Category Archives: Lifestyle Freedom

How to create mini-vacations for Little Cost

Traveling can be lots of fun. It allows us to experience new cultures, see new things, and we become more well rounded. Unfortunately, travel can be costly and many of us delay it because it’s just too expensive. Here are some ways to create mini-vacations for very little cost.

Let the Boss Pick up the Tab

If you travel a lot for business, you can create mini-vacations by extending your stay. Let’s say that you have a Wednesday through Friday trip to Washington D.C.  Ask your boss for 1 day off and extend your trip so that you return on Monday night. That way you can spend Saturday – Monday visiting the sites of D.C. By eliminating the airfare, it becomes much more affordable.

Mini Vacations

Use Credit Card Rewards

Most credit cards have a reward program that gives 1 to 2 points for every dollar spent. The Capital One Venture card gives you 2 points back per dollar, so it’s a good choice. You can put everything on this card — groceries, clothes, travel expenses, utility bills, hotel stays, etc. Pay the card off monthly so that you don’t build up a balance and you can use these miles to purchase airline tickets or pay for a hotel.

Mini Vacations

Use Hotels.com

Each time I stay at a hotel, I book it through Hotels.com. For every 10 times I stay in a hotel, I get 1 free night — this is an easy way to pay for lodging on your mini-vacation.

Go Somewhere Near

Many times we don’t explore sites that are in our own backyard. We live in Florida, so by just making a day trip, we can easily visit Atlanta, New Orleans, Mobile, or somewhere else near that has some fun things to do. You can plan a weekend stay, turning that mini-vacation dream into a reality. To find fun things to do in your area, check out the Road Trippers website.

aMemoryJog - Best Password Manager for iPhone

Swap Houses

If you live in a desirable area, consider house swapping. Sites like www.HomeExchange.com allow you to search for a place you wish to visit and swap your house with someone else. It has home swaps with exotic locations like the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa. By swapping homes, the lodging costs are free and you only have to pay for airfare. Many times they will also swap cars so that your transportation is also covered.

Conclusion

I hope this post has inspired you to stop procrastinating with your travel dreams — get out there and travel!

If you have travel tips, please share yours in the comments below.

About this Blog

Steve and his wife built a software company, sold it and retired early. Steve enjoys blogging about lifestyle freedom, financial independence, and technology. If you like this blog, subscribe here to get an email each time he posts.

If you like this post, you might also like these prior posts:

Follow me: Twitter  |  Facebook  |  LinkedIn  |  Subscribe to this Blog

aMemoryJog Web - Best Password Manager

How to take Control of your Future

Ever notice how some people seem to be lucky — good things seem to attach to them like moss to trees. They seem to have great careers, exciting lives, and fulfilling relationships.

Let me let you in on a secret:

How to take control of your future

So let’s say you are not living up to your potential. Let’s say that you are not in a fulfilling career, life or relationship. How do you change your luck? Here’s how to take control of your future.

Educate yourself

A doctor can’t practice medicine without a degree and residency. If you don’t like your career, retool. Go back to school to learn a new craft and work really hard at it. Don’t quit your existing job — educate at night while still earning your day pay. Commit yourself to learning your new craft with an insatiable desire.

Work Harder than Everyone Else

Working hard brings about a lot of luck. Make it your mission to outwork everyone on your team. It doesn’t always mean working longer hours than everyone else, it means working smarter than everyone else. Be organized, learn from mistakes, find ways to make your work style more efficient, and tweak your activities until they produce bigger results.

aMemoryJog Web - Best Password Manager

Make Big Audacious Goals

Make goals, big audacious ones, and see them through. Track your progress and shift gears if the goal becomes elusive. Study others that have accomplished similar goals, introduce yourself and have candid conversations with them as to how they accomplished theirs. Mimic their behavior and activities to meet your goals.

Help Others

As you begin becoming lucky through all this hard and smart work, share your success with others. Help others that have a desire to accomplish something big but just haven’t put together the pieces to make it happen. Be a mentor.

Conclusion

Your future belongs to you. Why not take control of your future and accomplish things you keep putting on the back burner? No more excuses, work hard and smart and get it done. If you would like to share some recent successes, tell us about them in the comments below.

About this Blog

Steve and his wife built a software company, sold it and retired early. Steve enjoys blogging about lifestyle freedom, financial independence, and technology. If you like this blog, subscribe here to get an email each time he posts.

If you like this post, you might also like these prior posts:

Follow me: Twitter  |  Facebook  |  LinkedIn  |  Subscribe to this Blog

aMemoryJog - Best Password Manager for iPhone

Can working from Home make you Happier?

Have you ever tried working from home? Can it make you happier or will it stress you out? I’ve worked from home for many years and I definitely prefer it to going to the office. Here is why.

Less Wasted Time

You probably know people who spend an hour each way commuting each day.

Working from home

By the time you factor in a round trip, it could be 2 hours of wasted time each day. Imagine digging into your work for those 2 hours, you could accomplish a lot more and finish up sooner so that you can head outdoors and do something really fun. Working from home has its advantages.

Fitness can be part of your Day

If you’re an early riser like me, you can get started working while still in your pajamas. After you’ve worked a couple of hours, you can break for a couple of hours and enjoy some exercise. For me, it’s cycling, working out with weights, hiking, walking on the beach, or golfing.

Working from Home Allows Fitness

Once you’ve finished your exercise, you can wash up and spend several hours really heads-down on your work. You’ll come at it with a renewed state of mind. Working from home will undoubtedly be more productive.

Eliminating Time Draining Meetings

When you work in an office environment, it leads to lots of unnecessary meetings. By working from home, you can close the door, shut down your email, and work with a purpose.

Working from Home eliminates meetings

I find that I accomplish lots more when working at home than in the office because I am not constantly interrupted. When I do have virtual meetings, I limit them to 1 hour and I ensure we have clear objectives for the meeting and assignments once we leave.

Scheduling House Hold Appointments

Sometimes you need to be at home for an appointment. Whether it be meeting the cable person, waiting for a package to arrive or something similar, working from home gives you the freedom to schedule those types of appointments.

Working from Home Meet Others

If I get pulled away from my work during these appointments, I can work later that night if I need to make the time up. It provides a lot of flexibility.

Conclusion

Working at home can be a big improvement over working in an office. You will be more productive, more flexible, and happier. If you’ve worked at home before, please share your story in the comments below.

aMemoryJog Web - Best Password Manager

About this Blog

Steve and his wife built a software company, sold it and retired early. Steve enjoys blogging about lifestyle freedom, financial independence, and technology. If you like this blog, subscribe here to get an email each time he posts.

If you like this post, you might also like these prior posts:

aMemoryJog - Best Password Manager for iPhone

Follow me: Twitter  |  Facebook  |  LinkedIn  |  Subscribe to this Blog

How to Accomplish More (Dream Big Baby!)

Throughout the years, I’ve met lots of people who dream big. Here are some common dreams I hear:

  • I am wrapped up in a career I hate, I would just love to [job they would love to have]
  • I have a great idea for a product, I bet it will do really great
  • I would love to retire early and travel
  • It would be great to save a million dollars and only work on things I’m passionate about
  • If only I could become a scratch golfer [or similar sports-related goals]
  • I want to work for myself and plan out my own day

I’ve met lots of people who set these types of goals. Some make them happen and some don’t. Meet an interesting couple that made their dreams come true:

Dream Big: Bob and Robin Charlton

Bob and Robin Charlton were in their late 20’s, in debt and working in jobs that no longer excited them. They had a dream to travel more. But how could they do it? They had an epiphany. They decided that if their dream was to come true, they had to put a plan in place to make it happen. Here’s how they did it:

  1. They dared to dream big: Retire within 15 years
  2. They set goals for accomplishing the dream
  3. Robin retooled her skills so that she could get a better paying job
  4. They attacked their debt and built an emergency fund
  5. They invested every extra cent into index fund investments
  6. They reduced their expenses and rented out part of their home to bring in additional income

Fast forward 15 years later, Bob and Robin retired at age 43. Now they travel to exotic locations– for many months at a time. They are still very frugal and live on 4% per year of their investments — a safe withdrawal rate that will last them the rest of their lives without the need to work again. Dream big, it pays off!

Bob wrote a book entitled “How to Retire Early” that tells their story in detail– it is very inspirational. If you want to see their travels, check out their website.

aMemoryJog - Best Password Manager for iPhone

Dreaming Big Without Committed Goals

I could mention another 5 or so people I’ve known over the years that have shared their dream with me and I’ve seen them convert that dream to reality. However, I could tell you about another 50 or so people who have shared their dream but never saw it through. Here’s why:

  • It must be a shared dream. If you’re married, your family must buy into it or it will not work.
  • Dreaming is not enough, you also need goals. You must have a plan for making it happen. You have to set “dream big” goals and create a list of tasks you do every day that supports that goal.
  • You have to analyze everything. Once you begin working on daily tasks that support your goal, you will find that some things work and some don’t. You must build in the time to analyze everything you do and adjust until you find the right formula for what works.
  • Conquering big dreams takes a lot of work.  If it were easy, everyone would do it. It’s very hard and time intensive to your reach your goals, so be prepared to sacrifice to achieve it.

Conclusion

I hope this post has inspired you to dream big and to figure out what goals you must put into place to make them a reality. If you’re working towards a “dream big” goal (or have already accomplished one), please share your story in the comments below.

About this Blog

Steve and his wife built a software company, sold it and retired early. Steve enjoys blogging about lifestyle freedom, financial independence, and technology. If you like this blog, subscribe here to get an email each time he posts.

If you like this post, you might also like these prior posts:

Follow me: Twitter  |  Facebook  |  LinkedIn  |  Subscribe to this Blog

3 Favorite Travel Blogs of the Week

I hope you had a great week. Since the weather’s turning colder, I thought it would be a good time to share some travel blogs, these are my favorites from this week. I hope you enjoy it, have a great weekend!

The Gorgeous McWay Falls of Big Sur in California

We visited Bir Sur, California a few years ago, but this blogger really captured the beauty of the rugged cliffs and incredible seas.  Read the full article

Travel Blogs: McWay Falls Big Sur California

Planning a Trip? Organize Your Documents!

Travel Blogs - Organize Your Documents

If you’re planning a trip out of the country, it’s wise to think about the types of documents you’ll need handy (passports, etc.). This blog talks about the documents you will need and how to safeguard them. Read the full article

Thailand’s 10 Most Beautiful Beaches

I’ve always wanted to visit Thailand, it is still on my bucket list. This week I found an article that provides a slideshow of the 10 most beautiful beaches there (#5 was my favorite).  Read the full article

Travel Blogs - Railey Bay Thailand

About this Blog

Steve and his wife built a software company, sold it and retired early. Steve enjoys blogging about lifestyle freedom, financial independence, and technology. If you like this blog, subscribe here to get an email each time he posts.

aMemoryJog - Best Password Manager for iPhone

If you like this post, you might also like these prior posts:

Follow me: Twitter  |  Facebook  |  LinkedIn  |  Subscribe to this Blog

Dont Worry Be Happy

Don’t Worry Be Happy

How many times have you worried about things that never came to pass? I call these ghost worries and I’ve had my share in the past. As the Bobby McFerrin song goes “Don’t Worry Be Happy“. I have to admit, I enjoy being positive and happy. It’s much better than the alternative. Here’s how I approach it.

Be Happy Free Your Mind

Be Happy: Free Your Mind

We all get worked up about things in life. Our job is a big contributor. We think about all of the things that can go wrong with customers, peers, and management. If you are running your own business, you are probably worrying about revenue, paying your employees, the next sale, and your exit strategy.

When we built our business, I had a laundry list of things I regularly worried about that never came true. If only I would have had the fortitude to put those thoughts to the back of my mind, it would have saved a lot of strife. Fast forward 16 years after I started my business, I realize how unfounded that worry was. I am happy, it all worked out OK.

aMemoryJog - Best Password Manager for iPhone

Since then, I’ve learned to free my mind of worry. If worry begins to bottle up, here is how I address it:

  • Find a quiet spot and sit with my eyes closed
  • Focus on removing all negative thoughts, be mindful of happy thoughts
  • Stay still for 10 minutes practicing removing the negative thoughts

Be happy by hanging out with positive people

Be Happy: Hang Out with Positive People

People can bring drama into your life or they can be incredibly encouraging. Why deal with drama? Life’s too short. So how do you find people that are positive and happy? Start by being positive yourself. Here’s how:

  • When you see people, give them a smile and say hello
  • Do something special for someone without expecting anything in return
  • Listen intently when talking with friends, put your phone away
  • Provide advice when asked and be supportive
  • Be truly happy for your friends when great things happen in their life

You’ll find that the more positive energy you emit, the more that is returned to you. Before long, you will be attracting only positive people, so the negative people will simply fall by the wayside.

Be Happy and dont worry about things outside of your control

Don’t Worry About Things Outside of Your Control

We all have spears of control. For example, I can control my health by not smoking, exercising, and eating healthy. However, some things are totally outside of my control. For example, I can’t control taxes, how a particular senator votes or how a specific person feels about me (in fact, it’s really none of my business how someone else thinks of me, it’s their own personal thought that belongs only to them).

For things I can’t control, I don’t spend time worrying about them. Complaining to my neighbor or friend about taxes, the government or a rumor I heard about someone is a waste of time. I can’t change it, therefore, I’m not going to spend energy worrying about it.

Instead, I spend my time focusing on things I can control: my health, being happy, my financial situation, and my relationships. Those are things that deserve my attention.

Tell Me About Your Experiences

Drop me a comment to let me know how you’ve focused on being happy and becoming worry free. What tips have you find that worked well? How has it affected your life?

About this Blog

Steve and his wife built a software company, sold it and retired early. Steve enjoys blogging about lifestyle freedom, financial independence and technology. If you like this blog, subscribe here to get an email each time he posts.

If you like this post, you might also like these prior posts:

Follow me: Twitter  |  Facebook  |  LinkedIn  |  Subscribe to this Blog

 

 

Wanderlust began 26 Years ago

If you look up Wanderlust in the dictionary, it is defined as: “a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.

Our First Taste of Wanderlust

It was 26 years ago in 1989 and I was working as a software engineer at Perot Systems (now Dell). My wife, Lynn, had an incredible job at ABC News, working as a financial analyst for their news division.

This was before Ross Perot ran for president, he was building his next computer company after selling EDS for $2.5 billion and I was working on his first major account. We worked like crazy, normally 16 to 18 hours a day trying to ensure Ross’s first account was successful.

It was almost Christmas and Lynn and I were burned out. We decided to book our first trip out of the country, to Jamaica. We chose Sandals in Ocho Rios because it was relatively inexpensive and an all-inclusive resort.

Wanderlust in Sandals Resort Ocho Rios

This was our first taste of the tropics. I grew up on a farm in Georgia and Lynn in Detroit. Both of us were from hard working middle class families, so we never experienced international travel as kids. We were in our late 20’s and this trip planted the seeds for of our love of travel.

Wanderlust - Sailing on a catamaran

Neither of us had ever sailed before either. We booked an excursion for an evening sail with rum punch flowing and reggae blaring.

Dancing to Raggae

During the day, we would hang out at the pool, play volleyball, enjoy water sports and take advantage of unlimited cocktails.

Ocho Rios Sandals pool

We would also take excursions (like our trip to Dunn’s River Falls). Check out the huge video camera the guy was holding. Hey, it was still the 80’s!

Wanderlust in Ocho Rios - Dunn's River Falls

At night, we would watch the locals put on a show.

Fire Dancers in Ocho Rios

Although we didn’t know it then, this was the beginning of our wanderlust. Since then, we have traveled to 22 countries and that number grows each year. We love learning about different cultures, seeing new things, and embracing new experiences.

That’s what lifestyle freedom is all about.

Have you ever experienced wanderlust? Leave a comment to let me know!

About this Blog

Steve and his wife built a software company, sold it and retired early. Steve enjoys blogging about lifestyle freedom, financial independence and technology. If you like this blog, subscribe here to get an email each time he posts.

If you like this post, you might also like these prior posts:

Follow me: Twitter  |  Facebook  |  LinkedIn  |  Subscribe to this Blog

aMemoryJog - Best Password Manager for iPhone

I sold my Business 6 Years ago Today

Today marks the 6 year anniversary of selling my business and reaching financial independence.  We closed the deal on September 11, 2009, I was nervous about closing on September 11 because of the 2001 World Trade Center disaster but decided that this could be positive. A new way of remembering 9/11.

Celebrating the selling of the business

Leading up to the sell was a bit unnerving. Even though I built the business with the end in mind, I still felt like I was selling my baby. Should I keep it a few more years and continue to grow it? What happens if a larger competitor comes along and squashes us?

These are the kind of emotions you feel when you are approached about selling your business. You feel a pain in your gut, a nagging voice in the back of your head saying “Am I making the right decision?”  “What will I do with my days?”,

Fast Forward 6 Years after I sold my Business

Reflecting back, I had fears about selling.

Will my Product Continue to Grow?

It has grown much faster than if I had not sold it. The acquiring company has more resources to commit to it and has done a great job increasing the market share.

aMemoryJog - Best Password Manager for iPhone

Will my Employees Thrive once I Leave?

Only one of my original employees currently work for the acquiring company. If I had foreseen that when I was contemplating selling, I would have freaked out. However, that actually worked out to be positive. Each former employee has an even better job, making more money and with more responsibility. So it was just a natural progression of their career path.

Will I Get Bored Being Retired?

I thought I would really miss being in the corporate world but the reverse is true. I love being able to craft my day the way I wish. I can exercise in the middle of the day, golf when it’s less crowded and volunteer when I feel inspired.

I can also work on projects that really inspire me without the need for a steady paycheck. I’m now developing mobile apps in my spare time and blogging a lot. My wife and I also travel a lot. I’m not bored at all.

Conclusion

If you’re an entrepreneur that has built a business than can provide financial independence and are faced with a decision to sell, believe me, it works out just fine!

About this Blog

Steve and his wife built a software company, sold it and retired early. Steve enjoys blogging about lifestyle freedom, financial independence and technology. If you like this blog, subscribe here to get an email each time he posts.

If you like this post, you might also like these prior posts:

Follow me: Twitter  |  Facebook  |  LinkedIn  |  Subscribe to this Blog

 

#ArticleOfTheDay: It’s Winter, Get Out and Enjoy It!

It’s easy to get complacent and sit around when it gets cold outside. With the added poundage that comes with overeating during the holidays, sitting around is not the best option when you can easily get out and go for a bike ride or a walk.

Walking in the Snow

Written by Mr. Money Mustache, today’s article is an inspiring article that just might motivate you to put on your coat and gloves and trek out into the cold.

Without further ado, here is the full article:  http://bit.ly/1HwPYct


This Article Was Brought to You by 2HourAppreneur

This article was brought to you by 2HourAppreneur makers of the aMemoryJog Password Manager app.

aMemoryJog: Best Password Manager

Every few days, 2HourAppreneur publishes an article that we think is cool, thought-provoking, motivational, or makes life more fun and a bit easier. If you would like to receive these articles in your email every few days, sign up below.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

If you prefer to check Facebook for the blog postings without getting an email, you can LIKE my Facebook page here and the posts can be seen from there or follow me on twitter.

#ArticleOfTheDay: This Is Why You Don’t Have a Mentor

MentorshipI’ve had a few great mentors in my past and hopefully I have a few people that would consider me as their mentor.

Written by Ryan Holiday, today’s article of the day discusses how to become and receive mentorship from others. Ryan explains that “Mentorship, like all relationships, is a process, not an accomplishment.”

Without further ado, here is the full article:  http://bit.ly/1zxSDBZ


This Article Was Brought to You by 2HourAppreneur

This article was brought to you by 2HourAppreneur makers of the aMemoryJog Password Manager app.

aMemoryJog: Best Password Manager

Every few days, 2HourAppreneur publishes an article that we think is cool, thought-provoking, motivational, or makes life more fun and a bit easier. If you would like to receive these articles in your email every few days, sign up below.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

If you prefer to check Facebook for the blog postings without getting an email, you can LIKE my Facebook page here and the posts can be seen from there or follow me on twitter.