Today, starting a business on a shoestring from the kitchen table is much easier than it was 30 years ago (and even as little as five years ago). If you're looking for a way to make a healthy side income or completely replace your current income stream, I can't imagine anything that carries such low risk and such little investment as an online business. And, once you get up and running, you can even manage things from your smartphone without being tied to the office—or kitchen table—at all.
It was thanks to a health scare in 2009 that I finally took the big step to becoming my own boss. For 25 years, I had worked as a magazine publishing executive for companies like Forbes, Times Mirror Magazine, and Crain's New York Business. Even though I loved my career, even though it was fulfilling and I was successful, it was still a job, and I still didn't control my own time.
Six months ago, Lester Herrera, 31, was unemployed in the San Francisco Bay area...a victim of "down-sizing", despite having a business degree from USC. He had been laid off from a non-profit organization where he worked as a career counselor. After several attempts at finding another job, he decided to retire early...to Spain.
People ask me all the time if making money from a kitchen table anywhere in the world is really possible. The answer is yes. The only thing you need to buy and sell online is an Internet connection. Right now, I'm writing to you from a remote island 25 miles off the coast of Maine thanks to an Internet connection. People are making money almost anywhere from a kitchen table! How do they do it?
"One of the best things about living in Spain is the simplicity," says Fiona Lennol. "Less is expected of you. You're not required to have a fancy car or a big house. You can be yourself and just enjoy life. When you wake in the morning to blue skies and sunshine the day is already good.
My second cup of coffee is half gone as I fill in the last square of the Sudoku. The LA Times crossword has already been vanquished. Now it's time for Eduardo, my first student of the day, to join me. He's a few minutes late (as usual). But I don't mind. When you teach English online to students via Skype, everything is easier.
Moving abroad is a great way to make a fixed income go as far as possible. When you’re living someplace where the weather is warm... utilities are cheap... taxes are low... and medical care is affordable... you can transform a pension or Social Security payment (that in the States would be barely enough to scrape by on) into a comfortable monthly income with cash to spare.
As I tapped away at my battered laptop that morning, sitting outside my beach hut, it came to me that I was living the dream. This was it—and I was doing it! I was living the freelance lifestyle. It was so perfect it was almost a cliché: I had just been for a long walk on the beach, followed by a breakfast of fresh fruit, yogurt,
Lee's biggest business is advising people how to build eco-friendly homes out of shipping containers, throwing in alternative-energy systems, like solar panels, if they’re interested. He’s also the go-to guy in San Juan when expats and business owners have computer trouble. And he helps fellow expats transition to life in Nicaragua...
During my 25 years in magazine publishing I have seen how this business has changed with the onset of technology. Print is rapidly demising and readers are switching to desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. You're doing it yourself...right now...reading this e-letter, electronically.