ep.017 – black swanophobia

Welcome to episode 17, last week I spoke about Pareto?s Principle and the importance of focusing on the inputs that produce most of the outputs. This is critical for all of us on an FI journey and this week I feel I have made some real progress on re-developing the married.co.nz website so it looks more eye-catching and its new functionality helps to tell the story behind the service and products so customers understand where the value to them is and fast. It struck me today on my walk at lunch-time, why I am even bothering with this at all. By this I mean, I earn far much more from my employer so there is no short term gain here ? if my life was publicly listed this is not a business case that would be approved ? but my life is actually playing a different game. I don?t care what the price of my stock will be today or even in 6-12 months? time, my investments now (which are primarily time and a bit of money) won?t pay off in such a short time frame, well they might but the likelihood is low ? and do you know what, that is ok. It is ok because my internal business case is built around building security for my family in the long-run.

I remember the GFC and the shock of potentially losing my job? my career? whilst living paycheck to paycheck. It?s wasn?t nice, in fact, it was scary, fortunately, it was also a huge motivator to go out there put out 600 CVs and get only 2 interviews ? and fortunately score one of those roles ? but I had to, I wasn?t financially independent, or even close, I was heavily in debt, had rent and food bills to pay and nothing to fall back on, well I mean without taking a hit to my pride (I wasn?t going to ask for another bail-out). So you see, building a side-gig is not often spoken about in the FIRE community, I mean it sometimes is but a shit load of a lot of the focus is on passive investing or property investments ? and these means of wealth generation are very plausible and in the future, we will inevitably get more into, one or both. It has been a case of once bitten twice shy, to make sure I have something to fall back on should the worse happen, and even worse if it came from absolutely no-where.

In business education, this type of event is known as a Black Swan, because before people actually thought there was no such thing as a Black Swan they couldn?t exist until it eventuated they actually do ? thank you Wikipedia. I have always been afraid of swans of any colour, nasty long-necked, sharp beaky things ? and owned by the Queen did you know ? something spooky about that too. Well, since 2009 when I received that announcement by my employer I have since been afraid of the metaphorical Black Swan, who may descend without out warning and kick the living shit out of me. My way to protect myself is to build a business that we have full control over, so we can ensure its longevity as a going-concern no matter what the World has to throw at it. This is so very prevalent right now as we are potentially right in the middle of another global Black Swan event, who knows what effect the Coronovirus may have, we just need to ensure we protect our health in all way bodily and financial health ? but this is largely what we are now doing anyway, day to day and week to week.

You see building a business, really puts you as the owner, the master of its destiny, you are ultimately responsible and accountable for the outcome so you decide what level of risk and reward is right for you. For Leisha and I, we are fortunate and I am especially fortunate as this isn?t even my business, I am just utilising my business, marketing and financial control skills to help the creative hub of the business grow and this creative hub is 100% Leish. For the foreseeable future we don?t envisage taking on employees and exposing ourselves to other costly risks as we know we can grow Leish?s business with just the two of us to provide an income in the long run that will sustain our lifestyle, even without investments but we will invest as well. So what does this mean in the short-term? Well it means my mindset, attitude is completely different compared to 2008, if I were to lose my job tomorrow, all would not be lost, I would not be forced into a corner of very limited options, having to rely primarily on look ? gee when I look back on 2008/2009 ? it could have gone so horribly wrong.

People often talk to me about the amount of work I do, but I can honestly say that as far as work stress goes I barely feel it despite doing a full-time career on top of side-hustling, the work stress barely registers now compared to the past not because I taking short cuts and not pulling my weight in all areas, but because I am feeling driven and passionate in all areas of my work, be it for my employer or side-hustling and I am getting so much enjoyment out of it. The recent key learning as been last week?s 80-20, 20-80 but also remembering the why behind everything we do and with those two factors very much revised I am now ready for the exam and it?s a practical exam to make married.co.nz the best it can be ? and I don?t mean in Jeff Bezos? eyes but in the eyes of the Jones Family? until next time? happy fiday!

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