Making Money, Saving Money, Living Well
Hello world, as they say.
Have you ever felt trapped by the day-to-day grind of going to work to earn a wage?
All the time you tell yourself that as the meaningless promotions add up and the workload gets heavier, you’ll be able to free yourself from the system. The promotions come, the work gets harder, you earn a bit more each time, but somehow you’re never any closer to that freedom.
It’s not a rat race. In a rat race, there’s a winner. This is an imaginary race where you run faster and better your whole life without ever reaching a finish line, because there isn’t one. The only prize is that you get to keep running.
This is a website about achieving that freedom. I’ve taken from a lot of different disciplines and movements, from finance and economics to psychology and minimalism. Think of it as distilled common sense with a spritz of motivation. Use it as a toolkit to opt out of the race and reach financial freedom.
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The Fallacy of Employment Success
Your lifestyle improves, you live in a nicer house, wear better clothes and go out more often to nicer restaurants, but somehow you still need that salary every month, which means showing up for work all day, every day. That ultimate goal of being able to decide not to go into work on a Monday doesn’t exist for your typical salaried employee. The dream is to have more than 25 days holiday per year – after all, we work to live, right?
I’ve spent much of my life working hard for a salary. This continues to this day. As I got older I began to feel a little trapped. It’s like being a mouse running on a wheel. When you do really well, you get rewarded with a bigger, shinier wheel, but you’re still in exactly the same situation as before. Only the wheel requires more effort to move and everyone expects more of you. The prospect of an even shinier wheel is supposed to keep you motivated.
What if you’d rather be doing something else? By the time you figure this out, you’ll be running so fast that the prospect of getting off the wheel will be terrifying. It’s all you know, and your entire lifestyle depends on it.
What keeps us in this condition is not “the system”, or “the patriarchy”, or whatever label you assign to the people you imagine are plotting in a private room somewhere. It’s our own perception of the options available to us that trap us in our current situation. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to obtaining our financial freedom. Our employers do not “do this to us”. We do it to ourselves and they merely give us what we want: financial security in return for most of our working hours and the sum total of our creativity.
It’s not a good deal.
We’ve taught ourselves that succeeding in our jobs and getting promotions is the path forward. By following that path, we tie ourselves to someone else’s wagon and start pulling it in return for food, shelter and little luxuries.
“If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs.” Attributed to Farrah Gray, Dhirubhai and Tony Gaskins
Working for someone else is contributing to their project, not yours. It’s normal that you don’t receive the full value of what you build because on the one hand, you’re not taking much of the risk, and on the other, someone hired you because they can pay you your salary, costs, desk space, benefits, taxes and training and still get something out of it.
No matter how successful you are as an employee, your employer will get more out of it than you. That’s normal – it’s the nature of the employment agreement.
The Fear of Striking Out Alone
If you are fortunate enough to have been inspired to entrepreneurship early on in life, it will have been a little easier for you.
Your lack of experience at the time will have been compensated for by the fact that you will have much less to lose.
Once you reach a certain point in life, with dependents, a decent and reliable salary and a reputation to trade on, you have to give up a lot of what you’ve built to start again.
You can end up in a bit of a logical trap: If you leave your job you give up all the security and reputation that you’ve built up over time. If you have a family depending on your income, that can be even more difficult. On the other hand, if you stay in the job you’re accepting that you’re trapped in a situation that makes you both dependent and (most likely, since you’re reading this) miserable.
The Middle Path
As always, defining things in black and white is unhelpful. There’s always a middle path. You don’t have to risk your professional career to build your own income. Not every business idea requires that you do it 100% of the time.
However – trying to hold down a full-time job while building an income stream on the side is not easy. Hustling for extra income is time consuming and will never make you as much money in the early days as your employment.
That’s not a reason to give up.
It is a reason to approach the task of building up additional income with your eyes open and your mind set. It will take strength, tenacity, resilience, planning and effort. It will be at least as hard as your day job. You’ll have to do it when you’ve given your best hours to your employer. There will be setbacks and difficulties, but…
“The distance between your dreams and reality is called action.”
… so let’s get on with it.