Lunch with the Millionaire Next Door

lunch grill

Every now and then, me and my friend take the bus to go to a company in the middle of nowhere to fix any PC problems they might have. And we’ve had many lately thanks to Microsoft and their forced Windows 7-10 updates.

Now the owner of this company is a self made multi-millionaire, but he doesn’t live it up. You wouldn’t notice anything particularly special about this guy, in fact just the other day he was dressed as a plumber, as he’d been installing the plumbing in his building that he had commissioned right next to his office. Which didn’t look like much either, you’d think it was just some backwater shrub. But…

Every computer (not just the boss’s) was equipped with 240GB OCZ Vertex 2s, back when they cost 2EUR/GB.

An Intel Sandy Bridge-E based PC was pulling duty as a file server (in case you don’t know much about computers, it’s massive overkill).

Sometimes there’d be a classic car parked outside the little unassuming building.

some old timers next door

Once, a Vertex 2 suddenly decided to brick itself. That very day, we took a trip down to the nearest electronics store and bought a new Samsung 840 EVO. The way the card came out, you’d think he was buying a burger at McD’s.

Of course, he’s not the type to just throw money at a problem (you don’t become a millionaire behaving like that). The massively overkill server was not his fault – the IT guy before us just happened to be a a total dumbass. Even mounted the CPU fan the wrong way. Didn’t even enable AHCI mode for the SSDs.

Anyway, you get the idea.

We were having lunch, and the conversation turned to what I was looking for from a job/life in general. I answered that I wanted to work so that I could have more free time, as money buys the leisure (time) to not worry about next month’s rent.

This was what he said:

“What’s the point of having free time? Free time is overrated – what do you do in your free time anyway? Lie in the sun? You’d get bored soon enough. You wanna work outside, on the beach – but guess what, it’ll start raining. Then you’ll want to go into the office again.

Better to be busy building something you can be proud of. And when you have achieved that, the money and the free time comes. But only afterwards!

I built this company over 20 years. I structured it for maximum freedom, and yet I come and work here every day at 7am. I do it because this company is something which I am proud of, and I want to see it flourish. Believe me, if we work together you won’t be working any less than 8 hours a day, 12 hours even!”

My first thoughts were: “I don’t know, doesn’t this company thing take up his whole life now? Do I really want something like that? Should I listen to his advice?”

But I thought about it. And it fit together with everything I knew.

Didn’t Victor Pride spend a year or two building himself and his online empire up? Doesn’t he also swear that he works on B&D 12 hours a day?

What about Good Looking Loser? He spent years building up GLL, now it’s flourishing and he spends time on other ventures like Happy Hippo.

Mike Cernovich from Danger and Play – all those Twitter fights and podcasts and networking with other like minded bloggers must take time too.

Mike Chagares – he’s built a lifestyle and body that anyone would be proud of, and he earns money by telling others how to achieve the same thing.

Sonny Arvado built a body and gained knowledge from being born to the right parents. Now he earns money doing lifestyle consulting at the young age of 24.

And last but not least, MJ DeMarco mentioned using your time to build a mechanism that makes money for you, instead of using your own time to make money. Who wouldn’t be proud of making such a mechanism? That must be why some become serial entrepreneurs.

I then realized that free time is not the same as freedom. And even though it doesn’t sound like it, the millionaire also has the 3 forms of freedom we’re all looking for – financial, temporal and spatial.

Temporal: sure, he works long and hard at his company. But if you’d built it yourself and made it successful, wouldn’t you want to anyway?

Spatial: He probably doesn’t have as much spatial freedom since his business is traditional. But he’s as well traveled as a backpacker thanks to his business, and he said he could just as well move this company to Spain.

These men developed things which they could be proud of: a good body, the ability to attract women, extensive knowledge/experience in a specific field, a skill here, some experience there. Neither money nor free time was the original goal of these skills (although starting a business around them certainly was). They were merely side effects that came about because these men developed something of value and therefore can provide something of value to society.

Wall Street Playboys wrote that you make money by providing value to someone’s life. How true.

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