I took the entire weekend off, as I often do, to completely unplug and just enjoy being with somebody who is incredibly special to me. For a short time on Sunday, we both took time to catch up on email, check in with our friends on Facebook, and check our phones, and then we met back up at an agreed upon time to resume our time together. If there is one gift that I could give everybody in the world, it would be the realization that the secret to a good relationship, is the ability to sever our ties with electronics and social media, and get back to just enjoying the company of those we love, and who we truly want to connect with.
And so, I’m a few days behind in my obligation to follow Natalie Sisson’s 30 Day Blog Challenge and while this is technically Day 7, I’m about to answer the question for Day 4 which is “What is your definition of location independence?”
But that’s entirely all right, because the entire concept behind Natalie’s book, The Suitcase Entrepreneur, is about Choosing Freedom and chasing after your dreams! And I know that she fully supports the idea of unplugging occasionally and enjoying the company of good friends! But now the weekend is over and it’s time to charge forward with the work week!
So what is my definition of location independence?
I’ve spent the past two years redesigning my life and my career path so that I could truly operate from anywhere in the world where there is a reliable internet connection. This enables me to be location independent to a reasonable extent. And it’s easier than you might imagine to be location independent in this modern day and age, on most days I travel with a smart phone and an iPad, but my laptop is usually not too far away.
So my definition of location independence is simply being able to maintain connectivity with my clients and fulfill the obligations of my diamond business and coaching business, from anywhere in the world that I choose to travel. And unlike a lot of people, I have no inclination to be connected to the world 24/7, there are a lot of times when I write my blog on my tablet, while I sit on the beach, and then I simply upload it to the site the next time I have an internet connection.
The biggest challenge that I have with travelling around, is that I prefer destinations where I can drive instead of fly, because I don’t really like to stuff my three year old German shepherd dog “Duscha” into the cargo area of an airplane… but I’ve dwindled down the extent of my personal possessions into what I can carry in a large duffle bag, and a storage unit.
Describe Your Perfect Day:
All right, on Day 5 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge, Natalie asks us to take 30 minutes to write down our perfect day in the present tense. This is the assignment:
Start with when you wake up, and move through each hour of the day. Jot down thoughts and descriptions of what the ‘Perfect Life’ would be like.
How would you spend it?
Where would you be?
Would you be working, playing or both?
What does that smell, look and feel like?
Contemplate how a business fits into your perfect life.
What kind of work do you do?
Who are your customers?
How much time would you spend in your business?
What hours would you work, ideally?
So right now I’m hanging out with friends and family in California, it’s my last stop before I venture down to Mexico, and begin my journey South with aspirations of eventually ending up in Costa Rica. I really haven’t thought about where I’ll go after that, the reality is that I intend to spend 3-4-6 months in several different locations on the way down there, just to get a feel for different regions and enjoy each area to the fullest.
At the moment, I’m hoping that my girlfriend will travel along with me, we both share the dream of living independently, beyond the restrictions of the normal 9 to 5 lifestyle which the industrial age demanded of our parents. Let’s face it, the industrial age has come and gone, and far too many people have become slaves to a business and life style model which no longer serves our needs, and which fails to live up to the potential that this modern technological era makes possible.
I’ve already described my typical “work day” during the first few days of this blog challenge, but to quickly summarize, most days begin with a 6 to 7 mile walk, I use the time to gather my thoughts, energize my mind and body, and decide the best way to make use of the time that I want to commit to work that day…
And I really only like to work 3 – 4 hours per day, and the trick is to make effective use of that time, I typically don’t check Facebook or use various forms of social media, beyond the extent that it applies to the promotion of my business, more than a few times per week. Work time is work time, it’s not text time, FB time, or time that I use to catch up with friends… that’s what the rest of my free time is for.
I find that I am most creative, and feel most inspired, and at peace, when I’m near the ocean, so my perfect day, my perfect scenario, always includes a beach house and easy access to the water. Thus far in my traditional life, I’ve had the privilege of living atop two mountain ranges, and on an island located across from Seattle, and the ocean always wins out.
One of my clients unknowingly provided me with an incredible gift awhile back, they called me out to work with them, I met with them at their house which is located next to a beach in California, and when I say next to a beach, I actually mean on it. It is one of a select few of properties which was built in the 1930’s which actually sits on the sand of a state beach.
While they were running an errand, I sat on the back deck of the house, with my eyes closed, just listening to the sound of the ocean, the wind, and the seagulls, and during that time, I allowed myself to realize that I could enjoy this exact same lifestyle, if I opened myself up to the possibility of travelling abroad, where the beaches are more plentiful, and the lifestyle which I want is significantly more affordable.
The next step was to subscribe to International Living magazine, and start learning more about what it takes to live abroad, by reading the articles and learning from the experience of people who were already living the lifestyle which I desired.
One of the primary differences between myself and the people who tend to write for International living, is that I’m not even close to retirement age, it is still necessary for me to earn a living. And so Natalie’s book, The Suitcase Entrepreneur has been incredibly helpful in helping me fine tune my business model to operate solely online. However I have also really enjoyed reading 99 Days to Panama, which represents the collective experience of a couple who spent 99 days driving their recreational vehicle down to Panama from the United States, this was of particular interest to me since I will be driving with my co-pilot Duscha, and hopefully my girlfriend.
Obviously I’m in the diamond business, and I’m a personal development coach, but thankfully I’m no longer a diamond broker, which means that I don’t have to worry about physical inventory, and it won’t do anybody any good to kidnap me for profit, because my only involvement in the diamond business at this time, is that I blog about it. So my business is essentially helping people make intelligent choices, both in terms of selecting a diamond, and in creating strategies which help them live better lives, and enjoy more fulfilling relationships.
The majority of my clients are techies, ages 30 to 50, and who are either in a relationship, or are striving to develop one. I find it convenient that my client base overlaps between the two businesses, and that I often interact with my clients for both their jewelry and personal development needs, so I benefit from having a built in clientele that is used to working with me online via various forms of electronic media, and thus I don’t have to meet with people face-to-face to get things done.
Since my challenge was primarily to convert an existing business model from a traditional brick and mortar environment with an online presence, into strictly an online presence, I did not have to face the challenge with comes from building a business from the ground up… but I’ve already done that and can provide you with insight into that as well. Thus while I spent quite a few hours each day making the transition during the early days of the changeover, I find that I don’t have to spend much time developing the framework of business on a daily basis at this point.
So I work an average of 3 to 4 hours per day, some days considerably more, and some days much less, but it all averages out. Sometimes I’ll sit down and write a week’s worth of blog posts in an afternoon, and then set them to publish on specific days throughout the week. Then I only have to keep up with email, and meet with my coaching clients online when we have scheduled appointments.
And I find that I’m most inclined to work either mid-morning or late afternoon and evening, but the reality of being a personal development coach, is that I need to be available to meet with clients at times that are convenient for them… so the perfect solution is provided by merely allowing my schedule to remain flexible to the needs of my clients, but to try and book up blocks of time on days when stuff is already scheduled, which leaves me free to enjoy more of the good life on other days!
I feel that it is important to point out that my perfect scenario, might not be your perfect scenario, we all have different aspirations, dreams, abilities, situations, and experience. However the important lesson to take with you from all of this, is that practically anything is possible, if you open your mind up to the possibility, and take proactive steps to develop a strategy for achieving your goals and building an online business.