So at the beginning of 2016 the resolution I made was to never be broke ever again in my whole life, ever. So I started a home-baking business which has been going very well. I also took up jogging because life is far more fun when you’re fit.
I have been supported in my business by my community in a way I really didn’t expect and I truly appreciate it, and for me this carries through one of my prior posts about the future of business. I really think business is going smaller and everything that is happening in my life right now is showing that it’s true. But then again, we make our thoughts our experience, so it is because of my belief that my life reflects my opinions as reality.
My objective of never being broke again might seem shallow and insignificant to the rest of the world, but I was heartily sick of wondering where the next buck would come from, so I decided to make a buck instead on wondering about it. It might be a self-serving goal, but it’s ensuring that many people enjoy some damn good baking at a very reasonable price.
Next time we meet I’ll tell you more about the jogging and how that’s going for me.
To all my blog friends out there, I hope 2016 is treating you as kindly is it’s treating me.
If were sharing a cup of tea right now, I’d start off by saying:
So, I have to make ends meet right, but the plan doesn’t always go according to plan. So what’s the alternative? A side hustle, right? NO!
First of all I know hustlers and I hate being associated with that word. Hustlers can’t be relied on, they’re only as loyal as the amount of cash they can get right now. I’m not even talking about street hustlers, many people who call themselves entrepreneurs are just running an extended, constantly refreshed hustle. A hustle has a very short life span, so hustles need to be re-invented every day. It leaves you nothing to build on. That’s not for me.
I know that many successful people got to where they are by working a job to pay the bills and pushing their dreams forward in their spare time. I’ve done that too many times in the past to be fooled by that again. I’m just not capable of looking in two directions at the same time. For me the main thing has got to be the main thing.
I’ve been a reporter for a local newspaper, I’m freelancing/subcontracting with a professional content producer right now and I belong to a citizen journalism group. I’ve got my blogs and books and they are the main thing. My side hustles are off-shoots of the main thing and I prefer it that way even if I don’t make much money from it now.
I’ve committed the next 15 years to make this work and I will not be distracted. I’m a creative person very skilled in various crafts and I have a 16 year career as a bookkeeper behind me, so I got skills. But like I tell everyone else who keeps advising me to get a side hustle, just stand aside and watch me do this. This right here, is The One. I don’t have a back-up plan, I don’t have an emergency parachute, I’m doing this full-force.
Getting a job on the side says to me that I don’t trust in the process, it says that I am not fully committed. It says that I’m building a quick escape into my dream. The only side hustle I’m interested in is the one that enhances the main thing. I know that if I give my writing 100% of my energy and focus, something’s going to come off it. I just know. Nobody else has to believe in me, it’s ok. I believe in myself enough for all of us.
So about that office job. No thanks, been there.
About that bookkeeping service. No, never again.
Selling jewellery part-time. I’d love to, in a different life time.
Running some organisation. I’m to disorganised for that, sorry.
Writing a report. Writing a letter. Writing a blog post. Writing your life story. Writing anything, anywhere, anytime. I’m there.
And if we were sharing a cup of tea right now, there had better be some cake too.
As I child I could never quite explain what I wanted to be when I got older. Nothing really seemed good enough or interesting enough, but I knew there was something I was made for. If I had to put it into adult words now, I would say I want to Think for a living.
I wanted to know everything as a child. I remember looking at the covers of the stacks and stacks of books my father owned and wishing deeply to know what was on the inside. I taught myself how to read better English than that taught at school and set off on a journey to find the things my mind was hungry for.
I don’t remember many of the books I read as I child because I don’t think I need to. Those words, those stories, those ideas, journeys, fantasies are written on the inside of my skin and I take them with me wherever I go. So when you ask me about I about a book I own I might not always be able to give you an insightful answer. But I know that if you stare deeply into my eyes you’d see a page being turned each time I blink. I become my books.
There are only two things I believe I can do well enough to make the world a better place. One is being myself and the other is to Think. Thinking requires that all other things be put aside to focus on the Mind and I believe that every society needs those who do the Thinking. Thinking doesn’t produce many tangible results, and when ideas are your end-product the shelves in the shop will remain empty. The highest payment a Thinker receives is a remark like: “I’ve never thought of it like that”, when offering a new point of view. To apprehend an idea, however old or new it might be, is the work of those who are willing to be quiet, keep still and send homing pigeons into the realm of Mind.
I don’t need much to do my work well. Give me book, a comfy seat, a pen and paper and good window to stare through and it’s another productive day at the office.
Today I saw a post on Facebook that I feel was an attempt sow panic for whatever reason people choose to do things like that and though I normally keep my opinions to myself on FB, I had to give my 2 cents worth. This is it below.
For those who don’t know the country, this is 200 South African Rand and it is supposedly worth less than 10 British Pound. Really? If you believe any random expert over your own common sense, it is. This was my response to the FB post:
This is the kind of twisted shit that makes people’s lives miserable. Everyone is panicking about a stupid meme that doesn’t make any difference to our daily lives. Those who panic and criticize don’t even understand macro-economics or what the real meaning of an exchange rate is.
Since a blog is such a personal thing, it will become apparent over time that I lean toward what is considered conspiracy theory and unashamedly so.
With issues such as the global economic downturn, loss of value in all currencies, dire future prospects, and the general public finding it increasingly difficult to afford the most basic of needs for their survival, I see a concerted effort to steal people’s joy. I see a world that has a habit of leaning on people’s panic buttons for reasons I cannot imagine. I see people being deprived of something that would make the world no poorer if we allow everyone to have just a little bit more of it. No it’s not money, it’s peace of mind. What does the world stand to lose if every single human being could just close their eyes each evening with peace of mind. Nothing, in fact we all stand to gain something from it.
But it’s time that we start thinking independently, start employing logic, start questioning what happens around us and not just allow persons unknown to post memes that basically say that your life is shit and about to become shittier in the near future. Think just a little bit more than you normally do.
If every country is servicing huge national debts and the richest and most powerful have the biggest debts, ask yourself who is owing who. I know the answer is that we owe the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank, but where do they get the money from if they don’t belong to any specific country and don’t run businesses of their own? There is no logic attached to these things. Every member country, which is almost all the countries on Earth contribute to these organisations. Then the very same countries take loans from these organisations. These countries then have to pay back this money with interest. What? Did you just say that you borrow your own money and pay it back with interest? Yes, I did!
So basically everyone owes everyone else, right? Why can all debts not be pardoned, everyone given a clean slate and we start minding our own business and handling our own money affairs without international interference?
If your country doesn’t have to pay back it’s debts your economy will improve overnight, you might have to pay less or no tax. But no, that’s not going to happen because it makes sense and it might give you a bit of peace of mind. So none of that for you.
As for South Africans, we must ask ourselves how it is that we produce the gold that is supposed to back up all currencies, yet ours keep slipping. I’ve dealt with the buying and selling of gold for 2 years in my career as a bookkeeper and whenever the price of gold went up, there was a drop in the South African currency. You would think that it would make our country richer and thus our currency stronger if the minerals we produce appreciate in value, but alas, no. Clearly global economics are incorrigibly resistant to logic.
Another question I ask myself as a South African is this: In light of the fact that we produce so many raw materials for other countries’ economies, we even supply the great British Empire with fresh produce, shouldn’t our currency far outstrip theirs? They talk about their countries’ reserves, but at the same time the biggest economies have national debts that they cannot even pay the interests of. Now tell me again about those reserves they have while being unable to pay their debts. Again, no logic.
My reasoning might be extremely simplistic, but I know one thing about very intelligent and academically superior things. Nothing can be so superior and intelligent that it even defies logic. It is our assumption that these things are too complicated to understand that gives those who mess with our security and the fruits of our hard work all the power to dupe us into staying at the bottom of the rung.
The majority of the world’s population suffer from mental slavery. The minute a news bulletin tells us to panic and fear for our lives we hardly take a second to ask some basic questions. Why is it happening? How did it happen? Who made it happen? What does it have to do with me? When did it start and when is it going to end? We start acting like Chicken Little with immediate effect.
You deserve a fair exchange for the hard work you put into your job.
You and yours deserve a full belly and a warm, comfy place to sleep every day.
You and yours deserve security and peace of mind as part of your basic state of being.
There are people who will take all these things from you if you don’t fight to keep it.
Don’t take up arms, fight with your mind.
Question, contemplate and come to your own conclusions.
One of the great men of the South African Freedom Struggle was Steve Bikoand he said: “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”
Don’t give anyone your mind to fuck with.
The small academic town I live in is surrounded by many small farms. With 200 South African Rand I get farm fresh milk with cream still floating on top. I get vegetables so fresh they still smell of soil. I get meat fresh from the abattoir. I can even buy a live chicken and slaughter it at home. And after all that I’m still left with a few rand in change. How many people in the UK can say the same? Is that what you get in Great Brittan for less than 10 pound? I think not.
When making your own way in this world, inevitably there will be days when you’re just BROKE. Well you can panic, get depressed, or just get used to it, I think being broke has its perks.
Broke-ness makes one sharp and lean, light on your feet and clear of thought. It removes the blinkers so you can see how much is available without money, and how good most of it is. It forces you to use everything you have to make it to the next minute alive. As the saying goes, old wine cannot be placed in new bottles and being broke forces you to finish off every last drop before receiving a fresh supply. Hunger and debt are sterling motivators.
Although it’s crowded, the crowd normally hates being at a special place called Broke. It’s on the corner where Payday Avenue and Poverty Street cross each other and most people stand on that corner for most of their lives. While we’re kicking it at Broke Intersection why not make an inventory of what we have despite our location? I still have the ability to write a silly little piece like this and I have never had to pay a cent for it – nor am I being paid a cent either.
I sometimes wonder what it would feel like to be really rich and to be honest it sounds boring and heavy. Having to care for several houses and cars and investment portfolios, jewellery, art and whatever else it is that rich people own seems very tiring to me. It might be sour grapes, I concede, but I don’t like the idea of wasting time trying to decide which ridiculously expensive shoes go with my equally ridiculously expensive dress. At a certain point, leather is just the hide of a dead animal, a dress is nothing more than a piece of cloth and a diamond ring serves no real purpose beyond sitting on your finger.
As a person with relatively few possessions, I have a special connection with most of my stuff. Much of it is in excellent condition although some of my stuff have owned me for more than a decade. I use my possessions until we can go no further with each other in a fruitful manner before we part ways. I’m still under the care of a beautiful corduroy coat I received from my father in my twenties. It’s one of those first-class second-hand items. I don’t know what possessed the person who got rid of it to do so; but I thank their (probably rich) behind every year when winter comes around.
Being broke is not virtuous, glamorous or even compulsory but it just seems to always lurk in one’s immediate vicinity. So while I’m part of the broke crowd I think I’ll just keep my eyes peeled and catch some tips from my compatriots while the hustle to remove ourselves (temporarily only) from this corner is in progress. I know we all are furthering our education in the science of being broke.
I recently read that most people want to be entrepreneurs, they want to be their own bosses. That doesn’t surprise me.
What was most enlightening was that they would prefer a business that employs less than 100 people. Now that seems reasonable to me on so many levels; more so than the world domination we all supposed to want but actually don’t.
Here is why mastery seems so much better than market domination to me:
I can become a master at what I do.Everything is so fast these days that before you can even get used to a new thing it’s replaced by an even newer thing. I wonder when people actually get to mastery level in their skill-sets, if they even care about it. Masters keep working at their craft, they keep finding new ways to apply the basic principles and that gives them staying power. Many stars fade twice as fast as they came on the scene because momentary appeal is nothing when it’s not backed up by real skill and experience. I know a jazz drummer who practices every day for hours and has done so for decades. He has now made jazz drumming his own, but he still works at it. The general public might not know who he is, but famous musicians act like groupies when he’s around. They realise that whatever their appeal might be they need someone of his skill and experience to back them up on stage. Now that is something I want to aim at.
It’s easy to do what I love. I like the idea of mastery because then I don’t have to deal with all the crap I actually have no interest in. Although business advice is always to get your fingers in as many pies as possible, mastery cannot accommodate that. That leaves some pies for other to play around with, which hopefully will create a more even spread of prosperity.
I can deal with people who I like to work with.This is one of the greatest upsides of building a small business based on mastery and not market domination. What I really didn’t like in the working world was having to spend day after day with people who I would cross the street to avoid in normal life. Anyone with the right qualifications who passed the interview became part of the team, no matter how poor a fit they were for the rest of the team. That isn’t the environment that produces mastery.
I can serve people who value my work.Rather than trying to capture as much of the market as possible I want to focus instead on building meaningful business relationships with people I connect with. We’ve all learnt the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule, right? It says that 80% of most business’ income comes from 20% of their clientele. I think the remaining 80% should find someone else to work with and I will focus on the 20% who really matter to me. That sounds like I will end up with less work and maybe more money when I cut ties with those I cannot serve well.
I can focus on the main thing. Big business is powered by a huge machine (fancy offices, jets, golf club memberships, executive privileges) which sometimes have nothing to do with the main thing. Keeping it small and focusing on mastery means that I will not be swallowed by the running of the show and end up missing the show itself.
I can leave a legacy. Money is not a legacy, no matter how much of it I make it will always have someone else’s face on it. Having a track record of brilliance and mastery is much more valuable in my eyes than just making a lot of money. Taking the example of money, the currency in my country, South Africa, has the face of Nelson Mandela on every note. He made such an impact on society that now his face is money. He didn’t leave money behind or chase after it while he was alive. By focusing on what he valued the man became a symbol of great value. Now that is leaving a legacy, not an inheritance.
I think it is inherent in human nature to share, and the study that says most people just want a manageable business of their own proves that point. If more people open businesses that employ 100 or less employees, there will probably be more jobs and more opportunity for the greater population of Earth to live a good life.
Mastery makes much more sense than market domination.