I’ve had a couple readers send me emails over the past few weeks asking about the mistakes that I made in going location independent. Specifically, from the time I left my job to the time that I showed up in Thailand. Well, let me tell you, there were a lot of them.
Inevitably there was nothing too catastrophic considering that I’m here, employed, and having a great time. However, there are certainly some things I would have done differently.
When you make the transition from the 9-5 to having no plans and no set schedule, you may think it will be an easy transition. In reality, it’s not. No matter how many times I told myself I would set a schedule for myself, and stick to it, I had a much harder time than I thought I would. For the first three days I stuck to my routine of getting up at 6:30, working out, and then heading to the coffee shop to work. After that, the alarm started slipping to 7, and 7:30, before I finally gave up on the alarm all together. Then the work out went with it.
By the time December rolled around, I knew that I was coming to Thailand and I used that as an excuse to slack off. I had a difficult time admitting to it back then, but if you remember the post Stuck in a Rut? Get Out While You Can, it hit me like a ton of bricks. When I think back to those 2 months of free time, and the amount of work I could have gotten accomplished, its staggering. I could have my manifesto complete, I could be a Photoshop expert, and I could be making a nice little side income off of my affiliate marketing ventures.
In reality, I did all of those things half assed. I’m about halfway through the manifesto, I know the basics of Photoshop, but am certainly no expert, and I haven’t done much marketing at all in the last month.
So tip # 1 if you are trying to learn from my mistakes, USE YOUR TIME WISELY. Being without a job should give you an excuse to work harder, not slack off and make excuses for why you can’t or don’t need to work. I’ve been watching a lot of Gary Vaynerchuk posts lately, and his web 2.0 speech the other day really resonated with me. Check it out if you haven’t. “Stop doing shit you hate” and “hustle”. Two of the most important lessons you can learn in life.
Another big mistake I made was not using my new found free time to network and write. I guess that could fall under the pretense of tip #1, but I should have been writing 2,000 words a day and sending a hundred emails. You have to wonder where I would be if I’d done that? Probably have a much bigger site than I do now. I think networking is the most important thing you can do in business (or life for that matter). I know it’s cliche, but it is all about who you know, not what you know. That statement has proved true for just about every big thing that has happened in my life. Go read Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi if you want to learn how to network effectively.
Arguably the biggest mistake I’ve made was not defining a plan. I haven’t done a good job over the last three months of creating a short and long term plan for my life and my business. There have been no formally defined goals for 2010, although that may be on the docket for this afternoon. I think before you can really be productive working for yourself, you have to know exactly what you are trying to accomplish and how you are going to get there. That’s my biggest weakness at the moment. Now that I’ve got the site and my new lifestyle up and running, this will be the most crucial step towards my future. If you want to learn more about goal setting and reviewing your accomplishments, I would highly recommend checking out Chris Guillebeau’s annual review posts.
In the end you realize mistakes are inevitable. You are always going to make them, it is what you do after the fact that really matters. Ask any entrepreneur and I guarantee there were more failures than successes. Learn from your mistakes and work your ass off and good things will happen. I’m working on both and couldn’t be happier with where things are going.
If you have any questions about what I’m doing, or how you can make changes in your life, don’t hesitate to send an email. Now that I’m experiencing this for myself, and fully understand how possible it is, I want to help anyone who’s interested.