The Five Year Anniversary of Location 180

I’ve been trying to write this post for a week, and haven’t been exactly sure how to do it.

First I was going to write a post recapping the last five years, like this anniversary post from year 1. Or this one from year two.

Then I was going to talk about some strategies for how you can start a business or a blog for yourself.

Now I find myself on the morning of the five year anniversary for Location 180 writing this, and having only one word swirling through my mind.

Gratitude.

Earlier this week I sat down and had an old fashioned (my favorite drink) with Chris Guillebeau and I told him it had been five years since I started the blog – which meant it had been over five years since I first emailed him and met him for coffee.

I had no idea that meeting would years later result in the lifestyle I have today.

Every morning I wake up and pinch myself, because it all just seems too good to be true.

I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. If I wanted to hop on a plane to Singapore tomorrow I could. If I wanted to try my hand at becoming a touring musician, I could. If I wanted to go volunteer with orphans in South America, I could.

And the coolest part? The reason I’m able to do that is because I’ve helped so many other people achieve that for themselves.

During my conversation with Chris, we talked about the very best part of our work. And it truly is the emails I get from readers and Location Rebel members letting me know I’ve had some kind impact, big or small, on a transition in their life.

A Confession

I’ve got a secret to confess to, and it’s something that makes this all the more special for me.

Want to know what it is? I’m terrible at sticking with things. I’m great at getting started with projects that excite me, but I rarely see them through to the end.

I thought for sure when I wrote this post, that’s what would happen with Location 180. Do it for a few months, leave my job, have an adventure, go back to a new day job. That’s how it was supposed to work.

And here I sit, 1,827 days later and Location 180 still exists, and not only that, it thrives.  The dedication to this blog has translated over to other things. Golf, World Domination Summit, Pioneer Nation. These are all things I started and have been seeing through over the long term – which is something that never would have happened 5 years ago.

My Secret

Over the last five years I’ve seen sooooo many blogs come and go. In fact I can probably count on one hand the number of people who started around the same time as me that are still active.

I can’t speak for them, but there’s one extremely important thing I’ve done that’s allowed me to have continued success.

I work hard – but not too hard.

So many entrepreneurs think you have to be working 60 and 70 hour weeks all the time. Sure early on you need to work really hard. And you have to continue to work hard at times to maintain it. But I generally don’t overwork myself and I always make time for play.

My business may not grow as fast as some others because I’m not doing working on it day and night, 24 hours out of the day – but it’s been more sustainable because I don’t do that. I’ve had more fun during the process because work isn’t always the number one priority. I’ve essentially achieved balance when most entrepreneurs can’t, won’t, or don’t want to.

That’s the secret. Because I don’t overwork myself, during the times I am working I love it. I’m in the zone, it’s my primary focus, and I can give my all to it. But often, once noon hits, I’m out.

A Few Lessons I’ve Learned

Take all of these with a grain of salt, but these are some of the lessons I’ve felt are the most important to my business, my success and my happiness over the last five years.

Help Yourself By Helping Others

This is probably the most important point I’ve ever discussed on this blog. It might be a bit cliche, but I’m a living example of the idea that if you want to get what you want out of life, help someone else get what they want.

The more you help, the more you get in return. As of today I’ve written 424 posts on Location 180. That’s a lot of free, useful content. Put it all together and you have a site you could get lost in for days – all most with the goal of inspiring and helping others to achieve their goals.

Had I continued to make this a personal blog, about nothing by my life and my pursuits, I might land somewhere in “inspiring” territory, but be totally lacking in the “useful” category.

Over the next five years I want to do a better job of highlighting people in our community that have had success and are looking to help others as well. The more we help, the more we get. Simple as that.

Quests Are Important

What do you have that keeps you going? What’s the purpose of it all? What do you look forward to? These can all be solved via a quest, or a long term goal that you’re slowly plugging away on.

My bucket list is a quest. My golf pursuits are a quest. Even my goals at the beginning of each year is a quest. Without those, I’d lack direction and that sense of accomplishment you get when you hit a big milestone.

Something Chris told me that I think is especially important is that “quests are personal”. It doesn’t matter if no one else understands it, or gets it. You don’t do it for them, you do it for you.

Email is Work

Every few months I’ll see a blog post from someone discuss the idea about how you need to spend your time doing “real work” and that email is just “busy work”. Hell, at some point over the years I’ve probably said the same thing.

But what I’ve learned? Email is probably the most important kind of “real work” there is.

Thats how I build connections and relationships beyond reader/blogger. When someone emails me and I respond then it becomes person/person. No one is better than anyone else, and often people are surprised when I take the time to respond to their emails. Sure some might fall through the cracks, but I always try and give a thoughtful response to reader emails, because I want to build that relationship.

To be honest, most of my product sales come from people who I’ve emailed back and forth with. And whether they buy something or not, I genuinely like connecting, hearing stories, and seeing the transitions.

So next time someone tells you email isn’t real work, just keep this post in mind. It’s much more valuable than you think.

Adventure Often

Now that I’ve bought a house, I’ve gotten the question a lot “so are you going to stop traveling?”

The answer: absolutely not. Sure for a couple months I may have been a little more stagnant while I get settled in, but I think adventure is one of the best aspects of life, and I go crazy if I don’t get out and experience something new on a regular basis.

Also, while travel can be a big international adventure, it doesn’t have to be. You can have adventures in your hometown, or even in your house. I look at the word adventure, and think of doing something active and new. So whether that’s exploring a part of your own city you’ve never seen, trying an exotic restaurant, or flying across the world, adventures on a regular basis help to remind you that there’s a reason you work hard – it’s so you can do more cool stuff :)

Spend Time With People Who Aren’t Entrepreneurs

When I was first starting out, I wanted to spend all my time with other entrepreneurs and likeminded people. Doing that helped me change my mindset a bit, get invaluable feedback and advice, and focus on my business early on when it needed it most.

However, now that I’m five years in and have a little perspective, I realize the importance of spending time with people who aren’t entrepreneurs. I still spend a ton of time with college and childhood friends who could care less about the work I do – and that’s refreshing. It gives you the ability to shut off work for awhile. When I hang out with my entrepreneurial friends you’re always talking about work in some capacity or another, which is great, but there needs to be a balance.

I appreciate being able to go on a golf trip with my college friends and not even think about work for a couple days. It just makes me that much more excited to get back to it, and helps keep me grounded in the process.

A Final Thank You

There’s not a day that goes by where I take for granted the position I’m in and the lifestyle I have.

It’s all because of people like you. If you didn’t exist, neither would this site or my business. So thank you. Thank you for continuing to be interested. Thank you for the supportive comments. Thank you for opening up about your own struggles and asking for help. Thank you for continuing to let me share in your big wins. Thank you for everything.

Also a special thank you to Tate, who has to put up with me on a daily basis :)

I can only hope the next five years are as much of a fulfilling adventure as the past five have been. Somehow I have a feeling I don’t have much to worry about.

John May 8, 2014 at 10:31 am

Congratulations Sean.

I was just thinking about the first time we connected online. It seems like a long, long time ago now. :-)

Congratulations on all of your success. See you at WDS.

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Sean May 8, 2014 at 10:33 am

Thanks John! It DOES seem like a long time ago, doesnt it? Looking forward to catching up in July!

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Jack Shone May 8, 2014 at 10:36 am

Congratulations on getting so far Sean.

And thank you too for inspiring me and helping me get onto the road that I wanted to be on.

Keep it up man!

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Navid Moazzez May 8, 2014 at 10:36 am

Hey Sean,

Congrats man, what an awesome journey and inspiration you are!

When I started my own entrepreneurial journey, your blog was one of my biggest inspirations which led me to start my site in the first place. After reading many of your posts from the archives, I can see why you are so successful with your business today 5 years later. You have been super consistent from day 1, and working extremely hard and learning the necessary skills it takes to become location independent, and of course taking massive action.

Keep up the awesome work you do. I’m sure the next 5 years will be even more fulfilling for you :)

- Navid

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Ben Philips May 8, 2014 at 10:37 am

Sean, Congratulations!!! I have to say that I have the utmost respect for YOU and what YOU are doing here!!! When a person NEEDS to stay off the radar… not really by Choice, but by the ultra-corruption in this country that is becoming more and more overbearing, DRIVING some of us to find other non-traditional ways to survive and make a living in a way that removes W-2 employment! Let me say this: W-2 employment is about the WORST thing a person can do! All that does is leave you open for levies, garnishments, wage attachments, and whatever else Big brother decides they want to take!! If a person gets shafted in family court, they end up taking your whole paycheck when you are W-2! 2005 was the last time I was W-2, and my last paycheck grossed like $2,000 or slightly more…. guess what they left me!!???!! $198.00!! Imagine EARNING $2000 and your government left you $198, due to corruption, falsification of income, and various other criminal things they get away with!! You are faced with a major choice… Be a SLAVE or Find Another Way!!! The tips you leave us are PRICELESS Sean and what you are doing is going to help generations of people who are being buried by the corruption in family court! I need to spend more time reading all your messages but I can say that all your words are extremely meaningful for those of us who absolutely MUST stay off the radar!

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Edrick May 8, 2014 at 10:38 am

Congrats on making it to five years and still going strong Sean. I’m a living testament to it being possible to get lost for days with all that content that you have provided.

It took up the majority of a weekend for me but its time that I don’t regret in any way because you opened up my eyes to what’s possible and I can’t thank you enough for that.

So once again man, cheers and keep the great stuff coming. I have a feeling its only going to get better from here on out.

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dave May 8, 2014 at 10:39 am

Congrats man – hope I can say the same 5 years from now myself!

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Steve Anderson May 8, 2014 at 10:41 am

Congrats on the 5th Anniversary and all the best for the next 5. The journey to the next 5 will be even more fulfilling.

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Matthew Riley May 8, 2014 at 10:47 am

Glad to see things are still going great for you. I completely agree with stopping work at noon. I can do my best work in the early morning when no one is bothering. Unfortunately my business isn’t there just yet so I can stop working at noon, but hopefully soon. You coming to the NYC area anytime soon?

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Sean May 8, 2014 at 10:48 am

Actually probably going to be out there for a week or two next month. Keep you posted.

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Scott Tousley May 8, 2014 at 10:51 am

Congrats Sean! I hope the 6th anniversary is even better than the 5th :)

Keep up the awesome work.

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Chris May 8, 2014 at 11:02 am

I got into your blog only last week and man, thank you for the inspiration and keep reminding people that we don’t necessarily have to live as “we’ve been told”! ;) if you should ever visit Italy, drinks are on me.

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Mike Goncalves May 8, 2014 at 11:05 am

Big-time congrats Sean!

This post and your message was awesome. Love your perspective on these last five years and how they’ve created who you are today and therefore the message you now convey as a five year veteran versus a rookie. Also love the part about personal quests… “you don’t do it for them, you do it for you.” Awesome! Wishing you tons more success and adventures to come. Cheers!

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Sophie Playle May 8, 2014 at 11:40 am

Woo! Go, Sean! I’ve only recently discovered your blog, and it’s brilliant. I love that you write with such honesty and openness. It makes you all the more ‘real’, which makes your story all the more inspiring. Thank YOU.

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Sergio Sala May 8, 2014 at 11:57 am

Well put, Sean. I hope can tell the same in 4 years. :)

Even if I haven’t been a Location Rebel, you have helped me a lot with your posts and I admire all your work.

Hope to have a talk in WDS. Cheers!

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Rasheed Hooda May 8, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Congratulations to you, Sean.

Hey I am one of those people who started a blog about the same time as you did, and my blog is not there anymore. But I am still enjoying the Independent Lifestyle that I dreamed of when I started to blog. “Present Day Nomads” may not be there as a blog, I am a living present day nomad.

I just finished writing a short biography and would love it if you can give it a quick read and feedback. Hopefully I’ll see you in July in Portland.

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Karen Marston May 8, 2014 at 12:10 pm

I love this! Congrats dude :)

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Kashif May 8, 2014 at 12:58 pm

I have recently started following you and have gone through most of the posts. Inspirational stuff, I must stay.

Congratulations on the landmark and keep up the good work :)

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Lucka Hegerova May 8, 2014 at 1:25 pm

YES dude!!! This is awesome! One of the things I have managed to do on a consistent basis for the last 3 years is keep my blog alive and evolving. Haven’t made any money with it yet…but you give me hope that with time and hard work it’ll happen…just gotta keep going. Congrats to you!!!

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Caelan Huntress May 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm

Congrats, Sean. You live the adventure, and you help more people to do the same. That’s noble work.

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Arman Assadi May 8, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Sean,

A big congrats to you, my man! Five years later and you’re doing better than ever. Hope you can take a bit of time to celebrate and let it all soak in. :)

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Sheralyn May 8, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Congrats on 5 years Sean! It’s so inspiring to see what you’ve managed to accomplish only 5 years – looking forward to the next 5 years of posts! :)

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Trav Bell May 8, 2014 at 2:25 pm

Congrats Sean. Great story of transition, realisation & simplification. Keep paving the way bro!

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Enzo May 8, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Hey sean,

I just recently found this blog from yours, and wish I would of found it earlier… lets say 5 years ago. For the last 1-2 years I’ve been pretty much thinking about starting a “business” for myself. Wether that be a real shop in a city or online. I eventually left the thought behind and just forgot about it. However I past months I just felt I had to do some research again because I kept working to pay the bills.Then I started reading blogs over and over again trying to figure out what to do. Simply because there is so much info. False/Real or even just to get you to buy something from them. Bout 2-3 days ago I stumbled upon this blog, and actually got hooked on the FB blog, as in a hobby related business. I mailed you already about an idea or even if my hobby would be good to make a business around it.

Anyways, thanks again for creating Location 180. I’ll be back reading your blogs over and over again.

Greetings,

Enzo

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Will Lenzen Jr May 8, 2014 at 2:35 pm

This is great, Sean. Congratulations! Zig Ziglar said the fastest way to get what you want in life is to help others get what they way – and you’re a living example of that. I’ve experienced your kindness and generosity firsthand. You’re the real deal man. Look forward to seeing you and your business continue to grow!

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John Chang May 8, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Congratulations, Sean! There are no coincidences, as they say. As it turns out, while you’re celebrating your 5th year anniversary, I just launched my Vlog which chronicles my own hero’s journey even as I’m staring down the mouth of the dragon’s lair at this very moment..

I’ve followed both you & Chris Guillebeau for some time, and that’s one of the key reasons that I’m working to relocate to Portland. Unfortunately, treading water and just squeaking with the work I’ve been able to get just isn’t cutting it!

Meanwhile, I’m writing this for those of us who don’t even have $500 to invest in a program that can change their lives. What can THESE folk do? That’s the million dollar question.

Recently, I re-visited eLance as a way to move the bar in the right direction of location independence. My other work, although they offer some freedom, does not.

So just wanted to congratulate you and thank you for shining some light down the dark tunnel to freedom.

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Tristan King May 8, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Congratulations Sean. Amazing to see how far L180 has come. Here’s to another great 5 :)

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Joseph Dabon May 8, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Excellent post. I felt some goose bumps as I read this. It’s kind of very fulfilling to look back and see the things you have done, not the things you could have done but didn’t.

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Chas May 8, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Congrats on reaching this milepost, Sean. I am one who enjoys seeing your notices in my inbox. You and your blog have been a help to me. I also enjoy the feedback you receive in the comments and garner some wisdom from your readers, as well. “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” ~G.K. Chesterton

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Dan May 8, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Congrats Sean! Guess I’m proud of myself for sticking to something for five years too! (Reading this blog!) :D Here’s to another 5!

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Daniel Reifenberger May 8, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Congratulations dude!

Here’s to another 5.

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Chiara Cokieng May 9, 2014 at 3:49 am

Thanks for keeping it real and useful all this time, Sean :) Congratulations!!

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Bryan May 9, 2014 at 4:22 am

Congrats Sean, I remember back in 09 checking out Chris’ blog and seeing you and Colin leaving a comment on most posts. You’ve come a long way since then, keep up the great work!

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Erica May 9, 2014 at 7:22 am

Congrats to five years of blogging! Most of all, I love your transparency about both successes and failures, or highs and lows. Partly thanks to your story I left Sweden for three months of exploring and working in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur last year. Reading about others who’ve accomplished what you’re desiring can be pretty encouraging. Excited to see what this year brings!

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John P May 9, 2014 at 9:04 am

Congratulations!
Thanks for sharing your experiences and knowledge to us. Thanks for the inspiration.

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Jenna May 9, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Yeah, buddy!

Way to tie your shoes.

I’m proud of you. (Honestly, please don’t read that as a joke.)

Hugs, beers and old fashions soon!

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Suzi Pratt May 9, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Congrats and happy anniversary, Sean! I too feel amazed at how long it’s been since Location 180 first started since I remember following your site from so long ago (about 4 years for me). For a long time, I read about what you were dreaming of and achieving and I never thought I’d be able to have that sort of lifestyle and happiness that you had. But over time, I found my desire increasing and little by little, your site and all of your amazing advice has done wonders for me. I now live the Location 180 lifestyle I never thought I could have for myself. Thank you for sharing all that you know and being such an amazing asset over the years. Here’s to many more!

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Christina May 10, 2014 at 11:21 am

Congrats Sean, this post gave me the warm and fuzzies. I especially loved the parts about adventure often, not working too hard, and hanging out with people who aren’t entrepreneurs. You have a life and a business (or businesses) and learning how to approach both makes location 180 enjoyable.

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Scott Asai May 12, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Congrats Sean! There’s always more hype in what’s new, but those who stick it out when everyone else is dropping out usually reap the rewards. Really cool to see you reminisce on how you got here.

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Genevieve May 13, 2014 at 2:39 pm

That part about Chris & you sitting and having coffee…..all I could think was “wow, would I love to eavesdrop on that conversation!” I am definitely looking forward to meeting and brainstorming with you both at WDS this year.

Congrats on taking your work so far and still managing to maintain a balance. It’s one of the biggest traps I think many entrepreneurs fall into and one I have no intention succumbing to myself. Great things man, hope your future continues to be just as brilliant!

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