How to Free Yourself from 9-5 and Live Anywhere
Just the other day, a friend of mine finally asked the question that’s probably burning in the minds of most of my friends: “I don’t get it.” she began, “how can you afford to just pick up and travel around for months on end?” How do you make money and how can I have your lifestyle?” She works as a postal carrier and dreads every day of it.
“It’s not that I don’t work,” I explained, “it’s just that I only choose to do the type of work that is portable and mobile. I also look for ways to integrate my travels into money-making ventures which is not as difficult as you think”.
She was listening intently so I continued, “There are three realizations you have to make to achieve a mobile lifestyle like mine. The first is to realize that real change starts within you and depends entirely on the choices and decisions you make. The second is to limit your work efforts to something that can be done from anywhere. The third is that while our “developed” economies stagnate, the rest of the world is booming and there are plenty of opportunities outside your home borders.”
Warning: There are trade-offs to this type of freedom.
Here’s an example:
When I was in Hawaii visiting a friend last year, her roommate couldn’t understand how I could be huddled over a computer while I was in a Hawaiian paradise. “Shouldn’t you be at the beach, or something?” she asked more than once.
“Yeah, I just have a little more work to do” I explained, “I’ll head to the beach later”.
Maybe she thought I was nerding out on Facebook and too antisocial to enjoy my vacation. But in reality I was getting my work done so I could enjoy the rest of the week at the beach.
‘Changing Your Lifestyle Isn’t Magic’
Just because I go to exciting parts of the world doesn’t mean I don’t have to work… occasionally sacrifices have to be made. But would you rather work in some boring office tower back home, or from a beach in Hawaii, a cafe in Paris, or a hotel lobby in Beijing? Personally, I’ll choose freedom every time.
The point is, changing your lifestyle isn’t magic or about quick fixes, it’s about making different choices and setting different priorities.
It’s no different than losing weight… you can change your eating habits and exercise more, or you can try quick fix diet pills. One of these choices is easy (taking pills) the other takes work (eating right and exercising). One of these choices will quite likely succeed for you and one of them probably won’t.
‘A Small Price to Pay’
My priorities are different than most people’s priorities. A 9-5 job with two weeks vacation time per year just doesn’t cut it for me. I like to have the freedom to leave town whenever I want, for as long as I want, to wherever I want, for whatever reason I want. For me, having to spend a day on the phone or on the computer in Hawaii is a very small price to pay if it means I can spend the rest of the week lounging at the beach or jetting off somewhere else.
‘Getting Off the Treadmill’
The truth is, I used to be one of those people who had to commute to work everyday, slog through cold winter days, throw on the ‘ol suit and tie, and kiss up to the boss. Now, when I’m scanning for flights to far flung destinations, I am not dreaming about it, I’m doing it. If you feel like a rat in a cage, you just have to realize that the cheese is there, it’s just a matter of getting off the treadmill and taking the right path to find it.
‘Five Steps to Freedom’
Here are five pointers to get you off the treadmill and ditch your 9-5 job once and for all:
- Learn to be a professional communicator. Some things can be done from anywhere, some things can’t. Communication can be done from anywhere, home building can’t. If you are a home builder, you’ll need to show up at the job site to get the job done. The lesson? Don’t choose home building as a profession if you want to live or travel anywhere you want. To free yourself from 9-5 focus on developing your communication skills. Rather than focusing on creating an “Internet Business”, focus on becoming a “Professional Communicator”. Communication is what the Information Age is all about. In the Industrial Age it was important to know how to build things, but in today’s age, the most important skill is communication.
- Learn to outsource. In today’s world, there are businesses offering every type of product or service you can imagine. You don’t have to “do” anything to be in business, there are plenty of other people willing to do just about anything, anytime. To be in the outsourcing business, you simply have to know people who want something, and then know who can deliver what those people want at a better price (or with better service, or with more convenience, etc.). Wal-Mart doesn’t make anything, they sell stuff other people make. Outsourcing is not cheating, it’s a legitimate business strategy. Do you want to be the person who has to make something for a living, or do you want to be the middleperson who connects the consumer with the producer? Outsourcing frees your efforts from both physical and time constraints.
- Look outside your borders. While our “advanced” economies stagnate and decline, the rest of the so-called “emerging” world is booming. Economic growth in nations like China, India and Brazil are just the tip of the iceberg… not just because there are jobs there, but because their economic growth represents a few billion new consumers entering the world economy. These “emerging consumers” all want the same things we do, but it’s only recently that they can actually afford them. By traveling and living outside your borders, you can increase your exposure to new money-making opportunities. Freedom works like the snowball effect – once you learn to free yourself from a 9-5 desk job, you have more options and more potential to seize international opportunities when they arise.
- Take risks. Yep. It’s risky to pursue a new style of work, start a new business, or “go freelance”. It’s much easier to stay on the treadmill and hope your company doesn’t fire you because they are downsizing or that your employer doesn’t go bankrupt and leave you on welfare. But to me, relying on a big corporate structure for my livelihood is far riskier than taking work and business into my own hands. Of course you should always limit your risks unless there is a potentially large reward. For many people, myself included, living your life free from a 9-5 desk job is well worth the risk of losing a few months or even a year of income at some dead end job you hate.
- Don’t get an MBA, get an MBP (Mobile Business Platform). A Mobile Business Platform is simply a collection of tools that enable you to do business or “work” from anywhere. If you want to build a mobile lifestyle, your Mobile Business Platform is your foundation. Instead of a storefront, a warehouse, or an office, a mobile professional uses a Mobile Business Platform. More than a just an IPhone or a web site, a Mobile Business Platform combines technology and business management to ensure you are maximizing your free time with a minimum amount of effort. Our Business In A Briefcase Training Course is a good first step toward developing your Mobile Business Platform.
The technology and business tools available today are quickly dividing those of us who can ”work from anywhere” from those of us who don’t, but wish we could. To get into the first camp, you just have to follow the right path, take the right steps, and develop the right type of skills. It’s not about getting rich quick so you can live wherever you want, it’s about focusing your efforts on work that is mobile by its very nature. The first and most important step is your decision to choose this type of lifestyle for yourself. No one else can make you to take the first step.
So get trained, get inspired, and get out there!