There’s nothing better than being financially free. Let’s look at some income profiles of FIRE movement followers. I’ve been writing about FIRE since 2009 and it’s always fascinating to see how other people are living.
In “Are You Too Proud To Be Rich?” my goal was to challenge people’s beliefs that going to college, and getting a job as a cubicle dweller is the only way to make a good living. It’s not by any means.
My intent was to provide motivation. Perhaps I could also provide hope to those without rich parents, fancy private school degrees, lucrative jobs, or connections that you can also do financially well through other avenues thanks to the internet’s democratization of all things.
I saw with my own eyes how first generation immigrants used their ingenuity to make a lot more money than the median household income while at Uber. Now I’m seeing how immigrants are leveraging the internet to work from home and make money by running their own websites.
Now imagine if English was your first language. You went to private school. You have rich parents and are currently working at a well-paying job. You’ve got all the advantages in the world to break free if you don’t like what you are doing. But you can’t, or you won’t, because you’ve been conditioned into thinking that a salary job is the only way to go.
Understandably, if you see someone with less of a pedigree than you making more and going after their dreams, you get pissed off. How can this be?! Instead of nitpicking at every single detail to prove there’s no way others can live a better life when they are, why not open your mind and learn from them?
Income Profiles Of Financially Free People
Let me explain to you through the use of several charts my point that there are many other ways to make a good amount of money. Going the traditional route is not the only way to become financially free.
Hopefully people can see the concept of slicing up your desired work hours a week and figuring out ways to maximize each hour for income or more interesting activities as a smart way to go.
99% of working Americans make between $15,080 (minimum wage) and $1,000,000 a year. Most Americans simply work salary jobs they don’t love doing, and that’s it. Use the Wage / Hour column as benchmarks for your side hustle activities.
For the large middle class of Americans who make between $27,000 – $150,000 a year, know there are a lot more ways to make more money if you are willing to work longer hours (more than 40 hours a week), or if you’re willing to experiment with different income opportunities.
Below are four such examples from real people with their names changed.
Freedom level 1 – 10: 2
Financially Free Individual #1: Jane
Jane makes the median household income of $52,000. She decides she wants to make more money to shore up her freedom fund and work less hours in the future. As a result, she not only spends 10 hours extra a week driving and referring for her favorite rideshare company, she also spends three hours a week consulting with a corporate client, and two hours a week teaching piano.
Because she’s focused, she sticks with the program and ends up making $103,920 a year. She worked 37% more hours a week (55 from 40), but she made 100% more in income (from $52,000).
Freedom level 1 – 10: 3
Financially Free Individual #2: David
David decided to cut back his graphic design job from 40 hours to 30 hours a week so he could reallocate his time doing other more fun things. He’s a lifestyle blog junkie and decided to start his own blog one day.
After spending about 10 hours a week writing and connecting for six months, David’s site began to make on average $24 a day. The great thing about his blog is that it’s always on. He created an asset that can work for him while he’s sleeping!
In addition to blogging, he decides to do some rideshare driving and referring for 12 hours a week for an additional $550. David also discovered a client at a conference that wanted to hire him full-time. He didn’t want a FT gig, so he agreed to do some design work for them for 13 hours a week at $75/hour.
Finally, David loves to stay in shape as an ex-high school competitive swimmer. For five hours on the weekend, he teaches swimming at the local public pool to people he found on Craigslist for $300. He gets to meet new people and exercise while making cash.
Instead of making $45,600 a year as a 40 hours a week employee at his full-time job, David is making $103,556 a year through his various side hustles. He’s putting in 61 hours a week, but he’s loving every minute of it as an energetic 26 year old because 31 hours of the 61 hours is determined by him. Having the freedom to choose your hours is what people value highly!
Freedom level 1- 10: 6
If you want to see a detailed income report from a good friend who is doing a combination of part-time work plus side hustle, take a look of this income report. Sydney is making $18,000+ a month doing a smorgasboard of things!
Financially Free Individual #3: Lyndon
Lyndon used to make $200,000 a year as a management consultant. However, he negotiated a severance package because his tech review website started taking off after three years.
At $25 an hour, his website makes him $600 a day, $4,200 a week, and $219,000 a year due to business partnerships and advertising. Instead of working 50 hours a week at his management consulting job, he now spends no more than 20 hours a week running his website from anywhere in the world.
Instead of just depending on his website’s $200,000+ a year operating profits, Lyndon decides to follow my ride hack and give rides whenever he is going somewhere anyway. Through his experiences ridesharing, he’s evolved his website to be a tech review + gig economy website where he earns an extra $4,000+ a month from gig companies.
Because he’s been able to build a solid website, other companies who also want to build brand, community, and traffic to their sites hire him for $125/hour.
But Lyndon limits his corporate consulting hours to 15 hours a week. He does not want to spend more than a total of 25 hours a week outside of the time he spends on his site. Lyndon is maximizing for freedom, not money because he makes beyond what he needs.
Freedom level 1 – 10: 9
Financially Free Individual #4: Maria
Maria is 40 years old and a rock star. She started her mommy coupon blog seven years ago while she was working in the retail industry. She leveraged her expertise in consumer behavior to create a site that targets women who want to save money.
After Maria’s website started taking off, she decided to work from home. She wanted to spend more time with her two children. When her youngest child turned six, Maria decided to get back into the mix of working for a company because she missed the action.
As a good compromise, she agreed to consult for one company for 25 hours a week. As a result, she could still find time to consult with others looking to build a site. She could also continue to do yoga on the weekends as well.
Maria drivers on average 5 hours a week for fun. It gives her an excuse to drive to work or to the gym instead of take public transportation. Because Maria’s online platform is so big, it’s easier for her to earn extra referral income on the side.
What surprised Maria about her online business is that she started getting invitations to speak at conferences around the country. Not only would the conference organizer pay for her trip and accommodations, they’d also give her anywhere between $2,000 – $8,000 to give a key note address. At the various conferences, Maria can highlight her platform even more.
Maria works because she wants to, not because she has to. She’s not to proud to get her hands dirty!
Freedom level 1 – 10: 10
What Does It Take To Be Financially Free?
Here’s what it takes to do whatever you want one day:
- Work ethic. 40 hours a week is an arbitrary amount of time to work. There are 168 hours in a week. If you worked just five hours more a week, think about how much more you could make or do with an extra 260 hours a year? I challenge everybody to get up one hour early to work on something that has meaning to them every day for one year.
- Desire. You’ve got to really desire to be free. If you’ve got a cushy job that pays you just enough not to leave, then you’re probably just going to stay and surf the internet most of your hours. You’ll never take any steps to do anything else. Jane, David, Lyndon, myself all have the desire to do other things because our day jobs weren’t our main interests after a while.
- Putting yourself out there. Rejection is just the name of the game when you are constantly taking risks. But if you’re never failing, then you aren’t trying hard enough. It takes effort to find optimal levels of happiness. Don’t just get punished every day when your hands are unbound. I go through constant rejection just to be free.
- An open mind. Think about the many different ways there are to cook fish across all cultures around the world? There are even more ways to make money and live a lifestyle you want. There’re a lot of closed minded people because they’ve never traveled, never lived a broad, or don’t speak a second language. Read, watch, learn, and participate to open your mind.
- Humility. Don’t be so arrogant and presume that your way is the only way. Be humble enough to realize when you’re wrong. And when things start to click, be humble enough to remember when things went wrong. Never stop hustling because good things don’t last forever.
- Leverage. You can only do so much. The richest people have built an online platform where they can reach an unlimited amount of people to sell a product or service due to leverage. They’ve also built a recognizable brand due to longevity and trust. A website can make money for you 24/7. An individual can only put in about 60 hours a week before they start breaking down. Build assets that produce a constant return.
- Organizational discipline. Once you start making a good amount of money, you’ve got to track your money so you don’t lose your money. Think about all those people who’ve made a ton and wonder where it all went? Once you’ve got a solid handle on your money, you can invest your money in the most optimal way possible.
- Grit. You must last long enough to see your efforts reward. Financial Samurai made no money for the first year, but I kept on going because I enjoyed writing. 12 years later, Financial Samurai is large enough to support a family of four in expensive San Francisco.
If your job or life is miserable, there’s no need to stay miserable. Instead of getting upset at people getting ahead who have none of your advantages, see what you can learn from them. Perhaps an adaption of their strategies to your situation can help your progress.
Discrediting other people’s efforts may make you feel better. But at the end of the day, you’re the one living your life. As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “To thine own self be true.”
Start Your Own Website, Be Your Own Boss.
There’s nothing better than starting your own website to own your brand online and earn extra income on the side. Why should LinkedIn, FB, and Twitter pop up when someone Google’s your name?
With your own website you can connect with potentially millions of people online. You can sell a product and sell some else’s product to earn passive income. Further, you can find a lot of new consulting and FT work opportunities. You can start one today for less than $3/month with Bluehost.
Every year since 2012, I’ve found a new six figure consulting opportunity thanks to employers finding Financial Samurai online. Further, I’ve been able to make a healthy living online and never have to go back to work again. It is incredible to run a site from home. To be able to make some money with your own two hands is wonderful. It also feels great knowing that it can never be shut down.
Follow my step-by-step-guide to starting your own website today. What used to cost tens of thousands to start a business now only costs less than $50 a year. Leverage the internet to grow your wealth and find new opportunities. Companies and many wealthy entrepreneurs are, so should you.
The things you do today may change your life for the better!
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