Today is going to be a little bit different than usual.
So…I randomly wrote the post below about a week ago in the private group for the FB Side Hustle Course. I do my best to inspire people to keep grinding, and since we have a lot of newly minted side hustlers in that group, I figured that people might like a little push.
I don’t know if I’ve told all of you my writing process, but basically, I just try to sit down and start writing whenever I feel inspired.
That’s when my best stuff comes out, you know? The most popular posts I’ve ever written for M$M are based on things that have happened during my journey of getting rid of my student loans, building my business, etc.
I share a lot of my life with all of you here. But I realized that there is one specific part of my story that I’ve never shared before.
Why? I was embarrassed about it at the time. There were several months after I had quit my teaching job that I got to a pretty low point. I thought M$M wasn’t going to make it, and I didn’t know what to do.
One thing I’ve realized though is that the posts where I share my low points are probably some of the best things that I write, because honestly…nobody likes to share that stuff. But we all experience it.
After I wrote this in the FBSH group, I realized that there were probably a lot of you out there right now that are working on your student loans or other debt, trying to get ahead at your job, trying to start a business, or just figure out life in general that could really relate to this.
It’s about entrepreneurship…but it’s really not. It’s about life.
So, enjoy. I think this is really good and hope it helps you in some way today.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP SUCKS (and I couldn’t afford an office but don’t worry about that now – I’ll get to that later in this post.)
*GASP* Ooooooh yeah. I said it. It sucks.
I’m sure all of you have seen me talk about entrepreneurship with fluffy pillow-like unicorn rainbow terminology at some point on M$M in the past.
“Entrepreneurship can change your life!”
“Working for yourself is incredible!”
“My boss is awesome because it’s MEEEEEE!”
And yeah, while all of those things are true once you’ve “made it”, the reality is that the first few months (or hell, even years) can be mind-numbingly hard.
But due to the wonderful phenomenon of survivorship bias, most people (including me) don’t properly address entrepreneurship the way that we should.
It’s easy to sit up in here and talk about getting clients and making money like it’s not a big deal.
You’ve all seen my income reports. I could buy a pony if I wanted to.
But as funny as it would be for me to ride around on a pony, the reality is that the journey to this point has been so hard. These last three years of building M$M have been the hardest of my entire life.
When I first started out in business, I took a leap of faith that most people are way too smart to even consider.
I legitimately did quit my job after M$M had made $3 in Google ad revenue.
That’s not just some cool thing I made up to sound ballsy. I actually gave up $50k/year teaching for $3.
Who freaking does that? So stupid.
But I did. I had zero sales experience, no discernable skills that I could monetize, and even though I had some mentors…they didn’t understand the online business world at all.
All I had was a really, really crappy blog. It was lonely. I was Millennial Money Man, but without the Money part.
It took me three months to find a client that would pay me, and honestly, finding a marketing client wasn’t even something I wanted to do.
I HAD to do it. I wasn’t making enough money to continue to pursue this website full-time.
So you might be wondering…what the hell did I do for three months while I wasn’t making money from my blog and I didn’t have a marketing client?
I’ve never shared this story before.
My wife and I were still renting a room from my in-laws when I quit to run M$M. It was really cramped and didn’t have enough room for me to have an office after I had quit my job.
Honestly, I didn’t want an office there even if I could have one. My father-in-law was sick at the time, and my mother-in-law stayed home all day to help care for him.
It wasn’t exactly a situation that was conducive to running a business. It wasn’t that bad living with them, but old married couples tend to bicker literally all day long and there was just a lot of stress that surrounded his illness.
There was no way I was going to be able to work there and keep my sanity.
So I talked to my good friend/mentor Mike. He owned a swimming pool company but was in the process of slowly shutting it down so that he could eventually retire.
He had several extra rooms in his building that used to be offices when his business was really going strong, but since he had sold a large chunk of his business…they were just sitting there empty.
I didn’t want a handout, and he didn’t want to give me a handout either. I wanted to rent the room from him, but I wasn’t making enough money to afford it.
After talking about it for a while, we worked out a deal.
His building sits on a fairly large chunk of land that needed to be mowed regularly. It’s a total pain to mow it, and he didn’t want to do it anymore because it sucked so much and took hours to do.
So in exchange for using the office, I mowed whenever he needed me to. Mowing the property was going to be my rent.
During the summer (which was when I had quit my job), it needed to be done every Saturday.
I hated it. Maybe loathed is the right word.
Here I am, a newly minted business owner, having to mow some other guy’s grass because I can’t afford my own office.
But, I swallowed my pride because I didn’t have any other choice. It was humbling for sure.
So eventually, I set up a desk and my computer (didn’t have any other furniture), and drove to my office every morning at 7:30 am to figure out how I was going to make money.
For weeks, I would literally wait for someone to email me.
Maybe a single M$M reader would reach out to me? Maybe some small financial startup would want to sponsor the site for a few hundred bucks?
But…nothing happened. I wrote content, read articles on Search Engine Optimization and marketing, and just hoped that I would figure out how to make money.
Just to further put this into perspective:
I didn’t have a group of people to talk about online businesses with and wasn’t part of some kind of “mastermind” to collaborate with other entrepreneurs. There was no live training every Thursday like we do in the private group for the FB Side Hustle Course. I didn’t have a community to bounce ideas off of.
It was unbelievably lonely.
And eventually, I got to the point where I was scared.
I started to really believe for the first time that M$M was a terrible idea, I had blown it leaving my job, and…that I was going to fail.
I thought about quitting. Admitting that this whole thing was a failure. I started to wonder if I should start looking for a teaching job.
That’s when I got desperate and decided to reach out to the jeweler that made my wife’s engagement ring.
I stepped 1,000% outside of my comfort zone and asked if they would take a shot on me to run their website.
After a few weeks of back and forth, they did.
And honestly…I don’t really know why. I wasn’t qualified. I hadn’t done marketing work before.
The only thing I can think is that the business owner saw the same fire and determination to succeed that I see from so many M$M readers.
So after they hired me, I got to work. I continued to push through all the thoughts that I wasn’t good enough to make it in business. I ignored the idea that I probably couldn’t be as successful as some of the other bloggers I looked up to so much.
I just…kept going.
I have an awesome assistant to organize my emails because I’m too busy to do it on my own. I own multiple businesses. M$M will reach 2 million people or more this year. I have a team. The people I never thought I’d match in success are now my peers.
I can afford a pony.
A lot of you are probably feeling discouraged right now with whatever you’re working on. Paying off your student loans, starting a business, building your net worth – it’s all the same.
You might even be experiencing that sick to your stomach feeling when you’re afraid you’ve made a horrible mistake.
What if this path you chose for getting ahead financially wasn’t right for you? What if you just can’t cut it and can’t seem to keep up with the people that you see who are doing so well in life?
What if…you fail?
If that is you – then this is most likely the moment that you’ll look back on in a few years and see it as a turning point in your life like I do with my moment…assuming you’re about to make the correct choice and push through.
The moment that you’re the most scared is the moment that you have to step out of your comfort zone and go do the damn thing.
You don’t have a choice. Failure is not an option if you want to be who you thought you were when you took the leap of faith into what you’re doing now.
So yeah, entrepreneurship sucks.
Entrepreneurship can change your life.
Working for yourself is incredible.
Your boss is awesome because it’s going to be you.