Lifestyle First

Lifestyle First

When many of us set out to a start a business, it’s often to make either a more positive change to our life, or to the world. Ask around and commonly cited reasons for starting a business tend to involve:

  • flexibility of working hours,
  • more quality time with family,
  • higher income,
  • realizing a passion,
  • being the boss,
  • location independence,
  • having more control, especially control of income, or,
  • overall, a better balance.

But nearly all business owners find themselves at one stage or another, living completely contrary to what they set out to achieve…10 years into a 3 year plan, delaying gratification, with no end in sight.

A lot of digital nomads set out to start a business that keeps them fed, sheltered and free to roam as they please. But lifestyle creep and the previously unforeseen success of their business can quickly change their 4-hour work week dream into 60 hours a week and on-call for the rest of the time.

I’ve also fallen into this trap – money was never a motivator, I simply wanted the freedom to live wherever I pleased and not have to take a significant pay cut to do so. But since going down this path, I have regularly found myself working on weekends, replying to emails at 10pm at night and so on, simply because I let my business, and my personal standards take control.

So how do we tackle this situation?

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You Don’t Want It Bad Enough

You Don't Want It Bad Enough

Do you have a goal or dream or something that always seems to take a back seat? You say you want it, but there’s always a reason why you can’t have it…

Maybe you don’t want it bad enough?

After spending a year mountain biking and snowboarding in Whistler, I returned to at least a dozen different conversations involving someone saying “I wish I could spend some time living overseas, but…”

Since starting a business that has allowed me to use my skills and earn “city money” while living in my chosen country of Andorra , I’ve had a ton of conversations with friends and strangers around quitting their job and starting their own business, living out their dreams – but more often than not, nothing eventuates.

What gets me down is when great people don’t believe they can do something…

“I wish I could take a year off of work and write a book, but…”.

I can write for days about things that are important to me, but I’m not as smart as you may think. You’re reading the words of someone that crashed their first car (and didn’t have insurance), once drank a litre of Jim Beam (not recommended, not even in limited quantities) and has had a life’s share of concussions (probably not as bad as the Beam to be honest).

If intelligence was the sole driver of making change, we’d probably all be sitting around a fire in a cave bashing each other with clubs.

No, there’s a real reason why you aren’t succeeding in getting “what you want”…

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Take a Risk and Trust Strangers

My friend from Panama

As a child, I was taught not to trust strangers. “Don’t walk off with someone you don’t know” was drilled into me (as it is most kids). This was a solid lesson, especially for a kid that had a lot of energy.

Through my childhood and teenage years, I was reminded of this – you can trust family, close friends, teachers and so on. Strangers? They’re probably out to get you.

I remember rumors of a guy that used to hang outside of my primary school offering sweets to kids, drugging them. He probably had a van. Flyers went out to parents. Parents lost their minds. Mum gave me a stern talking to. Then we discovered it was all bullshit. But of course everyone remained scared.

Irony is, multiple teachers from my school have since been exposed and charged as pedos, including some all trusted priests, the pillars of society that they are. For those wondering, no – I didn’t receive the advances of said teachers or priests.

Even in my early adult years, my parents, extended family, friends and strangers on the internet have all given me unsolicited advice on trusting those I don’t know, whether it be with my money, diet, lifestyle, travel, politics and various other topics.

This isn’t meant to sound dramatic. My upbringing really was a normal one and my social circles are very standard. My parents didn’t wrap me in cotton wool like your average parent of today. By age 3 I was riding my bike up and down our street without shoes, likely waving to strangers and patting dogs I didn’t know without concern. Blanket distrust of strangers was something I had to learn and from what I’ve seen in friends, I’d say it’s the norm for most of us – at least from cities Australia and similar cultures around the world.

Frankly, I do think this distrust has helped me from being used during my impressionable years, but I’m getting the feeling that there’s a shelf life on how long it’s good for. Now I consider the lost opportunities as a result of not taking a risk here and there. How many experiences have been missed? How much money could have been made?

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Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

If you live on or are visiting mainland Malaysia, it’s worth taking to time to visit the East Coast and find your way to the Perhentian Islands.

It’s a cheap flight to Kota Bharu, around RM60 for a taxi to Kuala Besut, then RM60 for a “fast boat” to the islands.

The “Perhentians” consists of  two islands very close to each other – Kecil and Besar (small and big). Kecil is cheaper and more of a party scene while Besar is more expensive but quieter. Neither are particularly “resorty” which is why we enjoyed our time here so much.

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