What would you be willing to trade or let go of to have Fridays off?
I’m posing this question specifically to the entrepreneurs and those who have direct control over their time, but it also applies to those of you who don't yet have full control of your time at work.
One of the things I learned very quickly as an entrepreneur was that I could work as many or as few hours as I wanted to, but I had to figure out how to balance this with making a certain amount of money.
Generally, the higher my expenses were, the more I had to work.
Of course, if I had a brilliant idea or sold something huge, that was great. As entrepreneurs, we often convince ourselves that we're about to discover the next great thing: something that’s never been seen before and that's going to sell by the truckload. It's great to think like that, and if it happens that's awesome.
But in reality, we’re often faced with the fact that something we tried just didn't turn out the way we wanted, and we didn't make as much money as we thought we were going to.
This brings me back to my initial question: what would you give up, or what are you willing to trade in order to have Fridays off?
Let me give you an example. For years I had a convertible that I loved, and I used it mainly as my beach-mobile, as we had another car. Then one day, it died. At the time, I was still working from home, and my wife wasn’t working as she was raising our kids.
I started thinking, do I really want to get a second car? I only used it to go to the beach, which was about 8 miles away. I figured I could get a nice bike for $500, and see how long I could manage without a second car.
We managed for 3 years! I would ride my bike to the beach when I needed to, and sometimes I used it to run errands too if they weren’t urgent. I saw it as a challenge, and it helped me get exercise, as well as cutting down on costs.
It was a case of math for me. To simplify, let’s I was making $250 a day, after tax, which would be about $5,000 a month. Say a car would cost me $500 a month in tax, gas, insurance and so on. That’s the equivalent of 2 days’ work per month.
My software business is kind of seasonal, so at certain times of year, business would just come in, but at other times of year, I'd really have to stir up business and make stuff happen.
But if I saved $500 a month by not having the second car, then I didn't have to do that. I could take two Fridays off per month, and just go to the beach and play volleyball.
From that perspective, what I want you to do is consider your expenses and see what you really need to create the lifestyle you want.
In my case, I applied that same concept to many of our expenses. For example, we didn't watch much cable TV, we didn't use our gym memberships very often, and lots of other little things.
I'd add them up and try to see where I can assemble $250. It might be $60 here and $80 here, and another $110 there, or even less. Whatever it was, it would all add up to another day that I didn’t have to work.
Ultimately, I still want to make a lot of money. I still go after big projects and exciting leads, but I wanted to make sure my lifestyle was contained within my regular income: that is, the income that was more steady, which I knew I could count on without doing foolish things.
Because I have done foolish things in the past, and I'll share those in some other episodes. Sometimes I was impatient, and I tried to make things happen too fast by leveraging cash, property, or real estate. I ended up getting my butt kicked and actually lost a lot of what I had worked towards. Nowadays, I want to be able to do make money in a steady and sustainable way.
These are not strategies that only apply if you're making $100,000, $200,000, $500,000, even a million dollars a year. These strategies work at all levels, and in fact, the less you’re earning, the more important they are.
When it comes down to it, it’s a matter of prioritizing.
I think of my volleyball buddies, because beach volleyball players have a mindset that's kind of similar to surfers in that, if they're really hardcore, beach volleyball is one of the most important things in their lives.
People ask how they can spend so much time at the beach, and how I can spend so much time at the beach. I always tell them that’s what we’ve chosen. Some of us make good money and some don’t, but for all of us, it’s the lifestyle that comes first. I don’t have a fancy car—my car is 10 years old. I live in a decent house, but I’ve chosen to give up other things, and that’s the choice I've made.
Sometimes people ask me what the key to staying married is. I always tell them that the key is making that choice every single day, choosing to do everything you can to contribute to the other person's happiness, regardless of whether they have contributed to yours in that day.
In that sense, a lot of the 4-day work week journey is a choice. I invite you to consider: what would you trade? What's not as important to you?
I understand that some people like their designer clothes and their fancy cars, and they don’t want to give them up. Maybe you have to work 80 hours a week, and in that case, it’s fair enough that you want to spend that money on things that you enjoy.
But what if the initial premise changes, and you didn’t have to work 80 hours a week? Would that extra time off work make it worth having a slightly less fancy car?
To put it another way, if the things you buy—it could be the car, the house, the clothes, the lifestyle—are keeping you working 80 hours a week, are they really worth it?
I hope you found this post helpful. If you go to 4dayworkweek.com/tools, you'll see this episode relates to one of the tools that's on there, called What are the things you'd give up or trade to have Fridays off? This tool helps you to plan it out, and even has an inbuilt calculator to help you add up the money and time you’d be saving.
I’m here to do whatever I can to help you create a 4-day work week lifestyle for you and your loved ones and the people around you. If you have any questions or have any suggestions on how I can better help you, let me know.
As always, I look forward to helping you Make More Money… In Less Time, Doing What You Do Best, so you can create the lifestyle you most desire for you, your loved ones, your friends, and your family.
P.S. - Don't forget to get the Time to Money Investment Converter to see how you could create more free time.
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