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Early Exit #15: Imagine A Different Life
Dare to imagine that you could have a different life.
You’re reading Early Exit Club — a newsletter about leaving the 9-5 workforce to build a $20k/month solo business by Nick Lafferty.
We recently crossed 700 subscribers and it’s been a while since I got mushy at the start of this email so from the bottom of my heart: thank you for being here.
Today we’re taking a journey into the land of romantic comedies.
Wait, not that one (but I do love “I Love You, Man”.).
This one: the 1998 smash hit “You’ve Got Mail” starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.
It requires a little setup though so bear with me as I explain how the internet worked back then.
It’s 1998. The internet is new and very slow.
AOL was the world’s largest online service provider powering roughly 15 million internet users who connected over the same home phone lines they used to make phone calls with.
That Metallica song you were downloading very legally on Napster would take 5 minutes to finish, unless someone called your home phone number in which case you were screwed because your parents only paid for one phone line.
Two strangers, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, meet in an AOL chatroom and begin a romance — plot twist, they’re also business rivals.
Tom Hanks’s family started Fox Books, a chain of mega bookstores. Meg Ryan is the second-generation owner of a little bookshop around the corner that sells only children’s books.
Years later they’re both going to get crushed by Amazon but for now they’re operating in blissful ignorance.
In the mean time Tom opens a new bookstore around the corner from Meg’s that threatens to put her out of business.
It works and she has to close her bookstore. In a dinner meeting with her staff she talks it over them and her wise accountant drops a knowledge bomb on her that inspired this email.
Daring to imagine
I have (very legally) obtained a 39 second clip of this scene to really hammer home the point that you can watch below.
Here’s the transcript if you can’t watch:
Birdie: So, dearie, what have you decided to do?
Meg: Close. We're going to close.
Birdie: Closing the store is the brave thing to do.
Meg: You’re such a liar. But thank you.
Birdie: You are daring to imagine that you could have a different life. Oh, I know it doesn't feel like that. You feel like a big fat failure now. But you’re not. You are marching into the unknown armed with nothing. Have a sandwich.
You, my dear reader, are Meg Ryan.
Or maybe you’re soon to be Meg Ryan: daring to imagine a different life.
A life without a regular 9-5 job.
A life where your primary income is the combination of a few secondary sources of income instead.
A life where you’re not wondering if you’ll be in the next round of layoffs.
A life where you can decide to take every Friday off if you want to.
I was Meg Ryan in this scene before I decided to quit my job, but for years I wasn’t.
I couldn’t imagine a different life besides the one I was on.
I decided I had to stick it out, stuff my 401k with every dollar I could, and play the long game where I could be happy when I retired.
But then I too made a brave choice: I quit my job.
And I too felt like a big fat failure.
I failed to hit a certain title despite doing everything I could to get there.
I failed to participate in a liquidity event, where my imaginary startup equity would turn into real dollars in my bank account.
I failed to hit all the bullshit milestones my brain was very good at making up for me while I toiled away helping build someone else’s dream.
Having the bravery to YOLO quit my job is the best thing I could’ve done.
And I’m here to help you get there too.
My Early Exit Plan
While my path to solopreneurship is certainly not the right path for everyone, here’s what I did.
I built my exit plan:
I found consulting clients to put my best and most efficient skills to work generating short term income:
And when the time was right, I raised my rates:
I have even more content and free resources planned to help both aspiring solopreneurs take the leap and to help current solopreneurs stay accountable.
Stay tuned for that.
And if you found this valuable, can you share it with someone? Maybe post it on LinkedIn or Twitter.
See you all next week,
Solopreneur of the week should be back next week when I don’t spend 70% of the newsletter setting up a 39 second clip from a movie that came out 25 years ago.