- Mike Zima always dreamed of moving from the US to Europe.
- To supplement his household income during a potential move, he started digital consulting on Fiverr, a platform for freelance and remote work.
- Today, he lives in Mallorca, Spain; owns his own digital media business; and does all of his work remotely.
In 2014, Mike Zima and his wife Irena were vacationing in the Bahamas.
“We were floating like ducks in the warm water, and Chicago was an ice palace we didn’t want to return to,” he told Business Insider. “We wanted to be happy when we come home. To be fair, Chicago has good deep dish pizza, but we weren’t happy coming home when we could have a better life.”
Zima, now 30, and Irena had always known they wanted to move to Europe, and when they returned home, he started seriously looking into how they could make that happen.
“The typical transition is like, ‘OK, we’re going to move, I’m going to find a job, everything will be all right,'” he said. “But that’s almost working against the grain, because relocating to another country is very difficult.”
Zima started experimenting with Fiverr, a site that lets people pay others for tasks outside their expertise starting at $US5 each.
“I knew I would need income to supplement our lifestyle, because in Europe you have to take a pay cut with a traditional job,” he said.
Zima’s day job was in digital marketing, so he used his experience to start consulting in a similar vein. Over the next few years, he gathered expertise in Google Analytics to enhance his side gig, and soon, his web consulting started picking up.
In 2015, his income from Fiverr “went from $US50 a month to a couple hundred a week,” he said. “I started getting good reviews, and that’s when I had the day job and the side hustle side by side.”
“All of 2016 was me doing the side hustle on my lunch breaks,” he continued. “On my way to work and on my way home – almost every waking moment was going into this.”
That was the year he and Irena bid Chicago goodbye and headed for Spain. Now, after a stint in Barcelona, he lives in Mallorca, the stunning Mediterranean resort island that hosts the Spanish royal family on their annual summer holiday.
He supports himself through his own company, data analytics and social media agency Zima Media, which operates through the Fiverr Pro platform with cofounder Damien Bouvier, who is based in London. In 2017, he earned six figures.
Because he makes his own schedule, Zima is able to prioritise himself over his work. He generally works about 60 hours a week, and right now he’s in the process of getting a Spanish driver’s licence. Irena also works on Fiverr, doing photo retouching and helping Zima Media with administrative work and design.
“Mallorca is fantastic,” he said. “It’s almost a fairy tale.”
For people who have similar dreams of creating remote work that lets them live anywhere in the world, Zima has some advice:
“I got really good at one thing,” he said of mastering Google Analytics, “and then that just percolated to all of my other experiences. I took things that were a part of my day job, which I was very experienced at, and meshed it and overlapped it to make a more compelling offer.”
He continued: “If you’re going to start a side hustle, it has to be about either learning a skill you never had the chance to pick up on your own, or exploring something that makes you happy.”
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