A day job is the easiest way for the majority to make money
I know it’s very fashionable these days to want to be an entrepreneur or freelancer and not have to work for the man. But you know what, sometimes working for the man is the best option.
I see so many people out there that could make a nice life for themselves with the right 9–5 job. But what do they do instead? They tinker around with being an entrepreneur, a solopreneur, a freelancer, or a self-employed worker.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with any of those options. I’m a solopreneur myself. I love it. I have recommended it to many people. I also know many others that have made a great success of it.
But that doesn’t mean it will work for everyone.
For a start, it depends on what your goals in life are. You do have goals, right? If you don’t, I’d suggest you start there. If you don’t know what your destination is, how can you plan your route?
If I’m a solopreneur, why did I get a day job?
The answer is very easy. From my early 30s, my goal was to become financially free as soon as possible. ng, but I don’t want to feel like I have to work. I also have other interests in life and want to have enough time off to pursue them.
I didn’t strive for financial freedom because I don’t want to work. I like working.
I started in debt
With that in mind, I had to figure out a way to get there. I could have become a solopreneur, but I didn’t think that was enough to get me there. I left university with a small amount of debt. I had rent to pay. I didn’t have any side hustles at the time. My only option was to get a job.
After university, I started as a trainee programmer. The money was good. Those further ahead in their careers were earning excellent money. If they could, then surely I could as well.
My 9–5 was my strong foundation
From that point onward, I decided that my 9–5 would be my main vehicle to help get me to my destination. It was the best way I could see at the time to get me to my destination.
I set aside part of my salary for various investments. These were mainly in property. With this alone, I would have reached financial freedom.
Once I was comfortably moving ahead, I decided to try to speed up the process by building various side hustles. Some worked very well and some failed spectacularly.
My various side hustles that accelerated my journey
I’ve built a successful ecommerce store, helped others build theirs, built countless AdSense websites that I sold on flippa.com, written 8 books, sold flowers (as a 9-year-old), worked as a VA, taken various part-time jobs, run a travel blog, and lots more.
I’ve also had plenty of time (and money) to travel quite extensively.
But what if I’d decided not to work for the man?
I honestly think I’d be living in poverty right now. All the money I made from my side hustles is a small fraction of my main 9–5 income over the years.
I would have been living no-paycheck-to-no-paycheck. It would have been a terrible experience.
Stuck in a foreign country with a child and no money — at Christmas time
I was once a member of a digital nomad Facebook group. I can still clearly remember a story from one woman in the group. She was a single mother that lived in Thailand with her young daughter. She had various freelance gigs that kept her going but she rarely had any spare cash. It sounded like a tough life.
A few days before Christmas one year, she asked the group if anyone could lend her some money. She had a client that was due to pay her around $500 but was late paying. She thought the client had already left for the holiday period, so she likely wouldn’t be paid until January. She sounded desperate.
She was broke. She had planned to buy food for the holiday period and presents for her child from the $500 she was owed. Instead, she was broke in a foreign country with a child to look after.
You may think that is just one person that didn’t plan properly. But you should have seen all the replies she got. They were almost all from people in similar situations. They weren’t as bad as hers, but they didn’t sound great. There wasn’t anyone who seemed to be making a decent living.
Yet these people had skills that would be valuable to an employer back home. They could have built a great career. But they didn’t want to work for the man. They didn’t want anyone telling them what to do. Working for the man is so bad that they’d rather starve in a foreign country. Seriously!
This is the attitude that I don’t understand. To me, it just looks like a lack of work ethic mixed in with a selfish attitude.
I’m not saying that this applies to all solopreneurs. I know people that are pulling in $10,000 to $20,000 a month. They treat their projects like real businesses, which they are. They started them because they made sense. They weren’t running away from a 9–5 job. In fact, almost all of them had successful 9–5 careers before starting their own businesses.
The point I’m making is that you shouldn’t dismiss a 9–5 job out of hand if all you’ve got to replace it is some part-time work with zero savings. At least build up an emergency fund first. You can’t live on hope. You can’t pay the rent with hope.
If you go take a look at the entrepreneur subreddit, you’ll see similar stories. It’s full of (mostly) young men that hate their jobs and want to stick it to the man. They have zero savings and announce that they have just quit their job. They will never work as an employee ever again. It’s not for them. No one understands them, they say.
You wouldn’t believe how many upvotes a comment like that gets. It seems there are thousands of like-minded young men who think like this. Usually, the person involved is going to sell some print-on-demand t-shirts, cut lawns, or do power-washing. Lord, help them.
They are back a week or two later asking how they can get their first client. Some are living in their cars. Some are back at their parents’ houses. They are ruining their lives.
From what I read, it seems almost all of them would do better if they just stuck to their 9–5 job. The mistake they are making is assuming that all 9–5 jobs are just like the bad one they have at the moment. Often, it appears to be the first job they’ve had in their lives.
Pointing out the obvious
A few people do point out the obvious, but these people just don’t want to listen. The obvious being that they should look for a better 9–5 job, build a career and build some side hustles alongside their 9–5.
If any side hustle earns them a full-time salary, maybe they can think about quitting their job. But not before then
Another point that they miss is that a 9–5 plus a side hustle can get you further ahead on your journey much more quickly. A side hustle on its own is usually the road to ruin for most people.
If you have zero savings, it’s super stressful to try to earn a full-time salary from day 1. This is what most try to do.
How can you focus on work when your rent is due, you’re out of food and you have $5 left to your name?
For me, I managed to reach financial independence because my 9–5 provide a steady income. It was my strong foundation. My side hustles were bonuses that boosted my journey.
You can move ahead very quickly if you have both.
You can still move ahead if you have a well-paid 9–5.
It’s not common for those that refuse to get a 9–5 job to make it with just a few side hustles. I’m not saying it’s impossible. But it’s stacking the odds against you.
In life, you want the odds to be in your favor. It’s exhausting to keep fighting against the tide. Go with the flow, not against it. If you need a day job to earn a regular salary, just suck it up. We’ve all been there.