Where to even start? October was a weird month for me. I was super productive but at the same, this was the first month where I felt negative about my life in a long time.
Many bloggers have the temptation to only share the good stuff, but I want to be transparent about everything. That’s why I want to spend a good chunk of this post sharing what I’m feeling and why I think I’m feeling this way.
October Snapshot: Killing It
This month, I accomplished a lot even though I wasn’t in the best frame of mind. Here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve been up to. Bolded bullet points represent goals that I set last month and accomplished.
- My parents came to visit me and my sister for 3 weeks
- I lost the coin toss so I had to give my sister my room and sleep in the living room
- Signed on a new client project
- Worked on my first project in which I outsourced website development
The Remote Lifestyle Blog:
- Wrote 8 blog posts this month so I’m ahead of my content schedule by a full month
- Completed my 7-part onboarding email course
- Outsourced content promotion completely to my amazing virtual assistant (Thank you Farah, in case you’re reading!)
The Remote Podcast:
- Recorded 2 podcast interviews so now I have 10 episodes total, which will cover the first two months
- Started working with a professional team to help produce and launch the podcast
- Decided on the name “The Remote Podcast”
- Recorded my first street interview video
- Started taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes
My Realizations This Month
I was on fire the beginning of this month. But towards the end of October, this fire petered out. I lost motivation and started feeling lost. I became unsure of my life and what I wanted to do. This happened because of a series of realizations that I had.
Realization #1: This is the First Month I Lost Money
This was the first month that I spent more than I earned. Since I quit my job and started working for myself, I’ve been breaking even every month. But this month, I’m running a deficit.
This happened because the last two months I’ve been spending quite a lot of money on travel and blog-related items. Here are some of my expenses over the last two months:
- Weekend trip to New York, DC and an upcoming trip to Boston
- Class on running an online business and email marketing
- Hiring a podcast team
- Purchasing audio and video recording equipment
- Paying the 3000 euros deposit for The Remote Trip
These were all things that I wanted to spend money on, so I’m not too bummed about that. The problem is that my freelancing revenue isn’t increasing with my spending.
It sucks because ever since I have started freelancing, I have always felt like I needed to be in savings mode. I cook most of my meals and stay home a lot to reduce unnecessary costs. And I’m always watching what I spend. I’ve become the cheapest person in any group I’m with.
Realization #2: I’m Tired of Freelancing
Freelancing is a great way to earn income and have a flexible schedule. But it’s tiring and takes a lot of work.
As a freelancer, I’m responsible for finding projects, managing projects, interacting with clients, invoicing, accounting, drafting contracts and figuring out health insurance. These responsibilities are just scratching the surface.
In the past 8 months, I’ve created systems in place to minimize the amount of hands-on work I have to do. I’ve even started outsourcing different parts of projects to reduce my own workload.
But it’s still just a lot of hassle for something I’m not passionate about. I view freelancing as a way to earn flexible money as I am building my online business through the blog. But it’s definitely not something I view as a career.
At most, freelancing is something I would like to do on the side to supplement my income.
Realization #3: I Would Rather Work on the Blog, But…
In the past few months, I’ve found myself working more on The Remote Lifestyle blog than on my freelancing agency. I redid my whole website, created new content, and curated an entire onboarding email course for new subscribers.
It’s been amazing how much progress I was able to make on the blog with the time I had. But at this point, with the foundations of my blog established, I shouldn’t be spending most of my time on my blog. Here’s why:
- I am not making any money off the blog
- My blog is catching up to my life
- My blog is growing very slowly
The big issue with the blog is that I’m focusing too much time every day on it. It’s stupid, but I don’t have anything else to do with my time.
My blog should be something that I write in on the side documenting my life experiences. But right now, it’s very much the center of my life. Instead of traveling and enjoying life, I’m staying home every day in front of my computer either freelancing or working on the blog.
Because of that, I feel like my blog has caught up with my life. I need to focus on living life to the fullest and then think about sharing my experiences in the blog.
It’s funny because the same thing happened right before I quit my job in February. I realized that I was writing about becoming a digital nomad, but I was still stuck in my office job! So I ended up quitting my job because I was so frustrated. So this experience right now is another wake-up call that it’s time for me to take the next step.
This next step will be on January 9 2017 when I begin my 7-month travel adventure across the world. In the meantime, I would like to make the most out of the time I have left in Chicago.
Realization #4: I’m Bored
Every day of the week I’m either freelancing or working on the blog. It’s like I’m running two startups all by myself.
I miss being part of a team and being part of a group of inspiring and talented individuals. I also miss being a part of something that’s larger than myself and to work with others towards a common goal.
It’s also been harder and harder to motivate myself since everything I do is self-driven. I would like to be working on projects in which I’m given benchmarks and specific targets.
At the same time, I’d like to have a steady income stream again so that I can spend money without worrying so much and enjoy life.
Realization #5: I Don’t Have a Life Anymore
Another thing I realized was that some of my best memories in Chicago came when I was still working at Accenture. Why? Because I had a life back then.
When I was working a nine-to-five, I could leave everything work-related in the office. There was a clear separation between my work and my life. Because of that, I was able to have a thriving social life.
Every day I was either hanging with friends or taking some kind of class to invest in myself. I remember there was a time when I was taking vocal classes on Tuesdays and improv on Thursdays. On the other days, I would go to random cool events like watching a breakdancing competition or trying out a new restaurant with a buddy. It was fun because I had so many things to look forward to each week.
Nowadays since I’m running two businesses and desperately trying to save money, I don’t seek out these opportunities anymore. Since I’m working for myself, weekdays, weekends, holidays are all the same to me now. And so I don’t have much to look forward to each week.
Realization #6: I Need a Job
I recognize that at this point in my life, I need a job. As a 23-year-old, there’s still so much I can learn and so much I can contribute. It doesn’t make sense for me to isolate myself from the world and spend all my time doing my own thing.
My goal now is to apply for remote jobs at companies focused on helping people build online businesses.
To explain, I am looking for a remote job because I want to work at a company that shares my belief that it is about the work you produce, not the hours you put in or where you are working from. A remote job would give me the flexibility I need to keep working on my blog while providing me with the steady income that I need right now.
I’m looking at lead generation companies like OptinMonster, SumoMe, or email service providers like Mailchimp or Convertkit. These companies help create the tools that help online entrepreneurs run successful online businesses. Working at any of these companies would be the perfect opportunity to learn more so that I can build The Remote Lifestyle into the best digital nomad blog in the world.
Realization #7: The Blog Has to Grow Organically and Reflect My Life, Not the Other Way Around
The most important lesson I learned is that I can’t force this blog to grow quickly.
In the past 8 months, this blog has come leaps and bounds. I have created robust systems that help my blog run with minimal input on my end. I’ve implemented all the best practices that I’ve spent countless hours researching.
I’ve put my blood, sweat, and tears into this blog. And now there’s only so much I can do on the blog.
In order for the blog to grow, I need to focus on myself and not on the blog. The next step is to live my life to the fullest and to keep the blog on the side, where it belongs. The rest will follow.
The Good Parts of October
It wasn’t all doom and gloom, though. This month I’ve been continuing to try new things so that I keep my life interesting.
Getting Into Video Content
This month, a big focus of mine was creating video content and uploading onto YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. culminating in the release of my first street interview video!
This is something totally new for me, but it’s been a fun process. In my most recent video, I went to The Bean, one of the most recognizable landmarks of Chicago. There I interviewed foreign tourists about the US Elections.
It was nerve-wracking walking around in public dressed in my USA tank top and bandana. The fact that we were carrying filming equipment made us even more conspicuous.
It was also a bit weird asking people for permission to interview them. Most people, as you would expect, didn’t want to be filmed. But luckily, we were able to find some fun people that agreed to be interviewed.
Watch the video here: culminating in the release of my first street interview video!
Starting Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
This was something that was on my list for a long time. I always felt like just going to the gym wouldn’t make me stronger. What use are big muscles and stamina if you don’t know how to defend yourself?
Several of my friends who are martial artists recommended that I learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). They said it was the most effective martial art and is very community-focused, which makes for a great learning environment.
I tried my BJJ class at Valko Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy, a few blocks from my place and I loved it. It was really interesting because BJJ is so technical. It also uses muscles and movements that are completely foreign to me.
In my last two months in Chicago before I start traveling, I want to take advantage of my membership and learn as much as I can. This way if I’m ever in a fight overseas, I’ll be able to protect myself.
Looking Forward to November
For the next month, my main goals are:
- Have a successful launch for The Remote Podcast
- Create a system for recording, editing and publishing podcast episodes
- Find a remote job
- Record 2 YouTube videos
- Start a 30-Day Challenge for using Instagram and Snapchat
- Get out of my negative mindset
My #1 goal this coming month is to have a successful launch for The Remote Podcast. The scheduled launch date is November 7th. I’m excited because the podcast is an opportunity for me to reach thousands of people and to share the amazing stories of my guests.
My #2 goal is to get a remote job. It’s important to me that I have responsibilities outside of my personal projects and that I have the opportunity to work on a team. Plus, some financial stability wouldn’t be too bad either.
Lastly, my personal goal is to get out of this negative slump I’m in. I don’t like feeling this way and I have a hunch that hitting goal #1 and #2 will go a long way in helping me bring balance back into my life.