In 2011, Nicole Connolly started saving money.
Living in Brisbane, Australia, Connolly had come across the world of travel bloggers and was quickly sucked in.
“I had always wanted to travel more than the four weeks a year we get in Australia, and in early 2011 I discovered the world of travel blogs and read stories about how these bloggers were travelling full-time,” she says. “I became obsessed with the idea and I just knew that was exactly what I wanted to do.”
Spurred by the death of her mother, who, in their last-ever conversation, encouraged her to do whatever made her happy, Connolly decided she would do it: She and her partner Michael would leave their jobs and set off on a long-term trip around the world.
Connolly was working 70-hour weeks at the award-winning day spa she had owned for 13 years, and Michael was working as a project manager for a construction company. By January 2012, they had saved $50,000 to finance their trip and booked a one-way ticket to the US, where they embarked on a three-month road trip.
Connolly started taking on remote jobs to earn money as they travelled, including travel blogging, social media management, writing e-books, freelance writing, and virtual assistant work.
“I have been an entrepreneur for a very long time, but the online world was new to me,” she remembers. “So I had to fumble my way through it. I took several courses and read hundreds of books to help get me on the right path.”
Then, in January 2015, she launched what has become her primary business: Freedom Junkies, a resource for people who want to veer off the traditional career path and follow their dreams. The site includes Connolly’s e-books, a blog, a Facebook community, and a course on becoming a social media manager who can work from anywhere.
Today, Connolly and her partner earn six figures a year between their blog, Freedom Junkies, and a social media management business.
Typically, she says, she works about four hours a day as they travel everywhere from Iceland to Costa Rica. Currently, they’re spending three months in the Bahamas.
In February, they will begin to offer a 30-day e-course based on what she’s learned about working remotely as a social media manager: Quit the Cubicle.
“[The course] came about because we had hundreds of emails through our blog and communities asking us how we started an online business,” Connolly says. “There were just so many others out there dreaming of quitting the 9-to-5 life and starting their own online business so they could work from anywhere in the world.”
Then, in 2017, they will close the social media management company (which Michael currently oversees) to devote more energy to online courses.
“The ‘freedom business’ revolution is growing quickly because more and more people are seeing that it is actually possible to work from a laptop anywhere in the world and make good money,” Connolly says. “Long gone are the days where budget travellers made pennies cleaning hostel bathrooms to support themselves. They are all online now making good money — most of them making better money than they were at corporate jobs! It is 100% possible to make your dream a reality if you put in the work. And, if you don’t know where to start, there are plenty of resources and people to help get you on the path to a life full of freedom and joy.”
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