Next year, my grandfather will celebrate his 40th year of self employment as owner of one of the longest running plumbing and heating businesses in his city. At the age of 74, he is still going strong as the oldest plumber in business in Boise, Idaho. Nonconformity and delinquency are still pumping fiercely through his veins.
My grandfather no doubt transferred his contagious thirst for autonomy to me early in my life. I guess entrepreneurship is in my blood.
Just as my grandfather did 40 years ago, last Thursday I gave my boss my two week notice.
I will no longer be requiring your employment services. My last day of work will be Friday, June 12th, 2009.
It started with a single intention
Last year around May, I offhandedly made a goal to quit my day job by the following year, May 2009.
This wasn’t a serious goal at the time. I didn’t even know if it would be possible. I just knew that I wanted it, and you know what they say: you gotta put a deadline on your goals, right? So I put a deadline on it.
And it worked.
Now I’ll never underestimate the power of intention. If you want something bad enough and are willing to do anything it takes to get it, there is NOTHING that can stop you.
I still think that killing your ego-driven goals is a good thing, but the intention part of goal-setting is nothing to take lightly.
A few other interesting coincidences
- It’s the year of the Ox. I was born the year of the Ox.
- I just so happened to be offered a business opportunity that would double my income, right near the beginning of this month, a few weeks before my deadline to quit would be passed.
- Last May (the same time I made my goal to quit my job), I saw Lyoto Machida fight for the first time in the UFC and he immediately became my favorite fighter. Last May, I said “he is going to by the light-heavyweight champion, it’s just a matter of time.” On May 23rd of this year, Lyoto Machida beat Rashad Evans to become the light-heavyweight champion in the UFC. He said “if you have a dream, it is possible.” He said this right after I found out I had achieved my income goal to make it possible for me to quit my job, and pursue my dream of being a full-time blogger.
How I did it
Some of you may be interested in hearing how I made this dream possible. I’ll briefly outline a few of what I think are the main keys to my success here. They may or may not work for you.
Here are a few of the big factors that contributed to my success.
- Focused on adding value. If I don’t have something worthwhile to say, I don’t write. I would rather not add to the noise. I always focus on providing unique, genuinely valuable content. When I’m writing, I’m always asking myself what the value will be to you, the reader.
- Clearly define what makes this blog unique. I’ve worked hard to try to set my writing and the culture of this blog apart from the crowd. I know that if I’m average, I’m invisible. I don’t want to be just another forgettable blog in someone’s feed reader. I aim to make all my content unmissable by thinking differently and acting in no-limit ways. I’m not afraid to push the edges and I’m not afraid to voice a contrarian opinion.
- Wrote and sold an ebook. This was a huge milestone for me in my blogging quest. I made sure that I spent a lot of time researching what my readers would most likely value, and then I gave it to them. I even did a series on Living Your Dreams, before I wrote my ebook, Reclaim Your Dreams. Testing my idea helped me make sure that it was a hot topic and it would receive a favorable response. I also did a lot of research on how to effectively launch an ebook and spent a lot of time planning the marketing of the ebook. Right now, sales from Reclaim Your Dreams currently make up about one fourth of my income, and it’s steadily rising.
- Community and tribe unification. I used to try to write for everyone. That failed, gigantically. Now I write for and build a community around a tribe of people I most connect with. I seek to connect with unconventional, off the beaten path self-development seekers. Focusing on cultivating a community and connection with my “right people” has greatly aided the popularity of Illuminated Mind. Sometimes discrimination is the key to connection.
- Saved an emergency fund. In the past year, my wife and I have worked to building an emergency fund that would support us for several months once I quit my job, if the income from my blog completely dropped off. Having this safety net gives us some peace of mind and helps ease the calm-panic when faced with the unknown.
- Transition. I made my first goal to create an income of $100 through this blog. Once I reached that goal, I aimed for $500. Then $1,000. I steadily increased my goal and refined my methods until I reached the next, bigger goal. I also transitioned from 40 hours a week at my day job, to 32 hours a week. That extra day a week allowed me to spend more time on the blog and helped ramp up my efforts to increase my income.
- I stole Leo’s mantra. Last year, my good friend Leo quit his day job and revealed that the mantra that helped him do it was the word “Liberate.” I had to admit that this was a pretty badass idea. So I stole it, and made the word “Liberation” my mantra. It was my reminder of the reason I spent hours responding to email through dinner and working on my ebook on the weekends.
- I wanted to get paid to exist. I’ll be the first one to admit, getting paid to exist is not easy to do. Most jobs want you to do something more than just existing. Since I’m not too keen on that, I realized I would have to create my own “job.” So that’s what I set out to do: to create a life where I get paid to be me, where the value I give to the world by just being me is a way for me to feed my family.
In the next few weeks I will be officially open for business with coaching. I will be taking on a 3-4 clients a month so I can focus on providing as much highly-targeted value as possible. If you’re interested in signing up before the sales page goes live, contact me and let’s talk — my hourly rate will be $97 per hour.
I have another ebook that I’m working on and a few other ideas for expansion that I’m currently mentally toying around with.
I have some ideas, but honestly, I’m not sure what exactly the future will hold. That is the best part, I think, about self-employment. When I went to my boring job every day, I always knew what to expect. I knew the schedule, the routine. I knew the same tasks would be waiting for me each day. And when I finished them that week, they would renew themselves next week. My job was predictable, and that was part of what made it so painful.
That reality is gone. Uncertainty is on the wind now, and while I have my ear to the ground, I’m not sure what the next week or month will bring. While this might be daunting to some, I love it.
This is what I do for a living now. This whole blogging, ass-kicking craziness is now my gig. And I have to say, causing trouble for a living is a highly favorable condition. If you can find create a way to make it work, grab it by the tail and prepare for a ride.
Lastly, THANK YOU
Thank you for reading. Thank you for supporting me in my dream. If you have a dream, it is possible.
My time is now completely yours; there is no more renting out my mind and diluting my mission. Instigating self-actualization is what I do now. And I am unconditionally devoted to making that happen.
Freedom tastes as good as they say it does. Now I know the price is worth the promise.
[Note: If you’re interested in a thorough guide of how I built this blog and business to allow me to quit my job, please let me know. I’m considering doing a free ebook about this is if there’s enough interest.]