Spotlight on: Amy Nicholson, Digital Nomad (@freelance_amy)
We’re joined by Amy Nicholson, a digital freelancer who shares her experiences of working on the road with her tens of thousands of social media followers. Amy’s nomadic lifestyle stemmed from her frustrations with the conventional working world. Despite living in England’s capital and making a comfortable living from corporate jobs, Amy decided that freelancing remotely was the way forward. Now loving life, working from incredible locations, and exploring the world – we’re delighted to ask her some questions about this journey.
1. Thanks for joining us, Amy. For the uninitiated, can you tell us a bit about your freelancing career and social media journey as @freelance_amy?
I had been working in house and for agencies in London in marketing for a number of years, but was feeling burnt out with the city, 9-5 life. I wanted more freedom and flexibility, so decided to take the plunge and go self employed. This is where my freelancing journey started – I built myself a simple website and started my personal brand, which I then promoted on social channels. I have always loved travel, and soon enough I was gaining remote work through clients which was enabling me to work and travel at the same time.
2. Where are the top 3 locations you’ve worked from remotely?
Bali has to be number one for me, as this was where I first discovered remote working and the idea of being a ‘digital nomad’. I saw people working from cafes on their laptops back in 2015 and knew I had to make this my life! I have recently been in Bali – and it feels incredible to have accomplished that dream! I’ve also worked from Sri Lanka, which is such a beautiful paradise place (although the Wi-Fi connection was a tad temperamental), and from my self-converted van in Portugal.
3. How do you balance your own social media output with your client work?
Part of my work within marketing is content curation for clients, and being a super creative person this is the part I love the most. So, creating content for my own social media channels never feels like work – I absolutely love it, and actually do it for my own enjoyment and as a way to help my own mental health. It has been a great way to build a community, to help other people, and to hopefully inspire people into living slightly differently.
4. Was there a particular moment that made you realise a typical 9-to-5 isn’t for you?
After a good few years of working in London post-university, I took a few months out and went travelling with my boyfriend at the time, and we volunteered in lots of places in exchange for board – from surf camps in Costa Rica to yoga cafes in India. I met so many amazing people from all over the world, and realised that city life was not the only way to live. I had got caught up in the materialistic world of London living, and was starting to realise that there was so much more to life than working in an office and drinking my way through London pubs at the weekends. We ended up in Bali and this is when I realised that I could use my skills in marketing and work online.
5. What’s a reality of ‘van life’ that most creators don’t talk about?
I talk openly about this, but I think the lack of belonging is something I struggle with. I am craving some stability when it comes to community and location, as managing relationships whilst constantly being on the move can get tiring, as well as constantly looking for the next place to stay.
6. We’re not a fan of platform commission fees, why do you think the 20% industry standard has gone unchallenged for so long?
I think the pandemic and the rise of working from home has opened up people’s eyes to a new way of working, and there are now more people wanting to go self employed and to have more freedom with their life. I think this has helped put the self employed on the map more, and therefore things like commission fees are starting to be questioned. I hope that the 3 year of accounts for a mortgage will be questioned soon too, it seems ridiculous to me compared to the 3 months of an employed person!
7. As you continue to grow and develop your business and lifestyle, what are the next big aims for you personally?
Speaking of the ‘three year mortgage’ – I have just reached this milestone, so a big goal for me this year is to invest in some property. I have been waiting a long time to be in this position, so am super proud to be here and excited to create a base for myself. I want to continue to travel, especially in my van, but I also want some roots somewhere so that I can come back to a home when / if I want. I also want to continue creating content and hoping to inspire people to live life how you want – and that being in your mid thirties, single, travelling, and being self employed is totally fine – it’s great in fact!
Before you go
Thinking of following in Amy’s footsteps? Make your transition to working on the road all the easier with our MacBook giveaway! If you are gearing up to get some work done on the go, be sure to prepare for these ’10 Awkward Truths About Working Whilst Travelling’.
Freelance marketplace: Revolancer