A big part of this No Vacation Required life we developed centers around our ability to work from anywhere. Really, though, it wasn't too long ago that we were only dreaming of leaving corporate jobs and taking our entire world on the road. Not only did we make it happen, we've been very successful at it.
The biggest obstacle? Figuring out how in the hell we could make it a reality back when it was only a dream.
A recent interview we did got us thinking about success. We're using a few blog posts to talk about our take on success and – while we're at it – our transition to a new phase in our NVR life. As our interviewer reminded us, our brand of success is unique for two very distinct reasons:
–We're not trying to make a living off of monetizing this blog (ads, etc.). Many people who want a location-independent life attempt to live off their blog. Some are successful, many are not.
–We're not trying to create a non-blog business that can scale larger. A couple of years ago we made the decision to not add headcount to our business. Instead, we accept only the best opportunities.
A lot of people ask us how we do it; they want the best tips for making it on their own in business. Over the years, we've given a few tips here on the blog. It's difficult to summarize something like this because success is a complicated, highly individualized thing. Plus, it took us some time to figure it out, so we didn't want to blindly jabber about something before wrapping our own arms around it.
In trying to think about the best advice we can give in this post, three key thoughts come immediately to mind:
1: You have to be well-rounded and committed.
This is no small task, and, honestly, it's by far the easiest of the three tips we're providing. Striking out on your own, you have to work a lot and do many things that are about keeping up the business. We won the "luck" lottery in this regard because we're both incredibly tenacious and agile workers. Plus, between the two of us, we know about a lot of things: marketing, operations, finance, accounting, sales, service, etc. Also, having an MBA in the mix helps :)
Our ability to conquer #1 set the foundation for success. We wanted to be able to work from anywhere. We can, and we do.
2. You have to make and keep yourself relevant.
One of the reasons these "be your best self" how-to posts are murder for us to write is because our consulting specialty is Organizational Development (OD) / Effectiveness (OE). Put concisely, we help businesses (and individuals) make smart next steps. We help them to optimize talent and initiatives so that workgroups thrive. So writing a post like this feels like trying to cram a book's worth of information into 1000 words.
The point in sharing that? We know exactly what we're good at and the value we add. As an aside, this helps explain why the making-money-from-a-blog model is nothing we were interested in, and something that often fails (or, at the very least, feels unfulfilling).
You have to know what you're meant to be doing (a completely different book), AND you have to know how to differentiate yourself. Here's a post on our business strategy and another on knowing what you do well that might provide some inspiration.
There are millions of people that are good at the basics of something: writing, numbers, you name it. That's not good enough. You have to work harder and go deeper than that.
3. You have to be disruptive.
This is even more of a challenge. Beyond making yourself relevant – deeply knowing the niche you can address – you have to be an ideas person. And not simply generic ideas, disruptive ideas. You need to be a big thinker; you need to be someone who can take compelling ideas to the next level.
You'd be amazed at the lack of creativity we see. A little tip from our work as OD consultants: When people lack creativity, it's often a sure sign that #2 is out of whack. So, when we're consulting with work groups, we know that a person might not be in the right pocket if they have a distinct lack of creative ability.
Think about areas in which you have a lot of ideas; areas that you catch your mind constantly wandering to; areas where you think "they should do it this way." Those thoughts are guideposts pointing you toward where you should be putting your talent to work.
To help better understand this point, check out a post we wrote on the topic.
What does all of this work stuff mean for the next phase of our NVR life. Well, ever since we knew we needed to start thinking of the next phase (see our last post), we've been working on becoming even more niche in the already niche work we do. We've been testing it all through 2015 with great results. So, in terms of the Work Virtually side of our world, we're going to be 1) going even narrower in scope and 2) working less. The "working less" part is all about celebrating how far we've come and taking our feet off of the gas for a bit. Remember, we got into this lifestyle to be freedom-rich as a primary goal – not a money-rich. We're going to inject a bit more of that freedom into the coming years. *insert "grinning" emoji*
In the coming couple of weeks, we're going to talk about success as it relates to the Travel Deliriously and Live Deliberately arms of our world. Stay tuned!
Bonus: Want more insight into our work? This article is work porn for us.