A few years ago, as I browsed through travel pictures on Instagram I stared in awe at all the beautiful pictures from around the world, however the thought that I would one day get to visit them was a distant dream that I never thought would become a reality.
Being from a developing country, i.e. India and not being born into riches, I would never have thought my life would turn out the way it has.
I’ve been on the road full time for the past year and a half and in that time I’ve had incredible experiences like climbing the world’s 3rd highest mountain pass with everything I own, meeting the Dalai Lama, getting featured in newspapers and magazines etc.
It sounds pretty darn amazing (and it is) but it didn’t come without it struggles. Many people look at my life and consider it “lucky” that I get to do this at 20, but there’s more that meets the eye than the glamorous pictures on my Instagram.
In April 2016, I left Goa, India at the age of 18 after dropping out of college and had barely 200$ in savings, to be able to put food on my plate I learnt to build websites by watching YouTube videos and Googling answers to any questions I had. I then went cafe to cafe and pitched in order to get my first clients.
Later as my portfolio grew I was able to network online and get more clients. In the background i built a travel blog at Think Travel Lift Grow that grew to cover my travel expenses so I could afford to stop building websites.
That’s what it comes to at the end of the day, it’s about doing the things most people aren’t willing to do to be able to live a life most people can only dream of.
Other struggles of this life include visas; as I hold a pretty weak passport and a ton of other things. But the way I look at it, complaining about things rarely achieves much! We live in a time when entitlement has never been higher and everyone expects things to be handed to them, however I like to promote the idea of “shutting your mouth, putting your head down and actually putting in the work” instead of the idea of sitting on the beach with a drink that’s usually promoted in the digital nomad community.
The world isn’t fair, no one in their right mind would say that it is. However in my opinion, spending all your time complaining about what you don’t have instead of appreciating the things you have is a bad allocation of your time and energy.
As a freelancer, the biggest obstacle I had at the start was being able to convey the value I could bring. I was a 18-year-old broke dropout and everyone said wouldn’t amount to anything, so I hustled and had to pitch door to door and explained to small business owners how having a website would benefit them.
Right now I know people double my age and ten times the level of skill who complain that they can not get clients.
“What about a degree Jeremy?” Many people ask me about college and if i ever plan on getting a degree but the truth is that not having a college degree has never been an issue for me.
Right now, as a side hustle I work as an SEO consultant for startups and businesses, and the reality is that my clients don’t really care if I’m 20 or 40, if I graduated from Harvard or dropped out of high school, if I’m on a beach in Thailand or in a cubicle. They care if can produce and deliver results.
If you can provide value and produce results, and you can convey the benefits of those results, you will never have any issue making a living. No matter what you do.
“Do I occasionally meet people who are cynical towards me being young?” I sure do, and I probably leave money on the table but i wouldn’t want to work and associate with narrow-minded people like that to begin with anyways!
My advice to people getting started with freelancing is pretty simple: take a skill (preferably something you like or at least are interested in), get good at it (learn and practice more) and then start doing the skill for people that will benefit from it.
For example; personally with SEO, I put my head down and learnt everything, then executed and got my travel blog on the first page of Google for most travel-related queries.
Only after doing that did I start talking about SEO. But that means doing actual hard work, and it’s much easier to blame politicians, circumstance, luck than it is to take responsibility of your own life.
The biggest struggles of being a blogger would be coming to terms with the delayed gratification. When I started with blogging I remember having incredibly few readers and I earned less than a dollar in my first month of blogging!
But I kept on learning more about blogging and the know-how’s about the industry and putting in the work and eventually my blog grew.
The thing that keeps me putting in the work when it comes to blogging is the impact my content brings to people!
There is nothing more humbling than waking up to email of someone telling you how a single article changed their life and motivated them to begin “that thing” that they have been putting off.
To every aspiring blogger or content producer, don’t produce to make an income! Produce have a positive impact in the lives of your readers and bring them value with your content and making money blogging will never be an issue.
Most of the information required to achieve 99.9% of your goals, on the internet and off, is just a simple Google search away.
A simple search of “How do I ___” with the goal you want to achieve in the blank will give you a ton of information and then it’s upto you to read, learn and actually execute on that information!
Don’t believe me? In February 2016, when I was still in college studying Engineering in Goa, India! I skipped class and used to go to the Library and I remember Googling “How to make money traveling” and reading all the articles by all the top bloggers, fast forward to now and I’m on the first page for that same query!
Read, learn and execute!
See you on the road! Don’t be shy to say hi 😉
About Jeremy, the author
Jeremy Noronha hosts The #CoffeeWithJeremy Show where he is going to go around the world, try the best coffee and review them, he built Jeremy Noronha a travel blog to pay for his travels around the world by leveraging social media and SEO. He also works with startups as an SEO Consultant. You can follow his adventures on his blog and YouTube or connect with him on Instagram at ThinkTravelLiftGrow
Isn’t Jeremy’s story amazing? To follow your heart at such a young age is the strength of a true independent Indian. What does Jeremy inspire you to do that you have been putting off for so long?
Other Nomad Posts to Read
- Becoming a nomad with a camera – Deines
- Sailboat nomad
- Honolulu, Hawaii Travel Tips
- Traveling the world as a Solo Nomad – Melissa
- How I Became A Weekend Nomad – Gareth