Employees rarely become rich.
Investing in a business or owning a business is one of the primary ways people get wealthy. This is no secret. It makes sense.
What’s changed is people are getting over the idea of running a big company with lots of employees and VC investors to keep happy.
It’s just too much stress.
A one-person business can make you anywhere from 6 figures to $2M USD a year. It’s not Hugh Hefner Playboy money … but it’s a damn good life.
How do I know? I built a one-person business that does 7 figures and quit my 9–5 job 2.5 years ago because of it. And I’m thick as a brick.
Here are the sacrifices I had to make (they’ll rip your face off).
1. Your fantasies about what a business is
Starting a business has become as romantic as writing a Jane Austin novel in an off-grid wood cabin while smoking a corn cob pipe.
A business isn’t this glorified thing it used to be.
A business is just a dumb way of saying ‘an entity you run by yourself that collects money and pays you either a salary or a dividend from business profits.’ The entity mostly exists because it’s tax efficient.
A straight employee gets the tax automatically taken out of their salary.
A one-person business owner gets paid by customers and then decides their take-home income and tax bill.
There’s nothing hard about starting a business. You register a company and then start sending invoices or receiving money online through Stripe.
A 5th-grader can do it.
Come to think of it, 5th graders are crushing it on TikTok and making money from it. The key thing to understand is the internet has changed what a business is. Now a business is far more streamlined and run by digital employees known as software and AI.
Light your fantasies about what a business is on fire.
The game has changed. Anyone can be a business owner now. It’s no longer a badge of honor or a title worth mast*rbating over.
2. Your ego
Everyone can start a business.
But they don’t.
Why? Because our ego gets in the way and we’re afraid to admit it or we’re completely unaware. Our ego tells us we’re “experienced” or we’re too good or we should stay at our safe job because one day we’ll be CEO.
Nonsense. Your ego is lying to you.
I didn’t start a business for years because my ego got in the way. It told me I’d fail at business, like I did when I was 26 and walked away from a successful startup.
And when people told me to start another business, I ignored them. I was dead in my head, thinking I knew everything.
High business intelligence is knowing you know nothing.
A successful business is built on the way down through experiments and minimum viable communities (not minimum viable products).
See your ego for what it is — a bullsh*ter. Go beyond the ego.
3. People who say you need to be an “entrepreneur”
This label destroys many one-person businesses before they even start.
It comes from the prestigious colleges that use it to make business sound hard, so average people will spend upwards of 6-figures for an education business to decode it for them.
You don’t need to be an entrepreneur.
It’s a mythical label meant to describe a person who sits in a wall-to-wall glass corner office and dreams up ideas. They’re meant to be left alone so they can think. They’re a superior human.
They’re god’s gift to humankind. All this business stuff they do is supernatural. It’s why people think Mark Suckerberg or WeWork con-man Adam Neumann are superheroes that wear capes.
A business sells something. And anyone can sell anything. Heck, you sold yourself already to get a job, or get married, or have a kid. Business isn’t any different. Sell or be sold.
Don’t let labels define you. Don’t let labels hold you back or make a business goal seem unattainable.
The business world was built by people no smarter than you.
4. Plenty of money
You can start a business for $0.
But you probably won’t. Most of us go all-in on our idea and can’t resist spending money on courses, coaching, and masterminds.
That’s fine. It’s how we learn. A one-person business needs one of two resources: 1) Money 2) Your time.
You invest in either one to get your enterprise off the ground. Trying to start a business with $0 is the tightarse approach.
- It’s slow as hell.
- It rarely works.
Invest in your growth. Skip the line and use money to learn from the best. Why? Because online business models change fast.
If you don’t get around the best one-person businesses, you’ll get left behind and end up running 2001-style affiliate marketing websites that no one visits anymore.
Mantra: spend money to make money.
Investing in a business is one of the best purchases you’ll ever make. It’ll buy you more than a dead-end mortgage, luxury car, or new Apple iPhone ever will. Harsh but true.
5. The idea of a business plan
Rip up the business plan and throw it on the bonfire.
The business world moves so fast now — thanks to AI and the internet — that long-term plans are out the window.
You can’t predict how a business will go or how the market will react. And you sure as hell can’t plan for it. The time you spend planning is better spent executing to see if your business idea has legs.
Otherwise, you wasted your time putting together a Powerpoint for investors that’ll never show up to a meeting with you.
Oh, and a one-person business doesn’t need investors who get h0rny over business plans.
This type of business is self-funded from either your savings or the cash flow of the business already making money and in motion.
6. An overpriced MBA degree
You don’t need it. It’s a giant con.
The 6 figures Harvard wants from you for an MBA is the startup capital needed for your one-person business.
Alternative education is far cheaper. Take a copywriting course or learn to make Youtube videos. It’ll get you further than some dumb MBA full of prestige, elitism, pretentiousness, ego, hot air … and not much else.
(If my 8 month old daughter happens to be reading this in 18 years’ time, yes, I stand by this statement pumpkin pie.)
7. Luxury pleasures bought for status
Status will screw you in the butt if you let it.
It’s what makes people blow their savings on a Tesla or buy some oversized house with a big ass mortgage that they don’t need.
It’s also why people who make some money from an online business blow it on BS, instead of reinvesting it back into the business and growing from 6 figures a year to 7 figures. Don’t do it, it’s a trap.
You don’t need to appear better than anyone else with a Gucci bag or a first-class airline ticket to Hollywood. No one cares. They’re thinking about themselves.
Status is shallow. Wisdom is deep.
And wisdom can come from running a successful one-person business that changes lives and inspires others to chase their dream. But a Lambo only inspires more idiots to exist in the world and go on to start wars.
8. TV time
Netflix is the real epidemic no one’s talking about, not obesity.
A business takes time to start and figure out. If you’re working a job while you make your side hustle into a business, you’ll need every extra minute you can get.
Netflix teaches you to watch other people “doing” things. What’s better is to be doing your own things and making waves in the world.
If you think about it, you probably can’t even remember what you were watching this time last year. That’s because TV is meaningless. It sucks up our time and provides little value in return.
Don’t get fooled.
9. Time with friends
Friends love to go out.
It’s fun to party or have a dinner that lasts 8 hours. In the first year of building a one-person business, you won’t have time for this.
It’s not forever but it is for now.
The first 2 years of my business went fast. I hardly saw friends but I did stay in touch with them by text. They understood. They knew what I was building. Supportive friends won’t hate your business goal.
It’s one reason many of my close friends are business owners. They’re a different breed.
They understand what a business takes to set up and why it’s important. They understand freedom and how a business can create it. If your friends won’t let you build a business, it might be time for new friends.
Starting a business requires a lot of sacrifices and it’s worth it.