15 Mar How I’m 23 and have never worked 9 to 5
I’m 23 years old, soon to be 24 in June, and have never worked a 9 to 5 job. Ever.
When you hear successful entrepreneurs talking about how they made it, they often can’t put a finger on how exactly they did it. You often hear them say, “I just fell into it really.”
I remember when I was in school and I was picking a university, a subject, and essentially a future career. I didn’t really know what I was going to be yet, and I thought to myself, “How do you fall into a job?”
Now I’m sitting here at a desk at home, nearly 24, and I work for myself, making enough money to live comfortably. I didn’t intend for things to happen this way, they just sort of…well…happened.
I can pinpoint a few reasons why I ended up working for myself; I’m incredibly ambitious, I don’t like authority and I don’t like waking up early. No 9am starts for me.
Today I thought I’d give you a little insight into how I do it, and maybe it’ll give you some inspiration to live a lifestyle by design.
I have a BA in Broadcast Journalism, but whilst I absolutely loved my degree, I just found the news too morbid and sinister. From weeks of work experience at the BBC, I definitely learnt that I didn’t want to report on burglars and murders forever. I love video, I love presenting and I love editing, but not so much the news.
When I left university I felt a bit disgruntled about the UK- everything was just so negative. It felt like no-one was hiring. If they were hiring, you had to go through a gazilion interviews where the interviewers spent the entire time catching you out or putting you down. If you got past the application stage, there were ‘assessment centres’, where you had to jump through hoops to prove your ‘teamwork skills’.
To cut a long story short, I went traveling.
I went to Portugal. Came back. Worked in a bar and lived at home. Backpacked around Australia and New Zealand. Hopped around the Greek Islands. Came back.
This time though, I was determined to leave the UK and become completely location independent. I worked a bar job and left England for Bali with £800 in my bank account. That was it. So I had to make it work. I knew living costs would be relatively low, but I had to find work if I wanted to live abroad permanently. I ended up staying in Bali for a year.
My boyfriend at the time was a web designer and encouraged me to set up a blog, telling me all about how bloggers are making money on the internet. He set me up with a domain, I picked out a WordPress http://humanrightsfilmnetwork.org/xanax theme, and started blogging. I wouldn’t say I worked hard at all on link building and SEO- yes I did link exchanges, but I didn’t take the whole “business of blogging” very seriously. I think 2008 was different to 2011 for bloggers. I saw it as more of a portfolio; if I couldn’t get published, I would publish it myself.
I continued with the blogging, wrote some articles for Bootsnall, and set about looking for work in Bali. I found jobs easily enough. English teaching at English First; a PA job with a fashion designer; but I wanted to do what I loved. Through networking I landed a job at Ku De Ta videoing and editing their events. I also did some social media marketing for a big resort out there. This blog grew in page rank, and advertisers started emailing.
People started contacting me for copywriting, and once I’d been recommended by one person, it spiralled from there. Blogging makes me money, but my main source of income is from my freelance services. I happened to meet the right people at the right time, and they all needed something; a video, a website, a press release…
One thing I found in Bali, was that people wanted to help you and give you a job. And instead of sitting there looking at a CV, they tried me out to see results.
One day, out of the blue I got an email to say that I’d won the Vantastic World Nomads competition and I’d be going on a free road trip around South Australia. I’d filmed and edited my video entry 6 months prior to that, submitted it, and totally forgot about it. So of I went. I was flown out there, given a campervan, a camera and fuel money, and I filmed my road trip for 6 weeks doing a bunch of really cool free activities.
After that I decided I was somewhat ‘over’ living in Bali, and I came back to Europe. I spent the summer in Portugal, went to Morocco, and eventually came back to the UK.
The difference this time is, it’s my choice to be in the UK. As I’m a freelancer, working a mobile job, I can move around whenever I want. So if I stay, I’m staying because I want to. I needed to have a break so I could really focus on business. I’ve broken it up with trips to Belgium and Paris, and I’m off to Austria and Slovenia in four weeks. After that I don’t know. I’m not trying to ‘escape’ anymore, because I have nothing to ‘escape’ from.
You can live a lifestyle by design. It still takes hard work, ambition and persistence, but if you want to succeed at living a mobile lifestyle, you can.