July 1st 2017 was the first day of my new life. I quit a 100K+ job in the financial industry and decided to live on my own terms. No more bosses, no more working hours, no more suits & tie. Now, this all sounds like a marvelous dream, but what really happens once you quit your job? Do I get to wear my favorite pajamas until noon each day? (hum… that’d be nice!)
After a little over 3 months into this new life, I’m giving you my takeaways today. If you are not passionate about your job now, I’d suggest you take a few minutes and read this.
Freedom & Struggles
First, the freedom. One thing I despised the most about my days spent at a bank was the number of stupid rules I had to follow for absolutely no reasons. I’m not talking about compliance and regulations here, I’m talking about things like it takes up to 3 business days to order a statement or I need to send the mortgage file 10 business days in advance to the lawyer so he can take a look at the deal. Reports, sales meetings, and weekly phone calls meetings were part of many time wasters.
Now, I have 1 weekly phone meeting that lasts exactly 15 minutes (I time them). Then, I have 1 monthly meeting with my partner where there is a clear and short list of topics to be addressed. The rest of the time, I’m free to do whatever I want.
For the most part, I enjoy working in my office. In fact, each morning, I’m look forward to jumping on my computer (which I usually do around 7:30am). I love to see the progress and I’m fueled by each wins. Because from now on, each win goes directly in my pocket, nobody else’s. When I do something, I do it for me and I benefit directly from it. This is an amazing feeling.
I also enjoy the creation potential I can use. I love to work on new projects. Now, I have the possibility of creating a new project every single month. This is highly motivating. I can let my mind go from one place to another and explore the wildest ideas. Some of them are really bad, but I usually end up working on very cool stuff.
Unfortunately, being free generates lots of struggles at the same time. I have not yet been able to work 5 days in a row where I can tell that each of them was highly productive. While I’m super motivated and passionate about what I do, I still find myself wandering online or playing Heartstone on my iPad from time to time. The thing is that you easily get lost in your house when you are working from home. I’m doing a lot of work done in a small amount of time because I’m productive. However, keeping this productivity level for several hours for several days in a row is quite a challenge.
This also may have to do with the fact I didn’t work for a full year. Going all-in all of a sudden is quite a shock for my brain. I can now tell that after 3 months, I’m starting to have a better understanding of my capacity and how to use it best. I’ve learned that often shifting tasks is a good way to keep me working hard for several hours. For example, I can’t write 2 or 3 articles for Seeking Alpha in the morning. If I start my day with one stock analysis, I can do another one once I get back from lunch and prepare for one later on in the afternoon. Shifting to a “soft article” like this one helps me keep my rhythm.
But the biggest struggle I have so far has to do with another type of consistency. As I am at the beginning of my business journey, my results are highly volatile from one week to another. I remember that I was quite disappointed by September’s numbers after the first 2 weeks. Then, we executed our plan for the biggest promotion of our life and it lead to amazing results. For the first time in my life, I made over $20,000 in revenue in a single month. Unfortunately, the first week of October was another reality check; I’m not going to average 20K/month anytime soon…
Am I on the verge of bankruptcy? How can I survive with “no income” and a family of 5? I didn’t save a big amount of money or pay down my debts before becoming an entrepreneur. I didn’t have lots of money invested either and I certainly didn’t wait for the company to generate enough money to pay me before I quit. I need about $6,000 per month to pay for everything at home. When I started working in July on my sites, they generated $4,503 in revenue (not profit) the month before. In other words, I was in a deep hole when I started.
I started working like an animal and never looked back. After 3 months, I’m already in the green:
This chart shows you my revenue, expenses (including my salary) and net profit (which is left in the company). I expected to be making profits in January 2018 and I’m already at that level. While I’m still living on a “month to month” basis with my paycheck, I don’t expect to grow many debts in my first year as an entrepreneur.
I was willing to withdraw my $70K RRSP account, lose my house, and sell my first born (okay… not really) to make my dream happens. But all I really needed was lots of work focused into the right direction.
As my personal finances are getting better and the company is growing, I started thinking about my plans for the future. I’m a guy that likes challenges and I’m never satisfied. In fact, I’m always happy, but never satisfied. For this reason, my wife and I decided we will be leaving for 2 months in early 2019. We want to go to Thailand and Bali right after Christmas and come back in March. Kids will be pulled away from school for this period, but I know they can make it with good grades anyhow.
When we had the idea to leave for a year in RV, we didn’t have the money, we didn’t speak Spanish, and we didn’t know how we would make it happen. This is exactly what we are doing with this new project. What you need to realize your dream is not money. If you want to achieve your goals you don’t need plans or time. All you need is a deadline. When you set a date, everything is possible. I now have to work on a way to make it happen. The power of deadlines is greatly underestimated. I still don’t know how or where I will find the money to leave, but I will. I know I’ll leave between December 26th, 2018 and January 3rd, 2018. All I need now is to work on it.
Don’t give me time, give me a deadline.
- Duke Ellington