I’ve been reading a lot about really young entrepreneurs making it big lately. 18 year old kids are starting their own businesses one day and buying a Lamborghini the next.
I guess we live in the age of the digital nomad. Or the so called “location independent” entrepreneur - whichever you prefer.
There is enough talent out there and enough money to be made online that the younger generation is starting to cash in. It’s pretty incredible, but also seems somewhat intangible.
All these stories about sixteen year olds moving out of their parent’s garages into Hollywood mansions are daunting. They seem entirely out of reach to the average person.
After all, we all want to strike gold, make it big, and live the easy life. But for me, it’s hard to relate to these kids that seem to have been chosen by fate. Until I met Christopher Vitalis.
He’s been living his dream life for years now, traveling the world, managing businesses, and making it big. However, the big difference about him (and one that I was immediately drawn to), is that he’s just like me. Christopher wasn’t born into a miraculous skill set. He didn’t have some massive stroke of luck at an early age. This guy never got the easy break we all long for. But he made it work anyways. He grew up in Athens, Greece, in the height of their financial depression. With mom working for the local tax office and dad working as a high school teacher, Chris told me that he knew there had to be more.
More than working 9-5 just to scrape by. More than fighting your way up the corporate ladder in a failing economy. And more than a life of poverty.
Just like you and I, Chris knew that more was possible.
When I asked Christopher what the biggest mistake he made on the road to success was, he didn’t hesitate for a second.
“Wasted time,” he said, “I spent years earning scholarships and going to uni, studying business and marketing and working my way up. However, none of it brought me any closer to financial freedom or success. I was trying to get to my destination by taking the path everyone else takes, and I was going to end up exactly where everyone else does.”
That made me pause and think. This guy had his degree, he’d been to grad school, he’d worked for major corporations and seen the system from the inside. Yet he was telling me that was all a waste of time? So what did Chris do instead? He started his own business. First he provided basic services to businesses on a freelance basis, he used the tools he had. However, he quickly moved to e-commerce and consulting. He became an authority in the field and began to buy and sell businesses. When he described it to me, it sounded so simple. Chris assured me that it wasn’t. He had to struggle and fight for his dream. He spent long hours learning and faced many failures before achieving success. That’s what Christopher told me it’s all about.
“Your time is your most precious asset, and when you realize that very fact you’ll start taking massive amounts of imperfect action until you get where you wish to be.”
Massive amounts of imperfect action. That took some digesting for me. Because Chris had really gotten to the core of why none of us ever believe we can do it.
I’m not like that kid who made it big, because I don’t know where to start. I can’t be a consultant because I’m not an expert. Or, I can’t start my own business because I might fail. None of that matters. What Chris taught me is that nothing you do will be perfect, you won’t be an expert, you won’t find success, unless you are imperfect first. You have to fail, and learn, and grow. We aren’t all miracle men who can write our own destiny out of our dorm rooms at age 17. Maybe, like me, you’re 31 and still figuring it all out. What Christopher said, reminded me that that’s ok-- none of that matters.
So I asked Chris where he’s headed.
After all, once you achieve the dream you set out to achieve, then what? Is that all there is? Will he be in consulting and e-commerce his whole life?
My question made him smile a devilish smile. As though Chris had just been waiting for me to ask him. He had something big, I could tell right away.
“Now that I’ve conquered my ideal lifestyle and feel more blissful and secure than ever before, I have this need to share what I’ve learned with others. I want to help other people just like me escape the bonds of their background and achieve their wildest dreams.”
He paused a minute. I was starting to see the big picture.
This guy isn’t done at all, not even close. In that moment I realized that I’d been looking at it all wrong. Christopher was just getting started. For him, it was never just about achieving his success and breaking free of his bonds. Chris wanted to prove that he could do it so that others could too. He wanted to give other people what he never had-- help.
He cleared his throat and asked me a poignant question which I still ask myself every day. “How much money is your time really worth, and how much of it have you just given away?”