5 years ago, I never would have thought I could live a laptop lifestyle – one that would allow me to make money online – some from freelancing, some from passive income – from anywhere in the world.
In fact, when we first started thinking about selling the house and going cruising, my biggest fear was what we’d do for money.
At the time, I was working for a small promotional marketing company that I’d been at for 7 years. I worked from a small windowless office (which was a huge upgrade from my former cubicle), and my salary was meager at best. I did not have a big savings account, and I knew I’d never touch my 401k, so the day I went in to tell my boss I needed to quit because of this whole moving-onto-a-boat thing, I started to doubt every decision we had made.
What was I thinking? What the f#ck did I agree to? I must be INSANE!
I thought about backing out and finding some way to put off our plan, or just go bury my face in a monster sized glass of wine instead, but I summoned my inner rockstar, knocked on my boss’ door and upon getting permission to come in, I sat across the desk from him…
…and broke into tears.
My boss was a really kind and understanding family man with a wife and teenage daughter (so I’m sure he’s seen his fair share of tears), and that was the only thing that kept me from walking out of his office and going to throw myself off a bridge out of embarassment at my spectacle.
But after I wiped away the salty mess on my face, I explained this super scary, but exciting adventure we were going on, and to my relief, he was really excited for me.
I then said the words I had been so scared to say… out of fear of the future, and of guilt for letting down these people who had been really great to work with.
I need to quit.
He sat and thought about it for a few seconds, then said, “Hmmm… well… could you work from the boat?”
WHAT? Could I work from the boat?
He then went on… “All you really need is a phone and a computer, so if you think you could find a way to work from the boat, we can try it out for a year to see how it goes, and then reassess from there. If you want to, of course.”
And that was the magic answer. I could work from the boat – it wouldn’t be without its headaches of course, but it was a paycheck, and it eliminated my biggest fear about jumping into this lifestyle and then not having any money to pay for it or enjoy it.
I gotta say – my being able to work remotely from the boat was a saving grace for the first year or so, because as Murpy’s Law goes, everything seemed to break that first year, and had we not had jobs, no way would our savings have covered it all.
Not All It Was Cracked Up To Be
I was super stoked for having this set up where I could work from the boat. I’d pass people who were on their way to the beach and they would tell me how lucky I was to have a company that allowed me to work remotely. But as time went on, I realized that while it was awesome to have a steady paycheck, and I was very lucky that my employer did this for me, I wasn’t living the life I thought I would be.
Because of the particular job I had, I needed constant wifi connectivity, at least 8-10 hours a day. My entire job was centered around email, and I probably exchanged about 300 emails a day on average. That’s one email sent or received every minute and a half for 8 hours a day.
Shoot me now, please. I honestly don’t know how I stayed sane for so long.
Not only was the work constant and didn’t allow me to do things like even go hang out at the pool for an afternoon, but because my work requirement for reliable wifi at all times, we weren’t able to sail to the Bahamas with our friends, or do anything that was much fun. In fact, not much had changed at all – I worked just as hard. I just had a better view.
Now I know that sounds like I’m a spoiled brat. I was still on a boat and I still had a job. Oh, boo hoo. I know I didn’t have any reason to complain, BUT when you take a big leap like we did, you want to enjoy it. And I wasn’t enjoying it very much.
The Aha Moment
One day, I was browsing for books on my Kindle and saw a book called The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. It introduced something I hadn’t really thought of when it came to working – setting up a business that is systematized and more automated, so you can earn seemingly passive income with just a few hours a week of hard work.
I devoured that book in a weekend, and I gotta say it changed my whole mindset. While I had been simply happy for being able to work remotely (which I am still grateful for), other people were setting up these “freedom businesses” that allowed them to live a laptop lifestyle and travel the world!
If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it – even if only for some of the killer information on the 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of our results come from just 20% of the work, so the other 80% of the work you do is almost inconsequential. If you can figure out how to leverage that concept to your advantage in all facets of your life, you could become infinitely more productive, and yet have more free time on your hands.
Living the Laptop Lifestyle
After reading that book, my entire way of thinking shifted, and I started thinking more and more about the laptop lifestyle. I began studying ways to earn money on the side, and it paved the way for the direction this blog has taken.
Since then, I’ve started an online jewelry business. I’ve taken online classes on how to build better websites and turned that into a side income. I’ve taken classes on writing and marketing, and now I have clients who pay me to write for their company blogs or their websites.
While I’m not 100% where I want to be with my laptop lifestyle (we still aren’t in the Bahamas yet, and while I did eventually quit the other job, I do have a full-time job now as a proofreader/quality assurance specialist for a NY Times bestselling author), I have a lot more freedom than ever before, and I make more money than ever before, thanks to my side income.
Pretty soon, I’ll be officially launching a new website in which I will be working with and teaching female entrepreneurs about getting more clients by implementing SEO, blogging techniques, proper social media plans, guest posting, and other growth strategies.
I’m working on a couple of online courses (because that’s been my favorite way to learn so far) and a membership site that will act like a sort of mastermind group, where women can collaborate and bounce ideas around in a safe environment, and help eachother grow their businesses.
I’ve not officially launched as of this writing, but will update here once I do!
In the meantime – leave me a comment and let me know what your biggest questions are when it comes to living a laptop lifestyle.