“Times are Hard for Dreamers” ~Amelie.
My consultancy and my writing are my main gig; my side hustle is my employment.
After being laid off from my cushy bank job in 2004 and nearly laid off more than 3 times at my current job, I was determined to never depend on another employer again. Even when I agreed to employment at my current job, I ensured my employer had the desired benefits, especially since I knew I wouldn’t get “rich” from the position. It had been my experience that people don’t get rich working for someone else.
Most people in my inner circle seem to live comfortably when employed, but if not, some were one (1) paycheck to six (6) months of wages away from poverty.
It appeared that for others in my network, those who owned their businesses or had several revenue streams, they were financially secure. What’s more, those small business owners, self-employed, and/or entrepreneurs seem to find the juggernaut of wealth in industries such as communications technology, finance, media, and/or law. All had high school diplomas, some went to college, and some had professional degrees, but none were W-2 earners, save one or two.
I advised my daughters on their future careers; I told them college would prepare them to work for someone else. I said it was in their best interest to get a Bachelor of Science degree and combine it with a professional degree. (My oldest daughter is in law school. The twins told me they plan to go to law school too.) I advised them to work for someone else for about 5 years (if they must) to build a network of potential clients. I advised them to then get the hell out and work for themselves. I recently tried to instill this “own your business” strategy in my middle daughter by repeating my belief, as mentioned earlier, but she challenged me. She said,
“I refuse to believe it, mom. I grew up in an affluent neighborhood where most people were employed, and they made a lot of money. They had beautiful homes, cars and they vacationed in some of the most gorgeous places. So no, mom, that’s not true.”middle Child
I was taken aback! My daughter challenged my wisdom. I left her with these parting words:
“Well, you don’t know what else those neighbors are doing. Didn’t we
hear that one of your high school classmates was stabbed to death, which uncovered that his family was a bunch of drug dealers? (Yep, in the ‘burbs).”
“Yes mom, but that was an isolatedMiddle Child
I retreated. My daughter was right. But wait, wasn’t I right too? The following day I saw she tweeted the following quote.
“Times are hard for dreamers.”aMELIE
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I couldn’t help but take it personally, except I noticed she put the phrase in quotations. I Googled it, and I found it was from a movie she watched the night before. Still, it was a wake-up call for me. I had to figure out if I was “dreaming” or missing an important message. I reflected on when I started my first job at 15-3/4 years old at a non-profit. I’ve worked for an employer ever since. I do what I love, or more so, I do what I am interested in, yet I’m still waiting on the money.
I started my consultancy in 1998 with lackluster results. I’ve only produced two revenue streams from it, including billable hours and licensing (copyright), but none, so far, have been profitable. And that is when it hit me!
My middle daughter was right, and so was I!
It doesn’t matter how you legally earn a living; what matters is that you make a profit. Profit is what leads to financial solvency in good economic times or bad. I couldn’t advise daughters on the most important thing: making a profit in their professional lives. I hadn’t done it; I had a trust fund at 17, so how could I show them? Then I thought if you run your life like a business, i.e., You, Inc.: Profit is left from your income after you paid all your expenses.
Solvency = Assets exceed Liabilities.
Knowing what I know, I would advise my daughters and show them through an example: You, Inc.’s mission is to become
profitable and solvent “organization.”
Simple enough, right?
It seems easy in hindsight. However, it is regrettable that many of us have taken on loans and asked for credit to supplement our income. Borrowing money creates additional expenses that further erode any possibility of our ever becoming solvent. For example, many of us leave school saddled with loans to repay. Most of us then only look for one source of income. The source of income will most likely come from an entry-level position with a low pay rate. (in comparison to the loans we’ve taken on, that is.) The annual salary will be less than the number of loans we owe, which means we will start our professional life with more expenses than income.
Income = payment received for goods, services, rents, royalties, investments,
interests, dividends, and any other income from whatever source.
If we only have one source of income, let’s say $120,000 annual salary and benefits from an entry-level position at a law firm, and we owe $220,000 in student loans, we will have more expenses than our yearly income. Once again, when it comes to making a profit, our hopes are dashed.
Expenses = Fees + liabilities
Instead, we’ll start out our professional life at a financial deficit.
Deficit = More expenses and debt than income and assets, of course; it would seem to me no one ever got rich working for someone else.
I, however, was limited in my thinking. Accepting employment at any salary is damn sure a start to profit-making and here’s why: A salary and benefits are just one source of income, but why stop there? Look for other opportunities to create several revenue streams to generate profit.
Revenue Streams = innovative ways to create income opportunities to generate additional funding. If we have more expenses than the income, then we must generate significant income. Cutting back on costs is nearly impossible if we want to pay off our most significant fee, a six-figure interest-bearing loan.
Creating more revenue will take critical thinking and a novel approach to generating income from those activities we are already doing. In essence, we must become our own rainmakers at You, Inc.
Rainmaker = someone who can CREATE A BUFFET from five loaves of bread and two fish TO FEED a pARTY OF 5000mh
Thanks to my middle daughter, I’ve gotten rid of my “stinkin’ thinkin’. The next step is to become my own rainmaker and figure out how to create a profit model that will, well, generate profit in my professional life.
Maybe it really is possible to “Think and Grow Rich.” If so, we’ll do what is necessary to eliminate generational indebtedness. I know, my daughter had to show me the way.~MH
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