About this Case Study (Who is Dean Woods?)

Hi, I’m Dean

Right off the bat, let’s get one thing out of the way. My name is NOT Dean Woods. It’s a pen name, a fake name, that I’m currently writing under. I don’t really want to be writing under a fake name, but that’s part of the bigger problem here.

I apologize in advance for having to tell you that my name is Dean Woods. More on that in a bit….

What is the $0-$10K a day at 30 case study?

I’m going to try to build a business (businesses?) where I make $10K/day by my 30th birthday. I have a few years to hit that. And the income should be mostly passive, if not entirely. Otherwise, I’d just be a slave to the money. And that is NOT the goal. The goal is a world where I can control what I do, when I do it, who I do it with, and who I do it for. If I want to get out of bed at 10AM then go watch my child’s after school sports game or their play, then I want to be able to do that. If I want to focus on my business (businesses?) because I love the value they provide to the world, then I want to be able to do that and focus on that. $10K/ day is really freedom.

Why $10k/day ? That’s a lot of money 

A logical question to ask here is: Why $10K/day? That’s $3.6M a year, and many people could convincingly argue that no one needs that much money.

Fair point.

And I don’t disagree really.

But, for case study purposes, this makes a lot of sense.

  • $10K a day is a nice, round number to shoot for
  • A business that profits $3.6M a year is a very successful business.
  • I think I can do it

The last one is probably the most personal for me. Life is boring without goals. Even more, I think living in a world without big goals is extra boring. So, I’m setting a big goal here

I wouldn’t have built this website if I didn’t think I could do it.

Why reach this goal by 30? Isn’t that very young to make this kind of money?

It absolutely is very young to make that kind of money. The Financial Samuri says that the average net worth of a 30 year old is $7,000. I’m aiming to make more than that each day. It’s audacious and ridiculous. But 30 feels like a good goal for me. The reason why is 30 allows me to spend the majority of  my life, pending health, living exactly how I  want to. It means I worked my hardest for roughly a decade since finishing school in order to allow myself to then walk away. In other words, it’s giving myself a decade. That feels like a fair amount of time to do so.

Why try to accomplish your goal in the form of a case study?

There are a couple of reasons why I’m doing this case study.

#1: I wish it already existed for me

There are so many biographies and retro-active analyses of individuals and companies that hit certain levels of success. But I haven’t found a “journal” or anything like that of a successful entrepreneur who wrote in it each day during their journey.

It’s helpful to understand the thoughts afterward. But, I’d really love to understand the triumph, fears, motivations, on a daily level. What did those successes feel like on the day-to-day?

My guess is they felt like absolute shit. My guess is they were tired, didn’t want to keep working, and wanted nothing more than to stop and quit. I want to provide that look at entrepreneurship. The up all night, my family thinks I’m a disappointment, I must be nuts, kind of look into entrepreneurship. This ties in with #2

#2: Hopefully it inspires someone else to go after their goals and dreams

I initially started doing this on Medium and it prompted another case study. The hope is that we can get a whole community of people out there who are doing similar case studies.

I’m not sure yet how best to do this so if anyone has any ideas and wants to use the contact pages, then please do!

#3: Keep me honest

This is another big benefit, although it’s clearly personal. I’ve tried and failed to get businesses going in the past. I’ve also stopped and given up on a lot of them.

By publicly doing this, I think it’s a lot harder to give up on this. I also think that motivation will make sure I write each post each day.

The $0-$10K/day by 30 Case Study Ground Rules

Now that I’ve talked about why this goal and why I’m doing a case study, here are the ground rules for how I’m going to be doing this:

  • Daily Posts:  I’ll post a new daily update every morning, including weekends.
  • Retro-active look: Each morning post will discuss the prior  day’s actions and outcomes
  • Template post: Each post will have the same template and review actions complete, my thoughts, and a real look at what I made and spent each day.
  • Other posts: While the case study is the main focus of this entire site, I will publish posts with things that I’m learning along the way to hopefully help save you time.

There’s one thing that deserves it’s own special section, and that’s the anonymity. I am writing this case study completely anonymous.  There are a couple of reasons as to why I am doing so:

  • Out of respect for my clients, who didn’t sign up to get their work talked about on the world-wide web
  • Out of respect for my day job, who similarly didn’t sign up for their work to be talked about publicly
  • Out of respect for my fiancee. She also has a day job, and while the most supportive person in the world and the love of my life, she also didn’t sign up to have her day job compromised in any way because her fiance was discussing financial matters online.

So those are the ground rules!

How are you going to make $10,000 a day, passively, at 30? What is your strategy to get there?

Also a great question. I’m laying out this strategy document now, and I hope to use this as a guiding light through the next few years. My goal is by staying loyal and true to this world, I can avoid distraction and focus on achieving $10K/day at 30.

Phase #1: The Job & Side Hustle Phase

As I write this, I’m in Phase #1 right now. Phase #1 is ugly, time-consuming, work all night, then get up in the morning and go back to work. The objective of this phase is to do a couple things:

  • Increase top-line income as high as possible, driven primarily through side hustling (consulting)
  • Reduce expenses as much as possible
  • Put all extra money into income-producing real estate (multi-family apartments)
  • Learn how to reliably and consistently make money on the side
  • Learn  how to  talk to customers and sell products/services

The reason these are the objectives is that it provides the dual benefit of learning with increased income, that goes into real estate. Phase #1 is over with when the side income is consistent, and when the number of investment properties is enough to allow me to quit my job. I calculate the number of investment units (multi-family units) necessary to do this to be at least 60 different apartment units. The biggest driver here is when I can reliably afford health insurance, or when my fiancee and I are married and I can join her plan. I expect phase #1 to be at least a year.

Phase #2: The consulting phase

Phase #2 is just as hard, but in a different way. It’s still ugly, balls-to-the-wall work. The difference here is I’m not fragmented between my day job and side hustling to have some variety in my day. I’m spending the entirety of my time focused on consulting. I’m building out customers, creating a name for myself, and acquiring an out-bound funnel. The reason I cannot do this in phase #1 because I have a day job. I can’t be advertising my LinkedIn as a “consultant” when I have a day job. My day job doesn’t know that I’m consulting. The objectives of phase #2 are:

  • Increase my consulting income, preferably to >$50K/month,  and reliably
  • Decrease my expenses even more
  • Put every free nickle and dime into more real estate properties
  • Begin to test different business ideas

Phase #2 has a higher income to it, but it also has more work. It doesn’t lead to passive income at 30. But, it does give me more money to buy real estate, which could lead to passive income at 30. The other key thing here is that I’m testing business ideas. I’m defining testing as trying to get the business to ~$10K/month in revenue. When I  can get a business there, I know it has potential for the market and for me. I  don’t mean a high-tech growth startup. I mean a “Four Hour Work Week” business. This is a business I can run with less than 10 hours a week, as few employees as possible, and some freelancers. I expect this phase to be at least 2 years. I’d like to be at ~250 rental units by the end of it as well.

Phase #3: The business phase

Phase #3 will see the consulting business slow down because the rental income has superseded it. The benefit of that is I no longer need to spend the time and  money as a consultant. I can focus 100% on growing my business. That means I  should have some traction in the business (I’m able to get it to $10K or so each month in income). The objectives of phase #3 are:

  • Scale my business from ~$10K/month to ~$200K/month
  • Purchase more real estate
  • Engage in small scale private equity

The new piece there is the small scale private equity. What I mean by that is buying small, existing businesses or products that have some traction but aren’t being monetized correctly. This could include small SAAS products, physical products, etc. I’m thinking of a great developer who spun something up, but doesn’t have the time or interest to try and scale it. I’d buy it and use my experience to scale it for them! I’d also like to be at 500 rental units at this point. I expect this phase to be a year or two. The completion of phase #3 is 4-5 years out. I’m 25, so that gets me to 30

Phase #4: The asset manager phase

This phase is exceptionally important, because it’s the most fun. In this phase, I take the skills and capital built up over the prior phases to retire. However, I’ll still do some “work” by managing a bunch of assets that have been invested in. My hope is to do this for intellectual stimulation and fun. The  objective  of this phase  is:

  • Spend time with those who matter most to me
  • Continue managing the business part time
  • Get to 10,000 rental units
  • Have a bunch of different private equity investments
  • Invest significantly into Vanguard Dividend stocks and Municipal Bonds
  • Buy a dozen or so franchises
  • Buy a few hotels

I hope to have phase #4 last the remainder of my life.

What are your business principles to help get you to $10K/day?

It’s a good question.  I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I’m a paragon of business logic and that I understand business better than everyone else. But what I will say is this:  I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with successful CEOs, billionaires, and entrepreneurs who have sold companies for hundreds of millions of dollars. I’ve read hundreds of books in the business category and there’s a clear pattern across all of the books. They think about business differently than everyone else. If you ask the regular person on the street how to succeed in business, you’ll start to hear a lot of gargon. You’ll hear some variation of:

  • Competition: You need no competitors in the space.
  • Idea:  You need a genius  idea that  no one has ever heard of before
  • SWOT Analysis: You need to do a SWOT analysis

This might be mean, but  I’m just going to say it: I have never once heard a  successful person use the phrase SWOT analysis. Please, please, please stop focusing on that. It really doesn’t do anything or add any value to anyone. Leveraging what I’ve learned, here are the three principals that I’m going to follow to start and grow my business/businesses.

#1: Understand  your customers

No one cares that an entrepreneur had a “genius” idea or want to become a billionaire. What does matter, arguably the only thing that matters is whether or not you understand your customers. Market research is NOT compiling a  list of competitors in the market. That doesn’t help you understand your customers. You need to have hundreds of deep, detailed conversations with people to understand how they think. You need to understand what they are excited about, what they are worried about, and what keeps them up at night.

#2: Deliver the value you know your customers need

You know what problems your customers have now. Since you know that, you can focus on how to deliver that value to them. The goal is to go over-the-top in delivering value for customers. If I go over the top in delivering value to customers in something that truly matters to them, there is no way the business doesn’t succeed. As long as #3 is also true.

#3: Make this job the best job  your employees will ever have

Even if you do #1 & #2 perfectly, it can absolutely fall apart if #3 doesn’t happen. I believe strongly you need to have a work  environment that your team loves and wants to work their hardest in. I’ve worked for bad bosses before, and it absolutely kills motivation. The quote is  100% true….culture eats strategy, 100% of the team

I truly believe what isn’t on this list is significantly less important

I’m not going to focus on competition,  SWOT analysis, or anything else really. If I get all three of these principles right, then I think the business will succeed. Of course, I could start a small-town knitting shop that hits these goals but it won’t scale to $10K/day. That’s true. I  need to apply these to a market that’s big enough. But, I don’t care about competition.

What are your life principles to help you get to $10K/day?

I think there are a lot of things that need to be right in your life in order to help you reach a big, aggressive goal like this. Here are a couple that I’m going to prioritize on the journey to reach this goal.

Writing my goals down every morning

I’m a huge believer in the idea that you need a destination, otherwise, you’ll end up drifting around with no end in sight. I have a notebook in my bedside table. Every morning, I wake up and write the date. Then, I write down the same goals I have for my life. The first goal is “I’m in Miami at 30, making $10K  a day. X,XXX days to make it happen.” The Miami part is just because my fiancee and I “met” in Miami. I’d love to take her there for my 30th birthday to celebrate reaching this goal.

Eating Right

Yes, there are examples of people who live on french fries and reach success. They’re also the exception, not the rule. I think it’s extremely important to eat healthy in order to keep your energy levels up so you can have the necessary energy to attack the day.

Exercising regularly

The same point regarding energy. I think you need to exercise and get your heart rate up to take care of yourself and keep your energy where it needs to be.

Sleeping well

Again, energy. I want to do the best I can regarding regularly sleeping so I  can attack  the day and  get  done what I want to  get done

Who are you?

I’m from the east coast and I’ve followed the rules my whole life.

I worked hard when I was young because my parents told me I wouldn’t get into a good high school if I didn’t.I didn’t know what a good high school was, and I didn’t know that high school was something you could go to regardless of your grades.

Then in high school, I worked hard to get good grades in order to get into a good college. That worked, as I was able to ignore undergrad and go straight to business school. I graduated Wharton, ranked the #1 business school in the world, with honors.

While there, I crushed it. I won awards and was invited to meet with the rich and successful alumni when they came back to campus for donation visits. I was the kid in class that people texted under the table when the professor said we had a group project.

I graduated and got a job at one of the most prestigious companies in the world. I made $100K in my first year out of school, at 22 years old. I was working for CEOs. It the exact job that my high school girlfriend told me “didn’t exist” and that everyone had to “work their way up.”

In practice, I had skipped a few rungs of the ladder. I was 20 years younger than all of the clients. Life seemingly was great

….but it left me with little

But here’s the thing: it sounds great, but really wasn’t.

For example, I lived out of a suitcase four days a week. I worked ungodly hours, spent even more time in traffic going to and from the airport, and subsisted on fried food at some of my more rural clients.

The money sounds great, but it actually wasn’t. After a few years of consulting, I had $20K to my name. This wasn’t because I spent a lot of money. In fact, I didn’t spend much at all. Between taxes, and rent (consulting paid me well, but required I lived in a high-cost city), I had very little left.

Even more importantly, I looked ahead and didn’t aspire to be what I saw. The next few decades all blended together and didn’t seem appealing.

The system doesn’t make sense to me

Earlier, I mentioned my parents told me to get good grades so I could go to a good college and then get a good job. I did that.

They also told me to put all my money into a $401K and wait for compound interest to do it’s magic. After all, that’s the standard advice.

I get the power of compound interest. One of my finance professors at Wharton advised presidents about the economy. Trust me, I get the financial part of it.

But, if this standard advice of get a job then put your money into $401K savings plan works, then why do most Americans not have enough money for retirement?

I read a great book by MJ Demarco, a successful entrepreneur, called the Millionaire Fastlane around this point. In that book,  he makes the following points:

  • If saving all your money in a 401K makes sense, then why do most people not have enough for retirement?
  • Statistically, you might not be alive by  the time you reach retirement age
  • On the low odds you have money, will you enjoy spending that money in retirement? You’ll fall asleep during your visit to Rome because you don’t have the energy
  • If you want to make money at a young age, you need a business

If you have the time, I highly recommend that book. It’s easily one of the best books  I’ve ever read, and it just makes too much sense. So, I quit my high paying job but misery-inducing job to try and do exactly that….build a business that I  can do and still enjoy my life with my family

The last line above is the only thing you really need to know about me.  I love my family and I’m doing this for them. I want to be able to spend time with them, go to every sporting event or play, and live a life with them. My fiancee is the love of my life and my motivation for everything. I want to work hard so I can gain the freedom to spend more time with her. She’s incredible in every possible definition of the word and incredibly supportive. 

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