I Quit My $140,000/Year Job To Work From Anywhere

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Updated: September 22, 2019

Back in 2013, I was lost. I was 28, at a cushy six-figure finance job. I had a beautiful downtown high-rise apartment, with a nice car. But something was missing. I felt so trapped. I felt like I was underachieving and wanted more. I wanted to work from anywhere.

Do what excites you

My initial plan was I was going to work as a financial advisor and insurance broker and build up a list of clients that way. After working over a year, and getting over 80 clients, I realized the flaw in this path. It meant I was stuck in freezing cold Calgary for the rest of my life. I sold my clients off, then set off on my next plan.

I set out on a mission. I was inspired by Tim Ferriss and something in the Four-Hour Workweek that said to do what excites you the most. And what always excited me, as I still wanted to move to Vancouver, which in my humble opinion is the most beautiful city in Canada. I also wanted to improve my finances and outlook on money.

My next plan was to work at the largest bank in Canada as a financial advisor and try to get transferred over to Vancouver. I quickly landed a job working as a financial advisor which I enjoyed. Then, I got a job in sales at a mutual fund company and moved over to Vancouver. I took a significant pay cut to do each of these things but felt happier doing so.

The job was exciting, the people I worked with were with fantastic, and it was great… for a little while. But the same feelings started to creep up again, the feeling of being trapped with nowhere to go. Of picturing my life of coming into the same office every day until I retire. Something about that didn’t appeal to me.

What I wanted was to work from anywhere

I wrote down what I wanted. I wanted to be able to work from anywhere, do anything, travel anywhere, have complete control with who I worked with, and full autonomy and freedom over my day, all while maintaining maximum independence, and loving what I do.

Is that too much to ask? It sounds like a lot to ask, and maybe I was asking too much. Well, I’m here to say that in this day and age, it is achievable by anyone.

The beautiful thing about Vancouver was that it was a tech hub. It opened my eyes to the different type of work there was. After a lot of research, I enrolled in a coding bootcamp, the best one in the city, Lighthouse Labs. It was an intensive ten-week program where they taught you how to code in a concise period.

The main appeal to me was you could get a job working remotely, that is very high paying, and will be in high demand for many years to come. Plus, you get to build cool stuff that people will be able to enjoy.

Asia round one

After the bootcamp, I went to Asia to go travel before I started my new career in tech. While I was there, I thought I would try to find a fun way to make money online. I found a client to write finance article for and found that I liked it and it came naturally to me.

As I traveled throughout five different countries in Asia, I mostly coded and wrote finance articles on the side. In my mind, I was going to come back to Vancouver and start my coding career, which I did later.

My short-lived coding career

After coming back to Vancouver refreshed and excited to start my new career, I landed a job as an intern within a week of arriving. Thanks to Lighthouse Labs, the bootcamp I attended, they helped me land a job right away at a cybersecurity firm doing web development.

After working three months as an intern, I was offered a full-time position making $50,000 per year. I was excited even though it was way less than what I made before, and I knew that after a year I’d be able to get a remote position pretty quickly and realize my dream to work from anywhere.

I liked the job and the act of creating things, and I liked the small startup atmosphere, which felt a lot less restrictive than working at a huge finance firm.

Things were going well. Then, during my fourth month at the job, my boss pulled me aside and said: “Chris, we’re going to have to let you go.” The company was a very early stage startup with only five employees, and it wasn’t able to receive funding and had to lay off people.  I was shocked. I’ve never been let go before in any of my jobs. I felt so powerless and not in control.

Asia round two

After a couple of days of thinking of what to do and contemplating getting a new job, I thought to myself.. what if I keep going with the writing? I was still writing articles for my main client to supplement my income. I had a lot of savings. Why don’t I travel a bit more, and take this writing thing seriously and see where it can go?

So I packed my bags and went to Vietnam. I found an amazingly beautiful beach city named Da Nang and fell in love with the place. I rented a motorcycle and explored the whole area, and got a surfboard and went surfing. I met so many other inspiring people living and working from a laptop, a lot of coders but way more other professions also who can work from anywhere.

I met so many fantastic people and experienced such amazing sights, foods, and experiences. I wanted to research buying a property also in Asia and ended up purchasing a condo in Vietnam.

I learned how to market myself, built a personal website to land more freelance clients. By the end of three months, I had two new great clients and had ramped up the amount of work for my first client.

Work from anywhere

I’m back in Canada right now. I had to return to see how I felt and to see if I was ready to say goodbye to Canada. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, whether or not I was prepared to say goodbye to Canada for now, where my family and friends I grew up with are. I wasn’t sure how I would feel.. would I want to find a job and settle down here again?

After thinking it over, I went back to the question.. what excites me the most? Is it settling down and living the normal life? Or is it taking a chance and seeing how big I can build something that I am genuinely proud of, that contributes to people’s lives, and lets me have unlimited freedom?

Now that I have tasted freedom and can work from anywhere, I feel more stable than I ever have before. It’s time to go to travel soon. I’m planning out my trip around the world and will have to see what happens. I want to live in Indonesia, travel through Europe, and meet other awesome and inspiring people.

This was when I came up with the idea for this blog. I want to make something that can touch people and improve their relationship with money. I want to build wealth for myself and others, in an awesome way. And I am very excited about this, more than anything I’m doing right now.

Did you find this article inspiring or helpful? Pin this image, or leave a comment!

<a href="https://wealthawesome.com/author/christopher-liew/" target="_self">Christopher Liew, CFA</a>

Christopher Liew, CFA

Creator of Wealth Awesome

A Canadian CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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