Continuing a pattern that I’m slowly turning into a business model, I’ve just published a brand new book that addresses a lot of the questions I’m most frequently asked by readers, while also expounding upon the topic at hand in directions that I think are important to understand.
The book is called ‘Start a Freedom Business,’ and as the name implies, it’s about getting started as an entrepreneur.
A key point of differentiation in this book and others on the same topic, however, is that in it I focus on building a sustainable business model that allows you to earn time as well as money, rather than the kind that drains you of your time in exchange for the opportunity to strike it rich years later.
There’s nothing wrong with startups, of course, it’s just that their aim is generally to seek investment, which is a move that tends to eat up a lot of the founders’ freedom. No longer do you work only for yourself. No longer does the buck stop with you.
The concept of a Freedom Business is about building an asset or set of assets (your business, or other small ventures) that help you get closer to your ideal lifestyle. That will mean different things for different people, of course, but for most it doesn’t mean working 100+ hour weeks behind a desk, and it doesn’t mean stressing the best years of your life away, hoping to strike it rich through investment or IPO.
If you’re looking for a good kick in the pants to get you motivated about making 2012 the year you break free and make a change to your lifestyle, and if you want a concise foundation of theoretical and practical knowledge, along with resources that will help you expand that knowledge further, you can snag a copy of Start a Freedom Business today on Amazon for $0.99 (I’d love a review after you’ve had the chance to read it, too, if you have the time).
By the way: Start a Freedom Business got up to #7 for Entrepreneurship books on Amazon during the pre-launch (which was sent out to folks who subscribe to my free newsletter a few days ago); let’s see if we can get it up to #1 now that it’s officially launched!
Want a free copy of Start a Freedom Business? A subscription to Exiles (my ‘everlasting ebook,’ full of travel stories and writing from the road) is $36 for the whole year, and will earn you a free copy of all books I publish for the duration of your subscription. Sign up before next Friday, and I’ll grandfather you in on this book, as well.
As always, thanks so much for all of your support, assistance and enthusiasm. Publishing is only as good as the people you’re publishing for, and the feedback and interaction I get from you fine folks keeps me motivated to keep on writing, and I love you for that.
PS: included below is the first section of the book for your perusal.
What is a Freedom Business?
A business can be loosely defined as ‘an organization engaged in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers.’
That’s as good a definition as any, but I prefer to think of a business as something that exists to create value, and to receive value in exchange.
There’s a certain freedom inherent in focusing on ‘value’ rather than ‘trade’ or ‘money’ or other terms used for compensation, because everyone in the world may have a slightly (or radically) different idea of what is valuable than the person standing next to them.
To some people, money is the ultimate yardstick for success. It can be traded for just about anything, and that is only right, as currency was created to solve the problems inherent in older economic systems (like bartering), and each unit of currency represents a unit of value created by someone, somewhere.
I’m not going to wade into the argument-cesspool that surrounds issues like the Gold Standard and planned economies, but I do want to touch on the fact that although money is incredibly valuable, it’s not the MOST valuable thing in the world.
I would argue that even more valuable than money — something that you can always make more of if you want to (in the case of governments, I mean that quite literally) — is time. Time is (as far as we know) absolutely finite, and once you’ve used up your allotment, you can’t get any more. All the money in the world isn’t valuable to a dead person.
It’s with that in mind that I nominate ‘time’ as the most valuable thing a human being can possess. Yet, if you look around, most people trade their time for money; something that is still valuable, but less so.
There are two main reasons for this.
The first is that we are taught from a very young age that you grow up, you work for money, and then you spend that money. Work, in this taught scenario, consists of doing something that you hopefully don’t hate too much for long stretches of time.
This spent time may or may not result in surplus value (after taking into account the years of your life you invest in it), but it does result in money that you can use to pay your rent, cable bill and bar tab (after work).
The second is that our economy is shaped around rules our ancestors came up with during the Industrial Revolution, a period where a human’s time wasn’t worth much, because they were essentially plugged into a machine and made to operate it (that is, do something that machine couldn’t do itself). Although we’ve come a long way since then, much of the Western World’s economies are based on stylized assembly-line production models.
This is important stuff to understand, because if you want to grok what makes a Freedom Business worthy of its own title, you have to know what ‘rules’ you break by starting one, and why these rules are worth breaking.
The key difference in starting a Freedom Business over a standard business is a shift in what kind of value it produces for the entrepreneur who starts it (you). Rather than producing value in exchange for money, you build something that creates more personal freedom for yourself.
In most cases, this means you earn money and time. It may also mean you earn connections and prestige.
Most people who run Freedom Businesses do so in order to achieve (or get closer to achieving) their ideal lifestyle, myself included. I wanted to be financially secure, location independent, well-connected, and in a position to be constantly trying and learning new things.
It’s a simple request, but most business models would only allow for a small portion of what I wanted (the cash). To build something that consistently added to my level of personal freedom in the same way that it added digits to my income, I had to rethink how I did business and try something new.
It’s an ongoing process, and one that will continue to evolve as my wants and needs evolve, but at this point I have a firm grasp on how to keep my business plans malleable and ready to adjust when my values change.
That’s what I’m going to teach you to do, too.