Keep in mind that being self-employed and/or owing your own business is a hard thing. Things inevitably are not going to go exactly as planned. My advice to new business owners is to take their net income projections and cut them in half. Those who take the plunge to make their own way can be notoriously optimistic. It is in their nature to believe they will be successful, that is part of the personality that leads them to strike out to make their fortune. Sometimes that optimism can be the premature death of the business/dream.
Even with the optimism, it can be a scary thing when those guaranteed direct deposit checks stop arriving in the bank account once you make the leap and cut ties with the relative security of the corporate world. You should always have a backup plan. It in this spirit that I have developed the below 10 step plan on how to live homeless or at least incredibly cheap, just in case things go badly (Please keep in mind that this is obviously done tongue in cheek, but hopefully you get the underlying idea. If you are going to take the plunge into entrepreneurship you better be prepared to think outside the box).
THE 10 STEP PLAN ON HOW TO LIVE HOMELESS OR AT LEAST INCREDIBLY CHEAP
1. First, move south or to the west coast. Cold is the enemy of the homeless. Remember, you ARE homeless after all. You can live wherever you want. If you are going to be outside all the time, it may as well be in paradise like conditions.
2. Have one set of nice clothes and go to great lengths to keep them nice. What trips up most homeless people is that they LOOK homeless. Avoid that trap.
3. Sell plasma, collect cans, or do something so that you can come up with $10 per month for a Planet Fitness membership. Why? See point 2. You need someplace to shower and groom so you don’t LOOK homeless. Also, you may as well look good and be in good shape while on the streets. And if they ever organize a Hobo Olympics, you will have a head start on being in shape and successful in whatever event you choose
4. On the plasma sales, also make enough for the $50 annual Costco Membership. Can browse for hours or days and live on the free samples, AND you can have the added benefit of getting out of rain or other inclement weather
5. Find the area hotels that have free continental breakfasts and rotate attendance. As long as you look nice and are well groomed, no one will question whether you are staying there or not. (See points 2 and 3 on the importance of not looking homeless)
6. Get a library card. Again, can get out of the weather and can entertain and educate yourself at the same time. Boredom and lack of personal growth are the enemy to the homeless. Read the classics and keep your mind sharp
7. Find the places that give out free food and other items on your birthday. Become skilled at convincing people it is your birthday without having to revert to showing an ID
8. If you have the extra $70 some months, storage units make great temporary studio apartments (because remember, you can still shower at Planet Fitness and eat at Costco). Just don’t use the portable PODS, you may wake up somewhere you do not want to be.
9. Occasionally splurge and go to an all you can eat buffet that is open all day. Arrive around 11AM for an early lunch. Eat slowly and deliberately, take many bathroom breaks, pretend to take calls on a non-working cell phone you found in dumpster, etc., anything to stretch out the meal. If you become skilled enough, you can drag the meal into an early dinner time and get a two for one (as well as being covered on calories for several days). As you become more advanced, convince the restaurant manager that you do not feel like you truly have had “all you can eat”, and see if you can convince them to give you a take home container.
10. Become a professional event crasher. Become comfortable walking into open events at area halls such as wedding receptions, retirement parties, family reunions, etc., anywhere where there will likely be free food and drink. Act like you belong. You will find it is amazing how people will not ask questions if you just ACT like you belong. Important point on this, do not get greedy or cocky. Get in and get out. Hit the food line once and move on. If you stay too long you will eventually be found out.