The Real Secret of Minimalist Freedom Success

September 13th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

This is an important post, probably one of the most important that’s ever been written on this blog.

I’ve decided to share with you the secret of success.

I’m sharing this secret with you, because I just realized it myself.

There’s been a lot of changes in my life over the last two weeks, and I wanted to share them with you as well. I’m really in the process of redefining everything about what it is to be me, and rather quickly at that.

I was going to include what’s going on with my life in this post, but then this post ended up being way longer than I thought, so I’ve decided to split it up into two posts. Don’t miss the 2nd part, sign up for free updates via EMAIL or in your RSS reader (such as google reader). Also, I say a lot of things that I don’t say here on Twitter, but you already knew that, didn’t you?

Alright, so what is ‘the secret’?

I’ll make this as short as possible, so you can print it off and paste it right above your LCD screen on your laptop. So you don’t forget it when you’re globe trotting through the world with other people who have mastered the secret like the case-studies I will list below.

You need to lead a lifestyle that you want people to live.

This secret came to me recently when I was meeting with a soon-to-be minimalist business success story Jonathan Wondrusch of Grokkery and the upcoming site By Bloggers where he’s partnering with Sam Spurlin to teach people how to design successful businesses.

Jonathan and I met for a coffee at Ritual Coffee in San Francisco’s Mission District (where I’m also writing this post), and we were discussing how to make his new partnership with Sam Spurlin grow until he doesn’t have to work more than 2 hours per day.

And the secret came spilling out:

You need to lead a lifestyle that you want people to live.

So lead a cool lifestyle, and describe it on your blog.

This is the only reason why my blog has grown to nearly 6,000 subscribers and 70,000 readers in only 11 months since launch. This is why I make a full time nearly passive income from this blog. It’s because I stood up and said “I want you to live the freedom lifestyle that I’m living, and I’ll teach you how.”

I even say it in the sidebar –> right over there if you’re reading this on my blog. Look over there right now. “I will teach you live and work from anywhere.”

[Please also note, that it is next to a picture of my face. The picture of my face was taken as I was living and working from anywhere. So important, and so many of you aren’t doing this. It makes me angry when I see a blog that isn’t doing this. Put a picture of your face on the site!]

This is why so many minimalist blogs that focus on the details of clearing table tops and renting dumpsters don’t take off. Why? Because we all know how to burn all of our stuff if we wanted to.

It takes someone who actually burned all of his stuff to lead you to that place.

Now, you’re probably saying ‘how many minimalist bloggers can there be?’ Well, here’s the thing, this approach applies to every thing you want to do on this planet.

As these case studies will emphasize:

Secret of success case study #1: Tyler Tervooren.

You probably don’t remember Tyler’s blog before this one, because it sucked (sorry Tyler, but it’s true and you knew it, so that’s why you started a new one.) The reason that it didn’t work is because Tyler wasn’t describing a lifestyle that he wanted people to live.

A few months ago (it might even be less than that) Tyler relaunched his blog as ‘Advanced Riskology‘ with the explicit purpose of teaching people to take risks, overcome their fears.

How did Tyler become this self-professed Professor of Riskology? He started climbing mountains, one mountain at a time. He takes risks with his money, like trading in $15,000 in credit for some sort of government approved coin that he then deposits in the bank for in order to earn thousands of airline miles.

The new and improved climbing mountain, risk-taking Tyler’s blog is now super successful. He has literally thousands of subscribers and has been mentioned all over the media in a very short time.

Why? Because he describes a lifestyle that he wants you to live.

Secret of success case study #2: Mikko Kemppe

Here’s a good example of someone who’s about to do this in a very real way: Mikko Kemppe. I know Mikko because occasionally when I tweet that I’m going to Yoga to the People in SF, he shows up and we have enlightening conversations about lifestyle design and building a freedom lifestyle.

There’s nothing cool about that, so many people have conversations about lifestyle design. Here’s what makes Mikko different from say a dude sitting in his apartment watching TV discussing lifestyle design with his boring wife.

Mikko lives in an RV in San Francisco, he’s a tango instructor and dating advice expert. He lives in an RV because that’s the idea of ultimate freedom for him. Now, living in an RV isn’t something that everyone will do. But it is a dream that EVERYONE has at some point in their life.

The reason Mikko is going to become so damn popular in a short time is because he’s actually living the lifestyle he designed. He’s rocking out the RV in San Francisco and dating hot girls who tango. This is the lifestyle he describes, because he lives it. This is why he’ll be such a success.

Again: lead the lifestyle you want to live.

Secret of success case study #3: Corbett Barr.

When I first met Corbett a few days after I got to San Francisco, he was a little frustrated with both of his blogs (Think Traffic and Free Pursuits). He knew how to grow them, but he wasn’t making heaps of cash off them either.

He was just getting by, going through the motions of what Problogger and other blogs that think they know how to teach you how to make a successful blog, but actually don’t, tend to tell you. You know what I’m talking about ‘guest post on other people’s blogs’ ‘comment on a-list bloggers blogs’ etc, that garbage that doesn’t actually work.

And then I shared with him the secret to success (or he realized it himself, I can’t remember we had too many beers.)

I said, DUDE. Here’s the problem with your blogs: in real life you’re a really damn cool person, but it doesn’t come across on your blog. You go on long sailing runs up to Vancouver on expensive sailing vessels. You’re rocking out in the mission district. You drink beer. You live in Mexico for half the year. You don’t have a job. Etc. Etc. there too many awesome things to mention about Corbett’s lifestyle.

All he needed to do was describe the lifestyle he was already living on his blog, and his revenue would go through the roof.

So you know what he did? He wrote this brilliant post about the real Corbett. He came out to the world as being a really cool person who actually does things with his life.

And what do you know? The next month he launches Affiliate Marketing for Beginners and does a 11k launch. All because he described the lifestyle that he was ALREADY LIVING. Then he went sailing for a few weeks, because doing great work must lead to living your life.

The real secret to minimalist freedom success (or really any success) is that you need to lead the lifestyle that you want people to live.

Does that make sense yet? I hope it does, because now I’m going to move on to the hard part.

You actually have to live a lifestyle that you want people to live in order to do this.

No one would care about Peter Pan if he was just another lost boy. He had to teach Wendy how to fly. Then we remembered that he existed.

This is the hard part, and what most people aren’t doing. You see, you can’t really create an all star lifestyle design blog if you’re sitting in your kitchen eating chicken nuggets and drinking a milkshake that you just bought when you were driving your Hummer three blocks to Burger King and sideswiping bicyclists while destroying the planet.

It just doesn’t work that way.

No one wants to read a blog about eating chicken nuggets. That’s just lame.

So, the only answer to this problem is that you need to stop being lame and start living an unconventional life. The easiest way to do this, and the one that I’ve described in both of my books and on this blog for the last 11 months, is to destroy all of your crap and quit your day job.

Obviously there are other ways to live, but this is the lifestyle that I describe, and that I want you to live.

But your freedom doesn’t need to be restricted to the way that I live. You can go about it in any number of ways. There are any number of leaders that you can follow who will teach you how to live in other ways. This is just the way that I describe.

The reality of the secret of success.

The thing is, most of you won’t do what I’ve just told you. Instead, you’ll continue to eat chicken nuggets. You’ll keep driving to work every day and doing as you’re told.

You won’t stand up and be a leader, because you’re asleep at the wheel eating chicken nuggets.

But some of you will. Like the case-studies I mentioned above, you will show people the lifestyle that you want them to live.

Here are few other examples of things I’m really into that do this:

I used to be really into two bands when I was a teenager. The first was Smashing Pumpkins, and the second was a power-emo-pop band called Kill Hannah.

Both of these bands were so successful for the very reason that I mentioned above. They showed you the way that they wanted you to live. They both had this ‘it’s raining all the time I’m a man who feels and sings like a girl’ lifestyle that I was incredibly attracted too as a teenager.

Yes, I even used to sing like a girl. Deal with it.

They describe the Peter Pan lifestyle. I won’t grow up, so frak you (Battlestar Galactica is another great example of harnessing this power.) I’m going to do exactly what society doesn’t want me to do. I will put on eye-liner and I will get on stage, and I will have thousands of teenage girls come to my show and jump up and down and want to meet me after the show.

Everyone wants to live this way, but hardly anyone actually does.

Both of these bands had an image that coincided with a message that described the lifestyle that they wanted you to live. You wanted to be Billy Corgan and Mat Divine, that’s why you bought the albums and went to every single show when they were in town.

Now, obviously Billy did this way better than Mat did. Everyone has heard of The Smashing Pumpkins but only a couple hundred thousand teenagers who grew up in Chicago in the ’90s know about Kill Hannah. But the fact that they weren’t ever a national sensation didn’t matter, because a couple hundred thousand teenagers are plenty to support a band where the lead singer sings like a girl.

If you’re older and don’t know these bands, another great example of this is David Bowie. I’d actually argue that Kill Hannah and even Lady Gaga are so successful because they just replicated exactly how David Bowie looked and acted. I’d argue that I’m so successful because I copy what David Bowie looked like.

Lead the lifestyle that you want people to live. Then describe it.

In order to do that, you need to live a lifestyle that people want to live. Not just eat pizza all day and wish you did.

And there you have it. The secret to success. Now you can all go and be successful. There’s no need to thank me.

The dangers of this reality.

Now that I told you the secret of success, I want you to realize that it doesn’t come without dangers. Here are the two most important.

1. You have to actually live an interesting life for it to work.

Would anyone subscribe to Exile Lifestyle if it was about staying home in Kansas, getting married, dropping zero-down on a house you can’t afford and popping out two little critters? No.

(if you’ve already done the aforementioned thing, there’s a huge market for describing the lifestyle where you’ve got two kids and figured out how to still be awesome. This is why Joshua Becker is so successful.)

You need actually pursue an interesting life for people to pay attention to the life you describe. If you’re boring, you fail at success. It’s not hard to be interesting, just stop watching TV and get out into the world once in awhile. Don’t be afraid to live it up.

This is also the exact reason why your blog stopped being popular when you went back to Kansas after that around the world plane ticket ran out. The Wizard of Oz wouldn’t be such a hit if Dorothy hadn’t run into that tornado. No one cares what happened to Dorothy after she left Oz.

The solution to this problem is to never leave the bridge of the Enterprise. To never leave Never Never Land.

Or, like Kurt Cobain, die before you do.

2. A lot of people will hate you because they can’t live the way you do.

Living a lifestyle that blows people’s minds isn’t for everyone. Not everyone has the ability to set up a minimalist business in order to work 2-hours a day. Not everyone can live with less stuff. To be quiet honest, most people are pretty damn boring.

If you live in a way that’s courageous, if you really do want to change the world, people will hate you.

Part of living an extraordinary life is learning to ignore people who want to tear down what you’ve built. For every love letter I get, I get a hate letter as well. Love letters get a reply, haters get marked as spam so I never have to hear from them again.

Haters really hate it when you mark them as spam by the way, but you can’t change a troll. You have to focus your super powers on good people who want to live a better life.

So, in conclusion.

In order to be successful, you need to live a meaningful life.

You can’t just expect to sit around eating potato chips and also expect people to pay you to live a meaningful life. If you do, you’re delusional.

The solution to all of this is for you to stand up and live in a way that matters. I don’t care what way that is. I just think that it’s easier to live in a way that’s forever in pursuit of the important if you embrace a minimalist lifestyle. That way you don’t ever have to settle for less than the best, because you’re not subjected to the laws of consumerism.

If you want to learn how to live the life that I lead, I wrote this book called The Art of Being Minimalist that tells you how. Abandoning consumerism is so much easier when you know how to do it. Live on less in order to find freedom.


A lot has changed in my life over the last few weeks, and I want to share it with you. I’ll be posting another post later this week will the full details. Don’t miss out, sign up for free updates via EMAIL or RSS.

And don’t forget to share this article. Imagine if everyone knew this? We could maybe actually save the world. That’d be pretty cool.

3 Timeless and Simple Strategies to Connect with Anyone

September 2nd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

And Why You Can’t Connect with Everyone

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

You can’t reach everyone in the world.

Why? Because a lot of people are so incredibly different from you.

Some people really like fancy sports cars (I wish my superpower was the ability to stop all car traffic for a 1-mile radius around my current location,) other people really want to destroy the environment (I really wish we could save it.) still other people like going to garage sales and buying tons of junk they’ll never use to fill up their house (well, duh, I don’t do advocate this.)

The specifics of what I’m trying to say don’t really matter, the reality is that if you say anything at all that has any consequence, someone will have the opposite view of what you’re trying to say.

How to be uncontroversial.

So 80% of the people who are creators (especially on blogs) solve this problem by never saying anything specific. They don’t want to offend anyone, so they try to be safe and not say anything that matters.

They dumb down their writing until you could buy it off of a grocery store magazine rack.

The problem is that if you stop saying anything important, you end up saying nothing much at all.

Then no one cares.

The real reason why I turned off blog comments.

Recently I made the controversial decision to turn commenting off on this blog.

I listed seven reasons why you should invest your time instead of commenting on my blog, and the first reason was “write about what I said on your blog.”

So a whole bunch of people wrote on their blogs about how I was stomping on their freedom of speech by turning off comments on my blog.

The funny thing is, these people followed my advice that I listed in that original article. They proved that there was something better they could be doing than commenting on my blog.

Also, when they wrote about what I said on their blog, I actually had time to read what these people said.

Why? Because instead of reading dozens of comments a day, I only have to read the blog posts that pop-up on my google alert for my name.

(To be fair, around an equal number of people wrote about how awesome it was that I turned off my blog comments, and are considering doing it themselves once they have an overwhelmingly large following.)

Turning comments off isn’t a new blogging strategy.

What I’m saying here isn’t anything new, people have been turning off comments on their blog and upsetting a small fraction of their readers since the beginning of time.

I’m sure when Seth turned off his comments there was an earthquake somewhere simultaneously.

The truth is that any conclusion that you come to has the potential to make any person unhappy. If you stop saying anything important because you’re afraid someone will be mad, then you’ll never connect with the people who truly support you.

How to find your true fans.

My number one mission since my blog rocketed into the global spotlight has been to slowly close down the ways that people interact me until I have time to really contribute value to a small group of my true fans.

I’m under no illusion that all 70,000+ readers of this blog actually like what I’m saying. In truth, 70% of these people bounce after the first minute of reading.

Others send me emails telling me to stop writing what I’m writing because I’m contesting their ideas about consumption.

“I just want to go to Walmart, spend my money and not have anyone question that what I’m doing is wrong.”

This is the way it is for most blogs. Most people are just wandering around hoping they’ll find something to read that will make them feel good.

“Why isn’t your blog about Lady Gaga or Lindsay Lohan?”

Do you think Coca Cola likes what I’m saying on this blog? If you drink a coke once a day and drive to work, chances are you don’t like what I’m saying either.

But somewhere in the soup of readers that the Internet brings there are people who resonate with what I’m saying here.

  • The people who actually live with less than 100 things
  • The ones who are striving for a location independent lifestyle
  • The people who want to stop consuming and find freedom.

Maybe these people aren’t you, but they could be you. I’m just laying a foundation for what is possible.

Three strategies that I use to find and identify my 1000 true fans.

1. Interview people who you admire.

The #1 reason that my blog has grown so fast is because I’ve systematically interviewed everyone who I admire. Interviews are the #1 way to make powerful people aware of your existence. Most people have time to do an interview, because it contributes value to both the interviewee and the interviewer.

If you want to interview me, just drop interview questions into my email box, or connect with me on Twitter. I’d love to talk to you.

Also, if you’re someone who used to really like commenting, an interview is a much better way to focus your energy. You’re welcome to ask tough questions. You could even ask me one tough question.

2. Write about work that changes the way you think about reality.

When I see something that really changes my thinking, I write about it here. This is why I’ve been able to recently connect so well with Gwen Bell recently. I wrote about the fact that she checks email once per day, and about her digital sabbatical — thus sending her blog noticeable amounts of traffic. The next thing you know we’re tweeting free business consulting advice at each other. Awesome!

When you spread the work of others, they will do the same for your work.

3. Write un-apologetically about what you actually believe.

I have opinions about things that matter. They may not really gel with your ideas about reality, but that’s okay. This blog isn’t for everyone — as we saw above, it isn’t for most people. I understand that only a select few are on their way to creating fully automated minimalist businesses.

I understand that only a few remarkable individuals are actually living with less than 100 things.

If you want to write a blog that people pay attention to, you need to say some things that will offend a certain group of people. You can’t make everyone happy, that’s okay. Say what you believe.

You’re still totally welcome to read if you aren’t doing these things, I’m just saying what is true. Not everyone is up for this challenge, mostly because they have more important things in their lives to worry about.

However, a select few people are changing the world. I’m so proud to among a group of people who laying the foundation for the shape of things to come.

Will you join me?

Write about the people that matter. Interview the people that matter. Say things that matter.

This is how you make a difference.


Speaking of Interviews, I have one coming up with Vagabonding author Rolf Potts next week. Want to find out how to travel around the world without any luggage? Don’t miss out! Sign up for free updates via RSS, email or follow me on Twitter.

The True Purpose of Simplicity

August 16th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

We sometimes forget why we’re here, we aren’t looking where we’re going, or even where we’ve been.

We get all caught up in an idea about what we should be doing, and forget about what we really want to do.

I think what we want to do is to be free.

Instead we’re told by society that we’re supposed to buy a new car. We’re supposed to get our hair done a specific way. We’re supposed to go to college. We’re supposed to work all day and still somehow we’re in outrageous debt, and we wonder why.

There’s a weird misunderstanding about what simplicity actually is.

I get a lot of emails from people saying that they would never want to live this life.

For example, recently someone told me that the only reason they’d ever stop driving is if there was a mass extinction of the human race. I asked her why she was reading my blog if she was so opposed to everything it stands for.

The problem is, that I haven’t really defined what this blog is about, so it’s understandable that some people would be confused.

Far Beyond The Stars is about one very specific thing:

1. How to achieve freedom.

It’s not about skipping your coffee in the morning, it’s not about getting out of debt, it’s not about growing your food in your backyard, it’s not about checking yourself into the monastery on the corner and meditating 17 hours a day.

The origins of my simplification, and how it helps you.

I never intended to follow the set career path that society laid out for us. I didn’t go to high school, instead I took ballet and modern dance classes every day. I went to college to become an artist, and then hopefully at the end I secretly hoped that I would be inducted into the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers.

But it didn’t happen.

Instead I watched in horror as society crushed the dreams of every single artist friend I had. One by one every single one of them settled in some way for an outcome that wasn’t what they intended.

Slowly, one by one we didn’t make the audition for the dream that we’d always had.

Instead, we went out and got jobs at restaurants, we stayed in the basement of the university library, we did a good interview at a corporate job and got fat and lazy sitting at a desk all day.

Maybe in our spare time we kept working on our art, secretly hoping that we’d get a record deal or a publisher would pull us up by our bootstraps.

Seldom does Deux Ex Machina happen in real life though — the only person who can save you is you.

I believe this is actually everyone’s story. Some of us made it farther along the road than others, like we actually got into dance school or we had one show at CBGB’s on the Bowery with a packed house before it closed.

Eventually I gave up and settled for a job, because everyone else did.

Four years later I woke up and realized that I was missing the point, that somewhere along the way we all did, and this is why we failed.

The reality that was broken.

So every morning I woke up and took the subway into work. I sat at a desk and made other people’s stories look nice (meanwhile being told every time I pitched an idea that I’d never be a writer- HA, now who’s the more successful writer?) It was fun, we thought we were doing good work. I was paid just enough to survive, but it was never enough. My student loans just sat there accumulating interest.

But slowly on the fringes of my social radar, I noticed as one by one people started to drop off the radar. They said ‘fuck you’ to the corporations and started wandering the streets of America searching for the answer — what the tiny little voice in their back of their heads said.

“There must be a better way.”

What these people did, and what I did, was to radically refine our meaning of success.

We start to realize that the success that we thought we needed was implanted in our heads by the advertisers.

  • Coca Cola wanted us to think success was sitting at the movies chugging cokes watching Tom Cruise dodge explosions.
  • American Airlines wanted us to think of success as once a year taking an expensive flight to the caribbean.
  • Nikon and Canon want you to believe that you’ll be a famous photographer if you just buy one more camera lens.
  • The Bush administration wanted us to think success was not getting blown to bits by terrorists (which statistically is much lower than the fact that you have a 1 in 100 chance of being crushed by a car or flying through your Subaru’s windshield) while getting our permission to bomb the crap out of a foreign country in order to keep oil prices low.
  • American Idol wanted us to think success was texting 1 to their magic number while we sat in our chairs and munched on Lean Cuisine.

You get the idea.

Meanwhile I saw one by one my friends wake up and realize it was all a big fake magic reality that we’d have if we just bought one more Budweiser in the Meatpacking District.

We were in The Matrix, and the only freedom was truly to opt out.

So I did, I destroyed all of my stuff, quit my job, and got off the grid permanently.

Far Beyond The Stars is about waking you up.

It’s about telling you that your reality is broken, and there is another option.

You didn’t make the choices you made because you wanted to, you did it because The Man Behind The Television told you (because he wants your money.)

The Internet gave us the tools to create this revolution in the way that we think. We no longer live in the illusion that buying one more video game will make us happier. We no longer believe that a fancy handbag will make us find love.

We no longer believe that success = Donald Trump.

Instead we’re slowing redefining freedom as a reality you can have right now, if you just stop consuming.

Destroy all of that crap the television told you to buy and never go to the mall again.

Because buying more isn’t the answer. Freedom is.

And that my friends, is what Far Beyond The Stars is about.


Oh! And retweet this, because I can’t change reality by myself, I need you to join us in this movement, because we can make a difference.

P.S. I’m still on a digital sabbatical. That’s why commenting is off. I can’t answer your emails until I get back from the forest on August 23rd.

But don’t worry, I’m still posting work while I’m gone. That’s the magic of automation. Don’t miss out, sign up for free updates via EMAIL or RSS.

How to Imagine Your Ideal Reality (because it matters)

July 19th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

Here’s an exercise that’s super important to do every couple of months, at least once a year.
Take a moment and imagine your ideal life.

If you don’t, you’re likely to stagnate or not know where you’re going. How will you know if you’re headed in the right direction?

How I’ve imagined my reality in the past.

Last year at this moment in time, I really wanted to live a location independent life, so I could work from anywhere in the world. In February of this year I more than achieved that goal.

Then I imagined living in San Francisco Bay. Within a few months I’d relocated!

You can accomplish anything.

When you put your mind to it, it’s easy to accomplish most things. The problem is that we don’t usually put our minds to anything, and thus we end up standing still. We don’t go anywhere. We’re unhappy, but we make excuses. We don’t get anywhere.

I know, I’ve been there. I spent an entire year at my day job not really caring why I was there. Sometimes it takes some time to wake up and realize that you need to make changes.

This isn’t just wishwashy ‘manifest your life’ bull crap. If you don’t actually decide what you want to do, you won’t do much of anything.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible if other opportunities come your way. It doesn’t mean you don’t give up early if your dream of being X turns out to be not exactly what you had in mind. It just means you’re constantly reaching for something greater than the status-quo.

Where dreams go to die.

If you don’t imagine the way you want your reality to end up, you will inevitably start drifting. You’ll settle down and say to yourself “this reality is fine, it’ll do for now.”

Well, your reality is NOT fine. If you settle, you’re just doing what everyone else is doing and that’s not enough. The only way to achieve ambitious goals is to realize that you can achieve them and start.

If you don’t take a moment and decide where you’re going, you’ve settled. You’re not persueing the important, you’re simply making the rounds, settled into a routine.

That works for most people, but it doesn’t work for me, and it doesn’t work for you.

Why I’m writing this article.

I didn’t think this article was a good thing to write because it’s good SEO (in fact, I have no idea.) I decide to write this because it actually matters.

In the last post I wrote about a few things such as achieving location independence and moving all over the place in the last year.

A few people emailed me saying that the only reason I was able to do these things was because I’m smarter and more ambitious than most people.

That’s a cope-out attitude, and is simply not true. Everyone can achieve anything if they want it badly enough. Don’t give up, start to dream bigger.

Strategies for imagining your ideal life.

1. Think unrealistically and aim for one year in the future.

Dare to dream big. Take out Evernote or a piece or paper and list the things you want to accomplish in one years time.

For instance: buy and live on a boat, go to top-10 university, negotiate 50% bump in salary, quit job to work for yourself, etc. All are very doable, if you put 100% of you attention on the goal.

2. Eliminate everything you don’t want to do.

This is key. In my experience it’s much harder to accomplish a goal if you’re also doing a lot of other unimportant stuff.

In my ideal world, I only do three things besides what I want to accomplish with my life. 1. Eat good food. 2. Go to Yoga. 3. Sleep.

Notice that all of these things also support my goals, because they make me stronger and my mind more focused.

If you’re trying to make a car payment and also dreaming of working for yourself, you’ll spend most of your energy trying to make a car payment. This will destroy your ability to reach your goals.

Eliminate the unessential (basically everything) in order to focus on your ideal life in one year.

3. Start taking small strides toward your goal to build momentum.

Break down you ideal goal into actionable steps. And start to execute them. Start by doing an intense research session on your ideal life, read every good book you can on the subject (but don’t over-do this. Knowledge doesn’t proceed action.) Ask people who’ve done it how they did it, politely.

DO NOT ask people who haven’t done it how to do it. Most who haven’t achieved will tell you a goal is impossible. You can only learn from success stories. Non-achieving people are a lot more likely to be naysayers.

Now, decide on your first step and work until you’ve achieved it. For example, if you want to live on a boat, going sailing a few times first can bring you up to speed on how a boat actually works. Taking lessons will guarantee your knowledge. Earning money and buying a boat will solidify the deal.

4. Achieve your ideal reality.

Give yourself one year to complete your unrealistic goal of an ideal life. Don’t get sidetracked by stupid stuff that doesn’t matter.

Tell everyone you know that you intend to do what you want to do. Start a blog and write about how you’re achieving your goals in order to get feedback and possibly income to support your goals.

In one year you’ve done it, and if you haven’t it’s no one’s fault but your own. You are the decisive element.

Imagining my ideal life.

Alright, so I can’t leave you with all of this information without telling you how I imagine my ideal life. So here we go.

In one year I hope to have visited at least 10 foreign countries on a few different continents. I hope to spend at least a month in a few of them, vagabonding if possible.

Why? Because I haven’t been out of the country since I was 16. Now that I’m set up to work from anywhere, it doesn’t make sense not to travel as much as possible.

There are no vacation days involved in being a location independent professional.

I don’t want to bring my computer with me on most these trips, so I’ll need to either outsource or eliminate certain functions of my business in order to keep it going. My minimalist business is largely automated anyway, so this shouldn’t be too hard.

Now, how will I achieve these goals?

First step is getting an adult passport, since my kid one expired. I’ll be filing the paperwork next week. Next I’ll research my first location (South America, probably Peru), find an inexpensive ticket and go.

In order to fly more, I’ll be buying Chris Guillebeau’s Frequent Flier Master and invest a significant amount of time to learning how to travel hack from one of the master.

Notice how this is much easier now that I live a location independent life.

If I’d aimed to travel before I set up my business I would only have been able to take short trips during vacation time or time spent desperately searching for new temporary work. Now I don’t have to worry so much, and instead can do whatever is necessary in any place I land to facilitate my experience.

I’ll be writing more about my plans to travel the world as a minimalist digital vagabond. Don’t miss out, sign up for free updates via EMAIL or RSS.

Here’s another post with a similar vibe, if you liked this one: How to Succeed By Being Completely Unrealistic.

I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element.  It is my personal approach that creates the climate.  It is my daily mood that makes the weather.  I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous.  I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration; I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.  In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person humanized or de-humanized.  If we treat people as they are, we make them worse.  If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming. – Goethe

How to Make Money No Object (with very little)

July 7th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Why It’s Easier to Succeed if You Have Nothing to Lose

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

“If money were no object for me I’d…”

“When I win the lottery I’ll…”

I hear these sayings all the time, we all do.

I want to take a moment to help you discover how to make money no object with very little money.

Why? Because I honestly think the idea that you need to wait until you have a large amount of resources is holding people back from achieving a reality where they can live and work from anywhere — or whatever your plans are.

I feel that eliminating excuses through simple experimentation has gone a long way towards helping me discover my own full potential, and I hope this will too.

Why the risk is really what you fear to lose.

When we truly dissect the above excuses, we can see quite easily what is really at stake: losing everything.

We’re afraid if we pursue the reality that we always dreamed of, we’ll end up losing the reality that we have now.

So we wait for the day when money is no longer an object. When we’ve made the millions that will support our every dream and ambition.

There are two elements that make this assumption completely absurd.

First I’ll break down the assumptions, and tell you why they’re wrong. Second, I’ll show you how to make money no longer an object through one simple practice that I’m sure you’re already aware of.

…and they are:

1. You’ll never make millions if you never take risks.

People think that if they sit around at a desk, someday they’ll get promoted and make millions. This isn’t true, because employers have an infinite choice of hiring potential. Who are they going to hire when it’s time to fill a new position? Someone new, exciting, and who appears more ambitious than you in a 45 minute interview. Also, while you sit around, you’re getting older and your dreams are rapidly turning to stone.

2. You’re not simply going to ‘get lucky’.

You can’t win the lottery if you don’t play. Buying a lottery ticket is a risk you have to take for impossible odds. If you don’t play, you also can’t win. This is a metaphor, of course, because it’s dumb to actually play the lottery. If you don’t risk something, you can’t move to the next level.

Okay, so now that I’ve dispelled those myths, I want to show you to beat the system. How to make the risk of following your dreams negligible.

Reduce what you’re risking as much as possible.

Risking putting everything on the table when you have a lot to lose is an awful lot to ask. ‘What if I lose the Porsche? How will I ever survive?’

One of my heroes, Julien Smith the co-author of Trust Agents, has a saying that “Cultural Transparency ÷ Risk = Upward Mobility“. From my experiences, I genuinely believe this to be true.

In order to move up in society, you need to both take risks and learn about how the world actually works — which is oddly enough not how everyone tells you it works.

So this is what you need to do, in order to eliminate as much risk as possible in order to pursue your dreams — which could be much more profitable and ultimately rewarding than the life you’re currently leading.

1. Eliminate anything, and everything, in your life that you fear to lose.

You can’t feel the pain of loss if you have nothing to lose. Give away the Porsche, junk the flatscreen TV, downsize to a smaller house, donate the Gucci handbag to someone who doesn’t need to risk anything.

Make a list of everything you think you can’t live without.

Now, sell everything on that list.

You can keep your clothes and your laptop if you think you need them. Maybe you need shoes. Maybe you don’t!

All of you junk is holding you back from your pursuit of your dreams. It’s best if you eliminate everything to the point that you’re living out of a bag or somewhere close to that.

I’ve been living out of a bag for a year now, this is the single most important factor in my ability to take risks in order to build my business to be as profitable as it is now.

2. Pay off all of your debts.

Every debt that you take on makes it harder to take risks. If you pay off all of your debts and resolve never to take on another again, you’ll be able to risk it all so much easier.

For more on paying off your debts see my article on Minimalism Vs. Debt.

3. Start taking risks.

You have to start small. Now that you have nothing to lose, I want you to go ahead and start taking some small risks just to be uncomfortable. The object is simply to push your boundaries and nothing more:

A simple risk taking activity to inspire you:

During a busy rush hour commute I want you to go to a public place where, more than 150 people are present — public transit is best, but a mall or plaza can do, with headphones and some sort of music playing device such as an iPod.

Now, pick a song that’s danceable and has lyrics you know by heart. I usually do this with Smashing Pumpkin’s ‘Ava Adore‘, but you know what you know.

Now, turn the song on, walk into the middle of the public place and start dancing + singing as loud and as extravagantly as possible. Stay in one place in the most crowded location possible. Do not stop until the song is over. There is nothing illegal about singing and dancing, you will not get in trouble.

People will probably look at you like you’re a crazy person. That’s okay.

Once you’re done, just walk out of there like nothing ever happened.

I realize the idea of doing this is terrifying to a lot of people. Being weird is frowned upon everywhere.

The idea is not to be weird, or to attract attention, it’s to start exploring what it feels like to take a risk. You might look like a fool if your simple business bombs. You might feel bad when your wife asks where the Porsche went. Feeling weird is part of risk taking.

The truth of the matter is that you’ll never succeed if you don’t try.

And the easiest way to try is to have nothing to lose.

I believe this is one of the fundamental lessons behind Minimalist Business.

24 Hours in the Life of Everett Bogue

July 5th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

Me, on a not-so-average day, sailing

I’ve been receiving a considerable number of emails and Twitter messages asking for me to write about my average day.

So yesterday, I sat down and tried to figure out what I did every day, on average.

I ended up making up an ideal day that didn’t really reflect reality, that had never been lived and would not be lived.

Why I don’t have normal days.

This made me realize that I don’t really have a routine, I simply wake up every morning and do what I feel inspired to do from start to finish.

The ability to be able to do whatever you want on any given day can make life look relatively random when you attempt to scale it down to a post on your ideal day.

This makes the title of this post incredibly misleading, but I hope you’ll forgive me.

When I used to have average days.

When I worked at New York Magazine, I had average days. I’d wake up every morning at exactly 8am. I’d roll out of bed, turn on my laptop and immediately sign into email and AIM. Five minutes later I’d start to receive requests to put photos on the stories that other people had written.

This continued all morning, while I made coffee in the kitchen and made myself breakfast. Eventually I’d tell my assistant to cover for me while I jumped on the Subway and headed into Manhattan.

Then I’d sit at my desk making the photos on blog posts look great until 2, when I’d run out and grab lunch to come back and eat at my desk, and then at 5pm on the dot I’d turn it all off and continue on with my life. I did this every day, it was very average.

Now I don’t live like that anymore, because a year ago I quit my job and now I’m in control of my own destiny.

I don’t recommend living the day job average-day lifestyle, so far having random days where I discover what really interests me is much more profitable than sitting at a desk every day was.

That being said, there are things that I might do on most days that I think can help you emulate my day, if that’s the reason why you’re emailing me to tell you what my average day is like. These aren’t very revolutionary things, they’re just normal human things.

Here are some of the key elements of my day:

1. Writing. I write when I have an idea worth writing down. Other times I’ll write just to see if an idea will come — if it doesn’t I’ll stop writing. I don’t do this on any set schedule. For instance, I’m writing this at 6am in the morning, because I couldn’t sleep any longer and the idea just wouldn’t leave my head. Some days I’ll go to a coffee shop and write, other days I’ll sit down somewhere after Yoga and write. It all depends on the day.

2. Wandering. Another good portion of most days is spent wandering. I find that exploring the city is a great way to both generate ideas, and to simply discover new places and experiences. The most important element of wandering is not having an end destination. For instance, many people wander to the mall to buy something — this isn’t wandering, it’s consumerism. Wandering shouldn’t cost too much money. I recently picked up a new bike (I haven’t had a bike since I was in Portland last year) so now I can wander on wheels.

3. Reading. I read a lot, in order expand my knowledge of how people think. Right now I’m trying to decode Nassim Taleb’s Black Swan, Chris Guillebeau and Charlie Gilkey’s new Unconventional Guide to Freelancing, and I’m in the process of reading Derek Sivers’ blog from start to finish, because he has a lot to offer. I used to read the New York Times for two hours every day, but then I realized that it didn’t really help me. I’d know everything about the sad things happening in the world, but I really couldn’t do anything about them, so in the end I decided it was more important to read things that could help me achieve my goals instead of simply reading for the sake of the action. Be conscious of what you’re consuming, information is addictive and often meaningless.

4. Yoga. Yoga centers me and I think might keep me from going crazy. My recent yoga schedule is mostly taking the BART into San Francisco’s Mission District where I practice at Yoga to the People, a donation based studio that originally opened in New York. 95% of the time Scott teaches, but my friend Carly from dance school also teaches there remarkably enough.

5. Eating. The rest of my day is usually spent in pursuit of food. I’ll either cook meals from scratch or sometimes I’ll go out to eat. There are a lot of great meals to be had in Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco, so I’ve been exploring the food choices. The most important element is to be healthy and make sure the food is enjoyable. Why eat junk food just because you’re hungry, when there’s so much great food out there?

6. Disconnecting. Finally, every day I spend as much time as I can disconnected from the Internet. There are a lot of distractions out there, and I think the most important skill you can have is the ability to turn them off. Many people get caught up in rudimentary communications like checking blog comments and answering emails — this is all surface stuff in life, and doesn’t really matter. You can spend ten hours a day answering emails, and you’ll never really accomplish anything. This is why I do my best to turn it all off. I check email once a day, a few other times a day I’ll check on Twitter to see how everything is going. The rest of the day I turn it all off, and do whatever I want.

I realize this isn’t exactly what you were looking for when you asked what I did in my average day, but I hope it helps. Some people enjoy living this way, but I’ve met other people who go absolutely insane when they realize they can do everything they ever wanted.

Some days I just don’t do anything, because that’s what I feel like doing. And that’s okay, because I realize it’s important to follow my intuition about what is important to me.


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How to Avoid Scaling Your Life-Overhead With Your Income

June 23rd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Why minimalism can keep your overhead low and your freedom high

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

One of the biggest challenges of minimalism, especially when you apply it to the idea of creating a minimalist business, is avoiding the inevitable pull and pressures to scale up your life expenses with the rise of your personal wealth.

There’s a good deal of pressure in society to spend more money. We congregate around malls in most parts of the country, there are advertisements to buy buy buy everywhere, there are endless luxuries that we’re told will make us happier.

Why spending more won’t make you happier.

Obviously if you’ve been following my writing for any amount of time, you know that I’m convinced that buying stuff doesn’t make you happier — it just tethers you location and consumes your income.

I originally discovered the idea of minimalism when I left my day job to pursue a location independent life. In order to do that, I had to figure out how to live on very limited resources.

I asked the question: how do I survive without money? Inevitably that lead to minimalism, which lead to living with less than 100 things and being able to live and work from anywhere.

However inevitable it might have been from the beginning, I never conceived of the idea that my income would reach the level that it has in such a short amount of time.

The dangers of income growth.

Once your minimalist business grows (and if you do the right things it will) you might discover the same challenge.

You’ll suddenly find yourself working less than 10 hours a week, and making more than you did at your day job.

When you don’t scale your income with your overhead, you suddenly produce a surplus of money which you can use to your advantage — say to get out of debt, retire early, or simply pursue the dreams that you’re passionate about.

That’s why I’ve prepared this list of 16 strategies to keep your life-overhead from scaling in direct proportion to your income. I hope this list can help you keep your spending low and your income high, whether you’ve successfully created a minimalist business, or you’re trying to leave your soul-sucking day job.

Here are 16 strategies to keep your overhead from scaling with your income:

1. Use free transportation.

One of the easiest and healthiest ways to keep your overhead low is to use free or inexpensive transportation. We live in a society where having a car is the norm, however cars are expensive, destructive, dirty, and anti-social. If you care about the state of the Gulf oil spill, I’d better not see you driving. The truth about the matter is that it’s fairly easy to live car-free by purchasing a bike, walking, or simply using public transportation.

2. Live in a place that’s walkable.

Not all cities are created equal. Places like Portland, OR. New York, and San Francisco are created in a way that you can obtain everything you need to survive by walking a couple of blocks. If you live in a city or the suburbs where sprawl is the norm, you’re keeping your overhead high by needing a car to obtain your groceries. Stop, think about where you’re living, and make the right choice in order to keep your overhead low.

3. Prepare your own food.

Eating out for every meal is costly, and also not healthy. Fast food, and even most restaurant food, is filled with stuff you don’t even want to know about, especially salt, fat, and processed sugar that metabolizes faster than our bodies can handle. If you prepare your own food out of whole ingredients such as vegetables, meats, beans and grains, you’ll both lose weight and save money. Shop the periphery of the supermarket, only buy unprocessed food. Jules just came out with a free minimalist cookbook that can help you with this.

4. Track your possessions.

Nothing can blow your overhead out of proportion like buying lots of junk you don’t need. The easiest way to keep your stuff under control is to commit to living with less than 100 personal possessions. I’ve been doing it long enough now that I wouldn’t even dream of living any other way, it’s just not practical to have to worry about lots of stuff everywhere.

5. Live in a smaller space.

One of the big fallacies of the American Dream is the McMansion that MTV convinced us we were supposed to buy. Having a big house with a huge yard and a two-car garage can or will blow your overhead out of proportion. Opt-out of this lie and rent a smaller space in a walkable area.

6. Avoid watching TV.

The television is designed with handy 5-minute breaks to convince you to buy an unrealistic amount of stuff that will quickly swell your overhead. If you ate all of the junk food that comes up in one hour of typical commercial breaks, you’d die. Avoid this situation by not being a passive consumer of mindless entertainment, destroy your TV and cancel your cable.

7. Avoid reading mass media.

Newspapers and magazines are created around the same advertising model, which is largely unsustainable — that’s why the newspaper and magazine industries are dying. If you look at your average fashion magazine, you’ll be convinced the only way to be cool is to spend $6000 on a handbag. This is absurd, you don’t five-hundred beauty products and sparkling gold jewels. All of this stuff was created to make other people rich and brain wash you into living a life with no meaning. Don’t read newspapers or magazines as most of them encourage consumption (and also kill trees.)

8. Establish a minimalist social circle.

Be careful who you hang around with. If your best friend’s idea of having fun is racking up credit card debt at the mall, you have a social circle problem. Cultivate relationships around less and encourage people you know to embrace minimalism, or find friends who already have. A great way to do this to share minimalist writing through your social networks like Facebook and Twitter in order to make it clear to people where your priorities lie. Invite friends over for dinner and enjoy good conversation over inexpensive home-prepared food instead of going to the movies or spending hundreds of dollars out at the bar.

9. Share resources.

We all done need everything that we’ve been told we do. Cars for instance are quickly becoming a shared commodity in most cities because of amazing resources like Zipcar. There are of course countless other ways to share resources. Join a tool lending library for when you need to create things (these exist Portland and Oakland, and if your cities doesn’t have one you should convince them it’s necessary.) Use Zikol to rent anything that you need ,or offer your own useful items for rent in your neighborhood. Consider setting up small neighborhood collectives to share things that you might not need on a regular basis. This is becoming easier with social networking and the rise of the Internet.

10. Pursue simple pleasures.

The idea that you have to spend money to be happy is absurd. Realize that simple things such as sitting at the beach, or on a bench at the park can be a free or inexpensive way to spend time. Cooking food can be a great way to get enjoyment and also pass the time. Read books about things that matter in order to improve your knowledge of the world and pass time. Lately I’ve been volunteering to crew sailboats on San Francisco bay, which is a free and helpful way to have an amazing day.

11. Use simple tools.

There are so many expensive gadgets and tools out there to buy. The pressure to upgrade to the latest and greatest nonsense is absurd. You don’t need five different ways to access the Internet, you only need one. You don’t need to invest in the top of the line gadget when you only need a simple tool to get the job done. Sometimes a simple pad of paper is the best way to get any job done.

12. Do less.

Walk slower, breathe oxygen, simply be content sitting and watching the trees sway back and forth. All of the endless and frantic running around won’t be remembered, it will just make you tired. When you slow down and do less, you begin to realize that everyone is doing way too much. Why work 60 hours a week when you can work 10? Why run to the grocery store when you can walk slowly? Walk slowly, breathe, do less.

13. Focus on the work that matters.

Not all work is created equal. A large number of people I know are caught up in routines that just spend lots of time, but aren’t creating any value. When you spend your time creating things that help people, and automating your distribution process, you can eventually spend a lot less time working and a lot more time enjoying your minimalist life. Eliminate all activities that aren’t creating value for you, or anyone else, and focus on the important.

14. Dedicate time to self-education over all else.

We’re taught that we need to be taught to learn things, I’ve found that the opposite is true. Self-education can be the most effective way to use your time. There are hundreds of free, or inexpensive resources that can help you learn a huge amount of information. If you’re wondering what to do with your life, don’t go buy a pizza and play video games. Instead, log on to TED and watch some of the world’s greatest minds talk about the ideas that they’re passionate about. Don’t spend $150,000 on a business degree when Empire Builder or a Personal MBA can give you the tools to create a very small business for a small fraction of that price. Resolve to read a book a week for the rest of your life — believe it or not simply reading give you the keys to creating your ideal reality.

15. Realize that you already have more than enough.

We’ve been living with so much more than we ever needed for generations. When you wake up and realize that advertising tricked you into consuming so much more than you ever needed, and that you can be content right here and now, you suddenly have the key to keeping your overhead low in order to prevent your life from scaling with your income. You don’t need anything else, everything you have now is enough.

16. Keep the end goal in mind.

The end is the beginning is the end. Don’t get distracted by meaningless pursuits by setting an end goal that has some meaning to you. Do you want to leave your soul-sucking day job in order to pursue a minimalist life and live and work from anywhere? Maybe you want to build a boat and sail all around the world? Maybe you just want to sit on your porch and read a good book.

There’s no reason that your end goal has to scale with your income. If it doesn’t scale, your income will skyrocket with no-relation to your spending, and freedom can become an inevitability.


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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.


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27 Reasons Why You Should Never Have a Job

May 26th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

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

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We didn’t always have jobs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Financial security.

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

2. Diversified income streams.

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

3. Contribute value to your legacy.

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

4. Live anywhere.

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

5. Unlimited vacation.

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

6. Choose your own path.

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

7. Flexible schedule.

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

8. Avoid reactionary workflow.

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

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

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

10. Making money in your sleep.

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

11. Freedom to be a leader.

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

12. Choose work that excites you.

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

13. Surround yourself with people you care about.

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

14. Sleep whenever you want.

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

15. The ultimate ROWE environment.

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

16. Work on projects which will change the world.

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

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

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

18. Prepare your own food.

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

19. No waiting for retirement.

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

20. Time to focus on the important.

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

21. Cool people don’t have jobs anymore.

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

22. Work from wherever you want.

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

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

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

24. Showers in the middle of the day.

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

25. Multiple paydays.

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

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

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

27. Uncertainty keeps you on your toes.

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

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

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

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


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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

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