Coming to the decision to ACTUALLY ditch our lives and live a ‘location independent lifestyle’ was not an easy one. For us it happened quite quickly- so quickly in fact that the reality of the decision did not set in until after we had sold our house! Here’s how it went for us:
As a couple (pre-kids) we traveled quite a bit. We love Europe and lived in Ireland for a couple of years where we could take weekend trips to just about anywhere. Paris, Rome, Vienna, etc were just an inexpensive plane ride away. When we moved back to the states, we took a month to travel back the long way around, visiting Thailand and Australia.
Once we got back to the states, however, we sort of settled into the “normal” life. The kids came along, we moved to suburbia and our weekends were spent mowing lawns and attending soccer games instead of traveling. We took our couple of weeks a year to visit the Keys and even made a trip to Costa Rica but the travel was too infrequent and we found ourselves questioning our current existence. It started with the usual “wouldn’t it be nice…” conversations but that seed started to germinate and we were soon talking reality… sometime…down the road.
What really got us moving was my job. I had been in a job that I loved- I was the Director of Construction Services for American Express. I was working in a really dynamic and positive environment and had just started working on a massive new building project in South Florida when the worst happened…a change of management! Anyone who has worked in Corporate America understands the climate change that can follow a change of leadership. What had been a positive, exciting project soon came under bizarre levels of scrutiny and even more bizarre plan changes. My work life became a nightmare and I soon knew that I would never be able to finish the project I had been so looking forward to for years.
As a couple, we started to discuss the possibilities. Should I look for another job? Maybe go live in Costa Rica, or Spain- all things we had discussed in the past “someday” conversations. Being from Ireland, Grainne had never seen much of the USA and really wanted to do so. The conversation so started to revolve around US travel and RV’s. Our research online had informed us that there are thousands of families out there doing just that- with kids. The pieces started to fall into place. We realized that we didn’t want to have to live in any particular place, we wanted to enjoy a location independent lifestyle. We started selling our belongings on Craigslist and donating others to charity. Pretty soon we had the house on the market. That was the point where someday became someday SOON. Our house sold in 2 days and for quite a bit more than asking.
Funny story how that happened. Our neighbor across the cul-de-sac had listed his property for sale for some weeks and had not had much luck. He had recently listed with a local hotshot realtor who had planned an open house for the weekend that I listed mine- FSBO. On Saturday I put a nice “For Sale” sign in my yard and waited for folks to show up for the neighbors open house. Each time a prospective buyer was leaving the neighbors house, I would make sure I was out in front watering my newly planted flowers. A friendly wave at just the right moment and what do you know- another showing for MY house. I must have done that a dozen times that day, but by Sunday night I had competing offers and finally settled the deal on Monday. WOOF- NOW THIS IS FOR REAL!
Now…how we make money…
Grainne had also been researching ways to make money online and had come across the idea of Private Label selling on Amazon. There were other methods to sell on Amazon like retail arbitrage, but the thought of owning and controlling our own brand really appealed to us as opposed to fighting with others to resell items that others were already selling. We hooked up with a training program called 30 Day Boot Camp (HERE) and soon learned all of the basics of selling Private Label on Amazon. We were hooked – this was for us.
How does Private Label Work?
The way we do business, we never need to handle our product. We have manufacturers both in the USA and China and once the initial sourcing and sample inspections are completed we do not ever see our product unless we order it (which we do from time to time to ensure consistent quality). We have it shipped directly from the manufacturer to Amazons warehouses to store and fulfill our orders so it is very convenient for us since we move around so much. We are able to manage our inventory online and order directly from our US manufacturers or through a sourcing agent in China who manages our factory relationships over there.
This set-up allows extreme flexibility and is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy a location independent lifestyle, this can be done from anywhere as long as you have wifi. We work when we want to – whatever hours of the day suit us. We use Virtual Assistants to handle some of the more mundane aspects like tracking sales metrics and managing our marketing efforts online. This way we can focus on our core business and have ample time to enjoy our adventures with the family and really be there as our kids grow up. Our goal is to grow the business to a level where we can outsource nearly everything and just work about 4 hours a week to stay on top of things.
Working With Your Spouse
We are lucky that we enjoy spending time together and always have. Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t last very long in this lifestyle if you didn’t! We work closely together A LOT! The best advice that was given to us by our coaches was this. They told us to divide the business responsibilities out between us and keep them separate. There are certain things we enjoy doing together, but we also have our own separate responsibilities within the business – just like any other company. We also try to have a weekly meeting to update each other on certain things. I focus on the business full-time, whereas Grainne is part-time because she is heavily involved with the kids for homeschool. We enjoy that we collaborate together and have found that we enjoy bouncing ideas off of one another. There are times where I takeover homeschool for a day or two so she can focus on her responsibilities and get a break from ‘school’!
Finding the time to get work done with the kids is always a challenge. The balance of work/family is tough without the boundaries of jobs and school. We are still figuring out how to get work done, specifically Grainne. If we are near a town with a Starbucks, we will each take a day and head down there for a few hours. It’s amazing how much you can actually get done without someone ‘tugging on your arm’ asking for stuff all day long. It’s good to get away for a bit and have some ‘me’ time, it means that you can get your focus on, finish work faster and go have some fun!
Starbucks worked great and we will we usually try to find a day each week where each of us can shut ourselves away and focus on what we need to get done in the business. We love being parents and we love the idea of being with our kids FT, but we also love being entrepreneurs.
We are in a coaching group with other sellers from around the world, so there are times where we have to attend business meetings in the middle of the day depending on the time zone. Normally what we do is switch things up on these days, and we get outside first thing in the morning. We’ll go to the beach, go for a hike, anything that involves the kids and us getting rid of some energy. Sometimes we’ll have the kids do school while the meeting is on, or we’ll download an educational movie on Netflix they can watch, or sometimes we’ll Redbox it. It just depends.
WIFI is absolutely critical to our lives. We simply could not do this without connectivity. For our purposes, we use a Verizon Hot Spot with an unlimited business plan. We bought it on eBay and spend $140 per month, but we are very rarely without streaming capable internet. We started on the road with a Sprint hotspot and a consumer plan, but it was basically worthless. I have heard many stories over the years about different carriers and yada yada yada, but for our purposes, Verizon is it- end of story. We use about 100-200 gb of data a month between the business needs, the kids’ homeschool, and entertainment. That is a pretty ample usage and there is never throttling or anything else.
We feel very lucky that we are able to enjoy our location independent lifestyle and we wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. So that is how we stay mobile. How about you? Join us on Facebook and let us know how you do it. You can also catch us on Instagram. If you enjoy this article, make sure to sign up so you can keep up with our adventures.
Do you live on the road or have dreams of living life on the road?