Cary Jacobs is a freelancer who’s new to the digital nomad lifestyle. He began his digital nomad journey in Bansko and already appreciates the great freedom it gives him.
Interview by Tal Bright
How long have you been a digital nomad?
While knowledge of the digitally nomadic lifestyle is not new to me, this is my first venture out into the world of being a digital nomad here in Bansko, Bulgaria. So to answer your question…about 12 days :)
How do you make a living working from anywhere?
I work at an amazing freelancing platform called FreeeUp. At FreeeUp I have had the opportunity to simultaneously expand my resume tremendously, learn new marketable skills, greatly expand on existing ones, and get paid for it all!
I work for clients all over the world performing a wide array of tasks including audio editing, video editing, project and data management, copywriting, proofreading/editing, Amazon/Shopify/Walmart inventory management, product research and yet more.
Right now, I’m getting training in SEO from the ground up. I began as a neophyte to being nearly adept in one of the most lucrative contemporary skills, thanks to the people I’ve connected with through this platform.
What made you decide you wanted to be a digital nomad?
While I haven’t had the time/experience to come to a conclusive decision regarding whether or not the nomadic lifestyle is for me, I would say the most compelling reason to make this decision would be the freedom.
I’m not only speaking of geographical freedom. I’m referring to freedom to really call the shots in my own life. The freedom to take my career in the direction of my choosing. The freedom to network and learn from veteran nomads who have been around the block (globe in their case) and craft my future with the assistance of their eclectic knowledge.
Do you normally work at coworking spaces? And why?
Well, since I just started and immediately joined Coworking Bansko, I can say yes. Mainly for the reasons listed above. The opportunity to meet people who have more experience living this lifestyle and to network with people in a friendly mutual environment is an opportunity that’s hard to pass up. Each day brings opportunities to make new valued connections, both professionally and personally.
What do you like about coworking Bansko?
I like the fact that they promote community and acceptance. There are plenty of activities to take part in while you are a member of Coworking Bansko such as hiking trips, cycling trips, visits to popular attractions such as the hot springs (which takes place every Thursday), Friday barbecues, game nights, movie nights and more. So for me, it was a very accommodating and welcomed first step into digital nomadism.
What do you like about the town of Bansko?
I love the fact that it is surrounded by gorgeous snowcap mountains which maintain their white tops well into the summer.
The peaceful river that flows from all the way up the mountain range has countless miniature waterfalls within it and brings with it a rolling cool breeze.
The food is great and the locals are friendly. But most of all, I love the outstandingly cheap standard of living!
How many hours a day/week do you work on average?
The weekly hours I work vary quite tremendously. From April 2018 to March 2019 it was not uncommon for me to work 55–62 hours a week. This of course was somewhat tiring, but I knew that part of freelancing is having times where you are slammed, and times where you often wish you had less free time (such as now for instance).
I had completed my contract with my main client in March and haven’t found a suitable full time replacement as of yet. So at this time, I’m actually working within the range of 15–25 hours a week, mainly for podcast/video clients.
There’s no easy way to get a true average of my weekly hours long term. The bright side is that I have more time now to network and enjoy the lovely town of Bansko!
Have you learnt any important lessons from living the digital nomad lifestyle?
I have learnt just how much there is I don’t know about the remote business world. Learning that we are typically tiny fish in an ocean is an extremely important lesson in itself. The ways remote workers make their living are exponentially more expansive than I could have fathomed just one year ago.
Learning this is what really opened up the floodgates of networking for me, and it is what prompted me to start joining coworking spaces in the first place.
What are your plans for the future?
With all that I have learned this past year, I find that it’s practically impossible to pinpoint a specific game plan for the future.
I believe the people I meet and the business encounters I have will largely shape that future. Regardless though, it’s comforting to know that whatever that future may turn out to be, it will be entirely my choice!
Cary’s tips for freelancers and their clients
If you’re interested in becoming a freelancer at FreeeUp, please use Cary’s unique affiliate link to sign up here and email him at email@example.com to be introduced directly to the CEO and expedite your hiring process!
If you are interested in hiring pre-vetted top 1% freelancers you can use Cary’s client link. Feel free to email him (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions about the process and/or platform.
About the author
Tal Bright was a Nomad in Residence at Coworking Bansko in May 2019. She’s been a digital nomad since 2009 and is currently sharing her knowledge on her travel blog, brightnomad.net, and works as a content creator.