For almost all of us, there are two driving factors in our lives. Time and Money. How much time do I need to spend to make enough money for me to spend?
You might have heard of the 4 Hour Work Week, which to most people might seem like a bold claim. Is it possible for someone to achieve? Absolutely. Is it possible for everyone to achieve? Absolutely not. But regardless there are some great tips to take out of it and make your work-life your own.
Tim Ferriss, the author of the 4 Hour Work Week describes at length the personal economy of your time and effort vs the return on that investment. Most importantly he looks at streamlining the activities that bog down your work day that reduce your capacity to focus on what will get the most return for your effort.
The 4 Hour Work Week, What’s the D.E.A.L?
The overview of The 4 Hour Work Week is broken down into the following structure.
Definition: Replace self-defeating assumptions.
Elimination: Forget time management; learn to ignore the unimportant. (provides time)
Automation: Learn to put cash flow on autopilot. (provides income)
Liberation: Create freedom of location. (provides mobility)
I really wish I had known all this a decade ago.
In my other life, I specialized in leading Service Delivery teams, coaching, developing my skills and the skills of others, and being a part of the structure responsible for the needs of thousands of staff and millions of customers. It was challenging and stressful but I was very well paid for it.
After taking a 3-week vacation to Italy in 2013 I realized that even if I was getting double my already sufficient salary I wouldn’t feel any better about the job I was doing. Half of my salary was already just going into savings anyway. Other than fulfilling the dream of swimming in a money bin like Uncle Scrooge McDuck there really wasn’t a focus for me to do anything with it. To make matters worse I shot down every entrepreneurial idea I had.
I was working hard and burning out now so I could live the life I wanted to later. But I had no time frames on how long “now” would last and I had no idea when “later” would be. What if there was no “later”?
So I took a huge step, embraced the risk, had faith in myself, quit my corporate job, focused on my creative talents and set off into the world with a bunch of skills and 1-way ticket.
Using The 4 Hour Work Week Ethos to Work Anywhere
My objective is being able to travel and work where I choose and spend about the same averaged living costs as I would in a fixed location working from an office back home.
As I found out, my 3-week vacation in Italy in 2013 cost as much as my first 6 months of being a Digital Nomad in Europe in 2014.
Since then, I have been traveling, living and working for the last 22 months. My averaged costs are the same as my outgoings back home.
Then how is it possible to be on a 24/7 vacation and not go broke in a month?
There is a misconception I have to clarify with many people when I tell them what I do.
Firstly, I’m not on vacation, I am living and working in a city, I just happen to change cities and countries regularly.
Secondly, When going on vacation you have limited time, a limited budget and a lot of things to do. All of those expenses are crammed into a small time-frame.
But if you went on vacation for 3 months instead of 3 weeks, you rent by the month than the week, shop at the markets, cook at home a lot, pick discount days to visit attractions, by not being in a frantic hurry to experience everything your costs drop dramatically.
What’s My Roadmap to Location Independence?
To to be sustainable you need income. The ability to earn from anywhere is the cornerstone of you being able to take control of your time. Money might not fix all your problems but it definitely creates more by not having it…
The digital age has opened up location independent income as a viable option. Anyone in IT related business can work anywhere in the world on their laptops via the internet as easily as in an office.
The option of giving up a secure job and going freelance can be scary at first but there are many good freelance agencies out there to choose from. All have their own pros and Cons but Upwork is a great site which we also use for DigiMar’s business needs and promoting our services.
While browsing on Reddit’s Digital Nomad board, I came across a fantastic source of inspiration in an article written by Arianna O’Dell.
This article had some fantastic ideas and motivated me to incorporate some of them plus a couple of my own to pass along some inspiration to others wanting to craft their own location independent careers.
Here are 7 ways you can get location independent income working for you.
1. Digital Marketer
Call me biased but Digital Marketing is a great industry to be in while traveling. Almost everything can be done with Google AdWords, Skype, and your trusty laptop. It does require a lot of coordination in many different time zones and a good understanding of producing great ad copy, PPC advertising, social media to really own this space.
E-Commerce takes some financial outlay and a business plan but once you are established and have a customer base it can be a lucrative solution. Being able to run a site that essentially dropships items directly to your customers via your virtual storefront is a business you can run from anywhere. Although keeping your shoppers informed and orders dispatched in a timely manner regardless of the time zone will be a top priority.
3. Independent Import / Exporter
Depending on the items and the places you are traveling to you can also buy cheap in the country of origin and dependent on the quantity, ship to the buyer without having to worry about import export issues. Do some research on your market. The better return is often on niche market items.
The caveat on this is making sure they are in demand items or you run the risk of running a dollar store online. Being able to reach your customers and bring them to your site is the hardest part. I cannot stress how important it is you have a savvy Digital Marketer running your PPC for any E-Commerce site.
4. Graphic Designer
If you have the skills to drive Photoshop without swearing, an eye for composition that doesn’t make toes curl and an artistic flair that engages not enrages, then there is a lot of money to be made by freelancing your graphical skills. You will have a bright future ahead of you, but mostly it’s just photoshopping cats into pictures for Digital Marketers, but hey at least they can help you market your skills too!
5. Online Content Creator
In an age where watching other people playing video games is a thing, If you can create engaging copy, articles, video or audio, the internet always has a channel needing to be filled with content.
The caveat here is what kind of content you produce how quickly, the cost of the content and quality. As they say, you can have Good, Cheap, and Quick but you can only choose two.
Most important with online content is getting peoples attention, ensuring you are driving viewers, listeners or readers to your content through search or display networks such as YouTube and getting some nice passive revenue through views or AdSense.
6. Give Language Lessons Over Skype
Do you know English or another in-demand language? Then why not promote your services as a personal language tutor! If you have a good conversational grasp of a language, it’s structure and a lot of patience this can be a fantastic way to teach, travel and network. Remember all your students can teach you a thing or two about their homelands in return.
7. Part Time Digital Nomad
The other option if your work is very location specific is to contract out in a country where you will be highly paid for your work and spend the rest of the year traveling or working on entrepreneurial projects. This might be a better option if your job skill-set requires face to face or working from a fixed location and you want to dip your toes in the water of the lifestyle without fully abandoning your established career.
These are just a few of the myriad options out there and finding one that is fulfilling you either creatively or professionally is just as important as how you decide to spend your time when you aren’t working.
Ultimately we are responsible for crafting the life we want to live, taking those first steps on your journey can be scary but what you will learn about the world and yourself on the way is beyond measure.