Living A Better Life Interview – Marc – Vital Dollar
In our brand new interview series, we are interviewing various individuals from across the web. This interview series focuses on how they are living a better life. They can be living a better life by pursuing financial independence, minimalism, simplicity, and many more aspects. Are you interested in being interviewed? Continue reading!
Want to be interviewed?
If you want to be interviewed about how you are living a better life. Contact us at [email protected] and tell us why you’d be a great candidate!
Give us your best elevator speech!
My name is Marc and I write about personal finance, making money, and saving money at vitaldollar.com. I’ve been self-employed for the past 10 years manging my own blogs in several different niches like web design, photography, and travel. I’ve sold several blogs in the past, so right now my primary focus is growing Vital Dollar, although I do have a few other small blogs as well.
On a personal level, I just turned 40 years old last week (it feels weird just typing that) and I live in Pennsylvania with my wife and our two kids. Our daughter will turn 6 in two days and our son is 3.
Since I’ve been working from home for the past 10 years, I’ve been blessed to have a lot more time with my family. I still work about 50 hours per week, but my working hours are very flexible and I don’t have to spend any time commuting to an office.
How are you living a better life than you were last year? 5 years ago? 10?
A year ago I was going through some transtions with my business and it was pretty stressful for me. Some of that was related to my business, and more significantly, I was just feeling like maybe it was time to do something different. I wasn’t sure what the future held, and that can be scary when you have two young kids that you need to support for many years to come.
Through that experience I was reminded to appreciate the many blessings that I have in my life, because things could change at any point. I’m still not sure what the future holds, and at times I think there will probably be some changes in my career, but I’m able to appreciate the opportunities I have now without fearing the future.
My life today is a lot different than it was five years ago. Turning back the clock five years, we only had one kid, and she was just about to have her first birthday. We also moved about two years ago, and we love where we live now. And as far as business is concerned, five years ago I was dedicating all of my time to building a photography blog that was still pretty new. I’ve since sold that blog (I wrote about that in my article How I Turned a Photography Hobby Into $1,138,610) and moved on to other things. Adding our son to our family and moving to our current house has really changed our lives for the better.
Looking back 10 years, at that point my wife and I had only been married two years and we had no children yet. I was just leaving my full-time job 10 years ago this week. Life has changed drastically in those 10 years
What would you tell your younger self?
If I could give some advice to myself when I was graduating college I would encourage the younger me to pursue self-employment earlier. The first several years after college were really frustrating for me because I was never able to find a decent job that I enjoyed and gave me potential to grow. My solution was always to look for another job that would be better.
When I was 28 I started my own web design and blogging business on the side. About a year and a half later I was able to quit my job and focus on my business full-time, and life has never been the same since. I wish I would have started my business a few years earlier, rather than trying to find a job that would give me what I was looking for.
What made you want to change the way you were living?
Before I was self-employed I was always really motivated to work hard and get ahead, but things never really seemed to work out with my jobs. I did good work and my bosses always liked me, but I never really had opportunities to advance or grow in my career. That frustration is ultimately what led me to take things into my own hands and start my own business, so some good definitely came out of it.
I have a hard time doing the same job without having the opportunity to grow, or at least having some hope for the future. One of the things I love about being self-employed is that I have endless possibilities and the future is really up to me.
Does financial independence play a role? If so, how?
Yes, financial independence is a major goal for my wife and I. I don’t really have any plans or desire to retire any time soon, but I’d love to be able to work because I want to, not because I have to. And I’d like to be able to work on projects that may not be all that lucrative, but would be something that I enjoy.
We’ve been fortunate over the past few years to have some lump sums from websites and blogs that I’ve sold, so that money has helped us a lot with making progress towards financial independence.
My wife and I also had a business from 2015-2017 selling private label products on Amazon. That business did pretty well, but with two young kids my wife didn’t have much time to put into it, and it wasn’t something that we saw ourselves doing long-term, so we sold that business. That lump sum also helped us a lot.
What advice do you have for others in living a better life?
My advice is to find a career that you enjoy and that is rewarding for you. Regardless of whether that is a job as an employee or involves starting your own business, life can be a lot more enjoyable when your work is more rewarding.
Most of us spend 40 hours or more per week in our jobs, so it’s a major part of life. I remember how depressing Sunday evenings were in my old jobs. I always wondered how the weekend could have gone by so fast, and starting a new week was depressing. Five days felt like so a huge amount of time and I wasn’t sure how I would make it to Friday evening.
Self-employment hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve never been depressed about going back to work. Usually, I’m excited to get back to work on a Monday morning.
What books/podcasts/blogs have you consumed that lead you to this point?
The book that has had the biggest impact on my life is The Hole in Our Gospel, written by Richard Stearns. I’m a Christian and I read this book because Richard Stearns was the President of World Vision (he recently retired), an organization that my wife and I have supported for a few years.
The book discusses what God really expects from His followers. Ever since I’ve read that book I’ve felt uneasy with my life and challenged to do more for people in need. A year ago, after reading the book, I started volunteering at a local homeless shelter, which has been a great experiece for me.
As a Christian, I’ve always felt God’s influence on my work and my business. Right now I feel like I’m in a waiting period, not sure what the future holds. A few months ago I sold one of my blogs that was taking up a lot of my time, and for now I’m mostly focusing on growing my finance blog, Vital Dollar. But I’m trying to remain open in case I feel led to something completely different.
What’s one area in your life you still struggle with?
I still struggle with the unpredictable nature of my work. My business model has been to build a website or blog for a few years and then sell it. It’s worked out well to this point, but after selling a website or blog you lose that ongoing income and you basically have to start over. It’s not so much the up and down income that I struggle with, it’s more about not knowing what I will be doing a few years from now. I like the challenge and I like being able to work on different things, but there is some stress that comes with it. I don’t fear the future, but sometimes I wish I had more clarity about what the future holds.
If you had to give just 1 tip that you’ve learned along your journey, what would it be and why?
I’ve learned that there are things much more important than money. Being self-employed and having a goal to reach financial independence, money is on my mind an unhealthy amount of time. Even though the past 10 years have been good for our family financially, money has never really been satisfying. Having time with my family and being able to work on something that I enjoy has been much more rewarding.
Money can make some good things possible, like being able to spend more time with family and friends, but the money itself isn’t that important. My tip is to focus on what money allows you to do rather than focusing on the money itself.
Where can readers get in touch with you?
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