2020 was the best year of my life.
Started CyberLeads. Scaled it. Surpassed my salary. Quit my day job.
With all this extra time now, I'm in the privileged position of being able to design my lifestyle from the ground up.
I'm not going to go over all the story of how this happened. I've already done that in 2YOBP, 2.5YOBP, 3YOBP and WIQMJ.
This is about what's next. And I'll keep it short and sweet. Just like last year.
Actually, I'm sitting in the exact same spot I wrote Plans for 2020.
Maybe it's a lucky chair. Who knows. Worth a try.
Life is boring. And that's a good thing.
It is simply today, repeated. Again. And again. And again.
And that's a great thing. It means that if your fix your today, you can fix your whole life.
And that's my approach moving forward.
I'm not chasing Instagram highlights.
I'm chasing a simple life that I enjoy living every day.
A few months ago, I was in a meeting at work.
I had already announced at that point that I was leaving. So, naturally, my head was all over the place.
No one cared about what I think, since I was leaving. And I couldn't care less about the things being discussed.
I started fantasizing and writing down what I'd do with all my extra free time in a few months.
I pretended that money isn't even an issue. If I was a millionaire, let's say from tomorrow, what would I do every day?
It took some time. And it took some deep thinking. But I managed to list down the basics.
Things like exercising. Reading and writing. Creating businesses. Starting new hobbies. Traveling the world.
To my surprise, most of the things I wrote down did not need `fuck you money`, but `fuck you freedom`.
And the best thing is that I have that freedom already.
I was ecstatic. Maybe I can already start living like a millionaire.
Starting from today.
Before we jump into lifestyle design, let's talk about business.
I'll keep things simple, as far as business goes.
Let's say I want to 10x CyberLeads.
The most straight forward way would not be to add new features. Start a community. Move to another vertical. Or create a spin off product.
It would be to simply 10x it's traffic. Or reposition it, build a few killer features and 10x it's price. Or 5x it's traffic and 5x it's price. You get the point. Think in levers.
Sure, easier said than done. But this my approach to business. Be so simple that it hurts.
Picking your weapons ⚔️
Everything can work. Paid ads. Social Media. SEO. Quora. Direct Sales. Sponsoring blogs. But everything takes years to master.
It took me 2+ years just to build a tiny audience on Twitter.
So, pick your skills wisely. You can't pick many of them. Maybe just two or three.
My weapons of choice will be social media, Lean SEO and automation. Organic social reach is great for starting and scaling projects. SEO is great for solidifying your business. Automation is for scaling it to the millions.
Like everything, all these will take years to learn and master. But I'm building skills for life.
• A strong, honest personal brand I'm proud of.
• Knowing how to build a media empire around my niche.
• And knowing how to design and engineer a well-oiled business that works for me while I sleep.
Ok now, let's get to the fun stuff. Lifestyle design.
There is this simple and powerful framework I love. It says that your life should consist of three hobbies.
1. One hobby that makes you money.
2. One hobby that keeps you fit.
3. One hobby that keeps you creative.
And you should have very few stuff. Enough to fit inside a suitcase.
It's clear. And it's simple.
Let's get to it.
The definition of a job is doing something that you don't want to do, for the money.
I don't view CyberLeads as a job. Building, running, and scaling small independent internet businesses for me is play. That's why I did it for free for so many years.
And the best part is that I only need my laptop in order to do that. Which easily fits in my suitcase.
So, CyberLeads is my first hobby.
I've been on and off with my training for years now. But that's going to change.
I hired a personal trainer. A good friend of mine from high school.
Friendly, killer price. And amazing to support and keep in touch with a friend after all these years!
Workout sessions via Zoom. Bodyweight exercises. Bands. Pull up bar. Running. Stretching. Lacrosse ball. Foam roller.
We also monitor my weight, diet and sleep. He made me buy some scales, food scales and a FitBit.
Everything is on point. And everything fits in my suitcase.
So, exercising every single day is my second hobby.
This is tricky, because it depends on how you define creativity.
Many would argue that writing is a creative hobby. But to be honest, for me it's more of an introspective tool.
Other might say that reading books is creative. But, it's a passive activity.
Someone else could say that learning a new language is creative. But, I view it mostly like knowledge building.
Finally, some believe that innovating in business is creative. I agree, but I want to keep those two worlds separate. For my own sake.
After a lot of thinking, I decided what my new hobby will be.
I'm starting a podcast. Video format. Laid back. No interviews. No agenda. Ideally, something like JRE.
The art of conversation is very deep and intruiging to me.
I want to have real conversations. Meet interesting people. Make friends. And proactively create my social circle.
Easy to start. You only need a microphone and a pair of headphones. They both fit in my suitcase.
So, a video podcast is my third hobby.
So, what will my day look like?
It's dead simple. I engage with my three hobbies, every single day.
The more important it is, the earlier in the day it get's done.
• Wake up at 07:30 AM
• Start working on CyberLeads at 08:00 AM
• Finish working on CyberLeads at 01:00 PM
The most important thing of the day is CyberLeads. Without it, my life goes back to zero. Back to working for someone else.
Five hours of true, focused, non-pretend work. After that, I'm done for the day, unless there is some kind of exception.
Things I need for this: Laptop and mobile phone.
• Cook and eat at 01:00 PM
• Relax until 05:00 PM
• Exercise until 06:00 PM
The second most important thing of the day is my health. My food has to be healthy and I have to exercise also.
Then, I can do whatever I want. Read books. Take long walks. Lie down and sleep. No guilty feelings allowed.
And no work allowed, either. I know this will be tricky. But longevity is more important that intensity.
As far as exercise goes, my goal is to workout and eat clean for at least 300 days in 2021.
Things I need for this: Yoga mat, Elastic bands, Lacrosse ball, Foam roller, Running shoes, Pull up bar, Scales, Food scales.
• Record a podcast
For the evenings, I don't really have a strict schedule yet. It's supposed to be chill anyway.
Reading and writing have became daily habits. And I cannot imagine myself recording more than one podcast per week.
My goal is read and write at least 300 days of 2021. And post around one podcast per week. Let's say, 50 podcasts in 2021.
But, it will be chill. The important thing is to get to bed early.
Things I need for this: Kindle, Laptop, Microphone, AirPods.
Ok, so how much does this lifestyle cost?
Not that much. Definitely not a million per year!
• Rents and bills cost around $600/mo.
• Food and supplements cost around $300/mo.
• Other, random expenses might cost around $100/mo.
Depends heavily on the country and the city you live in.
Business expenses (~$600/mo)
• Accountant costs $300/mo.
• CyberLeads costs $300/mo.
Luckily, these costs will remain pretty much constant, regardless of revenue.
Personal expenses (~$300/mo)
• Writing is completely free.
• Reading is super cheap. Maybe $10/mo.
• Podcasting services cost $19/mo.
• Online lessons with my Italian teacher cost $50/mo.
• Online sessions with my personal trainer cost $200/mo.
• Maybe a few random expenses cost an average of $50/mo.
I don't think this will increase. I already feel bad for spoiling myself this much.
Less than $2,000 per month, including business expenses.
And it could go even lower.
The biggest lever you can pull is move to a cheaper country or city.
For example, in Milano I'm paying ~$1,000/mo for rents and bills.
In Sicily or in Thailand, I would pay around $300/mo.
On average, I need ~$1k/mo to live. I need ~$2k/mo to live a great lifestyle. And I probably need around ~$3k/mo to ~$4k/mo to live as if I was a millionaire and wasn't thinking about money.
Maybe I'm naive. But that's what I believe.
I might get there soon. Why not. But I don't feel safe raising my burn rate yet.
A low burn rate is your best bet against the unpredictability of running a business and life.
And people with a low burn rate experience a type of freedom that people constantly upgrading their lifestyle cannot even imagine.
Now, these are my high level plans. Of course, nothing goes exactly according to plan in the real world.
Or as the great Mike Tyson once said:
"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face."
• Design new lifestyle
• Give away stuff I don't need
• Start implementing the three hobbies principle
• Leave Milan in March and set up my base in the South of Italy
Start living my ideal lifestyle.
• Move from no code technologies to Ruby on Rails
• Move from Gumroad to Stripe
• Sort out everything legal with my accountant
• Start publishing on social media more regularly
• Start implementing Lean SEO
Eliminate biggest single points of failure and start ramping up my business.
• Move to another country and take my lifestyle with me
• Fine tune my lifestyle so it's something I can do for 10 years
Maybe go to Thailand for a few months to train Muay Thai. Or Brazil to train Jiu Jitsu. I know we're in the middle of a pandemic, but a man can dream.
• Scale Twitter game up to desired speed
• Scale Lean SEO game up to desired speed
• Start building systems and processes
The core skill of building a business is creating systems for things you do repeatedly
I cannot project over six months in the future.
Who knows what will have happened till then.
Maybe everything is going great. But maybe things are very tough and I'll have to adapt.
All I know is that I'll to put the work in. Consistency is the secret ingredient to success.
If you don't care about the number of socks or shoes I have, you can stop reading.
Now, let's see if my lifestyle fits in my suitcase. That would be another layer of freedom.
Here are all the stuff I need for this lifestyle.
• One big bag
• One backpack
• Mobile phone
• Haircut machine
• Food scales
• Normal scales
• Running shoes
• Yoga mat
• Elastic bands
• Pull up bar
• Foam roller
• Lacrosse ball
• Ten pairs of pants
• Ten pairs of socks
• Ten black t-shirts
• Five long sleeved tops
• Three pairs of jeans
• Three pairs of tracksuits
• Three pairs of shorts
• One winter coat
• One jacket
• Three pairs of shoes
• Slippers & flip flops
• Two towels
• Documents and papers
• Hygiene stuff
Well.. they fit! I just hope I'm not forgetting something major.