In my last email, I promised to tell you my story of how I made a living online, doing what I love. And let me tell you, it’s quite a story!
In 1996, I was just 20 years old, and I had just decided to become a raw foodist. This new passion for natural health became the primary focus in my life, and I wanted to make a living.
I did not have any connections. My parents were middle class.
After months of investigation, I decided that I should go to California, to meet people involved in this movement.
The problem I had is I did not have any savings.
So I ended up finding a job. However, it turned out to be the worst possible job in the world (of course, I knew that other people had even worst jobs and by comparison I was fairly lucky, but it sure felt like the worst job in the universe at the time)!
The Worst Job in the World
I worked in a factory that processed vegetables for restaurants. Most restaurants don’t train their employees to cut cabbage to make cabbage salad, or slice bell peppers for their stir-fries. Instead, they purchase prepared vegetables from companies that specialize doing just that.
Although I wanted to eat raw fruits and vegetables, this job was the most detached from my goal, even though it involved cutting them!
You had to work in a giant assembly line where most of the work was done by hand. The temperature in the factory was kept very low, around 39 degrees (or 3-4 Celsius).
The work consisted in doing one thing at a time for several hours, like cutting the ends of bunches of celery, or deseeding bell peppers, or processing cabbages in a giant shredder, one that could easily chop off your hand.
I would spend hours cutting those vegetables, and it would drive me crazy. After I was done work, my entire body smelled like onion, and it was impossible to get rid of the smell, even after taking 2 or 3 showers in a row.
The hours were horrendous. I usually worked for 16 hours in a row. But one day, against all work regulations, I worked for 24 hours in a row!
Everyone who did this job hated it, but it was the summer so after spending an entire workday inside a cold factory, at least I got to take breaks in the sun. I could not imagine doing this in the middle of the winter.
I only survived this because I was young… but also because I had an exit strategy.
I told absolutely NOBODY at work that I was planning to flee to California as soon as the winter arrived.
I didn’t even tell them I was a raw foodist (although they thought I was weird for eating a fruit salad for lunch!).
I was keeping my secret, and secretly planning my exit.
My boss was a complete jerk. Imagine the sergeant from “Full Metal Jacket” packed into a skinny guy who hates his life. He worked us all to death, yet would get upset when we complained about the long hours. “You can’t leave until all the jobs are completed” he screamed!
Finally, I got to do what every employee dreams of.
I told him what I thought of him and quit my job in the middle of a shift!
It was one of those crazy shifts where we had to finish all the orders before we could leave. We were 19 hours into it, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I reasoned that I probably had saved enough to go to California, even though it wasn’t much.
So I walked up to him and said. “I’m sorry, but I have to leave.”
He said, in more crude language than I can remember, “What the hell are you talking about? You can’t leave! We have a shift to finish…”
He just went on and on and screamed at me like I was a slave from the ancient world, trying to reclaim my freedom.
So I looked at him and said. “Watch me!”
Then I three my work outfit on the ground and left with a big smile on my face, while I heard him insult me in my back!
I knew at that moment I never wanted to do anything like this ever again. I would have to find a way to make a living doing something I really loved.
A Learning Experience
For the next few years, I became a hippie nomad… Except that I didn’t smoke drugs or drink alcohol. But I hitched hiked, grew my hair long, did yoga, remained a raw foodist, and try to get any job I could to get experience in the field.
Along the way, I became the publisher of a newsletter, called Just Eat an Apple.
I also wrote a few books, and managed to either get them published, or publish them myself.
So for about five years, I essentially built websites, sold books and magazines to make a living.
I was having fun, but I was chronically broke. It was all okay because I was young, and my life was a big adventure.
I made $1000-$2000 a month at the most, but through a lot of creativity, and being invited to speak at various conferences, I managed to spend a lot of time in Europe, and even traveled to other destinations as well.
I had lots of ups and downs in my personal life… but mostly I was trying to discover who I was and what my strengths really were.
This was the “learning and discovering” period of my life.
That was all until I was around 26 years old, and although I was making a living in a field that I loved, I had a long way to go to get rid of my money worries and live up to my potential.
That’s when I met my mentor, and everything changed!
I’ll tell you more about it in the next email….
NOTE: In April, I will be releasing the course “How to Make a Living in the Natural Health Movement” for the only time in 2012. One lucky person will get this entire program (a $1997 value) for free, as part of a special sponsorship program.
How to participate? Post a comment on this article. I will select from comments on this post and future posts and decide on the winner by the end of next week. Tell me why you want to win!