A Radical Idea
4-hour workweek dreamlining timothy feriss
The Reasons Why
The main reason I don't want to be tied to a J.O.B. (just over broke, for those of you who've read Rich Dad, Poor Dad) is because I want to be able to do the things I love. And while I can certainly do a job that I love and be paid for it (I am now after all), it still ties me up. I am tied to place and to other peoples' schedules. Beyond that, I am chained to money right now. My time is my money.
I recently got sick and came to the realization that I don't get paid when I'm out sick. I know, obvious right? But while I was sitting there nursing my fever, it felt pretty unfair to me. I could only trade my time for money. I felt cheapened somehow. I should be able to make a living while still being able to take care of myself. Taken a step further, I should be able to make a living while still taking care of my dreams. A few days later, I bought The 4-Hour Workweek and I learned how I can do just that.
So, here are some things I've always wanted to do, that will fuel my lifestyle alterations:
- Study Buddhism in India, Nepal, or Tibet
- Study martial arts in China and Japan (and Brazil)
- Become fluent in Japanese and Arabic, possibly Chinese as well
- Travel the Silk Road (by camel!!)
- Hike the Himalayas and explore the Siberian forests
- Learn horseback archery in Mongolia
(Incidentally, I had no idea until just now, writing them down, that my travel goals involved so much oriental adventure. I never really realized I wanted to travel that much actually...)
Ideally, I'd be able to spend 6-18 months in each location, exploring the culture and immersed in whatever learning and service opportunities I choose. When I'm not travelling, I'd be at home working on my other projects, without concern to making an income, which means I could write with a clear mind, get back into guitar, visit friends on a whim, and train to my hearts content. I'd probably still coach CrossFit, since I do love it, but I wouldn't be tied to it.
So, how do I plan to realize this radical idea?
Step One: Free up My Time
I've already started this. I now only check e-mail and Facebook twice a day, and I deal with all e-mails when I check them. My inbox is kept empty. I've unsubscribed from most of my e-mail newsletters and minimized my blogs to just the ones I actually read all the time. When I'm working on something, I work on it and it alone until it's done, ruthlessly crushing interruptions (usually...I sometimes will answer a chat request). Now, I actually get my projects done, instead of do them in awkward steps all day. I'm actually able to write more on this blog (you have noticed, haven't you?). I've become a ton more productive this way, and have a lot more free time. More importantly, my head is clear to tackle the next steps.
Step Two: Set up an automated additional form of income
Because I don't have a job that will pay for all my ideas, whether I can make it remote/automated or not, I need to figure out a new income stream. That involves market testing an idea (I already have a few), finding suppliers for the ones that test well, and setting up an online shop presence. Once things get rolling, it all becomes automated and outsourced, leaving me out of the equation to collect my pay. Once I learned the steps on how to do this, it made a previously intimidating concept much more approachable. I'm still a bit scared, but I'll just do each step as it comes, following the instructions in the book.
Step Three (or Two.Point.Five): Hire a Virtual Assistant
Turns out VAs are relatively cheap for the services they provide. And while I'm not especially time-starved at the moment, there are a number of little tasks that, if I could get them off my mental plate, would free my mind and creativity for more productive pursuits. Things like client training sessions, advertising and market research, job hunting for local gyms, research for Farm to Table promotions and writing ideas. All that is stuff that tends to get caught in my head, distracting me from all my other cool, big-picture projects. It's also all stuff I don't need to do myself. Anyone can do them. So I'll outsource. In theory, the cost of a VA should make up for itself if I use them smartly in promoting my new online business and my current personal training business.
Step Four: Minimize
The less stuff I have lying around, the less I'm tied to a particular place. I will offering some stuff for giveaways, selling others, and throwing out some. I've already started selling a lot of old books. While I'm not really turning a profit, I'm clearing out my basement, which I think my parents appreciate since we're moving soon. The other benefit to minimizing (partly tied into eliminating unread e-mails and RSS feeds), is that I only surround myself with things that help me move towards my goals. Fewer distractions, fewer balls in the air, means that when I do turn my attention towards something, it gets done.
Step Five: Proceed to Dream Big and Live Large
Once my remote, hands-off income is set up, my living expenses are minimized, and my time is all free, I can do whatever I want without needing to worry about whether I'm making enough money. It's not that I want to do nothing. I just want to be able to do what I want without needing to make sure it first meets financial requirements. Community service doesn't make money, but it is a valuable use of time, for example. Also, if I make all my money in the US, I can live pretty darn well in some other countries without breaking the bank.
Too Good to Be True?
Does it seem ridiculous, to think that I can pull this off? I hope so. What's the fun in pursuing something blasè? The payoff is huge: personal freedom to enjoy and live the life I want, free of the constraints society so gleefully heaps upon us in its attempt to keep us in one place to feed the system. The risk is nill, especially for me being so young; I will spend $500 market testing my ideas and setting up an online store, if that. If it works, I'm free to pursue my dreams for a few years. If not, I'm out two weeks pay. And you bet I'll be trying again.
If anyone wants to join me on the quest, let me know. We can push and motivate each other as we go along. At the very least, I highly recommend Tim Feriss's book, The 4-Hour Work Week.
Image Source: Aaronth on Flickr