What Walking Away From 9-5 Has Taught Me

This isn’t what you think.

I didn’t hate my boss.

I didn’t stand up on an office chair and yell out “I QUIT #$%@&*^%!” to the entire office.

Nope, it’s not like that at all.

In fact, it’s far, far less exciting.

I’ve always, always wanted to travel the world and I’m done relying on a job to make it happen.

So I’m making it.

My goal for 2018 is to move overseas and be location independent.

And this summer, I found the perfect time to do it.

I became unemployed.

But instead of going to a ton of interviews, I came home after my fourth one and thought, “You know, why do I need to rely on a job to travel anyway? Thousands of people work online and they seem to be doing fine. Surely, I can do the same, right?”

Yes and no.

For months, I’ve been studying all the different ways one can work online and here’s what I’ve concluded:

1. There are THOUSANDS of ways to work online.

But few actually pay well.

I tried transcribing (writing down recorded messages or videos) and that paid pennies (literally).

I tried blogging (hello!) and realized I hated using my social media as billboards.

I tried making Youtube videos and realized I suck at holding the camera as I walk (I’ve walked into things.)

And finally, I tried freelance writing. Am I making a lot? No! But I’m it’s sorta actually sticking and I enjoy it (mostly).

But if none of these work, you can also try coaching people, teaching English online, selling a craft,  becoming a photographer. The secret formula for working online is:

 Interest + Digital skill + Marketing + A CRAZY Amount of Patience

That last one is ESPECIALLY important.

2. You need to have ROCK-SOLID confidence.

Not only will other people look at you funny but you’ll look at yourself and wonder what the hell you’re doing! You’ll wonder if you’re crazy. You need to be able to stop these thoughts in their tracks and keep going. 

3. It’s rationally daunting but irrationally exciting?

Something I did not expect from choosing this path is how excited I am to work on my goals every day. You would think without a paycheck or a deadline, you would have trouble getting things done but actually, I have the opposite problem! I never know when to stop working. 

4. You’ll feel like a baby again who has to learn to walk.

The learning curve for working online is STEEP. There’s no teacher to guide you. You sort of just stumble around until you get it And when it doesn’t, you go back to square one and try something else. Also, you’ll be full of joy but want to cry randomly.

5. You have to read. A LOT.

I would say 90% of my time is spent reading. The rest of the 10% is spent on figuring out how to apply what I read and what I did wrong.  It’s like college x10.

6. It’s lonely.

There are millions of people working online, but I’ve discovered that most of these people (like myself) are introverts, stay at home moms or dads, traveling couples, or somewhere else in the world because that’s why they became digital in the first place.

It sometimes makes me wonder… are these people real? I’m still not sure. 

7. You experience the HIGHEST of the highs and the LOWEST of the lows.

When you doubt yourself, it feels like you’re at the bottom of the world. But when you finally figure something out, it feels like you’re on top of the world. It’s a constant emotional rollercoaster! Fun!

8. You’ll hustle like you’ve never done before.

You would think, “Working online? Waking up whenever you want? That sounds nice.” But I have NEVER worked this hard in my life before. I’m reading and learning 24/7. Sometimes I honestly feel like my head is going to explode.

In short?

Working online is NOT for you if:

  • you hate reading and learning for hours
  • you need to see instantaneous results to trust that something is working
  • your only objective is to make money
  • you are easily bothered by other people’s comments

Working online IS for you if:

  • you are naturally inquisitive and love learning
  • you enjoy being alone
  • you like challenges
  • you can shake off setbacks and bounce back quickly

Then finally, ask yourself this: are you willing to choose risk over certainty?

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About Living the Free Way

LTFW is a travel blog that emphasizes giving ourselves permission to do the things we love and stepping outside or our comfort zones. You can learn more about the author on the 'About' page.
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