The following guest post is from Jesse Michelsen, a freelance writer, developer, and system administrator. He can be found on twitter, writing for one of the Jestem sites (yay, our sites!), or at his new entrepreneurship blog, AntiNecktie, where he shares small business and freelancer tips.
For those of you subscribed to Crystal’s awesome newsletter, you’ll recognize the statement below that is shared as part of each of Crystal’s monthly income reports:
DISCLAIMER: Please keep in mind that this income comes from 70-100 hour work weeks divided between me and Mr. BFS and we do end up paying 30-40% in income taxes since we do have to cover the employer’s part as well. I also was working 100+ hours a week personally for over a year before I was able to leave my day job and do this full time. I just wanted to be clear that this isn’t easy money in any respect. I want to inspire everyone to accomplish their dreams, no matter what it takes. I am not saying it will be simple or fast. It just can be done.
If you’re new around here you may not know this but there is a story behind this disclaimer.
Crystal was always open about her income here on her blog. She used to share a monthly post that detailed her traffic, favorite posts, and her income so everyone could follow along with her success. She shared these for the exact reason stated in this disclaimer, “I want to inspire everyone to accomplish their dreams, no matter what it takes. I am not saying it will be simple or fast. It just can be done.”
2011 was an awesome year for Crystal. She quit her job, was making a good income, and excitedly shared intimate knowledge of her business here every week and those updates every month.
In 2012, things took an ugly turn. You see, someone didn’t like what Crystal was doing and took advantage of her openness. Whoever this hater was, they set out to get revenge on Crystal for being successful. They were obviously jealous of what she was doing and because some people are just like that, they started causing trouble — using the information Crystal made public to hurt her business.
Jealousy is a disease we all have. For most of us, we are able to keep it under control with regular doses of happiness and friendship. For others, jealousy flares up and gets out of control. It burns holes in relationships and disfigures success.
It’s been said that haters (or haterz if you prefer) are a barometer of success.
While that may be true, hate still hurts, and in this case, it hurt someone’s livelihood. Crystal found a need in a growing market and filled it. She was invited to fill it by her peers based on her education, background, and talent. She became a necessity and her business flourished.
Another look at jealousy from the eyes of a recovering hater…
I’ve always known I had it, the green disease, and that it’d be with me all my life. I started feeling jealousy at a young age probably because I didn’t have much growing up and shared what I had with my six siblings. My friends were always better off than I was. Their parents made more money, they had more stuff and of course that meant they had a better life. A life I was envious of.
It was hard for me to look past this.
When I was in high school, the school itself sat right between two cities. One city was full of affluent lawyers, dentist and orthodontists and the other city, strawberry pickers, grocery store clerks and trailer parks. At least this is how things looked to me as a teenager. I shared campus with kids that got brand new cars for their birthdays, had the latest and greatest devices and went to their second homes by the beach during spring break. I worked all through high school, 20+ hours a week just to buy lunch, books and pay for the occasional new pair of shoes.
It was through hard work that I found ways to live with my jealousy, ways to bury it down deep under pride in my own abilities. I learned to live my life and let others live theirs but I wasn’t rid of jealousy entirely, it still lived inside me and if I’m not careful, it can resurface.
In recent years I’ve learned that when jealousy does resurface inside me, I have a choice. I can choose to be a hater or choose to join in on the happiness. To better understand this choice, here’s another story.
Meet Andrea. Andrea and I share a lot of things. Much like me, she worked in some crappy under-appreciated job she hated, struggled to make ends meet and turned to freelancing to supplement her income. Then she quit her job.
That’s about when I lost track of Andrea because I was gearing up to quit my crappy job too.
I wasn’t too worried. I’ve been doing this for a few years, had a good reputation and this is only Andrea’s first, right?
Well, turns out Andrea is awesome. Here’s where my jealousy started flaring up and I had a choice to make.
Andrea was doing a lot of the same freelance work I was doing and her client base was building fast. I had a hard year and lost a lot of momentum while Andrea’s business continued to grow. She did design faster, better and was making a very good name for herself and her business. I admired her skill and was impressed by her eye for design but couldn’t help feel jealous of her success.
I could have fumed about Andrea for a while, blocked her tweets and talked trash about her to anyone that would listen. I could have trolled her business and expertise in forums, comments and email. That strategy is laid out pretty well in the Hater Handbook.
Instead, I didn’t do anything for a while. I took some time to think about my business, my plans and Andrea. I decided to email her. I wanted to know exactly where our skills overlapped and where they didn’t. I wanted to know how she grew her business, how booked up she was and if she needed any help. I thought maybe if she was as cool as everyone said, we could come to some kind of arrangement to help each other out.
When Andrea replied, I found she was every bit as awesome as I had heard. She was candid, genuine and fun to talk to. We discussed business, tech industry woes and even came to an arrangement that would allow both of us to actually take a vacation once in a while — a rarity in the technical support industry.
Andrea didn’t stop there though. I was in a tight financial spot a few weeks ago and emailed her asking for help, hoping for ideas, praying for a referral. She responded saying she’d do what she could then emailed me again not ten minutes later with a gig that she could have easily done herself.
People like Crystal and Andrea don’t deserve haters but they tend to attract them because of how great they are. They work hard and their actions command success, their personalities encourage friendship.
If haters weren’t so bent on hating, they’d fall for the charm and become fans of people like these two, but haters tend to hate from a distance.
So, when you’re out there living your life and start to feel jealous of what others, remember the choices you have. You can wallow in your own self pity, throw hater stones from afar at those around you that are working hard, or you can get to know them. You can connect with these real people and help each other succeed.
Finally, some words of wisdom from Tom:
Have you ever had a relationship hurt due to jealousy?
Crystal’s Comments: Thank you Jesse. Haterz are gonna hate, but we can all work on our own issues in the meantime. I did move my monthly income reports to my newsletter because some douche decided to take me down a peg with Google. It’s the way of the world. But I kept writing, kept meeting new readers, and Mr. BFS and I are steadily carrying on. It’s not 2011, but that’s okay. We are loving life. I’ll make sure I keep a lid on my own jealousy issues too…it really does pay to reach out instead or concentrate on being better rather than pooping on someone else’s parade. More fun too. Jealousy is natural but how you handle it defines your character.
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!). Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!