Keep your overhead low

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

do with less

“The key to eternal happiness is low overhead and no debt.”
—Lynda Barry

Anybody who tells people to “do what you love no matter what” should also have to teach a money management course.

Low overhead + “do what you love” = a good life.

“I deserve nice things” + “do what you love” = a time bomb.

A good life is not about living within your means, it’s about living below your means.

When Instapaper creator Marco Arment was asked about his business model, he said, “I sell an app for money, then I spend less than I make.” Sell something for money, spend less than you make. Is there a better model?

“The trick is,” film executive Tom Rothman says, “from the business side, to try to be fiscally responsible so you can be creatively reckless.”

The 80s underground band The Minutemen used to call this “jamming econo.” They knew the music they wanted to make would probably never be mainstream, so they kept their day jobs, made their records for cheap, learned how to fix their own tour van, and hauled their own equipment.

Live frugally so you can do the work you want to do. Save up some “screw you” money, so you can quit a job you hate to take a job you like better. Turn away venture capital money and bootstrap so you can keep control over your business.

To “jam econo” might not be the flashiest way of life, but it’s the best way to stay free.

[I cut this post from Show Your Work! because it felt too much like the “Keep Your Day Job” section of Steal Like An Artist.]

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