5 Ways to Break Out of the Rat-Race & Become Financially Independent

If you’re disillusioned with what you thought would be a promising, exciting, rewarding career … but where it’s turning out to be a more of a Guinea-Pig-cage-tread-wheel-like-existence, then here are some ideas.

You may feel frustrated at how your company has no interest in your advancement, they just want to keep you where you are. Or you may feel depressed at how you spend more time in traffic than with your kids; how although you may live comfortably, you’re deeply in debt.

And you’re wondering whether you can keep this up!

Okay, so here are some options to consider. Please join the conversation, if you have ideas place your comments below! This article will be added to as fresh ideas come up. Please note none of this should be considered “financial advice.”

1) Start your own business.

This involves planning, networking, identifying products, developing products, testing the market, seeking funding, building a client base, talking to potential partners, etc.

Obviously the downside to this is that there’s a lot of work to do and there’s always risk. But when one takes a long term view, focusing on a 2 year plan for example, where you make slow but consistent progress toward your goal this is an exciting route to take.

My credo personally has for a long time been: “what am I building?” Instead of just living hand-to-mouth, spending what I earn every month, I like to know that I’m building something that will free me later on.

Often we just sit, overwhelmed by the prospect of building something, so we do nothing. Yet when we look back, we did have time, we did have an idea, but we did nothing much to pursue it. That’s a pity.

Like the saying goes: “when’s the best time to plant a tree? 20 Years ago. The next best time is today.” Bill Gates started from a garage.

My experience:  the above is, by the way, was my route out of the rat-race back in 2000 – 2002. I was doing well working for a personnel agency business. I had clients such as Old Mutual, Shell, Deloitte, Pick ‘n Pay, Shoprite, and BP. But man, I was stressed out. And I asked myself – as always! – “what am I building?”

All along I had an idea. During those 2 years I developed it and made the break in 2002. It started out slow – nerve wracking! – but ultimately as I adapted, it shaped up to be a business that is doing better than ever now in 2013, 12 years down the line.

I live in the country, I work from a home office (a converted horse stable), we have a 4 dogs, 2 cats, a rabbit, a hamster and a horse cruising around our property. The kids have a good, large, healthy environment to grow up in. They’re 11 and 8 now.

Also note: small businesses often fail by trying to apply big business marketing tactics that just drain cash and don’t work. Check out sites like this one (there are many, but this one is a little passion-project of mine!): www.gerardsmarketingideas.info – there’s a free offer there and a bunch of good ideas that will help get more customers.

2) Invest in property.

This is where ultimately the rental income you earn from a property investment  will outstrip your monthly salary. At which point you quit! You also benefit by the growth of the capital asset’s value (eg. a house or flat bought for R350 000 today will grow in capital value by maybe 10% pa PLUS all the while you’ll be earning a rental of perhaps R2 500 pm for it.)

You can similarly invest in equities/shares or unit trusts where also earnings grow to eventually outstrip your salary.

This approach requires very disciplined saving, limiting one’s lifestyle and lots of patience. It also requires having a long-term outlook, this is not for making a ‘quick buck’.

They call compound interest a “miracle” considering how money multiplies over time, how a little becomes a lot given the passage of time and with this phenomenon of interest on interest.

Every house is built brick by brick. The longest journey starts with a single step. A fortune is built little by little. It’s important to make a start. To take action.

3) Write a book.

It’s actually not that complicated! Anyone can do it. Write about your own life experience, keep it focused on “how to.” For example:

  • “How to cope as a single parent”,
  • “Kicking ass at work as a PA”,
  • “How to manage events, the checklist book to make sure you don’t miss a single detail”,
  • “How to analyse your manufacturing company’s accounts and immediately identify how to save 20% in costs and raise production by up to 25%.”

There are so many topics to cover – where of course you aim to help the reader in some way – that it’s impossible not to find some niche of interest.

Look at your work environment: what could be done better? what solutions have you come up with to get things done better, simpler faster? what ideas have you collected from your reading of books or mentoring or seeing others work that can be collected together in a book or guide.

And then initially just publish it yourself – really just finding someone to do the layout (get help at Fiverr.com) and then offering it for sale to people who’ll be interested. You don’t have to go the route of going to a big publisher. It’s a draining process with only a very small possibility of success and actually only a small financial reward in most cases.

Here’s a resource I recommend if you need some guidance on this, you have to pay for it but it’s a small investment considering how this project may free you and that you’ll have step-by-step help. Click Here

Also don’t underestimate what kind of effect this can have on your career – if you write a guide on topics related to your work, how to do it well, how to make a difference – you’ll be taken more seriously, perhaps be paid more because you add value, secure better paying jobs and certainly have more options to follow.

4) This is perhaps the easiest of all.

It’s easy because it means plugging into an already successful system. Try out a system offered by the likes of Multisure, It gives you the opportunity to build a small team that promotes in-demand product offerings. And where you benefit by earning commissions earned by the team (this is very cool because it’s not just you on your own).

This is the kind of opportunity that requires very low start up (as low as R150) and provides excellent training & support, can be done in one’s own time (sometimes just using e-mail, the phone and internet) and has very good earning potential.

Join this kind of program under the umbrella of a good coach who’ll guide and motivate you and this could be a great opportunity.

The downside is that it’s hard work and requires discipline. The likes of Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) highly recommend it though. He recommends it for the training one gets and for the fact that you’re building a business that works for you (ie. you benefit by the team’s effort).

Other opportunities include Herbalife, AVON & Tupperware. But I prefer an opportunity where there’s no physical stock to carry and demonstrate. That way I can work from home and all hours. So this is something that can work as either a full time or part time business building exercise.

[Drop me an e-mailgerardlr@gmail.com – and I’ll send you more info on what I recommend. Tell me a little about yourself (your current job and qualifications, what you’re looking for) and I’ll send you some more info on what I recommend.]

5) Start a small consultancy.

This is where you offer some service that you can perform for clients after hours. It could be some business service – like writing business plans, designing logos, typing transcripts, bookkeeping – or even offering a personal service like organizing (garages, home storage, cupboard space – y’know just like you’ve seen people do on Oprah, etc).

This is obviously a tough choice because of the time involved. It’s intense. But it may be a possibility for you.

There certainly are other opportunities, and I’ll be adding further ideas right here. Please add to the conversation, comment below here and I’ll try to add your ideas!