Freedom means something different to everyone. I have worked to create time, location and financial freedom for myself with my online business. In this weeks podcast I recognise what this looks like in my life now as I celebrate the start of my wedding planning!
Prefer to read? Here’s the blog version…
Woo. Happy July everyone. We are officially in the second half of 2023, and here I am asking myself how can it get any better fully knowing that it can only get better.
My Untraditional Wedding
I am in the middle of wedding planning. So as you may know, Ragz and I got engaged on my 30th birthday on June 21st, and we are planning for our wedding to be on September 20th. This was a really spontaneous decision, but ultimately we felt like it was the most aligned for both of us. Originally, we had wanted to just elope just the two of us, maybe our parents. The main focus was for our parents to meet in England because they’ve never met before, and that would just be so, so special to me and I would’ve been happy with that. But then we started talking about the sentimental value and how we would love for our friends to be a part of it.
And after asking some of my friends from New York, if they could make it, they actually said it would be possible, and a lot of them hadn’t used all of their vacation days. So it got me thinking like, what if we just have a mini destination wedding in England where Ragz grew up? That would be so special. And here we are. I am in the middle of wedding planning and it will be taking place in September, which is less than three months time. So of course everything is just happening really fast. And because Ragz and I live such untraditional lives, I truly feel like this wedding is so representative of us. I am thinking Castle Cornish, Countryside and Clifftops, and surrounded by my closest friends and of course my amazing family.
The good news is I already have my wedding dress, If. you haven’t seen the try-on video that I posted. Go to my Instagram because I went to this beautiful boutique called True Society in Switzerland. They had the most amazing gowns and I had such a hard time choosing one. I tried on a bunch. I showed you my top four. Please let me know which one you think I went with. In the end, I had to pick one off the shelves because custom orders take around five to six months at least. And because our wedding is such short notice, I got one that just fits so perfectly and I am in love and cannot wait to wear it.
Well, I’m learning from this process, and I kind of knew this from the beginning, but there is so much marketing and hype over weddings. All of my friends are getting married, and there is just such a baseline procedure that people expect you to abide by, and similar to either following society or going against it, I am here to tell you that you are fully free to make your own decisions. If something about wedding planning or having a wedding makes you feel icky and makes you feel like you want to just hide, you don’t need to do that on your wedding day. You can literally design the day as elaborate or as intimate as you want.
You don’t have to go through the standard procedures. You don’t have to do everything by the book. And that is how I’m doing it. Like I didn’t want a long engagement. I didn’t want a bells and whistles wedding. I’ve always said from an early age, I wanted a big engagement ring, a small wedding with my closest friends and family and a big honeymoon, and that is what I am following. I am not having bridesmaids. And even when I was trying on the dress like Ragz came with me, we’re not doing the whole, you cannot see the bride in her dress until first. Look, we’re not doing a first look. So everything about this wedding is literally just dependent on what we want to do, and it’s going to be so different and it’s going to be so perfect in the middle of all this wedding planning.
I also took a lot of time to reflect on how grateful I am to be in this position where I can plan a wedding in three months. I can have it in England. I am running my business that allows me to do everything that I want to without having to request time off from work, without having to fly somewhere else. I can stay as long as I want to in Cornwall.
Discovering The Value of Time, Location and Financial Freedom
And that is the topic of today’s podcast episode What, time freedom, location freedom and financial freedom mean to me because I didn’t grow up with this and because I didn’t always have this in my life, like growing up, I definitely didn’t have financial freedom in college.
I didn’t have location freedom until I studied abroad and was able to travel. And when I was working in corporate, I didn’t have the time freedom. So the fact that I set out to create this beautiful, perfect life for myself came from a place where I felt restricted. And I truly believe that this deep gratitude for what I currently have stems from at one point in my life, not having it. So you do have this newfound appreciation when you experience both sides. You don’t know what light is until you’ve been in the dark. You don’t know what happy is until you’ve experienced extreme sadness, and this is kind of dark, but If, you think about freedom in its extremities.
My parents grew up in communist China and they were taught to worship the dictator maze. Don. And how they described their lives growing up is just so similar to North Korea. And it wasn’t until they immigrated to America where they experienced and learned that you could say things about the government without fear of being killed or fear of the government going after your parents. You are able to watch whatever you want or surf the internet without any government controls. The fact that they came from that society and then experienced freedom gave them this newfound appreciation, right?
But what they tell me is that when they were growing up and every time when something bad happened to their leader, everyone was expected to cry like If, you didn’t cry, then you would get punished. Everyone just had to let tears stream out of their eyes, which to me is insane for a government to instill that upon. You know, the people under it. And this also reminds me of like in North Korea, people don’t know that they are deprived of freedom. My parents said in communist China, they would watch videos of America starving people in America on TV or on the radio.
They were like, this is what happens when you don’t live in China. Like people out there are starving. It’s such a horrible place out there and they weren’t allowed to leave the country. So the fact that, you know, they went from that to building amazing lives for themselves in America and really seeing both sides, I think that’s where my sense of freedom and my definitions of freedom first originated just by seeing everything that they went through and having my parents set that example for me. So with that being said, freedom isn’t of utmost importance to everyone, right? It’s very much that I grew up with this and I found my own values, and it’s just something that is so ingrained in me.
Also going to include here that it’s not the only path to happiness, having time freedom, location freedom, and financial freedom. For me that is just what I value so much in this life and it’s brought me so much joy and happiness, but it’s not the only path. However, If, you feel like there is so much potential and so much happiness once you do achieve that time freedom, location freedom, and financial freedom.
How I Created My Version Of Freedom
I’m going to give you a glimpse of what I’ve experienced and know that it is possible for you. I didn’t achieve this until the past few years. Like I completely changed my life at the age of 24. So in six years I have built something so incredible. I’ve helped hundreds of clients build the same for themselves. And if I can do it, you can too. And if they can do it, you definitely can too. So let’s start off with time freedom.
What I didn’t have when I worked a corporate job in New York City, I had 15 days of vacation every single year. I needed a request days off at least two weeks in advance and all of my vacation days accrued, which meant that in January I only had, you know, one day and if I wanted to take six days off, I would’ve had to wait until June and my vacation days did not roll over.
So if I didn’t use any vacation days during that calendar year, I had to start over from scratch. It’s not like I could save them up and that’s just how my company worked, which was so incredibly limiting and frustrating for me. Now with my online business, I get to choose where to spend my time with who to spend my time, and I get to choose what exactly I do with my time. I don’t have to be at an office or I don’t have to be in front of my computer from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM every single day. Instead, I get to choose which clients I want to work with, choose what tasks I want to work on in my business.
I get to take two weeks off from work without having to ask a manager. If I have a bachelorette party or a wedding I need need to go to, I can decide myself without needing to request for time off. I have time for self care, I have time for my hobbies, and once I have kids, I will have time for my kids. I think this was actually one of the main reasons I started my online business because I grew up with immigrant parents who didn’t have this time freedom. They had to work extra. I was always in afterschool programs and my parents could never come watch my games or my concerts. So it was a little traumatizing for me as a child.
And I knew that with a corporate job, that’s what I would be giving to my kids, and I didn’t want that. I wanted to create a life for myself where I would have the time freedom to spend all of that time with my kids if I wanted to. Right? When I travel, I get to stay for as long as I want. I don’t have to limit my vacation to five days or seven days. I can literally stay for five months or seven months if I wanted to. That is what I love about having the time freedom. And it is very apparent that with the time freedom, I am able to really excel and commit to my hobbies.
Like with surfing, you can’t just get better at surfing by going on a three day surf retreat. It’s really something you have to do consistently for a long period of time because the tides are constantly changing every day. You can only surf during some tides. Sometimes there’s no swell, so there’s no waves and it comes and goes. You need to learn how to read the waves and waves are different at every surf spot. So it’s really a skill that takes a lot of time. If, you are confined to a nine to five or a nine to six, or in my case, an eight to six. There would be no time in your day really to go surfing unless you lived right on the beach.
But for a lot of people it is unreasonable. And so the fact that I improved so much in the past few years because I started in 2019, so four years ago, it really is a testament to the time freedom that I had to be able to dedicate to this sport. The key here, when designing your online business, If, you want to maximize time freedom. What I would encourage you to do is to prioritize digital products such as eBooks, courses, memberships, templates. You get the point when you are able to scale online outside of your time. It frees up your time.
And what I see a lot of people doing is they make a lot of money with one-on-one services, and that is perfectly fine, but If, you don’t have the vehicles in place in your business to scale and to take yourself out your own time out of the equation. If, you don’t have those in place. The time freedom is gonna be kind of hard for you to achieve, right? But If, you can build your business running on digital products and scalable products, then you really get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. So if this sounds like you get in touch, we can create an action plan for you for the rest of the year to really get those systems and digital products in place.
Next is location freedom. This is honestly one of my tippy top priorities. When I first started traveling, when I studied abroad in Italy, I realized how accessible travel was. It wasn’t this grand vacation all-inclusive only kind of image I had about travel when I was growing up. It was taking a $30 or a 30 euro round trip flight from Milan to any other country in Europe. Essentially it was staying at hostels. It was having the location freedom to be based wherever it is that you wanted to be.
And that is why after I studied in Italy a year later, I studied abroad in Hong Kong because I wanted to explore more of Asia. And when you are based somewhere, obviously the access to those neighboring cities and countries just becomes so much easier. So with the location freedom of an online business, I can choose to be based wherever I want to be in the world. Granted that they have a stable wifi connection or I get to use my hotspot, so they must have data, but that hasn’t stopped me or Ragz from the sitting all of the places that we’ve wanted to, including remote surf islands in the middle of nowhere where we were literally the only foreigners and we had empty waves to ourselves.
I love location freedom because it really lets you surround yourself with the people that you want to surround yourself with. I love new experiences and I wanted to always surround myself with people of different cultures. I will go to surf destinations when I feel like I really want to surf and when I want to be near the water. I also choose destinations that are catered more towards digital nomads. And if I wanted to meet other entrepreneurs, it’s really easy for me to meet them if I’m at a location where they kind of like congregate. This also gives me the location freedom to be doing what I am doing now, which is spending time in England with Ragz as family, planning our wedding and knowing that it’s going to work because I can truly dedicate myself to this location, learn about the different procedures and make it happen for myself.
If I was working a full-time job in New York or somewhere where I wasn’t location independent, it would be really hard for me to plan a wedding here especially. And it’s really clear to me after gauging how many of my friends could attend those with corporate jobs, most likely wouldn’t be able to attend because they either don’t have enough vacation days or they just really have to be at work. Versus my friends with the location freedom, it’s easier for them to make this wedding, which is also happening on a Wednesday.
Last but not least, we have financial freedom. Financial freedom is something that comes from within and it also comes from your business.
And truth be told, you could have the most money in the world and still feel poor. You can also have no money at all and feel so abundantly rich. This is something that I noticed just from traveling around the world, going from Monaco to third world countries, and it is just so apparent. Financial freedom is different for everyone, but for me, how I know that I am financially free, one of the main things that kind of dictates this is I get to pick anything from any menu without looking at prices.
Like I know menu prices in New York, all of my friends are saying it has gone just up and up and up with inflation. It doesn’t bother me. Like if I want to eat something, I will order it without looking at the price. Growing up, this wasn’t always a case, and even when I was making a lot of money in finance, I still felt like I wasn’t deserving to order the most expensive thing, even if that was what I wanted. I had the money for it, but it was always clouded by I need to be saving for a rainy day. This is irresponsible of me to spend this much money on food and all of these other beliefs, right?
So what you tell yourself can really affect how financially free you are. For me as well, I also love being unlimited in terms of where I travel to. I don’t need to only pick the budget backpacker destinations. I don’t only have to pick countries where my currency goes really far. I can be based wherever in the world I am, despite the financial situation. I, I also love having ideas like I wanna take my parents on a cruise to Alaska for their 60th birthday and also take my brother and support my family whenever they need help.
This makes me feel financially free, really doing stuff for other people and ultimately being able to fund my hobbies, my desires, and whatever it is that I want to buy. These were parameters I had set out for myself when I started my online business. I knew I didn’t want it to just be a side project. I wanted to be big. I wanted to make a lot of money. I wanted to have a team. And ultimately, after achieving all of this and working from corporate to then starting entrepreneurship, to then growing in entrepreneurship, what I’ve ultimately learned is truly being financially free is a feeling.
And you are able to inject feelings of financial abundance into your day-to-day in really small things. It could be lighting a candle, it could be painting your nails yourself, or it can be splurging on an item that all your life, you’ve talked yourself out of buying like a really expensive candle or really expensive perfumes. Do things outside the box and inject those in your day-to-day. And I promise you, you are going to attract more abundance, more abundant opportunities simply because you’re thinking different thoughts and taking different actions. That is what I’ve had to train myself to do, coming from a very scarce mindset.
But If, you dedicate your time and energy into changing that, into developing the new thoughts, the new habits, then this incredibly abundant life is naturally going to gravitate towards you. I am so excited to start my thirties with this baseline of what I understand to be free with time, location, and money. It can only get better from here.
Holding Myself & You Accountable
It’s been an absolute whirlwind of a few months, but I honestly cannot complain. It has, however, detracted my investment goals a little bit. I wanted to purchase a property by the end of June, however that didn’t happen. So I will be looking at different properties and also planning my wedding. And my new goal is to buy an investment property. By the end of this year, I’m going to have you guys hold me accountable to that.
If you have any thoughts about this episode? I would love If. you could take a screenshot, share it to Instagram, tag the Wanderlover tag, the Wanderlover podcast. Feel free to DM me at any time, and I would love to help you achieve everything, In this episode and even more if that is what your heart desires. I’ll see you guys in the next episode. Have an amazing July!
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