Want to Make Enough Money to Live A Great Life? Start By Setting Your "Freedom Number" Know what you need, and then start earning it.

By Noah Kagan

entrepreneur daily

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I'm the founder and CEO of an 8-figure company called AppSumo.com and run a YouTube channel with 1 million subscribers. A while back, I was the 30th employee at Facebook — reporting directly to Mark Zuckerberg.

But believe it or not, I never had change-the-world or become-a-mega-billionaire dreams. I didn't have big, hairy, audacious goals (which sounds gross anyway).

My dreams were of freedom.

And if you want freedom too, then you first need to choose your Freedom Number.

From my eighteenth birthday until I turned thirty — long before I had any significant financial success — my monthly Freedom Number was $3,000. Why $3,000? Because when I added up my ideal living expenses, that's what I got.

My chart looked like this:

Spending Per Month

  • Housing (rent at my apartment): $1,000
  • Food and travel (tacos/steak/wine and working abroad): $1,000
  • Savings and investment: $1,000
  • Total: $3,000

In other words, when I calculated the cost of working from wherever with people I love, the number was $3,000 a month. That's what I needed to earn. For $3,000 a month, I could have my freedom.

I kept my number quiet for a long time, thinking it was an odd, silly little trick I played on myself in my twenties to make me feel better about having accomplished so little. But the first time I mentioned it some years ago to a successful entrepreneur I was talking with, they blurted out, "Holy crap! No way — my number was $1,500!"

It turns out many of the entrepreneurs I know used the same trick at some point. For some, it's a smaller number like $100 — meaning they've earned extra income for a nice meal and feel a sense of empowerment. For others, where the cost of freedom might mean alimony or a mortgage, the Freedom Number is higher. For all of us, remarkably, our Freedom Number distills the story we tell ourselves of why and how we succeed into a simple clarifying goal.

Why is this tiny trick — setting one recurring monthly revenue figure — so effective?

First, it's doable. I didn't know it then, but my idea of the Freedom Number hit on the precisely right ingredients for motivating a serial starter. My number was 100 percent attainable, and the value I attached to reaching it — freedom! — was infinite, a relationship that was so motivating to me it always gave me confidence and served as an anchor in times of uncertainty.

Second, it's concrete and it's urgent. Three thousand dollars is not some kind of "$20 million in net worth by age 40" dream that you can put off for tomorrow. It's a monthly number you can work on today. Even better, it can be super low. You could say, "I want to keep my day job for now, but I want to make $500 a month on my own." That's just as valid. My side hustles were all small numbers, but they served as vital practice that trained the spark-making muscles that let me eventually leave the job behind.

Finally, my goal had a very specific number attached. And that focuses your mind on what matters in business, which are the things most likely to bring you customers. Many struggle to make their first dollar because they are so focused on how to make their first million. Focusing on an attainable Freedom Number — even better, just dollar number one — will change the way you think: What can YOU do in your business to make money this week? Today? Right now?

You may not need a grand purpose to start (though if you have one, awesome!), but it's also true that if you commit to nothing, you'll be distracted by everything. The Freedom Number helps us not get lost in abstraction or complexity; it reminds us the mechanics of business are simple.

How you can start: Begin by choosing a short-term monthly revenue goal — your Freedom Number — and make it a number that doesn't scare you. Write it down, right next to these words:

"My Freedom Number is:"

I promise you: Who you are, what you have, and what you know right now are more than enough to get going.

Excerpted from Million Dollar Weekend: The Surprisingly Simple Way to Launch a 7-Figure Business in 48 Hours by Noah Kagan, in agreement with Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Noah Kagan, 2024.

Noah Kagan

Chief Sumo at AppSumo.com

Noah Kagan is the Chief Sumo at AppSumo.com, an 8-figure company that teaches lessons on how to start a business, grow a business, and improve your marketing. Before AppSumo and Sumo.com, he was the 30th employee at Facebook reporting directly to Mark Zuckerberg where he helped build the Facebook Ads platform. After Facebook, he was the 4th employee at Mint.com. He currently resides in Austin, Texas.

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