This is not the story of the guy who sold his startup for millions.
This is the story of a guy who decided to retire early, at age 28, after spending several years of his life doing startups, and failing, over and over again.
This blog will describe my journey to retirement, and the lessons I’ve learned while building startups and working as a freelancer.
I’m a 28-year-old hacker. I code in my free time. I love Python and Vim and I’m an ordained minister of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster 😛
My journey with startups began five years ago.
Like many others, I read the stories about overnight successes. Saw young techies like me becoming millionaires. And saw “The Social Network” 🙂 (although that came out a few years later)
So I started freelancing – I had this regular routine of working my ass off for six to eight months, then working full time on a startup for another six to eight months, until it regrettably closed down.
I’ve done this routine three times. Each time I went through a startup, I learned many lessons (which I’ll cover in future posts), but slowly I reached an understanding:
The main reason I’m doing startups is to have enough money to accomplish my bucket list.
The Bucket List
Once financial freedom is achieved, I can finally start checking off items from my bucket list:
- Home: Books / Games / Movies / TV Series
- Hobbies: Learn to play piano and guitar
- Travel: Visit the many places I want to see around the world
- Learn: University courses, go to film school
- Experience: Bungee jumping, appear on TV, tornado chasing
Notice anything interesting? All items in the list mostly require time and small-to-medium amounts of money (or none at all). There is no need for my startup to get acquired by Google.
What if I want to build a 60-feet golden statue of myself?
There are less important items in that list that do require more money (buying a mansion, deluxe sports car, private jet). From the research I’ve done, both rich people and the elderly say the same thing:
You get quickly accustomed to physical luxuries.
When you’re on your deathbed, the things you regret the most are related to relationships (love/family/friends), experiences and education. Notice there’s no “I wished I would have bought a bigger house”.
“When you’re 40 years old and have kids, you won’t be able to do a startup”
Yes, it’ll be much more difficult. However, some of my bucket list items do have the same limitation. And for me, most of the bucket list trumps a startup.
“A startup is not just about the exit”
True. But in my case, the other reasons for doing a startup are less important than doing my bucket list. That means that perhaps in a year or two, I’ll have the urge to get back on the startup wagon.
The most important lesson learned
You can accomplish your bucket list right now. You just need time and
This blog will document my bucket list journey – the mistakes I’ll make, lessons I’ll learn and experiences I’ll have along the way. So please subscribe if you want to join me on this journey – I’d love to hear your thoughts and advice on the matter – what do you think of this “Bucket list approach”? Please comment below and let me know.
“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”
– Bob Dylan