How I (more or less) Became Financially Independent

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Bill Collier- Financial independence isn’t necessarily based on how much money one makes. One may be wealthier or poorer and yet financially independent. Financial independence is having more than enough means to meet your ends without depending on people or systems that grate against your values or that aren’t aligned with and supportive of your goals and dreams.

If you become financially independent, you don’t have to compromise your dreams and goals, or values, to stay alive. You don’t have to work for crap bosses or put up with organizations that demand you conpromise, or at least shut your face about, your own beliefs and values.

The path to financial independence looks somewhat different for everyone and, depending on your dreams, may be wildly different in terms of income goals.

In my case, the base overhead to produce a network of websites and other social media properties as well as to care for me and especially care for my wife is sometimes as much a month as most median annual individual incomes. But, on the other hand, my revenue comes from multiple sources, none of which compromise my beliefs or values or make unreasonable demands, because I can choose my clients and partners, and I do.

My relative income/wealth isn’t what makes me independent. If my needs and overhead were, say, only $4000 per month and I earned $5000 per month from sources that I felt aligned with my values and dreams, then I could claim financial independence as much as anyone else, regardless of income.

The trick to financial independence for my comes down to a few things:

1. Be deliberate about who and what you connect to in order to gain income: work in phases if you have to until all sources of income that don’t align with your values and dreams are replaced, but be intentional and ruthlessly disciplined about it

2. Reduce costs to below income by any means you can

3. Assess things like type of work/clientel and even physical location, educational or certification requirements, and etc that will increase your market value as well as your pool of potential freindly/compatible income or revenue sources

4. Unfortunately, financial independence is complicated, it’s rarely super simpme and straightforward and requires a constant juggling of factors and people/entities in relation to yourself: take each element down to its simple component and then, when you master that, begin juggling the other ball until you have mastered them all

5. Being connected to people is vital, if you can’t talk to people and be connect to them, and therefore invest in them, then your options for financially gain will be much lower: only rarely can a relative recluse go from financial dependency to independence,  though some become more a recluse after gaining success

There are many other things as well. To say “it’s all about X” is a statement either made by snake oil salespeople or by simple-minded people who don’t know any better.

One way I learned this was in insurance sales where your pay was the result of a balance of factors including appointments made, number of sits, closing rate, dollar amount per sale, overall weekly sales, retention of existing customers, referals, and arrears. All required some form of management and special skills to keep that ball up in the air.

This taught me that financial independence would be more like a ven diagram of factors and how I managed them and connected them than some simple formula of low dimensionality. I am sorry to say, unless you catch lightning in a bottle, financial independence is the management of multiple inputs and outputs and sometimes competing interests and seemingly contradictory principles and rules. It isn’t simple or easy or everyone would obtain it.

Having said that, it is not outside most people’s reach, all things considered, and rhe relative skills needed for these multiple factors and conditions one must manage are not beyond most people.

I suspect that a book on how to become financially independent would be problematic because there can be vastly different factors or mixes of factors depending on your own disposition and talents and the field you engage in to gain income. These five core factors, I propose, are almost always in some combination necessary to master. Perhaps it is better in the general to review something broader like how to make your calling your career, how to manage for income and expenses, and how to maintain proper boundaries that respect your dignity and inherent spiritual sovereignty. Beyond that, perhaps it is best to focus on learning from the most successful and consistent people in your field, preferring those whose values you support more over those whose values you do not support.

I guess that’s factor 6: always be investing in learning and growing and, while you do so, have mutual accountability with fellow travelers you can trust to help you spot flaws, opportunities, and hacks. I still learn and study marketing and other skills and methods related thereto all the time, I surround myself with people who succeed here and then compare notes in a rather open and transparent manner.

Finally, perhaps factor 7, always be open both to more advanced/mature people mentoring you and to mentoring others who are not as far along. Genuinely help and teach others and genuinely let others teach and help you in a spirit of collegial unity.

Again, being relational and connected to others seems to me to be the strongest element in how I went from abject dependency, where I wasn’t even the main breadwinner, to relative financial independence without having to compromise my values and dreams to anyone else. I won’t make an absolute claim, but I propose and strongly suspect that being relational is in general the leading factor in obtaining financial independence.

Being choosy about who you are in relationship with based on shared values, integrity, mutuality that is open and caring, and honesty as well as mutual care for one another’s success, happiness, and welfare is, to my mind, the absolute strongest factor here.

I ruthlessly (I use this word a lot) weed out bad actors, negative influences, and soul and money sucking people from my life. People who aren’t for me may get my charity and concern without condition, but they aren’t in my inner circle, which probably includes a good 30 people and is much larger than most people’s inner circles.

Which brings me to how I built my inner circle: I seek out good people with proven track records and/or with great potential and practically “court” them to be friends and partners. I did this because I like having friends, not so I could have a network of referrals! But the result has been both a network of referals, opportunities to help others who deserve and will use my help wisely, and a pool of resources and knowledge that always give me an edge.

Recently I got a quickie gig worth thousands of dollars because someone in my inner circle actually had a rare skill that made me and all I offer more valuable. But I didn’t welcome this person into my inner circle for financial reasons: the gold ring is the relationship itself, it is the end, not the means.

I also do something others rarely seem to do, but that all of my inner circle do: I connect people connected to me with each other and encourage them to work and collaborate together independently of me. I literally introduce them and in many cases they build their own relationships. This also draws more people into my space who become connected to or network with me.

Because of this I have had many weeks where someone in my inner circle will either refer a client/project or have a project that makes the difference between a zero dollar week and a thousands of dollars week! I have also done the same for people in my inner cirlce and always look for ways to include, partner, refer, or collaborate for mutual profit, more for the relationship than the financial gain.

So, if I could teach anything it might be:

1. How to find the inner push of your life or God’s unique scroll of destiny and purpose snd how to align this with such things as your existing skills, market demands, needed education and/or certification, and phases and steps toward your goal

2. How to build an inner circle of trusted people who care for your success as much as their own and who share your values while being supportive of your dreams and goals

3. How to balance the factors that make one a success with your time and relationships, in a healthy way that doesn’t sacrifice your soul to the alter of riches

4. How to intentionally control your social diagram to find and use right principles and precepts while working in a layered process over time to align your beliefs, thinking, actions, relationships, and etc ever more with your own beliefs, values, convictions, and goals

These are things I do consciously and deliberately and that I never cease to explore, just as I accept and welcome ongoing challenges to my thinking to ensure I am in fact following the best possible course.

I am not where I want to be in order to fully finance my dreams and goals which, in my case, require millions of dollars at some point. But for many years, with some downturns and various crises thrown in the mix, I have tended to balance my resources and time to wit I could safely earn a living while doing what I love and mostly not suffering lack. Again, not that in the past fifteen years I haven’t had some setbacks or crises or needed financial help, which came from my inner circle.

I think I could professionally coach people or teach a course that would enable and equip people in such a way as to increase their chances of obtaining financial independence from highly unlikely to probable and highly likely if they took on board what was imparted to them. I am not sure I want to do that, beyond writing content that might illuminate people’s mind to the subject. I can certainly lead others to where I am even as I am led by others to go ever further and, if I had a master class or club or whatever following my advice/teaching, I could then impart that to them.

Having said that, I am always suspicious of those whose financial success comes more from “teaching” financial success than from things they did before they taught it.

Financial independence isn’t easy and demands a complex management of seemingly contradictory factors, but the biggest factor is a network of dozens of relationships with people who are solid, whose values you share, and who are genuinely as much for you as you are for them.

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