The other day we had a person unsubscribe from our email list. He left this comment, “If freedom means leaving my friends and community, I don’t want it.”

That got me thinking. Maybe I shouldn’t be talking about travel or living in places other than where I was born and raised. Maybe I should tone down the idea of being an iconoclast that lives an unconventional {but really happy 🙂 } lifestyle. I’m still not sure about that.

But the important takeaway I got from that comment was that I need to convey the fact that every individual has his or her own priorities, values and circumstances that shape their concept of personal freedom. On top of that, those elements are not static. They change at different times in our lives.

What is certain is that it doesn’t make the slightest difference what I view as my personal freedom. All that matters is YOUR idea of personal freedom. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of variation in that definition.

  • A twenty-something who wanted to travel the world with a backpack while running an online business from a laptop and smart phone
  • A young mother who wanted to stay at home with her two small children and pay for some enriched educational opportunities for them
  • A dad who left his manufacturing job and spent years attending every soccer game with his daughters and skiing every day with them on school breaks
  • A middle-aged couple who both quit their hated rat race jobs and spent maximum time with their hobbies of oil painting and golf
  • A recent college grad who moved to an African country to conduct unpaid academic research while still paying down student loans and living comfortably
  • A divorced fifty-something who divides his time between Las Vegas and Thailand and enjoys a pretty wild lifestyle
  • A woman who kept her existing job, didn’t move, but has all the extra money she needs to pay for her elderly mother’s professional medical care
  • A couple who started an online golf-related business and travel to some of the best golf resorts in America as part of their business
  • A thirty-something couple with a young family who kept their jobs and used online income to save their house from foreclosure and paid off all their other debt

The common thread among all of them was having a new source of income under their control. Some took advantage of the portability of the income, some didn’t. But all of them improved their lives, their sense of satisfaction and their peace of mind.

Personal freedom comes in as many varieties as there are people. Connie and I certainly don’t want to imply that the way we live is suitable for everyone. It isn’t. The truth is, in a few years we’ll likely have another definition of ‘ideal’ and we’ll transition to that. Because we can. Because we have the flexibility and the resilience to make those choices. You can too. It’s a new world out there. All these technologies we keep reading about daily are creating new possibilities for regular people like us.

Our advice to you is the same as the advice we give our closest friends and our own adult kids: Jump in. The water is warm.

Personal freedom is as varied as the number of people wanting it. An independent, portable source of income is the foundation of engineering a life lived on your terms.

In Part 2 we’ll discuss: Three Levels of Online Income


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