As you might know, I have a small online business in the form of a website that happens to make quite good money from advertising.
I haven’t talked about it that much on this blog mostly because we’re blogging anonymously. Why? Because we want to be able to talk to you freely about everything we want to talk about. My business website is not anonymous so I want to keep the two things separate.
I have quite a sizable community and I really like providing it with valuable information and tools that actually make sense for many people in my target group (which I’m also part of by the way).
Every other day people (mostly companies) get in touch with me asking how much it costs to advertise on the website. They want to reach out to my audience and try to sell them all sorts of products and services. Which is fine. That’s how the internet works.
The other day one of my customers wrote me a long e-mail listing all the insurance products he’d like to sell through my website and ideas about how I could make money from that.
My Problem with Insurance
There are many types of insurance that make sense. We even have some insurance ourselves! And we’ve had many types of insurance in the past. Some of those we’re still happy to pay, but others were pretty much bullshit.
One of the insurance policies I had (and still have) in Germany was a private pension plan for freelancers (Rürup-Rente). It was quite interesting from a taxation point of view since I could put most of the contributions against my tax. Since my marginal tax rate was around 43%, you can imagine that any insurance broker had a pretty easy job presenting me with amazing forecasts and convincing me to go for it and even turn off my brain when it came to reading the small print.
But that small print included funny stuff like: “…and the first 3000 or more euros are basically the fees that we’re going to take from you upfront for doing pretty much nothing. Plus, we’re going to take about 2% of your money every year as management costs.”
Fuck them! And to hell with those politicians who allow this legal robbery to happen!
A Message to All Insurance Brokers Out There
Anyway. This insurance broker who contacted me also sells these kinds of products.
If you’re an insurance broker who’s out there selling this stuff, I have a message for you: I know there’s a lot of money to be made on these products. I know it’s legal. But I’m also sure that sooner or later some people will do the math and then come and hunt you down. Is that really how you want to live? Do you really want to be an asshole? Do something better with your time! Something your kids would be proud of!
Would you, dear reader, work on or sell a product that you know is bullshit?
I think this is a question every person should ask themselves. And everyone should answer it with something as close to NO as possible!
I know it’s not easy. I know you might get in trouble with your boss if you refuse to do stuff he makes you do just because you think it’s not morally OK. But at least try. There are many ways of doing that.
So How Does All This Make Me a Better Entrepreneur?
I was in similar situations earlier in my career and I have to admit I wasn’t very good at saying no when I had to tell a customer that our product was good when in fact it wasn’t. But the closer I got to FI and the less financially dependent I was on my employer, the more honest I was to our customers.
The weird thing was that the customers began to like me for that. They also began to like the company because of me. I know it sounds cheesy but that is genuinely what I felt. Customers were more tolerant of the flaws in the products we sold because they could see that we knew there were problems, openly acknowledged them (through the fact that I was honest with them) and were trying to fix them.
It was weird. I was telling customers that our competitor’s product was better than our product at certain things. But at the same time, customers started to like me and the company I worked for. I actually got pay rise after pay rise partially because customers gave my boss positive feedback about me.
What Was I Talking About in the First Place?
So, to get back to this insurance guy. I had a phone call with him and told him which insurance products he could advertise on my site. I also told him that he has to be transparent about specific key things and gave him a list of insurance products he shouldn’t even be selling.
Now, if my business was purely about money, I could make hundreds of euros in commission for each contract the insurance broker sells through my website. Many hundreds of euros.
But this is one good example of how your work is going to get much better once you’re FI and don’t have to work for money. You can just say no to bullshit and be honest with your customers or audience.
I sometimes imagine that someone who thinks the same sort of way and is FI becomes leader of a corrupt country.
How amazing would that be?
Imagine he could just tell all the dodgy tobacco, banking and pharma lobby groups, propaganda TV channels and other weirdos to fuck off. He could make them do what’s right rather than let them poison society with their bullshit. Can you imagine that?
And that’s why I’ll be putting a lot of time and energy into teaching more people – especially young people – about FI, Mustachianism, responsibility, mindfulness and happiness.