Les Brown, a top US motivational speaker once said “The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”

You are reading this guide for a reason and that reason is change. You have a dream, you want to change your lifestyle and take the first steps to making it happen.

Usually I do not advocate writing such a long article but in this instance it is worth it – go put the kettle on and grab yourself a coffee. At the end of this guide instead of reading it and then making dinner or going to work actually ACT upon it. By doing something straight away you are making progress towards your dream lifestyle one step at a time.

The event that changed you

Most people that decide they want to have a lifestyle change do so because of a life changing event. Perhaps you have been made redundant or despite working 50 hours a week you struggle to put food on your dinner table.

Let me tell you my life changing event:

When I was 22, I was totally different to who I am now – I bought a flat, was working hard for an accounting firm and was utterly focused on my career and how I could be promoted as quickly as possible.

I was obsessed about money, about saving it, earning it and making sure I had more than any of my friends. This is because for me at the time this was how I measured success.

Emily in BeijingSlowly but surely I started to get bored, the prospect of working 50 hours weeks plus 3 hours a day commuting for the next 50 years became horrifying. I decided it might be because I need a break – so I booked flights to China, quit my job and rented out my flat to go on a journey of discovery with my boyfriend.

It was this traveling trip that was my life changing event. I witnessed poverty that I had never seen before, I saw children running around in Cambodia with no clothes, people living in houses made from sticks with barely any possessions to their name. But for me the most important thing I noticed was how happy they seemed.

Less is moreLife seemed so much simpler. They weren’t stressing out about pointless things such as people thinking your car was old, or if where you went on holiday was good enough, or how big your house was. None of that mattered, they seemed care free and happy.

This trip made me realise that money doesn’t really matter. That working constantly just to get a bigger car is pointless. That life is short and that really the only thing that matters is whether you are happy (thus the name of this blog).

Task 1: Take a minute and think about what made you start to read this guide. Can you pin-point the life event that made you think twice about your current lifestyle and routine?

Are you happy about your life or are you going to make some changes starting today. Starting now?

Why the normal way of working can be so much better

The socially accepted lifestyle for people in the West is to go to school and maybe university, get a job, get married, buy a house, have children, retire and die.

Any deviation from the social norm and people think you are strange, you might be labelled a risk taker, or crazy or brave but changing this pattern is never seen as normal.

People dream and make plans all the time. People dream about travelling, seeing the world, learning to sail but never do it because there is always tomorrow. But it never gets done tomorrow and then gets added to the list of things people wish they had done but never did.

Many people have plans for when they retire. They may want to retire to Spain, go travelling, join a book club, go on a cruise. For me what I find so interesting is that in order to do these things you are basically saying to yourself that you will not live the life the way you want to until you are 70 years old. And who knows it’s a possibility that your health may prevent you from doing these things after all.

Stuck in a commuting cycleMost people work a full time job which is 9-5. On top of this most people then spend ages commuting to work – which means you spend most of your day doing something that doesn’t make you happy. Once you get home from work you are tired, hungry. By the time you have eaten dinner essentially you have none of your day left.

This gives you two days of freedom. A mere 48 hours a week to live your dreams. But in this 48 hours you sill have to do the cleaning, food shopping and gardening which really only leaves you a day.

One measly day to spend quality time with your family, have fun day trips or indulge in your favourite sport. Now that doesn’t sound like very much time to me!

Life is short and you only get to do it once. If you have dreams of doing something then do it! Live the life you want and don’t be swayed by social pressure, and stop accepting the social norms.

Imagine a job where you could work any time of day you liked for as long as you like. In this job you have no boss, no customers, no clients, just you. You earning potential is limitless and if you put the time in can in fact be quite lucrative.

Well working online and running small websites can be this dream “sounds too good to be true” job. It is possible, thousands of people around the world do just this and you could be one of them.

What is your dream lifestyle?

Before you start to plan what you want to do you need to think about what your dream lifestyle is.

VW Camper

  • Do you want to travel the world?
  • Do you want to work from home?
  • Do you want to earn more money on the side to go on more holidays or treat your   children?
  • Do you want more freedom?
  • Do you want more time to spend with friends and family?
  • Do you want more time to indulge in your favorite sport?

Task 2: This task will take 5 minutes but is really worth it. I actually do this on a monthly basis to remind me why I’m doing these things. Close your eyes and think about where you would like to be in 5 years time in an ideal world. What would your house look like? What would you be doing to earn money? What county would you be in? What fun activities would you be doing?

Visualising your dream lifestyle gives you a goal to work towards. If you don’t know what it is then you have nothing to aim for, so its a really important step.

You need to figure what you want to change before you work out how to change it.

What are you passionate about?

There is no point in doing something you are not passionate about – and trust me I have learnt this the hard way. Doing something that you are not passionate about simply means that you won’t put 110% into doing it!

Life is too short to spend so much time doing things we don’t like. Given how long each day you spend working you might as well enjoy doing it!

There are so many ways to utilize the powers of the internet to make enough money to sustain your lifestyle. But knowing which ones to pursue and how can be the difference from making no money to making enough money to live.

Task 3: Make a list of everything you are passionate about. This might be sports, TV, finance, traveling, a specific country. Really anything that interests you or that you enjoy. This becomes the starting block for ideas on how to make your money.

For me the internet is pure magic. I really love learning about ways to make money online, and charting my progress as I build my websites up. It feels fun, exciting and a bit like a game. This is why my Happy Pursuit website is a good mix because I enjoy writing it and making changes – I find it fun.

The other website I am working on at the moment is about skiing and snowboarding which is another activity enjoy. So for me I can truly say that I really do enjoy what I am doing at the moment.

If on the other hand I ran a website about plumbing I would find writing articles for that tedious and boring and thus would struggle to put 100% into it – likely causing it to not perform too well.

Your list of things you are passionate about has just become your ideas for earning money online so well done on taking this first really important step!

What means are you going to use to achieve this dream lifestyle?

You now have a rough list of ideas that you could somehow use online to make some money. But how do you transfer your interest in chess for example into an income generated online.

In this section we will cover the ways you can make money online from your list of passions. This is only a brief summary of each of the options. Please read my other guides for a more in-depth understanding of each method.

E-books

Everyone should write a book. Most people have a subject that they are really knowledgeable on or passionate about. It is a really good way to boost your online profile and can also generate some good income.

If for example you know a lot about chess then write a book about it. Writing a book about any topic is easier than you think and can be done in a matter of days.

All you have to do is firstly plan you book with chapters and then decide roughly what you want to talk about in each chapter. Then simply record your self talking what you intended to talk about in your guide. Recording yourself talking is so much quicker that typing everything out.

Once you have a very rough recording of your book the next step is to get a freelancer to transcribe your audio into a word document. This can be done very quickly and cheaply using popular freelancing sites such as Fiverr and Elance.

Now that you have your transcript you can edit it and get it proof read. Very quickly you have PDF document that you can upload to Amazon Kindle Store and start charging for you work.

Not only are e-books great sources of passive income but you can also include links to your blogs, social media sites and websites which helps deliver more traffic and thus more income to your sites.

Online courses

If you are really knowledgeable about a topic then you could make a course teaching it to other people. This could be professional knowledge such as web design or accounting or hobbies such as yoga or baking.

At the moment there is a growing market for online courses and more people seem to be signing up to them. The prices you can charge for your course vary hugely from free to hundreds of pounds. I have been using Udemy to build up my own courses and share my knowledge.

You can either create a course and host it on your own website which means you keep 100% of the income or you can use a course provider platform and charge a fee.

Blogs

Blogs are hugely popular and pretty essential for anyone who wants to make a living online. Everyone seems to have a blog these days (even my mum has one!).

Blogs are great for boosting your websites search engine rankings and helping to increase traffic to your site. But better yet standalone blogs can even help to generate an income via some methods we will discuss below.

You can literally write a blog about anything from what you had for dinner to your marathon training report– literally anything!

Podcasts

Podcasts like blogs are a great way of increasing your online presence and generating a following of fans. This means that when you create a product or have a website it will help to generate website traffic and thus cash!

Once you get bigger and more well-known you can even generate advertising revenue by advertising on your podcast – but I must mention that listeners don’t always like this.

Affiliate Marketing

This is an incredibly popular method of generating income online. The basics of affiliate marketing is that you recommend a product and include a link to their companies website.  If someone from your website clicks in that link and makes a purchase you can earn a commission.

The commission ranges from 1% – 50% depending on the item that is being sold. How successful you are at affiliate marketing depends hugely on how many visitors you have to your website – so if you intend to make money this way then increasing website traffic should be a massive priority for you!

A popular way of making money this way is to create a very niche website for example a website on copper sinks and then have affiliate links imbedded in your website. This is popular because your website is more likely to rank highly in Google and people on your site are then more likely to buy products.

Some blogs use affiliate marketing as a way of generating revenue for example by reviewing a product and then putting a link so you can buy it.

Advertising revenue

If you create a website that generates lot of traffic you can even earn revenue by simply offering advertising space on your website. Google Adsense is a popular method used and you can be paid per impression (eg how many people see it) or per click.

Revenue from this is only small but is you have big traffic its an easy way to make extra cash.

Don’t underestimate how long this will take

Your dream lifestyle won’t happen overnight. Personally I think that it takes about two years from concept until its possible to earn enough from the internet to live the lifestyle you dream of. However in some cases it can literally be overnight so it does vary.

It takes a lot of hard work and time to make it a success. The most successful people I know who do it part time literally spend every evening working on their websites, writing articles or making changes.

But if you persevere I promise you it will pay off!

Most people estimate that it takes about 6 months for your website or blog to begin to be noticed by Google. Throughout this whole time you need to be posting blog posts often and continuing to add content to your site. At times it might feel frustrating because you are writing articles that get read by no one.

But don’t give up!! The reason most people don’t make any money from this is because they give up too early! They try it for three months and work really hard and see no results, no web traffic and no cash. This is no get rich quick scheme but it is possible. If you just keep going you will get there eventually.

Set your SMART goals

Hopefully by now you have your dream lifestyle pictured in your head, a list of things you are passionate about and a rough idea of how to use those ideas to make some money.

Well rather than forgetting about them, going away and putting the TV on and chilling out with a beer you should set yourself goals about what you are going to do and when.

Your goals should be SMART goals which are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

I set myself these type of goals all the time and stick them on the fridge. It’s a good way of reminding myself about what I want to achieve and when.

Final task: Set your SMART goals now for the next 6 months!

Do it!

My final chapter on how to plan your dream lifestyle is just do it! One of my regrets is that I thought about doing this for too long and didn’t bother to act on it. The quicker you act on this the sooner you can be earning money from doing this!

men greeting sun. Stands on hill, ocean and yellow sunset

 Life is in the now. Just do it!