by Niall Doherty

As you may already know, my grand plan is this:

  • Leave my 9-to-5 job at the end of November.
  • Return to Ireland and set up my own business.
  • Build the business to the point where I’m delivering more value and earning more money than I am now, while working a maximum of 20 hours per week.
  • Move to Spain by May 1, 2011.

I have already begun setting myself up for success. One of the ways I’m doing that is by moving decisively towards a minimalist lifestyle.

What is minimalism?

Minimalism is me selling my TV, canceling my Netflix and giving away all my furniture. Minimalism is me realizing that I don’t have to pay $800 a month for rent (I recently moved apartment and saved myself $65 a week). Minimalism is donating all those clothes I never wear and all those books I never reread.

Minimalism is getting rid of all the crap and clutter so I can be free.

I counted up all my possessions at the start of May and found I had 330. As of this writing, that number has been reduced to 193. I’m aiming to own less than 100 things by the time I leave New Orleans.

Why minimalism?

I believe a minimalist lifestyle will help me succeed in my grand plan for several reasons:

Minimalism cuts out distractions

Less clutter helps me focus, helps me keep the main thing the main thing. Since I began the elimination process, I’ve found it much easier to find the focus and time needed to do my writing, planning and studying.

Minimalism saves money

I’m amazed at how much I can now save per week while earning the exact same income that I have been for years. All along, I was spending huge chunks of money on things I didn’t really need. I’ll go into detail about my financial situation and aspirations in a future post.

Minimalism gives me freedom to move

My new apartment is a temporary sublet, but having to move again next month won’t be a problem. I imagine it will take about two hours, total, to pack, load, transport, unload and unpack everything I own. At the end of November, when I move my entire life back to Ireland, I don’t expect I’ll have to check a bag at the airport.

Minimalism detaches me from material goods

Most people fear a big dip in income because it would force them to drastically change their lifestyle and give up all their toys. But what if you choose to embrace a minimalist lifestyle regardless of your income? You’d realize that you really don’t need to live that superficial lifestyle to be happy; in fact, that lifestyle was one of the main hindrances to your happiness in the first place. Having embraced minimalism, I’m well prepared for the temporary dip my income will take when I quit my day job and start my own business.

Minimalism works

I’ve been following people like Everret Bogue, Colin Wright, Leo Babuta, Karol Gajda, Tammy Strobel and Raam Dev; just a handful of online entrepreneurs who have adopted a minimalist lifestyle to achieve success. They’re living proof that minimalism works.

Helping the movement, the homeless, and myself

Everett Bogue’s fantastic e-book is what got me seriously considering minimalism in the first place, so I’ve decided to help spread his message. I’ve signed up to be an affiliate, meaning I get a 50% cut of sales generated through this here blog. The arrangement should give me an idea of what my current earning power is like, so I won’t be starting out clueless when I quit my job in November.

the-art-of-being-minimalistUnfortunately, since I’m currently a non-immigrant worker in the United States, it’s illegal for me to earn any extra money beyond that which I’m paid by my sponsor/employer. This law is in place to ensure I don’t take more work away from Americans by doing side jobs. Damn Government’s holding me down, man.

So since I can’t get paid, I’ve arranged to have my affiliate earnings deposited directly to the PayPal account of a non-profit, namely The Desmond Project, an organization that provides hearty meals to the homeless in New Orleans every Saturday. I’ve volunteered with them several times in the past year and can testify that they’re great people doing great work.

So if you’re interested in learning more about minimalism, feeding some homeless folks, and helping me figure out how much money I can earn through this website, click here and continue on to buy the e-book. The cost is just $17, though you’ll probably end up saving a lot more than that if the message impacts you the way it did me.

But wait

Everett encourages everyone who buys his e-book to make five copies and pass them along to friends, free of charge. So before you go spending your hard-earned cash, leave a thoughtful comment below and you could win one of the five copies I have to share.