My name is Michelle Frost and in July 2014 my husband and I grabbed three of our children and decided that we wanted to work from anywhere – literally (we called it running away at the time). Why did we decide to do this? One day we sat back and realised that after 12 years of being business owners we were actually not running our business any more – it was running us!
In 2002 I started a digital publishing business creating digital information products in niche areas. This was a great life style that fitted in around our family (even better than my teaching career had) and I loved it. However it wasn’t until 2006 that Simon joined me in the business and since then it has been our families only source of income. We started running workshops and mentoring local businesses to get and grow online via funding from state and federally programs in 2008. It was this training component of our business that really took off and also turned our business into a bit of a monster for us. We no longer had a lot of say over our time as we ran from workshop to mentoring/coaching sessions and helped 100s of people to grow their businesses online!
By 2013 we were worn out and realised that we had neglected the ‘online’ component of our business as we helped others to build theirs. On top of that the three kids we had left at home were seeing less and less of us. It was time to make a change!
Introducing our daring escape plan AND a world map. We sat the kids down and explained that we were thinking of taking them on a trip around the world for at least a year. Surprisingly they were all fine with that, especially after the youngest asked if that meant he didn’t have to go to school for a year? We said, “sort of”, he said yes! So for a year we sat around a world map everyday and planned where we would go and what we would do.
To make this plan happen we would need to wean ourselves off the ‘stable’ government funded income and back onto our less predictable online income. We looked at our old digital product business (which we still been selling even though we hadn’t marketed it for some time) – it would need a real over haul if it was to become this travelling families income! We did play with it and try to clean it up a bit, but we really had very little interest in those craft niches. There is a lesson right there – if you’re not “into” a particular industry it becomes very hard to create a business around it – after all you basically have to live with it to make it work! What we did work out is that we loved teaching people about growing their business online and we opened an online business coaching club. So now we had some subscription income and a few service clients which we’d been looking after for a few years.
After doing the numbers we realised this may not be quite enough so we brainstormed a few ideas and based on what we’d learnt about small/medium sized businesses we saw a big whole in the market. No one had time to actually do their online marketing – most business owners spent most of their time actually running their businesses – doing the thing that people paid them for. Unfortunately marketing for them was still the set and forget – Yellow Pages, TV, Radio, Newspaper – type marketing. Even those business who understood the ineffectual nature of these untargeted traditional forms of marketing, couldn’t see how they were going to use the world wide web because they just didn’t have the time. This was the gap our new service filled – we started an online marketing service. Helping time-strapped businesses reach targeted audiences online.
So in June 2014 we left chilly Tasmania with three kids (10, 12 and 14 years old) and started what would be an eighteen month trip through Australia, Asia and Europe. We’re now back in Tasmania but have not returned to our old lives, in fact we’re living at the beach and running our online businesses – enjoying our lifestyle, our kids and our “work from anywhere” business.
During the life of this series here on WFA we’ll share with you many of the lessons we learnt on the road, including:- how we decided on our escape goals, how forming daily habits has made a big difference to us, what we’ve learnt about interruptions (otherwise called life), the best tools we’ve found for working from anywhere and lastly but by no means least how we stay connected while working from anywhere. I’m super excited to share these posts with you and look forward to connecting with all you freedom seekers and hearing your stories – lets change the world one job at a time!
Andy spends his time away from the computer cycling or hiking up mountains or catching a wave on his SUP.