Create Something Awesome and Sell It

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I used to carry a heavy burden of debt.

I pined away at an 8-5, M-F job I hated so I could pay for a bunch of crap I thought I wanted. I was an unhappy wage slave.

That was a few years ago.

Now I’m financially light on my feet. I wake up every day and aspire to create something awesome, in lieu of trading my time for money.

What about you? Are you where you want to be, or at least heading in that direction?

Answer these questions:

  1. Do you earn a living trading time for money (a.k.a. salaried worker)?
  2. Have you ever created something to sell (a product, service, etc.)?

Keep your answers in mind as we explore the intention of spending time creating something awesome, and selling it.

When I say awesome, I mean creating something that’s useful and meaningful, that embodies your passion. Something you could sell without even trying. Something you know other passionate, like-minded people will love.

If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to quitting your job and making money fast, stop reading now, close this browser tab, and keep surfing.

I’m writing this to inspire you to action! In this relationship I’m the cowboy with spurred boots, and you’re the horse.

Now let’s go for a ride.

Note: if you love your job, this post isn’t for you.

Trading time for money

Create something to sell

The average Joe/Jane will never earn money from a creative endeavor, which is fine unless they’ve always wanted to but never have.

If you want to stop trading time for money, and transition into selling your own creations, I’m here to tell you it’s not only possible, it’s doable . . . I have done it.

Before proceeding I want to touch on several philosophical reasons we fall victim to the “time for money” trap.

If you’re unsure how you turned into an unhappy, salary worker, let me assure you, you didn’t get here by accident. If you were publicly educated, the first 20+ years of your life were spent in something I refer to as “wage slave training.” You were trained to work for other people – people who create something to sell.

You were NOT taught to solve problems and think with independence.

While we can’t place full blame on our grade school and college undergrad curriculums, it’s important to recognize the effects of our training. Most people in the wage slave role wonder how they got there, and why the heck they hate it so much.

I know because I was one of them, for a long time.

Right about the time Obama was promising hope and change, I was breaking ground on my transition from wage slave to entrepreneur. I wanted to move toward creative, meaningful work ASAP, but I wasn’t sure what it would be or how I would get there.

When I was just about to lose it, I took a “mental health” day to drive to my Dad’s and ask him how in the world he spent 35 years working a job he hated. This is what he said:

“When I was about your age I reached the point you’re at now, and a decision had to made. I could either quit my job to pursue meaningful, fulfilling work, or stay where I was and focus on finding fulfillment in my personal life, and use the job to support it.

He retired from that job, and it supports his personal life to this day.

But it was then that I KNEW it had to be different for me, I had to make the opposite decision.

God bless my mother for her steadfast support through this transition too. I Love her!

Create awesome stuff and sell it

It was January 1st, 2009 when I started The interest on my debt alone was costing me over $1,300/month (yeah, you read that right).

I had tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, a 30 year fixed 1st mortgage, a 2nd mortgage, around $7k in auto loan debt, and another $6k in credit card debt.

I was working a job that drove me frickin nuts – but – I was creating my own plan for hope and change.

I started DFA for 3 reasons:

  1. To help me get, and stay, out of debt.
  2. To help others do the same.
  3. To earn money by creating something awesome.

Along the way I developed passions for simple living, doing things myself, and reducing my intake of harmful chemicals – and started to nurture that passion.

Some goals for diyNatural were:

  1. To simplify life and learn new skills.
  2. To live a natural, sustainable lifestyle, and inspire others do the same.
  3. To earn money by creating something awesome.

In late October of 2010 I quit my job and toyed with the idea of creating information full-time. For a few months I tried to make the transition but – for whatever reason – wasn’t quite ready to take the plunge. I explored other avenues of work including a 3 month, $800 investment to become a financial advisor. It was not in line with my gifts and desires the way I thought it’d be.

Finally in February of 2011 I jumped off the entrepreneurial cliff and committed myself to creating information full-time. I would succeed, or fail while trying my best.

Website traffic and earnings increased as I lived and grew the plan, and it’s a good thing because in July Betsy left her full-time job to avoid having a stress breakdown (she was in the same boat I had been in, but under a lot more pressure).

That summer she began writing for diyNatural and on September 1st we released our first ebook titled DIY Natural Household Cleaners: How to make your own cleaners… naturally.

Two and a half months later we released the book in print version on Amazon, and just a few days ago made it available on Kindle and other e-reader platforms.

We had never run websites for a living – but we made it work because we were passionate about creating and sharing awesome information. We had never published, marketed, or sold an ebook, print book, or Kindle book – but the book is selling very well.

Nowadays we’re content using our God-given gifts to inspire others in holistic stewardship. We have time freedom, we’re happy with our work, and we trust God to provide. He always exceeds our best expectations!

Now it’s your turn to create and sell

Betsy and I focus on creating information products. We give most of the information away for free, but sell enough to support the work.

Maybe you want to create and share your gift and passion for art. Maybe crafts. Maybe farming. Maybe you have a flair for graphic design and want to build awesome websites for people, businesses, or charities.

Whatever your passions are, start creating something awesome, and trust God with the details and provisions. He gave us the desires of our hearts to steer our lives in certain directions. Stop ignoring Him.

Don’t worry about selling – yet – just focus on a passionate interest, outline some goals, and start creating.

Who knows, maybe in 3 years you’ll be much happier with your answers to the two questions asked above!


photo credit: Mickey van der Stap

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1 Monica

Hi Matt,
I’m so happy for you and your wife in being able to have the guts and determination to branch out on your own. There really is a difference in ‘quality of life’ when you work for yourself and not someone else. It takes hard work, sacrifice, and dedication, but the rewards (not necessarily monetary) are worth the risk. My husband and I are in the same situation, yes it’s scary not knowing the exact amount we’ll bring in each month, but our lives are so much better for having started our own business. Wish you much luck and success!

2 Matt Jabs

Well put Monica, it really is the quality of life that improves when you love your own, creative work. We wouldn’t trade it for millions now.

3 Jon White

Very inspiring Matt! I have started to take the steps necessary to stop being a wage slave and it has been tough . . . but worth it! It’s hard to get out of that mindset of going to a job and earning your hourly wage. I got some ways to go still but I look back at how far I have come and the results have been amazing! Thanks again for sharing your story.

4 Matt Jabs

Glad you brought up the mindset, Betsy and I have talked a lot about that. Even a year into are full-time entrepreneurial journey it was still hard to shake the old “get a job” mentality. Years of brainwashing take years of recovery, so keep plugging along!

5 Ellie

I need one of these posts every week…keep them coming!

6 cashflowmantra

I have to agree with Ellie. This post was inspiring and makes me feel good inside. Congratulations on being able to pay down debt and do what you enjoy. I am lucky in that the job I do is enjoyable although the hours do get to me from time to time.

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