In March 2022, I left my 6-figure job as a Product Manager at Canva.
Despite the sexy free breakfast buffets, workplace benefits and, ping-pong tables – I was extremely unhappy.
Contrary to what might have appeared on the surface, a job at Canva was never “the dream”. Since being introduced to startups when I was 15, I have always aspired to build businesses.
And honestly reflecting, joining Canva was a good-looking excuse to equip myself with the “skills and experience” before taking that leap.
While I grew skills and confidence in some relevant domains I knew I was taking a detour away from what I truly wanted to do. Rather than going straight from A → B, I created irrelevant steps in-between to procrastinate and protect myself from failure.
Months deep into my job I felt like a fraud because deep down I knew I didn’t want to be there and seeing the clock hand progress it’s way to 5 o‘clock would always have me sigh in relief.
I fell right into the trope of the complacent, disillusioned white-collar office worker – and I hated myself for it.
Something had to change, so I said f*ck it and cut the cord.
So what’s next?
Over the next year, I have a goal of making $200,000 working on my own ventures.
Over the next 2 years, I have the lofty goal of turning that into $1 million.
And if all pans out accordingly, I have a goal of saying I made $1M in ARR by the time I was 21 years old in an obnoxious tweet thread (kidding! – but also not really).
The dollar figure itself is an arbitrary number. I’m not obsessed with money and would rather live modestly than chase designer brands. But the point of it is to:
1. Challenge myself mentally and physically.
Since working in a large company, I felt my learning rate slow overtime. The pay allowed me to live a cushy life and remote work meant I was always working at 40% of full capacity.
While I always stretched myself thin with side projects outside of work I would always feel a need to look “busy” during work hours, essentially wasting half of my working hours.
2. Work on something valuable.
In business people pay for value. Sell something people want → make money. It’s that easy right?
Despite falling into startups at a young age and playing around with different ideas, none of them have raked in cash.
That’s not to say, they weren’t valuable ideas (I think we’re building the future of communities at Next Chapter) but I’d like to skip the messy process of finding PMF with the next unicorn business model and force myself to create a product or service that adds value to people’s lives that they’re willing to pay for at scale, plain and simple.
3. Build capital and freedom.
Call it a reaction to the Great Resignation if you will, but in any and all of my jobs working for someone else, I have felt irked knowing I was consequently building something for someone else. I recognise the feeling is irrational and selfish, but find it a difficult feeling to qwell.
Realistically speaking, if I were to work 9 to 5 without building other income streams at an annual salary of $120,000 and my cost of living were to remain the same – it would take me 12 years to become a millionaire, and achieve FIRE.
While I could do this, I like to think I have the skills, capacity to learn (and delusion) to accelerate that process and would have way more fun in my working life in the process.
I also know I have a heap of projects and problems I want to solve where having capital to deploy in would be far more effective than hours spent.
There are other sub-goals to this such as being able to pay for my parent’s mortgages and being able to share my journey to help other people in a similar position.
But ultimately I want to optimise for:
(b) Self-sufficiency, and
(c) Never subscribing to the 9 to 5 ever again – even if it means a couple of years working 9 to 9…
I’ll be sharing weekly updates on my progress as well as the end result of my challenge next year June 6. Stay tuned.