I haven’t written anything meaningful for two weeks. You see, I’ve been taking a break all of this time — waiting for now.
As I start writing these words, it is 00:25. The official date in Israel now is Sep. 7th. 2020.
My 33rd birthday.
Please accept my thanks in advance if you decide to bless me with a happy birthday. I will not be responding to those messages.
You see, this year I’m on a mission. I want to gain a sense of freedom. Perhaps, more than that, I want to gain a measure of control over my life.
This desire isn’t some new year or birthday resolution. Those “wishes” never work because we tie them to the date or the mood. A sense of freedom and independence is tied to no one but myself.
You’re probably asking yourself what exactly do I mean when I say those words. Well, let me explain from the beginning.
For over a decade, I’ve been struggling with debt. I have shared on more than one occasion that I have around 70k dollars to pay off. This situation prevents me from owning a house, a car, paying rent, etc.
I celebrate my 33rd birthday at my parents’ home. Pretty lame for a guy of my age, I know.
But when I say that debt has ruled my life for over a decade, it’s not only the physical aspects of not having enough money — it’s the mental ones as well.
I have lived the last decade month to month — living in fear of not paying the next paycheck.
I wasn’t giving myself the gift of freedom.
I have gained stress weight, and my Highly Sensitive brain is shutting down more easily nowadays than from previous years.
Each year that passes by that I’m still here, in this house, with no money to leave and “start my life” on my own, is a year that paralyzes me a little more each time.
But no more. I decided to stop this mess. Not only am I stopping this vicious cycle, but I’m also going to break the wheel.
Here’s what it means for me.
My most significant stressor and the freedom-preventing issue is my debt. I realized it long ago but didn’t know what to do except try to save more.
A famous writer on this platform called me out on Twitter when I responded to one of their tweets with the statement that I’m trying to save money. Instead, they decide to quote-retweet my tweet, saying I should stop focusing on saving and focus more on making more money.
At first, I was furious.
Who are you — a famous prominent writer who makes half my high-tech salary in their sleep — to tell me to focus on making more money? Haven’t you been in my position in the past? Of course, you were! You know how hard it is! So, why ignore my struggle and cancel my effort as “a mistake”?
Will I be like this too when money is no longer a concern? Will I also forget the sleepless nights of calculating my expenses? Will I also tell people who struggle financially to focus on making more money without seeing that, for them, it’s not as apparent as it is for me?
Regardless of the flawed “delivery” of this writer’s message, calling me out to all my and their followers, I couldn’t ignore the truth of the statement.
I wasn’t giving myself the gift of freedom. Sure, I love writing, but writing in the MPP when you also work a full-time job as a software engineer isn’t a good combination.
Sure, if I keep writing, I’ll eventually build an extensive portfolio to work for me as I sleep. But, for me, it happens a lot slower than it is for people who can invest more time writing — and who are also not using the same brain cells for their day-job.
I had to find another way.
Sleep, or perhaps the lack of it, is the bane of my stressed existence. I knew that if I’m going to create something, it needs to be something that I won’t lose sleep over. In fact, I would like to be able to make money in my sleep, thank you very much.
So, I work full time, and I also want to keep what little sleep I already get. That rules out freelance work. Freelance work would require me to work after my day-job hours, and what do you know, that will probably take some of my precious sleep away.
What else is there to make money online? Affiliate marketing! Well, I’m not too fond of sales. One could argue that beggars can’t be choosers. And yet, I’m ok with not choosing affiliate marketing. I agree that it’s a profession with a lot of potential, but I am a content creator without a broad audience.
If I would like to succeed with Affiliate Marketing, I would have to invest in Ads or invest time in SEO. Time is my most precious commodity, and I would not spend it on SEO for affiliate marketing. And money for ads? Well, I could use that money for better things.
As a content creator, there are many venues that I can try. I could try to invest in building an audience on Twitter like Daniel Vassallo did and then went on to create a video course on how to do just that. I could work my ass off to create a YouTube channel to accompany my writing + Patreon, just like Zulie Rane did.
Or, I could keep writing and let the works pile up to increase my Medium revenue from approximately $1 a day to more. There are many other things I can do in that regard, like send more works to publications with big audiences in the hopes of getting discovered, build an audience on Quora as Sean Kernan did, or create a course and sell it as Tom Kuegler did.
All of these people have built their respective niches and audiences over time. Time I don’t have.
And so, I decided to go on the one method that exists that might take less time to realize fully.
What is one thing about me that is reasonably visible to other people right from the start? That I’m a geek. I wear Marvel shirts, I own plushies, and I’m susceptible to mugs with funny or dramatic quotes.
Merch. That was it. But who am I to sell geeky stuff?
Well, it appears that many other people, just like me on Etsy, never bothered to ask that question. Their countless buyers didn’t seem to care either. As long as I’m offering something unique that they didn’t see anywhere else, I’m good.
Now, I should clarify, e-commerce isn’t a get rich quick method. But, an Etsy store, just like the one I opened, is a fully-fledged business.
Even the mere act of opening that store changed something within me. Suddenly there was light at the end of the tunnel.
I already made with Etsy more than what I did on Medium in four months. But, I’m not going to stop writing on here. This year I’m investing in making my store a thing. I would love to reach my first $1000 in revenue in the first three months.
From there, the sky is the limit.
When you think about it, it means I need to make $16 a day in revenue during those three months. It’s not impossible but neither is it easy for a beginner like me.
But you know what? That’s a way I’m willing to take. It’s a journey I can count on. This way is more tangible.
Perhaps, once it becomes a viable stream of income, I can stop finishing blog posts at 2 AM.
Until next time, Happy birthday to me.
Good luck with your own endeavors!