This is a post that has been a long time coming. Many of you that have been following me since the days of daydreaming and remote work proposals keep asking me the question “what exactly are you doing to support yourself while living in Southeast Asia?”
Today is the day I answer that question.
Well, kind of.
I’ll tell you up front I’m not going to go into detail or the specifics about the businesses that I’m working in.
However, you will find out about the skills I’ve learned and find necessary to achieve this lifestyle, what my income is really like and how that relates to my expenses, what my plans are for the future (or what little I have), and I will even touch on some ideas for how you can do something similar, although there will be much more on that in the coming weeks.
I came out to Bangkok having no idea what to expect.
This whole idea of the Tropical MBA, while it sounded good on paper could have been one gigantic scam. Although I’m not sure what they would have expected to get out of me…I digress.
Point is, I came out here to find that not only was it not scam, but I would immediately be moved into one of the top positions in a product development company that is on the verge of blowing up (in a good way).
I was also shocked to come out here and spend the first three weeks doing very little work. As soon as I touched down I was ready to get going and get involved, and while there were certainly things that I could do, they weren’t too concerned with that.
So what were they concerned with?
Hanging out. Having beers. Getting to know each other.
Seems weird right?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about a lifestyle business it is that the people and the relationships matter more than anything else.
If I didn’t get along with Dan and Ian, realized our goals weren’t congruent, or couldn’t imagine working together over a long period of time, there would have been no point.
Work will always find a way to get done.
The skillset? I’m a smart guy, thats all stuff that I can figure out. But relationships can’t be learned or forced. You either gel or you don’t. So their biggest concern for the first few weeks was to ensure that we would all be able to work well together.
And so far? I couldn’t be happier. To be a part of a team that shares the same mindset as me, both in terms of business and lifestyle is a very rare thing, and I consider myself very lucky.
Sure this may not be as big of a deal if you are a solopreneur or affiliate marketer, but if you are looking to build a legitimate business, do NOT under any circumstances undervalue the power of a good relationship.
With that said, come February it was time to get down to business. The team was in place, so now what?
I went from chillin’ on the beach talking about girls and the jet set lifestyle, to working 7 days a week attempting to become a master at e-commerce, drupal framework, and project management.
I now help to manage a growing team of developers and designers in the Philippines, that help to ensure our various sites never miss a beat. These are some of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with. They;re just as talented as anyone in the western world, a fraction of the price, and most speak fluent English. Bangalore ain’t got nothin’ on Manila.
The fact we use a team from the Philippines is huge because it gives us exponentially more developing horsepower than our competitors, all in a way that doesn’t break the bank.
So how about money? I’ve gotta be rolling in it to be experiencing the incredible things that I’ve been doing, right?
Ha! Not even close.
Another key component to building a business is sacrifice. Anyone in our organization will tell you they could be making many multiples more money working for someone else. But that isn’t why we are doing what we do. It isn’t about the money. It’s about the lifestyle, and the understanding that the money will come eventually.
Right now my monthly income is right around $1,000. This comes from the work I am doing for the Tropical MBA, affiliate sales, as well as the work I do as an affiliate manager for another blogger. Certainly not a lot of money by typical western standards.
However with that said after looking at expenses such as my student loans, rent, an astronomical air conditioning bill, and going out with friends I usually don’t exceed $1,000 a month. Sure there are a few exceptions such as taking a trip down to the islands, but even that didn’t break the bank. It’s amazing to think about the kind of lifestyle you are able to live in Asia for next to no money. And frankly, being in Bangkok, I’m in one of the more expensive places I could be.
One of the coolest things about all of this, is that my work doesn’t feel like work. I’m learning all of the skills I’d been searching for, I work with people that I’d be friends with anyway, and I’m helping to build a business that I can really feel some ownership of. About 20 minutes ago I woke up to find out that one of the sites I’ve been helping to develop for the last few months made its first sale.
This is real, and it’s going to be big.
I told Dan one of my measures of success for being out here is to eventually be a part of the Tropical MBA 2nd semester. To be at a point where things have gone so well, that I need some help, and I can help to pass on the knowledge that I’ve learned to someone else looking to break out of a traditional lifestyle. Still a lot of time between now and then, but the potential is there.
As I’ve gone through this whole experience, I’m realizing that I’ve gone from totally clueless about how to pursue this kind of lifestyle, to having a wealth of knowledge about various paths of getting here. I plan to explore in more detail how you can do the same thing over the next few months, but in the meantime, be sure to send me a message if you have any specific questions.
If you want to know more about what life is like in Asia or want to hear a great interview about what I’ve been doing, check out 17 Reasons Why Living in Developing Areas of Asia Kicks the Crap Out of Living in the West as well as Episode 23 of the TropicalMBA Podcast.
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