This is a guest post from Glen Allsopp of PluginID. Glen is just 19 and yet has already earned much success and respect as a blogger and web entrepreneur. He’s a great example of someone who defines his own unique life path and works hard to achieve it.
I quit my job in February 2009 after working for an internet marketing company for almost a year and a half. I had been building websites for around 3 years prior and after a lot of trial and error, was finally earning enough to replace the income from my job.
The last 7 months have been nothing short of amazing. I get to wake up when I want, go to the gym when it’s quiet, and even book 6 month holidays (without praying to have a job when I get back). And if that’s not enough, I spend my time in an industry full of awesome people and one with unlimited income potential.
While it’s great, and I absolutely love what I do, there have been some very important lessons to learn on the way. Without a lot of life experience behind me at the age of 19, the last half-year has been both exciting and scary at the same time. Today I want to share the lessons I have learned so anyone hoping to get in a similar situation or people who are self-employed can hopefully benefit from my experiences.
Bank in the Bank
Without a doubt, the most important lesson I’ve had to learn is to bank in the bank. By this I simply mean that you shouldn’t be focusing on how much money you have or can spend, until it’s actually sitting in your bank account. I make a lot of money via affiliate marketing, so can log into multiple accounts online and see how much I am expected to be paid.
In some cases, I would spend money before I actually had it or feel safe about paying bills because I knew it would arrive. I received a nice shock one month when some of the leads (buyers) I had sent a company were marked as fraud and I ‘lost’ thousands of dollars. Thankfully I was able to recover, but one time I might not have been so lucky.
No matter how you make your money, wait until it is actually sitting in your bank before your spend what you don’t have.
Never Stop Goal Setting
In any economy, never mind the awful financial situation the world is in right now, leaving your job has to be one of the ultimate goals. Of course, that is leaving your job and replacing it with some form of self-generated income. Once you’ve climbed this massive peak though, it can be easy to sit back and relax.
I have enough money to live on my own, have a few holidays a year and party with my friends, so it’s easy to remain content. If you do that though, you might even find the thing that is making you money now takes a turn for the worst. It took me a few months to realize that if I don’t constantly set big (but achievable) goals for myself then I just stagnate.
Now I’m focused on things like:
- Making ‘X’ amount of money per month
- Growing the biggest blog in my niche
- Working towards helping other people quit their jobs as well…
…and so on. You definitely have to incorporate challenges that motivate you when there is no boss to answer to.
Pay Yourself First
If you’ve read any financial books, you may have come across this lesson before. It implies that instead of focusing on your bills, and groceries, and other places that your money goes, make sure that you give yourself a good salary before paying for anything else.
The premise is that if we just focus on getting bills out of the way and settling with whatever is left in the month, we won’t go very far. Instead, if we have the money we need and then have to really hustle for the rest of it, we can make much more.
For example, if I asked you to raise $5,000 this month which could not be borrowed, you may think you couldn’t do it. Yet, if your child / partner / parent was in hospital and needed $5,000 for surgery, then you would very likely find a way.
I was a fairly successful freelancer for 2 years before I started building my own profitable websites and products. This means that I was working for myself but instead of having a boss to answer to, I had lots of clients. There were times when I didn’t have much work to do and I would cruise through my tasks, sometimes happily leaving things until the end of the month before starting on them.
Of course, just like banking in my head, this soon caught up with me. Just as you’re responsible for your own mission to leave the rat race, you’re responsible for what you do to stay out of it. If you slack off because you don’t have a boss or a 7am alarm clock, then you might find yourself begging for your old job back.
Working for yourself and working on what you love is absolutely fantastic, but you must take responsibility for what you have to do to remain successful and not get carried away with the benefits this lifestyle can provide.
Over to you: If you’ve left the rat race already, what lessons can you share?
photo by Éole