Why Sacrifice Today to “Live” Later, is Bullshit.
Live the life of your dreams in 6 months, not 6 years.
Originally published May 2017.
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
This is something I hear thrown around a lot, and whilst I get the sentiment, I think the way it’s being acted upon is complete bullshit for 99% of entrepreneurs.
I’ve recently seen posts by several successful entrepreneurs that I know and respect in this vein, and I’m worried it’s being taken in the wrong way.
Post suggesting that you should skip out on all sorts of fulfilling opportunities and experiences to spend 14+ hours a day, every day, grinding to achieve massive success.
That you should abandon years now to live life on your own terms in the future.
Sounds like it makes sense, right?
The problem is, most young entrepreneurs that I speak to just don’t need to do this to achieve what they want.
If you want to achieve some massive, world-changing goal, then yeah, you’re likely to need to sink away at least the next 5–7 years of your life to have a chance.
Want to build a billion dollar business?
Say goodbye to (at least) your 20s to even have a shot!
Most young entrepreneurs don’t want this.
Most want to take control of their lives, and have the freedom to do what they want, on their own terms.
Guess what, to do this you “just” need a business that generates ~$100k per year, can be managed from your laptop, and has some degree of automation (to the point where you could automate it or have someone look after it for a week or so without it falling to pieces.)
Whilst that may sound like a big ask, in today’s social media dominated world, it really isn’t.
If you spent the next 6–12 months focusing in the right areas — building a community on a / a few social networks, and finding something that community wants to buy (you can often straight up ask them to find this out), you can have this success.
You can have a business that allows you to travel, work the hours you want, not have a boss, and have enough money to do almost anything you want.
Do you need a Lamborghini, or do you just want to smash one on a track for a few hours a month?
Do you need to buy a mansion, or would you scratch that itch just renting one for a few months?
Want to completely revamp your wardrobe with designer gear? $5k is likely to leave you looking very sharp.
I think lots of people want to be rich for the sake of being rich.
But when it come to it, it’s what you actually do with the money that gives fulfillment for most people.
Most of what you want to do likely isn’t that expensive (or doesn’t need to be).
The reason I want to push this point is that many of the successful entrepreneurs I know that are suggesting this, are also having a bucket load of fun at the same time.
Yeah they’re working hard, but they’re also having fun.
They’re travelling, they’re finding out what areas of their business they find fulfilling, they’re focusing on that, and handing off everything else to partners / employees etc.
This doesn’t always come across in the “you need to be grinding everyday, not sleeping, not seeing friends, not playing Tinder, if you want to succeed” posts.
However, this isn’t the biggest potential tragedy I want to mention!
Do you know one of the few things that millions can’t buy you?
Your 20s back.
I’ve been in the position where I thought I wanted to run a startup that would monetize user data (here). A startup that would need several rounds of investment and to hire dozens of employees if it were ever to make money.
I thought I wanted to build up this startup to sell it 7–10 years down the line for enough money to invest into creating a big, world-changing business, ala Mr Musk.
I spent two and a half years of my life working on this startup before having the striking realization (looking out over the Bangalore skyline in India, perhaps I “found myself”), that whilst I still want to create some awesome science business, that I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my youth to do so.
Yeah I want to do something awesome, but I also want to experience the world whilst I still have all of the freedoms to do so!
I’ll be straight up, I want to have kids at some point.
I think it’s an integral part of human existence — it’s literally what we’re built for.
Do I want kids now?
But at some point?
Yeah, I think it would be awesome.
With that said, I’m acutely aware that the longer you wait to have children, the higher the chance of them getting various defects due to the natural accumulation of DNA damage you and your partner get as you age (yep, guys also, take a peak at the latest literature).
Do I want mutant kids?
Not if I can help it.
So this means that it’s likely a good idea to have kids before your mid thirties if possible.
See any problems here?
What if you squirrel your 20s away working on a business 24/7 and you manage to pull it off and exit it for these millions you think you want. You’re likely to be in your early 30s by that point.
Well guess what, the magical life of travelling the world and having ALL THE FUN is now only an option for a year or two.
Off course this makes loads of assumptions and there are lots of exceptions, but this isn’t a post about having kids, it’s a post to try and make a point.
Anyway, point that I’m trying to make is:
I don’t think you should put off living the life you want for 5–10 years because circumstances change, you can’t buy back your youth, and you can likely have everything you want much sooner than you think.
Let me know your thoughts on this.
And join me for ALL THE FUN after you have!
Yo, I’m Connor!
I’m a smart person. I don’t do smart things.