As entrepreneurship, digital nomadism, and freelancing have grown to mass popularity, a new wave of entrepreneurs have come to life. These are “lifestyle entrepreneurs”, similar to what was introduced by Tim Ferriss in the “4 Hour Workweek”. On Ferriss’ website, he discusses the profile of the one-person million-dollar business, ran by lifestyle-focused entrepreneurs.
Lifestyle entrepreneurs seek control over their career and personal destinies by selecting an activity or role that will give them control over how their time is spent. These roles can include starting a company and scaling it to a team of employees or simply acting as a freelancer.
Jared Polites falls into the latter. As a one-man consultant working in the blockchain industry, Jared has grossed over $1 million in sales in less than two years. This feat was done as a freelancer and consultant, never being employed full-time by a company.
Polites has turned into a proponent of unconventional career paths to find happiness and passion through obtaining an ideal lifestyle. For some, this might mean working from home to spend more time with family, while for others this could mean traveling the world.
I had the chance to learn more with Jared Polites about why the pursuit of freedom might be more important than the pursuit of corporate success.
1. What do you specifically mean when you discuss “freedom”?
I want to preface this answer by saying there are many people around the world struggling and to be in a position to even discuss this is a blessing that does not go unnoticed.
In short, freedom is exactly what it sounds. It is the ability to retain full control over your time and as a result, how you use that time to work on things you truly care about. It is important to note that this is not all about work. This is based on the premise that in the modern world life and work are basically one due to increasing corporate expectations and time allocations.
This concept is not new. One of my favorite entrepreneurs to follow, Naval Ravikant, discusses wealth and the pursuit of freedom within America’s high-performance tech industry. On a recent interview with Joe Rogan, Naval quoted:
“I don’t care how rich you are. I don’t care whether you’re a top Wall Street banker, if somebody has to tell you when to be at work, what to wear and how to behave, you’re not a free person. You’re not actually rich.”– Naval Ravikant
This basically sums up my sentiments and what I am trying to emphasize.
2. How did you know what you wanted in life?
I figured out really early on that I did not want to be in a traditional office job or even in a hierarchical environment. To be honest, I always found myself in situations where I was a shell of my true potential and trying to please everyone, particularly superiors.
My first professional full-time job was with the FBI, which was an incredible experience. The issue was that they gave us our retirement date and salary expectations until that point. Imagine that. You have an entrepreneurial heart and someone tells you what you are capped out at for the rest of your prime working career. Other than that it was a great experience.
Fast forward a few years, I kept finding myself almost immediately unhappy in full-time office roles regularly around the 3-6 month mark. I didn’t like the fact that you could finish your work early but still be forced to be present at a desk. I didn’t like the obvious ass-kissing that routinely takes place in these environments, nor the fact that I was classified by my title and salary.
3. How did you finally break free?
I matched the client needs that I noticed at an earlier office experience with an emerging industry. This industry was blockchain and the needs were professional marketing services. I took a leap of faith and it worked out as the timing could not have been better.
Once validated, which in this case was the first significant contract closing, I dove in and worked like a mad man over the next 16 months. I know what you are thinking, how are 15-hour workdays freedom? While the most challenging time of my professional life, it was also the most rewarding.
I saved an enormous amount of time eliminating the 1.5 hours commute in New York as well as idle time on slow days. No more unnecessary meetings or places to be, unless I decided that a particular meeting was worthwhile. The first “work trip” I took was to BTC Miami and I ended up meeting a ton of other similar people who used the raging bull market to re-establish themselves.
4. How do you leverage this freedom in everyday life?
For one, I get eight hours of sleep just about every night of the week. My body and sleep cycles tend to get programmed to the point where I wake up without an alarm and can detect the time within a 15-minute range.
I also travel frequently out of choice and use travel to rejuvenate my mind and energy. I always day-dreamed about what I would do if I was super rich and travel always came to mind. This is how I spend my free time and often work days, working remote from various locations.
Lastly, I also go to the gym regularly and can cook since I spend a lot of time working from home. Over the past year, I have also eliminated roughly 90% of calls to optimize time.
4. What are the downsides to being in full control of your schedule?
I can’t think of many. This is the closest thing to a dream life that I can think of, even if I have hectic days, bizarre clients, and have to work in an industry riddled with scammers. I always halfway joke that if I could choose to never say two words again in my life, those would be “my boss”. I wouldn’t trade this in for triple the salary in an office environment.
With that being said, entrepreneurship is not easy. It will likely take up more of your time, but at least you will be in control of both the work put in and in some cases the rewards as a result. It’s important to note that I am not saying go out and try to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. Rather, do something that gives you the lifestyle and satisfaction you are looking for. If this means making an average salary as a one-person consulting firm, great! You made it.
5. Since you have found the lifestyle, what is next?
My plan is to continue to work hard and continue my current consulting business while being open to new opportunities. The caveat is that I am looking for partners, not an employer.
I want to also help other people explore ways to gradually strive towards their goals. I am very thankful to have met many similar people recently who have essentially become freelancers, entrepreneurs, or niche consultants. It’s really incredible to have a dozen or so close friends that can literally coordinate a trip somewhere in the world with just a week’s notice.
If I can help others get to this point, assuming that is what they want, then that would be an extremely rewarding and satisfying experience.