Who is the Book For, and What are Virtual Companies?

For the lifestyle entrepreneur, buying time is more important than accumulating cash. Beyond a certain comfort level, money has a diminishing return.

Who is this book for?
I wrote this book for people who are done with “pink slip culture” and looking for more economic control. Free from Corporate America is based on years of knee-scraping escapes, so it’s ideal for “nine-to-fivers” who have always wanted to step out but don’t know where to begin. The so-called “best practices” detailed in this book are also useful for freelancers of all stripes, especially those artistic types who are looking to give their business skills more bite. Small business owners may also find a use for this book, though if you’ve already lived what I’m writing about, it will probably feel more like a confirmation of your own sensibilities than a bold new path. But what if you are committed to a corporate career path and don’t have time for side ventures? There are still some things you can do to brand yourself and boost your marketability without leaving your current employer. I’ll get to some of those concepts later in this book.

What are “virtual companies”?
This book would not have been possible without technical innovations that allow small companies to create niche services and compete in a “wired” world despite a disadvantage in resources or location. Indeed, the people I’ve met who I consider the most free from the corporate world (but also very successful in business) are the ones who found a way to use the Internet to close the gap between themselves and corporate boardrooms.

“Virtual company” is a trendy term to describe small businesses, often home-based, that focus on a narrow competency and collaborate with partners online to deliver services to customers. Saying that you have a “virtual company” is a fancy way of saying that “location doesn’t matter anymore.” That’s not entirely true – many businesses are still dependent on relationships that require “face time.” But we have a better ability to structure our business around our lifestyle than ever before. Of course, technology cuts both ways. If you’ve ever been pinged by your boss while on vacation, you know exactly what IÂ mean. But the Internet does make it possible to compete on a high level without a Manhattan street address.

“Bill Gates Entrepreneurs” versus “Lifestyle Entrepreneurs”
I’ve spent a lot of time with my fellow Hidden-Tech members trying to understand and document the various “flavors” of entrepreneurs out there. For the purposes of this book, “Bill Gates Entrepreneurs” are folks who may be starting small but who have big corporate aspirations. They wouldn’t mind running a big company someday and making that company their life’s work. I also put the “build to flip” types in this category. These are the folks who work 100 hour weeks building companies to sell as soon as possible. Some “build to flip” folks want to pay their dues and cash out for good, but a surprising amount do it again and again, well past the point where they need the cash. They live for the deal.

“Lifestyle Entrepreneurs,” on the other hand, would be less inclined to sell their companies (what would they do next?), or if they do eventually sell, it will be the result of a “slow build” rather than an all-consuming push. For the lifestyle entrepreneur, business is not the be-all, it is a means to an end. Financial success is important, but only to a point. Beyond that, shutting down the computer in order to train for a triathlon or take the fam to mini-golf is more important. For the lifestyle entrepreneur, buying time is more important than accumulating excess cash.

Beyond a certain comfort level, money has a diminishing return. If forced to choose, the lifestyle entrepreneur would probably trade the glory of a Business Week cover story for a whitewater rafting trip with college pals. And most would take $80,000 and a 30 hour workweek over $150,000 and a 60 hour work week. This book is geared toward the so-called lifestyle entrepreneur, the person who wants put their business interests to work for them without losing themselves to their business. Since businesses tend to consume the participants, this is not an easy accomplishment.

Want to buy Free From Corporate America or see reviews of the final published version from readers like yourself? The printed book is now available on Amazon.com with product reviews.

You can also get a discounted version of the final book in eBook (PDF) format, or you can pick up a copy on the Kindle. The published version of the book is significantly enhanced from the web version available on this site.

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