“It sounds like you don’t want to work there.”
I was sitting on the couch in my therapist’s office and she had just blown my mind with that simple sentence.
I didn’t want to work there.
I had been complaining about my job. Really, really long hours. A long, long commute. A boss who would pretend to listen to me and then undermine me in the next breath. A boss who would depend on me to successfully run his business, while constantly changing the direction and vision and expecting me to make it happen.
I had been so excited to get this job. It was a “big career move.” It had a fancy office in a high rise building in Los Angeles. I was working on a product that I was passionate about. I was building a team, and helping people, and constantly justifying to myself why I should stay.
It looked good from a distance. It looked like the next step for my future.
But when I examined it up close (thanks, therapy!), I realized I was extremely unhappy.
I was frustrated by the limitations forced on me because I was running someone else’s business instead of my own.
I was discouraged by not having more control over something I was so passionate about.
I was burnt out by not sleeping enough, not being outside enough, and not being heard.
And I thought that’s just how things would have to be. I thought I would just have to work job after job after job until I finally had enough “experience” to get the dream job. To finally have flexibility, to finally choose my projects, to finally personally benefit from my hard work.
But when my therapist said, “it sounds like you don’t want to work there” I realized it was as simple as that.
I was done settling for a job that made me miserable. I was done waiting around for someone else to tell me I was good enough to do something bigger, better, different.
I walked into the office the next day and sat down with my boss. I presented an argument for an increase in salary and part-ownership in his company. He agreed with me completely and confirmed that I was “basically” a part-owner and held the future of his company in my hands.
And then he denied both my requests.
I went home and cried. I had loved that company and that product.
But I wasn’t going to settle anymore. If I couldn’t be paid what I was worth, then I wasn’t going to treat someone else’s business as my own and pour my blood, sweat, and tears into it.
I put in my two weeks notice.
I was going to use that blood, sweat, and tears on my own business. On my own job. On my own body.
And with a meager savings account, and California rent to pay, I got to work very quickly figuring out how I might do that.
I googled every version of “working online” I could find.
I read all about starting a blog to make money online. I read all about starting a marketing agency to make money online.
I covered my entire wall with post-its.
Each post-it representing a different possibility. Teaching English. Walking dogs. Writing an ebook. Selling essential oils. Selling leggings. Selling selling.
I made a list of anyone I knew doing anything on the wall and I started interviewing them. Asking questions. Taking notes. Crossing out post-its. Adding post-its.
I listened to hours and hours and hours of entrepreneurial podcasts.
And I tried everything. (Or, well, almost everything. I don’t think I’m cut out for selling leggings.)
I started walking dogs almost instantly. I had two furry clients who needed lots of exercise during the day while their owner was at work. We went on long runs while I thought about how I could make this all work long term. Getting paid to be outside. A flexible schedule that would let me pursue all sorts of fun new business ideas and also put food on the table for me and my kitties.
Each night I spent 2 hours on my Upwork profile. Upwork in an online marketplace that matches freelancers (like me!) with clients looking for help. It felt like a good fit for me, and (spoiler alert!) two years later I’ve made $50,000 on it while working part-time.
Two years ago, it was one of the many things I was trying out to make money remotely.
Now, it’s one of the only things I do.
Since the day I created my profile, I’ve spent countless hours refining it. I’ve spent countless hours reading blog posts and tutorials and attending webinars on how to find the best jobs on Upwork. I’ve figured out how to make it work for me so that I can find jobs when I need cash, and have flexibility to decrease workflow when I need to decompress in nature.
Since the day I created my profile, I’ve moved into a vintage travel trailer and have been touring the United States for a year and a half.
Since the day I created my profile, I’ve called myself “self-employed.” I’ve been my own boss. I’ve chased the projects that I’m passionate about, I’ve matched with clients I click with, and I’ve saved the blood, sweat, and tears for building up the lifestyle I want.
I am confident in my own decisions.
Upwork ended up being the perfect place for me and my freelancing goals, but there’s so many remote work opportunities out there. In fact, it’s overwhelming.
I highly recommend the post-it wall strategy. And pro/con lists are a classic that work.
But I really wish I had had an introduction to all the options way back in 2016 when I quit my job. Even better: I wish I had done my research before I had to scramble to make money fast. I would have made money a lot faster.
If you’re staring down a job that isn’t giving you life, or you’re desperate for flexibility, or you’re tired of spending your time commuting instead of being outside… well, now there is an introduction! There’s a course called Remote Work 101…and I happen to help teach it, so you know you’re getting the stuff I wish I had known back when I was covering my entire apartment in post-its.
I’m the “Upwork Expert” and I’m finally answering the questions I get asked constantly—how to get started, how to position yourself effectively to get the best jobs, and I take you on a long tour of the platform so you know your way around like I finally do after years of experience!
But there’s way more than Upwork training in the course. Remote Work 101 goes through other online platforms (and how to avoid scams!) and getting the most out of them, but more importantly, this course helps you from the very first step of making the big decision to jump into remote work! Camille Attell, the head instructor is a former corporate trainer turned digital nomad. She brings her insane breadth of experience and breaks down the steps of going from a “regular job” to remote work you can do from anywhere--so you have the flexibility and freedom to pursue full time travel!
If you’re nervous about taking the leap or just don’t know where to start, this course will be a game changer. Several students from the beta class have already landed remote jobs before even completing the course work! (As an instructor and affiliate for this course, I do earn a commission if you enroll, but at no additional cost to you!)
Head over to www.pheribee.com/remotework to kick start your new flexible career.
RVE Entrepreneur Podcast Interview
Join me behind the scenes of my Upwork success. I've made over $50,000 and worked over 1500 hours with clients I've found on Upwork.com. I was interviewed on the RV Entrepreneur Podcast about my experiences on the site. Listen now!