When my lifestyle business took off a few years ago allowing me to quit my full time job, I decided that I wanted to celebrate the fact in style.
So I booked a two week luxury vacation in Cuba. For 14 long days I sat in the sun, swam in the pool and drank cocktails on the beach. Then just three weeks after returning home I headed off to Costa Rica for a month of adventure.
And it was in Costa Rica, while it was snowing back home and I was walking around in shorts and flipflops, that I met a number of back packers who showed disbelief at (a) how I was able to spend a whole month in Costa Rica while most of them were popping down just for a week or two and (b) how I managed to do it so soon after Cuba.
Most of the people I spoke to thought I was amazingly lucky. Of course, they hadn’t seen all the evenings and weekends up to that point that I had spent on lifestyle design, on building an online business that would cover my monthly expenses with minimal time and so on. They just saw all the free time I had and all the lack of responsibility.
Another example. A few years ago I spent a day giving a good friend of mine a complete ”behind the scenes” tour on my online business. I showed them my websites, showed them how I made money, the traffic I was getting and even let them into my accounts so they could actually see the money I was earning.
They were floored to say the least. Not because I am making millions online (I’m not) but because they had always thought that earning a living online was a con, and when they saw all the money I was earning – often without evening turning my computer on for days or weeks at a time – it served as a real wake-up call.
I offered to personally tutor my friend over the coming months to help him set up his own lifestyle business and he readily accepted. I taught him about keyword research and niche selection and he spent every available hour of free time putting together a plan.
Then before he actually started to implement the plan, he stopped. He started to make excuses about ”feeling tired” or ”wanting to go and buy some new jeans” and so on. Now I appreciate we all have chores to do in our free time but it was clear after a while that these were really just excuses.
My friend wasn’t willing to sacrifice some of their free time in order to follow a plan I had proven to work. That first site never got built and within a year my friend had lost their job thanks to the recession.
I can’t help thinking that if they had invested the time upfront when I was offering my help, they would have been in a far stronger position when it came to becoming unemployed. He would have had some income. Maybe enough to not worry about finding a new job.
As it was, he spent three months applying for hundreds of jobs without an income and slowly burning through his savings. Because watching TV or buying some new clothes was more important than investing in his future.
The fact is that building an internet business that will cover your daily expenses while taking up as little time as possible – or indeed any element of lifestyle design – takes time and focus.
If you’re to be successful and make changes whilst holding down a full-time job, you’re going to have to sacrifice some of your free time over the short term. While friends and family members are having dinner parties or going shopping, you’ll need to stay motivated and disciplined and invest some of that time into your lifestyle design plan.
This can certainly be hard. It can be frustrating. It can even be depressing knowing you’re missing out on instant gratification. That you’re tapping away indoors on your computer while your friends are down the beach.
But it’s this sort of sacrifice that is really necessary if you’re going to succeed at lifestyle design. This sacrifice is also only short term. That investment of time and energy may seem hard at the time, but use your time wisely and it will soon start to pay off.
Then you can become the ”lucky” person who only works a few hours a week and gets to travel the world at your leisure.
If you’re serious about creating a truly amazing life for yourself and your family then you need to accept that you’re going to have to make these kinds of sacrifices. Decide in advance just how serious you are about this journey, and if your heart really is in it, make yourself the promise that you’ll stay the course – that you’ll make short term sacrifices for long term success – rather than acting like my friend and focusing only on short term gratification.