In business, in life, in everything; there are moments where a window of opportunity opens. These “windows” don’t come with specific timing nor do they happen a specific number of times. Some people will claim they always happen at a bad time while others seem to have 10 windows open per week for them. Call it luck or coincidence, I call it hard work and having a vision.
In my own terms, a window of opportunity is a moment when you have a chance of improving your life (at different levels) happens. It could be a position opening at work, a business deal or simply the most awesome woman on Earth calling you for a date (and eventually becomes your wife). These moments usually pass very fast and if you are waiting on the sidelines thinking about what you should do, chances are that you will let it slip away. Most people don’t even realize they are letting these windows close in front of them. They call themselves unlucky or too poor to benefit from these opportunities .
On the other hand, a window of opportunity is not obvious. It’s not an easy choice to make… unless you realize it’s one of these windows! There is always a risk, a part that will make you doubt. And, most importantly, seizing the opportunity doesn’t only mean saying “okay, I’ll do it”. It means that you will actually jump with both feet into the maelstrom of life and be ready to work like you never have. A window of opportunity is like a wild mustang; it’s an awesome beast, one of the most beautiful species on Earth, but you have to work hard to tame it and connect with it.
I’m not going to get sentimental here, so I’ll skip my love story (a guy has the right to keep a few things personal, huh?). One of my first windows opened when I had the opportunity to study offshore for a session. At that time, I barely knew the guy I was going to travel with. I had met him for a few months earlier as a school buddy, that’s all. Nonetheless, we decided to go with our backpacks for 40 days. We travelled across 7 countries without an itinerary and without knowing the local languages (going from German to Italian to Spanish). It was quite “risky” as we were young and didn’t know what we were doing. We even came very close to being attacked by 5 guys on a small street in Amsterdam at 2am. But this was the most amazing travel experience I ever lived in my life. Most people have found excuses not to go (it’s too expensive, I don’t need this, I want to keep my weekend jobs, I have a girlfriend, etc.). I could have had all these excuses (believe me, leaving my girlfriend for 6 months and coming back after wasn’t that easy!), but I decided to seize the opportunity. I learned a lot about life and myself during this trip, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of people and grow my adaptation skills. And most importantly, this is when the strongest friendship on Earth was born between myself and my friend, who’s my child’s Godfather and partner in my business.
The second window of opportunity I will talk about today was regarding my online business. Back in 2006, I really wanted to partner up with my friend and start something online. He had the experience and was already making money with his websites. I thought it was a huge opportunity with me to start my own business. My friend didn’t want to join his sites to our project at first since he wanted to see if I was ready to work hard. Many people asked him to partner up (obviously, when you are successful, people want to work with you ;-)). So he decided to start a few sites with me to see how it goes. During 18 months, I worked very hard in order to learn the web and understand how it works. We weren’t making much money for the first 12 months but started to see it grow after that period. 18 months later, I decided to use my savings and buy half of my friend’s original sites so we could combine everything together and create a company. A year after that, I decided to remortgage my house to make a 5 digit purchase. It was a great blog with great traffic and great income. The decision was tough because I was taking all the financial risk on my shoulders at that time since my friend wasn’t in a position to help very much. However, I was convinced that this would lead to a real company. Most people could have found excuses not to do the deal (we are not sharing the risk equally, I don’t want to remortgage my house, 5 digits is too much for a blog, I can’t right now as I’m building my family, etc.). Well, I decided to take the risk and go ahead with the purchase. 3 years later, we are building a huge sideline that works on auto pilot. I can easily stop working on the company completely and would still be able to rack up some profit! But I enjoy writing too much, so I don’t want to quit yet ;-).
A wise man told me not so long ago that the foundation of one’s personal finance is played between the age of 25 and 35. This is when you have the most energy and most likely don’t have too much debt. You technically don’t have kids yet or in the process of having them. In both cases, your kids are too young to understand that you are making money sacrifices for a better future. This is when it’s the time to build your empire.
I think that one will have tons of windows opening during his entire life. But he will be more likely to seize them within this period. After that, excuses come in faster than opportunities. You are tired, you have a family, you are tied financially, etc. But between 25 and 35, the world is in front of you. I still have 5 years in front of me to seize all my windows. I’ve made some previous choices that make excuses too accessible right now (especially my mortgage and family) but I won’t let these windows close! Starting in 2012, I’m paying down my debts and focusing on increasing my net worth. I want to build something extraordinary and have 5 years to do it. Now is the time.
Readers, what are your windows of opportunities? Are you seizing them or finding excuses? (yeah I know, it’s shocking, but the same rule apply to anyone: either you seize it or let it slip away!)
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