During my mid-twenties, I was full-on self-improvement books. From domain-specific books (Clean Code, Clean Coder, The Pragmatic Programmer, etc.) to inspirational ones (The 4 hours workweek, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F, The Four Agreements, etc.), I loved these books! They helped me cope with the stress and gave me a (false) sense of control over my overly anxious life.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what I like and what I don't; about what I want and what I don't. At one point, I decided to write what I wanted to do before my 30 :

  • Buy a place and rent it out.
  • Run a marathon.
  • Run the SaintéLyon (an eighty kilometers night trail-run in freezing cold).
  • Pass all the licenses I can (as in motorcycle, boat, plane, etc.).
  • Create and run a viable company to reach financial autonomy and stop working.

I was not very focused on completing that list. Nonetheless, year after year, it never left me, to a point where I more or less checked all the boxes; but one.

I never created a viable enough business to reach financial autonomy.

And until recently, I was ok with the situation!

The triggers

Two moments violently reminded me that things could go south very quickly.

The first one was the cancer of my dad. After a lifetime spent in the office running a colossal construction company, he retired and, less than a year later, he became sick and started a brutal battle against cancer. Fortunately, he survived, but let's be honest, it was luck.

The second one was a year ago. One day, I woke up with earsplitting ringing in my ears (tinnitus). It got me into a depression that lasted months. It was hell, and I am still learning how to deal with this condition to this day.

Sadly, we all got examples of lives turned around in a day, and I have to try to accomplish now what is important to me before life decides otherwise.

You are young and healthy! You have time! It can wait - This little voice in my head that I decided not to listen anymore.

Even though I know for a fact that you can very much enjoy life without leaving your job, I believe that reaching financial autonomy is the best way to have complete freedom over my lifestyle. No matter how much success I can have, not trying will always be a failure that I will not stomach.

Regret amplifies desire - Marcel Proust

One day, during a conversation with one of my brother, everything clicked. I was thinking about changing things for months without being sure of anything, and suddenly, it was crystal clear that it was the perfect timing to quit my job and try another way of life.

That same week, I reviewed my finances and spoke with my friends and family to ensure my plan was not delusional. A couple of weeks later, I took the call: 2021 will be the year.

Project 21 was born

My objectives for 2021

Ok, so I will take a year off, but doing what exactly?

My main objective is to generate 2000€ of income per month without working more than a day a week; before 2022.

In other words, I need to create an automated, recurring, and low maintenance cash-flow in a year or so.

Simple to say, hard to do. My favorite projects!

How?

First of all, I am committed to employing my time (more than a year) and my money to reach my goal. It's a good start, but then what? Well, I don't know yet!

However, I have many leads I want to explore. For instance, I could :

  • Create small companies (duh)
  • Invest in small companies
  • Buy another company
  • Buy and rent small apartments
  • Buy and rent parking boxes
  • etc.

My point is to create revenue; I don't mind how as long as it's ethical.

Seems risky? Probably but I have some cards in my hands that might help me succeed.

Low-interest markets are not a deal-breaker

I will exclusively go for markets and ideas that do not require active work once released.

Since I will spend very little time running them, even moderately attractive markets are acceptable to me.

A reasonable target with an adequate starting capital

I don't need to generate that much revenue. As an illustration, I currently can generate 2000€ of revenues in 4 days of work. Sure, revenues are not income. Considering taxes and fixed costs, I would need more or less six days with my current billing to reach 2000€, but six days of work by month is not a lot!

Finally, I got lucky enough to work in well-paid sectors all my life and saved a substantial amount of money. This capital seems suitable to enter lucrative investment markets.

All in all, the whole point of this year is to learn how to create revenue-generating ventures and to crack these models fast enough so I can beneficiate from them in a year.

One month, two projects

I decided that I want to try to ship two projects per month. It feels like the right (i.e., achievable) amount, and doing this, I am hoping to take advantage of Pareto's principle and Parkinson's law.

Roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes -- Joseph M. Juran after Vilfredo Pareto's work.
Work expands to fill the time available for its completion -- Cyril Northcote Parkinson.

Of course, the point is to find productive leads. If one is promising, I will go back to it later to do another iteration!

A typical week

To increase my productivity, I decided to set up some rules for myself.

Write a blog post every week

I believe that it will help me formalize and communicate my ideas expressively and concisely. Historically, I  struggle to write efficiently and want to take a step forward (e.g., it took me more than six hours over four days to write this piece; I would love to make it all in 3 consecutive hours).

The morning is for training

My second rule is to dedicate all my mornings to triathlon training. I always dreamed of living an athlete's life, and since I will have a coach this season, it's an incredible opportunity to do so.

Meet one of my advisor every week

Like John Snow, I know nothing (about creating a business)! That's why I plan to create a "board" of experienced advisors to guide me toward success and push me to present tangible results. I will meet one of my advisors every week to give him/her the results of my work.

Ready, Steady, Go!

By this post, I feel like my Evil Plan is finally ready to be implemented.

I took my decision, presented my resignation, checked my bank account, and ensure my wife was on board.

It feels like a huge step, and ironically, since I made my mind, I can't imagine another way for 2021.

Let's do this!