About James Roche
My search for a freedom-based lifestyle
I couldn’t believe it.
I was experiencing my perfect average day…
I was bicycling with the love of my life, my wife Melanie, through dappled light in a forest just south of Amsterdam. We stopped at a goat-petting farm and had the best ice cream in the world. Later that night we went to a concert with friends. Afterwards we hung out in an old 17th century café drinking fizzy apple juice having a deep conversation.
The amazing part…I have lots of days like this all the time now.
But the ability to have this lifestyle didn’t happen overnight. It took me 10 years to consciously design my business to give me the life I always wanted…
I always wanted a freedom-based lifestyle…Since living in England for part of my high school years I always knew I wanted to live somewhere in Europe full-time.
I had a taste of freedom in my 20’s. I traveled throughout India studying meditation, through Europe going to classical concerts, and in the US couch surfing with friends.
It was great except for one thing…I was broke! On my 30th birthday as I blew out the candles of my birthday cake I had a strong feeling, “I’m tired of being broke! I want to be completely financially secure. I want to be an entrepreneur.”
The next year in 2001 I created a vision board.
It had images of couples biking through Europe, sitting in cafés, and enjoying culture. But I was really embarrassed to show it to anyone. In fact, I hung my vision board on the backside of my bedroom door because I didn’t want my housemates to see.
Don’t get me wrong, they are great people and we all got along extremely well. Their names are John and Dee, or as I like to call them by their nicknames… mom and dad.
So yeah – I was one of those “losers” of my generation that moved back home in my 30s to figure out what the hell I wanted to do with my life.
Here’s what I did know:
- I wasn’t going to get freedom working for a company. I want to wake up when I want to.
- I didn’t want to work-work-work and then someday finally retire. Instead, I wanted to spread out my retirement today and mix it in with my work life.
- I didn’t want to build an empire. I suck at details and hate managing people and things. This had to be easy.
I had a general idea what I wanted, but I wondered, “How do I do it? How do I create a freedom-based lifestyle?”
It was obvious.
The only way for me to earn multiple 6-figures while traveling the world and not dealing with corporate prison was to become an entrepreneur.
I had lots of skills and tried to get about half a dozen business ideas off the ground: photographing headshots, organizing homes, life coaching, candle making (yeah – seriously).
Then one day I showed up at my regular monthly networking event…but this time my life changed.
Because in my hands I held an information product I had made for a friend. It was a workbook, 8 audio CDs, and a training binder.
To my amazement people swarmed around me. “You made that!? It’s beautiful. Can you help me make an information product, too?” “This is great, James. I want one. Can I hire you?”
I got my first client that week. By the end of 3 weeks I had 5 clients each paying me $800 to create their information products for them.
Business grew. I never had to do marketing. All my clients came from referrals and from me speaking.
After 2 years, I was able to move out from my parents’ house to my own charming apartment in Fort Lauderdale, Florida–just 10 minutes from the beach.
But I still wasn’t quite free.
I only made money when I was on the phone with clients. My income was still bound to my time. If I stopped working, my cash flow ran dry.
I thought, “I guess I need to do a group program. That’s what everyone else is doing.”
I led my first virtual group program and it was very successful. But I wasn’t really sure this was my ticket to freedom.
I worked hard to find a solution to this problem.
I went to dozens of big marketing events and learned from the best. I joined expensive yearlong masterminds.
I got swept away by the gurus’ hypnotic message of easy money. But I always felt something was off with all these authorities.
They all were promising great riches if you do what they did. Just rubber-stamp their system or tactic and you’d get rich.
But after a year of doing okay, but not getting massively rich and after seeing people around me also still not hitting it big, I had big doubts about these big claims.
I tried the whole “Internet marketing” thing and it just felt icky. Something was really slimy about the whole thing.
Then it hit me all at once…
I was sitting at yet another big marketing seminar filled with people rushing to the back of the room to buy the latest and greatest program they hoped was going to save them.
I saw the elephant in the room…
My Big Aha
The reason why my income was still tied to one-on-one client work was because I didn’t have a strategy.
The reason why I felt icky listening to all those gurus on stage was because they all sold tactics, not strategies. They sold THEIR business model but they never took into consideration if that was the right business model for the people they were selling to.
The problem isn’t with the gurus or their programs by themselves.
The problem is trying to rubber-stamp their business model into my business thinking I’ll get the same results.
But I’m different than they are.
My market is different.
My offers are different.
The people that they sell to have a certain worldview and set of values.
The people I work with have completely different worldviews and values. So whenever I tried to blindly copy what they did, I felt icky and it never worked.
The problem is blindly and randomly trying to do what you see others doing and thinking you’ll get the same results.
You won’t… unless your business conditions and models are similar to theirs.
In other words, I realized we all need to think strategically and not just tactically.
My Rapid Growth
Once I started to think strategically and not tactically, things really took off for me…
I formed a strategic partnership with the amazing Ali Brown, who is a leader in helping female entrepreneurs.
We had an amazing 6-year partnership where I co-created and ran her yearlong business-training program.
And my strategic thinking paid off…
Every week I saw Ali having to deal with lots of staff issues, customer service problems, and all sorts of complicated management issues.
All these things took a lot of expenses, too.
She wasn’t free. I didn’t envy her at all.
But I was free. I did what I love doing, coaching and training, without having to deal with the headaches.
It was a business model that worked for me – strategic partnerships.
And I saw many of my friends and colleagues in a similar boat. Their companies were making millions of dollars, but the amount of expenses to make those millions meant the owners didn’t have a high net profit.
I was more convinced than ever that strategic thinking was the key to getting a freedom-based lifestyle.
So I tested it again. This time with a different, but still highly strategic business model…
I created my own group mentoring programs with only about 10 people. I charged a high-ticket and worked with them for 10 weeks very closely.
My clients loved it because I was involved with them. It wasn’t just a monthly Q&A call and some brief contact with me. No – I rolled up my sleeves and got into it with each of them. And they all bonded with each other and got excellent results.
Once I built the sales funnel to sell this program I simply repeated it 4 times a year.
I was working between 20 to 30 hours a week and only had two very part-time virtual assistants helping me out. The cost was low, but the income and reward was high.
Achieving a Freedom-Based Lifestyle
Because I designed my business (and my wife Melanie’s business) to be virtual, for four years we were able to spend every summer traveling throughout Europe while still running our businesses.
It’s All About the Business Model
Over the past few years I’ve studied dozens of business models.
It’s clear to me now…
The way to achieve a freedom-based lifestyle is to consciously design a business model that gives you the life you want.
There are a handful of business models that work especially well for the entrepreneur or thought leader who wants to make a greater impact with higher income, while enjoying more freedom in their personal life.
I’m passionate about helping my clients design the right, strategic business model that gives them the lifestyle they want.