Be practical when reading these books. I often don’t agree with the authors’ worldview or motivations, and honestly, I don’t care about them. I’m focused on getting practical knowledge that I can use for my own purposes.
With that said, here are some great books for starting your journey to financial freedom:
Walden by Henry D. Thoreau
(Read the section on “Economy”)!
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
(The title provides you with a worthy goal
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
Cash Flow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki
(Will teach you financial literacy and how to gain financial freedom)
(Great general overview of how to own a business instead of it owning you)
Web Copy That Sells
(Great if you’re going to do a web-based business (which I highly recommend))
Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
(Learn how to market in an ethical way that people will love)
Purple Cow by Seth Godin
(Learn how to be remarkable with your business)
Your Portable Empire by Pat O’Bryan
(Learn how to create passive income and live a mobile lifestyle)
Those are good places to start your education. Of course, just reading isn’t enough. You have to take action. I think the best way to start is online because the cost of starting is so incredibly low.
My business started with $200. I could have done it for nearly free if I had wanted to.
The beauty of online business is that you can start them as “Beta” prototypes. In other words, you put them together quickly and cheaply and start fast. Then you endlessly test, improve, get feedback, and evolve your business over time.
My first site was butt ugly… and I had a paltry few lessons to start with. And the lessons had sketchy audio and were very limited.
But no worries– I clearly labeled it a “Beta” site and explained that it was in “testing” mode. I charged only $7 for membership at first. To my utter astonishment, I got customers. I added more lessons, and raised the price to $17.
I started a Google Ad campaign with a budget of $1 a day. I tested the ads and compared ad cost to money made each day. When I was making more than I was spending, I raised the ad budget to $5 a day… waited a week. I was still making more than I was spending on ads… so I increased the budget to $10 a day. (I now spend nearly $400 a day).
The product (my lessons) likewise evolved. I experimented with different lesson types and discovered the ones that students liked best. Over time, I developed a very powerful teaching system.
Finally, the site and the business itself evolved. I eventually changed from a membership site to a straight product sales site. I hired a company to (still cheaply) design a custom website for me. That helped to boost income. Just recently, I had the whole site re-designed again (for a higher… but still reasonable price).
All the while I have learned a tremendous amount– from trial and error, from experiments, from customers’ feedback, from business books and CDs, from other website owners, from blogs and podcasts.
So what’s the point I’m making?
The point is: Just start.
I was totally clueless and nearly broke when I started. I had NO idea how to build a successful business. I just had a burning desire to be free,.. and I loved teaching English. The rest, I learned along the way.
You can do this too. Start a BETA website this month…. using a cheap or free website template… and PayPal for accepting credit cards. Make your cheap, fast, raw product or service.
You don’t need to be perfect when you start. You don’t even need to be good. Hell, if you really feel bad about it– charge just $1 in the beginning. Decide to learn everything as you go.
This is the Hobopoet way– the opposite of the “Business Plan” approach.
Start cheap. Start ugly. Start clueless. Start micro.
Now that I have achieved my goal of personal freedom, I want to contribute and help other people achieve the same.
I know what its like to suffer for years as a wage slave– always yearning for freedom. I understand the horrible emotional toll it takes on those who long to live free.
At an intimate level, I have already helped one friend start a business and gain financial freedom– and am in the process of partnering with my best friend and her boyfriend in order to help them also gain financial freedom. Our joint venture business launches at the end of next week.
I’m very excited for them. I feel incredibly happy whenever someone gains their freedom and leaves wage slavery! (Of course I do have a selfish motivation– I want more of my friends to have the time and resources to play with me
At a public level, I hope to use this blog to help people gain their freedom. Its more difficult, because I can’t be there to guide you step by step. Since I can’t do that, I try to motivate and inspire– because if you have strong enough reasons and strong enough motivation, you’ll succeed. I also hope to point you to the sources I used to learn how to gain my own freedom.
The greatest resource you can develop is your knowledge. You must learn voraciously– in all fields of life– including finances and money.
One problem a lot of bohemians & hobopoets have is that they choose to remain willfully ignorant of finances and the way they work. I understand. I hate the big corporate capitalist system and what its done to our society and planet.
On the other hand, I’m not stupid and I don’t believe in denial. Closing your eyes and refusing to learn how things actually work is stupid. Ignoring your finances is stupid.
Refusing to start your own business is likewise stupid. I laugh every time I hear of a self-styled hipster who cynically criticizes the idea of starting a business (ie. business = evil). Yet this same fool thinks nothing of being a wage slave to other people’s businesses- often other people who are totally amoral (or worse).
Slavery isn’t noble. Working for peanuts for another person’s business doesn’t make you an anti-capitalist. Even if you work for a non-profit (as I did for many years) you are still perpetuating systems of control and authority in most cases– and you yourself are still a dependent, child-like wage slave.
Starting your own business means taking responsibility for your life, your principles, your actions. It means being TOTALLY responsible– being the decision maker and accepting the consequences.
It also means FREEDOM…. including the freedom to make a stand based on principle. As a wage slave, you labor for a company which reflects another person’s values (which, in most cases, is driven mostly by greed).
As a business owner, you can: promote favorite causes with your profits, give any percentage you want to charities or political organizations, and make decisions with integrity.
As a dependent wage slave, you usually (be honest): deny responsibility for the company’s evils, complain but do nothing, or sheepishly do nothing because “you need the paycheck”.
Stop being a child. Stop being a slave. Stop making excuses.
Take responsibility– full responsibility– for your life. Stop pretending that your financial life can be segregated off from the rest of your life. It can’t. How you make money is as important to your spirit as which religious rituals you observe.
Will you choose it– or remain passive?
For you, is it freedom…. or is it dependence and slavery?
Since starting my own micro-business, which has since grown well beyond micro, I have learned a lot more about how the economic system works in the US (and most of the world).
And the more I learn, the more I discover how rigged the system is.
In particular, the system is designed to punish and impoverish wage slaves, while doing quite the opposite for business owners and investors.
Taxes are the strongest example. A wage slave is immediately taxed. The government takes your money before you are paid and you never even see 30%+ of it.
After you lose that 30%+, you pay for expenses.
As a business owner (even a micro-business owner 😉 you get all of your income. You then pay expenses. After you pay your expenses, you are taxed on what’s left.
The net result of that simple difference is HUGE. Wage slaves keep a lot less of their income. Even if a wage slave and a micro-business owner have exactly the same income– at the end of the year, the micro-business owner will have a lot more than the wage slave.
If freedom isn’t enough of a reason to start your own micro-business, I hope you’ll be persuaded by the economic benefits of doing so.
The system is rigged and the system will remain rigged for the forseeable future.
You can remain a wage slave and complain about it forever. Or you can take action. Start your own micro-business. Keep more of the income you earn. Enjoy the freedom of being self-reliant– of escaping bosses.
One last note: As the economy continues to come apart, you’ll have a lot more security as a micro-business owner than as an employee. Now is the time to add the extra security of a micro-business (even if you keep your job).