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It’s 10:18pm on a Monday night now, and I’m not sure exactly where my day has gone.  Today was very much like many of my other days: Wake up, drink coffee, work, work out, back to work, dinner, and now back to work again.

What keeps me from absolutely going crazy from all this work?  A few things…

I’m thankful that I have work to do, as many people these days are without an income.  I am especially grateful that every day I get to wake up and do a job I love.  I get to be creative, I get to write, I get to work with creative people, and I get to travel.  But what really keeps me going is the light at the end of the tunnel: success.  Not monetary success, but riches in adventure.  Almost every month of the past year, part of my paycheck has gone into plane tickets.  I’ve been to 5 different countries in the past year, with at least a few more before yearend.  Because my job allows me to work every where, I no longer have to skip camping trips with my family to work for a boss I can’t relate to.  I don’t have to miss my nieces and nephews growing up because I’m too busy working and trying to afford a high rise apartment in the city (although it was also an awesome experience).  I get the privilege of doing what I want, every day.

I get asked the same questions every day, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or my blog…Do I ever work?  How do I get to travel so much? How did I get so lucky?

The honest truth is, I’m always working.  I decided a long time ago that I didn’t want to work at a 9-5 job.  I wanted to be able to work from anywhere; my home with my family, or in a Parisian cafe, on a Thai rooftop, or a studio apartment in Barcelona.  I gave up security of an office job with 12 days vacation a year for a job that allows me to work where and when I want.  I may have to answer emails while I spend the week in Hawaii, or be on a conference call at 4am while I’m in Paris, but that is a small price to pay to be in those places in the first place.

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But it didn’t come easy…and it’s still not always easy, but a few years ago I started putting my dreams into actions.  Knowing the end goal, I started planting seeds.  I couldn’t just open my own online marketing agency with little to zero experience at age 23.  I applied for a job on Craigslist for a 9am-6pm position as an administrative assistant.  I made $9 per hour.  I could barely afford my $650 per month apartment and most of my meals consisted of some sort of pasta from a box (or cup, rather).

After a few months of working there, I decided to take action.  The CEO was considering hiring another administrative assistant, but I convinced him to let me work 2 extra hours a day, to save him money, if he promoted me part-time to be the assistant for the Marketing Director.  Getting into the office at 7am and leaving after 6pm each day, I was exhausted, but learning a lot.  Soon, the Marketing Director decided to leave the company to be a stay-at-home mother, and I was promoted to Marketing Director.  After 2 years as Marketing Director, I left the company to start my own company.

Even that wasn’t easy.  Leaving the company meant leaving my paycheck, which I had spent a great deal of time negotiating pay raises.  I was back to square one.  Back to eating noodles from a cup, but this time in a smaller apartment in a bigger city.  I knew if I wanted to be successful with my business, I had to go after bigger fish, and that meant leaving Sacramento behind and moving to San Francisco.

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I went to every network event, even started my own networking group with a few friends, and tried to meet everyone in San Francisco.   I made it happen, with the generous help of my friends, business contacts, and support of my family.

Fast forward 3 years later and here we are.  Looking back, I know that every opportunity I had is because I created it.  So, thanks for the advice, Mr. Hope.

Musical motivation for your week: Young The Giant – My Body

I can’t help dancing and jumping up and down all over my office whenever this song comes on the radio.

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