How One Reader Used My Advice To Build A Location Independent Business


in Make Money, Travel

About a month ago, my friend James Swanwick forwarded an email to me that I just had to share with the HtS audience.

It’s from a mutual reader of ours named Frank – who used the very same strategies and techniques you’ve been learning on Hack The System for years — to start and grow a business that supports him anywhere in the world.

Here’s what he said to James:

I can’t tell you what I ‘want’ to do in 2014, but I can tell you what I’m ‘going’ to do. I tried to stick to only a couple sentences, but I was surprised by how much I will be doing in 2014 because of your guidance.

A) Location Independence

Thanks to the motivation I received from you, Maneesh Sethi, and John Lee Dumas in 2013, I’ve built a location independent income and will begin traveling in 2014.

B) The vacation my dad never thought would be possible

I am working as a freelance content writer, launching my own blog & podcast at, and travel hacking. In 2014, I will spend 11 weeks over the summer visiting Spain, Greece, and Turkey on a budget equal to my cost to stay home. My work will travel with me and, best of all, I have enough miles from travel hacking that I’m taking my dad to Madrid with me (he was adopted there before moving to the US).

How you helped make this happen

All of this is possible because I’ve learned to be a digital nomad and achieve my goals by following you, Maneesh, and John. Actually, I’m writing this email from my free office space at a Regus business center right now (one of Maneesh’s tricks from Hack the System).




There are a few important things to note here:

1.) Never underestimate your ability to reach people and make a difference

Sometimes as a writer/content creator, especially before you have a large following, it’s easy to feel like what you have to say doesn’t really matter. You feel like nobody is listening to you and it’s really hard to see the impact that you’re making.

Through all that, you have to remember the aggregate effect your voice can have on just ONE life.

I’ve been writing for years on how to get free plane tickets, learn languages and start businesses from anywhere. And even if nobody ever reads my work again, it would all be worth it if just ONE person used my advice to make massive, positive changes in their life. Since we’re all connected, my effect on them is guaranteed to multiply and affect everyone they touch as well.

2.) Most of success in any field isn’t luck — and it isn’t a secret

If you look back and read Frank’s email again, you’ll notice that he didn’t say anything about uncovering some revolutionary secret that finally allowed him to start living the life of his dreams.

There really aren’t that many secrets to success. In fact, success in any field usually boils down to 2 elements:

  1. Guidance from an expert (can be in-person, online, over the phone, etc)
  2. Consistency and resilience

Figure out what you want to do and find someone who has already done it. Then, learn from them. It doesn’t have to be in-person. But take in everything you can about how they got to where they are. Try to identify their mistakes so that you don’t have to make the same ones.

Next, try. Then fail. Then get back up. Repeat.

Most people fall into one of two traps: They either over-research and under-implement. Or, if they actually do implement, they give up after a few tries.

If you change your expectations and expect to fail many times on the long road to wherever you’re going, then your entire perspective changes. You’ll begin to see rejection as a necessary component of eventual success, not an insurmountable roadblock.

Nobody wants to hear this advice, but it’s true.

The purpose of this post is simply to remind you that you CAN do whatever you set your mind to — and that the successful people we sometimes envy are often much like us. They just know how to seek out the right guidance, and they know never to quit.

Think you can do that?


PS – so many people were asking me for advice on traveling and “digital nomading” that I decided to build a course around it. Enter your info here and I’ll send you updates when it comes out. Hint, hint – this would be a great start to get quality guidance (Step #1 above). 


otto May 20, 2014 at 8:40 am

What Is Drop Shipping? 

Drop shipping is a retail method in which you don’t keep products in stock. Instead, you partner with a wholesale supplier that stocks its own inventory –

you transfer customer orders and shipment details to them, and they ship the goods directly to the customer. The biggest benefit of drop shipping is you don’t have to worry about fulfillment or inventory issues. 

Also, most customers don’t know you’re drop shipping, since “private label shipping” lets you ship from the wholesaler with a return address and invoice customized to your ecommerce store.

The Benefits of Drop Shipping 

There are a number of reasons you should consider drop shipping:

1. You Don’t Need Buckets of Money: Drop shipping makes it amazingly easy to get started selling online. You don’t need to invest heavily in inventory, yet you can still offer thousands of items to your customers. 

2. Convenience & Efficiency: Successfully launching and growing an ecommerce business takes a lot of work, especially if you have limited resources. Not having to worry about fulfillment is incredibly convenient and frees up your time to concentrate on marketing, customer service, and operations 

3. Mobility: With all the physical fulfillment issues handled, you’re free to operate your business anywhere you can get an internet connection.

4. It’s a Trusted Model: You might be thinking that this sounds like some sketchy, fly-by-night model – but it’s not. Plenty of work from home online stores, even major retailers like Sears, use drop shipping to offer a wider selection of products to their customers without having to deal with increased inventory hassles.

How Do I Find Drop Shipping Wholesalers? 

Before contacting suppliers, you’ll want to make sure your legal ducks are in a row. In the United States, most suppliers will ask for your business EIN number and a copy of your state sales tax and/or resale certificate. Once you’re properly established, you can start contacting drop shipping suppliers. However There is a wholesale directory service called salehoo which have thousands of suppliers listed who don’t require any sales tax information.

There are various ways to find drop shipping wholesalers, I have video’s on my youtube channel that outlines your best options.

Before you start dropshipping on ebay there are some pitfalls to watchout for. So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE watch my YouTube video over dropshipping and how I lost my ebay business.


cesar romero May 6, 2014 at 5:04 pm

@Frank wow!! congrats man!! how did you get started as a freelance content writer? How did you land your first client and turned it into a consistent stream of income?


Manuel May 1, 2014 at 5:28 pm

This post is inspiring, I feel like I can achieve whatever I want as long as I follow some of your tips and guidelines from the 4hww, oh and thanks for recommending it Maneesh I now tell everyone who will listen they should read it!


Riley Bennett April 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Frank and Maneesh – this was a great refreshing post for me… I started my blog last year and have been trying to Get my podcast going for a while now, but I think give been too scared to reach out to people for interviews up until this point. I’m going to get some scheduled this week… It’s always the first one that’s the toughest… I think ill just start out with my most interesting friends and then move on to some ‘experts’…. Me and my crew are already planning excursions to kenya and Thailand thx to digital nomad showing us the light… Keep hustlin’


Frank C Jones July 22, 2014 at 12:24 am

Riley – Just wait until you get that first interview scheduled, recorded, and find out a technical glitch caused it to be deleted. I’m rescheduling my first interview now because that’s exactly what happened to me! I hope you have better luck with your podcast launch.


Frank C Jones April 28, 2014 at 9:15 am

Thanks Maneesh!

Imagine my surprise to wake up today and find my name mentioned in one of your emails. Then, reading my words on your blog – I had to stop and pinch myself to see if this is real.

A) Travel plans update
Due to illness in the family, my wife and I have cut our trip down to only four weeks. It’s still longer than most people take for vacation, but not the excursion we originally planned.
However, I’m currently working on acquiring a companion pass with Southwest Airlines. We’re planning to use it while we’re exploring the US, Mexico, and the Caribbean later this year and next.
The beauty of location independence is that I can make these adjustments to my travel plans at any time. This allows me to spend more time with friends and family – which is far more important than work.

B) After finding my way through some roadblocks (thanks to advice from James), has lined up its first interviews for the podcast. Originally, I planned to have this up and running in February. The blog is online and the podcast is likely to have a June launch date.
In the meantime, I’ve also taken on two new clients as a freelance content writer. In addition, I landed two (unpaid) speaking gigs which will give me great practice for future events.

Thanks again for making my day by featuring my email on Hack The System!


Emma April 28, 2014 at 7:31 am

“If you change your expectations and expect to fail many times on the long road to wherever you’re going, then your entire perspective changes. You’ll begin to see rejection as a necessary component of eventual success, not an insurmountable roadblock.”
I love this reminder. A lifetime of being scared to fail becomes a habit of being scared to try. Suddenly zooming out your perspective to include failure as part of the path makes it feel much easier to try. Thank you!


Leave a Comment


  • Previous post:

    Next post: