Corbett Barr

Lifestyle Business Weekly

Free Pursuits is One Year Old! What Do We Want Next?

Free Pursuits is one year old this week!

This was my first blog, and starting it has really changed my life.

I’d like to take a minute to look back on what’s happened here over the past year, and what might be in store for the next year.

My question for you is: what do you want from Free Pursuits over the next year?

I’ll try to weave in some links to my favorite older posts here as well to show how the blog has evolved.

A Little Background

When I started this blog, I was about two months into the first real extended break I had ever taken from work and school. We came to Mexico on a sabbatical and I was shocked to find so many non-rich / non-retired people living down here for months at a time every year.

I figured there were many other people like me who were completely oblivious to this type of unconventional lifestyle. So, I started the blog on a whim and initially thought it would be about flexible careers and work-life balance. The truth is that most people we meet on the road actually have offline jobs that they’re able to take extended time away from on a regular basis.

The only problem was, I’m not really an “offline” job kinda guy. I’ve been working with technology since I first started working in college and really love building websites and audiences. For me, the ultimate lifestyle involves being able to work from anywhere. You know, location independence or being a digital nomad.

Luckily, at some point shortly after starting this blog, I read the 4-hour Workweek and started writing about lifestyle design. That book has helped me meet so many awesome people over the last year.

I’m really glad that Tim Ferriss has been so successful with the book. For all of the criticism that is laid on it, at least it has helped bring so many people together in pursuit of a common goal.

By the Numbers

Just a couple of weeks ago, we crossed over the 2,000 subscriber mark for the blog. I’m really pleased about that. Over the past year more than 200,000 unique visitors have stopped by at some point.

I didn’t start the blog with any specific goals (or blogging experience), but feel like I’ve exceeded whatever goals I might have had, with the exception of earning much income from the blog. I do make some affiliate sales through the blog, but haven’t directly sold any products yet. I hope to remedy that shortly.

A quick note on acheiving a lifestyle design by blogging about lifestyle design. To date (as far as I know), there are really just two people (Ferriss and Guillebeau) who earn a full-time living from the lifestyle design niche.

If you’re thinking about earning a living online (especially blogging), keep in mind that writing about lifestyle design (or location independence, digital nomadry, etc.) is a labor of love for most. If income is your goal (not that it has to be), you would probably be better off focusing on other topics. But I digress.

So, What’s Next For Me and Free Pursuits?

Looking ahead, I have plans for the blog which include developing a couple of products that will help you get closer to realizing your own ideal lifestyle designs. One of the products is applicable to all types of unconventional lifestyles, and the other is more specifically about earning your first dollar online.

Funny thing is, I still struggle almost daily with defining what this blog is all about and what I want from it. Has anyone noticed how often I change the tagline (how do you like today’s)? Yeah, I’m a little indecisive about this project for some reason.

Maybe I should act confident and sure about my plans for Free Pursuits, but we’ve always had a transparent dialogue here. The truth is I’m not really sure.

I continually sway between keeping the theme broad and writing about lifestyle design in all its phases and incarnations versus making it more specifically about earning a living online or location independent entrepreneurship.

I started Free Pursuits to explore my own dreams and passions and to connect with like-minded people. That I have accomplished and I love all the conversations that happen here.

Going forward, I haven’t decided on any big changes yet. Here is where I would love to hear from you.

What do you want from Free Pursuits over the next year? More of the same? More about earning a living? More about travel and adventure? More about people who make location independence possible with offline jobs? A combination of all the above?

I’m open to suggestion, and I know you’ll provide me with some. Thanks for reading, commenting and being friends over the past year.

Here’s to following our dreams together.


P.S. I wrote a guest post for Matt Chevy at Life Without Pants yesterday as a call to action for Gen Y. Check it out and let me know what you think.

photo by Theresa Thompson

Corbett Barr

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  1. As someone who visits the 4HWW forum from time to time it seems the step that people struggle with most is figuring out how to earn an income – online or offline – which requires minimal time to run, enabling them to free up time to do other things. Perhaps you could start a series offering advice on potential business models or interview other bloggers who are succeeding with them. Speak to a few affiliates, a few ebook sellers, a few freelancers etc. Might be both intructive and inspirational.

    • Great suggestions, Richard. Thanks very much. I agree, earning an income to support your desired lifestyle is probably the biggest issue. Although it’s hard to provide generalized advice on the topic of much value. Maybe I should dive into income-generating techniques in different areas as separate projects.

  2. I’m a relatively new reader, so I’m still discovering new things on your blog. What I find most appealing about it is how down-to-earth it is; how smart and measured your perspective on LD is. There are a lot of snake oil salesman in LD, so it’s nice to see a really practical discussion of it for “everyman”.

    Not everyone wants to move to Mexico (or another country); some are quite content staying in their home country. Sometimes people want to be free to pursue time at the park with their daughter, not just travel to Argentina. I’m an aspiring LIP with a wife and a baby. I love travel, but I want to spend 80% of my time in the U.S. where I have access to friends and family. So I think, in terms of continuing the practical “down to earth” theme, it might be worthwhile to hear about people who are finding ways to free themselves to live an everyday life. Like “The Millionaire Next Door”, but instead, “The LIP Next Door”.

    That could include talking about how they live in an inexpensive town outside a metro area while telecommuting to work. Or running a small business.

    Not that you should stop talking about travel, or people who do take advantage of less expensive locales; just that you should continue helping the average person, with little interest in a glamor lifestyle, develop an LI lifestyle.

    • Great perspective, Brandon. Thanks! As I’ve mentioned before, my wife and I also prefer to spend 6-9 months in the U.S. as well because it’s good for her work as an artist and because of friends we have there.

      I think a lot of the “glamor” lifestyle talk is really just hype. Most people living location independent lifestyles are, as you said regular people and not rockstars. Myself included.

  3. For me, I’m really interested in people’s background stories. I think a series of interviews with people living the indepedent lifestyle would be very beneficial and interesting. I.E. what are their sources of income, how much money do they make that allows them to live the lifestyle they live, what was the turning point for them, how did they start out (the beginning of any journey is always the hardest…most of us need a tremendous amount of energy/advice/mentorship to get started)?

    I think tutorials would also be interesting especially about earning a living online. Everybody always discusses the basics, but nobody blogs about the details (this is where people like me get hung up and feel like there is no one to ask for help). I.E. a step by step guide (and I mean hold you by the hand, step-by-step) on something simple like: use affiliate sales to earn $300 per month (or something similar), just so we know, not only the birds eye view of the project, but also the nitty gritty details.

    These are just my 2 cents. Hope they help. Even if you keep writing the posts you’ve been writing, that’s fine too. That’s why I subscribed : )

    • Great questions for the interview series, Richard. I’m definitely working on that project, but not totally sure about timing yet. Thanks for the feedback!

  4. Congratulations! I think blogging about LD is a lot like LD. You start out with a goal and just keep refining it as you go, sometimes changing your mind, but always with the goal of living the life that is most authentic and desirable for you. So if that is the criteria, you are on track!

    Richard and Brandon are thinking the same way as me. I love hearing about what other people are doing and how they are doing it. Sometimes we don’t realize something is possible until we see someone else living it. It is the starts I’m especially interested in – first steps from people living their own versions of happily ever after.

    • Thanks, Betsy! Yeah, it’s crazy to think back to just a little over a year ago and how little I knew about unconventional lifestyles and location independence. Meeting and hearing about people doing different things has been a big help, for sure.

  5. Hey Corbett – thanks for the transparency with this post. It’s something I have always valued here at Free Pursuits. What interests me the most is, similar to Richard Riley, specific income generating projects and how they work. It can be affiliate sales, but also more unique sites like Morning Spanish. What are the nuts and bolts of how you set that up? And how automated is it?

    These kinds of examples are more rare in the LD blogosphere. Additionally, many income-generators that re discussed are what I would refer to as projects (very small scale, e-books, affiliate sales). What about “businesses” – large scale sites that aren’t based on selling information products or affiliate sales. The details are what make posts the most interesting.

    I hope this helps!

    • Thanks for the list of ideas, Jason. And I agree about the lack of information about larger scale projects. That may be because many LDers aren’t interested in building big businesses. Smaller projects are more manageable and easier to step away from when traveling.

  6. Oh, I would love more travel and adventure! Travel is probably my most passionate topic at this point in my life (funny because I hardly write about it on my own blog). I like the lifestyle design posts — the how, the why, the who, the where. And, I’d also like more of location independence with offline jobs, which is what would apply to me.

    I’ve really enjoyed your blog so far, and I’m looking forward to another year! Congrats on your successes so far.

  7. Hey Corbett,

    I do the EXACT same thing with my blog. Constantly changing what it is about. I am still not sure what it is about. Things work itself out though all the time.

    All I am looking for from Free Pursuits is some more great content and am definitely interested in any products you might put on the market.

    Keep up the great work and let me know if I can help with anything.

    • Hey Tanner, it’s good to know I’m not crazy (or maybe that just means both of us are a little).

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