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Laptop Lifestyle: What It Is and How to Live the Laptop Lifestyle In 2020

If you’re wondering what the laptop lifestyle is and how you can work towards a laptop lifestyle today, this post is for you!

So what is a laptop lifestyle?

A laptop lifestyle refers to the lifestyle available to anyone who can make a living from a laptop and internet connection alone.

The term laptop lifestyle has the connotation of the freedom to work when and where you want.

Of course, you have different levels of freedom depending on how you earn a living with a laptop lifestyle.

For instance, although plenty of remote employees live a laptop lifestyle, this term doesn’t typically refer to an employee.

Instead, people often use this term in reference to entrepreneurs and freelancers with online businesses who have greater work freedom than employees.

With job losses and technological shifts from COVID-19, more and more people are becoming interested in living a laptop lifestyle.

Before we talk about how you can do this, let’s discuss the origins of the laptop lifestyle.

The Origin Of This Term

Obviously, the laptop lifestyle doesn’t have a long history.

Only since the new millenium has this lifestyle been a real possibility.

But each year technological advancements, increasing global internet access and speed, and less expensive tech makes this lifestyle more accessible.

Although the laptop lifestyle may have been possible around the turn of the century, it exploded into the mainstream in 2007 thanks to Tim Ferriss’s book, The Four Hour Work Week.

Tim’s book popularized the idea of the laptop lifestyle giving readers concrete steps to achieve it.

Fast forward to 2020, and COVID-19 has only reinforced many people’s desires to live a life free of employers and the high overhead of traditional businesses.

This Term’s Relationship to Other Industry Buzz Words

When you first hear about this term, you likely hear about it in the context of several other terms like:

To help contextualize the laptop lifestyle, I’ll briefly discuss these terms and what they mean.

Contextualizing the Laptop Lifestyle

A lifestyle business is a business designed to help you prioritize your ideal lifestyle first, profits second.

Likewise, a lifestyle entrepreneur is someone who sets out to build a lifestyle business.

A good first step for lifestyle entrepreneurs (before they start building a business) is lifestyle design.

Lifestyle design is the process of figuring out what your ideal lifestyle looks like, and how much it costs.

The most fun part of lifestyle design is planning what your ideal life looks like beyond just being able to pay the bills with your lifestyle business.

Many who do lifestyle design realize they want to answer to as few people as possible, bosses and co-workers alike.

This is one of the reasons why some lifestyle entrepreneurs pursue solopreneurship.

Solopreneurship refers to building a business that the owner can manage without requiring any full-time employees.

Those in pursuit of lifestyle entrepreneurship often also realize they want to be digital nomads.

Digital nomadism describes the movement of people who don’t have a long-term home.

Instead, they travel the world, living and working in various locations for short periods of time like pre-historic nomads.

Many lifestyle entrepreneurs also embrace the philosophy of indie bootstrapping.

Indie is just short for independent, and independence is at the core of lifestyle entrepreneurship.

Bootstrapping in the context of business means that you build your business yourself largely without outside funding.

Bootstrappers aren’t pursuing the typical business path of trying to sell pieces of their business to venture capitalists to fund meteoric growth or a quick exit.

They want to grow a profitable business on their own without any definitive plans for an exit.

Hopefully, these descriptions help you contextualize the term, laptop lifestyle, and recognize how this term fits neatly with these other terms in the industry of lifestyle business.

Laptop Lifestyle Jobs and Business Opportunities

Like I mentioned in the introduction, there are varying degrees of freedom associated with different laptop lifestyles.

An employee working remotely is probably the least free interpretation of the laptop lifestyle.

A remote freelancer better captures the freedom associated with the laptop lifestyle than an employee.

And:

a solopreneur who makes products instead of selling services working whenever, wherever, and however he wants probably best captures the freedom typically associated with the laptop lifestyle.

Of course, building a freelancing business typically takes longer and requires more risk and effort than getting a remote job.

And building a product-based lifestyle business that allows you to live the ideal laptop lifestyle usually takes even longer and more effort than building a service-based or freelancing business.

I’ll discuss some laptop lifestyle opportunities for each of these paths, whether you’re interested in being an employee, a service-providing entrepreneur, or a product-selling entrepreneur.

Laptop Lifestyle Opportunities for Employees

Finding laptop lifestyle opportunities as an employee usually just requires looking in the right places.

One of these places and one of my favorite job boards for remote opportunities is flexjobs.com.

I’ve used this job board several times to check out available remote positions.

It has advanced filtering so that you can find jobs that:

  • are fully or partially remote,
  • require travel (or not),
  • are freelance or full-time,
  • and so much more.

With these advanced filters, I’m convinced almost anyone interested in a remote job can find something that interests them on flexjobs.com.

I also really like this job board because it has plenty of opportunities outside of technical positions for coders and IT professionals.

There are other great job boards specifically for laptop lifestyle opportunities like remoteok.io.

However, this and other remote job boards that are free to use for applicants typically don’t have as many opportunities for non-technical professionals.

Laptop Lifestyle Ideas for Freelancers and Service Providers

If you’re looking for more entrepreneurial laptop lifestyle opportunities as a freelancer or service provider, you certainly have options.

My friend Matt has made some good money on the freelancing platform, Upwork.

However, his experience as a freelance writer is that you need to be willing to build up your profile by doing work for free, at least at first.

There’s also, Clarify.fm, for those who are interested in consulting and selling their time for an hourly rate.

SEO expert Ryan Stewart sells consulting for digital marketing and search engine optimization help at about $500 per hour on this platform.

Joining a platform like one of these is probably the fastest way to make money as a service provider or freelancer.

However, if you’re willing to be patient, building a business outside of a platform that commodifies your work is likely a better option.

I’ll discuss this concept more in the next section.

Laptop Lifestyle Ideas for Product Selling Entrepreneurs

Selling products is my favorite way to make money online.

However, product-selling businesses usually take a lot longer to earn an income than freelancers or service-providing businesses.

That said:

product-selling businesses allow their owners to lead more flexible lifestyles than an employee or service provider can experience.

There are many different product-selling opportunities available to entrepreneurs.

I’ll discuss some of the most popular product-selling opportunities below.

Selling Physical Products Online

Plenty of entrepreneurs successfully sell physical products online.

For instance, I’ve mentioned the t-shirt company, startupdrugz.com, and their six-figure success on the blog before.

There are also some successful Etsy shop owners too, and many people make a living selling their wares on Amazon.

However:

like the freelancing and consulting platforms mentioned above, you may face commodification of your product on Etsy and Amazon.

Furthermore, as blogger Scott Young describes, entrepreneurship, in general, is a high-variance profession.

This means that I can cherry-pick success stories of people building successful businesses selling physical products online.

However, the majority who try this path will fail.

I prefer selling digital products online or otherwise monetizing web content.

Plus, although still in the realm of high-variance entrepreneurship, I think selling digital products has a higher likelihood of success.

Selling Digital Products Online

Even within the realm of selling digital products online, there are some business models I like more than others.

For example, I love the model of selling information products online.

Information products are harder for competitors to copy.

Plus, you can use your unique situation to build an info product few others could make.

Brian Dean has built a million-dollar one-man business with his e-courses on SEO.

Anastasia Blogger is another example of someone who is earning a high-income from her online course.

However:

non-information digital products like stock content are harder to monetize.

I can find plenty of examples of those making a living from information products.

But I can only find a handful of examples of those making any money from stock content, let alone a full-time income.

Monetizing Content with Ads

The business models I’m about to describe aren’t exactly those that sell products.

However, content-monetizing entrepreneurs experience many of the same lifestyle benefits that product-selling entrepreneurs experience.

So I’m including this sub-section under product-selling business models.

The business models I am referring to in this section are:

  • YouTube channels,
  • podcasts,
  • blogs,
  • and other ad-monetized content.

Ads are a great way to monetize your content, at least in the short and medium-term.

Why?

Finding and creating a great product to sell to your audience can be tricky.

Plus, optimizing for conversions is an entire field of online business that a new online entrepreneur may not have time for.

In my experience, it’s easier to focus on getting traffic first and monetizing that traffic outside of ads later.

This is what my wife and I do with jasminealley.com, and it’s what I do with another website I own, studentofguitar.com.

In fact, it’s my plan with all my websites to first monetize with ads, and then develop a product for that audience later.

Downsides Of The Laptop Lifestyle

At this point, you may be really excited about living a laptop lifestyle, and wondering if there are any downsides.

Of course, as with any path, I think that there are.

First of all, living a laptop lifestyle isn’t for everyone.

The key to knowing if a laptop lifestyle is for you is knowing who you are and what you like.

If you are younger and earlier in your career, you may not know exactly what you like and who you are.

A simple way to increase the odds of knowing what you like and who you are is to try a lot of different things.

Also, know that people tend to have an easier time knowing what they don’t like than what they do like.

So if you don’t like:

  • waking up to an alarm,
  • having work-specific attire,
  • working in teams,
  • competition,
  • or meetings,

this may be all you need to know to realize that the laptop lifestyle is a good fit for you.

Isolation

Living a laptop lifestyle can be isolating particularly if you pursue solopreneurship as many lifestyle entrepreneurs do.

You may be able to travel the world and work whenever and wherever you want.

But if you run your laptop lifestyle business largely by yourself, you might get lonely.

Pursuing a laptop lifestyle may also isolate you from the common work experiences of others.

As a result, it could be hard to relate to those who experience a profoundly different work lifestyle than yours.

Personal Responsibility

A laptop lifestyle often means you are your own boss.

This responsibility means you have to handle everything from the big picture to the smallest details of your work.

In other words, if anything goes wrong, it’s on you to fix it.

The sort of people who thrive as laptop lifestyle business owners are usually generalists, not specialists.

Potentially Harder Employability

Businesses are born and die every day.

If you pursue a laptop lifestyle through entrepreneurship and your business ends up failing after months or years of success, it may be harder to find a job afterward.

This is speculation to some extent.

However, the sheer amount of online content about this subject suggests it’s true.

And it makes sense.

Not every employer will be excited about hiring someone who has been accustomed to calling the shots and making their own schedule.

That said, I don’t think this alone is a good enough reason not to pursue a laptop lifestyle.

But I think it’s worth mentioning.

Popular Destinations For Living a Laptop Lifestyle

If you’re already living the laptop lifestyle or are simply curious about where you might relocate, check out nomadlist.com.

Pieter Levels built this site specifically for digital nomads looking for great places all over the world to live a laptop lifestyle!

You can sort and filter locations by cost, climate, internet speed, safety, healthcare, and much more.

How To Buy Into A Laptop Lifestyle

Buying into this lifestyle is possible if you don’t want to build it from scratch.

Websites like Flippa and Empire Flippers allow anyone to purchase a fully web-based business that could allow you to live a laptop lifestyle.

If you have the capital to purchase a business and are willing to get thrown in the deep end of managing an online business, this path might be for you.

However, my inclination is to recommend building a laptop lifestyle business first.

If you establish that you can be successful in building one on your own, purchasing another online business after that makes more sense to me.

Famous Laptop Lifestyle Entrepreneurs

When you think of laptop lifestyle entrepreneurs, you probably imagine digital nomads, sipping drinks on the beach in an exotic location.

There’s Michelle Schroeder-Gardner who has managed her million-dollar blog while traveling the US in an RV for a period and then sailing around the world.

There’s also YouTuber Mike Vestil who lives a digital nomad lifestyle in Indonesia.

Johnny FD is another popular entrepreneur living the laptop lifestyle while traveling the world.

Check out my list of lifestyle entrepreneurs you should know about for more examples of people living the laptop lifestyle!

Conclusion

I hope this article has helped you understand what the laptop lifestyle is and how you might move in that direction if it’s what you want.

If you have any questions about it, let me know in the comments!

My wife lives a laptop lifestyle with her blog and I’m working towards it.

We don’t have it all figured out but I’m happy to share what we’ve learned about it so far!

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