On Getting The Flick, Building My First Door, Enjoying Peanuts, & The Digital Nomad (Part 2)

bad_decisions_make_great_storiesThis post is a continuation; check out Part 1 first.

How do I plan to build this door?

Now I still don’t have a clear idea of how to do this – how to make a new career from nothing. But that’s what makes it exciting!

It’s as if I’ve lost my IKEA instructions on how to assemble the door (or the diagrams are terrible and it doesn’t make sense). But I think I’ve got all the parts I need, so somehow through trial and error I hope to whip up something sturdy and reliable.

The first thing to build is the doorframe, the foundation that will hold the rest “securely” in place. My doorframe will be freelance writing.

The focus will be on writing for both online and for print (turns out they are quite different). I’m planning to do health writing at first but could be fun to branch out if everything’s going well.

The door handle will be blogging, which I will continue to do on the side. It has the potential to open up many writing opportunities for me in the future.

I’ll work out the rest of the door as I go.

The three paths and some peanuts.

So starting out as a freelancer pays real crap. Sometime it pays peanuts if you’re lucky. Just as well I like peanuts (more than crap).

I’ve saved enough to live for a while, but my main goal for the first year is to earn enough to sustain my lifestyle without having to touch my savings.

To do this I have a choice between three paths:

  1. Find regular high-paying clients and live my normal city life, pay rent, own a shiny car, eat sushi train every Sunday, live for the weekend, blah blah blah.
  2. Find regular clients that will pay peanuts (and not the big bags either, the ones you get on the plane), but still live the normal city life – just the tight-ass version: Pay rent, own a 50cc scooter, leftovers for lunch Sundays, designated driver for tips on the weekends, etc.
  3. Find regular clients that will pay peanuts but live where peanuts can pay the bills.
Enter the Digital Nomad

Digital Nomad    [dij-i-tl noh-mad]


1. an individual that leverages digital technologies to earn an income wherever they live or travel.

2. a wanderer who performs work duties irrespective of physical location, often working as a freelance writer, photographer, affiliate marketer, or graphic designer. They generally conduct their lifestyle in a nomadic manner, traveling frequently.

So even though I’ll earn less, I’ll have the freedom to live and travel in places where it costs less. Winning.

The number 150. Exactly.

Those who know me well know that I enjoy traveling. In fact, I’m adamant if I was born in the 16th century I would have been an explorer spending years out at sea mapping the oceans (I’m serious).

Thanks to my remote work, in total in 2012, I flew 150 times exactly. It equates to one flight every 2.5 days. All great adventures 🙂

So I figure why not continue to travel and make a living at the same time?

I’ve got good reason to travel too. I have family in several countries I enjoy visiting. Plus I was lucky enough to make many good friends in Europe when I lived in Finland that I want to drop in on.

At the end of that article I said, “For now the plan is to begin some full-time work and see where it takes me. I don’t know what I will be doing next year, but that’s the way I like it!” 18 months later and I would say the exact same thing, how cool is that? 🙂

That’s a lovely fairytale Joe, but what’s in it for me?

I’m telling you about my ridiculous plans for one reason. Accountability.

Like I emphasised in my 15 Qs workbook (sidebar), if you tell others your plan, you will do whatever it takes to get it done. All you’ve gotta do is step up and shout it out. Then hold your breath.

It works because humans are vain. We want to look good in front of others for no meaningful reason.

And I don’t want to look like more of a douchebag in public, so I will have to work my tail off.

So what’s in it for you? Well if I am unsuccessful in my quest of digital nomadidry (is that even a word?) you guys get to laugh/ridicule/console/encourage/cough*loanmemoney*cough. Whatever you like!

And if I’m successful I’ll have you all to thank for keeping me accountable!

It’s the new year, a time for a fresh start. And I’m excited!

Let’s do this.

Do you guys think customs will accept ‘Digital Nomad’ as an occupation on the immigration form?

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  1. Junaina Jalil says:

    Good luck Joe! You only live ones so why not follow your dreams and try out new ventures before life confines you to it’s barracks. Enjoyable article.

  2. Mate just read the whole post. It’s awesome that you’re going out on your own. It’s definitely tough getting through the gates initially, particularly for something like writing. Shoot me an email if you get a chance, it would be great to have a catch up chat! Hope everything takes off 🙂 You’ve got the passion to make it happen.