It’s gloomy and raining as I sit at a Starbucks Café in a local Target. The weather today is a stark comparison to yesterday’s—60 degrees, sunny, and warm for New Jersey weather just a mere two days before December. A day before, I was just taking in the sun and mentally preparing myself for the inevitable complete turnaround of the weather once December and January come.
While staring out into space, my brain did what it usually does when I’m daydreaming: think about the people I know who have the choice to stay home or to travel, to sleep early or to sleep late, to get up or to stay tucked in… essentially just things they now have control over because they’re not tied to a job or any sort of commitment they don’t want. I think about the people who have financial independence/freedom.
One of the reasons I started this blog is to provide value through my thoughts and my experiences and, hopefully, to be able to offer a unique perspective. I want to be able to inspire people through my own story and the story of others so that they are empowered to create their own story and not just live in someone else’s. The other reason is to have control of my own time and source of income so that I, too, can have the same choices as the people I daydream about.
I still hold down a regular 9-5. As a matter of fact, I like the people there. Yes, even my superiors (cue the gasp). The job can get boring and mind-numbing at times, but I don’t mind it too much. The thing is, I feel like I’m wasting 40 hours of my life per week stuck in a cubicle. Now that rubs me the wrong way. That doesn’t even include the time it takes to commute to and from work. I’m not complaining about this by the way. I understand this is just the making of a J-O-B and some people work well within its scope.
I want FREEDOM. Freedom to do what I want, when I want, and with whomever I want. I know, I know. I sound like a brat who refuses to understand the word “no,” but bear with me for a second. Life is short. Or long. I mean it is the longest thing we’ll ever do. But you get my point. Why can’t we do what we want with the time we have?
Here’s the thing: We absolutely can.
I don’t want to sound like one of those people who say: “Follow your dreams and everything will work out.” There’s a lot more to it than that, but I really DO sincerely and 100% believe that there is absolutely NO reason why anyone can’t make money doing what they love. If done right, I think people can make a living from it, too. What’s stopping people? Well, for one—and this is the only one I’m going to address in this post—HARD WORK.
Cliché, but when was the last time someone knocked on your door and offered you your week’s paycheck without having to show up at your job? When was the last time you won hundreds of thousands of dollars from hitting the jackpot in the lottery? When was the last time you found money that’s equivalent to an amount you can actually live off for a month? What about three months? Six months? A year? My guess is that, for most of us, never.
That’s right. Never. So, if we actually want the benefits that money does offer—the choices and options in life—we must work for it. It doesn’t matter if we acquire it from a job or from our passion turned vocation or income source. Money is money. The difference lies in how we feel while we’re making it. So, here I quote Steve Jobs:
I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been ‘No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.“
Changing for the better or changing a situation to make us happier is just going to require a lot of work. But you already knew this. In my experience building businesses, from building a security company in New York City from the ground up to building an e-commerce business that generates 10k in monthly revenue, only one piece remained constant throughout: HARD WORK.
It’s the type of borderline obsessive work that a lot of entrepreneurs are familiar with, but thrive off. At least I know I do. I embrace hard work, truly. It just has to be on my own terms.