Starting Your Own One-Person Online Business Is the Antidote to Living a Meaningless Life | by Michael Lim | Apr, 2023

Working as a digital nomad in 2023 (Hoi An, Vietnam)

“If you are not working towards your ideal life, you are working on someone else’s ideal life” — Dan Koe

Have you ever wondered why entrepreneurs (or even side hustlers) seem to have a certain sparkle in their eyes and bounce in their steps?

It’s not because they’ve snorted a line of nose beers (you might have to Google that one yourself) or pounded a pack of Red Bulls.

No, my friends, it’s because they’ve stumbled upon the ultimate antidote against living a meaningless life: starting their own business.

As a seasoned self-development junkie with a decade of addiction (and then some), I’ve recently jumped into building a portfolio of one-person businesses head first.

Allow me to take you on the meandering journey of my entrepreneurial enlightenment.

Starting a business is not about achievements.

Yes, the money, status, and fancy job title are perks, which I’ll explain more about later. But the greatest benefit of starting your own one-person online business is the transformation you experience.

I am more proud of the person I’ve become than the money or status of owning a business confers.

As Anthony Robbins once declared,

“It’s not about the goal.

It’s about growing to become the person that can accomplish that goal.”

Transformation > achievements

(Well, sort of. I’ll explain).

Starting a business is the highest form of mental mastery.

Being an entrepreneur is like being an athlete. You are expected to perform at clutch moments, and everything is on you. You can’t blame anyone else.

The stakes are high and it takes an incredibly high degree of focus, dedication, and self-responsibility to make it big.

You have to be open to learning, but unreasonable about your beliefs. Humble, but self-confident you will succeed.

These are traits that are rare to balance and are only forged in the heat of growing your business and overcoming adversity.

Once you have them, you will naturally translate them into other aspects of your life.

They will serve how you approach your relationships, fitness, and overall mental strength to solve life problems.

It’s simple math really.

In Australia,

The MAXIMUM tax rate for business income is 30%.

Even less if you fall below certain thresholds (like me lol. It might surprise you to know that I don’t have a turnover of more than $50m).

See below:

Source: Australian Tax Office

In contrast, the maximum tax rate for personal income is 45% (over $180,000).

See below:

Source: Australian Tax Office

You also get whacked with a 2% levy after you make 90k per annum.

So in reality, you are being taxed at a rate of 47%, not 45% if you make more than $180,000 (AUD).

I failed year 9 maths, and even I know how much of a tax advantage (17% difference) making an income through your own one-person business is.

Don’t think you can make over $180,000 with a one-person business?

In 2022, Justin Welsh made over $3 million (USD) in revenue per year at a 94% profit margin in his one-person business.

Source: Justin Welsh via Twitter

As a business, you can also write off all types of expenses as a business cost thereby minimizing (legally) your tax liability at the end of the year.

If you work from home, you can include a certain percentage of your:

  • Phone bill
  • Travel (if related to your business, which isn’t hard to do)
  • Utilities
  • Car
  • Furniture
  • Stationary
  • Online courses
  • Subcontractors and Virtual Assistants

As a business cost.

You can also do this with your personal income, but it’s not as favorable.

Money is not everything, but you are kidding yourself if you think it doesn’t buy happiness. It does, but not in the way you think.

I use my money to buy back my time.

I hire a team of subcontractors and virtual assistants to do things I don’t want to do and solve my business problems.

I can spend my days filled with only things that give me meaning — writing, speaking, reading, and learning.

I trade my financial wealth for time wealth. This makes me 10x happier.

When I was in my 9–5, I had to:

  • Attend pointless meetings and ‘training’.
  • Pretend I cared about projects and clients.
  • Play office politics to get a promotion and raise that didn’t match inflation. LOL.
  • Report back where I was and what I was doing that day.

All while only getting 2 weeks off per year.

But I always had 2–3 side hustles burning in the background.

Most of them failed, but a few showed promise (like writing on Medium).

When I decided to quit, I had a life raft of side hustles I could fall back on for a few months. Knowing that I always had a few sources of income made me feel invincible.

Even $1,000 per month from your side hustle can create the freedom that few people who are monogamous to their 9–5 will ever get to experience.

With more time, you can scale these side hustles into a full-time job, or automate them completely with the help of Virtual Assistants.

I know of 30–40 years old who quit their job only to realize they had absolutely nothing to fall back on. It was sad to see.

Why? They had no ownership over their leverage. Read on.

When you work a 9–5, you are renting everything.

Every project you complete, the relationships you nurture, and the software you create, your 9–5 overlords own it, not you.

Companies even have contractual clauses preventing you from reaching out to clients or starting a competitor after you leave.

Ever seen a non-compete in Suits? Those things are real.

Your leverage is rented. And can be taken away at any time. You might quit, be fired, or get canceled, and BAM. It’s gone. See ya later alligator.

A business or side hustle is about building ownership over your leverage. Once you have it, it’s a lot harder to lose it.

When you own something, it’s more meaningful to you. It creates a purpose. Something to strive for. A reason to get out of bed.

Ownership over your leverage isn’t something, it’s everything.

Fight hard and long for it.

If you can spend 38 hours a week working on someone’s dream, you can invest 2–3 hours every day working on your own.

Starting your own business is like getting a lifetime supply of meaning-filled flu shots.

It’s the antidote to a humdrum existence, a panacea for the mundane, and a booster shot of purpose straight to your soul’s immune system.

So, what are you waiting for?

Roll up your sleeves, take a leap of faith, and v*ccinate yourself against a life devoid of meaning.

Trust me, you won’t even need a lollipop afterward.

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