How We Can Help Each Other Achieve Our Lifestyle Goals

  • June 8, 2009 by Corbett Barr
  • 51 Comments

the-handshake

I have a proposal for any of you who want to dramatically change your lifestyle. Let’s help each other reach our lifestyle goals.

Here’s how it will work. I’m going to explain exactly what I want from my lifestyle and document the process of trying to reach those goals on this blog. I will also bring you stories, interviews and resources about other people working towards their own ambitious lifestyle goals.

You will participate in a few ways, first by sharing your lifestyle plan in the comments below. Then also by contacting me with your questions and feedback, by subscribing for free updates (and speaking out regularly in comments) and by writing articles to share with other readers.

If we join together and support each other in our own personal lifestyle development quests we’ll each have a much better chance at success. I don’t have all the answers yet, so I need your help both personally and for the rest of the community of lifestyle designers.

Will you join me? Great! Let’s get started now.


I want to know what you are working towards. What is your ultimate lifestyle? Where are you in the process? What help do you need to make it happen?

Everyone will have a different answer, and through understanding more about each other we’ll be able to work together and share information so we can all succeed. Please join us by describing what you want from your lifestyle in the comments below.

To get your creativity flowing, I’ll start by sharing what my ideal lifestyle looks like.

My Ideal Lifestyle and How I Plan To Live It

As I’ve explained before, I’m currently on a six-month long road trip through Mexico (with my wife and dog). This has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and it has really changed my priorities. We’ve discovered a richness in life that I was blind to while enduring the corporate grind.

A decade of savings from hard work and some fortunate real estate investments provided us with enough money to take this sabbatical. Sadly though, we can’t live off of savings forever and I will soon need to create income sources that will enable (and be compatible with) our new lifestyle dreams.

What exactly do I want from our ideal lifestyle? The most important things are flexibility, time and enough money.

I know that our dreams and pursuits will change over time. The best way to accommodate those changing needs is through a flexible source of income that I can pursue from anywhere in the world, on my own schedule and that won’t require more than 20 hours per week.

My ideal lifestyle will include the following, among other things:

  • Frequent travel and living abroad

  • Ample time to spend with friends and family
  • The time to support causes I feel strongly about
  • Time and money to enjoy diversions (including sailing, surfing, learning new languages, acting, taking in art and theater, etc.)
  • Satisfaction from what I do to earn a living

I will earn an income that is compatible with my lifestyle goals through:

  • Freelance consulting
  • Building “low maintenance” online businesses
  • Blogging (selling resources that will help you achieve your lifestyle goals)

Ultimately, I will drop the freelance consulting, but for now it will probably be my primary source of income. Doing all three of these things at once will obviously require much more than 20 hours of work per week. As I become successful with the web-based businesses and blogging, I will scale back the consulting and hours.

How and when will I reach my lifestyle goals? Subscribe for free updates to find out.

Now it’s your turn. Tell us about your ideal lifestyle in the comments, and let’s get started making it happen together!

photo by chuckp

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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Patrick June 8, 2009 at 4:10 pm

I am at a crossroads.

I have one main money site that is getting 500 uniques per day and netting about 300 to 400 per month in Adsense income.

I can double that in two years or less. Doing so would allow me to cut back my day job and really put my heart into internet marketing (I am passionate about this website and the topic of it…it involves helping others).

My question is, should I shift more towards “premium products” and brand building? Or just keep cranking out the keyword targeted content and throw links at it?

Impossible questions without seeing the site, I know!

Corbett Barr June 8, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Congratulations on the successful side business! It sounds like you’re onto something. Your questions are difficult without knowing the context though. It really depends on what your overall goals are, and where your passions lie. Care to share more with us?

Caron June 8, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Corbett, I love this idea!
I came across an article (through Matador) recently that linked me to the survey. This survey and it’s links to other Location Independent sources has given my life the direction I have always wanted. You can read about my journey on my blog, listed above.
So much of what we read about Location Independence is about our individual choices and I have found that in this community it is all about sharing those choices, saying loud and clear, ‘this is what I want for my life’ and then finding a way to make it happen. What I also see happening though is how we can support each other directly. These are the choices we are making for our lives but like anything we venture to do, we need support from like-minded people.
When you state that you do not have all the answers I believe it’s an important recognition that you’ve made to the community. None of us will have ALL the answers simply because we each have a different lifestyle choice but we can support each other and share ideas, thoughts, tips and even our frustrations because we never know whose answer is the one we need.

Corbett Barr June 8, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Hi Caron! I’m glad you found the site. We are so happy that so many great lifestyle design related blogs participated in the survey. It’s great that you’ve found so much inspiration through them.

I’ll definitely check out your blog to find out more about your personal journey. How would you summarize your lifestyle goals? I look forward to working with you to find the answers!

Caron June 8, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Hi Corbett,
My goals are relatively simple; I only wish to be able to be financially secure. I enjoy working hard at something but I think in order to do so we must be doing what we love (so it doesn’t feel like work). I get a lot of value from being an ESL Teacher but I do not want to solely rely on its income to live. If the job turns pear-shaped I want to know that I have created an external income that I can fall back on- no matter where I am.
Travel for me is already my way of life, I knew when I left Australia that I wouldn’t be going back permanently for a great number of years (initially it was 10yrs- now though, it’s not capped). The trick for me now is to make it financially viable and my blog is all about how I’m making that happen. Thanks for reading along with me.
Caron.

Sean June 8, 2009 at 6:33 pm

Greeting Corbett!

Designing the individual lifestyle…everyone dreams about such things, but it is here and on other sites that we see people actually doing it! My wife and I are in a state of growth and discovery in our ideas and aspirations in these endeavors.
My ideal/ultimate lifestyle is constantly in flux in my mind. Some days I want to pick up and just travel non stop, other days I want to buy a home and settle into an area and become part of the local color, most days I just dream about what “could be”. I’m tired of that!
One word…freedom! That is what all of these dreams and ideas relate to. I want freedom to go where I want and when I want. I currently work out of my home as a field interviewer for social research studies which allows me a great deal of autonomy. I am able to mostly choose how and when I work. I’ve even gotten to go on a few nice trips which I was paid to take! My ideal situation would involve part time meaningful work, like I have now, and a few streams of income from other resources, such as via online markets. At that point my wife and I would then be able to have the best from both worlds; we could afford to take extended vacations/sabbaticals, and we could have a cozy home community to become part of and come home to.

Corbett Barr June 8, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Sean, this picture you’ve painted sounds fantastic. I too tend to waffle between wanting to travel and wanting to make roots somewhere. I think that’s why I listed time, flexibility and enough money as my key lifestyle requirements, just as you’ve listed freedom. For people who tend to change their minds frequently, I don’t think there’s much else to ask for.

Mama Bird June 9, 2009 at 7:43 am

I love this lifestyle picture too. I love the idea of meaningful work that I feel proud to talk about with others. And also the ability to keep my family’s home, where we are now, in the community that we love, surrounded by great friends and family and our wonderful garden that is coming along beautifully each passing year. But, also the ability to hop on a plane whenever we feel the urge and visit other family in Australia and friends who are all over. That just sounds ideal to me. Ah…to live the dream.

Lauren June 8, 2009 at 9:16 pm

This is such a great question. Here’s my ideal lifestyle:
–Absolute flexbility – work from anywhere, anytime…regardless of whether that turns out to be my 1920s bungalow or a cabana on some remote island.
–Ability to be with my family as much as I want. I don’t have any kids now, but my fiance and I would definitely like to in the future.
–Mostly automated income. I’m not lazy, but I just figure there are much more fun/fulfilling things to be doing and trying to make money all the time. I’m not lazy, but I want to find something I believe in, can market well and to which I don’t have to give a lot of effort. (Is that asking too much?!)
–I don’t have to be wealthy, but I want enough money to finance owning a home as well as traveling abroad very frequently. And, I’d like to be able to take up mini-residences in other countries from time-to-time. My fiance and I are climbers, so we like to be able to travel the world and set up shop where ever our adventures take us.

And, for what I’m currently doing to make this happen:
–Participating in Project Mojave
–Developing an information-product based site on something I know a lot about
–Looking into affiliate/drop-ship programs (don’t worry, I’m doing a ton of research)
–Creating a blog site on another topic in which I’m interested/knowledgeable. I don’t make much from this one, but I do get some from banner ads, Adsense and Amazon affiliate sales.
–Learning as much as I can about web marketing
–Paying off all my debt and reducing our spending to as little as possible – we work together to track everything and save as much as we can.

The hard thing, at this point, is staying motivated to go to my 9-5 everyday! But right now, I have to build the foundation for a location-independent lifestyle, and the biggest hurdle at the moment is DEBT on things that I thought I needed when I was…well…stupid. :)

How’s all that sound?

Corbett Barr June 9, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Wow, you’re busy Lauren! I love how you felt it necessary to say “I’m not lazy.” That seems pretty evident. I think a big question you’ll face (as I also do) is what to focus on. The shotgun approach seems to make sense, but you have to wonder if spending more time on few things would yield greater results.

I tend to want to start a bunch of stuff and then work on whichever one takes off. What I find though is that the “switching costs” of moving from one project to another limits my effectiveness to 2-3 projects at once. Please let us know how things progress!

Lauren June 8, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Also, I love how I reiterated “I’m not lazy” over and over. Ha! Complex, anyone?

Dan June 9, 2009 at 3:11 am

About Me

I’m 27 & live in the UK with my girlfriend and our dog. I’ve been interested in lifestyle design (although I haven’t always know it to be called that) for about 3/4 years.

My Ideal Life

- To have time freedom to peruse what I want to peruse in life.
- To not be tied to one location.
- I would like to travel more – for at least three months in a year.
- I would like to spend more time working on music projects. Music is a major passion of mine & my girlfriend is a very talented professional singer. (Check her out at http://www.myspace.com/vickyjacksonmusic)
- I love being in, on, near or under water – and would like to have my own yacht which I could spend my free time sailing around the Med (& further afield in the future).
- I would like to be involved in community / charitable projects in my own area and internationally.
- I would like to be involved in new businesses as a venture capitalist in the future.
- I would like to challenge myself physically and have wanted to learn a martial art for a long time.
- I would like to learn French, Spanish and Italian.
- I would like to learn to play the drums, and become better at playing guitar.
- This list could go on….

My Current Life

My background is in science – I have a bachelors degree in Medical Genetics, and I’m currently in the final stages of completing my Medical studies (I’ve taken my final exams but have to resist one part and should be done in 2 weeks – results in 4 [yes I should be studying and not posting this]).

If I pass my exams I will be graduating in July and starting work as a Doctor in August. To achieve full registration as a Doctor I need to work for 1 year. This is my point of return – and would enable me to take locum jobs when not travelling to earn extra cash.

Creating Income

I took a few months out of my studies last year to launch what I hoped would be my ‘muse’ – an eBook. I hadn’t read anything like the Four Hour Work Week at the time, and made a crucial mistake in the testing of the market for the product, and as a result it failed. Prior to this I’ve started a couple of websites, and made a few £$£ off them in adsense and the like, but never anything much, but I’ve never really put much effort in.

I will be closing down the company which I started last year with the plan being to start a new one in the next two months.

My Latest Plan

I’ve recently been working on a much more detailed business plan than I ever put together for any of the previous businesses. It is based around the following ideas:-

1. Reselling others products
2. Creating my own products to sell (this may include other eBooks) but may also include physical products.

I would like write about my experiences in my blog (http://www.danmaggs.com) but I’ve decided that I shall do this in hindsight when I’ve achieved the goals I’ve set out in my business plan. This may form a further part of my ongoing businesses, but is not part of my immediate plan.

Sharing Ideas

I’m definitely up for the sharing of ideas with others who have similar goals to me. I think there are several ways of going about this…

1. Articles

Articles are great….I’m a big fan….but there is one major problem that I can see. If the goal of the community is to help each other achieve our goals, then by definition none of us have done ‘it’. Thus taking advice from others who are still a bit in the dark is not necessarily productive. I’m very aware that one of the major problems of the internet is that ‘The Pleural of Anecdote is NOT Evidence’ which is one of the reasons that I have decided to put my blog off till I’ve completed the transition & I can write objective article. Articles by people who have already done ‘any given thing’ is great – but articles by people who haven’t are usually pretty weak. I know of at least 2 lifestyle design blogs that are very much like this…and I think they are to be avoided. In my opinion, forums are a much better place to discuss ideas.

2. Forums

So that brings me on to forums. I think a forum for people in my/our situation would be great.

The other major bonuses of a forum are community and motivation.

I’m aware that there is a forum on the Four Hour Work Week site…but it’s a bit busy…there is a lot of Ferriss bashing going on and it’s not really very productive. I’m not really aware of any others…but I haven’t really looked.

I think for such a forum to succeed it would need:-

- An entry policy -

I’d rather interact with 5 people who are really serious about their goals and who are really serious about contributing to a forum, than with loads of people who are less motivated and signed up because it was easy. I think something such as the submission of a ‘statement of intention & where you’re at now’ to a profile page, and for membership to be approved by a moderator would be sufficient to show that someone was going to be a genuine and valid contributor.

- To be hidden from the eyes of Google -

This again comes down to a quality control issue in part. I’m sure such a forum would bring in plenty of traffic from the search engines, but this wouldn’t necessarily be beneficial to forum members… I think that recruitment of members through twitter etc would be sufficient.

Furthermore, I’d be happy to discuss my ideas with a group of people similarly dedicated to achieving their goals, but I wouldn’t necessarily want my thoughts on the ins and outs of the businesses spread across the net…for competition reasons. I’ve spent many hours thinking about this stuff and I wouldn’t want to share it with just anyone.

Having looked at the Google Wave Video…I’m interested to see what implications it will have for the building of discussion forums.

If anyone else wanted such a facility I’d be happy to set one up … shouldn’t be too much trouble. Corbett, if you like the idea and would like to set one up – go for it!

3. Twitter

It would be great for a list of twitters who are ‘in the process’ to be hosted on this site…twitter is a great place for 160 character chat and regular motivation stuff!

Anyway, I’ll finish up this comment now, it has ended up much longer than I though … let me know what you think!

Dan

PS. Twitter: danmaggs (always happy to network with other lifestyle designers – @reply me and say hi and I’ll follow back)

Corbett Barr June 9, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Dan, thank you so much. There are so many great ideas here. I’m going to have to think about the community ideas you brought up (forums, twitter directory, etc.). I definitely agree that we need something more than just blog posts and comments to really get productive discussions going.

Regarding your lifestyle plans, it really sounds like you’re a renaissance man. I often feel the same way. To me, it would be best to separate income creation from the pursuit of passions and creative outlets. My interests change so much from year to year that trying to be fulfilled mostly through my career is probably futile. You seem to be of the same ilk. The fact that you’re not really interested in Medicine even though you’re so close to being a doctor is such a statement about who you are. I look forward to hearing more about what you’re doing to pursue your real passions.

Roy June 9, 2009 at 3:52 am

Hi Corbett, I recently started a blog on exactly this topic. I haven’t worked out my ‘ideal’ lifestyle as yet, but I am working towards improving my current one, and I reckon that’s the most important thing.
Travel is going to feature very highly on the ideal list though, thats a definite.
Roy

Corbett Barr June 9, 2009 at 10:11 pm

You’re in a great place, Roy. Improving your current lifestyle is a start, but I would encourage you to imagine where you would want to be if there were no obstacles. Let us know what you come up with!

ChristiaanH June 9, 2009 at 6:18 am

A list of what my ideal lifestyle will be like (planning to get there in 3 years tops)

-Location independent
-Visiting every continent, staying abroad (away from Europe) for at least 6 months a year.
-An “automated” income stream through blogging and a “freedom business” (yes I’m in Project Mojave)
-A second income stream doing something that I love. Or rater, doing something that I love and getting payed for it.
-These two combine to generate enough income for me to live this life. I don’t have to have millions, just enough and then some.
-Doing whatever I feel like without having to worry about expenses. Scuba diving in lake Tanganyika, skydiving over Rio, visiting Tibet, meet the Dalai Lama (It would be great to have these last two combined but I don’t think that will happen.) Train with Peter Ralston (Take part in his Apprentice program) and stay in a Japanese Zen monastery for a couple of months.

It’s all about freedom

Corbett Barr June 10, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Great plan, Christiaan! I’m very curious about how you perceive lifestyle design as a European. Also, please keep us updated on how your “automated income stream” is going. Has Project Mojave worked for you?

Mama Bird June 9, 2009 at 6:53 am

I LOVE this post!! I’m so super excited as I’ve been wanting this for my dual-nation family for years, but have only recently stumbled upon blogs and communities like this one where I can read about others who want (and are acquiring) this same dream.

It’s really inspiring and helpful to read about how others are doing this. It really helps me to think outside the box.

Here is my ideal lifestyle and current situation:
–Flexibility – since our families are on two different continents (USA and Australia) we miss out on a lot (and they miss our kids growing up too), depending on where we are. We also have friends all over that we would love to visit, but with limited vacation time from my husband’s 9-5 (I am a SAHM), we use it all up going to Australia each year. We do feel fortunate that we have the flexibility that we do have with my husband’s job, but considering he is in the IT field, I know it could be so much better.

More time – even though we feel we have simplified our lives with me staying at home and I can do things to allow my husband more time with the kids (meet him for lunch, accomplish things during the day so he doesn’t have to deal with it when he comes home, etc) he still would like more time with them.

More automated income. We currently rent the top part of our house so we have some automated income, but it would be great to have more. I feel my husband doesn’t have the confidence to try certain things because he feels a responsibility to “provide for his family”. I totally get that too. If we were able to replace more of his income with something else, then he wouldn’t have that worry hanging over him and could be a bit more adventurous in terms of how he makes his money. I have read about different ways people make money on the internet and I’m looking into some of those. I don’t have a ton of time with a 10 month old and a 3 1/2 year old though. So, I don’t want to waste what little time I do have on something that doesn’t work, meaning I’m hesitant to try much.

–We don’t need to be wealthy. We don’t require a ton of extras, just enough for our living expenses (which aren’t a lot compared to most) and travel expenses.
-We aren’t really doing a ton to make this happen right now, except for saving as much as we can.
- I would like to learn more about blogging and making money on the internet, but I really can only promote something I really believe in and don’t want to waste anybody’s time or resources.
- I would also like to learn more about making blog backgrounds/banners.
- I feel my biggest obstacle in this endeavor, sadly, is my husband. He lacks confidence, which is something that you need in order to live location independent. You need to know you can do it and have the confidence to look outside of the ‘norm’ and what is expected of you and be able to ignore the nose of the naysayers. He’s the type of person who needs the reassurance from the powers that be at his 9-5 job (pats on the back, kudos that he’s doing a good job, etc). I have never been like this, so it’s hard for me to understand, especially considering how talented he is when it comes to computers. Not sure how or if we will ever be able to overcome this. I’ve been trying to work on this with him, but you can only build a person up so much. It really needs to come from within.

Anyway…I’m excited to read about what others are doing and look forward to possible interaction with others and some advice if you have it! Good luck everyone!

Corbett Barr June 10, 2009 at 3:35 pm

While I was reading your comment, something started screaming in the back of my head. I don’t know if it is possible with your husband’s job, but something that might give you independence AND the support of a 9-to-5 is a remote work agreement. There are some great resources on the web about negotiating such an agreement.

Basically, if your husband thinks he could complete his job remotely (and he’s a great performer at work), he could make the case to his boss to start a trial. He could offer to work a couple of Saturdays for free, to see how productive he could be. Document the results and use them to try working a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at home. Rinse and repeat until you’ve negotiated working weeks away from the office.

Colin June 9, 2009 at 7:51 am

GREAT post, Corbett, and I loved reading the comments so far (lots of inspiration…always great to see what others are up to).

At the moment I’m quite financially secure due to my design/development studio that I operate out of Los Angeles (with clients all over the world). The first action I’m taking to change things is to leave the country…I’ll be living in Buenos Aires for 4 months, and after that going wherever visitors to my site vote for me to go.

My goals including the following:

-Have the means and the freedom to pick up and go wherever I want, when I want
-Have enough money coming in so that it is not a concern (and enough of it automated that if I am away from the Internet for several months, it wouldn’t be the end of the world)
-Be in a position to influence the media, trends, etc (this will be useful for future plans that I have to make changes in various aspects of US infrastructure, including but not limited to updating the school systems)
-Be worldly enough to have a greater understanding of what’s going on in the world so that I can predict what will happen with markets, technology, politics and people (I’m a big picture person, and getting better at this will help ease my troubled mind immensely, not to mention make it easier to positively sway events one direction or another)
-Be HAPPY

Caveat to that last one…I am already VERY happy, but I want to change the conditions of my happiness, if that makes sense.

Looking forward to seeing everyone’s comments and helping out with others’ dreams where I can!

Corbett Barr June 10, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Wow, Colin. You’re so far ahead of many people, and you’re so young! Congratulations. It’s great that you’re starting some location independent habits already by moving to Argentina. Let us know how the trip goes. Also, we would love to hear how you find the transition to working remotely.

20HrWorkWeek(Karla) June 9, 2009 at 8:06 am

Corbett:

What a great topic!

You obviously understand that to get anywhere in life, one must first identify their vision for where they are going. We are all looking for time, “freedom,” and more money… but the real question is what is it all for?

My husband and I set out, specifically, a couple of years ago to take complete control over our lives. Both of us had spent many years being dependent on employers, the economy, our parents, etc., and we were done. There just had to be a way for us to be in complete control of our time and our income. We are not great writers or marketers, so we weren’t going to make money on our borderline-talent there. We really didn’t have any special talents at all, however, what we had was desire. (Wish I could underline that word – desire.)

Our vision for ourselves was just the same as many of the people on this blog:

1) Be leveraged as much as possible so that we worked as little as possible.
2) Find a portable business where we don’t have to take care of product fulfillment/etc.
3) Release ourselves from the social agreement of being officially “from” a place – you know… We’re the “Smith’s from Albany.”
4) Explore the world slowly. Spend a few months in a place at a time.
5) Be able to spend time giving back to others and the planet.
6) Most importantly, we were NOT interested, at all, in being frugal. We knew there had to be a way to have all of the above and not scrimp and save to have it.

So… here we are. We are living our dream! And while we are totally grateful for that, there’s always… what’s next?

We are aware that, as Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” So, building our vision for our next goal is vitally important.

Maybe it is going back to the “old” thinking (a little bit) and buying that house that sits empty waiting for us to return periodically so that we “re-become” the Silvers from Newport Beach?

We’ll keep you posted.

In gratitude,
Don and Karla

Corbett Barr June 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Thanks, Don and Karla for sharing. I definitely hear you about “exploring the world slowly.” I much prefer spending months at a time in each place as opposed to moving day-to-day or week-to-week. Congrats on living the dream!

Greg Rollett June 9, 2009 at 9:12 am

Hey Corbett – so great to see so many people taking you up on this! As for myself, here we go!

I am an entrepreneur at heart. I have started indie record labels, recording studios and interactive agencies. My goal is now to stop trading time for money. My latest project is a marketing school for musicians membership site. Launch date is July 1! By Sept 1 I hope to be free from the desk job and working on an Internet business full time.

Here is where everything gets fun. I have also started a nonprofit here in Orlando, Rock For Hunger, that helps the homeless with lifestyle design and career development. We have created a street paper to create temp jobs while enlisting them into a lifestyle design course that focuses on core influence, skill sets and regenerating dreams and creativity. This is where my passion lies, helping and educating others. I am planning 2-3 trips over to 3rd world countries to help them utilize technology to improve the quality of their lives.

So, I guess the ideal lifestyle for me (and my wife and puppy) would be to have some form of continuity businesses, add on some real estate investing (a hobby of ours) and spend our life helping others while living life NOW, while we can have the time of our lives. Surf on a Tuesday, save the world on a Wednesday!

I am going to take you up on your offer to write some guest posts – so be on the lookout for that. I love talking to others about their dreams and ideas, so please feel free to reach out and start a chat. Here’s to living the life we wish to lead no matter the obstacles in our way!

Corbett Barr June 10, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Greg – I can’t wait to read the guest post. I love your “Surf on a Tuesday, save the world on a Wednesday” mantra. For me it’s probably more like Surf during January and save the world during July ;) Keep us posted on how your new business launch. It sounds interesting, and it’s nice to hear about a real product as opposed to the “internet marketing” fuzziness that so many people are selling these days.

Jordan Lejuwaan June 9, 2009 at 10:37 am

I dropped out of USC after this last school year, my freshman year, because college education just wasn’t doing it for me. My passion is entrepreneurship, likewise I was a Business major, but discovered that undgrad would literally teach me nothing relevant to starting my own business. I will NEVER work for anyone. Anyways, I dropped out with plans to go travel Europe starting in Spain, and then to just meander around the continent. Just going with the flow by myself. I started highexistence.com, which is still a baby site with 50-100 unique a day, but I have high hopes. We have very similar goals, mainly just having enough money to travel the world without having to worry about going broke. And my ultimate goal is to help people. When you have everything you want, I think the only thing left that will keep you stimulated is helping others achieve their bliss as well.

Corbett Barr June 10, 2009 at 4:19 pm

I made a similar decision about school a few years back. At the point in my life when most of my peers were heading to grad school, I instead decided to start a business. It took about the same time and money as grad school would have, but I think it was a better value to me.

Steve Smith June 9, 2009 at 7:53 pm

I was reading some of the comments by others to my wife and asked her what was her perfect lifestyle…she said “to have options”. This just happens to match my idea of a perfect lifestyle.

Options mean to be able to work at what we enjoy. To be able to travel for various periods of time when we feel like traveling. We take a 10 day cruise every year but could easily take a 10 day cruise every quarter. The option to wakeup in the morning when my body says its time, which is naturally 6:30 not 3:45 when I have to get up for work.

We have a beautiful home so another option is to be hermits if we want and just stay home and do whatever. Walk the dog when in the middle of the day. Go to the gym when noone is there.

We dont need millions and live pretty comfortably now except we trade hours for money. Hours we can never get back. As a Realtor my wife sometimes works 7 days a week…that is just wrong.

But right now I am the Manager of the network team for a major aerospace company in southern California. I have a blog and have been playing with it and trying to understand how people make money with blogs.

I am also a freelance writer and write a monthly magazine article called Positively Speaking which is about living a positive life….

My plan is to continue to learn about online marketing for blogs, develop my copywriting skills to eventually replace my current income. Because with writing I can do that anywhere.

I love reading all the comments and seeing the different ideas….

Corbett Barr June 20, 2009 at 9:13 am

I LOVE that the article sparked a conversation between you and your wife! I also love her answer. It really is all about options, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing, and I hope we can help you make those options possible.

Mark Dixon June 9, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Corbett, thank you for launching FreePursuits as an online laboratory for collaborative lifestyle design. Your timing is perfect, my friend.

Where I’m starting from:

I am a graphic designer, artist and web programmer. Most of my work has been for clients in the arts, creating book covers and CD packages for self-published authors and musicians, as well as websites. I am learning digital video editing for film. I have a passion for independent film as I’ve seen what a powerful medium it is to communicate the truth and open people’s eyes to the world. I want to be a part of that, not as a filmmaker myself, but working to help filmmakers achieve their vision.

My lifestyle plan:

Professionally, my goal is to re-focus my design career on the film industry, creating key art and main title sequences for independent films. Working with a close friend who is currently a film student with a passion for creating trailers, I hope to eventually co-own a small “boutique” studio creating key art, titles and trailers for indie films. If I could have at the same time a source of “passive” income or a “low maintenance” online business like Corbett spoke of, I could work on building this new film design career without having to depend on it as my primary source of income to pay the rent.

Personally, I want to have the freedom and financial independence to help friends and family achieve their own goals, and to make a difference for organizations and causes I believe in. I’ve spent a lot of mornings serving breakfast to homeless folks on Skid Row and participating in marches and protests for issues and movements I care about, and I want to be able to do more of that sort of thing.

What I’m currently doing to achieve this:

I have radically simplified my current lifestyle so that my income needs are modest and I can focus time and energy on achieving my dream. I am going into this project with literally zero debt and minimal overhead.

I am completely re-designing my graphics portfolio website to make it more modern and visually exciting. Launch probably within 2 weeks. My hope is to bring in enough design work to pay the rent while I focus on launching my new life.

I am creating a blog about independent filmmaking and distribution. My intent is to provide useful, compelling content to draw film students and indie filmmakers to the blog, and then use that as a platform for advertising my graphic design services for indie film. Most blogs nowadays have ads, so mine, at least initially, will have one: a really nice ad for ME, but tastefully and not overdoing it.

A family friend and his wife recently loaned me the money to obtain a new Mac with video editing software to get started on that phase of my dream. I didn’t ask for it, they offered. The loan is for one year at zero interest. I have some great people in my corner who believe in me.

Other thoughts:

Being truly location independent also means having the freedom to stay right where you are if that’s where your heart is. For me, that means Los Angeles. My poetry (I’m a poet in real life) is all about the streets of L.A., and i can’t imagine wanting to live anywhere else.

It’s fascinating that some of the other participants have mentioned the Dalai Lama, Peter Ralston and other gurus in connection with their lifestyle re-design. Five years ago I was privileged to meet and talk with Dwarko Sundrani, the last remaining active disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, and attended one of his speaking engagements later that evening. He was 26 when Gandhi died, and 82 when we met. That encounter with Dwarko-ji has certainly had an influence on my journey of growth and discovery since then, and if my new career makes it possible, I would love to be a supporter of his ashram in Bodh Gaya.

To Corbett and everyone at FreePursuits: Life happens on the edge, my friends. It’s where the intellectuals, revolutionaries, radicals, cognitive dissonants, artists and dreamers hang out, and I’m working on making it my permanent address. Seth Godin calls it edgecraft. I think it’s where we all need to be in order to make this work.

Corbett Barr June 20, 2009 at 9:20 am

“Online laboratory for collaborative lifestyle design,” I like the sound of that.

This is an inspirational blueprint you have laid out, Mark. It’s clear that you are first and foremost and artist, and it’s great that you’re pursuing it so passionately. The world needs more artists and dreamers. So many people give up on their dreams when they realize hard work is involved.

Thank you for sharing, and please let us know how things progress. You have a lot of things planned, and I imagine that might change. Knowing what to focus on is so important in a life of limited time and resources.

Sean June 11, 2009 at 7:14 am

I have yet to find a long term plan, however my near term plan (next 2 years) is quite simple.

1) Get out of my dead end job. I have started taking steps to do this by starting my blog and building a community to support my endeavors.

2) Have enough money saved so that I can travel and ultimately write about it on my site. I am saving by selling my car, and paying off all of my credit card debt. I hope to be traveling by January, and as I started writing in May I think that is going to give me a pretty good head start.

Obviously the big issue here, is where does the money come from. In an ideal world, my goals aren’t that much different from yours. Make money through consulting, information projects and potentially other low maintenance websites. Throughout my traveling though, I will hopefully tend bar as I build up the online businesses.

Corbett Barr June 20, 2009 at 9:23 am

Starting with the near term plan is a great approach, Sean. It sounds like you have a clear and achievable plan. You’re right about the income side of things being the most difficult. If it were easy, everyone would be living the dream, right? Tending bar is a great interim plan. My sister-in-law has done that very successfully as she’s lived around the world.

Mat Siems June 16, 2009 at 3:58 am

My ultimate plan is to have my muse websites generate enough income to be able to live a funky success lifestyle. However for now, they are virtually not generating any income. I will be finishing a high paid contract at the end of the month and don’t know what to do next. Should I follow the money and get another contract or decide to risk it again and be a real web entrepreneur. I also want to mention that I gave myself January and half of February this year to put things in place…but I guess it wasn’t enough as I barely receive 1$ from Adsense revenue (but it still felt good) and didn’t built any strong community. Anyway you advice would be more then helpful.
Thanks, Mat

Brandon Pearce June 19, 2009 at 11:35 am

Wow, what a great question! I have already created an on-line business that supports my family and takes me less than 5 hours a week to maintain. So, you’d think I’d have a lot of time on my hands to do whatever I want. But it’s still a struggle to make sure I’m doing those things that are most important to me, and taking time to really enjoy them, rather than being “productive” all the time, accomplishing my to-do list, and missing the joy of life.

Family is huge for me. I have a wife and two cute little girls. We love to spend time together and travel. We spent 6 weeks in Panama at the beginning of this year, and will probably do some volunteer work in Ecuador or Peru next winter. We also just bought a new Infiniti (tired of our old 95 Corolla), so that’s been fun to drive.

I’ve realized that the goal really isn’t money. The goal isn’t even time or freedom. The goal is happiness. The tricky part is finding out how to achieve it consistently, since it can be so fleeting.

For me, I’m trying lots of things. Mostly sharing and improving my talents, and helping others. I’m in a musical right now, which I haven’t done since Jr. High – lots of fun. I’m also trying to get myself to compose music. Learning languages and reading books are also enjoyable for me. I did a service project this week helping improve homes of some low-income families in my city. I’d like to make some kind of positive difference for someone somewhere.

I’ve also started a series on my blog about how to start an on-line business. I don’t know very much, but since I have built a business successfully, I thought I might as well share how I did it, in case it might help someone. You can read about it on my blog at http://brandonpearce.com.

Good luck to everyone here on achieving happiness!

Jeanette March 11, 2010 at 1:40 am

Hi Corbett,

I think your website is amazing! I am new to this lifestyle design concept, although I have been dreaming about it for years. My lifestyle goals are actually very similar to yours.

As a lawyer, I am of the old economy (and technologically inept as well), but I am currently at a crossroads in my career and have been taking steps to explore other creative endeavours. Your site and this lifestyle design ideology are both inspirational and really giving me hope that having the lifestyle I want and being location independent at my age could be a reality.

Thank you so much for sharing so much of your invaluable insight and suggestions. Hoping to become a lifestyle designer soon!

Corbett March 11, 2010 at 7:17 am

Cheers, Jeanette. It’s nice to see you here. After you have more of a look around, please feel free to email me anytime. Also, let us all know how you progress.

Jophiel June 2, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Hello Corbett et al.,

This is a fantastic idea. Happy to help and (hopefully) be helped!

In short: My ideal lifestyle belongs to Indiana Jones: half the time solving puzzles and doing intensive brain work/research, and half the time chasing adventures around the globe. I’m 29, with an advanced degree in English.

Needs: the time, money, and flexibility mentioned, but also…
- a sense of career continuity. Individual projects rock, because I get REALLY bored after about six months (your Dream Jobber description made me laugh), but I need to feel like I’m accumulating knowledge and skills and completing more complex tasks over time.
- private space. Hardcore introvert, here – the idea of making a living off creating and maintaining a public following is exhausting.
- a sense (even a false one :) ) of security. The “gut check” required to start a business? Scary. Consulting on someone else’s start-up? Why not!

Another question: how do digital nomads find significant others?

Jophiel

Corbett June 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Hey Jophiel! Welcome. You’ve made some great points that I’m sure other people deal with on a regular basis too. I like your idea of consulting on someone else’s startup, considering you’re not interested in the risk or in “creating a public following” as you put it. Hopefully some others can chime in here with more suggestions for you.

As for finding significant others, I’ll have to leave that to others to answer. I’ve been happily married for some time, and my wife and I met before we were “digital nomads.”

Jophiel June 21, 2010 at 9:24 am

Signed on for writing and printing/layout courses with an eye towards becoming certified as a technical writer.

Del July 1, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Hey Corbett,

Awesome blog!

Ideal Lifestyle for me and my family:
- Farm from March to November (husband)
- Run profitable workshops about the good life / homesteading etc
- Travel to warm place during the winter months
- Do service projects as a family in 3rd world countries
- Donate generously to charities that we love

Essentially, make enough to live on while doing good in the world together as a family!

How we will make our income:
- Consulting (started)
- Workshops / Teaching Gigs (started)
- Writing (husband)
- Niche Website (researching)

Wish I had known about your website. I would have joined your affiliate product launch! Thanks for the awesome content.

Corbett July 5, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Hey Del, welcome here, and thanks for sharing. I like the focus you’ve put on doing good in the world together as a family. Sounds like a great plan and a great way to raise your kids too. I hope to see you around the blog more. Cheers.

Mama Bird July 1, 2009 at 4:32 pm

Funny you should mention this, because the corporate portion of the IT department where he works (which has around 1000 employees) is about to roll out remote working thing for corporate where employees can choose to work 2 days a week from home (provided all the conditions are met). So, he’s planning on doing this, with plans to extrapolate it to working remotely from Australia. He actually might do a day or so in December when we are there to try it out so he can have some documentation for his boss.

But yes, this would definitely be a good answer for us to start and we are definitely looking into it. Thanks for the response!

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