Are painters losing their freedom?

As you probably know, I spent much of my professional career knee-deep in politics.

When you work on U.S. Senate and U.S. House races, when you author a book on political fundraising, and when you write for the political industry’s only magazine, you get a close, disturbing look at how our government functions (or doesn’t, especially for entrepreneurs like you.)

That’s why today, Independence Day, is such a bittersweet day for me. Here’s why…

First, I am overcome with amazement, baffled by the impossibility, and humbled by the sacrifices our founding fathers made to establish a country rooted in the ideas of unbridled individualism, freedom from an overbearing government, and a belief that our rights come from an almighty God.

Second, I am saddened, outraged, and often sickened at the notion so many of our countrymen are willing to trade their freedoms for hollow promises of unearned security, sustenance, and self-esteem – even though you and I know self-esteem can only come from doing esteemable things!

A deep-rooted concern for our founding principles is what led me into a career in politics in the first place, but I have decided to turn my attention these days from the “macro” to the “micro.” To focus my time and energy only on the things I can change and control.

Do I still work on a worthy campaign now and again? Do I still contribute to the causes of individual independence? You bet – and you should too! If we don’t each do our small part, our children will not know the opportunities we have enjoyed, or even a semblance of them.

Now, let me answer the question I posed to you initially: Are painters losing their independence?

Sadly, the answer is a resounding and irrefutable YES…

*State, local, and federal taxes eat into profitability in larger percentages every year (If you control a man’s wages, you control much of him)

*Healthcare costs for the independently employed have skyrocketed (If you control a family’s health, you can control their lives)

*Labor, environmental, and safety regulations continue to encroach into our profession (Regardless of the fact that most do nothing to aid the worker, the customer, or the employer)

This is just a short listing of the freedom-robbing initiatives that are set against entrepreneurs in general, and painters in particular. I am sure you can think of many more.

So, what’s the answer? If we are indeed losing our independence as painters and as a People, what is to be done about it? How can we gain back our independence and our freedom?

Let me give you a few pieces of advice:

#1 Out-Earn The Robbers – When the government comes at you wanting its pound of flesh, you have to deliver it promptly. This means it’s increasingly important to earn far more than you or your family needs to make ends meet. You must earn enough blow past your prior expectations of what’s possible in your painting business.

#2 Get Out of Debt – When you are saddled with debt, you have fewer options. In fact, indebtedness creates its own psychological and spiritual captivity when the burden gets too high to bear. Does this mean you should not invest in your business? Of course not, but it does mean you must personally live well below your means.

No one asks to see a new car, electronic device, or new shoes on their death bed. They want to be surrounded instead by the people they love. Spend your personal money on making memories that last, not buying more crap from Wal-Mart. You are more independent when you have fewer obligations.

#3 Pay the You of Tomorrow, Today – Independence is something that is hard-won. It is established by a consistent, plodding, steady stream of small actions that are important, yet not at all urgent. It is created by investing in things that pay off next week, next month, and next year – not right now. This applies to both the money and the time you invest in becoming independent as a painting contractor.

#4 Do What You Can – It’s easy to turn a blind eye to what’s going on in your city, county, and country. It’s easy to say, “That’s not my job.” In fact, that’s what those in the bureaucracy would love for you to do. Instead, get involved in a local race, make a contribution, or write in to your local paper. Do your part.

Right now, at 9:45 AM Eastern time, I’m packed and ready to go to Alabama. I’ll leave from Tennessee as soon as I press “send” on this message to you.

This weekend, I’ll surround myself by friends, family, good food, and thank our founders and our Father that all of this was made possible – that I was lucky enough to be born in a great country and with far more opportunity than I deserve.

I hope you do the same.

May God preserve and protect our republic.

Happy Independence Day!

Brandon Lewis

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