How I Made Money Easy For My Entrepreneurial Life
My name is Dylan. I'm 28 years old and I love surfing, skateboarding, and taking ideas and building them into businesses.
I was in the Discover Your Hidden Green beta course a few months back, and it insanely improved my money life.
Here's my story.
What's up, man? What's your background? Your money story?
I grew up in Valencia, California, and loved being outside: roller blading, skateboarding, playing golf, hitting the beach to surf.
All throughout my childhood my friends and I were always playing outside doing fun stuff like shooting skateboarding videos.
Ever since I was a kid I've wanted to start my own business. I was that kid on the corner running the lemonade stand.
I guess it's something about the idea of being my own boss and creating my own ideas that have attracted me to the concept.
You were a part of the Discover Your Hidden Green beta course. How have things changed for you? What's different about your life?
Discover Your Hidden Green changed my life.
Before the course I had no idea how much money I was spending every month.
My personal finances were too complicated. I had two different savings accounts, three checking accounts.
When I started Discover Your Hidden Green I didn't know if I was spending more than I was earning (I was) or if I was cash flow positive (I was not).
I had tried a bunch of personal finance tools, but I could never really figure them out and get it to stick.
The biggest thing the course did for me was give me transparency into my own finances.
It sounds ridiculous now but I can't believe I went so long without tracking my spending.
As soon as I started tracking my spending I saw the change.
I went from being cash flow negative every month to being consistently cash flow positive.
I'm still working on increasing my savings ratio but at least I'm not spending more than I'm earning!
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That's so great. We know you're big into entrepreneurship. Why are you interested in money independence?
I'm interested in money independence because I want to be in control of what I do with my time.
I'm one of those people that actually enjoy my work. I have come to realize that when I work hard and accomplish my tasks at work it makes me feel good.
Don't get me wrong, I like to enjoy adventures on the weekend — camping, surfing, golf, hiking...
But I can really only enjoy those weekend adventures if I know I accomplished impactful things the week before.
I've thought about what I'd do if I achieved money independence.
And even if I did and could go sit on a beach all day and drink piña coloadas, I would probably only do it for about a week.
Then I would get so insanely bored that I would have to start working again.
I'm not good at simply tuning out and doing nothing. That's probably why I'm so interested and engaged in entrepreneurship.
Ever since I was a kid I've wanted to start and run my own company.
That's what I'm doing now.
Two years back, I joined a very early stage start up, Crowdcast. It was so early stage that I wasn't taking any salary. I was literally just burning through my savings.
But now, we've got to the point where I'm able to take a salary, and things are progressing from there.
Running a company is hard work. It's stressful. And when you're starting out the pay isn't as good as it would be if you were working at a normal big, established company.
I guess it's for those reasons — the uncertainty that comes with creating something you believe in — that it's important for me to get my personal finances on track, see where I'm spending and making sure I am spending on things that bring me the most happiness.
You love your work. So why do you care about saving money?
Even though I love my work, I save because I want peace of mind.
I want to know that one day in the future I won't always have to work.
Work right now is enjoyable, challenging and fulfilling, but over time I know priorities and feelings change.
I want the freedom in the future to be able to work on what I want to work on, and not be tied down work on projects I don't want to work on.
You've given a shot at a few start ups. How have you kept yourself afloat money-wise? How have you managed your time?
Basically, a few years back I decided to teach myself how to code.
I knew that once I could code I could more easily choose to work on projects I enjoy because there's such a demand for developers.
And I also knew it would let me create my own projects and ideas.
To keep myself afloat over the past several years, I've gone back and forth between working as a contractor, a full-time employee and on my own ideas.
Often times, I split time between my own work and other part/full-time jobs. This enabled me to save up enough money to give myself some runway.
I'll admit thought, the employee by day and entrepreneur by night life can be challenging to manage.
But if you're really excited about an idea, I've found it helps you laser focus on your current job and crank out all the work you need during the day.
Then when you have those precious few hours to be productive, you're more forced to cut out everything that doesn't matter and focus on the most high-impact things you can be doing.
The moonlighting schedule is difficult to sustain over a long period of time, but over the short-term it is doable.
Love how much you go after what you love. If you could talk to 23-year-old Dylan, knowing what you know now, what one piece of advice would you give him?
Start tracking your spending. Like now.
I wouldn't even tell him to change his habits.
It's okay to be young, dumb and spend money on stupid stuff — that's how you learn.
But at the very least, you should track it.
If you went over your spending goal one month, don't get discouraged or don't get down on yourself.
Just make sure you're tracking it.
After a few months of tracking you'll notice that you start to change.
And it starts to influence your day to day decisions because you want to see more green (income) than red (spending) showing each month.
So what's next for you, man? Where do you want to go from here?
I'm going to continue reading The Hidden Green, checking out your courses and continue tracking my finances.
In my ideal scenario, I am completely financially independent in both my lifestyle and my finances.
I want to continue working on projects I love, building businesses and going out to do fun adventures when I'm not working.
I want to do all that without the stress of money. And The Hidden Green has helped me find the path to making that happen.
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