Welcome to chadtennant.com, and I’m happy you’re here. My aim is to help you:
- Build a successful and profitable online business using savvy marketing techniques
- Create a fantastic lifestyle that yields freedom, excitement, choice, and fulfillment
- Manage your finances more effectively to retain income and attract wealth
- Launch digital products successfully to achieve sales targets and bestseller status
- Develop amazing WordPress sites that attract traffic, subscribers, conversions, and more
I know it’s a tall order, but I’m up for the task.
When I was in my early twenties, I remember saying to myself that I would never work for someone else. The idea of working for someone else’s dream and nest egg didn’t sit well with me. However, my initial steps to gain work experience led me to just that, working for “the man” from nine to five. I worked for a couple of investment firms before changing industries. Each job I got paid more than the previous and came with more benefits and responsibilities. Who cared if upper management spoiled and praised themselves, my salary and career prospects were promising or so I thought.
The Bitter Truth
My experiences as an employee started to sour about three years into the last company I worked. I could write a novel about why and the many observations I made, but here are a few of the highlights (low points):
- I wasn’t in full control of my career prospects, lifestyle, and income potential. These critical factors were highly influenced by my bosses, their bosses, human resources, company politics, and so forth. None of these parties were any more qualified than me to determine my career path and following their directions led to disappointing outcomes. Also, I likely received a lower salary than my colleagues due to my race and height (FYI – I’m 5,8). North America offers many wonderful opportunities, but being a minority has its wealth and income equality drawbacks.
- Merit can play a large or small role depending on the company. It plays a lesser role in highly political and complacent work environments where it’s more about whose ass you kiss rather than what you achieve. People of a certain ilk were likely to get higher paying frontline positions whereas those of a different ilk (the group I fit into apparently) were often limited to support and back office roles. Suffice it to say, many colleague promotions left me scratching my head and disheartened.
- Bosses, rightfully or wrongfully, have an enormous impact on your work-life experience. I started out with good bosses but then hit a string of bad luck. The latter set were nice people, but they were incompetent and had succumbed to the Peter Principle. Being managed by unqualified managers was difficult and stressful, which only made matters worse. Also, I witnessed how toxic some managers were to their teams.
- Don’t fool yourself, it’s you against the world. We have to promote and campaign for ourselves on an ongoing basis to get noticed and climb the corporate ladder. Since I had to do these things, I figured there was more to gain through self-employment where the rewards are much greater.
- You’re one recession, reorg or disgruntled boss away from being let go. Despite the team building getaways and company parties, I never believed, nor had reason to believe, that I was more than just a number or cog in the wheel working for a group of nameless, faceless, and unreachable powers. Irrespective of how great and valuable you think you are to a company, nobody is safe from being handed a pink slip with or without sufficient reason (companies usually concoct a least one reason to protect themselves from lawsuits).
- The root of wealth inequality permeates the nine to five employer-employee construct. The wealth gap between C-Suite executives and their employees has reached historical highs. This is due in part to income stagnation through inflation rate raises, otherwise known as sucker rate raises, that keep the 99% in an illusionary state of moving forward. For example, if prices have increased by 2% over the past year and you receive a 2% raise, your raise has only kept pace with inflation. A big picture mindset would suggest you’ve fallen behind. Also, C-Suite executives tend to reward themselves (or get rewarded by their BOD) more shares than their results justify, e.g., Jeff Immelt of GE and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, which widens wealth inequality.
- Putting random people together doesn’t work most of the time. Within your company, 70% of employees are disengaged, 90% do only enough not to get fired, and 2% are passionate about what they do if you’re lucky. This is not a recipe for success or career satisfaction, but for disaster paved with mediocrity and constant bullshit. “Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.” – George Carlin
Would I ever work for or with others again in a full on company setting? Probably not, but you never know when an amazing opportunity will surface to further my career and lifestyle prospects. If that day ever comes, I’ll be more aware of what the experience entails, for instance, the queen bee, worker bee model rewards the vital few and punishes the trivial many. Thus, the majority of employees won’t come close to fulfilling their full potential by working for someone else. That’s a major drawback regarding employment which keeps me motivated to stay self-employed.
“Your answer lies beyond the search for light.” – Anonymous
A New Hope
In 2010, I made the transition to self-employment, and I entered without a safety net or trust fund. I was afforded no luxuries or unusual opportunities. I considered my options and decided to pursue financial advising. I love investing so I thought it would be a good fit. About two years in, I realized that most financial advisors are salespeople disguised as investment stewards. The financial industry is full of brilliant marketers who know that the title of salesperson wouldn’t go over well with millions of unsuspecting investors. Therefore, clever titles such as financial advisor, investment funds advisor and others do a better job of concealing foolish advice and conflicts of interest.
At heart, I’m not a client-chasing salesperson and as a financial advisor, you don’t work for yourself, but for a massive industry as a product pusher, so I decided it wasn’t for me. I did, however, realize the error of my ways and had designed a practice based on conflict-free fee-only advice (try saying that 10x fast). I am proud that I was able to help many clients with their financial and lifestyle goals.
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain
The discovery of “our why” or purpose is essential to attract the life and income we desire. When I first started my self-employment journey, I went into sales through financial advisory. Self-employment was the right path, but selling was the wrong direction. I self-corrected by thinking more about my interests and what I enjoy. Matching my interests with my work activities has produced many positive results. Furthermore, “our why” may not be static, but dynamic. What drives you today may or may not motivate you forever. Thus, stay open and ensure your why always matches your lifestyle and work.
“A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.” – Jean de La Fontaine
In a quest to be truly self-employed and my own boss, I fully embrace what I am today as a content creator and online marketer. I do run a sales driven business, but sales occur indirectly through savvy marketing and various e-commerce channels as opposed to direct selling, which I prefer. Also, I experience real freedom daily.
It hasn’t been easy and it’s taken some time to adapt while pivoting is commonplace, but I control when, where, and how I work, and strive for life I desire. I greatly influence my income through my efforts yielding a higher correlation between input and results. Stupid, unqualified bosses and colleagues I don’t want to speak with are experiences of the past. Rampant inequality, petty politics, wasteful meetings, and ass kissing are nonexistent.
There you have it, a snapshot of my story to date, and that’s just the career piece. I won’t go too deeply into lifestyle except to say that you should develop or have a crystal clear, yet realistic vision of what you’re trying to achieve. My minimalist way of living is very much what I want it to be i.e. a nice place to live, occasional travel, freedom from debt, modern conveniences, and exciting food adventures.
I’m not one of those online workers who displays monthly income reports or brags about having a mansion or Lamborghini for career/social proof to get people to buy into me. If you’re looking for that, those individuals are easy to find on YouTube. The accomplishments I’m most proud don’t concern income or possessions, but rather traversing the globe in search of meaning and indelible moments.
We live in a zero-sum world in that someone’s gain is another person’s loss, e.g., for someone to get 51% of the pizza the other must get 49%. I hope you explore at least some of your self-employment self, and I’ll be here sharing my experiences for your benefit.
Chad is a best-selling author, cubicle escape artist, and opportunity hunter. He writes about personal finance, self-publishing, WordPress, marketing, and online business. He’s been self-employed for several years, which allows him to work from his laptop while traveling the world. His main goals are to help people experience more financial and lifestyle freedom.
Chad holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, and he’s completed professional studies in entrepreneurship and marketing from Stanford and The Wharton School. Also, he’s completed advanced education in wealth management (Moody’s Analytics), project management (Project Management Institute), and search engine optimization (UC Davis).
Chad loves playing ping pong, golf, and beach volleyball in his spare time.
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