I write this because I want indie hackers to see that the route to freedom isn't necessarily just from creating a 'successful business'. It's also from making good and consistent financial decisions.
I don't think we talk about this stuff enough.
This is my story of how we literally built wealth on our terms one day at a time.
Where we were 10 years ago
I measure many things in life on how old my kids were at the time. In this instance, I was pregnant with my 3rd child. He is 9 years old now.
It doesn't feel like that long ago, but we sure managed to turn around our financial situation.
At that time:
- my husband's had a business that he had to close down
- Ministry of Testing was still in side-gig mode, but I was also walking away from a co-working business that I had spent a couple of years (co)building and not made a penny from.
- we had no money and had significant debts (personal loans, credit cards, etc)
- we had a property that we owned, but we're struggling to pay for.
- at the same time we had a mini life crisis and decide to pack up our things and go traveling, we then decided to move to Cambridge for a bit of a change.
10 years of making better financial decisions
We've been optimizing life for things we believe in over money, we're far from perfect and life is always challenging, but we are triers.
I also make many decisions that stop us from making 'top dollar'. I've never really wanted to do high end consultancy or have a full-time corporate job.
I've also always loved working from home. We also not only chose to have many kids, but to also unschool them. This has pretty much thrown out many (financial) opportunities due to either lack of ability to show up physically in places or just the time that is needed to attend to the kids. I have zero regrets about this.
The past 10 years of making money
So over the past 10 years we made money by:
- bootstrapping Ministry of Testing (to 7 figures...now a 6 figure company, damn COVID! 😭) - instead of trying to sell the company, we opted to keep a regular income from it and we (my husband and I) are majority shareholders. We see it as a long term investment/asset.
- husband did some high paying consultancy, then mid paid, then none.
- property rental - this took years to make it become a worthwhile investment, but am glad we stuck with it, for the income plus the current property value.
- Indie Hackers (almost 2 years now 🥰) - the money I get paid to work here
- Rosieland newsletter/community (6 months) - paid newsletter (soon to be community and other things)
The past 10 years of spending money
Just because we earn more, it doesn't mean we spend more. Rather we look for places to invest the money, or to pay off debt. We also seek advice from our accountants, especially on how to avoid paying unnecessary tax.
What we've done with our money:
- paid off all our debt (apart from property loans)
- focused on being tax efficient rather than taking lots of money, in the UK this means taking an income of approx £45k, anything above that and the tax rate is much higher.
- put as much as we feel comfortable into a pension (it's tax-free)
- put as much money as we can into our ISAs (tax-free savings account)
- generally we are pretty frugal, though not with the number of kids we have 😬
- made one seed investment
- do extra payments on our mortgage when possible
- we've definitely been far from perfect with managing this, sometimes life gets a bit overwhelming to keep on top of it all
Financially secure enough to make the right decisions
I've long been of the opinion that life is better if we can make choices based on what we want to do, not because we need the money. It's horrible being in a place with not enough money.
For many years at Ministry of Testing I was making enough money for me to not really have to worry about my income. I felt secure in how much I was making and as a result I was able to make what I felt like were good decisions for me and the company.
If I had been desperate for money, I would have done things for the money rather than for the good of me or the company. I don't believe this is a good place to be, if you can help it.
Good decisions aren't made when you are desperate or stuck in a rut.
I take this philosophy into everything I do: I cannot do things just for the money. I want to create value and enjoy things everywhere I go and if I can't I just won't do it.
I'm in a much better position now to say no to things I don't want to do. Of course I wouldn't want any of my income to go away, but I also I know I'll still be just fine if my income goes away from Ministry of Testing, Indie Hackers or Rosieland. Not as well of, but just fine.
And this means my mind can focus in on doing good work...and creating more wealth.