Have you ever had a cheque for 5 million dollars in your hands?

5,000,000 dollars and 0 cents. That was the cheque I was holding in my hands.

Now I would love to say it was my money and I made it through some super secret affiliate program but nope, alas it wasn’t mine. The cheque was made out to a friend of mine who (for the purposes of this story) we should call “John”.

John’s story was fascinating and yet another chapter in what I call “White people’s problems” 🙂 I’ll explain.

Crazy brilliance making money quietly

John had this killer idea for an application a couple of years ago and had worked on building it himself with a couple of contractors. The idea is KILLER and he ended up attracting over 100,000 people to his site a month.

On average, he was monetizing a staggering 20% of those visitors and was making 6 figures a month in revenue. His expenses are about $4000/month.

On average, he was monetizing a staggering 20% of those visitors and was making 6 figures a month in revenue. His expenses are about $4000/month.

Now he works like a maniac to keep this setup going (16 hour days) but his traffic is actually increasing and there is little risk that his service is going to go down the drain anytime soon.

White people problems

A couple of months ago, he was out drinking with a couple of friends and they got pretty hammered at a bar in the LA area.

They apparently got into a stupid argument about whether John had the balls to go and present his idea to a VC.

John’s a really bad public speaker and in addition, stammers a lot when he gets nervous.

He does have something really big going for him though. He’s focused and really stubborn.

So being the stubborn SOB that he is, he decided to take his friend on and they made a bet. They bet 10,000 dollars that John wouldn’t have the balls and follow through to put a business plan together, go to up to 3 VC’s and get funded.

Long story short, last Friday, John was able to walk into the offices of a really LARGE VC and present his business.

Nervousness and stammering notwithstanding, they loved it so much they told him they wanted to give him money. 5 million dollars to be exact.

Jedi mind tricks from a VC.

YodaNow here’s the funny thing. John just did this for a bet so he politely declined the offer and said he had to think about it.

Apparently the person he was speaking to was so in love with his business he wrote John a cheque and told him to take it home for the weekend and consider.

Anyway, this past Monday (two days ago) John called me over and showed me the cheque.

5,000,000 dollars and 0 cents. Money he was going to send back.

To thine own self be true

Now that may sound absolutely bananas but I totally understand why he didn’t want the money.

He lives in an awesome condo, drives a very expensive Range Rover and has more money than he (literally) knows what to do with. His problem now isn’t raising more money, it’s finding time to spend the money he’s making.

In addition, he’s really shy and quiet. The idea of opening an office and starting to hire people and having to report to a VC “boss” makes him cringe.

I tell this story because a lot of people out there are building very successful unconventional businesses without much fanfare. No pomp and circumstance, just hard work in corners of the internet.

They are finding customers in a global marketplace, adding value and making sales.

Think about what you want

It’s important to know what you want when you are starting a business. Are you in it for money or to build a business? Those are actually not the same things.

What’s your personality type? Do you like office buildings and lots of people and teams or do you like seeing money flow into an account in private?

Nothing wrong with either of those options but it helps to know which one you want before someone waves a big cheque in your face.

5,000,000 dollars and 0 cents. That was the cheque I was holding in my hands.

Leave a Comment Below

  • Funny story. I’ve never seen that spelling of check. I’m guessing it’s a british spelling. However, the message here is to be true to thyself and know what you want. Some people may have loved the idea of reporting to a VC with additional funds, but John knows what he wants and it’s not that. Thanks for sharing.

  • The white people problems made me laugh. Overall, great story. Your buddy, “John,” sounds like a smart and business savvy guy. I have to respect him for doing it on his own. I don’t blame him for turning down the VC’s offer.

  • Motivational story. Typically, the people I’ve known that are successful in this business are stubborn and don’t turn down a challenge. “John” fits that bill. Good trait to have in a tough business like this. Refusing to back down..

  • Funny and smart post! I dream of one day holding a 5,000,000 check in my hand. However, I have a lot of hard work before I reach that point.

  • Awesome! Can you elaborate on what type of App “John” came up with? I have to imagine it’s a pretty awesome app!

  • How in the heck was he monetizing 20% of customers that visited the site? That’s incredible. I need more info on this guy’s project! haha

  • Expenses are 4,000 a month and he’s pulling in 6 figures a month. Damn. Those are the kinds of numbers movie studios dream of (just one example). Good for your friend. He’s clearly doing something right.

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