Archive for Business Education

Proof That There Is A “Before”

By · March 5, 2012 · Filed in Business Education, Fitness, Personal, Sports · 1 Comment »

“Goals are nothing more than dreams with a deadline.” – Anthony Robbins, Awaken The Giant Within

Oftentimes you hear stories of great success and they usually try to make them sound more impressive by saying “well this is where they started”. Many of these “before” stories are exaggerations and I’m here to prove that this is the “BEFORE” that will be followed with an amazing AFTER.

It’s been too long since I posted here and for good reason: I’ve been busy!

I just want to make it known that in addition to being a better husband, son, brother and friend I have THREE big goals that I am setting TODAY. I will be doing a video journal on here(and YouTube as well) to keep up with my progress for at least one and possibly even ALL three of these goals.

As of today, March 5th 2012 I am 28yrs old. By January 6th 2017(I will be 33yrs old) I intend to accomplish the following:

1) Build a net-worth of at least $1m

Today: I’m far from it with student loan and credit card debts and only a little amount of money in savings. However, our business is growing day by day and I have a full-time job in addition to the business to help take care of paying down the debt.

Tomorrow: Jefferson Franklin Tax Services(JFTS) is my baby! Thankfully I am blessed to be partners with the two most important people in my life, my father and my wife. Each day is another day closer to making JFTS a household name. The goal has been set now it’s time to “fill in the blanks.” I have plenty of ideas for the direction of JFTS that will get us there, but bottom line is it will be more about what the MARKET tells us to do than what I tell us to do.

2) Run a Boston Qualifying(BQ) Marathon Time

Today: The current requirement for my age group(M18-34) is a 3:05 or less finishing time which equates to about a 7:05/mi pace. Currently I am running around an 8:30-9:00/mi pace for long-runs, however, when I reached my all-time worst of 274lbs I was running 3mi in about a 10:30/mi pace and in less than 3mos I ran a 1:43:16 1/2 marathon which was 13.1mi at approximately 7:52/mi.

Tomorrow: Not saying that I’ll run the BQ in my next marathon(Rock N’ Roll San Diego on 6/3), however, I am realistically shooting for 3:45(~8:35/mi). From there it’ll be a gradual improvement(don’t want to get hurt) until I can meet whatever the BQ requirement is by 2017. Keep in mind for 2011 it was 3:10 and thanks to the popularity of marathon running it has become 3:05 and who knows it might be 2:55 by the time I’m ready to qualify.

3) Tryout For and Make an MLB Roster

Today: File this under the “unfinished business” or “prove the doubters wrong” category. I reached the peak of my baseball career soph yr of HS, however, my decision to pursue acting and modeling as well as not really fitting in with the other “jocks”(I was a social butterfly in HS) led to losing my passion for baseball. Quitting baseball half-way through my soph year is a decision I regret to this day. Another decision is that I never took full advantage of my natural advantage of being left-handed and as such never really worked on pitching. After a 4yr hiatus I got back in and was rustier than the hull of the Titanic. Since then I have played on and off. A bad taste in my mouth that I need to rinse was the sickness of making the University of Illinois Club Baseball team only to “ride the pine” for most of the season. Despite working on my “fundamental flaws” I could still never make the cut and at least the team itself was successful, but if I would’ve played to my potential we could’ve won it all. Instead we got 2nd place at the NCBA World Series. As far as my pitching goes I was clocked last year at 75mph and have a splitter/change-up… bottom line is I need to add about 10mph to my fastball while developing precision control and perfecting

Tomorrow: I will have to keep a laser-focus and realize that declaring this publicly is going to set me up for plenty of scrutiny and ridicule, especially from some of my old teammates who will just laugh at this idea. I even got a vote of no-confidence by a current MLB manager who I asked during last year’s Spring Training, “I’m 27yrs old, what do I need to do to get on THIS field?” and his response was “well that 27yrs old part is gonna hurt and I can’t lie, it’s gonna be a 1/1million chance.” Personally, I like those odds! Like Jim Carrey’s character Lloyd Christmas said in Dumb and Dumber “so you’re saying there’s a chance?”

For those of you who don’t like YouTube, here’s another link to the video Declaration of these goals.

Enjoy! And please leave comments(and keep it cool, any negative comments will be filtered, deleted and ignored).

Protected: The Turning Point – Why I Finally Made The Move!

By · February 16, 2011 · Filed in Business Education, Entertainment, Personal · Enter your password to view comments.

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MC Hammer – A True “Phoenix” Story

By · February 10, 2011 · Filed in Business Education · No Comments »

If you have never heard the legend of the Phoenix, it goes – “a glorious bird that erupts in flames and burns. Up from the ashes it re-emerges, stronger than ever.”

That said, the story of MC Hammer is similar. If you’ve never seen the VH1: Behind the Music. The story in a nutshell is poor young boy from the ghetto of Oakland works his way to becoming the bat-boy for the Oakland A’s. He gets the nickname “Lil’ Hammer” for his striking resemblance to HR King “Hammerin” Hank Aaron. His strong work ethic and likability lead to an opportunity of sharing his rapping and dancing talents with the world. You all know the song:

Unfortunately, despite his positive demeanor and brutal honesty his music career did not last. First off, he came up at the same time as “gangsta” rap and who wants to hear a guy singing “We’ve Got To Prey” when we can listen to “Ain’t Nuthin But A G Thang” or “Gin N Juice”. In fact there was even a song called “Pop Goes The Weasel” that gained popularity by making fun of “feel good” rap like MC Hammer.

He was a victim of being too nice.

To top it off, he spent more than he earned. Not only with his lavish mansion and exotic car collection, but by taking care of his whole “crew”. His crew consisted of all of his backup dancers and entourage, individuals he wanted to raise out of poverty who only wanted to take from him and not even give thanks. The third strike was that he owed Rick James royalties for sampling his hit “Superfreak” in “U Can’t Touch This”. All this combined ruined Hammer’s career.

Did he give up? NO! Did it take him a while to get back to prominence? YES! I was proud to see this interview on Oprah the other day, Hammer 3.0(2.0 was when he tried to comeback as simply “Hammer” without the “MC”), is an all-out Web 2.0 entrepreneur and still a man of strong faith and convictions. Did we also mention that despite the ups and downs he’s been married to his wife Stephanie for 25 years!

So check him out now:

MC Hammer The Super Geek(Video)

Yes, he once flew high, fizzled and burned and now is back and stronger than ever! All entrepreneurs should take this as a valuable lesson- even if you lose it all, you can always make it. To top it off, never sell out, Hammer tried to cash in on the “gangsta” rap hype with songs like “Pumps and A Bump” and learned that was not him. Instead he was able to personify another one of his hits and my favorite Hammer tune:

In a world where it’s good to be bad, glad to see the success of someone who really is “2 Legit 2 Quit”

Poor Business Practices – Culligan Water

By · January 24, 2011 · Filed in Business Education · No Comments »

I had a poor customer experience today and it is something I can learn from being an entrepreneur myself. The experience had to do with Culligan Water. While they do a great job of marketing, their customer service is terrible!

Well, the customer service was ok(after I called them and complained of course). However, their business practices are the good old “bait and switch”, something I’ve written about on our business page in the article “Buyer Beware! Watch Out For All The “Free” and “Guarantees” In Tax Ads“. In my opinion there is no lower form of business scum than the type who relies on “bait and switch” practices to get customers. The tactic used by Culligan was to have me sign a contract, a month-to-month contract, mind you, and then change the terms of it without giving me prior notice.

The changes made were the following:

1) I agreed to pay $6/mo for cooler rental. My first bill came and it was for $8.33, well actually, it was $2.33 since the $6 I paid(and agreed to pay) was not sufficient.

2) I signed up for “will call” service. This means that I will only get 5-gallon bottles delivered when I call. Since I re-fill my bottles at Wal-Mart for $1.25(using the Culligan water dispenser by the way), I have no need for extra bottles, especially at $6.50/bottle. Well today this showed up:

After calling customer service I found out that the terms of the contract were changed and that they no longer allow for “will call” service. To top it off I am supposed to call them and arrange to stop deliveries. Her “solution” was to change it to once every 4-6 months instead of once a month. What a load of crap! First off, I signed a contract and it specifically states “Will-Call only”. Secondly, after scanning over it, it states that any changes in service from either party needs either written or verbal notification prior to going into effect.

Thus they breached their own contract which is a legal matter. More importantly they also did a very poor job of customer service which is an even bigger mistake. This is because I won’t sue them on the breach of contract, however, I might cancel my service and tell others to do the same if they don’t fix this matter.

Let this be a lesson to any business owners to not screw with your existing customers, otherwise it’ll come back and bite you big time!

The question I leave you with is:

What is the point in squeezing a few extra bucks out of a repeat customer at the risk of losing said customer who could’ve also acted as a brand evangelist and got you more customers?

The Challenge – A Great Way To Get Started In Internet Business

By · December 25, 2010 · Filed in Business Education, Personal · No Comments »

Merry Xmas to all! My gift to you is my take on one of the best free training programs out there on how to earn your first $1 on the internet, The Challenge:

Disclaimer- I have yet to do the 2010 version now known as “The Challenge”, my experience was in ’09 with the then named “30 Day Challenge”, however, the main difference is instead of 30 straight days of training, this year it is split into 7 one week modules with one week in-between so instead of 4 weeks, the live version was split into 14 weeks. The training is up all year and you can do it at your own pace, so you could do it in 7 weeks or if you were really crazy, you could do it in one.

As internet guru and face of The Challenge Ed Dale states- it is absolutely free or “there is no charge for awesomeness”. This is half-true, Ed being an A+ marketer is a pioneer of the “freemium” model, where you give a base product for free and up-sell premium versions, one such example is Market Samurai(MS), the keyword research software that is essential for competing in The Challenge. You get a 40 day free trial, but after-wards need to pay for the full version. With clever “act now pricing” emails, most buy it at a discounted price of $79-99, while some are unlucky enough to buy at the full-price of $149, then again, from using MS I can vouch that it is worth a LOT more than that!

MS is worth the money just for the fact that a business owner can use this to make sure that any Internet Marketing/SEO company offering them services claiming “First page results on Google” are actually targeting “Golden Nugget” keywords. These are the keywords that meet the criteria of High Demand, High Relevance and High Commercial Value, not just easy to rank keywords that’ll make no difference in getting traffic or customers to your business. For this reason, MS is just one of a few items I ended up paying for last year. The list of items I bought were: MS, Traffic Bug(TB), WordPress Direct(WPD), Hostgator Domain, Hostgator Hosting and 30 Day Challenge Plus(30DC+). Of those, only the domain and hosting were absolutely necessary, MS is great, but I could’ve lived without it, WPD was not very necessary and TB and 30DC+ were items I had absolutely NO need for, especially at the level I was at.

I could go on and on about my dissatisfaction with TB and 30DC+, but Ed Dale uses very subliminal marketing that I can’t fault especially being a fellow business owner myself, however, I will say he does border on “used car salesman” with his tactics. To top it off, he overuses superlatives such as “This is the best program for” or “You can’t live without” to the point that I had to remove myself from his email list just so I could stay focused on the LESSONS of the 30DC and not the products/services for sale.

As far as the service itself, it is phenomenal, to the point that 30 days of lessons here are worth more than any internet marketing course you’d take at school! It’s also worth as much if not more than other programs offered by internet marketing gurus that range from a few hundred dollars to well over $10,000. You learn Internet Marketing 101 which starts with “The Magnificent Symphony of Four Parts”. The symphony goes:

MARKET – TRAFFIC – CONVERSION – PRODUCT

In layman’s terms, it equates to: research your market, get traffic to your site, get that traffic to buy an affiliate product you offer and ultimately develop your own product based on the market’s needs.

This is where most businesses fail as they focus on the product first instead of the market which is a sad reality as many people have great product ideas and even go as far as developing them only to find that there’s no demand.

To further break down the symphony, each part correlates to a portion of “Supply and Demand” economics:

MARKET(Demand) – TRAFFIC(Potential Customers) – CONVERSION(Actual Customers) – PRODUCT(Supply)

These ideas also play into the “Golden Nugget” keywords. As keywords represent your market in Internet Marketing since you’re aiming for #1 Google rankings you need to make sure you’re targeting the right keywords. For the sake of the challenge, market research is very essential as targeting the wrong keywords will lead to failure and frustration. The keyword I settled on was “best sports cars”, which I now know was a poor choice, mostly because you want to stay away from words like “best” which attract more lookers than shoppers and instead go for “buy sports cars” or “sports car comparison”.

For a keyword to be “Golden Nugget” it needs to meet the following criteria: less than 30,000 competing sites(SEOC), more than 200 searches/day(SEOT), atleast a 15% ratio of Phrase matched searches to Broad matched search(PBR) and a Search Engine value of atleast $30/day(SEOV).

If any of those words look like Chinese, the simple way to put this is you are looking for low supply(SEOC), high demand(SEOT), high relevancy(PBR) and high commercial value(SEOV). This is something most companies pay entire marketing teams millions to research and thanks to Market Samurai you can have these metrics at your finger-tips in seconds for a fraction of the cost!

These lessons along with the day by day video training and interactive forums make the Challenge a must for ANYONE looking to get into an online business, however, be aware of all the up-sells and stay focused on applying what you learn instead of sitting on the knowledge as I did. If you apply this you are all but guaranteed success in your business, just try not to get confused and discouraged as many do, depending on the keywords you target it can take 5 days to 6 months to get first page rankings on Google. However, you are ranking for valuable and relevant keywords, not just keywords. Case in point this site ranks #1 for my name, yes I have a #1 ranking on Google, however, no one searches for me and I really don’t aim to make any money off this site, so this #1 ranking is virtually worthless.

Merry Xmas and many good luck to all in your endeavors for 2011!

Aaron Patzer – Get Rich Quick Success Story!

By · December 17, 2010 · Filed in Business Education · No Comments »

Aaron Patzer - Look at those guns! His actual muscles are almost as impressive as his financial "muscle".

MJ DeMarco, the author of “The Millionaire Fastlane” always says “people don’t believe in ‘Get Rich Quick’, however it does exist, the myth is the ‘Get Rich Easy’ crowd, where you believe buying a product on TV will somehow make you a millionaire, when the only person really making money is the guy selling the product.”

Well Aaron Patzer is an example of “Get Rich Quick” and if you say to yourself any of the following: “Well he got his undergrad from Princeton and his master’s from Duke” or “He had the right connections to get VC funding” or “He just worked so hard that he made it happen” then chances are you’ll never replicate his success. Yes, Aaron Patzer literally started and sold his creation, Mint.com, in just under 3 years, selling it to financial services giant Intuit for an astounding $170m of which he personally profited about $34m. Thus, he “Got Rich Quick”. To top it off, recent news shows that his part of the deal to stay on as an advisor for Intuit has become less restrictive of his time/freedom and he is currently traveling the world looking for new opportunities(and enjoying himself along the way).

So where do we begin? How about a NECST analysis of his product to see how he was able to go from 0 to $170m in just under 3 years:

NEED: Mint.com filled the void that most online banking systems lacked, a central point where you can manage ALL of your finances. Think of it like QuickBooks meets your personal bank’s online banking and add to it suggestions on how to get recommendations on better banking products based on your current accounts. Take someone like myself, I’ve been using online banking for over 5yrs and have been sick of the fact that I have to bookmark and login to about 8 different accounts for various personal credit cards, consumer credit cards and bank accounts, I tried doing a spreadsheet to consolidate everything, but having to input everything manually was a pain! Low and behold, Aaron Patzer was my savior and answered my prayers and fulfilled this need. Here’s a video of Aaron explaining all the needs it fulfills and why it’s better than what’s currently on the market:

ENTRY: There’s plenty of personal banking software, many of which comes with a small fee. While it seems that anyone with a little bit of programming knowledge can do this, to do what Aaron Patzer did with Mint took a ton of diligence along with making sure to hire the right people to help him. In this article, he states that each engineer he added to the business increased the company’s value $500k while each business guy reduced the value by $250k. Simply put, those who created resources added value while those who consumed them took it away. By adding the right pieces he overcame the barriers that most web development companies can’t get past, which is how to take your business to the next level.

CONTROL: See above! While he was adding engineers, he made sure to be extremely selective of partners and investors so he could retain creative control of the project. Even after securing seed capital, an angel investment, 3 rounds of VC funding and ultimately selling out to Intuit, he retained control of the product. His agreement with Intuit put him in a decision-making capacity where he is running the Quicken division of Intuit in a VP position. To further cement his control he has now ditched his desk and is doing what he loves – Traveling, all while trying to further his cause in expanding Mint.com to other countries, namely Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

SCALE: His product serves the needs of millions and as of today does have over 1 million users, as evidenced here. His product is free to use. His product earns an average of $40/yr in revenue per user based on advertising targeted to the financial product needs of over 1 million users, thus it’s a multi-million dollar product! He is building his business based on what MJ calls “reach” where the more users you get, the more valuable your product is, as opposed to magnitude where the more unit profit you earn, the more value you get, as is the case with designer clothing or exotic cars where it requires less units sold to be a multi-million dollar product.

TIME: See Control. His business is now independent of his time. While he did stay on as an advisor at Intuit, the fact that he controls his schedule now means that his wealth is independent of his time and thus he has achieved true wealth. Aaron’s success is unlike most of the Dot-Com Millionaires 10 years ago, who unknowingly gave up control of their companies for worthless stock options and an agreement that they stayed on board as an employee of their own company only to see their wealth disintegrate with the burst of the tech bubble in 2000-2001.

Don’t take my word for it though, listen to more info from the man himself:

Oodle = Terrible Customer Service!

By · December 5, 2010 · Filed in Business Education, Personal · 2 Comments »

As an aspiring entrepreneur and limited in scale by Craigslist, I found out about Oodle.com about 9 months back as a viable free alternative.

Well so far I’ve been wrong!

First off, I tried to list my motorcycle for sale back in April and had my account linked to my Facebook so they could see I was a real person. Despite this, my listing was still flagged as spam and my account was suspended. I contacted customer service, got a canned automated response and that was that. I didn’t think much of it as I thankfully sold the bike a few weeks later via Craigslist.

Fast forward to today, I am trying to sell my old computer and put up a business listing. Same story, same results.

To make matters worse, Oodle has now become the official provider for Facebook Marketplace, which means having my account down on Oodle also means no ability to post on Facebook Marketplace!

Here’s their suggestion via the FAQ:

My listing was marked as spam.

There are many things that might cause a listing to be removed, such as our automated safety mechanisms, user reports, trademark violation complaints, etc.

If you believe your listing does not violate our Terms of Use or contain prohibited content, and you think it was removed by mistake, send us a message.

Let’s start with automated safety mechanisms – Umm isn’t this why we link our Facebook account to Oodle, so they know we’re a real person that is placing a real listing? And if so, there’s no warning sent out? Sounds like a “Shoot first, ask questions later” model, which I wouldn’t mind if they had the customer support to justify this level of moderation.

Next, user reports, if this is the case then it most likely meant that someone flagged my listing through a simple email address in their Terms of Use that you can use to report spam and since my listing was completely legit and I didn’t try to scam anyone, this means someone flagged my listing for no apparent reason and it was removed without any warnings.

Finally, trademark violation complaints, I know that Apple is very litigious when it comes to their trademark, however, this shouldn’t limit me from selling a used Apple laptop especially since I didn’t use any official logos or stock photos in my listing and again, even if this was the case, I’d appreciate a WARNING notice before having my listing taken down!

After all of this, contacting the customer support is like any other big conglomerate, fill out a form and we might get back to you. In fact here’s the exact response:

Dear Clint,

Thank you for submitting your question to us.  Case #[REMOVED]: “Have not Received a Response Yet!” has been created.

This is an automated reply. A Oodle Classifieds Customer Support Specialist will review your message and if appropriate will respond.

Please take the time to visit our Help & Support page to see if your question is answered there.

Thank you,

Customer Support Specialist Desk
Oodle Classifieds

Apparently someone read the Four Hour Work Week and took the section about using auto-responders too literally to realize that this is POOR customer service!

So after one day and no response, I sent another complaint, here’s what I sent:

I am very frustrated that my account has been flagged for no apparent reason with no warning

“Your account has been suspended due to a Terms of Use violation. If you believe it was suspended in error, please contact us and your account will be reviewed within 14 days. “

To top it off, your website’s policy and automated reply is an example of terrible customer service:

“This is an AUTOMATED reply. A Oodle Classifieds Customer Support Specialist will review your message and IF APPROPRIATE will respond.”

First off, no direct customer support line or email? I know giants like eBay and Amazon have the same policies, however, they also aren’t so quick to flag listings/accounts and if so, they’ll atleast send a warning!

Secondly, you will only respond “if appropriate”, what’s more appropriate than atleast giving a reason for why my account was flagged?

Your policy states it could take up to 14 days to receive a response.

Every day that my ad is not up hurts my business and I will not hesitate to do what I need to in order to get the word out about YOUR business!

Still very frustrated,
Clint

As you can also see the message on my account says it can take up to 14 days for them to respond – in this digital age that much time is A LOT of money, just imagine if I was a business that depended on holiday sales and was losing this time now?

All in all, this is complete garbage and while I already have problems to solve in my own business, I hope some aspiring entrepreneur reads this and comes up with a better model for free ads than this garbage!

I will stick to Craigslist for now and if Oodle actually responds favorably, I will write a follow-up or retract this post, but for now, this will stay as a reminder of terrible customer service that needs to go viral!

UPDATE: Oodle got the message!

Not only was my account re-instated, but I got a nice apologetic email with a personal touch, here’s what they sent:

Dear Clint,

Thanks for contacting the customer support desk at Oodle. First please allow me to apologize that we did not respond to your initial complaint of suspension back in March of this year.

Regarding your account suspension, we have many mechanisms helping us fight fraud and spam, including automated listing filters or reports by our users. Occasionally, an innocent user gets “caught” by these mechanisms.

I have now investigated and determined that you are not violating our Terms of Use in any way. I have reactivated your account and your recent listings should be available on the search results now.

Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience.

I also want to let you know that earlier this year we recognized that our support desk staff was not sufficient to respond to the requests for assistance from our rapidly growing community of users. To respond to the need, we have added a number of support desk representatives, so that now requests such as yours are being reviewed more quickly than we were able to in the past.

Please include this full message if/when you reply to this email. Thanks for using both the Facebook Marketplace and Oodle Marketplace.

Regards,

Naomi
Oodle Customer Support
http://www.oodle.com

Oodle
More listings. Smarter classifieds.

I am very satisfied with this and I hope this is the beginning of a wonderful business relationship! What it sounds like is they’re an example of a business outgrowing their support staff, while I can’t fault them on their amazing growth, let this be a reminder to all entrepreneurs that customer service is your #1 priority, for more on this, check out this article – Explode Your Business By Dialing In Customer Service That “SUCKS”! – Fastlane Entrepreneurs Blog

The Millionaire Fastlane – Why You Should Read This Book!

By · December 2, 2010 · Filed in Business Education · 2 Comments »

I was fortunate enough to get one of the first copies of MJ Demarco’s new book: The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime

In addition to interacting with MJ on his wonderful entrepreneur forums: The Fastlane Forum, I have had the honor of meeting him at the unofficial Fastlane gathering affectionately known as “The Beer and Pancakes Gathering” held annually in Scottsdale, AZ. While beer and pancakes are not actually served(it’s an inside joke for forum members) it is one of the best ways to meet and network with aspiring dreamers like myself and established doers like MJ and others.

Looking Oh So Cool In Our Fastlane T-Shirts

But enough of that, on to the book.

What else can I say but: Wow! This book not only met, it shattered my expectations, considering most of the information can be found on the forums, this was not simply a regurgitation of past posts, but rather a quick reference guide and look into the mind of a self-made millionaire.

How amazing is MJ’s story? Well you be the judge:

Although he graduated from Northern Illinois University with a double major in Business and Finance, his road afterwards was much different from his friends who funneled into safe, secure careers with Fortune 500 companies. In fact, he went the opposite route and bounced from minimum wage job to minimum wage job while being a pyramid schemer’s wet dream in buying into all the usual gimmicks before a one final Chicago snow storm and depression led him to make a major lifestyle change and move to sunny Arizona in his beat-down Oldsmobile with $900 in his pocket and no one to support him financially, but himself. From here he took initiative and learned website design and HTML coding, something that was still in its infancy and along with his depressing moment while working as a limo driver which both led him to starting Limos.com, a lead generation service that met an under-fulfilled need of linking customers with limo companies throughout the US.

In order to get to the meat of the book I will skip the further details of his journey, however, his travel from Point A(destitute poor at age 26) to Point B(retired multi-millionaire by age 35) was a process with many bumps in the road and not just a one-time event.

The book is split into 8 Parts:

1.  Wealth In A Wheelchair: “Get Rich Slow” Is Get Rich Old

2. Wealth Is Not A Road, But A Road Trip!

3. Poorness: The Sidewalk Roadmap

4. Mediocrity: The Slowlane Roadmap

5. Wealth: The Fastlane Roadmap

6. Your Vehicle To Wealth: YOU

7. The Roads To Wealth

8. Your Speed: Accelerate Wealth

Best of all the book is laid out like a coffee house chat with MJ himself and not just some cheesy “if you believe it, it will happen” piece of garbage. This book not only gives you advice to what you should be doing, but also smacks you in the face and opens your eyes to what you are doing wrong.

The book loves to utilize symbols of wealth such as Lamborghinis and mountainside estates. If these are not your thing, remember, you can fill in the blanks, if starting a life-changing charity or owning a horse ranch in Montana are your dreams, then realize that making these dreams a reality involves wealth which liberates you from indentured time spent in school or at a job.

MJ's Reward For Hardwork and Perseverence

We all like to believe that we can do what we love and the money will follow, however, this book explains why this isn’t so as shown in Chapter 30: “The Commandment of Need” where the horrifying statistic of “90% of businesses fail” almost always leads back to a selfish desire to do what YOU love as opposed to finding a NEED of others that you can passionately pursue to build your successful business and ultimately do what you love after you’ve traveled the Fastlane and removed money from the equation.

Additionally, there are many equations and acronyms that make the ideas of this book easy to remember.

For example, the Fastlane is not only a level of wealth, but the concepts are related to driving terms most of us are familiar with such as: wealth being a Road Trip and not just a simple event(i.e. flying to your destination), taking control of “Life’s Steering Wheel”, “Wiping Your Windshield Clean”, “Changing Your Dirty, Stale Oil”, traveling the “Insterstates” of wealth and ultimately “Finding Your Open Road”.

The three levels themselves relate to the road and where you stand: Sidewalkers(poor), Slowlaners(mediocre) and Fastlaners(wealthy).

Sidewalkers are those who believe Wealth = Wages + Credit Available and can be anyone from a minimum wage worker living paycheck to paycheck to the bankrupt millionaire entertainers and athletes you read about all the time. Slowlaners are those who believe Wealth = Intrinsic Value(either Hourly Wage x Hours Worked OR Yearly Salary) + Compound Interest. Sadly this is the majority of the US work force who trade their talents and time for a promise of a better future that as we saw with the Market Crash of 2008 and the resulting recession and unemployment is a bigger risk than going belly-up and starting a business from scratch.

Both levels are usually victims to scammers and gurus, the Sidewalkers usually falling for the late-night infomercial variety that promise a “Get Rich Easy” event driven wealth ideal while Slowlaners fall for the “respected” gurus that you see in bookstores and TV that promote ideas like “max out your 401k, cut up your credit cards or skip the $10 latte and finish rich”, while these seem more noble than “For two payments of $39.99 you will be a millionaire in no-time” their message is just as dangerous as they promote sacrificing a very limited asset(TIME) for an unlimited asset(MONEY).

If you don’t believe me, consider the fact that the GDP of the world is somewhere in the range of $60 trillion where the accepted level of wealth of $1 million represents less than one-millionth of one percent while the accepted work life of a Slowlaner is about 40 years(age 25-65) of an average expected life span of 77 years and thus 52% of your life is exchanged for 16% of free time in the twilight of your life and to quote the book “wheelchairs don’t fit in the trunk of a Lamborghini,” a humorous spin on the idea of “What’s the point of saving your money for a time of life when you’re too old to enjoy it?”

Needless to say the first four parts are hard-hitting and eye-opening leading to the answer: The Fastlane!

Here the belief is: Wealth = Net Profit + Asset Value. This equation shows mathematically that there is a higher limit to the Fastlane than the Sidewalk which is limited by Wages and Credit Limits, both of which are not controlled by you, but rather your employer and your bank and the Slowlane, Intrinsic Value, again limited by your employer and Compound Interest, limited by markets you have no control of and time that is painfully finite. Utilizing the Fastlane equation proves that while “Get Rich Easy” is a fairy tale born of late-night infomercials, “Get Rich Quick” is not only a reality, but is what MJ himself did as well as many others you read about from Mint.com founder Aaron Patzer to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and numerous others.

While there is so much great info within the Fastlane portion, from my reading and re-reading I can conclude that the most important portions are the NECST Principle, wherein the acronym NECST stands for the Five Commandments of Fastlane Business(NEED, ENTRY, CONTROL, SCALE and TIME), Chapter 40: Pedestrians Will Make You Rich which lays out how to leverage the needs of the many to fulfill your own desires and Chapter 43: Build Brands, Not Businesses which separates the businesses that are really jobs in disguise from the businesses that are self-sustaining and last generations.

Don’t take my word for it though, check out the customer reviews on Amazon and if this isn’t enough, you can download the first three chapters absolutely free!