Follow Your Passion: How to Find Freedom of Location
You’ll be much more successful if you follow your dreams and follow your passions.
~ Jay Weatherill
- Are you a wantrepreneur looking to find that “freedom of the office” you heard existed, only to find yourself in another office or out of a job decent paying job?
- Ever wanted to escape from the confines of your location, and be able to do your work from anywhere in the world?
- Are you looking to find your passion in life and then remove everything that distracts you from it?
Well good, because this is just for you. If you answered no, then this still might be for you. Here’s the foundation of understanding balance, minimizing and the freedom of location:
- Noah Kagan of AppSumo does a great job of de-mystifying what it means to be an entrepreneur and providing a toolkit to get off the ground.
- In the Four Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss covers a lot of ground in the way of examples for getting out of the office and liberating your life from major time wasters.
- Programs like SproutCamp help guide you to build something sustainable with happy customers that focuses on your passions.
- Books from Cyan and Collis Ta’eed will help teach you how to be a rock-star freelancer anywhere in the world.
- Brad Feld & Amy Batchelor offer real life insights on what it takes to make it in a relationship with an entrepreneur, which requires your presence more than your company does.
- And, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson gave us the first blueprint for working from anywhere in Remote. Amazing book.
Of course, many more great resources both old (the best to date - Henry David Thoreau’s Walden) and new (Jonathon Mead) exist and are created all the time to inspire and guide us, but this list is something that millions, including myself, have read and adapted in our lives.
This year I completed my biggest dreamline yet; to pursue Minimalism with my family and be able to move anywhere I want and still do the work I’m passionate about.
Why would someone want to make becoming “Location-Independent” or “Becoming a Minimalist" one of their top goals? Well, the reasons vary for every person, but here are just a few really good reasons:
- You can travel anytime, anywhere. Who doesn’t love to travel? Even though some people might not (but that’s not you), being able to see the country you live in or the world is a desire of many people (myself included). By freeing yourself from location, you can work part of the year and take mini-retirements, or several mini-vacations, working vacations, or work completely on the go.
- You can live anywhere. Why do you live where you live? If you said because that’s where you work, keep reading. It is possible to live in an RV, in hostels, in the Caribbean, in South America, in Europe, in Japan, in Southeast Asia, or on a boat? YES! If you are dedicated to achieving independence.
- No boss with bad breath. I don’t know about you, but bosses who are breathing down your neck non-stop, are wasting your precious time. You can live without them. Or, you can even be one… from the road.
- Set your own hours. Yes, this is my favorite. Some companies have a not-so-hidden rule of 8-5, or something crazy like that. Not me, I like to work early and be done early, and others like to burn the midnight oil. I like 4 days a week, and strive for less than 25 hours a week. Still others prefer to work in batches, or not work at all for awhile and then pull a long haul. Why should one schedule be preferred over another? Let me tell you a secret that no client, no boss, no customer, no employee, no partner, and no 21st century normal human is going to argue with… **_As long as the work gets done, that’s all that matters_**. This doesn’t mean be late, it means be early, efficient and conscious of expectations, but don’t constrict your schedule into some time box.
- Freedom! Freedom really means Freedom in every way, not just these mentioned here. Freedom to choose the kind of computer you use, the outfit you wear, freedom to choose what you work on, the clients you work with, the users you attract, the things you write, the things you create, the mode of transportation while you travel, and of course - where to be and where to go next.
There are several drawbacks that can occur during the process of redefining your freedom and balancing it with being an entrepreneur, of course! Some big issues are greater expenses, less security, problems of administering a business and a whole lot more. Each one can be but for some of us, the opportunities and freedom of being free from an office have too great an appeal to let those drawbacks stand in our way.
Career Options for Freedom
One of the great things about being free of the office is that it doesn’t just come to one type of occupation. There are about as many options as there are people who have this goal. Even though this lifestyle choice does rule out many traditional careers and jobs, such as mechanic, lawyer, doctor or utility worker, many varieties of 21st century careers in the information, technology, or creative fields are within your reach. Some great examples are:
- Freelancer. This is my fall back. I know that I can always freelance as a writer, editor, photographer, reporter, designer, or developer if I abandon all other endeavors. Freelancing can be done in many different professions, even the movie business.
- Blogger. I am finally doing a lot more of this. But remember, the revenue for bloggers are usually not that big, especially for the first year, and most blogs don’t earn very much or anything at all. It’s more likely to be a source of side income than your main source of income. Dan Martell of Clarity has a great step-by-step guide on How To Promote Your Blog And Get 250k Visits a Month.
- Small business owner. Have a small business already? It’s possible to run it remotely. Sure, you might see some loss of revenue, but it’s a matter of priorities: do you want growth, or freedom? If you want freedom, you open up some interesting options, especially if you automate it.
- Consultant. I do a lot of this, and it works very well for a lot of people in a lot of different fields. Similar to freelancing, but more lucrative with less overhead. However, this requires a great network, serious expertise and hard-earned experience.
- Contractor. Overlaps quite a bit with the title of “consultant” or “freelancer” but there are different options here, too.
- Salesperson. If you sell ice to Eskimos, you don’t need to go door-to-door anymore. There are other methods you can explore using the vast ocean of visualization, worldwide.
- Online business. If you create a totally virtual business, your physical location doesn’t matter. Nicely done!
- Telecommuter. This can work for many employees in traditional jobs. Many companies today now only allow remote work, but help you be the best at it and provide all the necessary tools. The key: you have to be so valuable to your boss that he will allow you the freedom to work from home (or from wherever). Of course, you have to be dependable and able to self-manage not only your work, but your team’s work.
- Create a product. Creating a product that you can sell online is by far the most rewarding choice. This model scalable, can run virtually on its own, and has the potential to bring in considerable revenue; if done right. It takes a big initial investment of time and energy, but once you’ve got the ball rolling and the sales are flowing, it’s mostly maintenance work from then on.
- Expert speaker. Travel from city to city to speak or conduct seminars about whatever you’re an expert at.
- Author. Self publishing will definitely be the the one that gives you the most freedom from location, but even with traditional authors and book tours, etc, freedom is the center of this profession.
One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.
So exactly how do you achieve this dreamline? Just as there are many options for becoming free from the office, there are many roads to getting there. In one on one session, we help lay out a blueprint for you, but right here I can share some things I’ve learned and still learning along the way, and some things I’ve learned from others that doing the same thing. These are not tips that will work for everyone — they are ideas, things that work for some people, and things to consider for others.
1. Define your dream. The thing that holds most people back is that they don’t allow themselves to dream, of worse, pursue the dreams they do have. Sure, it might seem like a passing fantasy, but they don’t give their dreams a serious thought. But what’s to stop you? Money? Fear? Time? Naysayers? That’s where dreamlining comes in to play, by helping you to overcome obstacles and allow yourself to dream, then follow it. Reward yourself, and humanity, by doing.
2. Discover your passion. Many times, it’s not enough to just do a job from wherever you please — it’s best if it’s a job you love to do. Many of us get stuck in a job just because it’s what we’ve been doing … without thinking about whether it’s something we love to do. This year, I’m pursuing my passion of writing and traveling, and I’m working to turn this passion into the way I make my living.
3. Do your research. Read about how others have achieved this dream, what steps they took to get there, and what their lives are like now. I left some of the greatest road maps at the very beginning of this, so don’t say I didn’t tell you so. Every resource is written by someone who has or is actually living the dream.
4. Explore your options. What are the various roads available to you to get to your dream? Keep your mind open (the most important) to opportunities, to new ways of doing things you’re good at doing, or that you love doing. Think about ways to add income streams into your life, instead of relying on a single income stream. Look at ideas that others are implementing successfully, and see if those are good options for you. In the early stages, it can be useful to look into many more options than you’re actually going to choose in the end … and even give a few of them a try to see if they might work for you.
5. Lay out your plan. Once you’ve begun to explore your options, you can start laying out a roadmap to get to your dream. Now, understand that this roadmap will change as you go along — think of it as a living document rather than anything set in stone. You’re exploring new territory … it only makes sense that you’ll discover new things, learn as you go, change your mind about some things, and find new options you didn’t even know existed. But the key is to write your plan down … so you have a guide to keep you on track. Try the fully customizable dreamline template from Tyler Goelz as a working road map, then add narrative to the facts. Tyler modified this from the original by Tim Ferriss. Also, I highly recommend reading Tyler’s tips and stories from his first complete dreamline, A Beard Across America.
6. Consider a gradual transition. Don’t just quit your day job and start something new all at once. You need to work smarter, not harder, and this will leave you scrambling. Wean yourself from the job one day at a time, over the course of 3 months or a year. The 4HWW has some great tips on how to do this. Gives yourself the chance to adjust to all the changes of quitting your job and going remote.
7. Action: motion ≠ progress. It’s all well and good to make a plan, and to allow yourself to dream, and to consider options and to tell your friends or loved ones — these are necessary steps — but the best-laid plans sitting on a shelf don’t do us much good. We’ve all heard that life happens while you’re planning. You have to take action….today, in this moment, and each moment thereafter. Passion + Persistence. Don’t put it off until next week, next month or next year … do something today to get yourself closer to reality. Make micro-movements, each day. Then tomorrow, another micro-movement. But without a first step, you’ll get nowhere.
8. Reduce your needs. This isn’t as necessary for some as others, but it’s a life changing option to consider. Let’s consider minimalism … > Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it. It requires a conscience decision. It is a counter-cultural lifestyle that stands against the culture of overconsumption we live in. > ~ Joshua Becker
The world we live in is not friendly to the pursuit of minimalism. Its tendencies and relentless advertising campaigns call us to acquire more, better, faster, and newer. The journey of finding simplicity requires consistent inspiration. I talk about this as a pure and simple practice in Freedom of the Hills: Leaving It All Behind, and a wholly worthwhile practice. You can also try these great articles of inspiration out.
If you don’t have many expenses, or distractions, you don’t need as much of an income … and that means that your dream is much easier to implement. My favorite book on this, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, is one of the most amazing travel and life-changing books you can read if you want to travel for a living, and Rolf Potts has some great tips and how-tos on traveling on a minimal income. And, if you have a family, it is just as attainable as if you didn’t. Plenty of families, including mine, are examples that it is possible and very rewarding for our children. My friend Bartosz and his family, are truly a Very Interesting Family in this sense, and are constantly on the move while maintaining a solid family foundation and a multitude of new experiences. Ponder this: Are you willing to work extra hours for the things you buy and spend your money on, or would you rather use those hours doing other things, like traveling?
9. Simplify your work. This, of course, is one of the over-arching themes that Leo Babauta tirelessly writes about at Zen Habits (to start with: one, two, three, four, five, six) … and of course, every other reference and author I have mentioned here. If you want to work on your own, and liberate yourself from the office, you’d be wise to simplify what you do. Eliminate the non-essential tasks, streamline your workflow, focus on the tasks and project and clients with the absolute biggest potential and long-term benefits.
10. Outsource and automate. One of my biggest sources of inspiration, Tim Ferriss’ excellent book The 4-Hour work Week, gives you some great tips on how to eliminate the non-essential and focus on what matters most. But some of the most interesting parts of the book are the sections on outsourcing your life and automating your business. Those parts alone could have been a separate book. They’re not something that everyone will want to implement, but they’re most definitely interesting options that can help many people achieve their dreams.
This, of course, is just the beginning for you. Many of the sources I have cited and provided links for will help you with more inspiration, ideas, details, resources, how-tos, roadmaps, tips, tricks, and so much more …
but I would love to hear from you on this subject.
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- Is anyone already working on a dreamline, or already living one?
- Are you pursuing your passion already, or about to start?
- What are your tips? What is your Story?
- Are you a family who has ditched the conventional and is happily living life on your own terms, from anywhere, and loving it (we also want to hear your greatest challenges!)?
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Thank you all so much. Enjoy & Prosper!
Photo Credit: By Pavel Trebukov