1 year living the Entrepreneur Lifestyle! 1 year of freedom and independence. And 1 year of real struggle and hustle. In the end, I survived the first year of entrepreneurship and that is all that counts. Even though sometimes it did feel like I was stuck until my chin in the sand unable to move forward.
Below, I review my first year, tell about the good things that happened and the bad and how much money I burned in the process.
Will there be a happy ending? Read more to find out!
So, I do hope you enjoy my entrepreneur recap and let me know any questions or comments in the comments section below.
If you are an entrepreneur yourself and can relate to any of my stories, why not get in touch with me? I’d love to exchange knowledge, stories and experiences.
Table of contents
Alright, it’s fair to say the first year has been a bit of a rollercoaster.
Starting up isn’t easy, but nobody said it’ll be this hard either, haha.
In the chart below I’m drawing what I call the Feel Good Indicator. You see there were ups and downs throughout the year – like in a rollercoaster, getting it?
So, my last month of employment was June 2019. And I felt pretty annoyed about everyone and everything and couldn’t wait to finally get out. My mood was at my lowest so was the Feel Good Indicator.
Once finally out, I felt great. Freedom was all around me. I could sleep as long as I wanted to, although still got up early to trade the UK market open back in those days. But afterwards, I could go to the gym, play a round of Mario Kart, be wherever and work on whatever I wanted and felt like doing. Everything was new to me, thus pretty exciting. The Feel Good Indicator rose sharply.
You guessed it, the initial euphoria didn’t last long. Soon I figured, I only had a limited amount of time left, before I would run out of cash. That would’ve meant I had to find a job again (in the worst-case scenario). That wasn’t a great feeling and my low was probably sometimes in October, where my income still was next to 0 and my expenses slowly but surely were eating up my bank account.
In November, I then went to Bali for the second time that year and had a nice time, catching up with some old friends and making new ones, too. One of the best things also happening in November, was the beginning of my cooperation with Tritium Growth Partners. A cooperation which would soon turn out to carry me over the break-even line and bringing back some confidence. The Entrepreneur Lifestyle was possible after all and I was close in cracking it. The Feel Good Indicator was on the rise once again.
Finally, in March 2020 I managed to fulfil one of my annual goals. I moved to Bali and have been carrying out my operations from here ever since. Life has been good since then and I’m back at all-time highs of the Feel Good Indicator. Now I need to figure out how to build my income streams in a way around me, where I’m required to work less and being able to enjoy life more. That’ll push the Feel Good Indicator up to its limits.
From my monthly entrepreneur recaps, you already know what I have been working on in the past 12 months. My active workstreams are Dan Schenk Life, Investing, Day Trading, The Navigate Group and Consulting with Tritium Growth Partners.
Dan Schenk Life
This was the very first workstream I was focussing on as a full-time entrepreneur. The plan was to produce content about topics which interests me, like travelling, finance, fashion. Then capitalise on the traffic via ads and affiliate links.
Little did I know, that it would be way harder getting any substantial amount of traffic to a website than just publishing some content and making some posts on Instagram about it. Also on the other side, I was unaware of the struggle of actually getting accepted to any affiliate schemes. So all in all, it became pretty clear after about 3 months, that this isn’t going to make me any substantial income anytime soon. Reality can be frustrating sometimes, isn’t it?
The other thing I tried on this workstream was the launch of an eBay dropshipping store. The idea was to sell products on eBay at a break-even level, however, paying all the costs associated with this with an Amex Credit Card. That way I should be able to quickly rack up ungodly amounts of points, which would then fly my around the world, let me stay in boutique hotels and dine in fancy restaurants – all for free of course.
Well, while I was able to make a few transactions per month, in the end, I was shutting it down as it just wasn’t enough to really scale and rack up all of those points on my credit card as I thought. In order for this to work, you would need to make at least 20k points per month, which means generating about £20k of sales. My 90days average was always about £2k, so this wasn’t gonna work for me. But maybe I just haven’t discovered the right process yet. Might try this again in the future.
On this one, besides, keeping up with my personal investments, I had some plans to scale that as well.
The plan was to essentially create a private Fund, where other people could invest in and I would manage the funds.
So, initially, I started creating some content around investing and started publishing monthly recaps.
I also tried to upsell my monthly watchlist and a full export of my portfolio on a monthly basis. (which didn’t work)
The problem on this one was, that it was almost impossible to market it over the usual online marketing channels like social media, etc. In the finance space, people all of a sudden seem to be very accurate and narrow-minded. Asking me if I am qualified. Pft. What they mean is do I have some fancy certificate to show off? No, I don’t have one, don’t want one and why would I need one? Does it prove to you that I’m a better investor if I have a fancy certificate? I don’t think so. There are loads of crap funds managers out there who have all the certificates. Likewise, there are loads of awesome private investors out there who don’t have any certificates. So what’s the point?
In any case, I calculated I would have to raise close to a million pounds if I wanted to live off the fund management fees. So it became pretty clear I had to focus on something else for the time being and possibly come back to this one in the future.
If I ever come back to this, I would probably start with creating a partnership with some very few selected high-net-worth individuals. Those would inject the funds and I would manage and invest them taking an annual management and performance fee which then compounds on my side over the years thus creating a snowball effect. Similar to how Warren Buffett has started in the 1950s. Let’s see – yet, now is not the time for this.
This workstream also already started long before I went full-on entrepreneur one year ago.
The idea here was to finally have more time focussing on trading on a daily basis, hence eventually making the cut to becoming profitable. Once that would’ve been achieved I was planning to launch a trading academy, onboarding students and eventually creating a course I could sell online.
Well, it took me until very recently to become profitable and I can only now start to think about the next steps in this workstream. And what a tough fight it has been, this one. I almost gave up several times, yet managed to keep pushing forward until I finally broke over the green line. I had my first green month in March, then, unfortunately, dipped back to slightly negative in April, re-adjusting my strategy a bit once again. Eventually, I had my first solid green month in May.
From June I moved on to Phase 3 and launched DSL Trading. There I am currently documenting my trades and update on my performance on a weekly basis. June is going pretty well so far. I’m up over £1000 already, which is my monthly goal for this month. So, very exciting times ahead on this one.
The Navigate Group
Our ambitions were as big as our dreams with this. Launching a few websites filled with affiliate links and off we went on the money train. Or so we thought.
We went ahead registering a hell of a lot of domains, building our very first website https://navigatefashion.com/, published a few articles and waited for the visitors to come to the site to buy stuff. Unfortunately, those visitors never really came. It may not come as such a surprise to you as it was to me, but apparently you need to do more than just having a website in order for people to also visit it. Poor us. We never managed to crack this nut. This whole making money on the internet thing seems to be tougher than it looks.
Consulting with Tritium Growth Partners
Eventually, I found my way onto the consulting train. When this happened, I was already at my lowest point. My cash was getting low, so was my confidence. I felt I was close to failing the Entrepreneur Lifestyle and was almost prepared to get a job again. Look at me – what a failure I would be. Luckily, the call from my now business partner came just at the right time. I was visiting Bali for the second time last year and got approached to join Tritium Growth Partners as a freelancing consultant doing 1 day per week, to begin with. Great! I needed the cash and was familiar with the work after having done e-commerce for 3 years at THG.
Soon, we signed more clients, there was more work and eventually, I became a partner now running all client operations, while my business partner is running all own-brand operations. We’re looking in good shape right now although it requires a lot of time and effort to keep this going at the moment. We will see where this journey will take me in the future.
On the finance side of things, the first year obviously wasn’t about finding a gold nugget either. Although, it would’ve been nice 🙂
The first 6 months I was pretty much burning through cash, selling off assets and burning that cash, too.
The first month of being a full-time entrepreneur was financially a straight-on disaster. In July I had expensive bills for my car to pay and needed some stuff to get going like a new laptop and things like that. It almost did cost me £3k. In August I was then finally able to sell my car, so got almost £3k back into my account. Back at square 1 so to say.
Then September throughout December I was keeping a tight budget, yet without any substantial income obviously burning through my cash reserves.
In January finally the big milestone, break-even on cash flow. What a great feeling. February being over £1000 in the plus. In March I moved to Bali and it dragged me back into the red for one month, but I was also topping up my trading account once again, cause I was moving ahead with Phase 2.
Afterwards, in April and May, Tritium started to really take off and I managed to have a pretty solid cash-flow level since then.
In terms of net worth, I was going into my entrepreneurial journey with a little over £22k. A good chunk of that invested in the stock market, a solid cash cushion of a little over £10k, which I needed for the months to come. The rest tied into my car.
From there my net worth deteriorated over the following 10 months to a low of £12k in March 2020. A total drawdown of £10k within a year, certainly not a good feeling.
My cash reserves hit a low of £6k in December last year, but it felt like a lot less at that time. I essentially feared I was going out of business every moment back then. Even though I had cash left for at least another 4 months.
In the last 2 months, I then managed to have a rising net worth again, however, I’m still a good chunk away from my all-time high back in June 2019, currently looking at close to £18k.
So what did this first year of entrepreneurship cost me then?
In real terms, my net worth is about £4k lower right now than it was last year when I started.
But you also have to count the opportunity costs into this. If I had kept my job, I would’ve been able to increase my net worth on a monthly basis by about £1000, which would’ve been another £12k over the year. My net worth would now be somewhere around £34k if I didn’t take the leap of faith.
So the total cost of the first year as a full-time entrepreneur was more like £16k if you see it like that.
Was it worth it anyway?
You can neither measure freedom, independence nor happiness in monetary values. I’m much rather here where I am now with £16k less in the bank than being miserable and stuck in a 9-to-5 somewhere. The Feel Good Indicator always trumps net worth.
And on top, the growth potential as an entrepreneur is pretty much unlimited. That £16k I “lost” in the first year, I could make back 10-fold in the second year. Anything is possible.
Outlook for Year 2
So what’s the plan for Year 2 then?
First of all, I will put a strong focus on DSL Trading.
Now that I am consistently profitable, I plan to scale this to £5-10k per month pretty quickly. I also want to on-board my first students and launch my trading academy. This is where the good stuff starts and I can spend big on Facebook ads, finally reaping up those credit card points, which will then fly me around the globe for free. Certainly looking forward to that.
On the other hand, there’s more scalability in Tritium Growth Partners, so I’m also excited what else we can pull out of the magic hat on that one. We now have a really solid team of e-commerce experts across various areas onboard, so we’re set-up for some real challenges here.
I hope you enjoyed reading this Entrepreneur Recap. If you did, you can read other recaps and more content in my entrepreneur lifestyle section.
If you are an entrepreneur out there and you are reading this, please contact me over social or drop me a comment in the comments section below, because I would love to catch-up. I’m also planning to interview other entrepreneurs on this channel, so let me know if you would be interested in that.
And as always, if you have any questions, drop me a comment in the comments section below.
Take it easy!