I started working as software engineer in 2006 in an IT company based in Gurgaon (India). In 2010, I got the client onsite work opportunity in USA. That was a dream of every software engineer in India.
I was earning in dollars but not happy because I was feeling like doing non-creative work of fixing software bugs. I did my engineering to create something meaningful for the world but I was spending 90% of my time in updating excel sheets or in the client meetings.
I could not imagine myself doing the same shit for my entire life. I could not see any self growth in that IT job even when I was getting a good salary.
See.. I am from a Baniya family and all of our ancestors were into some sort of business. Business was in my DNA and I really wanted to quit my job, but I had no courage.
Monthly salary is like cocaine.
It’s hard to leave the job once you are addicted to wait for the SMS “Your salary is credited in your bank account” every month.
Anyways, I came back to India in 2013 and started working on my business idea on the side. I divided my savings into 3 parts (details later) and invested the biggest portion into my business. Finally I left my job in 2014.
I worked hard to sell the product that I built in 8 months. I realised the truth that building a product is easy but selling is hard. We could sold the product only to 5-6 clients but could not earn enough money to pay the salaries of team (forget about any profits).
I was worried that I could not survive financially if I invested my emergency fund into my startup as well. I took the hard decision of shutting down the company.
Yes, I failed at my startup attempt but that was not the end of the story
I did not want to join back the job because I knew that I would never be able to free myself from 9-5 rat race.
I learned a couple of Financial Management Lessons that helped me survive the hard financial time.
#1. Take Calculated Financial Risk
Never test the depth of river with both your feet – Warren Buffet.
I took his advice seriously and divided my savings into 3 parts.
- Emergency Fund (Equalvalent to 6 month of my monthly expenses)
- Financial Runway (Equalvalent to 2 years of monthly expneses)
- Business Opportunity (Rest of the money)
Emergecy fund so that I never have to beg in front of friends/relatives even if I lose all my money. Emergency fund is like your own banker that would support you in the event when you had no money. You would get 6 months to get financially stable by working overtime, freelancing or whatever it takes.
Since I was leaving my job, I needed money to pay my monthly expenses. Being a father of 1-year old kid, it was my responsibility to keep aside money equivalent to 2 years of expenses. I knew that business takes time to grow and it should not die pre-mature death due to family pressure.
The 3rd portion of money can be risked in the business. I could make money if business goes profitable else I would learn how to fail & survive. And that’s what happened with my first startup. I could not earn money but I learn about business more than what I could learn in an MBA course.
#2. Stay Zero Debt
#3. Learn Online Sellable Skill (for freelancing)
#4. Have Passive Income Source
#5. Find Your True Mentor
The best advice that I got from my mentor when I was struggling with finances after failing at my startup
- Spend 30% time in earning through freelancing
- Invest 70% time in growing my own blog (for the sake of learning excellent digital marketing skills)
I prepared a list of my present skills and skills that I wanted to learn in the future.
- Software coding and defect fixing
- Software Architect & Design
- Project Management
- Software Testing & Optimisation
- Content Writing
- HTML & Basic Web Design
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Storytelling & Presentation
- Web Conversion Optimisation
- Email Marketing
- Video Recording & Editing
- Social Media Management
My decision became so simple.
I started writing content as a freelancer and earned Rs. 20,000 in the first month itself. I woke up at 4:00 AM every single morning to write content till 8:00 AM. Spending 2-3 hours every day was sufficient on content writing that helped me earn more than Rs. 20,000 from a single client.
Rest of the time I spent on my blog CashOverflow to learn & practice new skills.
Honestly, I never thought that I would make any money from my blog. My blog became popular for personal finance in India within the first year of starting and won the Best Blogging Award from Indiblogger in 2017.
My blog enabled me to live my dream life without worrying about money or getting fired from the job. I enjoy month-long vacations twice a year and take mini-retirements.
- Staying in Goa for a month in the budget of 4 days vacation
- Enjoying 50 days in Thailand with Family even when I was earning just 80,000 per month
- A month long road trip from Chandigarh to Karnataka (without burning our pockets)
4 million people have visited my blog from 2016 to 2019 and read 6,800,000 pages to increase their financial knowledge.
My blog lost some traffic in 2018 because my primary focus was to build a team and launch multiple websites.
Despite the low traffic, my blog was able to earn in the range of Rs. 2 Lakh to 3 Lakh from financial product partnerships.
That was passive income from the blog because I was actively involved in selling other digital products and consulting clients.
My mentor told me, “You keep on giving the world without any expectation. The universe will take care of you”. Amazing things happened when I started giving value to my readers without any expectations.
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future – Steve Jobs
Even though I was making money from my digital business but I knew that something else will give me a true financial freedom.
Financial Freedom is doing what you love without worrying about money.
And I wanted to do dirty my hands in farming to grow my own food (without any commercial intent)