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What I learned building a million dollar business and loosing everything

 

Working as a salesman for 12 years I finally decided that my way to Freedom must be building my own company and have people working for me. I had come to the conclusion that whatever sales job I had it was very similar always people and products and me as a salesman pitching them so I thought let’s find a product and build my own business!

I am about to do all the mistakes possible the coming 3-4 years (2009-2012) at the same time as you have heard before mistakes often give you the biggest lessons, I will point out some of my insights and what I would do differently.

And most important how the Online Business I am building today is different in almost all aspects! How I today can choose where and when I want to work. No employees, no big risk, and scalable!

I had this burning desire of having my own business so the first thing I did before I had a product or an idea was registering a company and rented an office.

I worked as a salesman at Nespresso at this time selling Coffe machines to businesses, after working for Nespresso for about a month I convinced one of my colleagues that we should start our own business! He, of course, asked what are we going to do or sell and I said we can sell anything but let’s start with website solutions!

He had a better idea and that was to sell firefighting equipment for homes, so that was what we decided to sell. We started right away to build all the necessary things we needed to start to sell our products.

Lots of my insights when I look back is obvious but I will point out them anyways so here are the 3 first mistakes:

1. Rent Office (keep all expenses as low as possible)
2. Our product was a one-time deal (build value and returning customer)
3. The Product (I should have asked my self if I would buy this product?)

I will never forget me and my partners first attempt to sell our products, we packed up our car and drove to a small city checked in at the hotel, next day we did our first sales and it was amazing people bought the products!

3 days later we went back home with an empty car! Now it’s time to recruit, I had worked for a direct sales company for 8 years so I had the contacts and also knew what we could offer that my old colleagues had been asking for a long time, they, of course, wanted high commission, the company to pay expenses like gas, hotels, and they most of all wanted to have a car.

So after some calculation, we offered them exactly this! I recruited my former boss and some of the key people in my old company, and they all got a very Nice BMW and all expenses paid by us.

1. Buy BMW (more risk and expenses)
2. Recruit Friends (the “boss” friend relation is tricky)
3. Grow Slowly (test your business model before scaling up)

Now things start to go very fast,  the company I had worked for 8 years was in on a downturn so many of their employees contacted us and we hired them.

We did now realize that our product was easy to sell, but I and my partner felt that this product was not the best product for our customers and our business model was dangerous, the biggest value was our employees, and we could lose them all.

1. Business model (what is the value, what are we creating long-term)
2. Product (the mission and focus was money, it should have been, deliver value to our customers)
3. Expenses (Don’t be sloppy, be proactive save, cut in on everything unnecessary prepare for downturns)

At this point, we have about 20 employees and have a turnover of 3million dollars/year, I and my partner are trying to develop our product and business model to give more value to our customers.

Our model was very easy to duplicate and of course this is what started to happen my old “friends” started exactly the same company and offered better commissions and other benefits, at this point, we were so tired of all the hurdles we had tackled and new solutions we had created as pioneer in this branch.

1. Competition (Expect competition, give key people % in your business)
2. Proud (If you feel in your heart that this is not 100% something you stand for, you won’t tackle the hurdles)
3. Customer (Again u need to have satisfied and returning customers)

There is so much more to this time in my life so that it could be a book, what I and my partner did after about 3 years was decided to shut down the business what that meant was I had to sell my house to be able to pay for the company’s debt and obligations.

This was a really hard time and lots of struggle and sleepless nights. Today I am so glad I took that decision because building Online-Business is everything my old sales company was not.

1. Gratitude (don’t expect gratitude from anyone see it as a bonus)
2. Risk (try to not personally have all the risk)
3. Banks, Tax Agency (talk to them, be transparent)

I’m writing this about 4 years after we decided to shut down. Today I am building an Online-Business as an affiliate for SixFigureMentors I have no employees, no products, and low calculated risk, and the most important I am 100% proud and focused building my business today, and I am also a customer my self. An Online Business is possible to Scale up and have customers from all over the world 24/7, 365 days a year.

I look back and I am thankful for the experience and knowledge I gained building my own sales company, I would never ever do it again. The biggest lesson I learned was to start to trust my heart and always strive to deliver value.

Build your online business 

Have a Great Day!

Magnus

10 Comments

  1. Roger Moisan on March 15, 2018 at 3:38 am

    Thanks for this insight into your personal journey in business. Most people don%u2019t realize that building a business is a marathon and not a sprint. One has got to really want to do it in order to tolerate the stress and strain which inevitably goes with the process. I am thrilled that you have now begun a digital business and know that you will bring your experiences to bare fruit in your recent endeavor.

    • Magnus Engdahl on March 26, 2018 at 3:42 pm

      Thank you, Roger! As you say marathon! Without heart, purpose and the bigger reason, it is easy to quit when the rough times come.

  2. Roger Moisan on March 15, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks for this insight into your personal journey in business. Most people don’t realize that building a business is a marathon and not a sprint. One has got to really want to do it in order to tolerate the stress and strain which inevitably goes with the process. I am thrilled that you have now begun a digital business and know that you will bring your experiences to bare fruit in your recent endeavor.

  3. Susan Patricia Connor Lewis on March 21, 2018 at 6:54 am

    Magnus Engdahl these are so relevant. Everything you have touched on has been in my life re business.

    Learned the hard way not to be hard on self. From that point to let the mistakes be a univerversity of lessons learned. Tests and qualifications from the school of hard knocks. Pick me ups and gets movings.

    Your sharing this is inspirational for all who came to this post.

    Thank You For Sharing.

    • Magnus Engdahl on March 26, 2018 at 3:45 pm

      Thank you Susan! It seems to be the “best” lessons learned 🙂 as long as we don’t quit and think of it as failures. Keep on going.

  4. [email protected] on March 21, 2018 at 6:55 am

    Great post Magnus. Really enjoyed reading that. It sure is common to start out in business the first time with money being the primary focus. It often takes building a business the wrong way in order to learn the lessons to do it the right way 🙂

  5. Magnus Engdahl on March 26, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Thank you, Stuart! I am glad I found your company and now I am building a business the right way 🙂 thanks for everything you do and teaches!

  6. Scott Anders on July 14, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks for the insights, Magnus! There’s so much to learn on this entrepeneurial journey and I appreciate the value in this post.

    • Magnus Engdahl on July 15, 2018 at 7:01 am

      Thank you Scott!

  7. Mike Hoff on July 15, 2018 at 6:59 am

    Great article Magnus, I totally resonated with all the points your raised and lessons you have learned. It\’s so valuable to others so that they can avoid them. It also shows clearly how starting an online business is the best road to follow for all the benefits you highlighted. Thank you for sharing.

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