4 Golden Rules For Living The Laptop Lifestyle

4 Golden Rules For Living The Laptop Lifestyle

4 Golden Rules For Living The Laptop Lifestyle

The laptop lifestyle has been all the rage since Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4 Hour Work Week, hit the scene in 2007.

Twelve years later, a lot of entrepreneurs are still applying his principles. Even Tim admits he works way more than 4 hours a week, but what we all learned from his book was that being chained to a desk isn’t the future of work. This collective eye-opening has resulted in a vast majority of entrepreneurs and employees alike giving it a go. Lucky for us, technology has dramatically evolved, enabling more people to work on their own terms.

The laptop lifestyle is needing only your computer, phone and an internet connection to make an income. It really doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur, a remote employee or a freelancer – if you can do your work from any location, you qualify.

There are a few things to keep in mind when you are considering this type of work, though. Here are the four golden rules you must follow if you want to live the laptop lifestyle.

Leverage Technology

Technology has come such a long way and even more so, advancing the ability for people to work from anywhere. Lean on technology to keep your organized, automate tasks, track your time and communicate with team members or clients.

I recently spoke with my friend, Kate Erickson, partner at EOFire. Kate and John Lee Dumas moved down to Puerto Rico and while in the process of moving, nothing in their business or any scheduled podcasts were interrupted. Heavily relying on technology allowed them to move across the world without worrying that their business would come to a screeching halt.

There are so many apps and software that make life a lot easier and will keep you organized. You must learn to lean on them if you want to be location independent.

Choose A Niche Comfortable With Remote Work

Some industries are more comfortable working with someone remote, and some aren’t. You will need to choose to work in a field that is quite comfortable not having you in the physical office. More and more jobs are becoming more location independent, however, that doesn’t mean everyone is comfortable with it yet.

Choosing a niche that isn’t ready for it will be an uphill battle. Choose to work in a field or find clients that are already on board with this kind of working relationship, so you aren’t spending your time fighting the good fight rather than on your actual work.Be intentional with who you choose to work with, it will make all the difference.

Clarity in Communication

The majority of our communication is through energy, tone, body language and expression. When we aren’t sitting in front of one another and only communicating via electronic messages, those are lost. It’s crucial that communication is clear. Clear to the point of ridiculous even. You will need to take the time to over communicate in order to make sure communication is clear for everyone.

Again, leverage the technology around you in order to achieve this. Using Skype or Zoom to do video calls, use Google Docs to create shared files, or Loom to capture simple screen recordings.

Jaime Masters, founder of Eventual Millionaire, has a communication escalation plan implemented within her team. It outlines in which circumstances you communicate and with which communication devices. For example, if something big like the website goes down – call her right away. If it’s a typo on the website, save it for the next all-hands meeting. If you are location independent, your team members could be in a totally different time zone and saves you from getting a 1am phone call to tell you about a website typo.

Communication about when and how to communicate – brilliant.

Keep Selling

When you work for yourself, you must always be selling. Sales is not something you can take a break from or your business will die. Even if you are a remote worker – you still need to be “selling” yourself to your boss. That face to face time isn’t baked into your everyday working relationship and can result in lost connection.

You need to keep prospecting, keep building your network and working on getting more clients or keeping conversations open. If you are totally swamped with work and can’t take on new clients – keep selling yourself to the ones you have.

The laptop lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but it certainly is a dream for most. It’s definitely achievable with the right technology, a great communications plan and the right clients.

7 Online Businesses To Try In 2019

7 Online Businesses To Try In 2019

7 Online businesses to try in 2019

Having an online business is quite possibly one of the greatest ways to make a living. The laptop lifestyle allows you to create an income with just a computer and a phone, and is a freedom like none other. It’s a ton of work, don’t get me wrong, but you get to forgo a commute, office politics, showers…

When you have a work from home job, you’ll certainly put in more hours than you’d ever imagine, but the ability to work from your home office, kitchen table, coffee shop, local library, etc., is what attracts most people to the laptop lifestyle. If you are still trying to find that online business idea, maybe to supplement your income or get you fully out of your 9-5, here are a few to consider.

Digital Traffic Manager

Digital marketing is a lot bigger than just social media. Brands are looking for quality traffic, awareness and exposure. While that includes social media, it also includes guest blogging, press, content creation and the like. This takes a lot of skill and organization to manage it all and that’s why companies are looking for help. If you are savvy, you can create a strategic plan to drive traffic to someone’s website beyond just SEO.

eCommerce Store
Having an eCommerce store has become easier thanks to drop shipping and it’s big business. (Psst… Wayfair is a drop shipping website and they are killing it.) Platforms like Shopify, Oberlo and AliExpress make setting up your online store a breeze. The key then is to drive a lot of traffic to your website and optimize for conversion.

Website Creation
With platforms like WordPress, SquareSpace, Shopify, etc., creating a website is easier than ever if you have a little tech savvy. You don’t have to know how to code in order to learn one of these platforms and set up websites for companies. Creating a website for a business is really selling time. It’s not anything that they can’t do themselves, but most lack the time to learn. Get good at a couple of these platforms and sell speedy websites.

Content marketing is really important to most online businesses and the creation of that content can be daunting. If you have some background in SEO and are able to write smart, compelling articles – companies will pay. Most content writers charge 10 cents per word, so a 3000 word article would garner you $300. Get a few clients and write a few articles a week and you’ve got a sweet little hustle.

eBook Author
Do you like to write? Self publishing can be a very successful venture if you are disciplined to pump out a lot of content. James Scott Bell writes a ton of fiction books, but also a ton of books about how to write fiction books. Not only is he making a living on writing books, but also how to write books. You most likely have knowledge you can share – self publishing is a great way to make something once and get paid over and over again.

Bookkeeping Service
If you are good with numbers, you are my hero. A lot of business owners hate this part of their business and love to pass it to someone who loves it. If you are great with numbers and super organized, you should have no problem finding clients.

Online Workshops/Classes 
Online courses are fabulous, but online workshops are getting really popular. Access to you for a block of time is really valuable to a workshop attendee. Neville Medora, founder of Kopywriting Kourse, does this a lot to better serve his students and make a great profit. Offering a specific time to be online forces people to actually show up and take in what you’re teaching as opposed to an evergreen course that can be taken at any time.

It’s important to note that none of these online businesses will work without customers – you must learn how to market your online business, become a student of marketing and brand yourself.

Is Personal Branding Worth It?

Is Personal Branding Worth It?

Is Building a personal brand worth it?

Consumers’ buying habits have changed, and the truth is that they’re choosing to buy from personal brands now more than ever before. One study revealed that compared to 20 years ago, nearly half of consumers said they trust big brands less.

Your customers want to buy from an authentic person they can relate to, instead of an unapproachable, unrelatable business person or logo. The internet is responsible for this market shift, as social media provides consumers with a more intimate look behind the scenes of a company. This has lead to customers placing preference in personal brands, and this is why you’ve probably heard personal brands like Gary Vaynerchuk preach the importance of building yours.

However, it’s no secret that building a wildly successful personal brand like billionaire Kylie Jenner, Richard Branson, or Oprah requires a significant amount of hard work, time and energy. You need to factor in the amount of content you’ll need to produce and publish on a regular basis, the commitment to showing up online and nurturing an audience, and the dedication to sharing parts of your life you may have never planned to.

Building a personal brand isn’t an easy nor quick feat – and some even argue that having a personal brand can actually do you and your business more harm than good – if not strategically handled.

I’ve reached out to some of my favorite personal branding colleagues to get their take on some of the pros and cons of building a personal brand, so you can decide whether or not it’s worth it for you.

Pro: Your Business Will Gain A Competitive Edge

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are approximately 23 million small businesses in the United States alone. If you don’t have a strategy for standing out from your competition, you could find yourself struggling for years to come.

The good news is if you are the face of your business, building your personal brand will give you the competitive edge you need to stand out.

By strategically building your personal brand as the owner of your company, you will build a unique type of trust with your target market. You will be able to connect with them on a personal, intimate level and show your market who the person behind the logo is. This is what consumers look for when making buying decisions.

If you are the face of your business, building your personal brand now is critical to gaining authority within your market and earning consumers’ trust.

Con: It Can Limit Your Ability To Live In The Moment

Though having millions of online followers and engaged customers at your fingertips sounds like a dream to most businesses, building a personal brand is no small feat. It requires a significant amount of time – and not to mention – content. It requires you to essentially document your life day by day, updating an audience with new content on the regular.
At times, it can feel like personal branding takes away from special moments, and makes it difficult to live in the moment. You’ll feel the urge to update your following and tell your audience how much fun you’re having leading a workshop, rather than actually having fun leading a workshop.

If you commit to building your personal brand, just be aware that it takes a lot of effort, and one of the greatest struggles you may face might be
living in the moment.

Pro: You Become More Visible Online

With almost 4.4 billion active internet users, it’s no secret becoming more visible online equals an endless plethora of opportunities for new customers, partnerships, and business growth. Personal branding can drastically increase your (and your business’s) visibility online. The reason personal brands garner such massive audiences, is because they tell a never-ending story. Just look at Cristiano Ronaldo’s whopping 167 million Instagram following. He’s branched out with his own personal brand – ending up with more followers that Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande.

Humans have been drawn to stories since the beginning of time, and personal branding is just that: a story. Personal branding means documenting your life day by day and sharing the highs and lows of your story. Transparency and authenticity is what attracts an audience online and makes you “followable” in this digital age.

I recently chatted with Lauren Gordon, storytelling expert and co-founder of Webmetrix Design, and she expanded on the topic of storytelling with, “I’ve trained thousands of entrepreneurs and business owners on how to grow their personal brand, and the first exercise I always have them do is figure out their brand story. The problem is, most people think their story isn’t interesting enough to follow – which couldn’t be further from the truth. YOU have a story that your market WILL follow and buy into if you tell it right. In just over a year of sharing my story on social media, I attracted a following of over 5,000 people, most of which became paying customers in my business. Don’t ever underestimate the power of your story and the people who are waiting to hear it right now.”

Sage advice.

Con: Prepare For Criticism (and learn how to handle it)

Though having a large audience around your brand online surely has its perks (hello organic reach, free marketing, and massive authority), it also has its downsides.

If you commit to building your personal brand, be prepared for the criticism you’re bound to face. By building your personal brand, you are actually building an image of yourself – a public image. Some people won’t agree with your content, your message, and your story. Though you may not face any internet “trolls” until your audience is of considerable size, be prepared for when the day comes. Have thick skin, and remember that not everyone will agree with your mission.

In a phone conversation, Melissa Henry, visual branding expert, expanded on the topic of criticism by saying, “Part of growing your brand will include expressing thoughts and ideas that may be controversial or at the very least, strike a chord with some people who fiercely disagree with you. The fact is that when you step into the public eye and express your true thoughts and beliefs, you put yourself at risk for criticism. If you truly want to live your brand as authentically as possible, you cannot silence the ideas that will ultimately help the people you want to serve. Make it a point to proactively increase your capacity for hearing criticism.”

There is not one person on the planet that everyone likes. Not one. Accept the fact that not everyone will like you or agree with you – keep spreading your message.

Pro: You Can Build & Leverage Relationships With Other Well-Known Brands

Leveraging established brands for partnerships is one of the fastest ways to grow your business to new heights. Unfortunately, in the modern age we live in, you won’t have much luck building strategic relationships with other influencers or brands in your industry unless you have a strong personal brand yourself. Smart companies won’t partner with brands unless they look credible and reputable, which is where having a personal brand comes in handy.

If you plan to form brand partnerships to boost your business’s sales and visibility, spend some time building your own personal brand first. By doing so, you’ll have a much easier time getting your foot in the door and approaching large established brands with ideas and proposals.

Bonus Pro: Your Career Will Become Stronger

Smart business owners know we live in a world where sales and marketing are better executed by employees with strong personal brands than by the brands themselves. This means companies are hiring employees not based on resumes and cover letters, but on information they find online, such as their social media presence, personal website, blog, major media, and more.

This means the benefits of having a personal brand extend far beyond entrepreneurs and business owners.

If you are an employee, building your personal brand can be one of the smartest choices you make this year. Companies will see even more value in hiring you, and if you already work for a company you love, building your personal brand can put you in a strong position for growth and promotion within the company.

In an email conversation, Bettina Buhr, bilingual personal branding consultant for employees, said, “Personal branding in the corporate world is not about wanting to be the shiny star standing out from the team. It’s about looking at yourself as a brand. You start with taking a close look at your passions, strengths, and past results. Based on that, you look into current trends in your industry and gaps within the company you work for (or want to work for). When you match the insights of those two steps you will clearly see how you can create business-relevant value to a company as well as the customer in the future. This clarity about yourself will help you communicate your unique value in a way that you are seen for the positions you are passionate about doing and where you create real value add.”

Takeaway: Smart companies, employees, and business owners have taken note of the market shift and are choosing to build their personal brands despite the downsides and challenges associated. Take note of the honest pros and cons of personal branding listed above, and decide whether or not it’s worth it for you.

If you choose to build your personal brand, remember that it’s all about communicating your story in an authentic, valuable way so you can build trust with your target market and gain credibility within your industry.

The Difference That Makes A Difference

The Difference That Makes A Difference

The Difference That Makes A Difference

Gregory Bateson, an English anthropologist is credited with this phrase. He was talking about information and how it can affect things. What information can we know that will completely change the situation/experiment/culture?

The subtle difference that makes a huge difference?

• Difference between orange juice and a mimosa? Champagne.

• Difference between kissing a person you love vs. kissing a person you love who is married to someone else? Integrity.

• Difference between playing basketball in tennis shoes or playing in flip flops? Enjoying yourself. 

This goes for your business too. There are a ton of little differences that you can add that will make a big difference to either your internal culture or your customer’s experience. 

• Difference between emailing an angry customer back or calling them personally? Diffusion of the issue and potentially game-changing feedback.

• Difference between listening to your employees feedback or telling them “This is how it’s always been done.”? Your employees feeling valued and better ideas coming through the door. 

• Difference between packaging your product in a brown cardboard box or finding something beautiful to package it in? The customer has a totally different experience with your product.

Find the difference that makes the difference in your business.