Having taking a couple of years off from my business to focus solely on improving my health, mindset & spirituality, it’s now time in my journey to also remove “debt” from the picture and create “Freedom Solutions”.
Born into Debt
The biggest rant and ramblings that tend to come out of my mouth when I’m let loose in a safe zone lol, is the anguish I feel for humanity having to pay just to be alive – that we are all debt-slaves! We have to pay just to stand still – wherever you are – you have to pay someone for where you stand, and that we no longer have bountiful gardens of produce – most of us pay someone everyday just to stay alive. The land is already owned, the roads & bridges you drive on, the petrol, education, food, utilities, mortgages, bank fees & interest, actually – don’t get me started, just listen to some of my ramblings on the topic one day and you will hear the whole list :)
Today’s post is supposed to be focused on creating solutions to the problem:
Becoming a Minimalist ~ Van Living
One method you know already is that I am downsizing my life – many know that I’ve been minimizing my possessions and living “out” of a van (not in the van, but trying to fit my life’s possessions into a van). That is helping a lot, having just a tiny space to work with, I have to look at each item and really believe that it “improves my life” in some way in order for it to “make the cut”. Things I paid good money for, things I worked hard for, things I once loved – if they are only pulled out every once in a while and gathering dust for the rest of the time, or something else can do the job and it doesn’t take up as much space, then they are probably something that doesn’t add much value to my life afterall. Moving my “stuff” into a van-space was a great game of Tetris and also very freeing – I have learnt and everyday I am still learning how to “let go” of stuff that really just “holds us down”. Many people have dreams of travel but are stuck/trapped in their “house of possessions” – held hostage by “stuff”.
Monthly Automatic Expenses
Next, I’ve been having a hard-look at what comes out of my account automatically every month. And just like my “stuff”, there are things I have been paying automatically for years – sometimes over a decade that barely gets any use or provides any value, but had meaning to me or a lot of work went into it or it “once upon a time” provided great value & could be that way again if I put energy into it so I was just “holding on” for that “one day”. I have spent the past couple of weeks unsubscribing and “Letting Go” of services and products and websites that I have been paying monthly for.
I had culled down to about 70 websites, cut down again over the past 2 years (still don’t know the exact number) and just last week I deleted 16 of my websites within a 20 minute period and set my domains to “not automatically renew”. Things I had been “holding onto”.. things I worked hard at.. some of them have many years of hard work, learning curves, sweat and tears.
But I still have the “education” those websites taught me. And with less websites, I can put more energy into the remaining ones that “made the cut” instead of spreading myself too thin over a whole bunch of them.
Hopefully by the end of February, I will have removed another reseller account as I’ve said goodbye to the last of my clients and have merged all of my sites and web hosting companies into a single cloud reseller account at Site5. And I will also scrutinize those websites that I decided to keep for some reason and see if I can let anymore go. I have deleted membership sites – one of them with thousands of members. Internet marketers would *weep openly* if they saw what I deleted from my life this month hehe.
I have deleted/unsubscribed from much-loved but hardly-used social media applications, my accounting system, my customer relationship manager, email accounts and autoresponders, landing page creators, plugin subscriptions and more.
Next up will be to scour through my banks and work out a better way of banking and who to switch to – it’s a tedious, horrible job that I’ve been putting off forever. The banks I’m with have so many associated extra “fees” & interest, that I recently realized that I am working just to pay my interest and not getting “on top” of things.
I got rid of my credit card & mortgage a few years ago, and I highly recommend that because I would be in a worse-off situation right now if I still had one of those puppies. But I still have debt – my van, my friends, my family, the health costs associated with repairing a lifetime of wrong-living, and you know – the amount it costs just to “stand still” in this country and live. I want some of that freedom to make choices based on what I feel drawn to rather than what everyone tells me we “have to do”…
…yep, I’m trying my best not to conform to the idea that we need to be in debt-for-life / slave-for-life. I say “trying” because it’s hard to find anyone who can relate to finding a way out of the maze – the roadmap to freedom. And I so I stay in the Matrix, then leave it, then come back again, then leave it.. then come back again, and each time I return to the Matrix, such as right now – it interferes with the progress I’ve made with my soul because I have to “think” like the masses again.
Superannuation will be a problem for another day – when I open up the letters and find out their “fees” have eaten through most of it already – ugh. It’s disgusting. Need to get to that too but the bank thing and the above will be sorted first, as well as tax.
Living The Simple Life
My life expenses are not as bad as most. When I lost everything, I learnt how to “go without” and I haven’t really done any “shopping” or made any big purchases (except getting the van ready) and I currently live with my sister paying less than $100/week towards house-hold bills.
- I buy fruit & veg at a grocer (although ideally would love to grow my own but since I’m about to move states, that’s not something I am willing to invest in right now)… I should be buying organic but it’s also not very convenient where I live – nor cost effective.. hopefully that changes when I move to Queensland.
- I hardly buy meat, dairy or processed-crap so that saves a lot of money.
- I don’t wear makeup except for once in a blue moon – so that certainly saves money.
- I updated my wardrobe when I lost weight so I’m content with the clothes I have and only really buy something now if it’s on clearance.
- Via my health-journey, I went “chemical-free”, so I don’t need to buy shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, moisturiser, I don’t even know what people buy any-more – but I don’t buy any of that stuff. I use coconut oil as a base for almost anything other people would pay >$20 for. And before I move states, I’m using the “old stuff” that we had in cupboards.
- I’m on a cheap phone plan that can probably be better if I did some more research – I’ve already done a lot but there are so many choices and I want to wait until I’m in QLD to see which company has the best reception & data plan. (note: if you live in Australia and want access to my research – I’ve posted it in the Files section of the Van Dwelling Australia facebook group)
By living “out” of my van (I wish I could live in it – but it’s nowhere near ready and I’m still not sure that I want to do that permanently), but.. by living “out” of my van – I have more options as far as accommodation:
- I could live in large share-houses where the rent is cheap – use the facilities; kitchen/bathroom/lounge, etc. and still have my “private space”
- I could couch-surf
- I could live in caravan parks (I guess? I think they are expensive though?)
- I can have short-stays with friends/family whilst in-between without completely disturbing their setup lol
- I can move to where there is work
Basically, having my stuff in a van gives me a lot more options for minimalistic frugal living – in every different way you look at it – I can be flexible about where I live.
Earning Money & Freedom
I believe that you earn what you give. As in, the more value you provide to others – the more value you get back. It could be monetary, but it could also be experiences, happiness, feeling good, etc. That’s how I want to continue – I don’t want to work doing something that I hate or that I feel “dirty” about.
In other words, I either need to work for myself and my own standard of ethics to be able to live by my values, or I need to find another place that matches those values and ethics – I cannot work at a place where I cannot live my truth – not now, not after all the work I’ve done “unbrainwashing” myself from the way I used to think which was detrimental to my soul.
So I’m scouting ways where I can “live my truth”.. “be myself”.. “live by my values & ethics”.. and still be able to live the life of freedom. I see freedom as “doing what you love”.. where you can’t wait to wake up each day because you know that you will be doing something you love. Working for someone else “can” be like that, but there is a tiny shortlist of places where that is possible for me. (In fact, only one place in the whole of Australia has that calling for me right now.. ) if I can’t work there – I will have to do my own business again.
Otherwise, I’d be happy fruitpicking somewhere – I love the fruitpicking lifestyle – lots of travellers, lots of “free-thinkers”, hardly any negativity, lots of vitamin D goodness lol… and it’s a good work-out too – a paid workout to boot – but work for you it you do, and it might not be enough to make the payments + interest for the van + other debts I have.. so even though it’s a good “later” option or even a good “temporary if I get stuck” option, it’s not a good “now” or “long-term” option.
So – now it’s time to brainstorm some ideas on how to generate value if I cannot work for the place that I am looking at in Queensland.
Here is my list so far.. and I’ll keep updating it as I “scout” out what others are doing that look like it fits the bill for me.
Entrepreneurial Ideas for Working from your Laptop / Travelling / Living Free
- My Soulpreneurs idea that has been manifesting for a long time now – it’s a labour of love project, based on helping people who are “too sick to work” amongst other things – such as gathering with those who also have a calling to help others, meetups, workshops, webinars, podcasting, membership, accountability, and so on. I believe this is a long-term goal – one that I want to get right – rather than one that I want to get quickly up and running with the stresses of “needing it to work” – no thanks. I’d rather continue with this at the pace I’m going – working on it only when I feel drawn to it and putting all my energy into it when it flows freely rather than any “forced” workflows.
That being said…
Websites make money. This one doesn’t because it was never setup to make money – it was just a place for me to “find myself”. And it is not likely to change. I did at one stage want to have a private membership for others who follow this site, to learn what I have learnt about websites, internet marketing, natural health, mindset, etc.. but the idea sort of became Soulpreneurs above and will merge into that instead.. but there are plenty of ways that websites can generate an income:
- Adsense & Affiliate Programs– one of my sites that is now going on 11 years old – and has not been updated in over 8 years – still generates a monthly adsense & affiliate income. The income is not enough to live off – it at least pays for all of my eBay & paypal purchases… but with a bit of time, effort and marketing, that site could generate a lot more… starting with some updated content hehe. i.e. providing more value.
- Creating websites for others – this is what I used to do before I got sick, as well as marketing for both small and multi-million dollar companies ~ but it’s not my ‘bag’ anymore. Since losing my internet marketing business & home due to health/stress/fear/love lol.. I gained a new passion in health & mindset and lost interest in the technical world that I used to live in. But that doesn’t mean all is lost… there may still be something I can do in this area that could help others whilst keeping true to new values. Such as teaching others how to create their own websites & setup their own automated marketing, or creating “done for you” websites for those that don’t want large custom sites. Or providing a monthly update service, etc.
- Membership Sites – a combination of what was already mentioned – no matter what the topic – if there are people that are passionate about it, there can be a membership site created for it – that can include video tutorials, accountability groups, meetups, webinars, podcasts, ebooks, etc. I think membership sites are the best-ever idea for generating a community of like-minded co-collaborators to engage with and help and also receive value back from. As mentioned previously though, it’s generally not an ‘overnight’ project, however I’ve seen it done. Some people publish an online “magazine”.. maybe 7 pages a month where they charge a small subscription fee but give ultra-focused content on a particular topic (and I have an excel sheet of great ideas for this if you are interested – just contact me on facebook and I’ll send it to you)
- Podcasts / Webinars / YouTube – Any one of these can make money. You provide value and get paid for your efforts, even though you are “giving away for free”. There are so many ways to monetize these. Webinars being the most profitable, then YouTube, then Podcasts, although EntrepreneurOnFire makes upwards of $100,000/month starting with a podcast – and he mostly interviews others, so he doesn’t have to come up with new content on a daily basis – the “guests” provide the value. These are big money-makers but also passion projects. I’m not much of a public speaker at the moment, but I’ve started to create videos and audio to be able to get better at it – since I can’t “study” my way to improving my speaking – I have to actually practice it.. so hopefully one day this kind of platform would be a great option for me to share what I know; to provide value.
(How to Monetize? With your words right in their ears telling them about the products/services you have personally received value from – and becoming an affiliate of those products/services, ads and sponsorships, joint ventures, speaking and coaching gigs, creating a community of loyal fans who will purchase your products/services/recommendations/masterminds, etc.
- Short Guides / Templates / How-to’s – This is another great value-providing way to make money. Package up & condense your knowledge of what you are skilled at into a guide – videos or ebooks/pdf or live training, etc. and sell it. If it’s internet-marketing related, the best place with lots of hungry buyers is the Warrior Forum > in particular their “WSO – warrior special offer” section. But no matter what your topic, if you go where they are hungry for more information about it, and your product is full of value that will truly help them, then this is the best way to give-back, provide true help, leave your legacy.. and get paid for it. Definitely considering doing this for my decade of shortcut marketing since I have already created hundreds of templates and checklists and so on that I made to help my outsource workers, and they just need me to be focused enough and motivated enough to sit down and update/tweak to be suitable for people that don’t have previous website and marketing experience.
- Live Training – as in, creating weekend or 1/2 day or even 2 hour workshops to train people either online (via Google Hangouts, or Webinar, etc) or in-person – either one-on-one, or to groups. Again, the public speaking rears it’s ugly head for me but this is definitely a value-giving value-getting operation that I want to get onto. As with all of the above, any topic can be covered as long as there are people who are passionate about it. People charge from about $15 for a small meetup-style workshop, to $250 for 1/2-full day and $999 weekend workshops, etc. There is money to be made from doing workshops if you have something of value to offer. And each has upsell potential for further study/resources.
So that’s my brainstorming for the night.. (well actually it’s nearly 4am).. I’m open to new ideas, but the above is probably where I will focus my next efforts. It would speed up the process if I could work for that place that I want to work at, to get me to the place I want to live to improve my health further and to be around more people that resonate with my ‘new’ way of thinking as far as my spiritual & lifestyle ideas.
I’m not quite ready to get back into my own business – I’m still on the verge of cutting my ties to the last one and still focusing on a stress-free life which means I haven’t put extra-pressure on myself to put a lot of effort into something new whilst I’m still “cleansing” – downsizing and “letting go” of the things that I already put a lot of effort into. Yet, my bank balance says that in order for me to continue on this journey, something needs to be done to create more freedom :) So I will continue letting things go and start to marinate on the above ideas to see where my next step leads me…
See also my 2013 post “51 Entrepreneurial ideas on how you can Work from your laptop so that you can travel the world or free up your life” for more ideas.
Latest posts by Penny Butler (see all)
- Embracing “Change”, having Faith in a divine plan, Out with the old - Jun 9, 2016
- Conspiracy babble – Collective Consciousness, ET’s, Parallel Realities, Multi-Dimensional Beings - Feb 10, 2016
- Life’s Mysteries – Yay or Nay? Your Thoughts about…? [Video] - Jan 28, 2016
- Re-Integrating “Permission-Slip” Philosophy [Hangout] - Jan 12, 2016
- Full Breakdown of Mental Trauma over past few months – YouTube Therapy - Jan 5, 2016