EARNING A LIVING ON YOUR OWN TERMS: See How I Built My Online Work Situation & How You Can, Too

If you’ve been thinking that it would be great to earn a living online, free from commutes, office politics and co-workers you’d rather not spend the majority of your life with, I have a story to tell and hope to offer. A lot of hope, in fact. If you’re serious about getting away from a standard, 9-to-5 job, and you want a work life that offers a lot more freedom (and possibly more money), then keep reading this article right to the end. I have some true stories to share and a free invitation to extend to you.

I began earning a living online in 1988, when no one ever heard of such a thing. By 1998 I was supporting my stay-at-home wife and three kids (eventually five kids) exclusively with online work that I love, all from the end of the quiet, dead-end Bailey Line Road where we live on a rural island in Canada. I can’t wait to get to my work each morning, and what I do is completely immune to lockdowns, vaxx mandates, commuting, troublesome bosses,  lazy workmates and all the other things that can make traditional work lives miserable. I’m also free to set my own work schedule, I can work from anywhere in the world (though I rarely travel), and my earnings are in direct proportion to my effectiveness. My oldest son, Robert (31), is a married man and father now and he supports his family the same way I do. He watched me while growing up and I’ve coached him on how to make the earn-online lifestyle succeed. Working remotely online gave Robert the time he needed to build his own small mortgage-free house, he eats three meals a day with his family, and he’s always around to be an active father to Lily and helper for his wife Edyta. That’s them sitting on the porch of the forest cabin where they live 500 yards from my house.

My oldest son, Robert, and daughter-in-law, Edyta. Their household is supported by the online work Robert does following the coaching I’ve given him over the years, both directly and by example.

What Robert and I do to earn the money our families needs is the same sort of thing many other people could do if they knew it was possible. It’s amazing what you can achieve with a positive attitude, a solid work ethic and the skills needed. My son-in-law, Paul, has the same kind of work life we do and he’s currently supporting four young sons while allowing my daughter to follow her dream of being a stay-at-home mom and homemaker. More on this later, but for now, let me tell you about the impulse that led to my work-at-home lifestyle and how such a thing could improve your life, too.  It all began for me 46 years ago.

I had the good fortune to grow up in a family that owned a lakeside cottage. It was little more than a small shack by a lake, coarsely built by my non-carpenter great, great Uncle Ken in the 1920s as his own home. This life-long bachelor came back from World War I vowing to live the rest of his life near beauty and clean water, and that’s what he did until he died in his 80s during the 1950s. The first time I visited the cottage was May 1970, and it became my favourite place in the world. What else could it be when I spent many weeks there each summer with my grandfather, fishing and swimming and wearing the same dirty bathing suit for weeks on end. It really was as good as childhoods get, but then something happened when I was 12 years old, something that has affected me and my work life to this day.

Me and Grandpa, enjoying simple lakeside time together at the cottage in the early 1970s. Memories of these great times led me to want something more than regular 9-to-5 work when I grew up.

As I approached my teenage years, I got the urge to earn money. Girls were becoming an interest and so were motorcycles. Both require a surprising amount of cash. Being something of an entrepreneur, I convinced a handful of homeowners near my suburban home to let me cut grass for them, including one owner of a large country estate 6 miles from my house with about 5 acres of lawn to keep neat. Cutting that one lawn alone took 8 hours of work using the John Deere riding mower and push mower owned by the building contractor who owned the place. I got a lot of practice with machines back then, and I still know how to back up a trailer from the experiences of that estate job. I also took on painting jobs, including a two-car garage about 15 minutes bike ride from my house. Back then pleasant-to-use latex paints had not yet been developed for exterior applications, so I was up to my ears in vile, oil-based paint. And being new to the craft of painting (remember, I was only 12 then), I got a lot of the stinky stuff on my skin and clothes. It was when I was particularly paint spattered one hot August afternoon in 1975, while I still had a couple of hours of painting time left for the day on that garage job, that something occurred to me, something that permanently changed the trajectory of my life.

“Surely there’s some way I can earn money without losing all my time at the cottage”, I thought, looking at my paint-covered hands. “I hope earning money doesn’t mean missing all the beauty and fun in life.” Have you ever wondered anything like this?

Sometimes small thoughts have big consequences over time, and that moment or two, covered in paint, tired, hot and missing the cottage, was the driving force behind the work life I have now. Although I’m not living at the cottage, the rural property I have is actually a better and more balanced location for a life of beauty, peace and permanence, all funded with a work-at-home lifestyle lived on my own terms.

There’s a reason I’m telling you all this. I have an idea that I’m excited about. It’s just an idea at this stage, but it’s one that I’m inviting you to be part of on the ground floor. As some of you know, one of the things I do to earn a few pennies here at the end of Bailey Line Road is making and selling online courses. I have about a dozen programs at the moment, including courses on building your own house, learning to weld, working with wood, building cabinets and other topics. And as the world changes and conventional work situations become difficult or impossible, I have more and more friends, neighbours and even strangers come to me with some variation of the same question: “How can I earn my living online the way you do, Steve?” Is this a good topic for a new course? You tell me.

Here I am doing some computer work in my shop. About half of my work time is spent creating content around tools, skills and hands-on work.

Are you interested in learning more about earning a living on your own terms, in your own place, in a simple, boss-free kind of way? As I said, I don’t have any sort of a course yet on this topic, but I’d love to hear from you and learn about your aspirations. If enough of my loyal subscribers are interested in learning to earn an independent living online, then I’ll answer questions for free and begin creating content to suit. Eventually I envision an extensive course that will help a lot of people break free from the old 9-to-5, and come to enjoy the freedom I’ve been very fortunate to discover for myself. There’s also something here you might not have considered, especially if you also aspire to a hands-on rural life in a beautiful location. One of my other sons, Joseph (23), reminded me of this a few evenings ago as he’s settling into his first full-time job thousands of miles from home in Austin, Texas.

“Now that I’ve started working, Dad, I see what you’ve done with your life and work in a new way. I never realized how unusual it is for someone to earn all the money they need from a laptop in the country, then spend part of each day working outside on their own property cutting firewood, managing a pasture, building things and fixing equipment. I now see how nice a setup this is.”

The idea Joe is hitting on here is vital for anyone aiming for what I call a “modern homestead” lifestyle. Earning all the money you need from your own rural property, without ever having to leave the place to earn (unless you want to), is the best way I know of to give yourself the time and resources needed to develop a stable rural homestead lifestyle. And such a thing is more possible today than ever.

If all of this sounds interesting to you, let me know by email at [email protected] I’d love to hear about your aspirations and any thoughts you have about what kind of independent work you might like to do online.  I look forward to hearing from you and helping you figure out how to make the most of the amazing online work opportunities available today. I’ve been working this way for 30+ years, so I know this kind of thing works. Even if you’re nervous and not sure you can make it work, take courage. The world offers many more possibilities than meet the eye.

Click here to continue reading about the two kinds of online work. You need to understand this to continue properly.

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