A journal entry from that time in my life reveals what I was thinking:
Tomorrow will mark the very first time in my life where I’ll be taking a serious risk. Most of me is ecstatic. Part of me is terrified. It’s this one terrified part of me that I’m trying to kill.
Six months ago I made a promise to myself. After submitting a written proposal to my employer asking for a raise, I gave myself a personal deadline. At the end of six months, I will either:
- Receive a raise, or
- Quit my job and move out of state.
My proposal more or less argued that I had been working outside of my job description for two years, and was being grossly underpaid for the amount of work I was doing. Although my letter was acknowledged and my hard work commended, I quickly learned that my request for a raise was not going to be honored.
Well aware that my time left with this organization was limited, I began taking the steps necessary to “reboot” my life. It was time to start over.
The process of rebooting my life is practically complete. Over the last six months, I have:
- Sold, donated, or thrown away everything I cannot take with me.
- Established new living arrangements in Michigan with the help of my girlfriend Cassie.
- Put in my final two weeks at the last job I ever want to have.
My apartment has been emptied, my car is packed, and all that remains left to do is drive from New Jersey to Michigan. I have no clue whether or not this will work out or not — but I’m doing it tomorrow.
Now is the time to do it. I’m young, I’m not paying a mortgage, I have no children or anything else binding me in place.
I’m gonna go live a little.
After a year, there have been some changes. My car has Michigan plates. My health insurance is nonexistent. My savings account has been tapped to cover my expenses, and only $5,000 remains. My vacation time is long gone.
I made all of these changes for two reasons: My relationship with Cassie, and my desire to create this blog.
It’s been an interesting year. I’ve published nearly 100 original articles, causing:
- Over 300,000 people to read at least one of them.
- Nearly 1,300 comments.
- Over 200 other blogs to link to LifeReboot.
- Over 2,000 people to email me.
The reactions I get from my blog cover the entire spectrum. Some people love me while others hate me. Some people email me to share their life story, while others send one-liners like “How old are you?” That reminds me how some people call me an “old soul,” while others say I’m too young and inexperienced to have anything worth writing about.
The same polarity is demonstrated by the donations I receive. I was surprised when a complete stranger gave me $220. I was just as surprised when a different stranger donated $0.01 — coupled with an explanation that it was all that my writing was worth.
The wide variation of reactions that I get from my blog constantly makes me wonder: “How many people subscribe to LifeReboot just to see whether I succeed or fail?” My original intention, after all, was that writing for LifeReboot could eventually earn enough advertising revenue to cover my living expenses — effectively replacing the need to work.
It hasn’t happened yet, and maybe it will never happen — but I’m trying.
I’ve always been one to give myself a set time limit to reach a certain goal:
- I gave my last job 6 months after asking for a raise. After those 6 months I would either have the raise I asked for or I would quit. I ended up quitting.
- I gave LifeReboot 6 months to earn an average of $10/day. If I couldn’t reach that goal, then I’d start looking for a 9-to-5 job. I reached that goal.
- When I reached my $10/day goal, I set a new one: In another 6 months, I hope LifeReboot will be earning $1000/month. That time is up, and my site earnings have actually gone down.
It’s disappointing when I fail to reach a goal I set for myself — but unfortunately, that sometimes happens. I’ve been “off the job” for a year, and my plan to earn a living online is starting to look like a failed experiment.
As I already indicated, there were two reasons I chose this path: Cassie and LifeReboot. I realize that if I tell myself that I still have time, and I continue using LifeReboot as my sole source of income, then I will be risking what I have with Cassie. She and I have been splitting our expenses 50-50 ever since we started living together one year ago. Unless I find another source to supplement my income, I won’t be able to afford my share of the expenses for much longer.
On some level, I’m disappointed. As I indicated in the above journal entry, I don’t want another job. What I wanted was to try and “write to live.” I wanted to take something that I love to do even if I’m not being paid to do it and see how far I could run with it.
When I first started, I knew the statistics were against me. I had read that only 1 in 100 people can successfully earn a living online. I had read that it takes an average of 33 months (almost 3 years!) for a blog to become popular. Regardless of the risks involved, I still wanted to do it — and so I did…
…and I will continue to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that this is the end of LifeReboot. I’m just saying that this is the end of one particular chapter of my life. I’m about to reinvent myself as a worker by day and writer by night. Although it’s not what I originally envisioned for myself, I feel that it’s an appropriate “next step” — and it’s a great day for a life reboot.
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