Alright, you can probably tell from the subject line how this post is going to go.
Let’s talk about people spruiking “location independence” funded by their business.
Show of hands… How many of the people selling this dream do you see living in Manhattan during the summer and wintering in Geneva? None? Yeah me neither.
Ok, maybe that’s a high hurdle to get over. How many of the people who take pictures of their fabulous lifestyle business are taking selfies in business class on their way to Paris for a spontaneous vacation? Hmmmm…
Right, let’s make this easier… How many people who are trying to make you believe they are living the dream are actually living in a developing nation, outside of a major city in some village where they struggle to get consistent internet access?
Oh, looks like we’ve found our level.
This blog is fueled by someone on Facebook today telling the world how she doesn’t care that people get angry when she posts her photos of her fabulous lifestyle in paradise funded by her business. Those people are nothing but envious.
First of all, back the bus up on that fabulous lifestyle stuff. If you live in a place where access to clean drinking water is not taken for granted and people routinely die from malaria, then that’s not paradise. It might have nice sand and blue water lagoons, but if the average person around you is living a subsistence lifestyle, you’re living in a developing nation.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I know tons of people who’ve spent time living in Fiji, Thailand and even Vietnam. They have nothing but great things to say, but they aren’t making out like they’ve just jumped off a photo shoot for Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous – Robin Leach isn’t holding the camera in their selfies.
Most of these people are selling you a fiction. Not all of them, but most of them. They are telling you that if you follow their methods, then you too can move out of the rat race and take up residence somewhere in paradise fully funded by your amazing lifestyle business.
That’s the part I call BS on for a bunch of reasons.
The biggest truth is, most of the people selling this dream couldn’t afford to live in New York, London, Toronto or Sydney on that their business earns. They would have to get a job and pay much higher living expenses just to survive. The truth is that you can live VERY comfortably in a beach town of Thailand for under US$1750 per month – but you’re still living in a developing nation, let’s not mince words.
If you’re by yourself and you want to live in a one bedroom apartment in Sydney, you’ll need to spend more than that just in rent. Never mind food, transport, entertainment, clothing, bills, etc… You’re talking a bare-bones existence in Sydney would cost $3500/mth.
So you might be thinking, maybe those people are onto something… Why live like a pauper in Sydney if I can move to a Koh Samui and for less, live like a king?
Well, the vast majority of us, like 80%, expect to get married and have kids. That has a tendency to cramp your developing nation, lifestyle business, living the faux dream plan quite badly.
Are there people that do it? Sure. Is it practical for most people? Not really.
Most of us want our kids to be well educated, have access to great medicare care and some of the more basic stuff like not getting Malaria and having access to consistently clean drinking water. Your hierarchy of needs changes when you have kids.
Back to my FB friend who called out the haters… She just didn’t get it. People aren’t “hating on her”, they are calling BS on her. They know that she couldn’t afford to live in the US where she’s from on what her business earns – she’d need to supplement that income somehow. The people calling her out can see that she’s trying to make people envy her lifestyle so that they’ll buy stuff from her. They know she has no kids and a year ago didn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of back in the US.
My wife’s 21yo nephew worked at a pub for six months and saved enough money to backpack around Thailand, India, Japan, America and Canada for eight months. It’s not that hard to do when you have no kids and no responsibilities.
My point in this rant is to not envy people you see online who are selling you on their lifestyle. Most of it is absolutely fake. They want you to believe that they are living the dream when the reality is they probably scraped together just enough money to escape their poverty-stricken first world nightmare. It’s appearances over reality in the vast majority of cases.
I personally think that kind of marketing is distasteful because it targets people who aren’t particularly happy in their current life. It preys on their weakness and insecurity. It makes them envy freedom because their reality might be a couple of kids, a dirty big mortgage and a spouse they haven’t had a quiet dinner alone within three years.
Those people aren’t selling you freedom, they are selling you escapism.
Here’s what I’m selling… You be you. Start a business that fits your lifestyle today and build it up to the best of your ability. Get that business humming along. Once it is firing on all cylinders, it will give you freedom and options. You can then choose what’s next for you and where you want to take your life.
I don’t think anyone should jump out of a plane and assemble their parachute on the way down. People who are barely eking out a living from their business and decide to go wandering overseas are a terrible example to follow. What you often don’t see are the people who fail miserably and end up in horrible situations in foreign countries.
You should design your lifestyle from a position of strength. I talk extensively about this in the July issue of the Casual Marketer Monthly Newsletter. If you’re interested, you can pick up that back issue for just $49 by clicking here.
Either way, don’t buy into the hopium that the location independent crowd are peddling – you focus on building the business that suits your lifestyle today and enhances who you are, not who those people tell you that you should strive to be!