This post originally appeared on Medium.com
Today I felt certainty for the first time in my business life. It’s been 3 years.
It happened at 1pm this afternoon. I had an hour break in between meetings, and I decided on lunch because I knew my stomach wouldn’t be happy that my schedule was packed afterwards til 6pm.
For the last 3 years, I was figuring out just one thing in my business:
How do I get certainty?
Most people associate certainty with a career. Why start your own business when your goal is certainty?!
The thing is, I knew that I didn’t know how to get certainty of fulfillment, purpose and happiness with a career. I knew that business was the only way.
How did I know I felt certainty today?
For all of the last 3 years, I was in debt. For my entire entrepreneurship life, I was net negative.
I rarely spent more than $10 a day on myself. Most of my money went back into my business, either on marketing or mentors.
During the worst periods, I spent less than $2 a day.
I had to borrow money from friends, family, and secure and then stall installment plans to survive.
What does certainty look like in business? Predictable income streams. Getting a usual graduate’s pay, $3,000 in consistent monthly revenue, is extremely difficult. That’s just a $36,000/year business (and all before costs).
I struggled for 3 years to figure this out. Most businesses never figure it out and therefore shut down. I’ve known other entrepreneurs who’ve tried & failed for 5 years, 10 years. Most people you know who have failed start-ups, failed because of this.
Predictable, repeated income is a tricky thing.
In the last 3 years, I hardly knew how, much less when, I was getting paid.
In the last 3 months, it was like a switch turned on.
I secured $34,500 in revenue in my newest business in the last 3 months. My latest payment helped to pay off all my debt.
I’m net positive.
For the first time in 3 years, I had a choice.
I didn’t have to eat $3 food because I had no choice.
I could eat whatever I wanted.
I walked around the lobby of my office building, looking at all the options. $6 salads, $9 burgers, even the overpriced $5 cai fan seemed tempting.
I couldn’t choose. I wanted a sandwich, so I walked out of the building, into the rain. It felt like Christmas.
I crossed the street to the building next door and saw a Starbucks. There were sandwiches on display. I walked in.
I looked at the row of sandwiches and just settled on the buttermilk chicken and egg croissant sandwich. Then I ordered a peppermint mocha.
The ambient music was a Frank Sinatra Christmas album. Jingle Bells was the first one on. It felt like Christmas.
I plucked my headphones out of my ears and leaned back. It was the first time in 3 years I’d chosen to spend more than $10 in one meal, and then felt satisfied. It didn’t feel like I was choosing myself over my business.
I thought of my business. I locked in a majority of that revenue over a week of intense sales meetings. I could replicate that. A chunk of that income was guaranteed to flow in over the next 4 months.
I had another $30,000-$50,000 worth of sales to lock in. I had barely launched my marketing. I could definitely replicate that.
How did I know I felt certainty today?
I knew I had everything in place in my business to replicate my results so far.
The lessons I learnt in the last 3 years had all contributed to this moment.
I ended up exercising my freedom of choice again for dinner. It felt liberating.
In the last 3 days, I spent more than I usually spent in 2 weeks.
But I had enough — I feel better investing in business anyway. I’m going to spend on others instead, and then get back to $10/day tomorrow.
But knowing that I created the choice for myself, is 100x more liberating than doing it with a job.
This article was more like a blog post, which fits in to my bigger theme of stories that I’ll be publishing more often. If you want to understand the fundamental marketing systems I built to give me certainty in my business, they’re all accessible through my site.