I was about to send this post as an email to my family and then realized it’d make for a great public blog post to just share a little bit about where my head is currently at, and maybe give you some ideas about how you might transform your own business into more of a lifestyle business.
Today on my walk to the market, I thought about the idea of going home in a week and a half, which would mark 3 weeks of being on vacation.
…and my heart sank.
I got sad and my soul felt… constricted… for lack of a better way to describe it.
The idea of being on this amazing adventure — the adventure of a lifetime, really — that I’m loving so much, and then abruptly cutting it off and going back to Littleton suburban life, sounds terrible.
Like…. so terrible.
I’m not ready to pack up and go back yet.
My Solution: I’m going to do everything I can to make my business work and perpetuate this trip for as long as possible. The long-term sustainable thing I’d like to do would be to live in various places around the world for a few months at a time, that way I could have the doggies with me and stuff, since my ex probably won’t want to watch them forever and I don’t want to get rid of them.
My developer has been managing projects well so far, but the wall that’s coming up on the horizon is client acquisition. Reliable WiFi is hard to come by abroad a lot of the time, which makes scheduling sales calls kinda difficult, especially when I am bouncing between locations so quick and don’t know if the place I’ll be at on the date of the call will have a good connection. The other barrier to scheduling calls is that I’m still feeling like I’m on vacation. And who wants to schedule sales calls when they’re on vacation? 🙂
But if I want world travelling to be my way of life, I’m going to have to be okay with scheduling some calls here and there, unless I develop an automated sales system that totally does away with the need for a consultative selling approach.
So here’s my plan:
- I first need to get set up with a wireless company over here. I’ve heard of some companies that let you use data all around Europe without it counting as roaming. (And roaming is where mobile data gets spendy.)
- I’m working on a more automated sales cycle where…
- Someone would first go attend an automated webinar (or maybe just a straight-up video; haven’t decided yet), which would essentially replace my initial sales call.
- I’d then have them fill out a questionnaire form, which would replace my kickoff call.
- And then I’d have them pay their deposit and set up a 15 minute strategy call with me. I envision this call mostly being perfunctory, being that if I’ve done my job right with the training video and the questionnaire, there shouldn’t be all that much that needs to be talked about, and that the call is basically a good way for the prospect to get to talk to a real person, and have us pow-wow on some ideas for opt-in copy, etc. I could just set aside one day a week as my work day, and book these 15-minute calls back-to-back like JLD does with his podcast interviews.
In terms of money coming in, I’ve scaled work back quite a bit for this trip, because I didn’t want to have my team get in over their heads and be stressed out, because that would mean I’d have to spend a lot of time on my trip working and being stressed, which kinda defeats the purpose of being on vacation.
Travelling the world: $4k/mo
- Rent: $2k/mo — many airbnbs offer weekly & monthly prices for their places. I just did a quick search, and even in Paris, I saw a well-reviewed studio available for $1058/mo. So I feel like $2k/mo is plenty here.
- Food: $1k/mo — $35/day is enough to go out for dinner and sometimes lunch. And if I am living somewhere for extended periods of time, I’d like to be cooking more anyway.
- Transportation: $1k/mo — this accounts for me switching locations every so often. I don’t know what the extra fees are for bringing dogs with me on planes, but if I’m just living around Europe, I’d probably do that by train anyway, to reduce the stress on the puppies. However, I just looked at autoeurope.com and typed in a 3 month rental period as a sample, and it looks like I can go that route for probably $700 or $800/mo, which includes unlimited miles, roadside assistance, and fully comprehensive insurance. The benefit here is that I have the freedom to explore places outside of what’s easily walkable from where I live.
Existing expenses back home: $2k/mo — my lease on my apartment is up in December, and my car lease is up around that time too. So that’s an extra $2k that would get tacked on to my travel cost for the rest of the year. (breaking my lease comes with a $3k penalty and they require 2 month’s notice, so that option puts me at the end of the year anyway, so it’s not really worth it to break it)
Total ambitious cost for me to travel the world perpetually — $6.5k/mo
Ideal net income to allow for savings, emergencies, etc. – $12k/mo
I’ve been doing some planning around offering a more streamlined website approach that would naturally lend itself to being more hands-off for me, which I’d sell for a bit less than my current rates tend to be. Each of these sites should be able to bring in about $1.5k of profit, so if I want to shoot for a $12k/mo net income, that’s only 8 sites a month, so 2 per week. The gross income from this approach is still a reduction from my average gross monthly income before leaving for my trip anyway, so I am not too worried about it being doable in general. It’s just going to be an adjustment to my process to be able to make it happen.
Where I’m at: I know what I want now, and I have an idea of how I can make it happen. Now it’s time to implement the content (sales video, autoresponders, process docs, etc) and see how it goes. I’m working against a ticking clock here, and the ability to continue my great adventure is at stake, so I’ve got plenty to motivate me.
What’s the ticking clock?
I think it’s important that I have some sort of failure metric that is a way for me to have a red flag that tells me I need to come home, re-work some stuff, and not head back out until I have a better model in place. So that failure metric is this: if my bank account balance dips down below $80k, I will begrudgingly consider packing up and come home. But right now I am at $98k (was at about $104k when I left I think) and I have about $12k of work that I’ll be able to collect on in the next week or two, once we finish it up. So as of now, my money’s gone down slightly but will bounce back after I collect on existing projects, so I’m doing fine. The 3 projects I booked while I’m gone will have brought in more money than I spent on my vaca in those 3 weeks, and that’s including the spendy $200/night yoga retreat that I’m at right now.
Looking at things this way is exciting, because now the amount of money I have actually means something. Before, it was just a number on a screen, that could be abstracted into possible things I could buy. But now, it’s 100% the opposit. Now I am literally living the dream — I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing at this moment in my life. And what is so dang cool is that I can do it for as long as I fuckin’ want, so long as that number on the screen stays high. My ideal goal, of course, is that the number is always going to go up. But making this shift is going to take time because it’s challenging and requires lotsa up-front work from me, so that $20k budget that I am giving myself is essentially my way of accounting for the struggles, failures, etc. that I am going to run into along the way.
The internal shift I’ve made:
So in essence, the shift here is that I’m moving out of the “how can I earn as much money as possible” way of looking at things, and into the “how can I have as much freedom as possible” way of looking at things. I am very excited and hopeful that I’ll be able to make things work, and that my great European adventure will not end with me broke, naked, and destitute in a ditch somewhere.