Back Burner vs. Front Burner Issues

Is your idea a back burner or front burner issue? (Photo Credit: marioanima)

Getting married to one single idea is a sure fire way to never make any money online. My previous successful business was not even my favorite idea.

My first and favorite business idea seemed great on the surface – I wanted to teach college graduates how to set up an easy system to invest for retirement. I was convinced that this idea was going to be a big success and I assumed that college students would just be dying to learn my simple long-term investing system that could make them very wealthy in a couple decades.

When I actually started talking to students I realized they just didn’t care. They knew that they should be investing for retirement but they just kicked the can down the road and put it on the to-do someday list (aka never). There was no sense of urgency because it was a back burner issue.

On the other hand, Front burner issues are ones that must be dealt with right now. The customer is actively looking for a solution to their time-sensitive problem such as losing weight before a wedding.

My previous business of selling a guide for a college business exam solved a front-burner issue. The student would be panicking because their exam is due the next day and they have no idea what to do. Of course the student would turn to Google to search for help online. Then the student would have found my site which offered an easy to follow guide to get an “A” grade on the exam in half the time.

Be the Oasis in the Desert. (Photo Credit: Bluelemur)

The student feels like they just stumbled onto an oasis in the middle of the Sahara Desert. That is why front burner issues are so much more powerful – the sense of urgency is working in your favor instead of against you.

Convincing people to change their behavior is really hard. Giving them something they already want makes your life a million times easier.

You need to find a target market (preferably one you belong to or know a lot about) and create a product that is a solution to one problem that people in that market have.

Once you get that first small win, then you can build on that success into bigger and better things.

Why Do I Do This?

Double Six Beach in Bali

A common question I get asked is – “Why do I do this?


Why do I jet around the world trying to figure out how to live and work from anywhere?

Why throw away the life of comfort and stability offered by the well-worn path of what I “should do”?


To that I respond: What other choice do I have?


Should I instead:

  • Work 30 years at the same 9-5 job so that one day I can “retire”?
  • Save money for retirement only to have it destroyed by greedy bankers?
  • Do nothing to protect my wealth while the government devalues the dollar by printing money?
  • Live in one place my whole life and never explore the world?
  • Do the exact same stuff I did last year?
  • Never challenge myself?
  • Be average?


Why would I trade my freedom for this type of “security”?

Most people follow the “rules” all their lives, but those “rules” set by society are there to benefit a few select people at your expense.


If you aren’t trying to live your own dreams, someone else is trying to make you live theirs.


Fast forward to the end of your life… you are laying on your death bed.

  • How do you feel about your life?
  • Who is there with you?
  • What have they learned from you?
  • How is the world a better place because you existed?


“.. almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs Stanford 2005 Commencement (amazing speech)


The sad truth is that most people waste the gift of life and take their dreams to the grave with them.

Don’t be one of those people.

You can either give up to social pressure and your own fears or you can live life on your terms.


So what choice do you have besides living your dreams… not live them?


My First Week in Bali Impressions

Welcome to Paradise: Double Six Beach in Bali
Taken with Pro HDR app for iPhone

After nearly 30 hours of traveling, a misunderstanding at immigration almost causing an international incident, and getting totally lost on the streets of Bali, I finally arrived.

Before I knew it, I was on the back of Dan’s motorbike speeding across crowded Bali streets to a restaurant in Seminyak where we ate delicious Balinese food. Then we relaxed at a beach bar on Double Six beach. We looked out at the ocean waves and had great conversation while sipping on some drinks. Tropical MBA semester 3 was under way.

The Location Independent Crew in Bali

I’ve already had the opportunity to meet some really awesome people here in Bali.

  • Dan Andrews – The big boss man. He runs the Tropical MBA and Lifestyle Business Podcast and isn’t afraid to party.
  • David Hehenberger – The TMBA semester 2 intern from Austria who spent 6 months in the Philippines and 6 months traveling around Asia.
  • Lewis Quarterly – The TMBA semester 4 intern from London who will be helping me pimp out SEO for Dan’s business.
  • David McKeegan – Owns Greenback Tax Services for American expats. He’s really knowledgeable and was living in Brazil before heading to Bali with his family.
  • Tommy Schultz – An avid surfer and expert photographer. His photos of Bali are just stunning. He took us out to the surfer beach in Jimbaran and the current was so strong I almost got sucked out into the ocean.

There aren’t many location independent types here in Bali yet, but from what I’ve seen Bali seems like the complete package:

  • low cost of living
  • gorgeous surroundings
  • nice beaches
  • cute girls
  • great nightlife
  • delicious food
  • lots of adventure

The Environment of Bali

Bali is hot and beautiful. The architecture and the beaches are gorgeous. The food is delicious.










The traffic can get pretty crazy with motorbikes driving on the sides of the road and everyone cutting each other off. Having a motorbike is a necessity to get around.

The Indonesian people seem friendly and helpful but not overbearing. Whereas in the Philippines you are treated like a celebrity simply for being an American.

English is pretty widely spoken and Indonesian girls have the cutest accents. Learning a little Indonesian goes a long way.

Living in Bali

Bali really has a little something for everyone. You can enjoy delicious food on the cheap at a local market or sip expensive drinks at a baller beachside bar like Potato Head.










Indonesian food is great but there are also lots of other ethnic options as well – Thai, Chinese, etc. There is even great Western food here too – I ate amazing Italian a few nights back.

How much you spend in Bali really depends on what your lifestyle is – I would say a good average is $1500 per month if you get a nice apartment, eat out for most meals, and go out for drinks 3-4 nights a week. The range varies from $1000 per month on the low end to $2000 a month for baller status.

The nightlife options here are just staggering – going to the huge mega club Skygarden is quite an experience. There are parties on the beach, low-key bars, and plenty of dance clubs. Pretty much the whole spectrum.

Time to Adjust

The first few days in Bali were a bit overwhelming, but now a week after arrival I finally feel like I am starting to “get it”, I am not totally lost everywhere. I started learning how to ride a motorbike. I started learning Indonesian. I found my favorite place to eat great food cheap. I partied on the beach. I met interesting people. I had crazy adventures.

If this first week was any indication… the next 6 months are going to be a blast.


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