Can you live from your laptop?
Back in 1992 I was living in San Diego working on the TV coverage of The America’s Cup yacht race. Life was good, I was working hard and playing hard. I was also watching a bunch of MTV, long sessions of Beavis and Butthead along with a new show called “The Real World”. For those of you who don’t remember, “The Real World” was the first show of a new TV genre called reality TV. Now it seems hard to imagine there was a time when we didn’t have wall to wall reality TV in our lives. The premise of this show was a bunch of young adults living in a flash apartment which, for some reason, always seemed to have a flash fish tank. Hilarity ensued as the housemates fought, loved and did all the stuff young adults do.
Fast forward a year or two and I’m sitting in my basement hooked up to an IBM computer with less memory than a goldfish and slower than a snail on a slow day. This computer was attached to a dial up connection and couldn’t do much but, as a TV Producer, it got me thinking. How about a show where you put people in an apartment with a desktop computer and the internet? They then have to try and live their life without leaving the apartment. They would have to order food, do a job and do every other everyday thing from their computer. People laughed, how will this even be possible let alone interesting? How will they get food, pay their bills or work?
I binned the idea. I’m not saying it would of been a good show, it probably wouldn’t have been. The point is that people now live like this; it is possible to live and work using nothing but a laptop and an internet connection. Hell, most of us pay our bills on-line, order groceries, pay for insurance, and when did you last go into a bank? The final great leap is work, how do you work from your laptop at the beach, a cafe or the front room of your house?
I’m going to point you in the direction of some websites that might change your view on the possibilities around how you work and where you work from. First up, Alibaba.com. Go to Alibaba and just have a look around, then search for something that interests you and check the price. Next have a look at Shopify.com. Shopify is all you need to set up your own online store.
So let’s say you found, I don’t know, hair extensions. You buy in bulk and sell through your store at a profit. Of course it’s not quite that easy, somewhere in the chain you need to add value. You need to give people a reason to buy from you.
Luxyhair.com is a great example of a real business making real money, actually it’s making a whole lot of money. If you want to hear the story behind them and how they add value, have a listen to this podcast with James Altucher 7 Figures A Year On You Tube
Now, you don’t have to take my word for the fact that this is possible. There are some great sites that interview people who are doing just this. Tropicalmba.com or Travellikeaboss.com are just two of many. One of the things we’re going to do at Imageneralist.com is try some of these things out. Little experiments to see what works, what doesn’t, and we’ll report on it as we go along. Hopefully our curiosity will lead us to not just a plan B, but a plan B,C and D. The hope for this site has always been for it to be a vehicle for like-minded Generalists to explore the opportunities that now exist in what James Althucher calls “the idea economy”. As more and more jobs are being outsourced or replaced by technology, the one thing they can’t take is your ideas and – with the gatekeepers disappearing – now more than ever is the time to start executing YOUR ideas.
So back to “The Real World”, in the real world you really can live and make a living from your laptop. Maybe I should make the show after all.