What I do for a living…
Halfway through my university studies, I fell under the spell of the virtual world of the Internet and started creating my first web pages. After school, I immediately joined one of the most important companies in Pilsen at that time and in this sector, B Media Solutions and I have been soaking up experience for 5 years. Stress with clients and deadlines, the relentless presence of energy-sucking computers, the economic crisis in the Czech Republic at the time, football boots and a friend’s suggestion to travel became the right constellation for moving from one place to another.
When you travel and don’t know the language completely, you have several options to earn money. Mostly washing dishes if you’re a boy or cleaning in a hotel if you’re a girl. As an engineer with 5 years of experience, I started helping in the kitchen in England, then moved to a small hamburger shop Uncle Sam, a short walk from the beach. Best job ever! No stress, clear procedures, teamwork and customers with eternal ketchup smiles. I even made a hamburger for Nick Cave and his kids (don’t you know? but know).
9 months in 1 hostel
Also first experience with a hostel. Baggies Backpackers Hostel in Brighton became my home for 9 months. Sleeping in a room no bigger than your living room that miraculously fit 8 bunk beds. The privacy of 2×1 m square created by a screen with sheets, nothing compares.
Devirtualizing and removing the computer from my daily routine worked out great. I set a few simple goals for myself at the time. Always having some goals turned out to be the basis for not getting stuck in one place. It is not so important to fulfill the goals to the letter, the important thing is to always be directed somewhere. At that moment, my goals were: buy a better camera and iPhone, visit Spain or South America after England and buy a scooter (Vespa).
It’s not a problem to save up for a phone and a SLR from a hamburger chef’s salary in England. Done.
Spain followed. Zero knowledge of Spanish, combined with the economic crisis that has just hit Spain, could have been a bit difficult to find a job. Guide for tourists was not exactly a gold mine, but the experience was good. So I ended up going back to what I have the most experience with. The virtual world of the internet.
But this time on my own and with a business license. I became a so-called “Freelancer”. After 2-3 years, the position crystallized from “Ferda the ant of work of all virtual kinds” to “front-end web developer” (if the website was a house, I would be a bricklayer). My main source of work are 2 agencies based in Prague and one in Barcelona, Spain. Their customer requests are forwarded to me and I process them remotely. At the end of the month I invoice the work. Sometimes I earn like 5k in a month and sometimes I earn 50k.
Someone who can work remotely and uses it to travel the world is called a “Digital Nomad“. So I can call myself a digital nomad freelancer front-end developer. It’s just a pity that the abbreviation DNFFD is used as possible in the subtitles of films for the deaf when a cold anteater sneezes.
I started with an hourly rate less than 10$ USD / hour. It was never about making as much money as possible. From the beginning, it was mainly about surviving. There was also a situation when I was at such a low point financially that I wanted to write to my family for money for a return ticket to the Czech Republic… It took me about 2 years before my freelancing started to be a self-sufficient income.
A lot of people tell me they want a job like mine. Some have even asked me to teach them. Since it is mostly self-study and the financial investment is literally zero (that is, if you have a computer and access to the Internet), there is nothing stopping anyone from doing it. I will be happy to help, direct, advise, just write to me (email@example.com). If you think it will be helpful that I will write articles about how to become web developer and how to be a digital nomad, let me know.