I speak to people now and then who talk about all these dreams they have, how they would like to run their own business, take more vacations, retire early, travel, move into a bigger home, take 3 months and go on a mission trip, etc. – but it all ends up being empty talk.
When I speak to them again 6 months, 1 year, 3 years later, they are still doing the same thing. This is the same thing they hate to do, they get kicked around at work, they get little or no respect, and they have gotten so beaten down that they can barely speak of those dreams anymore.
They make their 1-week family vacation plan, only to be told they are going to have to change their time off because of a circumstance at work. They are constantly being threatened of losing their jobs. The are demoted or laterally moted, only to find that they are working more hours for the same salary.
These people have become blind to their circumstances. They feel they have too many reasons not to leave (mortgage, debt, kids’ school, etc.), and their only hope is to hold out and maybe they will finally ride out the storm, get that promotion, and make an extra $25-$100 per month.
It’s all really sad – but it gets even more sad when you watch not just people you barely know, but then you see your best friend going through it. Then you see some family members going through it. Then you see yourself going through it.
I was giving everyone advice on what to do, that I found myself in this same trap. I had built a leads business that had come to engross me, surround me, and enslave me. I was miserable, but I couldn’t quit because of my kids’ school, debt, mortgage, financial obligations, life style, etc. For about a year I recognized this and rationalized things, compromised a full year of my life away, and finally, this past Thanksgiving I made the break.
I sold the email leads side of my business and made radical changes to the phone leads side of my business. I still own and operate National Leads, but I have a new arrangement that drastically increases the quality of the leads I sell, have all the customer service and credit card processing done through a parent company, and now do little else except promote the site, manage the content, and collect commision checks. It may not be exactly that simple, but it is about 95% less of the “busy work” that I had been used to doing for the last 5-7 years.
This has allowed me to move in a direction I really want to do – creating virtual real estate properties and generating revenue through Clickbank, Google Adsense, Amazon affiliate programs, and others. It is what I really, really enjoy doing. Zero customer service. I just build, promote, optimize, repeat.
The purpose of this post is to say that while I saw many others around me being afraid of change – using the excuse of a recessed economy – I had become of afraid of the same thing. And, if I was ever going to be a man of integrity (defined as practicing what I preach), then it was time to step out, leave behind the job that was enslaving me, and move and do what I truly wanted to do.
Two final thoughts:
First, this past Christmas was probably the most relaxing I have had in many, many years. I was not a slave to my Blackberry, email, phone ringing, staying up till the wee hours taking care of customers and orders. It was one of the first real vacations I had had in a very long time.
Second, I sold my email leads business for a song. It isn’t like I sold this business and now I can live off the revenue for years and years to come. I sold it to a group of guys who are going to take it to heights I never could, and needed a break from the lives they were enslaved to as well. I wish them the best.
No more wasting time. It reminds me of the Eagles song, “Already Gone.” Near the end of the song it says – “So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key.”
Unlock and remove the chains.