Leaving my 9-5 job was an easy decision; the part that followed was hard.
When we made the decision that we were going to travel the country for a six month period, I was working a standard 9-5 job as an event planner for a SaaS company in Minneapolis. I liked my job, my coworkers were great & the perks were not a bad addition but it was still a 9-5 job that felt like it was eating away at me day by day. Dramatic? Yes. But true.
When I left my job, we weren’t quite ready to hit the road and I needed to provide enough income to get us ready for our trip. I found an awesome position on Upwork for a client with an awesome mission that I could feel passionate about. I worked on this client for about 3 months before realizing it wasn’t going to work out on the road. With almost constant contact needed, it would be hard to manage while traveling through national parks & areas with unreliable phone & internet service.
A common theme I found over the last year is that even though you make the jump & feel like you’re ready, it is going to take a lot of mistakes, failures & successes to settle in to your routine.
Now left with the reality that I wasn’t going to have an income heading into our 6 month roadtrip, I had to get serious about a new path. All of my previous experience was in event planning and it was something I really liked. But, I learned that is wasn’t very conducive to life on the road. It seemed as though there was ALWAYS a fire to put out not matter what I did & that maybe it wasn’t something I should do for my career but as a hobby. My focus shifted towards digital marketing for small businesses and it seems to be the right fit for me so far.
So now that I have fully settled in to life outside of the 9-5 what do I think?
There are pros & cons to every lifestyle, here is what I have learned on the path to becoming a digital nomad.
Flexibility; in all things you do, not just your schedule
Independence; you are not limited by a boss, coworker or company
Earning potential; you control your salary, you gain clients & create processes to increase your earnings
Freedom in your work; you get to pick and choose what you work on, you are the ultimate decision maker
Life design; you get to design your day, week, year, life. Live it on your terms
Lonely; with no built in community, you need to find like minded individuals to fill your days with
Motivation within; along with loneliness comes lack of motivation due to your surroundings
The hustle is real; some days it may feel like you have spinning in a circle for the past 6 months and there is nothing to come of it
Lack of collaboration; without a team (at least in the beginning) there is less talking & more thinking
Is it for you? That is the big question you will have to ask. With any decision, there are trade offs and you will have to sacrifice some things. I was extremely lucky to be able to test out these waters without a full time job which has allowed me to really explore all of my options. Even then, it’s not something that will just happen overnight.
I now have a couple clients that I manage, am able to work while on the road & am on my way to building a sustainable income. Here’s to hoping the grind is worth it all in the end! With views like this it’s starting to pay off.