Awright!! Proud to launch the Your Life YOUR Way interview & giveaway series – a mix of email & skype interviews with the coolest, funnest and most successful entrepreneurs I’ve met online, all living their lives THEIR way (+ some awesome book giveaways).
To start us off, here’s the super awesome Chris Guillebeau of The Art of Non Conformity. I’ll feature at least one a week, (possibly more) so stay tuned every Wednesday for kick ass inspiration and real life stories of people that gone-done it right.
Blogger, Author & Non Conformist Chris Guillebeau is a man living life his way.
1. Hi Chris, thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few key questions here. First off, what does Your Life YOUR Way mean to you? When did you realise you were living life your way and how did that make you feel?
My life my way means that I spend most of my time doing what I love. And hopefully what I love also intersects with something that benefits other people as well, at least some of the time.
I’ve been self-employed for almost all of my adult life, so I’ve almost always been fortunate enough to set my own schedule. But I’d say it wasn’t until I was 27 or 28, about five years ago, that I truly felt I was completely living on my own terms. It was incredibly freeing… and it also came with a sense of responsibility, because where much is given, much is required.
2. Many people fail to get going because they have so many passions that they can’t decide which one to pick. How did YOU discover and pick (if you had more than 1) a passion you could turn into a business / career you love?
I’ve never tried to pick among different passions; I have many of them and I don’t try to limit myself. I do agree that at some point you have to focus, so what I tried to do was align as many of my passions as possible to focus on the theme of non-conformity or unconventional living.
Within that theme, I’m interested in all kinds of different things, usually expressed through writing, travel, entrepreneurship, or the meetups I do around the world.
3. A common refrain amongst people who are stuck between wanting to follow their passion & their many responsibilities is the very ‘real’ fear of “I don’t have money / time / don’t know how to make it work / what if it doesn’t work out, how will I survive?!”. What was the biggest challenge / fear you faced in turning your passion into a living and how did you take the first step in getting past it?
Yes, I agree that people often feel stuck. Ironically, losing the kind of stability they perceive to be true can be very helpful in creating a “nudge” to step out into something new. As for me, I had to deal with my own fears and uncertainties about my whole project.
I looked around at successful people and thought, “They’ve been doing this a while. What do I really have to contribute? Isn’t it too late?” Fortunately, I was able to overcome the fear and uncertainty, and I’m so glad I did.
4. Knowing what you know now and seeing how successful you are, what ONE most important piece of advice would you have given yourself when you were first starting out & is there anything you would have done differently?
Always focus externally and think about why other people should care about what you are doing. This makes all the difference, especially in terms of blogging or building some other kind of online platform.
5. Being an entrepreneur requires commitment and discipline in both mindset and marketing. What are your best daily / weekly habits & practices that help you stay inspired, productive & making progress especially when it gets “tough” to keep going?
First, be sure you’re really committed for the long-term. It does get easier over time as you build more and more content or product offerings combined with more and more meaningful relationships. As much as you can, create habits with your work, where you miss it if you don’t do it.
In my case I try to write 1,000 words a day, six days a week, no matter where I am in the world. I don’t worry much about schedules or time zones, since I work from more than twenty countries a year, but I do worry about making sure I am creating wherever I go.
Along with coffee, I think the creative addiction is a good one to have.
Thanks Chris! I have to add – of all the people I contacted for this series, Chris was the fastest to respond – both to say yes and to actually answer the questions. You’re a legend, mate.
Want more? Chris Guillebeau travels the world and writes for a small army of remarkable people at chrisguillebeau.com. Live updates from every country in the world via twitter.com/chrisguillebeau. Meet him in person during the AONC book tour (in Vancouver Jan 22nd!) and join the AONC community on Facebook.
Hope you enjoyed this shot of inspiration. I’d love to hear from you – how are YOU living your life your way? What are the small ways you make choices that matter? Thanks for sharing!
ps: The next interview will be up a week from today, which is when I’ll spill who won the book.