Radical Lifestyle Transparency

  • October 8, 2009 by Corbett Barr
  • 47 Comments

Editor’s note: this post is a little longer than I usually publish here, but it is worth the read. I lay everything on the line here, because I believe that transparency will help us all reach our goals. Total read time is less than 10 minutes. Let me know what you think.

out-from-the-shadows

I have to say that I’ve been “practicing what I preach” in some areas and not in others lately.

If you read New Economy Superstar, you know that I’m big on finding like-minded people and interacting with them. If you’re trying to reach any uncommon goals, it’s really important to build a support group so that “normal” society doesn’t drag you back into the fold.

That’s the part that I’ve been pretty good about practicing lately. And doing that has helped me realize that I’m not doing other things I should be.


A couple of posts by fellow aspiring radical life changers have caught my attention lately. The first, Introducing: Radical Financial Transparency by Adam Baker (Man Vs. Debt) made me examine exactly how transparent I’ve been lately, and I think I haven’t been transparent enough. That was the original inspiration for this post.

The other post that really struck me today was Bullshit with Bullets by J.D. Bentley (Wage Slave Rebel). J.D. was ranting about how list-style blog posts (you know, top 10s and the like) are really useless to readers. His deeper point was more about how we all need to work harder at contributing something to collective journey we’re on. List posts just aren’t enough for J.D. He wants to facilitate organic growth and to be a leading participant in the conversation.

I’m not ready to abandon list posts (I think the structure is useful if the content is right), but I was really taken by his sentiment. I’m guilty just as much as the next guy of not giving 100% all the time and not sharing enough of myself to really help everyone else cut through the bullshit that is out there.

The point was further driven home in a comment on the post by Alaya Morning:

After initial excitement, I’ve been quickly disenchanted with current content on personal development/lifestyle design/etc.. It seems to favor quick sets of “instructions” over what people really need: the reminder to get in touch with themselves, and find their own path through life.

Amen. Enough with the empty instructions. Let’s get in touch with ourselves and find our own paths through life.

We all need to work on being more open and honest with ourselves and our readers. Authentic conversations are needed to help all of us reach our goals. Platitudes and how-to’s will only get us so far. Those of us in the personal development and lifestyle design communities need to lay everything on the line.

I’m going to lay everything out today, here, in this post.

This is a summary of exactly where I stand, and where I want to be. I don’t want to come off as though I have everything figured out. I don’t want to be a part of the B.S. that goes on online where people sell experience they don’t really possess or teach things they don’t really know.

I’m on a journey of my own, and I’m simply sharing with you what I find and what I know from things I’ve already experienced. I hope all of you bloggers reading this will open up and share more of your personal stories as well. If you don’t blog, you can share too in the comments.

Let’s Start With Money

This is probably the single biggest question about lifestyle design and location independence. How do you make money? How do you run a business or work from somewhere while traveling abroad?

I’m not going to answer the question in the generic sense, because there are lots of correct answers. Instead, let’s look at my specific situation so you can use it as a guidepost.

I get this question a lot: “I don’t see any advertisements on your blog. How do you make money?” Great question, and the answer is I don’t make any significant income from this blog. I think I’ve made maybe $300 in affiliate revenue from the blog (from that little Thesis Theme link at the bottom of this page). On the whole though, this blog has cost me much more than I’ve made. So far.

My goal is to eventually earn a living from this blog. It won’t be my only source of income, but I do plan to make something meaningful from it. And that’s okay. You shouldn’t feel guilty about trying to make a living from what you do. Your dentist doesn’t, and your plumber doesn’t either. The difference with blogging is that people expect to start making money right away, whereas your dentist went to school for like 7 years, and even your plumber was an apprentice before making a living at it.

So, I’m not going to rush the blogging income. I will start to review useful products here soon, and I also plan to write and sell a book on the site within the next few months. But I don’t expect blogging to support me anytime soon. Some people have become probloggers in less than a year. I’m not counting on it. The beauty of blogging is that it can be valuable in a lot of other ways before (or instead of) bringing in any income directly.

If I’m not going to make a living from blogging, how do I support myself now? How will I make a living?

The short answer is that I’m in a transition now and living mostly off of savings. My wife works as well, but we’re definitely spending more than we’re making right now.

We’ve been back home for just two months now from our life changing sabbatical in Mexico (sorry that’s a list post). On that trip, I formulated an entirely new life plan. The foundation of my new life plan is in joining the New Economy, and making a living as a location independent solopreneur. More on that in a sec.

How Did I Get Here?

I left my “traditional” cushy career (and my big salary) of technology/business consulting to big companies back in early 2006. I wanted to pursue a life-long dream of being an entrepreneur, and I did. Only I didn’t really think about what the lifestyle of an entrepreneur could be and just jumped into the typical Silicon Valley version of entrepreneurship.

I found a partner (a former colleague) who already had a business idea, and we got to work. We built a prototype version and started shopping it around to venture capitalists. We ended up raising a couple million dollars from a really well-known firm, and we were written about in the Economist and a bunch of other top publications.

By all accounts, we were doing quite well, but I didn’t feel satisfied. Something wasn’t right for me. Maybe I wasn’t passionate about the product (an email prioritization tool), or maybe I didn’t like the day-to-day of operating a company like that. Sure, I was a founder, but with VCs, a co-founder, board members, employees and an office, it ended up being more stifling than when I worked for a big company. Boo hoo, I know, but that’s how it felt.

When it became clear that we weren’t going to be able to raise a second round of financing big enough to grow the company (and would have to lay people off), it was time for me to go. And I’m so glad I did. That’s when my wife and I decided to head to Mexico for the first half of this year to reevaluate what we want from life.

That’s what brings me here today, and I’m grateful for the way things worked out. Even with the stress of completely changing what I’m working on, I am so happy about our outlook and feel like I’ve found myself again after spending the better part of a decade doing what I thought I was supposed to do (instead of what I wanted to do). I would definitely go through the whole startup experience again because of everything I learned, but I’m much happier now that I’m doing something I’m passionate about in the way that I want to do it.

Funding My Future Happiness

Achieving my new life plan is going to take some time, and I’m making a conscious decision to fund my future happiness out of my savings now. Is it fun living with almost no income and watching our savings shrink? Hell no, it scares the shit out of me. But, I know it’s the right thing to do now.

I realize that my situation may be a little different than yours. That’s OK. Everyone’s path and life plans are different. That’s why I’m being open about where I’m at so that what I write about here can better help you.

Instead of living on savings, maybe you have a day job. Most people do. I’m not saying you should quit your day job before having your next income source in place. The stress of not making an income might be harder than creating an income in your spare time. I’ve tried both, and they each have advantages and disadvantages. That’s a whole separate topic.

I’m actually about to create a type of “day job” for myself. To do this, I’m going to rely on the skills I already earned from paying my dues as a technology/business consultant. I’m going to start taking on some independent consulting clients and help other people become successful in the new economy. This will be my primary source of income until either blogging or my other projects take on a life of their own. I actually enjoy consulting with people and small businesses, so I’ll probably continue that even when I don’t “need” the income.

What are my other projects? Well, I’ve told you about one of them before, Morning Spanish. That project hasn’t been a wild success yet, but it is cash flow positive, requires little effort to maintain, and it does earn a couple hundred dollars per month just one month after launch. If it keeps growing like this, it will be a respectable little side business within a year.

And I have other similar projects planned. The goal is to create a number of smaller projects (some with partners) that I can run with a decent return on investment (ROI). My investment in these projects consists mostly of time, although I’m not opposed to investing cash in the right opportunity.

So, to sum up my current income, and my plans, I currently make less than $500 per month from all my endeavors. We’re living off of savings and my wife’s income (she’s an artist and teacher) until I get things worked out. I’ve given myself until April 1, 2010 to earn an income that exceeds our expenses.

That income will come from three things (in order of most to least earnings): consulting, this blog and side projects (minisites). If I don’t reach my goal by April 1 of next year, than I’ll reevaluate. How confident am I that I’ll reach my goal? I feel great about it. There have been days when I question myself, but overall, I’d give myself a 90% chance of being able to support myself in the way I’ve laid out. I’ve succeeded in the past at things I consider much harder than what I’m attempting now.

And the Lifestyle Part?

So, what does all this mean for my lifestyle? Why do I care about earning a living in such a specific way? How will that help me live how I want to live? Why would I give up a big salary and a comfortable career for so much uncertainty?

I tried the “regular” career thing, and it just didn’t work for me. I constantly felt like something was wrong with me because I didn’t enjoy it. I also didn’t understand why things operated like they did, with hierarchies and inefficiencies and people going through the motions without any passion. It still blows my mind that so many people are willing to endure life in a job they don’t like.

That’s why I’ve resolved to so something different. My goal is to work doing something I really enjoy (helping others succeed in the New Economy), while being able to control my own schedule, earn a decent income, live where I want to and travel when and as often as I want to.

Getting there is going to require plenty of long days. I have no delusions or intentions of 4-hour workweeks anytime soon. And I’m fine with that, because I actually really like what I’m doing now. Finally, for the first time in my working years (15 years if you count my full time job in college) I actually like my “job.” It’s ironic that in my quest to find a way to work less, I found something to be passionate about.

Am I out traveling the world now? No, I’m writing this from San Francisco, which I consider home now, and which is one of my favorite cities. Even when I achieve full location independence, I plan to be here at least six months out of each year. We love it here, and my wife needs to be here (or a similar big city) to continue her career as an artist.

Our next major adventure will start in January, when we head back to Mexico for a couple of months. We really came to love a little beach town there, and want to continue learning Spanish and reconnect with our new friends. This trip will be different from the sabbatical in that it will be a test of how well I can work in another country for an extended period of time.

The Bottom Line

So, here’s the bottom line (thanks for sticking with me until the end). I’m in transition myself and don’t have all the answers. I’m committed to living a better lifestyle and to sharing everything I learn along the way with you. I also happen to believe that the way all of us live and work is changing rapidly and that location independence, lifestyle design and earning a self-reliant independent income will become much more common in the future.

To help accelerate that process, I think we should all be a little more transparent. We need to share with each other the real truth about what works and what doesn’t (and less empty instructions). If we do that, there’s no stopping us.

Share your thoughts!

Is this all transparent enough for you? What else can I share? What do you need to know to get where you want to be? Please share in the comments! Also, feel free to contact me anytime. I want to help.

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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Andy Hayes October 8, 2009 at 1:07 am

That didn’t seem very long, but maybe because it was such a good read?

Thanks for laying it out all the line – I like your plan and look forward to watching it succeed!

Oscar - freestyle mind October 8, 2009 at 1:30 am

I like your attitude and I think your are on the right track. Just make sure that when you’ll do consulting you’ll have enough time for your side projects and your family. Good luck

Corbett Barr October 9, 2009 at 10:05 am

Don’t worry, Oscar. I’ve been on the long end of the consulting workweek before and definitely won’t repeat it.

David Turnbull October 8, 2009 at 2:58 am

Hey Corbett,

I agree that we need to move beyond empty instructions, and I respect that you’ve shared so much in this post, but there’s something about the idea of radical transparency that rubs me the wrong way.

I have no problem with being open and love when companies don’t use meaningless jargon but I still think there is still value in maintaining privacy. Much of this radical transparency talk seems to be centred around taking your private life and taking it public. But it seems to me that that’d cheapen the experience of life itself.

Instead of just doing something for the sake of doing it, you’d do something but at the same time be thinking about how you were going to get it up on YouTube or what a great blog post it’d make.

Perhaps that’s not the greatest example, but it’s like what many travel writers say about travel: if you like to travel don’t become a travel writer. You have to be passionate about the travel writing itself, because the act of sharing the experience of travel entirely changes the travel – you must be constantly taking notes, being keenly aware of your surroundings and spend days at a type writing up an essay. It’s not necessarily bad, but if you want the original experience (the travel) then it becomes lost, tarnished.

My main point is to not overlook the benefits of privacy. I love sharing some of my life with the world, but with all the talk about transparency I can see a time when people will feel obligated to share more than they wish to. And that obligation will take the joy out of openness.

Anyways, I hope I make sense. I was actually writing a blog post about privacy over the last couple of days, but I wasn’t sure if I’d publish it because I still find it a struggle to tackle such large topics with coherency.

I respect your decision to be transparent, but I just thought I’d share my views. :-)

Baker October 8, 2009 at 3:13 am

“Much of this radical transparency talk seems to be centred around taking your private life and taking it public. But it seems to me that that’d cheapen the experience of life itself.”

That’s a bold statement! Have you tried these type of projects to see if it ‘cheapens’ the experience?

Anything done poorly will result in less than stellar results. We all know that, but just because you make something public doesn’t cheapen the experience.

I’ve recently began tracking my expenses daily (publicly) on my blog. In addition, we’ve shared account balances, family photos from our travels, etc… I’ll also planning on doing a project sharing what I eat and my workout schedules?

Why?

Because it heightens my experience of these events. The accountability that comes from knowing people will be following my daily actions and ensuring that they align with my stated passions and purpose is exhilarating.

Just this week, I’ve turned away a couple impulse purchases knowing that I’d have to share that information. Today, I with 100% certainty I would have eaten junk food had I not been taking pictures of everything I eat for an upcoming project. Sure, these are little things, but the motivation to be consistent even in my small daily actions is awesome. What’s cheap about that?

My own selfish reasons, aside, I’ve received no less than a hundred e-mails in the week or so since starting the project. Many of them talking about how refreshing it was to see someone walking-the-walk or be so open to share. Many of them saying that they’ve been encouraged to dump a large portion of their clutter or finally have been pushed to start tracking their finances.

Will it have lasting impact for them? Don’t know. But I’m willing to give it a shot.

Corbett is in a very similar situation to my own and I really appreciate him sharing this much detail. As his journey continues I hope to learn bits and pieces for my own business and lifestyle design attempts. Will this ‘tarnish’ the experience for Corbett? I just can’t see it happening.

Maybe I’m wrong. But I’m stoked to be doing my own transparency projects and hope people like Corbett will continue their own!

Corbett Barr October 9, 2009 at 10:11 am

Hey David. I’m not planning to put all of my life online just for the sake of doing so. My focus is on sharing details of my lifestyle that will help other people meet their own lifestyle goals. It’s also so that readers can better judge how useful my advice and stories might be to them.

I agree, transparency for it’s own sake is an entirely different topic. What I’m proposing is that those of us trying to make radical lifestyle changes simply share enough details of our background and current situation that others can benefit from it.

Alaya Morning October 8, 2009 at 4:37 am

Corbett,

Thanks for sharing your unique experience. I appreciate your willingness to be transparent about your state of transition. (Aren’t we always in some state of transition?) There is real heart here (not to mention some helpful reference points as we carve our own paths.) I’m wooed.

Also, I’m digging your wife’s art.

Alaya

Corbett Barr October 9, 2009 at 10:18 am

Thanks, Alaya for part of the motivation to write this post. I had also been feeling for a while like the concept of lifestyle design gets people excited for a while, but then lets them down when there aren’t enough substantive resources out there. I want to provide substance, and I felt like this level of transparency is necessary to do so.

Nate October 8, 2009 at 5:17 am

In the theme of what’s already been said in the comments, I am a HUGE fan of transparency. On my blog, I know that I try to be as transparent as possible. As a blogger, realizing that people want to read something from a real person, not just an “author” is a big part of success. Great post, Corbett and you are doing awesome things here. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to read such a long post and still pay attention. That means your doing something right :-)

Corbett Barr October 9, 2009 at 10:20 am

I was hesitant to publish such a long post at first, but breaking it up didn’t make sense, so I went for it. I’m glad it held your attention!

NomadicNeil October 8, 2009 at 5:51 am

Great post Corbett.

I’m one of the people that is critical about bloggers who aren’t walking their walk. We’re all human and fallible. I know I’m guilty of this as well so my opinion doesn’t come from some holier than thou view point.

First of all it’s my belief that no one should feel obliged to share every aspect of their life. To me transparency means that if you are blogging about how to be a rock-star then you should already be a rock-star, otherwise you should be blogging about your quest to become a rock-star and that’s an important distinction.

Think about it, if you want to learn how to be a rock-star who’s blog would you rather read, Joe’s Band from next door or the blog of U2, the Killers, Jay-Z etc. (presuming they blog about what it took to make it big, not just how cool it is to be at the top). Say you’re reading a blog by the Killers, transparency would mean that they’re open and honest about the process that led them to success, all the crappy dive bars they played, how they used to argue in the band, how they took constructive criticism about their music. This does not mean they write about which super models they are dating and what they ate for breakfast. Though those details may help the audience bond with them as they see them as a real people. Bloggers have to decide for themselves what they want to share. For example I will never write about my personal relationships.

So the reason why I’m in favour of transparency, where it’s relevant, is that to not do so is doing a disservice to yourself and your audience. For example if I want to learn how to make money online I’m going to gravitate towards people whom as far as I can tell actually are making an income form online sources, and by that I exclude people who only make money by telling other people how to make money online (I seriously wonder how many people fund their location independent lifestyle by getting paid to tell other people how to make money online and live a location independent lifestyle) It’s a waste of my time to be reading blogs by people who aren’t taking real world action because all their pie-in-the-sky thinking could be completely faulty and give terrible real world results.

As a blogger your missing out on being held accountable and getting helpful feedback and advise (assuming your blog is about your ongoing journey towards a particular goal). Again, no one is saying you must be transparent, don’t ever feel like you have to go along with what everyone else is doing. What kind of rebel / life-style designer / un-conformist would it make you if you shared details about your life just because everyone else is?

This authenticity / transparency issue has just played out on a global scale. Do you know what happens in a world filled with BS, people more concerned with how they come across than who they really are, a world of fakes? Economic melt down, that’s what. Think about what’s been happening over the past decade. People were taking out mortgages they couldn’t afford (lied about how much income they had), sales-people knew this (lied about the quality of their sales so get their commission), banks sold on the mortgages (lied about the quality of the mortgages), I could go on. Then it all caved in cause it turned out everyone was filled with crap. Didn’t help anyone in the end did it?

Rant over :)

Corbett Barr October 9, 2009 at 10:46 am

Damn, Neil, you’ve really been thinking about this. I love your rock star / aspiring rock star comparison. It’s really interesting to think about successful blogs and wonder if each of them fit into one of those two categories (personal blogs anyways, not news or humor blogs). Also, “rock star” (in any context, not just music) is a binary way to think about things, whereas levels of success are actually much more nuanced.

Anyways, your comment has definitely made me think about how I’ve positioned myself and this blog. Maybe I haven’t been clear enough? I feel like I have things to offer people from my experience, but at the same time I’m on a quest myself and have a lot to learn. How would you reconcile those two things?

Jason D Barr October 8, 2009 at 6:04 am

I’ll agree that transparency is the way to go. Especially in the niche you’ve chosen for yourself, Corbett, it’d be so easy to write in such a was as to project an image that isn’t wholly true. While never explicitly lying, you could shade the truth and and imply that things are further along in what you are, and attempt to co-opt some authority that you may not have truly earned yet.

It’s refreshing to see you and others like you publicly commit to truly engaging your readers by being honest in what you do share. I think it’s up to you HOW MUCH you share, which is fine. I don’t begrudge people’s privacy. I just think that it’s crucial to be above-board in everything you do, and this is a great step. Keep it up!

Corbett Barr October 9, 2009 at 10:51 am

Thanks, Jason. It feels great to have such a raw conversation with people. It’s really interesting to me to compare lifestyle design to personal development and productivity. What are the goals of each?

How do people who write about those three topics “qualify” themselves to do so? Are people who write about personal development seeking full development? Do they have to be fully developed to write as an expert? Are people who write about productivity seeking ultimate productivity? Do they have to be completely productive to write as an expert? How does someone succeed in blogging about those concepts if they aren’t already an expert?

Sorry for all the questions. I don’t have the answers, but it is an interesting topic. I feel a post in the works about it.

Sean October 8, 2009 at 7:47 am

Thanks for laying all this out Corbett, I know that a lot of us are facing the exact same issues.

One thing that I totally agree with is that while some people can do it in less than a year, it generally is going to take a long time to make a full living off a blog. I have turned me attention from trying out how to pull in revenue, to trying to figure out how to create better content and build up my readers. Once you have an established base of fans, it is easier to find support for the premium stuff; at least as far as I can tell.

Good luck with all of the projects and I hope you will continue to be transparent about what you are accomplishing!

Corbett Barr October 9, 2009 at 11:03 am

Thanks, Sean. I know you’ve especially wrestled with the transparency issue because of things you can’t say due to your employment situation. I really appreciated your honesty about that issue and look forward to learning more when you can share.

J. D. Bentley October 8, 2009 at 7:53 am

I’m glad my post helped to inspire this because this is actually what I was hinting at and what my next post will be about. I’m disgusted by the lack of transparency and the lack of authenticity. Bloggers go along pretending like they have it all together and as a reader it makes me feel like crap. When someone with such a large following as yourself steps up and says “Listen, I’m not in a great position, but I’m happy and we’re in this journey together.” that does a lot more than any list post or how-to guide. If you can make it work and move forward living off of savings and some side projects, then I, as your reader, can’t put you on a pedestal and complain about how you have more money and a better situation. You just killed the last excuse most of your readers have.

Anyway, I really appreciate what you’ve done with this post and I’ll be writing on the topic soon. Thanks, Corbett!

Corbett Barr October 9, 2009 at 11:06 am

As I said in the post J.D., I really appreciate the inspiration. You often write with emotion, and it always gets me thinking. Hopefully this will just be the beginning of a big shift in our community towards authenticity. That’s how we’ll really help each other and our readers and move forward with all the unconventional goals.

John Bardos - JetSetCitizen October 8, 2009 at 7:57 am

Another great post Corbett,

Personally I love “radically transparent” posts like this. If is great to get some specific details on your situation and your plans for the future. That type of information is far more helpful than motivational platitudes.

Please keep sharing your progress!

Corbett Barr October 8, 2009 at 8:24 am

Thanks for all the thoughtful comments everybody. I’m headed to LA (road trip) today but will respond tonight.

Kristin October 8, 2009 at 8:56 am

Corbett – This direction of toward transparency is refreshing. I had a very similar starting experience as Alaya Morning. I stopped commenting on blogs for the past week or so because I was so sick of reading the same how to instructions from people who aren’t actually thriving in the course they’re preaching, or they’re attempting to earn money off of preaching to the choir. I’m excited to hear how the journey goes, what you do differently from what’s been done, what works, what doesn’t, etc.

That being said, I don’t need to know all the details of your personal life ;) I trust your judgment on how transparent you’ll be.

More coming to your inbox because I don’t want to clutter up your comment section!

Corbett Barr October 9, 2009 at 11:09 am

Thanks, Kristin. I’m looking forward to digesting your email. I’m glad this topic got you commenting again. I completely understand how the “how to instructions from people who aren’t actually thriving in the course they’re preaching, or they’re attempting to earn money off of preaching to the choir” could disappoint you. Let’s all move past that now.

Colin Wright October 8, 2009 at 9:04 am

Fantastic!

I’ve really been loving Man vs. Debt, and I think everyone who read it was inspired by J.D.’s post on Wage Slave Rebel. It’s great to see that you’re taking these inspirations and really running with them…walking the walk, if you will.

It’s been really interesting watching this little online community of lifestyle designers and location independent folk grow and evolve and it seems like the next step for most is to go more transparent, which I think can only help the scene and the readers.

It’s an exciting time to be alive, folks! Thanks for helping spearhead the movement, Corbett!

Colin Wright October 8, 2009 at 9:06 am

Really digging your wife’s work, by the way!

Corbett Barr October 9, 2009 at 11:10 am

Thanks, I’ll let her know. Sorry we missed you before you left L.A.

Nate October 8, 2009 at 9:18 am

I’m not sure we should get so caught up in the word ‘transparency.’ What it really comes down to is honesty.

When I read blogs, I’m looking for honesty and authenticity. If we want to call this transparency…then ok, but I think this is getting to the root of it.

It’s walking the walk and not just talking about mindless BS. It’s providing value in a honest and truthful way that’s in line with our personal goals.

This post brings that out. What draws me to the blogs I read is the authenticity and honesty I feel from the blogger. It’s finding people that I connect to. That are like me and ‘get’ what I’m feeling. The only way you’re going to truly get that across is being honest. I definitely get that from Corbett and I think what he’s doing is great.

Corbett Barr October 9, 2009 at 11:11 am

Thanks, Nate. I agree, we don’t need to get hung up on a particular word. It’s all about being open and honest because there’s real value in that (versus too much “fake it ’till you make it” attitude).

Cath Duncan October 9, 2009 at 12:08 am

Thanks for sharing and all the best with your plans, Corbett! It sounds like you’ve got a clear way ahead.

Cath

Nicholas Mannella October 9, 2009 at 9:55 am

Excellent post, Corbett. Glad you clicked ‘Publish’ on the 2000-word beast!

The honesty and the detail are refreshing. Like many have already commented, the value is in the details. Anyone can give you a two-step process to get rich: 1. Increase income 2. Reduce expenses. We obviously know there is a lot more detail after that. Your inspiring story has simultaneously made me feel like less of a failure (for taking so long) and given me motivation to keep going. Thanks again!

Corbett Barr October 9, 2009 at 11:22 am

Hi Nicholas. Don’t ever feel like a failure for taking a long time. Maybe you’re just enjoying the journey more than others! If that’s true, than you’re a success no matter the outcome.

Rasheed Hooda October 10, 2009 at 6:11 am

Thanks for the great post, Corbett.

I haven’t been posting on my blog lately, because I wasn’t feeling like I was being honest in my postings. I had started posting for the sake of posting and succumbed to list posts for convenience.

Before I read JD’s post, I had come across a couple of other posts where the blogger had bared his/her soul, and I was contemplating a post on getting naked, when JD’s post showed up. I felt I had missed the boat on making the point. Then your post comes along, proving that you never miss the boat, if you’re inspired and add to what has been said from your own perspective and put in your own voice and feelings, which you did very well. Thanks for that.

Having said that, it is time for me to get naked. Look for a post in the next few days.

Rasheed

James NomadRip October 15, 2009 at 11:29 am

I’m glad I didn’t clear this one out of my feed reader, and came back to read it later.

Turnbull is kind of on the same train of thought as I am with it. I don’t think you need to share everything, but it does help you connect with readers by sharing things with us.

It’s especially nice to know when bloggers are not trying to pass themselves off as something they are not.

David Krug December 10, 2009 at 3:17 pm

As someone who once lived for 3 years in Mazatlan, you couldn’t choose a better place than Mexico imo.

Felicidades

Vesna February 5, 2010 at 9:30 am

A huge, deep, sincere Thank you for this post. Reading it, in the end I could barely remember why you started writing it and had to remind myself later that you did it out of the urge to be transparent. Thanks for that, as well, because lately I’ve grown very fond of bloggers writing about the real life they lead on their blogs, mostly because I’m interested in taking the plunge and working for myself as well, in a few years time.

But that’s not why I liked your post that much – well, loved it, actually – but the fact that you really got through the whole message of helping people, even while staying on your set way to transparency. I think your post helped me more than any of a random hundred I’ve read in the past couple of months. I’m really new to the whole idea of lifestyle design (or whatever each one of us wants to call it) and through your post you’ve convinced me, more than anyone before, that I really have to take a hard look at my life, cut the b.s. and choose my… path, career, life, whatever. Choose my life, yeah, that’s the right one.

Thank you for your post, it’s been a pleasure, and your great and simple way (is it waay to cheesy if I say ‘honest’? ;) of writing does add much of the gusto.:)

Lijep pozdrav,
Vesna

Corbett Barr February 5, 2010 at 10:14 am

Awesome, Vesna. I’m really glad you decided to comment because comments like yours help me stay grounded and remember why I blog in the first place. I would love to hear more about what you find from the “hard look” you’re about to give your life.

Tim June 14, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Hello,

I just found your blog, via an audio interview with “Internet Business Academy” and glad to find someone who shares the same vision of living a business location independent lifestyle as myself. As a ex patriate of the 24/7 workaholic Silicon valley lifestyle myself, and given that your located in San Fran Bay Area such as myself, I look forward to meeting you someday. Probably the hardest thing of this “new lifestyle” for me has been in meeting and socialization with other likeminded individuals vs corporate mentalities.

Looking forward to meeting up with you sometime in the future and exchanging various ideas on how we can all help each other achieve the “location independent” business lifestyle and dream

Tim Hansen

Corbett June 14, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Hey Tim, thanks for stopping by and commenting on quite a few articles here. I appreciate the insights. Let’s keep in touch on Twitter if you’re a user there.

David Turnbull October 8, 2009 at 3:32 am

Hey Adam,

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my thoughts. I knew my comment wasn’t going to popular so I appreciate that you replied with such clarity (could’ve been real easy to respond with “You’re wrong and you suck”). :)

And while I’ve never done a full scale radical transparency project such as you’re doing with finances there have been quite a few times where I’ve been doing something cool and begin to feel obligated to share it with the world because of this continued touting of the need for transparency.

Perhaps it’s a weakness of my own, not being able to focus on a moment with the idea of needing to share it, and maybe the average blogger doesn’t feel that it could become an obligation. But it’s just my experience.

I do see the value in holding yourself accountable to the world though, but with such broad topics such as life itself there’s a nagging feeling that soon every action will have some ulterior motive as a way to impress an audience rather than just doing what you truly want to do. Once again, that may just be my own weakness.
:-)

Alaya Morning October 8, 2009 at 4:52 am

Transparency is tricky. It can be either a distraction or a motivator.

Here’s the key: it’s up to you.

Setting yourself up to be accountable to others can be really helpful. There are a lot of success stories that site this kind of accountability. And, you have to be able to recognize when the policy to “share all” is no longer working for you. (As in, letting your desire to please/entertain/impress your audience deter you from what you are really trying to express or accomplish.)

That being said, I think we could all benefit from greater transparency in our lives. Being able to disclose the thought processes behind the things we do/say/feel can get us far. Especially in our relationships with others.

NomadicNeil October 9, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Hey, not sure we need to reconcile the two. I have a habit of taking up extreme positions and putting things in black and white for the sake of making an argument.

The real world isn’t like that of course… so just enjoy the greyness!

David Turnbull October 9, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Gotcha. I think perhaps my greatest worry about this radical transparency is more of what it could become more than what it is.

10 years ago the idea of sharing your life on the internet in such detail would’ve seemed ludicrous. But as people becoming increasingly comfortable with it I think there’s going to be a tipping point where simply too much privacy has been given up.
:-)

Jason D Barr October 10, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Well, to be perfectly frank, I ask myself every time I hit “post” whether or not what I write will be taken as though I have it all together. Is it the blind leading the blind over at Start Being Your Best? Sometimes I think so. :)

For me personally, I tend to write things that I have problems with. I didn’t really start blogging to gain a bunch of readers or whatever. I tend to work things out by writing, and I knew that if I gained SOME readers, my “obligation” to them would keep me consistent.

That’s why honesty and transparency are so important, especially for me. If I’m not honest, then I’m failing to work on my own issues, which is the very reason why I started blogging in the first place. Especially in the personal development arena, it would become a death spiral very quickly.

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