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Corporate Life Vs Working in Your Pyjamas

An Interview with Jamie Bell: Digital designer & strategist for eco-conscious businesses

· Work and Travel,Entrepreneurship,Girlboss Interviews

Jamie Louise Bell is a digital designer and strategist for small eco-conscious businesses in New Zealand, where she currently resides. After being made redundant from a marketing firm, she made the decision to move to Europe and to work location independently. Learn more about how she became a digital nomad, set up her own business and about her goals for the future.

My Travel Tribe interviews Jamie Bell

What's the biggest challenge when starting your own business?

Challenges. Yikes, where do I start? Worrying whether or not I could earn a steady income, worrying that I wasn't experienced enough, worrying about finding new clients. The biggest challenge for me was (and still is sometimes) changing my mindset from worrying to action. I think this is due to lack of confidence. I needed to learn to accept what I could control and what I could not and then refocus my energy into creating opportunities for myself. Looking back now, it looks like a clear (but fairly curvy) path, but in the beginning it is always challenging to get started on carving the path to where you want to be.

What's the biggest difference between working for yourself and working as part of a large corporation?

Freedom. The difference is equally liberating and terrifying. At the start, it was important for me to understand the difference between the two lifestyles and to practice embracing my new one. In the early stages I didn't have that many clients and so work was limited. I find it important to view this extra time as an opportunity to sit an AdWords exam, improve my internal billing processes or just to go for a midweek surf.

My Travel Tribe interview Jamie Louise Bell

Are there any challenges associated with “going independent” at a young age?

I am 27 now so I am young, but not that young. I toyed with the idea of going out as an independent for a long time. But I was hesitant. Did I have enough experience? Should I find another job in a corporate firm to facilitate my training and development? I look at my past self now and realise how being scared and unconfident clouded the true me. I think sometimes we convince ourselves that we are being "rational" when actually we are just terrified of giving things a go. I'm not sure if that's related to being young, or to being human.

As a consultant, my baby face doesn't always serve me well when I am giving strategic advice to my clients. Therefore it's been really important for me to be results focused, which I think us millennials are really good at anyway. It gives your stakeholders (including yourself - don't forget you're a stakeholder too) confidence and it's so good to watch that trust flourish.

You help small eco conscious businesses. Is the environmentally friendly aspect of a company important to you?

Yes, I value eco-consciousness very highly. As a surfer, I get so much joy from the natural world. I really respect it and want to do more and more to see it flourish. I get such a buzz from working with business owners who are conscientious towards their natural environment. It makes me feel good helping them and Mother Nature at the same time. I often look back to when I was working in the corporate world. I would spend two hours in the car getting to and from work every day, sit in an office flooded with bright lights and air conditioning, and watch ladies in the office print masses of bleached white paper, only to throw it away at the end of the day. Now 90% of my work is online and home based, which is so much more environmentally sustainable. I can even bike to visit some of my clients! I have the spray free vegetable garden that I have always wanted and I am working on a surf wax brand made from 100% natural ingredients. Watch this space! 😉

My Travel Tribe interview Jamie Louise Bell

You mention that life is all about balance. Why is a work-life balance important?

I have only just begun to really believe in the saying that happiness is not a destination but a way of life. Before I became location independent, I was doing the 9 to 5 (or 8 to after dark in the corporate world) and only living for the weekends. That simply wasn't working for me. It took me until Sunday afternoon to really unwind and then Monday would show up again like a tonne of bricks. Work is a big part of most of our lives. I think it's important to be honest with yourself about what is sustainable for you and whether or not your current way of working aligns with your core values and goals. It could just be a small change, like starting at a time to miss the morning rush hour, or moving your work space closer to a window in order to increase your vitamin D levels. Balance is good like that - you might only need a little change to get yourself into alignment. In saying that though, for me it's still a work in progress. Just like my novice yoga journey; you've got to keep stretching yourself to get where you want to be, but it's vital to enjoy the journey, so you wake up every day with the motivation to do it all again.

My Travel Tribe interview Jamie Louise Bell

Any digital marketing tips for our community?

Keep swimming. The digital landscape is just like the ocean - constantly changing, and the more you look the more species of apps, online programs, widgets and task management systems you can discover. But don't go drowning yourself in it all. Focus on your business objectives and start by putting one foot in front of the other (wait, we are swimming - one arm in front of the other)! Get the basics right and the hard stuff will follow. Keep reviewing and improving and soon you'll be catching waves.

What are your future goals for yourself and your business?

I want to perfect my balance; work-life balance, balance in yoga, balance in all things really. In terms of business, I want to help make my clients' goals become a reality and to make sure my business is sustainable so that I can keep on serving my clients long term. We would like to buy a little yacht in the next couple of years and start a family so keeping that balance will be ever so important.

My Travel Tribe interviews Jamie Bell

Being location independent gives you the freedom to travel as you please, do you have a favourite destination?

I just got back from a three month trip to Europe. Ericeira in Portugal was a favourite of mine as well as Tucepi in Croatia. Now I am back in little ole New Zealand and I feel really grateful to call this beautiful destination home. I am looking over my laptop screen at the moment out onto the harbour, where native birds are chirping and doing their birdy dances. My favourite destination at the moment would have to be this little beach over the hill from us, which has incredible surf banks. Not many folks know about it and it's truly breathtaking.

My Travel Tribe interview Jamie Bell

What does your daily routine look like?

I would love to say that every morning I jump out of bed at 6.30, go for a run with my dog for an hour, practice a salute to the sun, and then enjoy some fresh fruit and a turmeric latte whilst I read my emails, but things aren't quite so. I am actually writing this in my PJs this morning. I'm trying a new thing at the moment where I do what feels right when it feels right, which I guess is a routine in itself, albeit a rather untraditional one. Let me explain - this morning for example, it was pouring rain and I know I run better when it's not raining so I will go for a jog with Inka (my four legged best-friend) when I have finished this interview. Flexibility in my routine serves me really well. I still finish whatever needs to get done, but I enjoy my work a whole lot more, when it's on my own schedule. I'm trying to embody the idea that "happiness is not a destination, its a way of life".

My Travel Tribe interviews Jamie Bell

What is the best advice you ever got?

I was made redundant from my corporate job on account of a company restructure. A good friend told me to "be honest with yourself about what sets your soul alight and go and do that". What a wise owl.

What is your favourite quote?

Once again. Happiness is not a destination, it's a way of life.

My Travel Tribe interviews Jamie Bell

Where can we find you?

You can find me at my website:

I'm also on social media: Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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