How to have the freedom and flexibility to live the life you want.
Hello push-back, hello skepticism. You don’t want to read this post. You don’t want to like it. You don’t want to have your aspirations tugged at with promises the author can’t keep.
And that’s fair, because too often, that’s the story of the web. Big promises, big disappointments, and a whole-lot of self-interested voices.
You’re ready for me to tell you about my six figure income; how I got there, and how you can too. Hey — I might even offer you a discount on my $99 eBook.
Unfortunately, I’m not earning six figures, and I don’t have an eBook. I don’t have any landing pages replete with bright-red lettering and enthusiastic testimonials from people who may or may not exist.
I don’t have a product, or an agenda, aside from describing the journey I’m on to transform my life.
Like many of us, I hope to do that by transforming my income. Best of all, I think I’ve got it figured out — and I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you.
Deconstructing six figures
Pipe-dream? I don’t think so. The idea itself sounds unassailable, of course. Some people are made to be well-off, while others are ordinary.
The six-figure earners have ideas that we don’t have. They’re entrepreneurs with money to buy their dreams. The list of assumptions grows ever-longer.
I started to believe these assumptions might be false when my line of work brought me into contact with a slew of six figure earners. I waited for the big idea, and the secret qualities I didn’t have.
Instead, I found the stark differences I’d expected simply weren’t there. They were about as smart as everyone else. They worked about as much (sometimes less, because they didn’t need to). They had just as many ideas.
There was one stark difference, however–something I found to be common across most of the people I talked to. They were pragmatic in their approach to big goals.
They filled the space we usually leave empty (the conceptual gap between where we are and where we’d love to be) with stepping stones.
They built their own staircase of smaller goals, stacked on top of each other, to go from here to there. They had deconstructed six figures.
Why a six figure target?
Earning six figures is not a self-evident good. However, it’s a figure that, to many of us, represents freedom and comfortable living, but certainly not luxurious living, and certainly not extravagant living (until you start to venture higher up in the six-figure order, at least).
This article uses the lower six figures as an example, but many of its principals could be expanded to reach even higher income ranges, if that’s what you would require to meet your goals.
For some of you, your goals may be a round-trip around the world, owning your favorite car, or living in Paris.
For others, you might desire a house large enough to truly accommodate your family, to send your children to college and then help them financially throughout their lives, and to take a second honeymoon.
The reason I mainly discuss income rather than goals in this article is because every person has radically different goals, but increasing your income can help you to achieve many of them.
Here’s what it means to earn six figures:
You work fifty weeks a year, 40 hours a week, at $50 an hour.
You work fifty weeks a year, 80 hours a week, at $25 an hour.
There are many more combinations of hours and prices, but let’s kill #2 straight away. It makes me uneasy. I hope it makes you uneasy too.
This (very basic) mathematical deconstruction of six figures reveals two things: doubling your hours will get you there, but that’s not a viable option. Six figures has no value if you’re working that much.
Secondly, that we need to be paid significantly more for the hours we work, with a minimum being $50 an hour, 40 hours a week. Alternately, we might be paid more per hour and work less.
The next practical step: find a way to earn an average of at least $50 per hour worked.
‘Finding a way’ does not include meaningful glances at your boss when raise time comes around. Raises are only going to take you so far, and I don’t think your financial future should rest in the hands of one person–that person not being you.
You have two concrete options: do what’s necessary to find work that can be billed at $50+ an hour, or supplement your existing work with high-paying, time minimal work (no more than ten hours per week).
Just like we deconstructed six figures, we’re going to deconstruct both of these goals into a series of pragmatic steps and choices.