A year ago yesterday I moved to Playa del Carmen, Mexico with 3 suitcases and my cat to start a new, location independent, lifestyle. Now that I’ve officially been doing this for a year it feels like the right time to share more about how the decision came about!
A little over a year ago I was dreaming of quitting my job. I’d just returned from a vacation to the Riviera Maya and I knew that I wanted to get back there as soon as possible, for as long as possible. I just had to figure out how to support myself.
As you may or may not know, wages in Mexico are extremely low by American/Canadian standards. Minimum wage in Mexico is somewhere around 90 pesos per day (about $4 USD), and though I would likely be able to earn more than that in the Mexican work force, unfortunately my student loans aren’t in pesos. 😩 I figured I’d have the potential to earn more money if I worked online. Plus, I’d have more control over my schedule and physical location.
And so the research began.
I consumed every article I could find about how to earn money blogging, how to become a freelance writer, start a drop-shipping business, the list goes on… It all felt do-able, but hard… and I wanted results FAST. I had set a July departure deadline for myself and I needed to get my **** together.
Then, one fateful day, while at work and dreaming of quitting my job, an ad for a Forbes appeared in my Facebook feed (I clearly wasn’t winning any employee of year awards at this job). The headline was “How Two Millennial Women Made Over $130,000 While Traveling The World Full-Time.”
Suddenly I was so incredibly thankful for the Facebook pixel. I figure, they can track me all they want as long as they deliver useful information!
The article told the story of two girls, one from Vancouver Island, Canada (where *I’m* from) and the other from California (where *I* was living), and how they moved to Playa del Carmen (where *I* wanted to move), started an online business, and subsequently began selling courses teaching others how to work online and travel the world.
If this wasn’t fate, I don’t know what is.
Obviously I bought the course. I figured I somehow had enough in common with these girls that if *they* had made it work there was no reason why I couldn’t make it work too.
And I did!
I’ll share more details about my journey in future posts, I’m sure, but long story short: over the past year I’ve cut my teeth (heard that phrase in a Chris Stapleton song), by creating social media and blog content for business owners around the world.
I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t exactly been a complete cake-walk. There are all kinds of challenges that come with building a business online, and I’ve struggled a lot along the way. Thanks, perfectionism! …In fact, I’m still struggling with some things. Fortunately I love a challenge, and I’m far too stubborn to ever give up. Plus, struggles aside, I’m having tons of fun!
Even though I decided pretty quickly that I was going to give working online my all, I still experienced some resistance.
I was skeptical that it wouldn’t work for me. I wondered if there was some piece missing that these course creators, successful digital nomad bloggers and online business owners weren’t sharing. What was the catch? There had to be one… didn’t there?
What I have come to realize over the past year is that there really isn’t a catch. Of course, like anything, this lifestyle choice is what you make of it.
Is location independence for you?
Location independence isn’t always easy, and entrepreneurship definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you feel called to it, give it a shot!
If you’re the type of person who has never been content with the 9-5 life, or has been longing to travel the world while fighting societal pressure to just get a job and settle down, I’m here to tell you..
Trust your gut.
If you’re a driven person who enjoys learning constantly, you’ll probably LOVE this lifestyle. There’s never a dull moment, and you’re forced to continually learn and adapts to things like algorithm changes, policy changes, and trends.
If you’re the type of person who likes to coast… you’re going to have a hard time.
Essential skills like time management and organization can be learned and refined, but if you’re resistant to change you’ll likely struggle.
Is earning a living online unrealistic?
I used to think that being a digital nomad and working online was unrealistic. But then I really started thinking about it. Living in Los Angeles and competing with 100s of other candidates for entry-level content creation jobs that would barely pay my living expenses seemed even MORE unrealistic.
Job hunting can be a real confidence killer. BUT, it’s even worse when the job hunt ends in you working in an underpaid position that you’re overqualified for, with a boss you can’t stand, and barely enough vacation days to see your family at Christmas.
Okay, mayyyybe I’m a little bitter.
My point is, you likely have nothing to lose by giving online work a try.
Fortunately, the start-up costs for most online businesses are low — usually you just need a website, and, arguably, not even that.
Concerned about having no experience? Don’t be.
Everybody has to start somewhere.
I had very little (professional) experience when I started. If you’re a complete newbie you just have to dedicate time to bettering your knowledge and your skills as you go. Chances are you know more than you think, and really, you just need to be a step or two ahead of the people you’re helping.
Fortunately, there are tons of online resources (both free and paid) to help you learn new skills or improve your existing skills. Udemy and Lynda.com offer inexpensive (but excellent) courses on just about anything you could ever dream of.
But, it’s also important not to put off getting started by waiting until you feel “ready.” You may never feel ready (I still don’t), but there ARE people out there who need your services (no matter how green you are), and will be happy to pay you for them.
I’m still marvelling at the fact that people pay me to write blog posts. It’s so enjoyable that it seems too good to be true… Up until now I thought working meant you had to feel frustrated and unappreciated. Thankfully it doesn’t!
Now that I’ve been doing this for a year, I struggle to understand why I didn’t go for it sooner. I don’t want to sugar coat things, this journey hasn’t been easy, but it has been SO MUCH BETTER than the alternative (working for the man 😫).
What do you think? Is location independence for you?
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