Five Surprising Truths I Learned From Leaving My 9–5

Leaving 9 to 5

What does freedom mean to you?

For some, it’s having the ability to work full-time on their passion projects without financial worries.

For others, it may be earning enough to travel the world, build a family, buy a house, or treat their loved ones to a month-long vacation.

This desire to have more freedom in life drives us to earn more money. Because after all, if you have more money you will have more freedom, right? Right?

Well… Not always.

Some people have a lot of money but equally as many responsibilities. They can’t just do whatever they want.

I’ve been fully self-employed since 2015 now. Before that, I had a 9–5 job at an IT research firm in London.

When I quit that job, I still had student debt and maybe a few grand on my name. I can’t remember how much money I even had. But by 2019, I earned enough with my own business to be financially free.

Let me tell you about the biggest lessons I learned from that experience. I was surprised by many of these things when I first discovered them.

1. Your company skills are not enough

No matter how experienced you are in your current job, you must learn MANY different income generating skills like: Persuasion, writing, speaking, leading, decision-making, accounting, etc.

Accounting? Really? Yes, really!

If you want to be fully independent and financially free, you must be a jack of all trades. This is something most people don’t get or try to ignore.

“I’d rather be a specialist!” Well, you need to be both my friend. Otherwise, you just can’t be truly independent.

2. Time should be your ally more than you think

Too many people focus on hacks or shortcuts to get to their goals as fast as possible. That’s an understandable urge.

Besides, I always encourage finding ways to do things more efficiently. If you can use tools or delegate tasks to others; Do so. Save time as much as you can.

But don’t be overly impatient. Building a successful career is a long game.

So if you’ve been wanting to write or do vlogs or content full-time, then go for it! But expect results to take time.

Sure, success can happen very fast for some people. But for most of us, it takes time.

Think about this for a second. I’ve been writing almost daily since 2015. I published 500+ articles and published 7 books.

My first traditionally published book will come out in July 2024!

9 years after I started.

How do you make time your ally? By being consistent.

Want to create content as a vlogger/writer/etc.? Commit to publishing a certain number and quality of content for a consistent period.

Want to build your business? Pitch to a certain number of prospects, or sell X number of products.

Time compounds your efforts as long as you’re consistent.

3. You’ll need a foundation against loneliness

Working for yourself means there’s no one to motivate you but yourself.

There will be no one to push you out of bed to work if you’re “not feeling it.” And company events or office interactions won’t be there to help you meet new people.

Self-motivation is a big requirement for being free.

That’s why so many people who complain about their employers still choose to stay: Because they don’t know how to motivate themselves to go after what they want. And they also don’t know what they want so they just go with the flow.

Don’t be one of those folks.

As you try to build your way towards working for yourself full-time, remember that your career doesn’t just rely on you — but also on your support network: Friends, colleagues, business partners, and so forth.

I’m an introvert and a writer. So I prefer to do most of my work alone. But I do love to work with others, whether that’s a research assistant, an editor, or a fellow writer to soundboard ideas with.

We all need a good support system. Both on the professional and personal level. So try not to neglect building that.

4. Successful time management means doing less

There is this popular image of successful people being super busy:

  • They have 4 meetings in the morning
  • A flight in the afternoon
  • A bunch more meetings at night
  • They sleep at midnight and wake up at 4am

But I found that most happy successful people don’t live their lives like that.

In fact, one of the successful investors I’m profiling for my latest book is an American-Indian fund manager named Mohnish Pabrai, whose fund is worth around $637 Million as of May 2023.

Pabrai makes a point of keeping an empty calendar (a habit he cloned from Warren Buffett): He spends most of his time reading and studying companies he might invest in.

And his days are typically filled with zero meetings and phone calls. So he can do more of what’s truly important to him! (Living life, and studying companies that interest him).

He reminds me of a quote from the philosopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal:

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

Successful folks manage their time well by removing unessential things from their schedule and doing only the things that truly matter.

P.S. If you’re self-employed, you also want to invest in the stock market to build wealth. In my course, Simple Investing, I share my system for doing that.

5. Do you know how to fall?

In C.S. Lewis’ children’s book, The Horse and His Boy, there’s a scene where the horse asks the boy if he knows how to ride a horse. The boy said he didn’t know.

So the horse said: “If you can’t ride, can you fall?”

“I suppose anyone can fall,” the boy replied.

The horse shook its head: “I mean can you fall and get up again without crying and mount again and fall again and yet not be afraid of falling?”

Too many people quit their goals because they don’t know how to take a loss. They become “afraid of falling.”

Folks who invest and lose their money become afraid of the stock market and never touch it again. New entrepreneurs who build a business and fail become discouraged. Freelancers who get rejection after rejection just quit and give up.

But losing is part of the game. We all make mistakes. We all get unlucky sometimes. And if you know how to use a loss, you’re more likely to stick to your goals and eventually achieve them.

It’s hard but it’s worth it

Becoming free is not for the faint of heart. It requires hard work, dedication, and the willingness to face challenges head-on.

Despite all these, achieving your personal goals and becoming free is worth all the trouble.

Besides, even if it takes time, the process of building something from scratch, creating a positive impact, and turning your dreams into reality is a satisfying feeling that makes all the hard work fulfilling.

Join the Simple Investing course

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If you’ve been looking to invest in the stock market or if you’ve lost money in the market before, now is a good time to do it the right way.

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