Minimalist Business: How to Live and Work Anywhere

June 15th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Create a zero-overhead simple business to support your freedom lifestyle

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

A brief history of being minimalist.

In September of last year I quit my job, and hopped on a plane to Portland Oregon in search of freedom. In order to survive, I had to make a choice that many people are having to make in this economy:

I had to embrace minimalism in order to pursue what was important to me.

I started living with less than 100 things, biked and walked everywhere, survived on less than $3,000 for three months, and practiced time management techniques to spend less time doing work and more time making work that matters.

In February of this year I launched The Art of Being Minimalist, a little e-book with a powerful message: what would you be able to accomplish if you lived with less?

What really surprised me, is that a little e-book about being minimalist could completely support my lifestyle. I could move anywhere (and I did, traveling from Portland to Chicago to New York and then relocating to San Francisco last month at limited expense.) I also didn’t need to have a day job, which was the most important element for me.

These reasons form the basis for the work I’ve put into Minimalist Business:

  1. Your business doesn’t need to cost as much as you think.
  2. If you opt-out of physical media and avoid gatekeepers, you can keep 50-100% of your profits.
  3. If choose to automate your business, you can create passive income, which means you don’t have to work so much anymore either.

The number one reason for creating Minimalist Business is to help you create one too.

When I started writing about the success I was having with my minimalist business, I began receiving a flood of emails asking me how I was able to do it. The problem with answering emails is that it only helps one person, and the strategy isn’t scalable.

I hope Minimalist Business answers any questions you have about creating a zero-overhead business to support your minimalist lifestyle anywhere in the world.

Why create a minimalist business?

We live in interesting times. The economy still hasn’t recovered from the greatest recession since the great depression. This means that there aren’t a lot of fulfilling job opportunities out there anymore.

People (like Jeffrey F. Tang) are waking up and realizing that in order to create a fulfilling job, they have to design that life for themselves.

We have to change the way we create businesses, and how we do important work, if we are going to design lives that are worth living.

Job security in the modern economy is a myth that we’ve been taught to accept by corporations who are forced to only care about the bottom line because of endless bureaucracy. People are beginning to realize that the best job security is the work you create to support yourself.

A minimalist business can help you achieve what Chris Brogan likes to call “escape velocity” and enable you to build recurring income outside of your day job in order to free yourself.

Or you can just jump head-first like I did, live with less, and do the work that matters.

Why Minimalist Business isn’t for everyone.

This work isn’t meant for everyone. It takes hard work, dedication, and most important, the will power to opt-out of assumed systems and methods for doing business.

No one is going to force you to reign in your spending, reduce your business overhead to zero, or stop checking your email 35 times a day in order to do work that matters.

Some people are better off with 9-5 day jobs. In a lot of ways they’re much easier (though definitely not safer.) Some people like living in the same city, commuting to the same job every day. You can just sit there and do what you’re told, for most people that’s a perfectly acceptable way to live until they retire. If you’re one of these people, Minimalist Business isn’t really meant for you.

The Forever Guarantee on Minimalist Business.

Because Minimalist Business isn’t for everyone, I’ve decided to offer a Forever Guarantee.

If at any time in the future you feel that Minimalist Business isn’t living up to your expectations. If you put in a decent effort and your minimalist business tanks. If for some reason you thought this book was something else and you ordered it anyway. If you for any reason at any point you’re disappointed.

Paypal only allows for refunds up to 60-days, but I don’t care. I’ll send you a check if I have to in order to get your money back to you.

The importance of a Forever Guarantee in a digital world.

Because there are no gatekeepers in the new world of digital media, and distribution is free, it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between a product that’s all hype and a product that provides value. Long-time supporters of my writing can vouch for the quality of my work, but it’s a big internet out there — inevitably some people will purchase my work and realize that it isn’t for them. There are many reasons for this, and I choose to not ask questions and simply give refunds.

That being said, refund rate is less than 1% of sales. I hope that speaks to the quality of the work, but it also can help you decide if you aren’t sure whether or not Minimalist Business is right for you.

At any time in the future, if you feel that Minimalist Business isn’t living up to it’s promise (or if you fail horribly with a decent effort) simply drop me an email and I’ll do everything in my power to get your money back to you.

How to purchase a copy of Minimalist Business.

There are only two models (but many copies) of Minimalist Business:


Features: 125-page Minimalist Business e-book on creating your own minimalist business in order to live and work from anywhere + free updates for a year.

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 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
  • Short articles by small business owners such as Leo Babauta, Tammy Strobel, Karol Gajda, and Colin Wright on how to effectively create a successful minimalist business.
  • and much more…

Add to Cart

You can preview the first 37 pages of the e-book here.


Features: 125-page Minimalist Business e-book + The 30-Day Quick Start Guide to a Minimalist Business + free updates for a year.

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.

Add to Cart


Minimalist Business isn’t a magic cure-all guide with all of the secrets that will let you sit back and make millions without any effort. If anyone tells you this is easy, they’re lying to you.

In my experience magic doesn’t exist, only hard work and practical strategies for doing work that matters.

This guide describes how I was able to make smart choices about business spending (i.e., not spending much at all) in order to build a business that supports my minimalist lifestyle (which doesn’t cost much at all.)

I hope this guide helps you create a minimalist business, or reduce the costs of your existing business until it’s profitable for you.

If you have any questions before making your final decision don’t hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for your time,

Everett Bogue

P.S.: Just for fun, here are 10 reasons why you should buy Minimalist Business.

  1. You’re looking to make a change in the world, but you don’t have the money to do it.
  2. You want to quit your day job in order to pursue work that’s important to you.
  3. You really enjoyed The Art of Being Minimalist, and want to know what comes next.
  4. You want to create passive income in order to live anywhere on the planet.
  5. Two weeks of vacation a year is not enough for you.
  6. You want to save trees (Minimalist Business is all digital.)
  7. Someone told you there was more to life than buying things, and you want to know what that is.
  8. Join the affiliate program and you can make your investment back by selling two copies.
  9. You want to be on the cutting edge of creating a freedom business.
  10. Why not? If you don’t like it you can always get a refund.

Minimalist Business 101: How to Pay Your Fans to Support You

June 10th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

One of the most important elements of minimalist business success

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

This is the first article in the series leading up to the re-release of Minimalist Business on June 15th. The second part will be on how I was able to make $2,300 in one day last month by supporting work that matters.

Don’t miss out, sign up for free updates via RSS or Email.

We all know that the gatekeepers are no longer in power.

The modern creator doesn’t need to suck up to a publisher, distributor, or other person who claims to have power in order to bring their message to the world. I wrote about this a few weeks ago, in an article that’s become quite popular on Far Beyond The Stars: the obsolescence of gatekeepers.

In that article, I didn’t answer the most important question…

How to bypass the gatekeepers entirely.

The answer is simple and yet I believe completely revolutionary to people who haven’t put it into play already: you need to pay your fans to support you.

Kevin Kelly said this first, you only need 1000 fans to make a living as an artist. This much is true due to The Long Tail, but the reality of how those people can support you hasn’t quite slipped in to the mainstream consciousness.

A number of remarkable individuals are using this pay-your-supporters to make quite a living. Creators such as Leo Babauta, Chris Guillebeau, and a small legion of others (and well, me) are making a killing paying their supporters for their support.

Yet, so many people in the world ignore the possibilities.

I hope this article will bring their successes to great light, and hopefully inspire you to distribute your work using the pay-your-supporters model.

If you’re already making a living as an affiliate marketing rockstar, you’re welcome to skip this article, as you already know this stuff. If you’re not making cash selling products that you believe in, bookmark this article, so you can come back to it as you build your minimalist business.

Minimalist Business Affiliate Marketing: The Basics

What you need as a creator to succeed at paying your fans.

1. Create a product around work that matters.

The first step is the hardest part. You need to create work that will inspire people. This can be a digital indie rock album that you made in your basement with a drum machine, or an amazing e-book that teaches people how to take control of their financial situation. The important part is that it has to fulfill a specific need that people on the internet are searching for. I did this with The Art of Being Minimalist, and you can as well with your own work.

2. Digital distribution.

Make the right choice, and don’t go with physical media. Paper, plastic and shipping cost money, and any business that is built around these things is eating up much of their profit –the profit you need to pay your supporters. The right choice is using digital distribution to send copies of your work to people at no cost to you or your buyer. How do you do this? I recommend E-Junkie.

3. Teach your fans how they can support you.

Your fans won’t automatically know how to sell a product using affiliate marketing techniques –believe it or not affiliate marketing is still pretty unknown to most people,– so you have to teach them how to support you. The best way I’ve found to do this is make some money supporting someone else’s work, and use that as case-study to inspire them to support you. For instance, last month I made $2,300+ affiliate marketing for one specific work that matters, which as I mentioned earlier in the article, I’ll deal with in the next post. Demonstrate to your fans it can be done (and make some money in the process), and they will support your work.

4. Pay your fans to support you.

Offer your fans no less than a 50% commission to support your work (some argue that you should offer even more, like 65%-76%.) The easiest way to do this is through E-junkie, a simple no-nonsense affiliate marketing system which costs only $5 a month to sign up for. If you don’t already have a large base of fans that will come out and support, you’ll need to email a few loyal followers and tell them about the opportunity. Be courteous while emailing. Explain how you’ve made money doing the same thing that you’d like them to do for you if they aren’t already familiar with affiliate marketing of digital media.

Why you can successfully pay your fans to support you.

Why isn’t everyone doing this? What’s the catch?

People are used to ‘the catch’, because we’re coming out of a television-based system dominated by gatekeepers — you know, the 25 minute infomercials that you see on TV with only three installments of 79.99 for the blender? That’s a catch.

As I explained above, gatekeepers are now obsolete, so they don’t have the power to manipulate people anymore.

There’s simply no downside to paying your fans to support you. All they have to do is drop a link from their blog, Facebook, Twitter, or other outlet to your work, and once a month they get a Paypal payment for any sales that they did that month.

Obviously it isn’t for everyone, and you shouldn’t force people to sell your product. Obviously people will related and/or much bigger networks will make money money than people who don’t have any authority with a group of people.

The important thing is, there’s no harm done if some of your fans don’t sell anything. It’s just a link, if you’re honest about why you’re supporting the work, selling is a positive experience for all.

In the digital world, it’s so important to compensate your fans who believe in your work. This creates a lasting community connection, and also helps people pay the bills.

Paying your fans to support you: strategies for success.

Not all strategies are created equal. It’s important to explain to your fans just how to sell your work. Here’s some strategies that I’ve used to sell other people’s work that matters, and I hope they’ll help you.

1. Don’t sell work you don’t believe in.

No one likes skeezy internet marketers. We’ve all received emails from people we don’t know asking us to buy things we don’t need. Tell your fans that you’re not into that kind of marketing. Don’t spam people, don’t annoy people, don’t make people feel obligated to purchase from you. 80% of everyone who comes in contact with your message won’t purchase from you, and that’s okay. Not every product is for every person, it’s the differences that make the world beautiful.

2. Present the work in a way that helps people.

Have you noticed that whenever I affiliate for a product, I explain exactly how it helps people? The best way I’ve found to do this is to either write a review of how you benefitted from the work, or interview the author of the work on your media outlet (such as a blog or other internet venue.) If you ask the right questions, you can really help your audience receive value from the product that you’d like to sell them, without even asking them for money. If people see how the product will help them, they’ll be able to rationalize the purchase price.

3. Let people know that they can support you (as well as the artist you’re representing) by purchasing the work.

The final element of this whole equation is letting people know that they can help you by purchasing the work. People who know your fans are much more likely to purchase from them, if they know that half of the money is going to help their friend. It’s so much easier to buy from someone if you know it’ll help your friend pay the bills or escape from their day job.

Obviously there is more to it than this, because you have to create work that helps people, which is not an easy job. The point is that you can create a network which supports your work, and the first step to making it happen is knowing that you can.

I hope this article inspires you to start creating that network in order to begin paying your fans to support you.

I’ve been doing exactly what I described to pay myself a decent wage through my minimalist business for nearly six months now. Every month I have more income. This system works, for the people who learn to put it into play responsibly in order to bring their change to the world.


If this story helped you, I’d love if you could share it with your network. Retweet it or link from your blog to this story. Thank you.

In a few days I’ll be posting a brief story describing how I made $2,300 in one day, using the techniques that I described above, while supporting work that matters. Don’t miss the story. Sign up for free updates via EMAIL, RSS, or follow me on Twitter.

How to Live Like a Prince on Less Than Six-Figures a Year

June 1st, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Why time is more important than spending money on things you don’t need

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

It’s been a little over two weeks since Alix and I (and Lola the cat) moved to Oakland, CA. and one of the things that struck me recently was how good life is out here.

There are trees everywhere, and panoramic views of the fog rolling in over the bay from our rooftop. It’s everything I could have asked for and more. –’More’ being the Whole Foods a mere five blocks from the cheapest apartment I’ve ever rented in my life, one that also has 13 windows that all look out on the hills over Berkeley.

Anyway, I just want to share with you an observation that occurred to me as I was lying awake tonight:

You can live like a prince on a lot less than six-figures a year.

One of my goals with my minimalist business was to generate six-figures of income by the end of one year. I’m pretty much certain at this moment that whether or not I continue to pursue that goal this outcome will happen. However, making that much money doesn’t need to be a requirement to live a good life.

My current income level is more than enough to support everything that I do.

So many people live their lives waiting. They tell themselves, “if only I had a million dollars, I’d do X” (X being what you wish you’d do with your life.)

After my experiences from the last year, I’m convinced that this is simply an excuse to not face the fact that doing what you want is difficult and involves sacrificing a couple of huge expenses that you don’t really need anyway.

Simply put, doing what you want involves killing a couple of “necessities” in order to actually live your life in the name of minimalism.

Here are a couple of things that you need to give up to live like a prince on less than six-figures a year.

1. Give up your car.

I’m convinced that I’d never have been able to achieve this life if I was also making car payments, insurance payments, and $3.15 a gallon on gas. Cars rule our lives financially, and they also make our cities inhospitable. Oh! cars also kill people (and squirrels.) Give up your car, and you can allocate $5,000-$8,000 a year to living like a prince. What do you have to do to live without a car? Move to a place where you don’t need a car (these places are better anyway.) Get a bike, it’ll make you healthier. In most places in the United States the money you spent on your car can cover the rent on your prince’s palace.

2. Give up your storage.

I’m convinced that I’d never be able to live this life if I was also paying for storage. So many people insist on renting or mortgaging a space that is 5x the size they need to store junk they never use. Our apartment in Oakland has 13 windows but only one bedroom. This is possible because we don’t need three spare bedrooms, an attic, and a two-car garage to fill up with junk we don’t use. The storage industry has profits in the billions of dollars because people own more than they can even keep in their oversized houses. Lose the junk, and you can live like a prince on less than six-figures a year.

3. Give up on entertaining yourself until death.

One of the final remaining elements of this equation is eliminating most forms of expensive, and especially subscription, entertainment. Destroy your TV, cancel your cable, stop dragging yourself to the movies every Friday to see the latest Hollywood rehash. What matters in your life is experiences, and by experiences I’m not talking about how 3D the glasses made them look. Most good things in life can be experienced by putting on your shoes and walking outside.

4. Give up the idea of trading time for money.

My last article was so successful for a reason: two weeks of vacation a year is a crime. They call it wage slavery for a reason, and it’s the slavery part that I need to emphasize here. When you opt-out of trading time for money, and begin to instead contribute value to the world, you have a chance to begin to reclaim the time you deserve.

Tim Ferriss has a term he uses called The New Rich. A lot of people misinterpret this term as referring to money. Let me let you into a secret that is obvious to a select few: it’s not about money.

The New Rich is about paying yourself with time and mobility to do what matters to you.

I can’t take everyone by the hand and physically remove the junk they don’t need from their lives.

I can’t come to your house and drive your car to the dump or stop you from buying a new one every couple of years.

Why can’t I? because I’m too busy wandering around the magnificent San Francisco during my 80% spare time.

The decision to be free is one you need to make for yourself. Only you can change your consumption patterns in order to live like a prince on less than six-figures a year.

You don’t need to be a millionaire to make this change, you simply need to simplify your life in order to focus on the important.


If you have time, I want you to check out a remarkable blog I’ve been reading by Eric Heins. He’s a young leather worker who decided to simplify his life in order to live and work from anywhere. Read the blog from start to finish, it’s guaranteed to inspire: The Barter Project.


If this article helped you, it only takes 10 seconds to retweet it or share it in your favorite manner. Your support is only reason that more people hear about my work. Thank you.

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.


Did this help you? Share it on Twitter. Thank you!

Minimalist Business is relaunching on June 15th, don’t miss it! Sign up for free updates via email or RSS.

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 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

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

The 7 Decisive Elements of Minimalist Business Design

April 27th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

How to Create the Basis for Minimalist Business Success

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

I’ve spoken before about the idea of creating a minimalist business — a zero-overhead location-independent business that practically runs itself.

Over the last year I’ve been able to successfully create my own minimalist business. During this year I’ve learned a good deal about how to create one successfully.

I’ve made some mistakes. I’ve also made some huge breakthroughs.

I conducted a lot of research, reading over 40 business books this year. Some of these business books were terrible, others like Timothy Ferriss’s 4 Hour Workweek and Seth Godin’s Tribes have set the foundation for what was to come.

The fundamentals of a minimalist business.

I’ve been thinking about the fundamentals that make a minimalist business successful, and I believe I’ve narrowed them down to just 7 decisive elements.

Not every minimalist business will need to use them all to be successful. However, I truly believe that if you ignore these 7 decisive elements, you’re going to have a more difficult time creating a minimalist business that works.

Why design a minimalist business?

We live in the age of day-job wage slavery. People go to work in the morning, do some stuff that they’re told to do, and then go home at night with a paycheck in hand. Somehow this feels empty, but we’re not sure exactly why.

The reality is that it doesn’t have to be this way anymore. The Internet has given every single individual with a dream the ability to make work online that will support them.

The idea of a minimalist business takes the location-independent business idea a little further. I want to give people the tools to create a business that allows them to work less and live anywhere in the world.

Obviously when you’re in the initial stages of creating a minimalist business, the work times will be quite longer than 10 hours, but eventually — if you follow the 7 decisive elements that I’ve laid out below — you will have designed a minimalist business that requires very little input.

Once you get to that point, you can sit back, relax, and watch the profits come in.

Designing a minimalist business isn’t for everyone.

Not everyone wants to be location independent or create a business that provides passive income while they live and work from anywhere. That’s okay! Creating a minimalist business isn’t easy, and I’d personally rather invite only the people who truly are interested in pursuing this path to freedom.

Whether you’re interested in creating a minimalist business, or simply want to apply these ideas to your work life or your not-minimalist business. Go for it! I hope I can be of help.

Here are the 7 Decisive Elements of Minimalist Business Design

1. No-overhead.

A minimalist business must have no (or very low) overhead.

This means that you don’t spend any money until you are making money. Many business owners insist on buying expensive hosting packages, costly equipment, or intensive consulting programs, before their business idea is even conceptualized. Don’t spend a dime, until you’ve got an idea that you’re ready to put into play. Even then, it’s more than possible to get your message to the world without having major costs.

Some businesses will need to spend a little bit for supplies, but a good rule is to keep start up costs under $100.

We think we need to spend money to make money, because we’ve been brought up in a culture where brick and mortar was the norm. Now the web is the norm, and in most cases you don’t need to spend much money at all to operate on the web.

If you think your business will cost a lot of money to run, think about what you can eliminate to make the costs vanish. Obviously there are businesses that do require start-ups costs –and these are totally legit businesses, but these aren’t what we’re going for.

A minimalist business has no-overhead. If your business design has massive overhead, it isn’t a minimalist business plan.

The best part about having no-overhead is that the cost of failure is small. If your business doesn’t take off, no harm done. All you have to do is start over again with a new idea.

2. Location independence.

One of the big advantages of starting a minimalist business is that it allows you to live and work from anywhere. On May 15th I’m going to move to San Francisco Bay, and my business simply comes with me. Last year I spent many months traveling from Portland Or through Chicago to New York.

If my business was rooted in one spot, I wouldn’t be able to move as often as I do.

A minimalist business is hosted in The Cloud. For those who are still living back in 1995, The Cloud is the networking infrastructure that has been created by large web companies to support networked computing. Almost every computing task, transaction, etc can now be completed online.

This means you don’t need an extensive amount of equipment to run your business. I like to keep it as simple as possible: just use a small Laptop. I have a MacBook Pro, but maybe you want a PC. It doesn’t matter, as long as the machine is portable.

This means that a minimalist business owner can tend to their business from anywhere in the world using WIFI, which is very easy to obtain is most places in the world at coffee shops and internet cafes.

This means you also don’t need an office, or even a permanent home, which eliminates many unnecessary costs.

3. Use existing infrastructure.

So many newbie entrepreneurs insist on constantly reinventing the wheel, especially when the wheel already exists. The tools you need to create your minimalist business already exist, do not try to invent new ones. Let other people in established businesses invest in infrastructure.

Infrastructure varies for every endeavor, but here are a few simple examples: Instead of coding a blog from scratch, use a nice free template and host on a well regarded blogging software. Believe it or not, I’ve been approached by start-ups who insisted the only way to get started was to start creating a blogging platform from scratch (ahem, WordPress exists.) Don’t be this business, you’ll waste literally hundreds of thousands of dollars, when you could have started for free.

The same path goes for communications infrastructure. Use established networks such as Twitter, and Facebook to reach out to clients. These services are popular for a reason, use them to reach potential customers instead of going the door-to-door route that so many people choose.

4. Automation.

A minimalist business needs to run itself. The foundation of passive income is that it comes in without you having to go looking for it.

Completely passive income is very hard to find, but that’s the ultimate goal. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to end up having a completely passive income stream, but just the possibility that it could go passive eventually.

Money coming in while you sleep is passive enough for most people. In order to do this, you need to automate everything. You can’t be accepting transactions by hand. You cannot be shipping and labeling individual orders as they come in. A minimalist business uses e-junkie, or another similar platform to handle all payments, transactions, and affiliate sales.

Once you automate all tasks that computers can do, this frees you up to do work that matters. And also allows you to travel and have massive amounts of free time to do what you want with your life. The ultimate goal in any minimalist business is freedom, and you need to automate in order to get to that point.

5. Isolation.

We’re constantly plugged into The Matrix: The Real World, that constantly on stream of information coming into your brain from social media, your cell phone, and any other stimuli that you allow into your space.

You have to turn it all off to create a minimalist business. Constant access to information leads to reactionary workflow — the most common symptom of this is sitting and refreshing your Gmail over and over every 35.5 seconds. Do you know what happens when you send and reply to email all day? You get email all day. This leads to nothing important getting done.

You aren’t creating the work which will be the foundation of your minimalist business if you’re just sitting around waiting for an email to come to your inbox so that you can reply to it.

Stop. Unplug. Sit in silence until you have regained the ability to have your own thoughts.

I recommend checking your email once per day if you’re trying to establish a successful minimalist business. I know this isn’t always possible, but it’s the end goal.

By decisively moving toward conscious isolation, you’ll be able to test if the automation systems are working, and also you’ll begin to create work that matters. Which brings us to…

6. Creating a movement.

Creating a movement the most important element. Your minimalist business needs to be about making the world better in some very specific way.

I’ve written about creating a movement before, and that’s because I believe it’s so incredibly important in any business model.

There are a number of different elements that come into play in any minimalist business movement. First, you need leaders. People who are willing to fight for the change that you believe in. When you have leaders, you will inevitably have followers. Followers are the people who support your minimalist business.

Second, a movement isn’t for everyone. Some people must be left out — the more the better (but not so many as to leave no one.) The reason for this is because if you create a minimalist business for everyone, you’ll end up helping no one. There are so many people in the world, they all need different things, they all have different beliefs.

Most businesses seek to create a product that suits everyone. Do the smart thing and create a niche business that you’re passionate about.

This is why I said above that creating a minimalist business isn’t for everyone, because it isn’t. Not everyone will have the skill or ambition to make location independent passive income a reality. Most people will just want to stay at their day jobs and go shopping on weekends.

7. Quality.

A minimalist business has to focus on creating a quality product. This is the making or breaking point for any business, and it must be the ultimate focus of minimalist business design.

Create a product that helps people, which harnesses your strengths to make change in the world.

The simple fact is that the world doesn’t have any more room for crappy stuff. We can’t be creating minimalist businesses that give people something they don’t need.

The single most important factor in minimalist business success is creating work that matters. Every minimalist business I’ve come across that has failed because they created a lame product that people didn’t need. There are enough of bad products in the world, what we need now is work that matters.

The thing is, I can’t tell you where your quality work comes from, this work is different for everyone. For me it was writing The Art of Being Minimalist in order to encourage people to stop consuming and start living their lives — this has been a huge success and now enables my location independent life.

For your minimalist business, the change you create will be different. You have to look deep inside yourself and honestly ask yourself what you’re passionate about creating. This passion is the foundation of your minimalist business.


I hope this helps those of you who are thinking about starting a minimalist business. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments, I’ll do my best to answer the ones that I can.

If this helped you, consider hitting the retweet button.

Thank you,

Everett Bogue

Colin Wright on Minimalist Business Networking

April 21st, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

How minimalism can help you focus on networking

Interview by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

Colin Wright is one of my favorite minimalists. He’s built a sustainable design studio with a 6-figure income, while moving to a new continent every 4 months. He blogs at Exile Lifestyle about lifestyle design, minimalism, and working from anywhere.

Since leaving the United States last year, he’s been through dozens of countries: Buenos Aires, Peru, Australia and now New Zealand. Meanwhile, he reduced his physical possessions to just 51 things.

I interviewed Colin for the first time last year, when he was still in South America.

An interview on minimalism, networking, and building awesome relationships.

When you’re building a location independent business, it’s incredibly important to develop good networking skills.

Colin is one of the networking masters — using his skills to get himself onto TV in New Zealand, build strong relationships with clients, and build network of remarkable bloggers to support his business.

Today, Colin released his first premium e-book, Networking Awesomely. This is a follow up to his two other two free e-books available on his site.

While Colin’s e-book isn’t exactly minimalist focused, I can’t stress how important it is to build strong relationships when building your location independent business. I learned a number of important networking strategies while reading my preview copy of Networking Awesomely.

I imagine that this e-book isn’t for everyone! That’s okay. I enjoyed learning how to network better, and if you’re into making human business connections, this can teach you more than you need to know.

Included in the e-book is 26 short essays by other rockstar networkers, including myself! I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to contribute to this project.

How to Network Awesomely with Colin Wright.

Anyway, here’s the interview. We spoke about building relationships in unexpected places, helping people, and how minimalism can lead you to focus on making strong connections.

Everett Bogue: You relocate to a new continent every few months. What is one strategy that you have for meeting people in new places?

Colin Wright: A big part of meeting people in a completely unfamiliar place where you don’t know anyone is to figure out a way to get yourself on the right people’s radar and position yourself from the get-go as someone worth knowing.

This can mean many things, but for me this usually means getting in contact with people of influence who live where I’ve moved and then meeting more people through that group.

In Argentina I made a lot of fantastic connections through a social network called A Small World, and in particular through one connector named Justo, who was also a member. Justo and his wife love to introduce people around and have visitors over for tea and conversation, and they are also entrepreneurs, so they run with the kind of people I want to meet.

In New Zealand I made an appearance on a widely-watched morning TV show, which led to hundreds of emails, invitations and new opportunities. Being on TV gave me an immediate advantage in networking in that people knew something about me and what I did, and could even recognize me in public. Boom, instant network.

Doing a quick search on Twitter to see who is active in your area is a great way to meet people, too, as generally folks who are active on social networks are more likely to want to make new connections.

Everett: What is one way our readers can break the ice with a new contact in a
strange place?

Colin: Do something nice for them.

Invite them out to an event you’re going to, share a meal, offer your services, whatever. If you pay it forward a bit, the other person will know right away that you aren’t a threat, and in fact can be an asset to them. This gives them incentive to help you out where they can, as well.

Everett: Can being minimalist help you focus on meeting people and developing quality relationships?

Colin: Absolutely. If you are focused on accumulating possessions, generally you spend more time trying to earn earn earn and the dollar becomes the main priority.

If you are focused on meeting new people and having novel experiences, on the other hand, money ceases to be quite so important, making it easier not to be such a penny-pincher and to take opportunities as they come along.

As a minimalist, I find I’m also a lot less stressed out, which is great for my mood when dealing with other people.

Everett: Are there any common networking practices that you’ve learned to avoid?

Colin: Yes! The hard sell drives me crazy.

You’ve seen this before, I’m sure; somebody with a big personality comes on very strong, hamfistedly dominates the conversation and then immediately focuses on making a sale, be it a product, service or idea.

What’s worse, you’re at a wedding. Or a funeral. Or the aquarium. You couldn’t care less about what he’s talking about, but he’s been told to be persistent and to guide the conversation and to use certain marketing tactics that more or less guilt or shame you into buying.

Does this seem like a good way to build a network? Even if this guy sells you something, you won’t want to ever hang out with him again, much less be a long-term customer.

Screw that.

Everett: The Internet has changed how we network on a fundamental level. In
your view, how has networking changed since the good old days?

Colin: I think we have a much wider array of tools to choose from, and therefore a wider array of tools that can be abused and used incorrectly.

That’s not to say that social media and new technologies shouldn’t be used for networking – on the contrary, they are amazingly powerful and I make use of them every day! – but to focus completely on metrics and numbers and ‘Followers’ over valuable connections and real, legitimate relationships is a BIG mistake that far too many people make.

Like the Buddhists say, everything in moderation.

Everett: What’s the one most effective way that you apply your energy to build relationships online?

Colin: I create content that people get value from.

Blog posts, videos, ebooks, Tweets about interesting things that I read…all of these things allow me to show my expertise on various subjects while at the same time helping other people gain more expertise in those fields. To put this kind of information out into the ether really builds up one’s visibility and networking prestige.

Everett: Ultimately, what do you think is the most awesome way to spend your energy when networking?

Colin: Out having fun, of course! At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about, anyway.

If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.


Thanks so much for the interview Colin.

If you’re interested in the cutting edge of networking from anywhere in the world, you can learn more about Networking Awesomely at Exile Lifestyle.

The 3-Month Minimalist Survival Guide for Quitting the 9-5

April 7th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

So you’ve quit your job to live and work from anywhere. Now what?

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

There’s a decision that everyone has to make at a certain point in their lives. After toiling for years searching for the modern myth of job security, you wake up to the reality that is.

The decision we make is simple:

Give up and settle for a life of mediocrity at a job that doesn’t care about you and won’t pay you enough to survive.


Strike out on your own in search of the opportunity to make great work in new places. To boldly go where your heart is taking you.

Ignore the people who say it’s “hard” and you “can’t make it.” They’ve already made the other choice.

This is the last post in my extended series on using minimalism to free yourself from the mediocrity of your day job. The other three posts are:

The Minimalist Guide to Leaving Your Soul-Crushing Day Job

The Simple Guide to Making Money Online

The Surprising Truth About Using Minimalism to Leave Your Day Job

Fair warning: this article is 3,000 words long. It’s incredibly in-depth and I hope that it helps you become successful after leaving your day job. Definitely read the other articles first.

Also: this guide assumes that you’ve saved up at least enough money to survive for three months after quitting your day job, as discussed in the previous articles. As I noted in my e-book, The Art of Being Minimalist, $3000 should be plenty of money if you’re living with less than 100 things and you don’t buy anything except food (which is all you really need) and pay for cheap housing.

Portland, OR and anywhere in South America is probably an ideal place to move for your first three months, while you’re getting established. If you’ve figured out how to make money in your sleep before you quit your day job, all the better!

Set aside some time and bookmark this page in order to study this and the other articles thoroughly.

There are two things you have to do before you strike out on your own.

1. Decision day.

Before you can be free you have to make the decision to go there, this is decision day. This is the moment I described above, when mediocrity just becomes too much to handle. This is the breaking point when change is inevitable.

Decision day can come as either a silent revelation. Sometimes it can take much longer than one day — I spent an entire year contemplating the decision to strike out on my own. I’d suggest not taking a whole year, that was a lot of time to spend on one decision.

Decision day might be a loud exclamation to the world, when you update your blog and you say: “I’ve had enough, it’s time to go.” Then you might call your mom, who will think you’re crazy and tell you to think about your (non-existent) career options in mediocrity-ville. Just smile and tell her you’ve made up your mind and that you’re a grownup now.

2. Quitting day.

This day is harder. It’s the moment when you walk in and make the change known to your manager.

Here are a few things to think about for quitting day.

  • Prepare a price point for which you’ll stay. If you’re valuable enough the company might just want keep you. I suggest a 50% pay raise, a ROWE work environment, and more decision making power than you currently have. If they only want to give you $1000, it’s not worth it.
  • Don’t burn bridges by being very clear about your goals. Even bosses love the idea of freedom, don’t underestimate their willingness to embrace the idea that you simply want to pursue a life that doesn’t require you to be in the office every day.

Prepare a written statement if you’re unsure of being able to articulate exactly what you mean to say. Rehearse in the mirror before you go into work.

Here’s a script, if necessary.

Hi X,
I’m quitting this job to pursue a freer life by working for myself. This has been a huge opportunity working with you for the last X years. That you for your guidance and leadership. I’m really sad to go, but I feel that I need to pursue a freer lifestyle at this moment. I hope you understand.

Your name here.

3. Give two weeks notice.

I know, you’re valuable and your company can’t survive without you. It doesn’t matter if the company is going to explode at the seams after you leave, the moment you give notice everyone will look at you like your an alien life form.

Save yourself the three months of weirdness by not telling everyone that you’re quitting three months in advance.

4. Plan for the fact that you might not have two weeks.

I’ve known people who gave their two weeks notice only to be fired immediately. This is rare, but if you’re counting on pay from those last two weeks it might complicate things if you’re let go on the spot. Save more just in case!

Two weeks later, and you’re free!

The minimalist freedom survival guide to month 1.

The first month is the hardest. You’ve been in captivity for awhile, so the freedom of your new life will be quite a shock. You’ll wake up on Monday morning and frantically get dressed only to realize that you have nowhere to go.

First things first: take a mini-retirement.

After X years of corporate slavery, with only two weeks of vacation, I can guarantee that you will be burned out. Don’t expect yourself to recover after a weekend and start working for yourself.

Take a few weeks and don’t do anything. Practice yoga. Slow down. Watch the trees move. Read good books. Do the minimum of things during this time.

Go somewhere new. The best way to start a new life is to get out of town. Book a flight to that place that you’ve always wanted to live but were scared to move and go with all of your stuff on your back.

Starting a new career is a lot easier in a place where you don’t know anyone. If you don’t go somewhere new, you have the danger of getting sucked into hanging out with friends who still remember the corporate drone you. Your life is different now, you don’t want to spend the first couple of weeks in a social drama with everyone asking you questions like “how will you possibly survivvvveeeee?”

Do yourself a favor, distance yourself from your friends during this period of time. You can come back home after everything is settled and reconnect with people once you have an answer to the “how will you…?” question.

Budgeting the first month.

The first month after you leave your job needs to be the least costly. This is the time when you slow down and reconnect with yourself. Here are some ways to make this month the cheapest.

  1. Cook all of your own food.
  2. Don’t buy anything at all.
  3. Move to a cheaper house. When your rent is $450 you can survive longer than when your rent is $2500.
  4. Live with less.

If the idea of getting your finances under control scares the crap out of you, I suggest reading a copy of Adam Baker of Man Vs Debt’s amazingly useful e-book Unautomate Your Finances. Adam used his financial techniques to sell his ‘crap’, dig himself out of debt, and travel the world with his wife and daughter. His signature Unautomation technique is very similar to the way that I saved money before and after I quit my job in order to be free, it’s definitely worth studying.

If you’re already a financial master, you should be good already though.

Just don’t buy stuff and save your money, because who knows when your next paycheck is coming. It’s a recession, money isn’t growing on avocado trees.

Don’t have any expectations for yourself (for the first month).

One of the biggest mistakes that I made when I jumped onto a plane to Portland in September ’09 was that I would be doing the same thing that I did in New York once I got there. I eagerly got off the plane telling everyone who greeted me that I intended to be Portland’s greatest photographer.

Well, that didn’t happen for a number of reasons that don’t really matter now. Eventually I had to acknowledge that my planned assumptions about my career weren’t going to pan out.

When you have no expectations, you can be free to see the best options.

The most important element of the first month of freedom is to not put boundaries on what you can become. Take the mini-retirement. Sit in the grass at the park and just be open to the universe of options that are available to you.

You aren’t who you used to be anymore. You are a blank slate, free of expectations and freed from confinement. Don’t ask yourself what you’ll do with that freedom until…

The minimalist freedom survival guide to month 2.

After a long mini-retirement, there’s a moment that happens to everyone, when you realize that it’s time to get back into the game.

You want to create things. You want to work hard. You want to make a difference.

Once you get to that moment, it’s time to harness that new-found creativity explosion and begin to craft your ideal life.

What to do when you want to work again.

How this moment happened for me: after a month or so wandering Portland’s drippy-wet streets in silent meditation for a few weeks, I suddenly found that I had a huge hunger for knowledge. One day I wandered into Portland’s Powell’s book store, grabbed a handful of books from the business section and started reading in their coffee shop.

Over the course of the next week, I’d read two books business books a day. I liked to read one leadership book combined with one marketing book.

The first book I picked up was Tribes by Seth Godin, which promptly blew my mind and completely changed the way I thought about creating movements and generating income online.

Tribes literally opened the door to the successful blog that you’re reading now.

Here are some business books to get you started: The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz (sounds cheesy, but this book is a brilliant classic. Seth Godin and Timothy Ferriss both cite it as one of the books that completely changed their lives.) The 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. Purple Cow and Linchpin by Seth Godin. Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod. Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pam Slim. Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. Chris Guillebeau’s Unconventional Guide to Working for Yourself.

For other awesome books I’ve read this year, see my newly updated list of the books that I’ve read so far this year.

I read probably 20-30 business books in two weeks. This experience completely reconfigured the way that I thought about self-employment, how work can be done, and how money can be made.

Everyone actually likes to work when they’re intrinsically motivated.

Why did I suddenly want to devour business books during every waking hour of the day? Because after you get past being a burned out corporate corpse you start to regain your humanity.

You discover that there is still blood flowing through your veins and you want to make great work.

This is why I’ve designed the first month of your release from the cubicle chains as complete recovery time. Yoga, meditation, walking in the park, sitting on the beach. All of these things enable you for what comes next: the will to work again.

Intrinsic motivation is very different from being forced to work at the threat of losing your health insurance. It comes naturally, and it’s spontaneously brilliant. Learn to harness it, and use the skill for life, because it’s remarkable.

For more on intrinsic motivating, see Daniel H. Pink’s amazing book Drive.

Create a home base online.

Month two is all about establishing a beachhead on the web.

I really mean this: everyone should have a base on the web. If you restrict yourself to the real world the only way you will find work is through 1 to 1 communications, which means it very hard to land jobs because you can only talk to two-three people a day.

The internet allows 1 to infinite communications. This means you can reach out to many more people. Focus your attention on the web and you cannot fail.

Learn the tools to establish yourself online as a reputable person who people can trust in your field. When you do this successfully you will be able to rocket yourself above 80% of your competition.

  • Register a domain name for yourself.
  • Install a blog.
  • Become active on Twitter.
  • Get a decent template, then stop messing with it.
  • Set a blog schedule and start creating helpful* work at least three times a week.

*Helping people is a huge theme here for a reason. Very few people are truly unconditionally helpful, and that’s why I’m so into teaching you how to be helpful.

“If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” just doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s a dated mentality from when we were forced to work in factories pre-2000. Do not expect compensation in return for your services on the internet. Give away everything for free and be unconditionally helpful to an outrageous extent.

Helping people is the best way to make outrageous amounts of money. I know it sounds counter-intuitive to conventional wisdom, but it’s the way the world works.

The top-secret non-scientific method of determining helpfulness.

How do you know when you’re being helpful? I find a good judge is your Twitter follow count. For a quick “helpfulness points count”, divide your follow count by the number of people you follow. If the number is larger than 1, you’re being helpful. If the number is .002, that means you’re not.

Leo Babauta‘s helpfulness under this non-scientific method is: 775 helpfulness points.

Tim Ferriss‘s: 443 helpfulness points.

Mine: 13.6 helpfulness points.

Random dude who followed me just a second ago: 0.001 helpfulness points.

Why you shouldn’t send out resumes.

Resumes are so 1985 and don’t get people jobs anymore.

Hiring managers receive untold numbers of bad resumes from people who aren’t qualified for their jobs.

It’s impossible to sort through this many resumes to find qualified people.

Because the barriers in the cost of communication have broken down, now any old unqualified individual can send their resume to 5,000 people a day. This has destroyed that system of hiring, and thus it should be avoided by intelligent people like you.

This means that the people with the cutest resume get hired instead of people who are qualified for jobs.

You don’t want to work for a company who hires people via Career Builder, because they’re backwards — there are much better ways to find people than to sort through a stack 10,000 sheets of paper, not to mention that a tree just died. The chances of getting a job at a company that hires people via submitted resumes is like trying to win the lottery.

Unless you work in one of the rare fields where you need 15 years of higher education in order to be qualified to do what you do. Then you’re truly in a limited pool of talent.

The secret to avoiding this situation is actually fairly easy to master. Gatejump the competition by establishing yourself as an authority in your area of expertise on your home base online.

When you do this, potential companies will seek you out, because you’re an expert in your field.

Once you’ve established yourself as an authority, you can contact whoever you want and offer to help them out personally (for free.) Prove your awesomeness and they can’t help but hire you when they see how much you need you.

This is how you get hired at a new job — if you wanted a job in the first place.

The minimalist freedom survival guide to month 3.

Month three is all about elimination. If you haven’t been overwhelmingly successful, or built income streams independent of the job you already quit, you’re going to start to see the income dipping into the low-zone.

Don’t get depressed! But this is make or break time. The most important element of this month is focusing on the important by eliminating everything that isn’t necessary to your success.

What can you stop doing to leverage your abilities to make a living?

Create a not-to-do list.

Not to do lists are one of the most powerful ways to focus on the important. Take a sheet of paper and write down everything that you started in doing in month 2 that isn’t working now.

Be brutally honest with yourself. You probably reached out into many potential areas of possible income during month 2. Many of these aren’t panning out, so it’s time to eliminate them and focus on what you’re truly passionate about.

Pick one profession.

I see so many people who are all of these things: marketer, blogger, writer, social media guru, photographer, and also designers. Don’t label yourself as all of these things at once. In fact, the harder you look at most of the careers I’ve mentioned above, you start to realize how nonspecific they are.

It’s okay to have these skills, and everyone does to a certain extent. That doesn’t mean you should make them all your primary focus all at once. Eliminate every job title from your thinking until you only have one.

For instance: if you’re a photographer, writer, marketer, copywriter, social media guru who is only making money from writing. You are now a writer. The rest of those professions get axed in month 3.

Some people pursue dozens of careers at once for their whole lives. You can’t be successful at dozens of things all at once. Pick one path that you will take to success in month 3.

You can also reconsider later if it ends up to not be a path that leads to income.

Then focus on a niche within one profession.

If you’re a photographer, I want you to start to focus on one element of photography which you can really blow people away with. I want you to become the best nose-hair photographer, tail-less kitty photographer, or the only photographer who got permission to tour with a famous band.

You can’t just label yourself as a generic example of a profession and then hope to succeed.

I’m not a blogger, in fact, blogging isn’t a profession. Blogging is a communications platform which enables people to bring their ideas to the world. I am a writer who writes about being minimalist in order to live and work from anywhere.

In order to be the best writer who writes about being minimalist in order to live and work from anywhere, I had to eliminate writing about other things.

You can’t work on anything that suits your fancy and build a solid body of work.

You have to focus on one being the best at element of one specific profession.

Take your profession and find a specific area if it that you can dominate. Eliminate your work that enters into other areas.

Once you start working on something specific, you catapult yourself above all of the competition who are labeling themselves as writer, photographer, marketer, social media experts all at the same time. Then you can make money.

The foolproof way to figure out what to focus on.

I’m reading Good to Great right now, a business book on how to make a great business. One of the most key chapters is about a theory called The Hedgehog Concept.

Every great company was able to outdo the competition by focusing on the one element of their business that they could be better than everyone else at.

The hedgehog concept revolves around three overlapping circles. You can view the hedgehog diagram here (don’t want to embed it, because of the big copyright notice.)

Circle 1: What are you passionate about?
Circle 2: What can you be the best in the world at?
Circle 3: What drives your economic engine?

Every person and business needs to do this in order to succeed. Refine your aspirations until you find something that fits into the overlapping area of these three circles.

What can you be the best at the world at, that you’re also passionate about, that will also pay you?

The best in the world concept is key here. Take a look at how many generic ‘photographers’ there are out there in the world. Insert name of your career for photographer. Every individual with a camera phone is a photographer. Just like every person who can spell is a writer.

Focus on a niche, one that you can work to be the best in the world at, and by the end of month 3 you will be rocking the economic engine.

Eliminate any activity that you’re doing outside these circles until you only spend time on what is important to your success.

Go now and be free.

By now you should have the skills that you need to quit your 9-5 and survive in the wild. Congratulations!

Obviously there will be lots of things that come up that I haven’t addressed here. I give you the right to improvise and create systems up as you go.  Make a difference in your own life by making your own key decisions.

Ultimately, your own success is up to you. You make your choices. Good luck!

Check out the other articles in this series:

The Minimalist Guide to Leaving Your Soul-Crushing Day Job

The Simple Guide to Making Money Online

The Surprising Truth About Using Minimalism to Leave Your Day Job


If this helped you, I’d love if you’d share it with someone who could use the information. The best way to spread the word is to use the retweet button below, if you’re on Twitter.


Thank you — and please let me know if you have any questions about this article in the comments. I’d love to help you out if I have the answers.


Everett Bogue

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