Hi, I’m Mel, I used to work in an office, 9 to 5, paid overtime and holidays, a nice air conditioned secure job. Or so I thought. After 8 years of loyal service, the office closed and everybody was made redundant. I was out on my ear, with just enough money to put towards the deposit on a flat or maybe buy a car. I chose the frivolous option, to travel, and that I did for a full year. A blissful, work free, life changing year.
Then what? Single woman in her 30’s seeks gainful employment, after a year out. Not likely! My friend Phil offered me her spare room in Montpellier and I jumped at it thinking bar job or some such to tide me over. Think again, that’s a career in France, not something to fill time while looking for something else. I ended up cleaning houses, babysitting and teaching English, and then I met Nick.
Nick is from Manchester, trained as a journalist and basically a male version of me. After four years at the same job he fancied a change, it wasn’t a wrench for me to get away from other people’s toilets either! He came up with the idea of house-sitting so that he could go freelance without the pressure of rent and bills. Two years and five countries later we had saved enough to buy a little farmhouse about three hours from where we met.
So how did that bring me here? Well, my old boss had started her own business and needed some help. She answered a bulk plea on LinkedIn and we were reunited. The best bit, I knew the job so well already I could do it from anywhere. I inherited a poorly maintained Google sheet of data and I was away, just 10 hours per week at first. Supplementing that with a few bits of work from Elance we had enough between us to go to Holland, Northern France, Catalonia, Ireland and finally Australia for six months. That’s when everything really changed.
Poor internet and being 9 hours in the future meant that the now very large shared Google sheet was pretty unwieldy. We needed an alternative and fast. Along came Zoho Creator and like a fairy in the night, with zero coding experience, I built an app while my colleagues slept. Each day they would wake to a new section, it grew and grew, is still growing and now runs the business, which has also grown.
I met Paula at Zoholics and my story interested her so much that we now work together. She meets the clients and runs the office in Huddersfield and I chip in from France or wherever I may be at the time. Right now I’m between Leeds and Bradford visiting friends. Last week we were in Newcastle, next London, then Manchester for Christmas.
My father in law has terminal cancer so our lifestyle has meant that we have been able to be close by for much of this year. Memories have been made and a ghastly situation made as good as it can be. Paul has worked his entire life in a career he didn’t really enjoy, working towards his retirement. A retirement he is being robbed of. We work the hours we choose, to a point, and spend quality time with the people we love whenever we can. We will never be millionaires, but we have enough and are happy. Some might say lucky, but I firmly believe that you make your own luck in this world.
I can’t promise that you would enjoy my lifestyle, it’s not always easy. I’ve had to work in a car, driving miles for good reception. The internet has let us down a lot and always when there’s a looming deadline! I’ve learned a huge amount along the way though, and things are improving all the time. Everywhere has free wifi now, you’re never far from it so can work anywhere with the right tools. Give it a try, and let us help smooth the transition. It’s what we do!