How to Live without a Pay Cheque

I briefly had a job for about a year and a half after university (I’ve been without a stable bi-weekly pay cheque for almost 5 years). I remember how I felt when suddenly there was no bi-weekly pay cheque. I couldn’t breathe, it felt like a panic attack that lasted a few days. The funny thing was, I was actually about to quit but I got “laid off” mostly due to personality conflicts with my “superior”. This worked better for me in the end, because I was eligible for employment insurance. What better way to become a full time entrepreneur? It was like a golden handshake. But those meagre pay cheques ran out too and then it was all up to me. I can imagine how difficult it is for anyone with a stable situation to suddenly be without such comfort, especially if it isn’t a choice.

I don’t regret any of this, nor do I regret taking the job. Everyone should work for someone once in their life to understand if its for them or not. This was just not for me, and because of that I had to take the hard route of finding my own way.

dream big

I would never outwardly encourage anyone to be an entrepreneur. There is nothing glamorous about it, and media has made it out to be this “career” path that can make you rich and famous – this is rare and highly unlikely. There is no short term benefits to this life, it takes years of hustle to reach even a steady income. Don’t confuse this with being self-employed.

When you have the desire to create and build things that are unknown and/or have never been done before – this is what its all about. I’m not saying money doesn’t have anything to do with it, but its not a primary goal for entrepreneurs. If money is your primary goal, then buy real estate or marry up. 😉

Self-employment is simply taking your “pay-cheque” job and doing it yourself. Moreover, you’re not re-inventing the wheel, you’re just doing something that already exists on your own – like consulting. Often times, self-employment leads to entrepreneurship. since self-employment offers more of steady pay cheque. This is basically what I did for the first few years.

Whatever you decide to do, ensure you have a plan. I’m not saying I really had one, but my biggest regrets was not managing my money properly and not having a long term plan of where I wanted to be. Here are some tips:

  • Low Debt & Budget The less debts you have, the better off you will be, this means you may have to downgrade your life (sell your car, sell your condo, and pretend you don’t have credit cards). Of course, everyone has debt, but think about how much you need a month to pay your debts comfortably and live decently and build a budget around that. You’ll be surprised at how little you need to live on. Yep, say goodbye to expensive things and a lifestyle of material possessions and nights out, no pay cheque = a lot of hustle.
  • Support I wouldn’t have been able to do anything without the help of my family, you need emotional support along with some flexibility on borrowing money if things get tight.
  • Investment Try to stash away a chunk of money in an investment you can’t get access to, so you have something to fall back on if all goes bust.
  • Passion Yes it sounds cliche, but do something you’re emotionally or personally connected to, because when things get really tough, you won’t give up.

Do you live without a pay cheque? How do you do it?

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