What does financial freedom mean to you? In this case, I’m defining financial freedom as having enough passive income to cover your regular monthly expenses. If you don’t work, you still have enough income to cover your bills without having to sell assets.

So what does financial freedom mean to you? A luxury or sports car? A big house? Big vacations? Private plane? In the beginning, financial freedom often means cool luxuries of life. It might mean having money to fund a passion of yours – the restaurant you always wanted or a winery. Or it could mean being able to give and donate time to your favorite causes.

What financial freedom means is life on your terms. You get to choose. I hit financial freedom for the first time in 1997, lost it in the big real estate crash in 2008 and got it back August 22, 2010. Yet, I still go to work most days. (Of course work might mean visiting our offices in Reno, NV or in Baja or, most times, staying home working from my computer.) I do work I love, so it doesn’t really feel like work.

If you’ve made that transition from working for someone else to building your own business, chances are there are plenty of things that you had to change about your mindset along the way. You had to learn to think as a business owner, not an employee. You had to learn how to work on your business instead of if your business. You had to learn how to decipher the story of your business from its financial statements.

And now, once you hit financial freedom, you have to learn how to NOT have to work. It’s been a hard transition for me. I got where I am by working hard and when we built it back in 2009 and 2010, I worked doubly hard. So there is a certain part of me that still wants to get up early and get to work. If a new client comes in, it’s sometimes a struggle to not do the work personally. (I do take a limited number of private clients, but I’m usually full and limit because I want to have the time available.)

Probably the hardest thing is having people understand that I get to take a week off each month and most times I have 3 day weekends. In fact, sometimes there will be someone (usually someone with an idea to pitch to me) who gets upset that I’m never working. And all I can say is “Exactly.” That’s why we do what we do.

What will life on your terms mean to you?