So to recap the last two instalments of this three part blog post, I revealed two things that have been on my mind for a while. In the first instalment I discussed my plan to eventually buy a plot of land somewhere not too far from a reasonably sized city to build a small cabin and live off grid. The second part, I talked a bit about my desire to want to learn how to sail and live on a sail boat and travel. This week’s has more to do with money and becoming Financially Independent (the main topic of this blog)… so without further delay.

Number Tres: I want to become self employed / make money online

Although Financial Independence (FI) generally means earning income passively, my hope is to earn money actively using the internet while I work towards becoming FI. Right now I have a cushy (haha, yeah right) government job, and while I’m thankful for this, it’s not exactly thrilling. In fact I find my job draining and unsatisfying — it’s like a prison and quickly becoming a source of anxiety for me.

The problem with most government jobs is that you’re often just a cog in a much larger machine and you don’t have much say in what or how you do things. Essentially there’s no imagination or problem solving involved (ok, so most low skill jobs are like this). It’s true that in exchange for this monotony, government employees get a decent pay, job security, great benefits and eventually a pension. For some people (like my parents) these are great things to have, and for the most part I agree!

I don’t want to come across like I’m complaining — I’m not — but despite these perks, it’s just not for me. Working for a single employer, pushing paper in a cubicle for 30 years is not how I envision living the bulk of my life. I don’t see the point — especially since I don’t have kids to feed (don’t want any) or a mortgage to pay (don’t want one either). I’m totally willing to sacrifice many of the perks of having money (a nice house, cars, etc) just to be free and manage my own time without worrying how I’m going to pay for everything. If I cared about these things, I would be far more concerned by my career and trying to move ahead.

Why do I want to do this?

The main reason for wanting to earn my income online is to have the maximum amount of flexibility in terms of where I can live. Having a normal 9 to 5 job means I have to stay relatively put, which for someone like me who is used to moving every three/four years, isn’t exactly ideal. Working online means I can live anywhere that has a decent internet connection.

Making money online also means that I can better manage my time and focus on the things I want to focus on. A big part of my problem right now is that my job takes up most of my time and more importantly, my energy. That means that I can’t spend very much time on those things that I want to actually be doing. I’m more excited about this blog, for example, than I am about the work I do at the office. I realize this is what it means to be an adult — you can’t always do what you want — but I’m willing to sacrifice quite a bit of income in exchange for more free time. So why not?

So what’s the problem?

If making money online were easy, everyone would be doing it — obviously. Let’s be real, earning a reasonable income on the net is hard work. That being said, I personally know people who are making more money online in a month than I make in an entire year — so I know it’s possible. It’s just a question of working hard and finding what works for me (without getting into the details, I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that they do… lol).

Right now, my main problem is finding an audience and creating content that others find interesting enough to keep coming back. This is essentially a marketing problem, which I know nothing about. So while I have the skills to make any kind of website I could want (within reason), there’s no point building a site if you can’t find people to look at it (if your goal is to make money).

So what am I going to do?

The first thing I want to do is to keep working on this blog. Although my goal with this website isn’t necessarily to make money (despite what the ads on the right side might have you believe), I want to prove to myself that I can keep it up and maintain the motivation over a long period. It’s also a place where I can experiment with different ideas and not worry about destroying a website should one of those ideas prove disastrous. Over time, if I can transfer the skills I learn here (things like finding readers, creating content, etc.) and apply them to more interesting websites in the future, hopefully those future endeavours will go more smoothly.

The second thing I plan on doing is to take time off work and focus more fully on my online ventures. I’m lucky that my job lets me take up to 12 weeks off every year without pay, while still being able to keep said job. Although I’d be taking a significant pay cut, I could use that time to focus intensively on creating a website or two with great content while actively marketing it using social media, etc. I see it as a long term investment, with the hope of eventually recouping the money I lost by not working during those 12 weeks. My plan is to do this in the next couple of months once I get this website further along.

So there you have it; that concludes this three part series on where I see my life going in the next couple years.

As always, thanks for reading!

André