My path to freedom

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It's important that I give you some background on my life style because apparently it's not the norm :)

I've been living an apparently minimalist lifestyle for so long that I think I am very free. But then I just asked my girlfriend and her perspective was that most would consider me not free or very restricted. So I guess it's all perspective, but the important thing is that I feel free.

My girlfriend also reminded me how I am different because to be honest I don't even know today how people live lavishly.

Here are some differences that reduce my monthly expenses. I should also state that I am pretty normal with a big social life. I hope that's not just my perspective though, lol :)

  • No shopping - I buy everything used, craigslist etc.
  • No cellphone
  • No cable - I use Netflix to stream movies
  • No car - I bike all year or I use a car sharing service
  • No mortgage - We rent an apt.

I did hold a regular job with a telecommunications company for a while which gave me a savings to start experimenting. I created my screenshot and calendar extension on the side.

  • Year 1: When I decided I had enough savings and that my calendar extension was covering 1/4 of my monthly expenses I took the risky decision of quitting my job to concentrate my efforts on that calendar extension. Lots of work 40 hours per week went into developing my extension.
  • Year 2: Half of my expenses are covered by my calendar extension and by chance I decide to take advantage of the fact the most popular and my most favorite gmail extension at the time is pulled from the Chrome Web Store and I quickly develop a similar gmail extension to take it's place. My user base quickly grows and also drives traffic to my calendar extension. My work load that had diminished for my calendar had been redirected now to my gmail extension.
  • Year 3: Income is covering all my expenses. My work load is now flexible working some weeks at 40 hours and sometimes only 10 hours a week at my choice.
  • Year 4 to present: Income is steadily increasing every month. Work load is very flexible ~20 hours week.

In summary the first years I did work a lot, but on my own terms and I was having fun experimenting and integrating the last technologies into my extensions and positive feedback inspired me to continue. Most importantly I created extensions for my needs first and then made sure to listen to my user's suggestion to improve it for all of us.

I never regretted leaving my job and I am even less regretting turning down Google's offer to work for them. I'm my own boss with my own hours and that is what promotes my creative ambitions.