As I approached the last few days of October, which were the last days left for my 30-day notice, I was thinking of what I will do next. To be honest, I was getting a little bit nervous about the idea of not having a salary by the end of the next month. And although I only pay for my own expenses and no one is depending on me financially, I still felt like this was a somewhat risky step, but as is the case with taking risks, you measure the possible losses and the possible gains, and, in this situation, the possible gains to me weighed a lot more.
Now I clearly knew what I did not want to do. But what is it that I do want to do? If there were no obstacles and no conditions and I could wake up tomorrow and do anything I want, what would that be?
Well, I wanted to write and design and read books and be free of the day-job monster! (Did you hear that? that’s the sound of freedom!)
And, beside that, I also want to find a way to use my brain. Yes, that may sound weird, but it was something I realized during my existential crisis discussed here, that nothing I do ever requires me to use my brain. The type of jobs I have been doing since I graduated college were all routine jobs, ones you can do on autopilot. And I had this feeling that this brain that studied physics (which I hated every step of the way), complex mathematical equations, and electronics and coding, deserves a little better treatment; it at least deserves a try.
So what I wished for was to not have to go to work to have an income, to feel some sort of financial security. I wanted to do work that I love and enjoy doing, which may not necessarily pay me well at first, instead of doing work just because it pays me well.
And simultaneously while considering those things, I was spending my free time making designs for my Redbubble store and I noticed that I was actually making some sales. That brought the question to my attention: Can anyone actually live off that kind of business?
And after some online research, I can say the answer to that question is, yes. Some people do make enough sales every month that can become an actual source of income, but I also found that this is not the case for most other people. And for someone to reach that level of sales, a lot of other factors contribute to it. (You can read more about this in My Experience With 5 Print-On-Demand Platforms).
I sort of had an idea that there are ways to make money online because I worked with platforms like Appen and Lionbridge in the past and so I knew that this was possible; however, what I didn’t know, or more like never thought of, was the fact that you can make money from money. Or that you can make money while you are not necessarily working for it. The concept that you should make your money work for you and not the other way around.
I never thought about investing my money, for example. I thought this was something for those business people with suits and ties and lots of money inherited from their rich families or whatever. When I first read about that, I thought, I’m a middle-class citizen from a middle-class family who studied engineering and works in customer service, what do I know about finance or business management or even money? Absolutely nothing! At least, until then.
What I’ve learned as I started to read more on the topic is that you do not need to have a degree in finance or have a business background to know how to manage and make money. In fact, everyone can and should learn how to manage their finances to not only make ends meet, but to be able to go beyond that, to be able to have savings, to be able to have financial security in their life, especially if they have other family members depending on them.
I spent days and nights, searching and researching, reading articles, buying books, watching videos because I wanted to know if this is something that is actually achievable, that there are others who managed to do what is to me just some wishful thinking.
And after some time I decided I will go for it. I believe it is not impossible and it is not wishful thinking anymore. I can see now that it can be done. Will I be able to do it? Well, this will be my little big experiment. It will take a lot of time and energy not just to work but to learn, but that’s what it takes, otherwise I would be wasting another year of my life and some humble amount of savings on something that I’m not even 100% aware of.
There are bazillion articles and videos online telling you about another kabillion methods of how to make money. But the question here is not how to make money, it is how to make money in a way that brings more money, how to be smart about it. And if you don’t have enough knowledge and information, you will not be able to do that.
Another thing is how to do that without turning into a money-making machine, because that is definitely not why I started. So, how to actually enjoy the process?
Without passion, you don’t have energy.
Without energy, you have nothing.Warren Buffett
In my opinion, one can do so by implementing all the skills they have (for me that would probably be, research, handling customers and… English? pretty unimpressive set of skills, but we’ll see how far that gets me.) along with all the activities you love and enjoy (for me that’s writing, reading, and design) and then find a way to use those things to make money.
The money you make from those little skills you enjoy and love is so much different from the typical salary you get at the end of the month doing some mundane job. I know how that feels because the few dollars I got from my design sales were the most precious money I have ever received. I am the happiest person on earth when someone buys something with my design on it. That kind of money just feels amazing. (Or maybe those are just my creative cells overreacting a bit.)
In the next blog post, I will discuss what I started with in terms of online and offline business and how I chose the kinds of business to start with and why I chose them.
Till then, happy days!