Rasmus Lindgren is an internet entrepreneur who I’ve followed for quite awhile, and have always looked up to.
I distinctly remember him telling me once, about my blog at My 4-Hour Workweek, that he was impressed by how consistently I published blog posts, because he always viewed this as a weakness of his.
I remember thinking: Hey! You’re actually DOING something and executing your plans. That’s far more impressive than anything I’ve simply written about.
And it’s true. This is a guy who figured out a way to live a very comfortable lifestyle, spend lots of time with his family, and still earn a solid income. He may not have a true “4-hour workweek,” but he certainly applies a lot of the same concepts necessary to get there.
Anyway, read the interview for the full story!
(As always, questions from The Daily Interview are in bold.)
Rasmus, you’re one of the few guys I know who has read The 4-Hour Workweek and has actually applied many of the lifestyle design principles. I’m envious, that’s for sure. Tell us about yourself and your journey – what’s your business all about, and what does your “designed” lifestyle look like today?
Well, I’m 37, live in Denmark and I’ve worked for many years in the IT business. Now if you know anybody in the IT business, you probably also know that you can always work a little more and there is always a deadline approaching.
I actually liked my job. I had great colleagues, my boss treated me well and respected me; some people might even say that I had a decent paycheck (although you always want a little more, right :)).
Back in 2007, I started my own consulting company together with a partner and quickly got customers and a few people working for us. I was basically doing the same thing that I did in my previous job, helping big companies with a certain Microsoft enterprise product (don’t worry, I won’t bore you with the details).
Things were going well and I was making more money as a partner than I was in my previous job.
The problem was that I also fell in the trap that many people running their own business fall into: I was also working more. Now that I had direct influence on how much money I was making, it was way too easy to simply put in more hours.
Then, in 2008, I read The 4-Hour Workweek and it made me stop and reflect about my life. I actually read it while on a two week vacation to Thailand with my girlfriend. A brief, but necessary, time away from work. But at that time, I had only just started the company and I was still passionate about getting this business up and running.
Fast forward to late 2009: I have my first child. My little princess. Having kids seem to put things into perspective. So I knew something had to change. So in early 2010, I sold my shares in the company I had started and now had to make a living all by myself. I knew that I now wanted to work less and have more time for myself and my little family.
After reading the 4HWW, I had started doing a few experiments, but I didn’t really have the time to focus on them since this would take time away from my primary business. Probably because of that, most of the experiments failed badly.
One thing stuck around however.
In 2009, I had started with GetAShop.dk, which produces e-commerce sites on the Magento platform (a rather new but really promising platform at that time). I had started it in a week and quickly generated $2,000 of extra income each month, without me having to do much in return since the entire production was outsourced to a company in Eastern Europe.
So it struck me that this was something I could do. Creating service companies that leverage outsourcing as a back end. I’ve since also started a company focusing on search engine optimization, although this has taken a bit of a fall after all of Google’s updates.
In 2012, I only had to work for 4 months as an IT consultant and could focus my time and energy pretty much on what I wanted the rest of the time. So, I had I time to both write a book (The Lifestyle Business Rockstar) and help other people start their lifestyle businesses with my online program The Lifestyle Business Mastermind.
Being a one man operation (although I got a lot of freelancers and companies around the world helping me out) can sometimes be kind of a lonely thing, so I enjoy getting out and helping others.
Sounds like a great journey! Having to only work 4 months as an IT consultant seems like pretty good “lifestyle design” to me. What has been your greatest success so far in your business?
I like that I have built a (low) six-figure business while not having to work the entire year. However, I feel that my biggest success has been that I’m now able to spend much more time with my family and what I’m truly passionate about.
In 2010, we bought a house in Hua Hin, Thailand and we now spend our winters there (typically two months each year). Being able to travel, spending time with my family and not having to stay in some office 9-5 (+++) is what I’m most satisfied with.
Especially because a lot of people out there “traveling the world Timothy Ferriss style” are often young males in their twenties without responsibilities and family. I have a mortgage and a family to take care of, so I’m living proof that you can do this even when you’re losing your hair (and growing new in places I won’t even write here ;)).
Even the most successful people stumble along the way. What do you consider to be your biggest failure, and what did you learn from it?
I’ve had a ton of failures. From trying to create niche sites with eBooks to creating small affiliate sites.
My biggest take away from all these failures are:
You WILL experience failures, and you have to learn from them – not let them make you think you won’t make it.
You HAVE to focus your efforts and only do stuff you’re passionate about.
For instance: Let’s assume that I bought a PLR eBook about getting kids to sleep. It’s a very common thing that new parents focus on (I certainly did). And let’s assume that I put up a page selling this eBook (actually behind a squeeze page collecting email addresses that offered some free tips). And let’s, just for the fun of it, assume that I lost interest in this as soon as I had created 🙂 .
The problem is that while I had fun creating the product (well I bought the eBook license, but had to set up the site myself), I didn’t want to work hard on getting traffic to the site. And let’s be honest. Without traffic, you got no business.
So I’m sure I could make a buck or two in this niche, but the execution was all wrong. I took me a few of these projects before I realized that I should follow my own passion, not some model some internet marketing guy hyped and sold me for $67.
What’s the #1 step or action that people seem to be missing out on when they’re trying to work less and redesign their lifestyle? I know you’ve taught a lot of people on this subject, so I’m really interested in learning about where people tend to go wrong, or what they seem to be misunderstanding.
It’s super simple, so let me start out by telling you the secret and them elaborating a bit about it.
You need to take (consistent) action!
I wish that there was some secret ingredient, but doing shit is it! Now the real problem is often multifaceted.
For one, most people are super scared of failure. Scared that they have to move outside their comfort zone only to fail and be ridiculed. But don’t forget how you learned to ride a bicycle. It probably took more bandages than it will ever take starting a lifestyle business.
After we get out of school and into a job, we seem to be less and less willing to move outside of our comfort zone. I think that is also why we see so many young people right out of school wanting to live another life than their parents. Once they get into a job and get a mortgage, the willingness to do new and bold life-projects fade.
Not that they don’t want to be able to travel for months at a time or simply be able to spend more time on their obscure hobby – but simply because they lack the courage to do so.
One other thing I hear people say is that they “aren’t computer geeks” and wouldn’t know the first thing about creating or running some online business. But let’s face it: technology has become so much more accessible in the last couple of years. You can now have a professional website up and running in less than an hour if you just (one click) install WordPress, install a premium theme, and get a logo on fiverr.com (for example).
My e-commerce business was actually created this way (although I had to pay $50 for a logo since fiverr.com wasn’t around at the time I created it).
Let’s take a step back and look more generally at lifestyle design and working online. If you had to take your best advice and put it into one sentence or phrase, what would that be?
Nike nailed the secret to success a long time ago – just go out and frigging do it! [Click here to tweet this]
What are your favorite online resources?
I use elance.com and odesk.com a lot. Earning money in one country while spending them in another (what Timothy Ferriss calls “geo arbitrage”) is a great way of leveraging a workforce in your business.
For example. I have a virtual assistant (VA) in the Philippines who is fulfilling book orders (a trivial manual process) and a VA in the US scheduling appointments on my calendar (I’ve started doing a bit of coaching for a few selected clients).
I also have a developer in China that does small programming jobs that typically in some way automate my business so I don’t have to do some tedious manual process).
So needless to say, this is something that I use a lot.
Other than that I cannot recommend simplero.com enough. They are a shopping solution for informational products much like 1ShoppingCart, however much cooler. It’s an all-in-one solution that features billing (including recurring billing), affiliate management and email auto-responder/campaigns.
They aren’t known much outside of Denmark (as it is a Danish company) however I know that they are currently working on breaking into the US market (funny story… The founder is so dedicated to breaking into the US market that he actually changed his name to something that is easier pronounced in English).
For someone who is just starting out creating a business online or trying to escape the “9 to 5”, what advice would you offer? What do you wish someone told you about when you first started?
Instead of focusing on getting the right idea (if you’re not the person who get’s 100 ideas a day) or selecting the right idea (if you are the person getting 100 ideas a day), you should focus on “business modeling.”
That is, instead of trying to invent the next Facebook or Skype, realize that it’s much easier to model a business that will make you $5,000 per month than one that you can do a $10 million IPO with in 10 years’ time.
So focus on an existing business that you can model and replicate. Then optimize one or more aspects of that business to gain the edge. I use the very graphic “Business Model Canvas” with all my clients. It’s free and you can get it here: http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas
Finally, where can people find you online?
You are welcome to stop by my blog at http://RetireMyAss.com.
If you’re ready to start your own lifestyle business I would also like to give you my book for free if you just pay shipping and handling. Get it right here http://LifestyleBusinessRockstar.com (only 1000 available).
I also invite you to join The Lifestyle Business Mastermind program (right now you can join for just $1 for a 7 day trial!).
Thanks a lot for sharing your story with us, Rasmus!
Have you been able to craft a reduced work schedule for yourself, while still generating the income you need for your lifestyle? Or is this even something you’re trying to do? Leave a comment below!
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