The $100 Startup: More Possible For You Than Ever

There’s been no better time to start a business in history than today. The possibilities are endless, with new opportunities for startups being created all the time. It’s easier to access more customers than ever before (i.e. the entire wired world). And, it costs so little to create a new business.

Chris Guillebeau released his new book The $100 Startup on Tuesday that’s all about this topic. I received an advanced copy, and, after diving in, it’s truly a great read.

What I like most of this book is the range of real-life ideas and stories of others that it contains. It’s not just from the author’s viewpoint, and it’s not so preachy because of that. There’s literally 50 stories of real, low-capital entrepreneurs.

Some of the more interesting notes about the book is just how ridiculous some of the startup ideas really are, like one entrepreneur that started selling liquidated mattresses out of a vacant auto dealership. Who would’ve thought something like that would turn into a success?

Despite the numerous successes listed in the book, how realistic is it to create a $100 startup?

Can you really create a startup for $100?

Unless you’re five years old, $100 isn’t a lot of money. It’s a few meals at a restaurant or a fraction of your monthly rent. And it’s a tiny percentage of what it would cost to create many traditional brick-and-mortar businesses.

But even if it’s not a lot of cash, is it enough to create a viable business? Yes, it is.

Okay, so you’re not going to become the next Groupon right away if you’ve only got $100. But there’s a lot you can do with $100 now.

For example, Money Spruce was started for way less than 100 bucks. All it takes is a $7/month website hosting account and a domain name that costs about $12. A few hours later, Bam! You have your website and potential business.

You don’t even need to spend money on a website (there’s tons of free options). All you need is a decent, low-cost business idea.

Cheap doesn’t mean it’s great

There are a lot of startup ideas that can get going for really cheap but aren’t necessarily a viable business. A classic example is blogging. Many people start a blog (for just a few dollars, as I detailed above) with the intention of making fortune. But they have no real business strategy and goals when they start. I’ve certainly been guilty of this in the past, and I certainly don’t make a full-time income from blogging now.

The idea of a $100 startup isn’t just that it’s cheap. It has to be more than that.

Concentrating on what’s really important

Money isn’t only what matters. Far from it. Will investing more in a business up front give you a better chance of creating a viable business? I don’t have statistics on that (and I doubt they exist), but I’d bet that the answer is “no.”

Why? Because there’s so much you can do and should do that will cost very little money before you should even consider throwing a bunch of cash into your biz.

Why invest lots of money up front before you know if you have a viable business? If ordering business cards is your first move in your new startup, you’re in trouble (and it’s total BS if you don’t think you can make a sale before you have business cards).

If you’re set on spending only $100 to create a startup, there’s absolutely no room for frills. This really forces you to drill down and focus only on what’s necessary. Sure, you could create a fancy website (for either your online or offline business) by hiring a designer who will create logo and give your new “brand” an awesome appearance. There’s no way to do this for less than $100, though, so you’re better off on concentrating on actions that generate revenue by selling something.

$0 Startup?

Clearly, there are many startups you can create with $0. If you own a computer, you’ve got the only tool you need and don’t need to spend any more cash. If you have access to software or other tools, you’re in even better shape.

Let’s look at my SEO consulting business, for example. There is literally nothing I’m required to buy to get started and for clients to begin paying me. With free SEO tools, free tools from Google, plus all the free information in the form of SEO blogs and websites that I could ever ask for, I can do a lot with zero business expenses. Sure, I could go out and buy premium SEO tools, a nicer computer, and SEO textbooks, but none of that is necessarily needed.

The same is true for freelance writing. All I really need is access to the internet to find positions. Need an online portfolio? Whip up a blog, which could even be on a free site like Tumblr or WordPress.com.

If you have technical skills, such as programming or developing websites, you can get going for $0, too.

It takes time, and lots of it

Let’s not forget: the major investment will always be time. There’s really no way around it, money or not. You’re going to have to put in the time to make your business a success, whether it’s a $100 or $10,000,000 startup. This really shouldn’t be any sort of a new revelation as anything that doesn’t take time is probably worthless or a scheme.

I hope to launch more of my own “$100 startups” this year. What about you?

Do you have a $100 startup idea? How’s it coming along?

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photo by: Alex Champagne (via Amazon)

Only 72: If You’re Serious About Building an Online Business

If you want to get right to the sale, click here to go to Only 72.

I’m writing today about the Only 72 sale. It’s 90% off over $1,000 in ebooks and guides for the entrepreneur – but only for 72 hours.

Why I’m writing a post about it

Almost 2 years ago, I began searching for a different path in life. I was frustrated with where I was headed, and I didn’t know how to get out of it. That’s when I stumbled upon a few different Ebooks about starting an online business – one of which was How to Live Anywhere by Karol Gajda (one of the Only72 creators). I was hooked!
Today, I’m well on my way with an online business that I can work from anywhere. After I quit my job (in just over three weeks now!), I’ll be supporting myself entirely from online income:
  • through this blog
  • with my online SEO business and
  • a regular freelance writing position
All of this is a direct result of following guides like the ones offered in this sale. In fact, I’ll be buying this sale myself. These guides are from some of the best in the business, and I’m wicked excited to learn more about developing iPhone apps and continue to build up my freelance business.

What you get

Everyone gets all of the following for just $100:

The $100 Startup – the Hardcover book with shipping included. Written by Chris Guillebeau.

Better Blogging ($137 in value)

Corbett Barr – Creating, Marketing, and Designing A Blog That Matters

Susannah Conway – Blogging From The Heart (eBook version)

Passion-based Business ($137)

Jonathan Mead — Identifying Your Passion Module + Workbook

Scott Dinsmore — Live Off Your Passion (eBook version)

Freelancing ($111)

Ashley Ambirge — You Don’t Need A Job, You Need Guts

Men With Pens — Freelancer Package: Write for Web, Guest Posting Guide, Beyond Brick & Mortar

Confidence & Courage ($129)

Johnny B. Truant — Tao of Awesome

Marianne Elliot — 30 Days of Courage (w/ Yoga Module)

Selling & Advertising ($144)

Pam Slim — Ethical Selling That Works

David Risley — Double Your Ad Income

Technology & Systems ($171)

Josh Kaufman — The Personal MBA Guide to Small Business Infrastructure

Free The Apps — How to Make iPhone Apps <— I’ll be reading this first

Brett Kelly — Evernote Essentials

Artists & Writers ($130)

Alyson Stanfield — Turning Your Hobby into a Career (download & audio program)

Chris Guillebeau — Unconventional Guide to Publishing

Click here to go to the sale

Who it’s for

This sale would be an awesome start for anyone looking to make a living online using their talents and passions. It’s not about making a quick buck – it’s about working to build a solid, sustainable business.

If you’re looking to take your online business to the next level, this is an awesome way to do that.

Either way, there’s a wide array of options for doing that with these guides – blogging, freelancing, iPhone apps, and more.

Just one of two of these ebooks could cost more than $100 in this sale.

Remember – it’s only available for 72 hours, starting at 12 pm EST today and ending at 12 pm EST on Thursday.

Click here to purchase

Even if it’s not for you this time, I totally understand. No hard feelings at all. But you can still head to their site and get on the list for future sales.

Thanks again for reading. This post does have affiliate links for which I get a commission for each sale. But I truly recommend this – it’s something I really believe in.

How to Quit Your Job and Love What You Do Next

I’ve been in a bit of a panic lately. I’m only a month away from quitting my job and losing my full-time income.

But while scrambling frantically to replace my full-time income, I came across this great post on Live Your Legend that’s on how to quit your job. To summarize the whole post, the takeaway: do NOTHING immediately after quitting or getting fired. At least for three weeks, according to Scott Dinsmore.

Now, I hadn’t thought about this too much before reading this post. I’d been focused on trying to replace my income right away by taking on more work, which I’m not sure I’d be too happy doing. While I do have thousands in the bank in my quit my job fund, I know I can’t wait until this runs out to bring my income up.

But after reading Scott’s post, why should I just be trying to just go out and make money immediately?

Here are some things to think about before scrambling to replace your income after quitting or losing your job.

Give yourself a break

If you quit because you disliked your job, you need a break. I think the three week period suggested is dead-on. Most of us aren’t going be in financial ruin because of a three week gap.

Instead, plan a retreat or vacation. Scott points out many things you could do, like travel, a meditation retreat, or just start writing. Consider this time a time for inflection. Figure out what you’re really interested in and then decide where you can go next.

Don’t forget to make every day count. It’s easy to be miserable when you have no job and no income. Your life might temporarily feel like it has less purpose and meaning. Even if you feel this way, don’t waste your time sitting on the couch. Do what interests you and what you always hoped you could do if you didn’t have to work a job.

Seriously consider a change

If you hate what you do, why take another job that you might hate? This entirely defeats the purpose of quitting in the first place. Instead, be sure to relax and think it over a bit before immediately jumping into something else. Don’t jump back into the same type of job unless something comes along you can’t pass up because you’re genuinely excited about it (and not just the money or perceived opportunity).

I’ve already been tempted to seek out a full-time job. The money would be awesome and would make the transition easier. But, after stepping back, I’ve decided that I’m not just going to take any job that comes my way.

Don’t act on emotion

I wrote about emotions and money in a post last week, and it’s important to assess that in this case, too. The money isn’t what’s going to make you happy. It’s what you’re doing with your life that will ultimately have the greatest effect.

Be as level-headed as possible about making any important decisions. Don’t just take a job because you feel you desperately need the money or because you’re unhappy being unemployed. Do all you can to ensure the job will make your life better than it is now or was before.

Turn misfortune into opportunity

Remember, changing jobs is a life-changing opportunity. Definitely don’t panic; your life isn’t over.

Pat Flynn famously turned the loss of his job into a remarkable online business. What if Pat went out and grabbed another job right after being laid off? His life would be 100% different. Be sure to think of it as an opportunity and not a loss.

How I’ll quit my job

So what am I going to do? If you’ve read my past post on taking time between jobs, you probably already know it’s something that’s important to me.

For starters, I’ll be traveling around much of the summer. It’s looking like I’ll be hitting the beaches of New England throughout June. I’m then heading to check out Portland, Oregon (a dream for me!) in July for the World Domination Summit. I’m then planning to stay out West until the Financial Bloggers Conference in Dever in September.

Now, I won’t be taking 100% of a vacation during this time, but I definitely won’t be desperately searching for a job this whole time, either. I’ll be working on growing the Money Spruce business, which includes this blog, SEO consulting, and freelance writing. But I’ll be able to work from wherever I choose, which I’m super excited about :)

What advice do you have after losing a job or quitting?

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photo by: Gary Brownell

Hitting a Financial Knowledge Peak (and What Really Matters)

I’ve spent the past 2 years+ absorbing all the personal finance knowledge that I possibly can. Books, blogs, webinars, conferences, and more – I’ve read a ton on a wide range of topics. I don’t know everything, but I still feel like I’ve hit a knowledge peak.

Hitting a knowledge peak

In some ways, I’d like to give up my pursuit for consuming more and more financial knowledge. I feel like I’ve definitely hit the point where the return I get for time spent has neared its peak. I don’t know everything, but I do think I know more than I need to live my daily life (and I DEFINITELY know more than the average person).

Can knowing more really help me right here and now? I don’t think so, or not by much at least. It’s more going to come down to how I use the knowledge that I have through the trying time of launching my own business.

Like a lot of things, having the knowledge itself dones’t guarantee anything. It’s how you use that knowledge, coupled with internal and external factors that determines what happens.

Much of what’s really essential to financial success is emotion. It’s how you handle situations in life, like risk, fear, failure, and success.

Emotions

What’s else is wrong with the financial knowledge peak? Despite my wealth of knowledge, I don’t think it will help me most to succeed financially. Not at this stage at least.

When quitting a job or making a career change, it’s ultimately how you act and react in that situation that determines the outcome. Sure, knowledge comes into play, but it can only take you so far. Even with all the knowledge one can possibly have, fear of failure can still snap you like a twig.

I haven’t quit my job yet, but I’ve already experienced just about every emotion over the last several months. Most of them are tied to the uncertainty of my future or working on side-businesses that take a lot of work besides my full-time job. I’ve had times when I was certain that I would succeed, but there’s also been moments where I’ve felt like crap because I’m a failure.

I know it’s going to take even more strength to keep myself on the entrepreneurial path. I’m reminded all the time by others how easy it is to go back to working a steady job with a good paycheck. I’ve seen and heard stories from many people around me that have done that (and they’re often unhappy with their jobs once they go back).

I don’t think it’s always a bad choice to go back to working for these people, but it’s the easy way out in a lot of ways.

Emotion = Living

As much as it sucks to go from the highest highs to the lowest lows, it’s what makes us the most alive. I’ve been in that situation where I just feel numb. No excitement for tomorrow, but not necessarily any resentment for today, either. It just is what it is. It’s easy, but it’s boring.

Creating situations that generate emotion is what defines life and gives it meaning, and I’m all for making those things happen no matter how uncomfortable.

What do you think? Have you hit a knowledge peak?

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photo credit: quinn.anya

Time and Money Goals, Aligned

There are productive things I could be doing instead of _____.  Many things fit in that blank: watching sports, Facebook, sleeping.  But there are also things that might not be a productive use of my time, and they cost money, too.  I’m talking about going out to bars or restaurants, taking trips on the weekends, or other things of similar nature.  I definitely wouldn’t characterize these as time wasters – I like doing all of these things and spending time socializing.  But they can also get expensive and detract not only from my bank account but also from my future goals.

I enjoyed my trip to the Berkshires last weekend, and I’m sure I’ll have fun in NYC this weekend.  But I’m still longing for more time to develop my personal skills and projects that align with my long-term goals.  There needs to be balance.

Strategy: Minimize social activity during the most productive times, but maximize fun when least productive.

Lately, I’ve really buckled down with my time management and started saying “no” to activities that suck up otherwise-productive time. I could easily be talked into going out for drinks on a Wednesday night if I have nothing important to do.  But the fact is, I have things I want to do.  My goals and ambitions to launch an empire based on this blog and freelancing is going to take a lot of time.  In Karol Gajda‘s How to Live Anywhere, he says to get rid of all distractions during periods of intense work.  I’m not talking about skipping my mom’s birthday here.  But partying it up on a Wednesday is a small sacrifice, especially considering I do fun things almost every Friday and Saturday night. The weekend nights are when I know I have the smallest chance of getting work done.  Unless I have something super-important to do, I’ll happily concede Friday and Saturday nights to fun.

I’ve realized that my time goals also keep my financial goals in balance.  By passing on Wednesday night beers, I’ve not only banked the time, but I’ve also saved $20.  Even more importantly, I can even add a third degree of greatness to the equation: with the saved time, I’ve advanced towards a better financial future, even if it’s only in the slightest degree.

I don’t think anyone should give up their entire social life for any kind of financial gain (that’s miserable).  But I think just about everyone could use a little more balance.

What could you do if you converted 10 hours a week from areas that don’t really improve your life and instead focused on making money or other financial goals?  Could you start a side business like freelance writing or web design? Could you improve your personal budget and spending habits by reading Dave Ramsey or Get Rich Slowly? I know we’re all “busy” but 10 hours is nothing – it’s one hour each weekday and then five hours over the whole weekend.  I’m convinced it’s going to take at least this much time to get out of the rat-race world and live a life that I find fulfilling.

Next time you’re invited out for a midweek adventure, think about how much it’s really worth to you.  Success in your long-term goals might just be dependent on these choices.

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photo by: gogoloopie

Famous Money Movie Moments and Lessons (with Video!)

I’ll admit: I’ve had a bit of a financial reading overload lately, so I’ve pared back my writing and reading a bit. Quitting day is coming up soon, too, and I’ve been focused on the SEO with a lot of my time, too.

How do I get past the burnout? Watch money movie clips instead! Sure, most of them are fiction, but there’s still some important lessons to be found as always.

I had a little fun with a few movie clips that I think of when I think of money advice.

Making sure to get the money, not just save it

The classic “money” movie line from Jerry McGuire that we all think of when we want the money:

Lesson: Go for the money instead of simply trying to cut back. Eventually you just gotta say it!

Excessive greed and cheapness will burn you

Trading Spaces is definitely one of the funniest money movies of all time. Here’s a clip towards the end of the movie (spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it before):

Lesson: Greed will only come back to get you. Don’t be cheap, especially when you can afford to be generous.

Moving to the world of smartphones

Not exactly a money-related quote, but I just made it one. Billy Madison says it best for me:

 

Lesson: “Stay” with a cheap phone as long as you can. You’ll save a bundle, and the other side might not be so awesome anyway.

Spending money to make money isn’t always the worst thing

Ah, the original classic movie about big business and greed: Citizen Kane!

http://youtu.be/tzhb3U2cONs?t=2m5s (sorry, you have to go to YouTube to see this one)

Lesson: Not every business move you make will be profitable, and you sometimes need to spend money to make money. You don’t have to go broke, but you do need a strategy.

Smarter than the next guy

The Sting is one of my favorite movies, period. Newman + Redford = legendary.

This clip is one of their many cons throughout the movie. Damn are these guys smart.

Lesson: You don’t have to be the only one in business. You just have to be willing to do what it takes to “out-hustle” the others in your pack.

Big Corporations can be “lose-lose”

I love Jimmy Stewart, and I’m sure everyone is familiar with his role as George Bailey, President of the Savings and Loan in It’s a Wonderful Life.

Lesson: The “big guys” aren’t always bad news, but often the small, local companies can relate to your better. Seek to do business with those who care about your community and even you, rather than those that just seem to give the best deal on the surface.

Awful jobs

Who can forget the miserable cubicle workers on the cult classic Office Space. Watching Peter live a miserable life from corporate desk is enough to make anyone sick to their stomach:


Lesson: No one wants to deal with “TPS reports” every day. Find a job that you can love rather than one where you merely exist.

Hope you enjoyed the clips!

Are there any other money movie moments you would add?

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A Few Links – Roundup

Hey All,

Juts wanted to roundup my carnival inclusions from the past few weeks:
Totally Money Blog Carnival at My Personal Finance Journey
Best of Money Carnival at Financial Success For Young Adults
Carnival of Financial Planning at Thriftability
Carnival of Financial Camaraderie at My University Money
Carnival of Money Pros at My Journey to Millions
Yakezie Carnival at Faithful With A Few
Carnival of Retirement at Broke Professionals

Totally Money Blog Carnival at My Personal Finance Journey
Best of Money Carnival at Financial Success For Young Adults
Carnival of Financial Planning at Thriftability
Carnival of Financial Camaraderie at My University Money
Carnival of Money Pros at My Journey to Millions
Yakezie Carnival at Faithful With A Few
Carnival of Retirement at Broke Professionals
Carnival of Financial Planning at Cult of Money
Festival of Frugality at See Debt Run
Carnival of Financial Camaraderie at Young and Thrifty
Totally Money Blog Carnival at Balance Junkie
Yakezie Carnival at One Cent At A Time
Carnival of MoneyPros at Financial Success for Young Adults
Carnival of Retirement at Simple Finance Blog

Money Rules Book Review: A Quick Guide to Finances

I recently checked out the new book Money Rules: The Simple Path to Lifelong Security by Jean Chatzky.

It’s modeled much like Michael Pollan’s Food Rules with many one-page “rules” that give short but useful tidbits of information.

This book can be read in one sitting (it took me just a couple of hours), but it offers a lot of value from just a little book.

The top rules

Here are some of my favorite rules in the book:

  • “The four most important words in negotiation are ‘Can you do better?'” This is the first time I’ve heard this one for negotiations, and I like it! I’m a fan of not saying too much, and letting the other person doing the talking as much as possible. He who speaks first loses.
  • “Your home is a piggy bank, not a cash cow.” This was a hard lesson for Americans after the housing bubble burst. I can only hope we’ve learned and won’t get burned again.
  • “Don’t borrow more for college than you expect to earn your first year out of school.” I really like nice little tricks that you can use instead of making all sorts of calculations. Paying back debt is a big pain, and it ends up being much more annoying than most people realize.
  • “In any transaction, ask ‘What’s in it for them’?” There’s often a catch. Most people or businesses aren’t in business to be nice. Try to figure out what they’re getting out of it and decide if it’s still worth it for you.
  • “Boring is better” (when it comes to investing). Chatzky points out that index funds and ETFs aren’t very sexy, but they often get the job done easily and without a lot of guesswork.

Is she right?

Of course, everyone would probably find a few points to disagree with on here. After all, it’s virtually impossible to cover everyone’s life with every rule.

I didn’t particularly unconditionally agree with the author’s point that “your job is your most valuable asset” and “education is your second most valuable asset.” I think there are better assets than can be built (like a business or others assets that offer more scalable cash flow), but she’s right if we’re just speaking to the masses here.

While there were a few other points that I took small issues with, I generally agreed with all Chatzky had to say and enjoyed her style for delivering the info.

Overall, I think this would be a great book for anyone that’s new or not that interested in personal finance (I’m obviously biased). In fact, I’d go as far to say that it’s my new go-to book for college grads.

It’s not for those that are looking for very specific guidance in any particular area. If you’re someone that’s already mastered your money, you might be a little bored. But it’s short and snappy, so it’s not like you’re wasting a lot of your time.

Check out the book on Amazon, where you can ready some of the rules for free, too!

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A few links while I’m at it:

Fin. Carn. for Young Adults at 20s Finances
Carnival of MoneyPros at Financially Consumed
Yakezie Carnival at Passive Income to Retire
Carnival of Retirement at Tackling Our Debt
Totally Money Blog Carnival at Thirty Six Months
Carnival of Financial Camaraderie at Step Away From The Mall
Best of Money Carnival at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

Carnival of Financial Planning at Married With Debt
Carnival of Financial Camaraderie at My University Money
Totally Money Blog Carnival at Motivating Mum
Carnival of Money Pros at Thousandaire
Yakezie Carnival at Money Reasons
Carnival of Retirement at Finance Product Reviews
Financial Carnival for Young Adults at 20’s Finances
Totally Money Blog Carnival at Stupid Cents
Carnival of Financial Camaraderie at My University Money
Festival of Frugality at One Smart Dollar
Carnival of Financial Planning at Prairie Eco Thrifter
Yakezie Carnival at Watson Inc
Carnival of MoneyPros at Beating Broke
Carnival of Retirement at Passive Income to Retire

Fin. Carn. for Young Adults at 20’s Finances
Carnival of Retirement at Investor’s WatchDog
Yakezie Carnival at Money Q&A
Carnival of MoneyPros at Novel Investor
Festival of Frugality at Budgeting With The Bushmans
Carnival of Financial Planning at Darwin’s Money

Can We Stop Gushing Over Our Self-Affirming Financial Bullshit?

Did the title make you uncomfortable or defensive? Good.

It’s probably not new news to you that everything likes to read things that simply back up what they already think and do. Finances are no different. We like to confirm we have all the answers, and we like to be on the right track. Sure, there are little tweaks here and there to our lives but not too much to really shake things up.

But here’s the problem: reading more about what you already know and believe in won’t do you any good. In fact, it’s a waste of your time. What’s the point of simply listen to someone agree with you for 1,000 words? So you can use it to defend yourself against others that disagree with you?

An Example from Get Rich Slowly

A little over a week ago, Joe from Retire by 40 wrote a post (we’ll call it Post #1) about leaving his six-figure corporate job to pursue something else. Joe sorta framed his post to make it sound like he was following a problogger pipe dream, but I don’t think that’s how he intended it. Joe also left out important details about how his wife works and will continue to do so by her own choice and desire, which you can read about on his blog. The way I read his GRS post: he’s excited to do quit his job and leave his boring corporate life behind him.

But the overal feedback: incredible disdain from the GRS community. Some people hated this post and seemed to disagree with everything Joe mentioned, too. Just take a look at some of the comments. I have to wonder what extreme comments were filtered out beyond what’s shown.

Flash forward to one week later – Post #2: A reader named “Knot Theory” had his (I’m assuming it’s a he, but not sure) story published, which is essentially a post about how he quit a job that he hated, took a boring job instead, and has never been happier since.

And the commenters? Couldn’t love it enough! People were singing the praises in the comments, with one reader calling it “one the bests posts read til date.”

Okay, I’ll give you that the two posts had slightly different tones and were written in different ways, but did each really deserve the comments that they got?

Why the lovefest for Post #2 but not #1?

Post #2 had a feel-good tone for how you don’t have to love your job to be happy in life. I’m cool with that (although I have a hard time feeling as awesome about it as some of the commenters do).

But I think post #1 is as much of a feel-good story to me as is post #2. They were both about giving up something the writer hates and moving on to a life that’s happier and hopefully more fruitful.

What it looks like to me: readers love the second post SO much more because it’s what they identify with. These commenters are plugging along at the 9-5 (and either are or are hoping to make six figures), and it doesn’t fly in the face of their plan in life.

To me, it’s simple why it came out this way: we love hearing that the path we’ve chosen is the right one and the best one. We love these little stories that we can point to and say “I knew I was doing the right thing!” It’s music to the ears.

At the same time, it’s often frustrating and even annoying to hear about people that disagree with how you approach things.

You can look at both ends of any two-sided debate and find plenty of support that you can read and just agree with. If we’re talking the nine-to-fiver vs. the entrepreneur, there’s plenty of material out there to tell you that you can be happy and successful on either path.

For the worker-bees, their life and belief is some variation of “Just show up for work, put in your time, invest in a retirement plan, and you’ll have it made when the time comes. Being an entrepreneur is very risky, and most people fail and go bankrupt.”

For the entrepreneurial-minded, there are plenty of people, blogs, and books that will go the other way and say “Showing up at a 9-5 every day until your 65 is no way to live. It’s a boring life. There’s so much more potential for both happiness and wealth if you strike on your own.”

We can find support and successes on both sides within the blogosphere, not to mention in stories throughout the media. Neither is right and neither is wrong.

A Lesson: Be willing to listen to the other side without calling them wrong

Look, I feel just as uncomfortable and annoyed watching Fox News as every left-winger does. But does that mean I should just spend my whole life criticizing Fox News and just watching the Daily Show? I’m not that close-minded, and I hope others aren’t, either.

From reading this blog, you can probably guess that I align more with Joe and post #1. It’s certainly motivational to read articles like these to get me moving in the direction I want to go. But I don’t think that post #2 is stupid, and I can get a lot out of reading that as well.

Does quitting my job and giving up on finding a career I might like make me nervous? Hell yes!! Because of that, it’s interesting and informative to listen to both sides.

Sometimes the “other” side can make solid points and even be right from time to time. Just accept it.

Do you find yourself reading a lot of articles and posts that simply agree with what you already believe?

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photo from:  thivierr

Life After Quitting Questions Answered: Saving, Business-Building and More

There are SO many questions (both in real life and from online people) that are swirling about what the heck I’m gonna do once I quit my job in New Haven. It’s about 2 months from go-time, so things are getting real. A lot of people are curious what I’m doing next. I hope this post answers some of that.

While I’m sure no two people would approach things the same way, I hope this gives you some idea of the types of things you need to think about, too.

Why are you quitting your job?

The simple answer is that my girlfriend is finishing grad school at Yale in May, and we’re both itching to get out of New Haven. Even if we wanted to stay, there’s pretty limited opportunity for jobs. New Haven is an alright place, but I wouldn’t really recommend it as a place to live if you have the choice of anywhere.

Are you going to get another job?

If the right opportunity comes along, I’ll definitely jump on it.  In case it doesn’t, I’ve saved almost half of my income from my job every month for several months now so that I can have savings to live off for several months. I estimate that I have about 5-6 months of living expenses (assuming no income) earmarked for this life change. At the same time, I have some income and I’ll be working to increase how much I make.

If you’re not getting a job, how will you make money?

I’ll be honest: I don’t have that entirely figured out yet. My SEO consulting is starting to gain more traction (got a new client last week), but it’s still not close to replacing my full-time job income. I do earn some money from this blog, and I’ve dabbled in freelance writing as well. I’d certainly consider working in a part-time capacity for someone if it allows me to both learn and stay location independent.

This whole thing sounds scary! Aren’t you afraid?

Honestly, not so much. I subscribe to the “what’s the worst that can happen?” mentality in cases like these. I don’t see too many awful scenarios that are realistic. I could go broke, but I doubt I’ll end up homeless or starving. I could move in with family or friends if I got really desperate (although I’d have to be pretty desperate for that to happen).

Being broke at 26 years old isn’t the worst position to be in (and many Americans are already far, far worse off). I’m not saying I want that to happen, but I’m not afraid if it does.

How will you make a down payment on a house?

Hah! Sorry to laugh, but I don’t plan to buy a house for some time. Here’t the short list why:

  1. I have no idea where I want to settle down yet
  2. I value mobility.
  3. I have no desire to have a mortgage payment
  4. I like the life of a renter and not having to worry about random surprise costs like repairs.
I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people my age don’t plan to buy. In fact, a recent survey showed that only 7 percent of respondents thought owning a home is an important part of the American dream! Times are a-changin!

What about health insurance?

I haven’t chosen a plan yet, but I’ll probably opt for a high-deductible plan. Based on some quick research and recommendations, it will cost around $200 a month. I’m sure there’s almost no benefits to this type of plan unless I’m severely sick or injured, but are there many more affordable choices in America? Healthcare kinda sucks in the U.S. Aside from that, I have no health problems, and I only rarely visit the doctor.

I thought about COBRA from my current employer, but I’m guessing it will be too expensive for it to be worthwhile. I’ll be sure to check on what the cost would be for me before turning it down.

How will you save for a wedding?

This is the total cop-out answer, but I still hate the idea of spending $20,000 on a wedding. Realistically speaking, it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to afford anything close to that anytime soon. A fancy wedding just isn’t one of my priorities right now.

How are you planning to invest for retirement?

I’m not, for right now at least. I outlined how I’m not investing in the stock market right now (although I did max out my Roth IRA for 2011 if that calms your nerves a little). I’d like to continue to make at least some sort of regular contribution for retirement, but I have to put that temporarily on the backburner. I’ll revisit this once I’m earning some sort of a livable income and not relying primarily on savings.

Where will you live?

I’m not sure yet. There are many options on the table, like NYC or Portland. My fantasy is to be a little bit of a nomad (that’s the whole point of this location independent thing for me, after all). It will almost certainly be a large city that isn’t San Francisco. Ideally it would be ultra bike-friendly.

Do you have any clue what you’re doing?!? Sounds like you’re ruining your life!

I appreciate your concern, but no, I can’t say I have a well-laid out plan for myself. But I’m okay with that. While I am a planner at heart, I enjoy changing things up and not having life be so predictable.

Do you have any more questions for me? Just about anything is fair game, and I’m happy to answer :)
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photo by: Steve-h
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