Entrepreneur Beginners Guide
“Make Money While Doing Nothing”
$1,000,000 in the bank isn’t the fantasy. The fantasy is the lifestyle of complete freedom it supposedly allows.
—Timothy Ferriss, author, The 4-Hour Workweek
In the 1200s, the Third Council of the Lateran, a group of Christian bishops, declared that anyone who charged and accepted interest on a loan would be denied sacraments and Christian burial. Usury was eventually determined a heresy and outlawed, relegating the practice to Jews, whose holy law, the Torah, allowed them to loan to non-Jews. Christian leaders and their followers strongly believed that charging interest on a loan was an abomination to God. Their reasoning was based on the Holy Bible and the interpretation of relevant passages by contemporary scholars. Many reasons were given, but one is especially noteworthy: They believed that labor without the expenditure of energy was a sin.
Times have certainly changed, but disdain for those who gain wealth from inheriting money, charging interest, or making effortless deals still manifests itself whether through Occupy Wall Street protests or petty gossip. The average person, especially one who labors physically, abhors the idea of people amassing wealth by doing nothing. It goes against the good ol’ Protestant work ethic on which the United States was built. The idea, often fueled by in-tense jealousy, makes many people quite uncomfortable.
I never thought I would be on the receiving end of such aversion and jealousy. Recently, during the planning of an extended family vacation, a disgruntled family member commented, “I can’t go on vacation that long! Everybody can’t be like Kevin.” When I heard this, I was shocked. Apparently, because my income doesn’t depend on me working in the traditional sense, I was the object of ridicule. I kept quiet. Dealing with such things is a small price to pay. It’s certainly not as bad as actually having to work for income or being denied a proper burial.
The reactions of people throughout history and in my own experience are understandable. Entrepreneurs who have figured out how to make money while doing nothing have reached the upper echelon of entrepreneurship. These overachievers have mastered the strategies that allow them to reach this level, which is where all of us want to be, and it is a major accomplishment. Having a profitable business that can run well without you is true freedom.
But what is meant by “doing nothing”? In my opinion, the term isn’t so absolute. For simplicity, I’ll use the term popularized by a best-selling book of the same name. If your business can run while you enjoy The 4-Hour Workweek or less,’ then you fall into the doing-nothing category. By the way, the work that goes into setting up a business that runs without its founder is often overlooked. “Doing nothing” disregards the work the entrepreneur put in beforehand. For example, it took me years of trial and error and diligent work to master the concepts needed to be free.
So what strategies can carry you to this high level of entrepreneurship? In a nutshell, the strategies—already covered in this book—are removing yourself, your business, building systems that are not people-dependent, automating activities using technology, and outsourcing to the right partners. These suggestions certainly aren’t comprehensive, and you don’t have to employ all of them in any order, but they provide a general idea of the type of thinking that will get you to independence. I expand on these concepts in other parts of this book.
Drawing profits from one business while starting the next is a great feeling. That’s the life of an entrepreneur’s entrepreneur. In fact, as I write this, PayPal sent me a Notification of Payment Received for one of my businesses. How apropos!
I failed to mention something earlier. I have a very different definition of working. Instead of being stuck in an office, I would much prefer that my workday be like a recent excursion with a client. We went on a safari in Nairobi, Kenya, and walked the beach with camels in Mombasa, Kenya. During the trip, I was able to check my financial dashboards every now and then on my mobile. That’s my idea of work.