One year ago today, I abruptly left my job and became a full-time travel blogger.
This wasn’t planned. I had planned on working through mid-October, saving as much money as I could until leaving for Asia on October 20th.
But after seven months of struggling through a job that made me so miserable that I was ticking off every 30-minute interval that passed, I could barely hold on. Every morning, I went in miserable; there was no repose at the end of the day, knowing that I had to go back.
Then on September 14, 2010, I simply picked up my things and walked out. I drove home and promptly got back to work — on this site, my passion and my life.
The job had been a mistake from the beginning, for many reasons that are not worth discussing here.
But I’m not here to bad-mouth my old company. The company was and is well-suited to a lot of people, a few of whom I like very much. I just wasn’t one of those people.
Since quitting, my work life has become unrecognizable — to my great delight.
The New Office
I’ve had a lot of interesting offices since I started traveling. My favorite was the one pictured above — on the beach in Koh Lanta, Thailand.
A few memorable ones: a drag sports bar in Legian, Bali; a stunning luxury apartment in Singapore; an art gallery on Koh Chang, Thailand; a milkshake place in Sayulita, Mexico; and my beloved Green House on Thanon Rambuttri, next to Khao San Road in Bangkok. As soon as I book holidays in Egypt, I’m sure I’ll be in a cafe overlooking the Red Sea in Dahab as I click away at my laptop.
People are always asking me what I do for a living. I own several different web sites; I do various freelancing (writing, SEO, tech stuff); I do a bit of affiliate marketing; I develop products of my own. It’s constantly evolving, and I love that.
Here’s a tip: 99.99% of people will never sustain a living from just one web site, and even if you have a very successful web site, you’re probably not one of the 0.001% who will.
I spent my post-college years thinking, “Maybe I’m just not a career person.”
I mean, that wouldn’t be the worst thing ever. Despite the American your-work-is-your-life mentality, not everyone HAS to be enamored with their work. I thought I was one of those people.
Well, the truth is that in the past year, I’ve been working harder that I ever have in my life. I have become a total workaholic, and I am LOVING it (most of the time, anyway)!
Of course, I’m not making as much money as I was before. Which is FINE. I’m making less money but living the life of my dreams, and that is an extremely fair trade-off, as far as I’m concerned.
And I know that once I launch more projects, I’ll be making even more.
Entrepreneurship is feast or famine.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it — the past year has been difficult at a lot of times. And shamefully, when times have been tough, I’ve taken it out on the people closest to me. I feel terrible about that, and they don’t deserve that.
Entrepreneurship is a challenge. You can’t be an overnight success. You need to work your ass off to make it work.
But there has never been a moment when I’ve wanted to throw in the towel. Why is that?
I have faith in myself.
Things have a way of working out, and I never forget that.
Like when I arrived in Sihanoukville for the second time, tired, dirty and worried sick about going broke…and I got an offer to do some tech work for a former coworker. It breathed life into me (and a few hundred dollars into my PayPal account) and that kept me going until more offers came in.
Again and again, this has proven to be the case.
I fully believe that ten years down the line or so, online entrepreneurship is going to be tremendously more common than it is now. Why? Because it’s awesome. And because it’s becoming increasingly easy and cost-effective (for both workers and employers) to work from anywhere.
Since college, my dream job was “getting paid to blog about my life.” I used to think the only way I could do that would be by getting a book deal or something. I know far better now!
If being an online entrepreneur interests you at all, I suggest reading up on it now. I get a lot of emails from people asking me how to make money online, and I tell them the same thing: Learn how to build a site with WordPress. Learn SEO. Learn affiliate marketing.
Do not start with travel blogging as a way to make money. It requires a lot of time and effort before you’ll see any money, and it requires quite a bit of upkeep in order to keep making money. Look into passive income if you want something less time-consuming.
It all began with a leap of faith.
I’m proud to say that I’ve been a full-time online entrepreneur for a year now, even though I had no idea at the time that this would be my future.
Here’s to a year of success and cheers for many more in the future. As I always say, we’ll see what happens!