurrention, so it's not easy to switch). I can go on for a while, but the job itself is very time consuming, that would drown out my ambitions of starting a job on the side...

That leaves me the option of either starting my own building company or switching sectors and starting as a junior employee, gaining experience in a different field. The latter one sounds best to me, but covid was a bit quicker on it's feet and the job market will be saturated for a while in those jobs.

Concluding, I will stick to my current job for the next couple of months, but on a reduced amount of workdays, I can't think of another solution at this moment. This will allow me to work on a business (takeover or start-up) in the meantime, my goal is to grow it large enough to make it able to support me trough cashflow, and still being able to reinvest 50% or more back into the company within the year. If that is accomplished I can focus on the company for most of the time and make it grow quicker, maybe taking up a side-job instead of a side-business. Maybe a girlfriend would also help me realise my wild plans...
 

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