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When I was coming back from vacation last week, our seating got a little screwed up. Long story short, I ended up sitting next to a lady in her mid-fifties from Alberta, Canada instead of sitting by my wife and daughter. We got to talking and had some really good conversation throughout the flight. At one point, I mentioned something about my 9 to 5 job and she chuckled. It turns out she’s a consultant and speaker on business efficiency. And she talked about how valuable working for yourself can be.
She’s made a really good life for herself and works when she wants to, loves what she does, and makes outstanding money. I was so excited for her just hearing about this.
Coincidentally, while I was on the plane, I was also reading The Millionaire Next Door (a really good book!) and I came across a passage that seemed to match my conversation with my airplane neighbor:
There are more people [employees] today working at jobs that they don’t like. I’ll tell you honestly that the successful man is a guy who works at a job, who likes his work, who can’t wait to get up in the morning to get down to the office, and that’s my criteria. And I’ve always been that way. I can’t wait to get up and get down to the office and get my job under way.
I showed her the passage and she said that’s exactly how her life is right now. Although it can be a lot of hard work, particularly at first, the payoffs can be tremendous: freedom to work when you want, possibly better income, happier while working, etc. If you can find something you love to do and get paid to do it, it’s hard to call it work anymore.
If you’re young, that’s the best time to start working for yourself.
One of the best times to start working for yourself is when you’re young. That’s because you likely have the motivation, the energy, and the drive to do it. Don’t put it off, because as you start to get older, not only do you lose some of that energy, but things get in the way.
What do you mean by “things get in the way”?
I mean exactly that – life happens. Consider this…
Before long, you might find yourself getting married – which now means you and your spouse need to be in agreement if you want to start working for yourself. Then you might have kids. Kids are awesome – but they take away a lot of your time and energy.
Ok, I get it, but I’ll still have that drive and determination to do it when I’m older.
Maybe you will. But as you get older, something else can easily get in the way… you make more money.
I love making money, Jim – this sounds great!
Yes, but that’s the problem. If you start making good money, you might think “why would I leave this job to struggle starting a business when I’m raking in the bucks here?” Complacency starts to take over and you become stuck.
I can vouch for all of the above because that was exactly how things went for me. And I don’t regret the path I’m on because I’ll still be financially free before long, but I will tell you that I could have reached that goal a long time ago if I had started a solid business and built it up when I was much younger.
It’s never too late to start working for yourself.
I was always intimidated about the idea of starting my own business. I really think the idea of having employees was what turned me off to the notion of working for myself. Unfortunately, like many people, that fear caused me to just keep doing what I was doing.
I’ve always been a hard worker and seem to find myself bumped up to middle management at some point with every place I find employment. Eventually, the hard work started to pay off for me – I now make a nice salary and have a 9-5 job doing something I’m good at. And I enjoy my job, but that’s it – I have no control over the direction of the company. I’ll continue to make good money, but I’m never going to be rich working for someone else.
So where do you go from here? I’m a little older, have a child about to start in the first grade, and a wife that works part-time. It’s easy to get complacent with a job that takes care of you and your family. And that’s exactly what happened to me for a number of years. But the craving to reach financial independence at an early retirement age and the desire to be able to pass on something worthwhile to my daughter has pushed me forward.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve written and published a couple of technical books and I’m very happy that I did – it’s something you can really be proud of and definitely gives you a huge sense of accomplishment. To do it my way, I formed a publishing company as well. I basically built a business. Sounds great, right? I blew out my goal on the number of books to sell and kept more of the profits because I owned the publishing company. However, it’s extremely difficult to become a wealthy author.
In another situation, my new business has started to grow organically into a real estate company. I started with one rental house and didn’t do much with it. Then I purchased the duplex more recently and decided as of late that I needed to protect our interests in these investments. So we’ve formed an LLC and re-deeded both properties to be titled under the new company. We’ve also purchased some additional insurance (an umbrella policy) to give us a little more protection from any goofy lawsuits – like if a tenant breaks their leg while on our rental property and tries to sue us for it.
Although not your traditional type of business (like consulting, for instance), I’ve grown more and more excited about real estate and this is a good way to make this happen. My game plan is to purchase a few more multifamily properties before I quit the 9 to 5 job. The beauty of this is that I’m slowly building a solid team as I go – real estate agent, mortgage broker, property management company, insurance broker, handyman, etc. My job is going to morph into mostly finding the deals and making the magic happen. It’s not to say that it’s not involved, but the team will handle most everything with my direction. So I don’t have the employees I was concerned about and the time I’ll put in shouldn’t be too much if I don’t want it to be.
Now that’s just what I’ve figured out over time for myself, but there are so many great opportunities out there. If you’re trying to become financially independent, starting your own business can be a great avenue to make this happen more quickly. You just need to find what makes sense for you.
Are you currently your own boss and working for yourself? If so, do you enjoy it? If not, have you thought about pulling the trigger and making it happen at some point?
Thanks for reading!!