And even if you could, do you want to?
Before we dive into this question, let’s go back in time. Let’s go all the way back to 2006 when John discussed the notion of trading hours for dollars. By far the most conventional way to make money is with a traditional job. You go into work, you put in your hours and, in exchange, your employers pays you. In effect, you’ve traded hours of your life for a certain number of dollars.
And while this is by far the most common way for most people to make money, it is an inherently flawed model. Aside from the issues related to income tax, the biggest problem here is that you can only earn your dollars while you’re trading in your hours. There are only so many hours in the day and I can’t imagine you want to trade all 24 of them every day. That just doesn’t make sense.
This is why becoming your own boss with your own online business sounds like it can make a lot more sense. The great thing about Internet marketing, affiliate marketing and other forms of online businesses is that they can continue to generate money for you even when you’re not actively working. That’s called passive income and, in many ways, that’s at the heart of the Dot Com Lifestyle. Your business is, in a sense, separate from you.
This business might be an online store selling digital goods, it could be a popular blog, or maybe it’s an online training course. The actual nature of the business doesn’t matter all that much. What matters is that you can set up the business in such a way that, should you feel the desire, you can delegate and outsource everything that needs to be done and step completely out of the picture, all while still earning money.
A simple analogy might be if you opened up a restaurant. It gets hugely popular, you hire managers to take care of actually running it, and you step aside, continuing to earn your share of the profits as the owner. Online business works in much the same way. The challenge is figuring out the best way to accomplish this kind of goal.
If we were to take this blog as an example, in its early days, all the posts were written by John Chow himself. These days, he has a team of writers (myself among them) who contribute a lot of the content. In doing so, John can write a lot less and continue to earn a lot more. He’s trading fewer hours for more dollars. If we were to look at my freelance writing business as another example, I could hire a team of writers to do that work too, as well as a sales and marketing guy to attract customers, an accountant to crunch the numbers and so on.
But this raises the second question: do you really want to remove yourself completely from your business?
This comes back to a different but related question: what do you really want to do with your life? In John’s case, I get the impression that running this blog (and all the tasks that go along with that) is fun and it’s something he would continue to do even if it didn’t make any money. He could step aside if he wanted to, but he doesn’t. Making those Driving with John Chow videos, filming Dot Com Lunch, and providing advice through blog posts is enjoyable for him.
And so, when we talk about removing yourself from your online business, it’s really more about what your goals are in terms of work-life balance. Both John and I prescribe to the philosophy that we value “life” more than “work,” but we may not be so quick to abandon “work” altogether. What we do for a living is still a fundamental element of who we are.