The safest and easiest way out of the rat race is to dig a tunnel.
When did you last consider digging a tunnel?
Probably not since you were a child I would imagine. (Tunnelling Engineers…work with me here…)
Put another way, have you ever thought (or ever stopped thinking) about changing your life for the better?
Ever spent hours day dreaming about how much different your life could be?
Ever wondered if there is more to life than the 9-5?
Well of course there is and a growing army of people like you and me are realising that they were sold a dud when they were unwittingly indoctrinated into the capitalist religion and the rampant consumerism that supports it.
I used to work with someone who talked about digging tunnels incessantly. He always wanted to talk about the same thing; getting out. He would come up with all sorts of ideas about how he was going to start an Internet business (this was in the infancy of the web), I would encourage him to go forward with any idea that sounded reasonable, but he never did. By the way he still works at the same place 17 years later, and I’ll guarantee he is still talking about digging tunnels.
However, he gave me the idea for this article because he always referred to his little schemes tunnel digging; in other words he was digging an escape tunnel; a tunnel through which to escape the 9-5 existence forever.
Tunnelling is making arrangements to improve your income or even start to build an income that comes from an entirely different stream than the one you consider your main income producer today (your job probably).
The analogy of course comes from The Great Escape, where the prisoners had to dig a tunnel using increasing amounts of ingenuity in order to have any chance of escape.
Now back in the day when my colleague was bleating on about tunnelling, the internet was young and most of his ideas were about using it somehow to conquer the world.
If he had only taken action with one idea even, then his life could have been changed for ever; 1995 was a time when you could get a $1m for any harebrained idea that was using the internet!
So what did he do wrong; only one thing: he didn’t start. And he probably didn’t start because he didn’t have all of the answers worked out, he hadn’t fully developed the idea; well no-one, no inventor or entrepreneur ever has all the details straight before they start and even if they did…it would probably change a great deal along the way anyhow.
So in a nutshell Tunnel Digging is getting a new income stream or income streams started while you stay in your regular job, so it has to look a bit like this:
- It must be do-able without interfering with your job too much! So if it’s a gardening business you’ve always dreamed of, you might find it difficult to go and re-arrange people’s gardens during your work time without getting found out and fired! Does this mean you can’t follow your passion for gardening?…NO.
- You could set up a blog to help people get the most from their gardens…start building an email list as a priority. Your blog could be monetised by placing advertising on it, but better still by providing premium information that readers pay for through a member’s area or you could
- Write a guide or eBook to sell or indeed you could sell other people’s products on there as an affiliate and earn income for recommending products to your readers.
- You could set up as a garden designer or consultant and do consultations at weekends or evenings.
- You could sell gardening related products that you make or buy wholesale on auction sites like eBay; the only minor inconvenience you then have during the work day is a quick trip to the post office to mail items to customers.
- You could write a book for the Amazon Kindle; it is very very simple to get your book published using this method and if you write it well and promote it properly, the sky really is the limit here:
I could go on and on and on here and really labour the point. I chose gardening as an example of a passion that people have because it doesn’t immediately lend itself to being done alongside a traditional job, because it appears that you have to be down and dirty and up to your elbows in compost to make it work…but you don’t need to be to start making interesting amounts of money from an interesting hobby.
Of course if you are into computer gaming or programming instead of gardening then you need treatment if you haven’t already started to dig a very substantial tunnel.
Some things lend themselves more readily to tunnel digging, but nothing is impossible.
And of course you don’t have to stick to just one thing either; I’ll be doing a post on Patchwork Income tomorrow.
So let’s talk about money.
How much do you make per year right now?
National average wage in the USA is $40,711.61 and it is a similar figure (equivalent) in the UK/Europe. OK its an average and some of you might be doing better than that and some might be doing worse, but for now lets just accept that this is the average for the purposes of illustrating a point…around $41,000 per annum.
By the way: How much is enough for you to seriously consider leaving your job?
I live in the UK and haven’t had a job for a very long time; I do a lot of different things to bring in income and I am loving it. I mention where I live to illustrate this next point (if you are in the USA, you will probably do a double take at this next bit)
Recently on the news they said that the price of diesel had hit an all time high of £1.40 per litre and that unleaded petrol (gasoline) had hit an all time high of £1.33. At today’s exchange rate that’s $2.16 for a litre (yes you read that correctly a litre) which makes a US Gallon of diesel over $8.
You don’t need a calculator to tell you that the cost of living even a modest lifestyle is going through the roof; but there is a more important point to illustrate here:
The main income philosophy I promote on this site and one that I believe in 100% is the power of making small amounts of money doing things that you enjoy doing; whether or not this is as a full time living or just an additional income to your main job doesn’t matter that much. What is critical to understand is the sheer POWER of making small amounts EVERY DAY.
And by every day I mean 365 days a year; most normal jobs only pay for the time you are there doing the work and regardless of the hourly rate, most jobs aren’t worth the precious time you waste doing them.
Imagine you could spend all of your time doing things you love and actually want to do every day in life!
I had a real problem getting people to listen when I first started promoting this idea because everything else on the internet is about how you can make SIX FIGURE income on autopilot…
This of course might be possible, plenty of people are making big money on the internet but its highly unlikely that you can pick up a program/business opportunity…call it what you will and start doing this…because what you will actually be doing is treading the mill again…working all of the hours you can find doing something that doesn’t hold your interest; you will essentially have another job.
So what I promote is a kind of philosophy whereby you can do stuff you love for just $10, $20, $50 or maybe $100 extra every day. It is of course very easy to do the calculations here…if you get moving and start a couple of enjoyable new income streams now, its easy to imagine that you too can have a six figure income….almost on auto-pilot but do it YOUR WAY.
Just to seal this point: $50 a day is $1500 a month or $18,000 a year! Remember that in addition to this cash you will also be enjoying yourself doing stuff you actually feel inspired to do; but more importantly, you will have started to take control of your own time and digging a substantial escape tunnel to allow you to take over your life full time.
Now you might be thinking Yeh, but this income isn’t guaranteed and my salary from my job is!
Good point, but think of this analogy; when do you feel safest when travelling on the road; when you are driving or when some stranger you barely know is?
If things start to go wrong with your new income streams; you will know in advance and be able to take corrective action.
If things are going wrong with your employer’s business right now; maybe she is going through a rough patch at home and needs more money from the business, maybe the bank have called in the overdraft, maybe she has lost a big customer. It could be any number of things that go wrong in businesses every day.
The first you are going to know about that is when your pay doesn’t show up. If like many people, you are already dependent on that pay cheque; in other words living from pay day to pay day you are stuffed well and truly, all in the space of 24 hours.
Anyway even if things continue to go well at work, I am not advocating putting all of your eggs in one basket; spread it around, keep the day job for now, but get something happening that allows you to make a better life for yourself, that gives you back some control of your time and makes you happy.
the real value of the average wage
Now back to that $41,000 annual salary:
It sounds like quite a lot of money, but if you apply my 365 formula it amounts to around $112 a day…sounds good so far…but:
The $41,000 is a pre-tax amount so it probably ends up being about $33,000 after tax which divided by 365 is around $90 a day.
Where do you work? And how do you get there? Subtract the cost of travel every day say $10 for a modest journey in a modest car; now you are down to $80 a day.
Lunch? Coffee? Another $10 even if you are a very good boy or girl! You’re down to $70 a day
Then you need clothes for work, childcare and of course all of the little expenses that crop up everyday when you are out and about.
You can add all of your own regular expenses in here, but I think you can see already how easy it could be to match that income with a 365 day view on income.
Working 5 to 9
A lot of people struggle with the concept of doing extra work…because they think of it as WORK and they think of work as BAD…I’m a confirmed idler so I know what you feel like if this is you.
But work is only bad if it makes you spend all of your time in a place you don’t like, doing things that don’t inspire you. In fact work is only WORK if it isn’t enjoyable.
If you don’t start taking action now you will never be able to build yourself a second, third or fourth income stream.
Working 5 til 9 is a good way to start. This is taking on a little project in the evening instead of watching TV. Or in some cases it can be as well as watching TV if you want.
So armed with what’s already inside your head lets dig that escape tunnel to a new fulfilling life.
Here is my 5 step plan for digging your own tunnel:
- Draw a mind-map detailing all of the enjoyable things you could build a micro business around. Don’t know about mind-mapping? lots of help here.
- Look at each item on the mindmap and try to strike through 80% of them, keeping only the top 20% that would be most enjoyable and which lend themselves to making a micro business; remember to think laterally: if you are an expert on elephant toe nail trimming, you don’t need to physically do it; you could write an Amazon kindle book, an eBook, a blog or sell equipment for trimming elephant toenails!
- Develop Actions you can take to make this happen; think about the positive and negative aspects of doing this project. Now come up with actions that can double the effect of your positive attributes and half the effects of the negative ones.
- Make a plan: draw up an action plan on one side of paper that lists out just 3 strategies for this project (concentrate on one project at a time) and for each of these strategies write down 1, 2 or a maximum of 3 actions that can be taken to get this moving.
- Now set a deadline for each of these actions and assign a responsibility (probably you but could be a partner, friend or child who has to get it done)