How to Turn Your Life into Hollywood Movie
And make boatloads of money legally.
Every rag to riches Hollywood movie essentially has the same plot. There are also people out there that are living movie-worthy lives that follow a similar trajectory.
After years of binging, I discovered that there is a commonality in the way every story is structured — in fiction and in the re-telling of a real-life story, from Simon Cowell to Elon Musk to J.K. Rowling. Here are the 12 stages that every hero and heroine go through before they make their boatloads of money and turn their lives into a Hollywood ready movie.
1. The apprentice stage
This is the beginning of the movie — or, your movie. You start off not knowing anything, or thinking you know everything. You might get a job or perhaps struggle to get one.
Whatever the situation, this is the beginning of everything.
2. The frustrated at the system stage
As you work your day job, you become part of a system. You start to notice the inefficiencies, ways you can do things better or perhaps the system just isn’t working for you. It might be a 9–5 or perhaps you’re being grossly underpaid.
You get angry at the system, unable to do or change anything.
3. The breaking out stage
You take a leap of faith and decide to do something different. For many, they stay at stage 2 and continue to work. But you’re different. You see the light and decided that you’ve had enough. You’d rather take the risk and do something extraordinary.
4. The hopeful stage
Everything is rosy when you start out. There may be a few setbacks but there are always those few believers that will help keep your flame alive. This is the stage where you learn to swim by jumping into the deep end. At this point, you haven’t really figured out the inner workings of the machine you’re trying to build just yet but you know the general shape of it.
5. The failing stage
You launch your product. You push out your content. You find that nothing is working and those that told you so are now shaking their heads. They try to entice you back into a day job, to not be silly and do what’s working for everyone else.
Except you know, deep down, that walking the traditional path is not your thing.
For Simon Cowell, it was filing for bankruptcy at aged 30 and having to move back home. For Elon Musk, it was two rockets exploding and he was down to his last bit of funding for SpaceX. For J.K. Rowling, it was getting rejected by agents and publishers for the first Harry Potter book.
6. The persistence stage
You emerge from the rubble of your failures. You look at what went wrong, how you could do it better and begin again — but this time, smarter and better than before. You figure out your marketing voice, your brand’s identity and ultimately, you figure out what you stand for rather than try to be the same like everyone else.
7. The breakthrough stage
You finally figure out your value proposition and find an audience that will listen. You gain a few first true followers and early adopters. You start making your first real dollars and may end up splurging on a good hot meal.
Everything appears to be falling in line until…
8. The setback stage
Something goes wrong. Something always goes wrong — for whatever reason. Algorithm changes get rolled out on your chosen platform of advertising, your influencers ghosts you suddenly, your clients have decided to pivot all at the same time and you’re being let go by all of them, or your toddler decides to water your laptop with their new dinosaur drink bottle.
9. The creative stage
You hit a mental low point but you refuse to be a victim of your situation. You push on and get creative with how you go about conducting your business. You pivot to match the pivots that caused your shrinking stats, your missing audience, and the desert of a client base.
You hustle — smarter than before, coming up with a unique perspective to market yourself and bring the attention back to you.
10. The second chance stage
You get rejected, time after time until finally, someone takes you up on your offer. This time, it’s the real deal. They stick with you — as a customer, as a client, as a friend and promoter to your brand. They believe ardently in your value proposition and will help you make a living out of it.
11. The validation stage
You get published. You get recognized. A major news outlet or publication picks you up and you become an overnight celebrity. You go viral. Everyone loves you. They come after you for advice because they recognize you as the expert in your field, the real MVP of your product, the quality of your service and whatever else you’re delivering.
The cash starts to roll in. You might go through stages 5, 6, 7, 8, 8, 10 and 11 several times before you hit this stage. Or perhaps you got to hit this stage but the cycle continues until the validation stage hits such a high point that it becomes noteworthy.
12. The Hollywood movie worthy ending stage
Onlookers see you at the end of a cycle — successful and making bank. They don’t see the journey it took, or if they did, it doesn’t really sink in. You worked hard, you worked smart and you hustled your way out by doing the things you needed to do, even during times when no one believed in your idea.
But you had an idea and you stuck by it — through its multiple iterations, incarnations, and pivots.
You become the survivor in the survivorship bias — the one that made it to the end where credits start rolling and you’re left with a good feeling.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, everyone has the opportunity to turn their lives into a Hollywood worthy movie.
The struggle is part of the game of figuring things out but in the end, you figure out your value proposition and how to position it in front of the right people. You find your voice and your audience begins to find you — it’s all part of the process and sometimes, you just need to grit it out to the end of a cycle.