Why Read (1300 Words)

This is a guest post by my good friend and rival for economic gain, Tim Good. He’s also an English lad so you American lot should love him. Tim runs a highly successful padlock company, lives in awesome digs and  basically lives an insane lifestyle…oh and he recently bought a Yacht. Tim is a guy you can be envious of and not feel too bad about it. Here he gives some lifestyle design advice and it is well worth listening to. Thats him on the side of the mountain.

How To Create A Yacht

I’ve known Jonny since he graduated university. I was running my design agency in Liverpool (UK) and to be honest I can’t quite remember how we met but I think he sent in his CV. At the time he was dabbling in some design and marketing. We met for brief chat and I think we both realised we we’re on the same path in terms of creating a business that would both fund and allow the lifestyle we wanted.

At this point I had the design agency of 3 years and working on 2 other projects whilst Jonny was looking for some additional income and developing his first venture. I’d had a couple of year’s head start but we we’re basically going down the same path. He came to work for me a couple of days a week and we quickly got developing ideas and sharing our goals for the future.

We are a couple of years on and Jonny is swanning around enjoying himself and I am now in Bristol running a venture that was merely in the planning phase when I met Jonny back in 2007. Sorry Jonny but we need to catch up and until then you look like you’re having too much fun!

Anyway Jonny asked me for a piece about lifestyle design and my current situation/outlook. So lets get down to business. I would say there is two ways in life:

1. Live Your Work

You work and generate a living from something you love. With this you don’t need to generate a huge amount of cash to remain perfectly enriched and happy. The danger however is two-fold. It is possible that your passion becomes your bête-noir which is tragic. The second issue is retirement or changing life goals. If you have been living every day as it comes for 30 years without any assets or cash in the bank then you may face the next 20 years paying the price for good old days.

This is also rather tragic considering there are people aged 70+ that are currently sailing the world, climbing mountains and riding backcountry through Yellowstone on the back on funds accumulated 20 years earlier.

2. Money is Time

Time is money is time. I have always held true to that statement. I am not but the basic principle is that I earn money to afford more time to do the things I love. The beauty is that I am not bound to any one passion or activity. They change all the time. For me climbing mountains & kayaking in far flung places and jumping out of perfectly good planes is currently what I like to do. This will change.

But if I spend all the time making money then how to do I afford the time to actually do a do them? Simple. Create your very own lifestyle business. If you want an extended read on the subject then get Tim Ferris’ book – 4 hour working week.

A lifestyle business is something that allows you to make money, build value in the business (for resale later) and also let you to take time away of the business regularly.

Everyone has a different skill-set and each business will be different for each person. There is no fixed way to making a lifestyle business succeed but there is one fundamental issue to consider.

If you want to start business and have very little start-up capital then most people will look at what they can do personally and sell their skill as a service. This might be web design, marketing consultancy, accountancy etc. Straight away you’re going down the wrong track. By providing a service you are building a business that will depend on you. This will not build value into the business and it will not generate cash whilst you spend three weeks exploring the Northern territories of China.

I’m not going to explain how to make a lifestyle business but I can explain how my situation came about and my ideas for the future.

A Business on a Yacht

As I mentioned I have a branding design business and as a result I  know how to spot a gap in the market and create a suitable brand. That is what I do. Everyone else will have something else they have been trained for or know well. In my case I needed a business that would run itself, create a good income and build value.

For a business to run itself you need to be able to outsource and as I have already said that I didn’t want a business that consists of me providing a service. E-commerce was the natural way to go. I knew the web well already and I had suppliers in place from my design business. I simply had to pick a market. I chose padlocks. You’re now thinking “what the hell”. If you are then www.nothingbutpadlocks.com should make it clearer.

Yes I sell padlocks on the net. I am the no.1 place in the UK and Europe for padlocks and although I can’t quantify it, I’m pretty sure I sell more than any other company. No I didn’t have any experience in selling padlocks and no I didn’t have any experience in distribution or online payments but those things can be learnt very quickly.

In short I outsource everything. I have a warehouse managing my products and dispatch them daily. I pay Google to drive traffic to my site and pay developers in India to upgrade my site as I need it. Ok it isn’t as simple as it sounds but the bottom line is that all the work I put in builds value and does not depend on me.

My business will turn over the same amount of money and grow at the same rate whether I am working at home or half way up the Matterhorn.

At the moment the business is affording me a lot of time but I am not where I want to be yet. I am 29 and still have expansion plans for the next 3 years. Within this time I plan to expand, diversify and automate. The end goal is to have the business running totally on autopilot with a small amount of management required via email and the net. As a result my lifestyle is currently designed around being close to my business but taking regular trips and taking part in the things I like to do without taking months out in one go.

Over time my business will become totally automated I will switch to 90% lifestyle and 10% business. I don’t mean to sound cliché but my ambition is to sail to various places in the world that are extremely hard to explore on land. I have spent the past year becoming a yacht-master and recently bought my first boat. My first trip in 2013 will be to go from the UK up past Norway and then across north Russia and down to Japan.

The only minor hiccup is internet on a yacht. I will need broadband, I will need a telephone and it will need to be connected 24/7 I can micro manage my business stress free. The current cost of such a setup via satellite rings in at about 45k a year. A small price to pay for my dream.

To Sum Up

Tim lives and awesome life. You can to. It is all about having the right vision and creating the right plan to get there. Are you going to invest in a job or a lifestyle business. The yacht kinda swings me towards the lifestyle design business personally.

28 Comments

  • April 3, 2010 Reply

    Moon Hussain

    Jonny,

    Good guest post. That’s amazing: all from padlocks!

    • April 3, 2010 Reply

      Jonny

      All from Padlocks. I thought he was crazy at first but he found a good niche and did what he does best.

  • April 3, 2010 Reply

    andi

    Thanks for bringing Tim in for a guest post, Jonny. It’s reinvigorating to hear from people who have had success in the lifestyle design field outside of all the blogs we already read.

    • April 4, 2010 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Andi,

      Yeah I had to fight him off. In all seriousness though it is inspiring to hear about people who are doing it and not just writing about what can be done. Tim has always inspired me since I have known him and I think we all need a few guys like that in our lives.

      Tim, this does not now mean you have the right to an inflated ego. I’m warning you.

  • April 3, 2010 Reply

    Carmen

    This is a really inspiring interview from. You’re walking the walk – not just talking. It’s also inspiring to hear you’ve built a successful business without knowing a lot either about padlocks or distribution! Thanks Jonny for introducing us to your friend – and by the way – I love the new look of your site!

    • April 4, 2010 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Carmen,

      Tim is most definitely walking the walk and doing it in style. He and I will be spending some serious time together when I get back and I am getting myself out on that yacht.
      Thanks for the compliments on the site, stay tuned I am in the middle of uploading the finished design, it should rock and really add value.

  • April 4, 2010 Reply

    brian

    PADLOCKS! I love it. Very inspirational. Outsourcing is something I’m doing more of. It’s hard sometimes because you never think other people will get it right, but it is the only way to 1. grow a business and 2. NOT have it all depend on you.

    • April 5, 2010 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Brian and welcome to the site.

      Indeed that is a great truth you have discovered. The difference between a business that will ultimately make you rich and being basically self employed is your ability to build the system that makes your business scalable. Most people have self employed businesses and create the systems needed to grow it beyond themselves.

      Thanks for the comment.

  • April 5, 2010 Reply

    TJ | Brave New Life

    Wow, Tim sounds like he’s got this all figured out. Right now I have a business running similarly to that, except we do the packaging and shipping of the products. I’ve been trying to find a good way to outsource that work.

    Thanks Tim!

    • April 5, 2010 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi TJ,

      Tim’s is indeed a pretty sorted guy, I have learn’t a lot from him already and am sure I will learn plenty more in the future. I won;t give out Tim’s contact as I respect privacy but if you send him and email and address it to me then I can forward it to him and perhaps he can get back to you with some advice.

      Thanks for the comment.

  • April 5, 2010 Reply

    Alan

    Great interview, and digging the new design here. Case studies like this get me focused! Keep ‘em up.

    Alan

    • April 5, 2010 Reply

      Jonny

      Cheers Alan,

      This is just the base of the design. Working on the update and also some system changes as well so look out for a completely improved site. More resources, a quarterly newsletter and more to follow soon.

      Thanks for the comment.

  • April 5, 2010 Reply

    Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot

    Thanks for the intro to Mr. Padlock. What a guy and amazing photo too.

    • April 5, 2010 Reply

      Jonny

      Lol Annabel, Mr Padlock. Think I might start calling him that though I don’t think he will be that impressed. Thanks for the comment.

  • April 5, 2010 Reply

    Richard Riley

    I would be very interested in knowing how he started his company. Did he order a quantity of 200 for each padlock and then hire a fulfillment company to store them or did he start out by having the padlock companies ship for him (i.e. he doesn’t pay for the padlocks until someone buys them)?

    It’s absolute amazing what someone with determination and skill can do. Many people – including me – would think of padlocks and say, “no one would buy that, they would just go to Lowe’s). However, here he is…..with a 30 foot yacht. Absolutely inspireing!

    • April 6, 2010 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Richard,

      I was see if he would write another post explaining some of the steps he went through to make his business work. I personally was initially in the group that secretly thought “that will never work” when he first explained the idea he was working on but I am most definitely taking a uturn on my thinking there. Stay tuned for a potential follow up post.

      Thanks for commenting.

  • April 5, 2010 Reply

    Richard Riley

    @ TJ above…

    I would recommend http://www.amplifier.com/. I haven’t worked with them myself and I don’t know what you sell, but they manage the fulfillment of a wide range of products. They’ll also put your logo and business name on the invoice so it looks like you personally shipped it (you would think every fulfillment company would do this, but unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case).

    • April 6, 2010 Reply

      Jonny

      Great stuff Richard,

      Readers helping other readers, this is what I like to see. Also meant I learned something new today as I had no idea amplifier type companies existed. I will be checking them out so my thanks also.

      Thanks for commenting.

      • April 7, 2010 Reply

        Richard Riley

        Hey, no problem. Anything I can do to help. I was really excited when I found out about Amplifier so just thought I would pay it forward. I really hope he agrees to do a follow up post. I think learning the nitty gritty stuff of a business helps others think about their own business in a different and new way.

        • April 8, 2010 Reply

          Jonny

          I have let him know about it, lets see. I hope he will.

  • April 6, 2010 Reply

    Lewis

    Great post, I found it very inspirational to hear about a fellow e-commerce vendor doing well.

    One question: Does anyone know of a UK version of amplifier – it seems that in the UK there are no simple, easy to set up fulfillment solutions like shipwire and amplifier.

    • April 6, 2010 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Lewis, thanks for visiting the site and I am glad you found it inspirational.

      Love the look of your site, how long have you been up and running?

      As far as my knowledge of that potential market I have no idea but maybe some of the readers might.

      Thanks for commenting.

      • April 8, 2010 Reply

        Lewis

        Thanks, my site has been up since January this year after about a year of building & testing. I am currently working on automating it so I can run the site while traveling (your “3 months in the life of a traveling entrepreneur” post has really inspired this recently)

        I’ll keep checking back in case anyone can help. Cheeky suggestion, an email notification for new comments would be awesome on here btw ;-)

        • April 8, 2010 Reply

          Jonny

          Hi Lewis,

          I hope it is going well mate and I wish you all the best with it and I am glad you found some inspiration on this site.

          Completely agree with you idea of email notifications, I am in the process of revamping the whole comments and follow up section of the site to make it easier for community interaction.

          Thanks for the advice and thanks for the comment.

  • April 28, 2010 Reply

    Dan – Voyagner

    I’d be really interested in how he did market testing for this as well. I’d love to have a go at setting up a business like this but I don’t know the first thing. Any resources you can point me to?

    • May 4, 2010 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Dan, thanks for the comment.

      I spoke to Tim but I think he is going to keep some of the secrets to his business model which is fair enough. In terms of setting up your own business and having set up two so far, I would say that in my experience there really isn’t no “right way”. That being said I would always recommend reading everything you can get your hands on within the field your are aiming at as well as more general information on business, cash flow, finance, sales and marketing etc. There are usually loads of council courses that can help but I have never found them very helpful. Other than that a great place to start for outsourcing work very cost effectively is to go to elance.com.

      Hope that helps man and thanks for visiting the site.

  • August 5, 2010 Reply

    Lach

    It’s always great to hear success stories like this. Thanks for sharing. I’d be interested in hearing more about the process Tim used to settle on this market, seeing has he started out with no knowledge of it. Was it through a general research process, or by a personal connection of some kind?

    • August 6, 2010 Reply

      Jonny

      Hell Zen Master Lach,

      I am currently trying to bribe, threaten and beg Tim to do another follow up so we will just have to see. Thanks for the comment.

      - Jonny

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