I don’t think I’m employable any more

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I realized I had a problem when I was thinking of taking a 2-week vacation years ago. I started to get really mad just THINKING about how the conversation was going to go with my boss.

This was all in my head:

Ramit: “I’m planning to take a 2-week vacation at the end of June. I’ll make sure all my projects are handed off to the right people.”

Boss: “What? 2 weeks?”

Ramit: “Um, yes”

Boss: (Starts listing reasons I can’t go): “Two weeks is a really long time…” “Aren’t you over your vacation time this year?” “We need you here in June. Maybe later this year.”

Ramit: “WHAT THE FUCK” (throws mug on the floor)

At that point, I realized I was not really a good employee any more.

I know, I know. We don’t all concoct grandiose conversations in our heads. (My favorite fantasy conversation always takes place at Subway — I think because the sandwich makers are always FOB Indian guys — where I see a really mean customer being rude to them, and I dispatch a devastating response. The rude customer shrinks away and the rest of people in line start cheering. I am given a free sandwich.)

Fine, I admit it. This isn’t normal. But how many of us have thought about the drudgery of working in our same jobs for the next 30 years?

Of punching a 9-to-5 (or worse) clock while furtively counting up our glacially accruing vacation days?

And of the relief of taking a few days off a year — only to start dreading the return to work?

Over the last few emails, we’ve been talking about our huge bucket list goals. Now that I run my own business, one of my favorite things is the FLEXIBILITY to set my own schedule.

Here’s a screenshot of me planning a lunch at 3pm on a weekday:

lunchtext

When I was first thinking of starting an online business, I had no idea what it really meant. Now that I’ve been running one for nearly 10 years, I can appreciate the way it lets me live a rich life.

For example:

  • I can work from my apartment in SF or stay in NYC (usually, once I detect the first hint of sweat on my body, I immediately fly to SF)
  • I can take impromptu trips to see college friends around the country
  • I never have to worry about buying appetizers or taking a taxi. If I want to do it, I can

Of those 3, that last point is the most interesting to me. When I was a young and stupid idiot, first thinking of being a “successful entrepreneur,” I had delusional ideas that it would be all about walking into a car dealership, pointing at a car, and buying it with cash. God, kill me.

Living a rich life isn’t just about once-in-a-lifetime, black-carpet events.

The truth is, a rich life is lived in the minor decisions you make on a daily basis. If my parents want to come visit me, I can afford to send them tickets and upgrade their seats so they can sleep better. If you want to outsource some of your work to a cleaning person, you can. And If you want to get more fit, you can hire a personal trainer (and schedule your workouts any time of the day).

trainerscheduleA recent email from my assistant.
.

It’s about the FREEDOM to decide what you want to do, without having to worry about clocking in or saving $8 on an appetizer.

Sure, everyone is nodding their heads now. Freedom sounds great! But most of us never get beyond the conversations-in-our heads…because we’re afraid of what might happen if we try something new.

But when I first tried to start something online, I was petrified. Will anyone buy this from me? What if they call me a sellout? How do I even come up with an idea?

I went through each of these things. And guess what — each of my fears was TRUE. People DID call me a sellout. They told me I was stupid, nobody would ever read me, and (delusionally) that my eyebrows were ugly.

Once I learned how to turn my own skills into a successful online business, they faded away. It’s like a burglar casing a house — if they see you lock your door and set the alarm, they’re going to move onto an easier target.

If I had let my fears control me, I would be sitting at a cubicle, scheming about another angry conversation I was going to have for TWO WEEKS of vacation. Ugh.

Guys, we all have these fears — fears of not having an idea, of not being good enough to start something unconventional, fears of selling ourselves. EVERYONE HAS THEM. The difference is, some people let those fears control them like a vise around their necks. And other people say, “You know what? Maybe I’m right. Maybe I’m wrong. Who knows? I’m going to test those fears and try something new. If it doesn’t work, all I’ve lost is a couple months. But if it works…my life will be totally different.”

Let me show you how I deal with my fears (yes, even I have them) about building an online business. I tell you all about it in a new 8-minute video.

Risk taking: Why you need to put yourself out there:

PS – Reminder: Next Tuesday, join me for a live presentation: How to Break Free From the 9-5 with a Successful Online Business.

You’ll learn:

  • The 4 common traps to making money online (and how to avoid them)
  • 3 counterintuitive truths no one else tells you about starting an online business
  • How to find an idea that will actually make money from the start– saving years of wasted time and money

Here are the details:

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24 Comments

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  1. Great timing for this post. Just back from vaca and everything you described went on in my head (before/during the trip).

    I’ve got to learn how to use my skills to earn my own money, not money for someone else.

  2. I once thought that as soon as I realized “I don’t think I’m employable anymore”, the heavens would open up and I’d finally be a bad-ass entrepreneur like i knew that I’d deserved to be.

    Three years after I had that realization, I’m only just beginning to understand that I can move past the fear and begin to offer people the value that is myself and my business. It’s crazy how entitled I felt, and how far away I was from providing people with real value.

    Thanks for this video! It’s another incredibly helpful way that you’re helping us all move forward.

  3. Great video, Ramit. Thanks for the encouragement as per usual.

    Also–wait wait wait. Not everyone concocts grandiose conversations in their heads? I do NOT buy that.

  4. Wow, Ramit. I have thought every single one of those thoughts and felt every single fear you mentioned. Thank you so much for dispelling the myths & letting me know I’m not alone. (I loved the “throwing stones at a castle” part the best!)

  5. “Living a rich life isn’t just about once-in-a-lifetime, black-carpet events.

    The truth is, a rich life is lived in the minor decisions you make on a daily basis. If my parents want to come visit me, I can afford to send them tickets and upgrade their seats so they can sleep better. If you want to outsource some of your work to a cleaning person, you can. And If you want to get more fit, you can hire a personal trainer (and schedule your workouts any time of the day).”

    Love, love, love this!!!

    Regarding getting past fears of selling yourself/your company, I’ve found the following helpful.

    When meeting with both prospects and partners, I now focus on one simple thing: how can I help the other person.

    Sounds simple but this is a game-changer.

    This avoids the sleazy aspect of sales, and the fear of being found lacking. It turns the meeting into a conversation where you both explore whether the situation will be a good fit and drive value for both of you.

    Much more fun, much less pressure, and a much more successful approach, at least for me.

  6. One thing I love about NZ is our approach to this kind of thing. I’ve never had any issue with taking my time off at any of my jobs and it makes me sad the same isn’t true for my American friends.

  7. Ramit, I just wanted to give props for this post. I’ve been working through your material for the past three years. I’ve watched my life change dramatically for the better.

    I negotiated three salary increases, the last two were 20-25% of my salary at the time of the negotiation. Prior to your material, I didn’t negotiate anything.

    In March, I transitioned out of my job. There are times that I’m terrified about doing this . . . and last week I spent more time with my niece and nephew than I would have in an entire year. That’s more important to me than money, and the money has gotten better — if a little less predictable, too. While I was doing it, I picked up another potential client at a rate that’s 4 times what I used to be working at.

    The risk part is kind of scary, but what I realized is that everything’s a risk. Might as well do things that have the potential to make me happy. Working late for a boss who didn’t appreciate me? Yes, I got a steady paycheck, but there was risk involved with it — the business could close, my boss could die. I’m better off creating my own future.

    Thanks for what you do!

  8. I have those same mental inner conversations too, they always end with me wanting to kick something

  9. “The truth is, a rich life is lived in the minor decisions you make on a daily basis. If my parents want to come visit me, I can afford to send them tickets and upgrade their seats so they can sleep better. If you want to outsource some of your work to a cleaning person, you can. And If you want to get more fit, you can hire a personal trainer (and schedule your workouts any time of the day).” – This is so true.

    Some people might think of me as crazy for saying this but I would feel like it’s a major win for me to have a years supply worth of soap in my closet and months supply of toilet paper because what that means for me is I don’t have to think about a ridiculous triviality such as soap and toilet paper, it one more thing I don’t have to remember to buy. Or having my phone bill or car insurance paid for the entire year, once again one less thing to think about and it would allow me to focus on so much more important things that I actually care about.

  10. Why is the conversation always about fear?

  11. Awesome video….
    Loved your line: It’s about the FREEDOM to decide what you want to do, without having to worry about clocking in or saving $8 on an appetizer.

  12. i f***** love your eyebrows.

  13. I couldn’t agree more! FREEDOM to decide! I love the idea of FI. I cant wait to get there, I have a chart in my closet that shows my path to 1 million invested assets, Im pretty much just at the beginning but cant wait!!

  14. Just wanted to say:”Ramit, you are a genius!!! very inspiring!! and on the video you sound so sure and confidence, like your talking from your inner truth!!”
    I’d like to add, from my experience, when I worked on my own project (just for 2 month with no day job…) It was amazing!! not only because the freedom you are talking about, but also the fun and excitement to work on something you really want!
    I knew I did something truly great (still working on it after 8 o’clock at the evening…) because I felt it! in a gut feeling! I had fun with it!
    The time passed so fast, I lost weight, and was absolutely happy!!! (still happy, don’t worry…in the middle of a process and sometimes it’s hard…)
    Before that I tried to be some sort of freelance for mobile apps so I can work from home. After my first customer I realized that it’s not my dream, and I don’t enjoy it, so he was my last customer…I needed to pass through this path to know this. It wasn’t a mistake at all (even though my husband disagrees), How else would I know it’s not for me?

  15. I can totally relate. It would be weird having to ask someone if I may take a two week vacation.

  16. Hi Ramit. I can only describe your material with one word… “unique”.

  17. I love reading these posts, inspiring, keeps me motivated, keep up the good work.

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  19. agreed, dont want to have to beg a boss for my time.

  20. Not being employable (in the scenario you described) is a good thing, I wish to someday achieve what you have. Most people are scared to break the cycle, then again, it’s not for everybody. Great and inspiring post, thanks for sharing!

  21. Hi Ramit,

    I was reading your article with the greatest interest. Actually, I have the same fears at the beginning of my freelance career. But, when I woke up and see the job offer in my mailbox, all fears fade away, no matter how that job may look small, easy or bargain. The most important thing is: I got the job and I am employable!

  22. Right to the point, Ramit.

    Thanks for once again delivering a kick in the ass to get moving and doing all the stuff one is thinking about everyday but not taking action to make it happen!

    Have a nice day

  23. This was a great post Ramit. It’s helpful to see the doubts and fears that you had about going it on your own, but that you did it anyway and made it a success. Very inspiring.

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