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September 10, 2015

Editor’s Letter! 10 Tips: how to make $200,000 a year.

Waylon Lewis square headshot

10 Tips: how to make $200,000 a year.

Note (because of some vicious comments):

Money over relationships? No.
 
It’s about service. Some of us–teachers, parents, anyone who serves–choose service over relationships for a time. Focus requires that. Serve, enjoy everyday life thoroughly. Perhaps I didn’t talk about the richness of community. That said, yes, there is sacrifice in raising a family or building a business, and it’s important to not gloss over that. ~ ed.

I’ve had a bunch of amazing mentors. Here’s what they’ve told me. And here’s what (little) I’ve learned, over the past years, in going from foreclosure (just four years ago) to relative success (though not $200K a year).

1. In Buddhism, we call it Right Livelihood. There are three characteristics of your dream job. Know them.

2. Once you know your dream job, do it. Cut ties, responsibly. Get there. Kickstarter your startup if you don’t want investment and you do have community and you don’t have money. I didn’t have any money and I wish Kickstarter had been around, 13 years ago. Indiegogo works too.

3. Work hard. Work hard. Sacrifice. You’ll lose relationships, dating, friendships, countless barbeques. If you have prior commitments you need to honor those, but you also have to be clear with them: you have a focus. Any compromise on that focus is fine, and understandable, if it’s about your family. If it’s just about anything else, sacrifice. Yes, it’s selfish. Focus requires seemingly selfish focus. Be comfortable with Friday nights in. Be comfortable with boring. You love your work, if you did step #1. So it may look boring, but it’s not boring to you. Sacrifice. It sucks. Complain to yourself, ’cause no one else can really fully care.

4. Remember #1? This isn’t just about you. Whenever you’re burned out or defeated or a key staff person quits…remember your mission. To be of benefit. That will keep you smiling and inspired and waking up in the morning. Without this mission, it’s all about “success” and “money” and it’s really just about aggression. Trying to push your way into success. That’s not true success, that’s mere ambition. True success is to build something that’s good for the world, for others, and for yourself.

5. If you aren’t good at something, that’s fine: hire someone who is. I’m not an accountant. Without Samara, who’s worked for elephant for 13 years, I’d be nothing and elephant would be nothing. This is a key point. You don’t have to be good at everything. You do have to be good at finding those who are. Luckily, given step #4, your mission will inspire other wonderful people to help. That’s the advantage of mission-driven companies over ambition-driven companies: they inspire. Free word-of-mouth.

6. If you’re stressed, that’s good! Meditate. Here’s a one-minute instruction. Take care of yourself.

7. If you’re stressed, exercise. Take care of yourself. That said, taking care of yourself can be relatively efficient—see step #3. You’ll still have to sacrifice hours of mountain biking or road biking or climbing or kayaking. You might have to climb in a climbing gym or go to yoga class or take a hot bath, all of which take an hour, or less, or slightly more.

8. If you’re stressed, eat real food while sitting down. You are what you eat: if you eat crap while multi-tasking, you will gain weight and you will spend tons of energy hating how you feel. Don’t do it. Eat real food, think brilliant thoughts.

9. Pay people well. Take care of your own. They may not all appreciate it all the time, they may still quit if you’re a jerk (because you haven’t taken care of yourself), but create a culture that is enlightened and kind and fun and braggable-about. They should do the bragging. Be a Small Giant (read the book).

10. Don’t spend money on dumb things. Pay off your debts, including your mortgage. I just refi’d my house, dropping my rate by half. I don’t own a car. I solar power my home, and leave the lights and all off. I don’t own a TV. I don’t travel, much, because of #3. So I spend very little, except on, say, real food. One of the easiest ways to get rich is to simplify your wants.

I’ve missed a bunch. Please add your tricks and ideas and successes in comments, here.

Yours in the Vision of an Enlightened Society,

Waylon Lewis
Editor-in-Chief: elephant journal; host: Walk the Talk Show

~
Bonus:

Slow Money:

The Ideal Job: 3 Requirements:

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