Sunday, January 22, 2012

My goal for 2012: Create my Location Independent Lifestyle

Whatever your dreams are, you’d better start taking them very very seriously
Barbara Sher in her book Wishcraft. 
If I’m really going to be an entrepreneur in 2012, I need some real goals to make my dreams a reality.

I found this goal setting guide on Live Your Legend, and it’s really helped me clarify what my goals are, and my motivations. It’s nice to have it all written down now (I made a spreadsheet of my goals, because I like having things on one page, and I just like spreadsheets).

My goals fell into 5 areas: Work, giving back, health, travel and family and friends. I’m going to write about my work goals; because it’s the area I’ve made the biggest change in over the last year or so.

My goal for 2012: Create my location independent lifestyle and live without a boss

What is a location independent lifestyle you ask? It’s creating an income from anywhere in the world. It’s usually an online business. It’s for people who want to start something of their own, live without a boss, and work from anywhere in the world. Location independent people are also called digital nomads, mobile bohemians, or remote workers.

The idea really appeals to me because I want my life to be full of travelling, I love it so much. I also want to be able to create an awesome career that I can take with me, wherever I live in the world. This is especially important because my life will always be divided between Israel and Australia – and it always will be.

I’ve been on a journey these past few years that made me decide that I want to live without a boss, and create my own business.

My journey to living without a boss
I was working at a large research organisation in Australia for three years before I moved to Israel. I enjoyed working with people that were making a difference to Australia's future through science. But I felt like something was missing. I was rarely seeing the impact of my work. I thought about studying something, but I could never decide on one thing. I was interested in so many things - business, project management, development studies, more science communication studies - I really had no idea.

I arrived in Israel in 2010 thinking that this was my time to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. The problem was I was thinking too big - I was trying to figure out what was the one thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life that would make me happy and fulfilled? What was that one big thing I was meant to do in the world? I went round in circles and never came up with an answer, so I just went and got a job.

I got a job surprisingly quickly. I was writing grant proposals for Israeli scientists. It sounded good; it was something I could do because of my science communication background. But I didn’t enjoy it. I had little passion for a job that was mostly project management and administration. Combined with working conditions that were not what I was used to in Australia, as well as low pay (a one-third pay cut compared with Australia!), it turned into a huge burden that I had to shake off. I resigned and left after a year.

I did learn a few things in that job though.

I learned that life is too short to work in something that is unfulfilling.

I learned how to work hard. I’m now going to work damn hard so I don't have to go back to working for an Israeli company. I know that not all companies in Israel are like where I was, but why would I take the risk of suffering when I have other options!

And I learned that enjoying my life was more important than a regular pay check. I had done a bit of freelancing for my previous employer before I started working in Israel, and knew I could earn an income I could survive on by reducing my spending. If you think about it though, I’m sure you could think of something you can be paid to do to keep some money coming in…

After I quit that job I started doing freelance science communication work for Australia. It's interesting work, with nice people, good pay, and I get to sit at home in my cosy apartment with freedom. I enjoy the freelancing, but would like to add something else, and create a portfolio career for myself – one that combines a few different business that help satisfy my need for variety in my work. I’ve realised that I don’t need to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life – I just need to figure out what I want to do next.

If you want to know more about being location independent, there are a couple of good blogs to check out:

Chris Guillebeau with The Art of Non-Conformity (great book btw)
John Williams with Screw Work Lets Play (also a great book!)
Marianne Cantwell with Free-range Humans
Crobett Bar and a good article by him: 10 Digital Nomads to learn from

Jumping in the Gilboa, Israel.

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