This is a very good question. (One I get a lot.) And like all good questions, it’s a hard one to answer. It was a very specific mixture of things—a recipe.
The internet has really levelled the playing field in business. This is the first time in history there is literally limitless opportunities (available to everyone) making money online. (Got wifi?) People can now make a living from their travel journals or writing articles giving advice, lifestyle tips, hobby info, heck, people can make hundreds of thousands of dollars posting pictures on Instagram! We are no longer reliant on selling our skills through middle-people; we have unprecedented access to local, national & international markets. I personally believe this is a phenomenal thing, not just for money and freedom, but because the world needs people’s gifts now more than ever. Most people who are very curious about ‘what’ I’m doing for a living have something special to offer: a skill, a talent, an insight—a gift. I haven’t met a single person who asks me this question without something special to give. I want to tell that person achieving independence is no longer a matter of opportunity; it’s a matter of choice.
It’s been 6 months since my graduation, I was self-employed by the ceremony, have travelled internationally for 3 months, have had the opportunity to make money while I’m sleeping & am currently transitioning from primarily making money from time (hourly wages) to garnering what they call ‘passive income’—money made without me being present—independently. I’ve needed lots of help along the way, and there’s so much more to do, but for the people who always want to know what I’m ‘actually doing’, I’ve compiled a list with some resources to explain how I did it in a way that’s applicable to virtually anything:
If you can believe it, you can achieve it. Walt Disney’s most famous quote is something along those lines. If you can dream it, you can make it a reality; the only gap between a fantasy & real life is Belief. You have to have a grounded vision, but opening your eyes to possibility can blow your perspective into a whole new reality! I met a mentor who showed me the leverage I already had, doing things I love, and how this could free me financially. I needed the conviction I got from seeing what is possible to accept & create opportunities. It was crucial. Whether you believe in manifesting your desires through thoughts—attracting situations to you—or you simply understand that confidence is integral to personal success, Belief in the possibility of being self-employed, of being your own boss, of becoming financially independent doing something you love, is the absolutely necessary first step to making this kind of freedom a reality.
I studied the humanities & social sciences; I didn’t get online marketing & commerce at all. I knew how to write, I had no idea how to monetize an article! People don’t even read academic publications! It’s still a bit of a fog to me, but I’m learning very quickly. I needed to seek out the Wisdom I was missing to figure out how what I loved to do could spell freedom to do whatever I want. Gaining direction from others who understood how this market worked was absolutely integral to making steps towards real change. I would have never known the first thing about creating this kind of independence, but I met a really fantastic mentor. I’m totally indebted to her for sharing her Wisdom with me. It changed my life. There’s literally limitless ways to gain self-employment, but this was the first step for me: I needed to be told this market existed, that I had valuable leverage, and exactly how I could use it to my advantage. This was the beginning.
Taking a step into the unknown is … scary. It’s also exciting. After I was self-employed doing contract work, my mentor explained that exchanging my time for money was literally the entry point to business—I was essentially just following the same paradigm of having a boss who pays me for my hours—the real money, the real freedom, was in passive income. I was wide-eyed at the prospect of making money while I slept or travelled, and with a little more insight, I was able to go to bed one night knowing I was going to be making money while I dreamt & wake up a little richer! The taste of the next level of freedom was so sweet, I had to continue! With Belief I could achieve, & Wisdom to show me how, it was time to take the next step—I had to cultivate Courage to take the next plunge.
Then came investment time. The online market means you have access to a limitless audience. If you have time or money, you have a resource to invest. I was freshly graduated (still am, 6 months and counting), with student loans etcetera, and no one to give me $10,000 to invest in a business. But, I had time. The smarter I could work, the more I could get done; the more I could save, the more I could invest. If I stayed working for an hourly rate, my hour would become somewhat more valuable with time, but it would never come close to how much that hour may make me if I invest it into a building a stream of passive income! Every piece of energy I can dedicate to this momentum is crucial, and Austerity helps me make the most what I’ve got: every dollar I can save, is time I can invest.
Sometimes I’m so fired up & I wake up, like, just ready to tear into my work and pull a 10-12hr day with a smile. And sometimes I’m, like, super unsure that what I’ve got to offer will materialize into anything. Sometimes I can feel like this work is the whole world to me, and then sometimes I sort of question whether this is meaningful. It’s times like these I need some inspiration. I need to be active. I need to reach out and hear an amazing story of someone just like me who’s playing this game, while helping people, and just killing it! I need to hear about people making a difference! I have a friend like that, and I’ll talk about her later, because she’s essentially the key to this whole madness that’s been setting me free! Inspiration is such a crucial part of making consistent progress. Without this element, all the other ones lay sleepy. I get inspo from yoga, hiking, hanging with friends, art (music: wow) and specifically by hearing success stories from people like me doing great things they love—being super fulfilled—and getting awesome fiscal results doing it!
It’s so easy, sometimes, to see all of my potential to achieve this great freedom while helping the world, but sometimes… it seems so easy to slip into self-doubt that makes me feel like my dreams are too far to reach. Or like I have nothing to give. Support is like Inspiration, but more specific to you—it’s someone telling you “you can do this”. It means the most when it’s coming from someone who knows. When someone whose Wisdom you trust says “you can do this”, you listen! It also means a lot when it’s coming from someone who loves you, someone who empathizes. We need both mentors and community to help us when we fall, to believe in us and set us back up at the first step: Belief! Support is the last ingredient to perseverance, and everyone knows how mandatory grit is for success. Steve Jobs said that pure perseverance is HALF of what equates a successful entrepreneur from those who do not succeed. Half!
Ironically, giving Support & Inspiration is the truly valuable result to gaining this kind of freedom—exposure, autonomy & financial freedom can give you the means to make a really big impact. It’s no wonder why my girl Anna is so stoked to help people crack into the art of monetizing blogs: she’s done it and now she wants to help other people do it! She’s been successful in digital marketing, design & commerce for so long that she wants to give back to people, to share her Wisdom, to Inspire & Support people doing what she loves to do.
What you have to give personally is unique, but I found the Belief in myself, Wisdom to know how to monetize my talent, Courage to take the leap of faith, will to Austerity & Inspiration my mentor gave me is universal. The Support we all need to fully see our dreams through to reality is also always available in programs like her Academy. If you’ve been seriously considering taking this type of step in your life, you can check out her free training here. Meeting Anna was how I went from being a student to self-employed in a heartbeat, but the training she provides is how I’m stepping it up to real freedom. I am already so happy I made this investment. If you’ve been thinking about this for awhile, just take the plunge. Making an impact while gathering up freedom is totally worth it.
I wish you all the very best on your journey to share what you’re here to give!
*update June ’17: All share histories were erased by an unfortunate update 🙁