27 Reasons Why You Should Never Have a Job

May 26th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Being self-employed isn’t easy, but it is rewarding.

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

It’s Monday morning in Oakland, California, as I’m writing this. I’m sipping a cup of coffee, looking at the rolling hills behind Berkeley from a coffee shop in Rockridge. Clouds are rolling in from the Bay, it’s absolutely stunning.

A few days ago Maren Kate of Escaping the 9-5 interviewed me about achieving online business success (I’ll let you know when the Interview goes live on Twitter,) and it got me thinking: it’s almost been a year since I had a ‘job’ in the assumed sense of the word.

In hindsight, it seems so silly that I had one to begin with. There are just so many benefits to not having one these days.

Having a job might be good for some people, but it isn’t for everyone –contrary to what everyone will tell you.

The long hours, the designated tasks, having to run plans by colleagues or bosses before putting your plans into action seems like far too much to ask after a year of minimalist freedom.

We grow up with this idea that we’re supposed to train for the “workforce”. Most of our parents had jobs, all of our friends want to get jobs, all of the advertisements tell you to buy stuff in order to make you happier at your job.

Having a job is in many ways a lot easier than choosing not to have one.

When you have a job, you typically are told what to do. Someone at one point or another wrote the call script for your life, and all you have to do is follow along until the clock hits 5, and then it’s happy hour.

We didn’t always have jobs.

Seth Godin likes to bring up this little fact in his Linchpin sessions: at the first factories they literally had men pushing carts of gin back and forth on the factory floor. People were so unaccustomed to working for hours straight that their owners had to keep them drunk all day in order to keep them happy enough to continue to do a good day’s work.

Gradually we’ve trained a workforce that’s a little more into the idea of working long hours, so the gin carts are now mostly unnecessary –though I’ve known plenty of colleagues who kept bottles of whiskey in their desk drawers just to stay sane when they had to stay late.

Why minimalism can free you from being required to have a job.

The brilliant thing about minimalism, when applied in the strictest sense of the philosophy, is that it can free you from needing to have a job.

  • When you live with less than 100 things, you don’t need disposable income to stay happy.
  • When you free up your schedule, you can pursue work that matters.
  • When you stop the weekend shopping sprees, you don’t need a huge house to store all of that stuff you don’t need.

This all leads to having a base life-overhead which is much smaller than everyone else. When you have less overhead, you can have the freedom to begin working for yourself.

I won’t spend too much time on how minimalism can reduce your overhead. If you’re interested in pursuing a minimalist life, check out my e-book The Art of Being Minimalist, or my friend Daniel Richards’ new e-book Doing With Less.

What I’m interested in conveying to you is the benefits of not having a job.

Yes, not having a job isn’t for everyone. Some people enjoy being told what to do, and other people have jobs they really love. I wouldn’t want anyone to leave a situation that they really enjoyed simply because of an article I wrote.

The most important fact to consider is that not having a job isn’t easy. Starting a minimalist business with no-overhead that runs itself can be challenging. It might involve long hours in the beginning, and relies on individual creativity to succeed. No one can hand you the magic bullet that will tell you how to create income that doesn’t come from having a job.

Ultimately you need to trust yourself, and follow the path that feels right for you.

Here are 27 reasons why you should never have a job.

1. Financial security.

Creating your own business can be much more financially secure than having a job. At a job, all of your income is in one basket, which is the farthest thing from financial security that I can think of. Many people with jobs live in endless fear of losing them, because if they did the money just stops coming. If you screw up, or say the wrong thing, poof! There goes all of your income, your benefits, and sometimes your social life all at once.

2. Diversified income streams.

When you have your own business, you can concentrate on having diversified income streams. A job pays you all at once, and if you lose it all of your money goes away. With a minimalist business, you can develop variable income sources. If one dries up, the others still thrive. Some income will be small and occasional, other income will be large and regular. The most important aspect is that it’s all coming from different sources, and nothing can go wrong with them all at once, like when you have a job.

3. Contribute value to your legacy.

When you have a job, you’re contributing value to the legacy of an organization that is bigger than you. That usually means that the legacy is separate from your own. Yes, you can create great work at a company, but chances are you won’t be bragging about the stunning TPS report design you did at company X to your grandchildren. When you create your own business, you’re contributing value to your own lasting legacy.

4. Live anywhere.

When you create your own business, especially on the Internet, you can live anywhere in the world. For instance, last week I moved from Brooklyn, NY to Oakland, CA. I never could have done that if I had to go into an office, because they would decide where I lived. Some job markets are stronger than others. In my experience, strong job markets usually coincide with expensive or crappy living conditions. By freeing yourself from location, and not having a job, you can live anywhere in the world. A great resource for learning to live anywhere is Karol Gajda’s How to Live Anywhere, coming June 8th.

5. Unlimited vacation.

Face it, two weeks of vacation a year is a crime. Whoever decided people should work 50 weeks out of the year was absolutely insane. How this was adopted as an industry standard is beyond me. When you create your own business, you can develop a more flexible vacation schedule. 25 weeks a year? Go for it!

6. Choose your own path.

When you have a job, chances are you’ll be told exactly what to do every day. Handle this client, print that TSP report, sit at your desk for 8-10 hours a day! When you create your own business, you can choose your own path. Obviously, this also means that you can choose the wrong one. But in my experience, even the wrong paths are much more interesting than sitting at a desk all day. Yes, you’ll make mistakes. Yes, it isn’t easy. But wouldn’t you rather have an exciting life than a dull one under fluorescent lights?

7. Flexible schedule.

One of the best reasons not to have a job is having a flexible schedule. At a job you have to be there Mon-Fri 9-5, or something like that. When you create your own job, you can work when you’re most productive. Some people work best in the middle of the night, others work best in the afternoons. I’ve found that I can usually create quality material in a few hours every week, freeing myself to do other things that matter to me, like practicing Yoga.

8. Avoid reactionary workflow.

There’s an always-on mentality that is quickly coming to dominate our society. We feel like we must be on our crackberries and iPhones every single hour of the day, just in case something happens. The reality is that nothing important really happens, our minds only make it that way. When you don’t have a job, no one will force you to answer your email in the middle of the night. This frees you up to focus on the work that matters, and creating powerful passive income streams.

9. You don’t have to conform to other people’s expectations.

It’s no secret that one of my favorite small business writers is Chris Guillebeau, who writes The Art of Non-conformity, and his small business guide The Unconventional Guide to Working For Yourself. We often forget how weird it is to opt-out of the the idea of having a job, but it is pretty strange for a lot of people. The best part of not having a job is that you don’t have to conform to other people’s expectations. You can be weird if you want to be, and no one will fire you for it. The funny thing is, weird is one of the best niches to set up your small business in — there’s too much regular out there already.

10. Making money in your sleep.

Oh, have I mentioned when you start your own online business, there’s a very real possibility that you’ll make money in your sleep? Well, there is. There’s nothing like checking your email (once a day) and seeing that you made all the income you need to survive using automated means while you were taking a snooze. It’s definitely worth quitting your job to experience that freedom.

11. Freedom to be a leader.

Jobs are built around conformity, that’s why everyone is expected to wear ‘work appropriate clothing’ that they purchased at J. Crew. What does conformity do? It makes it possible for upper management to keep the lower levels in line, on task, and compliant. When you opt out of having a job, it frees you to be a leader. A leader has to stand out, and have vision. A leader has to show people the way by telling the truth as it is. The truth is that business casual isn’t something you have to subject yourself.

12. Choose work that excites you.

Most jobs are made up of mundane activities that someone higher up in the food chain asked you to do. File that TPS, buddy, or you’re going to be stuck in middle-management forever! When you don’t have a job, you can choose work that excites you. Do you want to create a product that teaches people how to live a passionate life, like my friend Henri Juntilla? Go for it!

13. Surround yourself with people you care about.

When you have a job, someone else chooses who you spend your time with during 60% of your life. In some of these cases, you’re stuck with people who you don’t particularly care for. These might be company lifers, or dead-eyed soul-sucked individuals who opted out of living life years ago. When you work for yourself, you can pick your own social circle. As my friend Glen Allsopp likes to mention, you’re going to be as successful as your social circle. So pick people to hang around with who have a lot of money coming in –they also will be more inclined to buy you beers than boring company lifers.

14. Sleep whenever you want.

Different people sleep different. For instance, now that I’m in California, I’ve been waking up early in the morning (by California standards), because I used to wake up at 10am in New York. When you have a job, someone else is determining when you wake up. Maybe you’re the kind of person who enjoys staying up until 4am working on projects that matter to you? If you don’t have a job, you totally can.

15. The ultimate ROWE environment.

One of the newest fads in workplace civil rights is the idea of the Results Only Work Environment (or ROWE). My friend Jeffrey F. Tang wrote an article about ROWE here. Well, not having a job is the ultimate ROWE, because the only thing that matters is your results. When you have a job, unless you work at a hip progressive ROWE company, chances are you’re only rewarded for sitting at a desk (6 hours Facebook, 2 hours actual work! Yay!.) Well, some people don’t work well sitting at desks, believe it or not. When you start your own business, only the results matter, no one cares if you get them while plopped in a desk.

16. Work on projects which will change the world.

The most profitable projects, in my experience, are also ones that change the world. When you work at a job, chances are no one really wants you to do any world changing. They just want you to maintain the status-quo. When you don’t have a job, this frees you to work on projects that will change the world. Maybe you want to teach people how to live without their cars, like my friend Tammy Strobel does in her e-book Simply Car-free. Or maybe you want to sew sustainable puppy blankets. The change you make is up to you.

17. You only have to make yourself (and maybe your significant other) happy.

When you have a job, you have to make your boss happy, your colleagues happy, and if you don’t well, then that single source of income we talked about earlier is on the line. When you don’t have a job, the only person you have to make happy is yourself –and possibly your significant other. What I’ve discovered, in my nearly a year of not having a job, is that it’s much easier to make yourself happy when you’re not trying to make everyone else happy at the same time.

18. Prepare your own food.

This is key. When I used to have a job, I’d constantly get food out. I ate at my desk, because I was afraid if I was away for more than 15 minutes all hell would break loose. When you work for yourself, you can also work in your kitchen (which I do often!) This means you can prepare healthy food, that tastes good. You can also make your own coffee (so much better than office coffee.) Making your own hot food while you take a break from work is so much better than packing a lunch and heating it up in the microwave.

19. No waiting for retirement.

Just wait until you’re 65, then you can do whatever you want. Seriously? I think you should do things while you’re young, athletic, and the ladies (or lads) still like you to look at you. Face it, waiting for retirement to get more than 2 weeks of vacation is a crime against your humanity. When you work for yourself, you can retire whenever you want for however long you need — as long as you have the resources. The truth is that we need time off to rejuvenate our ability to live. I like to take weeks at a time when I do very little except Yoga, reading, and wandering aimlessly. You can’t wander aimlessly on a Wednesday morning when you have a job. The funny thing is, the best ideas come when you’re not working for them. Bonus: take a year off every seven years like Stefan Sagmeister does.

20. Time to focus on the important.

When I had a job, I never had enough time to do what was important to me. On the forefront of my mind was always the task at hand at my job, whether or not I actually cared. When you don’t have a job, you can focus on what is important to you. This is different for everyone, as everyone is different.

21. Cool people don’t have jobs anymore.

Face it, it’s so cool to tell people that you’re self-employed. However, it’s not cool to brag about the fact that you have the best hours, a flexible work schedule, and that you get to work on things that matter in front of people who have jobs. Don’t rub it in, the best self-employed rockstars show, they don’t tell.

22. Work from wherever you want.

Today I edited this post from the awesome kitchen in my brand-new apartment in Oakland’s hopping Temescal ‘hood, I wrote most of the post while I was grabbing a coffee over in Rockridge. One of the biggest benefits of working for yourself is that it doesn’t matter where you work. You could be on a beach somewhere, you could be at a coffee shop, you could backpack through India. Location doesn’t matter when you’re living the digital lifestyle.

23. Working for yourself is the best way to approach work in a recession.

Look around you, no important businesses are hiring anymore. Big businesses are hunkered down and waiting for us to come out of this recession. You can either wait until the recession is over to find the job you truly desire, or you can settle for less than the best. The Subway sandwich shop near me is hiring “Sandwich Artists”, but that doesn’t mean you should apply there.

24. Showers in the middle of the day.

This probably goes without saying, but it’s pretty sweet to be able to take a hot shower in the middle of a Monday afternoon. That wouldn’t be possible at a job.

25. Multiple paydays.

When you have a job, all of your income comes from one place, and you know when it comes. This means if the section of the economy where your job is located collapses, your only paycheck is on the line (as mentioned above.) But it also means that you know exactly when you’re being paid. When you don’t have a job, your pay can come from all different directions, and at different times. This replaces the monotony of knowing with the fun uncertainty and improvisation that comes with multiple paydays.

26. You don’t have to sit at a desk under fluorescent lights all day.

Sitting at a desk all day has been proven to be incredibly bad for your health. Some people are incredibly product at desks, but many of us aren’t. I think of most of my ideas when I’m walking. Maybe you think of your ideas while standing on your head. Sitting at a desk all day is just something we do because someone told us to, not because it’s a useful practice.

27. Uncertainty keeps you on your toes.

Jobs seem so certain. You’re protected from the harsh realities of the world in a lot of situations. This can be a good thing, but it also keeps you in the dark. I’m convinced that we grow with uncertainty. It makes us thrive, because we’re constantly adapting and changing our strategies. This means that you’ll never stop learning when you’re working for yourself, as your free to try new things and take new paths.

The reality of the situation is working for yourself is one of the best ways to improvise and ultimately survive in this boom-and-bust economy.

Does that mean that you won’t have to work hard? certainly not. There are no magic ‘get rich in your sleep’ solutions, there is only the hard work that you need to do to set yourself up to leave your job and set out on your own.

I don’t have all of the answers, but I do know that working for yourself is so much better than having a job. Is it for everyone? certainly not. But if you want to pursue a freer reality, this may be the answer you’re looking for.


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How To Pursue The Work That Matters

May 23rd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Why being busy isn’t the same as doing work that matters.

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

One of the biggest questions that has been swirling about since the release of Minimalist Business is very simple:

How do I pursue doing work that matters?

One of the foundations of my work in Minimalist Business was asking the reader to eliminate everything in their businesses which isn’t contributing to their core business model.

What is important for me to get across in this article is the cost of wasting time doing things that aren’t necessary for your business success.

I’m absolutely convinced that most businesses fail because entrepreneurs insist on spending time on assumed requirements of doing business instead of actual necessities of doing work that matters.

Without doing work that matters, all of the other stuff you’re wasting time on doesn’t matter. My argument is that you only need to do the work that matters, whereas ritual necessities of doing business are basically obsolete in a lot of cases.

A few rituals of the normal business routine which I disagree with are: checking email 35 times a day, holding meetings to make decisions, answering every blog comment whether or not it’s relevant or even requires a response, answering your phone ever, and sitting at a desk from 9-5 even if you got the important work done on Monday in two hours worth of work.

Now, of course I can’t tell you exactly what your personal work that matters is, as important work is specific and different for everyone.

Time spent working doesn’t necessarily equal creating work that matters.

For example, this article will take me approximately a half an hour to write, and another half an hour to do a quick copy edit and schedule to publish in a few days.

Now, I could choose to spend the rest of the day tweaking the article or checking my email 35 times. None of that would matter though. I can tell if the article is good after a half an hour of writing. Eight more hours of fidgeting will not fix it if it is bad.

Eight hours of receiving and reacting to email will similarly not get important work done. When you batch respond to email during fifteen minute intervals once a day, you get less email and also have many empty hours in the day.

Empty hours are uncomfortable, and I’m convinced that most of us are terrified of them. This is why we spend all day hitting refresh buttons waiting to react to messages that don’t matter.

This is why we fill up our schedules with meaningless meetings which ask questions that we already know the answers to.

The secret to concentrating on doing work that matters.

You need to cultivate silence.

The answers you seek, the ones which will empower you to make the work which will fund your very existence on this planet, come to you when you aren’t working.

Clear your schedule until only a void remains, and the ideas that matter will come.

Don’t do anything for a week, and see how many ideas come to you. Write the best ones down, but don’t do anything with them. At the end of week pick the least complicated idea which resonates most with you and execute that idea and no other.

Work on this idea until you actually finish it.

When you’ve done this, you’ve experienced doing the work that matters.

When you actually empty your schedule and sit in silence until brilliance develops, you will start to make the changes that are required of you to bring you work to the next level.

Why sitting in silence is the hardest thing you’ve ever done.

A meditation teacher once told me that the first month of a teacher/student relationship when learning to meditate is simply supporting them while they slow down.

The people in this world move at a blinding speed. They’re mostly doing nothing, but they do nothing very quickly. Traveling at the speed of silence is incredibly difficult when everyone is running around like madmen.

I’m not saying that you need to meditate, that’s a different element entirely — though it also may be beneficial. Don’t try meditate if you don’t have any experience doing that, instead just sit alone somewhere. Go somewhere quiet, and simply be quiet. Don’t try to not think, just let thoughts come and go as you breathe in and out.

Try experiencing nothingness for 15 minutes today, and slowly work up until you can do it for longer. It isn’t easy, but it is worth it.

Just sit in silence and don’t do anything. The work will come when you aren’t distracting yourself.


If this helped you, I’d love if you’d share it via Twitter or another social networking service that you use. Thank you.

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Minimalist Business Success: The Obsolescence of Gatekeepers

May 18th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Why you don’t need to “be discovered” anymore.

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

Ten years ago, if you were an artist or creator or any sort, you needed to one thing to get your work to a large enough audience to support yourself: suck up to a gatekeeper.

What is a gatekeeper?

Gatekeepers are middlemen. They are publishers, lit agents, record execs, gallery owners, magazine/newspaper writers, etc etc. If you have your book in Barnes & Noble or an album published on a label, you’ve gone through a gatekeeper to get there.

Up until ten years ago, we needed these distribution methods to bring our change to the world.

The Internet has made these people unnecessary.

While it’s still possible that one of them can help you find success, it’s somewhat similar to winning the lottery if they do. If you log on to any blog that covers any of these worlds, it’s not uncommon to read doomsday stories about the end of these industries.

Most of these stories assume these industries are dying because people won’t pay for media anymore — this is far from the truth that I’ve discovered.

People pay for my media all the time, I just get to keep 50-100% of the profits on every sale.

The reality is that the gates are gone.

This means you’re free to create and distribute your own material. In fact, I’ll go as far as saying that you must do it.

No one is going to hold your hand and lift you to success. You can’t keep playing shows hoping that an A&R scout will attend. You can’t keep sending blind manuscripts to lit agents hoping that they’ll sign a book deal.

From what I hear, there’s very little money to be had by taking that path anyway!

I have artist friends in New York who are still trying to play by pre-Internet rules in the Internet age. They’re amazing artists in their respective industries, the problem is that by aiming for gatekeepers, they’re dooming themselves to consistent failure indefinitely.

You’ll wait tables forever if you don’t start adapting to the modern world.

Alright, so the gatekeepers are dead. What do you do instead?

Julien Smith, the co-author of Trust Agents has a term he likes to use called Gatejumping.

The brilliant thing about gatejumping is the fences keep getting shorter.

There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t try to navigate around the establishment to get your message to the world.

Here are the primary skills you need to bypass gatekeepers and bring your change to the world.

1. A digital home base. You need a website, ideally a blog, which can support your work. It’s incredibly easy to register a domain name and start publishing. I don’t need to go over the specific mechanics of how you do this here, because there are many excellent resources available on the net to help you get started. Google it.

2. Maintain a social media presence to support your work. Get on Twitter, upload a photo of your face (your actual face, this is so important,) and start promoting (retweeting) the work of people who you admire. People ask me how much time I spend promoting my own work, the answer is none. Spend your time helping other people (who are doing great work) and they will help you.

3. If you’re an artist, chances are you’ve made work. Your album isn’t doing any good getting dusty under your desk. Put it on the Internet, and give it away for free until you have a sizable audience. Once you have people who like your art, then you can start charging. If you insist on making every one of your fans pay the premium price for your work, you’ll never get to the point that your work will support you. Simply put, there are too many people going the freemium route that you cannot compete if you withhold the good stuff.

4. Once you have a sizable audience, make new good stuff and charge a small amount for it. If the work helps people, they will support you. This obviously needs to be work that matters — crummy work that doesn’t matter won’t support you. Create the change you want to make in your life and the world.

I realize that the way I’m saying this that it sounds easy. I know it’s not. The point is you have to try, and mailing half-finished manuscripts to publishers isn’t trying anymore. Doing it the old way is just a handy way to give up early. You tried, you failed.

Playing with gatekeepers isn’t trying anymore, it’s setting your work up for commercial failure.

And of course these people with gatekeeper positions are going to try to maintain the idea that they have power for as long as possible. How would they survive without the endless hordes of people who idolize them? The answer is that they won’t.

It’s only a matter of time before we have a world where none of these middlemen are needed.

Don’t take their word for it if a middleman tells you they have power. The talk doesn’t mean anything until the money is in the bank. I’ve met plenty of supposed music A&R people who are all promises and no follow through. Why? Because being a gatekeeper is a great way to take advantage of artists.

[Sidenote: if you’re aiming to be a middleman, now is not the time to go that route either, for obvious reasons.]

There already is no bottleneck on distribution, why are we still aiming for the narrow and difficult path?

The funny thing is, when you successfully avoid gatekeepers, do you know what happens? They come knocking.

This doesn’t mean I won’t accept a book deal one of these days. However, the truth is that once you gatejump, it’s hard to go back. If I do allow a publisher to distribute my work, they’d best make it worth my while. I didn’t do all of this work for one minimum wage payday and for them to stick my e-book in some digital bookstore that no one uses.

And they’d better make it worth your time and effort too. Because we don’t need them anymore.


If you’re interested. My friend Chris Guillebeau is re-launching his Empire Builder Kit for a second time today (May 18th 2010 from 10am EST until May 19th at 10am EST) for 24 hours only.

The premise is simple: case studies including actual monetary figures by people running very small businesses who make tons of cash a year. In addition to that, you receive one email a day (that’s 365 tips!) that will help you build a business destined for world domination in at least one year.

I’m also an affiliate for this work, so you’ll be supporting my own blog if you purchase Empire Builder through this link.

Anyway, I’d love if you’d check it out. It’s quite an investment, but if you’ve been following my blog you know that I hold Chris’s work in very high regard. He’s one of the best very small business teachers out there.

How to Build An Empire in 1 Year

Minimalist Business Success at the Basis of Existence

May 12th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

On moving to SF Bay, and how minimalism makes small goals reach success.

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

First of all, I just wanted to say thank you for everyone who came out to support the launch of Minimalist Business.

The turnout was simply extraordinary. You’ve blown me away with your enthusiasm. I’ve received an incredible amount of email over the last two days, and I apologize if it’s taking me awhile to get back to everyone.

So far the feedback has been 95% positive, constructive, or simply thanking me for doing this work. Thank you.

How successful was the pre-launch of Minimalist Business?

Because Minimalist Business is truly riding on the idea that a location independent digital business can support an individual, I think it’s best if we have complete transparency about how much money came in from the pre-launch for my latest product.

I’m doing this not to gloat over the money (because it really isn’t that much, but it’s plenty compared to how much money I spend maintaining my minimal lifestyle.) But because I want you to see what’s possible if you put in the work to make this kind of business a reality for you.

The launch brought in just over $6000 over 24 hours.

My goal with this release was $2000, which I passed in the first hour. The pre-release of Minimalist Business did far better than I ever could have anticipated.

Depending on your perspective, that figure is either a lot or very little. I have friends who bring home a paycheck this size every week (and they spend it just as quickly.) If you remember from my writing last year, I survived on $3000 in Portland for three months. Needless to say, this is more than enough to support my on-going work for an extended period of time, — my life-overhead is so incredibly low.

Also, this figure is above and beyond the income already coming in from The Art of Being Minimalist and the affiliate work that I do for other work that I believe in. I see it as more of an investment in future work.

Long time readers know that I live with 50-things, so don’t expect to see me go on shopping sprees or anything like that. I’m just not interested in wasting money supporting consumerism, when the work is so much more important.

The myth that you can’t pay the bills working as a writer.

The biggest element of this whole story, the one that’s a real shocker to a lot of people in the world, is the fact that you truly can make a living as a writer by creating great work.

I spoke in Minimalist Business about the idea that we don’t need middlemen anymore. When you stop waiting around for a publishing house, an agent, a record label to come ‘discover’ your work, you free yourself up to start doing the work that supports you.

Far Beyond The Stars is named after a story in which a writer in the 1940s literally has his life destroyed because of middlemen who won’t publish his work. The fact that middlemen no longer rule the world is truly liberating to every artist in the world.

The first step is to recognize this fact, then we all need to actually start acting on it with the resources that we have at our disposal. I hope that Minimalist Business gives people the tools and inspiration to do this.

On location independence in SF Bay.

As most of you know, my girlfriend and I are moving to The San Francisco bay area on Saturday May 15th. We’ll probably be setting up shop in Oakland, because it seems to be the kind of neighborhood that we’d enjoy living in.

We’re staying in a room in an apartment we booked at Airbnb. They’re letting us bring the cat, this is awesome.

As we’re moving in only a couple of days, I may be less in-contact than I normally am. Moving is fairly easy for me, being that all of my stuff fits into a bag, but I’ll be busy locating an apartment that rocks in a neighborhood that rocks.

I haven’t lived in a new place since returning to Brooklyn in January, so I’m incredibly excited about exploring a new place.

On the affiliate relaunch of Minimalist Business.

One of the hardest decisions I had to make was whether to include my affiliate network in the initial launch of Minimalist Business. I made the decision to just distribute the initial release here, on my site only.

In my view, the work just isn’t ready for wider exposure yet. It stands on it’s own, but after the relaunch is will truly rock the world.

Think about it this way: you now have a month or so to become incredibly familiar with the work for the re-release. I’ll be distributing Minimalist Business with 50% commission, so you only need to sell two copies to make back your purchase price, or even more.

My true hope is that after you’ve read the e-book, it will be easier than ever for you to do this. I’ll be sure to give you more info as we get closer to the date about how to join the affiliate relaunch of Minimalist Business.

Thanks so much for sticking with me on this. I promise that it will pay off in the future with a stronger work for you to advocate for, if you’re part of my affiliate network, or are interested in joining.

On Minimalist Business feedback.

As I’ve been saying, a lot of the work that I’ll be doing over the next month will be on making Minimalist Business better. I want to hear from you. What wasn’t clear? What was missing? How can this help you better?

We’re already nailing the grammatical problems, but I honestly think these are less important — I’ve also already received emails from dozens of people offering to help with this, so rest assured the grammar will be spotless in the next release.

The overarching message of the work is most important to me.

We can spend all day discussing whether a sentence needs to be three inches to the left, or whether a comma is necessary or not. Copy editing is important, but it’s also easy to fix. What is important is making better the work that matters, this is the hard part — and hence the focus of 90% of my attention in the next month.

Contact me with your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you.

On creating work at the basis of existence.

We’re taught daily by society that money matters above all else. If only we had a little more money, everything would be better. We’d be able to live better, people would like us more, we’d be able to get a nicer handbag.

None of that matters. Money isn’t important.

I fully intend to continue living at the basis of existence, and using the resources that I’ve received by contributing value to continue contributing value to you. This is the most important element, and one that we should all consider when working on our own minimalist business ventures.

The basis of existence is an idea that you only need food and housing to survive, the rest of everything you think you need has been pushed on your by marketing and advertisers. You don’t need any of that, live simply and free yourself to work on what is important.

As Rolf Potts recently observed on Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour Workweek blog “…neither self nor wealth can be measured in terms of what you consume or own.”

What matters most is the time you have to work on what matters most to you.

By supporting my work, you’ve given me the time to work on making the work even more valuable than it already is.

I fully expect $6000 to support my lifestyle for the next three to four months, due to living at the basis of existence. Will I have more money coming in from The Art of Being Minimalist? Of course. This doesn’t give me the permission to blow it on fruitless endeavors or consumerism. That would defeat the point.

When you stop trading time for money, and spending money to eat up time, you opt out of a perpetual cycle that is keeping you basically imprisoned in a corporate system.

Then you can be free to create work that matters.

Thank you all for your support, it means so much to know that I’m helping you make a difference.

Everett Bogue

How to Get Your Early Adopter Copy of Minimalist Business (24 hours only)

May 10th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

How to Live and Work from Anywhere

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

[UPDATE JUNE 15th 2010: You can now purchase a copy of Minimalist Business over here.]

[UPDATE MAY 11th 2010: The limited release of Minimalist Business is now over. I’ll be relaunching the guide in a month or so, be sure to sign up for free updates via RSS or EMAIL so you don’t miss out!]

Everyone has a moment when they start to believe.

This is the moment when it all starts to make sense, when the pieces click into place, and success becomes inevitable.

My moment came in the summer of 2008. I was working full time as a photo editor at New York Magazine.

This was before the near collapse of the banking system, but there was still very little money going around. Especially in the photo industry –it’s incredibly difficult to get gigs when there are 3 million photographers and most of them sell their stuff for $1 on istockphoto.

I attended a small convention of photographers in downtown Manhattan with my friend Diana Sabreen, who worked for me as a photographer at the time.

Photography conventions are incredibly sad. There are typically thousands of underpaid and dispirited professional photographers attending — they’ve bought all the gear, but they can’t find the work, and the underlying purpose of conventions is simply to give Nikon and Canon a venue to sell photographers more gear that they don’t need.

How I discovered that you can live and work from anywhere.

One speaker stood out to me though, Rob Haggart. He claimed to be a photo editor, but wasn’t working at a magazine anymore. Instead he ran a blog called A Photo Editor.

All of the photographers loved him. It was impossible to talk with him at the convention because their was such a crowd around this guy. I couldn’t figure out why, because he apparently didn’t do anything — he obviously couldn’t employ these people because he didn’t work at a magazine or agency. Why was he so successful?

Later at drinks down on The Bowery in Manhattan I walked up and asked Rob a simple question: “Photo editor to photo editor, what do you actually do?”

“I sell photo portfolio websites, and spend most of my time hiking and raft around Colorado with my kids.” and then he added quite mysteriously “…It really is possible to live and work from anywhere.” Then he walked away.

I had another gin and tonic and headed home, but his words stayed with me until I quit my job in July of 2009 with a single intention: to move across the country and learn how to live and work from anywhere.

What I found during this experiment was stunning, it really is possible to live and work from anywhere.

You can create a minimalist business in order to live and work from anywhere.

The Internet has broken down all of the barriers in communication, and this in turn has broken down all of the barriers in sales. If there are no costs, you can sell to anyone in the world.

Any one person can contribute value to a tribe of 1000, or 10,000 people who will support them online.

Shortly after I announced earlier this year that my e-book The Art of Being Minimalist was fully supporting my minimalist lifestyle, I started to receive a flood of emails from people asking what I’d done to be able to live and work from anywhere.

These emails haven’t stopped. Everyone wants to know how to create a business that allows them to live and work from anywhere in the world. I’ve done my best to answer every email, but the sheer volume made me realize that I had to record my thoughts in a place where they were more widely available to people who need the knowledge.

I believe this development, how to live and work from anywhere, will be remembered as the single most important change in the history of the modern age.

Slowly, and quite silently, a small legion of extraordinary individuals are learning how to harness the power of the Internet to create location independent micro-businesses which allow them to move when and where they please.

I also believe:

  1. It’s a lot easier to start a minimalist business than it is to find a fulfilling job with the current state of the economy.
  2. An MB (minimalist businessman) doesn’t need to work as many hours as a typical wage slave (I currently work only 10 hours a week, but I’m angling for 4.)
  3. Anyone with enough strength and willpower now has access to the resources that allow them to create a minimalist business.

So why isn’t everyone creating a minimalist already?

Because of fear. The world changes slower we like to think. Many people want guarantees, they want someone to point them in the right direction and physically show them every single step they should take.

Ironically, doing exactly what everyone else isn’t doing is the easiest way to find success.

Most people are trained from kindergarten to sit down, shut up, and do as their told. Doing what you’re told makes it pretty impossible to start a minimalist business, because there’s no one to tell you what to do. You’re the only employee!

There are no 12 simple steps to a minimalist business. There are no magic bullets.

I can’t tell you every single thing you need to do to make a business successful, because every minimalist business relies on the individuality of it’s creator.

The unique qualities that make you different are what you have to harness to create a minimalist business.

Only a few people on the cutting edge of change will gather the strength to make this journey. Eventually, the rest may follow, but for right now this really is frontier territory.

Who shouldn’t buy Minimalist Business:

  • People who want all the answers.
  • People who are looking for magic bullets.
  • People who want an easy life where they don’t have to answer hard questions.
  • People who are happy in their day jobs.
  • Hotshot internet marketers already making a huge income on the web.

I’ve done my best to lay a framework for how you can create a minimalist business, based on my own observations during the creation of my minimalist business.

Perfect is the enemy of done.

This version isn’t perfect. Seth Godin told us in Linchpin that every project needs a ship date. So I set one, and today I shipped. That being said, if it hasn’t been made apparent already, this is an incredibly ambitious project. I’m sure I’ve left some things out, I’m sure I’ve spelled a few things wrong, I’m sure some people won’t “get it”.

This is why I’m only releasing Minimalist Business for today 24 hours to the readers of Far Beyond The Stars. You guys are awesome, and first and foremost I want to help you with the information that’s contained in Minimalist Business.

This version is offered at a significant discount from what the price will be when I release the guide in a month to affiliates and a larger audience.

I want to hear from you.

Contact me with any questions you have about the guide. Let me know what you think is missing. Let me know what you need to know to be successful. I’ll do my best to answer, if I know the answer.

While I might not have all of the answers. I have successfully created a minimalist business, so hopefully I’ll be able to help you.

This version isn’t perfect, but everyone who purchases now will receive free updates for an entire year. With your input, we’ll make it perfect as time goes along.

The effectiveness guarantee.

Minimalist Business won’t be right for everyone. I understand this. There’s also an incredible number of skeezy Internet marketers selling “secret guides to making money online” that over-hype their value and under-deliver on quality. If you’re a long-time reader, you will know that I am not one of these people.

This is why I’m offering a full refund to anyone who isn’t happy:

  • If Minimalist Business doesn’t help you.
  • If Minimalist Business isn’t what you thought it was.
  • If Minimalist Business doesn’t enable you to create at least $250 of income on the side (that’s $3000 a year!) by the end of six months (high performers will of course do must better than this.)

Then I’ll refund you the entire purchase price of Minimalist Business. No questions asked.

I don’t want anyone to feel like they made a bad decision.

Paypal only allows me to offer refunds for 60-days. However, I’ll do everything in my power to offer a refund at any time in the future. As long as I’m still breathing, you can get your money back on this product if at any moment you feel like it isn’t living up to your expectations.

How to purchase Minimalist Business

As I said above, I’m only selling Minimalist Business at these reduced prices for 24 hours. You have from May 10th at 10am EST until May 11th at 10am EST to purchase Minimalist Business at the reduced prices below.

$50 $37 – The Basic “Getting Down to Minimalist Business” Version

Features: 112-page Minimalist Business e-book on creating your own minimalist business in order to live and work from anywhere + free updates for a year.

Add to Cart

Minimalist Business features:

  • Strategies for minimalist business success
  • Time management techniques I’ve developed to focus on the important
  • How to work towards making your entire living while working a less than 10 hours a week
  • How being minimalist makes minimalist business success so much easier
  • The tools you need to start a zero-overhead business over the Internet
  • How to separate your income from location so you can live anywhere
  • A guest article by Leo Babauta on his secret to creating a successful business
  • and much more…

You can preview the first 35 pages of the e-book here.

$60 $47 – The Upgraded “Minimalist Plan” Version

Features: 112-page Minimalist Business e-book + The 30-Day Quick Start Guide to a Minimalist Business + free updates for a year.

Add to Cart

This additional quick start guide features a tip-a-day that will help you build your minimalist business. Is it a sure-fire path to success? No. Do you have to do it over 30 days? certainly not.

Take your time, apply the action steps when you need them.

Readers have asked for me to break down the book into simple action steps that can be taken in order to build a minimalist business, so I created this quick start guide to try and address the actions you need to take to build a minimalist business. It isn’t a silver bullet, but if you’re the kind of person who likes day-by-day instructions, this can help.

$750 $257 – The Complete “Destined for Minimalist Success” Version (Limited Quantities)

Features: 112-page Minimalist Business e-book + The 30-Day Quick Start Guide to a Minimalist Business + 30 Days of Email Coaching with me, Everett Bogue + free updates for a year.

The email coaching starts at a time of your choosing. Purchase it now, read the book at your leisure, and contact me when you’re ready to get started with coaching.

I’ve been asked by a number of readers to offer Minimalist Business coaching. I’ve received incredible value from 1 on 1 sessions with teachers in my life, so I want to have the opportunity to give back to people who need the 1 on 1 attention.

I may take this down if there is overwhelming demand. I can only take on so many coaching clients, and I don’t want to take on so much that I can’t offer incredible value to the people who take me up on this offer.

To be honest, I don’t know if I’ll ever offer coaching as feature again. I certainly don’t need the money to support my minimalist lifestyle, and it takes a lot of time to coach people to business success. If I do offer coaching again, it will be much more expensive than the current price.

Basically: this is probably the last time you’ll be able to purchase 1 on 1 coaching with me for this low price.

The effectiveness guarantee (see above if you missed it) is available for all purchase options — even the coaching! If you aren’t satisfied, drop me an email and I’ll issue a full refund.

To sum it all up.

Yes, you can live and work from anywhere. Yes, you can achieve minimalist business success.

The reduced price “perfect is the enemy of done” versions will only be available until May 11th 2010 at 10am EST.

If you’d rather wait for the final version (which you’ll receive if you purchase now via free updates for a year.) you can sign up for free updates from Far Beyond The Stars via EMAIL or RSS to be notified of the final version’s release.

Thank you for your time, your support, and for being awesome.

Everett Bogue

P.S.: I’ll be online all day to help with any questions you may have. Feel free to drop me an email or visit me on Twitter if you have any questions!

Minimalist Business Product Launches: Strategies for Success

May 7th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Proven launch strategies used by successful micro-business entrepreneurs.

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

I have a long standing tradition here at Far Beyond The Stars of doing my best to be as helpful as possible to the readers.

I believe this is one of the single most important reasons that Corbett Barr of Think Traffic identified Far Beyond The Stars as one of his explosive growth case studies.

I don’t pay attention to stats that much, but I got momentarily excited that Corbett had pegged my subscribers-per-month growth in the range of blogging greats as Adam Baker, author of Unautomate Your Finances, and Glen Allsopp, author of Cloud Living. Wow.

Anyway, this is why I’ve decided to write a post on how to create your own successful minimalist business product launch, instead of simply talking about my own. If you’re not interested in how to launch a product, and simply want information about Minimalist Business, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

How to blow people out of the water with a minimalist business product launch.

Instead of telling you how I’m going to do a launch on Monday of my new e-book, Minimalist Business, I’ll tell you how you can make your own minimalist business product launch better.

I’ll also point out which launch strategy I’m going to take, so you have some idea of what’s going on Monday.

A big part of running a minimalist business is facilitating a quality launch. If you launch the right way, a couple of hours of effort will propel your work to success. If you launch poorly, there’s a big chance you’ll have to cold call people to make individual sales.

Cold calling isn’t a minimalist business strategy, it’s a counterproductive strategy. We definitely don’t want you to have to do that.

Many of the readers here at Far Beyond The Stars are also going to be launching their own minimalist business products sooner or later, so I want to make sure you have the tools to make them successful.

Strategies for Minimalist Business Product Launch Success:

1. Born to be freemium.

One of the most powerful launches that a minimalist business can do is to release a completely free product.

When your business is small, and you don’t have a large readership, it’s important to build credibility in your niche and also good will from the people who will be reading your work. The most important way to do this is to release a free product.

One of the best examples of a free product that contains massive amounts of value for readers is Chris Guillebeau’s A Brief Guide to World Domination. With this free product, Chris established his credibility online as one of the masterminds of digital product distribution and working online from anywhere.

How many people do you think read Chris’s free e-book and were so inspired that they went ahead and purchased his more extensive products such as An Unconventional Guide to Working for Yourself, or Art + Money? I imagine quite a few. Why wouldn’t you? After reading his free products, you can’t help but come to the conclusion that Chris is one of the foremost experts on working for yourself using the Internet.

One of the most important elements of a minimalist business is establishing enough credibility with visitors to your home-base (usually a blog) that they know for certain that buying your premium product will contribute value to their lives.

A free product can go a long way towards proving to the world that you have knowledge to contribute.

The old mentality to business was to withhold value until someone paid for it. This is no longer a smart business model, because there’s so much free value available on the Internet that readers aren’t going to pay before they see the value anymore.

Pay your value forward, and the people who you help will support you.


  • Easier to publicize and distribute a free product.
  • Long-term gains in readership and authority.


  • No publicity if the product sucks.
  • No direct income generation.

2. Reward your current supporters.

Many people think you should launch a product after you’ve developed a significant readership. This is true, of course! When you have a large audience you’ll definitely be able to support yourself with a premium product.

However, only a lucky few have a large audience to start off with. The rest of us won’t be in this situation, so we need a better strategy than simply waiting to be famous. Fame doesn’t come from waiting around.

I only had around 700 subscribers when I launched The Art of Being Minimalist in February.

Contrary to what I’d read everywhere on the web, I found that once I launched the product my popularity began to skyrocket.

I have a couple of theories about why this happened:

  1. Having a premium product establishes you as an authority in your niche.
  2. Having a premium product gives supporters a way of supporting you (so I didn’t have to spend time doing other work).
  3. Having a premium product allows you to support your supporters through affiliate sales, this creates a stronger community.

Given these findings, I believe that when your readership is small, it’s in your best interest to release a product for free for 24 hours to the readers who support you now. Then start charging for the product.

This strategy rewards your existing community for sticking with you through the awkward adolescent years of your minimalist business. It also gives them an opportunity to see how valuable the information in your product is, so they can advocate for you.

Obviously, if your product contains no value (believe me, there are plenty of these out there.) This strategy will definitely not work.

If you release a bad product and your readers aren’t enthusiastic about it, they’re not going to support it.

They call it democratization of media for a reason. People vote with their money for the work that helps them the most. This is why The Art of Being Minimalist completely supports my lifestyle, because it’s a quality work — I continue to get enthusiastic emails from readers after they’ve finished telling me how the book changed their perspective on freedom.

I’ve seen many other similar blogs launch products that didn’t quite live up to expectations of their authors — these products don’t support their authors.

Quality work markets itself. Bad work vanishes into the ether. This is the way the world works in the online age.

The lesson here is to offer your free product for 24 hours to the people who support you, and ask them to honestly tell you if they believe in what you’re doing. If they’re into it, you will have no problem achieving world domination.

If your current readers give you a luke-warm reception to a free product, then maybe you should kill it now and go back to the drawing board until you can write something that authentically helps your readers.

On Monday, my friend Sam Spurlin of The Simpler Life is going to be launching his e-book using the above strategy, based on my input. Be sure to check it out, and get a copy while it’s free for 24 hours.


  • Initial spike in publicity.
  • Eventual profits.
  • Large group of possible affiliates.


  • If the work isn’t quality, no one will be tricked into paying for it (which isn’t a strategy anyway.)
  • Your existing audience will get the product for free, so profits have to come from new community members as they discover you.

3. Publicly create your product.

One of the more innovative strategies that I’ve seen lately is the way that Leo Babauta is creating his newest e-book, focus: a simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction.

He’s simply writing the book in a public venue, so people can read and comment on the work until it’s done.

The transparency of this strategy creates good will with potential buyers, because they can read and enjoy the quality work before paying actual money for it.

I imagine once Leo finishes the book, he’ll package the e-book and sell it like he does with A Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life. Once he does this, his readers will be able to support the work that went into creating this quality work.

I have no doubt that I will pay money to read Focus once Leo finishes it, even if I’ve devoured most of the pages before hand. The reason is that the book has already contributed incredible value to my life, before it was even finished. Creators who contribute value deserve our support.


  • Quality assurance, if no one enjoys the book while you’re writing it, who will enjoy it when you sell it?
  • Feedback during creation.
  • Consistant publicity.


  • Less control over launch, information is already free.
  • No big launch payday.

4. Perfect is the enemy of done.

Some projects are simply too large and important to wait until they’re completely finished. The reasons for this can vary immensely.

You might need reader feedback in order to know exactly what pieces are missing. The project might be so ambitious that you will never finish unless you just set ship date.

The great thing about the Internet is that you can revise and update products. There’s no permanent copy that can’t be changed after you push it out. This fundamentally changes the way that media is produced, and I think we’d be wise to start embracing this change.

We’re used to the idea of physical books being produced. Books need to be done when they’re sent to the printer, because no one can fix them after they’ve been sent to Barnes and Noble. With digital media, this isn’t the case.

When software companies release products, they know there will be bugs that they haven’t identified. There will be missing features that either weren’t finished at the release date, or they didn’t know the feature needed to exist.

Chris Guillebeau used this strategy with his launch of the Empire Builder Kit last month. He released the kit for 24 hours to his current supporters. For a project as big as the Empire Builder Kit, a launch like this is key. It limits the amount of people who will purchase the product to a smaller amount, and also to people who are already familiar with your work.

This gave Chris a month to revise and update the product with feedback from the early adopters. On May 18th he’ll be re-releasing The Empire Builder Kit, at a slightly higher price (I think) than the original release.

The early adopters will receive a revised copy with all of the kinks worked out, and people who missed the initial opportunity will be able to pick up a copy.

This rewards the people who helped him make sure the final product was perfect, because they were able to pick up the product at a reduced price before it went out to a wider audience.

The other benefit of this plan, is it gives the early adopters a month to plan their own affiliate launches of The Empire Builder Kit.

Because Chris offers a 50% commission on the kit, his supporters only need to sell two copies to their supporters in order to make back the money they spent in their initial investment in quality work.


  • Reader feedback and profits.
  • Ability to make product better after launch.


  • Product might not be “done” at launch.
  • Possibility of disappointing buyers, if the work isn’t done enough to contribute value.

The strategy for the launch of Minimalist Business.

As you may have guessed, I’m taking strategy 4 “perfect is the enemy of done” for my initial launch of Minimalist Business.

I wrote about this in more depth earlier this week, but the reason is simple: Minimalist Business is an incredibly ambitious project.

The ultimate goal is to teach anyone who’s willing the skills necessary to establish a one-person location-independent micro-business that will support their existence through automated passive income. After working on this project for 4 months, it’s become readily apparent that it’s not an easy subject to teach.

I’ve done my best to put everything that I’ve learned about the process down in writing, but there will missing pieces. I’ll do my best to revise and update the knowledge base as new technologies become available, and fill in the gaps that early adopters notice and report to me.

The Minimalist Business details:

At this moment the guide is clocking in at just over 115 pages of, what I hope you will agree is incredibly valuable information for people who are interested in launching a minimalist business to support a location independent life.

Here are some details about the upcoming release of Minimalist Business:

  1. It won’t be perfect. I’ve done my best to include my thoughts on everything from generating passive income and time management, to affiliate income opportunities and realistic strategies for working less than 10 hours a week in order to create a profitable business. However, there will be some things that I didn’t think to include. That’s why everyone who purchases the early adopter version on Monday will receive free updates for an entire year.
  2. I’ll be relaunching a revised and updated version of the guide in a month or so, which will be available to a wider audience as well as my affiliate network. With the second version I’ll do my best to answer all of the questions that people will inevitably come up with the release of the first version, as well as give the e-book a complete copy edit.
  3. The version I release on Monday will be available at a significant discount for early adopters. Those who are willing to take a leap of faith with me and enjoy a product that’s hugely informative, but not necessarily perfect deserve a price break. I foresee putting in hundreds of hours over the next month answering questions and helping early adopters establish their own minimalist businesses.
  4. There will be three different release packages with different features. The first will come with a significantly discounted consulting package, the next comes with a 30-day quick start guide, and the last will simply contain the e-book. I’ll be finalizing the pricing over the weekend, and I’ll let you know on Monday.
  5. [UPDATE 12pm] Concerns about this came up in the comments: there will be an effectiveness guarantee. Anyone can get their money back at any time if they feel that the product isn’t right for them. It’s a digital product, so no harm done if you either don’t like the product, aren’t interested in creating a minimalist business, or simply aren’t successful in the endeavor. I’d never want anyone to feel that they spent money on something they shouldn’t have.

What do you think?

I’m not going to have a lot of time to answer reader questions in the comments this weekend. I’ll be busy pumping the last bit of value that I have left in me to assure that this guide is as awesome and helpful as it possibly can be.

Whether or not I have time to stop by, I’d love for you to keep the discussion going on in the comments

Which of these launch strategies do you think works best for you? What other strategies have you seen that worked well? I’m sure the community here at Far Beyond The Stars would love to hear your take on launch strategies for success.


Everett Bogue

Minimalist Relocation: Move to Any City for $125

May 5th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Start over in any city for the cost of a plane ticket.

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

Moving doesn’t have to be difficult, unless you make it that way.

We’re living in a society that’s more mobile than it’s ever been. It’s becoming incredibly easy to separate your location from your income by creating a minimalist business.

And yet so many people continue make a big deal out of moving. They have every intention of renting an expensive U-Haul truck, they hold on to all of their stuff, they procrastinate and make excuses not to make the jump to a new city. Eventually they give up and never strike out to experience a new place for the first time.

Why? Because it’s costly to move when you have tons of junk.

You don’t need the U-Haul filled with excuses to move anywhere.

The reality is that you can relocate to a new locale for the cost of a plane ticket, plus new housing setup costs, if you design yourself a minimalist life.

On May 15th I’ll be getting on a place bound for San Francisco air, and the ticket will be my only moving cost. My ticket from New York to San Francisco was only $125. (Obviously prices will vary on airfare depending on where you’re going.)

If I was a Frequent Flier Master like Chris Guillebeau, I’d probably be able to relocate to a new city for free — I’ll be working on this if I ever move again. But I’m not an expert at gaming the airport system yet, so $125 will do just fine.

How to move for the cost of a plane ticket.

1. Reduce your possessions to a more meaningful amount. Minimalism is a running theme on this blog for a reason, because it works.

Moving your stuff is the single largest cost involved in any relocation. Reduce your possessions to less than 100 things and you’ll be able to move easily. I have 50 things now, which means I can move with a carry-on bag.

The truth is that most of the things you need for your apartment can be obtained for a small amount of money, or shared with new roomies, in any new location. One of the biggest factors tying people to their location is accumulating hundreds of thousands of inexpensive little gizmos that they never actually use. As I said in The Art of Being Minimalist, simply abandoning this junk will free you to pursue a location independent lifestyle.

The stuff is enslaving you, it’s keeping you trapped in one place, when you could be free.

2. Resolve your housing situation in your old location. Talk to the landlord and say that you’d like to move out. Offer to help find a new person, if necessary. Breaking leases is bad, but if required isn’t the end of the world. Be sure to give at least 30 days notice on a rental.

If you’re in the unfortunate situation of owning a house, find a management company to maintain the property while you’re gone. Or sell it, if that’s an option. Many people I talk to who own houses in the current climate are simply waiting until the value improves enough for them to leave with a profit. But what if the value never improves? Don’t delay your aspirations because your home value took a nose-dive. Sell the house now, cut your losses, and become a renter in your new city.

3. Find a temporary home base in your chosen city. It’s important to have a place to crash for a few days while you get a more permanent living situation. In some cities there are inexpensive hostels where you can stay for a few days, or hotel rooms that won’t cost much. Some people enjoy Couch Surfing in new locations. Personally, I booked a room for 15 days through the remarkable Airbnb.

4. Land the apartment after you get into town. People make a big deal out of getting apartments, it doesn’t need to be. Most landlords, outside of the East Village in Manhattan, are more than happy to have you give them your money — if you’ve got decent credit and don’t have a criminal history. Be sure to have at least first and last month’s rent + security ready to go the moment to find an apartment that fits your criteria.

Don’t try to find an apartment beforehand. It’s just too hard to coordinate money, avoid scammers, and guarantee that your apartment is livable when you can’t see it first. Never wire large sums of money over the Internet to people you haven’t met, it’s just a bad idea.

Act confident. Wear nice clothes and a smile on your face when you’re visiting new apartments. Even if you don’t have minimalist business income coming in at the moment, tell the owner that money will not be a problem. You’re leaving a security deposit for a reason, you don’t have to give a full financial picture to the landlord unless absolutely required — if required and you don’t have money coming in at the moment, move on to a landlord who won’t ask questions. There are plenty of landlords out there who only care about the security deposit, you don’t have to deal with ones who ask too many questions.

5. Be open to different living situations. Our society has wired us to think the only way to live is alone, but understand that it can be much easier to find a room with other people in a larger apartment. When I was in Portland I lived with two fine girls from the town. They helped me meet new people, and we even worked on a few projects together. The other benefit of entering into a shared space is that furniture and kitchen supplies will often already be present.

I’m not going to be looking for a shared space this time around, but I’ve had amazing experiences in them in the past (I used to live in a schoolhouse with 10 roomies, it was the best years of my life.) This can also save you a lot of money, and you’ll have more flexible move-out dates should decide that you want to head to Thailand in a few months.

Being in a shared space can also be a great way to open your mind to new things. When we live alone we tend to focus on the same-old, but roommates will have different stuff going on that can open your mind and help you learn new skills.

6. Live in cheaper neighborhoods bordering gentrified ones. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they move to new cities is to try and live where the city was coolest in the 1970s. It isn’t the 1970s anymore, rent in Soho is $3000 a month. You can’t afford that unless you’re rich.

It’s not in your best interest to spend the majority of your income on your living situation. Rent an inexpensive, yet livable apartment, and you’ll have loads more cash to spend on experiences outside the apartment.

Here’s what I do: go to the hip place where you thought you were supposed to live, and walk 15 blocks in any direction (if you thought you were going to live in Manhattan, get on any train and take it 5 stops into Brooklyn.) This is where you look for an apartment. Art exists on the fringes of society, a neighborhood that’s a little rougher will always be cooler and also much cheaper than a gentrified neighborhood that had a reputation of being cool thirty years ago.

7. Don’t worry so much. So many people I know like to spend days or weeks making contingency plans for simple moves like this — this often leads to not moving at all. 99% of the time nothing will go wrong, so don’t spend 80% of your time making sure that 1% doesn’t happen. The world is pretty much the same everywhere (as long as you don’t move to a war zone,) you won’t have trouble finding an apartment if you’re a decent person. Spend the time you were going to spend worrying on setting up passive income sources so you can pay your rent.


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The Minimalist Business Journey Towards Freedom

May 3rd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Our Goal is to Live and Work from Anywhere

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

As I’m writing this, I’m flying high above Lake Michigan towards Chicago, where we’ll stop over for a few minutes before heading on to Denver and then Boulder, Colorado.

Traveling reminds me why I’m a writer. I do this because I want more people to have the crazy amount of freedom to go anywhere that I do.

This is the ultimate purpose of having a minimalist business: to make it possible to live and work from anywhere.

A year ago, I never thought I’d be able to move whenever I want and live and work from anywhere. A year later, I’ve lived in more cities in one year than I have in my entire life. I’ve traveled to more places this year than I ever had before. Meanwhile, I was able to keep my business going via the Internet to fund my life.

You deserve to journey to freedom.

Most people get two weeks of vacation a year. When I had a day job, I created such a facade about how important I was, that I never even took many of my vacation days –how will they survive if I leave for even a week?! I know plenty of people who do or have done the same.

Anyway, I’m not trying to get all philosophical. I just want to point out that there are other ways to live your life instead of in the cubicle, on the retail floor, or wherever it is that you may spend 80% of your awake time.

We’re in the midst of an Internet business revolution.

I’m convinced that the Internet provides nearly unlimited potential to individuals who are brave enough to start to begin capitalizing on the infinite selling power of digital media. No overhead, unlimited copies of data, the ability to communicate over the entire planet instantly.

Never before have we had this opportunity.

Seth Godin said something recently on a live broadcast with Penelope Trunk that fascinated me. Gen-Y (my generation, the kids who are around 25 these days) are the last generation who will remember what the world was like before the Internet broke down all of the barriers. We’re the ambassadors of change between the old and the young.

Isn’t that remarkable? My generation is like the translator between the people who think the only way to find success is to climb the corporate ladder or suck up to a gatekeeper.

Everyone younger than me can’t even conceive of wanting to join the rat race willingly. Why would you? There are better options now.

Change is difficult.

Yes, it’s scary to know that your own fate is in your hands. But isn’t it scarier to put your fate in the hands of a corporation that will use you until they don’t need you anymore, and then out you go?

This is why I’m working on my next e-book, Minimalist Business, which I’ve talked about before.I’ve spent hundreds of hours over the last few months perfecting the details, the tools, the theories in the book — all because I want to help as many people as I can start to enjoy the freedom of having the ability to travel at anytime. To set your own hours. To spend time making work that matters.

Another thing that Seth is always saying, especially in his latest book Linchpin, is that it is absolutely essential to set a ship date on a product. I’ve known so many artists who don’t set ship dates, and they work on their art forever — it’s never perfect, so it’s never done. So no one ever sees it.

  • If you’re making a painting, you have to set a date to hang in a gallery.
  • If you have a day job, you have to set a date to quit (if you want to.)
  • If you’re writing a book you have to set a date to publish it.

So here’s the deal with Minimalist Business:

On May 10th at 10am EST, I’ll be releasing Minimalist Business for 24 hours only to the readers of Far Beyond The Stars.

Don’t miss the launch! Sign up for free updates via email or rss.

As I work on Minimalist Business, I’m beginning to realize just how big and important this project is. If I didn’t set a ship date, it’s the kind of thing that I could work on for 10 years. But by that time the opportunity will be gone, because everyone with a head on their shoulders will be location independent. I’ll be releasing it whether or not it’s perfect.

I’m only releasing it for 24 hours, because I want to limit the initial group of people who get the book to a small few. This way we can work closer together on building your minimalist businesses, and in answering questions that come up about how to execute the techniques described in the book.

Perfect is the enemy of done. If you wait until things are perfect, chances are you’ll never finish.

The brilliant thing about digital media, and using e-junkie, is that I can send updated copies of the e-book. I know there will be missing pieces of the puzzle, and I’ll spell a few words wrong in the initial release. That’s okay! I think this is a part of making a difference. The ideas matter first and foremost.

Everyone who purchases a copy on May 10th will receive free updates for a year.

I fully expect to work on expanding and revising this e-book for a long time to come. I’ll do this by answering questions that new minimalist business owners, as they come up. I’ll add new sections as new technologies become prevalent. I’ll fix any minor grammar errors that you will inevitably notice and email me about.

I realize that this is a different way of doing things, but running a minimalist business is by nature challenging the status quo. I feel that it’s better to get the important information out there, rather than wait until it doesn’t matter anymore.

A limited release for first wave of aspiring minimalist business owners.

A limited group of individuals aspiring to start their minimalist business will be able to join me on May 10th as we work towards making many more minimalist businesses successful.

I hope you’ll join me, if living and working from anywhere is your goal.

If not, no worries! I’m going to continue to write insanely useful content on this blog for free for everyone who’s interested. This will always be the priority to me, helping people change the world for free. Because it’s more important to me to give everyone access to the information they need to make a difference in their lives.

I’ll have more information as we get closer to the 10th. Thank you for being a part of this minimalist business revolution.

-Everett Bogue

Oh! If you want to get started learning about how to start a minimalist business, here’s some of the highlights of what I’ve written before on the subject:

The Simple Guide to Making Money Online

The Surprising Truth About Using Minimalism to Leave Your Day Job

9 Minimalist Steps Toward Passive Income

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