Passive Income

Global Expansion

Language, Economic Growth and Getting Left Behind

Posted by | 30 Ways in 30 Days, Live Like a Local, Passive Income, Quality of Life, Social Media, Traveling Tips | 2 Comments

Every day the news in the United States, the United Kingdom and much of Western Europe is filled with economic woe. Hundreds of millions of unemployed. People living in tent cities, hostels, on the streets, in their cars. Families whose parents have lost their jobs, spent their entire life savings over the course of two to five years while attempting to support their families as they send out dozens…hundreds…thousands…of job applications, all to no avail. Third world living conditions in what were previously first-world countries.

But while the vast majority of sheeple are still soundly asleep, plugged into the warm hum of The Matrix that keeps them lulled in their state of perpetual slumber, there are those around the world who are wide awake, unplugged and aware of the current changes that are spreading around the planet like a giant wave crashing over shore after shore.

They are The Enlightened. The Modern Elite. The Socially Aware. Individuals who have seen the light and understand that we no longer live in a world of closed borders and solitary languages, but instead an entire planet where news and information is shared freely and instantly across the entire globe in an instant. People who speak more than one language, who call more than one country home, and who understand that in order to thrive in the current era they must adapt and maintain a global viewpoint as opposed to the prehistoric concept of “local”.

A perfect example of this can be found in Europe, where the latest wave of European migrants are riding the digital wave and completely avoiding the so-called global crisis. The “how” is easy; they speak multiple languages and rather than sit around and pray and hope for a change that will never come, they are instead choosing to take matters into their own hands and migrate to countries where economies are booming, where opportunities are limitless, and where they can go from barely surviving to financially and creatively thriving.

Spain is a singular example. With one of the worst unemployment rates in the world (an estimated 60% of the population are without jobs), its people are proving to be incredibly resilient despite it all. Rather than rely on the broken system and hope for change from their government, the people are taking actions into their own hands and using their unlimited human potential to create their own realities as entrepreneurs.

They have unlocked their true human potential and are exploring the wonder and amazement that is The Human Experience, unplugged and completely aware of their surroundings and the universal truths that each and every one of us holds within our DNA and our very souls: unlimited possibilities and infinite realities.

Instead of waiting around for federal handouts and sending in thousands of job applications to no avail, modern entrepreneurs are choosing to ride the digital wave of social evolution. They are learning other languages. Moving to other countries. Getting out of the brick-and-mortar industries and into the virtual world of websites and social media platforms and cloud funding and beyond.

On the flip side of the coin, you can take a close look at those who are still plugged into The Matrix, like this poor sap who went from a $75,000 a year job as an architect to making less than poverty-level income (according to U.S. standards). Not only has he been barely scrapping after seeing his salary reduced to a mere pittance in comparison to before, he has also submitted more than 3,000 resumes in a period of three years, which have only generated a half-dozen interviews…and a mere $10,000 per year for his efforts.

Despite all of this, despite thousands of hours of wasted effort, despite three years of watching his life savings drain away, despite year after year of the door being slammed in his face due to the fact that the jobs he once thrived on no longer exist, he still prefers to stay plugged into The Matrix and live within the illusion. According to the article, he still feels like a job could be just around the corner. “I don’t want to lose who I am and what I spent all these years and all this money to become and just fade into oblivion.” 

He cannot comprehend the changes the world is going through because he refuses to unplug, to wake up, to enlighten himself.

In other words, he would rather continue with the illusion rather than face the reality that the world as he knew it has changed. Jobs which existed even as short of a time period as five years ago are no longer available…nor are they coming back. Degrees that you would pay $150,000 and six years of your life ten years ago to obtain not only no longer matter…they can be taught and earned completely for free online. They have been eradicated by the rapidly evolving social changes on Planet Earth, of The Human Experience.

Meanwhile, the social evolution continues. The world still turns, and more and more people are waking up to the reality of modern living. They are learning new languages.  Moving to other countries. Migrating and going where the jobs are so that they can put food on the table and not only “just get by”, but actually live successful lives with high-paying jobs, either in countries as expats where the opportunities exist, or on their own as digital entrepreneurs utilizing social media and passive income to create their own realities.

American InequalityRather than fall prey to the propaganda of government-controlled media outlets which attempt to paint developing countries as “poverty stricken cesspools”, the modern generation of globally-aware and enlightened human beings are using the power of The Internet and free information to educate themselves to the fact that third world living conditions now only exist in the previously first world countries, and the previously scoffed-at developing countries now have the greatest levels of equality and opportunity on a global scale.

Countries like Uruguay, Venezuela, El Salvador, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Chile, Argentina and Costa Rica are far ahead of The West in terms of equality and modern living conditions. High speed Internet exists in all corners of the globe. First class medical care exists in every country, and rather than charge you an arm and a leg, it is incredibly affordable, such as in Mexico where a mid-30s adult can get universal healthcare for around $300 USD a year…with unlimited prescription medication to boot.

Or countries like Bulgaria, where pregnant mothers receive a staggering 410 days of maternity leave paid out at 90% salary, and can claim an additional year at a reduced salary. That’s in comparison to the U.S. where you are lucky if you can get 12 weeks off work to care for your newborn child, and good luck trying to get that time paid for by your company.

You have a choice. You can choose to live in poverty. You can choose to send in thousands of job applications over a period of time that lasts for years. You can choose to spend your life savings waiting and “hoping” that your government will swoop in and save you and provide you with jobs and wealth and opportunity. And you will continue to go deeper and deeper into debt, sink deeper and deeper into depression and eventually end up like my brother, who committed suicide in December of 2012 at the age of 30 after a similar period of three years of unemployment and thousands of job applications sent in to no avail.

Or you can choose to be one of the modern elite. The expats of the world who are choosing to learn additional languages, move to other countries and seek out opportunities where they exist. Rather than rely on false hope for a return to the “good old days”, you can unplug from The Matrix and realize that Earth has changed. We are no longer living in a world where college degrees and credit system and resumes matter. Instead, we are living in a world where opportunities abound for those who are willing to stretch out their hand and take them. People who decide to swim rather than sink. People who decide they want to live life on their own terms as opposed to waiting for something that is never going to happen.

Create your own reality. The entire planet is your home, your playground, your sandbox. Explore. Discover. Live.

Don’t forget to sign up for our free newsletter for several-times-a-week, your-eyes-only travel and entrepreneur tips, plus receive a complimentary copy of our 85-page starter book on location independence and living abroad, 30 Ways in 30 Days.

With over 1,500 copies sold, our flagship 568-page eBook is what started it all. Learn how to travel the world like I do: without a budget, with no plans, funded completely by your website and online ventures.

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Beyond Borders - The Social RevolutionGet Your Copy Today!

Passive Income

Top 5 Ways to Generate Passive Income for Full-Time Travel

Posted by | 30 Ways in 30 Days, Live Like a Local, Passive Income, Quality of Life, Social Media, Traveling Tips | 8 Comments

Money. It’s a curse in that we all need it to survive. People work their whole lives to earn it, and it spends a lot faster than it comes in.

One of the biggest issues facing people who are looking into a life of travel or location independence as an expat is the inevitable travel fund. One way to go about traveling is to save up a nest egg before you head out, which is covered in our 10 Ways to Save $25,000 or More For Your Full-Time Travel article.

But that’s only your initial travel fund. What about once you are on the road? What can you do in order to avoid ever having to return to your old life, the 40 hour work week, the rat race, the cubicle torture, the <insert quirky Internet meme or phrase for working for someone else here>?

Passive income allows you the opportunity to take your ordinary, average blog and make it into an online business that provides you with enough funds to travel the world on a full time basis, or to establish yourself in another country where you can go the immersion travel route (which is my own preference) for long-term living as an expat.

One of the major differences between backpacking and immersion travel as an expat is that backpackers do not need to provide proof of income to governments around the world to apply for residency visas, since they are mostly only ever traveling on their passport or on the rare occasion a tourist visa.

Passive income, on the other hand, covers both sides of the coin. It can provide you with the funds to continually travel without ever having to go back to your former job, and it can be the basis for providing proof of income to a government that you have a viable online enterprise…and it will continue to provide you with funds after you settle down into your new digs, as well as paying for your cost of living over the years.

Getting that passive income going, though, that’s the part where a lot of people struggle. It’s not something you can just snap a finger and will into existence, but as long as you are willing to dedicate a few hours per day, every day, you will eventually build your blog or your brand into something that can provide you with enough funds to either travel at will or settle down in a country of your choosing. With that in mind, I’ve included an alternate version of the information you can find within The Expat Guidebook as to some of the ways you can generate a passive income for your travels.

Produce An eBook/Newsletter/Magazine

Digital MediaEveryone is an expert on something, and everyone has a unique point of view on topics. I meet a lot of people in my travels who claim that travel blogging is an over-saturated market and that there’s no way they can compete against the industry veterans who are selling $10,000+ per month in copies, so they don’t think they can get going or ever follow their dreams.

Do you think those industry leaders just magically appeared one day and started selling tens of thousands of copies per year? Absolutely not! They all started out at the bottom, just like everyone else, and built up from there. I know I didn’t have a lot of followers when I first started out; I only had about 30 friends and family. Now I’m over 4,000 (as of January, 2013) followers and continually rising.

There are seven billion people on planet Earth. Your voice is unique out of all of those. No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, you can find an audience. Will it take time? Yes. Will it take hard work? Yes. But over time you will build up a following and you will find readers who enjoy your particular take on things.

Which is where writing an eBook for your followers comes into play. You will notice the vast majority of travel bloggers have some type of book offered on their websites. That’s because it serves as one avenue of passive income. Once you can start selling your own book to your fans and followers, the sky is the limit.

From there, you can continually produce content that your readers find valuable. Of course, you first have to make sure you are offering quality content, but as long as you are providing something of value the sales will come. The goal is to make sure that what you are offering isn’t just to make money, but it’s something that betters everyone’s lives, something that benefits humanity as a whole. These are the projects people love, the projects that stir goodness in the hearts of your brothers and sisters and set them on the path to The Human Experience.

You can also consider starting a digital magazine, something that comes out as a PDF once a month or once every two weeks, where you can feature other writers, their stories and beyond. You can do the same thing with an online newspaper, such as for your local area, providing news for expats in their native tongue.

There’s a great list of existing sites to draw inspiration from at Escape Artist in their Expat Magazines listing. Not all are digital, but you can find something to get you started. Meanwhile, a great example of an online, digital magazine is here at the Expat News site. As you can see, they’ve got a massive list of resources for people who are interested in expat-related information. Which you can do as well.

Provide A Service

Social MediaSimilarly, you can provide a service via your brand/blog as opposed to writing a eBooks. This is especially true in the modern times where G+ Hangouts and other online features allow any of us to connect around the world with the click of a button, absolutely for free.

Start a podcast, make a web series, offer consultations, you can help people find real estate in destinations around the world, you can set yourself up as a rental agent promoting various properties for tourists, you can organize tours in your area, you can teach language classes, guitar lessons, blogging classes, web development…the only limit to the types of services you can provide is your imagination.

Let me give you a perfect example of someone providing a service. I’m a huge fan of Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income. This guy has come a long way in the past few years, and I’ve been an avid follower. How does he continually make 40-50k USD per month? By providing a service. He helps people create passive income, which in turn has generated a huge following, and offers up the vast majority of his information for free on his website.

By becoming a master of information sharing, by being the “go to guy” for tens of thousands of followers, his service of information is providing him a life of luxury with passive income. He’s just one example of dozens you can find on The Internet. You still have to build up your reader base, but once you have it, the income follows. Because you are providing value to your readers and ensuring that what you are sharing, the service you are offering, is exactly what they need and want.

Sell Advertising Space

This one is a bit trickier  and can really only feasibly done after you have established traffic and can guarantee a certain amount of viewers per month. And it’s not for everyone, because not everyone likes “watering down” their blog by having ads up in the sidebar or in other areas.

I’m of the opinion that as long as what you are advertising is of value to your readers, you should absolutely do it, because every little drop in the bucket counts. This is especially true when you start getting to the point where you can go to your peers and ask them if they want to buy advertising space, because then you are recommending products and services that will not only benefit your readers, but also your peers and friends within the travel blogging industry.

There are a lot of different ways to sell space. Banners are common on websites (just check out the banners on the right sidebar we have here to see what I mean), but if you have an eBook or a digital magazine that you produce, you can also sell advertising space within the publications. The same goes for your newsletter, since you can customize your layout as you see fit to advertise products and services within.

Some travel writers sneer down their noses at Google ads. But you know what, I’m of the opinion that in the beginning, when you don’t have the clout to sell direct advertising to your peers and industry leaders, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with some well-placed Google or Chitika ads. They can bring in an extra few hundred per month once you get traffic going, and can help you leverage your way to private ads that have more relevance to what you are talking about on your blog.

You can also sell advertising space in your YouTube videos, offering up sponsorship positions in exchange for logo placement in your videos. You can look at any travel blogger website and see advertising in some form or another…usually products and services of peers.

Private Newsletter/Forums/Subscription Service

Marginal Boundaries NewsletterThis is another one that takes time to get to the point where you can realistically offer it, but there are a lot of industry veterans doing it. I think one of my favorites is Simon Black from Sovereign Man, and his various programs that range the gamut from the free newsletter to the Confidential and up to the Total Access, which he just launched at the end of 2012. I have several friends who are members (I’m personally not, but only because I’m not into stocks/precious metals, which is the primary benefit of signing up to the Confidential and beyond reports) and highly praise the service. It’s just one example.

Everyone gives away free information to generate interest. As travel bloggers, we blog for free, we have free eBooks that we give away to inspire interest in our other products, we work in social media for free, we do YouTube videos for free…travel bloggers generally produce content for their blog on spec. That is, they are doing it for free with the caveat being being that a certain percentage of people who visit the blog will purchase products and pay for services or click on links.

Once you have established yourself and you have something unique that no one else can offer…it’s worth it to consider a private forum or newsletter, some type of subscription service.

This is where you can go above and beyond for your readers. Because they are specifically paying you for your time, you have to offer something of incredible value. Maybe it’s customized real estate listings in Bangkok. Maybe you are a medical tourism expert and you travel the world finding the cheapest dental services on the planet. Maybe you want to promote the world’s most comfortable B&Bs in the world, so you specifically set up a subscription service where you dig them up and refer people to them. There are a lot of different ways to provide clients with specialized services or information.

Affiliate Products & Programs

This goes hand in hand with advertising space, and for some people it can actually replace your banner ads entirely, if this is the option you prefer. Personally, this is my favorite option, and it’s what I currently do at Marginal Boundaries.

Many travel bloggers who have a product or a service for sale also have an affiliate program in place. Generally this is around 50% of the sales you make. It can be more or it can be less; this is the average. Wandering Earl has an affiliate program for his books, as does Anil from over at Fox Nomad. I also have an affiliate program for The Expat Guidebook + all Marginal Boundaries immersion guides and products.

If they are products you enjoy, find useful and think they will benefit others who are reading your site, then by all means you should be referring these products on your site so you can make a commission on sales, and at the same time benefit your readers with valuable content.

I don’t believe in competition. I think it’s possible to find working relationships with everyone on the planet, and for those of you who follow along you know that I always promote networking with others. Some people don’t like to refer other products because they have the mentality of “well, I want people to buy my product, not someone else’s”.

That’s the capitalist/old school mentality. The “us versus them” mentality. It’s antiquated. In the new age, in the digital age, it’s all about win/win scenarios. And with affiliate sales everyone wins. When you are making 50% of the sales you refer, how is that a bad thing?

50% of something is better than 100% of nothing, and by referring other people’s products you not only help establish your own financial independence through passive income, but you also boost your own credibility with your readers. When you show your readers that you are all about equal opportunities for everyone, not just your own profits…well, it’s karmic principles 101.

People trust those who are helping them just as much as they are helping themselves. No one likes a greedy bastard, and by sharing and sharing equally, everyone wins, we all profit, there’s no 99% versus 1%, it’s just one, big happy family of passive income earners!

As far as the how goes, well it’s really up to you. You can write reviews on eBooks and then include your affiliate links with the associated posts, or you can set up a specific page on your website that has all the products and services you recommend, complete with banners and links. Wandering Earl and Anil from Fox Nomad both have good examples of this at their resource pages. The other option, which is what I’ve done, is include banners on the sidebar which have my affiliate code buried in, so if someone clicks on those ads they go straight to the associated sites and if they make a purchase, it’s all tracked via cookies.

Develop A Program/Run Tours

Destination FreedomThis somewhat goes hand in hand with “providing a service”, but it goes above and beyond simply referring people to other products or the simple “transaction based services” such as rental agencies, affiliate sales, basic language courses and beyond.

Programs take a lot of time and effort to put together. They go above and beyond simply having a product to recommend, because programs tend to be large-scale projects that take months of planning and a lot of time in advance taking care of logistics. It’s like being the director of a film; everyone is working on it, but you are the one bleeding sweat and tears for months on end making sure that everything goes off without a hitch.

For example, language programs are one way you can leverage your brand to generate a passive income for you. Yes, it will take time to set up, and there will be some initial investments, but once things are going you can generate that income perpetually simply by setting up something that is always renewing.

Language programs are popular with expats, but the flip side is that you can also offer your program to locals, provided you speak the language. An example of this is Latin Immersion, which are language immersion programs offered throughout Latin America. You can find language immersion courses all over the world. I have a couple of online writer associates who went to China in 2010 to spend two years in an immersion course, teaching English in exchange for free living and Mandarin classes, and another friend who did the same thing in Japan. If you can put together some type of a language program and offer it to your readers along with an eBook or service of some kind, this is another way you can make passive income from your blog.

Adventure tours are also popular. Wandering Earl is another example of a guy who is combining his eBook sales with affiliate sales and adventure tours as well. Another excellent example of tours you can run from your blog if you know your area and can organize things via your brand is Running Buffalo Journeys, down here in my part of the world, with their Mayan Heartland Tour.

All of these are examples of programs you can develop and market through your blog/social media platforms to generate income that will eventually turn passive as you spend more and more time developing a following and a reputation in your niche.

Some Final Thoughts

Growing a brand and developing passive income is not something that will happen overnight. You can’t just snap your fingers and have income magically start coming in. It takes time. Consider your first three to six months as training. You are like an actor who has been hired to play a role but is required to spend six months in the gym putting on 25 pounds of muscle and achieving godlike, chiseled abs.

You don’t get the godlike physique by wishing and hoping and thinking about it. You restrict your diet, eat only the healthiest foods, you push your body and your spirit and your will three, four and five hours a day at the gym, relentlessly pursuing your objective. And once you reach it, once you are “camera ready”, it’s all about going into maintenance mode during the actual shoot.

The first few months will be challenging. It takes time to build up a following. But with the right mentors, and the right resources, you can streamline your own growth to avoid the pitfalls and mistakes that most newbies make. Don’t forget to take a look at our Other Resources page for a full list of other travel bloggers and social media experts, all of whom have excellent advice and are worth looking into. And please check out all the links throughout this post; all of the aforementioned people have amazing products and services that can help you with inspiration and ways to monetize your blog to establish a passive income.

And remember, this is by no means a master list. This is my own personal take on five of the best ways to monetize your blog. There are literally dozens of ways to choose from, not just these few, so if you happen to have anything to add please just let me know in the comments below and I’ll be sure to add them to the list over time.

Don’t forget to sign up for our free newsletter for several-times-a-week, your-eyes-only travel and entrepreneur tips, plus receive a complimentary copy of our 85-page starter book on location independence and living abroad, 30 Ways in 30 Days.

With over 1,500 copies sold, our flagship 568-page eBook is what started it all. Learn how to travel the world like I do: without a budget, with no plans, funded completely by your website and online ventures.

The Expat GuidebookGet Your Copy Today!

Unplug from The System, cure yourself of The Greedy Bastard Syndrome, tap into your universal potential and create your own reality. Build a brand, travel the world and realize your cosmic consciousness.

Beyond Borders - The Social RevolutionGet Your Copy Today!

Minimum Wage

Breaking The Chains of Minimum Wage

Posted by | 30 Ways in 30 Days, Live Like a Local, Passive Income, Quality of Life, Social Media, Traveling Tips | 2 Comments

There are generally two types of Mexicans living in Cancun; those who speak English and work in the Hotel Zone, and those who do not and live in city proper on the mainland. The ones who can’t speak English and have no education are generally in the service industry are working the low-end of the totem pole, making around 4,000 to 5,000 pesos per month on average. If you have an 80 to 85 percent grasp of the English language, however, you can earn double that in the Hotel Zone working as a concierge or waiting tables, not to mention tips.

Out of the two types of Mexicans who live here, they can further be separated into those who have been living here as part of the pioneer families who first came here 40 years ago and thus have homes which are paid for and handed down from the parents/grandparents, or the Mexican migrant workers who come here from places like Veracruz and Chiapas and Tabasco to find work and are thus renting accommodations.

For someone growing up in the middle of the jungle of Chiapas, for example, there aren’t a lot of opportunities aside from farming and agriculture to make money, so if a person wants to save up to buy a home or a car or provide for their families, many of them will migrate here to Cancun to find work. There are more than a few brothers and sisters who have come to Cancun as a group and stay on for three to five years, saving up their money before returning home, as well as husbands who come here and work seasonal jobs and send the money back home.

The staff are subject to one of the downsides of Mexico; lack of labor laws and a low minimum wage, which is around 60 pesos per day. An example of the different labor laws here is that once workers reach the one year mark working for an employer they are eligible for a type of unemployment should they be terminated beyond that point, so what many employers will do is hire their employees on as temporary workers and then make sure their contracts end before the one year is up.

Many workers will thus work in Cancun for eight or nine months out of the year on a temporary contract, then return home to their families for a few weeks or a few months out of the year before repeating the cycle. Cris’ sister, for example, has gone through three contracts in two years. Each time she takes time off between the contracts and goes and visits family, takes a vacation, then comes back and finds a new contract.

It’s no different than what is happening in the United States right now, with employers across the board cutting working hours of employees to  25 or less per week, in order to avoid being forced to pay the healthcare tax…which in turn becomes the responsibility of the individual, and if they can’t pay, they can be put in jail for tax evasion. So not only have U.S. workers seen their wages drop over the past decade to abysmal lows, essentially reducing a first world country to third world living conditions, but now their working hours are cut in half and the burden of a brand new tax has arrived. One that you can go to jail for if you don’t pay. Minimum wage slaves who are indebted to their slave masters from the moment they are born. Social security number in hand, they are born and bred right into a system of debt.

But despite the fact that the wage here is very low, Mexicans are an extremely frugal people. They live together with room-mates, for the most part, or family members. They save their shopping for discount days which, for the majority of supermarkets, is Tuesday or Wednesday. Known as dia del Mercado, or day of the market,  (sometimes dia de verduras, or day of the vegetables) this is when you can find 50% or more discounts on fruits and vegetables. Meanwhile, places such as Farmacia Familiares have 15% discounts every Monday, while many restaurants have specific days set aside for 2×1 discounts on combo meals, with many movie theaters having Tuesdays or Wednesday nights as 2×1 movie ticket night.

It’s all about the myth of net worth and net revenue. Before my brother passed, back in the fall of 2011, we were discussing how his cost of living in Chicago was over $4,000 per month. I’ve mentioned this in the past, in other blog posts. I have numerous Mexican friends who are in the 6,000 to 10,000 pesos a month bracket; basically $500 to $800ish a month in USD in terms of income. They would never be able to afford a life in Chicago, not on their income. But they live frugally. And most of them are putting the vast majority of their money in the savings…because they don’t have debt.

When you remove that $$2,000 to $4,000 per month cost of living (the averages for singles/couples; families are far more in many cases), what you uncover is a world of absolute freedom. A world where someone making what most Americans would scoff at is in fact putting away more money in their savings every month than the average person in the U.S., especially when you take into consideration local prices and the exchange rates. In essence…most Mexicans have more net worth and more net value than the average American. But very few people take the time to understand this reality.

Thankfully, the rise of global Internet has allowed the “typical” and the “traditional” way of doing things to begin fading into the past. People are becoming more educated and realizing that when they can make money in other countries, they can enjoy lives that are beyond what are average and ordinary. There are numerous job opportunities in the online arena, which allows them to not only make more money, but also completely bypass the Mexican employment system with its low minimum wages and questionable labor practices and reliance on credit that it has adopted from the U.S.

The English language had about two decades of a head start on everyone else in regards to the Internet and online enterprises, but as more and more countries around the world catch up in the online arenas such as website development, SEO management and article marketing, more and more online opportunities are springing up…in Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Hindu, German, French and beyond. The online marketplace has been saturated with English-language content and now it is the other languages which are emerging in the online revolution.

While jobs might be scarce in the English-speaking sector for web development, writing, website design, editing and SEO jobs, the Spanish language market (for example) is booming as South American markets are emerging at a breakneck rate. Businesses and websites in the Spanish language are valued and targeted towards the Spanish-speaking people of the world, allowing the perfect opportunity for Mexicans (along with all the other Spanish speaking countries) to rise above the standards of living most of them have been trapped in for the past few decades and catch up with the West in terms of an online presence.

A person working in a service job, for example, might make 150 to 200 (13 to 16 dollars, roughly) pesos per day if they are lucky, if they aren’t working for minimum wage. Taxi drivers make between 200 and 400 pesos per day, after expenses, on a good day. If a Mexican speaks English and can get a job in the Hotel Zone at one of the resorts, they can make upwards of 500 pesos (40 dollars) per day with an 85% grasp of English. These are traditional jobs for Mexicans working in Cancun.

But working in the online arena they can pick up a freelance job at a place like Fiverr and make $15 to $20 an hour on the low end, without any experience. Or they can pick up translation contracts for website content or write for Spanish-language content mills and start out at around $15 and $20 an hour as well. Suddenly the person who was washing dishes making 12 dollars a day can literally make more money in an hour than they did in a 10 hour shift previously.

Or in the case of those who go on to learn how to become SEO specialists, website developers, freelance writers, graphic designers and digital entrepreneurs working in the online arena in the Spanish language market, the wages are similar to what other veteran freelancers and online entrepreneurs have been making in the English language for years.

And it’s not just Spanish-speaking work they can find. Websites such as Fiverr and ODesk and Elance and beyond have opened the door to global freelance pools where people can find work in a wide variety of languages and where you are based at has nothing to do with your ability to perform the job. Beyond that, social media has allowed for anyone, anywhere, the ability to build a blog, start a Facebook and Google+ page, and create their own realities through the power of freedom of information, finding clients on a global basis, without ever once relying on slave wages. 

This is the power of globalization, and as more and more job opportunities transition out of the English-only market and into the other languages of the world, more and more people from various countries around the world will be able to find online jobs in their native tongue.

Mexico is just one example of a country which is making that change. The entire world is changing as you read this, and more and more people are finding out that they don’t have to rely on the antiquated notion of “minimum wages” or state dependency. Instead, social media and the power of the Internet is allowing people to create their own realities, their own wages, with their own clients and friends from around the planet.

Locality is no longer a barrier. Neither is language, as translation programs only continue to get better and better, ranging from text-based to the voice-based applications you find on the current smartphones. Degrees that you had to pay $150,000 and four years of your life to earn just five years ago are now offered completely for free on the ‘net. Anyone, anywhere, has access to the same level of information, free and without barriers.

With that freedom has come change. The proof is in the fact that brick and mortar businesses are failing around the world. Newspapers are folding left and right, in all languages, all around the planet. Everyone is online, in the digital realm, living and breathing stardust and fiber-optic dreams. And with that digital transformation has come the evolution of the species, beyond the antiquated reliance on a system of 40 hour work weeks, 15 minute breaks, 30 minute lunches, and only 2 weeks of paid vacation per year at the federal minimum wage…beyond the need to stay down on your knees and keep your nose to the grindstone.

The people have awoken. We are living in the digital era. Reliance on a broken system is a thing of the past. The most successful people in the modern era are those who have a global outlook, a global vision, and a global connection of business partners, friends and allies. Those of us working in the online arena, using passive income and social media to find clients, customers and working relationships around the world, we aren’t suffering from the so-called “global” crisis. There is so much work to be had on a global scale…you just have to think outside the box, within the digital realm, where there are limitless opportunities for those willing to invest the time in learning multiple languages and going global.

Waiting on handouts and federal aid is a loser’s game. Just ask the millions of unemployed in the United States and United Kingdom who have been waiting for 3, 4 and 5 years for jobs that just don’t exist anymore. You are placing your fate in the hands of someone who isn’t interested in your actual health, wellness, happiness or financial success. You are a tiny ant in the great cog of the machine, one of hundreds of millions of wage slaves with nothing more than a tax code associated with your identity, prey to the feeding frenzy of credit, banks, rising costs of living, job redundancy and genuine third-world living conditions in first world countries. 

Because the issues with minimum wage aren’t specific to Mexico. The U.K. and U.S. are two of the worse-off countries in the world ; just take a look at the homeless families living in tent cities and bed and breakfasts, unable to find work for years, still sending in job applications and “hoping” that one day the system will fix itself, that their resume will once again become valid, that they will go back to making the same wages as before the “global crisis”. Or ask the law students in Boston who are working for less than minimum wage jobs. Not only are they begging for the opportunity to be violated on a daily basis, they are actually happy to be doing so!

In the words of George Carlin, governments don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. That’s against their interests. Instead, they want obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and and do the paperwork without ever questioning anything. People who are dumb enough to accept their “fate” and passively sit there continuing to grind out their days with the ball and chain wrapped around their leg. People who succumb to the lies of “federal minimum wage” and reliance upon a system whose only best interests lie in keeping the people locked in their cages, slaves to the system.

No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, what your background is or what language you speak, global Internet, freedom of information and social media have allowed for infinite possibilities. All you have to do is make the conscious decision to unplug from The Matrix, create your own reality with digital media, and you will find that the entire world is ripe with opportunities that are just waiting for you to take advantage of. Beyond the lies of minimum wage and state-issued mandates that attempt to define your value as a member of society.

We are The Universe experiencing itself in human form. We are so much more than mere numbers on a page, so much more than cogs on a wheel. Every one of us has the power to change the world…it’s just a matter of breaking the chains that are holding you down in the murk and the muck and lies of minimum wages and control.


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Luna Blue

A Perfect Example

Posted by | 30 Ways in 30 Days, Live Like a Local, Passive Income, Quality of Life, Social Media, Traveling Tips | No Comments

On the off chance that you’ve been living under a rock and you haven’t read about the fiasco that has been going on between the Luna Blue Hotel down in Playa Del Carmen and Expedia, you should first start with this article.

The short version is simply this: a classic case of corporate greed and absolute lack of personal attention to detail or customer service. And if you remember my recent blog post on Review Sites – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly than you’ll know that there are a certain amount of dangers to simply putting blind trust in these Goliath companies who only have one goal in mind: the bottom dollar.

What it boils down to is this: Luna Blue was experiencing issues with Expedia always showing their hotel as being booked, even when it wasn’t. And despite numerous emails, phone calls and other means of attempting to contact someone at Expedia who could resolve the issue, they were met with a stone wall of indifference.

This is where things get interesting, and why I titled the post “A Perfect Example”, because what we are currently witnessing is the power of social media to influence change. Much like the recent Instagram fiasco where the company first stated they were going to sell users’ photos and then backtracked within a matter of mere hours after the international backlash from the user-base, we the people have the power to influence change when we all work together towards a common goal.

In the new book I’m working on right now, there are entire sections talking about freedom of information and the spread of global Internet. Around the world we have come to a point, as a species, where we can communicate freely and openly without someone controlling the information through propaganda and editing and blocking the flow of news.

As a species, we are able to begin righting the wrongs of so many global entities who have grown corrupt and stagnant, and we have the power to influence people to work together with each other, with other human beings, rather than being forced to rely on corporations whose interests are absolutely not with the customers they are supposedly providing a service for, but instead in merely the profits.

Something you all know from reading the blog posts here and my various books and watching the videos and beyond, is that I promote The Human Experience. And above anything else, I always recommend “living like a local”, speaking the local language, using local services, talking to people living in the local areas, using expats and travel bloggers as your “go to” source of information as opposed to the big names in the industry.

Why? Because they are antiquated, part of the Capitalist/Imperialist system that has already crumbled and broken. Because it’s always better to support your local economy. And in an era of globalization, the entire planet is your backyard, and local can be anywhere from Japan to Mexico to Russia to Canada or Brazil. It’s the same planet, and we are all of us neighbors, brothers and sisters.

The modern day traveler doesn’t need to go through a nameless entity to find lodgings and adventure activities and people and restaurants. Instead, we can use the power of social media, freedom of information and the vast reach of the global phenomenon that is The Internet to create our own realities outside of the system.

Now that I’ve said all this, let me get back on topic. If you read their blog, you’ll notice that since everything went viral, Expedia has issued a press release stating that “we are no longer in business with Luna Blue Hotel”. But if you check Expedia’s site, as well as the Luna Blue blog, you’ll notice that their hotel is still listed on the affiliate booking site across the Internet as a partner hotel…and Expedia is still telling people that the hotel has no rooms available. 

As an example of what I’m talking about, The Luna Blue staff mention that they’ve never contracted with Venere and never gave them permission to list the property. Yet Venere/Expedia claims it is a booking agent for the hotel.  When anyone uses Venere to check for availability they are linked back to Expedia which claims that the hotel has no rooms to rent, and they are then directed to other, competing hotels! Meanwhile, Luna Blue continues to be listed, with no availability showing, on many sites linking to Venere/Expedia such as travelyahoo.com, cleartrip, holidaywatchdog.com, travelpod.com, tingo, reservetravel.com and others.

This is only the tip of the iceberg as far as the lengths that Expedia is willing to go in order to retaliate against anyone standing in its way. The Colombus, Georgia fiasco talked about on Luna Blue’s blog is another example, with the company removing every single hotel in the city from their service for five years until they settled the lawsuit that the city brought against them for being unwilling to pay local taxes. It was a strong-arm tactic from a multi-million dollar company to try and force a city into submission.

The simplest response to Expedia’s misconduct is to not use them or their affiliates: Venere.com, Egencia.com, eLong.com, Hotwire.com, Hotels.com, Localexpert.com or any of the websites listed above. More importantly than that, in my opinion, is (as the owners of the hotel themselves mention) simply don’t book your vacation though a nameless, faceless data bank but instead talk to people who actually know about the places you want to visit. People who have lived there, traveled there, have a blog there, or a guidebook with local contact information.

And before you think that Luna Blue is one of only a handful of hotels raising their fists against the global giant, they aren’t. Just earlier in 2012 another personal friend of mine down here in Cancun shared his experiences in a post called 5 Reasons Not to Book Hotels Using Expedia, Hotels.com or Hotwire. There are several more examples of just how corrupt and horrid their system is, and how bloated it has become over the years.

The beauty of living in the age we now live in is that we the people have access to free information from global sources. We can visit blogs, Facebook pages, local news sources, Google+ pages, online magazines, online newspapers and go straight to the source. We don’t have to rely on a web of lies and half-truths from global entities whose best interests are the bottom dollar, not the customer experience. We can communicate directly with hotel owners, such as Luna Blue, to find out their actual listings, their actual prices, their actual services, without some nameless, faceless entity giving us false information simply to try to make a dollar.

You’ve heard me say it a million times, and I’m going to keep saying it, even though I sound like a broken record: live like a local. And that means going to the local sources for your information. Those of us in the travel blogging industry already know this as gospel, but for those of you who might be new readers and new to the travel gig, realize that The Internet has allowed us to connect on a global scale. When you are preparing for a trip and searching for hotels, never book through a nameless entity. Find the website, the Facebook, the Google+ or the blog of the hotel/hostel in question and talk to them directly. Only then can you be assured of a truly rewarding customer experience, plus you’ll actually meet the people who run the place and connect with them as human beings as opposed to simply handing over your credit card information to a nameless entity who doesn’t care about you beyond how much they can squeeze out of your pocketbook.

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Man of Steel

Man of Steel renounces U.S. citizenship

Posted by | Live Like a Local, Passive Income, Social Media, Traveling Tips | 2 Comments

The year: 2011

The crisis: global in scale

The solution: there is none.

In a world where one man has always stood as the shining beacon of hope for the people of the United States, night has fallen. As the shadows of Jihad grow ever closer, the protector of the innocent, the defender of the righteous, the one and only Man of Steel, Superman, has renounced his U.S. citizenship.

In a shocking move, the Man of Steel that we have all grown to know and love over the years as one of the mainstay American Heroes has blasted the United States government for their insular approach to global politics and economy.

“Truth, justice and the American way’ — it’s not enough anymore,” he says. “The world’s too small, too connected.”

This news comes after Superman was accused of causing an international incident by ignoring the advice of U.S. politicians and instead flying to Tehran in the middle of what was yet another massive protest against the U.S. policy.

Standing alone and somber for 24 hours to prove his point, silently bearing the taunts and jeers of many in the crowd, as well as gasoline bombs and other elements harmful to humans, his vigil was not without hope; he also was cheered by many supporters in the crowd of over one million people, eventually helping to end the protest peacefully without a single shot fired.

Superman is not the first to convey such emotions against the United States government. Others, such as Brad and Tori from Springfield, Illinois, have given the following reasons for their choices of leaving the U.S. behind:

“To sum up all the reasons for us making the move in one we’d have to say that it’s all to do with the economy at home right now.  As a family we’ve been personally impacted by job loss, debt, lack of finance and the threat of foreclosure…and if you look at it and break it right down, as we have been forced to do, it is because of the state of the economy in America right now.”

Meanwhile, a man named Cam, initially from Washington but making the decision to transition to South Africa, echoes Superman’s own sentiments:

“I wish I’d made the move years ago – I falsely believed that my work, my family and friends were all enough to keep me from going stir crazy at the state of the nation, but to be honest, it’s just got too much in America now.

Everyone talks about it being down to post 9/11 reactions and changes – but in my opinion it was getting bad way before then.  And if you believe the conspiracy theorists, the US administration knew plenty about that before it happened anyway and they just use it as an excuse to push through illegal bullying legislation.

The Patriot Act has me, as an expatriate, labeled the same way as terrorists and money launderers – yet the good old IRS still wants to tax any income I make to support myself even though I’m making it overseas.  I take nothing and give everything when it comes to my so-called ‘home country’ and in truth, I hate it.

I’d never met anyone who’d gone down the path of renunciation before I moved here – sure I’d thought about it, but only along the lines of ‘wouldn’t it be good if I could just change everything – permanently!’  But now I know much more about it, it’s something I would seriously consider doing.

I’m a newbie abroad though, and I’ve been warned that I may feel homesick sometime soon – right now I love the freedom I’ve got and the way people live here, so I find it really hard to imagine that I’m going to want to move back to the States…but hey, I’ll give it some time and some more thought and then maybe, why not?  After all, there is nothing great about having US citizenship anymore as far as I am concerned anyway.”

The long and short of it is that it is no longer just the little guys who are fed up with the way they are being treated. As the Western world slumps further and further into shadow, even the one-time heroes and defenders of the once-great nation are choosing to go their own way rather than be burdened by a self-serving empire that only seeks to promote its own growth at the cost of everyone else.

 

Don’t forget to sign up for our free newsletter for several-times-a-week, your-eyes-only travel and entrepreneur tips, plus receive a complimentary copy of our 85-page starter book on location independence and living abroad, 30 Ways in 30 Days.

With over 1,500 copies sold, our flagship 568-page eBook is what started it all. Learn how to travel the world like I do: without a budget, with no plans, funded completely by your website and online ventures.

The Expat GuidebookGet Your Copy Today!

Unplug from The System, cure yourself of The Greedy Bastard Syndrome, tap into your universal potential and create your own reality. Build a brand, travel the world and realize your cosmic consciousness.

Beyond Borders - The Social RevolutionGet Your Copy Today!

Elements of this article were fictitious in nature. All credit is due to the original authors of both articles from which I drew my inspiration, linked below.
 
http://xfinity.comcast.net/articles/entertainment/20110428/US.Superman_s.Citizenship/
http://www.escapefromamerica.com/2011/04/reasons-to-leave-america-and-live-overseas/)