After working in social media marketing within the corporate world, I started to feel drained by my company’s focus on numbers and the lack of authenticity in our advertising.
I was praised when I hit certain numbers and reprimanded when I didn’t. I was pressured to create misleading, clickbait ads to get more website clicks. It didn’t feel right and I wasn’t passionate about it.
When the covid-19 crisis hit, I was laid off without a second thought. I felt so useless and disposable, and immediately began to panic and mass apply to jobs.
After a few weeks, the economy tanked even more and I realized there were no more corporate marketing jobs available.
I had always dreamed about the idea of becoming a digital nomad, creating my own business and traveling the world with my laptop. But I was too afraid.
What if I didn’t make enough money? What if I failed? What if I stopped making money altogether?
With my layoff, all of those fears came true. And I realized I had absolutely nothing to lose.
In fact, losing my job was a blessing in disguise. Because now I finally had the time to focus on myself and my values. I started reflecting on past jobs, writing down what I did and didn’t like and figuring out my strengths and weaknesses.
I stumbled upon my first client by accident in a Facebook group. They said they wanted some Instagram advice, but it turned into a full on contracted project. They trusted my expertise and abilities, listened to my advice, and made major progress. Even more importantly, I was able to help them in a way that felt right to me.
I used strategies based on authenticity and trust, rather than growth-hacks and gimmicks. We followed their brand values and started to build a real community.
This experience gave me the confidence boost I needed to dive into the world of my own business. After that, I started creating a website and forging a social media presence. I started making infographics and creating advice videos. I built my client avatar.
The process is still a slow and steady one and I am nowhere near where I want to be. But I am so grateful that I was able to look within myself and figure out what I truly wanted to do.
Even from a very young age, I knew that I wanted to be a business owner.
The problem was that I just felt overwhelmed with all the different types of business I could go into and I had so many TERRIBLE ideas…
My Mum, to this very day, still reminds me that I had the idea of buying old Ford Fiestas and painting them pink to sell…
… I was 12 years old!
Fast forward 12 years later and I heard through a friend about a city called Chiang Mai in Thailand. It is a hub for digital nomads and startups.
I had literally nothing keeping me back home in Swindon, UK so I thought why not, I can do this.
My family was so confused and just didn’t understand what my mission was. They thought I was going backpacking and I would be home in 6 months - which I don’t blame them, I kinda was… I had no money and a backpack.
I arrived in Chiang Mai, a little lost, a little confused. I stumbled upon a Facebook post in one of the community groups advertising that they were looking for a new business partner to run a drop-shipping store with.
I had no idea what this was, but I thought ‘I CAN DO THIS’… and I did!
We started selling women’s gothic clothing online and were profitable in our first month.
One year later, a position was advertised in the SAME Facebook Group looking for an event organiser for the annual Nomad Summit Conference.
And again I thought ‘I CAN DO THIS’… and I did!
Off the back of the success of the Nomad Summit, I became a co-founder of Tokenomx - a Blockchain Conference.
I had no idea about Blockchain, but I thought ‘I CAN DO THIS’… and I did!
Shortly after working in events, I established that it was too stressful and I wanted a ‘lifestyle business’ back. A good friend of mine offered me a digital marketing role in his online fitness company called ‘The Ultimate Shred’.
I had no previous experience doing this, but again I thought ‘I CAN DO THIS’… and I am!!!
If I can do this… then YOU can do this.
FORGET YOUR LIMITATIONS
It’s been three years now since I made the decision to not follow a system, quit my job and move to Asia.
It has allowed me to really dig into what my own strengths and gifts are, whilst living a life rich in experiences, as opposed to material items.
Here’s to the next three years 👊💕
~ Kara-Jay Matthews is a Digital Marketer based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Visit ‘The Ultimate Shred’ here and join in on their FREE 30-Day Summer Shred Challenge!
I’ve been traveling and living abroad most of my adult life.
Throughout my 20s, I moved from place to place and searched for temporary work - or I already had a job lined up.
Either way, all around the world, I kept working for ‘the man’, often in unfulfilling 9-5’s.
A few years ago, I realized I couldn’t keep moving forward this way. I moved to Madrid, Spain 6 years ago and actually managed to find a job I liked. But having to work based on someone else’s values started feeling crippling.
Every day, I sat in that office, giving them my time, my energy, my skills, I felt like was selling my soul.
So 2 years ago, I quit.
It was not the best planned escape.
It still wasn’t clear what I’d do and how I’d do it, but I was ready to build something beautiful that would allow me to contribute to the world in a way that I felt was important.
And also, I wanted more freedom. I wanted a professional life that I could pick up and bring with me wherever I wanted to go.
So, I decided that I’d turn my blog ‘You Choose the Way’ into a business.
I spent the first year doing trainings and building the foundation. Then, this year, I added in retreats, classes, courses and coaching for travelers and expats to explore their inner ‘stuff’ as they wander the world.
I won’t lie, it’s not always easy. In fact, it’s often pretty hard. But I haven’t looked back once.
I love what I do and I feel like it’s important. I sustain my life by helping others and the world.
And more importantly, I do it in a way that feels right to me - in my heart.
I have finally figured out how to live my life in a meaningful way, but it was a long and winding road to get to this point.
I left behind family in Nepal & moved to the US as a teenager with hopes of a bigger and brighter future. I learnt to be self-reliant, to adapt & thrive in different kinds of environments.
All along, life has graciously shown me different shades of happiness, struggles, hopes and uncertainties - and presented me with opportunities to overcome many personal limitations.
From being the only foreign kid in school while growing up in Japan, to being the only female and minority investment analyst in a white male-dominated corporate workplace. I have not only been able to cope, but I’ve also made the best of my circumstances.
However, I was slowly starting to realize that I wasn’t truly happy even though everything looked great from the outside. Instead of living my best life, I was living a life of circumstances, running on auto-pilot, unable to pause and appreciate my own accomplishments. I was out of alignment and started questioning what I was really after. I felt called to slow down and take a breather to figure it all out.
Deciding to quit the job where I had worked so hard for so long, was the toughest decision I had to make - but I chose to do what was best for me. I was itching for peace and solitude to rediscover myself.
I finally let loose completely. I basked under the sun, walked among the trees, sat by the beach, read books, traveled, meditated and talked to people who had been on this journey before me. The time I took for self-reflection was life-changing.
I not only developed a new lens for life but also uncovered what my heart truly wanted. This is how I came to start my own business.
This experience made me realize the value of taking time and going deep within to find our own answers.
~ Mousami Pandey is a Professional Life Coach & Financial Consultant who supports hardworking visionaries to achieve their desired results & live fulfilling lives. Find out more about her work here and take her free quiz to find out your communication style here.
My working online journey while living abroad was never something I initially set out to do.
In 2017, I was working for Twentieth Century Fox making movie trailers. At the time, I had been with the company for almost four years and was craving a life more deep and meaningful - even though I had ZERO idea what that meant or looked like for me.
After a life-changing backpacking experience in South America in 2017, a friend of mine proposed moving to Santiago, Chile. I had a place to stay lined up through her friend, and had the possibility to work for her online company. I took it as a sign. I quit my corporate job, took a massive leap of faith and moved to Chile - speaking zero Spanish and only knowing one person.
I initially thought I would live in Chile for about two months, and here I am in Colombia 3 years later. To say the least, Chile was an incredible experience and a great stepping stone for my “new” way of living. My nomad life is what soon propelled me to start my online business. I started with a blog, which turned into a yoga website, which turned into retreats, which evolved into adding my card readings and now my 8-week Wellness Program. Working online is an ever-changing experience and you have to take it one project at a time. When you open yourself up to possibilities, the unimaginable occurs.
For example, in 2018, after almost a year living in Santiago, I blindly applied to a Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) work exchange in Bali - where I would work for a Yoga company in exchange for a free YTT. This soon opened up doors for me to move to Bali and plan retreats.
When it comes to starting your own business, start with one small idea. This small idea will open up a new path and new possibilities.
Pick something you love and that you are knowledgeable about. Since 2012, spirituality and mindfulness has felt like my life’s calling, and each project and service I offer has led to the next idea. Now, I have a two month Wellness Program.
Never stop learning and never give up. Envision your goal each day - don’t worry ‘how’ you will get there - work little by little to make this goal a reality. Some days are very challenging and some are amazing. Fight through the hard times and take each day with a grain of salt. Be open to the unknown because this is where the creativity and magic happens.
~ Natalie Thomas is a Wellness Coach who is currently living in Medellin, Colombia. You can learn more about Natalie on her website here. She also has a free 10-minute guided meditation that you can download on her homepage.
I graduated from university with a degree in hospitality and tourism management and had a choice of either climbing the corporate ladder or doing what felt right for me. So I packed a bag and set off to find myself in this big world.
Despite my education and my journey, I struggled for years trying to figure out what my dream career in travel was. I knew what already existed like blogging, being a travel agent, doing freelance work, working for an airline, etc, but I felt like there was a deeper purpose for my travel experiences and what I learned throughout my journey. I knew that there was more to a travel job than blogging and bookings.
I wound up spending a decade traveling to over 84 countries and along the way, I helped others reach their travel goals based on what I knew and learned myself. Since I couldn’t find a career that resonated with what I truly wanted to do, I knew I had to create one myself.
I started as a travel coach because it felt exactly like what I was seeking for so long but, when I started, I didn’t have anyone to turn to help me start and grow my business. That is why I decided to pioneer the path for other travel coaches and like-minded travelers who I had met around the world and online - and I founded The Travel Coach Network.
As travelers, we all have unique areas of expertise and perspectives. I also created a travel coaching program that helps other passionate travelers become travel coaches in their most authentic way.
As a travel coach myself, I spent years studying the wellness benefits of travel and the problems and voids that existed in the corporate world and today’s society. I decided to help companies integrate more wellness and transformation into their business travel and corporate wellness programs.
I fall more and more in love with the amazing women in my travel coach network and program who are making incredible impacts on the lives of others who want to travel and on their own life.
I aim to inspire women around the world to follow their heart and create a business that resonates with who they are and what they love most.
It’s Christmas 2019, and I have finally made it back home to Australia. My mind has been obsessed with this thought for the past 4 years and I finally got what I have wished for so long.
I have being living in Sri Lanka for 3 years and Vietnam for over 1 year now, and creating a company to help girls around the world love the game inside themselves – their soul essence, their authentic self by loving their menstrual cycle.
It has been the most amazing journey of my life to create an intuitive card game, Alexa voice experiences and an app, write a book and create a remote job for girls to be Workshop Facilitators anywhere in the world. But the hardest part has been being pushed to break down conditioning patterns from my family and society on the definition of success - and not achieving my basic biological need of having the family home and living close to family, especially when I gave birth to my Son in Sri Lanka.
But after getting that wish to go home for Christmas, it made me feel that this is not what I wanted after all. I had changed. I realised it was fantasy and the reality of the return home was that nothing had progressed. My family was the same, the town was the same but I had grown into a more worldly perspective of who I am and what life can be.
Now, I want to help more girls to travel the world and live in exotic locations and get to experience how the change of environment accelerates their personal growth.