“Being a millionaire is useless if you have no life.”
This is something we’ve come to realize in the past few years and as we build our blog, online business and freelancing careers, we’re receiving more and more offers to make money on the road, and we’ve actually started turning some of them down.
When we first started with Goats On The Road in January of 2011, we had no idea that this new idea of blogging could eventually make us money. We didn’t even own our domain at the time and we were simply blogging to stay connected with our friends and family back home.
Fast forward a year and a half later to mid-2012 and we started hearing of other awesome bloggers who were actually supporting themselves from their blogs. Reading articles like this one really got us excited about blogging for a living, and we decided to buy our own domain and invest a whopping $67.97 on this new business venture.
Now, nearly 2 and a half years after that original investment, we’re happy to say that our blog and freelancing work not only supports our lifestyle, but it even puts savings in our bank each month.
Some readers were sceptical when we wrote the article: “How Freelancing Can Support Your Travels” and we were shocked at how many writers and bloggers were convinced that you can’t make a lot of money doing this sort of thing. The truth is that you can make money from blogging and freelancing and as our industry evolves, opportunities that we never thought possible are starting to blossom.
At this point in our blogging life, with the connections we’ve formed, the traffic we’ve obtained and the jobs that we’ve received, we could work full-time and make a very healthy salary doing what we’re doing.
But we don’t want to! Why?
It’s all about the work-life balance and for us, LIFE is more important than having a 6 figure blog. We are so happy that we’ve been given these opportunities and we hope that they continue to flood in, but we’re now picking through the options and ensuring that each commitment isn’t going to take too much time away from our lives.
With some freelance jobs, you can write an unlimited number of posts and make a salary that is only limited by the number of hours in a day. But we don’t want to max out our day. In fact, we’re very careful to not work more than 20-25 hours / week. This may be considered laziness if it wasn’t for the fact that we’re so busy enjoying life the rest of the time.
We believe that laziness is defined by not putting in any effort. Getting up every day and repeating the same job, doesn’t take that much effort. Finding adventures, experiencing the world and living life to the fullest takes a lot of hard work… but it’s a blast!
If living in Grenada taught us anything, it’s to enjoy the little things in life. We love going for hikes in the jungle, having dinner with our friends and hanging out at the beach. We enjoy sunset beers at our treetop patio, going for hashes on the weekend and heading out on sailing trips. For us, this is what life’s about. So what would be the point of making all of that money if we didn’t have time to enjoy it?
It should be noted that we don’t live our life “on a budget”. There is no aspect of our life that we scrimp on. If we want to enjoy a fancy dinner out, we will. If we want to go deep-sea fishing, we do. We don’t buy cars, stereo equipment, houses and picket fences, not because we can’t afford it, we choose not to buy these things because we’d rather spend the money on life experiences.
If you’re thinking about quitting your job to do something you love, don’t think that you have to live on a budget! You can still live like a king. It’s all about choosing where to spend your money and making sure that each purchase is somehow enhancing your life and your level of happiness.
I’ve always said that I think that there is a massive flaw in the western mentality. So many of us seem to have these financial goals set in our minds and we’ll do anything to achieve them, not realizing that we’re sacrafising our one and only LIFE, just so we can obtain some dispensable goods, like a car, house and tv, or that false sense of security in our lives. The Jones’ family next door will always be able to afford a better car, a nicer home and a bigger yard… but if you’re happy with your life... it really doesn’t matter.
Life is never secure, no matter how you prepare for it. It will always be wild and unpredictable. Embracing that tremendously uncontrollable aspect of life only enhances the experience.
The work-life balance is a tight rope walk that varies from person to person, but I truly believe that North America is way out of balance. We’re forced to fall head first into the work abyss. Make no mistake, unless we work for ourselves, we are forced. Jobs REQUIRE us to be at work from 9-5, 5 days / week and that just doesn’t leave us enough time to enjoy life.
When I worked in Canada, 40 hours in 7 days would have been an easy week. For years I was working upwards of 84 hours / week and, while the money was great, I was exhausted. There was no balance. Had there been no laws in Canada that limited my weekly work schedule, I probably would have worked even more overtime. I was utterly debilitated by the symptoms of my disease… The disease of being busy.
While my ailments were at the extreme end of the condition, I still believe that most of us work too much. 40 hours / week is excessive, especially if you have to drive an hour to and from work, spend an hour getting ready and another hour settling down when you get home. We’re looking at 12 out of our 16 waking hours doing something that’s not enjoyable.
Well maybe it is enjoyable. If my alarm goes off and I’m getting up to go to work and there’s no place I’d rather be… then I’ve got it all right. If I’m living my life like this guy, then something is seriously wrong.
I recently listened to a podcast with Nora Dunn that really got me thinking about this. Nora has run her travel blog since before most of us knew what a blog was, and it makes her nearly $50,000 / year. She could make much more than that, but she frequently turns down work to ensure that she maintains her work-life balance.
I found this so inspiring and I think that the idea should be spread amongst people who value the time they have on this planet over the lifestyle that we’re all conditioned to strive for. In this day in age, nobody has to be at work 40 hours / week or more, unless they want to be. With advances in social media, internet marketing and the evolution of the big brand marketing strategies, there’s no reason why we can’t make some money doing what we love. Especially if we love blogging!
Nowadays, companies will pay you to write about, photograph and comment on things you are passionate about. We chose travel because we enjoy it, but there are people making money from finance blogs, gaming blogs, mommy blogs, cooking blogs, gadget blogs, blogging blogs, how to build a blog blogs and so much more.
But the first step isn’t to write a blog. It’s not even to open a social media account. The first step is to figure out what you love, and move towards it. When I was growing up, I hated when my mom said: “find out what you love and then figure out how to make money at it”. It sounded so easy but I couldn’t figure out what I was passionate about.
I strongly believe that everything starts to fall into place when you begin doing what you enjoy. If you’re at work, or thinking about work, for 12 hours / day when you’d rather be doing something else, then the universe is going to send you more things that you don’t enjoy. It’ll look at your life and think… hey, this person enjoys being stressed out and busy, I’ll send them more stress and make them more busy.
Obstacles attract. If you purposely place obstacles in your life, then your life will automatically find more obstacles for you and it will force you through them.
I think we should all try to balance our life and simply follow what we love. Even if we think that we don’t have enough money to follow our dreams, saving up for a goal will shift our life’s path towards our true passion. This is going to bring more positive energy towards a goal that we truly strive for and everything will fall into place from there.
Maybe you’re not a person who believes in all of this universe and karma stuff. Neither was I a couple of years ago. But I think if everyone could just try it and see what happens, we’d learn a lot. Make every effort to balance your life between happiness and work and if no changes come, then you can go back to your normal ways.
For us, this work/life challenge has been a balancing act from the get-go, but I’m happy to say that even with new opportunities, we’re still able to keep ourselves level. We’re so excited with the advances that we’ve made in our career in the past couple of months and we’re truly grateful to have all of these offers coming in. The best part of our recent success is the fact that we’ve proven to ourselves that we value our life above our bank account. This life that we’ve chosen isn’t for everyone and we claim to have it all figured out, but hopefully some of you will read this post and make steps towards a more balanced life. If the articles on Goats On The Road inspire just one person… then it’s all worth it.
Thanks for reading.