In the fall of 2008, I was 18 and starting my first and last “real job.” A third shift gig at a factory that would hopefully allow me to live comfortably enough while I started college and figured out what I wanted to do with my life.
Day 1 and Day 2 was supervised training. Day 3 I was on my own. The job was as complicated as taking every fourth print from this machine and throwing it away, because the machine misprinted every 4 times. I was very good at this.
Starting on Day 3 we were allowed to listen to music. I took my 64GB iPod Video device, which I’m pretty sure I bought from my sisters boyfriend, who had stolen it. And listened to the Four Hour Workweek Audiobook (which I had pirated, Sorry Tim). By the end of my shift I’d finished the book, and my time at that job, I would never return.
Yes DEAL, yes 80/20 rule, yes overseas freelancing. I learned all that, and I use all of it still, but that’s not what I really got out of the book.
From 4HWW, I learned about a new world (inhabited by the New Rich) that I previously hadn’t known existed. I’d expected that it did. I’d dreamed that it did. I’d known that it must. But I didn’t ever have any real, hard evidence. Tim gave me the definitive proof I needed.
I’d moved to Grand Rapids the day after I graduated from Hastings High School in West Michigan. I’d spent the summer mowing lawns and painting houses for my step mom’s rental properties, while simultaneously interning for free at a real estate investment company (I’d seen an episode of flip this house and new that’s what I wanted to do).
This factory job represented the conservative approach I was taking. I was going to go to community college for 2 years, learn as much as I could outside of class about business and making money, transfer to a 4 year university to complete a bachelor’s degree and then take that and get a good job to start saving money while I work my way into being an entrepreneur through whatever connections I make along the way.
It was actually a surprisingly good plan for me at 18.
Then Tim ruined it. The day I listened to the 4 Hour Workweek Audiobook was both the 3rd day of that job and my first day of college classes. I showed up to class knowing that this place would not be where I would get my education. I’d already gotten it.
“If they can figure it out, I can probably figure it out too. I’m like that.”
That was the feeling that overwhelmed me. 4HWW told me a new world existed, there were people in it, and I was going to be one of them.
It’s been 9 years and a lot of painful mistakes. I’ve embarrassed myself a lot. I’ve cried. I’ve thought about quitting and wished I’d never heard the name Tim Ferriss at times.
I’m pretty sure I made it. Last year my company Pandora Modeling did $3.6MM in sales. This year it’s done more than that. I don’t get to keep all of that. But the small commission left for me at the end of the day gives me a relatively comfortable middle class lifestyle for now and the future looks bright.
I haven’t been rich financially at any point. I’ve never had more than probably $7,000-8,000 in personal funds and even that’s been rare, I usually have $2-3k on hand, no more. But a regular income now means that’s fine because when I spend it another $2-3k will show up in a week or two.
What I have had is an incredible wealth of freedom and time. My business exists on the internet. No physical offices, 100% remote employees. I don’t ever have to be anywhere, so I get to be everywhere. And I have been.
I’ve traveled, a lot! All over the US. Mexico, Jamaica, Colombia. All over Southeast Asia. Bulgaria, Spain, Portugal. Every few months I add a new place to the list, next stop Costa Rica. I’m living full time in Bangkok now, while I get my teeth straightened.
I’ve lived an enviable life so far. Yeah, building and running a company is stressful. Yeah, it’s been a constant grind, with no big paydays, and a persistent feeling of having less cash than desired. Yeah, sometimes I’ve longed for the structure of a traditional, professional life. But I know deep down that this is the only way I could function.
At an extremely formative time in my life where I was getting advice from every angle, Tim shot through like a lighting bolt in the form of a book and gave me exactly what I needed.
“OK. Everyone else stfu. This dude is where I’m getting my advice now.”
And it’s through Tim that I’d be introduced to a lot of other influencers that I’ve taken a lot from. Gary Vee, Kevin Kelly, Rick Rubin, Neil Strauss, to name too few.
I don’t follow Tim as closely these days. I don’t really follow anyone super closely these days. I just work on building my thing. But he gave me the courage to run towards the life I wanted, and for that I’ll be eternally appreciative.
<3 U TF.