Lots of people want to quit their day jobs to pursue their dreams. Very few of us are lucky enough to follow something we’re really passionate about and get paid to do it.
But what they don’t realize is that there are many ways to follow your passions. You don’t have to win the jackpot and land your dream job in order to do what you really want to do.
I was lucky enough to learn this lesson by chance about 6 years ago.
Pursuing My Dreams
When I was about 20, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to travel the world, learn about new languages and cultures, and help people if I could.
(I know, those are cliche Millennial aspirations, but that’s what I wanted.)
When I decided to become an anthropologist, I got to do a lot of these things. I did fieldwork almost every summer in exotic places (Central African Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, etc.). I learned lots of Spanish, French, and even some local languages. We would help local people with medical and educational needs. At the end of the field season I would give away all my gear. And I got to contribute to research that could impact how we understand humanity.
I loved being an anthropologist — it really was my dream. But I didn’t realize how competitive academia was or how hard you had to work. Over the years I discovered that a few weeks of fieldwork was the only time I’d get to really “pursue my passion.” The whole rest of the year I had to sit in a windowless office working with data, writing, and grading papers.
For a long time I convinced myself this was the only chance I’d get to do the things I really love. Then after one amazing field season in Ethiopia, I decided enough was enough. I didn’t want to go back to the academic grind. I wanted to stay in Ethiopia, work with people, and explore.
So I went home, dropped out of my PhD program, sold my car, and bought a one-way ticket back to Ethiopia.
I just had one little problem: How was I going to earn money and support myself?
Freelancing as a Gateway
The solution was simple: I could start freelancing online to earn money, then travel and live wherever I want. I had never done remote work before, but luckily I had good mentors:
Ever since I was a kid they both worked from home. My stepdad ran remote businesses and my mom worked as a freelancer. I didn’t know the first place to start, but they did. So I spent a few weeks with them learning how to set up my own website and market myself online as a freelancer. Then I flew off to Ethiopia with a laptop and a duffel bag.
Now I Do What I Love Every Day
Now, 6 years down the road, I’m still in Ethiopia. I love it here and get to do what I love every day. I’ve learned 2 of the local languages and spend lots of time “in the field.” I’m now married and have 3 foster kids that I love.
I also have the flexibility to travel and visit family anywhere in the world. All I need is my laptop with me.
One thing that I really didn’t expect was that I actually get to do a lot more anthropology now than I did when I was in academia. The thought of leaving the field I loved forever made me sad, but I shouldn’t have.
Because of where I’m located, anthropologists regularly ask me to help with their research projects. I work with some NGOs as well. I do more fieldwork now than I ever did while pursuing my PhD. I still get to be a part of projects that can have a real positive impact on the world.
I feel extremely fortunate that I get to do all my favorite things about being an anthropologist while skipping all the hard stuff. And it was made possible thanks to freelance remote work.
What About You?
Today I work as a freelance writer in the marketing niche. Was it my passion to work in marketing?
Of course not.
But becoming a freelance remote worker gave me the flexibility I needed to really pursue my passions for the first time in my life.
And you can do the exact same thing.
Maybe you want to travel the world like me, or rebuild classic cars, start a charity, join a band, etc. Maybe you just want to spend more time at home with your kids. It doesn’t matter what your passion is, freelancing can help you achieve it.
When you have a 9-5 job (or work in academia like I did), your life is indefinitely structured. You don’t have the time off to pursue your passions while still working your normal job. Freelancing isn’t like that.
For one, you can freelance from anywhere at any time, any day of the week. But most importantly, you can also earn more money while working less hours than you do at a normal job.
I, for example, only work about 15-20 hours/week at my freelance job. But I still make great money because I only work with clients who are willing to pay much more for my skills and expertise.
These are some freelance assignments I recently completed:
- 2,000-word article about email autoresponders. It paid $440.00. Took me 3 hours. (≃ $145/hour)
- 800-word article about cryptocurrency. It paid $209. Took me 1.5 hours. (≃ $140/hour)
- 2,235-word article on automated bidding. It paid $543. Took me 3.5 hours. (≃ $155/hour)
- 1,900-word article on time management. It paid $456. Took me 3 hours. (≃ $150/hour)
Remote freelancing can be a part-time job with a full-time income. It’s the perfect solution most people need to finally pursue their passions in life. All you need is the right strategy to market yourself online, find clients who will pay you well, and scale your business. I can help you with this.