The Life Design Project (LDP) is brought to you by Rob, his friends, and the people he meets along his real world life design testing. He brings a process design mind set and attention to detail in every article.
The LDP examines exactly what it looks like to empirically test popularized “life style designers” like Tim Ferriss (4 Hour Work Week), who have freed themselves from society’s typical view of work to live out enjoyment and freedom everyday. The freedom required to immerse yourself in a new skill, travel often, or follow whatever your passion is fully. Is it real or hype? Meet me below, find out how I’m just like you. Feel free to join me as I investigate their methods to becoming financially free, “experts”, “CEO’s”, world travelers, productivity masters and dream fulfillers. The end goal? Freedom to live out dreams and notes on exactly how it was done.
become a speed reader, train in Jeet Kune Do, pay 6 months rent in advance, own a company, visit China. Updated May 2011: compete in a martial art, visit China, earn $50k online in a year, run an ironman, spend three weeks somewhere tropical, visit more friends I’ve met in through this site.
- Fears: losing money, losing my job, ridicule, no readers, quitting because of lack of progress.
- Starting With: 19k in school debt, a 9-5 technical support desk job, a busted car and will power like no other.
Rob is often failing forward to find and develop innovative ideas. He’s grown his common interest in web design freelancing into a business at ITArsenal.com, a company whose practices are closely recorded here for testing and proof on how to create automated income and profit from something you love or at least enjoy doing.
The Raw Un-cut Story (Updated May 2011)
i’ve always grown up with an opportunistic eye. i used to surf the web for nickels (seriously, about 15 years ago you used to be able to surf the web with ad banner for about $.05 an hour), sold people on ING savings accounts to get the $20 affiliate sale, created a book trading forum (EUtrader) in college and tried to charge for access, ect. i was more of a schemer when i was younger but i was also interested in how to manage money, opening up my own IRA as soon as possible and sharing David Bach’s, Automatic Millionaire with anyone who would listen.
i graduated college outside of philadelphia with a double major in information technology and youth ministry. i liked working with people and computers. i jumped around for a few years, traveled the world on credit cards, i worked in apple retail for a while, then as a part time web designer, i was self employed in california as a systems administrator and freelancer. for the last few years i’ve been back in philadelphia growing up, and strategically living, or designing how to live intelligently.
i attempted self employment doing tech support and web design in cali but i wasn’t making much more money than a normal job and my stress level was probably a good deal higher. only now do i realize that’s the case with most freelancers. yet i still enjoyed making my own schedule and the opportunity to chase my dreams and ideas or go on week long trips whenever i pleased.
i eventually left the fantasy land i was living in california, (8 guys in a 3 bedroom apartment quarter mile from the OC beach!) (insert pictures) and came back to pennsylvania to be with my
girlfriend wife and do the “grown up” thing. i knew i needed to put some money away and kill off my credit card debt. i also knew i needed to educate myself more, there must be a better way to do business and create income. i feel it in my bones. i still felt like a schemer making mediocre money in surges, that needed to change. i picked up several books on money and productivity.
i actually found a pretty cool job when i came back east, but i know my end game won’t be corporate america. as usual i kept an opportunistic eye for ideas on improving my life and escaping the 9-5 rat race. except this time, i’d been through the “freelance” thing, i knew what to look out for and knew there had to be a better way to experience more life but work on my own terms.
i continued with web design and started thinking about how i could help out friends, family and businesses with what i know and how i approach using the web and computers, effectively and efficiently with the right tools. i stumbled on the 4 hour work week and got fired up on the proof and systematic approach tim presented in the book. (i tried to subdue the hype)
the rest of the story is still in play
the life design project started after reading the 4 hour work week and glancing at the front cover of ramit sethi’s i will teach you to be rich. i was intrigued, skeptical and at first thought about how many attempts i’ve already made at easy income. i then went out and downloaded tim’s 4hww audio book. i also realized they went to princeton and stanford. so the project was born in the efforts of testing the concepts in the book with detailed recordings and this time slowly digging my teeth into each stage from the perspective of a real person, or should i say the median 20 year old. roughly 15k in school debt, $500 to $5000 in credit card debt, a job
they hate that too often drowns them, a decent but normal college education, and no free time. i started focusing on slow gain and freedom business building this time as i implemented some of the strategies of how to be effective at my current 9-5. i even did away with my car by moving next door to my office. i drive my dream car, and make payments with money i earn online. i haven’t quit or moved out of the country, i’m not putting the cart before the horse, but things are moving in the right direction.
the results so far have blown me away and i’ve only just started debugging the business aspects of lifestyle design, which by the way is just a snazzy term for living intelligently. i’ve saved hours a day, $100’s a month, fulfilled on some long term goals and really started living better. (check out some posts in the sidebar to see what happened) it’s amazing what taking the time to actually process how you live life, and take steps toward framing how to reach your dreams makes a real difference beyond “saving up” which is what most people’s consider creating a future, and then almost never get specific about it. i’m a very systems oriented person so instead of just taking one piece of tim’s book or running away with a business idea i progressively have moved through the stages to see what value they offer. i think that’s the part people have enjoyed, seeing what it actually looks like and how it lands for someone with a normal busy lifestyle, not a writers.
i’ve been really excited lately because i’ve just just hit the creating income stage and one of my real interests is coming back to creating a business, but this time from a very different approach than my previous freelancer self. the life design project, which is really just my adventures in improving my life now has a business entity to report back on. IT Arsenal is my business home base where I plan to provide a unique take on tech support, offer free advice, interactive articles and build products.
i’ve always had a 100 ideas for businesses and now i’ll have a launching point for them, and some blog glue to keep me at it.
i’m launching my first product, a dead simple guide on backing up your computer soon and slowly building out IT Arsenal in terms of community and fans. i’ve launched my first product, a guide on backing up, and after it’s small but inspirational success, i’m learning in leaps and bounds about business, how to be targeted and actually gain traction for selling information products and services in scalable ways so freedom endeavors like running an ironman, longer than average traveling, immersion into something you want to learn or do that would typically be stopped by “life”.
the life design project will continue to breakdown my exact steps and results for life productivity and easily managed business creation. you could consider it as the backstage to my efforts in creating income, but it’s much more than that. all the relationships and revelations i’ve had in saving time, money, the effort put forward in living out my dreams will be reflected here for others to use and to improve upon. i truly hope it becomes a vital resource for those looking to kick their hopeless job, debt baggage and start living well. and i pretty much do free tech work for anyone who asks from it as well!
my biggest take aways so far have been to build relationships, have a plan, and do something everyday toward your goal. just one step is all you need to create momentum.
i’m literally excited each day to chop out hours worked at my 9-5 to put back into building a business and up my efforts in building the community at the LDP, something i’ve sucked at. i hope my upcoming posts, guest posts, and projects make an impact. one future project i hope to start is the timeline project, where anyone at a glance should be able to figure out where they are, see what they need a refresher in, and where they want to go in terms of designing their life.
i’m also looking forward to making some real freaking money on some real freaking products, services, and campaigns i can call my own. (for those wondering, google adwords wouldn’t really be worth it here and not something i’m looking to do, but maybe on a later freedom business project!) i’m also looking forward to expanding my business endeavors to scale well, and go beyond the realization that making side money on the web is doable, and instead make a full time income by managing produced digital content, online reputation, and product affiliation.
sometimes i feel like things are moving too slow. i’ve been overwhelmed plenty of times, but i continue to hone my timelines and task documents, i continue to chip away. offline my life is more streamlined, effective, and organized because of this project. big trips, big personal fitness goals, and big growth are constant realities, not “that would be nice” dreams. i need to make sure to stop and smell the flowers more. online i see progress daily, i have connections, constant encouraging e-mails. there are amazing fans, i have a vision and i have fun with it. i love giving and plan to keep on doing it. all this from a rather cynical tech guy who earlier never gave creating a product, commenting on a blog, let alone creating one a second thought.