I'm reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad right now. It's one of the most frequently recommended books by successful real estate investors that I've seen, so I thought it'd be worth a shot.
Very insightful book. I'm only forty seven pages in right now, but it's already prompted an interesting realization. It's about how I should allocate my energy and focus towards quantitative and qualitative rate increases.
What do I mean by "qualitative rate increases"?
Speaking strictly in terms of quality of life, the return on investment that I get for spending energy to figure out how to raise my rate by say, $20/hr, is trivial to the kind of results I could get by investing that same energy in real estate or some other kind of passive income generating tool.
At the rate that I'm currently making, an linear increase in rate, even a significant one (say if I were to start making an extra $100/hr or even an extra $200/hr) will not result in a significantly increased quality of life for me.
I might be able to buy a more expensive car and spend slightly less time thinking about upgrading my monitor and sound system, but I think that's pretty much it. Other than that I'll still be working for other people and probably won't have significantly more freedom.
After all, that income will always be predicated on the notion of working on complex projects with other people, which necessitates a certain level of cooperation and communication which is at odds with the idea of the free kind of life I'd like to lead.
That's not an absolute given, of course, and there are always interesting one-off projects where that's not the case, but I think the lowest common denominator of projects I can expect to work on falls in that category.
That's not always a bad thing – I'm not saying I don't like working on complicated projects, because I fully realize that sometimes the best and biggest things we can do can only be done with others and in service of a greater whole.
But I think at heart I'm a creator. Michelangelo didn't design his David via collaboration, nor did Bach his Well-Tempered Clavier (though a well-informed argument could be made against the independent origin of his Musical Offering, of course). I'm certainly no artistic genius, but I desire that independence to pursue the things I am called to (by?).
To reach independence, I need to focus on pursuing not just a qualitative, linear increase in income but an entirely quantitative increase in income – where the type of income I am making changes. I'm talking about building passive income. I mean, it's the dream, right? But the question is, how much should I focus on it?
I think it may perhaps not make sense to focus on raising my rates for the time being. To do so seems shortsighted (though perhaps my future self might disagree with me).
Instead, I need to focus on building passive income, because that appears to be the only thing that will enable me to do what I want. Right now, that's going to be via real estate.
Of course, there's also the idea of decreasing risk to consider. If I call a rate freeze on myself and lose my momentum, it increases the risk of my other ventures; they must succeed in order to make that a wise decision.
With that all in mind, I am committing to spending much less energy overall on raising my rates for the time being. It's not worth the investment right now.