Money is a funny thing. It is an essential part of our lives yet some people love it and some people love to hate it. Some people say “greed is good” and some people say “money is the route of all evil.”
I, myself, have an interesting relationship with money. I like to talk about it. I like to study ways to make more of it. I like to turn $1 into $10. But when it comes down to it, I’m not really motivated by money.
I fully realized this a few months ago after quitting a real estate team that I had been with for about a year. You see, I am a licensed real estate agent here in Salem, OR. I got my license almost three years ago kind of by accident. I bought my first rental property in 2011 and kept buying one every year after that (to read about my real estate journey, click here). After using a real estate agent to buy one property I realized that if I was going to keep buying rental properties, and probably sell them from time to time, it made sense to get my license.
Fast forward a year and a half. I was contacted by a successful agent who was building an expansion team in neighboring cities and he wanted to know if I was interested in joining the team. This guy, a great guy by the way, had personally netted over $1 million in the previous 12 months selling real estate. I was intrigued. He gave me the initial paperwork and it showed the expected path for me over the next three years. The first year I should make $100,000; the second year $125,000; by the third year I should make over $150,000.
I was hooked. The numbers just seemed too good to be true. Over the course of the next year, I spent a lot of time learning about the business of building a successful business as a real estate agent. I had a personal coach who was a great success in the real estate world as well. But at the end of the day, I realized that it just wasn’t for me.
I felt like I was letting them down but I knew, in my spirit, that I would not do the work necessary to reach the goals they had outlined for me. They were not my goals and as much as I tried, I couldn’t make them my goals.
When I see numbers like $100,000 or $1,000,000 on the page, I am immediately drawn in. But in practice, if I had $1,000,000 I would just invest it in a few rental properties. I do not need that much money and it wouldn’t really change the way I live if I had it. I am sure I could come up with ways to spend it or give it away, but that is not a good enough motivation for me.
I once worked at a used car dealership for a grand total of 30 days. The sales manager and I were talking one day about what it takes to make it as a car salesman. I’ll never forget the words he told me that day. He said, “You’ll never make it as a car salesman. You know why? Because you don’t need the money.” This man told me that he had to make $100,000 every year just to pay his bills. He had to make that much money just to maintain what he had. And of course, he wanted more than that so he pushed himself to sell even more cars.
At first, I was insulted by that comment. At first, I wanted to prove him wrong. But a week or so later, I decided selling cars wasn’t the thing for me. And now, several years later, as I think back on that conversation I realize that he was right. I didn’t need to make that much money. I learned it again when I decided to leave the Keller Williams real estate team that I was a part of. I didn’t need to make anywhere near that much money. And since I wasn’t motivated by building a big business as a real estate agent and I wasn’t motivated by the money, I was not going to do what it took to build a thriving business.
Now here I am, starting a new venture with this blog, and I am encountering the same problem. I started writing because I enjoy it. I am a thinker and I like to express my thoughts on paper much more than I enjoy expressing them out loud. But as I start to look into blogging, I get enticed by the numbers. I see titles like “Make $5,000 a month writing from home” or “Learn how we went from a hobby to a six-figure income in three years”.
Do I need to earn an income? Yes absolutely. Do I want to do things that make a profit? Certainly. But because I have learned that the actual money doesn’t motivate me I need to focus on the things that do motivate me. I think I am motivated by the pursuit of money. I enjoy learning about how to make money and how to take it to the next level. And I enjoy the process of working on those steps. I enjoy teaching and telling people about my experiences and I enjoy learning about the experiences of others. But at the end of the day, if we have enough money to pay our bills and have a little extra to enjoy the simple things in life, I am content with that.
So where does that leave me as I pursue writing and building a blog? I think what it comes down to is that I have to focus on doing it for the journey and not the destination. I need to pick a point that I am trying to get to so that I have something to keep me going in one direction. But the destination is not the purpose. The purpose is to enjoy to journey along the way and to teach and share with others as I go.
What about you? Do you relate to this? Please comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts.