Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Adventure
What is the point? I’m sitting here at night. It’s late.
I’ve been considering this topic for the past few weeks. I’m already several months into my first venture which is shaping up to be a lot of fun and a lot of learning. I’m also considering starting a few other ventures that I hope to make some recurring money from.
I first started thinking this way over a year ago. For some reason my business instincts just naturally started kicking in. Perhaps it was the sudden realisation that I wouldn’t be able to “make it” just on a regular salary. The money I earn working 9-5 as a programmer is alright, it pays the bills and afforded me my first house and a pet cat. I guess I can’t complain.
But I’ve always been a naturally inquisitive person.
I used to get in trouble with computers during high school and fancied myself a bit of a hacker. Looking back on it now, it was really silly, but it let me do a few cool things at school that no one else could do. Earning me many weeks of detention time on more than one occasion and losing me all computer privileges for a whole term. Kind of hard to do a computer class without a computer right? Apparently not. Queue the 10,000 word essay on ethics, what a breeze.
I’ve had a number of these “why am I doing this” moments in my life. Two so far actually. After I finished high school I started university straight away. When I found out I had glandular fever I took the opportunity to bail from my degree and put it on hold for a semester to give me some time to think. I took a job at a local telco store selling mobile phones to make ends meet. Surprisingly enough to me, I was naturally good at sales (“The gift of the gab” as it’s known here in Australia). But two years later I was still there, totally disillusioned in what my life was shaping up to be. Did I really want to do this for the rest of my life? How stressed out should a 19 year old be? I was drinking too much, and partying way too hard. My body was hating me and I hated myself for it.
That was the first time I had a moment.
It was about that time that I met my fiancee (M) and we hit it off instantly. I knew that if I was to have any kind of chance with her I’d have to pull my shit together. So I called my university up to find out what I had to do to get back into my degree. Turned out it really wasn’t as hard as I had imagined and less than a week later I was signed up for my 3 year Bachelor of Information Technology course.
Fast forwarding a little to the end of my second year. I took a job as a vacation student in a big IT company which would turn out to be where I work after I graduated. Looking back on it, this is when I started looking for ways to really make money long term. About this time I was getting really interested in property strategies. The problem? I was dirt poor. Literally living on $70 a fortnight after paying for my bills, insurance, and debts. Namely a pain in the ass car loan I wished I never took out that was haunting me from my telco days of excess.
I really don’t know how I ever got by back then as it seems like an utterly impossible situation. It was lucky I made a little cash on the side helping my Dad run his electronics business. That was my first true taste of self employment business. Suddenly I knew how tough it was on my Dad relying on your own skills to make the money to put bread on the table for your family.
I struggled a little less in my final year because I’d convinced the big IT company I was working for to take me on part time paying me peanuts while completing my studies full time. I was extremely busy, too busy for dreams of property or working for myself. Man it was a relief to finally get that piece of paper in my hand. Bachelor of IT, I’d made it. So I hunted around for a job, and ended up accepting the job that was offered to me by the same company. I’ve been there ever since.
Things were exciting for a little while, but like with any job, the shine wears off and a slight scuff takes it’s place. It was at this point, a few months into my first “real job” (called so because I was earning “real money” now), that I had my second epiphany.
I’m not going to get rich doing this.
I can’t make my dreams come true by surrounding myself with fabric covered walls ignoring opportunity. My second “why am I doing this” moment.
So I did what any good nerd does. I started reading.. and then I read some more..
I read so many books that my reading speed more than doubled. I snorkeled down motivational books, business books, Harry Potter books, text books, eBooks, forums, blogs, you name it. Somewhere over these months something inside me changed. I became hungry for this.
I want to be successful off my own merit, I want to choose when I work, I want to choose what I work on. I want to work not because I have to but because I choose to. Choice and freedom to do what I want, when I want. I owe it to myself and my family.
I guess that was the conclusion that I came to and as I type it now, I see that it’s actually not a small goal. It would take me more than just a few months and countless “great ideas” to get even onto some sort of path that would take me there.
I’m the kind of guy that likes to procrastinate, and I have a feeling that I’m also the kind of person that talks themselves out of things (the first sign of insanity?).
With the Internet in it’s current state, there is no longer any excuses. It’s so incredibly cheap to test ideas on a micro scale you’d be mad not to. You can even do it for free in a lot of cases, something I’m really a fan of.
So to answer the question “Why am I doing this?”…
Well it’s an ambiguous question, but I think I know what you mean. I want to make a better life for myself, for my fiancee, and for my cat. And one day maybe my children too.
I’d like to actually see my children grow up instead of just being a bystander. Always having to be “half there” because I’m also “half at work” trying to keep my boss happy. I am not somebody who just sits around waiting for things to happen. I’ve accepted they won’t.
Why am I doing this? I’m doing it for myself because that’s who I am. And I’m doing this for my family so that we can enjoy our short and hopefully sweet time here in this life.