As mentioned last week, we’re going to feature more of the “big picture” and the stories behind entrepreneurship and online business building here. This is the first…
In 2009 I set off on a road trip that would change my life. My wife and I packed up our Subaru with everything we thought we’d need over 9 months and headed off on our first sabbatical. We even brought our dog Kinsey along.
The plan was to head south into Mexico and travel around the country, stopping for between one night and a month in different places.
I had just left the startup I poured almost three years of blood, sweat and tears into. Caught with our pants down in the 2008 financial crisis without revenue to keep the company afloat, we had to go back to the VCs with hat in hand. It was terrible timing.
The “traditional” VC-backed startup experience was an incredible learning opportunity, but it didn’t turn out how I had expected. Instead of blissfully enjoying the freedom of being self employed, I ended up with less control over my life than I did in my former corporate consulting gig. The combination of having a co-founder, an office, employees, investors, advisors and a board of directors added up to a whole lot of responsibility and little flexibility. We were building a “startup” with one goal: get really big really quickly, regardless of the lifestyle it requires to get there.
I didn’t go into the startup with a clear idea of the lifestyle I wanted to live while building it, and that was a big mistake. A business without other specific goals can quickly become consumed by growth and revenue at any cost.
The Mexico trip was meant to be a big pressing of the reset button for me. It was time to take a step back, recalibrate, and carefully plan what I wanted from my life and my career.
And something very unexpected happened on the trip. In every place we stopped, we met people who weren’t rich or retired, but somehow had crafted careers and lives that allowed them to live in foreign countries every year, or to travel indefinitely.
This was my introduction to the concepts of lifestyle design, although I didn’t know it had a name. I hadn’t read the 4-hour workweek or anything like it. Instead, I was shocked that people really lived like this. Somehow it never occurred to me there might be an alternative to getting rich or retiring early that had many of the same benefits.
Within a few months on that trip, I started a blog to chronicle our trip, to share stories of people we were meeting, and to ask myself and others some hard questions about work and career and how the two could be better integrated.
That blog was originally called Free Pursuits, then it transitioned to CorbettBarr.com, and now it has been merged into Think Traffic, which you’re reading now. I’ll explain more about the transitions later, but the important thing is that starting the blog marked an incredible turning point for me.
(The article you’re reading now contains many links to articles that appeared on my original blog. If you’re interested, you can read still read most everything I wrote there in our merged archives here)
I fully embraced the idea of building a business that allowed me to live the life I wanted to now, without waiting to hopefully get rich one day, or retire early.
I simply wanted to do work I love in a way that gives me freedom to travel, to choose my schedule, to work with great people, and to choose interesting projects.
I dove headfirst into the world of lifestyle design, location independence and digital nomads. It wasn’t easy, and it didn’t happen overnight, but I did eventually build a business that made all of that possible. I wrote a complete guide about how this all happened called 18 Months, 2 Blogs, Six Figures, which you can download for free.
Since the original sabbatical, we’ve returned to mexico, traveled europe, spent about 50% of the past three and a half years traveling. I started Think Traffic, built a team and grew the business considerably. We’ve now served over 3,000 paying customers through courses like How to Start a Blog that Matters and Traffic School.
Sometimes I still have a hard time believing it’s all real. For so long it seemed like an impossible dream or myth that existed only in books and blogs.
Maybe you’re at that same point, wondering if it’s worth the struggle. I wish I could tell you it’ll all be worth it, but that’s for you to decide.
To help you make a decision, below are several things I’ve written about lifestyle design, location independence, digital nomads and lifestyle business over the years.
Please enjoy them, email or tweet me any questions, and pass this along if it’s useful.
Oh, and if you’d like to hear more about these topics at Think Traffic, leave a comment below and let us know.
Here is your guided tour:
- Is Lifestyle Design Dead Already?
- The Hardest Thing About Lifestyle Design
- OK, OK, I Give. Lifestyle Design is not for Everybody
- Meet 6 People With Awesome Lifestyles Who Aren’t Technologists
- Meet 5 More People With Awesome Unconventional Lifestyles
- The 4-Hour Workweek is Full of Hype, But That’s Not the Point
- Are You Putting Off Life Until Later?
- Which of The 5 Categories of Life Plans Do You Follow?
- 10 Lessons Learned on a 6-month Sabbatical
- My New “Office”
- Here’s to Being Willing to Fall Down a Few Times for Our True Callings
- Your Reality is Negotiable
- You Have a Choice
- The Smart Ass Guide to Dealing with Dream Zappers
- Need Some Motivation Right Now? Read This IMMEDIATELY
Lifestyle Business + Starting Up
- Startup vs. Lifestyle Business (a Short Comparison from a Guy Who’s Done Both)
- 3 Reasons to Never Take Another Job
- Starting a Business Isn’t All Unicorns and Rainbows (the Other Side of the Story)
- Think You Can’t Make Money Blogging? Think Again: The First Annual Traffic and Income Report
- How to Turn $3,000 into $128,000
- 6 Lame Excuses for Not Starting Your Own Business
- An In-Depth Guide to Online Business Revenue Models for Lifestyle Entrepreneurs
- Why the Difference Between Startup and Microbusiness Might Matter to You
Location Independence and Digital Nomading
- How to Live a Part-Time Location Independent Lifestyle
- 10 Digital Nomads to Learn From
- 3 Ways to Become Location Independent
- How to Take 3 Years Off to See the World — with Betsy and Warren Talbot
- 64 Ways Location Independent People Earn a Living
- 5 Lessons from a 2-Month Remote Work Experiment