This book is about creating change in your life. It’s about living a life you love and doing what makes you happy. More importantly, it’s about making money while living the life you love and doing what makes you happy. It’s a book about creating financial freedom, escaping the 9-to-5, and making your own hours. It’s a book about starting your own online business for under $100. If this sounds like a book for you, by all means, read on…
We all want more time to do the things we enjoy. Lets face it; we’re a race of overworked, under-appreciated and unhappy people. We spend more time with our work than we do with our family or friends and it’s outrageous! What makes it even more outrageous is the fact that, at no point do we get an opportunity to consider our own needs, desires, and passions before those of others. Even the idea of having a job is an example of how we’re helping to pursue other peoples’ dreams. I think it’s time for a change.
So what does it mean to be self-employed? Well, to some it means quitting their job, doing something they’re proficient at and maybe even making a pretty good living at it. There’s a major flaw with that, and it’s that most people are generally unhappy doing what they already do for a living, even if they are their own bosses. Why? Well, maybe they’re happy at first. Maybe they feel refreshed and empowered — they’re living the American dream, after all. But after couple of months or maybe a couple of years, they find themselves in a similar rut. At the end of the day, they become slaves to their own creation and are just as miserable as an employee, if not more so. An amazing book called the E-Myth Revisited, by Michael E. Gerber helps really drive this point home.
The major flaw is that these people often find themselves in the wrong business in the first place. They start by building around a technical or intellectual skill set that they’re familiar with, and in most cases, it’s a direct extension of what they already do, in the job that they already HATE! A close friend of mine (let’s call her Susie) came to me about a year ago with a similar dilemma that helps illustrate this point:
Susie — “Brice, I hate my job! I can’t imagine having to go through another year of it. I think I want to start my own business and I want to get your opinion. Can I run an idea by you?”
Me — “That’s great, of course! What is it?” I could have predicted her answer ten out of ten times:
Susie — “Well, you know how I am an appraiser right? And a damn good one! What if I start my own appraisal business? I could get a website,
work out of my house, and maybe even get a couple of clients to follow me over to my new company. What do you think?”
Me — “But Susie, you hate what you do. I know the idea of working for other people doesn’t excite you, but do you really think running your own appraisal business is going to make you any happier?”
Susie — “No, you’re right. I don’t like what I do, but at least I can do things the way I know they should be done and I’m really good at it. Besides, I will be my own boss and if it works out, I can save up long enough to step back and make time for the things I’m really passionate about — like arts and crafts. You’re self-employed and happier than anyone I know. I want that for me!”
Me — “So how long do you think it will take to get to that point, 5 years? 10 years? Where does that get you in your life plan? Are you willing to wait that long? And why wouldn’t you find a way to make money at those things you’re passionate about now instead of years down the road? We spend something like 50% of our productive years making a living and most people waste that time in jobs they hate, doing work they despise — all for someone else to move forward in their life’s plan. The biggest difference between where I am at and where you’re trying to go, Susie, is that I’m PASSIONATE about what I do. I said to hell with what society says I should do, picked something I enjoyed doing, and explored ways to make money doing it. Above all else, I made sure whatever I did as a career afforded me the opportunities to make time for the things that were most important to me.”
And there it was, like a deer in the headlights — just like I was when I first came to the realization that I had been lied to my entire life. She too realized that we have all been fed the outdated B.S. that we’re all supposed fit within some corporate peg hole and work our way towards some sort of “retirement” — at which point we can officially start enjoying the fruits of our labor. Does anyone else see anything wrong with this equation? I do and I think Susie did too.
Now don’t get me wrong. If you actually enjoy what you do and simply want a change — you want to work for yourself and under your own accord — then great. This book still speaks to you. The important point to take away is that whatever you decide to make money with in your new online business should be something that you enjoy doing and that you are passionate about.
I have a philosophy that you will likely hear me say over and over, and it’s that working in a job you hate is like treading water — taking all of your energy, but getting you nowhere. In this regard, treading water is the same as drowning. Finding your passion, however, is like finding a life raft.
You see, we spend most of our lives working through cliché milestones in pursuit of a pipe dream that will never come to fruition — retiring in our paradise with enough youth ahead of us to truly leave this planet happy. I mean, if we get good grades, we’ll get into a good college. If we graduate college, we’ll get a decent career with steady pay. If we work hard and save up, we’ll be able to retire and do all of those things we’ve ever wanted to do. Never mind being happy in the meantime. It’s all about what we do when we’re retired and free of those burdens. I for one cannot wait [insert sarcasm here].
Let’s never mind that the average retirement age in the US is now up to 61 and rising or that we’re working 50% more hours than we used to. What about the fact that most people will have spent 50% of their good years working towards 10-15 years of pleasure? I feel it’s my fiduciary duty to tell you this model is bullshit! Why on earth would we wait 55 years (excuse me, 61 years) to do the things we’re passionate about? Why would we spend that time going through the motions of life, waiting for our time to actually LIVE? Sound like treading water to you? You have the option to take charge of your life NOW and I highly recommend not wasting another minute.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Read that quote and truly take it in. Go ahead, read it again. Does it make sense to you? Does it resonate? If not, you’re not there yet — but we’ll get there soon enough! If you do, isn’t it empowering to see that when you’re doing the things you love it doesn’t feel like work? Do you think Michael Jordan dreaded stepping on the court? Does Beyoncé loathe performing in front of 1000s of people? I would venture to say no and no. Does it take special skill to do those things? Sure, but to succeed at that level it takes more than skill — it takes PASSION! Now we may not all have the athletic skill and acumen to win NBA championships or the wherewithal to win Grammy’s, but we all have a talent and passion for something that is unique to us and we can make money doing it!
Try and think about what self-employment would mean to you and your life. Consider how it might feel to truly enjoy your job. Would you be more excited to wake up every day? Would you choose to take more time out for your family? Friends? Yourself? How about working remotely in some faraway place you’ve always wanted to go? Before I decided to start any one of my businesses, I asked myself the same set of questions and answered a resounding, “Yes!” to every single one of them. In fact, I made a decision to never live the way I saw my parents live and their parents before them — working themselves to the bone to make ends meet. I made the decision to live rather than simply exist.
As I write this Forward (“working”), I am sitting in a beach house in Dana Point, California. Next week, I will be doing the same thing from my condo in San Diego and come wintertime, I will be packing up and spending my “work” days back on the beaches of Costa Rica. I’m able to work from anywhere in the world I want because I am able to leverage technology to aid me in doing so. Even more importantly, I am not only enjoying life like I never imagined possible, but I’m making money while I do it. Am I saying this to brag? Absolutely not! In fact, I am here to help you achieve the same. Heck, if I can do it, anyone can. Luckily, I can save you 1000s of hours of research on how to do exactly that. I’ve done all of the research for you and provided it for you in this book; all you have to do is take advantage of it.
Let’s sidestep for a moment and, instead of taking a look at some of the reasons why I think it’s great to be self-employed, look at why it may soon be the only choice for many people in the Western culture.
Thanks to the Baby Boomers, an estimated 25% of the US workforce will be retiring in the next 10 years, and while that may scream “job security” to you, I would argue that might not be the case. As labor costs continue to rise, businesses will become more dynamic and lean, ultimately leading to offshoring and other outsourcing methods as the retirees say their goodbyes. Rethinking that second degree yet? I sure was.
Following the greatest economic recession since the Great Depression, coupled with poor credit and housing markets, the labor force has never been so uncertain than it is today. That uncertainty has led to dramatic downsizing; and although the economy has seen some improvement, the level of unemployment hasn’t moved anywhere closer to where it should be. Why is that? Businesses are afraid to commit to the future and that means less jobs and more outsourcing.
Let’s take a minute to discuss outsourcing. Outsourcing is essentially obtaining goods or services from an outside supplier, either locally or internationally (sometimes referred to as offshoring). It affords businesses the opportunity to farm out work that would otherwise be beyond their normal scope of practice so they can concentrate on their core competencies. An example might be a business relying on an outside source to do their accounting or a telecommunications firm using an outside sales force. Businesses have been doing it for years, realizing that they can dramatically decrease costs and improve their bottom line.
New companies (or those new to outsourcing) are realizing that after having adapted to the uncertain markets, they can actually run leaner operations by not hiring employees. Increased levels of companies are seeing the potential, while others do not have a choice. Many are ultimately deciding that in order to keep their business alive, they must find leaner solutions, e.g., cut jobs and begin outsourcing. Experts predict  that outsourcing is now a strategic tool that may power the future of our global economy. The Internet revolution has led to a new industrial revolution, whereby global competition has dictated we need to maximize resources at a global scale. For most, that means offshoring.
If you’re still on the fence about the future of the labor market, let’s take a look at the facts:
Increased outsourcing percentages — the average manufacturer now outsources 70-80% of their finished product; more than 90% say its part of their growth strategy .
Natural unemployment rate increase — since the recession, there has been a 2.6% increase in the natural unemployment rate, to over 9% . This is not to be confused with cyclical unemployment, where the labor market is out of equilibrium.
The Federal Reserve changes rate guidance — the policy has changed from a quantitative measure of the unemployment rate (previously set at 6.5%) to a qualitative one . What this subjective approach implies is that the drop in unemployment rate may be a false sense of security and a poor indicator of the strength of the labor force. With inflation rates in flux, the policy makers see a weak market and don’t predict a change in the near future.
Equity crowdfunding in effect — the SEC unveiled a law (JOBS Act) that would ease securities regulations around raising capital for startups and small businesses. In part, the law approves the selling of securities through open platforms and the microfinancing of loans for small businesses. With bipartisan support, were able to see that our legislation predicts small business and entrepreneurship to be the future of our economy.
I’m not here to argue the benefits of outsourcing or push a political agenda; I’m simply suggesting you take a look at the patterns and facts to make an educated decision for your future and that of your family. Your “job” may not be as secure as you think, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a part of the problem; you can be a part of the solution. In fact, history will tell you that where most see problems, leaders see opportunities.
Ok, so who am I to tell you all of things?
Who am I to you what you should and should not do?
Well, I could tell you that I've gone through the school of hard knocks, I’ve built multiple businesses from the ground up, or that I even got the fancy MBA that should tell people that I know what I’m talking about. Screw that. None of that matters — not even the stupid degree, because you know what? YOU DON’T NEED IT and neither do I! What matters is that I’ve taken action and learned a lot of lessons along the way. Some great experiences, a lot of hard ones, and many right down the middle. Wouldn’t you want to know what you could do to start your own online business in less than a weekend? Without having to go through all of the stuff I did? Without having to go through the 1,000’s of hours of research, classes, and trial-and-error? I’m not here to say I’m better than you or even that I know more than you. In fact, there are many of you out there with domain expertise that probably know a lot more about certain areas I touch on in this book. My goal with this book is not to outsmart you. It’s to share with you what I’ve learned along my journey with online business and entrepreneurship.
BUT, I didn’t fill in dozens of pages with lessons of what not to do, stories, or a bunch of philosophical mumbo jumbo. Instead, I thought it would be more advantageous for you to have actionable things to do. So, I’ve written it in a way where you should literally be able to take an immediate course of action — like “this-weekend-immediate.” Or “tomorrow-immediate.” It’s literally a nitty-gritty, down the details, do-this-and-you-can’t-mess-up type of book.
Ok, so a little about me…
My entrepreneurial journey began when I was about 5 years old. I suppose I was always innately inclined to be in business for myself; I was continuously finding creative ways to make money as a child and I loved doing it. I thought cleaning my grandma’s bathroom or doing chores at my house was incredible because I was making money. Thankfully it got better. One of my favorite entrepreneurial memories was when my best friend and I at the ripe old age of 9 or 10 came home from the mall having made hundreds of dollars in just a few hours. We were buying and reselling passes to the local amusement park and running huge profits. By the time my mom came to pick us up, our hands were full of shopping bags of clothes and basketball shoes that we had just earned for ourselves. More importantly, we came home with badges of honor and our entrepreneurial spirits alive. It was a rush that I will never forget.
By the time I graduated high school and college, that spirit had been suppressed by brainwashing and society’s idea of what the corporate path should look like. I instinctively knew that this path wasn’t for me, but I followed it anyway because it’s what I was “supposed” to do. After all, you don’t run a business right out of the gate. You need to put in your time and learn through observation, right? I wish I knew then what I know now.
Fast-forward to my first (and last) corporate job, where I am feeling lost, hopeless, and depressed. I literally went to bed every Sunday with a heavy heart, dreading the week to come. Mondays were numbing and each day was better than the next. Is it Friday yet? This wasn’t for me. I shouldn’t be working my ass off helping to create someone else’s dream while I spiral down in misery. Looking around, I saw so many other people in the same boat as me — some who had been doing it for decades. Their faces looked older than they should. Is this what life is going to be like? Going through the motions and just accepting our fate? Anyone who has seen Office Space gets the idea — it’s literally misery in a can (or cubicle). Thankfully, I observed something in these other people that will forever change my attitude and beliefs about life.
I knew I could never end up like them. I couldn’t stand the idea of working towards retirement in a job I hated, only to be too old and run-down to enjoy my life once I finally got the opportunity. I didn’t want to wait until retirement. I wanted to enjoy life now. I didn’t want to just exist — I wanted to LIVE. The biggest thing I observed in the poor souls I worked with was that every single one of them talked about change yet did nothing about it. They talked a big game too; they were going to do great things with their lives — tomorrow, next month, next year — just you watch (crickets). It’s been about 5 years since I met these people. They are still working their same miserable jobs, talking the same big talk.
Now at this point, if you’re relating to my experience (or those who I worked with), don’t worry — it does get better.
Knowing I had to be different, I spent the next six months at work researching every possible way to escape this prison before it was too late. I literally spent 1000s of hours learning what I could about marketing, online business, and strategy. I was creating a template for a new life and financial freedom, impeccably taking notes on everything I could. I knew very little about how to run a business — in college, I studied physiology, chemistry, and nutrition — nothing close to business. But I knew business and entrepreneurship were in my blood. I enrolled in graduate business school and within 6 months, co-founded my first company — which I helped run while maintaining my position at my shitty corporate job.
Spoiler alert: the company failed, but I learned a lot from that experience. For one, I learned that it’s a lot easier to create a company than people may believe. Having no Web development background or help from others, I was able to create an entire eCommerce website in just one weekend and we literally launched the company in under a week (thanks Google). The biggest lesson I learned (or affirmation that I experienced), however, was that I still wasn’t passionate about what I was doing and that I wasn’t going to be happy or successful unless I was passionate about my work. In fact, no one working in the company was passionate about the company itself, which was the real reason we didn’t succeed. We had almost everything we needed to succeed — a good business model, a brand we could stand behind and a product that people loved. What we lacked was love for what we did. None of us wanted to push forward and we literally let the company fizzle out because we didn’t enjoy what we were doing — we were doing it for the money and nothing else. I learned that the key to success is to spend your life doing the things you love and I couldn’t be more grateful that it didn’t take decades for me to figure that out. If you’re passionate about what you do and remain dedicated, the money will follow.
Fortunately for me, that experience also uncovered my true passion: helping others monetize their passions. I really enjoyed the strategic work that I did with my first company, but didn’t particularly enjoy the industry or the lifestyle that came with the business itself. The happiness I discovered was actually in the process of helping others achieve their goals with online business. I knew this was my calling, so I did something that changed my life forever. I walked into my boss’s office with a fire under my belly and I quit. The next few days were the most rewarding and fulfilling days I have ever experienced. I was free for the first time in my life and even though I was scared of the unknown, I knew it was going to be okay. It was about time that I started living for me, so I created my second business: a marketing and web development consultancy specializing in helping small businesses. That business still thrives to this day.
Meanwhile, I knew that creating a learning platform for entrepreneurs like you was the only way I was going to be able to reach the mass-scale audience that needed to be reached. Far few people had easy access to this knowledge that I had spent years aggressively accumulating, which meant that most of them would have to go through the same lengthy learning curve that I did if they wanted to succeed. I wanted to shorten that learning curve for others and help people free themselves of those heavy burdens we are all too familiar with. With that, this book was born. Taking the same principles that my consultancy still uses to this day and helping others apply them to their own business ideas, I am able to truly help others achieve the freedom that I have discovered by monetizing what they are passionate about.
Do you ever wonder why “lucky” people seem to have everything go their way and unlucky people never seem to catch a break? Although I believe the power of intention plays a huge role (I’ll save that for a book later on down the road), the core element to this phenomenon is momentum. Those who have positive things going on in their lives continue to breed positivity and those who seem down on their luck, well — keep drawing the short straw in life. The reason behind that and why their luck doesn’t change is because it isn’t supposed to. Until something acts upon that momentum, e.g., change in attitude and behavior, it will continue on its current path. Take this quote (translated from its original Latin form) originating from Galileo and popularized by Sir Isaac Newton that has applications in the entrepreneurial world, as well as anywhere in our lives where change is needed:
Law I: Every body persists in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by force impressed.
SIR ISAAC NEWTON
Translated into plain English, an object in motion, stays in motion and an object at rest, stays at rest — until acted on by an external force. Think about how that law applies to changes in your life. Are you doing anything about the things you don’t like or want to change? Or do you find that it’s just easier to complain and not do anything about it at all? Most successful entrepreneurs have one thing in common: they take action. I challenge you to take action in your own life and in making positive changes toward a life you love. Start your momentum with a small win; take a task that you have been putting off and know will move you closer to your goals. You may be surprised at how easy it is to maintain that momentum once you get going.
The biggest hurdles I believe people run into that hold them back from their passions, is not knowing where to start and/or being reluctant to pull the trigger on success. It’s the fear of the unknown that keeps actions (and positive changes) at bay. Most people will never get the things they want in life because they are afraid of letting go of the comforts that they’ve grown accustomed to. Making that first step is scary, because we’re all programmed to be weary of the unknown — it’s a survival mechanism that has worked well in keeping our species going for centuries. But what separates us from the animal kingdom in that regard? Absolutely nothing. Growth and evolution as a species and as a human being comes from pushing our limits, but we won’t get very far without taking that first step. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not here for mere survival. In terms of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I want to move beyond that foundation and actually experience some of those things that make us whole — the things that make us human. We live through experiences and we experience through change. Keep in mind that this isn’t just careers we’re talking about. I’m talking about relationships, personal development, fitness, and anywhere else in our lives we want to see growth.
Bottom line is, if you can relate to my story in any way and want to make a change for yourself, understand that you CAN have the life you want if you are willing to take the necessary steps. We all want good lives for our families and ourselves, but unless we change that which is not working, we’re setting ourselves up for failure and frustration.
I’ll leave you with my favorite quote that I want you to apply to your own world. Dig deep and think about how your actions (or inactions) and momentum may be influencing your life, your career and your happiness. Most of all, think about the results that you want in life and what you have done (and are doing) to get them:
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I did writing it. It’s my goal that each and every person who reads it and takes action on, not only living their passions, but also monetizing those passions. Like I said, if I can do it, anyone can. So get out there, take charge of your life, and go make some money doing it!
All the best,
P.S. Throughout this book, you will find links within the text that will take you to all of the necessary websites to start your online business. There is also a resource section at the end of this book has all of the links in one handy place.
How to Live Your Passion Though Online Business
BRICE D.M. HOLMES