Because I had a $100,000 income target in mind while in college, I set out to work in an industry which would allowed me to make such an income. Industries such as consulting, finance, legal, high tech, and medical are such industries. The problem is getting in and surviving for a long enough time to reap the financial rewards.
I see many people bail out before the income really gets good because they just can’t take the work hours, pressure, and stress anymore. I understand completely since not everybody is cut out to work 50-80 hours a week and constantly compete for their lives. Eventually, we all burn out. I’m just surprised how quickly some of the younger folks burn out nowadays.
As a middle-aged man now, I’m no longer naive about the world. $200,000-$250,000 is my ideal income for maximum happiness, but at what cost? If I am to spend more than 50 hours a week trying to make $200,000, that’s not very impressive. If I could spend just 20 hours a week making $200,000, then I think that would be mighty fine.
IDEAL AMOUNT OF WORK TIME A DAY
My ideal amount of work a day is roughly four hours. I like to get up early and work from 7:30am to 11:30am non-stop. I find that I can maintain a maximum focus of up to four hours, by which time I start to fade if I work any longer. My concentration deteriorates, and I start to get fidgety and want to go outside.
From 11:30am-1pm, I take a leisurely lunch break. Afterward, I enjoy a nice 30 minute siesta on the couch before I go and perform some physical activity to try and stay in shape. I might sprinkle some afternoon errands and by the time 6pm roles around, it’s date night and relaxation time.
There will often be times when I have to get on the computer and work at night due to clients in Australia and Asia. However, I don’t plan on spending more than 45 minutes online after dinner anymore because I want to spend time with my loved ones instead.
I encourage everybody to get a sense of what their optimal work hours are and find a way to get there. I know if I only worked for one hour a day, I’d feel unproductive. Meanwhile, each hour after four hours of work gets less and less enjoyable to the point where I will start hating work after the twelve hour mark!
SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE
Making $200,000-$250,000 a year working just 20 hours a week is no easy task. I’ve reset to zero now that I’ve retired from corporate life and look to build multiple income streams online instead. Although the task may be difficult, if I give myself a long enough runway, I believe I can make it happen.
By December 31, 2015, I aim to generate over $200,000 a year in operating profits from my entrepreneurial activities. I know that if I stick to building up my consulting practice, producing products, writing consistently online, and networking, I will get there from scratch. I’m going to invest in new ventures as well.
I’m excited about this three and a half year goal. Perhaps I will fail, but at least I will try. Perhaps I’ll get tempted to go back to the corporate life before then. That doesn’t mean I still can’t strive towards my goal. All I know is that I’m going to focus on the journey and have fun trying to get there!
Update 2016: It’s been for years since I left Corporate America, and not a day goes by where I don’t thank my lucky stars for starting this site. You should consider starting your own blog as well to leverage the internet. I’ve more than doubled my December 31, 2015 goal of generating $200,000 a year in operating profits from entrepreneurial activities.
Manage Your Finances In One Place: Get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 25+ difference accounts (brokerage, multiple banks, 401K, etc) to manage my finances.
Now, I can just log into Personal Capital to see how my stock accounts are doing and when my CDs are expiring. I can also see how much I’m spending every month. If you are interested, they can even provide tailored financial advice for much cheaper than traditional wealth managers.
Start Your Own Blog: It’s been over seven years since I started Financial Samurai and I’m earning more online than I did as an Executive Director at a major Wall Street firm while working way less and having so much more fun! I never thought I’d be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. Check out a real income statement from a blogger who makes $150,000 a year online and another $180,000 off-line thanks to his site!
I strongly recommend everybody start their own website today so you can at least own your own brand online. Having your own website makes you stand out from a crowded field that’s full of people with only LinkedIn profiles. I recommend signing up for Bluehost for just $2.95 a month and linking your WordPress site like mine once you’ve found a great domain name. Starting a site used to cost thousands and thousands of dollars and days of your time. Now it can be done in minutes.
Once you own your own site, it’s much easier to get a job, sell a product, and tell your story. Who knows, you might even be able to break free from Corporate America if you get big enough!
Updated for 2020 and beyond