I’ve made a couple of my dreams come true, so please be patient with my rant and read to the end. Maybe you will make yours come true too?
Eleventh of July 2014 I bought a house.
You have no idea how big that is for my family. My wife has been dreaming about our own house since 2009. But that year I was laid off, because of the economy breakdown. It took me a couple of years to rebuild my salary to previous level and a bit above.
And previous level was not enough to afford buying a house. It allowed us to live the life at the level we were comfortable with in our small flat.
It’s not exactly the money which made this purchase possible. It was the shift in the mindsets, both mine and my wife’s.
The price of the house was about my 4 yearly salaries. The mortgage’s installment is about 30% of my monthly salary. And we needed about $7k of our own contribution.
Two years ago I read The Slight Edge and undertook a massive change in my life. Oh boy, that was uncomfortable and a way outside my comfort zone.
One of the areas I reformed was my finances. I started to save much bigger chunk of the salary, than before. My savings ratio increased from 4.5% to about 20%. During those 20 months since I accelerated my savings, I accumulated about $10k. Without that money we wouldn’t have been able to provide our contribution.
I’m a writer
In April 2013 I started writing my first work ever published, small booklet titled “A Personal Mission Statement: Your Road Map to Happiness.” Today I have six works under my belt. When I started all I had was a desire to succeed. I had no bases to expect a success – no experience, no authority and mediocre English.
One of my books became a bestseller, which gave a bigger exposure to my whole catalog and I earned a few thousands of dollar so far. I have never intended to use my royalties to anything else than expanding my publishing business.
That money came very handy at the house purchase. In Poland, when you buy a house you are obligated to pay the “luxury tax”, 2% of the price. Bank took 2% for the “privilege” of giving a mortgage. Notary public took his share too, although it was a chicken feed comparing to banks and government’s shares. Though luck.
We could afford to pay all the fees. We used absolutely everything: the money I stacked for paying flat’s mortgage before time, the money I stacked for planned expanses like school workbooks for kids and a rainy days fund. And a good chunk of my royalties. Only about $1000 was left.
All that financial engineering was possible, because I’ve changed my personal philosophy. Because two years ago I saw where my future is going to and I decided to change that path. It took my massive transformation to put us in the place where purchasing a house was physically possible.
You have the influence
But the main driving force behind the decision of buying the house was my wife. She was very skeptical (that’s understatement of the century) when she heard about my writing venture for the first time. She scolded and mocked me.
I remember the point when I had three books written when she read them and trashed them as products of literary wannabe. She demanded that I “quit this entertainment and look for a better job instead.” But I was adamant. We went through that crisis and I kept writing.
She didn’t share my enthusiasm when my royalties transformed from a few bucks a month to several dozens of bucks. The success of Master Your Time modified her attitude a little. She started to believe that maybe I can make it happen.
I’m convinced that my change of thinking and acting affected her too. At the beginning she was extremely negative toward my idea of writing career.
You are the influence
I didn’t let her attitude affect me. I was on a mission. I was all for changing my life. I knew the final destination of my old ways and it wasn’t “they lived happily ever after.” If I would have focused on working for someone else for the rest of my life, I would have been destined for a lifelong struggle.
I refused to think about any other outcome than success.
Every time she mocked me, she found me inflexible. How long can you do something without seeing any results? Finally she gave up on this.
My open-mindedness affected her too. She quit her job. Formally she was fired, but it was because she demanded a salary raise from her employer. She worked in a very toxic environment and I was stoked that she won’t be working there anymore. We lost 25% of our income, but it was worth it.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
This quote is often used as an argument for “ditching negative people from your life.” But this influence works in both directions. “Negative” people are affected by you. They can’t observe your progress and don’t reach the conclusion they can do it too.
Usually that means they ran away, because they can’t stand taking responsibility for their lives. But my wife didn’t run away. She has changed. She came out of the negative thoughts spiral and started looking for opportunities. She came out of her comfort zone too.
As I said before, she was obsessed by the dream of our own house for quite some time. She became a local real estate expert. She knew about all houses for sale in the range of 20 miles from our town. She knew everything about them – location, age, construction technology, media…
But till about 8 months ago this knowledge was passive and very frustrating in its nature. She didn’t try to do anything with it. About the point she quit her job she changed her attitude. She started to call house owners and tried to haggle. She started visiting the sites.
When she found our house she was unemployed. However her faith in our abilities grew enough to try to finalize the transaction. We’ve encountered and overcame a few obstacles.
First my wife managed to haggle down the price to the 87% of the entry point. In a real estate transaction it translates to thousands of dollars.
Then she negotiated with the owner doing the bulk of paper work connected with submitting all the appropriate documents to the respective authorities. In Poland we have to submit countless documentation to various offices before the house is officially habitable.
I took care about the mortgage. The paperwork in the bank was even more murderous. One week we visited the bank 4 times to make a recon, to sign up papers, to deliver lacking paper… In the end they purposefully understated the value of the house and in the effect we needed to increase our contribution. It was the reason I dipped into my royalty’s fund.
In the meantime my wife found a job and she will earn almost exactly an amount we need for the mortgage installment.
Comfort zone extended
In April 2013 I had only dreams and hopes. Now I have a new home and a business. It usually brings just a few hundred dollars a month, but it’s a business nonetheless. I earn better than 75% of the authors, indie or not.
My comfort zone was extended significantly. I learned to invest in my business in order to get higher revenues. I started experiments with paid advertising. I wasted some money and I earned some money. I gained experience. I paid $300 for professional edition of my latest book. I didn’t break even at this investment yet, but within first 4 weeks I already earned 85% of that cost. I transformed from an employee to the entrepreneur.
I learned a lot about independent publishing. When I read “Write. Publish. Repeat.” I realized I have almost all the knowledge of a couple authors who are making a living from their books. No exaggeration.
I was approached by a publisher a few weeks ago. They saw a potential in my books and proposed me a deal. They will do the heavy lifting – editing, proofreading, covers, different formats and help with the launches – for 30% of the royalties. They also requested a deposit: $1500.
One year ago such cooperation wouldn’t have crossed my mind. I would have been full of suspicions. I wouldn’t have risked fifteen hundred bucks.
But I gained the experience. I knew how valuable their services are. I knew how desperate I needed them to expand. I knew I needed new channels of distribution and more effective marketing. I knew that I was reaching my limits as a one-man-army. And I knew them and knew I can trust them, because I have been in the business for the past year and have heard about them. They cooperate with my mentor.
My only problem was that I had not $1500. I confessed it and they agreed for $1000 deposit.
Cool stories, huh? But what they have to do with you? A few lessons which may help you do just that:
1. Never ever give up on what’s important for you.
2. You don’t need self belief or any kind of belief. All you need is to keep plugging.
3. Comfort zone equals to comfort pit.
4. You need obstacles and hassles. They transcend into valuable experience.
5. The dreams can come true.
Did your dreams come true?
How so? Share with me.