Vlad is an escape entrepreneur sharing his lessons learned in a complementary course for all Escape the City readers: Do What You Love and Earn your Financial Freedom.

We took the plunge. I quit my job and put my apartment on the market. In approximately 200 days, my wife and I will be moving to Valencia, Spain.

There is no job waiting for me there, and I don’t intend to seek one.

Instead, I am working on creating a location-independent income that will give us the freedom to build the life that we want. Doing the work that I am passionate about.

Are you thinking about something similar?

Let me share with you some obstacles I faced and lessons learned so far.

You Already Have What it Takes

My dream of the Escape started five years ago.

And for most of those 5 years, I felt stuck.

I felt I didn’t have what it takes. I thought: there is still so much to learn about the business side of things. I searched for a job opportunity to build commercial experience. I started consuming business books and online articles.

As it turns out, I was right about one, but wrong about two things.

I was right about the need to learn. I still do, and am learning every day. At the same time, I was wrong about the approach to learning. Yes, reading will help. But the real learning starts when you take action. You will learn 5-10 times more each hour trying to do something than just consuming information.

I was also wrong about why I felt stuck. In retrospect, I wasn’t stuck because I lacked knowledge, I was simply feeling insecure. I didn’t trust myself. Before anything else, I needed to change my mindset.

Fear of Uncertainty

This is a big one. When you are starting something new, there is little certainty. No guaranteed salary, paid vacation and sick days, and no severance pay.

I remember waking up in the middle of the night feeling paralyzed by worries about future.

Over time, I have come to realize:

  • For the most part, the feeling of security a job provides is false. 2 out of 3 companies I worked for have fired all of my ex colleagues. It’s in the news almost every day. I believe the economy is fundamentally changing. We increasingly have to rely on small and nimble businesses more than on big corporations. Better start getting ready now.
  • When I make choices out of fear, I become its slave. The fear keeps me stuck spinning in the mouse wheel. The fear stands between me and my happiness. Is this really how I want to live my life?
  • I looked back at challenging situations in my life, and how I dealt with them. Back when I had much less experience. Certainly I can trust myself to figure out a way out of a tough spot in future. Especially when working towards something I care so deeply about.
  • Finally, what’s the worst case scenario? That we’ll have to pack our bags and come back looking for a job. Hey, wait a minute! Doesn’t that mean that I am already living the worst case scenario?

Of Course Money is Important

We all have to pay our bills.

Deciding to take the plunge doesn’t mean jumping in blindly. It will take time to build enough independent income to support your lifestyle. I started building my first business a year ago. We gave ourselves another 8 months to prepare.

Here’s what we’ve done so far.

Reduce spending:

  • Because now we know our priorities, it’s easier to make more responsible financial decisions. Reducing your spending will help you save up, and prepare you for a lower burn rate you’ll need before your new income builds up
  • Don’t give up on nice things. We spent some time talking about we really enjoy doing. It turns out, it’s simple things that bring us most satisfaction. Catching up with people we care about, walking, soaking up the sun, reading, swimming, cooking simple food using fresh products. None of these things has to cost a lot of money
  • Moving to Valencia will help a lot. No need for a vacation next year, reduced cost of living, and more chance to do stuff we love for free, because of the great weather

Start earning on the side:

  • Don’t quit your job right away. Here are good businesses to start on the side while you are still employed
  • Try switching to a part time employment before quitting completely. Or negotiate with your boss to become your first freelancing customer. I did both. First, I worked 3 day per week during a year, and then switched to freelancing. Now I get paid more AND have more time to build my new business.

Conclusion

Almost everyone I know dreams about becoming independent, taking their life in their own hands. Unfortunately, most feel stuck. They are waiting for a great idea, or a better moment. But the right moment may never come.

The most important thing is to start taking small steps. Instead of waiting, start creating the right conditions for yourself.

I made it my mission to help you with this. And not just with general advice. I want to help you with the challenges you struggle with. So, if you still have two seconds, I would love for you to hit “add comment” below and tell me: what is stopping you from creating the work you love? What is your biggest frustration or fear?

Photo credit: Port Saplaya, Valencia, Spain. Xavi GM