Time, Location, or Financial freedom. Which one matters most to you?Oct 04, 2023
When someone decides to become an online entrepreneur or develop a message-based online platform (which we typically refer to as an influencer), they usually have a series of things that compel them to do this. Most often, they’re motivated to achieve something specific or make their life drastically different from what it was in the past.
When I began my journey into online entrepreneurship, I often thought of the experience like it was a puzzle. I knew I wanted to do it, but I wasn’t really sure how it all worked. I knew I wanted to improve my income, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to do that. I knew I had valuable information to share, but I wasn’t certain how best to communicate it. I knew I wanted to serve others and help improve their lives, but I wasn’t sure what services I should begin offering.
While I was trying to figure this out, I started reading books, watching videos, taking courses, listening to podcasts, and picking the brains of people I considered successful. In the process of doing that, a pattern emerged. I noticed that many online entrepreneurs were searching for the same things. In general, they wanted to serve others in specific ways and in return, they hoped to gain time, location, and financial freedom.
That certainly sounded good to me. Having more control over how my time was allocated was definitely appealing. Enjoying location freedom that would allow me to visit new places with my family and work from wherever I wanted seemed rather pleasant. Improving my financial picture and developing multiple streams of active and passive income definitely mattered to me as well. And if I could develop all three aspects of time, location, and financial freedom, that seemed even better, but I knew it wasn’t going to be immediate and I knew I was going to need to put in the time, effort, and consistency to make this happen.
Over time, I did that, and I learned something about myself in the process. While I can appreciate the merits of greater flexibility with my time, my location, and my finances, I definitely rank their importance in my mind.
Location freedom is nice, but I’m not as into travel as some of my friends happen to be. I enjoy location flexibility, but I don’t really mind being tied to a location. My family enjoys where we live as well. In our community, I’m able to serve our local church, teach at a local university, and develop deeper-level friendships with neighbors, co-workers, and other friends. So location freedom isn’t currently my top priority, but that can certainly change.
Time freedom is nice, but the season of life I’m at and the ways I have chosen to serve others don’t allow me to have complete autonomy over my schedule. The needs of my family make demands on my time. My roles in ministry leadership make demands on my time. The classes I teach as a professor make demands on my time as well. I’m OK with that. To be honest, I don’t tend to want too much idle time in my schedule. When I see too much of a vacancy in my schedule, I start thinking about creative ways to make better use of that time. I seem to get bored very easily and I don’t want to waste the brief time I’ve been blessed with on this planet.
So if I had to rank time, location, and financial freedom from highest to lowest of importance to me right now (even though I appreciate all three), I would have to say that financial freedom remains higher on my list than the other two. But let me describe what I mean when I speak about financial freedom because it’s possible I may define it a little differently.
For me, financial freedom starts with generosity. My primary financial goal isn’t consumption. When the Lord blesses me financially, the first thing I do is return a portion of that to Him by giving toward the ministries I care about and toward meeting the needs of others who have caught my attention or the attention of my wife.
Financial freedom also means living a debt-free lifestyle. I used to carry all the common forms of debt that prevail in our culture, but I grew tired of living that way. It felt stressful and I became convinced that it was a drag on my quality of life. I just didn’t like the feeling of knowing that I owed something to someone else. I also wasn’t crazy about paying interest on those obligations. It took years for our family to pay off our consumer debts and mortgage, but now that we’re 100% debt-free, I don’t ever want to go back.
Financial freedom means multiple streams of active and passive income. Active income is money I get paid one time for work I’ve done or a service I’ve provided. Passive income is a recurring form of income that I earn for content I create or investments I’m making. Passive income is unique because it allows me to do something one time and then get paid for that effort for, potentially, the rest of my life. I earn passive income from book royalties, courses, crowdfunding, advertising, and things like that.
Financial freedom means less anxiety about future retirement or repairs to our home and cars. Because we’re actively preparing for those rainy days, when those days come, they feel more like an inconvenience than a crisis.
Financial freedom also means I get to say yes to doing things that most people would only do if they were getting paid. There are volunteer opportunities I have committed myself to, classes that I’ve taught, and services I have provided just for the joy of being a blessing to others because my financial house is in order. This is one of my favorite things to do. I often think about using my future retirement years to volunteer with various camping ministries (property maintenance, lawn care, housekeeping, dishwashing, etc.) without requiring payment. I think I would find that rather gratifying.
So, why are you building what you’re building? Which aspect of freedom and flexibility would serve you best at this season of your life? How would you rank them if I asked you to elaborate on your order of importance?
One more thing… If you’re looking to figure out a path that can help you achieve time, location, and financial freedom, I can help you. Visit PlatformLaunchers.com and poke around the site. At this point, you’ll find more resources that you’ll know what to do with. Please use them, share them, and begin building a message-based online platform that helps you achieve your freedom and flexibility goals.
© John Stange, 2023
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