I do not live with regrets but if I were to find myself 18 years old again I would do things differently.
For starters, I would disregard all advice from friendly friends and family. The advice to “get a degree, get a good job, save for retirement” is bad advice from a decaying era. The thought that simply getting a degree and getting a job will lead to a good life is ludicrously stupid.
Like so many other young (and dumb) men I listened. I did my time in college, which I hated every second of, working jobs to pay my way.
And then I worked. I worked jobs that I hated. They were soul-killers. But hey, they helped me pay my rent, my truck payments, my insurance payments, my credit card payments and left me with enough to go get drunk on the weekends.
I have known since I was a teen that I never wanted to work a dead-end job my whole life. Saving for retirement sounded like a scam and I never believed it. “You want me to work hard now and eat shit so I can live like a king when I'm 65? Why don't I just do that now?” Yet I still followed the path.
I had my first brush with self-employment when I went into the insurance industry. It did not work out so well and I went broke as a joke. I got a recovery job that paid me to surf the internet all day. It was not such a bad job, in fact, it was the cushiest job I have ever had. Naturally, the job was unsustainable and my whole department (of 2 people) was laid off and given a severance package.
Getting laid off or fired has never bothered me. I could go find a job in a few days if I wanted. Finding a job is easy. What isn't easy is letting your soul go.
So, of course, I went and found a new job. It was while surfing the net at this new job that I struck gold. Innocently, I stumbled upon what would eventually become my method of generating cash. After two months at this job I had done enough studying on the net to know that my method was solid. I walked into the boss man's office and said “Boss man, I have to quit”.
I had enough money to pay for an entire month of bills and that was it.
30 days after quitting I had made twice my monthly salary at the best paying job I had ever had.
I was 26 years old.
It took me 11 years of working jobs I hated to figure out what I had always known: You do not have to have a job to make money.
As an entrepreneur I have made more money in one single day than I made all year at any job I ever had.
Those 11 years I spent in Hell were a learning experience and I do not wish to change anything.
However, if the magic time man sent me back to 18 years old this is what I would do:
I would skip college.
I would dive 150% into internet marketing, the new Gold rush.
I wouldn't listen to a single word my family said to me. I wouldn't even tell them my plans.
I would travel all around Asia, South America and Europe and I would live like a free man rather than a wage slave.
I would have become free at the age of 18 rather than 26.
The internet is the greatest freedom providing tool in the history of the world. If I could change one thing I would have told this to my 18 year old self.
My younger self was under the delusion that to be an entrepreneur you had to invent a product that served a need. What I never knew is that you can piggyback on the profits of others and provide for yourself while creating absolutely nothing, if you didn't want to. All you have to do is get someone to click a link.
100 years ago you had to find oil, or gold. Now all you have to do is get someone to click a link.
I have been online for 15 years. Most of those years were a complete and total waste of time. I could have been building something that whole time.
It's never too late, though. It wasn't too late for me and it's not too late for you.
Good luck friends. I hope you will do now what I waited 11 years to do: TAKE THE WORLD INTO YOUR HANDS.
PS – It is a summer Friday afternoon and I am smoking a cigar on the patio and playing around on my computer. Years ago I would be watching the clock so I could drive home in rush hour traffic, hit the gym, have dinner, go get drunk, and then spend all day Sunday dreading Monday morning. Now I am excited as can be for Monday.
Picture by Victor Pride. Laoshan Mountain, Qingdao, China. 2011.