Meet Chris, an American who moved to Korea and then decided he wanted to travel permanently. To fund his dream lifestyle, he created his own services and products online and he currently works as a blogger, writer, photographer and web developer. Check out his interview below…
1. Please introduce yourself.
I’m Chris Backe (rhymes with hockey or rocky), I live in Krabi, southern Thailand, and I’m originally from the Chicago area in the US. I’ve married a wonderful Canadian lady after meeting in South Korea, and kids are not part of the future plan (by choice, mind you – we don’t have the patience for them!).
2. When did you start working from home? What inspired the change?
In 2008, I moved to South Korea to teach English. I didn’t know it at the time, but that decision changed my life. Around that same time I started a blog to document my travel and life in Korea; before I knew it I had a hit on my hands! Eventually, I focused on the weird, bizarre, or just oddball sort of destinations – the sort that tourists rarely visit or never heard about in mainstream guidebooks. After 5 years of teaching English in Korea, I moved to Thailand, rebranded the blog (from ‘Chris in South Korea’ to ‘One Weird Globe’), and began taking blogging more seriously.
What inspired the change? I guess the realization that I loved to travel too much to go back to the US and find some dull office job I’d either be overqualified for or just wouldn’t pay enough to create the lifestyle I wanted. Meeting Laura was a huge change as well – here was another person choosing to make life happen on her terms. Through her study of Korean, she found her way (more or less accidentally) into a career of Korean-to-English translation which has become her full-time, from-home job.
3. What different ways have you tried to earn an income working from home? What do you do now to earn money?
In 2014, I’ve done the following to varying degrees of success:
• Paid advertising on the blog
• Sponsored stories on the blog
• Ghostblogging (e.g. writing blog posts for other companies)
• Wrote books and itineraries that are on sale
• Professional photography (one thing I hope to do more of next year!)
• Web development for clients
4. How long did it take you to earn enough money to quit your day job?
I didn’t actually wait to make the jump! As my time teaching English was coming to an end, my then-fiancée and I sat down to figure out what we wanted to do next. For better or worse, we chose our lifestyle before knowing 100% how we’d be making the money
5. What tips would you give yourself if you could go back in time to when you first started working at home?
My main tip would be to focus and market the heck out of your business. Simply making your mission ‘making websites for travel companies’ can still be narrowed down further. There’s also something to be said about knowing exactly what value you provide / offer your clients.
6. What has been the secret to your success?
Working my butt off, and in being proactive in reaching out to people. You can’t expect people to reach out to you – even after years in the field, you’ll find people won’t know who you are.
7. What mistakes have you made along the way?
Tons – not marketing myself or spending money to put myself in front of the right people at the right time. Needing to plan ahead and structure my time to work with clients was another stumbling step for awhile.
8. What is the best part about working from home?
Sleeping in, working when I choose (though with some deadlines you don’t always get that choice!)
9. What is the worst part about working from home?
Staying proactive and focused when surrounded by temptation!
10. What advice do you have for anyone starting out?
Know what you want to produce, and why. You can also choose to figure out which clients (or what type of clients) you want to work with. Also, expect to offer discounts as you’re first starting out – but be sure not to accept less than you need to survive!