Personal Finance

How I Decided to Take the Plunge into Self Employment

When I was still in high school, I knew I was going to become a celebrity in my native country. People said that I had great writing skills (if it doesn’t look like it it’s because my native language is Romanian), people said I had a great radio voice which appeared to be true since I spent one year hosting my own talk show at a local station, I was one of those more popular kids in high school and I was really confident in my looks (that was before gaining 44 pounds and looking like a blob of fat)… overall, I had all the reasons and support to make me wish to become a national celebrity.

Things changed soon after I got my bachelor’s degree in Journalism and landed a minor job at a radio station in Bucharest. That was my wake-up call and what proved that I am not ready for the world of entertainment: although the group working there seemed to be pretty tight, as soon as one turned their back, the others tried to grab their seat, stab them to death and spit on their corpse. It was a kill or be killed world where you had no real friends, stress levels were skyrocketing and I was not made for something like that.

I was disoriented, disappointed and pretty depressed.

Then I got an offer to work for a website. Right now it’s one of the top 500 websites in the world, back then was in the top 300. Still, a huge website. I knew nothing about blogging and the world of internet back then and at first I was delighted to work there and I was doing a great job that was appreciated by my employees – in less than 6 months I was already earning double than what I earned when I started the job, I was bagging in some constant bonuses for my performance and overall my salary was about 50% bigger than the average salary in Romania. I was living the life.

But still, I was not completely satisfied at work. Pretty soon the tough schedule got to me – I had to leave home at 8:15 in the morning to get there by 9, the work day ended at 6 and I had to spend another 45 minutes on my way back. As soon as I got home, I ate dinner and was so tired that I wanted to do nothing else than lay in the bed and fall asleep early. Financially I was doing good, but mentally I was starting to lose it.

The final straw was when I stumbled upon a website that estimated how much money each website makes and the estimates for the site I was working for was at about $200,000. Per month. My jaw dropped and I realized that my salary was nothing but a fraction of that and I should be making a lot more for my work. Of course, that was just an estimate and they might actually make a lot less (or a lot more), but back then that number struck me.

I was sure I could replicate their success. I was that naive.

So 9 months after I got hired, I decided to quit my job, without knowing anything about the technical side of blogging, but being motivated to make it big. My family and friends called me crazy and my girlfriend back then (now my wife) even though supported me 100%, was also convinced that I am making a mistake.

Just days later I was launching my blog (one that still exists today and at the moment is my main source of income). My goal was to make a minimum of $10,000 by the end of the year. It was going to be easy, because I was going to do exactly what I was doing at the previous website. Maybe even more!

Three months later, my total earnings were below $50. Six months later I got my first check: $300. That, despite working more than I used to. Things were not going well and I was already starting to feel the pressure from my family who kept saying that I should get a “real job”. My best friend told me: “you need an employer, you can’t make it otherwise”. My girlfriend said that maybe it was time to try something else.

The seventh month was the one that changed everything: motivated to prove everybody wrong and scared to death by the idea of working for somebody again and having that killer 9 to 5 schedule, I changed my strategy a little bit and at the end of the month I was getting a new check: $120. Not much, but a lot more than what I used to make and just as much as I needed to convince everybody that maybe it will work. By the end of the year I was making around $300 per month which was more than OK for Romania. Still not as much as what I used to earn, but enough.

Fast forward five years and here I am now. Still working as a full time blogger and already making a ton more than what I used to make in the first year. 2013 and my fifth year as a professional blogger was the most financially rewarding one and I finally managed to break during one Spring month, the $10,000 per month milestone. I finally got where I wanted. It just took me 5 years more.

And even though I am not making that much every month, I have been proven that indeed it is possible to do it and to do it alone. As your own boss, working most of your days in your pjs and taking your first shower at noon.

I was crazy to risk it all and play it all on the self employment card and I am sure that not many would be ready to do it. But I have just two words for you, no matter if you doubt it or you plan on taking the step too: DO IT! Do it as soon as possible and be ready for a long, but rewarding road ahead. Prepare to learn a lot, to read a lot, to make many mistakes – but all leading to your glory. Don’t wait any more and do it. Working from home, being your own boss (and working in your PJs) is great!

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