Just a quick list of reasons I’m grateful to own & run my own totally bootstrapped, customer-funded business:
- We take vacation whenever we want…
- …and for as long as we want, with an hour or two daily work, max (often less!)
- We choose who to work with
- We set our own hours
- We can work from anywhere
- We can decide how profitable we want to be
- We can decide how big we want to grow, and how we’ll get there
- I can take 3 months of unexpected sick leave…
- … and our business can be dialed back to maintenance mode and still bring in about $40,000 a month on autopilot
- We can choose what “corporate” benefits to provide ourselves
- We have the freedom to shitcan projects which aren’t working, or start new ones, as we see fit
- We can easily afford to work on passion projects which aren’t the most profitable use of our time
- We can spin up a workshop or infoproduct to bring in $10-25k of money on short notice, if we want or need to (one of the most amazing things)
- We get to choose the mixture of growth vs hours worked, growth vs luxuries, etc., which makes us productive and happy, from month to month
- We can afford to donate a significant percentage of our income to charities we believe in
- We get to interact with happy customers every day
- We are empowered to please unhappy customers, or ignore them, as we see fit
- We have no do-or-die deadlines. We get to choose our own pace, and if things get screwed up because of health surprises or the need to dial back… that’s okay.
- We can take risks.
And the awesomeness that comes in the negative form:
- We don’t owe anyone money
- We don’t share ownership of our company with anyone
- We don’t have to consult anyone other than each other, no matter how big the decision is
- No one can tell us what to do on a day to day basis, or any macro level
- No individual customer is big enough to hold sway over us
- We never have to compromise our beliefs to earn money — ever
- We can never be fired
- We can never be replaced
- We can never be forced to sell
- We can never be forced to hire someone we don’t like
Until you’ve experienced it first-hand, you can’t understand just how radical this freedom & security is. I sure didn’t.
It’s easy to fail to take advantage of this radical freedom, due to anxiety or fear. I know because not only have I seen my friends fail this way, I failed this way too.
For a while, we didn’t take good advantage of the freedoms it provides (except for our yearly month-long vacation). But we learned.
We set vacation goals. (Our goal: work semi-regular 4-day weeks, 8 hours or less a day, take fully 3 mos of vacation a year.)
We just decided to take low six figures out of the business to buy a house, after a couple years of minimizing our personal draws in the interest of growth.
We’ve learned & are learning to outsource this and that.
We started to grow by adding employees, but we realized it wasn’t right for us, and we stopped, & took it back to being just us + freelancers. We are hiring contractors & forging partnerships to grow the way in a way that makes us happy.
If tomorrow, we decided we don’t want to, for example, bust our butts to get Charm out the door (finally), we don’t have to. We can shut it down. There are no consequences. We put only our own money into it. We are free to do as we please.
And simply having that power, that freedom, means that we won’t feel like we have to kill it.
It’s amazing how many of our desperate desires are in reaction to things we feel required to do. What a difference it makes when you realize you don’t have to.
Sure, it took a lot of hard work… for a year or two. But because we made smart choices, and used our effort wisely, here we are. As long as we don’t completely sit on our butts, we’re set.
I can’t express how amazing that feels.
But as long as I can write, I’ll keep trying to spread the message.