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The Unconventional Guide to Sleeping in the Dallas Airport

sleeping-in-DFW-airport

Today’s (short) update comes to you live from DFW, also known as the Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport. Last night I slept on the floor here after flying in from Seattle prior to a 6am connection this morning.

There’s not a whole lot to say about sleeping on the airport floor, at least in Dallas. Anyway, it’s over, and now I’m flying to Miami and beyond. At the moment I’m posting this, it’s 5:12 a.m. local time, and we’re boarding in 10 minutes. Eventually I’ll get to Cairo and tell you all about that.

But first, I have an important question for you.

In early October, I’m going to launch the next Unconventional Guide. It won’t actually be about sleeping on the floor of the airport – as mentioned, that would be a pretty short guide – but instead, it will be all about money and freedom.

Specifically, I’m writing an extended series of strategies and tactics about Earning Money Without a Job. So far I’m up to 45 pages, so I need to wrap it up soon… but I’m also going to include a series of audio teachings to complement the written materials.

Over the next week I’ll be outlining those audio segments, and I thought I’d ask you this important question:

What do you want to know about earning money without a job?

On any given day, we have a broad readership over here. Some people are already successful entrepreneurs, some people are in the process of starting something for themselves, and others aren’t really interested in that at all.

But for all those differences, a key similarity is that most people, at least those who have sent feedback somewhere along the way, are interested in freedom. For me, having the freedom to set my own schedule and focus on the things I enjoy is by far the greatest benefit of working on my own. As any self-employed person can attest, it’s not always easy, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s always worth it.

I’ll tell you more about the guide in a couple weeks, but one thing I want to make clear is that creating a small, online business is not especially difficult. There are a lot of people doing this who aren’t necessarily smarter than any of the rest of us.

HOWEVER…

It does require a fair amount of work. If there is a 10-minute secret to wealth creation, I haven’t discovered it yet. I know this project won’t be for everyone, but I do want everyone to know that creating a life of freedom is not an instant process.

***

If you’d like to contribute, please let me know any or all of the following:

1) Do you have any specific questions about starting an online business?

2) If you currently work at a “real job,” what is confusing to you about people who work for themselves?

3) If you currently work for yourself (in some form or fashion), what were the biggest challenges to getting your cash flow going?

Finally, if you think of anything else that is relevant, send that along too.

***

You can comment below and I’ll consider using your question or general feedback in the audio materials. RSS and Newsletter folks, that means you have to click through to the site.

(Note that I’m traveling today, so if comments aren’t posted right away, that’s why. They should be up within 24 hours.)

Alternatively, if you don’t want to comment on the site (less than 1% of readers do, but everyone is welcome), then write me from the contact form.

OK, I’m out of time – AA 925 is boarding right now. See you on Friday.

###

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24 Comments

  • Dave says:

    Hi Chris,

    Not sure I’m answering any of your specific questions, but giving simply input as you requested.

    Your guide sounds fascinating. Two things I would like to see would be:

    1) Segmenting the guide into making a little money, making moderate money, and making a lot of money “without a job”. Seems to me different people would have different goals, and I’m guessing you have different strategies to meet all those aspiration levels.

    2) Looks like the guide will be exclusively on making money online. If that’s the focus fine. However, I know there are tons of ways to make some money here and there as you travel – whether it’s itenerant labor picking olives, or something more substantial. I don’t mean to expand your guide, but I think that might be of interest to many of your readers. Heck, maybe it’s your next guide. I have an old book on my bookshelf I bought years ago that’s something like “How to make money while travelling the world”.

    Anyway – enjoy the blog and keep having fun!

  • Actually….

    I once got bumped off the last flight to Longview Texas from DFW. It was a 30 seater and was overweight – I was on standby, so … bump.

    Except that there wasn’t another flight and I was a student, with no money for hotels etc. So I literally had to spend the night in DFW.

    It was summer and those familiar with Dallas will know it is far too hot to sleep outside. Inside there were several problems:

    – Aircon was too cold, and I didn’t have any luggage, so no sweaters, just the jeans and t-shirt I had on.
    – The seats all have armrests so one cannot lie across them.
    – The floor is hard!

    So eventually I found the correct solution was to get on the little train that goes between terminal buildings. It has long, soft cushions and an air-conditioner that half-works, Perfect.

    Woken by the cleaners arriving for work at 6am. Again .. Perfect.

    Got on the next flight and all was well.

    I know your post wasn’t really about this, but in case anyone want’s to know, that is the best spot to sleep in DFW.

    Malcolm

  • Drasko says:

    Hi Chris,

    I am actualy a recent grad so my question might pertain more to that particular audience but you never know. Basically I’ve worked the corp angle while still in school through various internships and have currently continued to pay off debts. I want the freedom you talk about but arent sure how to pursue it.

    So my question is, how do you start?

    How do you find the direction you should pursue with an online business or freelancing? I dont mind working after work so to say, on projects that can grow to a full time income in the future, but it seems my skillset doesnt lie in the ways people make money online (ie. web design, copy writing, adwords campaigns, seo etc).

    You started down this path right off the bat and was it just due to networking and doing whatever job got thrown your way and then building on that? Did you educate yourself first (say in adwords) and then market yourself afterwards?

    I think what im looking for is basically a mindset or startegy for starting in the general direction of entreprenuership. Again I appologize for the vaguness but I think thats an indication of the problem itself. Thanks again and looking forward to the ebook!

  • Hi Chris,

    Our “unconventional” story about retiring before age 35 is told on our website. (My name should be linked directly to our “personal finance category” where you’ll find the relevant posts.)

    Maybe some of our thoughts as we went through an unconventional life shift will serve a similar function as the questions from people who haven’t “crossed over” to a life without a job.

    We really need to update as we’ve not only now retired, but also started earning most of our money through traveling. It’s pretty exciting, and I think a new blog post is in order soon.

    Cheers,
    Sarah.

  • Graham says:

    One thing I appreciate in any writing about making money is an honest reporting of the risks, pitfalls, and challenges.

    Being encouraged and inspired to aim high is necessary and great. We can all do with motivation and advice. However, knowledge of the obstacles provides a valuable reality check which can help us overcome them, and avoid unrealistic expectations.

    Eg, learning that it’s possible to get rich by blogging is fine, but I need to know it would take a huge amount of effort and time before I could hope to work from home in my pyjamas for 4 hours per week!

    I’ve no doubt you’ll be honest and realistic with what you write (and I look forward to it) – I just wanted to say how important I think this is.

  • Kathryn says:

    I have website questions, mostly. In on online business the website creates a potential customer’s first impression. What tips do you have to create a successful/inviting site (i.e., what sort of features do you find appeal to viewers)?

    Having never built a site, I don’t know the first thing about creating one; however, I’m sure there are books and boxed progams that address that issue. I’m more curious, once the site is operational, how to get it to rank high on a Google search. In other words, how to attract more traffic.

    Enjoy Cairo.

  • Tara says:

    My big question was (and is?): How do I know when it’s enough? How do I calculate the best time to take the full-on leap? When I have x customers, when I make x/month? I know this is different for every situation, but I got very hung up on this for a few months (I’m just now working through it.

  • Cheryl in Europe says:

    I am on my second stint of self-employment. Here are the biggest challenges I face to ensure a regular cash-flow:

    1. Time Management (yes, that old chestnut).
    Ensure that you allocate regular time slots for marketing, sales, admin (but keep these three to a small percentage of your week) and goofing around (essential to well-being and a key reason why you gave up being a wage slave). The rest of your time is spent on delivery of goods/services to customers.

    2. If you are not in retail, make it clear and explicit to your customers by when(and where) they need to pay you. Have a monthly invoicing date.

    3. Have clear figures for the minimum cashflow you need to cover all your overheads and have some personal income. Review once per quarter.

    4. Allocate a percentage of all income to a high interest account each month and DO NOT TOUCH IT. This is to pay your tax bills. If you do not know what percentage to put aside. See 5.

    5. Learn the basics of book-keeping or find a local book-keeper. You do not need to pay an accountant for any regular complicated work when you are just starting off. This may change rapidly if you start making lots of money. Review the situation each year.

  • ryan says:

    Chris,

    My question pertains to the actual sale of your guides through a site. Accepting credit cards shouldnt be too hard to figure out, but then how do you handle allowing a person to download a file after they pay?

    do you use a third party for that?

    This relates because i have a website idea that will be static but allow download of a file after payment, just havent looked into the logistics yet.

    Thanks,

    Ryan

  • I hope you got more sleep in DFW than I did at a couple of other airports.

    Now if you were sleeping in Frankfurt, the place pictured is not a good spot – very noisy in the middle of the concourse.

  • Chris says:

    Hi everyone, thanks so much for all your detailed feedback. A lot of people have written in by email as well.

    I’ll take a look at this in more detail soon. For now, I’ve just arrived in El Salvador.

    Re: Sleeping in DFW (@Global Traveller, @Malcolm),

    Truth be told, it wasn’t so great. I wasn’t feeling good at all this morning after the experience. But times are tight and it’s part of the process. Thankfully, I don’t think I have any more airport sleepovers on this particular trip.

    I did notice the SkyTrain but didn’t think about sleeping there – the lights are quite bright, and they make loud announcements over and over (“This is the stop for D gates” etc.). I didn’t really find a better option, though, because as Malcolm noted, it is not possible to sleep on any rows of seats there.

    ***

    OK… back to the subject at hand. Please keep your comments and questions coming; they are helpful.

  • Kristian says:

    1) Do most people make money by just having ads on their blog/site? If so, how do you find these advertisers, and more importantly, how do you get site traffic? Are there any risks to using site ads as an income (i.e. you pay every time someone clicks, so if you don’t make enough money from the ads, you end up in the hole)?

    2) I don’t understand how people do it, any single part of it, from where they get their ideas to how to make a website to finding advertisers to figuring out their taxes. In fact, the people I know who are self-employed tend to be purposely vague about what they do, presumably to avoid competition, so I don’t even know what people do.

  • Anca says:

    You should definitely include your own story of how you make a living. This can make the rest of your advice resonate better with the audience.

    Maybe address (or link to already-well-written articles on the subject) the anxiety of abandoning your 9-5 career for something else, the options for straddling both lives, and the ways you can come back to your old career if you need/want to.

    I think it would be interesting if you list some real-life stories/examples of online businesses that Did It Wrong — what *not* to do is as important as what *to* do. (The mismanagement of Livejournal.com is one example I’m familiar with.)

    Solutions to common worries of self-employment: healthcare insurance, 401(k), how to ease your family’s worries/disapproval.

  • Tanga says:

    Chris,

    I’ve always read online about dropshipping. Is this a legitimate way to make money?

    Thanks!

  • Russ says:

    Chris, I think the biggest question for most people is what to actually do as a means to generate income while creating freedom. I think the actual idea is the biggest hurdle, since so many people say “I want to work for myself and control my schedule, but what do I do?”

    After that, I think the next big issues are how to start generating consistent traffic and income provided you have a viable idea. I know many use blogging and e-networking for traffic, and ads for income, however both of these are also big hurdles. How do I get enough traffic? And if expecting ad income, how do I keep it consistent enough?

    Lastly, for those with an idea and the technical know how, the hard part is finding the time to actual put in the leg work to actually create content and generate the traffic. I know from personal experience and as a person currently working a “real job” that once the day is done sometimes my brain is fried and it is hard to concentrate on other outside personal goals. So to answer your second question, I guess the confusing thing for those with “real jobs” is how people have been able to actually jump ship and make that actual transition while remaining above water, so to speak.

    And I agree with Anca above, those other little issues of healthcare, 401K, and maintaining financial responsibility to those who are dependent upon you are big issues for many.

  • Alex says:

    I think that an important part would be about thinking about money and how you go about understanding that relationship. I would think that one key would be financial self-discipline, and how to arrive at that. This would be key for younger people, whose entry into self-sufficiency is just beginning.

    Is it possible for people to do both? I know a number of people who have conventional day jobs, and have self-employed ventures outside of work for various end goals.

  • Matt says:

    Chris,

    I’m a serial entrepreneur and have been for years. I have lots of experiences and insights to share and even have the concept of my future blog, etc on paper. My biggest challenge is the technology of it all. I know nothing of web design, html, etc so I need to put together a site that will literally require my writing and any photos I wish to post. Your thoughts on this topic would be invaluable to myself and I’m sure tons of others out there as well.

    Thanks!

    Matt

  • Seb says:

    Hey chris

    I’ve been pondering the idea of getting my own business going (best to start these things as early as possible that should give me time to learn *read screw it up* before really making it big) however i have no idea how i would go about turning my ideas into useable cashflow and the last thing i want is to wind up getting caught out on something silly like tax or some govornment regulation, so how do i start without getting caught in red tape?

  • Chris,

    I’ve been in business for myself for 15 years. My biggest question and challenge is how to grow the business without it taking over my life. It seems to me that even “passive” forms of income require lots of nurturing and care to produce any real income.

    I assume the key to having a business and still having personal freedom includes looking at automation and delegation, and I would be interested in anything else you’d add to the list.

    Isabel
    http://www.parlancetraining.com

    Isabel

  • Craig says:

    I’d say some example business plans would be a good way to address many of the questions above.

    One of the things I would ask is how to scale businesses; the marketing side of things rather than technical aspects (which will of course vary from business to business). How do you move, in the case of a website, to tens-of-thousand visitors a month? and how to convert them into regular readers? into buyers?

  • Nathan says:

    Hey Chris, somehow I missed this post but it is a topic I am extremely interested in. The challenge I face is focusing my energies on a specific and worthwhile project. I tend to go with the methodology of throwing as much as I can against the wall to see what sticks. Honestly, although it has taught me quite a bit it has not brought me the results I had envisioned.

    I have entrepreneurial ADD lol.

  • eric m. says:

    hi Chris, hmm, interesting post– looking forward to the results.

    I’m not sure this answers any of your questions but it might be an interesting data point… it’s been 9 years now since I’ve worked in a salaried position for someone else and I doubt I could ever have a “real job” again… my life is too varied now; if I went back to a 9-5 I would probably have to quit my swim team, curtail my travel dramatically, get up at a decent hour 🙂 etc. and that just wouldn’t be nearly as much fun as I’m having now.

    however, I’ve noticed one thing recently that makes me long for a real job… the chance to be a part of something really huge. here’s an example that I’m sure you’ll appreciate: when I first played with Virgin America’s in-flight entertainment system, my reaction was “this is cool but I wish I could have been there from the start to help them with the overall user experience.” or when I first went on Soarin’ Over California, Disney’s incredible hang-gliding ride, I thought “wouldn’t it be awesome to be a part of the team responsible for creating all these cool attractions?”

    same thing for the iPhone, Google’s new Chrome browser, etc.– you get the idea. (and while you could make the argument that I can/am changing the world in a different way with my small company, I suppose that’s true, but it’s just not the same.)

    so that’s the biggest complaint I have about being an entrepreneur. I love what I’m doing… but I’ll never play a significant role in the next Amazing World-Changing Thing from Google, Apple, Pixar or Walt Disney Imagineering until I’m ready to go suck it up and get a real job.

    but I’m just not ready to give up my freedom yet. ya know? 🙂

    best,
    Eric

    http://www.flashlightworthybooks.com/
    Flashlight Worthy book recommendations
    “Books so good, they’ll keep you up past your bedtime”

  • Health insurance. How do you get it and afford it. How do other people do the same?

  • Rob says:

    Hello! This is myy 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick
    shout out annd saay I genuinely enjoy reading your posts.
    Can yoou recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that go over thhe same
    topics? Thank you!

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