I have an aunt who is poor.
I love my aunt dearly. She was the calm, spiritual influence growing up. She was the relative I looked forward to seeing at holidays. Now she is unemployed, and it has made her unhappy. She is older and not marketable. She lives alone and has a brave spirit.
My Wagon My Glimmer
Two years ago, under half a million dollars of mortgage debt, 80 pounds overweight, with a broken ankle and just coming out of a bad marriage, I made a decision. I chose to treat my youthful dreams as actual goals. I made a plan and set out to achieve them.
I didn’t know if it was possible to live the life of an adventurer. I didn’t know if I could travel the world, much less on foot. I wondered if my quest to meet the gods would mark me as a lunatic.
But I did my research. Through minimalism I controlled my expenses. I sold my house at no profit and walked away. Through Chinese medicine and self discipline I lost weight. And finally, through Location Rebel I learned how to work online so I can make money and travel.
And then I studied the art of the lifestyle business.
A lifestyle business is: working for yourself the right way so you can live how you want. For some that means a cozy home and lots of time for family. Or jet-setting and margaritas. For me, it means adventuring on the ground in new places. That’s the best way I know to learn culture and experience nature.
In order to make it a business, you need to create something that’s founded on your beliefs. Something that reflects the life you yourself live. If you can create something out of that, you will find it resonates with people. And then you can make a living doing it.
I’m getting ready to launch my first online business this month. My founding principle is that smart people can use real magic to change their lives.
As I study, work, and plan for the launch, I’m reminded that everything I do is possible because of the internet.
Talking to all of you while I travel? Internet.
Starting an experimental business with just $50 overhead? Internet.
Make my voice heard when a thousand people are shouting? The endless expanse of the internet.
All the research, study, and work I’ve done to change my life has relied on basic skills I already had, like typing, searching, and using software. Or, it has relied on advanced skills I was willing to practice and learn, like social media, basic html, and design & layout.
These are the hand tools of the digital pioneer. We live in a world where brands are cheap. Like land in the Old West, domains + themes + platforms are nearly free for the taking. It’s the journey getting there, the determined entrepreneurial quest, that is difficult. To buy a plot of domain is easy, to make it a profitable ranch takes will.
My aunt has no covered wagon. In another world she would attract 10,000 loyal fans. Her sweet demeanor and her amazing life—from quitting a nunnery to winning the struggle against alcohol—are the stuff “life coaches” dream of. If she wrote one single book in her normal voice, its Kindle sales would pay her grocery bill each month.
She will not embark the frontier. She no longer believes her situation can change.
Three years ago I didn’t either. I had no covered wagon. I chose to build one, without a blueprint. Now I tumble across the frontier. I don’t know if I’ll be successful. It might fail. Your first leap might fail too.
But you won’t die of dysentery.
We live perched on the edge of a giant frontier. The cash cost of entering the frontier is low. It is the first frontier in history that carries no risk of fatality; the only thing you stand to lose is ego.
Get in the fucking wagon and take a risk.
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