The Online Life By The Sea

photograph of cruise ship taken from he author's office window to demonstrate the online life by the sea
From my home office window

The idea of living the online life in a house overlooking the sea used to seem like an unrealistic dream to me. Now I can’t imagine ever living any other way. There used to be two ways to live in a rural, semi remote area whether it be countryside or coastal. The first was to find employment locally, the second was to commute to and from a large town or city. Fortunately there is now a third alternative which actually enhances the reasons you’d want to live there in the first place. 

The third alternative is provided by the Internet. That’s what has enabled me to live the online life in a stunning coastal location on the Cowal peninsula for the the last 6 years. We will get to that shortly but first let’s look at the pros and cons of the first two. 

I’ve actually done this before you see using the first method. I lived and worked on the Isle of Mull for 3 years in my twenties. It started as a summer job on a Salmon sea farm and turned into quite a chapter in my life. On Mull and in most of the Scottish highlands there aren’t many career choices. There’s tourism, fishing, fish farming, Forestry or farming. There can be lots of small businesses where the population can support them. But the more remote the area the less options there are for earning a crust. This obviously also affects the practicality of commuting.

The Benefits of The Online Life

Where I live now I could commute to Glasgow but it would be a real drag. To get to an office for 9am I’d need to be up at 7am for a short drive to the ferry terminal. After a 20 minute crossing (assuming the weather hasn’t stopped the boats from running) I’d face a 30 – 40 minute drive to Glasgow. Same again on the way home. Its doable and I know people who do it. For me though it would take a lot of the pleasure out of living here. 

On Mull I first lived in a large static caravan on site. I later moved to a cottage by the shore and had a ten minute commute through beautiful scenery to the farm. At first it was idyllic. I was zapping around on boats and rafts surrounded by utterly majestic mountains and seascapes. 

But even in a place like this the 9-5 grind can get monotonous. You become immune to the beauty around you, especially in the Scottish Highlands where it rains non stop for months on end. The tasks involved become tedious and repetitive. Dragging yourself into and out of wet weather gear every day loses its charm. 

So I returned to the city where I worked and played for another 20 years until I was made redundant at the age of 47. I always yearned to live by the sea again but had dismissed it as an impossibility until my intrepid partner forced my hand. 

Taking The Plunge

You see in the years since I worked on the fish farm I’d seen the internet grow from a novelty to an incredible, indispensable resource. By the time I was laid off as a business development manager in the AV industry I was looking for ways to make my income entirely online – to live the online life. By 2014 I was doing just that.

I was working from home as an affiliate marketer. My income was better than it had been as a wage slave and I was really only working a few hours a day. Sometimes not at all. It was pretty obvious that I could do this from anywhere. I’d already got used to taking my laptop on holiday with me and doing a bit of work in the sunshine from time to time. My partner had started her own business by this time. As an independent driving instructor she too could work anywhere. Even country folks need to drive. 

So she started her “lets sell the house and move to the seaside” campaign. At first I was resistant.  We had a comfortable home and if my business failed I’d have a better chance of finding work in the city. But I realized that these were really just illusions. We could find another comfortable home – probably a step up as rural property tends to be cheaper. My redundancy had shown that job security was a thing of the past. Self reliance was the way ahead. Things would work out. They did.

When The Barriers Are Lifted

What you need to appreciate about the internet as a platform to make a living on is that it removes so many traditional barriers. When all you need is a computer and a broadband connection geographic barriers are removed. Better even that that is the time barriers that are removed. 

This happens on two ways. Firstly there’s actual time – as in time zones. They just don’t matter at all to an online business. Your customers can be from anywhere in the world. That brings down the second time barrier – the time and money connundrum. With an online business you no longer trade your time for miney as you do in a job or traditional business. Much of the process can be automated and then works away 24/7/365 whether you are working or not. It takes time to set up the process of course but you choose when to do that work. 

The simplest way to explain how an online bsuiness does all this is to strip it down to basics. You have products and services – yours or someone elses. You set up websites and automated processes that turn a visitor to a sale. Once all that is in place you concentrate on driving visitors to the process. You do that with advertising, social media and online content. None of this is actaully rocket science but it can deliver a lifestyle that could only have been dreamt of 20 years ago.

Learn The Ropes And Take Action

If you want to live the online life of your dreams all you have to do is learn the ropes and take action. It’s not about unlocking some secret door or using some kind of code or magic software. Its about learning how to connect people with things they want trough their computer or phone screens. Lets face it thats where most of us now spend much of our time and do most of our shopping. 

I can recommend an organisation – more of a community really – which I learned everything I know about making a living online from. I also use many of their bespoke digital marketing tools and resources to this day.  Click on the link below to subscribe for their free 4 part video workshop to get an idea of what’s possible online these days. 

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