I’m a bit late in celebrating my fireversary this year (see year 1 and year 2), but nevertheless another year has passed and it’s time for an update.

Right now if you’re reading this, are burned out by your current job or just need a change I want to offer you some encouragement. I’d like to share my story of getting fired 3 years ago as an illustration that with time, effort and hustle you can turn things around and make a better life for yourself. (Corny sounding? Maybe. But it’s true.)

6 years ago I earned $13 an hour testing video games:

I got married in 2006 and we lived in a pastor’s basement apartment unit paying $500 a month in rent. During that time I got my “dream job” (or so I thought) of working in the games industry at the lowest level job available – game tester at Microsoft. I worked on two games both of which I had previous experience playing. The first game was a port of Halo 2 over to the PC (Halo is in some ways what I credit my online income to now). The second game I worked on was an expansion pack for Age Of Empires III called Age Of Empires III: the Asian Dynasties. In technical terms both of these projects were incredibly easy because they were built on engines that had already been tested a lot. So there were times when we would just play Halo 2 all day to do “network testing” but the pay was crap and I had to drive 80 miles round trip every day to get to work!

Life lesson 1: Sometimes just because something is fun like playing video games doesn’t mean that it has to be your occupation as well – especially if the pay is crap.

3 years ago I was fired from my $60k per year job

After Microsoft I got a job doing inside sales in the technology space with a base starting salary of $31,850. After winning some awards (best new inside sales rep of the year for my position) and being promoted twice in under two years I managed to earn $60,000 in my final year before I was fired from my job. I was fired because the outside sales rep I worked with wanted me to spend more time at the office beyond the 50 hours a week I was. At the time my online income that I was growing on my time off was becoming too much to ignore so I was unwilling to spend more time at the office than I already was.

Life lesson 2: Getting fired isn’t the end of the world, there are always jobs if you’re willing to hustle and differentiate yourself from other candidates. Or you can always just create your own job.

Now in 2012 I’ve continued the growth of my six figure income

This marks the third straight year I’ve been able to completely crush my $60k a year 50 hours a week day job (and by working less too). In fact in 2012, I made nearly as much as I made in my best year at my old job at $54,746 in only one month during a record month for my business. Now admittedly I’ve had some much lower months this year as well, but overall in 2012 I’ve had a lot more fun simply doing what I’ve been teaching on my blog and by focusing on the three pillars I outlined at the beginning of this year. That’s also part of why I’ve written less this year (27 posts so far vs 59 in 2011).

Life lesson 3: The best way to building wealth while maintaining freedom to do what you want is not as an employee but as a business owner.

None of these lessons or advice can substitute for you taking action in your own life yada yada yada… unicorns and rainbows.

But seriously, it’s up to you to decide if you want to watch another TV show tonight, find out which friend is eating at a restaurant or complaining about their spouse on Facebook or take steps toward improving your financial livelihood.

You don’t even have to create your own online business – you could even just try to get a better job as well, because after all self employment isn’t without it’s downsides as well.