Hey everyone, today I have a great guest post by Ricard over at EscapingtoFreedom.com! Ricard was a blog coaching student of mine a while back, and he's doing a killer job of growing his site and finding ways to make money online.
He's also into personal finance like all of us! He's the perfect example of someone that had a normal job, and is now pursuing full-time online work and location independence. Enjoy! ~M$M
As a millennial, it's hard to avoid the flood of daily articles and opinions, trying to figure us out. Some say we're lazy, others claim we've got it easier than other generations, while others, conversely, reckon that we've been dealt a weak hand in life.
I think we're no different to any other generation. Each one that's come before us has had its set of advantages and disadvantages, and what's made people successful is how well they've managed to make the most out of the opportunities presented to them.
As millennials, our greatest advantage is technology.
No other generation has had such incredible power in their hands – quite literally if you're reading this from a cell phone!
At a moment's notice, we can easily find out the name of that actor in that movie from the 80s, pull up the definition of any word in the dictionary, or learn any skill in minutes by watching a YouTube video.
Pause for a moment and marvel at how insanely incredible this is. Well, it gets even better.
The Changing Process of Choosing Where You Live
Technology now allows us to flip the process of choosing where you live on its head. You see, the conventional process that most people follow in their careers goes something like this:
- Get a college degree.
- Find a job that uses your degree and pays you well.
- Move to wherever this job is based.
All of a sudden, people find that they have to move somewhere they may not want to live.
I know people who have always lived in the countryside who now live in tiny flats in busy cities. I also know people who come from the opposite background and now live in boring towns where nothing ever happens.
It's a broken model that can now finally be changed by those who want to.
You may have noticed that I'm pretty passionate about this. That's because I found myself in the same situation as I described earlier: I got a degree in engineering and ended up working for a well-known car manufacturer in England… in the middle of a field.
Seriously, there were only roads and fields around the complex. It wasn't the most inspiring place!
After a few years grinding at this job that I didn't really like, I decided to ditch my career, start my own online business, and move countries to somewhere prettier and sunnier: Barcelona, Spain.
The Life of a Laptop Entrepreneur
By leveraging technology, you can work from anywhere you like, provided it meets one requirement: you must have an internet connection.
I sometimes use a site called NomadList, which ranks the best cities in the world for digital nomads, and consider whether I want a change of scenery for a while.
You could realistically move to Thailand for a few months and keep working from your laptop. The best part is that you'd keep earning in your usual currency (probably dollars) which would likely be worth a lot more in the weaker local currency. Your expenses would easily drop to under $1,000 per month – all while working from the beach!
When you've managed to create sources of income that you can run and automate from your laptop – such as a blog or a freelancing business – you can decide how and when to work.
Not a fan of wearing formal clothing? No problem, you can work in your pajamas from home.
Don't like the 9-5 schedule? Work 11-7 or even 12-4 if you like!
Hate it when you're in the office and you have to pretend to be working just in case your boss looks over your shoulder? That's ok, you can just go for a walk on the beach during the day and work later when you're more focussed.
Being your own boss isn't easy, and it's definitely not for everyone, but it can be the absolute best way to work and live life!
If that sounds like a lifestyle you'd want for yourself, now is the perfect time to become a location-independent entrepreneur, especially if you're a millennial.
Over 30% of Americans are freelancers, according to a 2014 survey by the Freelancers Union. This percentage is expected to rise as technology advances.
Imagine if, in a few years, most people are location independent who work on businesses that they love, running their own schedules and lifestyles they have chosen? How much happier would people be?
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Money – The Biggest Hurdle
So, being an entrepreneur who can work anywhere in the world from a laptop sounds great, right? It really is, as long as you've got one fundamental under control: your money.
There's nothing that ties you down more to one place like having debt and possessions. The more you owe and the more stuff you have, the less likely it is that you'll be able to work from anywhere.
While I still had a 9-5 job and was planning on making my escape, I transformed my personal finances.
I used to be like most young people with a well-paid job: I just bought stuff.
Lots of it: a sports car, fancy watches, plenty of all-inclusive holidays, little gadgets that I'd use once and then forget about…you name it.
But I knew I needed to save enough money to fall back on while I started my business. I knew that I needed to seriously evaluate my expenses and try and earn more money on the side.
It's a simple formula, which I'm sure you're familiar with if you've been reading M$M for a while: Spend less than you earn.
In less than a year I had saved up $20,000 and was ready to take the leap into a location independent entrepreneurship!
Read also: The Reason I Quit My Job for Blogging
The Less You Need, The Quicker You'll Succeed
Taking control of your finances and becoming debt free has another huge advantage: The less money you need to live, the less you'll actually have to earn.
Let's say your living expenses are high – something like $5,000 a month. You're going to have to work much harder and longer to earn that much with your own online business.
Let's now say you managed to lower your expenses to something like $1,500 per month by practising some of the frugality skills that you've learned as a M$M reader – that's a reasonable target. Most people will be able to hit that early on, especially if you add some freelancing work to your online business income.
But that's not all. When you stop being tied down to one place, you then have the choice to live anywhere in the world.
Even if you liked a certain area, you could live in the cheaper parts of it – those which would be further away from the main cities.
After a few months, your business would be earning more and you could choose to move somewhere new with a more expensive lifestyle.
The Key Is Choice
Creating a business that you can run from a laptop and sorting out your financial life allows you to choose pretty much every aspect of your life: where you live, when you work and how you make money. Choice is a huge part of freedom.
In my own journey, I'm focussing on building a life that gives me the freedom to choose what I want. I'm mastering my own personal finances so that I don't need much to live on and I'm growing an online business that allows me to choose where I work and live.
Case in point: I started writing this article at home in Barcelona, wrote a bit more in a hotel in Rome and finished it in Chicago, where I'm staying for a few days!
If your life isn't how you wish it could be and you don't have much freedom to choose, I encourage you to follow the path that Bobby, myself and many other millennials have chosen.
If my experience is anything to go by, you'll be the happiest you've ever been, and you'll be waking up every day to do something you truly enjoy!
Life doesn't get much better than that.