One of the first questions I usually hear from location independent startups is “How much can I earn?”. And despite knowing that telling them stories of unbelievable riches, regular yacht tours on casual Tuesday afternoons as well as pool villas and spa treatments all life long would rather draw them into my sales funnel than the truth, I just can’t bring myself to lie to them that bluntly.
Hence, for all of you who are seeking location independence, here is an article on what to expect – and what not to.
Six-Figure Profits Might Be A Myth
Unfortunately, there are enough charlatans out there promising you sensationally high profits with sensationally low input. All you have to do is listen to their free webinar, then purchase that one magic product that will routinely turn you into Mark Zuckerberg, and finally decide which villa you want to live in.
Truth be told, yes, there certainly are a couple of location independent entrepreneurs who earn more money than they can spend. Despite having read many articles and seen many an ad for a step by step video tutorial, I have yet to meet the first one of this breed in person.
I don’t doubt that they are there, same as I am positive that Mark exists, I just haven’t met them yet. (Mark, if you read this, please drop me a comment below.)
Nonetheless, to be honest with you right up front: Chances for you earning great riches with your location independent startup venture are very close to zero. You might as well play the lottery. Either way, you will need a lot of luck.
But if you really want to become location independent, please don’t get tempted by people promising you 6-figure profits within your first year of operation. The world doesn’t work that way, and deep down you know it. (But hey: Who needs 6-figure profit if great marketing can be done without any monetary investment?)
The Real Motivation To Become Location Independent
If you want to become location independent, think about your real motivations, and the real incentives behind this lifestyle. I am not filthy rich, nor do I plan to be. Nonetheless, I have lived and worked on five different continents, have traveled more countries than I can recall without the help of my TripAdvisor world map, and have always gotten by fine.
When I started traveling in 2006, one year before Tim Ferris published his famous 4-hour-work-week, what led me abroad was the desire to explore our planet, get to know new people, understand other cultures and experience below-mentioned moments (even though I could have never dreamed of them being that magical!). Not the will to earn millions.
And, until today, that initial desire hasn’t changed a single bit. I still travel, even more than ever before, sometimes being on five continents within one single year, and I still value those priceless memories a lot more than anything money can buy.
If all you want is the money, then your declared goal shouldn’t be ‘becoming location independent’, but ‘becoming filthy rich’. That’s a difference.
Location Independent Luxuries
Despite not being rich, I have actually cruised on impressive yachts around the Whitsunday Islands in Eastern Australia as well as in the Andaman Sea in Southern Thailand.
The first trip cost me 300 AUD for an entire week, plus a bit of physical activity on board. (No, I didn’t screw the crew. Not that time, anyway. I cleaned the deck and cooked dinner.)
The second trip was completely free, since I had helped a friend of the trip organizer with some basic marketing advice.
And yes, both trips were absolutely sensational and I wouldn’t want to trade them for nothing.
But that also applies to waking up in my campervan right by one of the world’s whitest beaches, enjoying a miraculous sunset with two best buddies while listening to some guitar tunes, hiking up to Macchu Pichhu in the early morning hours with the cheapest backpacker tour we could find or working hands on with elephants in Thailand’s most ethical elephant camp.
All these everlasting experiences cost me close to nothing – for working with elephants I even got paid.
What Price The World?
I know, you do need money to pay for your airfare, some basic accommodation, and some food. But trust me, it is a lot less than you might think.
From 2006 to 2008, I traveled all around Australia, over 40,000km, snorkeled with wild whale sharks and wild dolphins, went bungee jumping, lived in former opal mines under the ground in a village with 90 inhabitants, slept under the most amazing starry sky at Ayer’s Rock and helped rehabilitate injured kangaroos.
In 17 months, I spent 13k EUR, including my flights from and to Germany, and including travel and medical insurance.
Between 2011 and 2012, I spent 9 months in South America. I traveled around Colombia, Ecuador, Peru & Bolivia, climbed Macchu Picchu, explored Galapagos Islands for an entire week, attained my SCUBA diving license, fished piranhas in the Amazon basin, dived with hammerhead sharks, almost threw up while paragliding with a massive hangover and goofed around in the world’s largest salt flat to snap some disputable images.
All of that for around 8k EUR, again including flights and insurance. And two new cameras, which the bloody insurance refused to pay for.
I Am Not Filthy Rich. Or Am I?
The question whether you are filthy rich or not may depend on your personal definition of rich. Some may think no further than a couple thousand bitcoins here.
For me, being rich is a whole lot more than that. Being a hybrid nomad, and earn a good part of my income thanks to the internet. I have the liberty to work whenever I want, and for as long as I want, which usually translates into 20-25 working days a month. I exclusively work on projects I enjoy and that I find worthy of my time.
Why would I need more than that? I don’t desire owning villas, flying business class or drinking champagne all day.
I am healthy, my family is intact, I have a bunch of amazing friends (thanks y’all!), travel anywhere I want, am a free person, can travel, and earn enough to buy a new laptop when I need one, be selective about the food I consume, and even earn some excess cash to save up for later and to donate to non-profit organizations of my choice.
Don’t you think that all is way more valuable than a seven-digit bank statement?
The Moral Of The Story
Look, I didn’t come to brag on how amazing my life is. (Well, maybe a little.)
What I am mainly saying is that location independent living is about so much more than making millions. You should really focus on the experience and understand location independence as a lifestyle, not a cash cow on slaughtering day.
If you come with the wrong expectations, you will be utterly disappointed. If you rock up with the right mindset, I promise there are few feelings more amazing than the absolute freedom to travel where you want, when you want, for whichever reason you want.
Sit back, breathe in, and calmly think about your real motivations behind your idea to become location independent. If it is the money, go gambling. If it is the lifestyle: Start right now to make your dream come true!
Oh, and, while we’re at it: I also don’t recommend you retire early. I much rather advise you to live today! Who knows how long we will live, and what the world looks like once we’ll retire?
Over To You
What are your motivations to be(come) location independent? Drop me a comment below!