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"Just Like Air"

Just like air

Happy Holidays you all! I’ve been doing some thinking about the meaning of things and a lot about the future of our industry. I’m so grateful you are part of our journey and love the relationships I have been developing through this blog. We love you all, you challenge us and you make us laugh. It has been a blessing.

The world is changing. How we view money. How we earn it. How we spend it. Does it rule our lives more or less than it did in the past? Can we change that by the way we choose to work and how we do it? The winds of change are blowing and many, many people are about to join this revolution we call business ownership. This is just the beginning.

I asked the first billionaire I met what it is like to have that much money.

His answer was “it’s just like air”

I must have looked confused because he smiled and he asked me if I knew any asthmatics. I nodded.

“During an asthma attack – what is the only thing that person is thinking about?”

“Their next breath” I answered.

He looked at me and said – “You have financial asthma. I never think about money, to me it’s just like air. It has almost no bearing on my life what so ever.”

I think about that all the time. That conversation significantly shaped my relationship with money.

Not everyone wants to be stinking wealthy. Frankly, it is simply not necessary. The question we all need to answer is what is enough? My wife and I made our list of dreams and goals, and then figured out what that would cost. In our case, we need some pretty significant wealth to accomplish our goals. In contrast, one of my oldest friends Davie & his gal Lindsay have always lived on a shoe-string budget. He actively chases his passions with an innocence and yet dedication I see in few others. His life is a beautiful thing to behold. He is a world class waterman, a patient and gifted teacher and will soon be a therapist. A good one I am willing to bet. Money has rarely played a significant role in the attainment of his goals, so why would he bother trying to become rich?

How do you relate to money? Does it play a large or small role in achieving the steps you will take in the life you have planned?

Why do I mention this? Not to get you thinking about money (though please do). I have been reading through everyone’s responses to the interview we posted and a picture is forming that excites me. There is a revolution occurring in people’s work patterns and career choices. The small, independent business owner is coming back with a vengeance. I promise you, the numbers are about to explode. You can now make a six figure income, with about the same effort as an employee, working from home (or anywhere) on your own schedule, perhaps even doing a mostly what you love. That is the true American Dream, not dramatic wealth.

I often hear in the valley, “go big or go home”, “real competition only starts at 100 million” … and on and on. The public image of business here is the startup that will drive millions, if not billions. Yahoo & Google. Not a bad dream if you ask me. But that is not the face of business in the future. This perception is missing the simple fact that most people don’t need, nor actually even desire, that outcome. They just want some control back.

The world of business is about to be swept by a storm of people, like you and me, who are going to step out on their own and be self employed. Whose goal it is to make a nice income while having a life. We will place family, fitness, friends and faith at the same level of priority or higher then we do our income. Will we not go through this process alone. We are building social networks, global teams of other independent business owners who educate, help and support each other. And it has only begun.

One question that was posted from Lawrence Salberg back to the group asked: “What is the most promising technology on the horizon and how do you see it helping you in terms of your business ideas?” This is my answer. It is not a computer based technology but a social revolution. Companies will pay us for the value of our work, not for time day in day out. Productivity will increase dramatically as will personal satisfaction. Overhead will drop. As contractors will handle our own benefits, allowing us to get higher pay while making our own choices about our future.

For this revolution to go smoothly, the need for education is paramount. There are so many basic things that none of us learned in school. Like how to relate to money. How to balance a checkbook. How a mortgage works. How to sell a product or service. How to make sure people pay you like they said they would. The most rudimentary bookkeeping. The simple difference between an employee and a contractor. What a legal contract is and when to use one. It is all lore right now. Passed from person to person among our community, from mentor to apprentice. Perhaps some day our school system will burst forth from its mummified cocoon and emerge a beautiful butterfly, but until then its up to us to help each other succeed and share any wisdom we have with the newest person.

I have a Hanukkah wish. Let us band together and pay it forward. Help the newest contractor you meet. Answer their questions. Teach them what you know. They aren’t your competition, there is so much work out there it is down right ridiculous. Once you iron out the initial bumps, I cannot promise you a better life. So I am writing this to say, tag your it. Now pass it on. Share your wealth.