05 Dec My office is the world
The best decision I’ve made recently was risking everything, turning down a proposal for a tempting job I had in Brazil to become an online entrepreneur and a world traveler. Better known as “Digital Nomad”, this professional profile is increasingly common. These are people who can offer their services or products online and therefore are free to work wherever they want. They then opt to work from places that have better quality of life, internet speed and lower cost of life.
In my case, I had already lived in the US most of my childhood and my teenage years and had already traveled to some countries in my adulthood as a tourist. Traveling as an immigrant or tourist was always wonderful but now the experience is quite different. I won the freedom of choice of place and time I want to stay. The tourist, for example, has a time limit for his vacation that can be tiring. This makes it difficult to appreciate the details and deeply interact and understand the local culture.
My first round of experience as an entrepreneur lasted 13 years. And during that time, when I was lucky to find a way to travel, it was for a maximum of two weeks. I was tired from work and wanted to take it all in, at once. Sometimes I wanted to stay, to experience more, but I could not. I had to get back to work. I had no idea of “remote work”. I remember thinking of ways I could find a job there in that city or country I had been willing to explore more. This only seemed possible if I moved there to study with a study visa, or if I worked in a multinational to transfer me there. With my business going so well and being entirely “face to face”, my chances were small. At least, that’s what I thought. And so the years went by and, during every new trip, there I was thinking of how I could free myself and still have a work that I liked.
Unfortunately, companies in Brazil have not yet opened their mind to the remote work potential. Many professionals could do their work from home or even from another city or country, but there isn’t such a culture in Brazil. In Canada, for example, companies are extremely flexible with a variety of shifts to avoid the traffic in big cities and often allow employees to work from home a few days of the week. The results are higher and the teams are more motivated because they feel free and responsible.
Before I founded my current work adventure, www.bedigitalbefree.com, I hired a coach to help me make a transition in my career. I was then working for a multinational, feeling wasted because every attempt I made to map a career path or an international transfer, had failed. My boss was a terrible leader, never challenged me in any way. I could not see my professional growth and ended up looking at the clock, eager to leave. Until I hit my limit and I finally decided to invest in coaching sessions. With his questions, I got clarity on the action plan and next steps I needed to take. I devoted myself to that plan and started to feel useful and happy again. Something aligned with my values. One of my biggest value then, since I was feeling so trapped by the system, was freedom.
I dreamed of being able to work from whereever I was, but at that time, I had no idea that this would be possible. When we are in a difficult situation, feeling stuck, we simply can not see the other side of the knot that is blocking our road.
In my action plan, I included some mentors. They are essential in a career transition process. One of my “mentors” (he didn’t know that he was my mentor by the way, no need to) was the President of one of the most renowned multinational coaching companies. I did not know him yet, but I needed to ask him what was the best coaching school outside of Brazil at the time. I managed to talk to him and he recommended an international coaching school in Vancouver, Canada. I was already graduated in law, had an MBA but felt I needed an international certificate from a renowned coaching school to achieve my goals. Unfortunately, in Brazil this Coaching market has become a money-making machine and most schools charge an absurd to give a six-day course with more than fifty people in the class. So, if you can speak English, I recommend you look for respected coaching schools outside Brazil with smaller class sizes, more complete programs and a rich multicultural network.
In time, I left the company where I was and went to Canada! After three months, when I returned to Brazil, my mind was no longer the same. The idea of going to work at a fixed desk, at a traditional company didn’t convince me anymore. I had learned to work online and offered my English students this option. I’ve always taught English in my spare time as a source of extra income. They loved the online session. That’s when I decided to risk it. I still didn’t have coaching clients at that time but with word of mouth, my strong network and the sales experience I had, in a short period of time, I was totally booked. Now I’m already entering the second phase, with videos and projects that allow me to have even more freedom.
I offer Career Coaching and Language Coaching services. I help professionals make a career transition or improve their results. I teach them English with coaching techniques and I train people who want to work online but do not know how. I am fortunate to choose the clients I want to work with, in the sense that I only like to invest my time in those who prove to be serious about taking action. Then, I celebrate their achievements with them.
Since I founded Maxi Career Coaching, I have lived in Montreal, Vancouver, Orlando, Miami, Barcelona, Thailand and Bali. I’ve now decided that Barcelona will be my new base. I need a place I can call ‘home’. Then, I can travel and work from other countries when the wind blows and have Barcelona to come back to between a trip and another. Not bad, huh?
For those who identified with my story and want to make a transition, I suggest drawing a plan of action, on paper, with actions to be taken and deadlines. If you can, hire a coach with good training, experience and references because he is prepared to ask the right questions to motivate you in this process, which is not easy. The commitment to the coach is the same with the physical trainer. If you do not pay a trainer, you will not go beyond your physical limits and will not wake up at 6 in the morning to go work out for the results to come. Once you start investing, you give more value and do your part.
Most importantly, do not give up on your dreams and believe that all you really want, you can achieve, regardless of the size of the “knot” that is in front of you. Just draw an action plan and pay the price!
Kisses and hugs! Mari
PS: Feel free to write me with any questions, I’ll be happy to help. If you add me on Linkedin, do not forget to send me a message so I know who you are!