In America and Asia, we are conditioned to "live to work". But unless you have a job that you love and are proud of, having to go to a job everyday can feel like a prison. It becomes a mind numbing routine where your life is controlled and in submission, while your mind is indoctrinated to "live for the company" you work for rather than for your heart.
The result of this is that your life and mind are stripped of freedom and you live an inauthentic life, like a robot or automaton. You are supposed to love to work and love your job of course, but not everyone is fortunate enough to do something they love. Many have to work solely to pay their bills, and their heart is not in it.
This workaholic culture (which is at its most extreme in America and Asia) is especially bad in Asia, where employers are allowed to make their employees work long hours, sometimes even requiring them to work 6 or 7 days a week, on a fixed monthly salary. (Ironically, Chinese bosses and workers forget that ancient Chinese wisdom says that extremes are never good, and that everything must be in moderation. But of course, money is more important than wisdom in the insanity of modern society.)
Some are able to tolerate this, but those who are freespirits, nonconformists, Bohemians, artists and creative types tend to be unable to endure this for long. They become restless and feel trapped, like they are not living true to themselves. They begin getting up late everyday and subconsciously sabotaging their work in order to get themselves fired, because deep down, they want out. It is for these types that this article is written for.
If you can't find a good job that you love, or do not like the enslaving routine of a 9 to 5 regular job, here are some alternative options and choices to consider:
1. Self-employment doing what you love, such as making money online with a website or blog. Consider working for yourself doing something you love by starting some type of business. This is not an easy route and not everyone can make it, but some people can, and so it's an option to consider. The best and most mobile scenario is to have an online business, where little to no investment capital is required, and hence not much risk involved. (This is what I do)
A mentor of mine named Walt Goodridge wrote a great book on how to make a living in self-employment doing what you love, called "Turn Your Passion into Profit". I highly recommend it as it is very empowering, awakening and informative. You can get it at his website: http://www.passionprofit.com
He and I recommend a portable type of business, such as an online business you can work from home or while traveling, rather than a traditional "brick and mortar" business which requires investment capital and risk, along with a high failure rate which could result in you losing money. I've also written a basic overview guide on making money online at: http://blog.happierabroad.com/2012/01/how-to-make-money-online-myth-vs.html
If you don't have any web design skills, you can consider using SBI to build, launch, promote and manage your web business. They handle all the complicated technical aspects for you. All you need to do is work hard in promoting your passion. Check out their Passion page or their easy-to-understand Video Tour that explains how they can help you and what they can do for you.
Steve Pavlina has some good advice about making money from your website or blog and building traffic for it at the links below:
2. Adopt a more minimalist lifestyle focused more on spirituality, interpersonal relationships, frugality and richness of experiences, rather than on materialism and status. What this means is that you stop buying useless junk and trying to acquire luxury items that you don't need. Stop judging your life and others by materialistic standards. Adopt a more spiritual perspective rather than a materialistic one. Be satisfied with having what you need, without having to attain a nice car and house, which requires work and debt to pay off. This will allow you to be more debt free and so you can focus on higher aspirations.
Here are some tips:
- Stop wasteful spending and buying useless junk you don't need to show off or fill your emptiness. Try to fill your emptiness with more wholesome things that enrich your soul and spirit, rather than leave you flat. Material things cannot fill your void. The rich are not happier than everyone else. Experienced travelers will tell you that the happiest people in the world are not those who have too little or too much, but just enough.
- Evaluate your life based on the richness of your experiences, rather than material acquisition and career status. In this way, life becomes more conscious, meaningful and authentic. The happiest people learn how to do this.
- Live more frugally and economically. There are many ways to live frugally so that you spend a lot less to meet your needs. There are many books and websites with tips and tricks on living more frugally. (Google "frugal living" to see a list) You'd be surprised of all the ways you can cut costs and live more economically. It's easier than you think. This way, you reduce your expenses and hence your dependence on money so that you can live more freely and seeking higher purposes of your true calling.
- Minimize your attachments. Try to sever unnecessary attachments to people and things you don't really need or don't serve your life purpose, that are causing a drain on you. Remember that the more attachments you have, the more expenses and burden you will bear, which will impede your freedom and make you more dependent on money. Keep only the attachments that are necessary or special that you deem are of worthy value and quality. (What this means of course, is that it's better not to have children, if your goal is to be less dependent on money, since raising children requires big long term expenses. But of course, that's a personal decision that only you (and your partner) can make.)
- Eject people who are a bad influence on your life. People who try to bring you down, cause stress and conflict, and drain you like energy vampires, will only impede you. You are better off without them. Instead, cultivate quality interpersonal relationships with those you have real synergy with.
- Consider relocating to areas with a lower cost of living which will allow you to live on less. For example, Oregon, Nevada and New Mexico have lower costs of living compared to states such as California or New York. In such areas, one can live on less, amidst more beautiful and naturesque surroundings which are more conducive to relaxation and stress-free living. (Relocating overseas is another option with great benefits, which I will cover later below.)
- Consider selling your home and live in a trailer in the desert, forest or mountains. There are plenty of trailer parks available that are very cheap to live in. Or you can travel around the country in an RV, with all the necessities of living inside, which allows you mobility as well as the ability to camp in a trailer park or RV park whenever you like. (Contrary to the stereotype, not all people who live in trailer parks are "trailer trash". Some are very friendly, down to earth and talkative, and not as snobby as people in suburban neighborhoods. But it depends on the area of course.)
If you do all this well, you can greatly reduce your dependence on money and survive by working less, even part time, or on small self-employment income doing something you love, as suggested in option #1. Making these changes may make you look poorer, but being poor and free and living stress free and having more free time is better than looking well off but having no freedom, lots of stress and no free time. You just have to learn to not care what others think, if you truly want to be free.
Remember this important lesson: Making less money while having more peace of mind, more free time, and less stress is BETTER than making more money but with more stress, less free time and less peace of mind. There's simply no comparison. Don't let the materialistic values of your culture fool you. Remember that old saying, "No one on their death bed wishes they had spent more time at the office."
3. Find a rich partner to date or marry. Well I guess that's an option that some people may pursue, but I'm not here to give advice on it. :P There are dating sites for finding sugar daddies and sugar babies though, such as: http://www.seekingarrangement.com
4. Live with your parents. This is another option of course, but it carries a negative loser stigma in Western society. In Asia, it is the norm though, as one usually lives with their parents, even in adulthood, until they are married or have an occupation that requires relocation. Regardless though, there are many adults in America who live with their parents, more than you might think, but they don't draw public attention to it.
In any case, living with your parents definitely saves you money, and as long as you have a good relationship with your folks and are doing something productive with your life, it shouldn't matter what other people think. You do not have to conform to other people's standards. They don't own you and you don't owe them anything. As long as you are not hurting anyone, it's none of other people's business.
5. Live and work in in an eco-village. There are eco-minded communities, aka "intentional communities", which live and work on organic farms and settlements that promote environmentally conscious living. Joining one costs little or nothing and requires commitment to working on the farm or other community projects. Although this is work, it is "happy work" which gives you a sense of belonging and fellowship with others that humans had in ancient times, which was lost by the regimentation and isolationism of modern society. If you this might be your thing, here is more information.
Global EcoVillage Network
Directory of EcoVillages
6. Travel by hitchhiking and using free accommodation websites. You might think it's impossible to travel with little or no money, but some have done exactly that. I knew a woman once who traveled the world with her partner for 5 years, starting with only 600 dollars, by using hitchhiking and free accommodation clubs like Servas (http://www.servas.org). She went by the name "Kinga Freespirit" and was well known in hitchhiking circles, though sadly she passed away in Africa of cerebral malaria. Her website still stands though, as a tribute to her inspiring journeys around the world: http://www.hitchhiketheworld.com
I also know a guy named Charles DiBella, a cycling enthusiast, who has traveled around Asia in areas such as Thailand and Cambodia on little or no money, by simplying cycling around. He says it is one of life's greatest experiences. In doing so, he has made friends with local villagers and monks in Buddhist monasteries, who give him free accommodation in exchange for English lessons and his volunteer work in helping poor kids in the community acquire skills and education. His website is at: http://www.bikepaths.org
There are also popular free accommodation websites with many members from every country, such as http://www.hospitalityclub.org and http://www.couchsurfing.org . You can join them and find warm hosts who will accommodate you when you travel, which saves you from big hotel expenses. However, this is not just a free hotel, but more of like a "culture exchange" between open minded people. So you have to be a real people person in order to participate, as staying in stranger's homes requires a very open mind. It is very safe though, as these sites have feedback and references for each member from other members.
If you don't like staying in stranger's homes, you can stay in backpacking hostels. There are plenty of hostels in every country and region, which start as low as $20 a night. But these are dorm rooms which require sharing with other backpackers. Private rooms are available, but they cost more. You can find a directory listing of hostels at: http://www.hostels.com
Fortunately, food expenses are controllable in that there are always cheap and expensive options for eating everywhere you go. You may not always be able to eat well if you are on a tight budget, but you can always eat cheap at least.
7. Consider living overseas in a country where cost of living is lower. Now this might be a more taboo and unconventional option, but it makes sense and many expats are happy doing it. The truth is, in most countries outside the USA, cost of living is much less, so your money is worth more, which gives you more freedom and free time in addition to buying power. Great hot spots for lower cost of living include Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Southeast Asia, China, Latin America and many small lesser known islands such as Saipan.
There are 200 countries in the world, and you do not have to limit yourself to one. US citizens (and those of first world countries) are allowed to immigrate to most foreign countries, as long as they meet the visa requirements and laws of that country. This is one of the biggest secrets not considered by the mainstream, simply because it runs against our belief that America is the best place in the world with the greatest lifestyle and opportunity.
But the truth is, many facts make this a viable option to the high cost of living in America. These facts are an advantage to the expat that transcend any notion of patriotism or pride. Here is a list of some of the major advantages and benefits of living overseas:
a) Lower cost of living in most foreign countries. In most foreign countries, living expenses are lower than in America. Healthcare is also much more affordable and reasonable, not outrageous like in the US. But this doesn't mean that you have to live in a third world shithole in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. You can always find a middle ground. For example, Poland and Hungary are clean and modernized, yet the cost of living there costs less than in the US, and healthcare is much more affordable too. There are many options between the most expensive countries (USA, UK, Western Europe, Japan, etc.) and the poorest countries.
The important thing is that the majority of foreign countries do have a lower cost of living than in America. That is a real fact to consider. What this means is that you can work less, live on less money, or live on self-employment more easily, than you can in the US. English teaching jobs are also always available in most countries.
b) Healthy living. Food is more natural with less chemicals and artificial ingredients. In Europe for example, one does not need to go to an organic health food store to eat healthy. Mainstream food there, even in restaurants, is mostly natural and organic already. You also don't need a car in Europe, where public transportation is much more available and convenient. And walking gives you more exercise than driving everyday, which is one reason why people in other countries are much more slim and less obese than in America.
c) Dating and relationships. This is especially good news for males, and even for females too. American males who live overseas usually report that foreign females usually treat them better and are more feminine. They also are not as hateful or defensive toward men. Instead, they seem to have an innocence and naturalness that is long gone in the US. American females also report that men overseas seem different in that they don't have the inferiority complexes, dysfunctional personalities, and need for bragging that males in the US tend to have. All of this is more conducive to natural wholesome relationships, for both genders (based on my experiences and those of many that I know).
Of course, foreign countries have their downsides as well, depending on the country. Every culture has its pros and cons, so you have to find a combination of pros and cons that work best for you. The point is, as a US citizen (or first world citizen), you have OPTIONS and are not limited to only living in 1 out of 200 countries. You don't have to ignore or neglect the advantages other countries offer. Don't let patriotic pride get in the way of your happiness.
There are many expat websites with info and advice on relocating overseas. I have compiled a list of them here: http://www.happierabroad.com/travelexpat.htm
If you can't or don't want to live overseas, you can consider relocating to other US states where cost of living is lower, sell your home and live in a trailer park out in nature, or buy an RV to travel around in, as explained earlier in option #2.
8. Extra work in films and promotional gigs through talent agencies
If you are near a major city, you can be an extra in films, TV shows, commercials and corporate videos. This kind of work is easy to get. No experience is necessary. You just have to show up, follow directions and bring several sets of clothes. The pay is minimum wage, but it's fun and easy. I know from personal experience since I used to work for a talent agency in Reno, NV.
Most of the time as an extra is spent waiting in the lounge with the other extras. They feed you meals, provide snacks in the waiting lounge, and call you when they are ready to shoot the scene. The people who show up as extras are usually very social and friendly with each other. They tend to be wannabe actors who don't like working regular jobs. For some reason, those types are very social with strangers. You can make a lot of friends talking to other extras in the waiting area. Even the girls there are friendly and will talk to you, though that doesn't mean they will go out with you.
Local talent agencies cast for extra work. It is easy to get. Just call all the talent agencies in your local yellow pages, or find them online via Google. Then call them or email them for submission procedures. When I did this in the 1990's, I called all the ones in the phone book. Nowadays you can just contact them online or apply online probably. There are even online agencies nowadays. Just Google "Talent agencies in *your city*" or "Extra work in films in *your city*". There is probably a national website that handles it all nowadays.
If you are reliable, they will tend to give you more extra work, or ask you to call an extras hotline for directions to the next gig. They also seem to like casting minorities for some reason, especially Asians, probably to give the video a multicultural look. There are not many Asians in acting or trying to get extra work, so any Asian that comes along will be perceived as extra valuable. (I know this from personal experience since I'm Asian) Some people even work as regular extras everyday in TV series.
If you are lucky, sometimes the director will bump up an extra to a speaking role, which means big bucks and makes you eligible to join SAG (Screen Actors Guild) if you work three days in a speaking role. This happens rarely, but it did happen to a hot Asian chick on Nash Bridges one time, with Don Johnson.
The easiest extra work to get is for blockbuster movies, small budget local commercials, and corporate videos, aka industrial videos. For example, in Seattle or Redmond WA, Microsoft casts for corporate videos regularly through talent agencies and casting agencies. It's easy work. You just sit in the background and do what they say, and they give you a hundred dollar bill in an envelope afterward.
Talent agencies also assign promotional work as well. Companies are always trying to promote new products. So they contract with marketing agencies, who in turn contract with talent agencies to find actors and models to do temporary promotional work. In these gigs, they have you stand in public streets or malls and pass out flyers or give out samples of a company's new product. It's easy work with no pressure. You don't have to sell anything. You just have to approach people and put flyers in their hands or get them to sample the product you're promoting.
You don't have to look like a model though. They can't always get models to do this kind of work, so they will often just settle for an average looking person. They gave me tons of this kind of work after all. I was really good at it because I enjoyed approaching women every minute, and this gave me a legitimate excuse to do so. :)
These promotional gigs pay about $10 an hour and are very easy. I did it for years. As long as you're reliable and do your job cheerfully, they will always have promotional gigs for you because companies are always trying to promote new products. So the work can be very regular, if you want to work regularly that is. Summer, when people are outdoors, is the peak season for this kind of work. It's also fun in that you promote a different product every week and get to stand outside and enjoy the sun.
This is all independent contractor work with no commitment. You can quit anytime. But if you are reliable they will give you regular work. I did lots of extra work and promotion gigs through talent agencies. Call all the ones you in your area and ask how to apply. Or email them if they have a website. It's easy and fun.
I did this kind of work a lot in San Francisco and Seattle, so if any of you are in that area, I can tell you who to contact. I also worked for a talent agency in Reno, NV, so I can tell you who to call for that area too.
Warning: Beware of talent agencies who quickly try to sell you expensive acting classes. Many of them do this. When you come in, they tell you that you have a lot of potential and all you need is some training, so they try to sweet talk you into paying $900 for their acting classes or modeling classes. Or they will require you to get new headshots from only their photographer.
These are considered scams by the industry, but many lower end agencies profit mainly from this kind of thing, so they don't have much choice. Some of these lower end agencies who try to sell you classes do give you real work. But you should try to see if they will give you work without paying for their classes or paying for new headshots from their photographer. Be firm about it and see if they will give in. You should also ask around to see which agencies are more legit, or try to Google their reputation.
To learn more about becoming an extra in films, see the links below:
To see a list of national casting calls for extras, check here:
Thanks for reading. Hope these above options will give you alternatives to consider. Of course, you can do a combination of the above options too. Always remember, "where there's a will, there's a way." And most importantly, remember to always live TRUE to yourself and live authentically. So I recommend this book by Walt Goodridge: http://www.livingtruetoyourself.com
Thanks for reading.
How to Make Money Online So You Can Live and Travel Freely
How to be Free and Conscious in a Society of Enslavement and Fear