Six years ago, I was a recent college graduate and a broke entry level employee. I was making a whopping $30,000 per year as a salaried employee. For the first time, I had money to spend (although not a lot of it). That paycheck was coming in rain or shine every two weeks and I felt rich.
It was time to experience life a bit. So, my friend Matt, my brother and I took off for a cross country road trip. We were having a great time, stopping in Denver for the Twin/Rockies game (pic above), at Arches National Park in Utah for some hiking, in Vegas for a night on the town and in Santa Barbara for some beach time, but then…. my paid for car blew up. Game over.
After the dust settled, I somehow ended up with $26k in debt. No, it wasn’t an accident. I bought a car I couldn’t afford 100% on credit. Hey, I had good credit so what’s the problem? Add that to some student loan debt I already had and I was looking at $26k to pay back on a salary barely higher than that.
Can you relate? I was making $30k and was in debt $25k plus. Ouch. Almost hopeless… Right?
Or was it?
You May Think Things Are Hopeless, But They’re NOT
Five years later, I was out of debt, owned that same car outright (with 55,000 miles on it) and had close to 5 years of living expenses piled away in cash/liquid investments. When told by my boss that the bad situation at work wasn’t going to improve and that I’d have to “deal with things that way they were”, I decided to walk away from my job to start my own company.
How did that happen in 5 years? Hard work, focus, big goals, a heck of a lot of internal motivation and most importantly, persistence. I NEVER gave up.
Not even one year later, I’ve got a business that’s generating cashflow equal to 75% of my expenses every month, stretching my 5 year savings runway to over 15 years. In other words, I can now go 15 years without a job before running out of cash.
Building a Business is the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread
It took me less than a year to stretch a 5 year runway to 15 years. I’d like to see a 9-5’er save enough money in less than one year to extend their runway that much. In other words, business ownership.. it just may be the best thing since sliced bread.
I’m a firm believer that building a business is the BEST way to create more freedom, options and independence in your life. No, not working a job you hate for 15 years, saving half your income, but building a business and doing work you actually love.
The 9-5 extreme saving gig is only a smart move to get yourself out of debt and pile up enough cash to ditch it, in my opinion. But of course, not everyone has it in them to face starting a business. It is not easy, believe me. I struggle daily to keep at it (out of fear), but I love what I’m doing.
7 Aspects of My Future Life That Are Going to Rock
Once my business is established and is consistently bringing in more than I/my future family spend, these 7 things below are going to make all this effort ABSOLUTELY worth it all:
- My work will be location independent – I don’t plan to move internationally and live there for the rest of my life, but I would like to up and leave whenever I feel like it. That may mean taking a long vacation south in the middle of the winter or west to the mountains in the middle of the summer. That may also mean moving to a different area to raise a family, instead of the city. I may actually want to buy a house someday, but instead of paying $200k here, I could pay $80k elsewhere. I’m thinking cash purchase. What do you think? Thirty-year mortgage? As Al Borland would say, “I don’t think so, Tim.”
- I’ll be doing work I enjoy every single day – Every day (well, at least those days when I decide to work), I’ll be working on things I enjoy. Those things will include working with clients I love working with (like the four I have now), and also creating and selling products that help people accomplish specific results that I believe in. This work is great because I choose what I do and who I work with. If a client or customer is a pain in my butt, I pull the plug on them. That’s the joy of multiple income sources and an independence fund. It’s so we DON’T have to deal with any bosses that aren’t good for us.
- Trips to awesome places will double as business expenses – There’s a conference in San Diego every year that once the cash flow gets there, I’ll be attending. Of course, it will be written off as a business expense (legally). Seems illegal to go to such a great place and write it off, doesn’t it? Nope, that’s just the tax code we’ve set up here that favors businesses. I’ll be taking advantage of trips to awesome places on the company as well as to get all sorts of new toys like an upgraded Macbook Pro when mine bites the dust in 10 years. Finally, I get to buy fancy toys again and not feel bad about it. It’s actually HELPING me build my business and create wealth instead of taking away from it like it did when I was working a 9-5.
- I’ll be able to work/stop working whenever I want – If after looking at the weather forecast, it looks like 75 and sunny for the next three days (in the middle of the week), I’ll be free to make the executive decision to go out camping. What better time to do it than in the middle of the week when it’s quiet AND on the best, cherry picked days of the summer. Heck yes. I envision hikes, bike rides, nights under the stars, and campfires. Anyone heard of banana boats? I LOVE them. I’m thinking 17 banana boats per night.
- I’ll have about 20 times the experience of my past employed self – The old me got a ton of experience at first from my job. I was working for a small company that was growing and doing great things leveraging the internet. And then we became bigger and bureaucratic. Soon, I was reliving the same experience over and over and over. Years went by without really becoming any better at.. well.. anything. Can you resonate? In the past year, I’ve learned 20 times more than the year before. I’ve learned skills that people pay me for. I didn’t have most of these skills a year ago. The next few years will be huge as well and in my future, I’ll be a wise dude, knowing how to cashflow a business. Kick butt, right there.
- I’ll OWN what I create (and have created in all the years past) – This may be the most important thing I’ve mentioned so far. Back in the days, I went to work for over 2,000 hours a year and at the end of the year, I got a couple thousand dollar bonus. Today, at the end of the year, I own EVERYTHING I did the entire year. What do you think is more valuable? Enough said.
- I’ll likely get wealthier every single year, never having to worry about money again – With ABSOLUTELY NO DEBT, close to six figures of savings and enough cashflow to support my future family and me (soon), I’ll be getting wealthier every single year. How, you say? Well, perhaps I’ll make some money from the stock market or what not, but most likely, my wealth will be created by more and more cashflow from my business. That’s the joy of businesses. There really is no cap on how much you can make. Who knows, I could be making 6 figures every single year, while having all the perks I mention above. I believe that is VERY possible, if not likely in my future. In that scenario, I’ll never have to worry about money again. Just how I like it.
As you can see, my plan has big time perks if it comes to fruition. From where I started 6 years ago ($26k in debt and a small salary) to now, (15 years of financial runway and a growing location independent income), I’ve made a TON of progress. I only plan to make sure it continues. Where will I be in another 6 years? I’d say I’ll be exactly where I plan to be. Location independent. Working on things I love. Without money worries. Owning everything I do. Experiencing endless things.