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“Freedom is the ability to travel”: Creating Multiple Sources of Income as a Millennial

This is a reader profile. (Read others or nominate someone to be featured.)

Evan Tarver is a location-independent entrepreneur. Through multiple income streams and thoughtful business growth, he has the freedom to travel around the world. Right now he’s in Austin, but who knows where he’ll be next month!

Here’s his story:

I like to think of myself as a writer, businessman, and life-adventurer… but, you know, the non-pretentious type. I was born and raised in Northern California’s wine country and spent my early years trying to figure out what the hell happiness meant. I wasn’t able to figure it out then, and I’m still searching—but getting much closer!

Fresh out of college, I tossed aside a degree in Finance and Economics to take a retail management job with Target because it paid well (big mistake!).

As you might have guessed, my happiness quickly waned and I decided to pull up roots, quit my job, and travel Europe until my bank account ran dry. And so I did, traveling to seven countries and maxing out my last credit card to change flights from Geneva to Paris to make it home in one piece.

These days I’m a San Francisco-based millennial-entrepreneur who faces constant success and failure. I’m passionate about both writing and entrepreneurship for the collective freedom they afford. While a lot of my contemporaries in Silicon Valley are caught up in the “scale or die mentality,” I focus on building my businesses very carefully so that they give me the freedom I covet. For me, freedom is the ability to travel.

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Freedom leads to memorable travel experiences.

Morocco was the first time I ever stayed in a place outside of the Western world. Marrakech, the country’s capital, is built like a labyrinth of streets and walkways, accented by live farm animals, loud motorcycles, narrow passages, and extremely motivated salesmen and women. I stayed in the old medina and became absorbed by the daily life of the working class of Morocco.

From my western point of view this alternative lifestyle was eye-opening, but to the people we interacted with it was the only lifestyle they knew. For me, it was proof that the toys and money we covet in American society do not translate to a life well lived. How many of us can say that that we’re completely happy and content, even with our big houses and fast cars?

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During this trip to Morocco I was also juggling my first and most stressful near-business-disaster.

One of my partners and I were still working full-time jobs while planning our escape from corporate life. We were successfully growing our business on the side and it was getting to a critical mass where it could become our full-time income. The day I left for my trip to Morocco we signed our largest client… and then everything fell apart.

Our advertising partner and technology solution backed out almost as soon as we closed the deal, and my business partner and I went through a crash course on how to communicate and problem solve in different time zones, often with limited internet access.

We refused to lose the deal or decrease our level of service. Because of that, I spent many long days balancing the joy of travel with the pains of trying to find reliable Internet in Morocco. In the end, we delivered value to the client, they remained with our company and they never knew the disaster we almost went through!

To this day, that experience still means so much to me because it’s proof that I am building my life in the way I want so that I can travel and be financially successful.

Current workstation in Austin.

Diversifying Income

These days, the ability to travel freely is the direct result of creating diverse income streams that all work with my vagabonding lifestyle.

My main income source comes from the digital advertising agency that I started with my business partner about three years ago. Then, my father fortuitously reached out to me asking about effective marketing tools that he could implement in his wine business. Since I’m from the Napa area, I saw it as an opportunity to add value to the adult beverage industry. We currently work with outsourced contractors to strategize, launch, and manage digital ad campaigns for our winery clients. At this point we’re not taking on new clients or looking to grow the business past what we can handle as a boutique company.

With my background in finance, both corporate and investment, and experience as a nonfiction writer, I’ve also been able to cultivate a steady income doing content marketing strategy for financial technology (fintech) companies. My first two clients approached me directly about doing fintech blogs, email newsletters, and email marketing for them.

I sensed an opportunity and reached out to a few more companies, and signed my first “cold reach out” client about three months ago. I now have four monthly recurring clients and I help them with effective content generation for the finance sector. It is 100% location-independent and represents an intersection of two passions: writing and finance. I am actively building this business.

Lastly, I also make a modest income off of my two self-published books, one nonfiction and one fiction. With no marketing other than my weekly blog posts, I’m able to sell roughly 100 copies a month. This is actually my true passion and what I’m working on turning into a career. Ideally, the previous two income streams will support me full-time, giving me maximum flexibility to invest time, money, and effort into a writing career in both books and movies. This might not be the perfect fit for many other people, but for me, it hits the trifecta of joy, flow and money.

Learn more about Evan and his new book, and follow him on instagram.

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About Anas Alaoui

Anas Alaoui

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