How to Escape Modern Slavery
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Are you a free person?
Do you really consider yourself free and if so, why?
I often have debates with my family, friends and business acquaintances about personal freedom and whether we are truly free. Based on my personal experience, understanding of life and rationale, I dare say that people – perhaps you included – aren’t free.
The truth is that great majority of the world population aren’t free and are subjected to ‘modern slavery’ without ever realizing it. Only a small percentage manage to escape it and either remain free throughout their life or regain back their freedom at some point in life, like I did.
Just the other day over lunch with a friend of mine we were talking about success and what does really constitute it. While it’s abundantly clear to everyone that success or definition of it is very individual and varies from one person to the next, I’d like to offer my definition of success as it’s relevant to this post.
‘Success in my mind is personal freedom…freedom from everything and everyone that surrounds me. Ability to be myself at all times, no matter the company or the circumstances that may surround me. Freedom to be what I wish and do anything that my heart may desire, whenever and wherever.’
But how can I achieve this level of success in the world where all of us are subjected to nearly infallible manmade system, since the time we’re born until our dying day?
I mean, think about it…
From the time you’re born until this very moment – chances are – you’ve been obediently following the system and the followers of the very system, without much consideration or questioning.
Sure, all the while you were under the impression that decisions made were of your own making but were they really? Mainstream media, cultural and religious indoctrination is constantly at play. It’s therefore very difficult to rise above it and just be…to be your true self.
Some of this may seem too radical to you or even totally preposterous if you’ve never thought about it before but that doesn’t make it unreal or untrue…this is very much our reality, whether you admit it or not.
Think of a young girl who’s born into this world so carefree, unique, creative, imaginative, capable and virtually unlimited in her potential, she could be, do and have whatever she may desire in her life.
The question is will she?
The sinister system kicks in at an early stage – varies from one country to the next – anywhere between the age of 2 and 3 this young girl starts a pre-school or a kindergarten and inevitably comes in contact with the system which eventually draws her in and moulds her into a ‘modern slave’…unless of course, her parents are enlightened enough to teach her otherwise or she – like I did – figures it out for herself at some point in life.
Before I proceed further, I feel that it’s important to define a ‘modern slave’ and what I mean by it…mind you, this is strictly my definition. Here goes…
‘Modern slave is any person who is employed by another and therefore, has to answer to and seek permission from another to take a vacation, attend his kid’s basketball game, take a sick day etc. A person, who’s life isn’t really his. Such person is at a mercy of another and is therefore, very weak.’
Mind you education level has got nothing to do with this, nor does a job title. I don’t’ care if you’re the CEO of a fortune 500 company, you still have to answer to the board of directors and seek their approval to take a vacation, attend your kid’s basketball game or take a sick leave…you aren’t free.
Let this sink in for a moment….
Do you now consider yourself a free person or a modern slave?
If you’re indeed a free person I commend you, for you’re a hugely successful in my book and possibly in yours… if you aren’t, don’t beat yourself up too much, I too was a modern slave and didn’t even know it until my late twenties. You can change that…it isn’t easy, far from it but it’s very much doable, so keep reading…
As creatures of habit we tend to reject change because we fear the unknown and would much rather keep things as they are, simply because we’re used to them. You too might be risk averse and not open to change but that must not discourage you, for this change is most certainly going to be well worth it and will change your life for the better.
So take a deep breath and let’s do this, together.
- The Exit Plan
Before you begin your life changing transformation, take time to plan ahead. Much of forward thinking and planning is required beforehand to make this transition from a modern slave to a free person as smooth as possible, so do take your time.
The ultimate objective at this stage is to come up with play-by-play exit plan which will encompass all the necessary details including your current cash burn rate, financial obligations in the form of day-to-day, loans, mortgages etc. along with sources of income post exit e.g. how you intend to support yourself and your lifestyle.
Unless you’re a millionaire’s or a billionaire’s heir, you’ve got to really think about all the variables very thoroughly to ensure you have all the basis covered. After all, you want to be able to live comfortably after the exit and enjoy the lifestyle equal to or better than the one you already have.
While your plan will greatly depend on your coveted goal post exit, unless you’re wealthy and need not worry about money, you’ll have to identify source(s) of income you’ll depend on post exit. Some of the best ways to support yourself as a self-reliant or independent individual is to take up freelancing or start your own business.
This isn’t going to be a walk in the park but hey, others have done it and so can you. I have done it, why can’t you?
- Save Money
Legendary investor Warren Buffett said “if you buy things you don’t’ need, soon you’ll have to sell things you need.”
Indeed, while I might not be the most qualified person to tell you this – as I’m not known for frugal living and have never been – but you’ll have to start living frugally if you’re to make this transition successfully. There’s no way around it.
The good thing is that saving money isn’t difficult but does require a fair bit of discipline, determination and time. You’ve got to make it a habit and want it bad…can you do that?
The secret is to pay yourself first. Yes, you’ve heard it right. Assuming you’re currently employed and have a steady income, what you ought to do from this point on is to put aside anywhere between 10%-30% (if you possibly can) of your monthly pay check and live on the rest. This will vary from one person to the next depending on individual salary…whatever the percentage may be, you get the point, start saving.
Meanwhile, determine your monthly run cost (all expenses included) and work out the total for 18 to 24 months. Why? Because you need a ‘safety net’ of sorts until you have your ducks in a row. Ideally, you’ll have to be self-sufficient e.g. support yourself and your lifestyle by the month 19 or 25 from the time you take the leap.
To help you achieve your 18-24 months safety net target, I’d advise you take up freelancing while you’re in your current job. This will give you additional income stream you’ve not had until now which you can put toward your safety net financial goal.
To get you up to speed on how to start freelancing, leverage existing freelancing platforms and achieve success as a professional freelancer, refer to no nonsense blog posts I’ve previously written on the subject matter.
- Self-Inventory and Side Interest
“The only real security that a man can have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability.” – Henry Ford
As you progress through this life changing transformation, you’ll have to detect your innate talents and abilities, learned skills and qualities – if you haven’t already done so – as you’ll depend on them going forward.
Just because you work as an architect, barista, captain, dentist, engineer or a web developer, doesn’t mean your strengths are aligned to it. In fact, in most cases there’s a misalignment caused by heavy influences from parents, society, peers and mainstream media in the early days.
So, take some time to do a self-inventory with aim to know your true self. This includes realizing what you’re truly passionate about and what’s close to your heart…this is very important whether you go on to become a professional freelancer or a business owner. You’ll need to know and have your BIG and meaningful why.
Another important thing you ought to do is develop a side interest which you can monetize e.g., blogging, bookkeeping, content creation, graphic design, web development etc. ideally, this should be something you’re passionate about and can be build on top of your strengths.
From there on start reaching out to potential prospects and build your ‘sales’ funnel or a pipeline, one prospect at a time. Soon enough you’ll realize just how difficult building a sales pipeline really is when you’re first starting out but no matter what, don’t get discouraged…keep at it.
To help you raise awareness of your services, build your brand equity and ultimately attract paying clients, you’ll have to do several things and do them right.
Set up a blog or a website (web presence) as your ‘storefront’ along with social media hubs e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook etc. depending on your services. You’ll use your blog and social media hubs to build followers and attract likeminded people who share your passion or are interested in what you have to offer.
Also, research leading freelancing platforms e.g. Upwork, Parttimerz, Freelancer and Toptal and register your freelancer account on any one of them…or you might as well register on each one of them as it’s absolutely free.
Once registered, make sure you take some time to complete your freelancer profile including all the relevant personal and professional details, particularly around the services you provide. Don’t forget to include any references you may have as this will further help you attract qualified clients.
Be patient, persistent, flexible and work hard. Before long, you’ll get your first client and from there on, things should pick up steadily…you’ll have additional revenue stream which you can put aside towards your 18-24 months exit target.
- Break Away
On the back of disciplined and regular savings habit you develop, along with ongoing and successful freelancing work, before you know it you’ll find yourself at the finish line…you will have achieved your coveted 18-24 months safety net goal and will be ready to take the leap of faith.
Man up and do it…don’t have a second thought. While you’re at it, burn all the bridges so that mentally you know there’s no going back to modern slavery, ever!
You’re now a free person who no longer has to wake up at the crack of dawn, shower, force feed and fight the morning traffic on the way to the office to do mundane work. Instead, you now get to wake up when you choose, do as much or as little work you desire and spend the rest of your day the way you wish.
All of a sudden, your life has a whole new meaning. You’re now free to do, be and have whatever your heart may desire. Congratulations – give yourself a tap on the back for such a huge feat.
Wrapping it all up
If you’re indeed a modern slave and aren’t happy about it, resolve today to make a change in your life and break the shackles that bind you. Free yourself like millions of others and I have done it following the steps described herein.
It isn’t going to be easy but if you resolve to pull it off and prevail in your quest, it will all be well worth it. So, start today, take the first step…
”A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
Author: Dzenan Skulj, a Co-Founder and CEO at Parttimerz. He’s a serial entrepreneur and student of life. Utterly passionate about and strong proponent of entrepreneurship, startups, freelancing and self-development, which he regularly blogs about on his personal blog dzenanskulj.com. Dzenan also actively mentors entrepreneurs on their entrepreneurial journey.