“I want to go full nomad and be free, but I need to figure out how to get rid of my job first.” When I say this to people (friends and strangers alike) an almost hysterical look washes over their face, followed by a humorous smirk with a suggestion to just pick up the phone and quit. I wish it could be that simple… or could it be? I have a job with a large car dealership as a Web Administrator/Graphic Designer. I appreciate it, as it’s the best-paying job I’ve ever had (which still isn’t much). Instead of answering phones all day and watching the clock, I get to use my creativity. My days and weeks usually sail by.
The peculiar thing is that this job fell into my lap a year ago (my anniversary was last month). My temp assignment at a hospital abruptly ended two months early, at a time when I really needed the money. The day after, I was literally sitting on my couch thinking, “What am I going to do now?” when my phone rang. It was my company’s recruiter who found an old resume of mine floating around on Careerbuilder.com. I quickly went in for two interviews and reported for my first day of work two weeks later!
It was a complete career change for me. I have a practically useless degree in Psychology and never had any formal training in graphic design or web stuff. What qualified me for this job were skills that I taught myself running my own perfume business and side projects part-time years ago. As a budding artisan perfumer, I didn’t have a big budget to work with. To market my perfumes, I had to create my own packaging, labeling and logos by playing around with Photoshop. I managed my website using Yahoo Merchant CMS (content management system), which has user-friendly templates to work with… no coding needed! For my film promotion website, I used Joomla and worked closely with a web developer to get the tasks done that I couldn’t do on my own. The recruiter counted this as experience in project management! I also learned how to get my perfume business and film website into local newspapers and industry blogs. I guess there are other ways to be rewarded in pursuing self-employment other than money. In my case, it was with transferable skills! Unfortunately, my little ventures didn’t bring in enough for me to not need a job in the first place.
During these difficult times when people are desperately looking for a job, I am desperately looking to get rid of mine. I understand how fortunate I am, but Gypsies can’t travel if they’re required to report to their cubicle every weekday morning at 8:30 AM. I have to move on. I also have to be discrete about who I am in my posts. Declaring to the world that you are looking for ways to leave your job usually doesn’t sit well with employers. My true identity will be revealed when it’s time. That’s right… I’m a super hero!
My three phase plan (1. Get an RV 2. Lose the day job. 3. Live the dream) has been moving along surprisingly smooth, thus far. I honestly thought the first step would be the most difficult, but it’s not. The second step is the big hurdle to jump. I’m looking at a lot of uncertainty and variables that could either help or hinder my goals. I need to have income independent of a traditionally structured job in order to support myself on the road. The good thing to know is that my “overhead” is much lower since I have no rent or car payment. However, I want more than to just scrape by, I want to live. Time to do a little homework explore my options.
A. I can become fully self-employed. I’ve reopened my perfumery and now have both my website and Etsy shop up and running. Unlike the first time around, I will aggressively promote and take it seriously with the intent of making a living. By my calculations, I’d have to sell at least 20 bottles of perfume a week to live comfortably. With some hard work, that can be achieved, right? I still have a small following… thank goodness I kept my Facebook page and Twitter account!
B. I can take a stab at freelance writing. This was something I first considered two years ago but never thought of pursuing seriously, until now. I have two friends who are writers and they have given me advice on where and how to start. Assignments right now are tight, due to the economy. Like anything else; gigs may be few and far between, especially for new ‘uns like myself. By the way, I’ve read some positive comments regarding my writing style over the past few days… it’s been very encouraging!
C. I could temp as I travel around the country. I’m registered with a large, national temp agency, Kelly Services. They have offices in each state, which I could travel with, and work for. Though, I would be working a 9-5 schedule, I’d still be “getting the ball rolling” by traveling. The potential pitfall is that it’s only semi-guaranteed income. If assignments aren’t available, I don’t work. Some areas of the country will have fewer jobs than others and there are sure to be salary differences. I’m also looking at websites offering seasonal jobs to gypsies, RVers, and vagabonds such as coolworks.com.
D. I could find another permanent job in a totally different location. I asked Him for guidance and became spiritually drawn to Modesto, CA. I had two friends suggest to me, in different instances, that I should move to California. Mind you, neither of them knew of my thoughts of settling there in the future. Remember that gentleman at the RV shop with whom I felt a “Cloud Atlas” moment? Well, he was the second person suggesting I go out west. He mentioned that I would most likely make better money doing the same job at a dealership in California. The seed in my mind has been planted. I knew there was something special about him! This option appeals to me the least because I’d simply be trading one pair of brass handcuffs for another. However, just as with option C., the status quo, that is my life, will be changed. In most cases, it’s better to do something rather than nothing and this could be the something that keeps me moving in the right direction.
I have a “back up, back up plan”, if none of the above options work out within the next 60 days. I will continue to save money for an additional 60 days more, quit my job and go full nomad no matter what. I will have by then a small cushion that should be enough for gas to take me cross country, provide safety for emergencies and incidentals, and coverage for a month’s worth of expenses until I find a gig, temp assignment, writing assignment, etc. I figure many immigrants came to this country with much less in their pocket and ended up okay. I should be okay, too! Unexpectedly, if I were laid off today and couldn’t save any money, I’d head out west tomorrow and work all along the way until I get there. The ultimate plan is to always move forward… no matter what.
Side note: If you are curious about my perfumes, simply let me know in the comments section below and I’ll email you my website’s link. Also, I have found another cool gypsy who talks about the subject of earning money while on the road.