Voluntary Simplicity Still!

August 29, 2009 by  
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So now that I’m mildly rich, you may wonder if I STILL advocate Voluntary Simplicity….

….and the answer is a thunderous YES!

In fact, as the business exploded, I thought very carefully about my new-found abundance.  How should I use it?  How much did I want to change my lifestyle?

I discovered, happily, that I still had no interest in expensive cars (still don’t own a car), or big mansions, or any of that bullshit.  In fact, one toy I did buy was a new motorcycle… and I enjoyed it.  And yet, lately, I find that I don’t use it much and am planning to sell it.   It’s so much healthier and simpler to just walk (and I have plenty of time, so why not)!

Having discovered that I still preferred simplicity, I thought more deeply about this abundance… and the new opportunities it provided.  I realized that what drives me and excites me is growth:  learning, travel, connecting with people.   And so, that’s how I’m using my money.  I buy books and devour them.   I go to seminars and conferences that are really fantastic…  and am lucky that I can now afford the time and money they require.   I (we) travel frequently… short trips nearby and multi-month trips to Asia and Latin America.

But perhaps the greatest opportunity has been the opportunity to contribute to other people.. to help my family and friends learn, grow, and travel.  I helped my best friend Kristin create her own webeneur business….  and she recently celebrated her freedom from wage slavery!!  She’s now happily traveling and learning and living her dream.   That business is actually a partnership with her boyfriend Joe,.. a good friend of mine.

Joe hasn’t quit his job YET.  However,  next week he is going to a 3 day workweek schedule,… and plans to completely quit at the end of the year.  Another wage slave brought to the promised land!

And because of this, Joe and Kristin will be joining Tomoe and I on our big 4-5 month tour of Asia next year!

Another thing that abundance + simplicity gives me is the opportunity to contribute to my members (students).   Because the web business does so well, and because I live simply and save most of my income, I can afford to do a lot of free LIVE events:  demos, seminars, etc.   These are tons of fun for me and for the students.  With these live events we are creating stronger communities and stronger connections.

As the business continues to grow, these opportunities for contribution will expand.  One dream I have is to train English teachers in “poor” rural areas–  help them develop world-class English programs for their students (because all that’s required is training and passion, not money).

Tomoe also wants to do programs for Japanese middle school children and their parents, because these kids suffer a lot in the traditional English teaching system in Japan (and I’ve witnessed that firsthand).

So, I believe that voluntary simplicity is even more powerful for those with abundant resources.  Yes, it’s great when you don’t have money (as I demonstrated with my car and van living experiments).   But even if you are rich, it’s still a magnificent principle.  Why?

Because rather than throwing your money at bullshit material status symbols,… you can live simply and put your money towards contributing to your family, friends, and community.   Believe me, that’s far more rewarding than an expensive car or a McMansion!


August 29, 2009 by  
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Tim Ferriss, in his book “The 4 Hour Workweek”,  strongly recommends hiring virtual assistants to do work activities that take a lot of time.

I actually tried taking his advice a year ago… and hired a “VA” to help me with my business.  The result was a disaster!  I used one of the Indian companies that Ferriss recommended and the VA was totally incompetent.

However, my business has now grown so much that there’s no way I can maintain a Hobopoet lifestyle unless I get help.  So I just hired a new VA.  This time I got a personal recommendation from another webeneur friend.   The VA is American and thus more expensive… but she’s very professional and already this is a much better experience.

What is she going to do for me?  Well, here’s a list:

  • upgrade graphics on my website
  • compile research for the book I’m writing and organize it by chapter
  • call experts to arrange interviews (for my book and/or my lessons)
  • screen and organize my emails
  • manage my appointment calendar
  • take care of travel arrangements (ie. flights)
  • moderate comments on my blog
  • edit and upload my videos

You get the idea!   By doing these things, she frees me to focus all my time and energy on doing what I love to do:  teaching, traveling, connecting, making lessons, etc…

And rather than have a wage-slave employee, I support another entrepreneur who is happy with her own business.

So yes, this VA thing can work.. you just need to be picky about who you get!


August 29, 2009 by  
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Yesterday I went back and re-read a lot of my old Hobopoet posts from the archives (on the old site).  Wow!  What a journey it has been!  I think its very cool to have a record of that journey… from van living to abundant webeneur!

I also realized it’s been quite a while since I updated Hobopoet, so here it goes……

I have been very busy lately as my web business has grown like crazy.  The wonderful part about this is that it isn’t “work”… in the sense that it’s not a job and all my activities feel like “play”.  I’ve got an amazing international community of members that I love serving.  They are fun, enthusiastic, and friendly.

As a result of the abundance provided by my webeneur activities, I have been able to go to tons of incredibly interesting and life-changing seminars and conferences.

Not surprisingly, now that I have a good amount of financial abundance, I still have no desire to acquire a bunch of useless stuff.  What I use my money for is learning.  So I have been going to seminars, conferences, and trainings–  Tony Robbins, Brendon Burchard, Blaine Ray (language teaching), Technology…etc..

In fact, just two days ago I went to Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek party and met all kinds of cool people, as you might imagine (living in SF has its perks 😉  It was so cool to meet so many people who are living free, traveling, and learning….   having escaped wage slavery.

I also joined a group of webeneurs, speakers, and writers…  an amazingly creative family of folks who all share the free-from-wage-slavery lifestyle.

I have learned a lot, grown a lot, and am having a fantastic time.

And yes, I’m still as nomadic as ever!!   Future travel plans include:   1-2 months in Argentina this Fall/Winter.. to learn a bit more Spanish and try out the Tango!!

Then in the Winter we’ll be doing a big tour of Asia…  doing Effortless English seminars with our friends Kristin and Joe and just traveling and having fun with many of the SF Hobopoet clan (Todd, Wat, Lew,…).

Countries on the Asia tour this year include:  Thailand (of course :),  Singapore, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan.

Sometime between all of that, I want to do a motorcycle trip in Baja, Mexico.

So the adventures continue!  Hope you’ll join us soon……