His Wife Thinks He's A Dreamer

Christy says her husband feels his calling is to write books, and he wants to sell their home, live on the proceeds for a year and pursue his dream.

QUESTION: Christy in Kansas City has a paid-for home. Her husband feels his calling is to write books, and he wants to sell their home, live on the proceeds for a year and pursue his dream. Dave says it would be a huge mistake to sell their home when he has yet to prove he can make money doing this.

ANSWER: He’s not excellent. If he was excellent, somebody would be paying him. The deal is this: I’m an excellent communicator. I write books, and I speak, and I get paid for all of the above. When we started doing Financial Peace, I was not. I was brand new, I had a little book that I was carrying around in the trunk of my car like your husband is doing, and I was speaking and they were paying me maybe $250, $350 or $500 for doing a talk. Today, I don’t do talks for money because we kept raising the fee so high that it was ridiculous, and people kept paying it and I just didn’t want to go, so I just said no. I took it off the table. I don’t do speaking. I’ve got speakers here who work on our team that we do bill out on a paid speaking arrangement. They do a great job. My daughter Rachel is one of them, speaking to youth as an example.

I know the world that he’s in, and I know the heart that he’s got, and it is a huge mistake to sell your house when he has yet to prove that he can sell anything. He needs to go do a whole bunch of this at night and on the weekends and actually make some money first to where his wife doesn’t call me and call her husband a dreamer. His wife instead calls me and says, “My husband has a proven track record of making $40,000 a year. He wants to quit his $60,000 a year job, but he’s already been making $40,000 in the sale of his books. He’s a great writer and speaker and has been making some money speaking and selling books to the tune of about $40,000. So we’re going to take a little bit of a pay cut, and we don’t have to sell our house because he’s already built up enough of a book of business when he goes full-time he doesn’t shoot the family in the face.” Is that a better way to do it?

The deal with motivators and pastors and evangelists and people who love to speak, and I’m one of them—I’m cut from the same cloth—is it’s a high, and it’s addictive. It will draw you financially into the land of stupidity if you’re not careful because when he’s on that stage, he feels alive. And he wants to do that badly. I think he should do it. I think he ought to go do it, but I don’t think he ought to sell his house to go do it. I think he ought to do it part-time and get his life together. There’s a book called Quitter by Jon Acuff about how to go from your day job to your dream job and not bankrupt the family. I’m going to send you a copy of that for him to read, and that’s what he needs to do. He needs to work on this weekends and nights and vacation time and all that kind of stuff. The first book I wrote was written between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. If he’s done that already, let’s go sell some of them then. Move that way. He needs to move some books. Let’s get an internet strategy to get some exposure for the books. Let’s get some traffic driven to the website by doing lots and lots and lots of talks. You don’t even have to make money doing your first talks. You’ve just got to drive people to the back table to buy books and come to your website and get your name out there. Also, it’s great practice. I did every rubber chicken dinner in the world. Every Rotary Club, Kiwanis, Jaycees, Sunday school class, little dinky church kind of thing—and I did all of that for years practicing and learning and building my name. I’d take my little $12 book and set them on the back table, and it takes a little while. You can sell a few of them and then you go back to your day job while you’re doing all of that. I think that’s desperately what he needs to do.