Humanity took some pretty damn impressive leaps forward in the past 2 centuries. In fact, things changed so rapidly that the time frame in which a person visiting us from the past would go insane and die because of the shock he’d get is smaller and smaller. Pretty much all those steps made location independence possible, among other miracles.
The industrial (r)evolutions
The first industrial revolution
aka The Original Industrial Revolution, or the Industry 1.0 was WATER & STEAM, where animal and human power was replaced by machines.
The second industrial revolution
aka Industry 2.0 which is all about ELECTRICITY. Ok, not only electricity, I know, also internal combustion, engine, airplanes, phones, cars, radios, TVs and so on and so forth. But basically the biggest thing in this time frame is the ELECTRICITY (lɛkˈtrɪsɪti,ˌɛlɛkˈtrɪsɪti,ˌiːlɛkˈtrɪsɪti/ — a form of energy resulting from the existence of charged particles (such as electrons or protons), either statically as an accumulation of charge or dynamically as a current.)
So now we have machines replacing animal and human power, we have cars, we have radios and all kinds of mass production goods. And they all need to be made faster, cheaper and better.
This leads us to the 3rd industrial revolution
aka Industry 3.0 — The Automation. Electronics, software, machines being used more and more in the industry, in order to increase production capacity and decrease costs.
Finally, this takes us to the 4th industrial revolution
the one that is the baseline for our discussion today: Industry 4.0 — The Cyber-physical system (as defined on Wikipedia: “(CPS) is a mechanism that is controlled or monitored by computer-based algorithms, tightly integrated with the Internet and its users”.
Welcome to present day
The digital age, or the Internet, or the Industry 4.0, or you can call it however you would like, has unleashed countless and incredible opportunities. Moreover it has transformed the way we work, the way we interact, the way we travel and most importantly, the way we live.
As a result, this enabled more people to embrace a new and different lifestyle as Location Independence, Digital Nomading or Freelancing (I don’t like these terms, but unfortunately until somebody finds something more suitable, they’re here to stay). Most of us embraced location independence as a lifestyle to fulfill both our personal and professional goals.
Let’s talk a bit about the steps I recommend in preparation for this lifestyle. And, of course, in order be as close as possible to a successful freelance & traveling lifestyle:
Taking the decision
Is this lifestyle for anybody? I am pretty sure that with the right combination of will and determination anybody can do it. But it really is for anybody? Well, probably not. Location independence can be tricky.
What I did and I recommend to others are the following steps (briefly described here, as I will write detailed posts for each later):
Make a list of your values. There are lists on different websites where you can start from. Look it over on the great web. Choose 10, then delete 5 of them, compare them and be honest with yourself. As brutally as possible. Delete 2 more. If you didn’t lie to yourself, these 3 should be your 3 core values. Analyze them a bit and see if they fit with a freelance and digital nomad way of life. For example, if stability is one of them, there are chances that Freelance or location independence are not the best options for you.
B. Skills you have vs skills you’d like
Make a list of sellable skills you have. It is true that most of the skills that have a lot of traction are related to design or coding. However, there are also a lot of opportunities out there as virtual assistant, strategist, accountant, social media expert, trainer, holding courses, consulting and the list could continue for almost ever. There is this misconception that you must be a digital guru to be successful. Well, no. I have a friend who travels the world doing business consultancy. I have friend who for the past 5 years hasn’t stayed a weekend in the city. He’s doing trainings and photography trips. I have an acquaintance who travels the world as a carpenter who loves to surf as a hobby and another who does survival trainings. Truth be said, it is easier if you have strong digital knowledge, but it is not impossible to succeed. So location independence can be achieved with almost any skill you have. Almost.
Also, you don’t have to base your new life exclusively on skills you already master. You can develop new skills that could bring you earnings as well. Just figure out what you can do and what you’d like to do. The whole purpose is to like your new life, so if you hate your job and what you do now, continuing it as a freelancer defeats the purpose. Doh.
Developing new skills for location independence:
Remember my article from a few days ago: Best Digital Strategy Frameworks I Use When Designing Solutions?
In that article I wrote about a strategy framework called “McKinsey’s Strategic Horizons”. If you missed it, the main idea is that you have to plan your development in what they call “3 Horizons”
- Core business
- Blue sky
You will tell me that this is for a business and it doesn’t apply to a freelancer, a digital nomad or those rocking location independence. Except it is. If you start seeing yourself as a business not just as a part-time, contract based employee.
- 1st Horizon – Core business: This is what puts food on the table today and helps you kick-start your independent gig, by providing finance to live and invest in your independent lifestyle, your personal or professional development or your startup.
- 2nd Horizon – Opportunities: Take what you have and extend to new areas of revenue. Since the model where you rent your time on a hourly based cost is sustainable but it’s not scalable. That’s why you can start thinking about mixing 1st Horizon with some low time / high income activities or, even better, some passive income to ensure the bottom line.
- 3rd Horizon – Blue sky: This is where the magic happens. If planned well, it can get you from a comfortable average paid pseudo happy-ish employee to a high performing independent freelancer or solopreneur.
C. Set your objectives
When you don’t have a destination, all winds are favorable. But you might end up in a place you don’t like. Especially if you dream of location independence or freelance.
Clear, simple and measurable objectives are key to getting where you want to be. They are the key to your happiness. I strongly believe that happiness, independence, freedom to travel while working doesn’t just happen by accident or because you are a lucky person. Don’t believe in luck. Luck is just the result of clear objectives, hard work, continuous learning, discipline and stoicism (for those of us who like this thinking system).
After you have your values and skills in place, the objectives are easy to set, but kinda hard to set correctly.
First of all, we all know any objective has to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely).
Secondly, one of the methods I used to set my objectives was the Ericksonian method “Creation awareness with the logical levels exploration”, adapted by Marilyn Adkinson, originally based on the work of Robert Dilts.
The method briefly goes like this:
There are some logical levels of language and neurological levels or thinking that are linked to some questions you have to ask yourself:
- Identity – WHO?
- Values – WHY?
- Capabilities – HOW?
- Behaviour & Actions – WHAT & WHOSE?
- Environment – WHERE & WHEN?
The thing here is to start top to bottom and answer all of these as sincerely as possible. This is not the time for sugarcoating.
After having the answer to all the questions, put them all together and articulate a single, clear objective.
For example, mine is: “By the end of 2018 I want to be able to travel & work for at least 6-8 months per year, while generating at least 3000 EUR / month, from which 20% to be low time / high income money. I want to work with the clients that I can really help and bring value to their business, solve their business problems and with whom I would drink a beer in my spare time.”
D. Show me the money plan
Make a list or an excel (yeah, I know — I love lists, they are awesome) of your expenses, fixed and variable costs and potential revenue streams. Combined with point A (why you do it) and point B (what you do) it will help you understand what costs you can cut off, how much money you must make to cover your fixed costs (most likely you already have a mortgage and other fixed costs) and how much money is ideal to make to sustain your new lifestyle.
E. Your rates
Choose how many hours per day, week or month you want to work. Now split them to the amount of money you must make per month and here you go. Now you have your hourly rate. At this point, you’d have to add a 25–30% non-billable hours for promo and sales activities. That’s the thing you do for yourself to make yourself known and get new clients.
My own plan
For example, here is a brief overview of my planing:
a. Freedom / Discipline / Effectiveness / Passion / Simplicity
b. Business, communication & startup strategy / Sales & business development / Data analysis & insights / Content & trainings
c. Car + House + Expenses (phone, accountant, promo, content generation, etc) + Living (food, drinks, going out) + Travel = 3300 EUR / month.
d. I don’t want to work for more than 5 hours per day (to have enough time to develop my startup — FCK.WORK. That means 105 hours per month. 3500 EUR /105 EUR = 28.5 EUR / hour. Adding 25% = 36 EUR / Hour.
I will continue with the next steps in the next articles, so stay tuned. And hit the subscribe to newsletter button to be up to date. We won’t spam, I promise. We’ll send you monthly updates on what’s new on FCK.WORK.