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How I Multiplied My Income 2.5x, Savings 5x, and Happiness 20x (After Quitting My Job)

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~ Mark Twain

On 1st January 2011, when most people around me were making resolutions to lose weight and eat better, I was making up my mind to do something else.

I finally did it on 4th January. I told my boss – “I quit!”

Quitting my job was a tough decision to come by, as I was surrounded by mixed views from all around, including from within me.

“You’re sure you want to quit your job?” asked my concerned father.

“How could you quit when we have spent so many years training you?” asked my boss, forgetting that I had also spent so many years serving the company.

“Hey, please don’t quit!” said my colleagues.

“Yes, you can do it!” said my wife.

“Yes, Papa will be at home to play with me at all times!” exclaimed my seven year old daughter.

Now, here is how my mind was playing tricks with me.

“Vishal, are you mad to quit such a well-paying job?” my mind asked me. “You have the responsibility of a family! Change your decision right away!”

“If not now, never!” my heart told me. “You’ve worked long enough for someone else. It’s now a time to work for yourself, and to live your dreams.”

As I look back to that day three years back, I thank God I went with my heart that pushed me to give my dreams a chance.

Well, it’s wasn’t a decision led 100% by my heart, because my mind had helped me a lot in preparing for the day I quit my job.

But I must tell you one very important thing – quitting my job was liberating. And it was scary. Very scary!

Going Back in Time
Well, to be honest, the life I am living now is not something I had dreamt up for a lifetime. I never knew that I wanted to be a full-time blogger and investment educator until the end of 2010 when I started outlining my plan to get on my own.

I knew I had a passion for writing, and I knew I had to get into helping people learn the art of sensible investing (the latter led by the frustration of seeing people around me losing their life savings on bad investment decisions).

So I realized that I might actually be able to combine both these and create something worthwhile out of that – something that would not only liberate me emotionally, but also financially.

Well, have I really done well financially ever since? See these charts…


Note: Assuming a base annual income of Rs 100 in 2005


Note: Assuming a base saving of Rs 100 in Jan. 2005

Quitting my job and charting my own course has surely given me a better ROI than any of my stock investment.

Excluding my time and effort (intangible assets), every Rs 1 of tangible investment into my business has earned me Rs 30 in return, which has not only helped me run my house, keep my wife happy :-), and fund my passion for travel, but also help me add to my savings.

In all, after I quit my job, my income is up 2.5x (between 2010 and 2013), saving is up 5x (between Jan-2011 and now), and happiness is up 20x (at least). 🙂

It’s All about Being Unreasonable
Buddha said, “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”

I believe this also holds true for the road to financial freedom – the only two mistakes you can make is not going all the way, and not starting.

Most people I have met over the years have been stuck with the latter – not starting on their road to financial freedom.

The reason for this is simple. When you really want to walk on the road to financial freedom, you need to first lay out the road yourself. And for laying out that road, you must be willing to stand up, stand out, and make a ruckus.

Now, while we all have the potential to do great work in life, it requires us to leave our comfort zones. But sadly, we have been brought up in a culture where we constantly remind one another about the dangers of standing up, standing out, and making a ruckus.

And thus, the road to financial freedom remains elusive to most of us.

George Bernard Shaw said, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the conditions that surround him. The unreasonable man adapts surrounding conditions to himself. All progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

For decades, breaking the four-minute mile was believed to be scientifically impossible. Right up until Roger Banister did it in 1954. Then you know what happened? 16 more people ran sub four-minutes in the three years to follow.

We’ve been largely conditioned that it’s not possible to build a career around passion. So many people hate their jobs and many of us have decided to accept that as a fact of life.

I did too, right up until I started reading and learning about people who showed me another way.

So here’s the trick – If you want to love your work and live off your passion, the most important thing you need is to surround yourself with people already doing it.

You must reverse the brainwashing. Spend time around enough people living squarely in their dreams, and living off passion not only becomes possible, it becomes probable. That shift in psychology will change your world.

Consider this statistic – A recent study reported that as many as 80% of the people in the workforce globally don’t enjoy their job. And nearly 75% don’t know their true passion.

Is this a coincidence? I don’t think so.

If you can begin building an income around the things that excite you, your work will no longer be something you hate. It will be something you can’t get enough of. It’s only then that, like Warren Buffett, you would tap dance to work every day.

As Confucius wrote, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

How I Did It?
First, let me make one thing absolutely clear.

Most people who have achieved financial freedom will tell you that they took some gamble that paid off big for them.

I don’t recommend taking any such risk. Being a disciple of Buffett and Munger, I recommend taking a calculated risk – one that is backed by an adequate margin of safety.

Life is all about playing the odds in your favour. Figure out the ROI in every risk and compare it to the possibility of failure. If you find out an investment has a 50% chance to fail but can make 3x the original investment, it’s a risk but calculations show it’s worthwhile.

The same holds true for creating a small online business that combines your passion with your abilities.

Here’s broadly how I have charted my path to financial freedom while incorporating adequate margin of safety at each step…

  • After much thought, I identified my passion in life – writing to help people learn how to make sensible decisions with their money.
  • I assessed whether this was a skill people would pay for (the answer was “yes”).
  • I asked whether I wanted to have a plan-B (the answer was “no”, because I realized that any plan-B would not let me focus on plan-A).
  • I developed the right skills required to succeed in my plans – learning writing, basic technology, and the art of persuasion – while working extra time before and after my job timings.
  • I gradually built up my savings to repay the only financial liability I had – my home loan (margin of safety, you see).
  • My practice of minimalism – which my wife supported whole-heartedly – helped me rebuild savings after paying off the loan.
  • I quit my job after I closed my home loan and had also built up savings to meet my basic needs of around 2-3 years in case I failed to earn any income from my business (again, margin of safety).
  • I launched myself!
  • I gradually built up my small business – working all alone and painstakingly at it (I had no plan-B to turn back to).
  • My tribe – you – found me and I got lucky.

Money, as I have realized has never been the driving factor for me. It comes, as I have experienced, if you have a simple, honest idea and take it seriously.

In all, things have worked out pretty fine for me…and I thank my stars and my family – and especially my wife – for standing by my side through thick and thin.

Now, this should be obvious, but I’ll stress it here – what has worked for me may not necessarily work for any other human being on this planet.

But, as I just said, if you have a simple idea and you take it seriously, you can definitely chart your road to financial freedom at full throttle.

Now, If You Have the Desire…
You see, you don’t have to have it all together when you start on your journey to turn your passion into paycheque.

You start from where you are, and – this point is critical – you get a few things right.

The fear of failing rarely goes away forever, but you have to find a way to separate it from your ability to make progress. You create the right product or service. You find a market of people, even a small one, which wants to pay for it.

I always tell people who are beginning a creative career to go back and look at the early work of people they admire. Instead of getting intimidated by their success, they should go back to the beginning – see where they started, and see how it all began.

When you do that, you’ll be able to see the progress along the way, most likely including a few mistakes.

In my case, the compass points are my desire for “independence” and “gratitude”. Much of what I do now has been built on the idea of being “self-employed for life” and answering to no one.

In Napoleon Hill’s amazing book “Think and Grow Rich”, he shares a story of Edwin Barnes – a man who desired to become a business associate of Thomas Edison.

According to Hill, “Barnes desire was not a hope! It was not a wish! It was a keen, pulsating DESIRE, which transcended everything else. It was DEFINITE.”

Barnes described his desire as such…

There is but ONE thing in this world that I am determined to have, and that is a business association with Thomas A. Edison. I will burn all bridges behind me, and stake my ENTIRE FUTURE on my ability to get what I want.

Now, here is something I would like to offer you.

If you have the desire to stake your future on your ability to get what you want, I will help you chart a roadmap for laying out that road – creating a small online business – which would connect to your road to financial freedom.

This will be through my special 3-month course – Passion to Paycheque – that forms part of my one-year course – The Safal Niveshak Mastermind (which also includes a comprehensive course in Value Investing).

The Passion to Paycheque course would revolve around answering big questions like…

  1. How to identify your passion in life?
  2. What steps to take to make money from your passion?
  3. What key steps to take before launching your small online business?
  4. How to create your platform – a simple, beautiful website – to run your business? (Web is the single most useful online tool for developing and monetizing a passion…and it’s free).
  5. How to create compelling content to engage your website visitors?
  6. How to convert your website visitors into paying customers?
  7. What mistakes you must avoid in your road to creative freedom?
  8. How to go from fear to freedom, one step at a time
  9. What if you fail?

In short, Passion to Paycheque is a course where I will guide you to discover your passion, so that you can transform your career, and reconstruct your life, income and happiness the way you want to live it.

So, if you willing to take up the challenge to really transform your life, and learn how to convert your passion to paycheque via a small online business, all you must do is…

Join The Safal Niveshak Mastermind Now!
(Admission Closes on 16th Feb. 2014)

It’s sometimes scary being self-employed. I am my own boss, and I can do whatever I want. Failure and success are dependent completely on me.

Scary, yes…but amazingly liberating!

Plus, if done right, you get to multiply your income, savings, and happiness.

To quote the noted French poet and novelist Anatole France – “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”

Here’s to your financial freedom!

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About the Author

Vishal Khandelwal is the founder of Safal Niveshak. He works with small investors to help them become smart and independent in their stock market investing decisions. He is a SEBI registered Research Analyst. Connect with Vishal on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Brilliant article Vishal. This was an inspiration. When I left my job at Infosys in 2009, I had to answer exactly the same questions.

    Thank you for the great line about the unreasonable man being primarily responsible for all the human progress. I have been quoting it often but never knew it was from GB Shaw.

    Regarding the 4 minute mile, I think targets are very restrictive things. When one makes a target, it is generally a little better than the peers. Now one can’t expect a mind-blowing game changing result, it would only be better than the competition. I am sure google didn’t make any target like being better than yahoo or altavista. Their target was to use index based search methods and improve internet search efficiency many-folds in terms of reach as well as retrieval.

  2. Great article, you are destined to great things in life…

  3. Really inspiring. Though, I already knew about your career path, this time it’s very personal and got triggered.

  4. Nice one.. I am on the similar path with a target to quit my job in about 2 years from now based on savings that I want to have. Your graphs are good but what I think will be even more useful would be an additional graph showing spending, first as a % of your salary and then as % of your venture earnings. It’s quite critical for people to understand and control spending before venturing out like this..

    • Thanks for sharing your feedback PS. But given that my savings have grown at a faster rate than income, isn’t it implied that my spending has grown at a much slower rate?

      Anyways, all the best for your own pursuits! 🙂

  5. Excellent article Vishal. I guess everyone reading this article must get inspired. I too have a very similar journey like yours. Leaving my cushy job with UTI London (earning in Sterling pounds) and coming to India and starting my own venture but I am now living every moment of it. Moreover, the sky is the limit in terms of opportunities. You are doing a wonderful job by mentoring wannabe entrepreneurs and I am sure they will emerge much more stronger after attending this course.

  6. Vishal, this is the best blog i have ever read on Safal Niveshak.

  7. This post is very inspiring Vishal. My story is also very similar.
    I think if your monthly expenses are low(e.g. travelling in public transport),have pre-paid home loan AND most importantly you have exceptional skills (Be it in funda based investing, technical based trading, training etc) you are bound to be successful eventually in stock market field. However realizing this exceptional skills is most crucial because in stock market every one thinks he/she is smartest :-).

  8. Good one Vishal, reminds me of my own journey to Financial Freedom..:-)

    I love Mark Twain’s quote: Explore. Dream. Discover.

    Thanks,

    Vikas

  9. Saurav Jalan says:

    Dear Vishal,

    I appreciate the courage which you have shown in pursuing your passion in life. It would surely motivate and have a positive influence on people who want to do the same but are scared to take the plunge. It’s wonderful to see that you have done better on all the three parameters of income, saving and happiness in 3 years after quitting your job.
    If I am not mistaken one additional advantage in terms of income would be that in a job one gets paid monthly salary whereas your present source of income through teaching pays you in lump sum. Therefore, your actual income would be more if you consider the opportunity cost of getting paid in lump sum instead of installments. This also provides you the flexibility of grabbing investment opportunities as and when they arrive. So, it’s a complete win-win situation for you.

    However, there is one thing which I would have done and would like to know your opinion on the same. The work which you are doing can be done from any city in India provided it has a good air connectivity. Therefore, is it in the best interest to stay in Mumbai and do this work ? Mumbai’s real estate is the most expensive in India. Moreover, there are other cities which can offer better quality of life for the same income. For eg: If you sell your Mumbai flat and shift to Bangalore, then you wouldn’t face any difficulty as far as your work is concerned and would enjoy a better weather, education infrastructure for your kids, much reasonable real estate prices as compared to Mumbai ,good health care facilities, vibrant intellectual energy of the city etc. You could buy a similar size flat(like Mumbai) in a more centralized location in Bangalore and still left with lots of cash to invest in equities. Haven’t you thought about the value unlocking of your real estate asset in Mumbai in this way ?

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts and suggestion, Saurav!

      I have considered the option of moving out of where I am now, but have not been able to identify another place that is equally peaceful, open, beautiful, clean, safe, friendly, connected, and has high-quality education (and cheaper than most schools in, say, Bangalore).

      Overall, I find the quality of life in Navi Mumbai much better than what I see in any other metro city (including Bangalore). Plus, I own my own property here and thus not hurt by the real estate inflation bug.

      Given all this, I have no plans of moving out.

      Plus, when you live at a place for long, you get used to it. So, I would not like to unlock this value. 🙂

      And finally, I live in Navi Mumbai, which is world apart from Mumbai in terms of all the characteristics I mentioned above.

      • I agree, relocating is a very tough/ different type of decision especially if you have got used to a place. And why not, why unnecessarily move around. I guess it depends from person to person.
        I met a US citizen who mentioned it is a big issue for east coast and west coast folks to relocate to either places.
        I think humans by nature develop likeness to their surroundings over a period of time ….. e.g. if you live or interact or a have as friends people of a certain taste and nature you start to see that as normal and would most likely become like them.
        If we keep our room untidy we get used to it, it takes an outsider to point it out to us.
        That is why elders say “seep good company” or in Hindi susangati.

  10. Great Post Vishal!
    1. I joined the mastermind because of this post.
    2. If there was an option in investing in people – I would invest in you :)!
    regards

  11. Follow your passion is a cliché but indeed if you can identify it and follow it relentlessly you are most likely to be well rewarded and happy about it.
    On a more practical note keeping yourself fit and your expenses low is a very important aspect.
    While our ambitions and dreams should soar high we must keep our living simple.
    As Gandhiji said “Simple living and high thinking”
    Have a happy and fruitful life ahead.

  12. Hi Vishal,

    Excellent financial and life story 🙂 Inspiring too!

    I would like to know whether it’s a good idea to prepay loan. Because it gives tax benefit. And whether there is a penalty if I prepay the loan.

    Best,
    Avadhut

  13. Taweesak W says:

    Hi Vishal

    This is a good article. I read your articles several times. I enjoy reading again and again.

    Regards
    Taweesak.

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