Thaneeya McArdle doesn’t have your typical day job.
She’s a coloring book artist and author who has created her own version of success by selling her artwork online and launching an art education website.
“Rather than crossing my fingers and hoping that a gallery would pick up my work, I focused my attention on things I could do myself that would generate an immediate income,” she says.
After college she did what most recent grads do, and went on several job interviews in an effort to land on her feet. Her goal was always to be a self-employed artist, but tells Her Magazine, employers were looking for “team players who dreamt of growing within the company.”
After having no luck in the interviews and no solid job offers, she quickly realized she “wasn’t qualified for much in the real world work force.” So she invested everything in her passion for art.
McArdle started out by selling her work on Ebay, long before Etsy was around, and eventually her talent was noticed by some big publishing companies. She’s inspired by nooks and crannies, unseen paths, mysteries and endless beginnings.
“Stress and fear are inevitable when starting out on a risky new venture, but the key is to not become paralyzed by those fears,” says McArdle.
In 2013, she and her husband decided to take their success on the road, so they packed their bags with the bare essentials- clothes, and art supplies and embraced a nomadic lifestyle.
“When I started my journey of self-employment I was seeking freedom, which for me meant being my own boss and having the ability to set my own work hours while doing what I love for a living.”
During her two years of traveling she went to Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. Five months into her adventure she signed a coloring book deal and was asked to create 6 coloring books for a major arts & crafts store.
She shares her tips on starting your own travel adventure, finding your true passion, and making money while hopping from country to country.
WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO?
That’s one of the first things you’ll have to think about. Do you want to travel in developing countries and stay in hostels? Or, do you want to travel to big cities and rent out an entire apartment or house?
“These questions will help you figure out how much money you need to be earning to make your dream realistic and sustainable.” Figuring out what type of lifestyle you want to lead will help you plan more efficiently.
McArdle had a few thousand dollars saved up, but decided to prepay six months of accommodation. By booking in advance, she secured better deals and knew she could afford to travel for at least that amount of time.
MAKING MONEY ON THE ROAD
Start with a list of your hobbies, passions and skills. Ask yourself what your strengths and weaknesses are. What can you do that makes you stand out from a crowd? Do you have any skills that are in high demand?
“It might even be something you take for granted, like being bilingual or having a good eye for landscape photography, that could lead to a new career in stock photography,” she says.
Join online communities for digital nomads to find out what others do for income. Pick other people’s brains, and don’t stress about taking the plunge.
“Throw yourself into it, read about other people’s nomadic experiences,” she says.
Do your research before you set off on such a drastic lifestyle change.
“Don’t rush into it.”
BALANCING WORK AND PLAY
Imagine traveling to a new destination, and getting ready to explore, but then realizing you have multiple deadlines you have to meet.
Learn to set boundaries. It can be hard to set time to stay indoors and get work done when you are visiting a new place.
“Know your rhythms,” she says. Don’t force yourself to get up early if you aren’t a morning person. Create a schedule that works best for you. Limit your Internet time and distractions during your work day, and if you really need to concentrate, turn off your phone.
When it comes to accomplishing dreams of being a self-employed artist, McArdle says, “I simply put my work out there (over and over again), worked my butt off, took risks, hoped for the best, accepted nothing less than what I was after, and eventually it all came together!”
Are you living every day with purpose? Do you wake up in the morning looking forward to pursuing your dreams, and are you on the right path to accomplishing those goals? Share your thoughts with us.