Episode 14: Location Freedom

Live wherever you want, work wherever you want

In this episode, we have a special guest, host Niel Malan’s wife Candy, who joins him to talk about Location Freedom.

Imagine you could choose where you want to live because you do not have to worry about being near an office, being able to work from home (or anywhere in the world!), not being stuck in traffic every day, and being able to travel for pleasure or working holidays.

All of this is possible with a digital business.

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Niel Malan: Hey guys, welcome to Elite Entrepreneur episode 14, where we are going to talk about location freedom. If you’ve been following me for any reasonable period of time, you’ll know I’m currently doing a series on freedom and how important freedom is to an entrepreneur. One of the topics that comes up a lot in our world is location freedom. This is a very special episode because I was actually taking a walk with my beautiful wife Candy, when we were on holiday recently and I whipped out the phone and started interviewing her about location freedom. It turned out to be a really cool, really interesting chat. So we are going to be switching over to that video, and I’ll see you just now.

Niel: My love, what do you have to say about location freedom. What does it mean to you?

Candy: It’s the absolute best. Why would you want to travel every day, spend two or three hours a day on the road if you can combine all of that and go on holiday for six weeks a year?

Niel: So location freedom to you means holidays and the freedom to travel and go to beautiful places.

Candy: Yeah, exactly and not having to worry about using your time on wasteful stuff or things that’s not meaningful or doesn’t contribute in any way because it’s really actually just a waste of time for me. You can be much more productive during that two or three hours and you can still also have a life. You can have freedom to enjoy life and I don’t know, I just have a life.

Niel: So one aspect of location freedom is not sitting in traffic, not driving to an office. And you can put that time to good use. Going for a walk with your partner or just getting exercise or reading a book or doing something cool. But that’s just one of the perks of working from home. What else is location freedom and why else is it important?

Candy: I think people want to just have freedom. We are so used to being stuck in a rut, and society tells you what you have to do not do, so I think it’s also just having and experiencing that sort of freedom. So if you feel like next week you want to go work in Barcelona in Spain, you actually can do that. You are not bound to a specific location. So having that freedom or choice, I would rather say, to go work from anywhere in the world, I think almost feels like a luxury, but that’s part of location freedom to me.

Niel: So it’s ability to almost be like a bit of a world citizen where you can go and work in another city or in another country. I mean obviously there’s logistics, if someone’s got kids at school, they might not be that easy to just up and duck and go somewhere. But during long school holidays… but a lot of people also choose home schooling options.

Candy: But it’s like during this week, I mean, we have a holiday, but we’ve actually, we have a working holiday. Business usual still continues, but we can have a beautiful walk in the morning. We can come have a jog here. In the afternoons we can have a walk on the beach and that’s the pleasures of having location freedom because you don’t have to be sitting in Pretoria or Joburg or wherever stuck to an office. You can still do meaningful work from a different location.

Niel: This week was actually an interesting example because we came here for a week. I mean we’ve actually worked quite hard this week – Candy did the Student Success Hour and I was bugging her with my drone; it was a lot of fun. And I shot ads and videos, we had meetings. It was business as usual in many ways, but the entire time when we worked, we had this view as a backdrop and where with close friends that we wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to spend this week with. So during the day, with our laptops out, we’d work, I’d be cellphone in hand shooting ads as I do and shooting content. So it wasn’t like we’re on a holiday, but it is almost like you’re on holiday as well, isn’t it?

Candy: Yes, it’s the feeling of a holiday. They say change is as good as a holiday and it’s a change of scenery sometimes that you need to inspire you and to feel like you’re refreshed and you feel new and you feel energized and revitalized. I think that’s more what it’s about. The location freedom as well

Niel: Alright guys, so far we’ve covered the location freedom, one aspect of it, is not having to drive to an office location and that’s more of a day to day thing, which is a daily benefit. The ability to travel to beautiful locations, either on a holiday, working holidays, mini breaks… the interesting thing is also about a week like this, if you go away during off-peak periods, you can go to beautiful coastal towns. They’re cheap because all those big holidays houses are standing empty, it’s not peak season. So let’s look at other aspects of location freedom. Candy, you work quite closely with our students and you interview our students on Student Success Hour. Are there other aspects to location freedom as well from a student’s perspective?
I know some people, for example, just wanted to move to a safer neighborhood. Have you ever come across that as well?

Candy: Yeah, somebody that comes to mind is a couple, we call them the Wimpy couple, and their first priority was to move from Gauteng and they moved to Cape Town because Cape Town is beautiful. So they wouldn’t have been able to do so because they had ordinary jobs and the places where they worked, they didn’t have a headquarter or different office in Cape Town.
They wouldn’t have been able to move to Cape Town with, by just applying for a different job at a different place. So they needed to find a solution and find a business that they actually can have location freedom. And ever since they’ve joined, they both resigned their job and they are now planning to move to Cape town. So it’s that sort of thing, so if you want to move to new location or to a more beautiful location that you can enjoy the beautiful outdoors, then that’s one element of location freedom that people want. They want to have the choice to live in different areas as opposed to just staying in one place for the rest of their lives and that’s one element of it.

Niel: It’s very, I mean, it’s very disruptive. If you have to, if you could only move to another city or another country by getting another job or starting another business there, it’s very hard because what if there are no jobs available in that area. If you take South Africa as a perfect example, Jason had just joined us as Head of Performance Marketing. He’s a very high-level guy and I said to him, so why did you choose to come and work with us? I was curious and he said, well, to be quite honest, the remote work had a lot to do with it. And I asked him to elaborate. He said, at his level, that’s sort of MDC level, all the jobs are in Joburg but he’s from Cape Town.
He loves it there. And this was just appealing because he could actually work from his own home as opposed to having to commute to Joburg every single day. And there’s a lot of people, a lot of families where the primary breadwinner commute, and they don’t actually spend the time with the kids in the family that they are commuting for, that they’re providing for, which is a bit of a paradox.
I mean, if you look at people that want to immigrate or relocate. I mean, let’s look at Monique; Monique is actually a good example, isn’t it? So, tell people about Monique’s situation.

Candy: So Monique is our Head of Client Love and she does an amazing job to give lots of love to all our clients and all the enquirers and everything else. We get hundreds and thousands a day, let alone a week in a month. Anyway, her fiancé got an opportunity to work in Abu Dhabi and they are young couple. They both need 20s, and he had an opportunity, but she didn’t, but working for a business that’s got location freedom, she didn’t have to resign and go find a new job because all she’s doing is packing her laptop and she works in a new location, but she still does the same job. And she didn’t have to resign, which is both good for us and for here.

Niel: Yeah, so I mean what an incredible thing. I mean, she loves working in our company. Our company loves Monique. Everybody loves Monique, so imagine we had to lose Monique because she’s moving country. And it’s a tough choice a lot of people have to make. It’s like do I choose love or do I choose my vocation? It’s a horrible choice you have to make, isn’t it?

Candy: You don’t have to.

Niel: So even for employees, location freedom is wonderful. It sets them free as well and I mean, we are attracting incredible talent. To be honest with you, I don’t think we would have attracted the same volume of applicants, if it wasn’t for remote work. I mean there’s a lot of people that say, listen, our company is a very attractive work environment because you have the opportunity of remote work and it gives us the ability to tap into talent that otherwise just would not be able to. So I think as a talent attraction tool and yeah, as a perk, working in a company, I think there’s another aspect to location freedom that often goes unaddressed and unacknowledged. It’s a very big part of it.

Candy: The other part of also location freedom for our students is the majority of our students are married in their forties, 50s, 60s. And the kids are growing up, they’re out of the house and they have immigrated, but the parents themselves don’t have an opportunity going overseas anymore. So that’s also another big factor for a lot of our students wanting to join and having a location freedom or location-free business is so that they can actually go back to their family in a different country and spend some time with them, which otherwise they wouldn’t have had if they’ve got an online business.

Niel: That’s a big one. To echo what Candy just said, the amount of people tell us, “All my kids overseas, I can’t see them anymore.” Now they can.
The problem with travel… I don’t know if you guys know this, you might have seen one of these studies where people on their death bed, after critical illness for example, they’d run these studies and they’ll ask people what are your regrets? One of the top five regrets people have on their death bed is “I didn’t travel more”. And the sad thing about that is that at the time someone says those words, it’s too late. There’s nothing that can do about it. But now the question is, why do so many people not travel? One of the big reasons is the cost of travel.
As an entrepreneur, especially if you sell services, the cost of travelling itself is expensive but the biggest expense is the amount of money you don’t earn while you’re away. If you sell services, if you saw coaching or if you sell your own time in some way, shape or form, if you go on holiday for a month, there’s an entire month you no money. That’s devastating financially, that’s hectic. Very few people can afford that. It makes a huge dent in your savings. Just having the income continuity where you not only keeps on earning, but you keep on earning stable revenue – if you’re run a digital business like our clients do that have agencies that’s got fixed retainer revenue, it just gives you a range of possibility. So that’s another aspect, being able to be with your family and your loved ones when they relocate. For moms and parents, that’s a big deal. We’ve seen a lot of that, where people don’t see one another because of what I just described, because they relocate.

Candy: Exactly, and I think the other part is also that if a one is an entrepreneur and the other one is an employee, it’s very difficult for people to travel together because one person is dependent on the employer to take leave. But if you work together as a couple like Niel and I, we don’t have to have separate paths and I need to go and apply for leave. We basically just pack up our laptops, make sure we’ve got Wi-Fi or internet connection and we go there. And I think that’s also a huge plus for a lot of people, that’s what they want, they want to be able to travel together and not have anything holding back.

Niel: It’s actually quite a big trend we are seeing with couples… so many couples that actually never intended on running a business together, they go through our Agency FastTrack program, they graduate and the next moment they discover that they actually like working together. That’s so funny. People don’t think couples can work well together, but I mean, Candy and I work incredibly well together and people are always surprised. We tell people, just try it out. You don’t know until you’ve done it. Anyways, so what they discovered now it’s like, wow, we actually don’t have the constraints of one person not being able to get leave when the other person can. So I think for couples it’s also really cool. We have employees who during school holidays, they’ll actually go down to the coast for a couple of weeks. The person who works for us normal full day, working in a beautiful location, but the kids are playing at the beach or they’re running around having a good time with their friends. So the thing is location freedom, there’s a lot that goes with it. I’m going to talk to you guys a little bit more commercially about location freedom.

Niel: I’m going to try to talk to you guys a little bit about business as it comes to location freedom. It’s surprisingly restrictive when you have a business that just requires you to be in a particular place or it makes money only from a certain area. I’m going to give you a great example. The friends we are here with in this beautiful place called Jongensfontein, a friend of mine, Ki, he’s a big property guy. He developed a student accommodation empire in an area of Johannesburg and built a thriving business, absolutely booming.
And what happened is the area started going backwards, as it does sometimes in real estate, and he’s now in a cycle of selling some of the properties that he’s actually spent such a lot of time buying and building and he’s got the perfect business. It’s just the area with that business is changed, and now all of a sudden he has to start buying properties in another area. Obviously, properties you can’t relocate, so maybe it’s not a good example, but if you just look at the inefficiency behind starting a business in an area, having to sell it to close it down because for some reason that area isn’t viable anymore. And we’ve seen that a lot with local area businesses, restaurants, or someone starts in an area and things are looking great, all of a sudden there’s a new mall that opens up around the corner and there’s brand new restaurants and all of a sudden that area becomes more attractive. And this restaurant dries up, they can’t just move the restaurant, it’s not as simple as that.

Again, I’m not saying all businesses can be virtual. It’s not possible. Some of them, people need to go somewhere like a retailer, but 80% of all businesses globally are services businesses. And I’m here to tell you that service business does not need to be in a particular location unless it’s servicing a car. But if you’re in anyway a knowledge worker, you don’t need to be in a particular location. I mean, people don’t want to come to your office. We’re teleconferencing; people don’t want to see you face to face. Some people are a bit old school. I mean they still prefer the face to face aspect. I’m not going to deny that, but usually, if you tell people, let’s try and have a Zoom teleconference just once, they usually surprised with how cool it is, they just haven’t done it before. It works really, really well. So from a business perspective, the point I’m trying to make is that one of the things that a digital business gives you is the ability to not have the constraint of geography. If your country becomes unstable politically or financially, you don’t have to do business in just a country, or your state or your province or your city. Call it a risk management strategy. Imagine a business that just isn’t affected by the ruling political party or the local economy or any factor like that.

You know, weird things are happening. I was telling Candy yesterday, I saw a thing on Facebook in Miami. There’s this huge part of Miami that’s like a foot under water and there was no hurricane, no storms, nothing. It was just as a result of the Arctic caps melting. So the water level is now higher and they estimate $200 billion of real estate will be rendered useless in the next five years because if the water table rises to a point you can’t repair anymore. The foundations of the houses become too soft. You can’t actually repair it. And the roads; there are parts of Miami that they’re going to have to effectively going to have to turn into a swamp. Imagine owning the prime location on that beach….

Candy: It changes everything.

Niel: I know! Or that surf shop or whatever the case may be. I guess surfers are not too worried about it, they just go open a new shop somewhere else, but do you understand my point? There are weird things that happen in this world.

Candy: Yeah environmental changes.

Niel: It’s odd. I mean, if you’re in the UK, let’s just say Brexit debacle flares up again, and everything goes bad. Or Trump declares war … you can’t control what politicians do. That’s the bottom line. You can’t control what happens in different parts of the world. What you can control is who you do business with, so if you choose to set your sights on Europe for a while, then do that. If you choose to work with the Aussies, then you could do that.

I know it’s a bit of a long video, a long audio if you listen to this on podcasts, but I think it’s worth pondering. It’s worth actually considering where you live. It shouldn’t be forced upon you and it shouldn’t be something that’s implied that you have no choice over. We are here to tell you that you have a choice over it. And part of our freedom series – freedom of constraint, if you guys remember episode 12, I started with the concept of freedom. I spoke about freedom really as a freedom of constraint. Don’t have location be a constraint in your life.

So that’s a wrap from us for today. I want to know what you guys think. So I go to www.eliteinc.com/14 and track down the comments box and I want you to answer two questions for me. The first question is: To what degree is your location a constraint, or to what degree does it give you freedom? I’m sure there’s some of you guys who already have location freedom. I want to know how you did, it and does it really contribute? And those of you guys that maybe feel stuck, location-wise, tell us about your situation. I want to know about it.
The second question I want you to answer is: Is there an immediate opportunity for you to get greater freedom over your location? Is there something right in front of you, an opportunity, to change that? And just any of your thoughts regarding this topic; we’d love to hear from you, so go to www.eliteinc.com/14..

Those of you guys who feel it’s time to take the next step, to start your own digital business, by now you know we can help you. So just got it onto the same page www.eliteinc.com/14 and scroll down the page and book a call with my team and let’s see if we can help you.

And that my friends is a wrap. Thanks so much for tuning in, I know the sea was a little bit loud.

Candy: It’s still beautiful.

Niel: It’s so gorgeous. Those of you guys listening on podcast, be sure to go to our blog, you can see the video, it’s absolutely exquisite. But yeah, thanks for your time. I really appreciate it. I don’t take it for granted, thanks for tuning in. Remember to tell your friends.
If you like watching on YouTube, remember to subscribe. If you’re a podcaster, remember to subscribe on your favourite podcast channel and I’ll see you on the next video. We’re going to talk further about our freedom series.

Candy: Bye.

Candy: Cheers guys.