Aug 23 , 2017
I used to wake up every day with one single question on my mind…”how many days are there before the weekend?”
I was counting down the days because I, like millions of people, hated my 9-5 job.
And this wasn’t just a mild dislike of my job either. I really, truly, deep down, despised almost everything about it. Waking up each day and realizing that I had to go to work was torture. I felt my stomach drop every Sunday when I realized tomorrow was the dreaded Monday.
But since I’m not a trust fund baby, I needed the money. So I stuck it out.
That was in 2011. Today is a completely different story. Now I like what I do (most of the time).
I get to the enjoy the freedom and free time that comes with owning a profitable business.
I get to wake up without an alarm clock and take time off in the middle of the week to go mountain biking on my favorite trails. I work fewer hours, enjoy that work more, and I make more money.
But in order to get to this point, I had to learn a few lessons. A lot actually. It turns out that many of my assumptions about starting and running a business were completely wrong.
One of my biggest lessons came from having to wade throughall of the get-rich-quick schemes. Everywhere I looked someone was revealing a secret strategy for making easy money online or generating passive income with real estate.
For some reason 99% of business advice seems to be about how to make easy money. It’s all about how to to get rich fast. It’s all about making money while you sleep.
The people sharing this information make it look like they are living the dream because they figured out some secret that you don’t know, and that once you pay for them to reveal that secret, your life will instantly change.
The problem is that all of this advice tricks people into thinking they can actually make easy money. It certainly fooled me.
SPOILER ALERT: If it was that easy, everybody would fucking do it.
But thankfully, there is a reliable way to escape your day job. And in this article my goal is to help you see through that bullshit, so you can actually start a business and eventually quit your job, and do it all without risking your savings or overworking yourself.
Let’s start with a few of the major success killing mistakes to avoid so you can one day give your boss the finger.
Avoid “Winner-Take-All” Businesses
I’ve been reading Nassim Taleb a lot lately, which seems to be helping me avoid stupid mistakes in life. That seems to be essential to succeeding in business these days. It’s not about being smart, it’s about NOT being what Taleb calls a “sucker.”
And one of the biggest sucker moves is to start a business where the odds are stacked against you so heavily that you only have a sliver of a chance to succeed.
So what is “winner-take-all”?
It’s characterized by any business or event where only a small percentage of people enjoy the lion’s share of the rewards while everyone else goes home empty handed.
Take the book publishing industry for example. A few dozen authors sell millions of books while 98% of books and authors only sell a few hundred copies (if any at all).
Or take a look at evolution. One species wins the genetic lottery and the rest vanish forever. Some historians believe that we actually co-existed with Neanderthals at one point, until we humans decided we didn’t want to share our planet anymore. Now there are billions of us and none of them.
Or look at the tech industry, where you have a few companies that dominate the market. Take Amazon for example. It’s long been, by far, the largest book store on earth. Now, it’s disrupting all kinds of industries and accounted for 53% of all e-commerce growth in 2017. Amazon is a giant among ants, and while it does have some competitors, they are few and far between.
The same phenomenon applies to anything where a small advantage leads to disproportionate results. And more often than not, that advantage has to do with luck and circumstance. No matter how skilled you are, how prepared you are, or how hard you work, you still need a healthy dose of luck to win in an industry that is “winner-take-all.” Sure, Jeff Bezos is a smart dude, but there are plenty of others just as smart and creative, they just didn’t win the business lottery.
Winners like Jeff get to live in mansions while thousands of losers (often smart, hard-working and very talented losers) go get a job.
So you want to start an internet business? Create the next big app? Or, get a patent on some great idea you have for an invention? I wish you the best of luck. But if you want to guarantee your freedom in the next year, those are all terrible choices.
Sure, you may have recently heard a story of another guy getting rich from the app store. But, what about the other ten thousand people who spent thirty grand to have their app developed and didn’t even make their money back? You didn’t hear about them because they’re not writing blog posts about how to get rich creating apps. They’re stuck in a day job trying to piece together their confidence.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to see things clearly when you only hear about the winners. So if you want to escape your day job anytime soon, don’t be a sucker and play a game where the odds are stacked in your favor.
Avoid “Passive Income” Opportunities
There’s no shortage of experts out there teaching you how to make easy money, whether that is through real estate, YouTube, drop shipping, or selling niche products on Amazon.
These can all be amazing ways to create freedom in your life. Even though there are some “winner-take-all” effects in these businesses, the odds are actually pretty good if you stick it out long enough.
But there’s the problem! You must stick with it for long enough. How long is long enough? It’s impossible to say. But, you should ask yourself…
Are you willing to work your day job for (at least) 3-5 more years while spending all of your nights and weekends building a passive income business?
If so, great. Stop reading and go get to work. But if you’re like I was, you want the light at the end of the tunnel to at least be visible. It’s hard to imagine three years from now in enough detail to actually get motivated.
I remember after I quit my job I started listening to podcasts and pretty soon I stumbled on the idea of starting an internet business. The experts made it sound so easy, like I could just put in some hard work for a few months and coast out the rest of my life cashing big checks and working just a few hours per week.
“Life was going to be amazing! Why isn’t everybody doing this!?” I thought to myself.
Luckily, I didn’t put all of my eggs into that basket and started another business at the same time (more on that later), because all that hard work didn’t pay off until 4 years after getting started.
It’s funny, too, because every year I’d tell my girlfriend “it’s going to be so nice next year when this work starts paying off.” Then the next year would come and success would still be just around the corner.
Are there people who do it faster? Yep. But they’re the exceptions. The outliers. The ones who where in the right place at the right time in the right niche with the right mentors. That’s called luck my friend. You can’t replicate luck.
The truth is that it takes a LOT of time, effort, dedication, failure, and learning to create passive income. Much more than you’ll be lead to believe. Despite what the guru online says about his “new” strategy for growing businesses fast, making real money is not that easy.
Is it worth it? Hell yes it is. But if you’re looking to quit your job anytime soon there are much faster and easier paths.
Here’s How To Escape Your Job In The Next Six Months
OK, so, starting a business with a new, innovative idea is a bad choice. The odds of success are dismal.
And, trying to aim for the fences with passive income isn’t ideal either. The odds are better, but it takes way too long.
We need something faster. Something with better odds.
What if I told you there was a low-cost, low-risk, fast, and nearly guaranteed way to build a business that frees you from your job within this year?
There is, and it’s a very simple concept…drumroll please…
…Start offering a service and charge money for it!
It doesn’t really matter what service either, as long as it pays well. You could build websites for small businesses. You could do wedding photography, video editing, manage social media, or even build excel spreadsheets if that’s what you’re good at.
Check out this guy, he drives around and shovels dog poop and makes a six figure income doing it! It’s not glamorous, but at least he has his freedom.
Personally, I started a handyman business to replace my income (thus the reason for the name of this website). It wasn’t glamorous. But it was fun, engaging, and it taught me many of the business skills I still use today. Plus, it gave me my freedom fast.
Why A Service Business Is Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable Way To Escape Your Day Job
First, let me make something clear. I’m not recommending you try to invent some new service. That would put you right back in the low probability for success arena. I’m talking about taking a common service, that there are probably hundreds of competitors for, and start offering that service.
What, there are already 25 wedding photographers in your area? Great! That means there is demand. When I started my handyman business, do you think I was among the first? Not even close. There were dozens, if not hundreds, in my city, but my business flourished anyway.
Now, you’d think that if there was so much competition it would be hard to compete. But, here’s a little secret about the service industry…most service providers suck!
The good ones are busy all the time, and the ones with availability are either just getting started or are terrible to work with. Or, they simply aren’t motivated to advertise and grow. That leaves a lot of opportunity for any driven newcomer to succeed (that’s you).
You Don’t Even Need Any Skills
Ok, we both know that’s not completely true. But you need a lot less skill than you think you do. You don’t have to be a world class photographer to get paid to take pictures. All you need is a good camera and the ability to use it.
If you bought a camera today and spent the next two weeks watching YouTube videos about photography and then practicing what you learned, you’d be more than good enough to charge for your services.
Service Businesses Have Low Risk
Depending on the service, you will need some tools. Whether that is a computer or small hand tools in the case of a handyman business. But my guess is whatever service you have in mind, you already have some of the tools necessary.
But here’s the best part. If it doesn’t work and nobody hires you (which is unlikely if you do it right), just try something else! The only thing you lost was some time, and hopefully no more than a week or two.
Cash Flow Comes Quickly
After leaving my job, I actually started two businesses simultaneously. One was HandymanStartup.com (this website), and the other was my actual handyman business.
Within weeks of starting my handyman business I already had a $900 job. Within 6 months I was generating over $5,000 per month in revenue doing basic handyman services and had almost replaced my old income! Keep in mind this was my first business and I made a lot of mistakes. Had I known what I do now, that would have happened much sooner.
Now compare that to starting an online business. In my online business it took me exactly three years and two months to break $5k in a single month. Then, it took me another two years before that happened consistently. So it took me over five years to hit the revenue that my handyman business was generating in a matter of six months.
Would you rather wait six months or five years to quit your job?
You Can Use Your New Found Free Time to Go After Bigger Ideas.
Maybe you want to have a bigger impact in the world. I’m not saying to run a service business the rest of your life. I’m just saying that it’s a really effective 9-5 escape tool.
The beautiful thing about running a service business is you can work as much or as little as you want (assuming you have your marketing in order.) You can also increase your rates and find ways to make more money in fewer hours. As you increase your rates, you are able to make more money in less time.
Thats allows you to work fewer hours and gives you more time to invest toward other dreams.
After being in business for over a year as a handyman, I started scheduling jobs more efficiently and I increased my rates. Because of this, I was able to generate a full time income while working just three days per week. That gave me the time to learn new things, grow this business, or just go snowboarding and camping more often.
Maybe you’d want to use that extra time to play your luck at riskier business opportunities. Maybe you’d want to travel the world. Maybe you’d just want more time with your kids. Whatever it is, you first need to take control of your time because you’ll never get that kind of freedom as an employee.
This Isn’t Supposed To Be Glamorous…It’s Supposed To Work
The ideas I share in this article aren’t sexy. I’m not promising you fancy cars, rubbing shoulders with celebrities, or even a beach house. And for some that’s a deal breaker.
We all want fast, easy money. We all love the idea of sipping drinks on a beach while the chips keep stacking in the bank. That’s why all of the so called “experts” promise these things. They know that’s what gets you to buy.
But if you’re serious about quitting your job anytime soon, avoid that stuff like the plague and start a proven business model.
In just a few weeks you’ll be generating a healthy side income of $1,000 or more. A few months later and you’ll be faced with a much better problem to have – how to tell your boss you quit.
Then, once you have your freedom and some actual business skills, you can go after bigger dreams. Or, you can just sleep in for a while.