Last night was the Toronto bloggers and blog readers meet-up organized between myself and John Chow.
I forced John, his readers and my readers to go to the Live Organic Food Bar in Toronto, which I realize is not everyone’s cup of tea (no meat). I was secretly curious to see what John would post on his blog about it because he always covers the food he eats when he goes out.
John wasn’t too harsh thankfully and enough people ordered food, so I think we pulled it off. Who knows, maybe I even converted some people to organic vegetarians or even raw foodists (not likely! – I’m not there yet myself).
You can watch John’s video of the event below and read his recap here -
I’d like to thank everyone who turned up. It was great as always to talk to so many like minded individuals all following the blogging path.
If you attended the event and want to keep up with anyone you met, don’t forget you can go to this Facebook event page and find a list of people who attended (or at least who RSVP’d).
A Common Thread
We talked about all kinds of topics but one thing stuck out in my mind after the event as the most common thread, something which people continued to ask me about throughout the night in some shape or form.
I have to blame Tim Ferriss for this, it’s his fault.
Everyone is dying to emulate the 4-Hour Workweek.
As testament to how much people don’t like their day job and desire travel and lifestyle freedom, I was asked how I manage to travel and blog and earn a good living running a business several times by different people. I think that has to be the greatest motivation for a lot of people to start an Internet business and one of the main reasons you read this blog.
To answer this question, last night I mentioned two factors -
- The business model you choose to base your business on
- How good you are at outsourcing and letting go
I also think it’s important to realize your personal circumstances impact this greatly, because if you have a family to support you have other people’s needs to consider beyond your own desire for freedom. Regardless of this, I think everyone would appreciate the ability to choose how much they work, when they work and what they work on, so it’s safe to focus on those outcomes.
Another point worth mentioning, one that applies to the high achievers in this world, is learning when to say no to opportunities. One of the reasons I can travel and do what I do – and Tim I’m sure would say the same – is because we say “no” to a lot of opportunities that come our way (for example, Tim decided not to offer a coaching program after releasing his 4-hour workweek book, even though it’s pretty obvious he could have had several thousand students if he wanted them).
Once you start earning and enjoying positive outcomes from your business success all kinds of possibilities open up to create new products, partner with new people and expand your business. This can make you lots of money – more than you probably need – but ultimately it tends to feed your ego more than anything else. If you are constantly chasing that little sugar rush after each sale you make, it’s hard to get off the “more” treadmill as I’ve written about before.
Until you learn to stop every now and then, you certainly will not be able to smell the roses.
The Right Business Model
If you want to work towards lifestyle freedom then pick a business model that lends itself to this goal.
If you are a consultant or freelancer who delivers services, you work for a living on per hour, per dollar basis. Unless you learn how to save money or find people as talented as you who you can hire to provide the services, your business model won’t grant much freedom.
You need to sell something that can be marketed, distributed and supported through at least some form of automation (sell information products for example) or use a business model that focuses on many to many relationships, like eBay or Facebook, where you as the company owner facilities the relationships that create the value, you don’t create the value yourself.
For many people reading this, you probably need to make a change to how your business works, especially if you are in a services industry based on unique skills and creativity, which is always difficult to hire people to do the work for you.
Consider turning what you do for people into a product you can sell, either an information product or a software program. Selling physical goods is another option, but in this case if you sell commodities you will end up competing on price (never a good thing), unless you can find a way to create a perceived difference between what you sell and what everyone else sells, or you’re just better at marketing than anyone else (although that can’t last forever).
Once you have the business model, the next step is to build momentum and get your business cashflow positive. It’s at this point where many successful people become undone. They take on more work, yet they don’t utilize the help of others. At some point you need to let go and hire at least contractors, possibly even full time employees.
If you can heed these two lessons, all the work you put in to deliver good customer service, to market your business, to drive traffic to your website, to differentiate yourself – anything you do to grow your business – will not impact your ability to have lifestyle freedom. In short, at least to a point, you will have an ability to scale your operation, enjoy increased profits, without sacrificing your freedom.
I don’t know many small business owners who can truly say they are in that situation right now. Hopefully that will change over time as people start to leverage the distribution and automation power of the Internet more and more.