I have been thinking deeply about my work / life balance these last few weeks. Mine has gotten a little out of wack.
I have been working more than usual recently at my “day job” which is really a small sales company I built that allows me to enjoy the freedom of being self-employed. I am my favorite boss and employer. Therefore, I am happiest when I am working when, where, and how I want to work. But recently, even though I am self-employed, and in full control of my daily schedule, I’ve been working more than I personally like.
This is what I mean, and what I have been going through:
I am an entrepreneur in mind, body, and soul. My vision of a glorious retirement isn’t just traveling, and resting. It’s having the freedom and security to start companies that I am passionate about – that help people – that I love working in, and being so financially secure I don’t have to be worried about if my start-up companies succeed or fail.
I can just start these dream businesses because it is the right thing for me to do, both in a social-cause and spiritual sense. My dream is to start companies that provide me money, so that I don’t have to think about money, and I can inspire people to pursue their dreams in life full-time with this blog, and novels to come in the future.
That is the ministry I fantasize about every day. That is why I want to retire from ordinary, “normal” work so bad. I want to do what God created me to do all the time. That is what I ultimately think “being Wealthy” is: Living the life you were created to live.
My entrepreneur journey started in 2014 when I went door-to-door to local businesses, and simply introduced myself and a service I had to offer. I focused on selling branded apparel, and promotional products like pens, bottles, towels, etc.
I left my business card at the desk of a lot of places, and a lot of people didn’t call me back. But I got lucky, and a few clients did call me back. My first sale was for $800. Then I got a $2,000 sale. And a few months later, I got my first $10,000 sale. And by the end of the year, I’d even secured a $30,000 sale.
I kept at it, always searching for a new client to help, and by the end of the year , I had sold $180,000 worth of product.
And since I was selling a product that was being used and given away, many of these customers kept calling me back with new orders. Four years later, and I am still selling to many of the same clients I found in that first year.
Life has been good to me the last few years, and I have had fun living this independently-employed lifestyle. I’ve built a great reputation and trust with my biggest clients, and I now sell hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of product without really having to go out door-to-door and “sell” new clients. I simply get to do what I love to do the most: Help people, and make long-term relationships built on trust, integrity, and follow-through.
But something has happened recently which has changed my normal routine of managing my business and selling during the day, and then working on this blog and writing at night.
On June 11th, a massive hail storm hit the northern Twin Cities (St. Paul, and Minneapolis) where I live.
You’re probably wondering how a severe hail storm messed up my work/life balance that had nothing to do with my business? This is how:
Sometimes in life, when adversity strikes some, it opens opportunities for others.
Two weeks ago I got a call from one of my clients that buys shirts from me. They’re a roofing and siding company that specializes in handling insurance claims for storm damage.
The company is also owned by a childhood best friend of mine, and since I’ve been around the company’s owner the last few years, I’ve learned how to talk about roofs, and insurance claims, and I know how to process all this information and sell clients with storm damage new roofs using my friend’s company.
On the other end of the phone, I heard my friend’s voice. “Bill,” He said. “This recent storm was a once-in-10-year type of hail storm, and I’m getting more leads than my sales team can handle. Can I contract with you and your company to do some sales appointments for us? You can take as many appointments as you want, and your commission percentages will be sweet every time you sell a roof.”
Of course, being the entrepreneur I am, I never turn down a conversation about an opportunity to build more wealth that will fund the ministry-life I want to live. Instead of saying, No, I asked my friend, “So how sweet will the commission opportunities be?”
He showed me some numbers, and instantly I liked the way they looked. Let’s just say it’s not that hard to make an extra $20,000 in side money by simply showing up at legitimate storm damage appointments and getting a couple of houses approved for new roofs. These are the type of side jobs I like. Selling, is way easier than working tons of hours.
Pro tip: If you want to learn where the exciting money in life is, learn how to sell large jobs and find sweet commission packages.
My friend explained his plan. He already had the appointments set. All I’d have to do is go meet with the home owners, and help the clients through the process of getting their storm damage fixed. I wouldn’t have to do any of the hard work. I’d just have to get the claim approved, and all the paperwork organized.
This sounded great to me, because that’s my favorite part of the sales lifestyle: Getting to know good people and helping them. The part of sales I hate is talking to 85% of people who say “No” to get to the 15% of people who actually want to talk to you. I thought, if I could already have the appointment scheduled for me, then I can just show up at the meetings and do what I like to do and make some nice side-cash doing it.
So recently, in the evenings, I’ve been going to extra appointments after work and climbing on roofs and getting insurance claims approved, because personally, I’m the type of guy who doesn’t mind and extra $20 grand in side-job checks laying around since I know how to turn that 20K into 100K in a few years.
(Here’s 2 articles showing how I’d do it:)
And that extra $100 grand in my net worth equals a lot more freedom for me to do God’s work with my life.
Warren Buffet, the great investor, said something years ago that really inspired me.
Buffet said something like, “When you strike gold in a deal, don’t become afraid, or take it easy. Back up your dump truck up to that gold mine, and fill it up as much as you can, because it won’t be there forever, and you’ll need it when hard times come because they always do.”
So that’s been my mentality the last few weeks. I haven’t just been saving my money. I’ve been trying to back my dump truck up to a temporary gold-mine and filling it up with as much gold as I can carry home.
I have developed a pretty strong “sixth-investing sense” the last five years that has allowed me to build my savings from $5,000 to $200K+ in under five years, and I personally feel like a little bit of “bubble” has developed in our current financial markets.
I feel like people are starting to pay a little too much for houses, and educations, and stocks. I feel like a little “market correction” may be on its way. Somewhere, in some market, a bubble is going to pop, and we’re going to see prices drop for these things.
I’m working so hard right now, because right now, it seems like there’s a lot of money to go around, and I wouldn’t mind an extra $20K or $30K on hand to buy some cool investment opportunities that may be on sale if the market drops a bit.
I am not predicting a major recession like the last one. But look at economic data from the last 80 years, and you’ll see there’s always a drop here and there. It’s normal. They always come. Life isn’t easy and great forever. There’s always challenges coming down the pipeline. Mr. Money Mustache did a good explanation on this if you’d like to read it here.
This is how wealthy people think. They are always maximizing their present situation, to create even bigger gains for their future selves. Or in my case, the people I want to help with the ministry I dream of building.
But all of this extra “working” each evening has been causing some work/life balance issues for me. Yes, I am being successful working 10 and 12 hour days (by choice) stockpiling gold bricks in my bank account. But I am not doing what I love to do, which is write, dream, explore philosophy, and do God’s work.
Selling storm-damaged roofs is not what I want to do in the short-term, but it is helping me reach my goals and dreams in the long term.
I am Ok with taking one step back on my writing, to take three steps forward in my future. Every $20K I save today, is less stress I have to deal with when hard times come.
Right now, in my current life, I feel like I am a squirrel gathering all of the nuts he can while the weather is good, and storing them away, so that the harder seasons that always come are easier to get through.
I hope I can inspire you to do the same thing. You were created to live the life you dream about. Saving, preparing, and executing the dreams you have, one step at a time, is the way to become who you are supposed to become.
Remember, the wealthiest person in the world is NOT the person with the most money.
The wealthiest person in the world is the person who is the most fulfilled and content living the life they dreamed of.
Save, prepare, and plan every day, to reach that life, to become that person God wants you to be.
What are you doing in the short term, to make yourself more successful in the long term? Paying off debt? Saving? Investing? Starting New Companies?