We all want to live richly. I would like to discuss this goal for a moment:
To live richly means a life full of wealth: friends, love and health, a life with freedom of expression. But having wealth also means having the means to take care of your friends and family and do what you want to do. This is the game we play. The sad truth is that our world interprets a rich life as wealth and tells us that the way to get there is to spend a significant part of your life with your nose on the grindstone, working to accumulate a reserve of cash.
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Let’s just get a million dollars in the bank…
Then we can live on our money and not worry about it. Big! Except that choosing this end game, the number to aim for, is impractical. The amount of money you bring home is limited by the amount of time you spend, and if you’re anything like most people, you’ll always strive for more. Entrepreneur or not, you’re more likely to be stuck with an endless job — just like the 9 to 5 you’re trying to avoid. Either way, you are still wasting your time and your freedom in favor of money.
I beg you to change tactics. Instead of chasing big money, aim to make it easy to get it. Instead of accumulating money, strive to completely surpass it. Make the limitations that money usually places on your life meaningless so that you can—safely, from a position of relative financial security—take care of your family, your friends, and yourself without sacrificing all of your time in pursuit of it.
You need a money machine.
What is it, you ask? Why, that’s exactly what it sounds like: everyone needs a car that gives you money!
For example, a printing press may work, but you will have problems with the feds. Instead, remember that your money machine is not really a machine, but just a construct – a system that you organized and implemented to provide you with money, while requiring little or no intervention from you. Money machine.
What does a money machine look like? Well, let’s go last Friday night. My friend Simon has just returned from a trip to Southeast Asia and has many stories to tell. He had been away for some time, but Simon did not seem to mind the cost of such a journey. He didn’t need it because his machine was running in the background to provide for him.
Simon is a smart guy. Some time ago he was accepted on a Fulbright Grant, a very prestigious one, and has since been able to use his Fulbright position for other grants, earning rewards that he can use to pay for his travel around the world. Due to the low cost of living in the remote places he passed through, Simon was more than taken care of while he was away.
Your money machine is powered by your creativity, not your time.
And that’s the ultimate goal: it keeps you going while you enjoy life, while you tweak or upgrade it from time to time. Apart from these settings, it should be relatively self-contained.
Of course, like Simon, your first car won’t help you buy a house or raise a family, but it doesn’t have to. What it does do is free up more of your time so that when you decide to work, you are free from the financial burden of everyday finance. You can be more creative and channel your energy into building the next machine that will take you further in life.
Is your end game one that requires you to sacrifice too much of your time in exchange for money, or are you planning to go outside the system to invest your time in building your own money machine?
If you already have one, leave a comment and share your inspiration with someone else! Or read these 280 books for entrepreneurs.
Update Monday, August 3, 2009:
I think of my business as a money machine, it forces me to focus on my ultimate goal: a sustainable, secure future where work eats up as little of my time as possible. I talked about this in a recent letter to my friend Seth, in a nutshell:
I basically want to automate as much as possible, and work with a disparate group of people to take care of it, and who also support a mobile, paid off-car lifestyle. So, in a way, I think I would have this machine that would just dump money into my bank account.
I joke with my brother that I will have a card that will allow me to get everything I want and a cash pocket for everything else.
Yes, I want, right?
But part of what I do for you – if you’re a landlord – is accepting rent online, directly into your bank account. You get paid regularly, automatically and always on time. The system I’m using also handles the subscription fee that goes to me.
So technically, there will be a machine running somewhere in the warehouse that will securely deposit money into my account.
This is the car that I want people to build.
Jordan Feldstein is a friend to all, a lover to the few, who hopes his lyrics will show people what’s within reach when you’re willing to think and act outside the box. He believes that education should be used to expand one’s horizons, not to train workers, that technology should make life easier, and music can free the soul. While starting his second company, Jordan is waiting for his 21st birthday to have a beer with you.
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