You have probably seen their YouTube videos or received emails and webinar invitations from them. People living the “laptop lifestyle” on some secluded beach in Thailand who promise to teach you how to do the same for 3 easy payments of $297.
The Laptop Lifestyle
What exactly is the laptop lifestyle? There are many definitions and we all interpret this our in our own way.
When I started learning about online marketing back in 2007 I simply wanted to be able to earn money without working a typical 9 to 5 job. In a few months (more like 6 months) I was earning more money than my previous full-time job paid me. So in the summer of 2008 I went on a vacation to Europe and that’s when it really hit me. This is what I wanted as a lifestyle. I wanted to travel whenever I felt like it, without asking permission. I loved the fact that I could travel for as long as I wanted without worrying about “losing my job” or running out of money. That was my laptop lifestyle. In other words it was freedom.
Since then I’ve been to several countries. In 2010 I only spent 3 month in Canada and the other 9 months traveling. In 2014 I went on a 5 months trip to Europe once again. In 2016 I went on a 4 months trip to South East Asia. In 2017 I went to Las Vegas, spent a week in Cuba and currently planning several trips for the rest of the year. It all sounds great but it’s not as simple.
The Laptop Lifestyle Myth
When we stumble upon programs that promise to teach us how to set up this kind of lifestyle we’re often greeted with beautiful pictures of beaches, sunsets and 5 star hostels. We are promised an easy 3 step system that will get us there. Unfortunately this isn’t the whole truth.
You can setup an online business that allows you to earn an income without having a boss. You can do freelancing work while living abroad. The fact is, there are many different strategies to earn money without having a “typical job”. The truth is that there is no “easy system”. There are no shortcuts to success and I’ve mentioned it a million times on this blog and the Extra Paycheck podcast.
An online business needs your attention and constant upkeep. You can’t simply set up a blog and expect to earn a passive income without actually doing anything. Since I mostly earn through affiliate marketing I constantly need to put out new content. For example when I spent 4 months in Asia a lot of my time was spent behind the screen. I was writing new articles, releasing podcast episodes and so on. I’ve been in that industry for almost 10 years and if there was an easy system I would know about it. Be careful and stay away from the myth of pressing a few buttons and not doing anything else ever again.
Not all hope is lost though. You can outsource most your tasks to other people. In order to do that you need money and of course a foundation. You can’t outsource the process of setting up your whole business simply because you need to know what’s going on. Once you’ve set-up your business you can (and should) start looking into automation and outsourcing.
When you hire people to write your content or to manage your business you’ll still need to be present. You probably know that no one cares about your business as much as you do. This is why you need to be there to overlook everything and to address problems when they come up (and they will).
What You Will Understand
So let’s imagine that you personally spent 12 months building your online business. You are now earning money from it and you even started outsourcing certain tasks. You book a ticket to some exotic country and start spending your days on the beach. Do you know what will happen in a few days? You will get bored. It happened to me on more than one occasion when I didn’t have access to internet. Just last year when I was in Koh Lipe in Thailand it took me 3 days to start missing my business.
There is another lesson here as well and this one dates back to 2010. While I was traveling through Europe for 7 months I completely neglected my online business. Since it was bringing money “automatically” I though I’d just let it be. At that time my credit card expired and since I was neglecting the business I didn’t realize that I lost my email list, a few domains and even a few full sites. Live and learn.
And I think this applies to every real entrepreneur. A few months ago I had Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income on my podcast. Pat is earning well over a million dollars per year online and he has a a team of people who help him run the business. I pointed out that Pat can simply relax now and let the team run the business for him. Pat replied with something like: “and what would I do with my days then?”. Entrepreneurship is very addictive and when you succeed at something you want to keep on moving forward. You want new challenges, you want to see more success, you don’t want to stop and spend the rest of your life doing nothing.
I’ve met hundreds of people who call themselves digital nomads, freelancers, online business owners and they all had one thing in common: they kept on working every single day (or almost). I’ve interviewed close to a 100 very successful entrepreneurs on my podcast and many of them work MORE than full time on their business. Each and every single of them agreed with the fact that you need to hustle in order to succeed.
You reap what you sow. If you don’t put consistent effort into your business you simply won’t see any results. Your potential is unlimited as long as you remember that there is no magic system and there is no shortcut to riches.
If you want to learn more about starting your own online business I highly recommend this platform. I’ve been an active member since late 2007 and I haven’t found a better training or better community. The best part, you don’t need to risk a single dime of your hard earned money to check it out. Their starter membership is completely free and will give you a good idea if this is something you want to do.
If you have any question or would like to add your thoughts on the subject please do leave a comment below. I’ll make sure to get back to you 😉