Dillon Carter

Entrepreneur, Hacker and Future Mad Scientist 🚀☕

Author: Dillon Carter Page 2 of 25

How We Spent Four Days In Oregon For $25

This is a repost of an article I wrote for http://10xTravel.com/ which you should absolutely subscribe to!

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Hey guys!

 

I recently got back from a four-day trip to Oregon with my girlfriend. From hot springs to waterfalls to snow capped mountains, it was was an amazing adventure.

 

I had been sitting on some points for a while and finally had a short break from class, so we quickly decided to book a trip. The whole booking process took less than an hour.

 

 

As everyone knows, trying to make time to travel can be particularly frustrating, so we booked this three months in advance. As a budding entrepreneur, this gave me enough lead time to ensure I had everything in place so I could relax on my vacation.

 

For those who don’t think you can take the time away from work, I’m here to tell you that it is possible. With a little planning, you can not only take a great vacation, but enjoy it too!

How I try to sleep on a six hour flight at 6am

 

In total, we took six flights over the course of 5 days to get from Florida to Oregon and back. Thanks to this experience, I now know that I’m terrible at sleeping on planes.

 

Even after staying up the night before our 6am flight (for some reason), I still couldn’t sleep.

 

Pro-tip: staying awake for 28 hours is a terrible idea. Don’t do it.

 

Who knew it would be such a journey to fly from Florida to a small city in Oregon…

https://vimeo.com/191062606

 

Here’s How We Did It

 

To book our flights, lodging and rental car, we used the following points:

  • Capital One Venture – 50,000 points
  • Chase UR (transferred to United) – 40,000 points

 

 

If you want to read the complete post, click here

Millionaire Math: How To Systematically Become a Millionaire Without Doing Anything

Side Note: I’m not a millionaire… So it may seem a bit wrong of me to describe how to become a millionaire to my readers, but really think about the logic of my words. This is the math and how to automate that math. 

 

It’s almost Christmas and I cannot be more excited for the coming new year! I’ve finally completed my AA degree and will be transferring to complete my BA in Information Systems soon. I can finally mark that off of my “Yearly Goals” list. I’ve been watching my girlfriend craft some amazingly festive peices like the “count down to Christmas” peice above, which gets me super into the holidays.

 

I wrote this post a while ago actually, but it just seems right to publish it now. I haven’t edited anything except adding this introduction and I believe it gets to the core of becoming wealthy, what’s required, in an easily digestible way and we’ll need to start with a story…

 

There once were two men; Bansir and Kobbi. These two men lived in ancient Babylon, rumored to be the wealthiest city in history. Bansir was a chariot maker and Kobbi was a musician. One evening Bansir and Kobbi realized how poor they truly were. Each had a talent and the ability to earn more, but money seemed to escape them consistently.

 

On this evening Bansir recalled the richest man in Babylon, Arkad, whom they grew up with. Bansir and Arkad had the same level of education and began with the same amount of money. Yet, one was the richest man in Babylon while the other struggled deeply.

 

Bansir went to the home of Arkad and asked why this was the case. Arkad told Bansir what he had done to become the richest man in the city and how any man can do the same. He followed the laws of money strictly and gave Bansir the first rule he must follow. Save no less than one-tenth of which you earn. He instructed Bansir to do so and to come back within a few weeks.

 

A few weeks had passed and Arkad asked what had happened to Bansir. Bansir responded that he had done as instructed; saving no less than one-tenth of his earnings. Arkad had taught Bansir the first rule of building wealth. Saving a percentage of money no matter what allowed Bansir to “fatten his purse” and build his first taste of wealth.

 

Such a simple rule to follow yet most of us fail miserably to follow it. What would happen if you saved 10%, 15% or even 20% of everything you earned over the course of a year? Would you be a wealthier person? Would you be able to pay off all debts?

 

 

The Basics of Living Within Your Means

 

We hear this all the time, but never put much real thought into it. Is living within your means actionable advice? What about saving no less than one-tenth (10%)? Could you start saving no less than 10% this week? Of course you could! So start!

 

By simply saving 10% you are ensuring that you do not spend 100% of what you make. This ladies and gentlemen is how early stages of wealth is built. It’s not by making some amazing stock pick or hitting the lottery. There is a system to building wealth, one that anyone can follow if he so desires.

 

I remember when I first learned this rule and began to follow it. I had more money than I’ve ever had ($5,000 cash) and at 20 years old that was rich to me. Not only did I have more money, which helped me to build my starting wealth I also still had plenty of money to live a rich life. I ate the best foods, I bought what I wanted and I traveled. I did all of this freely because the first thing I did when I got money was sent 10% away to a hidden account. Therefore, whatever was left was mine to spend.

 

Eventually I got wise and realized that I could cut back on things without losing any happiness and save even more money. That’s when I realized the power of investing my money and making it grow. This was the exact moment I realized my passion for finance.

 

Start saving no less than 10% of everything you make and send it away to a hidden account. This money is NOT to be spent, but to be grown.

 

 

The Passive Strategy That Works

 

Every dollar you save is a slave. Every dollar has the ability to yield more dollars (their children if you will) and each of their children becomes another slave working on our behalf. Our goal is to quickly amass the most amount of slaves as possible. Money is a tool, keep this in mind!

 

The best way to make this as painless and thoughtless as possible is to set up some sort of automatic transfer. If you know how much you make every paycheck, figure out what percent you want to save (no less than 10% of course!) and make sure it automatically transfers after your money is deposited into your bank account.

 

There is something magical with this simple system that many never feel or even understand. You never lift a finger, yet every month you are building wealth…

 

Check your hidden account every few months and see how powerful and simple this is. Once you see how much you have, you’ll quickly want to invest it for growth.

 

 

What Happens In 10 Years

 

Hopefully you understand how simple this is and have already begun setting up your system. I briefly asked you to think about how much money you would have after a year saving 10%-20%, but I want you to think about what 10 years would look like. Every single year you saved no less than 10%, how much would you have? This is without any investment or compound interest!

 

Let’s assume I save no less than $400 every single month. Let’s look into the future:

1 year: $4,800

5 years: $24,000

10 years: $48,000

20 years: $96,000

30 years: $144,000

40 years: $192,000

 

I think it’s safe to say you have a high likelihood of living for the next forty years. The future is looking pretty good. You’ve saved no less than 10% and have amassed more money than most have ever seen.

 

What if you got a 3% raise one year? Would you buy a new boat or would you add that 3% to how much you save, taking you from at least 10% to 13%?  3% over forty years would yield a massive amount of added wealth. We’re talking math here people, it’s pretty simple and you can do it on your iPhone.

 

Now, we’ve only looked at the numbers of savings. What if we took this money and invested it? Another rule Arkad told Bansir. Invest your money so that it may multiply and work for you. If all we do is save our money, it will never work for us. The wealthy know that your money must work for you constantly. So if we took our savings and put it into say a Lifecycle Fund and assume a 7% return on our money, where would we be?

 

Let’s look at the numbers:

Starting Capital: $4,800

Annual Addition: $4,800

Years To Grow: 40

Interest Rate: 7%

Total Value After: $1,097,203.33

 

So in 40 years you would be a millionaire… This is a $905,203.33 difference! So why haven’t you started investing yet? Imagine if you increased your monthly contribution from $400 to $500….

 

That leaves you with a Total Value After of $1,371,504.17.

 

A difference of $274,300.84!

 

This is not rocket science and you can become wealthy by working understanding simple finances.

 

In Summary:

Save no less than 10%, but save more if you can

Invest your money in something with minimal risk like a Lifecycle Fund

Watch the compound interest grow your money as it begins to work for you

Automate the system to ensure success!

Hitting $10k a month in revenue and the road to $50,000 a month

This fourth quarter was amazing, to say the least and my first experiencing it. I’ve been told by other sellers how you can make 50-75% of your annual sales within this quarter alone. Now I see why.

 

I was able to hit $10,000 in sales in November and will exceed that amount by the end of December. As we come to the end of Q4 I’d like to start planning my strategy for 2017 and growing towards my actual monthly goal of $50,000 in sales.

 

This will be a bit tough, mainly due to capital restrictions. I’m currently 100% wholesale based and able to add 4+ new suppliers each month, but I don’t have the capital to sustain such large inventory levels yet. This will be the main focus of my strategy for 2017.

 

Let’s deep dive into what my strategy looks like starting now.

 

The Roadmap to $50,000 a Month

Making your goals actionable and simple

 

I’ve gone from averaging $100 a day to $600 a day in sales with a pretty small margin as I move some older inventory from the early RA/OA months. I expect this number to drop going into Q1 and away from the holidays. This means that my average purchase order per supplier will also go down, meaning I’ll need to add more suppliers and product lines than anticipated before.

 

My average sell price is $27.77 and doing $50,000 a month would mean $600,000 a year in sales needed.

$600,000 / $27.77 = 21,606 units annually or 1,800 a month.

 

That’s a ton of inventory to move each month. I’m currently moving roughly 360 units a month. That’s an 80% increase in volume. That’s also a massive increase in spending each month which I cannot currently sustain.

 

Given a year timeframe, I have no doubts in being able to acquire enough suppliers and inventory to reach this goal. The main issue is the cost each month so, this will be my main focus of growth for 2017. More capital to invest into inventory.

 

I’ve been focusing on increasing my spending limit by $5,000 each month and have so far been able to do so, but I’m stuck right at $10,000 a month. Not all inventory will move exactly within 30 days, so I cannot spend that total amount each month, but pretty close to it.

 

So far, I’ve found that if I spend $8,000 I will do $10,000 in sales. I’ll use this to better estimate how much I should need to spend each month.

 

For this, I get a total of $40,000 a month in spending. That’s quite a bit more than I’m currently spending. Not by much, though.

 

Once I’m close to reaching this goal, I’ll need to outsource or automate some of the added administrative time. My time increase will mainly be used for reordering inventory each month which can really add up.

 

Instead, I’ve already begun to use a restocking tool called ReStockPro.com which does the majority of the math and calculations for me, but I’ll still need someone to actually place the orders and ensure their accuracy. I’ll most likely need to make my first important hire for this business. Once completed, this business should essentially run itself in maintenance mode.

 

Here are the major milestones for me to hit in 2017 as quickly as possible:

  1. Spend $40,000 a month on inventory
  2. Sell 1,800 units each month

 

In order to hit these goals, I’ll break them down even further to make them easier to accomplish. Instead of focusing on spending $40,000 each month, I’ll focus on Increasing my spending limit by a minimum of $5,000 each month. Doing this, starting with $10,000, would allow me to spend $70,000 each month by the end of the year. That sounds great to me!

 

Next, instead of focusing on selling 1,800 units each month, I won’t focus on it at all. It’s really not something I can control, to be honest and it’s simply the outcome of the first milestone above. If I’m sourcing great inventory that moves well and has great profit margins, the volume will happen as an outcome.

 

This is how you easily break down your goals into something much easier to track and take action on. Now my only focus is to spend the capital that I have each month, increase spending limit by $5,000 each month and ensure that I have enough suppliers to purchase that amount of inventory from each month.

 

Here’s to 2017 and growing an awesome business!

The case for minimalism and having a location independent businesses

I’m currently writing this post from my girlfriend’s mother’s house without power, living out of a single backpack and on my old 2008 Macbook Pro. Hurricane Matthew made us evacuate our home and with little time to spare, I quickly became a minimalist.

 

Another major problem came up during our evacuation – Running my Amazon FBA business. My business is not currently location independent like most private label companies. Instead, I focus on local retail arbitrage and online arbitrage to source my inventory.

 

Luckily, I was able to source during our evacuation and bring the inventory back home. Although I was able to still turn a profit during the hurricane, I wouldn’t be able to successfully run my business if gone longer than a week. I’m currently behind on sending in inventory, but not in a major way like I could be.

 

working from my laptop in Georgia

Working from my 2008 Macbook Pro in Tifton, Georgia….

 

This has led me to two very important realizations that can dramatically increase and streamline the quality of your life.

 

The Case For Minimalism

How to live out of a backpack

 

I’ve always loved the idea of being a minimalist, but never really attempted to make the transition. I’ve been toying with the idea for the last few months and have been slowly getting rid of as much useless things possible. I’m now at the point where I’m having to make some really tough decisions to get lower than 100 material possessions. My desktop computer….. wasteful. One-third of my current clothing….. wasteful. Something interesting happens mentally when you begin to question the value of everything you own and and why you own it. Even better is when you begin to ask yourself exactly what you need to live and be happy.

 

That’s what I’ve been doing and it’s made me question everything. Why do I keep building my book collection when I could easily buy an Amazon Kindle for $50 and keep all of books digitally. I could easily trade 100+ pounds of material possessions for less than a pound. I’ve had a strange curiosity to strive to live a “one bag” lifestyle. the idea is pretty self explanatory, but is often used by long-term travelers and digital nomads.

 

I don’t want to live out of one backpack, but a few would do. The main idea for me is to live a light and easily movable life. This lifestyle becomes incredibly valuable say, when a natural disaster hits your home and you need to leave and don’t want to lose anything. Or, perhaps when you decide to move and travel more frequently. This light lifestyle lends to flexibility, freedom and incredibly low living expenses.

 

I challenge you to look further into minimalism and find the right amount of material needs to make you happy. Anything over your baseline, should be considered waste and either donated or thrown out. The best way to get started is to take stock of everything you own and then start prioritizing everything into the following three groups: Things you couldn’t live without, Things you haven’t used in the last 6 months and should get rid of and things you aren’t really sure what to do with.

 

Once you have your three piles, get rid of the things that you know are wasteful. This should include everything you currently own. No exceptions. Next, really think about your “can’t live without” pile and get rid of 20% of what’s there.

 

Your maybe pile should be put into boxes and put somewhere that isn’t easily accessible. This is to test everything in that pile. Over the next three months, anything you haven’t needed to take out of those boxes should be donated or thrown away immediately. Do this and you’ll be able to eliminate more than 50% of your material belongings and see how flexible and free your lifestyle becomes as an outcome.

 

Although I don’t travel as frequently as I would like to, I still use minimalist travel ideas to streamline my life both physically as I stated above and digitally.

 

Why You Need A Location Independent Business

Running your whole business from a laptop anywhere in the world

 

 

A strong desire of mine has always been to run a successful business that I can run completely from my laptop anywhere in the world. This is easier said than done, like most things in life, but any business, including a brick and mortar can be ran from a laptop with the right systems and tools in place. The hard part, of course, is figuring out which systems to put into place and ensuring they increase profitability without making things more complicated.

 

My business is not ran in this fashion, At least, not yet. I’m working on shifting my sourcing system from local retail arbitrage to online arbitrage that can be done via my laptop and wholesale sourcing which can be done in the same way from my laptop. I’m tested the waters in hiring a virtual assistant to assist in sourcing products for me online, but quickly realized this is a fool’s job without giving my VA the right tools.

 

Unfortunately, the combination of the required tools and the cost of employment is just too much for my small business. Instead of continuing with my VAs I put them on pause so I could shift my capital towards to cost of the tools to do things myself. But, as profits grow I’ll quickly add on my VAs again to use the tools and quickly scale up.

 

Being taken away from where I did my work that included my desktop Mac that kept me moving quickly and the garage I prepped, labeled and packed all of my inventory really puts me in a difficult place. I don’t have the access to my logistical system, which is a major issue.

 

the damage to our house after the hurricane

Here’s the damage we came home to. No power and no Wifi. How would I live?

 

The easy solution here is to start using a prep company who will handle all of my inventory sourced online. This won’t do anything for me in regards to my local sourcing methods, but does dramatically off-set my logistical requirements and efficiency, which is key to scaling a business.

 

I’m including systems of scale within my business as capital becomes available and revenues grow. Things will not happen overnight and you need to have the capital to cover the sunk-costs that come along with adding new systems to your business. Outsourcing my inventory logistics and hiring a sourcing staff will be the key to taking my business to the next level and creating enough cash flow to begin heavily invest in even more growth of my business.

 

I challenge you to think of what you would do if you have to donate or throw away 50% of your belongings. I also challenge you to consider what you would do if you were given a laptop, moved to a new city and had to run your business successfully. This challenge will make you think in ways you’ve never done before. It will challenge what you think is possible, but more importantly, it will show you the pathway to true freedom, both in location and financially.

 

    Tools and Resources

Tips, Tricks and Further Reading…

 

How To Use System Stacking For Incredible Lifestyle Results

A thought randomly occurred to me one morning while checking on my current sales numbers and replying to a message left from my VA – There are systems I’m currently using that when put together make incredible results possible. With system stacking, no longer did 2 + 2 = 4, instead 2 + 2 = 10…

 

I’m going to break down the current systems I use on a monthly basis to travel for free whenever I want, automate a growing cash flow business and build my wealth.

 

How To Create The Ultimate Trifecta of Systems

Stacking travel, business and automation for 10x output

 

If you’ve ever tried losing weight you may have started with simply working out a few days a week. This may have helped you make progress, but something profound happened when you paired working out with a better diet – Your results most likely would have doubled because of the two working together. This is the idea behind System Stacking. It’s taking two already amazing things, but then pairing them together in a way that increases the output of each system.

 

Travel hacking isn’t something new and I’ve talked about it for some time now. Using points and miles is an incredible way to begin traveling for a vastly decreased cost. Travel hacking is one of the easiest systems to put into place to increase your lifestyle and quality of life. So the first system I’ve put into place is a growing travel hacking hobby that I greatly benefit from.

 

The next and more important system in my opinion is the cash flow (Muse) business that provides me with increased and consistent income every month. This business, once set up optimally will allow me to move massive amounts of products without ever handling inventory, making sales or doing any sort of marketing. Using my business model I’m able to travel the world (using my points) and still have a growing income from anywhere in the world.

 

The last system that completes the trifecta of this stacked system is outsourcing. Again, nothing new, but think about how better your life and business becomes simply by outsourcing business and life tasks that you shouldn’t or don’t want to be doing. The key for me in using outsourcing is to automate the majority of this business so that I’m not creating a new job for myself, but creating an automated system that has one sole purpose – to provide me cash every single month.

 

On their own, each of the three systems provides an incredible benefit – Decreased travel costs, a monthly income and a VA to ensure that the income created from your cash flow business is never tied to your input time, but something amazing happens when you place these three specific systems together.

 

Travel hacking is all about building points and using sign up bonuses to create a massive amount of those points very quickly. This is typically done through various MS (manufactured spending) strategies so you aren’t actually required to spend the $4,000 within four months on three different cards at the same time. Pairing the travel hacking system with a cash flow system, especially one that has a large inventory cost each month means you can create a massive amount of points without paying any fees that are typically created from MS methods. On top of getting the sign up bonuses for a larger amount of cards, because of your spending, you are typically getting 2x points on ALL spending even after you reach the sign up bonus. By putting every cost on your credit cards you dramatically increase the amount of points and miles to can use each year.

 

A cash flow business should never be tied to your time. It should provide income regardless of how many hours you put in each week and your current location around the world. In order to effectively make this happen is by using subsystems and an affordable labor force. For me this is all solved through proper outsourcing with a virtual assistant. My VA is able to do everything I don’t want to do. My VA handles just about every system within my business and directly contributes to growing it. Not only does this mean less work for me, but means more income month over month.

 

You can see how each systems contributes to the other, creating a trifecta that dramatically increases their individual benefits to me. More travel without the cost, freedom of location thanks to a consistent income from my cash flow business and less work load thanks to my VA. This directly sums up an idea I’ve been considering for quite some time. There are three major things that can grant ultimate freedom when used together, similar to system stacking.

 

Freedom of location, Freedom of resources and Freedom of Time.

 

When you have all three you have true freedom. Many people have one or two, but those who truly live a great life have all three. The three freedoms are just the idea, whereas system stacking is the application and practice of achieving such an idea.

 

Final Thoughts

 

I want you to really think deeply about the above idea and system stacking, and how it can dramatically affect your life for the better. Start by putting one of the above systems in place and add-on from there. The hardest system to implement is the cash flow business, but you can start reaping the benefits from travel hacking and a VA immediately. You can even use your VA to assist you in building your cash flow business. There is no right way to do this, just find the way that works best for you and grow from there.

 

I’ll be delcing deeper on the idea of systems and how they play a major part in creating your ideal lifestyle. I’m building a small private group of people with the sole purpose of developing and publishing white papers on the subject matter of 10xing your quality of life. If you’re interested in becoming a part of this private group, leave a comment below and we can talk about the idea more specifically.

 

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