So you want to change the world… but who’s going to pay for your dream? A practical look at making dreams a reality.
One of my favourite things to ask someone is what their dream is. It seems like a simple question, but it often takes many people a long time to respond. Some respond by saying, “I haven’t actually been asked that before, I haven’t thought about it”. Fair enough. Some respond by saying, “well that’s a personal question”. Well, yes, I’m interested in you as a person, so I’ll ask a personal question to find out who you are. Other times people reference someone else’s dream, and their desire to do the same thing, or something like it.
But then you chip away a little bit further, and you eventually find out what this person really wants to do. I love it. It’s amazing how powerful the dreams in our heart can be. Whether they’ve been in us the whole time, or only recently discovered, I think those dreams speak to us of our divine destiny and calling in life. As a result, there probably will never be higher satisfaction for us than in seeing those things realized.
But having a dream is one thing. Seeing it come to pass is another.
Steve Maraboli said, “Cemeteries are full of unfulfilled dreams… countless echoes of ‘could have’ and ‘should have'”. What a tragedy that he is so right. Many people start out with bright hopes, but not everyone actually realizes their dreams. Some of us never start. Why is it that some of us see our dreams come to pass, and some don’t?
One thing I’m very passionate about is seeing people discover who they are, and then live that person out in reality. As a result, I like to think very practically about accomplishing dreams, and to be honest, one of the big reasons many of us don’t see things come to pass is because we ignore the practical realities of what we want.
The big one being cost.
Let’s say you dream of being a doctor. Maybe overseas. You want to offer low cost treatments to people who can’t otherwise afford it. Great dream. I know many with this dream. I’m fortunate to know many living this dream out. But let’s talk about the facts here. This isn’t just going to happen. There are a few things that need to happen here. First of all, you need to get qualified. This means getting a suitable high school level qualification, or undergraduate degree, completed to a level which will be recognized by the minimum exam requirements. Once you’ve completed this, there’s the entry exam – in Australia for instance, we have UMAT and GAMSAT – which takes scores
of hours to study for. Once the exam is complete and you pass the exam, you enter the degree. Then you do practicum. Then you specialize. 10-15 years later, and several thousand dollars of debt later, you’re ready to get started. There are many other social and emotional costs and factors as well that aren’t listed here.
Other dreams are very similar.
If you’re not willing to pay the price – time, or financial – at any point in the process, the dream probably won’t come to pass. I mean sure, even after doing all those things, you still may not get into the medicine course you wanted, or the right hospital, but if you gave up, you are guaranteed not to get in, as opposed to taking your chances on getting in.
So the time cost is owned by us. And many times, we need to approach our dreams with a long term game plan in mind. Many times we only play short term.
But the financial cost… who’s going to pay for your dream? If you want to end poverty, someone’s going to be paying for the food and sustainable farming/resourcing. If you want to clean the water supplies, someone has to buy the equipment. If you want to visit multiple places, someone is paying for the plane tickets and accommodation.
I think the financial cost of a dream is something many of us put off thinking about, and unfortunately in doing so, we also put off the actualization of the dreams in our hearts simply because we haven’t put the right structures in place to see them come to pass.
There are several ways to fund a dream, and I think they are worth considering.
One of the newest ways to fund a dream is through crowdfunding applications. Places like Kickstarter, GoFundMe, PledgeMusic, YouCaring and other similar platforms offer an online window for seeing things come to pass. The scene has grown much more crowded since the inception of platforms like these, but hey, they can still get results. You just still have to make sure you have a really, really good pitch for it, as well as some good advertising to draw more attention to your campaign.
Kickstarter stats at the time of writing say projects garner a 36% success rate. Not as certain as other alternatives, perhaps, but an option. An option you’d really have to make intentional use of, and not guaranteed to bring the finance you expect or desire – unless you’re good at winning over the masses and self marketing.
Venture capital/angel investors
The old staple, especially for those business minded folk. Make your pitch, bring your business plan, show us your projected growth and risk analysis, prove to us that you’re a good investment, and then we might give you money.
Oh yeah, also show us how you’re going to give us a return on our investment, too.
If you don’t have the money yourself, this is one tried and true way to get it. It may introduce ownership contentions further down the road if you don’t play your cards right, but this may or may not be an issue for your dream, depending on what it is.
Getting the bank or government to pay for it
Ah yes, good ol debt. Our Western society is drowning in it. The country of Greece actually drowned in it. Individuals look to banks to take care of the immediate cost. University students look to government loans to take care of their ever mounting debts.
Unfortunately with this one, it may eventually come back to bite you. I guess it’s a matter of being smart about it – good debt vs bad debt. Will you actually ever be able to pay it back? Will it hold you back in other areas? Is this an appreciating asset, or just a nice to have? Are you just stacking up another $6000 on the loan because you don’t really want to think about what you’re doing?
Many people, especially in my generation, are becoming quicker to pick this option, without considering the longer term effects of mounting hefty loans. You or your loved ones will be paying this back in some form or another one day.
Your income and investments
I’m surprised at how unfavourably this is viewed by many people today. Your income is a primary mechanism for paying for your dream. Many people hate their job, and I suspect it’s simply because you haven’t connected the dots that what you’re earning helps you fund your other projects. Your corporate job can actually change the world.
And if you’re not earning enough, have you considered the option of earning more?
Get a better job. Woah. Mind blowing. Recently, an Australian politician sent the entire country nuts because he said the best way to buy a house was to get a well paying job. It’s just the way the game works, boys and girls. I don’t know why we are so reluctant sometimes to reevaluate our chosen career, especially if we are seeking the fulfillment of a dream through financial means. Get another degree. Upskill. Get a mentor in your industry. Get a mentor in an industry that pays what you’re expecting for the goals you have.
Or how about shares? Property? A side business? Saving properly? Multiple income streams means more means.
This one also gives us the most freedom, and the ability to fund others. It reduces your dependency on other funding activities. I personally consider this one the best thing to focus on, but perhaps that may be the nature of my own dreams in life. I’ve always admired the idea of at least a large portion of your dream being self funded, reducing the liability to others, as well as giving a more stable foundation for forward motion.
Lowering your standard of living
A simple one – lower the cost of entry of your dream. Definitely an option.
This one gets used a lot. Ask someone else to partner with you in your dream. Similar to the private equity one, except in this one, your funders are not likely to receive a financial return on investment. However, for these people, it will usually be the fact they believe in your dream that inspires them to put towards your dream. Their return comes in seeing your dream realized.
Of course, this relies completely on the generosity of others, and we should never presume too much, or ever get into a state of mind that we deserve this.
I wanted to make a note of this one, as many people cite this one. “If it’s meant to be, it’ll be”, we say. There’ll be provision for the vision. All the rest of it. I’m a big believer in miracles, too.
But there is definitely a balance here. The Israelites received manna in the desert, for sure, but when they entered the Promised Land, they had to work the ground. The apostle Paul cited that he knew what it was to have little, and to have much. Part of his ministry career, he worked as a tent maker (a very lucrative business in those days), to fund much of his work. At another point, he turned to partnership, and had no qualms about boldly asking the Corinthians for a large gift.
It’s all a manner of being faithful with what’s been entrusted to us. Miracles are never justification for laziness, and there aren’t examples of lazy people being blessed. But at the same time, we are grateful for every blessing that enters our lives.
Count the cost
The ultimate point is this – have you considered the cost of your dream? If you haven’t, it probably means you actually haven’t thought about it enough yet.
I love seeing how quickly people’s dreams start to become reality as soon as they start to think about it. It’s because counting the cost is actually the first step in seeing something from your heart manifest in reality.
It’s a new year. Many of us have dreams that have been with us for a long time. Maybe this year is your year to seem them realized.
If you’ll count the cost.
So, who’s going to pay for your dream? Would love to hear your thoughts on any of the means above, or hey, maybe you don’t even think finances are worth worrying about. Sound off below!
Happy new year, everyone! Looking forward to hearing some great dreams being realized in your life this year.