All my life, I only had one goal in mind – to move to Santorini. The thought wouldn’t let me sleep and when it did, I dreamed of sunsets. 2016 was the year I decided to do something about it and here’s how it happened.
How I became a digital nomad and moved to Santorini
Everyone needs a certain push to make a huge decision, right? At the time of my decision, I have been working at a startup as a Head Copywriter (and later Content Manager) for a little over a year. The company was facing huge changes and I was given a position of the Content Manager in the Marketing department. I was running the blog, had a Creative Writing degree, did an editorial internship before that and blogged in my free time – it was the role that suited me.
Little did I know that this was the role that I was going to become extremely passionate about. For almost a year before I decided to become a digital nomad, I made a plan and absorbed in all knowledge I possibly could. I signed up for a bunch of Udemy courses (Copywriting, Social Media Marketing, Instagram Marketing and Safe SEO Techniques) to boost my Content Management skills, and Gary Vee’s content advice is practically running through my veins. I was ready.
Around the summertime (6 months before my move), I signed up on Upwork. Because of my past experiences (and courses I have outlined in my cover letters), getting clients was actually quite easy, although truth be told, I had to work some pretty horrible jobs for low rates to kickstart it all. My first feedback was actually negative (I’m now almost top rated) – so I had to make sure I worked at least 4 short term jobs to receive a positive feedback. I worked 24/7 for almost 6 months, doing Upwork and my office job, to see if I could earn a sufficient income from Upwork once I would leave. This was probably one of the craziest times ever, but necessary – I’d never recommend plunging into the freelance role without seeing whether you can actually do it first.
How many ongoing clients do I work for?
I still work with the same awesome clients as I have when I switched to the freelance role. 4 ongoing people, which makes about 50 working hours per week all together.
I would disclose exactly how much I earn, but for privacy reasons, I can only tell you it’s about $400 per week (on a good day). When I need extra money, I work extra hard or look for fixed writing projects. More than often, my clients will actually have extra work available if I ask.
What are my working hours like?
I have everyday availability or my clients, but taking into consideration that I also run this blog, I would say I work about 7 hours per day. I do try to take at least one full day off and at least one waking hour away from my laptop, but the truth is, my work doesn’t feel like work to me – it’s what I love to do. More than often I’ll wake up at 5am, do work for 5 hours and then take the entire day off and work on my personal blog or explore the island.
You can schedule your own working hours, but if you want to make money, you’ll still need to work.
The best thing about freelancing is taking breaks and coming back to your task whenever you want – it’s your call. I can take a walk to town when I feel uninspired, breathe in the sun rays and come back feeling amazing. I can blast my music or listen to productive audiobooks (or work in a weird yoga pose…). Stuff you can’t really do in an office setting.
Did I save any money before I went traveling?
No. I just made sure I moved after payday. Money saving is still one thing I’m desperately trying to learn. My landlady allowed me to pay my last month’s rent with my deposit, so my rent money could go towards my accommodation on Santorini – this helped a lot a lot a lot.
Did I ever drop clients?
Just recently – otherwise all my clients have been absolutely fantastic to work with (and I’m not just saying that because they read my blog :P)
Would I do anything differently?
One thing I probably should do, but also probably won’t, is set my working hours with each client. I’m a people-pleasing person – if you message me at 3am and need something done, there’s a chance I’ll be on it even though I was asleep just a second before your message. I love watching businesses succeed because it makes me subconsciously work towards my own business and develop my own tactics.
Will I ever go back to office life?
I am playing with the option to do short term internships since my freelance role now allows me to have a sufficient income no matter what. I also love the idea of working for a media company I love, but at the moment, being a digital nomad is probably the best thing I can do for myself and my work experience.