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What do you want to be when you grow up? Simple advice on being an adult.

August 10, 2016
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A simple question.

What do you want to be when you grow up? When we’re first asked this question as kids it’s perfectly easy to answer. We simply respond with something that sounds fun, even before we’ve grasped the concept of a profession. But over time two things happen that change our minds.

  1. We begin to overthink our answer.
    A simple question can become complex when asked so many times.
  2. We begin to learn about “reality.”
    We learn that not everyone can become an astronaut. And that becoming a doctor may just not be the right path for us. People start telling us to settle for what’s practical.

We learn about survival. How will we be able to support our selves?

"Think realistically!" they say.



It pains me to see how many people end up living a life they are not happy with.

Whether you are in high school, college or have already graduated, I'd like to offer you my advice:

First, go back to simple thinking.
What do you love?

Don't hesitate in answering. The obvious answer is the correct one.
Be true to yourself and brave enough to be true to others.

Now ask yourself this:

  1. Is there a way to make money doing what I love? I'd say in many cases, yes, there's a way. My advice for college students is to major in something you love; and if that major is not a money maker, then double major with a business degree or a degree that can provide a career, such as electrical engineering.
  2. Is there a job that will leave me enough free-time to do what I love? I believe a job should provide you with three things:
    - money
    - free-time
    - happiness


What worked for me.

In 2008 I graduated with a degree in history. After a few years of stumbling between minimum wage jobs I decided to give myself a shot at freelancing.

At the time I had basic skills in Photoshop and even though I didn't know how to code, I knew how to make websites using templates.

It didn't take long to get my first job. It paid about $15-20 for less than an hour's work. The job was simple. A mother had family photos taken, but her youngest son was making a face in her favorite photo. So all I had to do was swap his face from one photo onto his mother's favorite family photo.

Just about two weeks later I got paid $1,200 by a small agency in Argentina to build them a website.

With this early success I was hungry for more. To better myself, and really to make myself more valuable, I'd learn new computer skills on - the best website at teaching computer skills through video tutorials.

This proved to be a good investment, but I wanted more.

I started hiring freelancers to work for me, so I could take on more and more jobs. This was a great idea, but it proved hard to execute. Learning how to scout talent, hire the right person, and manage projects and people was difficult, quite frankly.

But it paid off.

I made a good amount of money, essentially getting paid while receiving a hands-on education in management. Plus I ended up getting a salaried position with a stellar client.

Thanks to that client, today I manage a Facebook moderation company. For working about two hours per week (shout out to Tim Ferriss and my mom for giving me his book many years ago), I pull in $900 before taxes and all other sorts of expenses (like medical insurance).

I'm not going to give you false hope. Freelancing and working online isn't for everybody. It can be lonely. It requires you working from a computer or a phone. And to do it all requires self-discipline, which not everyone has. Plus honestly, it's easier to work hard as an employee, opposed to having to think analytically and make strategic plans for yourself.

With that said..

Working online and freelancing, to speak more specifically, are paths that would serve many people well.



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Ryan Astaphan
Ryan Astaphan
Says "feel free to make yourself welcome and look around the site."

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