“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Contrary to popular belief, recent studies have shown that past a certain point happiness does not grow along with your income. Unlike making money, happiness levels off. That is because all humans really only need money to live on for essentials like food, shelter and wellness. In western societies we tend to think otherwise. In addition, more often than not, we equate money with time. When we live under this belief, what we’re doing is trading time for money. As a result our happiness, which comes and lasts only from non-consumable things like self worth, joy, peace, freedom and fulfillment, is always capped. Afterall, there are only 24 hours in one day.
Look at how happy some people are in emerging countries throughout the Caribbean, South America, Africa, India and Southeast Asia. I’ve traveled or lived in some of these places and volunteered in underserved communities. The lesson I took away every time is that money does not equate time nor happiness. In economically developed countries we work long hours so we can make money to pay for vacations and activities that give us free time. So what is they key to breaking away from this faulty logic? It’s perspective. When your limited perception about things like money changes, you can have it all.
I realize that this is easier said than done particularly in first world nations, where most of our self worth is measured by monetary compensation. The good news is that thousands are waking up to the realization that you can have time freedom and make money simultaneously. Having the time to do things we love most brings us joy. This means having an alternative lifestyle that breaks away from the traditional career tract that takes away so much of our time. The change does not have to be radical or instant. I’m not advocating selling all your worldly goods immediately, moving to America’s wilderness or disappearing into the Himalayas to take up a new vocation like transcendental meditation. Thanks to the internet, we can make more balanced lifestyle choices that incorporate our professional skills.
Here’s what I’m referring to. I recently gave into Instagram. I’ve always been a private person and the idea of plastering my life and activities online never appealed. However, when it dawned on me that I was looking at social media from the wrong perspective, I realized that I can bring value to others by sharing my experience and knowledge. I was ecstatic to see a huge number of like-minded, non-conventional entrepreneurs who have opted for mobile lifestyles. The names alone convey a sense of non-conformity and freedom: Breaking Free, WiFi Tribe, Indefinite Travelers, Kollecting Koordinates, The Remote Experience and dozens more. These are not the same homeless people we once used to think of as hippies: backpacking, societal rebels smoking weed and existing on the generosity of others.
Today, the free spirited professional is far more sophisticated and demanding. While not too concerned about schedules and itineraries, they do have financial expectations. With online businesses, they have created lifestyles that provide them good incomes. If you’re a liberty seeker whose priorities are freedom, fun and fulfillment, a laptop lifestyle may just be right for you.
You have freedom
When was the last long and relaxing vacation you took? Did you return feeling rejuvenated or feeling like you needed a vacation from your vacation? If you answered the latter, it may be because your vacation was only a band-aid solution to a deep rooted issue.
Feeling tired all the time does not necessarily mean that you’re overworked. In fact, when you love what you do, you can work endless hours and get right back up the next day to do the same. We’re beings of energy and we actually require little sleep, provided we break away from thoughts (meditation) at some point during our day. If you’re tired every time you return from a holiday, this is an indicator that you may be better off doing something different. Granted, if you’re just starting out in your career, this is not an option. But, in the long term, working at a well paying job you don’t like is not freedom.
The luxury of freedom is more easily attained with plenty of business skills under your belt. Most people get good training at their corporate jobs. Working for someone else initially is a great “boot camp” and preparation for owning your own business, where organization, prioritization and focus is essential. Once you have these basics, you have the freedom to work anywhere. If your passion is travel, so long as you have a laptop and good internet connection you can operate a viable mobile business. There are lots of choices but one I would steer away from is day trading wirelessly from a remote island. In day trading your best friend is reliable and fast connectivity.
How do you describe freedom? For me, it’s the ability to sit down and write for twenty minutes, leave that for a while to do another task and return to it only when I’m feeling inspired. Are you longing for a profession that untethers you from a desk? Is your dream to be your own boss and call your own hours? Is travel your priority? These freedoms are all possible as a mobile entrepreneur.
Freedom, however, is not for everybody. The misuse of good hours in a day is the biggest reason many entrepreneurs fail. Entrepreneurship requires organization and good time management. Freedom means knowing when to take a break and when to focus on a task until it’s completed. The cost of freedom is knowing how to prioritize tasks. Freedom means no-one checks over your back but you still have to be accountable. Ultimately, your income will reflect how you use your time freedom.
In the United States, the Constitution give people many freedoms. The freedom of speech and expression, not to be taken for granted, are two rights that allow us to share our creativity and points of view in every day life and in the businesses we build. I love expressing myself when blogging or creating videos to help others, without the worry of retribution. You’re not free to do this in all countries and when you’re in someone’s employ. Still, the internet provides around the clock opportunities to express ourselves. We live in a great time. Think about this, no government or institution can single-handedly quell all the instant streaming, Skyping, Facebooking, Snapchatting,Tweeting, Linking, Whatsapping, Instagraming, posting or texting taking place every instant around the world.
Most of the corporate world today still requires people to work a minimum number of years before they can vest in equity, pension plans and even vacations. Contracting to work for a certain number of years at a job you don’t like is more like a prison sentence. With your own business, you determine when to reinvest, how much, when to pay out and when to go on vacations. As a contract employee, there are no guarantees that when you reach the time of vesting, you will receive what has been promised. Many have been made redundant shortly before vesting in pension and equity plans. It’s happened to several people I know.
Why not determine your own freedom? If you want to work only nights, with your own business, you can. If mornings suit you better, that’s doable. Maybe you prefer working two hours in the morning and the rest in the afternoon. With an online marketing business that works 24/7/365 for you, if you need to be somewhere, it’s not a problem. Provided you’ve set up your systems and business funnels correctly, your business continues to grow even in your absence. Tell that to your boss next time you want to take off for six weeks.
You can have fun
What’s the point of making money if you don’t like what you do, don’t enjoy the people you hang out with or can’t do the things you love most? Close your eyes right now. Put aside all thoughts except one. If you could have your ideal career, what does it look like? What kind of business would it be? Where would you work from? Who would be involved? Have you considered jotting down a skeleton business plan? Better yet, create a detailed one. What is stopping you? How can I help you create your ideal lifestyle?
I encourage you to try this exercise. It was homework given to me by Six Figure Mentors. When I saw in writing specific details of what my perfect day looks like, I knew I had found the perfect business model. As detailed as you can get, down to the time, place, etc., write down what your ideal day looks like. If you’re curious to know what mine looks like, read my previous blog. When you do this, something amazing will happen. You’ll either realize you’re already living your dream and be infinitely grateful or it’s time to start. What are you waiting for?
You can have fulfillment and happiness
I believe that all humans, at least on a subconscious level, sense what their purpose in life is. All too often however, we don’t have or make the time to find out. Owning your business is fulfilling on a number of levels. Like sculpting pottery, you have the opportunity to guide, mold and shape its outcome. The end product is a reflection of your creativity and the investment you’ve put into your work. My joy comes from knowing that I’ve helped others find fulfilling, rewarding careers and lifestyles.
As an online business owner, your voice can be heard and your message can get through globally. I have the opportunity to share my skills and knowledge with people around the world. Having an impact is important to me. Having said that, what drives me most is the action, not by the result. I’ve always known that when we plant seeds (good or bad) they always germinate sometime, somewhere. I see this every day. One day I saw the evidence of this at home.
Our family was at the head of the Charles River in Massachusetts for its annual regatta. My oldest son, who was a rower at the time, was walking back from dinner with two of his friends carrying a pizza. I chuckled thinking that these kids are always hungry. How wrong I was. When I crossed the street to inquire, I learned that they were taking this pizza to a homeless man around the corner. I was never so moved. When you give and work enthusiastically, lovingly and joyfully you are fulfilled beyond measure.
Fulfillment is the evidence that you’re doing something with a purpose. We live in an assembly-line like educational system that says that in order to be successful, you have to start in the right nursery school, go to the right Preparatory, graduate into the best Ivy League and land a job at the right firm. Once you get there, you’ll probably be working such long hours that you won’t have time to come up for air, let alone have the luxury of thinking about your destiny and activities that give you a sense of purpose.
Do you feel like you’re making a difference in the world? Do you want to? How does your current situation allow you to do this? The corporate world is finally coming around to the idea that we can’t just work, work, work and be expected to be happy producers. Balance in the workplace is essential. It cannot just be about bottom line profit. Happy employees are the ones that feel valued, needed and wanted. One way employers are filling this gap is by providing volunteering opportunities. If your workplace doesn’t do this, make an effort to find a group or organization that combines your interests with a need.
I’m happiest when helping underserved populations. I’ve had the opportunity to serve abroad often. I can do this because I can take my business with me. Most recently, I’ve also volunteered at the Greenwich International Film Festival which harnesses the power of film to highlight an important cause each year. In 2016 the Festival focused on human rights issues. If you’re looking for more out of life and work, change your perspective. When you do, you’ll realize you can have it all.
Laptop Freedom Experts
A Supportive Community of Digital Marketers
Digital Marketing Consultant
Author, Agapanthus Rising
“My mission is to help expansion-minded entrepreneurs create and build their dream lifestyles and careers with a digital marketing laptop business.”