Excerpt from Chapter “Freedom of Time”
You have a passion that can be that powerful for you as well, you have a driving force that can motivate you to take action now and design, build, and create the lifestyle you desire. Use the foundation of Lifestyle Architecture to design the lifestyle you want or a lifestyle that enables you to Live Retired Now. To accomplish this there are several ways you can manifest the freedom and flexibility of time you will need to be able to Live Retired Now. Earlier we discussed the importance of your passion and defining that passion. The focus and discipline towards attaining a lifestyle that is filled by your passion as well as the drive to enjoy or accomplish that passion will be the guiding force in your ability to free up your time.
You’ll have to modify and change your lifestyle to make that happen as we discussed in the Lifestyle Architecture section & chapters. The ability to design, build, and create your lifestyle will be derived by how well you can establish a flexible lifestyle that gives you the opportunity to free up your time. Traditionally owning your own business is the easiest and fastest way to Live Retired Now, the benefits of entrepreneurship and the inherent flexibility you have from that life decision will make the dream to Live Retired Now more attainable. However, to better understand how that is possible you must understand the difference between:
- Having a business
- Being a business owner
- Being an entrepreneur
By knowing and understanding the differences you will be able to avoid some of the pitfalls that many of those who are self employed fall susceptible to. Paramount of these pitfalls is the failure to recognize the differences between when you have created a business, created a job for yourself, and created a company. They all seem very similar and can be easily construed together however there are critical differences in these descriptions. Lets examine them closer to help you realize what you need to avoid while you purse the Live Retired Now Lifestyle.
- Having a business ( A Gig/ Side hustle/ Side biz/ hobby)- A gig would be a side project or side job that helps you generate extra income by completing a task or selling goods or services that you may have a special skill or expertise in or that you may have access to.
You can have a business without being a business owner, having a business is simply providing a good or service for hire.
Many people believe it’s astonishing and amazing when someone creates or starts a business. Peers and friends are eager to give them accolade or positive attention and credit for overcoming the adversity and navigating the challenges of starting a business. As commendable as it may seem, honestly its not very challenging to start a business. Nearly everyone poses the skills, talents, or temperaments required to do that same thing, to start and launch their own business. In fact, many people already have a business however they may not be aware they are running a business. Often those with a hobby may start selling or offering services at local marketplaces in their spare time. Others may just use the resources in their daily lives to supplement their income, such as renting out unused space in their home or driving their vehicle to pick up riders on their commute home. This type of income is often referred to as a gig. A gig would be a side project or side job that helps to offset your income by completing a task or selling goods or services that you may have a special skill or expertise in or that you may have access to. The “Gig Economy” is exploding with the advent of web and mobile based marketplaces or applications that make it easier for providers or vendors to sell and offer their services to more and more people. Technology is changing the way that people communicate, interact, and purchase and or select services. Here’s a quick list of potential Gigs:
Tech based Gigs
- Uber/Lyft- using your vehicle and time to become a taxi driver or chauffer for hire
- Airbnb- renting out space in your home or your entire home to guest
- Etsy- selling crafts you create online
- Fiverr- a marketplace that allows you to offer a service or skillset starting at $5.00
- Offer up or Let go- selling platform for nearly any item you own
- Blogging- sharing your experiences or talents with a community you create online
- Podcast- sharing your experiences or talents through a personal online radio show
- Freelance work- using your skills to generate income for those looking for your service
- Band or Bar Lounge Singer
- Selling item’s you create at open marketplaces like flea markets or swap meets
- Hosting and selling at Garage sells
- Tutoring or providing academic assistance
The gigs above are simple ways that people generate and derive extra income. These types of services or product offerings can grow and scale into a career for some and eventually into a company for others. In fact, my company Strong College Students Franchising started in this same way. My college roommates and I wanted a way to generate some extra cash while we had downtime between classes and our part time jobs. We advertised ourselves on an online marketplace as “Strong College Students” and from that simple start a national franchise system with locations in multiple states was born. When I started the firm I never thought it would grow to the size it is today, nor did I think I would employ over 1500 college students and generate millions of dollars in sales. For me, it was simply way to make some extra cash however upon completing several moving jobs I realized something powerful about the company. I realized that if I built the firm and designed it appropriately I could generate income without doing the physical work or labor associated with moving and being a mover. I realized I could generate moving revenue with out physically working on moving jobs by hiring teams to complete the task of moving services for my company. Now this revelation was still years away, because at that moment my current employment was working as a personal trainer and I was making great money as a college student. My personal training firm was a business in which I could make up to $50.00 per hour without a college degree just by trading my knowledge and time to help others reach the physical fitness levels they desired.
- A. Business Owner- The task of owning, managing, and operating a business enterprise for hire. I don’t mean to offend anyone however you don’t quite have a company just yet, rather you’ve actually created a job for yourself. However this is powerful step because you are now in full control of your career and your income.
It’s official, you have now broken away from the confines of a traditional job. It’s a powerful and important point to reach in the path of entrepreneurship and in the pursuit to Live Retired Now. When I had my personal training company I was making a great hourly rate however, the challenge was paying fees to gym facilities to use their locations as well as the fact that I could only generate income when I was working. I had to physically be present to be paid for my skills. This is the same challenge that professional occupations have. From CPA’s or Physicians and Attorneys they all must be present to provide their level of expertise and knowledge in order to generate income.
I had reached the milestone of being self employed and had my own company however I realized I was still pigeon held to the employer employee relationship however I had traded out the concept of a boss for myself. I had more flexibility of when I could work and where I could work as well as what I could charge. However, I hadn’t really created a company, I had a business. I had turned a gig into a job. I created a job for myself but I was now responsible for everything. If anything, I had created more work for myself but also the key word here is I created the “opportunity” to generate more income for myself. The trade off was I was now reasonable for finding my own clients and marketing. In addition to serving the clients, managing billing, negotiating gym relationships, printing, equipment, booklets and informational details, as well as finding the answers to all questions from nutrition to physical therapy options. I had my own firm, I was in charge, I was the boss, and I was making more money per hour but I was also working more hours without being paid just to keep my operation up and running.
Luckily for me it was a part time job and I had the interest and passion in fitness to help me overcome the challenges of the extra workload. I could have easily signed up as a trainer with a major gym chain and had clients delivered to me with access to a facility all for one quarter of what I was earning on my own. I was open and ready for the challenges of running my own operation and I enjoyed knowing it was my company. That level of pride and prowess is tough to overcome even admits the extra workloads and uncertainty of income projections and or in-consistent client bookings. Often this is the pinnacle of success for many business owners, the ability to leave the corporate world behind and know you have the skills, talent, and determination to make it on your own.
However, the largest challenge in this type of business is the demand on the business owner. The inability to derive revenue unless their working in addition to the required responsibilities of running and managing the business often leave the business owner with less time and freedom then if they just worked a traditional job and had a gig on the side to earn extra income. This fear is what prevents many in the “Gig Economy” from making the shift to pursue their talents and skills full time on their own in their own company. In addition, the limits of time and freedom make it much harder to enjoy the benefits of Lifestyle Architecture and to Live Retired Now. I realized this while working as a trainer and had the foresight and vision to realize my gig job of helping families move their belongings both locally and long distance had the potential to free my time and enable me to generate income without physically doing the moves myself. I realized I could develop a team of student movers who could service clients allowing me to live it up on the beach and party all day! I realize I had the power to turn that gig into a company by becoming an entrepreneur.
OK, now that wasn’t my actual vision, oddly thought it did come true. I’m writing these pages of this book while traveling abroad in a tropical destination (Thailand at the moment) all while crews of student movers are diligently servicing customers around the USA. I was able to reach this point because my Lifestyle Architecture plans laid out the requirement for me to travel abroad no less than once per quarter each year. I’m able to do this because I designed and built my company to enable me to have the freedom and flexibility I desired. In addition I was able to realize that my personal training business wasn’t going to afford me the ability to generate income without being present as a trainer. I was the person with knowledge and expertise, I was what clients were paying for so I had to be present to provide the service to my clients. I was the product they were buying.
That key factor was the reason I decided to commit more energy and time to the gig of Strong College Students. It was after that realization that I decided to begin to develop the framework to turn this gig into a business. Then from a business into a company and eventually into a source of freedom and a conduit for the Live Retired Now lifestyle that I live today. Amazingly it’s grown beyond just me, this framework is now being shared with and adopted by those who chose to own one of our franchise locations.
Little did I know that my vision to simply earn income without being present would spur the philosophy I live by today. Nor did I realize that I’d be writing this book and empowering people like you to enjoy the benefits of not only Lifestyle Architecture but also empower you with the ability to Live Retired Now just as I do. You too can lay in the tropics, enjoying the sound of the waves crashing onto the shoreline, and the breeze blowing in the palm tree’s above you as countless tropical birds sing their unique soundtrack to the movie that has become your lifestyle. Or maybe Living Retired Now means you have the freedom to pick up and drop of your children from school each day and enjoy the moments in their lives as a dedicated and involved parent helping them become the upstanding citizens you always dreamed they would become. Imagine having the time and income to make that happen! It’s all possible when you have access to a company that you have designed around your lifestyle or the lifestyle you desire.
-Shaun C. Robinson
“The Lifestyle Hacker”
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