Our story (written by Ruud)
Since April 2017 our lives have been totally turned upside down. In a magnificent way. Our good, but somewhat average (and boring?!) life suddenly became new and full of unbelievable opportunities.
But before I tell you the ‘how’ and ‘why’, let’s give you some background on where we came from.
We were both brought up in normal families. Brothers, sisters and working parents. We had a fine upbringing with ditto values. “Act normal, never stick your head out”, were the rules.
And so that’s what we did…
We finished our schools, started working, met each other and fell in love. Pretty soon, we bought a house, we got married and Jolanda gave birth to our beautiful son Thomas and our amazing girly girl Suzanne. A fine life. Our heads were all around making enough money to pay the bills, raising our kids, going out sometimes and planning nice vacations. And of course, buying a bigger house…
Things were OK, within the norm of our surroundings, but after a while some cracks started to appear.
I made career in the IT-business, had a good job, a good salary, company car. All those hours of work and commute felt quite normal with so much wealth as reward. The strange thing was that somehow it didn’t feel wealthier as years before because our expenses had just grown with the salary. So, Jolanda stayed working. Part time, to have more time for the kids also.
But working so much and having so little time becomes a struggle at some point. It was a challenge to feel like man and wife, and live like a family instead of running our own little company. Communicating with Post-it notes on the fridge was very normal for us. I worked from 7am-6pm, and Jolanda worked evenings and nights. Perfect, we thought, this way we didn’t need too much daycare. But more and more the lack of satisfaction started to grow, and Jolanda even suffered from depression.
She learned that life was makeable instead of things just happen to you and you can’t do a thing about it.
How you think is the most important part of being happy. In her discovery process, Jolanda became more focused on possibilities to get the most out of life, and how we could get more out of our spare time and vacation days.
When both kids had left the house to start living their own lives, a big drive came over Jolanda to do things differently. Why on earth wait till retirement to enjoy life by travelling and discovering new surroundings? Sounds like a good idea… The problem was, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about the idea.
Over the years, I started working even more hours than I already did. The stress and frustration got worse and worse, and combined with my ‘robot-like-life’ that was a very unhealthy situation. I was so absorbed by my job that she couldn’t reach me. She saw I wasn’t well and happy, but I wouldn’t see it.
At some point my health crashed, and with that my career. Things came to a hold. All those years of working hard, never having time for good things in life, suddenly stopped.
We were 51 and 50. Now what? Hang in front of the TV? Without purpose to come out of bed every day? Please, no! But what could we do together to create a new income? That’s the point where the magic started to happen.
We got over the ‘now-what’ phase, and a great opportunity came by: re-skilling ourselves in online marketing and starting our own business.
I can almost hear you say “O wow, is that ‘The great opportunity?”. Well, yes and no, at least not immediately. The thing was, at first we didn’t see the opportunity right in front of us.
That came a little later…when we realized that we could learn how to do our work on a laptop whenever, wherever we want………We could earn a living at home. Or in Italy or Spain, two of the countries where we want to spend more time.This was the chance to turn a bad thing into an incredible new life. A life far bigger than we ever dared to dream of.
And now, about 18 months later, we’ve learned so much. About building an online business, how to use social media for your business, building websites, online marketing, and so much more. But most importantly, we learn about ourselves!
As a bonus, we get to meet a lot of inspiring and out-of-the-box people. Like us, they learned these skills because they also wanted a change in their lives. But each and everyone of them has different reasons to be here, their WHY.
It’s such an amazing place, this education platform SFM that we joined. Incredibly driven and visionary leaders, mentors, coaches. They teach you the skills to earn a living outside the 9to5. To live your life on your own terms. A much more authentic life. A life focused on what you want and what gives you fulfillment. Awesome, just awesome!
So, where are we now?
We’re taking big steps toward our Freedom Lifestyle. Or what we even love more, our Laptop Lifestyle. We’ve sold the house we’ve lived in for 27 years, and now we’re in a fantastic rental apartment. We have no maintenance to do, so we can go travelling when we want. We swapped the big Company-car for a small ‘Freedom-car’.
All pieces of the puzzle are falling into place for us in this new opportunity. Because I encountered some visual limitations, I can’t do my old job anymore. But working together in our business gives the opportunity that Jolanda can do work that is difficult for me in my condition.
We couldn’t imagine, with all the help in the world, where we would be right now, when a year ago got clear that my career had crashed. It was, is and will be a time of learning, working, but most of all by changing ourselves. Because different results need different actions and different mindsets. And in our case, online business was totally new, so to get successful in that needs big shifts. But we’re getting there.
We call our future:workation. From now on, we work from our new apartment, or from a nice cafe. And of course, from all the amazing places we will travel to. We would love to stay in a little town in Italy for example, and be a part of the community for at least a few months a year. Or renting a little apartment in Rome or Barcelona. We do our work and have plenty of time to enjoy life, the surroundings, and time to invest in all of our hobbies.
And of course, our newest and maybe biggest passion: helping others improve their lifestyle too. In any way, shape or form. We want to inspire people, who see no way out of their life, people who lost hope for a better life.We are so grateful for the opportunity we got. Sharing that with others, informing them, so they have a choice, gives us ultimate fulfilment.
Jolanda and Ruud
8401 NB Gorredijk
(+31) 6 5137 5798
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