What Does Freedom Mean to You?

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 02/01/22 •  4 min read

What Does Freedom Mean to You was originally published in February of 2012.

The other day I was helping someone out with their blog.  They’d just started a new site, and while I’m far from the world’s best marketer I’ve learned a thing or two about how to grow an audience.

The problem with their site is that they didn’t have a tagline.  There was no hook, and when I ended up reading a couple of articles it took me the better part of ten minutes to get the general concept of the site – and figure out where the value was for me to be reading it.

When I was discussing this with them, I used my tagline as an example: “Build a Business, Live Anywhere, Achieve Freedom” – pretty straight forward right? It tells you exactly what you’ll learn by coming back week after week and reading my often incoherent ramblings.

It had been a while since I’d really sat down and thought about what that tagline meant, and I couldn’t help but pause for a bit of reflection.

Build a Business – Ok, that seems easy enough. I talk about it as it relates to Location Rebel Academy and in posts like “How to Create Your Dream Job” and “Would You Rather Have a Beer or a Business“. Got that covered, I’m doing a good job of helping others build businesses.

Live Anywhere – While I’m usually in Portland, each year I’ve got a pretty hefty list of my favorite offices from around the globe.  Guess maybe there’s something to this Live Anywhere thing.

Achieve Freedom – Once I got here, I realized things get a little more vague.  What is Freedom?  Is it different for everyone? How do I know if I’ve achieved it?

I found myself asking a lot of questions, and not having a lot of definitive answers.  Freedom in the broad sense of the term is very difficult to define.  It’s going to mean something completely different to my friends I met in Cuba as it does to, say me.

I still have to abide by all of the same laws as everyone else; I pay taxes just like everyone else.  So what exactly am I free from?

I look at freedom as being able to live the life I want to live – plain and simple.  Back in the day while I was at my day job, I wasn’t free.  I wasn’t able to do the things that I wanted to on a regular basis.  Now? I’m able to travel around work whenever and where ever I please, and I’m generally a much happier person.

To me, that’s freedom.

I’m asking a lot of open-ended questions here because I want to get you thinking.  I want you to think long and hard about what freedom means to you, and if you’ve achieved it.

Tate just came up to me and asked what I was writing about, and I said achieving freedom.  Her response: “That’s kind of ironic considering it’s Valentine’s Day.”

I thought this was interesting because in her mind, freedom stems from relationships.  Almost like in order to be free, you have to be off gallivanting around the world, like this guy.

Freedom is different for everyone.  By my definition, you can be married with 3 kids, work 60 hours a week, and have a mortgage, and still be free as long as you get to do the things that make you happy in life on a regular basis.

I realize this is a very middle-class, white, American viewpoint on it, as there are millions out there who don’t have freedom in any sense of the word – but this is me writing about my life, and what I relate to.

Take a few minutes today and think about what this means to you, and where you are in the path to achieving it.  If you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear what you think.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
Learn How to Make Your First $1,000 Freelance Writing (in 30 Days or Less)

Join over 40,000 people who have taken our 6 part freelance writing course. Sign up below and let’s do this together.

By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Location Rebel. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.

15 comments on "What Does Freedom Mean to You?"

  1. Jared says:

    Great post Sean.

    I’m definitely more in line with your thinking that freedom for me is being able to travel the world and work wherever and whenever I want.

    But I just recently found out how much Health plays a fole in our freedom. I was out for three days from a snowboarding accident, and if there is anything to make you feel like you have NO freedom at all, it’s being sick, hurt, and immobilized.

    So for me, aside from location independence freedom, being freedom also means being healthy

  2. Kyle says:

    Freedom to me is the ability to work where and when I want.

    Its very important to me to be able to work whenever I want. With a typical 9-5 job you pretty much have to be in the office during those hours. If you do some work outside those hours you won’t directly benefit from it. Now if I feel like working mornings, weekends, or late at night I know that I’m reaping the rewards. On the flip side, I love being able to sleep in, run errands, and basically manage my time in a way that is most effective to me.

  3. Matt says:

    To me, freedom is the ability to do what makes you happy– whatever that may be.

    I’m currently on that path to freedom. I just quit my job, sold off pretty much everything and moved down to Uruguay, South America with two friends for 6 months. While I’m here, it’s up to me to build a business that allows me to live anywhere and continue with my personal freedom for longer than 6 months.

    Great article as always and thanks for the links to the other articles on Freedom. For me, it’s the huge goal, the giant experience that is pushing me.

  4. I laughed when I read: By my definition you can be married with 3 kids, work 60 hours a week, and have a mortgage, and still be free as long as you get to do the things that make you happy in life on a regular basis.

    I’m very happily married with 3 awesome little kids, I may work 60 hours a week but I’m doing it at home on my own terms (about 1/3 of it is contract CFO work and the rest is on my blog/online biz). I’m working on the mortgage. I feel incredibly free because I’m living my life according to my own choices. I used to travel the world but I’d rather be home and travel locally with my kids and husband. I live on 20 acres in a very remote area in the mountains of Colorado.

    Many people think it’s impossible to have a corporate job and live my lifestyle. I decided that it was possible and I’ve made it happen for the last 12 years.

    To me, you’re as free as you allow yourself to be. It’s your choice.

  5. Chris Fisher says:

    “I look at freedom as being able to live the life I want to live – plain and simple.”

    I agree with you 100%. If I want to travel, sleep in, spend time with loved ones…whatever, I don’t want anything holding me back that I didn’t choose.

    The “being able” part is where your Build a Business emphasis comes in, at least for me. Because it’s my business, it can be done on my terms. I know that isn’t the most effective or profitable model, but it’s certainly the most free.

  6. Declan Valliantheart says:

    I define freedom as just that. Where the individual will of the person is unbound, or free, and where their will and desires dominate their decisions, the ‘dom’ part of the word.

    Yes, that’s broad, but because it’s a very all-encompassing word. The general definition I’d say is an overall liberal ability to live life and pursue whatever strikes your fancy. Freedom is defined by the individual, not the community.

    So what is freedom? Depends on who you’re asking. When one is not living the life they want to live, or doing what they want to do because of external factors, they aren’t free. In some sense of the word, they’re being oppressed — or at least inhibited.

    Freedom is the total liberty of the individual to do what he or she wishes, when they wish, and how they wish to do it. No one has their fingers in that person’s pool, no one is telling that person where to go, what to do, etc. Freedom, is life. Freedom is living. Broad, yes. But it’s as simple as that.

  7. For me, freedom means nothing without also taking on personal responsibility in life. Freedom without responsibility is still tyranny, in my opinion. In my opinion, in The USA freedom is emphasized too much over personal responsibility. Freedom is definitely great, but without discipline, it almost without fail will devolve into tyranny, misery, and/or oppression, in my opinion.

  8. Brandon says:

    I like your definition of freedom. While I may not have the freedom to galavant around the world as I please. By making a good portion of my living off of freelance work I DO have the ability to work where I want and when I want. To me being able to start my day when I like or leave for a week long trip on a moments notice is being free. Just because someone has a mortgage and doesn’t travel certainly does not mean they haven’t found their freedom:)

    Love the blog and keep up the great work!

  9. Darlene says:

    For me Freedom means a few things.
    – freedom from debt (can be achieved a few ways, sell house for one – make more money for another)
    – freedom of choice (not having a job does that for me)
    – freedom to do what I want, how I want it and say what I want (living in a country that allows that, I am blessed there – many people can’t say that)

  10. Fin says:

    Hey Sean,

    Wow, great blog. I found your site listening to a podcast you did on Tropical MBA. I love what your doing right now. This is crazy: up until last week I had no idea this lifestyle life was so popular.

    What’s freedom to me? Well, I guess it’s a bit like yours. My dream is to live from a backpack. Also, I’ve been training my mind in order to achieve freedom. I think the mind is also very important. I’ve studied stuff like lucid dreaming, NLP, Self-hypnosis and meditation.

    So my list is: time, mobility, cash, mind and body.


  11. Judy Fritsch says:

    Freedom to me would be a good amount of Solitude. Time to think, and read, and perhaps even create. If only.

Comments are closed.