Interview with Location Independent Entrepreneur, Michael Bodekaer

Michael Bodekaer of Project Getaway
A key success factor, both personally and in business, is the ability to connect with like minded people.  It is great to virtually interact with and support our peers but nothing compares to real world meet ups. To bring lifestyle design focused entrepreneurs together,  Michael Bodekaer has created Project Getaway, a tropical paradise retreat in Bali, Indonesia. He talks about his lifestyle and businesses in this interview.

Please tell us a little about your background?

I’m a tech-geek, adrenaline junkie and entrepreneur who got tired of 9-5 day-jobs and decided to be my own boss. I love kite-surfing, wakeboarding and world travel, and have managed to start/run a few online businesses that allow me to live life how it is supposed to be lived 🙂

While traveling around the world I often missed the community feel and creativity that comes from working with fun, inspirational and like-minded people, but what I didn’t miss were the timesheets, managers and meetings.

So instead of going back into an office, I decided to try to bring inspirational people out of offices and into exotic environments by starting Project Getaway.

How long have you been living in Indonesia?

I’ve been living in beautiful Bali, Indonesia, since September 2010 – that’s 9 months so far, and I’m still loving it.

Why did you choose Indonesia?

I did a bunch of research online, looking for a place that had most of the things I love, and the least of those I didn’t. I narrowed my options down to Thailand, Indonesia (specifically, Bali) and the Philippines, then asked well-travelled friends for the pros and cons of each place. Bali always turned up as the destination with the most friendly locals, a great natural environment with superb diving, surfing, shopping and nightlife (what more could I ask for?) – so that’s where I pointed my compass and didn’t look back.

How do you manage your visas?

As a Danish citizen, I can get a 2-month, multi-entry visa to Indonesia via the local embassy, which is great to start with. I’m a pretty sociable guy, so I then got to know enough locals to earn myself a 6-month social visa, which allows me to stay here for 6 months at a stretch visiting my new local friends.

What is Project Getaway?

Project Getaway is a one-of-its-kind gathering that brings creative entrepreneurs together in a luxurious location to live, work, network and play for several weeks. It’s the ultimate get-together for adventurous, independent “lifestyle design” entrepreneurs/freelancers who are self-motivated, driven and savvy enough to live their dream responsibly NOW rather than wait until they’ve accumulated enough vacation leave or until they grow old and retire from a desk job.

It’s an immersive gathering of like-minded folk who yearn to live life on their own terms, to love what they do every day and to bring their unique business ideas to life through fruitful partnerships, efficient work habits (work smarter, not harder!) and a positive, fun attitude. In short, Project Getaway is more than just an event – it’s a way of life.

How many location independent entrepreneurs participated in the first session?

We were a total of 18 people flying in from all over the world. Most of us didn’t know each other at first (or only vaguely via emails and networking events), but when the event ended, we’d developed very close friendships – and a host of viable new businesses, too!

How many are expected for September 2011?

We’ll have between 15-30 people at the September 2011 Project Getaway event in Bali – not too big, not too small, but just…. right. We are still taking applications (haven’t picked the final participants yet) – check out more details here.

What types of workshops and learning experiences are offered?

We’re still fine-tuning this year’s offerings, which will include master-sessions such as:

  • Online Marketing
  • Product development in China
  • Business development/evaluation
  • Individual feedback sessions
  • Outsourcing your life – and business
  • and plenty more!

How do you earn an income?

This is the million-dollar question that’s at the top of most people’s mind I guess 🙂

In my case, I run 5 different companies at the moment, most of which I primarily manage a specific area of, where I have a lot of expertise.

Two of those are software companies that generate revenues at the moment (they’re confidential, so I can’t mention their names yet) and the other 3 companies I’m currently investing time and money into, in the hopes they’ll also start generating revenues in the near future.

Basically my work consists of getting good ideas for Windows software applications or online services, then finding, hiring and building a great design & development team to realize those ideas, and then marketing the software online. For example, I’ve recently set up a 5-person team in Bali which is focused on developing, improving and building two new software applications.

I’ve also sold two of my companies in the past (a software company called Smartlaunch, and an online apartment rental service in Europe). Even though I earned a fair amount from selling those companies, I haven’t yet had to spend any of that money to fund my current lifestyle. But that money certainly gave me the confidence go out in the world and experiment with different work/life styles. It was important for me to know that even if things didn’t work out, I had those earnings as my “safety net”.

What businesses are you working on now?

  • 3 software companies
  • 1 mobile conference application: (beta)
  • 1 online villa rental service: (beta)
  • 1 non-profit for lifestyle entrepreneurs:

Tell us about your travel frequency?

It takes a little while to settle into a new place, so for optimal productivity, I tend to stay at least 1-2 months in a single place. Besides that, I now have businesses in Asia and Europe, so I travel back and forth a few times a year enjoying the best of both: summers in Europe, winters in Bali. It’s pretty sweet 🙂

Through organizing Project Getaway gatherings, I hope to have more events around the world soon, which would mean more exciting travels for me.

We are actually looking for people who want to help us organize events, so if any of your readers are interested, please drop me an email.

Do you have any advice for aspiring location independent entrepreneurs?

  1. Set a TMI (Target Monthly Income): US$ 1000/month is a good start, and should be sufficient for most low-cost travels e.g. in South-East Asia.
  2. Find a way to become a location-independent consultant in your field of expertise (for example, we had a lawyer at the last Project Getaway event who started his own 1-person law firm, and could then easily move to Bali for a month at a time and deal with clients via Skype and email).
  3. Search online to find your ideal place to live for a while (look in online forums, Google searches, etc. for recommendations); talk to friends and acquaintances as well. Try to find a place where you can network and meet with other like-minded people (Bali is becoming a great place for this, while the Philippines still has mostly backpackers and fewer lifestyle entrepreneurs).
  4. Contact other people who already live in the location, or have lived there, and ask them for a short interview.
  5. Take the plunge!

Bonus tip: Listen to podcasts like Dan Andrew’s LifestyleBusinessPodcast for loads more tips and inspiration. Have faith in your dream – and then go live it!

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My name is John Bardos. My wife and I gave up our business, house and possessions in Japan to search for more meaning and fulfillment in our lives. We've discovered that a satisfying life is about rich experiences, quality relationships and meaningful contribution, NOT consumption.

8 Responses to Interview with Location Independent Entrepreneur, Michael Bodekaer

  1. Jannell says:

    Thank you for the interview, Michael – you are an inspiration. I will definitely keep an eye on Project Getaway and may be interested in helping you organize more events. I’ll send a separate email for more info. Thanks, again, John for bringing us the cool people 🙂

    • John says:

      Thanks Jannell! It is great to have your support. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you out.

      Project Getaway is a brilliant idea! I am trying to connect with entrepreneurs around the world as I travel but bringing many people together in one place for a month would build much stronger connections.

  2. Jannell says:

    I totally agree!! I can imagine how fun that ‘think tank’ would be. Group of great people, motivated in their various ventures, networking, enjoying paradise . . . .
    Oh, I will definitely reach out before I leave on my trip in January, find out where you and your wife are hiding (then come stalk you).

  3. Dan says:

    I really had a great time meeting Michael in Bali– many people come across much bigger in the blogosphere than they do in person.. Micahael is the opposite… he’s a super sharp guy who’s focused on growing remarkable businesses and having a little fun in the process. Totally recommend his entrepreneurial meetup to anyone.

    • John says:

      Thanks Dan.

      I love your TropicalMBA as well. I’d imagine that you and Michael would have a lot of synergies. It is great that you connected.

  4. Great post, as usual. yet Michael is not the average blogger. He runs enterprises from his laptop, does not have a family to support (yet) and and seems to be highly qualification… his life style is inspiring, but may not be for everyone.

    • John says:

      I definitely agree that a location independent lifestyle is not for everyone. Michael seems to be traveling slow, which is how my wife and I prefer. I think he has found a good sustainable balance.

  5. Nice. I’ll be back in Bali later this year after some study in Java. Sounds like a great concept.

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