My Journey To Becoming A Full Time Squarespace Web Designer and Digital Nomad
Where to even begin with this post!? As cheesy as it sounds, I’ve been on this journey since the day I decided to major on Marketing at SDSU, which was not until my second semester of Freshman year. Yes, I was one of those people that came into college as “Undeclared” because I was a clueless seventeen-year-old that had to choose what she wanted to do for the rest of her life before she was even legally allowed to vote.
But let’s back it up a little bit further…
As an immigrant to this country, I grew up with the notion that education was the way to “success” (I put “success” in quotation marks because success really means and looks different for everyone). It’s crazy to think that my first day of Kindergarten I knew absolutely no English but was basically thrown in and had to struggle to catch up.
It’s funny thinking back and remembering how my dad had to translate conversations between me and my “friend” because she spoke no Spanish. I'm really grateful for the opportunities I’ve had thanks to the country I grew up in and the time I was born because I mean without the internet you probably wouldn’t be reading this.
But, to be completely honest I never really thought about life after college other than I knew I had to graduate with good grades so that I could get a “good job” at a “good company”. Excuse all my quotation marks! It’s just my way of saying that a good job and a good company doesn’t mean it’s a good job and company for everyone.
New here? I wrote these blog posts to help you out in your biz:
- 7 Creative Places To Add An Opt In That Will Help Grow Your Email List
- Why You Should Be Batching Your Social Media Posts And How To Do It
- The Two Things That Must Happen Before Any Website Design Project
- The Three Things Every Website Homepage Should Include
- What’s A Welcome Email Sequence & Why You Need On
Anywho, during college, I had a couple of social media internships where I was introduced to the ever-growing world of online marketing. This was back in 2014 when social media and online businesses were big but not as big as they are now.
During that time I was exposed to everything from social media management, content management, Infusionsoft, FB ads, and branding so naturally, I fell in love with it all. Unfortunately when it came time to graduate and apply to jobs all the “entry level” digital marketing jobs required 2-3 years of experience.
I never really understood how companies think entry level somehow means having years of experience but after a couple of month of looking I decided to start applying for sales jobs because these were really the only actual “entry level” jobs I could find.
I ended up landing a job with a Fortune 15 company and was set to move to Atlanta for training a month after graduation but again I was torn.
I had studied abroad in Madrid in 2015 so it’s an understatement to say that the “travel bug” had bitten me! Ever since I was little I had traveled but nothing like this! It was my first time away from home for longer than a week so I thought I would be homesick but the complete opposite actualky happened. During my six months abroad I traveled to over twelve countries and fell in love with the way traveling made me feel.
It was during a sunset dinner at Oia, Greece that I promised myself I would somehow one day be my own boss and be able to travel full-time while doing what I loved.
So when it came time to either accept the corporate sales job offer, I was super tempted to just drop everything and move to Madrid to teach English so that I could continue to travel. The only issue with my plan is that I was a broke college student with $800 in the bank and some college debt.
I decided to do the “responsible” thing and put off my dreams to travel so that I could get some “real life experience” and become somewhat financially stable. I actually don’t regret this decision at all because the only reason I wanted to teach English abroad was to be in Spain, I wasn't excited about the whole teaching elementary school kids English part.
The plan was to work in corporate for 2-3 years but I found myself reading books and listening to podcasts about marketing, entrepreneurship, branding, etc.. after work and on weekends. I couldn't let go of the idea of starting my own business that allowed me to work from anywhere.
There’s a lot I didn’t know at that time but I did know two things:
1) I wanted to start a business in which I could do something I loved while helping others
2) I didn’t want to wait to retire to be able to see the world
The answer I had been looking for came once I came across the Bucketlist Bombshells, an online educational community teaching millennial women how to build a successful service-based online business that gives them the freedom to work online from anywhere in the world.
I decided to take a chance on myself and invested in their courses where I eventually decide to take the branding/web design path. I had done social media management before so I knew it wasn’t really for me but after being introduced to web design + branding I fell in love.
I knew a website is pretty much mandatory for anyone trying to build an online business so why couldn’t I be the one to help creative entrepreneurs take their business to the next level? I wanted to work with people that were truly passionate about their business and I wanted to help them gain the freedom to design a life they were excited to live.
What I mean by this is that although I know entrepreneurship is not for everyone, those who want the freedom to work from anywhere (whether to travel or stay at home with their family) and be able to serve the clients they want/when they want usually have/start their own business.
So it’s through an intentional website and cohesive branding that I can help my fellow creative entrepreneurs focus on what they love to do while I take care of all the tech/branding elements part.
Fast forward to Feb 26th, 2018, my last day at my full-time corporate job, I quit my almost six-figure salary and moved back home to my parent's house in San Diego.
I probably should have had a steady flow of clients before quitting my job but I was confident I would make it work once I focused all of my energy on starting and growing my business full-time.
The next four months consisted of 10-hour workdays and a whole lot of work to set up the systems and processes to allow me to run a successful Squarespace Web Design + Branding business. Now that I had my location independent business it was time to take advantage of the location independent part so I sold my car, bought a one-way ticket to Barcelona, and here I am!
I am now on a one year trip where I will be traveling to places like Spain, Ireland, Croatia, Germany, Turkey, Thailand, Indonesia, Peru, Argentina, Costa Rica, Brazil, and Mexico while building my dream biz.
I know I’ve talked a lot about my journey but I wanted to give you a framework of what you should do if you're thinking of quitting your 9-5:
#1) Realize it won’t take one week
Starting a business is not something you think about on a Friday night while watching TV and then launch by Monday morning with a stream of dream clients coming your way.
It takes a whole lot of planning and taking action. I hate when I see clickbait blog posts about “How I Made $10,000 In My First Three Days In Business”! The popularity of these types of posts has set an unrealistic standard about what goes into starting a business let alone a successful one.
Nearly a year went by from the day I bought the Bucketlist bombshells course to the day I actually quit. During that time I was using my post 9-5 hours and weekends to learn everything I possibly could through courses, books, and podcasts.
I’ve now been running my business full time for almost five months and it hasn’t gotten easier, in fact, it’s gotten harder, but I do it because I have a vision of where I want to take it.
This one is HUGEE in both business and life in general! I was actually on a FB live earlier today and they said that business is 80% mindset and 20% strategy! That sounds like a big chunk if you ask me.
I know taking the leap can be hard and requires courage so having the right mindset is important.
Quitting your 9-5 takes a certain type of mindset but once you're in it then a whole lot of more self-development has to happen.
I’m all about mindset work and self-development so here are a few podcasts/YouTube channels that I listen to almost daily:
#3) Safety Net
Each person has a different definition of a safety net and you may or may not need one. In my case, my goal is to be fully booked for 2-3 months in advance but before I get to that point I wanted to be sure that I would be ok in case I had a slow month.
You definitely don't want to operate your business from a place of scarcity so having a safety net will allow you to keep delivering value to your audience while not stressing about how you're going to pay your bills if you hit a dry spell during the beginning stages of your business.
#4) Take Action (Strategy)
You can take all the courses in the world and have the right mindset but if you don’t take action then nothing really get’s done.
Stop thinking you will be ready after you finish one more course, after you read that book, after you watch that video after you watch that webinar after you attend that seminar…
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for learning but there comes a point where you have to learn by doing not standing on the sidelines.
Yes, you need to know your stuff so that you can actually know what you’re doing when building your business BUT at some point, all you’re doing is dreaming, strategizing, pondering, and just not doing.
Truth is that you don’t know what you don’t know so stop trying to figure out all the answers!
I hope this post was helpful in some way! I would love to hear your story and what you are hoping to accomplish with your business.
Also, I’d love to invite you to join the FB group I’ve just created! If starting a business, traveling, life design, and mindset sound appealing to you then join here!
The goal behind the group is to create a group of like-minded women who have/want to start a business they love, that makes an impact on peoples lives, and gives them the freedom to work anywhere. So whether you need support in starting your business, growing your email list, defining your ideal client, creating a positive mindset, etc.. then join the group! I may not have all the answers but I’m sure someone in the group will.
Hey , I'm Jessica!
I am the designer and owner behind JNL Media Co.! I help creative entrepreneurs & small biz owners create a beautiful Squarespace site that converts. After almost two years in corporate I left so that I could pursue my love for design + marketing and help other #girlbosses do the same through their business.
Obsessions: Traveling✈️ , Fitness💪🏼, and Writing ✍🏼
Location: Currently living in Barcelona, Spain