How I Fell Into the “Freelancing Trap” & Why I’m Changing Course

When you first start traveling, everything is new and exciting. You enjoy the rush of being somewhere new. You experience new cultures, see new cities, and enjoy life in a way you’d never experienced before.

Each night out you try a new beer or liquor. Each week your off to hike some mountain or splash around at a new beach. Every city is a new adventure. Hell, you even meet a few girls along the way, too.

The highs keep coming and coming. Spending a week frolicking around a nearly deserted island with your best friend while Euro chicks sunbath topless next door? Check. Learning how to surf in a tropical paradise while partying your balls off with new friends from all over? Check.

Mandatory Machu Pichu trip with the bros? Check. Spending a week in one of the best beach towns in Latin America with your girl and the boys? Check and check. Making a mockery of salsa dancing in Cali, Colombia? Check.

Life has been good. I can’t really complain. But the human mind works in mysterious ways. The highs never last. We’re always left craving more and more. We want better adventures, more danger, hotter women, and all the spoils that come along with them.

Read More: Is Colombia Dangerous?

The “Freelancing Trap”

I started freelancing as a means to an end. I wanted to travel. I was ready to hit the road. I just needed a way to finance the whole ordeal. Freelancing was the quickest way to cash.

If you’re just starting out online, freelancing is where you should start. Sure, work on niche sites or build a blog. Hell, do both. Just know the cash that’ll cover your bills will come from freelancing for a while.

That’s perfectly fine. I’ve been freelancing for over three years now. And that’s the issue. That’s not perfectly fine. What does that mean?

I fell into the “freelancing trap.” I enjoyed the fruits of my labor without actually putting in too much labor. I realized making $1,500 a month was easily doable and I settled. I hit the road and enjoyed more adventures than any freelancer not making $5,000 a month or more should.

It’s taken awhile, but I realized the mistakes I’ve made. I’ve put fun before the grind for way too long. I hate that I’m saying this, but it’s time to make a drastic change.

Put In Your Grind Time

I pulled the trigger. A combination of factors led me to book a ticket home. I wasn’t planning to head home until Christmas, but my travel enjoyment had dwindled.

I just wasn’t feeling the same on the road. I was spending all my days behind a computer screen. I was building sites and doing freelance work for 6-10 hours every day.

I’m all for hard work, but I didn’t start traveling to make $2,400 a month while working 60 hours a week in a third-world country – all from my studio apartment. I was a living definition of falling into the “freelancers’ trap.”

So I’m headed home. Changes will be made. I won’t leave until my passive income more than sustains me each and every month. That could take a few months. It could take nearly a year.

The only plan is to grind. I’ll put in the 4-12 months it takes to build sustainable websites that will fuel the lifestyle of adventure I desire.

The Goal

I won’t leave the United States for a long trip until I have over $2,000 in “passive” income from affiliates and advertisers.

My goal for the end of 2017 is to make $3,000 per month or roughly $100 every day from affiliate sales.

Some say that’s small numbers. That’s fine. I know if I can hit those figures my income will continue to grow exponentially through continuing to follow the process.

What You’ll See From Nomadic Hustle in the Coming Months

I have tons of old travel content that I haven’t released yet, so you’ll still see some entertaining travel stuff here. But things will change for a few months.

I’m going to show you how to make money publishing articles online every single day. Reaching my goal will become your crash course to increasing your online income each and every month.

And once my income is where I want it to be, we’re going to have some real adventures together. No more of the cookie cutter travel experiences that everybody and their mama has blogged about.

Fuck that! We’ll be getting off the beaten path and going to places no one else does. I’m talking places like Paraguay, Venezuela, Honduras, Guatemala, and Northern Brazil.

So here’s to changing it up, putting in the grind time, and the real adventures to come. Hasta luegooo!

5/5 (1 Review)
Jake D

Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.

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Emiliano Zapata II - July 12, 2017

That’s what I realized while living in Colombia. No point on struggling and working my ass off if I couldn’t actually enjoy the places I was working at. Been stuck at home for a year now and not leaving until I can make between $2000-$3000 a month.

    NomadicJake - July 13, 2017

    Yep, I’m not going anywhere until my passive income is where I want it. Once you have your finances right, life becomes so much better.

    Hope you’re getting close to reaching your goal!

Seth Rose - July 12, 2017

I totally relate! I wanted to leave it all behind and travel–but I was only making $500-1000 a month freelancing. It would have been so stressful trying to scrape by in the 3rd world, which totally defeats the purpose of being a location independent entrepreneur, that is to be happy and free!

I think you’ve got a good thing going with this site so I look forward to seeing what you produce in the future. Cheers.

    NomadicJake - July 13, 2017

    Seth, we are thinking along the same lines here. There’s a fine line where travel is worth it and where you’re simply banging your head against the wall doing freelancing work.

    The key to location independent living is freedom, as you said. And sitting behind a screen for 8-12 hours a day isn’t my definition of it.

      Seth Rose - July 13, 2017

      Yep, and the longer you would’ve waited the more stressed you would have been. Better to drop the ego, go home, and work on your biz plus save money. It will be much better in the long run that way.

        NomadicJake - July 14, 2017

        Yeah, you’re spot on here. Your actions have to change once you shift from a short-term to long-term perspective.

Jordan Reyes - July 13, 2017

I found your blog after reading an article on Calm and Collected: “Two Digital Nomads That Aren’t Frauds.” It’s refreshing to hear the authenticity in a writer’s voice about falling into the “Freelancer Trap” as you described. Would you recommend Fiverr to a blogger new to the freelancing world searching for ways to build up passive income?

I look forward to the travel content you haven’t released yet.

    NomadicJake - July 13, 2017

    Thanks for the comment! Calm and Collected is a great blog, as well. As to your question…

    NO! Do not use Fiverr to build your client base if you’re a writer. You will always be broke if you do this. For certain graphic designers, Fiverr can be great, but it’s bad for writing.

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Cameron Chardukian - August 11, 2017

This was such a kickass post. I already shared it on some other social media channels, but wanted to comment here again so that I can easily find it again at a later date. More posts like this. We really resonate with you sharing your vulnerabilities and challenges. Tell us the darkside of a life of travel and online business.

    NomadicJake - August 11, 2017

    Cam, thanks for this insightful comment. I’ll definitely try to post more personal stuff in the coming months, as I think you are right. People much prefer the struggle and challenges. If it all seems easy, then you’re not doing it right.

      Cameron Chardukian - August 11, 2017

      Of course, half the journey is the stuff we don’t feel proud about posting on Instagram.

        NomadicJake - August 11, 2017

        Lol for sure! More like 90% of it.

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jaguars - January 26, 2018

Guatemala actually gets as many tourists as Colombia, by the way. My favorite in Central America… make sure to see Quetzaltenango, not just the usual Antigua/lake loop.

    NomadicJake - January 26, 2018

    Interesting. Thanks for the tips! I’ll make sure to check it out when in Guatemala.

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