Start reading business books. Then start an actual business, something you can do on evenings and weekends (mow lawns, sell comic books, freelance web design, whatever). Then start another business. Then another. Trial and error until you’ve got the basics down and can run something sustainable, profitable and hands-on. Then start looking into systems, automation, outsourcing, passive income. Remove yourself from the daily operations.
Because the sooner you can get money flowing into your pocket comfortably and without having to work long hours for it, the more time you can devote to the cool stuff in life.
This became very apparent to me over the last month or so. I’ve been hitting the gym six days a week and steadily whipping myself into the best shape of my life. I’m finding it easy to devote lots of time and energy to exercise because I don’t have a regular job to go to. I’ve built a nice, mostly-passive income stream and it’s freeing up my time considerably.
Could I get in such great shape if I had a regular 9-to-5 job? Of course. But it would be much harder. I go to the gym now when it’s quiet, when everyone else is at work and the bench is empty. I can sleep in if I feel my body needs more rest, no clock waiting to be punched. I can take a nap after lunch if I need it.
I’ve just started to get a taste for this. I have only one passive income stream, and I realize anyone can get lucky and stumble into a single stream. So in the coming months I’ll be looking to build others. Good to diversify, and lots more to learn about this kind of business.
The payoff is huge. Perhaps not in monetary terms, but certainly in terms of time. Right now I’m focusing a lot of my free time on exercise, but there are so many other things I’d love to devote significant time to in the future. I want to learn languages and martial arts and musical instruments. I want to read more books and get back into public speaking. I want to learn how to lifeguard and scuba dive and fly airplanes. I want to learn how to fix a motorcycle and build a fire and tie all kinds of knots. I want to learn more about behavioral economics, psychology and philosophy. I want to go more places and meet more people and experience them all unrushed.
By the time this article publishes I should be laid out on a Cambodian beach, turning a quick border run into a nice vacation. I’ll check email sporadically and read a few books and try get myself a nice tan for the first time ever.
Now for those of you who’ve been following along since I quit my day job back in 2010, you’ll know that I’ve had plenty of struggles getting to this point. It hasn’t all come together for me overnight. But it has certainly all been worth it, without a doubt. And I still feel like I’m barely scratching the surface here. I know bigger and better rewards are up for grabs.
This is why I wish I’d started my entrepreneurial journey back in my teens. Instead I waited until I was twenty-five years old to take my first business baby steps. But hey, better late than never. Some people never get started at all, and so they never free up the time to do all that cool stuff.
I’ll leave my teenage self with a few to-do’s to help get the journey started…
- Read The Personal MBA.
- Read The $100 Startup.
- Read The 4-Hour Workweek (ignore the tactics and absorb the mindset).
- Sign up for Ramit Sethi’s mailing list, read his blog, and watch his videos.
- Start a business.