I hear this sentence a lot:
“I want to be financially free, but I have to learn how to make passive income and quit my job first.”
Notice I did not label the statement above as an excuse. I simply called it a sentence because, for many people who say it, it is a statement of fact, not a way to explain why they did not achieve something they were supposed to get done. Nevertheless, that statement is a dangerous misinterpretation of the concept of financial freedom that actually prevents many people from ever living a life of Good Success.
I’m Ready to Give You Some Answers
People ask me all the time, “How do you do this? What do you do that I don’t that gives you financial freedom? Where do I start? How can I be sure this will work? What if I go bankrupt?”
I feel compelled to provide you with some of these answers, but I must warn you: They may not be what you expected to hear.
Here is the short version:
If you truly want to build and generate the kind of passive income that will pay you for a lifetime, you must be willing to do at least one of two things:
- Build a business
- Invest into cash-flowing assets
Of course, there is a lot more to getting those two things accomplished than just deciding to do them. You must be willing to learn and ready to do the hard work that goes along with those goals.
The Journey to Financial Freedom is Not the Same for Everyone
Of course, some people will see financial success and freedom faster than others, depending on their unique skills, experiences, and starting capital. Those who already network actively or work quickly to expand their network will also advance more quickly than those who literally start off slowly.
Everyone who wants financial freedom should constantly keep in mind that your ability to build and leverage a network of vendors and communities that provide positive, productive environments for will play a key role in how quickly you become financially free. If this does not happen overnight, do not despair. Financial freedom is not just a goal; it is a constant work in progress.
How Long Until I’m Financially Free?
I see so many people posting about how awesome it is for them now they do not have a “J.O.B.” and other popular terminology. However, most do not post about the things that make not having a traditional job harder, such as getting up at 3 in the morning or working for 48 hours straight to get something done that no one else in the business can or will do. You don’t see a lot of people posting online about the times they were terrified they would not make payroll and would let the people down who depend on them for their livelihoods. That is the stuff that is not fun to read, not fun to talk about, and not fun to remember. But it’s really, really important.
Here is the deal: You may become financially free in one year if you work really hard, have everything lined up exactly right the very first time around, and are naturally inclined both in terms of personality and personal and professional resources to achieve this goal. For most people, it will take more like 7 years of discipline to truly achieve financial freedom. That is the hard truth.
That might sound like a really long time, but I urge you to consider this: All 7 of those years will not be hard. They will not all be filled with struggle. In fact, as you overcome more and more short-term obstacles, your momentum, your positive energy, and yes, your Good Success will gain momentum and start taking a huge precedent in your life.
You will experience positive changes quickly and routinely if you stick with your goals, but you have to remember that success never comes easy. If it did, everyone would be rich. Everyone would be ultra-successful. Everyone would have these things everyone says they want, but few people ever achieve.
3 Things to Know About Passive Income
I mentioned above that one route to financial freedom is to invest in assets that earn passive income. That is one of the most tried-and-true ways to achieve financial freedom, but it is definitely not an overnight option. If you think about the people you know that have passive-income-producing portfolios, you will probably think of people who have been working on building those portfolios for years. Many are not even thinking of those portfolios as the key to short-term financial freedom, but rather retirement security. That is the kind of long-term mindset you need for these types of assets.
To buy the right types of assets for your financial freedom goals, you need to look for three things:
- An asset that will generate income for five years or longer.
These assets may require you to invest your money and let it work for you for 1-5 years before you even judge the success of the investment. Some types of assets may require even longer periods of time, depending on how much capital you spent to acquire them.
- A statistical snapshot of your market.
You must be sure that you understand how the market in which you are investing really works so you understand what to expect from the beginning. Long-term financial freedom is not a goal that is easily achieved. You should expect stumbling blocks from your investments, and you must be prepared to adjust your strategies and deal with those obstacles when they arise.
- Realistic expectations.
For me, I think one of the worst things that can happen for an investor new to passive-income investments is for that investor to have a “perfect” experience with their first deal. When this happens, they not only end up with unrealistic expectations moving forward, they also do not get to learn from their mistakes.
If you really want to have passive income and long-term success, you must be willing to put in the work on that goal for a minimum of 5 to 7 years without complaining, without getting discouraged, without giving up, and without deciding that this type of lifestyle just “doesn’t work” for you. Right now, that might sound easy, but you have to be willing to stick with it in the moments when that mindset is really hard.
Dispelling the “J.O.B.” Myth
Another thing that will hinder you in your pursuit of financial freedom is a very common theme on social media: the idea that working for someone else is a bad thing. Working for someone else is not a bad thing! In fact, I think I have watched far more people become financially free by working at a job, investing their money as they earn it, and then patiently reaping their rewards than I have seen it from people who have quit their jobs to start businesses.
Do not treat a job like a “four-letter word” because it is both rude to people who have elected to work for someone else and shortsighted on your part since you might have better luck and succeed sooner if you were willing to do the same. The facts bear this out: There are many very successful people in the world who enjoy their jobs, are interested and passionate about learning new things in their field, and who are dedicated to supporting their company’s vision even if they are not the founder and full owner of the company. Never treat these people with disrespect. If you are one of them, be proud. If you run your own business, then they are the backbone of your business, and you should be grateful. Even if you do not love your job, remember it can provide the stream of income you need right now to achieve financial freedom in the near future.
Good Success Has a Place in Every Facet of Life
Too many times, I watch my students first succeed, and then get caught up in the “success game” that is the very same thing as “keeping up with the Joneses” but with a different angle. In the “success game,” people brag about how much money they spend, how high their standards are, or how “grateful” they are they do not have to work. You’ve seen it all online: pictures of diamond watches, lists of reasons to never fly coach on a plane, and “humblebrags” about how they are putting so many gifts under the tree or “buying time” by not working anymore. Then, everyone else in the thread chimes in, each posting pictures of bigger watches, longer lists of materialistic (vs. responsible or even data-driven) demands for personal comfort, and indices of things they have done while not working in an office. That isn’t success. That is just a new version of vanity.
I would suggest one place we can all be successful is in the way we treat each other. It is easy to get caught up in being critical of others. It is easy to start speaking discouraging words because we, ourselves, are feeling discouraged. It is true that misery loves company, but truly Good Success does as well. Be the positive company your friends and colleagues need when they are struggling rather than the weight around their neck that finally sinks them when they start to drown!
This does not mean you can’t be honest. You should always work hard to help when that help is requested or the person is receptive. However, remember that honesty does not necessarily have to entail harsh criticism. The old “compliment sandwich” can be used in cases other than right before someone gets fired. It can (and should) be used regularly to make sure people know what they are doing right as well as what they could be doing better.
And here’s one final tip: If you are overtly critical of others, be alert to what you are doing to yourself and your own drive toward financial freedom. The odds are good that you are actually hurting your own progress. Accurate or not, when people criticize others outside of specific settings like mastermind groups or mentoring relationships, they tend to look bitter. They tend to look unsuccessful. They tend to look like people who want to pass the blame, even when that has nothing to do with the actual content of their criticism! While looks are not everything, the face you put forward to the world should be a realistically positive one.
Make it your default setting to be kind to everyone. Make it your default setting to assume that everyone is having a tough time you know nothing about (but would probably empathize with if you did). Make it part of your financial freedom to integrate positivity into your life by using positive words like “I love you” and “great work” and “thank you” a more often. You’ll gain your goals faster and be a happier, healthier, more productive person in the process!
Learn more about Tom Olson’s Good Success mastermind and request an invitation HERE.