For a long time I tried to find “my place” in the world. Who am I? What am I doing here? What’s my purpose? I look around and I’m bombarded with courses to teach me how to market myself, how to find my soul clients, what Instagram hashtags and hacks to use to grow my audience. I don’t like them, they don’t resonate with me, they are not the way I perceive the world or how I want to be perceived. But…they undeniably work. Every day you see a new coach talking about their infallible method to be successful. So, should I be doing the same things to reach what I believe is success? Should I post 20 selfies a day, talk about my morning routine and try to become an “influencer? Honestly, I’m tired of of copying other peoples’ methods, to speak words that are not mine and turn my thoughts into a pre-packaged product to fit in a world I don’t even want to be in.
That’s over. I’m going to start doing what I want, what my heart and my instinct is telling me to do. Not everyone will like it, but I’m not here to be liked by everyone, I’m here to make my mark and do it my way.
This is my story.
I went to Veterinary school because that’s what I’d always wanted to be growing up and I thought would make me happy because of my love of animals. It didn’t take me long to realize that wouldn’t be the case. I almost left school after my third year of the 5 year program, but, realizing the global economic crisis would not help me find a job, I decided to finish my degree, even though I knew I would probably never end up using it.
I finished school, and moved to Madrid, in search of opportunities while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. Completely randomly, after finishing my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course, the school I did it at was looking for Spanish teachers. I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but thought it would be a good opportunity to grow and to earn a bit of cash while I looked for something else, so I took the job. I started working 2 hours a week, and ended up working 25-30 hours a week.
My first steps in the working world
It wasn’t a terrible deal, I earned a decent salary considering the amount of hours I worked, the state of the Spanish economy and the fact that it was my first job straight out of University. My colleagues were awesome and the atmosphere at work was fun. I was pretty happy, but something didn’t feel quite right…22 days vacation a year? Not being able to decide when I could go see my family? Not being able to plan more than a week ahead because my schedule was so unpredictable?
The last straw for me was when I had to choose between going home for Christmas or going home for my sister’s birthday, because I didn’t have enough vacation days for both. I know it may sound silly, but family is everything to me and having to choose broke my heart.
In that moment I decided something had to change. I didn’t know how or what, but I knew I didn’t want a “traditional” job. I knew I wanted to work for myself, set my own hours, decide how much I make and how much I work.
This didn’t exactly come out of nowhere. My parents have been entrepreneurs my entire life and I’ve seen how they’ve lived: traveling the world, setting their own hours, working with who they want, when they want and how they want…plus earning a lot of money. What more could you ask for? Obviously, I was doing something wrong…my mom never seems to get bored.
So, that was when I started working online on a platform called Upwork where I could find translating and writing jobs as well as some video editing work. I started off slow, but after a few months I was able to substitute the income I was making working at the Spanish school (It wasn’t much to be honest…)
It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t overnight. I made a lot of mistakes and it took me months to get a steady paying client. But after 6 months I was able to replace the income I was making as a Spanish teacher (I told you I wasn’t making a lot!), working from home, no fixed schedule, no boss. I didn’t have to ask for vacation days, I could just go and not ask for permission to visit my family or travel. For me, that type of freedom is, literally, priceless.
The Real World
Freelancing online has really been the first, but most important step, to get out of where I was and open my eyes to a whole new world. It gives me the freedom I need to focus on the really important things, and not the things that are important to my boss. I know that from now on there will be more projects, more opportunities, just…more.
My latest project Agua Sin Plástico is something that I am SO passionate about. Our planet is dying, drowning and we are the ones with the power to change it.
And it won’t be the last project I ever start! I’m always looking for new ideas. And, why not? Losing your curiosity and the will to do and try new things is, in my opinion…dying.
We live in a world of niches. Focus! Do one thing and do it well! Don’t confuse your “followers”! Well, frankly, I don’t care, I don’t want to do just one thing. How unrealistic is that? No one is only one thing. I love combining my passions, because I AM a combination of all of them, I’m sorry if that’s confusing to some people.
I am very grateful that in the last year and a half I’ve been able to travel to a bunch of new places, but that’s no the most important thing. The most important thing is that I’ve had the freedom and the flexibility to prioritize my family, my partner and my friends. The most important thing is that I’ve been able to be there for those big moments, that I can spend Christmas with my family this year, even if my sister tore her ACL and she won’t be able to make it home, without having to ask anyone for permission to do so. That is what I call #freedomtochoose.