In this blog, I will be sharing with you the five habits that I picked up in my 20s that helped me become financially independent by the time I was 28-years-old.
By the way, if you prefer watching over reading, then you can watch my YouTube video here on the same topic.
Let’s dive right in.
1. Network with Entrepreneurs
The first habit I developed in my early 20s is to always network with people who want to be entrepreneurs in the future.
These are the people who are usually found in the entrepreneurial society of your university.
I realized that when you are spending time with entrepreneurs or would-be entrepreneurs at an early age, you start developing the mindset that entrepreneurship is better than having a job. And that is extremely important.
Because no matter what everybody else tells you, no job in the world will help you become financially independent before you are 30.
You will always be working from paycheck to paycheck.
The best way to rewire your mindset in your early 20s is to spend time in the company of people who are always talking about starting-up something of their own.
You will learn from their stories. You will adopt more entrepreneurial perspectives of looking at the world. Also, you’ll develop friendships that will help you along your journey in the future.
When I started hanging out with entrepreneurs all the time, I knew for certain that I would be becoming an entrepreneur.
2. Have a Side Hustle to become Financially Independent
Habit number two is to always have a side hustle. It doesn’t have to be a scalable, amazing startup idea that’s going to change the world and make you a millionaire.
Any side hustle that is making you money is good enough. It can be freelancing on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr, or it can be building your YouTube channel, or something related to sales, working for commissions, anything.
In my 3rd year of university, I started selling T-shirts. I used to get them printed from China and approach different student societies in my university.
I remember I would make like a dollar on each T-shirt. But it taught me a lot about sales and business.
The first time I was able to complete the order, I made around $85, and that made me feel like I can conquer the world!
That mindset further developed as I progressed. In my 4th year, I started another side hustle. It was under the brand name 27ArtHouse — where I made websites, did some design work, and made around five thousand dollars through it in my final year.
I also tried my hands at a crowdfunding startup. And a peer-to-peer travel company that never saw the light of day.
The point is that I used to spend months thinking about these ideas and for each idea, I used to go all in.
I didn’t know the future. I didn’t know which ones are going to exist or that I am not going to be working on these startups in the foreseeable future.
But when I used to think about their mechanics, I genuinely thought of them like they were the best ideas in the world and went all in.
By doing this exercise, I trained my mind again and again.
It got me in touch with people who were valuable and taught me valuable lessons.
Then, when I finally started something that saw the light of day, started making money, and became an entrepreneur, all those past lessons came into play.
So, investing time in my side hustles helped me to eventually become financially independent.
3. Read Non-Fiction Books
The third habit that will help you become financially independent is reading non-fiction books.
These books can be biographies, personal development books, or any books on the topics of your interest as long as they are non-fiction.
The earlier you become a reader, the earlier you’re going to hit your financial freedom.
I was actually late to the party. I started reading habitually at about age 25. As I started, I felt like I had been wasted a major part of my life being a non-reader. Books are just tremendous in value.
If you are still on those sidelines or you feel like reading articles on the internet will give you knowledge, you’re missing out big time. Start developing the habit of reading non-fiction books as soon as possible.
I’ll give you examples of two books that helped me tremendously in looking at the world and developing my life of financial freedom.
The first one is of course “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss which is the bible of working for yourself. This book became the framework for how I developed my businesses. It is all about maximizing your output by minimizing your input time.
The second book is “The Millionaire Fastlane” by M. J. DeMarco. It tells you that there is a slow lane to becoming a millionaire which is to stay at a job or to stay at a non-scalable business. And then there is a fast way to become a millionaire which is to invent things. That invention could be physical products or content, which you create. That book gave me the right framework, the right strategy to go in the direction of content creation.
These kinds of books do two amazing things for you.
First, they give you the roadmap, the strategies of these amazing people who have done amazing stuff that is immortalized in their books.
Secondly, these books make you spend time in the company of great authors. Let’s say you are reading 30-60 minutes before going to bed. That is the time you’re spending in the company of that author, his mindsets, his principles. It’s like having a friend who is continuously teaching you something amazing every day.
4. Start Creating Content to be Financially Independent
Habit number four is to start creating content and providing value. Content creation is a habit that will lead to you being financially independent.
It helps you to immortalize your thoughts, your mindsets, and your principles in the form of a video or in the form of journals.
I personally started journaling first for myself. Every time, I learned something new, or just wanted to say something, I used to write it down.
Then eventually, I wanted to share it with other people.
I probably had about 300 journals before I started realizing that I want to record this stuff.
My Instagram had like 200 followers back then. I posted videos on my stories or on my feed that were genuinely valuable to others.
That is how my journey started. It was about two years of journaling first before actually making content from a perspective of reaching thousands of people.
The idea here is that content creation has to be developed as a habit first. It will help you in thinking structurally and help you absorb things from the mindset of sharing.
Share it with yourself first, then with your friends. Once it becomes a habit, it just becomes a no-brainer sharing it with the public.
You can then go in all directions of creating online courses, YouTube channels, Masterclasses, Instagram posts, or TikToks.
5. Invest in the Right Relationships
The last habit you should develop is to ruthlessly cut out people in your circle who are toxic and create negativity. And, invest in relationships with people who are positive and who help you become a better person in any way.
As soon as you realize that you are the average of the top five people you interact with, your life will start changing.
Investing in the right relationships subconsciously averages you up. Whatever those people do, their careers, their paths in life, none of that matters.
What matters is that the people you surround yourself with should be the ones that are encouraging you instead of criticizing you.
They should be the ones who are non-toxic and spread positivity.
Sadly, most of us are stuck in the mindset that anyone richer than us, higher in status, or more intellectual, is good for us. They may be better in some ways. But they may have negative traits like selfishness, making fun of others, criticizing others, or spreading toxicity.
If you start hanging out with people based on their superficial success, you will never be able to realize your true potential.
The idea here is that you need to choose your relationships based on their good character.
Once you start spending time with people who lift you up, spread positivity, think good about you, you will realize that you are just opening up more, you can experiment more, you’re able to share more, and they’re able to help you with positive reinforcements and give you the advice from a good place in their hearts.
These were the habits that I picked up in my early 20s that helped me become financially independent. I still stand by these habits and still practice them in my life.
Over on my blog, Digital Nomad Academy, you can find several other articles and masterclasses that will teach you different aspects of building your own laptop lifestyle.
Also, for behind-the-scenes mischief, you can follow me on Instagram and join 30K+ others like you who are in different phases of building their location independent lifestyles.
Hope to see you around globe-trotting one day 🙂