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Book Summary: The Millionaire Fastlane, by MJ DeMarco

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Book reading time: 5h02.

Summary reading time: 25 min (the actual summary, not the entire article).

The Millionaire Fastlane is one of the three best business books of all time (along with Peter Thiel’s Zero to One and Unscripted, by the same author.)

This book had such an impact on me that I quit the management consultant interview processes I was in to become an entrepreneur instead. It also got me to start my first app (which failed).

I wouldn’t be writing this today if I hadn’t read The Millionaire Fastlane, and I owe the Fastlane Forum community a lot (even though I am no longer a member).

This summary is long, so I broke it into three parts.

  • One Idea
  • Executive Summary
  • Actual Summary

May this book change your life as much as it changed mine.

Get it on Amazon.


One Idea

A business likely to make you enough money for the rest of your life rests on 5 principles: NECST

Break one of these principles, and you’ll fail.


Executive Summary

You can take three different financial roads in life.

  1. The sidewalk: sidewalkers consume more than they produce and sacrifice tomorrow’s welfare for today’s dopamine. Wealth = income + debt.
  2. The slowlane: slowlaners work for 40 years and save every penny to retire “rich” if they don’t die before that. Wealth = income + stock market compound interest
  3. The fastlane: fastlaners build a fastlane business that scales and makes them millions in 10 years or less. Wealth = number of units sold X profit per unit sold

A fastlane business rests on the 5 principles: NECST.

  • Need: your business must fulfill a need/solve a problem people are willing to pay for.
  • Entry: your business must take time and skill to set up (must have barriers to entry).
  • Control: if a company has the power to destroy your business in 5 min, you don’t have control (Amazon can suspend your Amazon FBA account just like that).
  • Scale: your business must scale to make a lot of money (a website scales easily, an ice-cream shop doesn’t).
  • Time: your business must make you money when you sleep or take holidays.

Break one of them and you will fail.

Fastlane entrepreneurs must be committed to making it work whatever happens.

This starts with your beliefs (you can do it) -> ignite action -> towards a purpose.

To win, you are going to have to be the best. To be the best you are going to have to learn everything you don’t know on how to build a business -> become a learning machine.


Summary of The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco

Part 1: Wealth in a Wheelchair: Get Rich Slow is Get Rich Old

Chapter 1: The Great Deception

Society’s way of becoming rich is slow.

  • Work a 9-5
  • Save 10%
  • Invest in the stock market
  • Get rich at 65

-> it’s a losing game.

If the journey takes 50 years of your life, is the journey worth it?

No.

You’ll never make millions that will enable you to buy a mansion and a Ferrari anyway.

-> TMF (The Millionaire Fastlane) is different.

It’s about getting rich young and retiring early.


Chapter 2: How I Screwed “Get Rich Slow”

One day, the author saw a young guy driving a Lamborghini.

He went to ask him what he did for a living.

The guy answered, “I am an inventor”.

The author understood that getting rich young was possible.

He tried different businesses. All failed until one of them got traction.

Slowly, he made a couple of dollars, then dozens, then hundreds, then thousands, then millions.

The author became a multimillionaire at 33 and sold his business for $8 million before retiring.

-> wealth doesn’t happen linearily, but exponentially.

An exponential.

Part 2: Wealth Is Not a Road, but a Roadtrip

Chapter 3: The Road Trip to Wealth

Getting rich is not about following a path. It’s about organizing a trip.

Millionaires become millionaires by orchestrating careful processes -> wealth creation is not an event!

No one becomes a millionaire “overnight”, despite what the media may tell you.

Behind every event stands a long and painful process (eg: learning how to code).


Chapter 4: The Roadmaps to Wealth

Your current net worth is the product of your financial decisions coming from your choices which come from your beliefs.

-> change your beliefs -> change your choices -> change your life.

There are only three financial roads people take.

  1. The Sidewalk
  2. The Slowlane
  3. The Fastlane

Each of these operates under a mathematical formula that determines the outcome.

The fastlane, the slowlane, and the sidewalk.

Part 3: The Sidewalk

Chapter 5: The Sidewalk

Sidewalkers don’t have any financial plans.

Broadly, they spend more than they earn for status, and eventually go bankrupt.

Their wealth equation is wealth = income + debt.

They “live in the moment” and only seek pleasures in life.


Chapter 6: Has Your Wealth Been Toxified

Society has told you that wealth is a Ferrari inside a $50 million yacht.

It’s not.

True wealth is a trinity: family, fitness (health), and freedom.

True wealth is knowing you can buy anything – but that you don’t have to.

It’s not driving a Mercedes on credits -> some want to look rich, some want to be rich.

Which one are you?

Embed from Getty Images

Chapter 7: Misuse Money and Money Will Misuse You

They tell you money doesn’t buy happiness for two reasons.

  1. Most often than not, people making a lot of money make it on an 80-hour workweek -> no freedom.
  2. We were told that happiness is buying the latest iPhone -> it’s not.

In both of these cases, you’re not free -> you’re not happy.

Wage slaves.

Money is happiness when it buys you the freedom to:

  • watch your kids grow up
  • pursue your craziest dreams
  • make a difference in the world

Sidewalkers aren’t happy because they live a lifestyle of servitude.

Work -> spend -> work -> spend.

The sidewalk is a vicious cycle.

If you spend more as your income increases, you’ll never break free.

If you think about whether you can afford something or not, you can’t.

People buying stuff they can’t afford succumb to the trap of instant gratification -> be happy now, and miserable later.

Be happy now, and miserable later. Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Chapter 8: Lucky Bastards Play the Game

Luck is created only if you expose yourself to it.

You can’t be lucky to sell your company if you don’t go through the process of building it.

Luck only happens if you play the game of luck -> get out there to create luck instead of playing World of Warcraft.

-> Sidewalkers love events, but they hate the process.

Sidewalkers think that:

  • Luck is needed for wealth
  • Wealth is an event
  • Others can give wealth to me

You need to abandon these beliefs if you hope to become wealthy.


Chapter 9: Wealth Demands Accountability

You need to take responsibility for creating your own wealth yourself.

Give up the idea to give your money to someone so that they can multiply it for you (the stock market).

Think for yourself and take responsibility -> stop being a victim.

Most bad situations are consequences of our choices and actions -> most situations are our fault.

Until we take responsibility for it, nothing will change.


Part 4: Mediocrity: The Slowlane Roadmap

Chapter 10: The Lie You’Ve Been Sold: The Slowlane

While the sidewalk sacrifices tomorrow for today, the slowlane sacrifices today for tomorrow.

Sidewalkers consciously save every penny that they invest in the stock market and hope to retire rich at 65 (if they live until then).

The problem of the slowlane is that you rest on variables you do not control:

  • having a job
  • the stock market going up
  • not dying before 65

Slowlaners’ path usually goes like this:

  • Go to school
  • Get good grades
  • Graduate
  • Get a job
  • Work overtime
  • Save everything you make
  • Retire after 40 years

The financial equation of the slowlane is:

Wealth = Job as Primary Income Source + Stock Market as Wealth Accelerator

-> Wealth = Intrinsic Value + Compound Interest

-> Intrinsic Value = Hourly Wage X Hours Worked = Yearly Salary

The slowlane is insane. You sell your soul Monday to Friday to be free Saturday and Sunday.

It is the equivalent of giving €5 and getting €2 in return.

Slowlaners exchange time for money, and at the end of their lives, are left with neither.

You when you realize what the slowlane really is.

Chapter 11: The Criminal Trade: Your Job

If you want to escape the slowlane, you need to give up your job.

Jobs suck because you have limited leverage and limited control.

6 reasons why a sound financial plan can’t include a job

1. Trading time is trading life.

A job is selling your freedom (Monday-Friday) to get freedom (Weekend) -> it’s dumb.

Your time is all you have in this world.

You need more than one hundred years of working a job to save $1 million today -> you won’t get rich with a 9-5.

-> what you want is getting paid regardless of whether you are working or not.

The boss of the factory gets paid everyday. The employees only get paid when they come to work.

2. Limitation of Experience

If you become irrelevant in the market because a robot (or a Chinese) took your job, you are toast.

3. No Control

You can’t control the direction your company takes nor the willingness of your boss to keep you.

4. Linda’s Bad Breath

Office politics are the same everywhere. To run the office, you have to be the boss -> you have to own the company.

5. A Subscription to Pay Yourself Last

“Pay yourself first” is a slowlane doctrine, but with taxes and everything else, it’s impossible.

6. A Dictatorship on Income

You are the one creating the value, but you don’t decide how much you earn for it.


Chapter 12: The Slowlane – Why You Aren’t Rich

You’ll never get rich in the slowlane because it is rooted in Uncontrollable Limited Leverage (ULL).

To get rich, you need to attract vast sums of money -> you need control and leverage.

The problem is that you have neither with a job.

Your salary = Hourly Rate Pay X Hours Worked

-> you only have 24 hours in a day -> time has no leverage.

Time has no leverage.

But what about the stock market?

It’s the same thing.

The stock market (when it doesn’t crash) grows by 7% a year. You won’t get rich with 7% growth from savings from a salary.

For compound interests to be effective, you need three things.

  1. Time: measured in years, not centuries.
  2. Yearly Investment Yield
  3. Invested Sum

Compound Interest = Invested Sum X (1+ Yield)years

To become a millionaire, the stock market would need to yield 10% each year for 40 years.

Lol.

What you want isn’t 10%.

It’s 10 000 000%.

The slowlane is a plan of hope -> hope you won’t get fired and that the stock market will not crash.

You don’t want hope. You want control.


Chapter 13: The Futile Fight: Education

The only way slowlaners think they can make their money is by raising their intrinsic value -> so they go back to school.

The problem with education is that it costs both time and money.

The idea that in order to get rich, you need a degree, is a myth.

The degree in fact commoditizes you and makes you like everybody else. It teaches you specific knowledge which decreases the size of the pool where you can get a job.


Chapter 14: The Hypocrisy of the Gurus

The problem with the financial gurus is that they are victims of the paradox of practice.

The paradox of practice is the idea that they didn’t get rich by following what they preach (save $100 every week).

They got rich by preaching and selling books about getting rich!

-> you can’t (and shouldn’t) follow their advice.

Look at what people do, not at what they say!

Take financial advice from people that got rich other than by giving financial advice (the notion of “skin in the game” if you want to explore this principle further).


Chapter 15: Slowlane Victory…A Gamble of Hope

The slowlane is a dangerous path for seven reasons.

1. The Danger of Your Health

What if you die before 65, and become tragically unhealthy?

2. The Danger of the Job

To succeed, you must avoid layoffs, politics, firings, bad job markets, and replacements by AI or robots.

3. The Danger of Your Home

Real estate markets are cyclical. You can’t rely on the value of your home.

4. The Danger of the Company

If your pension, job, or stocks are invested in one company, you hope the company survives.

5. The Danger of Your Lifestyle

You can’t own the car you want to (Ferrari) nor live in the country you want to.

6. The Danger of the Economy

The slowlane hopes that the stock market yields 8% each year and that it doesn’t crash.

7. The Danger of the Sidewalk

When your 100k invested in the stock market crashes to 40k after a crisis, a lot of people give up and become sidewalkers.

-> the slowlane is slow and risky.

-> the slowlane is predisposed to mediocrity because what everyone does is always mediocre.

But then, why do we hear about slowlane millionaires?

Inflation.

1 or 2 million is actually easy to get if you work for 40 years.

But it doesn’t make you rich at all.

Today, you need at least $8 million.


Part 5: Wealth – The Fastlane Roadmap

Chapter 16: Wealth’s Shortcut: The Fastlane

The fastlane is a business and lifestyle strategy characterized by Controllable Unlimited Leverage which creates an optimal environment for wealth creation.

1. Controllable Unlimited Leverage (CUL)

Maximum control and maximum leverage.

A scalable business gives you leverage.

2. Business

You own a business and control your income.

3. Lifestyle

The fastlane is a lifestyle, a commitment to beliefs, processes, and actions.

4. Rapid Wealth Creation

The fastlane enables you to create massive wealth in a short amount of time -> it’s not for everyone -> but is it for you?

The fastlane mindset is made out of the following pillars.

  • Debt: useful if you can make more money out of it.
  • Time: time is the most important asset, far exceeding money.
  • Education: the moment you stop learning, you die.
  • Money: money is everywhere. The money you have = the value you created for society.
  • Primary Income Source: business system and investments.
  • Primary Wealth Accelerator: creating assets, or buying and growing assets.
  • Wealth Perception: Build business systems for cash flow and asset valuation.
  • Wealth Equation: Wealth = Net Profit + Asset Value
  • Strategy: the more I help others, the richer I become in time, money, and personal fulfillment.
  • Destination: Lifetime passive income through business or investments.
  • Responsibility%Control: Life is what I make out of it.
  • Life Perception: My dreams are worth pursuing no matter how outlandish, and I understand that it will take money to make some of those dreams real.

If you want to see what real-life fastlane stories look like, check this out.

The main difference between the fastlane and the two other lanes is that fastlaners do not spend their time…selling it at a job.

The fastlaner builds a system that after a couple of years will make him money regularly.

If getting rich is the equivalent of going to China, the slowlaner will walk there and hope to arrive within 1 year.

The fastlaner will spend the first month building a bike, and will be in China two months later.

These are the three roads. Which ones will you choose?

Chapter 17: Switch Teams and Playbooks

Winning teams use winning playbooks. Forget your losing slowlane playbook and switch teams.

That means: stop consuming and start producing.

  • Don’t buy on TV -> sell on TV
  • Don’t dig gold -> sell shovels
  • Don’t take a class -> teach a class
  • Don’t borrow money -> lend it
  • Don’t take a job -> hire people

-> shift your mindset from consumption to production

The best way to produce is with a business.

Not a small business that enslaves you while giving you mediocre pay!

A business that uses leverage to create massive wealth.


Chapter 18: How the Rich Really Get Rich

The rich become rich because they have Controllable Unlimited Leverage (CUL).

Net Profit = (Units Sold) X (Unit Profit).

Eg: you have a website that sells leads. You make $4 per lead and sell 1000 leads per day.

-> 4k per day -> 1 460 000 per year.

Raise the price of the lead to 5 and suddenly, you make 1 825 000.

Asset Value = (Net Profit) X (Industry Multiplier)

Imagine your lead selling company makes now 4 million a year in profit, and you are in an industry with an 8X multiplier.

4 million X 8 = 32 million -> become rich “overnight” through a liquidation event (when you sell your company and transform paper money into real money).

Rich people use this equation and create immense wealth.

If they want to get richer, all they need to do is to increase the number of units sold, or the profit on the unit -> the sky is the limit + you have control.

If a slowlaner wants to make more money, he needs to ask for a raise -> no control + no leverage.

Millionaires are millionaires because they spend their time and money on building assets or buying them.

These assets are appreciable and controllable: businesses, apartments, patents, stocks, etc while slowlaners buy depreciable assets (like cars).

Fastlaners have unlimited leverage.

Slowlaners have none.


Chapter 19: Divorce Wealth From Time

When you have an asset that is making you money, you can be sick at home for two weeks and still earn an income.

Your wealth is divorced from time.

Not all businesses are like that. Businesses based on your special skills, franchises, and businesses that don’t scale aren’t fastlane.

They’re jobs.

There are five types of fastlane money trees.

1. Rental Systems: the most passive.

Real estate, royalty payments from books, movies, patents, pictures, etc…are rental systems.

Book royalties is a rental system.

2. Computer/software systems: the second most passive system.

Computers don’t complain and run 24/7. The marginal cost of unit replication is near zero.

Eg: when the code is written, it’s written!

This is why the Internet has made more millionaires in 10 years than there were in the previous century.

Hostinger is a web hosting company. Computers do all of the work.

3. Content systems

Online: blogs, Youtube channels, courses on Udemy, e-books, etc.

Offline, it can be writing books.

Auresnotes.com is a content system. People read the blog when I am sleeping.

4. Distribution Systems

Distribution systems can be leveraged to sell a product you invent.

Eg: Amazon, the AppStore, etc.

Franchising your business is another distribution system.

TikTok is a distribution system.

5. Human Resource Systems

It’s basically all other companies that need employees to grow.

These are the least passive, most complicated, and most expensive businesses to run.

But don’t let that scare you. You can’t do everything yourself, so you will likely have to hire employees at some point.

Starbucks is a HR system. Scaling is possible, but costly.

Chapter 20: Recruit Your Army of Freedom Fighters

The best money tree that exists wasn’t mentioned in the previous chapter. And it’s money.

Money is the best way to make money.

Money pays you interest -> there is nothing more passive than that.

3% interest on 12.5 million is 375k per year, or 1k per day.

What can you do with 1k per day?

Well, a lot.

The problem with the money money tree is that you need to become rich in order for it to work.

Build an asset -> make millions -> sell it for millions -> invest these millions -> make money without doing anything.

Every dollar you earn has the potential to make many more -> money is your army.

And this is where you see how compound interest should not be used to become rich, but to stay rich.

The fastlane uses the 5% stock market yield to generate thousands of millions.


Chapter 21: The Real Law of Wealth

The Law of Attraction is great, but if you spend your time merely thinking, you’ll never get rich.

Replace the Law of Attraction with the Law of Effection.

The more lives you affect in an entity you control, in scale and magnitude, the richer you will become.

Impact million -> make millions.

If you are a receptionist, your value to society is low -> you are not making any money.

If you design software for hotel receptionists, your value to society is high -> you are making a lot more money.

Being a receptionist VS serving receptionists.

The amount of money you have = the value you delivered to society.

Effection = scale or magnitude (or both).

To make money, you need to greatly impact a few people (build houses), or to impact a lot of people (sell phones).

If you greatly impact a lot of people, you’ll be a billionaire.

Net profit = Units Sold (scale) X Unit Profit (magnitude)

The closer you get to the source of large numbers, the closer you will get to wealth.

Think big to earn big.


Part 6: Your Vehicle to Wealth: You

You

Chapter 22: Own Yourself First

You are responsible for making the journey.

When you earn money from a job, the company owns you and you get paid last.

-> you need to break from that and own yourself.


Chapter 23: Life’s Steering Wheel

What’s the cause of poverty? It’s not a lack of money (lack of money is the consequence.)

The cause of poverty is poor choices.

-> you are the sum of your choices and choices are the steering wheel of your life.

Look at anyone who is poor, and you will see a series of poor choices.

  • Watching TV VS reading a book
  • Getting a credit card you can’t afford VS saving money
  • Partying VS working on a side hustle

What is chosen today will impact you forever.

Some tiny choices (driving drunk VS learning how to code) can further change your life forever (dying or going to jail VS starting a software company).

Your choices today will impact your life forever.

Choose well, live well.

Your choices are your life steering wheel.

Make the right choices time and again, and you will succeed.

The red dots are the wrong choices. The green dots are the right choices. The road to wealth is paved with right choices.

Chapter 24: Wipe Your Windshield Clean

You can choose your actions, and you can also choose your thoughts.

Actions are determined by perceptions and beliefs.

If you believe in an idea, you are likely to act in accordance with that belief.

-> making better choices is a matter of upgrading your perceptions and beliefs.

You know which mindset you have by looking at the words you use.

“I think”, “maybe”, “I am unsure”, “I never”, “I can’t”, “not my fault” etc reek lack of confidence.

So, how do you upgrade your beliefs?

Find the people that have what you have and look at the beliefs that they have.

If you want extraordinary results, you are going to need extraordinary thinking.

You are going to need to make better choices.

Use these two tools to do so.

  1. Worse Case Consequence Analysis (WCCA)
  2. Weighted Average Decision Matrix (WADM)

WCCA

The matrix asks you to answer three questions.

  1. What is the worst-case consequence of this choice?
  2. What is the probability of this outcome?
  3. Is this an acceptable risk?

WADM

This tool is for big decisions when you have a range of options.

It will simply assign a number of points to each option according to a range of factors.

Let’s take an example: staying in Belgium VS moving to Spain.

Write all of the factors you use to make your decision.

Assign to each of them a score between 1 and 10.

Eg: safety in Belgium: 1. Safety in Spain: 9.

Then weigh each factor according to their importance (Safety gets a 10 because it is the most important to me; finding a girlfriend gets a 2 because I can do that anywhere).

Then multiply the grade by the importance factor (Belgium gets 10 in safety, Spain gets 90).

FactorsBelgiumSpain
Safety (10)1 → 109 → 90
Cost of living (price of meat + rent) (9)6 → 547 → 63
Job opportunities and ease to find a job (8)5 → 407 → 52
Ease of starting a business + taxes (7)5 → 354 → 28
People (6)1 → 69 → 54
Weather (5)0 → 09 → 45
Salary (4)8 → 325 → 20
Language (3)8 → 246 → 18
Finding a girlfriend (2)1 → 25 → 10
Total203380

Spain is a clear winner (to be honest I didn’t need the WADM to know that).

So get your eyes off your past now, and focus on the road ahead.

The universe doesn’t care about your past.

The only person that does is you.

If the universe doesn’t remember, why should you?

It’s not because you were called an idiot as a kid that it actually makes you so.

Just because you have no skills doesn’t mean you can’t start learning and building a great company.

Don’t allow your past to determine your future.


Chapter 25: Deodorize Flatulent Headwinds

Society will always try to prevent you from taking action to become successful.

People will tell you you’re dumb and that “you can’t do it” because they themselves believe it is impossible – and proving them otherwise would hurt them.

Who are these people?

  • Friends and family
  • Institutions
  • The media
  • Slowlane gurus
  • Your environment

Extraordinary wealth demands extraordinary beliefs.

Anyone that doesn’t empower you, slows you down.

This is why you should seek an ideal environment. If the depressed people you live with drag you down, go somewhere else. If the weather drags you down, go somewhere else. If your job drags you down and traps you, do something else.


Chapter 26: Your Primordial Fuel: Time

People waiting hours in line for a free bucket of fried chicken value money more than time, which is dumb.

Money is infinite, time isn’t.

At the end of the day, we all die.

Your ultimate destination.

Your life will be made of two types of time: free time and indentured time.

Free time is time when you can do whatever you want.

Indentured time is the time you spend making money.

-> money buys free time.

Attack everything that devours your time to maximize free time to work on your business.

One of these is parasitic debt, which forces you to work a 9-5 to buy something you neither need nor can afford.

Just stop.

Time is king. Use it wisely.


Chapter 27: Change That Dirty Oil

What you know today is not enough to get where you want to be tomorrow.

What got you on the island won’t get you through the forest, then up the mountain.

-> you need to upgrade your knowledge and learn new stuff.

When you constantly learn new knowledge and new skills, new roads and opportunities open.

Fastlane education is education that aims at improving and growing your business.

Slowlane education is education that aims at improving your skills as an employee.

Today, most of the knowledge is online. Just consider Youtube: you can learn anything for free there.

Find other education resources here.

Your education doesn’t end at the graduation ceremony. It starts.


Chapter 28: Hit the Redline

The redline is a rock-solid commitment.

Fastlane businesses aren’t built in a day.

Are you interested, or committed?

Interested won’t cut it.

Interest reads a book -> commitment applies it.
Interest wants to start a business -> commitment files the paperwork.
Interest is quitting after the third failure -> commitment is trying until success.

How willing are you? Most people aren’t.

This separates the winners from the losers.

Know that the sweat of success is failure. If you avoid failure, you will also avoid success.

Failure is not a bad thing. It’s what it takes to succeed. It’s better to try and fail than to regret never trying.

And in the fastlane, you only need to succeed once.

While the fastlane is taking a risk, it’s taking a good risk.

There are two types of risks: smart risks, and moronic risks.

Smart risks (launching a small company with €1k) have limited downside and unlimited upside: you whether lose the €1k, or you make millions off it.

Moronic risks (driving drunk) have unlimited downside and limited upside: you whether go home and sleep in your bed in a best-case scenario, or kill someone (or yourself) and spend 25 years in jail in a worst-case scenario.

So, what prevents people from committing to something?

Excuses. “Someday”, or “tomorrow”, when:

  • “The economy gets betters”
  • “The kids have grown up”
  • “I get a promotion”

But the problem is that tomorrow never comes because there is no such thing as the perfect time to start.

Opportunity doesn’t care about timing. When it passes, you need to grab it, or it will be gone forever.

The best time to start is now.


Part 7: The Roads to Wealth

Chapter 29: The Right Road Routes to Wealth

The road of a fastlaner is a fastlane business. That distinction is important.

A Deli where you work 12h/day every day may be a business, but it is not fastlane.

A chain of Deli where other people work 8-10h for you five days a week is a fastlane business.

As we said, to make millions, you have to impact millions.

A fastlane business rests on five commandments.

  1. The Commandment of Need
  2. The Commandment of Entry
  3. The Commandment of Control
  4. The Commandment of Scale
  5. The Commandment of Time

Chapter 30: The Commandment of Need

Most businesses fail because they are not delivering stuff customers need.

They are selfish businesses: eg: a restaurant in a city with already 1000 restaurants.

Businesses that win are businesses that solve needs.

If you build a business for yourself, you will fail.

-> stop thinking about business in terms of your selfish desires.

Look for needs, problems, pain points, service deficiencies, and emotions.

What business can I start with $200″ is the wrong question to ask.

The right question is “what problem can I solve with $200?”

If you want to attract money, forget about money.

Money is like a cat. It is attracted, not chased.

Money = value. Provide value -> get money.

A business that works isn’t about “doing what you love”.

It’s about doing “what other people love“, as they are the ones paying you.

When you do what you love -> your passion becomes a job -> you no longer like it.

Eg:

  • Taxi drivers hate driving
  • Doctors hate people
  • Singers hate singing

What you need is not passion for the activity, but for the things you will buy with the money you earn.

Eg: passion: for a mansion, passion for a private jet, a yacht, a Ferrari, etc.

Passion for what your business will enable you to have. Photo by Brandon Atchison on Unsplash.

Chapter 31: The Commandment of Entry

This Commandment 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.

Eg: e-commerce. In the early 90s, e-commerce meant buying a server, connecting it to the Internet, and hiring a bunch of engineers that could code your website -> high barriers.

In 2021, e-commerce means signing up for Shopify -> low barriers -> e-commerce is now crowded.

Shopify + Klarna | Klarna België
Shopify killed the barriers of entry to do e-commerce. As a result, e-commerce is now crowded.

-> easy entry creates a lot of competition.

The only way you can violate this commandment is by being exceptional.

If you sell exceptional goods, e-commerce will work.

If you are an exceptional writer, writing (the activity with the lowest barriers ever) will make you money too.

If you are an exceptional trader, trading will work.

-> Entry is a process, not an event.

If you are in business in less than 5 minutes, you are violating the Commandment of Entry.

Another way to look at whether the business is worth it or not is to look at everyone.

If everyone is doing it (dropshipping), leave. Everyone isn’t wealthy, nor will ever be.

-> when your taxi driver is telling you about Bitcoin, it’s time to sell!

Dumb money always shows up at the end of the boom.

When everyone is in, get out. When everyone is out, get in.

If you want to be unlike everyone, you can’t be like everyone else.


Chapter 32: The Commandment of Control

You are whether in control, or you aren’t.

If you are not, you are a hitchhiker.

Hitchhikers surf on other people’s business.

They are:

  • Youtube channels surfing on Youtube’s success
  • Amazon sellers surfing on Amazon’s success
  • Uber drivers surfing on Uber’s success
  • Franchise owners surfing on McDonald’s success

None of these people have control.

The real fastlaners are Youtube, Amazon, Uber, and McDonalds.

You need to change your mindset.

  • Create MLM companies – don’t join them.
  • Sell franchises – don’t buy them.
  • Run hedge funds – don’t invest in them.
  • Sell stock (when you go public) – don’t buy them.
  • Offer dropshipping – don’t dropship
  • Hire people – don’t get employed
  • Collect rents – don’t pay it

Got it?

A McDonald’s franchise owner, unless he owns 100, may make 5k-10k, which is nothing extraordinary.

Fastlane money is 200k a month.

You can’t make 200k if someone has control over your business.

So, why is control important?

Because anyone controlling your business can shut it down at any time.

Eg: When Subway did their last run of the $5 sandwich, it drove most subway restaurants into bankruptcy.

-> if someone can kill your business with a finger snap, you don’t have control.

Amazon is known for shutting down FBA accounts without any warning. They also ruthlessly copy products sold by third parties.

Chapter 33: The Commandment of Scale

Remember the Law of Effection?

Business is about leverage. If you can’t leverage, you’ll never be rich.

Leverage is about the market you are in.

A big market -> a lot of people to sell to. And the other way around.

The thing about business is that you only have to be right once -> choose a business that has the potential to make you rich aka don’t go open an ice-cream shop (unless you intend to franchise it ofc).

To increase scale, you whether need to sell to more people, or sell for more expensive.

-> selling to 10 people VS to 10 million people.
-> selling sandwiches VS selling Louis Vuitton bags.

There are three impediments to the Law of Effection: scale, magnitude, and source.

Scale: if you can’t sell to millions, you won’t make millions.

Magnitude: if you can’t sell one good/service for hundreds of thousands (at least), you won’t make millions.

Source: doctors, which save lives, should make millions, because they deliver a valuable service. So, why don’t they? Because they are not in control. The hospital is, so the hospital is making millions. For the Law of Effection to work, you need to be in control.

-> think scale and/or magnitude.


Chapter 34: The Commandment of Time

The Commandment of Time requires that your business be detached from your time.

To know that, answer this simple question: if you leave for a trek in the Amazonian forest for a month, can your business still make money and grow?

  • Can your business be automated?
  • Can you hire HR to manage it for you?

If your business requires you to be there, you’re not in the fastlane (unless you are paid 100k/hour).


Chapter 35: Rapid Wealth: The Interstates

There are three roads that are most likely to bring you wealth fast since they naturally respect the five Commandments.

1. Internet

The Internet de facto obeys the five Commandments, which is why it has made so many people millionaires.

You have seven broad categories of Internet business models.

  • Subscription-based: offer data, information, software, content, against a monthly fee.
  • Content-based: blogs mainly. They make money with affiliate marketing, advertising, etc.
  • Lead generation: they are websites centralizing aggregated information, usually selling a service (booking.com is a lead generation website, kinda).
  • Social networks
  • Brokerage systems: they connect buyers and sellers together (Fiverr, eBay).
  • Advertisers: like brokerage, they merge buyers and sellers together against a fee. Google, when you click on Google ads, is some sort of advertiser.
  • E-commerce

2. Innovation

Innovation works in two acts.

  1. Manufacture a product: it’s only half the battle
  2. Distribute: this is where the war is at. If your product doesn’t sell, it is worthless.

Some ideas for you:

  • Food
  • Household products
  • Health
  • Information
  • Personal goods (clothing)
  • Automotive

Inventing isn’t as much invention as you think. Sometimes, it can simply be repackaging and in the end, it’s mostly about marketing.

Red Bull, for example, is a pure marketing company. They outsource the entire Red Bull production and focus only on ads.

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3. Intentional Iteration

It means repeating a process with the aim of approaching a desired goal.

It’s the hardest road.

It’s the hardest road because it is scaling businesses that don’t scale naturally -> they must scale with people.

A supermarket, an ice cream shop, etc.

Ultimately, all businesses scale – you just need to hire people.

McDonald’s doesn’t scale well because you always need to hire a bunch of people, find real estate, etc, to scale.

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Chapter 36: Find Your Open Road

Opportunities are everywhere, and you can’t see them because you haven’t been trained to.

Opportunities are rarely blockbusters like the Internet or the steam engine. Opportunities are:

  • problems
  • unmet needs
  • simplification
  • feeling
  • better service
  • lame companies

BuT WhAt iF SoMeOnE Is aLrEaDy dOiNg iT?

THEN DO IT BETTER.

Competition is everywhere. Just do it, and do it better.

-> Forget the big idea: go for better.

New ideas almost never exist. Entrepreneurs take successful ideas and improve them.

-> you need to execute like no one has.

So, how do you spot ideas for businesses?

You listen.

  • I hate…
  • I don’t like…
  • This frustrates me…
  • Why is this like this?
  • Do I have to?
  • I wish there was…
  • I am tired of…
  • This sucks…

All of this screams “problem” which screams for “opportunity“.


Chapter 37: Give Your Road a Destination

What do you want?

A Lamborghini? A 5-million mansion?

It’s time to know where you are headed and make sure the fastlane can serve your dream.

  1. Define your lifestyle: what do you want?
    Cars, mansions…define it.
  2. How much do your dreams cost?
    Let’s say they cost 15k a month.
    Divide 15k by 0.6 to price in the taxes -> 25k/month.
  3. Set the targets: how much do you need to make?
    25k per month is 300k per year.
    To get 300k per year, you’d need to have a lump sum of 300 / 0.05 (you can expect 5% return of a money tree) = 6 million.
    If the money comes from a business and not a lump sump, multitply the living wage by 5.
    -> 15k x 5 = 75k/month.
    6 million of 75k/month are your targets.
    -> build a business you can sell for 6 million or that earns 75k per month.
  4. Make it real: take action today! Focus on the next step, not on 10 years from now.
    Start with making $50, then slowly but surely, grow it.

Managing a money system demands financial literacy.

You need to learn finance, accounting, and economics.

You also need to live below your means.


Part 8: Your Speed: Accelerate Wealth

Chapter 38: The Speed of Success

If you don’t take action, nothing will happen.

Business is a tough game.

Many people see price as the only differentiating variable, but there are many more:

  • Execution
  • Marketing
  • Customer Service
  • Product
  • People
  • Ideas

None of this is worth anything if you don’t execute.

-> Success isn’t about the idea, but about the execution.

According to Derek Sivers, ideas are multipliers of execution.

  • Bad idea: 10x
  • Good idea: 100x
  • Great idea 1000x

Similarly:

  • Bad execution: $10
  • Good execution: $100 000
  • Brilliant execution: $10 000 000

A bad idea with a brilliant execution is worth $100 million.

A bad idea with a bad execution is worth $100.

How well you execute is the only thing that matters to succeed.


Chapter 39: Burn the Business Plan, Ignite the Execution

Business plans are useless as they are not grounded in reality – and you never know how reality (the market) is going to react until you try your idea.

When you get out there, the market gives you feedback. Whether it’s good or not good doesn’t matter -> you can then act in accordance.

Business plans are like battle plans: they don’t survive reality.


Chapter 40: Pedestrians Will Make You Rich

When people complain about your business, there is a chance to make it better.

Safely keep and record all of the complaints you receive.

There are four types of complaints.

  1. Complaints of change: always happen when you change something (design, most of the time). The question is: when do these complaints become substantial?
  2. Complaints of expectation: your customers feel cheated as you did not deliver what you promised OR what they expected. In either way, it is your fault. Fix it by upgrading your service/product, or educating your customers.
  3. Complaints of void: when your customers request something you don’t have -> these are goldmines of opportunities since you can then improve your service.
  4. Complaints of fraud: when people complain and lie to sue you.

You won’t be able to satisfy all of your customers – be balanced!

You will explode your service by deploying SUCS: Superior Unexpected Customer Service.

Answer phone calls and emails right away, fix the problem, and your customers will be blown away.

Make an estimation of what your customers expect from you, and violate the expectation (to the positive).

-> they will advertise your company for you.

This is why you can’t be your own boss as a business owner. Your customer is your boss.


Chapter 41: Throw Hijackers to the Curb

Your business is your castle. Only invite friends – not foes.

-> a business partner is like being married. Only do business with people you can work with.

They must have the same vision, work ethic, etc.

Get the best accountants and attorneys, as they have the power to make or destroy your business.

Trust people you work with, but always verify that they are trustworthy!

In the end, there is only one person you can really trust – yourself.

When you hire employees, make sure they abide by your customer service philosophy. A disastrous support experience will always outweigh a great product.


Chapter 42: Be Someone’s Savior

If you are in business for the wrong reasons, it’s likely that your product is commoditized. If it is commoditized, you’ll only compete on one thing: prices.

Airlines and gas stations are commoditized products and services.

Get your eyes off the competition. If you are focused on them, you are not focused on your business and customers, and you can’t lead and win.

In fact, forget about the competition 95% of the time.

The 5% should be used to exploit their weaknesses.


Chapter 43: Build Brands, not Businesses

Marketing is the most powerful thing in business. Some companies have a bad product, bad customer service, but brilliant marketing – and they earn.

A brand is the best defense against commoditization because people are loyal to brands.

Brands help to differentiate yourself and make your business unique.

So, how do you build a brand?

First, get a USP: a Unique Selling Proposition. It’s one thing you do differently (and better) than everyone else.

Second: be unique. Don’t say “lose weight”. Say “obliterate fat”.

Third: be specific and give evidence: “Pizza to your door in 30 min or it’s free”.

Fourth: keep it short clear and concise

Five: put your USP into all marketing materials (vehicles, flyers, business cards, emails, etc).

Six: make it real.

No one wants to be like everyone else.

Be the Lamborghini in the market. Rise up, and make some noise.

Five ways to do so:

  1. Polarize: a bit dangerous, but it works. You polarize by delivering an extreme message.
  2. Arouse emotions: Louis Vuitton bags and Ferraris are neither bags nor cars. They are identity features.
  3. Be risque: sex sells.
  4. Encourage interaction: give people a chance to talk about themselves
  5. Be unconventional

To succeed in the fastlane, you need to forget yourself entirely and only serve others.

-> Focus on benefits, not features.

You don’t sell a Louis Vuitton bag, you sell emotions and identity.

So, how do you transform features into benefits?

In four steps.

  1. Switch places: become your customers. What do they want?
  2. Make a list of your features.
  3. Find out the advantages they have.
  4. Translate them into benefits. Why are they great?

You can also play with prices. Prices convey more than cost. They convey value.

High price -> high value.

Unless price is your brand, don’t let price steal it (don’t be the cheapest if it’s not your USP).

If you deliver higher value, there is no reason why you wouldn’t have higher prices.


Chapter 44: Choose Monogamy Over Polygamy

Focus on one business.

People that succeed have one company that does well instead of 10 that suck.

Focus on one thing first and then, you will be able to focus on several other hobbies.


Chapter 45: Put It Together: Supercharge Your Wealth Plan

So, what is the FASTLANE SUPERCHARGER?

  1. Formula: wealth is a formula made out of beliefs, choices, actions, etc. It’s a process.
  2. Admit that the slowlane is flawed, and give it up.
  3. Stop and Swap the slowlane for the fastlane.
  4. Time: invest your time in building your money tree.
  5. Leverage as much as you can.
  6. Assets and Income are exploded on the fastlane.
  7. Number: how much do you want?
  8. Effection: impact millions, make millions.
  9. Steer: make the right choices.
  10. Uncouple: split your business from yourself by creating a corporation.
  11. Passion % Purpose
  12. Educate yourself. Never stop learning.
  13. Road: test different fastlane roads and focus on solving problems.
  14. Control: don’t break the Commandment of Control.
  15. Have what others need.
  16. Automate and respect the Commandment of Time.
  17. Replicate and scale.
  18. Grow your business.
  19. Exit when it’s time.
  20. Retire, reward, or repeat.

The fastlane is your journey.

It’s personal.

It’s time to take action and make it real now.

For more summaries, head to auresnotes.com.

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