I've delayed writing this article for a while now because I'm not an authority on the subject. I don't make millions of dollars, and neither does Todd (that I know of).
However, something I realized is that it doesn't TAKE millions of dollars to make enough money to leave. Panama could easily be lived in for $1000 a month, and that's a sum that ANYONE could make.
So, instead of focusing on making huge sums of money, I'll focus on the first step : how to get out of the rat race and become location-independent.
A good start for most people, especially those not ready to make the leap from employee to entrepreneur is doing contract work. Thanks to the internet, ANYONE can do this.
Check out ELance.com and Rent a Coder. Jobs range from graphic design to programming to proofreading to writing to editing to web site creation. There are TONS of jobs available every day on these sites.
I'd say that 60-70% of people could at least make a satisfactory living if they were willing to write. A lot of the writing jobs are for writing articles... you just research it with google and then write a short article.
If you want to make a little more money, web design might be a good choice. There are countless tutorials online, but I'd start with W3 Schools. They have fantastic tutorials ranging from basic to super advanced, so if you just do one tutorial a day you could become an excellent web designed in not much time.
Something off-topic but that I'm passionate about so I'm going to mention it : These little daily habits are HUGE. You would never miss the time you spent doing the tutorials, but at the end of 6 months you'd have a serious skill set that could then free you from your actual job.
If you decide to go Life Nomadic, by the way, you will probably get enough to cover the first few months by selling your stuff. This is a nice buffer to allow you some time to pick up contracts.
I make my money through an ebook that I wrote called Make Her Chase You. It's about how to attract and date girls. The time spent gaining the knowledge to write the book was significant, but writing the book didn't take much time. I don't make much money from it, but the money is consistent and requires no further work from me.
What skills do you have that you could write an ebook about? The process isn't simple - especially the marketing aspect, but all of the information you need to learn is on the internet. It's just a matter of whether or not you'll dedicated some time every day towards it and whether you're disciplined enough to see it through.
Todd and I are also working on much bigger projects which are designed to make serious money. We had hoped to have them completed before the trip, but that didn't happen.
His site is SendShack, which is the best site for sending big files to people. It's great for pictures, videos, mp3s, or documents. He made it so that you can have an account and can store the files in your account for free, so that if you want to send them to someone else later, you don't have to upload again.
As you can see, the site is nearly done and is fully functional. It should be pulling in mad dollars within the month.
My project is called Conversion Doubler. It's a multivariate testing tool which allows you to dynamically change parts of your web site to test which version produces more signups or sales. Unless you're into internet marketing, this probably isn't very interesting. If you ARE into internet marketing, send me an e-mail. I have a really good affiliate program.
Anyway, I think it's a good idea to go in steps. Find a project or a plan that can make you enough money to pry yourself from your job. Live frugally. If you're about to go Nomad, you need to be SELLING stuff not BUYING it anyway.
I used to spend most of my money buying everything I wanted. Then I stopped buying anything and started investing my money in Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.B) and Gold (NYSE: GLD). I'll tell you... even if it wasn't on purpose, that was a great preparation for the trip. I haven't had to use the money invested, but I know that if I need a buffer it's there.
The bottom line is this: there is TONS of money to be made on the internet. It's not always glamorous, clicking a few buttons and making hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it IS easier than a real job (per dollar). Best of all, it can always be done from anywhere at any time.
Good advice on some of the freelance sites. I will have to check it out. For me, I found the lack of info. out there, other than on online jobs - since I have few computer skills, to be limited. So I am doing 80 different jobs around the world and writing about them. If you are interested in long-term travel I have found you need a job that you can do in a lot of different locations, so most people might advise teaching english, travel blogging or some other kind of job that makes money online.
I have been selling timeshares for the past few months, and you can also do that long term and actually make money at it. Timeshares are in 100 different countries and it is fairly seasonal, so you could do 4 months in one beautiful spot in high season then go to another for their high season when the season ends. Here is my latest blog post on how to get a timeshare sales job if you are so inclined. good luck.
Now I see. The Internet can't hide any longer...
Still think you should consider rugged laptops.
Watch out for GLD because you don't actually own 'gold' but a paper promise on gold. The markets are learning a wicked lesson about counter-party risk right now. You may want to check out my site to learn more about this topic. Anything money related is right up my alley. Oh, and gold is going to $1,050 before the correction but when the correction comes it will be swift and brutal. However, after the correction gold is going to march back up to $1,650 by around 2011. Anyway, good luck and keep having fun!
Making money online is the best! I quit my job two years ago and could never go back to working for someone else!
First off, I love this blog. You're giving away cool travel and freelance tips, plus the photos and personal experience is spot on. Tightly written also, so mad props.
I can recommend a book, if you haven't already read it: Babylon by Bus, by Ray Lemoine and Jeff Neumann. Couple of young guys drop everything and go to IRAQ. Hilarious and compelling. I could totally see you guys publishing a book about your travel experience.
i love that your life mission, or so it seems, is to convince everyone in the world that they can travel and still support themselves doing it.
cindy and i miss you guys.
Interesting information. Best of luck on your travels.
I am trying a variation on this with m Perfect Life Project: build a successful, low maintenance, real world business that delivers me the income to travel frequently and pursue my passions (sports, writing, more sports).
After a year of focussing on this I can say it is working very well. I can't manage to take extended trips such as yours, due to my business needing some attention and two children at school her e in Australia, but in 18 months have managed to travel to Hawaii, southeast Queensland (twice), Thailand, Colorado and California. This year I will be in Sabah Malaysia, southeast Queensland again, Lord Howe Island NSW, the Great Barrier Reef sailing and possibly Thailand or Hawaii again.
Its not the totally mobile life you are pursuing, but not bad for a "working father of two"
just curious, what's the plan after the year is over? do you just go back to your regular life style?
Came here from Alex's site after reading about his Panama trip...you guys rock. Love your philosophy....once the kids are all grown, hopefully me and Lizzie will be able to be nomadic.
I was looking at the ConversionDoubler program as we...I'd be very interested in learning more about it..I'll mention it to Lizzie and see what she says...perhaps we can recommend to some of our SEO clients.
Great tips...I am signing up for email updates, and I'll add you guys to the the blog roll on Lizzie's Travel Blog.
No one is going to tell you an easy way to make money
In the beginning days of my gambling thing, it was very easy to make money. The system was basically foolproof and anyone with a credit card could make a good yearly income. I wasn't making money through any sort of skill, I was essentially exploiting a loophole. But here's the thing about loopholes: no one is going to tell you how to do them, especially not someone you don't really know personally. Because if too many people find out about a loophole, it closes. So if you want to make "easy money", you're probably going to have to stumble upon it yourself. If someone IS trying to share a loophole with you (especially aggressively, by email) it's probably a scam like a HYIP or a Forex trading scheme.
Most of the people who were gambling like I was now play poker. You can play poker online or in casinos and make six figures a year. But it's not a loophole, so it's okay to tell everyone. The barrier to entry is a few years of exhaustive practice, thousands of dollars to lose while learning, and the ability to sustain that lifestyle while you struggle to break even.
My wife Sue and I have been mulling over how to most effectively deploy cash in the current economic climate to generate decent returns without taking outsize risks. We've honed in on six main strategies, which I outline below in descending order of risk.
Since everyone has a varying amount of cash to invest, I'm going to specifically call out ways to deploy small amounts of cash in some of these strategies, as I want this post to be really actionable for anyone. The most important part is to just get started, and the biggest barrier to doing that is you thinking "I don't have any money to invest." So get yourself out of that mindset and jump into the world of being an investor, even if it's just with $25 (yes it's possible, below), $100, or $1,000 or $10,000, or whatever. I also recommend putting money aside every month to invest; that's a great way to get started.
Riskiest: Angel Investing