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It was great to interview Mish and Rob are from Making It Anywhere about location independence.
What do you say when someone asks you what you do?
We tend to look at each other in a panicked way for a while, because for some reason we find it hard to explain. We’re getting better at it though: we usually say that we run a brand consulting and copywriting business called Mortified Cow (www.mortifiedcow.com), and we run it while we travel the world with our laptops. Then after a while we might drop in that we also write a blog called Making It Anywhere, in which we discuss the experiences we have while working and travelling.
And then we might also talk about our real estate stuff (we own and rent out a few properties in the UK), as well as some of the weird books that we’ve written.
What activities are currently making most of your income?
The vast majority of our income comes from our client work with Mortified Cow. Essentially, we help small businesses and solopreneurs to make their businesses less boring and more profitable – all while having more fun. We do that through copywriting, web design and branding.
We also have some books for sale on Amazon, which make us a bit of money. And then we also make some money through our properties in the UK.
When and why did you become location independent? What were you doing previously?
In March 2012 we both quit our jobs and moved to NYC for six months – just to escape the UK for a while and figure out what we wanted to do with our lives (we knew we didn’t want to be in those jobs forever). Rob had his own music PR company and Mish worked for a digital agency.
The original plan was to return to London after six months and either start freelancing or set up a small business together. But while away we realised we didn’t really want to go back to London! We started reading and hearing more and more about digital nomads, so we began trying to figure out how we could make that lifestyle work for ourselves.
What makes a great coffee shop to work from?
The key ingredients are:
- Power outlets
- Good coffee
- Good music
- Busy but not too busy
- Comfortable chairs
They don’t mind you sitting there for hours, working away (in return for buying new drinks at least every hour)
It’s a rare thing when you get all those things in one place!
What’s the best piece of advice you would give your former selves at the point of leaving the 9-5?
Don’t worry so much! We probably missed out on so much fun and excitement in NYC because we spent so much time worrying and overworking to compensate for the fact that we weren’t yet sure of our business model or how we’d make regular income.
Yes, you do have to work hard, but there’s a balance to be achieved – and no one can be productive working the sorts of hours we were doing to begin with.
What are the tools or resources you just couldn’t live without for your business?
For work and productivity:
- Evernote for just about everything
- Dropbox and Cubby to store our files in the cloud and access them wherever we are
- Trello for staying organised
- Gmail: essential
- Tripit for keeping track of our travel plans
- World Time Buddy, which allows you to schedule meetings across time zones and send people a link to show them what time the meeting will be in their particular time zone
- Airbnb – we use it for practically all our accommodation. Without it, we’d be stuck in hostels or couchsurfing – which would be a nightmare for getting work done
The best and/or worst bit about running your business from your laptop is?
Best: almost everything! But if we had to pick one it’d be the freedom – to be anywhere, and to work at any time we like. For example, we like having the freedom to work for half of a Sunday and then take a big chunk of Tuesday off, to go on an excursion or do touristy things when it’s not the busiest tourist day/time. It’s also amazing to have the freedom to go to the supermarket at a time of day when no one else is around!
Worst: there’s always the temptation to do more and more work. The laptop is always there, inviting you to do more. There’s no end to what we can do to improve our business – which is great, but it means we spend too much thinking about work.
What does your average day look like (where in the world you may be from morning to night)?
People are surprised by how predictable most of our days are! And all the digital nomads we know have really set routines too.
Our goes a bit like this:
We get up at 6am and each do separate exercise. We’ll then come back and work until 1 or 2pm – either in our apartment or in a cafe. Then we’ll go out for the afternoon and explore wherever we are or meet up with friends. In the evening we’ll probably do another stint of work before having dinner or going out for a drink with friends.
Every day is pretty much like that, unless there’s a day trip or something else we particularly we want to do.
One of your funniest travel stories / dramas is…
Erm… how about the time a deer slowly ambled towards us?!
We’re pretty darn boring! We’re just doing a regular job while travelling slowly around the world – which doesn’t lend itself to many great anecdotes, unfortunately.
Lots of digital nomads are way more adventurous than us, by the way! While our afternoon excursion might involve a massage and a swim (Thailand), a trip to a museum (Berlin) or a bus tour (Budapest), theirs might involve an elephant trek or a trip through the jungle!
If you had all the money and time in the world what would you start on right now?
We’re not sure if we’d do anything that differently. We’re slowly testing all the business ideas we have, and we don’t really need much money because we purposely have low overheads and have nothing we’d really spend the extra money on.
Our biggest “want” was to be in control of our time, and that’s exactly what we’ve achieved.
We also like to have a balance of client work and pet projects (which could make money in the future). We love both types of work, and we like how diverse it is.
So yeah… we really don’t think we’d do that much differently, which is a great endorsement of the lifestyle!
Oh, one thing actually: we hate the time, energy and patience that we lose on travel days. If money were no object, we’d give up on low-cost airlines and get private jets everywhere.
Learn the 6 principle for becoming location independent.