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7 Lessons From Becoming Self-Employed
I wish I would have been able to read these many years ago...
“Why Not Me? by Jarrylew” is a business, finance, and entrepreneurial newsletter that focuses around the idea of using efficient income to become self-employed and financially free.
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In today’s post, I want to share X helpful lessons that I learned after becoming self-employed in 2019 after only two years of trying.
The internet is an amazing way to make more efficient income, especially when you’re just starting out.
There is no better feeling than waking up to money in the morning that didn’t require you to be awake to earn.
Getting off the ground is the most grueling part of the process though, which is why I want to share this information.
Seeing it back when I was first scouring the internet for online business ideas would have saved me a ton of time.
Lesson 1: Identify Your Dream Life
If you don’t have a general idea of your ideal life situation, you will run out of steam quickly.
Motivation will often disappear and if you don’t have an ultimate goal in mind, you won’t remain disciplined.
When I first started trying to become self-employed, I felt directionless.
I would work for a couple weeks and then go, “when will this ever end?”
What I was missing was a clear and defined goal that allowed me to live and operate with intention.
To do this grab a pen and paper.
One one side of the paper, outline what you consider the “perfect” day.
Here is what mine would have looked like about 5 years ago and is the life I live today:
2-4 hours of “fun” work
1 hour at the gym
1-2 hours of reading/studying/analysis
1-2 hours of video games
Rest split between family/friend time or golf
95% of the time, your list will require what mine did if you want to make it reality: freedom.
Freedom comes from cash-flow that covers your expenses.
While most lists will point in the same direction, it’s still important to know exactly what you’re working towards.
It will help when things get tough.
Lesson 2: Identify What You Hate
While trying to become self-employed, I found myself working a great job as an Aerospace engineer on a wonderful program.
I was helping design the new Air Force 1 aircraft that the United States president flies on.
On several occasions I thought to myself, “things could be much worse, why not just stay here?”
If the job was my dream job, that would have been just fine.
However, no job is my dream job. Coasting would have left me miserable, no matter how “cool” it was.
This is why self-honesty is so important.
I kept myself honest by clearly defining what I didn’t like about my situation.
On the other side of that paper I told you to grab, list what you hate most about your average work day.
Here is what I hated (back then):
Waking up to an alarm
Being told what to do
Another human telling me my time was worth $X/hour
Having to ask permission for time off
Doing this will do two things:
Keep you hungry
Give you a list reminders about what you want to avoid returning to once you have built that dream life
Now that I live my “dream life”, my focus is on not returning to that list of things I hate.
That’s right. My focus is not on becoming “rich” or inventing something new. It is on never going back to that life I hated so much.
Lesson 3: Be Prepared and Be Patient
This is a lesson that I learned by listening to others.
Whenever someone leaves their job and becomes self-employed, but fails… it almost always is the result of not being patient/prepared.
They did one of or a combination of the following:
Weren’t making enough money outside of their job before taking the leap
Didn’t save enough money prior
Spent too much money after
Took too much risk
I have seen people on Twitter recommend making 60% of your salary online before jumping ship, but that’s too much risk for me.
I recommend getting as close to matching your full-time pay and having a 6 month emergency fund first. That’s what I did.
It’s a decision only you can make, but the more prepared you are the less stressful it will be.
Lesson 4: Limit Your Expenses
Again, this was a lesson that learned ahead of time and I’m beyond thankful for it.
If you have debt of any kind (outside of a fixed rate mortgage), I would not recommend making the switch from job to self-employed.
You should be starting a side hustle and adding new income streams, but do not make the jump until you’ve eliminated those extra monthly payments.
On top of that, you should eliminate frequent unnecessary expenses and/or large one-time purchases.
This ties into lesson 3, but liabilities only mandate more future work for yourself.
Self-employment is already tough to accomplish, why make it that much more difficult?
I’m not saying you should never treat yourself, but I made a lot more progress than I would have if I had taken multiple vacations and bought a couple new vehicles.
(Hell, I still drive a 12 year old vehicle I paid cash for)
Lesson 5: Add Multiple Income Streams
Thankfully, this was another lesson I taught myself before starting. It just makes sense and I’m glad I took this one to heart early.
When starting out, having one side hustle makes sense. Obsess over that side hustle until you accomplish the following:
Regular profit each month
Streamline each step of the process (get efficient & use software)
Learn everything there is to “learn” about it
Optional: hire a virtual assistant
Once this has been done, move back to square one and consider another side hustle to add to the mix.
I encourage creating content, documenting the side hustle you built.
Start off by telling the story of how you got started, then play catch up until you’re caught up in real time.
This could be via the written word, audio, or video. It could also be a combination of the three.
If content is not for you (you never know until you try), consider another type of side hustle that interests you.
The reality is, you are one unfortunate occurrence away from losing one of your income streams online at least temporarily.
People get banned on Amazon by accident, have a payment processor ban them for no reason at all, or get caught up in annoying trouble with PayPal.
There will be no warning, but multiple streams of income and that emergency fund I talked about will save you.
Lesson 6: Fail Often
I was scared to fail when I started out. I had visions of sinking a bunch of time into a project, only for it to crash and burn.
That did happen to me, several times.
I attempted to create a few different businesses before my first successful one and several more after that one.
All of them failed.
The only result is that I learned something new and went right back to where I was before I started.
This is a net positive, not a negative.
If you don’t use debt and keep your initial investment small, failing should be something you seek to experience.
I’m dead serious. There is no better way to learn.
Lesson 7: Ignore the Noise
If you are someone who shares your every move with family and friends, get ready for people to question you.
The same people who would advocate for you to take on $100,000 in student loans will be the first to lecture you about the “risks” of business.
Even if you’re only putting $500 on the line.
Ignore these people.
They might think they have your best interests in mind, but they don’t.
Those who actually have your best interests in mind will encourage you and celebrate your wins.
If I’m honest, you should ignore the praise too. Share your appreciation, but ignore it.
The more you seek praise and approval, the more you’ll listen to the negative people on the flipside.
Become a robot and get obsessive about your dream life and escaping the lifestyle you hate.
Whenever you are ready, there are 2 ways I can help you:
Get my Free Amazon Money Making Guide here.
Join my Private Discord Group here. (600+ members & enrollment closing soon)
This has been another edition of Why Not Me?
You guys let me know.