Nothing like an epic road trip through a few national parks to get one thinking.
Thought I was going to have more time to podcast and stay connected.
Guess the universe had other plans.
Instead, it's been several 6 to 8 mile hikes into the depths of the red rock canyons and arches in Southern Utah.
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It really is worth a trip out here if you ever have time.
Spring and fall are quite nice as there's still ice on our lake up north at the homestead.
But, back to the question at hand: What's the point?
Why are you choosing to put in the work to build a real business online when everyone around you is happily punching a clock from 9-to-5 working for the man?
If you think it's all about money, you're fooling yourself.
And this post will reframe your mindset in a way that's going to supercharge your growth.
You see, money is simply a tool.
Nothing more than an agreed-upon illusion that we all use to exchange value with one another.
It's a made-up concept.
In fact... Banks literally create "money" out of thin air through lending.
It's called the fractional reserve banking system if you aren't familiar... It's nuts once you learn that nothing is backing our currency or any major currency in the world.
But that's not the point.
Money is a part...
Because most people spend the vast majority of their time and energy chasing, using or thinking about money in one way or another.
40-hours per week working for it... Some commute 5 to 10 hours per week to go earn it.
Plus, more time spent every week spending the money whether shopping, getting massages, eating out, buying stuff online.
And, of course... The countless hours thinking about or looking around online learning about new ways/things to spend money on.
"Researching" we call it.
From guru courses promising the shortcut to building a business online to suspension upgrades for my 4x4 Mercedes campervan...
It almost seems like it's all about the money.
This is what media wants you to believe.
Make more and more money, keep up with The Joneses, buy that next-new thing and THEN you'll be happy.
It's all about the lifestyle.
And YOUR dream lifestyle does have a price tag.
Which brings us back to money again.
Because there's no way to avoid the money game...
But you don't have to play by their rules.
The monthly cashflow required for you to live is based on decisions you make...
- The kind of car(s) you want to/choose to own...
- Where you want to own your home...
- If you want a 2nd home or not.
- How big and luxurious your home(s) are...
- More homes / Bigger homes means you need more stuff...
Each decision can kick your monthly lifestyle expense up, up, up and up.
It's like a treadmill getting turned up faster and faster with every purchase.
Most folks don't realize they're on a treadmill...
Because the media spends billions trying to convince you that consuming more will eventually make you happy.
This is the danger zone, amigo.
The big lie that has trapped billions of people on a treadmill they can't get off of.
And here's your first clue to winning at the life game:
If you keep your "keeping up with the joneses" to a minimum and simplify life as your assets grow and grow...
You'll have a better chance at achieving your true freedom...
Plus, you can achieve freedom faster, too.
True lifestyle freedom is achieved when your residual income is greater than your monthly lifestyle expenses.
Let's play with some numbers to help this make sense.
If your car payment is $0 (just insurance), and your housing is under $2k/mo including your mortgage, insurance and taxes...
You don't have that high of a hurdle to clear in order to break free from the rat race.
Add on food and fuel... A couple road trips each year and an affiliate site that earns $4500/mo can get you VERY close to financial freedom.
If you have been spending too much time following the greedy guru influencers on social media where they constantly flex their lifestyle with symbols of 'riches'...
You may have FANCY taste.
Or... If you decide that you NEED to live in Austin, San Diego, Miami, NY, etc.
And you want 2 Tesla's and a McMansion...
You're possibly looking at $7500/mo for shelter and transportation alone!?
Add on entertainment, food, etc...
That treadmill is going a LOT faster.
Your web business now NEEDS to pull in $10k/mo, every month just to cover your monthly commitments.
Else the repo man cometh.
And these numbers are tiny compared to the monthly cash flow needed for the greedy gurus flexing on the socials... Many have to make $40,000 - $60,000 every month just to cover their bills.
And we haven't even talked about investing... These numbers are 100% focused on monthly expenses.
Because the house you live in is a liability. So are your cars.
If you don't know what the difference between an asset and a liability is, watch this video ASAP.
This understanding is the #1 thing wealthy people know that poor people don't understand.
It's the secret to early retirement.
Ultimately, you want to build up a nest egg to make sure your ass isn't greeting folks at WalMart when you're 70...
Therefore you'd better be stashing a lot more than 10% of what you earn away each month...
Those who retire fastest save 50% - 80% of their income and invest it like a boss.
Load up a 401k, and consider getting your hands on some Bitcoin to protect your future purchasing power since the dollar is being inflated away by our representatives in DC...
Now that we're adding in some 'investment' funds, let's re-run those numbers.
So let's say you're stashing 50% of what you earn for future you. This means you'd need to make double that monthly number.
So now, $20k/mo is required to pay for the 'fancy life' that will impress people you don't care about on social media.
And remember... You gotta pay taxes on all that earned income that generates your $20k/mo number.
So you actually need to make $30k/mo.
Did you hear that sound?
That's the treadmill getting turned up higher and higher...
Sorry for swearing.
But... Have you ever heard the saying "the things you own eventually own you?"
This is exactly what they're talking about.
I call it "lifestyle creep" because it sneaks up on you.
And the treadmill of required monthly cashflow for decades into the future keeps getting turned up faster and faster as your lifestyle creeps up fancier and fancier.
This is incredibly common for internet entrepreneurs.
The moment folks start earning more... They buy more stuff and commit to higher monthly payments.
New funnel working? Time to buy that new Tesla to show the world "you've made it," right?
Have a breakthrough year?
Might as well make the move to Austin or San Diego now, right?
Or, maybe it's time to get that 2nd home in Hawaii that you've always wanted.
This is the danger zone in my humble opinion.
It's the path of lifestyle creep.
You can see it most often in athletes... They make millions for a few years and the lifestyle creep follows the income...
Then, one day the income stops.
Bankruptcies and all kinds of chaos can ensue because they didn't have enough cashflow positive assets to cover the cost of their lifestyle.
They fell into the trap of the system.
The system is designed to keep you trapped.
Our modern society and media are constantly working to brainwash you with the lie that 'you'll be happy once you have enough stuff'
Why is the system setup this way?
Because that is what keeps the system and the economic machine going.
This is the opposite of freedom, btw... In case that wasn't perfectly clear.
You can break free, tho.
And it's worth mentioning that extreme frugality sucks, too.
Because living as cheap as possible and never honoring your hobbies, never going on vacation with your family or refusing to invest in a fun 'lifestyle' would be horrible.
There's a balance in here somewhere that YOU need to find for YOU.
And it really comes down to that whole 'know thyself' bit.
Start with this simple question and exercise:
What do you want to do with your time?
Let's say your current monthly expenses were covered and your investment accounts are receiving a solid $5,000/mo so you're stacking comfortably for Future You, too.
Great... You don't need to work anymore.
You've stepped off of the treadmill.
Now what are you going to do with your time, every day?
Research things to spend money on?
Look at what other people are doing (aka buying and trying to flex with) on social media?
Go buy stuff?
Uh oh... Here we are on that slippery slope, again.
The System is designed to keep you trapped in a cycle of buying stuff, planning to buy stuff, using credit to buy stuff because that's what perpetuates The System
And this is all fueled by keeping you trapped working 9-5 for the money based on the promise that buying this next thing is what will make you happy.
That house in that neighborhood... Will make you happy.
Or a Tesla.. Ya. An electric car, then you'll be happy.
Fancy watches or bags? Own those and then you'll be happy, right?
Spending your time with people you enjoy doing things that you find fun is a better path to happiness in my personal opinion.
Keep in mind...
Facebook ads, Google ads, Instagram Ads, YouTube Ads, TikTok Ads are all trying to persuade you to buy their stuff... And the advertising algorithm has been spying on your past purchase history for a decade learning your habits to persuade you to buy even more stuff.
Because that keeps THEIR customers happy... The Advertisers.
It's almost like the deck is stacked against you.
Be a good consumer and then you'll be happy is the way, right?
Not from my point of view.
It's a trap.
I've watched far too many people I care about fall into that trap.
But there is hope.
There is another way.
Here's the positive reframe for you
Own enough assets that cover your monthly cashflow needs and then you'll be free.
Because assets put cashflow into your pocket instead of taking it out.
That's what an asset is.
An investment, website or business that makes you money.
This is what I like to invest my money in...
Things that bring more money in.
Way more fun than hemorrhaging money every month for fancy stuff because I got caught in the lifestyle creep trap.
And here's the really cool part.
Once your assets generate enough cashflow to cover your lifestyle expenses (and taxes and investments), you're free.
This is why I love creating automated income streams online with affiliate marketing, sales funnels and email marketing.
They are relatively easy to build (compared to bricks & mortar businesses) and you can build them from 4am - 7am while the 9 to 5 normies sleep.
It's also a wonderful distraction from spending money on stuff, thinking about buying stuff, researching buying stuff and scrolling social to learn about more neat stuff to buy.
I'd rather build another asset than any of that jazz.
It's also why I rarely use social media...
Because it comes at a price.
The social algorithms are constantly PUSHING more things for you to buy as they display more ads written by professional copywriters who are highly trained to persuade you to buy.
Or the images from the 'influencers' who bought 'another' home or a ranch in Austin, a Tesla, a fancy watch, etc...
The Matrix constantly reinforces that big lie that "if you buy more stuff THEN you'll be happy"
Every moment spent as a user on social media platforms is a test of your willpower not to succumb to the temptation to buy more stuff
And every time you give in... That treadmill gets turned up a little faster.
You can find your balance.
A life you love.
A life that allows you the freedom to do fun stuff with your time.
For me, that's taking road trips to see friends & family, camping, exploring national parks, gardening, paddleboarding, hiking, snowboarding, doing Qi Gong, meditating, cooking, and eating delicious healthy food...
I prefer fun stuff that helps me stay fit and keeps me out in nature because that keeps me sane (and off social).
I'm not saying 'do the stuff I like' obviously.
But I am saying...
Find what you like to do and preferably things that are NOT associated with buying stuff, researching stuff to buy or looking at the stuff other people have.
And, as you build your automated income assets online...
A low-cost lifestyle means your authority site can get you to freedom, faster.
You can fund your dream life and you can go big if you choose...
But the risk of lifestyle creep is real and you don't have to keep turning up that treadmill.
You can build enough recurring cashflow from these assets to pay for your current lifestyle.
Then, if you want to upgrade your life, do so knowing that you're turning that treadmill on faster and faster... Which is the trap that the system is designed to get you stuck in.
It's good to ask yourself:
What would I do with my time if I was financially free, today?
Because that's the point.
Figure out what you'd love to do with your time.
Build automated cashflow assets online to cover the cost.
And get on with living your best life.
Miles "Lifestyle By Design" Beckler
P.S. If you enjoy these philosophical ideas and you want more... Here are a couple of book recommendations that have helped me a TON in these areas.
First: 4000 weeks.
Second: Habits of a Happy Brain.
This life we've been blessed with is finite.
Creating a life you love is a worthy pursuit.