What financial ruin taught me.

I usually don’t blog much on Mondays.

That is because I am in the classroom all day, and in the evening, my own children are in various classes around town.  I drive them to the classes.

This leaves little time to blog.

Last week, a friend of mine contacted me for some advice.  He is a fellow teacher and is struggling financially.  He had several questions.

First, now that you have a video series do you still teach in a school?

Second, How did you overcome the fear and step out into video media and homeschooling curriculum like Visual Latin?

Third, Would you say that risk has paid off for you and your family?

 

The short answers are:

Yes, I do still teach in a school.

I did not have to overcome any fear to step into video media and homeschooling curriculum.  Desperation has a magical way of eliminating all fear.

Yes, the risk has paid off.

 

Here is the actual, and much longer answer I sent:

I remember being where you are now (or close to it, anyway).  Yes, I do still teach.  But, these days, it is more by choice.  The school I teach in is a ministry to inner city kids.  Honestly, I would not mind quitting, but I have been here almost a decade and feel the kids need my help.  Maybe they do, maybe they don’t.  Either way, I am still here.  It’s funny.  During the winter, we talked about you and your family.  We were jealous because you guys were probably in some tropical location, while we were freezing.

Years ago, I became a classroom teacher in another school.  It was a rather negative environment.  I wanted out, but, realized only after joining that I was trapped.  The pay was barely enough to support my family, but, I couldn’t really quit, because I needed the money.  That, as you know, is the dark side of teaching.  I hear it is better in the government school system, but,  I have only ever worked in the private school world.  The wages are deplorable.

Once I realized we were trapped, I started making plans to get out. Unfortunately, I did have to take several side jobs.  I delivered pizzas, painted houses, roofed houses, cleaned pools, and eventually took a permanent part-time maintenance job with an apartment complex. Oddly enough, I still have this job.  I listen to podcasts while working around the apartment complex.  

My wife cut our expenses to the bone, and we started paying off debt, and eventually started saving a little money.  

While painting and cleaning pools, I would listen to podcasts and audio books.  Mostly I listened to goal-setting books.  I knew I needed to rescue my family and that I needed a plan to pull it off.  

Basically, all of my audio education taught me three things.  We needed to cut expenses, develop an entrepreneurial mindset, and establish one very clear goal.  That is what we did.  I remember telling a friend of mine, “I don’t have a lot of assets, but, I do know Latin.  I am going to become the most famous Latin teacher in America.”  He laughed.  That was about 7 years ago. 

By the way, I have discovered over the years that Latin is a small market.  We are doing okay financially, now, but, I doubt Latin will ever make me rich.  It will, I think, eventually provide enough income so that we can travel a bit.  

I only say that to say this.  If I can generate an income from Latin, I am guessing you can generate an income from your talents.  The market for Latin is tiny.  I am guessing more people would be interested in art.

You  already know two of the three things I learned in my audio education.  You already know how to live cheaply.   Don’t discount that.  That is a HUGE asset.  I have friends in Tennessee with significant incomes who can’t save a dime.  They do not know how to live cheaply.  You guys are also entrepreneurial.  I don’t even have the guts to do what you have done.  (My friend and his family have driven all over Europe and all over Central America in a van.)  Don’t discount that either.  My guess is, you just need a clear goal, and you need to learn more about selling and marketing.  

I am planning on listening to this podcast tomorrow.  I don’t know what it is all about, but I do know that the Smart Passive Income podcast cranks out some really good stuff.  Saw the title the other day and thought of   you: http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/selling-your-artwork-online/

One more thing.  When we sank financially 7 years ago, I thought we would never recover.  I thought life was over for us.  Instead, it was the darkness before the dawn.  Take it a day at a time.  Keep your spirits up.  This may very well be the beginning of something good.

Dwane