Freedom means different things to different people, yet there are two common ingredients within the context of “freedom” that seem to be fundamental to most people’s definition.
The two ingredients for baking the cake of “freedom” in one’s life appears to be having both the time and money to enjoy life… on your own terms. There’s, therefore, an important aspect of freedom that goes beyond having time and money, which is that of autonomy – the power to control your own life rather than live in reaction to the demands of others.
Most people’s definition essentially means you can do the things you want to do and when you want, yet the ingredients must work synergistically, as to have time without money or money without time, does not equate to freedom – it equates to frustration.
Indeed, we have all seen plenty of people with tons of money but little time in the context of those that are working themselves to an early grave, never taking a vacation and being so time-starved they barely get time to spend with their family or friends.
Similarly, we might know people that seem to have all the time in the world but are limited financially and therefore feel equally trapped in terms of being able to live the life they want to live.
The challenge with the “rat race” is that you are essentially trading time for money, and therefore if we reverse this, you can trade money for time – but living in this way doesn’t tend to lead to a fulfilling life. At times, it can very much feel like you’re spinning your wheels and all you want to do is break free from the shackles of the nine to five, yet you can’t live without the income it generates.
Almost everyone at some point in their life has felt the need to break free and escape the rat race of life, and for most people, the most efficient path to achieve this is to become your own boss and start a business.
That said, there is a tendency to think of “freedom” in the context of setting up a business as something reserved for digital nomads, all sat working from laptops in coffee shops in some far-flung SE Asian land inundated with backpackers… yet the freedom lifestyle doesn’t have to look this.
Indeed, having more freedom doesn’t necessitate you starting a business, as today with remote working lifestyles being a common part of more corporate settings, a life of more freedom can be tailored to a variety of people, with different backgrounds and goals – such as parents that want to spend more time with their children and less time at the office whilst keeping their fulltime job and progress their career.
The challenge is, to escape the rat race and find the freedom you are going to need both ingredients of time and money, as similar to a cake, you can’t expect it to rise without all the ingredients in place.
If you want to reap the benefits of the freedom lifestyle, money is the fuel that will fund the experiences you want in your life, whilst time is the factor that will allow you to enjoy them.
See, there are plenty of unemployed people that have a lot of time on their hands but don’t feel “free” due to a lack of financial resources, and similarly, at the opposite end of the scale you can find some people earning millions, but have no time to enjoy their life as they are consumed with their work.
Therefore, there clearly needs to be a balance of both factors, and one of the best ways to achieve that balance for the majority of people is to embrace the ‘remote working lifestyle’ as a freelancer or remote business owner; meaning a business that can be run from anywhere, and ideally, put on autopilot.
An example of this would be a blog that sells products, or advertising, meaning the blog owner is generating a passive income from their efforts rather than directly trading their time for money in a conventional way. The key benefit to this is that they are leveraging an automated platform to generate revenue, meaning quite literally, they can earn money in their sleep.
That said, even if you are setting up a more conventional business, such as consultancy, there are ways to utilise technology to facilitate a remote working lifestyle, for instance, even highly paid psychiatrists and lawyers are starting to offer their services via Skype appointments, which means they can technically be anywhere in the world whilst talking to clients via the internet and can still prescribe or represent a person remotely.
Technology has completely revolutionized the way we work and innovations such as managed 1800 numbers where you can set up professional call answering 24 hours a day, means you have a lot more freedom to run your business without the need to be handcuffed to your phone – whilst still giving a good first impression.
Indeed, today, with the use of the plethora of automated systems from phone answering to marketing funnels, automated emails, social media post schedules and so on, you are now able to let technology take out some of the strain involved with starting a business and subsequently running it in the context of day-to-day management.
Whilst the freedom lifestyle isn’t intrinsically linked to travel, for a lot of people they view escaping the rat race and finding the freedom to entail faraway shores where the weather is warmer and the cost of living is cheaper.
Indeed, you’ll have probably heard stories of someone you know giving up their corporate job in order to travel the world; exchanging the shackles of their nine-to-five job for a beach hut in some remote part of the world… or, simply, to stay at home more with the kids and tend to the needs of their family.
The common trend, when escaping the rat race in order to find freedom is for people to consider freelancing in a skill or trade they are already established in, however, this isn’t relevant for everyone, for instance, you could be a nurse… which means you will likely need to learn a new skill set in terms of getting freelance work in the new gig economy that most freelancers are exposed to.
Indeed, being a freelancer can be tough as there’s strong competition that spans the globe – meaning, there are people in poorer countries such as India and Pakistan that are able to blow your prices out of the water due to reduced living costs.
There’s also a concern for many freelancers over the fluid nature of freelance work in that it doesn’t tend to offer much security, which if of particular concern if you’re family are dependent on your income.
The key advice, therefore, is to develop multiple streams of income rather than to rely on one particular source and to develop as many skills, as possible, that are in demand. Here are three stable areas that you might want to consider investing your time in to learn if you’re serious about escaping the rat race and finding freedom through freelancing.
#1 VIDEO EDITING
The demand for video editing shows no signs of stopping and there are more and more oppurtunities to turn someone’s rough footage into a more polished piece via platforms such as Freelancer yet basic video editing skills can be picked up pretty quickly, and you likely have the necessary software already installed on your phone.
#2 WEB DESIGN
Web Design is another booming market, yet, you don’t need to be an exceptional designer to create value to someone and get paid for your effort – you just need to be able to facilitate the tangible outcome the client wants, meaning there’s no need to limit yourself thinking that you’re not a designer extraordinaire; you just need to be able to add value.
The art of copywriting is yet another skill many people crave, today, in the world of social media and blogs the opportunity to write content are endless.