I made the drastic decision this week that I would be dropping out of college at the end of this quarter, to dedicate more time towards achieving my entrepreneurial goals.
Before you laugh or insult me for making a stupid decision, understand that this did not come without a ton of thought, and would not even be a consideration if I was not already heading down a good path.
I am at the ‘crossroads’ in my life at this moment and feel like it’s time to make some important decisions. This was one of them.
How This Began, And What It Can Teach You
Most days, I work at least 12 hours on various projects. I am an entrepreneur, which really means I have about 30 different jobs. Other than a blogger I am also an author, marketer, Amazon reseller, stock investor, consultant, and so much more. Everything in my life is balanced in between periods of more work.
One day this all stopped. I first told this story over on Donna Merril’s and Adrienne Smith’s blog – I hadn’t taken a day off for over a year, when my family came up from another state for Thanksgiving. I took the next day off work completely, and spent the day with my two cousins and my nephew, 7, 8, and 5 years old. We spent the day drawing, taking silly pictures, watching movies, and just plain having fun.
It was the first time in a while where I felt completely free. For just that one day, I didn’t have any worries. No worrying about work. No emails. No social media. No writing. No stress, and no drama.
Looking back, it was probably one of the best days I’ve ever had. I absolutely love the work I do (how else could I stand to do it for 12 hours a day?) but that day really opened my eyes as to what I want in life.
It wasn’t money, like I thought it was. It was what I thought money would achieve – happiness. Freedom.
My goal with my entrepreneurial work was no longer to become rich, it was to become free. And thus, become happy. And that thought alone changed everything.
How To Achieve Freedom
We may think that we live in a free country, but the truth is that most of are not free. In fact, we are far from it.
Most of us have to get up in the morning, to go and work at a job we hate just so we can get a bit of paper that will allow us to enjoy the little extra time we have.
That lifestyle was never appealing to me, and I’d imagine it doesn’t appeal to you either. Thankfully, living this way isn’t necessary, at least not as necessary as you may think.
There are two ways to live off the money your business provides for you. You can either make more money, or you can reduce your expenses. The latter is easier, but actually results in the former (we’ll touch more on that later.)
We are psychologically driven to consume as many material goods as possible. Spend, spend, spend. Of course, it doesn’t help that products are constantly pushed at us, trying to convince us all that we “need” them when in reality, many of them are a huge waste of money.
The problem with this is that most people spend above their means and thus, never really improve their life situation. They are stuck running in the same circle until the day they retire, if they are ever even able to do so.
This is exactly why minimalism was so appealing to me. The idea of minimalism is to spend as little money as possible, allowing yourself more freedom from living on a lower budget, and thus, working less often.
This means cutting your expenses whereever possible, and purchasing little more than the bare necessities. Extra money in my case goes straight to investing in the stock market or back into my business, thus increasing my income further. This allows me to improve my lifestyle consistently without giving up my freedom.
What Minimalism Has Done For Me
Some would say that I am lucky, but the truth is I have just made smart decisions.
I do not yet have a family to provide for. I only need to make enough money to provide for myself.
I have no debt, and thus, no obligation to pay someone back each month.
I could live in a luxury apartment, but I don’t. I save myself $1000 a month by living at home with my parents, which allows me to work much less.
Other than necessities, I only buy what will improve my life for the long term. My possessions consist of little more than musical instruments, computers, and sports equipment.
Some may say this lifestyle sucks. I say it’s the best possible way to live.
Today was a great day. I could have slaved my life away for 8 hours working some boring job. Instead, I woke up at noon, played soccer with my girlfriend, played guitar at the park, and then hopped on my computer and ‘went to work.’
Minimalism grants me the most valuable resource of all – time. I have the time to enjoy my life because I am free. I may work a lot, but only because I choose to.
What Minimalism Will Do For You
- Allows you to focus more time on building your business.
- Puts you in control of your own life, instead of being a slave to others.
- Prevents stress that comes from traditional work.
- Prevents financial stress by eliminating financial obligations (paying off debt, downsizing house, purchasing a cheaper car.)
- Allow you to spend more time pursuing entrepreneurial ideas.
How Minimalism Will Actually Make You Rich
The last point mentioned is perhaps the most important.
Sorry to ruin your dreams, but the reality is you’ll never get rich working your day job. You can be smart with your money and end up well-off, but you will never become incredibly rich.
The reason for this is simple. There are only 24 hours in a day. Your job and commute will consume a large portion of your waking life.
When this time is freed, you will find a desire to fill it with something productive. You will have a ton of time to come up with incredible entrepreneurial ideas. Ideas that you would never have time to pursue if you had never quit your day job to become a minimalist.
Entrepreneurs are some of the only people that ever really have a shot at making the big bucks. It only takes one successful idea to strike it big, and you’ll only have the time to try if you’re self-employed.
If you need proof of this, just look at J.K. Rowling. She wrote the Harry Potter series while working at home as a single parent collecting welfare. Now look at her success – the Harry Potter brand is worth $15 billion dollars! If she worked a traditional job, she’d be middle-class at best.
Now there is definitely no guarantee that you will become the next J.K. Rowling or the next Steve Jobs but you have a way better chance of becoming rich as a minimalist than the corporate person who works 60 hours a week.
How To Realistically Quit Your Job
Now as appealing as freedom may sound, it isn’t exactly the easiest thing to achieve (hence why most people today are NOT free.)
At best, you’ll only have to pay for the necessities, and can easily get by on $1000 a month.
At worst, you’ll have a spouse, children, debt, and a ton of other obligations that up your monthly expenses.
Therefore, your goal should be to minimize your expenses as much as you can, and focus as much time as possible on building your business. When your business income is greater than your expenses, you are free.
That means you WILL have to work beyond your day job to build your business until you can make this happen. If you can’t afford your lifestyle and you can’t reduce the amount you spend, than yes, you must keep working. And it sucks.
But if your business continues to grow, even at a slow rate, than one day you will be making enough to quit. You will finally free yourself.
If you want to take blogging seriously and build a business that will generate real income, I highly recommend picking up my book, “Blogging For Profit: A Beginner’s Guide To Starting Your Very Own Web Business!” It covers everything from picking a niche, to creating compelling content, to building traffic, to monetizing the site.
It’s just shy of 70 (paperback-length) pages, and intentionally short so you can spend less time reading and more time doing. It’s a great investment for anybody looking to blog for profit.
If Minimalism Appeals To You, You’ll Love My Next Book
Speaking of good books, I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be releasing another book sometime in the near future. It focuses less on blogging and more on entrepreneurship, but also covers a ton of other important topics such as personal finance, product creation, and becoming free (while becoming rich at the same time.)
This book is aimed for people looking to start a business while still in school (as I did) but there will certainly be a lot of great info for any serious entrepreneur, student or not. I already know it will be my greatest work yet.
I’m not sure when I’ll be done with it, but I’m aiming to write a minimum of 2500 words a day on this book so I hope to have it published within two months. It will be available for sale both here on my site, as well as all of the major eBook stores. You will also be able to pick up a paperback copy should you wish to do so. This will be the first time I get a book of mine printed so I’m excited to see how all of that turns out.
Edit: Both books mentioned here are no longer for sale, but have been improved upon and replaced by my courses.
I have a lot more planned this year in terms of product creation, and I definitely would not be able to achieve all of my goals if I remained a full-time student. That’s fine though – I’d much rather be doing this than working a 40 hour a week corporate job, wouldn’t you?
Try to focus as much time as possible on building your business. Every hour you put towards it is only taking you one step closer to freedom.
Remember: the moment your business covers all of your expenses, you are free.
Freedom is there for you if you want it – so go and get it!