Southeast Asia or South America? Copywriter Designs Life as Digital Nomad
Each morning, on the commute to work from her Brooklyn home, Christy Goldfeder pushed through currents of disgruntled and rude fellow New Yorkers. And the job she arrived at, in corporate marketing, was no refuge.
“It was the worst corporate culture you could imagine – a lot of manipulation and backstabbing,” she says. “I kept getting into jobs where I was crying in the bathroom.”
She and her husband envisioned a very different life, of traveling, exploring spice markets in distant lands, and working wherever they landed, but they didn’t see a viable way out of their current reality.
“How do I make my income portable so that we can live wherever we want?” she says. “There was clearly evidence that other people were doing it, but it didn’t feel possible for me.”
Dismissing Doubt and Making the Leap
Ironically, Christy was a health coach on the side, but lived the kind of life she advised clients against: full of too much stress, too many takeout meals, and too little time for exercise.
Looking for ways to grow her coaching business, she invested in The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting from American Writers & Artists Institute (AWAI) to learn how to craft compelling marketing promotions. Along the way, she discovered a love for direct-response copywriting.
In the years following, she remained in full-time marketing jobs but started, slowly, writing on the side. She answered online copywriting ads, received referrals from friends, and wrote “Copy Challenges,” where she would show a prospective client an example of her skills with a small writing sample.
“I pitched myself as a freelancer before I was one,” she says. “The more writing samples I added to my portfolio, the easier it was for me to pitch and win the next assignment.”
With each project, her confidence grew. But still, she didn’t feel ready to let go of her full-time job. “I wanted to make the leap, but my husband was unemployed at the time, and we needed the income and health insurance.”
Life, as it turns out, made the decision for her when Christy was laid off in 2013. “I already had a half-time schedule of freelance writing by the time they decided to let me go, so I thought, ‘Now I have to make this happen,’” she says.
If Christy and her husband were going to change their careers, they would fully embrace the lifestyle to go with it. They sold their home in Brooklyn – within 60 days with the help of Christy’s copy – packed their bags and computers, and headed to Southeast Asia. They intended to stay for two months but these digital nomads stretched out their trip to four months – because they could.
The Event that Catapulted Her Career
Christy and her husband would have stayed even longer if they didn’t need to be back in the States for one important event: AWAI’s FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair. For Christy, Bootcamp would be the official springboard for her freelance career, and she went into it fully ready.
The previous year, she had attended Bootcamp, and vowed that, next year, she would be on the stage as one of the event’s Copy Challenge winners. “While on the beach in Cambodia, I wrote Copy Challenges for AWAI and thought, ‘One of these is going to win a prize,’” she says.
At Bootcamp, Christy networked with other writers as well as potential clients. Then the icing: “At the end of Bootcamp, I won $1000 for the AWAI letter written back on the beach in Cambodia,” she says. “It was very exciting to see my copy on the screen and to walk up on stage. I don’t want to say I expected it, but I did practice visualizing it after I sent my copy in for review.”
Christy’s freelance business took off from there. She parlayed her interest in health into writing for health-related clients, as well as for coaches. Her clients include Dr. Al Sears and big-name health personalities, as well as corporate brands such as Unilever, Kraft, and Hearst. Her specialty: building online marketing funnels, including sales pages, autoresponders, launch materials, and more.
No Trade-offs in Trading Careers
With the freedom to live anywhere, Christy and her husband are currently trying Austin, Texas, chosen for its decidedly different lifestyle than New York. “We went looking for the opposite of New York, and Austin was it,” she says. “It’s a laid back, friendlier lifestyle.”
With her husband a freelance iPhone app developer, the two work from home, and cut their commutes from 30 minutes to 30 seconds. They set their schedules each day – not necessarily 9 to 5 – and without a car, they walk or bike wherever they need to go.
“I wake up without an alarm,” she says. “I have a lot more time to go running or exercise, and can go any time of the day. There’s no commute so we have more time in the day to make our own healthy meals. I’m a lot happier.”
While they love Austin, Christy and her husband don’t expect to be living there full time for more than a few years. And why not? With portable careers, they plan to explore other areas, perhaps Central or South America next.
For Christy, there were no tradeoffs in trading careers. “I can make as much money as I did while I was employed,” she says. “I can choose if I want more free time or to make more income – on my own terms.”
Christy’s Tips For Copywriters
- Follow through – Once Christy fully committed to the Accelerated Program, and did all the exercises, she gained the confidence, work samples and clients that led to freelance income.
- Change your mindset – Freelancing is not all or nothing. Get started now, even while working full time. “Do one thing that brings you closer to your goal every day,” Christy says.
- Visualize your life – Christy actively visualized the life she wanted, from winning Copy Challenges, to her perfect day at work – and they came true.
Ready to pursue the writer’s life?
Ready to pursue the writer’s life? Learn more about the program that launched Melanie’s career, The FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair.
“I can make as much money as I did while I was employed. I can choose if I want more free time or to make more income – on my own terms.”
Corporate marketing, health coach
She landed her first freelance assignments from direct response job boards.