Happy Jobless Guy 2015 Update
16 April, 2015
I rarely update this website, even though I keep it alive the whole time, for the purpose of helping people who found themselves jobless. Today, I decided to add an update to this website, to offer words of encouragement to all of you who have been reading this website and hanging on to my words for inspiration.
Today is 16 April, 2015, and it's a special day. It is special because in a month from now, on 15 May 2015, I shall turn fifty. Yes, the big FIVE ZERO. So I decided to add an update to this website, to let you know that I am still around, and here I am (picture below) at age 49, taken during a visit to Xishuangbanna in southern Yunnan, China, a few months ago.
Timothy Tye with the ladies of a minority tribe in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China.
I joined the pioneer trip because my travel business was starting a tour there.
As of this year, 2015, I have been a happy jobless guy for 8 years. I am happily married, and you can follow me on Facebook, to see that I am a real person. In the past eight years, I have not gone out to work. However, to say that I am completely jobless would be untrue. In addition to my websites, I have several businesses running. All of them are managed by various business partners. (I refuse to be involved in any business where I have to be personally involved.)
If I had wanted to trade my time and energy for money, I could be sitting in my office at the moment. But I am not, and God willing, don't plan to have such a life in the foreseeable future.
At this point, some of you may be saying, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, so where's the catch? When are you going to start pushing some magic get-rich-quick formula on me for $29.99?" Well, as you can search throughout this website (and if you have spoken to the legions of people who wrote to me after reading this site), you will see that I am not selling you anything (and I'm not the type who wants to sell anything, to begin with). I am here to share with you advise and give you motivation, in case you are comtemplating a life like mine. Eight years ago, I advocated a life without bosses, without customers, without products to sell and without services to offer. I have been living at home since then.
Every now and then I have strangers and acquaintances who get in touch with me, trying to interest me in their business proposals. I would listen politely, but almost all the time, the business requires an investment of either my time, or my energy, or my money, and to any business idea that seeks any of the above resources, I politely decline. "But you can make more money," they would say. "But why would I need to make more money?" I asked. "So you can ... buy a bigger house?" they said, and I tell them, "Are you asking me or telling me? Anyway, why would I need a bigger house?" Eventually it becomes clear that people who pursue money as the primary objective in life don't share my paradigm.
Happiness does not depend on making more money. Having said that, it would be foolish to say that money is unimportant. We do need money, everybody does, to give us a comfortable life. But once the basic necessities are covered, we should look beyond what money can offer to what makes this life fulfilling.
As a married person, I can attribute a large part of my happiness to finding the right spouse who really clicks with you, who is your soulmate, who lifts you up when you are down, and shares with you every moment of joy. Some times I would make a lot of money and I would joyfully inform my wife. Her usual response is, "So?" It truly recalibrates my perspective on happiness. Although I am not the wealthiest person on earth and will never be, I am financially secure, with various streams of income that do not depend on me trading my time and energy for money.
There was a time when I travel widely. Now I hardly do that. This is ironic, when you consider it coming from someone who is is still involved in the travel business. The idea of forking out money to go to places that a thousand other people have been fills me with yawning indifference, and you couldn't get me to travel even if it's fully paid for. Moreover, I have taken the idea of not travelling to extremes. For many days in a week, the furthest I have "travelled" is to the outside my front door, to collect the morning newspaper from the ground. A lot of people could not understand me. They think I am vegetating. A person who is vegetating isn't doing anything productive with his life, and is practically waiting for death. I am not that. I am very busy and very productive every single day, but my priorities in life have shifted away from younger days. Today I will travel when there is a purpose to travel, but not for the sake of travel.
On 23 March last month, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the founder father of Singapore, passed away. His demise stirred in me an interest to learn more about him. To say that Mr Lee is a great man is to make an understatement. He is a towering figure whose shadow reaches all the way up to Penang and beyond. If only more people would read what he has written and apply what he says in their lives.
In my opinion, too many people nowadays allow materialism to engulf their idea of happiness. To them, you cannot be happy unless you are living in a big house, drive a big expensive car and showingly spend money. You cannot be happy unless you are showing off your wealth. As a result, they surrounded themselves with things that their money buy, but they have nothing to show in terms of true accomplishments. Mr Lee, particularly in the later part of his life, is a model of someone who has detached materialism from happiness.
To say that I don't work is completely, completely untrue. I am involved in various businesses, as mentioned, from which I earn a monthly income, and my websites generate income too. Almost everything is passive income that is not the result of a direct input. I spend most of my days writing my websites, because they give me great satisfaction.
Whenever I have the time, I continue to work on my Penang Hokkien Dictionary and lessons in Penang Hokkien. To me, that is a form of accomplishment, a gift from me to humanity, to future generations of Penangites. Being involved in the preservation of my mother tongue is a priceless thing. You can't pay me to do it because I am doing it for free. It fits into my idea of finding happiness in doing things you are passionate about, without any attached monetary compensation.
Can someone who is sitting at home earn a living? To be honest, I cannot offer you a template and say, "Follow". I am not you and you are not me. Are you able to write the websites that I write? Do you have a business or two being run for you by business partners, and you just sit and earn from it? In the topic below, "Learn the skill to remain happily jobless forever", I said that learning to build websites has helped me never to hold a job again.
It is true for me, but it will not be true for every one seeking a happy jobless life. To some, building websites is tough, if you do not know what you want to write about. So I have to modify what I say into, "Find something congruent to your skill and talent, that you can use to earn an income, preferably without having bosses, customers, products to sell or services to offer." At the same time, shift your paradigm from seeking wealth to seeking happiness.
Learn the skill to remain happily jobless forever!
Of all the skills I've learned in life, the one most precious is the one that is helping me support myself today, without ever holding a job ever again. In 1998 I learned to build websites using free hostings such as Tripod and Geocities. It was a lot of fun having a web presence. At that time, I've never heard of Google Adsense, Affiliate Programs and ways to make money online.
In 2000 I learned to use HTML to build static websites. It was difficult at first, but over time I got used to it. In 2003 I built my first serious website, AsiaExplorers. It was a hobby, to fuel my interest for traveling. By 2006, I started to build more websites. By end of 2007, I was able to earn a full time income online.
It's many years since then, and I haven't looked back. I wish people will spend some time acquiring the skills to earn a living without depending on a job. Don't blame your boss for not giving you that raise or promotion. Nobody owes you anything! Look at yourself in the mirror and ask: if I were my own boss, how would I make more money to give myself a raise? Too many people seek a cushy job where they don't do much, but someone somewhere will pay them for simply existing. Don't blame bosses. Make it your own problem and solve it.
Being jobless is the best thing to have happened to me. Looking back, I wish I could cut short the time it took me to learn how to build websites and earn using them. But then, I began without full awareness that I was going to make money online.
If you ever want to work from home like me, the good news is, you don't have to take as long as I did. It is so much easier these days. There are programs such as SBI that are tailor-made to help people create profit-making websites. Learn it. It's an investment in your own future.
I won't bluff you. Learning to make a living without a job can be difficult at first. There're skills to acquire, mistakes to be made. But over time, it gets easier and easier ... until one day, you are ready to quit your job, and become happily jobless like me. And you'd be thankful for having learned the skills.
Let me tell you this: depending on a job for a living is no fun. You feel like a dog waiting on his master. Is he going to give me a raise today? Is he going to fire me? Your entire well-being is not within your own control.
If you love yourself, learn the skill today that may allow you to live a happy jobless life. That happy jobless life does not happen overnight. It takes time. It took years of "wandering in the wilderness" for me. But once I discovered that it is possible, for anyone and everyone, I feel the stupidest thing is to ignore learning the skill today.
Imagine a life without bosses. Nobody can fire you. You don't depend on anyone to give you a raise. You are your own person again. It's not magic. It's entirely possible!