Here’s the amazing thing about a tree: the more time you spend fertilizing it, giving it water, and nurturing it at the beginning of its life, the stronger it grows. One day, that tree will give you not only the fruit you craved, but also shade for you and your family. The tree will bear fruit long after your life is done, just because you gave it life at the beginning.
This is a great metaphor for entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur, you want to create and nurture something that will grow to give you money.
Starting with a Dime
At a regular nine-to-five job, you can only make money when you’re actually working. As soon as you stop working, you stop making money. If you want to take a vacation to spend time with your kids, you need to worry about how much vacation time you have left, and whether or not you can sacrifice the hours working and getting paid in exchange for the hours you want to spend with your family.
Now, some people love their companies and love their jobs, and that’s okay. When I worked at Apple, I loved it, too, for a while. But more and more people are realizing their jobs don’t bring them joy and are looking for ways out.
When you only get paid for the hours you work, the only way to make extra money is to sacrifice time elsewhere – time spent with your spouse, time spent with your children, time spent managing your own health. It’s a rotten choice to have to make. That’s why I believe in planting trees.
I started with a dime and a dream. I took a dime, and I doubled it over and over and over, until it became hundreds of dollars, then thousands. I planted a tree and nurtured it until it started giving me apples.
Starting a business from a dime taught me that you don’t need a lot of money to do something amazing. You just need to be faithful and consistent with your little investment, and eventually, that investment will multiply. People who spend all their time looking for shortcuts will be looking forever.
I don’t want to spend every day looking forward to the day I retire. I would rather do the things I love now, while I’m young. Why wait when I don’t have to? Why wait until you have the least energy and the most health risks to start pursuing happiness? Why not plant a tree and make your money work for you, so you can start doing the things you love now?
When I take my wife and kids to McKinney Falls in Austin, Texas, we spend all day swimming and enjoying ourselves. I don’t have to waste my time worrying about using too many vacation hours. Instead, I can enjoy my time with my family stress-free.
At every workplace, there are people who are always early, always working, and always striving to impress their boss any way they can. They spend years and years proving themselves, waiting for their big break or promotion – and then it never happens.
I don’t hate corporations, but I do hate the corporation culture that leads people to believe their success depends on the opinions of others. Instead of waiting around for a promotion that might never come, take your success into your own hands. Plant a tree. If you invest time and energy into that tree in the beginning, it will grow strong enough to sustain itself and give you apples for the rest of your life.
So, stop working for money and start building wealth. With time, commitment, and a desire to spend more time doing what you love, a small investment can grow into something much bigger.