I’m Michael Lau and I’m born in Hong Kong and raised in both Hong Kong and Vancouver. I’m currently a single 19 year old working at a part time job in a restaurant and recently got dropped out of school. I’m here to give you the behind the scenes look at what has gone down in my life so far…
I was born in Hong Kong in 1995 and I am the youngest of my family of 4. I have a brother that is 14 years older than me, which will be quite strange to many of you because most siblings are only a couple years apart. I was very lucky to be born in a chinese middle class family that supported me and my brother in terms of food, a home and everything and even the occasional vacation. However, since I have been born, I have always had major sickness and had the worst fevers as a little kid and my parents were quite worried about me because I might have internal damage to my body if the sickness continues, so they decided to relocate me to Vancouver when I was 3 years old.
Only my mom and I moved to Vancouver and my dad stayed in Hong Kong to work and support us. When we first arrived, we knew nobody, had no connections and also didn’t speak english! I think you can imagine how tough that would be! It’s good my mom is a very sociable person and she has since developed great relationships with many friends in Vancouver that helped us with our stay in Vancouver.
I really only got to see my dad once or twice every year because he was always very busy with work. So you can already imagine, growing up in Vancouver without a father figure for most of my childhood really had an impact to my selfconfidence. Not only that, when I went to the public elementary schools I had to massively adjust because I didn’t have a word of english on my lips, so many of the other kids never played with me. Usually, it was me playing by myself. Throughout my years in elementary school, I wasn’t the most sociable, so I only had a couple of friends and back in the day I was quite fat, so people would call me “fatty” all the time, which to a kid is quite detrimental to his selfesteem. Not only that, since I grew up in the traditional chinese culture, there would be many times where I would get hit because either I didn’t get good grades or because of all this other chinese tradition manners that I had to adjust to. In essence, I grew up in a western culture at school and raised under the chinese culture in my home, so I was always pretty conflicted because I never really felt I “fit in” anywhere.
By the time I finished elementary school, I had to make a choice of whether to move back to Hong Kong for high school because all of my family was there and my mom wanted us to live as a family again (Dad and Brother).
I decided to move back and it was the biggest change I ever had to adjust to. The language is completely different, the culture in Hong Kong is so much more fast paced and I literally knew no one and had no friends in Hong Kong. I was already quite the introvert, so this was really out of my comfort zone. Since I was terrible at Chinese, my parents enrolled me into the Canadian International School of Hong Kong. At the school, I hardly met any friends because I would always be by myself and sometimes I even ate lunch in the washroom because I was so shy! I was also absolutely terrible with the girls. I’ve never had a girlfriend before and I have been rejected so many times already that I have already lost count! Not only that, I also fell into heavy gaming addiction at that time because I needed an avenue to escape my life and also hide away my insecurity and all I did every day was go to school, go straight home and turn on the TV and start playing Starcraft 2. It seemed like my whole life was consumed by this game. I was watching streams of Starcraft 2, playing starcraft 2 and thinking about Starcraft 2. This brought a huge stress to my family because they were disappointed in me and started losing hope in me and my education and everything that had to do with me because they thought I would just grow up and be a useless person that only knows how to play games.
Since I haven’t really seen my Dad all too much in the past 12 years of my life, it seemed like I didn’t really know him anymore. We had no connection on an emotional level and also since he doesn’t talk that much we hardly ever talk. Not only that, but when my mom went back, their relationship wasn’t going so well either and they hardly ever talk. Imagine living in a place where it seemed like a family however no one communicated to anyone…ever. I even remember a time when I sat a table eating dinner with my dad and after we finished we just went upstairs without a single word. It felt like everything was falling apart because the family’s relationship with each other wasn’t going well and also on the financial side of things, my dad’s manufacturing business in China wasn’t doing well and all I would hear about at home would be how shitty everything is and how they wouldn’t be able to support me anymore, there relationship being bad and also having lots of debt to many different people. I was a kid that thought a lot about things and I wasn’t just a kid that didn’t think and thought everything would be ok, I have a horrible habit of thinking about worst case scenarios and what would happen if my mom and dad divorced because of the bad relationship, no financial support and no friends and no future…..nothing. I started to give up on everything and played even more games to escape the reality and almost even got kicked out of high school because I literally stopped studying, stopped doing anything other than eating, playing games and sleeping. It was a vicious cycle of retreat. It got to a point in my life that I started having panic attacks and derealization (where you feel that everything isn’t real, hard to explain) I didn’t even know I were having them! They are horrible experiences because I I thought I was going to die of a heart attack or cancer and also because I lost my feeling of reality and thought everything was fake. Even till now, I still have the occasional derealization episode.
After graduating high school and moving back to Vancouver and going to university at Simon Fraser University to pursue a veterinarian career and I brought my terrible habits with me. At the time, I was living in the dorms and I would remember days of not leaving the room just to play games and it got to a point so bad that I didn’t even want to go to the washroom! This is embarrassing, but I even pissed in bottles because I was so lazy. This went on for a whole year and I pretty much went into academic probation because I stopped going to class because I had no motivation. It felt like everything was going to shit because I wasn’t making progress in my life, I wasn’t learning anything knew, I hardly had any friends and it seemed like I had…nothing.
I haven’t mentioned it yet, but at the time I was hanging out with my friend Benson a lot and he was on his path to success and entrepreneurship. One day after playing monopoly, we had a cold hard talk about what my future looked like and what I wanted to do with my life. That talk really changed my life because it really put everything in my life into perspective. What do I want? What is my purpose? Why am I doing what I am doing? Everything that has to do with mindset. I realized that I didn’t want to be a Veterinarian and the only reason I wanted to pursue that career is because I was conditioned from young that being a doctor is great because of the chinese culture and tradition. What I truly wanted was to provide for my family because I know how hard they work to support me. Really the only path I had that would allow me to achieve my want is business.
I had no idea what business was, how to do business, how to start a business and how to run a business. I was an absolute noob that wanted it but didn’t have the mindset or the knowledge to do it. It was quite sad really. At this point, I thought about starting a dog walking business and I planned many things out like the business permit and all this stuff (Most of the stuff I didn’t need to buy into other than the website) and I showed Benson. He decided to invite me to the Vancouver Entrepreneurs Group hosted by Dan Lok, which is a group filled with likeminded entrepreneurs that were pursuing their FUmoney. The first time I went to one of the group’s meeting, I was blown away by the knowledge I was getting and also getting to know more about Dan’s story. At the time, Benson is Dan’s mentee, so I went with him to the after meetup dinner. I asked Dan about my dog walking business and he said, “Don’t call it Dog Walking, it has to be more sexy.” That was when I knew one way or another I had to learn from Dan. I would go to each meetup dinner and I remember on the third dinner meetup, there were only 4 people consisting of Dan, Jenny (Dan’s Wife), Gary (Vancouver’s #1 Realtor) and I.
At the dinner, we discussed about the different kind of industries that I could go into (At this time, I’m still a confused and directionless kid that wanted to succeed in business) and the main topic that came up was creating a YouTube gaming channel and monetizing it that however since I wanted to move away from gaming due to the terrible habits I mentioned, I contacted Dan after the dinner through Facebook to ask about other possible options and Dan recommended me to go into Kindle Publishing. Once I had a direction I just went with it and spent over $8000 to learn about Kindle with the gurus and even borrowed money from my parents.
The learning curve was steep and I spent days of my time immersing myself with the content and grew the business to a point of minor success of $2000 per month.
Since I grew up in a traditional chinese family, school was very important and I just didn’t want to do invest any more time into it especially since I was on academic probation and on the brink of getting kicked out. I just didn’t know how to tell my parents because they had such high hopes about my education. When my mom came back to Vancouver for vacation, I decided it was time to give the serious talk about my future and what I wanted out of my life and how school was impeding with everything. I still clearly remember the day. I was at a sushi restaurant and my mom knew I was stressed out about something, but didn’t know what, so I just told her that I want to focus on my business, learn from Dan and being able to support my mom and dad. It was very emotional and she told me about all the problems starting from the family business, my brother’s troubles and everything and started to cry as well (This was in a public restaurant mind you). She understood my why and she supports me with my ventures, which I am extremely grateful for.
If you read up this point, you know that I’m just a regular guy like you. I’m not a guru of any sort and I’m not making tens of thousands a month. I can relate to your position in life. I have had my fair share of mistakes and also still learning more about everything. I’m just a kid that wants to get my F.U. Money and support my parents.
I thought I’d share it with you to help you on your journey to your F.U. Money. I’m a very down to earth guy who loves to help out in anyway I can. I have learned that there are no guarantees in life and failures are bound to happen. Like my partner in crime, Robert, I am working at a parttime restaurant job, running my Kindle business and also the F.U. Money Blog and Podcast.
I’ve been completely transparent with you with my life story and all the trials and tribulations that I have experienced. I know that at times there was too much detail, but I want to be complete honest with you and show you that everyone has their flaws. If you like what I have shared with you in my story, what I am all about and it has somehow inspired you in some way to embark on your own journey to your F.U. money, then it was all worth it.