The Cyber Hippy - An Attainable Lifestyle, Appealing to the Most Conventional People

Published on 25/01/2010 in Expat Life

Ten years ago, I would never have categorised myself as a hippy. From the outside I was far too conventional for that. Being brought up without a lot of money and in modest surroundings makes you strive for better and take every opportunity that comes your way. Although, I wasn’t particularly money hungry and not known for my dynamism to say the least, I would still have never dreamt of pursuing a  hippy lifestyle. The obvious and most attainable lifestyle seemed to be the 2point 4 children, new build in suburbia. Okay, it didn’t tick all the boxes but it seemed idyllic enough.

Working from homeHowever, there was always this niggling in the back of my mind possibly attributed  to having a single mother who enjoyed her hey day during the sixties, including the Isle of White Pop Festival and exposure to an aunt and cousins who spent most of their life on the run living in far off exotic places including Spain during the seventies, The Ivory Coast and the South of France. I longed for a bit of freedom. I wanted to be open to new working experiences that would allow for personal growth. Before redundancy, my jobs only allowed me a couple weeks of the year to do as I pleased. I was a slave to the system including the 9 to 5 lifestyle and found it difficult to relax being governed by the clock.

I resented getting up every morning at the same time, leaving my young children behind and wasting my attention and talents in the collapsing industry of automotive manufacturing in the UK. It took for me to be made redundant to seek an alternative lifestyle.

By this point I was desperate to do something for myself. As I was never going to be a hippy in the traditional sense it would not involve holistic medicine nor health food. Instead, the internet was offering me the chance to cultivate that hippy within. I was about to become part of a modern day hippy movement, the creation of the cyber hippy. This is not about how you dress, your economic status or even your social milieu.

It is all about creating your own reality without turning your back on materialism. You don’t need to eat bio yogurt although you might find that sitting in front of a PC all day makes you crave a healthier all round lifestyle. You don’t need to own a pair of sandals as when you work from home, it is often more comfortable to work barefoot. And you never, ever need to feel the slightest compulsion to hug a tree, although from time to time telegraph poles can look quite tempting as an act of gratitude to this wonderful lifestyle that they have facilitated.

If you haven’t guessed already, being a cyber or web hippy is about enjoying the freedom and flexibility that an online business allows you. An online business can range from selling things on Ebay or running a forum based site. Anybody can put together a simple information site and monetise it with advertising. These days programming skills are not necessary as so many packages are available that do all the hard work for you. You just have to add the content and make the site as informative and user friendly as possible. The beauty of it is that the topic can be whatever you want it to be. So you can actually make a living from your passion. At one point in the beginning when it seemed like it would never get going, I was tempted to find a job for the security.

Today, I can never imagine doing anything else and hopefully as the internet develops, I will evolve and adapt accordingly. Of course, you can never predict that it will always enable me to earn a living but even the biggest employers can no longer promise job security. Nevertheless, it suits me at this current stage in my life and means that I can live anywhere in the world providing I have an internet connection.

I speak to more and more people who are escaping the restrictions of a conventional 9 to 5 lifestyle through internet based ventures. Amongst them are mothers seeking flexible work from home during school hours, people looking to move abroad but needing an income and professionals from all kinds of backgrounds including engineers and even estate agents looking for a less cut throat way to earn a living.

For me it really is my dream come true to be able to work for myself, see the fruits of my labour albeit often working into the early hours of the morn but without sacrificing time with my children. I can pop out to the bank if I need to, choose the quietest time to go to the supermarket and if I feel unwell I can go to bed without anybody giving me any accusative looks. My input will determine the outcome so I work according to my desires.

If I feel content with my income, then I can continue at a steady pace but if I want to increase it, I just come up with new ideas and put more effort in. It really is that simplistic. Admittedly, I experience peaks and troughs in my motivation but I am free to go with the flow and give it the best I have when I feel at my best. I am glad that I made the decision to seek an alterative lifestyle as with two young children and a partner I could have taken the ‘safe’ path in life. The best thing I ever did was to take the risk and become a cyber hippy as I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What about you?  Have you tried to go down this route too?  Leave a comment below.

Written by: Justin Aldridge (EOS)

About the author:

Justin has been running Eye on Spain for over 5 years and recently with his partner Susan launched their popular moving to Spain video guide, Spain Uncut.

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Tony said:
15 February 2011 @ 19:20

sorry just realised that this thread is over a year old.

Tony said:
15 February 2011 @ 18:55

I have been working online now for over 5 years and I love every minute of it. During the last 5 years I have built up a decent network in the gambling niche which is reported to be one of the toughest niches to make money from as it is so competitive. The truth is though; if you know what you are doing it is not as difficult as many would make you believe.

Last year I started coaching one of the mods from one of my forums. He is only able to devote a few hours a week to his site due to his demanding lorry driving job, but his site is already generating over £1,500 a month. In a couple of months he plans to quit his job and become a full time affiliate.

The great think about starting an affiliate site is that start up and indeed running costs are extremely low. A domain is around $10, hosting can be as cheap as $5 per month, Wordpress is free plus of course there are many free or cheap Wordpress themes to give your site a professional look. You can launch a quality affiliate site for less than $50. Remember though content is king!

The failure rate amongst new online affiliates is extremely high which in my opinion is down to the fact that they want instant success. It takes time for new sites to earn trust with search engines plus you have to learn about SEO and how to build quality links to your sales pages. Search engines love big quality sites such as Eye on Spain so I would advise anybody starting out as an affiliate to plan to build a site of 1000 pages over the course of their first year. That is of course only 3 pages a day!

Perhaps the best thing about being an online affiliate is that your actually earn whilst you are sleeping. I still get a buzz every morning when I check my stats to find out how much I have earned overnight!

I now have the freedom to work anywhere in the world where there is an internet connection so I will be moving my family to Spain this September.

I’m happy to be called a web hippy!

jaine said:
11 February 2010 @ 14:02

Thanks Justin for your article, I have only just looked at it, funny isnt it how sometimes things are just meant to be. I am no longer in a position to go out to work due to taking on a new young family and living on top of a mountain like Ma Walton with her brood, so am looking to do something else, keep flitting from idea to idea, doing college courses on line etc, like we all do when bored, but keep coming back to the idea that there must be something for me to do on the internet. So after reading the article and all your replies I am going to spend the afternoon researching how to do this. The one thing that puts me off is how, what, where and would anyone really be interested in what i have to say. But I have some good ideas and an abundance of life experience some good, some bad, some not worth a mention but out of all this i know i have something to offer. Also being fairly new to the internet world I am so conscious of making a fool of myself it somewhat restricts me at times, know i should get over it but it is embarressing in this day and age. But throwing caution to the wind I am off to research (saying that any websites you could recommend to help me find out more would be much appreciated) Thanks again its just the push i needed. Jaine

Susan S. said:
03 February 2010 @ 13:43

sorry, didn't mean to send that comment twice. my computer has a mind of its own it would seem!

Susan S. said:
03 February 2010 @ 13:40

Justin, thanks for that bit of optimism. As it happens I already work via the internet as a freelance translator, but this type of business does not have the advantage of being able to put in a lot of hours at the beginning, as you did, with a payoff later in fewer daily working hours. I have long hours all the time because my income is based on my daily output, period! But you have helped motivate me to try to find ways to change my business concept, or get into a new business entirely, so I can continue to work as my own boss without being tied to a fixed location and improve my quality of living. And once my kids are through school (they're 14 and 17, not an age where I would feel comfortable making them leave all their friends etc.) I will be leaving Germany and joining you down there in Andalucía. :-) Again thanks for your interesting and motivating articles!

Susan S. said:
03 February 2010 @ 10:44

Justin, thanks for that bit of optimism. As it happens I already work via the internet as a freelance translator, but this type of business does not have the advantage of being able to put in a lot of hours at the beginning, as you did, with a payoff later in fewer daily working hours. I have long hours all the time because my income is based on my daily output, period! But you have helped motivate me to try to find ways to change my business concept, or get into a new business entirely, so I can continue to work as my own boss without being tied to a fixed location and improve my quality of living. And once my kids are through school (they're 14 and 17, not an age where I would feel comfortable making them leave all their friends etc.) I will be leaving Germany and joining you down there in Andalucía. :-) Again thanks for your interesting and motivating articles!

Dave said:
02 February 2010 @ 09:14

(To John)
Hi there John if you show someone examples of your work and they are happy to employ you to design a site etc but will not 'pay as you build' dont do it. Also keep what you build on your own hosting and dont transfer to them unless paid. Seems to me that you are in a great position to start a website on how to avoid being scammed.
Regards and good luck,

Janeth said:
31 January 2010 @ 13:00

I would love to do something similar to what you are doing. Me and my husband live 80 km south of Barcelona, have done so for 18 months now. I was lucky enough to get a job as an English teacher, but I am finding it somewhat hard with the kids. I love writing, so I want to find a way of working with that. Any tips for me?

Diana said:
27 January 2010 @ 12:57

What a wonderful way to earn a living I'd love to do the same but wouldn't know where to start. My passion is card making and there are so many websites out there I don't think there's room for another.Hope you go on to enjoy your life
Regards Diana

Adrian said:
27 January 2010 @ 12:43

I am in the same camp as John g. Internet trading is not the be all & end all of success.
I run a PR & marketing company & a management consultancy relying on the internet amongst other routes to market.
Quite simply it doesn't work becuase most people think that they are good at doing everything themselves - PR, marketing, business development etc. etc. and even though in general they are not, they still seem to be successful. Even offering to work for free doesn't work because people think that there much be a catch! Ah well I an always go back to the UK and live off the state!

Gary Ingram said:
27 January 2010 @ 09:55

I think your spot on Justin, As you know I was also cyper hippy but things have got sooo busy with one business that it's starting to feel like work again.

Knowing you the way I do the one thing I would add though is that you have that certain "spark" that it is needed to make the business leap from an idea/hobby to making money.

The old can lead a horse to water springs to the sense that you are telling people what can be achieved and it can be....but as with any new venture or business the rest is down to them.

And Peter yes the internet is fulll of get rich quick schemes but with any business venture (online or offline) reputation and brand are still king and that takes time, investment and effort way beyond that of any "get rich quick schemes" to obtain a real business with a real income.

I think anyone who starts an online business thinking it's going to be easy is naive...but I would say the same to anyone starting any business.

The best advice is to treat any online venture in the same way you would any venture: caution, market research, resources and time is a good starting point.


Maria said:
27 January 2010 @ 09:52

Awesome descriptive article Justin! You are also a writer!

Peter said:
27 January 2010 @ 09:19

Hi Justin,
Glad to hear everything is working out so well for you, but I must admit that all the business schemes that I've seen so far on the internet seem to be scams designed to make money for the seller of the idea rather than the product.
Just a thought..........................

Justin said:
26 January 2010 @ 22:49

John, many people move to Spain and set up a business here. Everyone knows that start ups have a very high chance of failure. Internet businesses are no different. But it doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a go. If that were the case then no one would ever start a new business.

There's no point in being negative if you want to achieve something in life, you have to be optimistic, even if eventually you fail.


john g said:
26 January 2010 @ 22:16

Justin, I take your point, too. Long may the world be full of optimists. But look at Mel & Ted Butter and Jean ... and all their wonderful hopefulness. I truly, truly hope it all comes true for them. But you had drawn such a beguiiling, carefree picture in your intro article. If someone is "planning a real life", it may be no help to them in the long term just to broadcast "it'll all be fabulous". Sometimes it DOES take a bit of rocket science ... and it can be helpful and friendly to say this. Just because it has worked for one guy who is exultant enough to write merrily about it, doesn't mean it's going to work for all guys. And I think this does need to be said alongside all the sunshine visions ... 'sunshine' can sometimes dazzle.

Enough. I shan't chip in again.

Daisy said:
26 January 2010 @ 21:34

Cyber Hippy - I love it! So that's what I am...

Justin said:
26 January 2010 @ 20:14

John, I take your point but there are many ways to make money online and for many of them you don't need to sell anything and for some you don't even need a website! It's like any business, you have to work at it but anyone literally can do it, it's not rocket science.

john g said:
26 January 2010 @ 20:10

Sorry to be a bit gloomy when there's so much enthusiasm around, but as with almost anything one attempts in life there is very much a potential down-side to 'internet trading' ... especially in the present economic climate and especially in Spain!

I have run a successful business development consultancy since 1989 and "brought it out to Spain" in 2002, sort-of for semi-retirement.

It has been successful enough but, as an example ...

My sister-in-law (sil) found loves-dream-come-wonderfully-true on an internet dating site ... this rich, rich guy who loved exactly what sil loved and who was looking for a girl exactly like her ... who in the end turned out to be nothing more than a very weasely old man from the Midlands who just liked pretending and 'chatting-up young females'.

The same thing can happen on the internet with "business", too. And I know of no real way of telling in advance who will pay their bills for work honestly done ... and who will renege.

My consultancy is owed (beyond any prospect of ever getting paid) 200 euros from a Pole trying to market his skills as a website developer in Glasgow; 4,000 euros from a "publisher" for producing a magazine for him (he just absconded to Germany one Sunday dawn owing many thousands of euros to many people); 250 euros from an Irishman in Ireland for preliminary work on a reservation service for Irish hotels; 22,000 euros from a dodgy Brit for a variety of services to be paid for "when he succeeded in selling his house in Morocco" (it did exist) ... but in the end he insisted the lawyer who had acted for him had gobbled up everything except for 2,000 euros. And there have been others.

All-in-all something like 30,000 euros worth of work done and only 2,000 euros paid. And it's little good asking for (say) 50 percent up-front: "I'm sorry I won't be able to pay you anything until the project is launched ... but you really, really, really can rely on me. Cub's honour! Promise!" And if you say "Sorry, 50 percent or I can't help you" you find he's gone ... you're talking to yourself.

If he's hundreds or thousands of miles away on the end of an internet wire it's very hard to choose the good guy from the sharks.

Jean said:
26 January 2010 @ 19:37

What a great article and perfect timing. I have started up my own website in order to generate income for my life in Spain. Still currently living in my home currently but everyday I get closer to my goal.
Although, you have to share a passion for what you do, I am a journalist by trade so my chosen field of being a "cyber hippy" (can I use that hehe) suits me perfectly. My site Livetric is based on lifestyle choices, and what better way to experience it from somebody that is in search for it themselves.

Just when things started getting tougher, I recieved this mail. Thanks for the extra motivation Justin.

Mel & Ted Butter said:
26 January 2010 @ 19:13

Hi Justin,

I worked for a company for 13 yrs then gradually got weaned off working for someone and started my own business in 1986. I have never looked back, and now I have started promoting my business on the internet only. I've stopped advertising the conventional way completely, e.g.those certain colour pages. I thought up and registered a website address years ago, but never started using it until end of last year. this is when I realised I could use the site builder package that came with it. So now I'm convinced this is the way forward, and am keen to become a cyber hippy. We have a place in spain that I hope to retire too asap.

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