Freedom feels like one of the last things that people are talking about right now. Lockdown. Travel restrictions. Mandatory quarantine. It seems like freedom is now a thing of the past, a fond memory. So how is it that Bill J Clarke has built his life for ultimate freedom? Today he shares exactly how he’s done this, why he has done this, and how anyone can follow in his footsteps to do the same.
Growing up in York, England, Bill was an above-average student with particular strengths in Mathematics and Business Studies and, like the vast majority of his friends, went to university despite not feeling like it was the best choice. Regardless, he went on to study Business Management with Marketing in Leeds and his first-year scored 90%+ in each module. During his second year, however, he knew this wasn’t the path for him so he made one of the toughest decisions yet and dropped out.
All throughout school, he was encouraged to do the traditional going to university, get a graduate job in a corporation and working your way up career style, but when it came to it, he knew he was meant for more. So in 2018, he incorporated his first business – Mustard Fox Marketing – a digital marketing agency helping businesses in the UK to grow through his lead generation services. Since starting, he has been able to travel and work simultaneously to places like Malta, Thailand and most recently he spent 5 weeks in Turkey enjoying some winter sun and growing his agency. At the time of writing this, he is back in York and is raring to get back abroad as soon as he can, with Bali in his sights as the next destination.
When it comes to building a life of freedom – one of Bill’s main goals – one thing he stresses is the importance of defining your own freedom. A lot of what he sees, especially in the younger generation, is that people are working towards goals that aren’t their own. He sees people buying flash cars to impress others. He sees people go into a job because it’s what their parents wanted. He sees such a disconnect between what people are doing and what they truly want to be doing, that he feels even more motivated to focus solely on what he wants to achieve for himself and his loved ones – a good life. When it comes to defining your own freedom, this doesn’t just mean being able to travel, although this is still important for Bill and many other online business owners like him.
There are also considerations such as financial freedom, being able to buy what you want and not need to worry about it. Now, before you throw your arms in the air crying out “if only it was that easy”, listen to what Bill has to say on this.
“Financial freedom doesn’t mean you earn millions. It doesn’t mean you need to be uber-successful. It just means that you live a life that you can afford. There are many ways to define financial freedom and this is mine. To have an income that allows me to do whatever I want without the worry of next months bills. It doesn’t mean I live a lush lifestyle, I live below my means and I earn more than I spend.”
Alongside the financial aspect, Bill also stresses that one of the core components to his success is his business, more specifically, his business model. Rather than a traditional marketing agency with an office, employees and high costs, he takes a very lean approach to his business. This means that his costs are low, resulting in high profits for him to spend on his travels, going out for food, investing and more. He has no physical office, no full-time employees and leverages the online business model. He has built his business in a way that can be managed from his laptop wherever there is wifi. His clients communicate via email or video calls so it doesn’t matter if he’s in his home in York or a coffee shop in Bangkok, he can still run his business effectively.
The final key to Bill’s freedom is outsourcing. This means that he uses freelancers to carry out the work that his clients need, while bill takes a cut of the profit. Lazy? Perhaps. But Bill is happy taking a smaller percentage of the profits if this grants him more time to enjoy the places he travels to. Without this, he wouldn’t have been able to hike up mountains in Thailand, spend days by the beach in Koh Tao, or explore Istanbul and all its majesty.
Now we know it’s possible. We know from Bills story, even a university dropout can create a life filled with freedom. So how do we do the same? How can this be applied to the rest of us who want to travel and earn a decent income at the same time? We asked Bill and he said it came down to 3 key steps you need to take.
Firstly, focus on your goal and define your own freedom. You may want to be like Bill and travel the world, work a few hours a day and earn a good income. However some of you might not want to travel, but like the idea of working from home. Some of you may want a small part of your business and you’ll achieve this through outsourcing. Some of you may want a large part in your business and want to do the fulfilment work yourself. Everyone is different, so it’s important not to follow what Bill says as law, and to think about what you truly want.
Secondly, it comes time to start a business. Before you get scared, hear us out. You don’t need a Business degree, you don’t need experience as a CEO, and you don’t need the next big idea. There are plenty of online business models that people are becoming very successful in. There is the agency model – like Bill – where you offer a service to businesses and then outsource that service to a freelancer. This means that you don’t technically need to be trained in the service itself, however, Bill highly recommends you are even if it’s at a basic level as it is much easier to sell when you know what you’re talking about. You can do a quick Google search on ‘online business models’ to find a plethora of ideas for you to look through.
Finally, and this is the key to your success, it takes hard work. Consistent effort is what is going to help you achieve your life of freedom. Bill learned the hard way that there is no shortcut when it comes to success and if anyone says there is, then it’s likely they are trying to sell you something – avoid them! Start your online business and remember, nothing is set in stone! If you don’t like it after a few months, you can always start a new one. That is what Bill loves about the online business model – the availability of them to anyone and the low barriers to entry.
If you want to follow Bill on his journey to building more freedom in his and the lives of his loved ones’, you can find his Instagram at Billclarke.97