Adam Baker is a husband, father, blogger, and traveler. In 2008, after the birth of his daughter, Baker and his wife Courtney made a decision to sell everything they own, pay off their consumer debt, and spend a year traveling abroad with their new daughter. They provide a transparent view of their finances, possessions and journey in hopes that it will empower and inspire others who find themselves on similar paths.
What are you working on right now?
I’m primarily working on growing the thriving community over at Man Vs. Debt. I’m also the co-founder of Only72.com — which packages bundles of digital products together for short-term 90% off sales. Lastly, I consult entrepreneurs, small businesses and corporate social media on how to leverage social platforms to build momentum for their projects.
3 trends that excite you?
The insanely low cost of starting and spreading a great idea.
The digital publishing revolution.
The indexing of video for search engines.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Depends on the idea. The basics are:
Explore the why.
Create a hook. What’s the “Twitter pitch.” The big idea in 140 characters or less.
Find the networks and channels that can provide the most momentum in the least amount of time.
Give a crap about your customers/readers/adopters/followers/users.
For Man Vs. Debt, this was a long process for me, but each time I do it — I become faster. 🙂
What inspires you?
Other like-minded people. Other entrepreneurs who are passionate about something — anything — as it’s infectious to be around.
In fact, I’ll broaden that to include most forms of passionate creativity. When you can feel the passion in a creative work (movie, music, book, business) — *that* inspires me.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
I created a community first and when I went to monetize it — I got scared. The problem wasn’t the fact that a free community came first — it was the fact that I wasn’t confident enough in myself to understand my ideas, services, and thoughts were valuable to people.
So, my biggest mistake was not realizing how valuable I was. The longer I play this game, the more I learn what my strengths (and weaknesses) really are — and the more confident I become in how I can pass value through to others.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Every month I share a breakdown of my income and expenses in my business. Most intimately, this shows to any readers (who are interested) the ins and outs of creating and offering digital products for sale. I’ve shared big successes I’ve had with product launches and income generation – as well as large flops I’ve had and what mistakes I made.
I’ve found that the best way to give advice to someone is simply to open up about what *you* do.
What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?
Well, if I had to pick one “book” — I’d pick “The Art of Non-Conformity” by Chris Guillebeau. It’s a book now, but even more important than the book — to my particular growth — was Chris’ website, free eBooks, and digital products. No single source or person has affected me even close to what Chris’ work has — it’s literally changed my life.
In terms of a “tool,” I’d have to go with WordPress first. WordPress makes most of what I do insanely easy when it comes to online publishing. A close second may be Skype — which I use to stay in contact with family while traveling, meet with business partners across the world, and consult clients and businesses from anywhere with an internet connection.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Ramit Sethi, Danielle LaPorte, Laura Roeder, Gretchen Rubin, Glen Stansberry, Jonathan Fields, Pam Slim, Charlie Gilkey, Johnny B. Truant, Everett Bogue, Corbett Barr, Karol Gajda, Naomi Dunford, Dave Navarro, and Glen Allsop … to name a few.
What inspired you to sell your belongings and hit the road?
The single moment was the birth of our daughter, Milligan. Up until that point, we had essentially lived life adrift a standard, fixed life path that we were pushed towards. We were both working towards traditional careers, with traditional goals, and a traditional pattern of bad financial habits.
When we brought Milligan home we finally had the clarity to look at our life and ask ourselves it if lined up with our values. We found it didn’t — and in that moment we decided that we needed to change … fast.
It took us a year to pay down our debt, sell our crap, and learn enough as first time parents to feel confident to start traveling, but when the time came — we were ready.
How do you recommend people go about gaining independence from their belongings and debts?
The first step is realizing that the far majority of our belongings and our finances (especially debt) is a burden. It’s a barrier to freedom.
We’ve been sold so long and so hard on debt as a financial tool. We’ve been sold that debt enables us MORE freedom — that a savvy financial person will leverage as much as possible. It’s simply not true — and it blows up in the face of so many people.
It turns out that the less we had in our lives, the more secure we felt. It was opposite of what everyone preaches.
So I would preach that the first step is simply awareness. Awareness that we really need very little and that any resources we allocated to possessions and debt above what we need is a resource that could have gone to building more freedom in our lives.