Pic: Filippo Carbonari
I’ve never really written much about how I make a living working online, remotely, something I’ve been doing now for the entire life span of this blog and my on-and-off nomadic life, the thing that makes it all possible actually – my freelance work.
Whilst opportunities to work with brands or write travel content for websites and publications do come up, The Travelling Light remains mostly a place for me to express myself and connect with you. My main source of income has been, for the last six years, working freelance as a branding, social media and marketing consultant and content creator for businesses all around the world.
I’ve always loved storytelling, writing, design, the thrill of creating human connections, so marketing seemed like a great way for me to do all that every day and get paid for it. I started adult life studying marketing, economics and French in my hometown, Brisbane, Australia. I worked for a few years after that in marketing and branding, first for a tourism board in Australia and then for an airline in London.
The truth is, I kind of fell into remote work and freelancing thanks to my first client. My UK visa was expiring at the beginning of 2013, much to my utter dismay. I didn’t want to go home, I wasn't done exploring the world. I was desperately trying to figure out a way to stick around in Europe without any luck. I'd go to interview after interview, visit recruiters, I called on everyone I knew in London, all to no avail. No one wanted to employ or sponsor an Australian girl with three months left on her working visa. Every door slammed shut on me in terms of finding a job that would sponsor me to stay. So I decided to take a couple of months off to travel on my very reluctant way home to Australia.
As it turns out, I didn’t have to figure any of it out myself and there was a reason all those doors were shut. Life was pushing me in another direction. Within a month of quitting my job, I was offered some freelance work with a friend, helping her with her branding and marketing. I could do it from anywhere, she said. What an odd concept that was to me back then...
It was around this time that I started dreaming up The Travelling Light too. This freelance work fit perfectly alongside all the hours I was putting in to developing the concept, branding, design, website and content behind this blog (or website as I called it back then!). I had all the creative freedom to create something magical that I hoped people would connect with and find as interesting as I did.
My work for that first client grew into a part-time remote job for the next two years. I was told I could do the work from anywhere, so I did it from everywhere. My first big stint away took me from the U.S. to Europe to South-East Asia over around six months, and then home again.
Portland, Oregon, 2014
Hoi An, Vietnam, 2014
I’d come home to stay with my parents and save a little, rest a little, catch my breath, then take off again a few months later when the moment felt right. All the while I was slowly building this blog. The next year I started frequenting my favourite haunts for longer periods, living in Bali, Paris and Marche (Italy), with some wild cards thrown in like Cambodia and the Netherlands.
Copenhagen co-working, 2015
Eventually my work for that first client came to an end. At the time, I was worried about what I’d do next, what I’d do if I couldn’t ‘make it work’ with this remote, freelancing, nomad lifestyle I'd become accustomed to? Again, I needn’t have worried (do you see a theme emerging here?) as two more regular clients turned up another month later plus one-off branding and website projects started coming in that I could do with my sister, Louise, a very talented and creative graphic designer and artist (she created the logo for The Travelling Light!).
My sister, Louise, and I, work-jamming in Brisbane, Australia, 2016
Something started to become clear to me around this time. Whilst I had started this blog with the intention of creating something beautiful, something uncompromised by the demands of money-making, it had actually become a portfolio that showed people what I was capable of making. By creating something just for the love of it, following a dream, my bliss, I’d inadvertently been marketing myself and my skills for years to a global audience, setting myself up to do more and more of the work I love.
Life continued like this for the next few years, with regular marketing and social media content clients who I worked with every month to improve the presence of their brand and their storytelling. More branding, website and writing projects came our way too which I continued to work on with my sister, Louise. We loved this work, it fed us in so many ways, we started to think about how we could formalise our work into an agency...
Over the last year, I’ve finally created the space and clarity to understand exactly what it is I want to offer the world, in writing, on the internet. The result is The Light Studio – a creative agency offering brand strategy, social media strategy, content creation and brand/marketing consulting for independent, modern creators.
They say the things you’re learning in life are the things you’re destined to pass on and that’s exactly how I feel about The Light Studio and our offering. There’s all the solid, practical skills we’ve learnt in marketing, branding and design over the last ten years working in the field which we love to pass on to others, empowering them to market and communicate their own business.
There's also the biggest lesson I’ve had to learn (and am still learning!), understanding that we deserve to, have permission to, and actually have a duty to show up in the world doing what we were born to do, what makes us happy, what holds meaning for us. We have to beam our lights. The Light Studio aims to help you beam your unique light through your business, art, blog and everything in between.
See the full offering at thelightstudio.co, follow our journey and free non-pushy social media, marketing and branding tips and general cheerleading on our Instagram @beamyourlightplease, use our hashtag #beamyourlightplease to be featured.
There’s also a journal on the site too where we’ll be writing about freelancer/biz person life plus out-of-the-box marketing, design, storytelling, social media tips so follow us there!
◯ THE LIGHT STUDIO ◯