On Freedom and What’s Coming

Since quitting my job and becoming fully self-employed, a lot of people have been asking me how it’s going.

One person in particular asked: “How’s liberation feeling this week? Do you need some florescent lighting and lame memos sent to you?”

No thanks.

I wanted to give you a personal update of how things are going for me, and how liberation measures up when the rubber hits the road.

What I love:

  • Deciding what I work on. This is hands down the biggest benefit to working for yourself. Nothing can compare to it. Of all the benefits of self-employment, this is what I treasure the most. Obviously I have to focus on doing things that are actually going to make money, but I also have a lot of time working on other stuff, like exploring different self-development programs, going to seminars, and meeting lots of cool people.
  • Variety. Every month, week, or day, I can be working on a different project. This is stark contrast to the repetitive and predictable work I was doing working 9-5.
  • Working when I want. I don’t get stressed out much anymore; having to wake up at a certain time, get to an office by a certain time, and be present to show that I’m working. Sometimes I work early in the morning, sometimes I work at night.
  • Flexibility. If I want to take a trip to see my family in Utah, I could take the time off right now. If I want to see my sister in Santa Barbara, I can take the time off. Or if I just want to spend the afternoon with my wife, I don’t have to justify it to anyone.
  • Working from home. I love working at home with my wife, eating lunch with her, and being able to spend time with her during the day. It’s also pretty awesome to be able to take a break and do some bodyweight exercises or practice Jeet Kune Do.
  • Working with who I want. After working on what I want, this is definitely the next coolest thing. When I was working in “the cube,” I didn’t get to choose the people I worked with. It’s not that they weren’t nice, it’s just that with working for yourself, you have the latitude to basically handpick the people you work with. I feel privileged to be able to work with all the awesome people that I do. It’s really an honor.

The challenges:

  • Dealing with distractions. It’s easy to waste your time getting sucked into the “checking things OCD loop.” You check twitter, then you check email, then stats, then your other email, then your affiliate sales, then your other stats. Then when you have nothing left to check, you start over. I try to avoid this as much as possible, but sometimes I catch myself doing it out of habit. Before checking email, twitter or whatever, I ask myself “What is my purpose for doing this?” That helps a lot.
  • Being ruthless about ROI. Before my business was my number one source of income, it didn’t matter as much if the stuff I was doing didn’t have a high return on investment. Now, it’s a different story. I have to be really careful about whether what I’m doing is going to actually make money, or not. If I don’t make money, my finances suffer, and there’s always the lurking fear of having to go back to a job. Even though the chances of that are highly unlikely (I’d probably panhandle first), it’s still enough to motivate me to stay focused.
  • Staying focused. Now that I’m able to devote 100% of my time to the things I’m most passionate about, sometimes it’s difficult not to get overwhelmed with all the possibilities. Choosing a specific project to work on for a week or month helps with this.

Despite whatever challenges there are, I wouldn’t trade working for myself for anything. Within my own self-development, it’s had the single biggest impact on my quality of life. I just don’t think anything can compare to it.

Phase two is coming…

I also want to give you an update on what’s to come for Illuminated Mind. Some exciting things are in the works.

Here’s what I’ve been working on:

  1. New design. I’ve been working on a brand-new, kickass design for Illuminated Mind. I think the message and direction of this blog has really outgrown the design. The new design will much better fit the unconventional, on your own terms theme of this blog. Expect this before the end of August.
  2. The Unstream. This is an idea I’ve been wanting to move forward on for a while. You’ve probably seen the opt-in box for the newsletter, but I have yet to send out a copy. Well, the first edition will be coming out soon. Expect it to be packed with uncommon awesomeness.
  3. The Black Sheep Project. This is something I just started working on with my friend Jared Kessler. The purpose of the Black Sheep Project is “unconventional people helping unconventional people thrive.” We really want to create a community where unconventional people can come together to support each other in whatever it is they’re doing. More on this soon.
  4. Getting Paid to Exist. I probably shouldn’t be telling you about this yet (since it’s not ready for the public), but I’ll tell you anyway. I’ll soon be launching a paid membership site that will teach you how to get paid to exist. That’s not a typo. I’m going to go step-by-step, with in depth live webinars to teach you all the methods I’ve used to create freedom, break away from the cubicle, and get paid to be me. I’ll teach you stuff like, how unprofessionalism creates trust, why discrimination is the key to success, and how to causing trouble can make you famous (in a good way). Since this course harnesses the power of unmarketing, I think you’re going to find that it’s not like any other.

There’s also yet another really awesome thing to be launched soon. I can’t say what it is yet, but remember when I mentioned a possible free ebook about how I liberated myself from the 9 to 5? It might have something to do with that.

So I think you’re really going to like “Phase Two.”

Did I mention that you’re awesome? You are the reason I do this stuff.

Thank you for being part of this community.

Sharing is caring!

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RoyOn Freedom and What’s ComingOn Freedom and What’s Coming | Illuminated Mind | Szamaya Creative SolutionsstevePaul Norwine Recent comment authors
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Nadia - Happy Lotus

Hi Jonathan,

Cool on all the wonderful things you are experiencing. Needless to say, I am looking forward to all that Phase 2 will bring. :)


Sounds very cool. Looking forward to seeing the redesign and projects.

Daryl Furuyama

I hear you on checking stats ocd style. Now if only the would change since I last checked them five minutes ago. Feedburner is the worst, because it only updates daily. ;)

You do bodyweight exercises? I’ve been training to do the planche (imagine a pushup, but with your feet slightly off the ground) and the front lever (same thing, but upside down on a pullup bar). My back and shoulders have been getting pretty big. How’s it going for you?


Keep it up, man. I really pumped to see these projects get rolled out!

How does one become a Black Sheep! :-) I guess we’ll just have to wait!

Rock on


@Daryl: I’m actually working on the planche and front lever as well. That’s awesome that you’re working on it too, it’s tough isn’t it? In the front lever I’m at the “half-tuck” progression, black flat with legs at a kind “chair shape.” In the planche, I’m *almost* at the progression of half tuck, arms straight, legs half bent, with the back flat. I’m really working on this one. I’ve also been working on my l-sit and headstand pushup without a wall support. I’ve had massive strength gains with bodyweight exercises, more than I’ve ever had with lifting weights. I think… Read more »



Looking forward to phase 2!


Yeah! Congratulations! I’m very much looking forward to Phase 2 and definitely to “Getting Paid to Exist”. Definitely.

James NomadRip

Looking forward to it! I’m determined not to ever get a job again :-)

Laura - The Journal of Cultural Conversation

Loving the Black Sheep Project – had to Tweet about it. Exciting and innovative!


Being ruthless about ROI – what a great way to put it. As a writer, I think almost everyone can learn to string words together. It’s the act of sitting down to do so with intention and great concentration that seperates the writer from the wannabe. I admit, I struggle with this daily!

Keep the inspiration coming. This black sheep always looks forward to it. Peace.


Hey Jonathan,

Really excited to see what’s ahead. Congrats on everything working out. Thanks for the support you have provided through this site and email.

Nathalie Lussier

Very exciting stuff Jonathan. It sounds like a great way to spend time with your wife as well. Oh, and the OCD loop is definitely something we ALL work on. At least, as far as I know. ;)

Charley Forness

Not quite as advanced as you on the bodyweight exercises. I’m kind of a Matt Furey fan and so I do a mad amount of hindu pushups and hindu squats. I’ve just started working with his handstand training and am embarrassed to say that I can barely support myself in the up position, using a wall. But ya’ gotta start somewheres, I guess.

Bud Hennekes

Have my babies Jonathan Mead!!

Is that a bit too far? =/

Seriously dude. You rock. Can’t wait to see whats in store!

Daryl Furuyama

I’m still at the full tuck for both (I’ve been at it for about a month), although from the hanging position, I can rotate my body upwards about 45″ without curling.

For the handstand pushup, do you get a lot of blood to your face? I do it against the wall and feel like my eyes are going to pop out.

Cody McKibben

Hey Jonathan, I’ve always loved your awesome, rebellious content! Really excited that you’ve been able to realize your dreams and escape the 9 to 5! Congratulations man, and I can’t wait to see what’s coming out in the next few months.

JS Dixon

I am definitely looking forward to it. You’ve mentioned a few things that I’ve been wandering about the “how” part myself!


Awesome. Phase Two is really inspiring. Leaving the conventional world frees you from making progress the ‘normal’, linear way – instead, quantum leaps happen. So cool.

Jonathan Beebe

Being self-employed is definitely a very liberating thing, and provides so much freedom and happiness–I don’t think I could ever go back to 9-5 :-)

Anyway, good luck on your self-employed ventures, and I can’t wait to see what your membership site has in store!


Thanks for the update….sounds awesome…

Can’t wait for the free ebook….


Celes | CelestineChua.com

Bud: LOL Bud! Your comment was hilarious!! =D

Jonathan: It’s terrific to hear things going so well! Your new layout is rocking and can’t wait to see it being rolled out proper! :) You are moving ahead at a fast speed and it’s amazing to see how much ground you are covering in such a short amount of time.

Karlil @ PDPro

The Black Sheep Project sounds like a good plan in the making. i can’t wait to check it out =)


[…] the other options in the top right sidebar. Thanks for visiting!I just read @jonathanmead’s post on his experiences with quitting his fulltime job to pursue his own life. This reminded me that it […]


We’re watching. Looks good so far!

Keep it up!

Kent @ The Financial Philosopher

Congrats on the end of the beginning from a fellow unconventional person…

Let me know if I can help in any way…

alex - unleash reality

“Being ruthless about ROI”
– best part by far.

super exciting times.

alex – unleashreality


Hi Jonathan,

I totally agree with you about the challenges of working for yourself.

It’s a paradox that you would think working for yourself would mean taking it easier than in a regular job, but you end up working MUCH harder. But its a good kind of hard work, because you are doing what you love…

Joanne Tombrakos

Having been out of the corporate world for a year now, I could not agree with you more on what is great as well as the challenges. Well stated!


Looking forward to Phase II. You and Leo B of Zen Habits have been like beacons of sanity. I’ve been working towards building a life that centers around the concepts of compassion and laughter rather than overhead lighting, endless meetings and pointless waste. The magazine I worked for, VIBE, went out of business in June and it’s been the push I needed. Little by little that life I want, the one that cares about the rest of the world, but doesn’t take itself too seriously, has been emerging and you’ve been a part of that. It’s amazing how the world… Read more »

Wilma Ham

It is fantastic to have you share your experiences here, Jonathan.
The more people can see the possibility of living from their heart instead of coming from fear, the better chance the world has to become the place it is supposed to be, a playground in which we can experience growth from our adventures in a loving community.


Good stuff – well done. Looking forward to phase 2- particularly interested in the Black Sheep project- sounds really cool. More power to you!


[…] On Freedom and What’s Coming […]

Daniel Richard

The awesome stuff that you’re doing man, is that you can create damn cool titles for your upcoming projects!

After reading your previous book, I know that you’ll definitely deliver that which you’ve promised for your next projects in the pipeline. :)

Paul Norwine

Hi Jonathan,

Great post – I have come across your blog a couple of times now and realized that I should subscribe because all of the posts I have read resonate with me. I have just quit the J.O.B. to pursue my online business full-time and your posts, especially ones like this, are a source of inspiration and motivation. Keep them coming…



just wanted you to know that this post, along with some others on here & elsewhere, has inspired me to chase my own dreams & really dedicate myself to DOing it. for a couple years now, i have gone in & out of “planning” a whole revolution–but i haven’t ever dedicated myself to it fully, because i doubted whether i could do it. i always kept falling back into more “reliable” plans. but you have been an inspiration. i am doing it now god dammit thank you sir!


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[…] Source: http://paidtoexist.rabbithatch.com/2009/07/31/on-freedom-and-whats-coming/ […]


Yes, you’re correct to write here and I’m very inspired with this because I know how to only focus on doing the right things that will bring me getting success to make money according to the time I have to spend to reach my goal. This is a good knowledge I found it here and I would like to share to my sister too for the success in her business.

Thanks a lot,

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