Why “Lifestyle Design” Will Never Die

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 07/30/12 •  7 min read

Man, that term sucks doesn’t it? Lifestyle design.

There are so many negative connotations associated with it and other terms like: “life coach” and “location independence”.

They’re all buzz words that have gotten a shockingly bad reputation.

Why? Because many in our society perceive those who are pursuing any of those things as faking it.

The “Lifestyle Design” Backstory – Here’s what happened:

In 2008 the economy tanked.  People were laid off, received paycuts, and WordPress was just starting to really hit the mainstream.

The Four Hour Work Week came out, and thousands of people decided to declare themselves “lifestyle designers” because they had no better options.

It was a way to disguise their cluelessness about where their life was going next.

Many started a blog, took off to Thailand (or talked about it), and all of a sudden became qualified to give you advice on your life and business.

No wonder it got such a bad rap.  All of a sudden there were bloggers all over the internet who didn’t know what to do with their own life, so they started giving you advice on how to live yours.

Now 3 or 4 years later, what’s changed? Well there are still just as many people who are unhappy with their lives and are looking for answers, but the vast majority of those original lifestyle design blogs have come and gone.

The ones that have survived have done so for a few very key reasons:

Key Reason 1: They Shifted Gears

Take Corbett for example, he took the focus of his brand off of “Free Pursuits” and started Fizzle which has been thriving.

I’ve followed through with my original goal of working and traveling and have switched gears from being clueless (see the first year of archives), to “hey I know how to help you successfully start a small business.”

If you never found the answers you were looking for, then you ran out of content (and/or money) pretty quickly, let your blog die, and found something more stable.

In this post it’s no wonder that Kevin laid into me thinking I wasn’t going to make it on my own, because most people didn’t.

Key Reason 2: They Actually Learned Something

Most people don’t have the time and/or diligence to improve their own knowledge and skillset.  They go to college because they don’t know any better (with the exception of professional degrees, and a few other specific programs).

They think college is going to give them the skills they need, so they blindly fork out tens of thousands of dollars to do it – without questioning what they’re really learning.

In the end? Most didn’t learn a whole lot besides how to build a resume and find a job they don’t like.

The “lifestyle designers” that have been successful did so because they recognized that in order to design a life that they really wanted, one with freedom of time, money, and influence, they couldn’t simply rely on their sparking personality.

They had to provide real value.

In order to do that they not only had to learn how to encapsulate their current skills, but they needed to learn something new (or a lot of somethings) in the process.

The ones who have been successful have carved out a specific niche, and learned countless other intangible skills to make that successful: copywriting, psychology, persuasion, SEO, basic design, project management…the list goes on.

While they were actually working on that beach in Mexico, most others were treating their “lifestyle design” saga as an extended vacation or gap year.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with that.  If you started a blog, tried it, maybe did some traveling, and then realized it didn’t work for you, for whatever reason, that’s awesome – you’re better off for having done it.

But there’s a reason it didn’t work. You were lazy and didn’t work as hard as the ones who were successful.

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Key Reason #3: They Surrounded Themselves with the Right People

Dan kicked it in Asia for years.  When you’re in places like Vietnam, Bali, and the Philippines, do you have any idea how easy it is to get sucked into the expat or backpackers lifestyle?

Incredibly.  It’s scary how easy it is.

Dan could have done nothing but hang out with those gap year guys and fallen into the same boat as the thousands of other lifestyle designers who ended up designing a more traditional path. However, he continued to make Asia an asset rather than a liability.

When you’re willing to seek out the right people, access in Asia is much easier to get than it is in the Western world.  I’ve golfed with owners of giant nightclub syndicates in Indonesia, had drinks with executives for large corporations in Bangkok, and met countless traveling entrepreneurs everywhere I’ve been.

Dan has done the same thing.  He’s stayed focused, leveraged being with the right people, and used it all as an asset.

He’s recorded hundreds of episodes of the Tropical MBA Podcast. If you’re not surrounding yourself with the right people, there is zero way you’re going to be that consistent.

So, Why Won’t Lifestyle Design Ever Die?

The fact remains, people are always going to be dreaming about something better in life.  The “grass is always greener” effect has been around forever, and it’ll continue to stick around.

The vast majority of society will still not be completely happy in their lives, and they’ll let uncertainty get the best of them – yet they want to believe there’s a better way.

They want to believe they can design their own life, and not fall into the same 9 to 5 trap everyone else is in.  And you know what? That’s not a bad thing. To quote my favorite movie:

“Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And a good thing never dies.”

It was hope that got me through the dark times where I wasn’t happy and didn’t know what I was personally going to do with my life. It’s hope that will continue to inspire millions of people to try out their hand at “lifestyle design” – in whatever form that may take.

It’s what will keep them buying self help products from people who, let’s face it, probably aren’t qualified (in the traditional sense) to be writing one in the first place.

But even if so many of these blogs and products are very similar, it doesn’t matter.  Because often all it takes is one person, one sentence, one idea to hit you and change your life.

If you buy $1,000 worth of ebooks, and on the $1,001st dollar you learn something that’s life changing – wouldn’t you say it’s all worth it?

Lifestyle design will never die, because hope for a better life will never die.

In the end, there will only be a few that will be able to capitalize on the movement, because there are only a few that have deliberately taken the time to set themselves apart, and learn the skills that allow them to provide actual value to a larger audience.

That said, to the blogger who writes up a little ebook about following your passion or any other cliched topic. Keep writing! If it sucks, it doesn’t matter, I’m sure you have a great return policy.

And if it’s awesome? Then you’ll be rewarded for it.

Regardless, writing that book that will help you figure out your life, even if it doesn’t help anyone else figure out theirs.

Moral of the story?

Lifestyle design is around for good.

A small few will rise above and be able to legitimately help others in their quest to be unconventional, and the rest will try and do the same until they realize they don’t have what it takes to make it as a lifestyle entrepreneur.

What do you think of the current state of “lifestyle design”.  I promise to never, ever use that term this much in a post ever again. Ever.

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.
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39 comments on "Why “Lifestyle Design” Will Never Die"

  1. I think Dan summed it up perfectly on the last Tropical Talk Radio. People would rather blog about lifestyle design that actually build a business.

    You and Dan have other means to make money. Maybe you write this blog for enjoyment (with some cash), but there will only be a few break out from the crowd if everyone is talking about LD.

    Right now there is plenty of opportunity for everyone to capitalize on lifestyle design by building a real business that’s not about LD.

    I started freelancing a few months ago and now I’m about to start my journey. I’m also building a business with my main blog at the moment. I can write a few articles per day and work on my business after lunch. It’s easy.

    Instead people will stay at home working on their MMO/personal development/lifestyle design blog and never get anywhere unless they are lucky.

    Build a business people, and freelance in your extra time, then you can life the designer life.

    1. Sean says:

      I totally agree that most people would rather talk about it than do it. For me personally, I know Dan as well, we legitimately enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy the business your working on it doesn’t matter, you’ll burn out eventually.

      Excited to hear about the new business, keep us posted as you make progress.

  2. Jo says:

    I think, on the whole, the lifestyle design movement/fad/whatever you want to call it is a good thing. Even if it just gets people to wake up and live consciously, that’s massive.

    Also, if someone wants to try running a lifestyle design blog, they should go for it. At the very least it will make them think, learn some web and writing skills and provide them with some accountability. I guess it’s a situation in which the journey is more important than the initial aim.

    On first thoughts, it doesn’t make much sense to try and advise others on how to live when your life isn’t where you want it to be, but I think the way you did it is the best way, Sean. Use it as a springboard and a learning process rather than as an alternative to starting a business or whatever. And then you can look back and see how far you’ve come.

    I’m in danger of just being a lifestyle design junkie so I started my blog to both get myself some accountability and to introduce young people to lifestyle design. Kids don’t get taught things like ‘it’s up to you to make your life the way you want it to be’; they’re told to keep applying for jobs rather than to try and create their own. Despite the problems with the phrase and the concept itself, I think lifestyle design – in some form or another – is something that everyone should be introduced to.

    1. Sean says:

      I agree, I think the the concepts behind it are great, but I do think it needs to take a more entrepreneurial base like Jamie mentioned. Regardless of whether I went back and got a real job or continued down the path running a business, the skills starting this blog taught me have been invaluable. Whether it’s keeping my writing skills somewhat strong, consistency, marketing etc. it’s definitely helped in many more ways than I initially expected.

  3. Joey says:

    The funny thing about this whole lifestyle design movement is I hadn’t heard about it until very recently. It wasn’t until the last 6 months that I started to think that maybe the 9-5 office life just wasn’t for me. So I started to look into other options, and now I’ve read The $100 Startup and am halfway through The Four Hour Workweek. I read a number of blogs now that I didn’t 6 months ago.

    So I agree, lifestyle design isn’t going anywhere. Guys like me are going to be looking for the content all the time. And while I hope I figure out where exactly I’m going with all of this sooner than later, the process of learning and improving never ends, and I imagine if you continue to take it seriously, you’ll always be pursuing a better “lifestyle design.”

    Also, it’s interesting to me that while Baker did redirect his blog to be more laser-focused on finances, he’s personally reverted to more of a lifestyle focus with his latest “I’m Fine Thanks” project.

    1. Sean says:

      That’s what’s cool about Baker, is he’s doing the stuff he wants to do, and working his ass off to make it happen.

      Reading and getting inspired is also great, but I encourage you to sooner rather than later start doing something with all that information – thats where it all becomes worth it.

  4. It will be interesting if and when the economy picks up, and younger folks start getting jobs again whether the lifestyle design movement will fade.

    But, with the internet, I think not, b/c the internet has changed the way any of us can work.

    Also, so long as people want things now without having to put in the work, there will always be buyers of products that provide shortcuts.

    Once people recognize this, it’s up to LDers to create products to cater to this shortcut mentality and get rich in the process!

    1. Sean says:

      See that’s where the problem lies. So many people already think they can capitalize on that shortcut mentality – and that’s why there are so many crappy products out there. I hope they invest in themselves, and then create unique products that actually solve the problem.

  5. Gunnar says:

    In the California gold rush a lot of money was made selling shovels to the gold miners all while pointing to the mountains and saying “there’s gold in them hills!”

    I’m not sure that is the real reason lifestyle design will stick around. Lifestyle design is here to stay because it represents new objectives. The most successful entrepreneurs with the longest staying power will be the ones who build real businesses, even in traditional industries, by ‘beginning with the end in mind,’ and using new business models that allow for more freedom.

    As always, thanks for a good post Sean.

    1. Sean says:

      Thanks Gunnar! I agree, in this niche business is no different than it is in any business, you need to plan, work, and execute. I think many people just aren’t prepared to do that, or don’t realize they need to.

  6. Steve says:


    I knew I liked you for some reason, Ogle. I wasn’t sure why, but now I know.


    1. Sean says:

      No you like me because I let you beat me at golf 🙂 Well, and Shawshank…

  7. I think you’re absolutely right, Sean. People will always be dissatisfied with their lifestyle – even if it suited them before. They grow out of it and start looking for something better. And when they see someone like you, who’s “living the dream”, then they’re going to want the same for themselves. I, for example, would love to be more location independent – and I’m getting closer by the day. But it’s a learning process – and, as you say, the key thing is to have skills that can be traded. Location independence isn’t taking a holiday – it’s a lifestyle choice, and I don’t think everyone appreciates that. But if some people give it a go, and realise it’s not for them, then at least they won’t be wondering “what if” for the rest of their lives.

  8. Kevin Le says:

    Great post Sean. I definitely agree with you that LD is here to stay, that is the notion that the 4 hour work week is possible to the masses. I think that, as the economy picks up hopefully and jobs are surging back, most people will settle back into conventional lives as those traditional opportunities reappear.

    Moving forward, I think lifestyle design businesses will require more face time with the consumer, however that needs to look like. For example, podcasting helps build relationships so that people feel like they know you. Or something like WDS gives people a chance to meet in person. Building on brand likeability will be crucial in reaching to the more high level entrepreneurial pursuits.

    It was nice to briefly meet you at WDS man. You’re doing awesome work.

  9. Annie Andre says:

    Sean, You really hit the nail on the head. When i started my website back in 2011 i had never heard of Tim Ferris or lifestyle design. I’ve been travelleing and living abroad every few years for 20 years now since I was 18 years old only now i do it with my kids. Anyways, during my research period, I noticed as you said that so many bloggers were blogging about lifestyle design and personal development. Oddly they seemed to be written by people who didnt really seam to have a clue or any real world experience in what they were teaching. It blew my mind.

    As you said, only those that provide real value are going to make it.

    “yes i hat the term lifestyle design too”.

    Many people don’t know this but lifestyle design has been around for a really really long time. My father was living in Thailand running a business before i was born and he said there were quite a few people who were doing what he was doing even back then. They just didn’t call it lifestyle design.

  10. Darlene says:

    Okay I give – what movie is what quote from?

    1. Sean says:

      haha Shawshank Redemption 🙂

    2. Tony says:

      For shame!!!

  11. Ryan says:

    I somewhat stumbled into the whole LD world back in late 2008 after working roughly 18 hours a day, 18 days in a row then my dad being diagnosed with cancer. He had surgery shortly there after and been fine since, but that was really my “Is this the way I really want to end up?” moment.

    The stars aligned a few months later when my company told us that we couldn’t care over our vacation time and we had to use it. 2009 I had ~12 weeks off, 2010 close to 10 and 2011 I had 8 weeks spending almost every one of those days traveling around the world. I’m at over 30 countries and 6 continents visited in my lifetime (why does Antarctica need to be so hard to get to?)

    Still working my 9-5, but I love it and its pretty darn location flexible…heck I did WDS this year and only took 1 day off so I could go jump off a bridge.

    To me, #2 is key. It’s one thing to read something and go “oh that sounds great, I wish I could do that” or “I only wish I knew how to do XXXX”. The answer lies in the execution, you have to try something new and push yourself. I don’t have everything figured out yet but the journey has been awesome so far and I feel way more in control of my life than I did 4 years ago.

    Now if I could only convince my boss that me working while I travel internationally is a great idea 🙂

  12. Matt Turner says:

    Lifestyle Design is around for good because people are finally gaining an awareness that allows them to actually understand that every day, every hour, every minute, and every second, we ARE creating our realities. Period. That’s what life is: Spirit, inside the context of physical reality.

    Society has remained unaware of this until recently. Of course, a few have awoken to it – the sages, the mystics – over the centuries. But society, on the whole, has been relatively asleep. Until now. We are beginning to realize that the world we live in is entirely of our own projection. And the individual life we lead is our responsibility because it is our own unique perception of reality.

    As more and more people become aware that this is how life Is; that they have actually been creating their lives in this way already, they will become increasingly interested and excited about sitting behind the control panel of their own life and designing it exactly as they wish to experience it; all without the fear of what might happen, but instead with an understanding that nothing happens to us; everything happens FOR us, and AS us.

    So lifestyle design will be around for good, simply because that’s what life is. Living our own existence intentionally.

  13. Sergio Felix says:

    Hey Sean,

    I haven’t read the FHWW yet, I have the extended version right besides me and I’m taking my time to read it. I’m also being cautious about it as I know there has been a lot of buzz going on solely on this book (good and bad stuff).

    So I want to have my own personal view and not a biased one.

    I have seen many people talk about being a “lifestyle designer” and what you said about being able to see right through them, I think we can all do it and it’s even more sad when you find out someone’s just faking it (for whatever reason).

    To me, traveling with a laptop and trying to empathize with what a real entrepreneur would do and feel like on the go, is still miles away from my understanding.

    I know you don’t need to be location independent to be a digital nomad and even Corbett says this himself when he explains how he goes from California to Mexico and viceversa and spends summer on one place and the rest of the year on the second place.

    To me, that would be nomad-enough and I would consider myself completely successful if I could do that.

    There is also people like “Wandering Earl” who just blows me away on how much this dude can travel, visit and tell all about it still on a very relaxed non-cocky way.

    So yeah bro, lifestyle design is something VERY real. The only bad rep about it is those dudes trying to jump on the lifestyle designer wagon and not being able to know what to do with their own life.

    I had a taste of this while I traveled with my dad over Europe (just three countries) and even though I learned a lot, it can’t be considered a lifestyle, it was a vacation but it was very fun to feel like a digital nomad at least while it lasted.

    I’m still looking forward to learn more from these kind of living so thank you man for this update, I really enjoyed reading it.


    PS. Now I need to get back to Tim Ferriss’ book and see what he can teach me there.

  14. Stanley Lee says:

    Don’t mean to be negative. But most of the successful ones (You, Corbett Barr, Adam Baker, Cody McKibben, Dan Andrews, Chris Guillebeau, Tim Ferriss, etc.) are incredibly hard-workers (most of them are actually workaholics). It’s the rewards part that causes the masses wanting to take the shortcuts, and created all the buzz around lifestyle design. Seems like a difference of semantics of “work” and “rewards”. I’m still working my way though.

  15. I read the four hour work week when I was already travelling and convinced that there was another way to make it long-term. Whilst it was inspirational to read it was never really a true guide book and I think a lot of people got the rush without actually thinking through the realities of it all.

    My path was coming back to the UK skilling up hardstyle in my personal life, business and even going to university (makes those skilled visas more achievable 😉 ) and laying the foundations of an epic & international lifestyle. For some people that is the last thing they would choose to do and that’s their right, but as long as those actions are taken with intent then you are choosing your own path.

    The truth is lifestyle design is simply the act of living consciously rather than just accepting what is given to you. For one person that may mean perpetual travel, for someone else it may mean living in the same place but choosing to experience life NOW rather than putting it off, and yet another may decide that they want to work the corporate world and there is nothing wrong with that. As long as you are genuinely choosing what is right for you then nobody can fault you for it, fad term or otherwise.

    1. Jo says:

      Just a quick note to say that I completely agree with you: the important thing is to live consciously, to live on purpose – it doesn’t matter so much what you do, as long as you have chosen to do that and have reasons for doing it.

      1. Chas says:

        I have to say that you and Jo couldn’t have put it more eloquently. There was a magazine that debuted in October of ’72 called ‘Lifestyle’~ ‘A magazine of alternatives’~ it just lasted for seven issues, but, it goes to show that the idea of seeking a more satisfying and rewarding life than the 9-to-5 is not a new concept.

  16. Tony says:

    Sean –

    Really loved this whole article. Jamie’s comment was also perfect. So many people write about lifestyle design but don’t actually do anything besides just write about it. I’m trying to take that next step now and figure out how to get a biz off the ground while traveling. Nothing more exhilarating or scary then taking that next step into the unknown!

    Keep up the great work!


    1. Sean says:

      Absolutely, but that’s where a lot of the fun lies 🙂

  17. Erick Widman says:

    Sean – I think you’re right on the money with framing the question as: “how did these bloggers survive?” Because – while it takes guts – nearly anyone can quit their job and start a blog. Whether it can be built into a sustainable business that you’re excited to work hard at every day is a very different issue.

    Your 3 key reasons for success here were very insightful and I’m seeing more and more how it’s absolutely essential to surround yourself with people you want to emulate. By the way, I really like your writing style and authenticity. Nice work man.

    1. Sean says:

      Thanks for the kind words Erick. I agree if there’s one thing I can contribute my success to, it’s without a doubt being surrounded by the right people.

  18. John says:

    Since the success of the “4 hour work week”, the term lifestyle design as become attached to the “do what you love and make money crowd”. It’s even been given a bad name because of some of the reasons you mention. It doesn’t help that the make money online crowd is selling push button riches products that make you dream of sitting on the beach and making 6 figures a month.

    What I think lifestyle design will become (and no, it will not die) is more people like yourself Sean and Dan, and Pat Flynn who are walking the walk and proving it can be done. The LD blog space will be filling up with more and more people like you guys and driving out the wannabe folks.

    My hope is that my take on lifestyle design sticks as well. Someone who loves the job they do, a job that really means something… And STILL wants to build a passion-based business to help people and express his creative entrepreneurial side. I hope there are a few people like me out there 🙂

  19. I actually still like the term Lifestyle Design and am not giving up on achieving it!

  20. Michael Ten says:

    It seem that as long as life exist, and as long as there is any style to it, that style will have to be designed, evolved, manifested and/or so forth! Lolol. Nice post. Thanks.

  21. Matthew Ende says:

    Good old buzz words. But really there is no better term for what people like yourself are achieving than ‘lifestyle design’. I doubt Tony Robbins has ever let the negative connotations that go along with the term ‘motivational speaker’ effect him, so keep doing what your doing and the people who understand will appreciate it.

  22. Steve Errey says:

    I really don’t care for the term either, and I think the term itself will fade over the coming years. The principle remains true however, although I think it’s become a little muddied.

    To me, the point of lifestyle design (gah, I just said it) is to engage with what matters to you, right? It’s putting together a life that means something to you. You can design any lifestyle you want, but if that doesn’t include you doing something that amounts to a hill o’ beans, it simply won’t work out for you.

    That’s the sense of “something’s missing” that a lot of people have these days – the lack of meaning, relevance and resonance, and the difference that engaging with those things has on a life and the world.

    Forget lifestyle design, talk about meaning engineering 😉

  23. It’s funny, but I didn’t really categorize myself as someone in the lifestyle design space until a commentor on my blog mentioned it. I’m just a corporate marketer who is slowly figuring out how to game the system in a way that’s beneficial to me and allows me to live the life I want.

    I know it’s probably not a long term solution, but while I figure out next steps, it’s not half bad.

    Lifestyle design will never die as you put it because there will always be a (relatively) small group of people who want more or better, whatever that may be for them and actually have the balls to execute! I know I’ll forever be in that number!!!


  24. Marelise Spreeth says:

    Hey Sean, thanks for the great post. You’re spot on as always. LD is nothing new, but the hype around it is.

    The LD movement is like the new Wild West – the whole internet is, for that matter.
    Not everyone setting out will be successful, but those who do open up new possibilities and options, making it easier for the rest to follow. You’ll always have the pioneers who make it and stand out from the crowd. Those who make it have chosen LD as THEIR lifestyle, not just A lifestyle choice. It’s become part of who they are, not just something cool to try out. This really changes your life, not just how your life looks from the outside.
    Designing your own life means just that. Design and build. It’s an active process as opposed to just wishing and letting life happen. I think most people fail because they have been taught to follow the set patterns of the society they have grown up in. Doing anything different requires a lot of active work. A lot more than if you stayed in the old patterns.
    Knowing that how my life turns out is completely up to me, is an exhilarating feeling, but daunting at the same time. 🙂

    Deliberately designing and building a life looks very attractive from the outside, but it does come with more responsibility and uncertainty than most people can handle. Most of the tried and trusted support structures fall away – no more steady pay check at the end of the month, or friends and family who might not understand why you would do things differently.

    When the stress of uncertainty gets too much, the pull of the familiar will thin the LD crowd, but there will always be those who make this a genuine lifestyle. I think the true lifestyle designers will increase with the technology making it much easier to consciously create life as we go along.

    Surrounding myself with successful entrepreneurs like you is essential. The value you deliver just blows my mind. You set the bar really high and inspire others to do the same. You make it a lot easier for me to customize my life.
    Keep doing what you’re doing. You give Lifestyle Design back it’s true meaning.

    p.s. I like the term lifestyle design. It’s very descriptive. The name doesn’t matter though, it’s the spirit behind it.

  25. Very inspiring post that I read at the perfect time. Particularly:

    “…to the blogger who writes up a little ebook about following your passion or any other cliched topic. Keep writing it! If it sucks, it doesn’t matter, I’m sure you have a great return policy.

    And if it’s awesome? Then you’ll be rewarded for it.

    Regardless, writing that book that will help you figure out your life, even if it doesn’t help anyone else figure out theirs.”

    I am actually writing (well, in the editing phase now) an ebook and while that certainly isn’t my only method of ‘independent income’ I am pursuing, it’s hard to not to get a little discouraged when seemingly everybody I talk to about LD (by any name) just rolls their eyes and says it can’t be done.

    Well screw them. If I try and fail, I’ll be proud to have done so simply because I didn’t give any merit to their doubts.

    Thanks Sean, a much needed boost. Love the blog.

  26. Expatana says:

    This is the third time I’ve come back to this post, which to a T pinpoints its value: We’re not only taking away something the first time we read, we continue doing so. Would that I will be able to provide such staying power with my work — but I will try. And I’ll not stop until I succeed.

    I don’t need a four-hour work week. What I do as a day job makes a 60-hour online week seem like perpetual vacation. So the necessity of hard work online and off (that vital face time) … bring it on.

    Online business had been around quite a while by the time Ferriss came along. He didn’t nail the idea of online business. What he did was coin a term that perfectly described the WHY of it better than anyone else had to that point. Tacking on location independence — a term coined by someone else and not going away — resonated brilliantly at just the right time.

    It doesn’t matter what happens to the traditional economy. I personally feel most traditional jobs that have disappeared are never coming back. At least not the good ones. We didn’t just have a “recession” (actually a depression but the pundits are afraid to use that term). The crash coincided with systemic changes fueled by technology that were coming anyway.

    When the financial system does stabilize, millions of people will still be left behind. There won’t be nearly enough good “traditional” jobs for new grads, and those left will be taken almost exclusively by young people with very specific high-level skills. That’ll still leave many others behind, including almost all older workers who lost out in the crisis and can now be seen manning fast-food counters and cash registers they paid their dues at as teenagers. But this new reality affects all ages.

    In other words … unless you’re very lucky and already have one, if you want a job and a future now, you’re going to have to create it yourself. If you’re young, this is your future. If you’re past the first flush, it’s STILL your future and your kids’. And if you’re older but too young to retire and lost a good job, it’s literally the only way left to you for a decent life.

    That reality points to motivations that go far beyond the wish to frolic on the beach in a four-hour work week. And a hell of a market for products and services created and marketed right. Any new term gets tiring after a while. But it’s not going away, it’s just reaching the mainstream.

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