In 2014 I left my job as Vice President of Marketing for a small software company. I left so I could move across the country, from Texas to Washington state. I moved to the east side of the state, in a city called Spokane, which most Americans haven’t heard of.
The economy in Spokane is NOT very strong. In fact, it was pretty terrible. There were not a lot of job opportunities… especially not for good jobs. I soon learned that there was a competitor to the company I used to work for that had an office in the area. Since I led marketing for one of their close competitors, I figured I could land a good job with them.
I met with their Director of HR. He told me the best I could hope for was a position as an inside sales representative. If I worked hard and earned a lot of commissions, I could make up to $30,000 per year. I almost choked on hearing the number. I was making 2.5 times that at my last job.
But the nail in the coffin came when he told me this, “And this is software, so 50 is the new 40.”
If that doesn’t register for you, here’s what he meant. You better not come here expecting to work 40 hours a week. It’s going to be AT LEAST 50 hours per week. You’ll need a lot more if you want to succeed. Wow.
I see today that this mindset has escaped the realm of software and has entered into many businesses. I have many friends that work 70 hours per week as a salary employee. They are not much more than slaves to the company. It’s so sad to see.
When the HR Director told me 50 is the new 40, I knew I was going to take a different route in life. The employee game was over for me.
My main goal was to figure out a way to make decent money without sacrificing my time. I had a wife, a baby daughter, and a second child due in a few months.
Fast forward one year later and I had achieved my goal through freelancing. I was doing so well that I was able to move to Romania. This was something I wanted to do for years.
I lived there for 3 years with my wife and 3 kids at the time. I could have stayed as long as I wanted to because of the freedom I had from my freelancing business.
In fact, most people are in shock when they hear my schedule. On weekdays I work from about 12pm to 5:30pm. That about 28 hours per week. I don’t work on the weekends at all.
I spend about 20 of those hours for my two clients. The other 10 hours I spend coaching people on how to be a highly-paid freelancer.
If I didn’t want to coach people on freelancing, I could take on another client and add another $80k or so to my salary. Or I could enjoy the extra 10 hours with my family or play more golf.
Many business experts would tell you that you need to hustle and make the most out of every second of your day. My experience is that this is not a good way to live. No amount of money is enough to make me work like that. I value my freedom, and you should too.
When hustle is your only mindset, you will waste an unbelievable amount of time. I’d rather spend 30 very productive hours than 60 somewhat productive hours.
A couple months ago I moved to an affluent area outside of Dallas. The houses are amazing and we are right next to a lake and a national forest. It’s an amazing place and I’m so grateful to be here.
One night right after we moved I woke up and saw some lights shining through a window. I peeked and saw my neighbor driving into his driveway and disappearing in his garage. It seems he just got home from work. He’s around 60 years old and he still gets home from work at 2am sometimes. No thanks.
I’ve noticed this many times when I’ve moved into nice areas, both in the United States and Romania. I’ve noticed that many of my neighbors were never around to enjoy their homes and their family.
I had one neighbor in Romania that was from Greece. He married a Romanian woman and had a few kids. Our kids would play together and my wife would talk to his wife. But the man was never around. I found out that he owned a factory in another town about an hour away. He stays there during the week and only returned home for the weekends.
I don’t know about you, but that is not the life that I want to live. I don’t want to be a slave to my work. I don’t want to work 60 or 70 hours a week, whether it’s in my business or someone else’s. And I want to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
Most of all, I want to spend time with my family. I want to know my kids. I won’t sacrifice them for any amount of money.
I have 5 kids right now, and one of my main goals is to homeschool them all and save them from the public school system. I want them to be very educated but above all to know how to make money while maintaining their freedom! That’s one thing they could never learn in a public school.
My kids had a hard time understanding why their friends only see their dads a few times a week. I am grateful to work from home and only be a few seconds away from them at any time of day, every day. If we could all spend more time with our kids the world would be a much better place.