Does security rhyme with nonconformity? |

Does security rhyme with nonconformity?

17 December 2010

I am a big fan of nonconformist blogs because they tickle my imagination.

Every time I read a blog post of NomadicMatt I curse myself for not doing the same. How hard can it be to write two blog posts a week and post a photo every Friday? Especially if that’s the only thing you have to do the whole damn day.
So why is he spending his days on some Asian beach and why am I freezing to death in dark and grey Belgium?

Some time ago I’ve read The Four hour workweek by Tim Ferriss and it seemed too simple to be true. Start a company, sell things if you have money to invest or sell ideas if you haven’t, make yourself redundant by outsourcing 99 percent of your tasks, then start a new company and follow the exact same path. Repeat this pattern until your companies make enough money so you can spend your days wherever you want, doing whatever you like and spend four hours a week checking your income, having your - only the important - mail read to you by your offshore secretary and approving the largest investments.

Chris Guillebeau challenged himself to visit every country in the world within five years, writing books on how to generate an income by doing the same as he does.

And my all time favourite, although he’s not really in the nonconformity scene is Matt Harding. This name might not ring a bell but when I tell you he’s the Where The Hell Is Matt guy you might have already seen him around the net.
His story seems unreal, he’s quite a nerd and like most other nerds he dances extremely silly. One day during a trip to Hanoi he’s posing for a picture in front of a market. His friend asks him to do his silly dance so he can film it as a souvenir for when they’re back home.
Probably with the intention to make Matt look ridiculous, the guy posts the film clip on YouTube, where it becomes a big hit. The next year Matt poses in fifteen different countries in front of a tourist attraction doing the stupid dance. He becomes world famous. Next thing he knows, he receives sponsoring from Stride chewing gum and travels 39 countries to do the dance. Matt now spends his days performing at conferences and creating video games.

There are many more stories like this to find on the world wide web and they all shout the same message:
Quit your nine to five job!
Start an online business!
Become an entrepreneur!
Live the life you’ve always dreamt of!

Easy like that, but I’m still not living my ideal life...
"Why?" You may ask.
Well, the only answer is fear.
Fear to make the jump into the dark.
Fear because I don’t have a single clue which business I can start, because silly dancing around the world has already been done.
So leaving my relatively good life for something that might turn out to be my worst nightmare seems kind of... eh... the dumbest thing I could ever do.

But this attitude hasn’t brought anyone anywhere, so there must be something in between. A secure way to switch from conformism to nonconformism.

Next are a couple of ideas to start making money before you decide to quit your day job.

Sell your stuff
Selling your stuff is a great way to earn some - depending on the quality of your things - money. Unfortunately this is a limited resource so you will need a backup plan that you can launch when all your stuff is gone.
While selling your things, try to gain experience on the different market segments - books, furniture, clothes,... - and try to use different ways of selling - garage sale, craigslist, ebay,... Soon you will notice that with working on different platforms you might make money in the reselling business, for example buying something in a garage sale and selling it again on ebay. This gives you access to an unlimited source of stuff to sell.

Become a writer
If you have a couple of good ideas to share with the world and you have a decent writing style, you might consider becoming a writer. Although every writer will say that they have one of the most underestimated jobs in the world, we all know that they live a dream life. They can work from wherever they want, choose their own working hours and are able to work for different companies at once.
The only thing you need to do is find someone who thinks you’re genius and pays good money for the privilege of publishing your work.

Become a blogger
Just like writers, bloggers need to have something interesting to say and an idea of how basic grammar works.
The positive thing about becoming a blogger is that you are your own boss. With a starting capital of less than 50 dollar and basic knowledge of Wordpress you’re on your way.
The negative: Everybody is a blogger.
If you want to earn a living with blogging, you need to invest lots and lots of time in networking, using social media, commenting on other blogs and your own and investigating ways for monetizing websites like affiliate marketing and Google Adsense

Become a programmer
If you have any IT skills, you might be one step ahead of the rest of us. Programming is - like writing - one of those jobs you can do from everywhere. The only things you need are a computer and an Internet connection.
Where can you find a job like that?
Well, there are several options. First of all, you could work for a company on a permanent contract. This will give you the most stable income, but chances are that you will have to attend meetings once in a while so you’ll always have to get back.
Being a freelance programmer will give you more freedom, typically you will work for several companies who will send e-mail requests for programs or parts of programs, you create them and send the source code back to the company. Easy.
You can also develop your own applications and sell them or give them away for free and earn money from advertising. In this category I’m thinking especially about Facebook apps,  iPhone apps and stuff like that. There seems to be a huge market waiting for you.
And last but certainly not least, if you don’t have IT skills you can still be a designer and let the programming part to someone else. With today’s open economies, the only thing you need is a good idea, you work out the functionality and you send a request to previously named freelance programmer to create the application for you.

Become a photographer
With some photography skills and a semi-professional camera you can test your luck in the photo business.
Similar like writing, nobody will pay big money as long as your name doesn’t have a decent foundation so if you’re planning to live from projects like weddings or birthday parties you will have to work hard and for little money until you have a portfolio of which you can be proud.
For the equal talented but much lazier readers among us there is also something like stock photography.
The principle is easy, you upload a couple of your best photos on websites like ShutterStock or iStockphoto and companies will pay to use them. They pay isn’t high, often from a couple of tens of cents until one or two dollars, but you are also not selling the credits, only the privilege of using your photos. This means that you can still use the photos yourself and that other companies can also buy the usage rights.
This means that if you get paid 20 cents for each time an image is sold and you sell a certain image a thousand times, you’ve earned 200 dollars. Until now. With one image. 

Become a language teacher
Language teachers are needed everywhere, especially if your mother tongue is Chinese or English you are sitting on a gold mine.
Of course it’s not that simple to start a teaching career while you still have a day job. You are more or less limited to evening schools and private classes.
A better option might be to become a virtual teacher. This seems to be quite rare at the moment but I find it a great initiative. What you do is register yourself as a teacher at a website like Verbal Planet where you describe yourself, your experience and your rates and then you wait for customers. Once you have a customer, you connect via Skype and start teaching. Easy like that, although some commercial skills might be necessary to gain customers in the first place.
There are lots of other virtual jobs available on the market, but the most interesting ones - like consultancy - require experience, you must have made it first before they start thinking about hiring you.
Another virtual job that doesn’t need specific experience is the virtual assistant. What you do is reading the mail and answering the phone of some big shot that can afford you, but then again, probably you dreamt about having a virtual assistant, not being one.

Become a prostitute
Prostitution is one job that cannot be forgotten. It earns big money, it’s most of the time not hard work and you can do it everywhere the law allows it or the cops can be bribed.
This might be one step too far for you, you risk ending up with a multiple-father-baby and the places you will travel are not exactly what you had in mind but I found it worth mentioning.

Are you preparing to leave your job by securing your income with other jobs? Let me know what you do!

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