‘I Grew up Dirt Poor’

You have no job. Nobody will hire you. What do you do? The social contract has failed us. The economic process of our parents has failed us. What now?

There are no longer “great jobs” for people with 4-year-degrees, there are only jobs that keep you in Netfix and beer until the inner emptiness eats your soul.

If you work for a corporation you are being used, no question. If you can’t find a company to hire you, consider it a blessing in disguise: it means you are supposed to stop waiting for someone to choose you, and choose yourself.

There is $55 trillion sloshing around in the world economy, you can get a piece.

Join the grey economy. Last year Americans made two $Trillion they didn’t report to the IRS. Americans hold $750 billion in hard currency off-the-books. The money is out there.

Start with Craig’s list. All kinds people need problems solved and will post requests for people to solve them for money.

If you have a truck you can probably spend $60 in gas and get to a place where you can help frame a house. Use the free internet at Kinkos to find places to sleep. Repeat, and save a little more each time.

Go to the library (it’s free) and teach yourself how to fix bikes, computers, watches, anything.

If you have any aptitude with computers or websites it’s even easier. Even having passing knowledge of WordPress I was able to get $75 for one hour of work with a basic craigslist search. That’s not steady, but it proves that the money is out there.

Focus on gadgets or gizmos that the 1% have and need urgently in their lives, such that down-time will be painful to them and they’ll be willing to pay 3x multiple of minimum wage to get back up. Even fixing or installing printers is a viable business in most locations. No vehicle? Use a bike, Car2Go, or Zipcar, or cabs.

Remember, the man who knows how to enrich others will never be poor.

I feel the most for people with dependent families, locked down in mortgages, in small towns with few economic opportunities. That’s the worst trap. That’s how they got us: sent us out of the cities into the wilderness (where nothing grows btw), locked us down in debt, and encouraged us to pop out huge numbers of hungry mouths so we’d stay dependent.

There’s a solution for that: get your hands on some seeds and start growing your own food. Sell what you don’t eat. If you can, generate your own power. Partner up with your neighbors to barter, trade, share, loan. Pool resources & get an asset (community-owned solar power is a good asset.) Millions of people in the third world are doing exactly this right now and it will work for you too.

There’s nothing you can’t accomplish if you’re willing to work with other people.

If you need more motivation: the story below is of a guy growing up dirt-poor and eventually earning $90k per year and having two profitable side businesses. (h/t The Love & Freedom Project)

I lucked out in one big way when it comes to finances. I grew up a dirt poor Oklahoma farm kid. I listened to my sisters crying at night because they were hungry. Abject poverty.

I didn’t have a pot to piss in, but I had two strong hands and all the books I read (my mom would buy a whole box of books at a garage sale for a dollar, then my sisters and I would split them up and read them all. We couldn’t afford toys really) were about heroes and great men. These men didn’t piss and pule when times were tough. They got off their ass and made things happen.

So I read up on how to do things. How to trap. How to make a bow and arrow. How find edible stuff to eat. We were on about 360 acres, and there was plenty to eat once I found out how to get it.

After that, my sisters ate rabbit, squirrel, fresh perch and catchfish from the pond hidden in the trees at the end of the little creek on the backside of the property, fresh wild spinach, and if it was season, blackberries mixed with pecans.

So I’ve never had that rich guy blow your money mentality. Even making $90k a year, I’m driving my ’00 Wrangler with 160k miles because I like it.

And I have a kickass 25′ yacht that I love to sail, not because I spent a ton on it, but because I started out with a $300 crappy little Sunfish one man sailboat, restored it, traded up, restored that, and traded up again. I got that yacht for $4k. $3500 was stuff I bought for nothing and restored myself, and $500 in cash.

It’s worth $10k sitting there. It needed to be rewired, and it was filthy from sitting on a trailer for five years, but the inside was an immaculate, barely used time capsule. Two months after I bought her she’s the pride of the marina. Everything done myself.

I’m not superman. I’m no better or worse than anyone else. But if I want a thing, I make it happen. I taught myself to sail, and was laughed off the beach the first time. But I made up my mind I was gonna drag that Goddamned little one man sailboat around that lake with my teeth if I had to.

By the end of the week I had taken it up and down the beach two hours every day, that’s 14 hours of practice. And by God I could sail. Now I can sail my ass off.

I decided two years ago I wanted more freedom than the corporate world could give me, but I didn’t want to go into debt, or lose everything I’d worked my ass off if all the stories of “losing everything” like you referenced happened. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I did know I wanted passive income. I did know that that comes from assets.

So I washed my hands, rolled up my sleeves and got to work on “How CAN I have my own business.”

I’m about to start a second one because I’d be dumb not to. Profit is sitting there waiting for me to just pick it up.

As far as the main company, the kite school, I’ve got five men and one lady working for me full time now. We’re putting out an ad for twelve instructors on the 1st. We’re the largest kiteboarding school in the central U.S. now.

There’s no such thing as a “soft mat” at the early stages of business. If you want that, then go back to the safety and submission of being employed.

The only safety mat you can create that I’m aware of is to be successful, create a cash flow cushion, and have it flowing in from multiple disparate sources.

Hear hear. Now get out there.


One thought on “‘I Grew up Dirt Poor’

  1. Another inspirational post! Goes to show that anyone can do what this man has done. All it takes is the willingness to want it. He made the choice to stop being poor and made it his high priority value in life. With hard work he was able to accomplish what he set out to do. These are the type of people who inspire me! I wish I had people like that in my life when I was young, mmy life would have been better. Time to make some money!

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