An Introspective Look At How Fear Has Guided My Life

Share On Facebook

I have a confession to make. I’ve lived in fear for most of my life.

When I was in high school, I was terrified that I would not get into a top university.

Photo By ValetheKid

When I got into college, I was terrified that I wouldn’t get a job when I graduated.

After spending too many hours working my day job, I was terrified that I would never fall in love.

When my wife wanted to quit her job, I was terrified that we wouldn’t be able to buy a house or live the lifestyle I wanted to live.

When the economic downturn hit, I was terrified that I might lose my job.

As a result, many of my decisions have been based off of fear.

Tackling My Fears

What’s ironic is that fear has always been good to me.

In high school, I busted my ass and molded myself into the type of student that Stanford(my alma mater) typically accepts. I turned myself into a well rounded person (at least on paper) by getting good grades and becoming proficient with a musical instrument.

I played varsity volleyball and became the best starting outside hitter for my team. I worked on my speech skills by joining the debate team. And I even nerded it up with the math team despite getting teased by my peers.

In college, I got good grades and got to know the professors who could provide me with a referral when it came time to getting an interview for a full time job. I even blasted out resumes to random companies and attended career fairs (these last two tactics don’t work very well BTW).

Post college, I forced myself to go out, meet new people and finally met my wife! Once I found her, she didn’t have a chance once I turned on the charm. (Sorry dear, you may have a differing opinion but I have full editorial control over this blog:)).

Most of you are probably familiar with my last 2 fears. My wife and I started an online store to improve our lifestyle post kids and I started monetizing as a hedge against losing my job.

If I wasn’t so scared of being poor, none of these businesses would ever have materialized.

So What’s The Point?

So why am I telling you all of this? It’s because for the first time in my life, I’m not really terrified of anything and it’s scaring the crap out of me.

Right now, I have a house that I’m happy living in for the next 30 years or so. I have a beautiful, loving wife and two ridiculously cute kids.

I have several diversified income streams such that if any one of them fails, my family should be fine on the financial front.

So what’s bugging me? Ever since the financial blogging conference(FinCon), I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do with my life. At the conference, I met many people who quit their jobs and are now traveling with reckless abandon.

I met people who wake up in the morning, write a few articles and then spend the rest of the day playing golf or tennis.

What the heck should I be doing with my life now that things are pretty stable?

I’m sure I could enjoy playing beach volleyball or ultimate frisbee everyday for a little while. I’m sure I would enjoy traveling across the globe with reckless abandon for a while too. But eventually, I know I would get bored with this lifestyle. It’s simply not a long term solution for me.

My Priorities

One thing that will always be priority will be my family. Thanks to our businesses and my awesome day job, my wife and I have already spent way more time than our own parents did with us as young children.

Personally, I think one of the most important aspects of parenting is to simply be present with your child.

You don’t have to do anything fancy. You don’t have to take them to a lot of places or buy them a lot of material goods.

You simply have to play with your kids and be there for them as they develop into adults.

As it stands, I feel like my daughter is already growing up way too fast and I don’t want to miss anything. Plus, I need to keep tabs on her because she’s playing with way too many boys. The other day, she came home from school and told me that she and her friends spent the day sharing their underwear with each other. Sounds harmless right?

But when I asked her what was on her friend’s underwear she listed off a bunch of names: Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Transformers, Cars, Superman. After 10 or so underwear designs, it dawned on me that all of these underwear belonged to boys!!! WTF!

The Real Question

The real question in my mind right now is whether I should consider quitting my job in order to spend even more time at home. My blog already earns a good amount of money and I anticipate that’s revenue will likely surpass my day job income next year which would allow for a lot more financial flexibility.

Related: How Much Money Do I Make Blogging And Is It Worth My Time?

Should I stay or should I go?

Deep down, my dream life is to be able to hang out with my friends and family all day long without worrying about anything. In my ideal world, we’d all be sitting by the beach drinking beer and watching our kids play in the sand.

Unfortunately, my friends keep buying ridiculously expensive houses and signing up for large incarcerating mortgages which is preventing my dream from coming true!.

Recently, one of my friends plopped down 1.6 million dollars for a 1900 sq ft house in a good school district. Guess who is going to be working for a very long time? As you can probably tell, I don’t believe in signing up for large mortgages.

To Quit Or Not To Quit

At the financial blogging conference, I had the opportunity to meet several people who have quit their jobs as a result of their blog and I got a lot of great advice about life.

For example, this is what Jim Wang from said to me in one of our conversations. (To be honest, I hate quoting Jim because it means he’s going to give me crap later….but here goes)

You don’t quit because you can, you quit because you should since doing so frees up your time to pursue XYZ – whatever that is. Eventually I quit because I felt that unless I devoted more time to Bargaineering, I’d be regretful if things faded and I was working my 8-10 hours at a job that paid far less than my hobby.

Right now, I don’t have an XYZ to pursue. So I guess I need to figure things out before I make any life changing decisions. We all need some fear in our lives and I need to find something to be afraid of and go for it.

What would you all do if you didn’t need to work your day job? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Ready To Get Serious About Starting An Online Business?

If you are really considering starting your own online business, then you have to check out my free mini course on How To Create A Niche Online Store In 5 Easy Steps.

In this 6 day mini course, I reveal the steps that my wife and I took to earn 100 thousand dollars in the span of just a year. Best of all, it's absolutely free!

Share On Facebook
Note: This post above may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission if you make a purchase when clicking a link. Please consult our privacy policy for more information.

Similar Posts

Have you read these?

95 thoughts on “An Introspective Look At How Fear Has Guided My Life”

  1. Pam says:

    Hi Steve,

    In response to your “fear” question be afraid to quit your day job! If you can do it, do it and be afraid. Spend every minute you can with your children. I wish I found your site and profitable online store course sooner. My store would have been open and I wouldn’t have missed a single minute of my daughter. My goal is to get a store up so I can quit my day job. Even though she is now 12 yrs old, I will be home if she needs me. I will be able to make a better life and get her into a great school. So go ahead be afraid of quitting your day job! You can do it!

    1. Hi Pam,
      Well I’m glad you found my course too! At least you took the plunge and I’ll make sure that you are successful!

    2. Shaye says:

      …If you have the resources to back you up, yes. If you have no resources, please don’t quit your job, at least without some way to support yourself.

  2. Wow, your kids are cute Steve!! That’s a really hard question. I can tell you that if he could, my husband would most definitely quit his day job. What would you stand to lose by quitting your day job? Just wondering.

    1. Hey Mariana,
      One thing I’m afraid of is losing all of my tech knowledge. Technology moves really fast and if I even take a break from it for a year, I might become obsolete. I still enjoy designing hardware and unfortunately it’s not something that can be done on your own due to the enormous startup costs.

      1. Steve,
        Your boss knows about your success as an online entrepreneur right? Another option would be freelance work, taking jobs you enjoy, and maybe only doing it a quarter of the time. Then you could stay sharp doing the work you enjoy, and stay at home with the family the majority of the time.


      2. I agree with what Denny says…Maybe cut down on your hours at work to half-time? Then you can keep up to date, but have more time to spend with your family. Your employer might be open to it since they most likely would like to keep you in some capacity…

      3. Susanne says:

        Hi Steve,
        Ask yourself what you still want to accomplish in the tech world. If you have accomplished what you wanted, take the plunge (at least halfway) and scale back. If there is something you still want to do, go after that and then scale back or quit. Most people don’t leave their jobs because they still have something to accomplish. I honestly can say that there isn’t anything pressing that I still want to accomplish with my current career and hence I am looking to change direction.

      4. Hi Susanne

        Tech is something that I’m not quite willing to give up just yet. Scaling back however is an option but realistically speaking, design work requires full time attention. Scaling back would probably reduce my power and say on the various projects I want to work on.

  3. Hey. One of the reasons I cut back on clients a while back was to free up more time to do more with my son, and to focus more on what I enjoy, like reading, camping, and music. If I focus (and don’t get distracted by the Internet), I can be done by lunchtime, and I have time for what I want to do, whether it’s having my nails done, loading up the car to head for the mountains, or just vegging out. And I have time to travel a little bit, too (although not quite around the world).

    But I’m pretty low-key. I don’t have huge ambitions to be a millionaire, or to become hugely famous. For me, it’s about the flexibility. Being able to go to lunch with my husband when he asks, or to go to a movie in the middle of the day, or to be able to party it up in Denver for four days. πŸ˜‰

    1. Hey Miranda,
      I still think that you should double your rates!!! One thing I like about you is that you are fiercely loyal to your friends and clients. If life were like FinCon everyday, I’d definitely sign up for that!

      1. Haha. I did πŸ˜‰ I cut clients, double rates on new clients. And I’m following the “Tom method” of raising rates on new clients. I’ve felt pretty good about it so far. I whine a lot sometimes, but, really, I can’t complain. And a good relationship with a client you like is worth more than just money.

  4. I would travel. I could care less whether I am driving a BMW or a rust bucket. But both money and free time can be well spent on travel, experiencing new things, seeing new places.

    As to the fear thing, I am as terrified as ever about finances. Even a penny debt scares me, and with 9 and 11 year old kids, we are at that stage where the hole is deep. But life finds a way, and I focus on everything I am doing; that keeps my terror at bay.

    1. Hey David
      Once my kids are a teeny bit older, I plan on taking them around the world too. It’s funny. I used to really be into material things and that’s where I would spend my money. These days, I’m much more willing to pay for an experience because it lasts forever.

      1. Susanne says:

        My focus, too, is on experiences and my 12 year old daughter has had many great experiences. I am blessed that she is not materialistic but cursed at the same time. Do you know how hard it was to figure out what to get her for Christmas when she told Santa, year after year, ” Surprise me, I only really need my family”.
        She is now at the age where she doesn’t believe anymore and while that brings me some sadness, we can focus even more on experiences. Your kids will always remember how much fun you had together as a family. If quitting your day job gives you more opportunities, try to structure your work so that you can take them to amazing places that will shape who they are as adults.

      2. Wow, that is a great daughter you have there. I hope my daughter says the same thing one day during Christmas.

  5. Hey Steve,
    What about finding the meaning of life for you? Or start investing time into making a meaningful difference in other’s lives (outside of online businesses). Become a Big Brother. Volunteer as a shelter. Raise funds for a well in Africa. There is so much more to life than the security that you’re talking about. Evaluate your heart, do some research, and leave a lasting legacy on this earth.

    Someone that comes to mind is Dave Ramsey. That guy’s business has radically changed so many lives, and he is wealthy enough to be philanthropic whenever and however he wants.

    Grace and Peace,

    1. Hey Denny,
      To a certain extent, that’s what I’m trying to do with my blog and my course. Really glad to have you in the class. Hopefully, I can make a positive impact on your life as well!

  6. Love this line, “for the first time in my life, I’m not really terrified of anything and it’s scaring the crap out of me.” Just sit back, enjoy and be content!

    If I didn’t have to work my day job and could pursue my blogs and online income full time – I think I’d probably spend more time doing things with my son (I already do quite a bit of that anyway), find more time for leisure activities like learning or practicing instruments more, and in general just finding a way to spend more time with extended family like my siblings, my parents and my wife’s parents. The older I get the more I realize the importance of family, and also just how short life is. We really need to take advantage of the time we’ve got, cause you never know when you may lose someone you love.

    I agree with Jim that quitting just because you can isn’t necessarily a great reason. Having a good reason, or reasons, to quit would be a good idea. Personally I need to work the day job still – my blog income has done well the past couple of years, but I’m nowhere near the level that some folks are. Having that day job and side income together really makes a huge difference, and thankfully the day job isn’t overly demanding on my time.

    Tough decisions!

    1. Peter, for some reason I was under the impression that your blog made full time income already. You’ve got a bunch of side gigs going on so I bet you could pull it off if you wanted to. But you’re right, I should sit back and enjoy at least for a little while until I get bored. I’m just kind of fired up right now.

  7. Great post Steve. If I didn’t need to work my day job, I would probably do the exact same thing I’m doing right now, but for 40 hours per week instead of 80.

    Working as a full time artist lets me wake up everyday and do whatever I want. 10 hours per week in front of a computer and 30 hours making pottery would be a great balance for my mind and body. Since graduation 2 years ago, I’ve been structuring my own career path everyday. Many people see my life a full time artist as a huge success, but I fear because it’s failing financially.

    I’m afraid of bankruptcy, defaulting on my small business loan (for a 3rd time), driving my parents’ car, using their health care, and occasionally their money to pay my rent. My dad paid for all of my college and I left college with zero student loans, and I still can’t make ends meet financially. It’s embarrassing and doesn’t feel like success.

    My pottery mentors and college professors taught me that my artwork comes before anything else in my career. I think this is the key to making really great artwork, and that it’s a lifelong process with no definite answers. There is no single peak, there are many peaks and valleys. Maybe you should start heading down the mountain and find another peak to climb! and are huge success storys built by YOU. You have the chance to help others find success- that’s your XYZ. You, your wife and 2 kids are living the American dream, and helping others achieve it!!!

    I’m not sure about your other students, but I haven’t found success. But I’m happy with my artwork…and the pots look great. Oh well, back to the wheel…

    1. Hey Joel,

      We’ll get there. Your model is different from all of the other students because you are an artist. If you follow the strategy that I outlined for you in establishing an audience and creating a following, your pottery will eventually fly off the shelves. We just have to work a little harder to get there. Let me know once the videos are up and I’ll post your guest post.

  8. The goal to ways use fear to serve you, not hold you back.

    When I was working for Commerce One I gave notice not only once, but twice. I wasn’t happy working the long hours and constant travel. In addition, wanted to own my own business since that was my long term goal. At that time also met up with some business partners who would assist (how that worked out is a whole other issue). Since then, while I’ve had my ups and downs, I’ve never looked back.

    At the time was the toughest decision I every made. Without question once I made that decision it was a weight off my shoulders. Also since then I also laugh about how hard a decision it was for me then, I make much harder decisions now.

    I guess the question you have to ask yourself is where to you go in the next ten years. That should help make the decision much easier.

    1. Hey Larry,
      Did you have your webhosting business before, during or after your day job? I had no idea that you gave notice twice. Does that mean they gave you a counteroffer you couldn’t refuse?

      1. It was a counteroffer with more stock options (which today are worthless, if you didn’t sell) . At the time my web hosting was a part-time biz.

  9. Steve, I have a feeling that you already made up your mind and now you are just looking for a “logical” justification. It looks that you are just “cooking” yourself until you’ll be ready to inform your boss… it will be easier than you think it would πŸ˜‰

    I know the above could be a mistake but that is my opinion. Also I think that it is a natural development of your career and a natural process that you are taking with yourself until it will be the right moment for you. Whatever it is, good luck :-)

    1. Hey Assaf,
      Perhaps that is true. I’ve been talking to a lot of self-employed people lately and getting the itch the leave the day job behind. Oven is still just warm.

  10. Travel, travel, travel with our son – that’s on the agenda for when I’m able to leave my current position. A lot of things have to fall into place before I can make the leap. But what has helped is adjusting my thinking on what a successful life looks like. For many years I had an internal battle between prestige (& material things) and freedom. But after some lengthy soul searching, some truth has emerged. Prestige feeds my ego, but freedom and the freedom to pursue new experiences, feeds my soul.

    Plus getting to be a place where I can dictate my life is a lot cheaper than pursuing the latest must-have or buying an expensive home filled with expensive crap that will only be stained by my son soon enough =)

    Steve, can you elaborate on why financing a home is a wrong move? Will you rent long-term?

    1. Hey Katherine,

      I have nothing against mortgages. In fact, I have a mortgage for my current home. What I don’t like is having such a gigantic mortgage that I would feel obligated to continue working just to be able to pay it off. Housing is expensive where I live and I know a lot of people borrowing a lot of money which forces them to stay put and work. They are somewhat tied down.

  11. I agree with Denny. Freelance would be great.

    I am running a brick and mortar store, and looking to expand online (hopefully in the next week!). This is my ‘retirement’ job. I was a computer consultant for 25 yrs. Then stayed home with kids when they were teens for quite a few years. I WAS BORED OUT OF MY MIND! I need the daily challenges and ‘goals’. I love to try new things and need something to keep me interested and invested. So I don’t ever see myself doing ‘nothing’. Playing golf, traveling, or XYZ wouldn’t be enough for me. THIS is what I do. If I get tired of my store, I’ll move on to something else. (I’m already moving on, and still running my store!) My kids are grown. And yes, I want enough time to do some traveling, and some visiting, and some hobbies… But I don’t EVER see myself retired. I personally need the stimulation of a ‘project’, and I also think it’s good role modeling for my kids to see me working and accomplishing.

    We all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and to get out of our pajamas!

    1. Hi Sheri, What a cute store you have, looks like a fun place to work. Your reason to get out of bed in the morning doesn’t have to be a job. Serving and giving back can be more rewarding than any money you make. Best of Luck with your online store.

    2. Hi Sheri,
      I think we have the same personality. I just need to figure what is going to keep me interested once I have more time on my hands. The thought of too much time and getting bored is kind of scary. BTW, you’ll have to let me know how the teenage years are. Not looking forward to them.

  12. Tracy says:

    Is it possible that you are a little afraid that your day job is your XYZ? That you actually like the work enough to take time out of your day to do it (for now)? Perhaps you can balance the reward with the risk and do it part time… I think as a society it would go a long way if we started accepting part timers as valuable go-getters in the work place, instead of only valuing those that put in all the hours and are there first and leave last.

    Great blog – been reading you for years, and you were a big part of me selling my client-based business to pursue running a more flexible e-commerce site. Now my income is fully replaced by it and I get to spend tons of time with my daughter and make my own schedule. THANK YOU!

    1. Thanks Tracy for your comment. I had no idea that you’ve been a long time reader and I’m glad that you finally decided to leave a note! Congrats on your success!

  13. I agree with your conclusion after Jim’s masterful insight πŸ˜‰ Just coming off a 6 month parental leave, I’m thinking that staying home didn’t necessarily help me to grow my business, so why quit my job and lose that income?

    Obviously there are the lifestyle benefits of getting to spend more time with your family, but that could be outweighed by the stress of having to justify quitting by increasing my online income by that lost amount.

    1. Let’s not call Jim’s quote masterful shall we? Right after I hit publish, he started giving me crap. So staying at home didn’t help you grow the business? Come to think of it, you’ve been much less active on chat ever since you had your kid. Better get back to work so you can be more productive.

      1. Having the kids around is definitely a distraction, especially a newborn. For me it is always trying to balance work and family. I’m building a business so I can spend more time with them, but to do that I need to spend time working. It’ a catch 22.

  14. First off, what beautiful kids you were blessed with. Sounds like FINCOM was a life changing experience. If anything, it’s got you thinking about your future and that’s a good thing. Hopefully, you can make the right decision for you and not be influenced by what others are doing. We have always lived within our means and put God and Family first. Now that we have grown kids we see the benefits. You’ll never regret the times you spend with your kids. I think there is a happy balance, but it takes time to find.

    Best of Everything,

    1. Hey Bettie,
      I agree. My kids say some of the most hilarious things and I’ve got a lot of it recorded too! Living within one’s means is key. After all, my family doesn’t really spend that much money so we don’t really need too much of it as a result.

  15. Hi Steve, did you get my post from earlier today? I don’t see it on here…

    1. Yeah, it got stuck in spam. I just cleared it.

  16. Robin says:

    In your line of work you should be able to transfer into a consultant. Then you can stay technologically current and pick and choose the projects you want to work on. As for feaR

  17. Robin says:

    In your line of work you should be able to transfer into a consultant. Then you can stay technologically current and pick and choose the projects you want to work on. As for fear, you can channel your “fear and concerned energy” into things that you think might help the future of your children, like safe food, a clean environment, personal liberties, or whatever issue concerns you most.

  18. Steve,

    Love this article. I believe a certain amount of fear is good if kept within boundaries. I left the corporate world in 2008, or I probably should say was laid of twice and was never able to find another job. The truth is: there is not one thing I miss about that environment, even though I’m struggling to pay the few bills I have – My heart is at peace, and I am much happier not having to be a part of that world.

    1. Hey Jen
      I don’t feel the same way about my job. THere are many people here that I’ve worked with for over a decade and I honestly consider them close friends. I would definitely miss our talks throughout the day.

      1. Steve,

        I thought as much. I was just sharing my experience. In addition, I’m learning not to hold on to anything tightly

        Whatever, your decision, best wishes as you enter another phase.

  19. Steve!

    I love your blog, and I’m so grateful for your willingness to share your fears openly, along with your successes. It helps me feel more comfortable in my own fear, and helps me remember that this is normal for everyone, even extremely successful people. We can have fear, we WILL have fear, and we can choose to move through it.

    Check out this video from Marie Forleo. She is wonderful, and I appreciated the insight here so much. It was a surprise to me, not at all what I expected.

    I hope it helps you process your current fear!


    1. Hey Colleen. Yeah, I’m a big fan of Marie, though I feel like her material is more geared towards women. Great stuff though!

  20. Fear is a powerful emotion, which drives a lot of productivity in the modern world. Speaking of that though, it seems to me that you are afraid of letting go of your comfortable position and the accompanied lifestyle even though your logical analysis already told you what’s possible.

    Btw, why do I feel like I know who you are thinking of when you talk about the people who write a blog post or two and then go play tennis or golf? :)

    1. Yeah, I wonder who I’m thinking of? Actually, it’s not you I’m talking about in the article explicitly. As I recall, the person in the article ACTUALLY writes articles and doesn’t just hit the ‘publish’ button.

      1. I’ll just have to take that as a compliment but I’m pretty sure I spend more productive hours on my business than you on yours so let’s not spread any rumors now…

  21. Liz says:

    I worked a full-time job for 15 years. When my boys were 7 & 9 I became a stay-at-home homeschooling mom for six years. Then I got divorced and all of the marital debt – not by court order but by ex’s refusal to work. Having been out of the workforce for that long, I was obsolete and had to take a job paying much less so paying off the debt has taken a VERY LONG TIME. It’s been over six years and I’m about halfway. I used to be ticked at myself for sacrificing my career but then my youngest died at age 17 a year and a half ago. I have absolutely ABSOLUTELY no regrets about the years I spent home with them. I cherish those memories far more than I can ever put into words. You just never know what life is going to throw at you. If you don’t need the income from your day job, invest in your children.

    1. Wow Liz,
      I don’t know what to say. If I lost one of my children, I’d be completely devastated. In fact, your comment made me realize how fragile things can be no matter how stable. I’m going to go pinch my son and daughter’s cheeks right now

      1. Liz, I’m so sorry for your loss. In May our dearest friends lost their 22 year old daughter. I pray that the hurt will not always be as deep and that you will always remember her life. Take Care!

  22. Even though I work for myself I’m thinking about the very issues you have as well. My wife currently works and I’d love for her to quit so she could be with the kids like she wants. I could put more into my business as well. But that might just require us moving somewhere that has a lower cost of living (I live in Nassau County just outside NYC). It’s a scary thought to move and I’m not sure we can do it right now but it’s something that we’ll have in the back our minds for the future.

    My question lately has been – how crazy is it living the suburban lifestyle? I know there are many who are happy but it seems like so many more are moving in routine and doing things just because that are “supposed to.” It doesn’t seem like living to me.

    I hope you can find what’s best for you and your family Steve. Sometimes closing one door to open another clears the way for more opportunities than you would have imagined.

    1. Hey Glen,
      We all know that you are moving to Oregon. After hearing about you talk about the place, I think it’s game over. I was always under the impression that your wife worked because she really liked it. Suburbia can be overrated sometimes, especially if you have a mortgage that makes you feel like you have to work. THanks for the thoughtful comment Glen!

  23. Hey Steve, it’s funny that you say this is the first time you have no fear as I’m getting there now as well….I think you and I are at about the same point in life (and if I remember correctly, the same age too).

    It seems that once you’ve built your family and gain the confidence with enough years experience as an entrepreneur that no matter what happens, you can always find a way to make money to support your basic needs. So really, what else is there to fear?

    1. Hey Geoff,
      We should really chat more but I don’t see you on very often. I’m not worried about the money anymore. I’m worried about getting bored. I need constant mental stimulation. That’s just my personality.

  24. If I were in your shoes, I think running this blog, managing the online store, raising your kids, and enjoying life sounds like plenty to keep you out of boredom.

    What good does the extra money you are earning from your day job bring you? From the sounds of it, you’re making some fat cash from the store and blog. Is the extra cash from your job significantly adding to your happiness levels?

    1. Hey GE
      Things are ok on the money front. Unfortunately, running my blog and my course would probably not make me happy in the long term. I need something that requires some more brainpower on a day to day basis.

  25. Fear is a powerful motivator. My dad worked his entire life to provide for his family and it was always a struggle growing up. When he got older his company laid him off and even though he got a severance package it eventually led to financial ruin. His final years were difficult as he battled health problems and the frustrations of letting his family down (I always knew he did the best he could and respected him for it, but I don’t think he felt the same way).

    Fear of the same thing happening to me keeps me going. In the back of my head I always know my employer can lay me off at any time and so I spend my free time building other income sources. The fear of losing my job keeps me up late writing and building my blog to help support my family.

    Long term, my goal is to be able to live off my online business and outsource many of the time-consuming aspects so I can spend more time with my family. My kids are already growing up way too fast and I want to enjoy them as much as I can.

    1. Hey Mike,
      You really should get on chat more. All this time and I had no idea about your backstory and your motivations for blogging. How is wealthy turtle doing these days?

      1. You’re right Steve, I need to participate more instead of just lurking. I’m usually only on during the evenings.

        Wealthy Turtle is doing good. Growing slowly but I’ll get there.

  26. Manny says:

    Hi Steve

    As you said fear is holding you back, there is no good reason to stay in your job unless thats better than what your ideal at home would be. Im sure you have a bunch of ideas so if the business and the blog doesnt need much from you then why not branch out? Youve got to ask how much more you could do not working your day job even in your blog or business ? Whilst Im not in your position yet I too have decided that perhaps a business coach might help me to get some perspective to transitioning to quitting my job, so I am signing up to that. Sometimes its hard to get perspective in your insular world so I think perhaps a good* business coach might help me / you to understand your real goals and how to get there.

    1. Hey Manny,
      I’m what I call a lazy ass entrepreneur. If there’s no impetus for me to take action, I sit on the couch and do nothing. This is why complacency scares me. Quitting my job without a plan would make me bored and I might turn into a vegetable:) Just need to figure out something that motivates me.

  27. There’s a quote, the more we gain, the more we fear of losing. However when there is fear, we keep on learning to stay away from the fear.

    Me and my husband only have a little small online store, real small that is only enough for our daily expenses, no luxury, car or any big house.

    And of cause, we are not satisfied and its really not enough for the current economy so now I plan on making a free tutorial blog and hopefully I can do something about it when traffic increases.

    But sometimes we just console ourselves that there are so many parents or mothers who wish to stay at home with their kids. Both of us succeeded, we built a store and quit our job out of fear.

    With the small store, we managed to stay at home with our son. As he is a tonsillitis kid, he tends to get sore throat and fever easily. He took antibiotics monthly which however is useless. But we managed to avoid surgery and control it. He’s a 5 years old big boy now.

    And as long as he stays healthy and our family stays together. :)

    1. Hi Cecilia
      Congrats on your shop! What’s funny is that my wife and I had the exact same goals when we first started. We wanted to start a small shop that was just enough to cover our daily expenses. But then things completely blew up. To a certain extent, my wife wishes that things with our store would stay at a constant level. Growing a business can be difficult and we have constant growing pains.

  28. A big shift was coming to terms with what really matters to me and not worrying about what I thought should matter to me (a big house, a nice car…).

    What matters most to me is having the freedom to choose how I spend my time. That means more quality time with family & friends. More time traveling. More time experiencing & living life, not counting down the hours until the weekend.

    Now that I know most things I care about don’t really cost all that much, I’ve been able to let go of the fear (even if just a little bit) of not making money or not landing the right job. If I never have to redo my resume ever again, I’ll be one happy girl.

    I don’t think some fears ever really go away. I think the way I’ve learned to deal with them is to acknowledge them and work through them. And most things I worry about never happen, anyway.

    As for your situation, I think so long as you still enjoy your job and have enough work-life balance, you might as well stay. But if you’re unhappy or you’re not able to hang out with your family as much as you want to, then maybe it’s time to move on. I wouldn’t worry too much about your XYZ. I’m confident you’ll figure it out as you go.

    1. Hey Kim
      I’ve actually known what makes me happy for quite a while now. It’s not houses. It’s not cars and it’s not electronics. It’s people that make me happy (at least the people that I like) which is why I almost always make a strong effort to connect with those I want to talk to. The other thing that makes me happy? Good food. I also like seeing my home kitchen appliances put to good use and not gathering dust on the shelves but I’m sure you can relate to that one.

      Finding the XYZ is tough. As a mentioned to a previous commenter, I need a good amount of mental stimulation everyday (I usually take technical manuals and textbooks with me on vacation) and blogging and teaching probably won’t make the cut. Perhaps I should start a small company. Just need to find the right partner.

  29. MW says:

    Hi Steve;

    I can certainly relate to your being motivated by fear and getting great results from it. Personally I still am not a fan of how it feels even if it makes me stretch my limits.

    Currently I’m working part time — 12 hr directly making money and 6 – 8 hr admin depending on the week. I travelled 12 wks this year (we have no kids and do not plan any) and will be starting art classes soon. This schedule may very well be my “retirement” one if I continue to enjoy it. I’m 40.

    It has taken many years to carve out what I’ve just described and I feel fearful for I don’t know why. My husband thinks it is just leftover of what I’ve felt all my life.

    I say you’ve earned yourself some time to discover what draws you. Could you take a month or 3 off as a start and see how you do away from work? Join some groups and see if you really would do something when you don’t “have to”.


    1. Hey MW
      I don’t think anyone is a fan of how it makes you feel. I compare the feeling to when I go running (I like to run the hills to improve my sprinting endurance) but I absolutely dread it because it’s painful. But at the end of the run, I always feel great.

      It seem that you’ve found a good lifestyle for yourself. I’ll eventually work things out for myself as well. Thanks for the comment!

  30. Danny says:

    I started an ecommerce company about 10 years ago. For me, I knew it was time to quit my day job when I was making in a month close to what I make a year at my job. However, I had to make sure it was real. I feared it would all just go away so I waited about 6 months to see if it will sustain.

    After awhile, I realize it was costing me money by working my job 10 to 12 hours a day as oppose to working on my business. That’s when I quit to work online full time. It sounds like you are close to making that decision.

    1. Hey Danny,
      If I were all by myself, I would have considered taking some time off to grow the store. Fortunately, my wife is here to make sure that things continue to run smoothly. I’m actually quite hands off these days with my ecommerce shop and only handle the technical and marketing aspects. Unfortunately, wedding linens don’t make me happy:) Congrats on your success though. What is the name of your shop?

      1. Our store is Initially, I worked from home after I quit my job. This worked out great as I was able to be around the house and help out when my son was born. Now, our ecommerce operation is located at an office location.

        You have a great blog and business model here. Your visitors are leaving in depth comments which shows your topics are engaging. I will be sure to drop by to keep up to date on any new topics you provide.

  31. Thanks for sharing your fears! It is the toughest thing we do in relationships…

    Having quit two solid corporate management jobs WITHOUT any other income nor much of a nest-egg either time to do exactly what you are considering, Yvette and I highly recommend following your current calling, er, vocation of being a dad…

    Instead of building back-up income (as you have), we dramatically reduced our required “income” by slashing our expenses, moving into a converted bus with our six children. Not even running water so no sewer bill πŸ˜‰

    Since you already have an income stream AND comparatively low monthly expenses, then you have already done the hard work to now follow your DAD vocation WITH VERY LITTLE STRESS. The kids will only be kids for a few short years and you can then reenter the “workforce” if you want to.

    Oh, and about missing the friends at work…the solid, true relationships will continue but in other venues!!

    Take Care and glad to have found you and your family through the FINCON2012 recaps!

    Joe & Yvette
    Wyoming USA

    1. Hey JoeVette
      Being a Dad is great and if the little ones weren’t in preschool from 9-5:30pm, I’d consider working from home more to be with the little buggers. As it stands, things are pretty cushy. I come home to have lunch with my wife 3 times a week and I don’t even think about work on nights and weekends. I agree with your 2nd point as well. During my stay at work, coworkers have come and gone but I always actively keep in touch with the ones I like. The only problem is that you miss out on the day to day chatter which is what I miss.

  32. Hi, I appreciate your blog and will read as much of it as I can.

    Due to many recent events, I have learned to look at fear in a different way. Fear is as much a chemical reaction as anger, or lust. It simply means you have never experienced the event you are afraid of.

    By actually moving forward, toward your goal– in tiny steps, you overcome the fear. So, in one way, it is a motivator, but I see it in another way, as a phase in a process. Fear is just another step towards getting somewhere. When you feel fear, you are just telling yourself to be wary, because you have never gone this way before.

    Fear is there to save your life, not to ruin it.

    1. Hey Katy,
      Completely agree. The human body was designed to provide stimulus in order to protect and your analysis is spot on

  33. “What the heck should I be doing with my life now that things are pretty stable?”

    A great question, becoming less and less frequent in today’s society as so many struggle to stay above water.

    It’s a true and instinctive question, I find myself asking as well, since I’m past the days of worrying about the next meal, and more about the next move that’s inline with both business, personal and life goals.

    Personally, I’d love to consult/freelance a few hours a day, travel more and spend the rest of the timing learning/helping build eco-friendly housing, like cob houses.

    1. Hey Jeff,
      Part time consulting wouldn’t be a bad gig. You get your fill of human interaction and get the sense of helping others at the same time. Is that why you started I’ll have to look up what cob houses even are. I have a friend who built a hay bale house but I’m not sure how that compares.

      1. Hi Steve,

        Yes, I agree that would be a good gig, once one is debt free and has a couple years savings in the bank as backup! :)

        That is why I started that site yes, since I’ve done eCommerce since 2004, plus work as SEO/PPC manager with agencies for several years, it’s a natural project that capitalizes on self taught skills.

        Cob houses are an old technique of making houses by hand with straw, clay, etc. They can last hundreds of years, are all natural, retain temperature and can be build for very little, meaning tens of thousands. For $50k, you would have something pretty extravagant. They can be solar powered as well, wood stove, etc.

        The trouble is, there are many restrictions to keep these from being built, unless they are 200 sq. ft or less. There are some ways around it though….

        Per your friends deeply indebted themselves with huge houses, that will definitely keep they on the treadmill forever!!

  34. Natalye says:

    Well I quit my job as an Accountant about a month ago to set up my online store and so that I could spend time with my 2 children. I had no other income and still don’t as the wesite is still under process ut y God’s Grace I have been receiving orders y word of mouth, but quitting my job is one of the best things I have ever done. Yes I have had to cut back on a lot of things but being able to take my daughter to and from school and spending all day with my 17 month old son is priceless. My daughter loves that I am now at home and my son has come on leaps and bounds with his development that I know that I have done the right thing.
    As for setting up my business, its a scary but also exciting experience. I get scared about it all the time. I even get scared about the business becoming successful but I feel that this is the plan that God has for me so I just have to work hard and make my business into the kind of business that I want it to be.

    As for your question, you need to see what works for you and your family, as what may work for me may not work for you. I also miss the daily banter in the office but I keep in touch with a few of my old colleagues so we just have to have our daily banters via email.

    Also I’m not sure what your spiritual beliefs are but I’m a Christian so most times when I cannot make a decision I always pray on it with the faith that God will answer. He always does, and with the answer he provides I always run with it.

    My life mottot is pray or worry. You can only do one of the two :-)

  35. Margo says:


    I just happened upon your site this morning and I feel so compelled to let you know that I’m pleasantly shocked and appreciate your willingness to help others achieve their financial goals. Too often, it feels like people are selfish and guarded when it comes to sharing their knowledge as if success is a finite resource. I’m only in the embryo stages of considering an ecommerce site as a way of making money. Feeling overwhelmed by all that needs to be learned but blessed that there are people like you.

    1. Thanks Margo. Really appreciate the kind words.

  36. I quit my job a year ago to work from home and even thought im not making as much as we are certainly getting by. Its great to be home with the kids, but it certainly has its distractions with the younger ones. So im working had from home so I can spend more time with kids and not have them in day care, but to do that I need to spend time actually working so the distractions can be frustrating but wouldnt ever want to go back to an offline job.

  37. Fear has affected me in many of the same ways — it’s nice to hear fellow stories about overcoming fears.

  38. Thanks for this article, gives me hope!! If given the opportunity to do as I please all day everyday I would chose to sit in the sunshine on the porch with the wife and kids overlooking the pool while hosting barbecues and family get togethers watching everybody enjoy themselves and each other. One day the ecommerce store my wife and I started will pay off and the dream will become reality… Til then, back to the grind…πŸ˜‰

  39. Jaspreet says:

    Hey! That’s a fantastic write-up. Very few people are okay sharing their life experiences like this. I’ve come across only a handful of people that have achieved great success in their life by acting out of fear Vs giving in to it.

    Even the best of entrepreneurs or employees have fear within them. But they have trained their subconscious to an extent that they possess the ability to overcome those fears. It’s not something they choose to do. It’s something that’s on auto-pilot.

    There’s this video in which Bob Proctor talks about changing your habits & thereby changing your life. It’s short, yet powerful. Do have a look at it.

    – Jaspreet

  40. Hello Steve,

    I found your website a week ago and it’s a real gem. Thanks for the hard work. Your articles really resonate with me, and even more this one. Maybe because I am asian too and it seems our asian-style education make us fear failure so much! (which also have a lot to do with the success too as you mention!)

    I like your mindset about it. I am in my early 30s and I kinda have these questions about the good balance of fear in life to enjoy it. I’ve always been driven by this fear of failure, which made me quite successful in school, sport and some businesses. But at the same time, it is also very consuming (for me and my friends lol!)

    This article seems to have been published some time ago. Did you find your answer about life and having “too much” free time ?

    Keep up the good work. Your blog is very inspiring and insightful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *