The information age has blasted open the doors to remarkable new opportunities and lifestyles. If you’ve never heard the term “portable income”, it’s a concept that should get your attention. A lot of your attention. The idea that you can earn more from anywhere adds a dimension of freedom that our ancestors only dreamed of.
Thanks to computers and high-speed internet, pretty much anyone can earn money anywhere by offering their services as a freelancer from any where that you can plug in a laptop and connect it to the world wide web. That covers a lot of territory.
As you might imagine, some skills are in greater demand than others. Matt Barrie, the CEO and founder of freelancer.com, an Australia-based site, recently shared some insights with James Altucher. James is an author, entrepreneur, investor, trend analyst, and student of human nature. If you haven’t read his “Choose Yourself” books, you should:
Meanwhile, Freelancer.com has seen amazing global growth in freelance transactions. According to Mr. Barrie, some of the most sought after skills and services include:
Video production. There is a large and growing demand for online video content to facilitate product launches, educate customers, and increase web traffic through engaging, sharable content. Animation is popular, and surprisingly easy to create with the plethora of cheap tools that can be learned quickly.
Website development and design. Many publishers don’t want to take time to learn or implement web publishing skills. With tools like WordPress, and the nearly limitless templates that can be used to create professional websites in short order, this is an easy skill set to learn quickly.
Illustration. One hot niche is in children’s books. With the explosion in self-publishing, many new authors are flooding cyberspace with hopeful new works that need art work.
Photoshop photo editing and other design work. Advertisers need well-designed layouts and powerpoint presentations. These again are fairly easy skills to develop, if you don’t already have them.
Writing. With a growing number of online publications and the increasing prevalence of email marketing, there is a big demand for well-written articles, sales copy, and entertaining content. This is a skill you can hone with practice and online coursework.
Earning money anywhere is a worth goal if you like to travel or would like to live in an area that doesn’t have many job or business opportunities. With the skills I’ve listed above, you can at least supplement your income. Many freelancers are earning full-time incomes, so it’s a very realistic goal.
If you don’t have the skills I’ve listed, or you’re not confident in them, you can and absolutely should develop these and others. Udemy.com, iTunesU, and many other MOOC sites offer online courses. Invest some time and money in yourself, and you’ll find that the dividends are far greater than just about any other investment you can make.
Life is the most precious commodity we have. If you’re under thirty, it can seem like it will go on forever. But it won’t.
The good news is that we now seem to have more time than we’ve had at any point in modern human history, thanks to advances in medicine, sanitation, hygiene, agriculture, etc.
For most of the last 500 years, the average person that survived infancy could expect to live between 35 and 40 years. Disease and infection killed most of us long before old age got the chance.
The chart below shows how much and how quickly our lifespans have increased:
You can find the original chart at Ourworldindata.org which discusses the data in more detail.
If you’re wondering what this has to do with passive income, this is where we get to that. The vast majority of us work for a wage or a salary. This really means that we’re selling our time, the essence of our lives, for money. We’re selling time that we could spend with our wives and children, or our parents, or traveling, or writing, or growing an organic garden, or volunteering at the local homeless shelter, or improving our fitness and health.
This is an important secret of passive income: If we’re earning a salary or a wage, we’re not just selling time, we’re selling our very lives. No matter how good the pay is, we’re still selling something that we can never buy back. It’s a secret that our bosses don’t want us to learn. Fortunately for them, most of us never will.
Passive income gives us the freedom to SPEND our time instead of SELLING it.
Seeing income in terms of what we are REALLY trading to earn it helps to keep our lives in balance and our finances in perspective. It’s one thing to pay $2,000 for the latest flat screen, but would we trade a treasured memory for it? Most of us could have created some wonderful memories with the TIME that we’ve traded to buy things that may only end up costing us even MORE time.
Most people think of passive income as the privilege of the very wealthy. One of the themes of period shows like Downton Abbey is that the landed gentry or the aristocracy had social status that not only didn’t require them to sell their time for money, it forbade them from it. In centuries past, it was the privilege only of a relative handful of aristocrats to have passive income and to spend their time instead of selling it.
Now we come to the second important secret of passive income: in 2016, anyone that wants to develop passive income can.
If you’re like most of the people I talk to, you won’t believe that last statement, but it’s true for literally the first time in human history. It doesn’t matter whether we grew up in a trailer park or a mcmansion, anyone with the desire to live on a passive income can do it.
This is due partly to changes in culture that have broken down the barriers once erected by the aristocracy, but it’s mainly due to computer and internet technology and a huge shift in economic priorities.
Throughout history, business consisted of producing a good or service and selling them one at a time to buyers that needed and could afford them. The market places were small in most cases, and totally limited by geography.
Today, we can produce just one product and some kinds of services and sell them over and over again without needing to manufacture, package, label, or ship a single physical item. If that seems impossible, consider an ebook or an mp3 song, or an image, or a video that can be uploaded once, but downloaded an infinite number of times without raising your production costs by more than a few tens or hundreds of dollars. And instead of a market that’s limited to a few mile radius from the place where products are produced, it is a simple matter to reach literally around the globe with digital products.
Anyone can write. That means you can publish an ebook. If you have musical talent, you can upload and sell your music. Once it’s uploaded, you can sell that one product a million times. Not only is it perfectly legal, but your customers will all have gotten exactly what they wanted and what they paid for.
There are many, many more ways to develop passive incomes and we’ll go through the mechanics of developing them. The most important thing for now is to REALLY understand the reasons that you should never be satisfied with any income that isn’t passive.
Before we go on, it’s important to point out that passive incomes are not necessarily the ONLY way you should ever seek to earn an income. Developing good passive income streams requires many things, some that include experience, perhaps an education, and almost always capital to get started.
I’ve had a great career as a geologist that’s allowed me to see and experience things that I would have missed without a science degree. I’ve been involved in offshore oil exploration, drilled on the North Slope of Alaska where I watched the Aurora Borealis nearly touch the horizon, I’ve explored remote mountains for gold ore deposits, and been involved with Superfund and other environmental cleanups of bay sediments, soil, and groundwater.
Those were all great experiences. And all helped to contribute to my some passive income streams. If you’re passionate about a particular career path, pursue it zealously. The decision to pursue a degree in today’s rapidly changing economy is not an easy one, partly because not all colleges and universities are keeping up technologies, and partly because tuition and other costs are so high. This is a vital topic that we’ll explore later.
Here’s the third secret of passive incomes: they’re not necessarily EASY to develop, but everyone that I know that has them agrees that they are worth every effort and every inconvenience.
If you make up your mind now that you’d rather spend your time than sell it, and if you truly understand that no one can pay you what your life is worth, you will make developing passive incomes the top priority of your life.
Stay tuned as we pick some specific strategies and blueprints for making the transition to freedom. Our newsletter will give you insights, tips, and action steps for creating your passive income lifeline. Sign up now.
Samantha didn’t start out with a goal of owning her own island in the South Pacific. In fact, the thought never occurred to her. The road less travelled has always lured her off the more beaten paths of life. And more than once, she’s found herself traveling a road that she had to build herself.
That’s how she ended up in remarkably beautiful but remote third world hell-hole, or perhaps a tropical paradise, depending on how you define the terms.
It was gold fever that first attracted her to the area that she’s asked me not to name. She’d been living in a Central American jungle, working with investors to build a unique resort in an undeveloped part of Costa Rica when an American expat told about a South Pacific island where gold seemed plentiful. He also told her that the main city was a “third world hell-hole”.
On the dubious recommendation of a fellow she didn’t know and had only met once, Sam made her way to the small archipelago and it’s hell-hole capital. Remarkably, she found that the stranger’s description was accurate, as far as it went, including the important detail that gold was plentiful.
Even, or perhaps especially, in the third world, it is difficult to convince owners to part with their gold. After some expensive missteps, though, Sam found some creative ways to purchase gold from the locals under conditions that were profitable both to her and to them. She soon found herself earning 5 and 6 figures per month in an economy where that sort of money put her in an unusual category.
It also afforded her the ability to forge unusual relationships with the locals, who don’t welcome strangers graciously under most circumstances. Sam’s toughness and tenacity, tempered by compassion and charm, earned her the respect and admiration of a small group of the locally influential community.
Sam has asked me not to use her real name, or to provide details of her location or circumstances, since to do so could put her at risk. Her story, though, is riveting and even a succinct telling of it would rival the length of War and Peace. She’s taken great risks, but reaped great rewards, including the ability to purchase her own private island in a serene and lovely setting.
Sam doesn’t have any special skills or education that opened up these opportunities. More than any other single factor that transformed her from a middle school teacher in a small northern town to a precious metals magnate and private island owner in the South Pacific is her willingness to take risks. Big ones, with huge upsides, and her very life on the downside.
She’s taken a road that few of would dare to tread. A road not just less traveled, but nearly deserted. I don’t include her story her as a way of recommending that you follow in her footsteps, but only to remind both of us that there are as practically as many possible lifestyles as there are people on the planet.
You don’t have to stay in a job or career that you don’t enjoy, nor do you have to live in a country or climate that doesn’t suit you. Opportunities are literally around every corner. To see them, you need a different focus than most people have.
Our newsletter will help you to open your eyes to the opportunities around you, and will inspire you to do more with your life than you ever dreamed you could. Use the link below to sign up, and we’ll deliver it to you once a week, or as often as we have valuable updates and insights to share.
Finding freedom from the tyranny of the urgent