“There’s no turning back,” I told myself as I saw my first $100 income from a side hustle I built. Deep down, I knew this was the start of my journey into entrepreneurship, and I had no intention of returning to a regular 9–5 job. No more meetings that could’ve been an email, no more stand-ups to explain what I was going to do for the rest of the day, no more waiting for a certain day of the month to get paid, no more long commute, and finally no more pretending to be nice to that guy.
It was all serendipity, I wanted to quit my job because of a boss that had called my screaming his lungs out, it was surreal. I initially thought corporate jobs had more decency than this but it turns out the more you climb the ladder the more common manners goes out the window. It’s all sharks at the top.
My brain was primed, I was looking for a way out, I have been working corporate jobs for more than 10 years, reading Naval’s book, he talks about renting out your time is the lowest form of value, that it won’t scale and you can never be wealthy from it.
You’re not going to get rich renting out your time You must own equity — a piece of buiness — to gain financial freedom — Naval Ravinkant
This hit home for me.
Every time I had quit my job, money would dry up, it was like waiting for rain when it was El Nino. I had been a high performer all my life, getting recognition left and right, and quickly rising the corporate ladder, but every time I lost a job it would feel like all for nothing, I would be anxious when the next job and pay check would be. It was epitome of the rat race.
I have been financially savvy even early on my career because I didn’t grow up in a rich family. I grew up in a third-world country, and realized early on that I needed to be wise about my money or else I knew I would wound up nowhere. However, the sad truth is with the current economy, and all the things going on, it wasn’t enough to just save for a rainy day as our grandparents would say, today, you needed to be prepared for a deluge to survive.
Learn to Sell, Learn to Build — If You Can Do Both, You’ll Be Unstoppable — Naval Ravikant
This quote was the final push I needed. It tipped me over the edge, and so my journey began. I quit my job and became a digital nomad, traveling to countries where my money would have more buying power, allowing me to sustain myself without immediately needing another job. I was fully committed to the entrepreneurial path.
In just one month, here’s what I accomplished:
Published 5 articles on Medium (including this one) Posted 13 YouTube videos Reactivated my Twitter account and made 140 tweets (learning to sell) Built 4 applications (launched 2 on ProductHunt.com) It’s funny how when you know there’s no turning back, there’s an intense desire to get things done.
Seek Wealth, not money or status. Wealth is having assets that earn while you sleep —Naval Ravikant
This journey has completely changed the way I view money. It showed me that I can earn even while I sleep. Sure, I only made $100 from all my efforts this month, which may not seem like much compared to a regular “stable” job but I knew it was game over for the corporate life for me.
If you do the math, if I can earn $20 from writing just five articles that didn’t require too much effort, how much could I earn if I wrote 1,000 articles in a few months? You only have to write an article once and the words would start working for you non-stop as you sleep (Think about all those emails you’ve written for your boss that went underappreciated). I would only record myself once on Youtube and the videos would work for me while I sleep. I would have to code something once, and the application would earn me money.
An army of robots is freely available — it’s just packed in data centers for heat and space efficiency. Use it — Naval Ravikant
With this newfound perspective, it felt like serendipity when I stumbled upon an article about how one author wrote 1,000 articles and quit their 9–5 job. It felt like the universe was screaming me a message. I knew If I kept going, there was potential for significant earnings and the ability to never return to a 9–5 job again. My mind had fundamentally shifted 180 degrees.
If you get to this point reading this, I wanted to pay it forward, this is the sign you are looking for, this message.
Of course, no journey is without its pitfalls. I won’t sugarcoat it and present a golden road. As you embark on your own journey, there will be challenges along the way. Here are some lessons I’ve learned so far to help you avoid making the same mistakes.
You might spend days or even months putting out quality work and receive zero feedback, customers, views, likes, or comments. Getting zero engagement can be demoralizing when you’re just starting out. I experienced the same thing. The secret is to focus on small wins. Aim for just one person to appreciate what you’ve done, watch your video, or look at the application you’ve built. You only need one person each day. Don’t set unrealistic goals like needing 20k viewers, $1 million in earnings, or 358 likes. These numbers are arbitrary and much harder to achieve. Instead, focus on winning over one person every day. A small win is more feasible and will keep you from giving up.
This path only works if you’re playing the infinite game; if you can’t see yourself doing this long-term, it won’t work for you. Don’t burn yourself out at the start of the race; sort out your finances first because it could be a long journey or maybe not — that’s the beauty of it all. As Jeff Bezos said: “In business, every once in a while, when you step up to the plate, you can score 1,000 runs. This long-tailed distribution of returns is why it’s important to be bold. Big winners pay for so many experiments.” Or my interpretation: “You only need to be correct once to never have to ever work again, that’s why entrepreneurs do what they do.”
Entrepreneurship is a path to knowing yourself. Inevitably, you will learn more about yourself than before; what makes you tick, what threshold of uncertainty can you manage, and what really fills your cup. Only once you truly understand yourself, can you know what unique value you bring to the world, that is what ultimately gets what everyone is truly after, Freedom.