Bottom Line Rating: A-, Solid Buy
Despite the scammy, infomercial title, I really enjoyed this book and it opened my eyes to what types of businesses and sales channels I should focus on. The author of the book, MJ DeMarco, tells his personal story of how he went from being a limousine driver who was paid by the hour, to an online business owner that separated his money from his time. This is the main point of the entire book: in order to become wealthy, you need to find a way to earn money without exchanging your time. If you get paid more for working more hours and you don’t get paid when you’re not ‘clocked in’, then DeMarco argues you will never really be rich.
Millionaire Fastlane Summary
The book breaks down 3 different lanes people travel in their financial journey. They are:
- The Sidewalk- This is the lane most people take and ‘the worst’ option. It’s characterized by living paycheck to paycheck, spending whatever money is available and always being a consumer. Consuming television, movies, social media, etc with no effort made towards producing. This person is stuck in a consumer mindset and they will borrow and spend whatever money they have. Whether they make $25k per year or $250k per year, anyone can be a ‘sidewalker’ if they are stuck in consumption mode with no regard for savings.
- The Slowlane – This lane is made up of people who follow the traditional wisdom of working a steady job for 45 years, saving 10% of their pay by putting it into their 401k, and hoping that they’ll have enough saved up by the time they turn 65 to retire. Although this is usually considered the safe option for retirement, MJ argues that this is actually full of hidden risk that is completely outside of your control in the forms of stock market returns and your employer. Your entire plan is built around being employable at a good wage for 40 or 50 years and banking on the stock market to match it’s historical returns.
- The Fastlane – This is the main pitch of the book and obviously the most desirable option. This relies on you starting a business and using leverage. Not leverage in the traditional sense of debt, but in time and value. The time leveraging comes from finding ways to make money they don’t use your time.
Using Leverage to Create Wealth
Selling physical products on Amazon would be an example of this. Orders come in and Amazon ships them out and I get paid. I can be on vacation and still have money coming in because I have outsourced parts of my business so that I can reclaim my time.
The author uses an example of transitioning from trading his time for dollars as a limousine driver, into building a website that was a directory of limousine companies. He would show up in Google’s search results when people were looking for a limousine driver and he’d be able to extract a small commission on every referral he made. With the explosive growth of the internet, even small websites like the one I purchased a few months ago can bring in money around the clock by focusing on serving a small, specific niche of people who are looking for advice or information about certain topics.
The other form of leverage is in the value you create by owning a business. If you work at a 9-5 desk job, you get paid a set wage. If your company does really well or you are a star performer, you might get a 4-6% raise that year. Over a span of several decades this will add up but when you factor in an average inflation of 3% per year, you can see that your real income growth is only 1-2% per year. And that’s for top performers at great companies.
When you own a business, you own an asset. An asset is something that brings in money but can also be sold to someone else. If you had a business that made $4k per month, how much would you sell it for? Since I’m familiar with online business, I know the average multiple for a website or Amazon product business is 20x-25x monthly earnings. So my $4k per month business could be sold for $80k-$100k.
With a 25x multiple on your business, every additional $1k you bring in per month means your business can now be sold for an additional $25k! That’s leverage. I had never realized this until I read The Millionaire Fastlane and I realized most of the wealthy people in my city are business owners. In fact, almost all of them are except for the few guys at the top of the corporate pyramid.
If you want to see a good example of this leverage go check out Empireflippers.com or Bizbuysell.com . These are directories with businesses for sale and they will show how much the businesses are earning and how much they sell for. Take a look at the ratio of sales price divided by profit and get an idea for what kind of multiples there are in different industries.
Is the Millionaire Fastlane a Scam?
The author explains in the book why he chose such a scammy sounding title. He says that most people are suckers and want to believe in the overnight success or the infomercial at 2 AM that promises to tell you the secrets of wealth for just 5 easy payments of $99.99, so he catered to that flaw in the human mind. In reality this book is more about teaching you the mindset you need to grow a sustainable business that won’t eat up your time. If you do that, you’ll just end up with another job where you’re forced to go into work every day or you won’t get paid. By leveraging your time and building an asset you will be able to get yourself on the fastlane and start on your road to wealth.
One legitimate criticism of this book is that it’s basically saying “Create a magic internet business that spits out money” but doesn’t tell you how. There is no A-Z blueprint in the book that spells out how you would go about building a business and that’s because there is no correct answer. Not everyone has the same skillsets and not everyone should be trying to create the same business.
This book is a framework or a way to create a mindset around how you should view the world. Don’t view businesses and corporations as evil entities that oppress you and want to harm you. Understand why they operate the way they do and learn from it.
- If companies keep moving their factories overseas and importing stuff into the United States to sell it, why don’t you?
- If companies are outsourcing their back office jobs to countries like the Philippines or India, why don’t you?
- If corporate profits are at all time highs right now, why is that? Is it because they’re consumers or producers?
Bottom Line Rating: A-, Solid Buy
This book is an eye opener for people who have never tried any entrepreneurial adventures before. It does a great job laying out why the fastlane path is desirable and what the rewards will be if you can accomplish the difficult task of creating a business. This definitely opened my eyes and made me realize how many opportunities were out there that I could try in order to provide a better life for me and my family.
Also at $5.99 for the Kindle version this book is a no brainer in terms of value creation. There’s a ton of wisdom in this book and for that price, you should not pass it up.