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I Actually LOST $244,000 at age 23! Lessons Learned The Hard Way

I lost almost a quarter of a million dollars at age 23. Today, I’m still paying for that mistake. I’m going to share the full story right here.

This isn’t something I often talk about, either publicly or between my personal network. Honestly – it’s not something I really focus much of my attention on either, as I know there’s little that can be done about the past.

As Steve Jobs says “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.“…and I absolutely agree.

I choose to only look towards the future, but I today can see BS a mile away. But I’ll share my story of how I lost $244,000 at age 23.

The story

My introduction to the world of entrepreneurship and personal development was property investing. I bought every book I could find. Then I found a seminar on property development by the now defunct Carly Crutchfield of CCORP.

This was actually a really good course and boot-camp. Really quite packed with value and content, and helped me get the grasp towards building a property portfolio and get started with developing property. Nothing against Carly here.

So, whilst working in the mining industry (backed with a 6 figure income) I looked for an opportunity where very few were looking – mining towns. With the development of the industry in South Australia, I saw some great opportunities. At least, I thought I did.

Turns out the industry never really took off like it did in WA. There were some investors doubling their money in 2 years on property. I still own 2 that haven’t really grown at all in 8 years. Greater returns would’ve been found through parking that money in a bank account.

Where it got bad: I met a woman who was a property developer who owned some land. As I was looking to buy, she was looking to sell. Unknown to me, she was 3 minutes away from bankruptcy, and was looking to unload her biggest dud to me.

100 acres of land that can be developed to a caravan park or housing development. Quite a commitment at age 23! Nonetheless, I went through with it.

The bad outcome

I expected to make a lot of money to set myself up for life. Being young, I was caught in a euphoria of sorts. I could visualize (like the movie The Secret) how my life would look.

…and nothing happened! I’m still paying the price of that mistake today.

The total cost was $180,000…and that same block is now worth $15,000. Yes, you read right. $15k. That’s $165,000 gone straight off the value. Then with interest, taxes, council rates, water rates and solicitors fees, it brings this to a (current) total of $220,000.

Then I bailed out out of another property with an option-to-buy on another development dud of 7 acres. $15,000 option fee + $600 in monthly payments until I realized the hoax.

This brought it to a total of $244,000 lost. Ouch!

Let’s not count opportunity-cost either or even the 3% CPI increase in that time. This occurred in 2012 for reference.

The biggest financial mistake of my life happened at age 23, and it was the biggest blessing too!

Not a good outcome, right? When I hear of someone pity and say “Oh no I lost $10,000!!!” I sort of laugh. I’ve done waayyy better. ๐Ÿ™‚ Some of you need to level up your failure game!

I’m now an advocate of failing fast and failing often. I don’t choose the safe road. You shouldn’t either, if you feel that you’re a fit for the entrepreneurship lifestyle.

Those that don’t want to fail should stick to their day jobs. Seriously. It’s much easier. Those on this path suffer from a lot of depression, anxiety and loneliness.

For most people, a real job is simply a better path. We’re not all programmed for the hard journey ahead, as much as gurus want to sell us the dream.

What went wrong

First up, I didn’t do enough research. I was also banking on future growth that never did come. Thirdly, I was thinking way too short term, instead of playing the long game.

So if you want to be successful:

  1. Do your research. This development site was really worth just about nothing, and no one else had touched it for that reason. As it pertains to Amazon, research your industry, your customer, your product(s) and your competitors. Look at sales data and scope to expand across markets.
  2. Don’t count on the future. This block was expected to go up in value, and we would develop it with a potential million dollar exit. Things can change. The future isn’t guaranteed. On Amazon, if a product has been selling consistently for 10 years, then it’s likely that trend will continue. Avoid fads or simply selling products for the sake of selling them.
  3. Play the long game. Quick riches in property are rarely heard of, and I’m an advocate of the 20 to 30 year game plan with property. Empires are built over decades. Short term wins and quick income is seldom found. It took me 7 years of work to build towards a full time income on the internet. You might find results faster. Maybe.

I also trusted someone who actually didn’t have any property development experience. She did have a development application successful, but tried to offload another block which never happened. Other developers realized how much of a dud that block was as well, and the bank later foreclosed on it.

The moment you realized that you sold yourself short.

Being and naive, I trusted everybody. Today, I actually trust a lot of people still. I don’t let this experience dictate the future. Actually – I do! I choose to work my way out of the hole I created. Essentially, this is something that drives me.

Essentially: Thank god I had this experience! I learned a lot. There’s no failures, only feedback and experiences. I would’ve done a disservice to myself to only have success through the journey, as I would’ve missed so much.

Of course there were warning signs and alarm bells. I mostly ignored them. The deal looked good, and so were the numbers. Today I look top-down and go through things very closely before jumping in. Many of you use my blog for your research, and I appreciate that!

Moving forward

I think most people see the light-hearted approach to this. Indeed, I don’t think much of this and rarely mention it. Embarrassment? Not really. If I was, I wouldn’t share it so publicly.

I just focus on what I can change, and that’s my path going forward. For some of you who have been on the blog before, you’ll know that I’m simply real and raw.

Will I get scammed again? Probably not. My eyes are wide open. At the same time, I won’t let real opportunities go by. I simply shake my head at those who won’t run into the gold mine without a good reason.

Going for real opportunities

There’s some genuinely good opportunities around. The internet has made it so much easier to discover and research online business opportunities like never before. I found one gold mine that worked for me.

That gold mine is Amazon. Granted, most people won’t find success here. Either they’re looking for something easy (which Amazon isn’t) or they’re looking for fast money (which they won’t find) within this gold mine.

Some people are stuck at what is the easiest part of the journey: Getting started. The best way to get started is to purchase a course. Any course. Just find your way in.

Today I choose to have my products sold internationally

That’s really easy. Tens of thousands of people have purchased courses, and I recommend some of the best in the market. It takes all of about 30 seconds to get started.

From here, everything else is harder. Everything.

  • You’ll be spending months doing effective product research
  • There’s other competitors that will outwork and outspend you
  • Some Chinese factories won’t live up to expectations that you had
  • Customers will expect instant refunds if you’re not on your A-game
  • Your hard-earned money will be put on the line for your business
  • Some beginners take 1 to 2 years to even launch their first product
  • Most people simply give up on the journey “It’s too hard!” they claim
  • Lots of tasks need to be completed before even getting a product live
  • Amazon often bans accounts of those that aren’t in good standing

I don’t actually recommend Amazon to most people. I send out realistic expectations. Sure – there’s some massive upsides, but there’s work involved. Most people just aren’t willing to get into it.

Amazon isn’t a get rich quick scheme. Nor is it an instant-income stream. Nor is it a lazy-man’s scheme. And yes…you can lose money with Amazon. Perhaps not the $244,000 I lost in property at age 23, but there’s some risk here.

Lessons learned

I outlined some lessons early on in this article. That is:

  • Doing proper research
  • Not counting on the future
  • Playing the long game

But allow me to throw in some more:

  • Trust those who have genuine experience (which can be validated)
  • If there’s alarm bells, then listen to them. They could be quite valid
  • Seek outside assistance and real opinions from those in the industry
  • Formulate teams / masterminds as opposed to doing it on your own
  • Expect losses on your journey, as that’s fundamental to your growth
  • The opportunity of a lifetime actually comes around once per month
  • Don’t let the past experiences dedicate (negatively) your future mind

The last one is important. How I’ve reacted to this $244,000 loss at the young age of 23 has been so fundamental to my growth. My mind is more powerful than ever before, as I’ve chosen to be an optimist.

Sure, I could’ve yelled, screamed and begged for my money back. Wouldn’t have happened. That woman went bankrupt a year later, her mum soon died and her husband then had an affair. Some karma there. I’ve just chosen to work forward, as opposed to look backwards.

Note also, that was a genuine $244,000 loss. I took out a hefty mortgage (based on my 6 figure mining salary), and I’m still paying interest today at $700 monthly.

That said, my online projects have recouped all losses, and I’m very much looking to the future! I only recouped those losses because I worked and was committed.

Closing thoughts

I continue to be very genuine here guys. Online businesses are seriously hard work. I’ve lost money online, but it’s minimal compared to my losses in property. In addition to this loss, I have 2 other investment properties that have gone no where. Literally – stagnant.

My belief is that the times have certainly changed. Investing in Australian property, especially right now, is a terrible idea. Many property investors I know are finding an immense amount of success through selling online, primarily on Amazon.

Amazon has changed my life, and it could change yours too

Your mindset is key to success. If you’ve had a past negative experience, then don’t bring that to the Amazon table, otherwise you’ll be bitterly disappointed.

I guarantee you’ll lose money on Amazon and make mistakes, at some stage of the journey. How you react to such losses is fundamental to find your feet forward. It’s worked for me, as it has for many others.

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After 10 years of blogging, I’ve learned that online success doesn’t come cheaply, easily or fast. It’s merely consistent work, day in and day out, yet the rewards are certainly worth the constant grind.