Last week the country celebrated America’s independence on July 4th. Fireworks, barbecues, family- the celebrations came in many forms and types. To reach a state of independence is an incredibly powerful achievement. Independence is defined as freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others. Considering how valuable a state of independence is, why are more people not seeking in their own lives? So many people are dependent on inexperienced or under-educated supervisors or employers, living check to check, working diligently to promote the names and wallets of other people with little to no recognition or compensation. Why do we allow this to happen? What are we not seeking our own independence?
For many years I grew incredibly comfortable with a dependent state of mind. I made every effort to stay in the comfort zone, put in my work at work, collect my check, then repeat the cycle. This process began to adversely affect me in numerous ways, primarily being that I lacked an inner drive to do and want more for myself. Work became a place to kill 8 hours of my day before going home and doing nothing. The idea of becoming independent frightened me because no one in my circle took that route. It was when I really began to question who I was as a person and what my worth and purpose was that I realized that I needed to create and develop my own plan, focusing on my own passion. It was never about the money when I started my business. In fact, for my first every meeting I had all of the logistics worked out and the one question I failed to prepare for was “how much?”. While battling a lot of fear, doubt, and anxiety I embarked on a brand new journey and hoped for the best while expecting the worst at every turn. Eight years later that anxiety has turned to thrill and that fear into excitement as I develop new ideas, new programs, network my way into new opportunities, and grow my brand, which is me.
In an effort to take a step closer to independence, one must look at and understand some key aspects of their lives. Granted, everyone has a different perspective and different experiences so this is not a one key fit all situation. However, I believe that the following mental anchors are relatable to many.
Working to make others rich is like renting instead of buying. Renting is often seen as a waste of finances and resources. Monthly payments are made for a property that ultimately the renter has no ownership interest in and must hand back over at the end of the contract or lease. I correlate working for an employer as something similar. Working long and tireless hours to produce work product that will make your supervisors and employers look good and make them more money does not sound like a positive position to be in. If you are ready, willing and able to work diligently and fiercely, why not work to promote your own personal brand or your own business and name as opposed to anyone else’s?
Typical 9-5 job will not get you to be financially independent. A typical 9-5 job can lead to greater frustration before it leads to any sense of independence. The weekly or bi-weekly paycheck creates a false sense of comfort and attacks a need to be creative and innovative. In addition, so many people are in a position where they live check-to-check while also attempting to save for various important life events. It is critical to break the cycle and create your own ceiling of income. Granted, as an entrepreneur, you only eat what you kill so the guaranteed weekly or bi-weekly meals disappear. This can be incredibly scary or incredibly motivational, depending on your perspective.
Develop a side hustle by finding a way to profit off of your passion. People often find themselves working a job that provides a paycheck but does not align with their passion. Obtaining a check to pay the bills is understandable, however, all of that energy that lies around your passion is being wasted. It is critical to identify what you are passionate about. Once this is done, the next step is to discover how to market and profit off of your passion. This can serve as a safe way to keep the comfort of a 9-5 job while also exploring and stimulating your passion. Critical to this approach is the need to have an open and positive approach. You may very well end up in a position where your side hustle tempts you to become a full-time hustle and you must anticipate and plan for that.
My goal is not to over-simplify this approach. It is also not to present it as an option to every single person. However, there are people out there that hear me loud and clear. That understands the frustration of feeling limited or wanting to be independent. For those people, do not let fear keep you from experiencing something that you may grow to love. Start small and keep an open mind. The limit is the sky or as far as you want to go!