You know you want to ditch the 9-to-5 world (or maybe for you it’s more like 8-to-late). You also know you want to travel. But finding a viable way to create income without a job? That’s where most people are stumped.
That was certainly the case for a reader named Janet.
Janet took a job in human resources just out of college, and now—after 22 years in a cubicle—she’s determined to give it all up and move to Latin America.
Janet is torn between starting a business that utilizes her gift for coaching—the only part of the HR job she actually enjoyed—or to somehow fashion a livelihood based on her love of ballroom dancing.
Most opportunities come disguised as “problems,” and Janet’s is no exception.
For starters, unlike many cubicle dwellers who’ve been stuck in the j-o-b world so long they don’t even know what it is they love to do anymore, Janet clearly does.
Add to her twin gifts for dancing and coaching/counseling a genuine love for travel, and she has three passions!
More importantly, Janet doesn’t have a decision problem. She has an assumption problem—one that can be easily fixed by simply changing the question.
Instead of asking how to choose between a dance-related business and one where you get paid to offer advice, what if she asked: How can I get paid to combine my passions?
That’s what Lisa B. Evans did. Lisa knew there had to be others who shared a passion for knitting and yoga.
So the landscape architect, author, avid knitter, and mother of three combined these two seemingly unrelated interests to create Knitting and Yoga Adventures.
That was nine years ago.
Today people happily pay several thousand dollars to attend summertime or fall workshops on Maine’s picturesque Monhegan Island or in Vermont.
Jessie and Brad Wigh also found a way to combine two passions. After falling hopelessly in love with Belize, the couple searched for a way to marry their passion for teaching yoga with what would soon become their permanent residence.
The result was Belize Yoga, a successful retreat business specializing in jungle, sea, relaxation, and adventure for devoted yoga practitioners.
You don’t need to know a lotus pose from a lotus plant to connect your interest in travel with your passion with dance. Instead take a page out of fellow travel lover Melissa Gower-Pence’s book.
Melissa may not be into ballroom dancing. But she is an ardent hobbyist, which led her to found Craft Cruises.
Every year Melissa’s company organizes cruises to fabulous locations like Alaska, China, Japan, South America, Australia, and New Zealand for knitting, beading, crocheting, and other crafts enthusiasts.
According to the online source Cruise Critic, ballroom dance cruises are all the rage. You may not want to start your own cruise business.
But what if you became a frequent cruiser so as to make your own “dancing” videos. Then you posted on your own YouTube channel.
Generate enough followers and I guarantee the advertisers—and therefore, the money—will follow. Plus, you can write off your travel as a legitimate business expense!
Then again, who says you have to combine your passions at all?
Plenty of self-bossers pursue two or even more unrelated interests and that includes Jessie Wigh.
In addition to her work at Belize Yoga, the mother of two is also author of two children’s books.
Of course this is only one example.
If Jessie happened to share Janet’s gift for helping people she could just as easily have decided to coach parents of young children who are considering a move to Belize or counsel yoga instructors who want to open a studio in another country.
Building on that last idea, if the couple wanted to really scale Belize Yoga they could train and license their business model to people who want to start Bali Yoga, Bermuda Yoga, or a retreat in any popular vacation destination.
Finally not everything you love to do needs to earn money. Janet could decide to dance purely for pleasure and instead focus on building a viable coaching practice for income.
The great thing about being a coach is how portable it is. You can be in one country and your clients can be in another.
As long as she has a good phone and internet connection, Janet run her business from virtually anywhere—on a houseboat in the South of France, poolside in Panama City, or from a quaint café in Quito.
If she decides to go this route Janet will need to first answer the question, “Who do I want to serve or save?”
For instance, I started my business because I wanted to rescue people trapped in job jail with no notion of the liberating world of self-employment.
For Janet it may be people who need help sticking to a wellness program…parents of fussy eaters…managers seeking to move into the executive suite…or any number of niches that could benefit from her guidance.
Winston Churchill, the former British Prime Minister, said, “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Once you learn to view the world through the lens of opportunity you’ll quickly discover that the difficulty that’s been keeping you locked in job jail may be the very thing that can set you free.
A version of this article previously appeared in Incomes Abroad, a fabulous monthly newsletter for people who want to fund their travel life published by my friends at International Living magazine
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If you dream about a life where you have the freedom to “call the shots”… to pick up and head to a cottage on a sun-dappled beach and “retire” in the tropics… or rent a little getaway in a history-rich colonial town for the winter… or take an apartment for a few months a year in Paris or Buenos Aires… but you need the flexibility that would allow you to leave… and an income that could make it happen…
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