Plummeting retirement funds have been making regular headlines since the start of the financial crisis way back in 2007. A whole generation has woken up to the fact that their retirements will not be nearly as secure or comfortable as they were led to believe.
So when you hear about a 31 year old entrepreneur who’s already financially free it’s time to take notice. When you find out that he’s practically retired (he works an average of just five hours a week) the story becomes even more interesting.
Erlend Bakke is based in London, but grew up in Norway. He began his first business aged 26, but things didn’t go at all well to start with. In fact, as recently as 2010 he was really struggling. Things reached crisis point – literally – when he collapsed on a London tube train due to stress from overwork. “I thought I was dying,” explained Erlend. “I had to beg a stranger to call me an ambulance. God bless that man, because he took time out of his own life to get me to a hospital.” Erlend was so convinced that he was going to die that he phoned his then girlfriend to give her “instructions on what to do with my businesses when I died.”
Fortunately, a day of hospital testing revealed that Erlend had suffered a major panic attack. And while serious and deeply unpleasant it was not life threatening. Erlend was put under strict Doctor’s orders to relax and spend some recovery time well away from his businesses.
Fast forward to today and Erlend is happy, healthy, relaxed and doing better than most of us will ever dream of. He is the owner and CEO of three companies, which together bring him a disposable income of $20,000 a month and growing. Yet despite this he seldom spends more than five hours a week working on his businesses. This is possible due to Erlend’s mastery of “ethical outsourcing” – an idea we’ll return to shortly.
At a ridiculously young age Erlend has achieved the holy grail of both financial freedom and time freedom. This allows him to live the sort of “jet set” lifestyle that we associate with the rich and famous, splitting his time between London, Oslo, the US and Davao City in the Philippines (where he has an outsourcing company based).
Right now Erlend is in New York where he is setting up a photography studio for one of his businesses and promoting his new book “Never Work Again”. Already the book is an international bestseller, having hit the charts in the US, Canada and the UK. Perhaps that’s not surprising since it’s a book that definitely taps into the zeitgeist.
At a time of financial insecurity, with rising prices, wages falling in real terms and shaky retirement funds “Never Work Again” holds out a ray of hope. It offers people an alternative to the traditional “study hard, work hard, save hard and hope you’ll have enough to survive when you retire” mantra. A mantra that has looked increasingly hollow as the various repurcussions of the great recession continue to cause concern even as the economy finally starts to grow again.
The book is essentially a blueprint for transforming your life in the way that Erlend has – in his case, from being a struggling entrepreneur in the back of a London ambulance to living a life of abundance and freedom. What makes Erlend’s story even more incredible is that he actually managed to make this transformation over just a three year time span.
The book offers hope for people “who want more from life,” says Erlend, whether they are looking to escape from the rat race or whether they’ve retired and need to create income streams to make up for a shortfall in their pension.
Never Work Again is a “how to” manual that teaches its readers two things. First, it teaches them – in a series of clever exercises – how to get clear on what they want from life. “You think it’s about the money, but it’s not,” explains Erlend. “Yes, the money is important, but ultimately it’s about following your passions and living the life of your dreams.”
Secondly, the book explains how to actually create financial and time freedom. It sets out the steps involved in starting and running a virtual or home based business. And it provides the reader with a series of online business blueprints that they can either follow directly or use as inspiration for generating their own ideas.
Ultimately, all of this is made possible through “ethical outsourcing” or the use of online talent from around the world to create virtual business teams. This is how Erlend can run three businesses while working only five hours a week himself. What Never Work Again does is teach the reader how to take advantage of this global online arbitrage in a way that is fair for all parties.
Never Work Again is available from all good bookshops and can be ordered online from Amazon either as a hardcopy or on Kindle. To visit Amazon and order a copy of Never Work Again click here.