I am a lifestyle entrepreneur; I am location independent. I am actually working at home right now, but if I want to, I can just travel to tourist spots and bring my business with me – with ease. The thing is, it’s not as difficult as you might have thought – if I can do it, you can definitely do it, too!
You see, I am fortunate to build a business that fits my lifestyle, not the other way around. It wasn’t easy, and things are still challenging today. But I have passed several milestones I set for my entrepreneurial career, which include starting up a business, hiring freelancers, hiring a virtual assistant, stop working for money (trade your time for monetary reward,) and so on.
If you have guessed that I work online, you are correct. But unlike online workers who earned dollars by offering my time and expertise, I generate revenue from my business websites. But no, I’m not a beach bum or someone who do nothing but making good amount of money; I wished I could be like that, but I later realised that I couldn’t see the purpose of having that as my ultimate entrepreneurial goal.
I love doing what I am doing. I can’t say running business websites is my passion, but I can certainly say that it’s a dream comes true.
How things work out for me
Okay – no secret here; in fact, my business is pretty straightforward – no fuss: I run websites; I invest in domain names; I help people build a web presence; I help people grow their website.
…and I love teaching others for free – just like what I do with this blog post!
I’m not a famous personality; in fact, I am just your guy next door who lives a normal life except for one fact: I am location independent, I network with business leaders and I make a living 100% online. And yes, I don’t wear suit and tie – unless I need to do so attending formal event or meeting (which is rarely!)
What I actually need are great location independent business ideas and the resources to turn at least one of them into reality.
So, here’s a peek on my business so you can have a glimpse on what I am doing right now – and learn a thing or two…
1. My business asset: Business websites
BizPenguin.com is just one of many business websites I established and manage. The majority of my sites are blogs and online magazines. Why blogs? Well, they are content rich, and people (and search engines!) love content (quality ones, obviously!)
My blogs are mostly on business/finance topics. Why? Because, in my opinion, those topics are the most lucrative 🙂
Why I own many, not just one or two? Well, it’s all about choices, really; for me, I love to spread my risks. Owning multiple sites mean that when one site is having an issue, I still have the rest. Plus, more sites mean more audience to cater; more audience will attract advertisers, and advertisers bring revenue for you.
2. My office: My home – mostly
I work at home (or on vacation spots when we need a break from our routines.) ALL my clients are abroad, so I have no reason to rent an office space. Plus, I don’t have full-time employees – instead, I employ freelancers and hire a virtual assistant to help me out.
3. My toolbox: online tools
Let’s just say that I work in the cloud: I work on my business using web-based tools: Google Apps, WordPress, IFTTT, Dropbox, Backup Box, SocialOomph, Dlvr.it, Silanis e-signature, Skype, etc.
All I need to get things done is a reliable Internet access and an Internet-enabled device – laptop, tablet, etc.
Some advice from the horse’s mouth
Interested in doing what I do? Take these advices to shorten your learning curve:
1. Find ways NOT to work for money
Today, there are more people who work online, location independent. They are typically doing freelancing work and blogging. Copywriting, web developing, web/graphic designing, Internet marketing and other typical professions.
While I know there are people making 6 to 7 digits annual income doing the above, you need to always find ways to improve your income-per-hour. Making $1000 working 50 hours a week is different from making $1000 working 4 hours a week. The former will give you an average income of $20/hour, while the latter will give you $250/hour. The latter is in a different league, don’t you think?
Again, always look for ways to improve your income and reduce your hours worked to make that income. The idea here is not to be a lazy bum (although you can if you want!) but to stop working as a contractor and start working like a business owner. Don’t build yet-another-job; build a real asset.
So, instead of writing articles as a freelance writer, take your talent one step further: How about setting up a content writing business which employs other freelance writers, offering your service to your existing contacts and persuade them to promote your newly launched venture to their networks? This is a real business, which is an extension of what you are regularly doing.
2. Always learn new skills and explore new opportunities
Today you have to be multi-faceted and multi-talented; also, you need to continuously learn new skills to keep yourself valuable. Most importantly, you need to be able to cope with the rapid change in online business world. There’s no better way to embrace change than equipping yourself with the necessary skills and proper mindset.
You know what? Most online business opportunities can be pursued even without you spending a dime. As people are easier to do online business these days, your competition is stiff. You need to offer more value to your market, and one of many things you can do is to learn new skills.
New skills mean you have more to offer your clients. Moreover, new skills allow you to explore new opportunities; they can also act as your safety net: When things go wrong with your current business, you can start a new one offering different services/products, serving a different market.
When those personal/professional development activities become your habit, you can then unlock this next tip…
3. Cross-sell your services and products
If you are a blogger, learning SEO/link building and Internet marketing skills will allow you to cross-sell your services. You can offer your blogging client your SEO service; you can offer your Internet marketing client your blogging service; and so on.
If you haven’t realise it just yet, let me tell you this: You are serving 2-3 different-but-interconnected market. More markets you serve mean more income channels for you. This also works in other business niches – online retailing, online tutoring, online reputation management, etc. The possibilities are limitless!
4. Go location independent – properly
Interested in a nomadic lifestyle? Well, you can. But many do so by making ends meet, living abroad from one location to the next. This could work, but I won’t recommend it. Depending on your vision of going location independent, I strongly recommend you to establish a proper business which can support your lifestyle, instead of doing odd jobs so you can stay abroad for as long as you want.
Do what Chris Drucker does – running a real business living location independent. How about the world-famous Tim Ferriss, who runs multi-million dollar business while traveling the world? Or how about learning from online entrepreneur Lea Woodward on how to run her business online while traveling with a family of three?
5. IMPORTANT: Don’t compete on pricing – choose your market segment wisely!
Again, let’s take content writing business as an example. You should be aware that content writing is a strong business niche: It’s a high demand, high supply niche. But it’s harder today to keep a client because he/she can get similar service from 100’s of freelance writers. Just go to Freelancer.com or oDesk, and you’ll see what I mean.
Instead of catching yourself in a never ending price war, you need to offer more value and target a segment in the market.
I blog and offer my blogging service (not publicly offered, though) targeting business market who value insight more than SEO. Writing SEO-friendly articles is simple, to be honest with you: Just write focusing on a set of targeted keywords. Even some writers just rewrite already-published articles. In term of readership, this bears very little value. So, I position myself as an expert and due to that I can charge more per article.
Why write for $5 if I can write for $100? (yes, there ARE eager buyers who are looking for quality, insightful, authoritative articles and willing to pays you top dollar for your work.)
Before you embark on a journey to start a lifestyle business or transform your business to be location independent, you need to know the fine prints; you need to know the potential issues when you run your business online.
The long hours, the rapid changes, the uncertainties… things can be very challenging, but it’s certainly not impossible! Be sure to read articles a lot, join forums and seek mentors’ guide.
Photo credit: entobox