Ditching the 9-5: Advice from ‘Chief Freedom Junkie’ Nicole Connolly

How to become a “Freedom Junkie” and work anywhere in the world from your laptop.

What kind of life do you want to live? That’s a question we all too often ask ourselves when we think of our future. Many of us want the mortgage, the family, the security, and the kind of future that makes us feel all fuzzy and warm inside. But then there’s the rest of us – those of us who crave the adventure, the unknown, the danger, and the freedom to do whatever the hell we want.

In 2012, Nicole and Michael made the decision to enter into that unknown and travel the world indefinitely. By selling all their earthly possessions, cashing in what savings they had and setting off with one bag each, their adventure to freedom was just beginning. They started an online business, meaning they could work anywhere in the world from their laptop, which eventually led to multiple online businesses, allowing them the freedom to travel the world and earn money whilst doing it.

Living the dream through their freedom lifestyle is what inspired them to create Freedom Junkies, a community of like-minded individuals who are passionate about living their dreams and becoming digital entrepreneurs.

By offering guidance and support from others who have “been there and done that”, Freedom Junkies has a Facebook group where the post daily tips and support for those who want the freedom lifestyle and to grow a profitable online business they can successfully run from anywhere in the world. We decided to get in touch with Nicole for a chat about her freedom lifestyle, and what being a Freedom Junkie actually entails.

“A Freedom Junkie is someone who has a desire to live life on their terms. To have the freedom to choose what their ideal life looks like and then create it. Freedom means something different to each of us but the one thing that remains the same is that we all want to live a more fulfilling and abundant life. A true Freedom Junkie won’t let anything get in the way on their journey to that fulfilling and abundant life.”

“I was living a pretty average life in Australia – I had a loving husband, a beautiful house, a great career. On the outside it may have looked like the perfect life to many. But my career saw me working 70+ hours a week, and when I wasn’t working I was too tired to do anything else.”

“Then one day I realized I didn’t actually like the life I was living. I was exhausted, I wasn’t travelling as much as I wanted to, and I was stuck within the same 4 walls day in and day out. So I made the decision to change how I was living my life. Travelling was always my passion so I made it my life and Michael and I took off on a one way ticket to travel the globe full time. Five years later we are still traveling full time and living the fulfilling and abundant life I was once day-dreaming about.”

When discussing their online business Nicole told us about her lack of online knowledge and how she applied her entrepreneurial spark to becoming a success in the field.

“I won’t lie, it wasn’t easy! While I have been an entrepreneur for 17 years, I had no idea how to run a business online. I didn’t have the skills or knowledge for the digital world so I had to learn everything from scratch. I took courses, went to seminars, read hundreds of books, joined entrepreneur communities – I did whatever I could to soak up as much information as I could find. And I’m so glad I did! My online business has changed everything! I can work from anywhere in the world from my laptop. I’ve worked in cafes in Paris, beachside in the Bahamas, I’ve even worked from the jungles of Costa Rica!”

“I worked hard to grow my online business and it paid off because my business was bringing in a 5 figure a month income in just under 6 months. And now since I started in the digital world 5 years ago, two of my online businesses have hit the 6 figure a year mark. I don’t say that to brag, I say that because I want others to know what is possible, even if they don’t currently have the skills! It’s amazing what you can achieve when you want something bad enough.”

When asked about their lives now compared to their 9-5 working life, Nicole discussed how unrecognisable it has become.

“Michael was always so stressed from work (as an Engineer Project Manager) as was I. All we did was work, but we were working in jobs that we didn’t love. We had limited vacation time every year, and for two people who loved to travel that just didn’t work for us at all. But now neither of us ever feels stressed out, we travel constantly, and we love what we do, in both life and work. We are very different people to what we used to be. Being able to let go of all the stress and anxiety that came with our 9 to 5s, and living a truly fulfilling life, has completely changed who we are.”

“We are still ‘full time travellers’. However by the end of 2017 we will have a home base and travel frequently (instead of carrying all of our possessions with us everywhere we go!). We are not sure yet where that home base will be so it’s very exciting to see how it all folds out!”

“I work part-time hours on my business and that’s all I ever want to work. If I’m launching a new product then I will put in more hours for a few weeks, but part of my ideal freedom lifestyle is to work only part-time hours so I can spend more time on LIVING and not just working. I absolutely love my work, more than I ever thought possible, but it’s important to remember, we are not just on this earth to work. We need to make sure we are fulfilled in all areas of life, which is part of what a freedom lifestyle means to me.”

On a final note with Nicole, we asked her what her advice she would give for those looking to take the first step to becoming a Freedom Junkie.

“Just do it! Yes it will be scary. Yes you might fail. But it also might just be the best thing to ever happen in your life. Fear is going to be there, it’s a natural human state we all experience. But will you let fear stop you from doing something magical? To me there is nothing more to fear than living a mediocre life when you could be living an extraordinary life. So no more wasting time, no more procrastinating, no more excuses. All it takes is for you to make the choice and then take action to create the freedom lifestyle you deserve. Everything else will fall into place because you will be living your true calling.”

Many are now following suit of Nicole and Michael’s lifestyle, and ditching the 9-5 to follow their dreams of becoming their own boss and travelling the world while they do it. But with one of the main reasons why employees tend to remain at their jobs being “inertia” (the tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged), it can be quite difficult to break the mould, so let’s have a look at some reasons why we think you should go for it.

You can live anywhere you want.

Ok, so technically you can live anywhere you want and still have a 9-5, but can you really? No matter where you live in the world, you will likely be living there because you work there. Imagine living anywhere in the world and taking your job along with you. Your work adapts to your life, you don’t adapt to your work life.

A 9-5 won’t make you rich.

You will always have to trade time for money, so although you may be earning a decent amount of money for your time, your time is always going to be limited, so the amount of money you make will be limited. You have to physically be somewhere for at least 8 hours of the day to earn your wages each month. Or alternatively, you can create a system that will earn you money when you’re not there or even spending time on it. Which ultimately gives you more time to enjoy your life.

Start telecommuting.

Nowadays, most jobs don’t require you to be in the office, all you need is an internet connection and somewhere comfortable. Think about your job – do you really need to be in the office to do it? Some jobs obviously require you to be, but if the bulk of your work is computer based, then consider going mobile. If you can argue your point logically and can still complete your job from out with the office, then many employers will be happy to allow this by either issuing a small pay cut or foregoing a raise.

There is always going to be something else you’d rather be doing.

You may love your job and love working with your colleagues, but most of us would love to be doing something else. Which may include spending our time travelling and seeing the world.

So ask yourself this. With all the freedom and possibilities available to us, why do we continue to work as our parents did? Why is the only adventure and travel we seem to have is our 9-5 commute? We’re not saying it’s going to be easy and that you should instantly embrace your inner Mariah Carey and storm out of the office proper diva style, but it is time to break the mould and live the life you want to live. It will take planning, time and commitment, so let’s get started.

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