The light smothers me. It feels like a heavy blanket to me. My breathing is tense and shallow. My office manager does not replace the air filters. The windows are closed. It’s hard to get fresh air into the room. I can’t see it.
I work in an office building in an office park in a suburb that takes me almost two hours to get to each day. It is like that every day. It seems like this will be the norm for a while. The dull pull of a routine that settles us into the sameness over the years. Feelings of boredom and lack of motivation can be caused by this sameness.
I can’t remember what day it is. I would love to have a way to make time stand still. I wake up, eat, work, eat, sleep. I’m trying to find new ways to break up this routine. I am not living. I am getting by. I’m trying to stay afloat. During the best years of my life, I let the best hours of my life burn out with each paycheck. I was determined to take full advantage of this time and make the most of it.
I hated it. I sat in a cubicle for the entire day and watched the minutes of my life tick away. I was stuck in a cycle with no hope of escape. I worked or recuperated from work. I barely had time for leisure activities because I was so exhausted. I was tired and restless. I couldn’t seem to relax no matter what I tried. I couldn’t sleep because of the Monday morning meetings. The thought of having to face my colleagues kept me up all night.
Then I Got Fired Because I Wasn’t Making the Company Enough Money
I was told by my parents that I could stay at home with them for three months while I looked for a new job. I knew I had to make the most of my situation, even though I was at a loss for what to do. Over the course of a few months, I applied to over 200 jobs and had not received a single email or call back. I kept sending out applications and reminding myself to be patient as I was starting to worry that I would never find a job.
I remember lying in my parent’s backyard and looking up at the same sky as a kid. I was broke and had no plan. I was determined to turn my situation around and make something of my life. Before you start crushing your soul, you have to send so many resumes. The job search process is not a sprint.
I wouldn’t want to go back to a cubicle and have to pay rent and debt for the rest of my life. I am thankful that I was able to find a rewarding career path. That day I set two seemingly unrealistic goals:
- Make a million dollars, and
- Become financially independent as soon as possible. Take control of your finances and build a secure future by making moves today.
I Wanted More Money. I Wanted More Life.
Two things happened a few days later that changed the course of my life. I made a decision that would lead me to my dreams.
The first was a single book, Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez, that I’d found doing a search for best money books. I was blown away by the idea that when you are working for money you are actually trading your life energy.
I calculated on the back of a napkin that I had traded 4,700 hours of my life for $87,000 after taxes, but had nothing left. If I wanted to have a better life, I had to make a change.
I realized I was making less money than I thought because I had to spend more time on my job than on my desk. I need to keep an eye on how much time I spend on the job and make sure I get compensated for it. The time it takes you to get ready in the morning, to commute, to shop for work clothes, to de-stress is all time that you wouldn’t have to spend on your job. It’s important to make the most of that time to have a successful career.
When factoring in all of this extra time (time that I would never get back), I was making less money than I thought. My real hourly wage was close to $10 because of my long commute. I wanted to cover the cost of my transportation and make it worth it. To see how much money you are actually making, you can use this simple real hourly wage calculator.
The Power of a Simple Google Search
The second big moment came when I did a There was a small advertisement at the top of the search results when I searched on my phone. I was directed to a website with more information after I clicked on the advertisement. I had seen the small ads before, but never noticed they were actually ads. I wanted to learn more about how I was well targeted. I wanted to learn more about the data-driven marketing techniques that were being used.
It took me only a few minutes to discover that I could make between 15% and 20% of someone’s budget for managing their Google ads, that I could learn how to run their campaigns for free online, and that demand for digital marketing campaigns was high. I realized that this type of work could be lucrative and offer great opportunities for career growth.
I was in. I was ready to find out the results after giving it my all.
Within 45 days, I had a job at a digital marketing agency in Chicago that made $50,000 after I learned how to run ad campaigns. I made $300,000 with my full-time job and side hustles within a year. I was able to save money and invest it in my future to achieve financial freedom.
I collaborated with two other guys and launched a second agency after launching my own. I’m excited to see what the future holds as we’ve been very successful in a short amount of time. I started side hustles and invested 100% of the extra money. I had 14 different income streams at one time. I was able to make a living from all of these sources. I came up with a solid early retirement strategy.
I invested 40%, 60%, and 80% of my income, because I knew that every dollar I invested would accelerate the rate of compounding. I kept investing even when times got tough because I knew I had to commit to this strategy in order to see real returns. My friends thought I was crazy because I was living in the crappiest apartment and driving the crappiest car. I was focused on achieving my goals and I didn’t care what they thought. I saw saving as an opportunity and not a sacrifice. I knew that setting aside money now would help me in the future. I kept working at it. No matter how challenging the task became, my determination to succeed never wavered.
Five Years to Financial Independence
I made it on November 16, 2015. It felt amazing to achieve my lifelong goal that day. It took me exactly five years, three months, and six days to go from $2.26 in my bank account to $1.25 million and financial independence at the age of 30. I have never taken a deeper breath that day. I was filled with a sense of relief because it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
I had the freedom to grow. The purpose of life is to be alive. Living life to the fullest and taking advantage of every moment is the best way to feel alive.
It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it was a lot easier than it would have been 100 years ago. I’m thankful for the progress that has been made in my life and I’m also thankful for the opportunities I have today. I made most of my money from industries that didn’t exist 20 years ago. I have made 100% of my investments through my phone. I have been able to manage my investments from my home.
It’s Never Been Easier in History
There have been few times in human history when the opportunity to follow your dream and live a life you love has been accessible. Now is a good time to take advantage of the opportunities available to you and create a life that makes you happy. We spend a lot of time checking out and enjoying the conveniences of life. It’s important to remember that it’s the small moments in life that give us meaning and joy. It is making us numb.
For most of history, your fate was determined by your family. A new concept, one that many strive for today, is your ability to break free from your family’s legacy. Tools, ideas, proven frameworks, and communities are available to help you accelerate financial independence. The knowledge and experience of others can help you reach your financial goals faster.
If you are one of the privileged, you have an opportunity to be free. It is possible to make the world a better place for those who are not as fortunate. It’s all down to choices.
What is going to help you grow is one of the choices you have. Whatever option you choose will set you up for long-term success.
The enemy is easy. It’s important to challenge yourself in order to reach your full potential and not settle for the path of least resistance. apathy and convenience are related. Many people wonder why they are unhappy. Life is what you make of it, and true happiness comes from within. Financial Freedom doesn’t come from easy. Struggle and growth are what it comes from. We have been able to develop resilience and strength. It comes from doing something that matters. It doesn’t matter how small the action is, as long as it has an impact on your life or the lives of others.
You Are What You Choose.
I became an entrepreneur because I wanted to be one. I started my own business because I wanted to be an entrepreneur. The jobs of the future are still being created. It’s up to us to create opportunities for the future. Are you an entrepreneur?
I started writing because I wanted to be a writer. I saw my dreams come true after working hard to hone my craft. In 3 years, I went from napkins to books. I didn’t think my creative journey would lead me to such a rewarding path. My first book get’s released in February.
I wanted to go somewhere. I had been thinking about my next adventure for a long time. I have traveled to over twenty countries in the past few years. I’m always looking for new places to visit.
I wanted to teach. I help others learn and grow. I teach and connect with people around the world. I like to share my stories with the people I meet along the way.
Five years ago, I would have laughed at you telling me this would be my life. I’m grateful for the journey that got me here, but I never imagined I’d be where I am today. I would still be stuck if I chose the easy way. I will always choose growth. I’m always ready for the adventure because growth requires me to push my boundaries and challenge myself.
Let yourself grow.
This moment is all there is
It’s a Monday morning. On my patio overlooking the ocean, I am writing this. The view is amazing. The sky is clear. The stars twinkle in the night sky. Air crisp. The sun warms my face. I close my eyes and enjoy the rays. There is a cool breeze. The leaves are in harmony with the breeze. My feet are not straight. The flowers next to me are colorful. I can’t help but admire their beauty. I like my coffee to be rich. I like the taste and smell of my coffee.
This is what I wanted. I’m very happy that I was able to get it. I am living my dream. I’m living my dream right now, I can’t believe it! As it turns out success wasn’t about money, it was about peace. I feel alive and calm. The sunshine and fresh air has given me a renewed sense of enthusiasm. I have nowhere to go. I’m content to stay and enjoy the moment.
To learn more about how I achieved financial independence and you can too, check out my Financial Freedom book.
This is a guest post I wrote that originally appeared on Think Save Retire and was titled Living the dream after turning $2.26 into a million.