This is Part II of my 10-part series on how to achieve financial freedom. You can start with Part I right here. See you at the top! It’s comfortable up here :)
If you don’t have control over your time, you don’t have control over your life. That may sound extreme, but it’s the straight truth.
As a writer, and in my life, I’ve decided that I’m not going to hold back the truth any more — I’m giving it to you straight. You MUST take control over your time and make it work for you, or else your money will be worthless to you.
It won’t save you.
There’s an old joke among investment bankers that would be really funny if it weren’t the cause of so much overwork, suffering, and untimely death:
“If you don’t come to work on Saturday, don’t bother coming to work on Sunday.”
Man…that joke is so much less funny than it would be if so many people weren’t desperate and trapped on that money treadmill.
As my whole day stretches out in front of me, and I sit comfortably at my writing desk and do one of my favorite things in the world — inspire people — I can’t help but think about those poor rich people working 7 days a week.
Truly: the only problems that more money will solve are money problems.
There’s nothing wrong with a salary that depends on you showing up to work every day or on billable hours, but here’s something you already know, yet we all need to be reminded of occasionally:
Your hours are finite. There is a cap on the number of hours you can put in at work and thus on the amount of money you can make.
Busting through that cap is a matter of divorcing your time from your money. You do that in a number of ways that I’m going to lay out for you quickly:
You do that by creating something with a zero marginal cost of reproduction (meaning: something that can be duplicated and sold without any additional work hours from you, like an app or a book).
You do that by investing your money and making it work for you.
You do that by STOPPING the relentless money chasing — by wanting less — and still maintaining your quality of life. Your quality of life is all mental. It’s inside you. Nobody and nothing can drag down your quality of life unless you give your mental assent.
It’s downright tragic how freely that assent is so often given.
Enough depression, let’s make some money
I’m bringing myself down talking about all this depressing shit, so let’s switch it up and talk about something exciting and awesome: making MONEY!
Now, I love making money…
But it’s nowhere close to the most important thing I do with my time.
We need to make some money, but let’s be clear about something:
Just like human beings need to make blood, we also need to make money. Survival isn’t free. But making blood isn’t the purpose of being alive, and making money doesn’t mean that you’re really alive either.
The way most people talk about money is BORING.
You look into their eyes when they talk about how much they make or how much they spent on lottery tickets, and all you see is Fear, Greed, and…Nothingness. They’re fucking dead inside. They take something incredible and beautiful — making money — and take all the fun out of it.
Making money is EXCITING. And when your efforts start to compound, that’s when things start to get extra exciting.
Here’s what I mean…
The magnitude of the problem you solve is the magnitude of the amount of money you can make.
What does that mean?
The world is full of problems. We know this. They’re everywhere. Inescapable.
Well, the people who solve those problems get paid money, by the grateful people who no longer have to face those problems that got solved.
Every billion-dollar company you’ve ever heard of has solved AT LEAST $1 billion worth of problems. Hell, even a regular barista (bless them) solves the PROBLEM of getting me my morning coffee.
It just so happens that almost anyone can solve this problem, so the value they can command in the marketplace is exceptionally low. The best ones make good tips, but you have zero leverage as a barista. You’ll never get rich. Your time is married to your money.
Using myself as an example: I love being a bouncer (it’s seriously one of the best jobs I ever had), but I don’t do it to get rich.
The problem of kicking out drunk people and kicking out under-agers is only worth a few dollars an hour to most bar owners. No, but you see, at the bar I get paid in phone numbers and threesomes. That’s what makes it worth it for me. The money is secondary.
Compare this with a bestselling author like Mark Manson. His mega-bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck solved the problem of addressing the potential meaningless of human life. That’s a pretty big problem to solve, and five million copies later, Mark Manson’s time is worth more than his money.
It all comes down to the problem (or opportunity, if you’re looking at it in the correct way) of scale:
You can either solve a small problem for a lot of people, or a big problem for a few people. Or both. Magnitude and Scale.
Starbucks makes sure that millions of people get caffeinated in the morning and so they’ve made billions of dollars from people who are grateful to have their coffee problem solved. Small magnitude, but large scale.
Conversely, a heart surgeon saves someone’s LIFE, and gets paid a premium for possessing that life-saving skill. Low scale (one person at a time), but MASSIVE magnitude. Life being the highest of all values.
That being said, that surgeon is still in a rough spot because he’s still trading his hours for dollars. A lot of dollars, but dollars nonetheless. He has no scale. His time is still married to his money.
The surgeon could injure his hands and never be able to perform another surgery ever again. The person who invested in Starbucks in the 90s can sit back and do whatever the fuck they want.
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work.” — Thomas Edison
Everything starts with the decision to place a premium on the value of your time, and to make time work for you rather than against you.
You will never get rich by dollar cost averaging $100 a month into the stock market for 30 years — you will just be thirty years older. The thing about rich people is that a lot of them are old! Sure they have money, but do you really want to trade your YOUTH for that?
I sure as fuck don’t.
Listen, you only need to make $2,740 a day in order to make $1,000,000 in a year. Are you telling me that you can’t find $2,740 worth of problems to solve?
Whenever people say stupid silly shit like ‘I don’t have any good ideas,’ what they’re really saying is, ‘the world is perfect and it needs nothing.’
Maybe you don’t have skills that people would pay $2,740 for right now, but scale is a process, not an event. Solve the problem that’s in front of you, and then move onto the next problem. Expand your skills. Demand higher compensation for those skills. See how you can scale the delivery of those skills to more people.
Example: Self-publish a book and get paid $10 every time someone buys it, while you sit home binging Kevin James movies.
Or instead of coaching people one-on-one for $500 a month, offer group coaching for 8 people at $1,500 a month. Scale.
Or create awesome YouTube videos that entertain or educate masses of people. It’s like having an entire army of video reproductions of you selling and marketing for you 24 hours a day every day. You can be thousands of places at once, solving problems and making money.
The bottom line is that you need to have people paying you money 24-hours a day, without you having to be there. Surgeons and baristas have to be there. SaaS developers and authors and YouTube creators on the other hand create something once and then get paid for it repeatedly.
The good news — or bad news, if you’re looking for an “easy” way — is that if you work really, REALLY hard….REALLY fucking hard…then there’s a good chance that you can create something special enough and awesome enough that a multitude of people WILL want to pay for it.
Then you have a business. Then you have scale, maybe even magnitude. Then you have life.
I wish you more than luck,
Ready to Increase Your Earning Potential?
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