Break the Habit & Cut the Safety Net

by / ⠀Personal Finance / November 16, 2013


I read an article a while back that did a psychological profiled middle income Americans and wealthy Americans. The goal of the study was to find out the why. Why are some people stuck in the middle class? Why is it that some people are content with mediocrity? The one thing that this study had found is that people with money believed that you do not need money to make money; whereas people in the middle class felt that they had to have the money first to invest, in so being, were continually saving and never felt that they were secure enough to take a risk.

 “A paycheck is nothing more than a highly addictive drug”

After I began work for myself, my uncle (a well established entrepreneur and professor) gave me this little quip. I began thinking about that; and it is really true. The hardest thing to do is walk away from security. A paycheck is security, and making the leap to self-employment means taking a big risk.

“Do it while you’re young”

My father really encouraged me through the whole process of starting my own business. (My father began his journey as an entrepreneur in his forties, after years of making other people rich.  He always mused about his wishing he had started younger.) This was great advice.

Taking the leap to not having a paycheck is tough.  Going back to the profile of wealthy Americans: when are you truly ready to take the risk? I am not married, have no kids, and rent my home. Why are these factors important?

  1. I do not have a mouth to feed other than my own (I am completely okay with having to eat a steady diet of cup of noodles and white bread).
  2. I do not need to save for college, pay for additional healthcare, or any of the added costs of marriage or child rearing.
  3. I am not tied down to a mortgage. Making those monthly payments is tough; and having a low monthly personal overhead is key to surviving your upstart.  If you go belly up, you have years of work ahead of you: so why not?

Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life -confucius

If you are on this site, and run a small business, thinking about starting a company, then you know this quote.  I absolutely love what I do. I am up every morning at the break of dawn to do accounting, sales, and marketing. I work everyday of the week in the field and in the office. I put in 16-hour days regularly (my girlfriend hates this!), but never complain about it. Why? I really love what I am doing.  I have been relatively successful; and 100% attribute this to my passion. I never ‘work’, I am consistently excited to tackle new jobs, and this carries over to my interactions with customers. They see how excited I am, and how dedicated I am; and in turn they trust me. This is such a simple concept. If you are passionate, put in the hours, and truly believe in what you are doing, your chance of failure (pretty common in the world of small business ownership) drops to nil.

The hardest leap in starting and running your own business is to break the habit. Cut the safety net, rehab from your paycheck. Start young; don’t delay because you think you are not ‘there’ yet.  Your youth is your biggest asset, you will be taking far less of a risk if you begin young. Be passionate; be energetic; and you will be fine.  That is all I have for now, but as I sit here on a Sunday morning, musing about work over my keyboard, I cannot wait to get started on the week.

John Leinberger runs a small construction firm in the DC metro area ( He spends his time working. He also likes to play Halo, and he is really good at it.

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About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.