We all want to live richly. I’d like to discuss that goal for a moment:
Living richly means a life full of riches: Friends, love and health, a life with the freedom to express yourself. But having riches also implies having the means to care for your friends and family, and to do those things you want to do. That’s the game we play. The sad truth is that our world construes living richly into being rich, and tells us the way to get that is to spend a good majority of your life with your nose to the grindstone, working to amass a reserve of cash.
Let’s just get a million dollars in the bank…
Then we can live off our money and not have to worry about it. Great! Except that picking this end game, a number to work towards, isn’t practical. The amount of money you bring home is limited by the amount of time you put in and, if you are anything like most people, you’re always going to strive for more. Entrepreneur or not, you’re likely to get stuck working endlessly– just the same as the 9 to 5 you’re trying to avoid. Either way, you still lose your time and your freedom to money.
I implore you to change your tactic. Instead of pursuing more money, seek to make money easier to get. Instead of accumulating money, seek to out-equate the money altogether. Make the restraints money normally places on your life meaningless, so that you can — safely, from a position of relative financial security — care for your family, your friends and yourself without sacrificing all your time in its pursuit.
What you need is a Money Machine.
What’s that, you ask? Why, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a machine that gives you money, everybody needs one!
A printing press might work, for example, but you’ll run into trouble with the Feds. Follow, instead, that your Money Machine is not exactly a machine, but simply a construct — a system you’ve organized and put into place to provide you with money, while requiring little to no interference from you. A Money Machine.
What does a money machine look like? Well, let’s travel to last Friday night. My friend Simon just got back from backpacking around Southeast Asia and he brought a lot of stories. He was gone for a good while, but Simon didn’t seem phased by the cost of traveling like this. He didn’t need to, because he had his machine working in the background to provide for him.
Simon’s a smart guy. A while back he was accepted into the Fulbright grant, very prestigious, and has since been able to use his standing with Fulbright to get other grants, earning awards he can use to pay his way around the world. With the low cost of living in the remote places he passed through, Simon was more than taken care of while he was away.
Your Money Machine is fueled by your creativity, not your time.
And that’s the end goal: it provides for you while you enjoy life, as long as you give it the occasional tune-up or up-grade. Outside of those tweaks, it should be relatively self-sufficient.
Of course, like Simon, your first machine isn’t going to do much to help you buy a house or raise a family — but it doesn’t need to. What it does do is open up more of your time so that, when you choose to work, you’re free from the financial burden of day to day financing. You can be more creative and focus your energy on building your next machine that will take you further down your path in life.
Is your end game one that requires you to sacrifice too much of your time in exchange for money, or are you planning on stepping outside the system, to invest your time building your own money machine?
If you have one already, post a comment and share the inspiration with someone else!
Update Monday, August 3, 2009:
I think of my business as a money machine, it keeps me focused on my endgame: a sustainable, secure future with work eating up as little of my time as possible. I talked about this in a recent letter with my friend Seth, putting it in a nutshell:
I basically want to have as much of it automated as possible, and work with a loose knit group of people to take care of it, and who also sustain a mobile, paid lifestyle off the machine. So I’d, in a way, I guess I’d have this machine that just dumped money into my bank account.
I joke with my brother that I’m going to have a card that gets me what ever I want, and a pocket of cash for everything else.
Yea I wish, right?
But part of what I do for you — if you’re a landlord — is accept rent online, directly into your bank account. You get paid regularly, automatically and always on time. The system I’m using that does that also handles the subscription fee’s that come to me.
So technically, there will actually be a machine running, in a warehouse somewhere, that reliably puts money in my account.
That’s the machine I want people to be building.
Jordan Feldstein is a friend to all, lover to few, who hopes his writing shows people what’s within reach when you’re willing to think and operate outside the norm. He believes that education should be used to open minds not train workers, that technology should simplify life and that music can free the soul. Now building his second company, Jordan is waiting to turn 21 to have a beer with you.