Interview with Brooke Ferguson from BusinessBackpacker.com
Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brooke Ferguson from BusinessBackpacker.com. For those who aren’t familiar with Brooke and her work, she leads a pretty fascinating lifestyle. In fact, I would say she lives and breathes lifestyle design, and seems to do an excellent job teaching others how to do the same.
You hear a lot about people preaching “lifestyle design,” but Brooke actually demonstrates it. She was even featured on the Discovery Channel (the show aired this past December), which I thought was really cool. After coming across her blog and reading about how she travels the world, basically living out her innermost passions, I knew she was someone who I had to interview for My4HWW.
Interview with Brooke Ferguson
1) After reading about you on BusinessBackpacker.com, I’ve come to the conclusion that you lead a rather interesting life. I see you have a college degree, but did you ever enter the “9 to 5” workforce after college? How did your life, as you know it today, begin?
I have had ‘normal jobs’ before, but have preferred the ones that were rather nontraditional. I tried a variety of working situations but here was my quandary–the recreational / fun jobs didn’t pay enough money and were not intellectually challenging, and the ‘real’ jobs were challenging, but not enough fun and had too much structure. I always knew I wanted to have my own business but was unclear until later in life exactly what business that would be.
2) The term “lifestyle design” is thrown around quite often these days, largely due to Tim Ferriss and his discussion about it in The 4-Hour Workweek. What does “lifestyle design” mean to you?
For me, lifestyle design means that you have the freedom to decide. You have designed your life so that your lifestyle comes first. You have designed an income (or multiple incomes) that are helping you to grow in meaningful ways and you are putting away more than enough money for later. You live somewhere beautiful. You can continue to ‘try on’ life and see what your best fit is, and make alterations, but at the core you know and understand that you hold the key to your own destiny.
3) Tell me about your lifestyle design and business consulting program. What is your typical interaction with clients like, and what types of projects have you undertaken?
Just after completing my MBA I had a breakthrough idea. A wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night idea. In one out-pour, all of the information I had accumulated for about ten years broke free. I wrote pages that covered my entire table. All of the theories that I’d absorbed in books and classes finally came together in a way that was clear and concise. This was the first time that I was able to realize the full application of what I had learned, and determine what to teach and Most Importantly: In What Order.
I take my clients through the various stages of Lifestyle Mastery (time, money, and behavioral choices), followed by Business Growth Skills (Aligning your core values with your business mission, vision and marketing), and then show them how to Go Global (niche outreach, systems, building strategic partners, etc.) and Product Development (layering content, stacking income streams, creating coaching programs, and overall business maintenance). The key function of my position is to encourage entrepreneurs through their own self-doubt, speed up their education while holding them accountable for continual, rapid progress.
4) What has been your biggest success to date, as an entrepreneur?
I love my business more than anything in the whole world. The reason is because I get to help people truly transform their lives. I get evidence of this on a regular basis through emails, blog replies, and on my coaching calls. I never went into this thinking ‘I want to change the world’, but if I can make one person happy, and then another, and then another, I feel I am doing my job.
5) What has been your biggest failure and/or source of frustration? What did you learn from it?
Here is the thing: I fail every day. I fail at everything… at first. What I’m learning is to keep failing. Keep on through the miserable confusion of the learning curve, and keep making progress. Fail a little bit less, and then less, and then, eventually you begin to make progress. I’ve learned that Nothing Is Easy. Nothing.
6) What is your biggest source of motivation, and why?
Honestly, some days I don’t even know. Living abroad is really difficult. All of the normal things I took for granted at home are hard here: eating, talking, going to the grocery, finding internet connections, you name it. I guess my biggest motivation is Hope. I hope to have a meaningful life and to help others in the process. I find that hope by studying and interviewing other people that are doing just that. I find it inspiring that there are others out there that have chosen a different life path and are contributing their talents in ways that are making a difference and living as an example. That is my hope for my business, as well as my life.
7) It’s clear to me that you travel a lot, which I think awesome. Where is your favorite location that you’ve traveled to, and why?
Travel is a funny thing. It helps you to learn, question your values and behaviors, and to appreciate the variety that exists in the world. But, this can feel very addictive! The more you see, the more you want to see.
I’ve learned that spending a couple of weeks somewhere is not as enjoyable as actually living somewhere and getting to know more about the culture. The kind of travel I plan to do from here on out would be to spend longer amounts of time in various destinations. One of my favorites is where I’m living right now, Krabi, Thailand. I love the beach, food, culture, outdoor activities, and ‘rule-less-ness’ of the place. Even though it is challenging, it suits my personality.
8 ) What tips do you have for someone who currently works a typical “9 to 5” job, but wants to emerge as a successful entrepreneur?
Personally, I don’t shun the 9 to 5. I was here nearly a year living the 4 hour workweek dream, but I got bored. I missed people. I had an opportunity to try out teaching, and I really enjoyed it. Jobs offer comfort (in a paycheck), camaraderie with coworkers, and if you are living abroad, cultural experiences that you wouldn’t get anywhere else. I believe it is smart to stack your incomes and if you work smart, you can build and run a business in conjunction with a traditional income.
I really enjoy connecting with people and sometimes that is hard to do as an ‘online professional’. If you have various talents, I would say pursue them. But be picky. The fun part is that if you have more than one income, you have a variety of choices. Try to find a combination that allows you freedom and balance. That is why we are all here, and I wish you success in all of your endeavors!
Thanks for doing the interview, Brooke! You provided a lot of great insight.
If you’re interested in more outstanding lifestyle tips from Brooke, she just released a free eBook: Lifestyle Mastery – Love Your Business & Your Life. Check it out!
Now, I’ll turn it over to you (the readers) – What does “lifestyle design” mean to you? What do you think it really takes to get there?