Every second Friday, my neighbor beneath in the old and somewhat run-down apartment complex I lived in during my early-twenties would return from the oilfields. Middle-aged, he was a bachelor and raging alcoholic. He’d get in at about 6PM, and like clockwork, by about 8:30 he’d be hammered. I knew this because he was also a smoker, and he’d start chain smoking on his balcony beneath me, ‘perfectly’ located so the smell would rise up into my bedroom. While he smoked he’d begin to have these intense, profanity-laced arguments with his guest of honor – an imaginary friend who I presumed was the spirit of an old girlfriend judging by the subject matter of the tirades. On and off, this would transpire for hours every second Friday night.
An Entrepreneurial Decision in My Twenties: Sacrifice Lifestyle to Reach Goals
I remember the first time I heard the belligerent drunk go off…I was shocked and ready to go down there to shake some sense into the guy. No man should speak to a woman that way, I remember thinking. But I soon realized it was an imaginary person he was berating. Anyway, this went on for about a year. It pissed me off beyond belief, especially when I was trying to work as I was in the startup phase for my marketing and PR firm. I was sleep deprived and needed silence, which was impossible to get every second Friday.
The crazy thing was, Saturday morning would roll around, I’d see the man in the elevator, and he was as friendly as could be. I never brought it up with him. He clearly had a problem.
Point is, the place I lived in was sketchy. I could have splurged for a nicer place, but I was on a mission. I wanted to get into real estate investing and was determined to make my marketing and PR firm a huge success. Both of these goals required every penny I had (including credit). I had to splurge on the businesses while living spartan. My rent was $650 per month for a one bedroom apartment. For some context, the going rate for a nice one bedroom at the time was about $1,200. You get what you pay for…
Entrepreneurs Should Live Poor While Young
I look back on those two years in that dingy and musky smelling apartment with pride. I sacrificed to reach my goals. During that period, however, it was hard. I was somewhat embarrassed by my apartment. A lot of my friends were splurging on beautiful places in trendy neighborhoods. I remember being reluctant to bring my girlfriend over (now my wife) because the apartment just didn’t give that vibe one hopes for when bringing his special lady over – and heaven forbid she ever heard the drunk downstairs in one of his tirades. But living there, in part, enabled me to get my business humming, and certainly helped me buy my first investment property in a waterfront area of downtown Vancouver – a beautiful condo. I was saving so much money while sacrificing my pride.
Without ‘living poor’ in my early twenties so I could invest and save for long-term assets, the portfolio I have today wouldn’t exist. Living there made me hungry. Let me tell you… If you ever need the motivation to become successful, live poor. And once you make it, you’ll appreciate it that much more. Without the bitter, the sweet just isn’t as sweet.
Your Twenties Are the Most Important Years as an Entrepreneur
I’ve said it many times. Twenties are a critical decade for entrepreneurs. You likely have no dependents, minimal expenses (if you choose to live poor), and your entire life in front of you. At no other age will you have such upside on the horizon. From your thirties onward your life is full of responsibilities. The twenties were made for you, the entrepreneur, to take a risk. This decade can set you up for the rest of your life. And just as well, if you fail in your twenties, you still have the rest of your life to recover and try again.
Living poor (frugal) in your twenties can set you up. Don’t chase the bling in these years. Chase dreams.
PS – Entrepreneurship is about taking risks and facing challenges. Let me show you how I do things. Subscribe to my newsletter below. Only my best content will land in your inbox.