CHAPTER 31: THE COMMANDMENT OF ENTRY
Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.
You Can Be the Sheep or the SheepHerder
I looked around and saw a problem. I saw an army of drones clutching onto whatever was said, critical reasoning cast aside, and myself about to be indoctrinated. I didn't go so easy. I asked questions. I was persistent, nosy, and curious about the road I was about to take.
The fact is, few of them made any money at all. Why? They were stuck driving a congested road full of traffic that failed the Commandment of Entry.
Crowded, jammed roads move slowly, if at all.
The Commandment of Entry
I failed networking marketing four times because subconsciously I possessed the truth: The road was a violation to the Commandment of Entry.
N – (Entry) – C – S – T
The Commandment of Entry states that as entry barriers to any business road fall, or lessen, the effectiveness of that road declines while competition in that field subsequently strengthens.
Higher entry barriers equate to stronger, more powerful roads with less competition and less need for exceptionality. Low-barrier-entry businesses are weak roads because easy entry creates high competition and high traffic, all of which share the same pie. And where there is traffic, there is no movement.
In other words, if “getting into business” is as simple as paying $200 for a distributor kit, there are no entry barriers, and the opportunity should be passed.
If you could create an eBay business in 10 minutes, guess what? So could millions of other people. And who made the millions? The early adopters, eBay, and eBay's founders. They drove the Fastlane and picked up millions of hitchhikers along the way. Few did well, while millions did not.
The big buzz just months ago was Internet blogging. Bloggers are making thousands! True, but nowadays, the multimillionaire blogger is now the exception rather than the rule. Why? The opportunity has been beaten down by ease of entry, causing traffic, competition, and saturation. Saturation causes noise. Noise causes declining sales volumes. Declining sales volumes cause profit erosion. If anyone can start a business in one day or less doing what you do, you probably are violating the Commandment of Entry and tough odds are ahead.
The MLM founder doesn't need to climb the pyramid, because he built the pyramid! You can be a pyramid builder or a pyramid climber. You can be the sheep or the sheepherder.
“Exceptionalism” Is Required to Overcome Weak Entry
If you violate the Commandment of Entry, be prepared to be exceptional.
Could I be the exceptional one among 50,000 like minded “distributors?” I was doubtful. Conversely, when I started my Internet business I had roughly 12 competitors. Could I be exceptional among 12? Absolutely.
The best (and the richest) poker players in the world are exceptional and take advantage of the weakest lured by weak entry. The pros call these folks “dead money.”
The same playing field exists in the currency markets. Newbies come and go, trading currencies, expecting to make a fortune.
There's an old saying, “In a gold rush, don't dig for gold, sell shovels!” When it comes to entry, your industry and your business should not be available to everyone, because if it is, you must be prepared to be exceptional. And if you are exceptional, easy entry becomes not a liability, but an asset.
Entry Is a Process, Not an Event
Real business startups are processes, not events.
If you're suddenly in business because you bought a distributor kit, or you completed an online form, you're violating entry. If you're suddenly in business because you took one or two actions, you violate entry.
Conversely, if I wanted to start a bed-and-breakfast in Napa Valley, I'd have to find a property, fix it, finance it, insure it, get licensing and permits, hire a staff, and perform about 10 other steps. Entry is a detailed process.
Founders of network marketing companies do spectacularly well because they know that people love events, and what better event is there than “Complete this application and you're in business!” They leverage entry ease as an advantage.
As entrepreneurs, we want to start companies that others can join as an event.
Any business that takes 10 minutes to do/join/participate violates entry. Violate entry and you stamp your ticket into the world of everyone and become apart of someone else's Fastlane plan.
Everyone Is Doing It!
A road full of traffic is a road full of everyone. If everyone is doing it, I won't be doing it. I'll exit the road, and you should too. Why? Because everyone isn't wealthy. If everyone were wealthy, “everybody is doing it” would work.
When it comes to money, the best warning flag is “everyone.” Everyone is a red flag that the Commandment of Entry has been violated. If everyone is engaged in the same activity, it surely will fail.
While “everyone” was buying houses like crazy during the housing boom, I did the opposite.
Everyone is doing it is a heavily trafficked road that moves slowly toward impending doom, like a herd of cattle heading for slaughter.
The Warning Signs of “Everyone”
When your personal trainer raves about his Internet stock portfolio that earned 40% in two months, it's time to get out and stay out. When your truck driving cousin calls you and asks about investing in oil because it's $150 a barrel, it's time to get out and stay out. Dumb money-EVERYONE-always shows up at the end of a boom. Who is dumb money? Consumers! Money chasers!
With every busted boom, new millionaires and billionaires are created because they saw the impending collapse inevitable in every meteoric irrational ascension.
Everyone was selling. I was long gone and sold a year earlier. Warren Buffet was buying. Everyone sells and the richest man in the world buys. Hmmm. Could it be that everyone is wrong? Yes it could.
If you want to live unlike everyone, you can't be like everyone. Don't confuse that with exceptionality. You have to lead the pack and have “everyone” follow. When the lambs are lining up single-file for slaughter, you want to own the slaughterhouse.
- The Commandment of Entry states that as entry barriers fall, competition rises and the road weakens.
- Easy access roads carry more traffic. More traffic generates higher competition, and higher competition creates lower margins for the participants.
- Businesses with weak entry often lack control and operate in saturated marketplaces.
- Exceptionalism is required to overcome weak entry barriers.
- Access to a business road should be a process with a toll, not an event.
- “Everyone” consists of the general populous and is served by the mainstream media.
- If everyone were wealthy, “everybody is doing it” would work. And if everyone is wealthy, then no one is wealthy.
- “Everyone is doing it” is a signal to overbought conditions and the entrance of “dumb money.”
CHAPTER 32: THE COMMANDMENT OF CONTROL
There is no dependence that can be sure but a dependence on one's self.
-- John Gay
Demand the Driver's Seat
Yes or no. You're either driving the Fastlane or you aren't. You're either in control over your financial plan or you aren't. There is no in between. And if you're not driving, you're sitting in the passenger seat and someone else is in control.
Envision your dream car, boat, or plane. Great, now here are the keys. You get it for one hour, unencumbered. Would you grab those keys and take it for a joyride, using every single minute? Or would you plop your butt down in the passenger seat and resign, “Ehh, you take control, I'll sit in the passenger seat and hitchhike a ride.” Senseless? Not exactly. This is how many people approach business: They hitchhike, they give up the driver's seat, and they violate the Commandment of Control. In doing so, they sacrifice control over their financial plan and ultimately make someone else rich.
Hitchhiking a Fastlane
the hitchhikers of business violate the Commandment of Control.
N – E – (Control) – S – T
A business hitchhiker seeks refuge from risk and cowers within the confines of a matriarchal organization.
This subservient relationship renders a loss of control and leaves you vulnerable to the actions of the driver.
When you control your business, you control everything in your business-your organization, your products, your pricing, your revenue model, and your operational choices. If you can't control every aspect of your company, you're not driving! And if you can't drive, you set yourself up for sudden, unexpected crashes.
- Drivers create MLM companies; they don't join them.
- Drivers sell franchises; they don't buy them.
- Drivers offer affiliate programs; they don't join them.
- Drivers run hedge funds; they don't invest in them.
- Drivers sell stock; they don't buy stock.
- Drivers offer drop-shipping; they don't use drop-shipping.
- Drivers offer employment; they don't get employed.
- Drivers accept rents and royalties; they don't pay rents and royalties.
- Drivers sell licenses; they don't buy them.
- Drivers sell IPO shares; they don't buy them.
Good Money Versus Big Money
There is a difference between good money, big money, and legendary money. Good money is $20,000/month.
The cattle call of every network marketing company is, “Hey, wanna make $10,000 a month?” Big deal. Remember your windshield. It's big money only in your head.
Big money is $200,000/month. Now we're talking-$200,000 every month will make a dent into your lifestyle. When you earn this level of income, life changes.
And then there is legendary money, where you earn more than a million dollars every month. Outrageous? Not at all. When you leverage all five commandments and control your company, one million a month is not impossible.
To hit big money or legendary money, you need to control your system and every aspect of that system. When you relinquish control and defer power to a higher authority, you cede big money to the driver and accept good money as the passenger.
For example, my Web site offered an affiliate program. My best affiliate consistently earned $20,000+/month. Yes, he was making good money. He was the hitchhiking passenger, and I was the driver, controlling the affiliate process.
At any moment I could have instituted a “new policy” that would have reduced his earnings.
And most importantly, as a driver, I was the one making big money ($200,000/month), while he settled for good money ($20,000/month).
There are affiliates, bloggers, and publishers who earn good money from using Google's AdSense program. Some content providers and bloggers earn six figures monthly. Arguably, this is big money, yet Google (the driver) makes the legendary money.
No Control = Crashes
The problem with being a hitchhiker is you really never know the driver. The driver could be ethical, moral, and just, or the driver could be corrupt and evil. Either way, as a hitchhiker you waive all power to your driver. He who owns the keys owns the power.
Yet millions of people submit to this type of organizational control without pause.
Think Shark, Not Guppy
Business is a fierce competition for the consumer's mind and their money. It's an expansive ocean where multiple species wage war over sustenance: money.
In this oceanic game, you want to be at the top of the food chain, not at the bottom fighting your way up the top.
To become a shark, you have to think like one. Sharks think big and guppies think small. As a shark, you have to drill down into your belief system and change your mindset. Think globally, not locally. Think to lead, not to follow. Think to innovate, not to copy. The change and transformation from guppy to shark starts with your thoughts as your focus moves from the few to the many.
When you engage your Fastlane road, be the shark and use the entire ocean as your playground. Ever watch a school of fish? Each fish doesn't act as a single unit. They act in unison as a collective. Unfortunately, most people can't see the danger of this analogy. They're just one fish immersed in a collective controlled by a force greater than themselves. And who is attracted to these schools of fish? The sharks. Be the shark, the predator, not the guppy. Be a driver, not a hitchhiker.
Invest in Your Brand Only!
Whose money tree are you growing? Are you investing in your brand or in someone else's?
Ever sit in traffic and spot a car plastered with decals and stickers of some company?
these decals are official decrees to the world from the driver: “Yes folks, I invest my life in someone else's brand.” They are guppies in a shark-infested ocean.
Why are you painting someone else's “big picture” when you should be painting your own?
When you blindly invest your life and time into someone else's brand, you become a part of their marketing plan. You become a swab of paint in their big picture. You resign yourself to the slim possibility of making good money vs. big money. Not investing in my own brand was one of my most serious mistakes as a young entrepreneur.
hitchhiking isn't entrepreneurial, because at the heart of entrepreneurship is creation and innovation. Hitchhikers aren't pioneers; they don't create or innovate. They sell, operate, and manage.
Network Marketing As A Fastlane … Only If . . .
It took me four network marketing companies to expose the truth. And that truth? The only people in the company who were living in houses on the Pacific Ocean with stables full of exotic cars were the founders and inner circle-not the distributors who signed up years later.
Network marketing is a hitchhiking strategy that disguises itself as an entrepreneurial activity.
That's like stuffing money under the mattress and calling it an investment.
My essence knew I was violating a multitude of commandments and rules: the Rule of Everyone, the Commandment of Entry, and the Commandment of Control.
MLM has excellent educational value: sales, motivation, team-building, and networking. Network marketing can accelerate your future.
The Fastlaner creates and invests in his own brand; the hitchhiker climbs aboard someone else's and hopes to piggyback a ride. If you don't control your system, your money tree, and your brand, you control nothing. You must sit on top of the pyramid and serve the masses. Stop climbing pyramids and start building them.
- Hitchhikers relinquish control of their business to a Fastlaner.
- There is a difference between “good” money and “big” money. Hitchhikers can make good money while Fastlaners make big money. Sometimes legendary money.
- In a driver/hitchhiker relationship, the driver always retains control and the hitchhiker is at the mercy of the driver.
- Hitchhikers are party to someone else's Fastlane plan. Make the world your habitat of play in an organization you control.
- Network marketing has little to do with entrepreneurship but more to do with sales, networking, training, and motivation.
- Network marketing fails both the Commandments of Control and Entry, and sometimes, Need.
- Network marketers are soldiers in a Fastlaner's army.
- Network marketing is a powerful distribution system. As a Fastlaner, seek to own one, not join one.
CHAPTER 33: THE COMMANDMENT OF SCALE
In business, to be a success you only have to be right once.
-- Mark Cuban
Speed Limit-15 or 150?
When your business road violates the Commandment of Scale, wealth acceleration is incarcerated within constricting speed limits.
Scale is about leverage and leverage is what gives the Fastlane wealth equation its power.
N – E – C – (Scale) – T
There are six business habitats:
- Local/community (pool)
- County/city (pond)
- Statewide (lagoon)
- Regional (lake)
- National (sea)
- Worldwide (ocean)
The larger the habitat, the greater the potential speed, or leverage, of your Fastlane.
Swing for Home Runs, Not Singles
Billionaire Mark Cuban recently wrote on his blog that it doesn't matter how many times you strike out in business because you only have to be right once, and that “once” can set you up for life.
Business is like baseball. Play on a field where you can hit home runs; don't play on a field where they're prohibited!
The Fastlane Wealth Equation: Disarmed
Recall the Fastlane wealth equation:
Wealth = (Net Profit) + (Asset Value)
Asset value is predicated on net profit, which is predicated by unit profit multiplied by units sold.
Net Profit = (Units Sold) X (Unit Profit)
If “units sold” has a ceiling, you handcuff your ability to create leverage. Without leverage, you can't create wealth exponentially. When you travel a business road incapable of scale, you render the Fastlane wealth equation impotent.
Reach or Magnitude = Scale
To achieve scale, magnitude or reach must increase. Magnitude is naturally increased with price or cost. If you sell Lamborghinis over Hyundais, you have greater magnitude simply by the implicit price of Lamborghinis.
If you successfully sell the most expensive apartment building in Manhattan, you have had an effect of magnitude and realize scale. If you are operating with magnitude, you are near or at Effection.
The more people you reach, the greater scale potential. Who does your business serve? The local neighborhood? Or the world? The bigger your pool of play, the bigger your potential for wealth.
The guy stuck on Main Street selling sandwiches has no scale and no magnitude.
He didn't buy a franchise; he bought a job.
Scale Is Leverage!
How do you know if your business honors the Commandment of Scale?
- Can the net income of this business scale limitlessly, say, from $2,000 per month to $200,000?
- Can the asset value of this business scale into the millions?
- Can this business impact millions? Or does it impact hundreds? Is its customer pool the world or a small community in the city?
- Can this business be replicated and expanded beyond the local trading area by franchising, chaining, or additional units?
- Best-case scenario, what is the units-sold potential? One hundred or one hundred million?
- Best-case scenario, how pliable is unit profit? Does it have magnitude?
To make millions, you must affect millions. That doesn't happen in a small store on Main Street.
Drive Effection's Neighborhood
For the Slowlaner, the LOE has to be hit by massive intrinsic value explosion:
Sing in front of millions,
play ball in front of millions.
For the Fastlaner, the LOE is leveraged by scale or asset value explosion:
Law of Effection Barricades
There are three barricades that prevent entrepreneurs from realizing the Law of Effection:
The strongest barricade to Effection is scale. If you can't serve millions, you won't make millions.
all doctors should be rich since they have magnitude, right? Not exactly. The fault in this presumption is that the Law of Effection honors only those in control.
That private health-care facility? The facility's owner receives the full benefit of Effection, not the doctors he hired.
How to Access the Law
- If you invent a gadget that millions can use, you have direct scale and the law is accessible. Fast wealth is a possible.
- If you are chosen as a finalist for American Idol, you have direct scale and the law is accessible. Fast wealth is possible.
- If you build a Web site that serves single moms, you have direct scale and the law is accessible. Fast wealth is possible.
- If you are two management positions away from a CFO position at a Fortune 100 Company, you have indirect scale and the law is accessible. Fast wealth is possible.
- If you are an attorney and take cases that involve wrongful deaths, you have indirect magnitude and the law is accessible. Fast wealth is possible.
- If you create a successful retail store and franchise it to 300 entrepreneurs around the country, you have both scale and magnitude and the law is accessible. Fast wealth is possible.
- If you invent a machine that detects skin cancer, you have magnitude and scale and the law is accessible. Fast wealth is possible.
For example, as an author, I have scale, and with scale, the Law of Effection is accessible. Who is my audience? The whole English-speaking world, tens of millions of people! I'm reminded of scale any time this book is ordered from Australia or New Zealand. My upper limit is the world. My road has no speed limit and that grants access to the Law of Effection.
- Your total pool of customers determines your habitat. The larger the habitat, the greater the potential for wealth.
- A business can be a singles or a home-run-based business. Its strength is determined by scale, which is derived by habitat.
- The Fastlane wealth equation is disarmed when you violate the Commandment of Scale. Scale is achieved in reach (units sold) and/or magnitude (unit profit).
- The Law of Effection is the primary conduit to wealth, which can be road blocked by scale, magnitude, or source.
- Effection consequences trickle up to owners and producers. Breaking scale or magnitude indirectly in an uncontrolled entity is not a guarantee of wealth.
- To gain access to Effection, you have to break the barrier of scale or magnitude in an entity you control.
- Scale, magnitude, or source deficiencies create governors on the speed of wealth creation.
CHAPTER 34: THE COMMANDMENT OF TIME
I am long on ideas, but short on time. I expect to live only about a hundred years.
-- Thomas Edison
Break the Binds That Tie
The final Fastlane commandment is the Commandment of Time. The Commandment of Time requires that your business detach from your time. Can your business substitute for you and blossom into a money tree? Passive income is a Fastlane objective that comes from the Commandment of Time.
N – E – C – S – (Time)
Remember this: Owning a business doesn't guarantee wealth or detachment from time. Some business owners are married to their businesses because their businesses violate the Commandment of Time. The business ostensibly becomes a job and a lifelong prison sentence.
The Commandment of Time asks:
- Can this business be automated and systematized to operate while I'm absent?
- Are my margins thick enough to hire human resource seedlings?
- Can my operation benefit from the introduction of a money tree seedling?
- How can I get this business to operate exclusive of my time?
Jobs are time trades for income.
The goal of the Fastlane is a disconnection of your time from income, even if that income isn't millions. Would you rather work 10 hours a week and earn $60,000, or work 70 hours a week for $140,000? I'd take the former over the latter every time.
A Money Tree That Never Grows
A successful business isn't fun and games, especially one that violates the Commandment of Time. Often people get into business with the wrong idea of what it will be like.
Fueled by gurus and life coaches, many are misled, believing that “be your own boss” and “do what you love” is enough motivational fire to sprout success.
As a Fastlaner, your road should be traveled with the intention to make it automated. You want passivity and a living money tree. When you fail the commandment of time, the failure is cause by one of two obstacles. They are:
- You don't have access to the seeds because your road started with a deficiency.
- The seeds won't grow in infertile soil.
Content systems, computer systems, software systems, distribution systems, and human resource systems are all seedlings to money trees.
- A business attached to your time is a job.
- business that earns income exclusive of your time satisfies the Commandment of Time.
- To satisfy the Commandment of Time, start with a business that uses a money system seedling, or introduce one.
CHAPTER 35: RAPID WEALTH: THE INTERSTATES
You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.
-- John Wooden
If you want to get across the country, drive the fastest roads, not the slowest. Seems logical, except when it comes to financial independence. Instead of driving the fastest roads, most people drive the slowest, and in some cases, a road that won't even get them there.
Starting a business is a big decision. Treat it with cursory interest, and your business resembles a hobby.
Fastlane Purity: Five Commandments
Thou shalt not invest in a needless business.
Thou shalt not trade time for money.
Thou shalt not operate on a limited scale.
Thou shalt not relinquish control.
Thou shalt not let a business startup be an event over process.
Deep down, I knew that I wanted to be involved in a business that was pure Fastlane from the start.
The purest Fastlanes have the best wealth potential, and I knew it.
When you grace the Law of Effection, money moves your way.
What are the purest Fastlanes roads that possess super-fast speeds? Which roads can tap into the Law of Effection and start Fastlane?
The Three Fastlane Interstates
I call the most potent Fastlane roads “The Three I's,” or “The Three Interstates,” because they possess the fastest upper speed limits and meet, or can meet, all five Fastlane commandments. The three Interstates are:
- Intentional Iteration
Each interstate road is an umbrella for dozens of other roads. Put all three together and you have hundreds of roads available for your travel.
Potent Fastlane #1: The Internet
The most potent interstate is an Internet business. The Internet has made more millionaires in the last decade than any other medium out there. The Internet has, and is, destroying old hard-line industries such as travel agents, stockbrokers, newspapers, and magazines. The Internet is the shark of the Fastlane.
The Internet is the best Fastlane available, because it immediately obeys the Five Commandments to the Fastlane, assuming a need-based premise. It naturally scales to a worldwide audience, it systematizes to automation via computer systems, it is a medium you can control (unfortunately, most don't), and its barriers are still strong enough to prevent “everyone” from entry.
Internet business models (roads) fall into seven broad categories:
Offer users access to data, information, or software, and charge a monthly fee.
Data can be leads, sales information, a proprietary database
When 10,000 people pay you $9.95 per month for your information, you're balling the Fastlane!
No products. No shipping. No headaches.
Content-based models are online news magazines and blogs that disseminate information to a particular niche or industry.
These services provide content for free consumption and sell advertising to parties who want to reach those eyeballs.
My Fastlane Forum can be considered a content-based revenue model.
I consider content-based revenue models the most difficult for success because entry barriers have significantly declined and its success is predicated on high traffic.
Also, content systems heavily engage in affiliate programs, which is a hitchhiking structure.
3) Lead generation
This is what I did for the limousine industry. I pooled a highly fragmented industry into one centralized source, brought consumers into the mix, and sold that consumer information to limo companies.
Lead generation solves two needs:
1) The consumer's desire to save time and money and
2) The business owner's need to find new customers inexpensively.
4) Social Networks
people are pulled into groups, or tribes.
Facebook started off as a pool for college-aged students and evolved into a generic social network for all ages.
MySpace targets the high school crowd.
LinkedIn hits the upwardly mobile professional.
Social networks are mere aggregators of like-minded communities, from mystery novel writers to gear heads who like to rebuild engines on the weekend.
5) Brokerage Systems
Brokers bring buyers and sellers together and facilitate transactions. They are market-makers for a particular industry and earn money typically on each transaction. Examples of known brokers are PayPal, Elance, CarsDirect, and Travelocity.com.
Similar to brokerages, advertisers merge buyers and sellers together and accept advertising fees in lieu of transaction fees.
For example, I owned a Web site that listed limousines for sale. The site accepted advertising fees for each limousine placed for sale.
I introduced buyers and sellers. Some services leverage both brokerage and advertising together, such as eBay. Search engines like Google and Yahoo operate both advertising and brokerage models.
7) E -Commerce
Amazon.com, CSNStores.com are examples of large-scale e-commerce providers.
E-commerce also can be information. E-books are the most popular form of information distribution on the Internet. When I sell my book in e-book form on the Internet, I'm engaged in e-commerce.
I can sell books out of my trunk by sitting in the parking lot at Arizona State University, or I can set up a Web site and sell books to folks in Europe.
Many Web sites are sold for billions and don't have a penny of profit. Traffic, or visitors to a Web site, also has a boundless upside scale.
Potent Fastlane #2: Innovation
Invent a product, service, or piece of information, manufacture it, and then distribute it.
Innovation covers any act of creation followed by distribution. Let me repeat that: Innovation involves two acts: 1) Manufacture and 2) Distribution.
Invent a product, then sell it by infomercial, sell it on the Internet, sell it on QVC, sell through 10,000 network marketing distributors, or sell it to 20 wholesalers that then sell it to 20,000 retailers. What is the product of innovation? Virtually anything that solves a need or fulfills a desire.
- Food (beer, barbecue sauce, cookies, secret recipes)
- Household (robots that vacuum, tools, hangers)
- Health and vitality (vitamins, herbs, energy drinks, bars, “male enhancement formulas”)
- Information (books, magazines, subscription newsletters)
- Personal (clothing, purses, shoes, gloves)
- Automotive (accessories, add-ons, stick-ons)
Inventing is still recognized as the default get-rich-quick method out there, and yes, it is alive and well.
However, don't be fooled. Inventing isn't really about inventing the vehicle, the telephone, or the goofy Segway-the core activity of inventors is just taking something and improving or modifying it.
Take something old and stale and make it better. Take an underexposed product, make it your own, and reintroduce it to the world. Take something unconventional and make it conventional.
for my birthday I received a skull-shaped bottle of vodka. Vodka has been around for centuries, yet an entrepreneur took a stale product and added an element of uniqueness and differentiation. Sometimes it's that simple.
My favorite example is the Snuggie, an oversized mass-marketed blanket with arms. The product concept has been around for years, but they took the concept, repackaged it, remarketed it, and wham, 40 million sold later, they had a blockbuster.
Inventing a product that solves a need is half the battle; the other half is getting your invention into the hands of millions, which involves a variety of distribution channels: infomercial (sell via mass media), retail (sell to distributors and wholesalers), and direct marketing (sell via print media, postal mail, Internet).
For example, when I wrote this book, I was the means of manufacture. I wrote it, put it together, edited it, and had it physically published. I manufactured it. I engaged in innovation. However, like all innovation roads, manufacture is one tiny battle in a larger war. Distribution is where the war is won. A great product is worthless if it doesn't get into the hands of people, and that requires distribution. For my book, I will need to leverage Amazon (a distribution system), book distributors (wholesalers), and the Internet (another distribution system) if I am to succeed.
Yes, your product invention can be something you invent yet is manufactured in China, or an e-book you write in a weekend.
Innovation-from books to products-is Fastlane. Have you ever wondered why people sell get-rich-quick books and yet the content is just regurgitated blather from 30 prior books? The authors know that authoring is a potent Fastlane.
Some of the greatest books in the world go unread, while the mediocre stuff sells millions. The difference lies in marketing, public relations, and just good old-fashioned business know-how. Writing a book is not a business; selling the book is.
Potent Fastlane #3: Intentional Iteration (II)
The final Fastlane Interstate is “Intentional Iteration” (II). Iteration is: “the means or act of repeating a process, usually with the aim of approaching a desired goal or target or result.”
The process of intentional iteration is the act of satisfying the final commandment, scale. Scale is achieved either through human resource systems or repeated successes.
For example, when a real estate investor buys a single-family home at a bank auction and later rents it out, there is no scale, and with that one act, nothing can create scale.
To solve that challenge, the investor engages in II and repeats the process. Instead of buying one home, he buys 50.
One kiosk in one mall isn't going to make you rich because it's a singles-based business. However, 200 kiosks in 50 malls might, because it creates net income, scales asset value, and makes a bigger impact of magnitude. Intentional iteration is the Fastlaner's response to limited scale.
- The best Fastlanes satisfy all five Commandments: Control, Entry, Need, Time, and Scale.
- Assuming a need-based premise, the Internet is the fastest interstate, because it overwhelmingly satisfies all Commandments.
- Innovation can be any variety of open roads: authoring, inventing, or services.
- Inventing success needs coupling with distribution.
- A singles-based business is scaled to a home-run business by intentional iteration. With iteration, scale is conquered.
CHAPTER 36: FIND YOUR OPEN ROAD
At first, people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done-then it is done, and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.
-- Frances Hodgson Burnett
Needs, Ideas, Opportunity, and the Open Road
Opportunities, and the open roads they represent, are everywhere. Look around. That person complaining at the store counter. Opportunity. That stupid voicemail maze you hate navigating when you call the bank. Opportunity. That unsold house that languishes on the market. Opportunity. That trash on the side of the road. Opportunity. The rotting salad that lasted only two days in the refrigerator. Opportunity. Those people bitching on that online forum. Opportunity.
If you can't see the opportunities that surround you every day, you haven't tuned your Fastlane frequency to them.
When you make a few minor mental adjustments, roads seemingly closed are suddenly opened. Many entrepreneurs misinterpret opportunity because they associate opportunity with breakthrough, legendary ideas.
They seek virgin ideas, perfect and new; ones that would be unveiled to the world in a grandiose affair. Rarely does that happen.
Opportunity is rarely about some blockbuster breakthrough like the light bulb or the car, but as simple as an unmet need, or a need not met adequately.
Opportunity is a solution to an inconvenience.
Opportunity is simplification.
Opportunity is a feeling.
Opportunity is comfort.
Opportunity is better service.
Opportunity is fixing pain.
Opportunity is putting weak companies out of business.
Someone Is Doing It!
You've got a great idea, but someone is already doing it? So what. Do it better.
“Someone is doing it” is a monumental illusion imposing as an impassable obstacle. Someone is always already doing it. The bigger question is, can you do it better? Can you fill the need better, offer greater value, or be a better marketer?
When I was struck with my idea to start a limousine directory on the Internet, I thought it was a legendary idea … that is, until I went on the Web and searched. There were already a dozen companies doing what I thought was a pristine, unmolested idea.
I was going to drop the idea and start a new brainstorm session in search of that infamous blockbuster idea, one that no one else among 6 billion people on planet Earth had thought of.
But a friend interrupted my perception and kicked my antennae into a proper tune. She said, “Competition is everywhere. Just do it and do it better.”
Forget the Big Idea; Go for Better
Successful businesses rarely evolve from some legendary idea. Nope, successful entrepreneurs take existing concepts and make them better. They take poorly met needs and solve them better. Skip the big idea and go for the big execution. You don't need an idea that has never been done before. Old ideas suffice; just take it and do it better! Execute like no one has!
Years ago, what if Sergey Brin and Larry Page looked at the Internet landscape and said “Gee, there are plenty of search engines out there-Yahoo, Snap, AltaVista-why start Google?
A brand-spanking new idea? Nope, a need solved better with big execution.
Department stores have been around for decades, but that didn't stop Sam Walton from creating Wal-Mart. It was an open road when the road seemed closed.
Hamburgers were around for decades, but that didn't stop Ray Kroc from starting McDonalds.
Coffee had been around for a thousand years when Howard Schultz created Starbucks. A new idea? Nope, Starbucks made coffee fashionable and invented a brand, an ambiance, and an emotion and attached it to coffee.
DVD rental stores were around for a long time, but that didn't stop NetFlix or RedBox from starting a company and adding “convenience” to the need equation.
MySpace was thriving well before Facebook, but that didn't stop Mark Zuckerberg.
Poorly met needs are open roads when they often appear closed. Successful businesses take existing ideas, services, and products and simply make them better, or spin them in new directions.
How to Spot Open Roads
Not a day goes by when I don't spot a need that can be exploited for Fastlane opportunity. My mind is tuned because I see the terrain of opportunity through accustomed senses.
I see and hear what most people don't. How can you tune your eyes and ears to the same attuned frequency? With a little practice, it's easy. Open roads, needs and opportunity come prefaced with “code words” or phrases that scream “This is an opportunity!” When you catch yourself (or someone else) in these words, you've just uncovered a possible opportunity. Here are the most common phrases:
“I hate …”
What do you hate? Solve the hate, and there's your open road.
“I don't like …”
What don't you like? Remove the dislike, and there's your open road.
“This frustrates me …”
What is frustrating? Remove the frustration, and there's your open road.
“Why is this like this?”
I don't know, why is it? Remove the “why,” and there's your open road.
“Do I have to?”
Do you? Remove the “have to.” There's your open road.
“I wish there was …”
What do you wish? If you wish, others wish too. Make wishes come true, and there's your open road.
“I'm tired of …”
What are you tired of? Fix someone's tiresomeness, and there's your open road.
“This sucks . . .”
What sucks? Remove or reduce suckage, and there's your open road.
Moral: Solve other people's problems and you will solve your own money problems!
Failure Cracks Roads Open
be mindful of the distinction between “quitting” and “quitting your road.” Quitting is leaving your dreams for dead and putting them into the bin of impossibility. “Quitting your road” is changing course and turning down a new road.
If you end your career as a teacher to start a private tutoring company, you have switched roads. If you sell your tanning salon and start an Internet company, you have turned off one road onto another. If you quit that network marketing company and decide to start your own, you have switched roads.
I made many road changes, but I didn't give up on the dream. If your road doesn't converge with your dreams, it might be time to quit your road.
- Opportunities are rarely about inventing breakthroughs, but about performance gaps, small inconveniences, and pain points.
- Competition should not impede your road. Competition is everywhere, and your objective should be to “do it better.”
- Fastlane success resides in execution, not in the idea.
- The world's most successful entrepreneurs didn't have a blockbuster ideas; they just took existing concepts and made them better, or exposed them to more people.
- Opportunity is exposed in your language and your thought processes, as well as other people's language.
- Failure cracks open new roads.
- Quitting only happens when you give up on your dream.
CHAPTER 37: GIVE YOUR ROAD A DESTINATION
The tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.
-- Benjamin Mays
What Is Your End?
The Fastlane doesn't care about your ends; it just wants to be the means.
The end of the Fastlane road trip is to crown your happiness with freedom. Freedom from financial encumbrances, freedom to travel, freedom from bosses, alarm clocks, two-hour commutes; freedom from bad ratios (9-to-5, 5-for-2, 2 weeks every 52 weeks and 8% over 40 years) and freedom to enjoy the world as your playground.
The Price of Freedom: Money
Freedom has a price, and that price is money. Big dreams, from materialistic Ferraris to altruistic nonprofit foundations, cost money. You can't travel the world by swimming in the oceans. You have to pay your way, and if you think money is evil, you've already lost.
"This guy tells me that he's left his life behind in order to “find himself,” so he's interning (for free) at this place in exchange for room and board. Things have been hard since he had to leave his four-year-old son behind-but he needed to “find himself.” After all, life isn't about money; and all he wants is a little house and a horse, like what the neighbors have down the hill.
Everyone around the campfire is nodding and commending this guy for being so enlightened. First, I agree. Life is not about money, it's about time-so why are you throwing away 40 hours a week in pursuit of housing (not even money!)? Second, money doesn't change people; it just makes them more of what they already are. Third, that little house and horse down the hill are worth about $1.5 million. And most importantly, you abandoned your son to find yourself? And you aren't making a dime in the process? Who is subsidizing your journey of enlightenment, and the emotional and financial responsibility of your son you left behind?
I've run into a series of people lately who hate money and everything having to do with money, but they still want the end result: Free time and the ability to live their dream.
Suffice to say, that we (not him) should pay for this guy to have a little house and a horse and someone else to raise his son."
No matter how big or small, dreams have a price, and that price is money, responsibility, accountability, and commitment. Yes, it will cost you money, but how much?
Set Your Destination: Four Steps to Starting
Your destination is the lifestyle you desire while having the freedom to enjoy it.
There are two strategies to hit your destination.
The first is a money system in which you amass a lump sum large enough to earn monthly interest that will support your lifestyle needs.
The second is a business system that spawns passive cash flow that supports your lifestyle AND simultaneously funds your money system.
To make this happen, you need targets. Specifically, how much money will you and your family need? What is the price for the freedom and lifestyle you want? Find out with this four-step process:
- Define the Lifestyle: What do you want?
- Assess the Cost: How much do your dreams cost?
- Set the Targets: Set the money system and business income targets.
- Make It Real: Fund it and open it!
Step 1: Define the Lifestyle
Define the lifestyle you want and its associated costs. Do you want the big house or the nonprofit foundation? What exactly do you want? Write everything down. For the purpose of this exercise, I will play along.
- Three cars: a Mercedes, a hybrid, and a minivan
- A 6,000-square-foot house with a fountain, pool, and waterfall
- A small cabin in the mountains
- The ability to travel three months a year
- Private school for my children
Step 2: Assess the Cost
Determine the monthly cost for each, including all associated taxes and insurance.
- Three cars: $2,000
- House: $5,000
- Cabin: $1,000
- Travel: $1,000
- Private School: $1,000
Lifestyle Cost = $10,000/month
Next, determine your monthly allowance and other unknowns. This is for stuff like clothes, gadgets, toys for the children, health insurance, etc. Add this to your Lifestyle Cost to arrive at your Gross Living Cost.
- Gross Living Cost = $10,000/mo (Lifestyle Cost) + $4,000/mo. (Allowances)
- Gross Living Cost = $14,000/mo.
Next, determine your Net Living Cost by dividing Gross Living Cost by .60, or 60%. This will account for potential taxes.
- Net Living Cost = $14,000 / .60 = $23,333/mo.
Step 3: Set the Targets
To calculate your money system target, multiply your Net Living Cost by 12, then divide by .05, or 5%. Five percent is the minimum expected yield on a money system.
- Money System Target = ($23,333 X 12) / .05 = $5,599,920
For your business system target, multiply your Gross Living Cost by 5.
- Business System Target = ($14,000 X 5) = $70,000/mo.
These are your two targets.
a business system that generates $70,000/month in passive monthly income.
Of this income, 40% goes to taxes, 40% goes to fund your money system, and 20% pays your lifestyle.
This delivers your target lifestyle AND simultaneously funds your money system.
The other target is your passive income from a lump-sum money system. To enjoy your designated lifestyle supported by a money system, your target number is $5,599,920.
Five percent interest on this amount is roughly $23,000 monthly, which covers lifestyle and taxes.
For example, my Web business routinely earned $100,000 per month, month after month. Yet, in those instances, I didn't have $20,000,000 lying around, but the lifestyle was an option because my business system cash-flowed the equivalent of that lump sum. Excess income funded my money system. Then, later, I liquidated the asset to arrive at my “money system” number.
If your business system generates passive income, you can use it to fund your lifestyle and your money system simultaneously.
Step 4: Make It Real
Get started today by looking three feet in front of you, not three miles.
A long gaze at the mountain crest will overwhelm you, so stop looking at it.
The key to achieving enormous tasks is to break them down into their smallest parts.
“I'd like to make $5,000/month; how do I do this?” Aside from the flawed “money chasing” logic, the first step is to make $50/month.
You can't make $5,000 per month until you learn how to make $50 per month! It's amazing how people love to skip process and want events.
Drop your loose change into your can at the end of each day. Find 60 cents there, 25 cents there, 115 cents there; it adds up and, albeit small, you move closer to your goal daily. Ridiculous? Nope, this is how I started, and yes, I still practice this today because this exercise has three conditioning purposes.
First, when you drop change into your bucket daily, you train yourself to visualize your goal moving closer. You get a daily reminder.
Second, it forces you to evaluate: Have you applied pressure to that goal, or is your change bucket the only weapon in your arsenal? Are you pursuing a Fastlane business or still confined to a job?
The third purpose is to change your relationship with money. If you are serious about a money system, you're going to need a big shift in your beliefs about money. What is money to you? A medium to get the latest World of Warcraft release? Or the soldiers for your army of freedom fighters?
Now, I reiterate, Fastlane wealth is created by the net income and asset value-not by the stock market or compound interest. Your Fastlane business should fund this account, not savings from your paycheck.
The Rules of the Road: Financial Literacy
After my sister turned 21, she bought her first new car-a Nissan Pulsar. It was her first mistake in the world of finance.
“I told the dealer I wanted a payment of $399 per month.”
Her loan was 60 months (when it should have been at 48)
and at an interest rate of 18.8% (when it should have been 9%).
Ultimately, she'd pay twice the cost of the car because of one error-the error of being financially illiterate.
Managing a Money System Demands Financial Literacy
You can't build a financial empire if you're ignorant of basic finance and economics.
If not educating yourself after graduation is one step on the Sidewalk, the other is not educating yourself on basic finance and economics.
The world is full of financial illiterates; they've failed driver's education and don't know the rules of the road. As kids, we aren't taught money management or basic financial discipline. We're abandoned in a financial jungle swarming with predators. Many perfectly intelligent people lack rudimentary knowledge of basic financial concepts such as:
- Interest rates
- Taxable and non-taxable yields
- Amortization of mortgages
- The balancing of a check book
- Basic percentage calculations
- Calculating return on investment
- Why stocks rise and fall
- Why a guaranteed 15% return on a bank CD is screaming, “scam!”
- How stock options work, such as calls and puts
- Why insurance exists
- How a mutual fund works
- What bonds are and how they rise and fall
- Global currency
To successfully leverage a money system for passivity, you have to familiarize yourself with financial instruments that fuel the money system.
Live Below Your Means-Slowlane?
The first rule of financial literacy: “Live below your means.”
“Keep expenses under your income.” Earn 10 bucks and don't spend 20. But is it Fastlane relevant? Absolutely, with one distinction: Live below your means with the intent to expand your means.
“Live below your means” is relevant at any income level. The key variable is the word “means.” If Bill earns $50,000 and Jack earns $1 million, who has the greater means? Who will live the extravagant lifestyle? Both might be living “within their means,” but Jack has a drastically different lifestyle. Remember, Slowlaners seek to minimize expenses while the Fastlaner seeks to maximize income and asset values.
You can live richly and still live below your means, but for Fastlaners it's a big challenge because we get paid first, not last. Tax bills come long after the income is earned, and “live below your means” requires above-average discipline.
A Financial Adviser Doesn't Fix Illiteracy
I am my own financial adviser because I don't like losing control.
Hiring a financial adviser might make sense to you aside from one caveat: Hiring a financial adviser doesn't fix financial illiteracy.
Literacy gives you the power to evaluate your adviser's advice.
Financial advisers do not solve financial illiteracy just as more money doesn't solve poor money management.
You see, when you are financially illiterate, you are deaf, and when you are deaf, you can't hear the whistle.
- The Fastlane is the means to your end because dreams cost money.
- Conquer big goals by breaking them down to their smallest component.
- Daily saving reinforces your relationship with money; it is your passive system that buys freedom and another soldier added to your army.
- A money system isn't used to grow wealth but to grow income. Growing wealth should be left to your Fastlane road.
- You will struggle to build a financial empire if you are financially illiterate.
- “Live below your means” is relevant at any income level.
- For the Fastlaner, “Live below your means” means to expand your means.
- A financial adviser doesn't solve financial illiteracy and literacy is insurance.
- Financial illiteracy dilutes your control, especially when evaluating the advice of a financial adviser.