The Math of Freedom

If you received a check in the mail every day, how much would it have to be so that you would not have to work?

No, I’m not talking about government welfare, or winning the lottery, but realized income from something you produce. This is the type of question I’ve been asking myself lately.

How do you define freedom?

Our family goals revolve around freedom; which happens to be our word for 2012. Freedom to slow travel, freedom to be debt free, freedom to have total control of our schedule, freedom from unwanted obligations, freedom to be healthy, and freedom to educate our children as we like.

For us freedom includes being able to do what we want, when and how we want it. That may look like spending six months exploring the Pacific Northwest in an RV, living in Tuscany to work on language and take cooking lessons, or working with a homeless ministry in the Philippines. Being able to follow our passions and where we feel God leading us is how we define freedom. This doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t work, but that we work when and how we choose.

How much does freedom cost?

How do you keep the lights on and pay for this freedom lifestyle? In Luke 14:28 Jesus said:

But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?

Asking how you are going to pay the mortgage, keep food on the table and keep the lights on is a valid question.

How can you make enough money so that all of your bills are paid, but you don’t have to go to a “job” or do work unless you want to?

First we need work backwards from a target goal into a target number for daily income. Here’s where the math comes in.

For the sake of simplicity I’ll use the median household income for the United States in 2010 – $49,445. For round numbers I’ll say that’s $50,000. And also for simplicity sake I’ll say that $50,000 per year covers all household expenses and taxes for a family living frugally in a modest home.  I know this may seem low to some, but we’re talking about removing the need to go to a job, then you have all of your time to do whatever you want – even if that means going to a job!  Also, some families, couples, or singles can live off of less than this.

Running this number down to the day we get:

$50,000 / 12 = $4,166.67 per month

$4,166.67 / 30 = $138.89 per day

So if you received a check of $140 per day you could gain control over 100% of your schedule. If you wanted to work you could. If you wanted to do nothing you could. The choice is yours. What you do with that time is up to you.

So how do you make $140 per day and fulfill the ‘freedom’ requirement?

Products Not Services

A normal job of selling your time and expertise (service) for money wouldn’t fulfill the freedom requirement since bosses usually expect you to show up for work in order to get paid. Consulting doesn’t work since clients normally want to hear from you very often and if you don’t work, then you don’t get paid. The answer lies in products that you can develop and then market to sell multiple times with low overhead.

It is dead simple these days to open an ecommerce website. Without going into much detail a website can be operated for less than $50/month. The transaction fees associated with bringing in around $4,166 at 3% would be $124.98, so for one extra ‘day’ of income your business overhead would be covered.

So what would you sell? Here’s the fun part! Brainstorm about something that you are passionate about or already have expertise with.

What if you wrote an e-course teaching people about your love of urban gardening? Or sold tickets to a webinar showing moms how to do better meal planning. Or sold detailed step-by-step guides on how to do the latest Pinterest craft? What if you sold access to a daily email of motivational/devotional readings that included an original poem or worship song? These are random suggestions, but you see where I’m going here. Something of value that you can produce and sell.

If one product was priced at your per-day requirement of $140 then you would only need to sell one item per day. If one product cost $70 then you would need to sell two per day, and so on.

The Math of Freedom Isn’t Difficult

It is entirely possible for a digital product priced at $140 to sell once per day. One sale per day seems small, but the payoff of gaining control of your schedule and thus the time to be able to make and create more and increase the number of products you can offer is immeasurable. Attaining that initial freedom is the beginning to then be able to double down and start watching daily sales rise to the $200, $500, $1,000 per day range; and it’s very exciting!

The Fine Print

Of course this math isn’t as easy as producing a product and having it sell. Ecommerce marketing after all is its own discipline and science. But, all successful marketers have one thing in common – they have something to sell. Getting that “widget” you will sell into existence is vital. But, the first step is to switch your thinking over to the math of freedom instead of staying in the billable-by-the-hour or salary-per-year mindset.

So what does freedom mean to you?
What would you do with your time if you didn’t have to show up for a job every day?