There are a more than few people at my sons school who have asked what I do. I have on occassion said “professional gambler” just to see where the conversation goes. My wife says I will scare the muggles if I carry on like that. I dress comfortably, I rarely wear a suit (I have a few) and I clearly don’t have a job to go to – otherwise, like all the other parents I would wear a suit and carry a rucksack… That seems to be all the trend nowadays.
I love taking the boys to school, I have three. One left years ago, the next is in his final year and does not want to be seen with his dad and my other son is nine and just about accepts me walking with him. Although he likes to run ahead to be with his friends. Fair enough. After drop off I generally take the long way home by a mile or two.
I also get to pick him up at 3:15, so yes, it seems like I don’t have a job. I get to the sports days, the school plays, concerts and all the teacher meet and greets too. Most days, when I say I dress comfortably I wear jeans and a thick jumper and don’t pay much attention to much else.
My wife is from Finland and she makes sure I have a super warm clothing, often insisting I wear thermals (too much information?) and walking boots. While the other parents seem to like to freeze (especially now with snow on the ground in March!!). I walk along toasty warm, as do my boys.
Occasionally I turn up in the Mercedes. Especially if I am about to spend the day with my mum who lives a good hour away. I seem to surprise a few people when they see the car especially if they have just seen it as the prize on breakfast TV (I paid for mine).
I work the car quite hard when I use it. I carry everything in it including rusty buckets, paint pots and even manure. Although it is kept clean and I have a service contract, it is of course in tip top condition. I get a new one every four years. Nevertheless I treat it like a workhorse when I do use it as ashamedly it spends 95% of it’s time parked up and unused. It is a luxury I am not really too happy about…
Hey, if this is sounding a bit boring, please bear with me, I have a point to make.
My wife likes the car, as I think somehow it satisfies her that we are normal family. She of her own choice lives a “normal life”, has a job in the city, that kind of thing and finds it hard to understand my attitude to life and the way I want to live it. Yet that’s ok. I appreciate having a bit of ‘normality’ around. Although, seriously, I think she is the one taking all the risks! I like that she feels independent, it means she can get what she wants when she wants and she does not have to ‘negotiate’ with me, or live as my mum did / still does live – a life of sacrifice. It is also a comfort for me to know that things will go on if something happens, not that I think it will, as I don’t have to engage in anything particularly hazardous. No trekking into the city every day for me…
Although I do fly around quite a bit.
I know a lot of US airports and cities very well. New York, Dallas, Atlanta, Miami. I think I have probably been to more US cities than most Americans. I have certainly been to more countries than they have as less than 5% of them have passports. I would like to spend more time in Asia.
I live in a two floor, three bedroom flat, I used to live in three floor five bedroom house and before that a two bedroom ground floor bachelor type flat. They have all been pretty non descriptive. There’s nothing flash about them. There’s nothing really flash about my life. I did all that in my twenties!
I spend more time in my man cave than anywhere else. My son likes to show his friends all the screens, which frankly makes me shudder as they drool over the hardware. To me it’s a utilitarian tool. I just like to look at lots of things at once. Right in front of my four screen PC sits my mac laptop (that makes it five screens!). I do all my work on the laptop. I use the four screen PC as a window on the world. One is set up for search and research, another is set up for TV – netflix etc, another watches stocks and shares – I track the US markets daily and the fourth for a few of my favourite sites, news, facebook, etc. I don’t have time for games. Each screen has a purpose, usually momentarily.
Like many today, I have a very short attention span.
I find I can’t usually do the same thing for more than twenty minutes at a time without getting up and making a cup of tea or just doing something completely different. Maybe it’s an illness? However I do seem to chunk through quite a lot when I want to. People have told me that my output is prodigious, that just makes me worry about them!
You would not look at where I live twice. It has enough room for all we need. Two floors is better than one and three for sure. It’s great for us and we are always having friends and family over, many from Finland, of course.
Nearby there is the River Thames, I often walk into Barnes or further West out to Richmond, or the other way to Putney. I went to the Odeon in Putney mid morning the other day and got my first ever senior ticket! I was quite surprised, yet I took the discount – why not!
I like not now having a garden. We have the whole of the riverside. We have countryside and wildlife sanctuaries in walking distance and Richmond Park – with it’s own Deer, just a short drive away.
Barnes is a pretty, small village in the heart of the city.
There are plenty of local restaurants, pubs and local shopping. There are buses and trains and the extremely well connected Hammersmith tube is only 10 minutes away. Millions of people drive past every hour and have no idea that the pond and the ducks and the woods are all here. Minutes from everything.
I realise I have stopped and started four times while writing this out. The point is that I can. The point is that you can live the life that you want too. I am under no pressure to do anything other than I want to do.
Strangely I want to do a lot. I do get to do a lot. The point though, is that I get to do all I do on my own terms and it has worked out very well. The truth of it is I have only had a job for two, maybe three years of my thirty five year working life.
My next task, is to give upstairs a quick hoover. It’s a fast job, a little bit of exercise too. I think that balancing out the chores brings good karma to the family. I think I am passing on a good message to my sons. I make them do it occasionally.
The phone will not ring as we have no landline and my mobile is set to silent. If I see a text I might then call or message someone back. At the moment I am testing a messenger application and if someone jumps on that, I will probably welcome the interruption – as usually someone wants some help and I love knowing what people want – and gladly give it to them.
I started out in missile guidance and picked up the moniker of Rocket Scientist back then. Then I built up a multi million pound business from scratch, took on staff, offices a fleet of cars and then suffered from insurance and recruitment issues and then lived with the bank and the Inland revenue and everyone else breathing down my neck. After twenty years, I decided ten years ago I would change all that. Five years ago I actually managed it. Although what I do has not really changed. About thirty years ago I thought that with my experience in the corporate world that my big corporate clients would expect it all. I expected it all. I set out and paid for it all. Because it was expected, not because it was wanted. Oh, what an expensive lesson that turned out to be!
I could show you jets and jet skis and a picture of my old Porsche. I did learn to fly. I have flown, driven, lived the yacht lifestyle, flown in and out of Miami, you name it. Not everywhere, but certainly I have experienced the sun drenched beach, the yachting lifestyle and the whirlwind of the five star hotel and more. Still do when I want to. Yet largely I don’t want to. I like the simpler things in life.
There are certain things I don’t like, for instance not everything about my sons school, his uniform, his friends, or the games that they play is good. Yet it is all normal. Overall I’ll take normality. I think it provides a better prospective, although competitive by nature, I have deliberately dampened it down, as I don’t need to win, as I have already, largely won. Yet there are many who beat me. The knowledge and fear of the wealthy is that there is always someone richer. I don’t care.
I am instead always on the lookout for fun, low risk, easy to win opportunities. It’s not about the cars or the possessions, it’s not really about the money, it is about the lifestyle and it’s about choice. I do get to meet celebrities from time to time. I don’t need to be one. Although to certain people who know me, I am their celebrity and that’s ok, it’s not fake!
What I like may be something that you like. My lifestyle may be something you hate. THAT’S the point. I don’t care. I already know I can’t please all the people all the time. As a result I don’t particularly try to please anyone, apart from my nearest and dearest. That is not an arrogant thing. I like to like, and like everyone else I would like to be liked, yet I know it’s an impossible dream especially when the only standards I need to meet are my own, the ones I set for myself. Put another way, the only person I can really let down is me.
Some people want a 9-5 existence. Not me. My wife does. She also likes the nice car. These are not the things I want, if I was to pin it down, what I want is good experiences, I want to be happy within myself. A nice car helps, certainly, as does an easy to manage two floor flat in central London. I don’t think this is self centred. For me to be happy with myself I definitely have to be of value to others. I wrote Otters the first time there. Them too.
I want all the normal things, I don’t want them to be forced, I don’t want to live a life of constraint. To me the four freedoms are the most important things. The freedom of time, the freedom of purpose, the freedom of association and the freedom that comes from having enough money.
It is my personal experience that a lot of people live the 9-5 life because they think they’re SUPPOSED to do that.
Like anyone else you can give me a million pounds and I will blow it in a year or two.
I know this is true, as I have done it several times.
Over the years I have earned millions.
Little of which I still possess.
Yet that is ok, as I have skills and these skills are the same skills that helped me make it then, that still help me to make it today.
The trick of it is not about how much money you have, although it is comforting to know, it can also become a worry. The main worry of the wealthy is fear of loss and there are many people whose lives have been ruined by worry. My feeling is that the trick is simply in having the choice to work the 9-5 way or not.
I take on clients of all shapes and sizes, some are extremely well off and live the 9-5 lifestyle, in some cases the 24 hour lifestyle, they don’t turn off. It is their choice. Although I often wonder if they truly know the choices they could take. I turn on and turn up for as long as I want to turn on and turn up.
You get choices when you decide to replace your salary, and it’s easier than most think! Getting to a point where you earn more than you need gives you the opportunity to make choices. I think the essence of freedom is not just having the choice, you can have choice but be stymied by fear. You actually have to take the choice.
I reckon I could step back. I reckon I could do 9-5. I sometimes think I might do the 9-5. Usually the fear that stops me from going back is the realisation of the political mess I will most likely find myself buried within. Not national politics, but the politics of having a single boss who has the right to terminate or not to terminate and the pressure that that brings. I am not so sure, having stepped outside of it all that I am that keen to pop back. Yet who knows. If and when I make that choice, it will be on me and I will have decided that is what I want to do. That’s a choice I probably will have no need to make… Nice to have options though.
There is one situation where I could see myself stepping back into the 9-5 world of work and it would be one where I felt I could do a lot about a subject that I cared a lot about. For instance: financial education for the young. I think there are a lot of things I could have done better, that would have led me to a better financial position and that I think would be very helpful to a lot of people. If only they knew.
I am passionate about helping fellow entrepreneurs
I have been helping fellow entrepreneurs for years already. There are too many traps that business owners and entrepreneurs unwittingly fall into. The main one is to be trapped by doing what they think they ought to do. As a result, doing far too much than is needed. The point is that there are many simple solutions, yet for some reason the human race likes to over complicate. It is possible to get five things done in the time that most people spend doing one.
The starting point is always this: what would it cost to replace your salary?
The reality is not all that much. I can pretty much earn what my wife earns in a couple of days and I regularly do when I put my mind to it. January this year was an amazing month as it was last year and most new years. January pretty well gives me three months off.
I choose to work though. It’s just that I don’t do a lot of new selling through till about March, then when I do I tend to do enough to keep me going another three months. Then I have a period when I am enjoying it all so much, I am on a high, the feedback is terrific and I just put out and out and out.
I work every day – weekends included through January till March so far, as usual, voluntarily – with a passion! I expect it will remain the same way throughout the year. It’s fun. I get to work on projects that I enjoy. I prefer to write than watch TV. Although I do love sitting down to watch TV with the family, as soon as they are off, usually so am I!
On the whole, life is pretty wonderful. Tinged with some sadness, though, I have had family members pass away and I know I am not alone in that. I have known friends too who are no longer with us, some who should be. It is of great sadness that certain people have left because they felt forced to leave and I do not wish for anyone else to find themselves in that position, that is certainly another one of my motivators – to help entrepreneurs avoid that particular fate.
So how much is the price of freedom?
The answer in today’s money is just a few thousand a month. You can be massively in debt and that few thousand a month will make a massive difference. You can be self employed with zero overhead and no staff, running a kitchen business or, in my case a bedroom business and earn a lot. Being self employed means you can get yourself out of debt very quickly. It’s a whole lot better than checking out I can tell you.
What is your actual price for freedom?
(It’s VITALLY important you understand this).
You don’t need or want to win the lottery. As it will only be a short term fix. You will burn though the money and afterward you will have no precise way for it to happen again, other than to squander what is left and to hope that lady luck comes your way again – she won’t!
Or you can build on your skills and earn more. I once set myself the dream of £10k a week. I got so busy it took me several years to realise that I had hit the target two years before hand.
It’s genuinely not hard to do. I am a normal kid who went to technical college and got my hands dirty just like everyone else. Nothing special.
I know a few people who have become accidentally wealthy. Some of whom achieved it years ago, some recently and one I know who only realised that she had done it in the last week or two… Most are worried because they don’t know necessarily how to do it again. Inheritance and legacy is a big worry to most.
When you talk to most who are self employed, my experience is that they are largely quite comfortable and that they don’t see themselves as being particularly special. The few that really knew what they were doing just decided one day that they would do what it takes to get to where they wanted to be. They just did it. They too really don’t care what others think of them, where or how they live. They, like you and I: live.
My suggestion is that you replace your salary as soon as you can.
You want to set yourself free as quickly as you can. It’s never too late to gain independence and make your own choices. You can even go back to your old job if you want, it does not matter.
I was once in a situation where I had a garden that needed loads of work. I had to put together some sales as I simply had to raise the money to pay for a gardening firm to come and clean it up, fix the fences and the rest. I needed thousands, it had become a real restoration project! Think about that… I had to work hard to pay for a gardener to fix the garden that I had worked so hard for…
Start by deciding that you are going to find a way to pay yourself enough to replace your salary.
That is step one.
There are more steps and they all go up.
You too will find yourself putting work out in January and taking time out till March. This is freedom in action. You get to work when you want to work. I love the British weather, I work when it’s cold, and like everyone else I have the crazy idea to go abroad when its warm! I really should think about living my life the other way around. Maybe next year.
UPDATE: In today’s news a guy at the top of his FBI career, Mr Andrew McCabe after thirty years just got sacked by Mr Trump days before he was about to retire. It seems he might have been a bad lad. I don’t know. Yet even in an almighty senior government position your future can be taken away from you at the last minute for political, perhaps not even real reasons. It just goes to demonstrate that you must take control. You cannot put your fate into the hands of others. Working for others is the biggest gamble you can take in life. Their agenda will never be as good as yours. Never.
Who would you rather rely on, a mind you can read or someone else’s that you can’t?
You don’t have to earn a million bucks, you can… You just need to earn enough to replace your salary in order to get started. I assure you that it can be done quite quickly and there are many ways to do it.
If you would like to hear more from me, just send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org