5 Steps to Going Location Independent and How You Can Get a Taste

by / ⠀Startup Advice / November 2, 2012

I finally did it.  I’m free.  Here I am sitting by the pool in Bali.  “Working.”

Today, I surfed.  I watched the sunset.  I drank Balinese Coffee Luwak, I’m trying to learn two new languages… and still managed to put in about 10 solid hours of work in.

I’m in paradise, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been.  In the last three months I’ve seen 6 different countries on 3 different continents.  I can’t even explain how excited I am to be alive.

I worked 3 long years, chasing Tim Ferriss’ 4 Hour Work Week…. my work week still has a zero on the end of it, but still, I earned it.

How I Did It… (and you can too!)

Step 1:  Work your ass off.  

If you think the sleepless nights of community building and blogging at Under30CEO were tough, try monetizing it.  If you want  the lifestyle, you’re going to have to put in the work; especially when you are trying to set up your business so that it can be run from anywhere.  Pay close attention to processes and how day to day operations can run smoothly with or without you physically present.

In 2009, when we started the site, my mom lost her home, and my dreams of building a business from her basement were shattered.  Instead, I dug ditches 12 hours a day with Mexican migrant laborers to pay our rent and bootstrap this very business.

By the way, even though I’m in paradise, I’m still tied to the same constraints as any business owner.  Even more challenging, I’m 12 hours ahead of EST.  Last week, we had a major cashflow crunch, and I woke up every two hours to respond to emails, negotiating with vendors.  Not fun.

Step 2: Convince your business partner.   

Jared still isn’t convinced.   We often miss our  mandatory 9AM and 9PM calls because of the timezone, he can’t respond to an iMessage to save his life, and he misses seeing my flowing hair everyday.  In all seriousness, this has been a battle.  It came down to being happy.  I told Jared I needed to see the world and that I’d still work my ass off.  (See step 1).

We started Under30CEO to inspire every entrepreneur on the planet.  We’ve done the speaking tours, mentored countless entrepreneurs,  did the conference circuit, and organized events.  We have LIVED our passion.

Now, with our Under30Experience trips, our mission is to show young people that life is all about experiences.  We host adventures to beautiful places in developing economies, learn how entrepreneurship happens globally, and see how we can make impact.  I have to LIVE that mission too.  Jared agrees.

The most important thing in making this relationship work is setting expectations.  Plan out your goals, deadlines, agendas for calls, deliverables, and find out what communication methods and tools work for you.

Step 3: Go Minimalist!

Sell it, store it, junk it, give it away, I don’t care what you do with it–get rid of it.  I’ll save you from a long winded minimalism rant, but what do you want to collect at the end of the day: material possessions or memories?

I didn’t need an apartment in Lower Manhattan (now underwater) with Hudson River views, a rooftop terrace, gym, and stainless steel appliances.  So I got rid of it. The scary part is, I’m actually saving money traveling.  Breakfast costs me between $2-4 in Indonesia, Costa Rica, or Nicaragua, where I’ve spent most of my time.  I’m staying 4-Star for $60/night.  Figure it out.

Step 4: Do Meaningful Work

“Okay, jetsetter”, you’re thinking… we can’t all just lounge on the beach and blog about it for a living…

You’re right.  The most important thing is that you are doing something that you are truly passionate about.  Remember– you can make money and do good at the same time.  This isn’t just a pipe dream.

We felt that our Under30Experiences needed to have a socially conscious mission to them.  In our two trips to Iceland, our group of entrepreneurs participated in the re-birth of an economy crippled by the Global Financial Crisis.  In Costa Rica, our attendees will learn about the business behind sustainability, renewable energy, GREEN lifestyle, and carbon neutrality.  We’re even working on a Microfinance Surf Camp to Nicaragua.  (Join the list! http://under30experiences.com)

Be sure that what you’re working on is meaningful to you personally.  You don’t have to save the world, but think about how you can carve out your little piece of history.  It’s your legacy at the end of the day.  What do you want to be known for?

Step 5: Get Inspired Now!

I remember when it happened.  I was watching the sunset over the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland.  It was the first time I’d been overseas in years.  I simply said, “I need to figure out a way to do more of this”.  

Sure enough, we did it.  Our Under30Experiences has given us the privilege to bring amazing entrepreneurs to Iceland twice this year.  We’re headed to Costa Rica in December for our GREEN Business Tour, and we’re planning Lake Tahoe, and Nicaragua this winter and spring.

Do something everyday that scares you, gets you out of your comfort zone, and makes you think.

Now, it’s time to find your opportunity…

Maybe it’s in Costa Rica on our next Under30Experience, or maybe it’s not, but one thing is for sure, it’s not going to happen just sitting there…

We’re taking twenty young entrepreneurs to Costa Rica to look for the next big thing.  Join us December 5-9, 2012 for our Under30CEO GREEN Business Tour Costa Rica.

-Learn why Costa Rica is Time Magazine’s Happiest Country
-How Costa Rica became a leader in clean technology and alternative energy
-Why real estate investors are betting on this tropical paradise at the heart of eco-tourism
-Opportunity to meet some of the world’s most forward thinkers in sustainability
-How Costa Rica plans to become the first nation to be carbon neutral by 2021
-Lifelong friendships through our global community of entrepreneurial minded thinkers

Sign up for more information for future trips at http://under30experiences.com and email matt (AT) under30ceo.com a paragraph on why you should be considered to join us in Costa Rica.

…and most importantly, keep the dream alive.

Author bio: Matt Wilson is Co-founder of Under30Media and is looking to help every young entrepreneur on the planet.

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.