How long until you're not broke anymoreLet us imagine for a moment that you have taken it upon yourself to build a structure.

For the sake of this example, let's assume your structure is a house.

Let us also imagine that you are not a professional home builder. Truth be told, you have never once engaged in the activities one engages in to build a home. You have lived in homes before – fairly successfully, in fact – and you have enjoyed the process quite a lot.

That's why you've decided to build the home in the first place, actually. You like living in homes, and you're good at it, and you figure you'll give building one a shot.

You have decided to build the home in a DIY fashion. You want to really get your hands dirty. You know that will take “a little longer”, but you're okay with that.

With me so far?


Now imagine you are a few months into the planning/building process. You've also moved in already. (You, being inexperienced, have decided that there's nothing strange or unsound about planning, building and living being simultaneous processes.)

You don't have a front door yet – there's a tarp, but it's not really ideal.

You don't have windows yet, but people in Cairo go their whole lives without windows, so you think you can deal with it for a while.

Cooking is tough, what with the lack of electricity and everything. (Also, you don't have a stove yet. You were going to go to the Build Your Own Stove seminar but it seemed a little pricey. You're just starting out after all.)

Soon enough, the lack of a functioning, completed and mature home has taken over your entire life. Even going to work is exhausting, because laundry is, well, let's not go there.

So what do you do?

Well, there are four avenues that I'm aware of.

The first two seem to be either the most common or the loudest. The second two are the only ones I've seen result in any level of happiness or success.

Are you ready? Of course you are.

1. Scour the Internet looking for advice. On what? Generally very specific, tactical elements. How to build a subfloor out of what you have lying around, doing only what you find fun, and in a timeframe that doesn't make you impatient. That sort of thing.

(If the advice you're seeking doesn't immediately present itself, wait. Read home building blogs in the meantime, likely those focusing on support, encouragement, motivation and philosophy.)

2. Use what you've learned so far to start a home-building blog. Focus on support, encouragement, motivation and philosophy.

3. Hire a professional.

4. Accept with grace that this is the path you've chosen. Realize that this is going to be a mess and a money pit for far longer than you anticipated. Make peace with your tarp.

The easiest solution that still meets the requirements of a solution is a combination of 3 and 4, but that has a few components many people don't like. It costs money, for one, and it forces the home builder to abandon a few key fantasies that have been elemental in their survival so far. Having gone through this process in other areas, I can vouch for the fact that this is not a pleasant process. You have my empathy.

A fully executed and whole-hearted number 4 can work, too, if acceptance is true acceptance. If it's covert contract acceptance – I'll “accept” this so then it will get better – that doesn't count. No strings attached acceptance is the only acceptance that actually counts.

If you have no doors and no windows and walls made of scrap lumber, it is foolish to wander around honestly wondering why you are so cold all the time.

It is also a little ridiculous to ask experts in forums, “Do you have any advice on getting warmer?”

Their answer is likely to be something really profound like… “Have you considered installing a door?”

You're going to be cold until you commit to doing it properly. If you cannot or will not do it properly, you must understand and accept being cold.

In your tiny company, you're going to be broke until you commit to doing it properly. If you cannot or will not do it properly, you must understand and accept being broke.

There is no shame in being broke. The only shame is in honestly believing you shouldn't be.