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Hip co-working work spaces in Paris that have everything you need and more

7 Hip Coworking Work Spaces In Paris Where You Can Get Some Serious Work Done

FB-Hip-Paris-CoWorking-Space

There are hundreds of coworking spaces in Paris but not all are created equal. Some are bare bones and depressing while others are hip, vibrant and offer additional amenities beyond basic WI-FI and printers. Those are the ones we care about. Whether you are a man or woman, artist or developer, ecologist, journalist, consultant or one-man startup, here are 7 collaborative workspaces with a little “je ne sais quoi”.

If you’re in Paris and need to find a place with WiFi where you can get a little work done, sometimes popping into a McDonald’s, Starbucks or similar will do.

The problem is those places are often loud, crowded, distracting- not a very peaceful or conducive environment to get some serious work done. If you need privacy, access to a printer, phones or other things usually available in an office, public places like McDonald’s or Starbucks just won’t do at all.

Instead head over to one of the many hip coworking spaces in Paris equipped with everything you’ll need to get down to business including coffee, snacks, desks, wi-fi, printers and more depending on which one you visit. Some even have lockers and cafeterias.

Not only can working in a co-working space help you be more productive but it can also help you increase your network according to the “2nd global coworking survey” conducted by Deskmag where over 1500 people from 52 countries were surveyed.

Here are 7 extremely cool coworking workspaces you can rent by the hour, day, week,  month or longer.

A coworking space is defined as a workspace where diverse groups of freelancers, remote workers, and other independent professionals work together in a shared, communal setting

1. DRAFT:

Is a co-working arts and crafts studio in Paris for budding designers and technology enthusiasts.

Draft is a coworking arts and crafts studio in Paris for budding designers and technology enthusiasts.

If you’re looking for a place that allows you to do more than type away on the computer, you’ve found it with Draft. You’ll pay € 15 and have access to the main coworking space for the entire day.

If however you are a budding architect, designer, crafter or creator and want to create a prototype for a client or for yourself, you can have access to their on site equipment at very affordable rates. The fees depend on the equipment you use. For example it’s €12 / hr to use the sewing machine and 3D Printer and €30 for the laser cutter. The carpentry workshop cost €65 / hour but considering you have access to saws, drills, sanders, dremmels and more, it’s still a great deal.

Draft Coworking website

Address:12, Esplanade Nathalie Sarraute, 18e Paris

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-8pm; Sat 2pm-8pm Transport:

Nearest Metro station: La Chapelle or Marx Dormoy

Price: €8 for a half day, €15 for a whole day and €120 for a book of 10 passes.

2. LE LAWOMATIC:

Is a trendy co-working office space in Paris which you rent by the month in the hip Canal Saint-Martin neighbourhood.

LE LAWOMATIC: is a trendy co-working office space in Paris which you rent by the month in the hip Canal Saint-Martin neighbourhood

For those nomadic workers who are spending more than a month in Paris, you can rent space at Le Lawomatic for an entire month. The founders of the space wanted a trendy co-working space where traveling professionals could find plenty of amenities. There’s high-speed connection as well as 24 hour access and a shared meeting room. There’s even a small cafeteria on location.

Le Lawomatic coworking website

Address:20 rue Jean Moinon,10e Paris

Opening hours: 24 hour access 7 days a week

Nearest Metro station: Metro: Belleville or Colonel Fabien

Price: €370 per month

3. HUBSY:

Is a peaceful pay by the hour co-working cafe space in Paris with plenty of snacks and hot drinks.

HUBSY: is a peaceful pay by the hour co-working cafe space in Paris with plenty of snacks and hot drinks

This coworking café space has soothing music as well as a cosy feel. It’s a coworking space with all the usual amenities and more- including wireless connections, plugs, printers and meeting rooms. Upstairs there’s also a small library for patrons. You can pay €5 / hour or a flat fee of €20 for five hours or more for the entire day. Everyone using the coworking cafe space is encouraged to help themselves to fresh coffee brewed in France, tea and various snacks like cookies, apples or cereal. There are plenty of great views at Hubsy too which is located directly across from the famous museum of Arts et Métier in the 3rd arrondisement.

Hubsy café coworking space website

Address: 41 rue Reaumur, 3e Paris

Opening hours: Mon-Sun 8am-11pm

Nearest Metro station: Metro: Arts et Métiers or Réaumur-Sébastopol

Price: €5 / hr and then €2 for each additional 1/2 hour after that. After 5 hours you pay a flat €20. Rent an entire month for €250.

4. BLUE OFFICE:

Is a great co-working space in Paris for someone who needs to be more professional or needs the quiet.

BLUE OFFICE: is great co-working space in Paris for someone who needs to be more professional or needs the quiet.

If you need a professional space for a day with everything you could ever need or want in an office Blue office might be for you. There are 5 co-working space across Paris to choose from. They have wireless connectivity, lockers, a small cafeteria, parking, telephones, printers and private meeting rooms for teleconferencing. This is  They are a bit more expensive than others on the list at €25 per day, but you also get separate parking spaces. Blue Office is located on 19 Rue de Vienne in Paris.

Blue office coworking website

Address:

1. MAISONS-LAFFITTE: rue 78600, 44 Rue Jean Mermoz, 78600 Maisons-Laffitte

2. MONTIGNY-LE- BRETONNEUX: 6 Avenue Gustave Eiffel, 78180 Montigny-le-Bretonneux

3. MASSY: 1 Rue Galvani, 91300 Massy

4. ALFORTVILLE: rue 94140, 5 Rue Charles de Gaulle, 94140 Alfortville

5. NOISY-LE-GRAND: 32 Avenue du Pavé Neuf, 93160 Noisy-le-Grand

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m. 7:30 p.m.

Price: €25 / day,

5. L’ANTICAFE:

Is co-working space in Paris for students and professionals who need coffee while they work but don’t want to go to a noisy, crowded Starbucks.

L’ANTICAFE: is a co-working space in Paris for students and professionals who need coffee while they work but don’t want to go to a noisy, crowded Starbucks.

There are 6 Anticafe locations, four of which are located in Paris, one in Rome and one in Aix-En-Provence. Customers pay €5 per hour or pay a €24 flat fee for anything over 5 hours. Each Anticafé has everything you need to get your work done- Wi-Fi, plenty of tables, plugs, printers, whiteboards as well as coffee, drinks and snacks which are included in your hourly fee.

Anticafé coworking space website

Address: 4 locations in Paris

Louvre Anticafé: 10 rue de Richelieu 75001 Paris

Olympiade Anticafé: 59 rue Nationale 75013 Paris

Bobourg Anticafé: 79 rue Quincampoix 75003 Paris

République Anticafé: 6 rue du Château d’Eau 75010 Paris

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am-11pm; Sat-Sun 10am-00am.

Price: €5 / hr or  €24 flat fee for 5 plus hours. Book an entire month for €240.

6. L’ARCHIPEL CAFE:

Is a co-working cafe in a converted chapel.

L’ARCHIPEL CAFE: Is a co-working cafe in a converted chapel

In what was formerly a chapel and convent, the L’ Archipel Cafe is now a coworking and event space. Along with the cafe, there are workshops, visiting food trucks and a huge book swap event. For those who need a quick nap, there are even hammocks in the alcoves. All the profits from the cafe go to charity too. The cafe is only open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. during the week. There are events at the cafe for those who are interested.

Address: 26 bis Rue de Saint Petersbourg 8e Paris

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am-10pm; Sat-Sun 11am-6 pm.

Nearest Metro station: Metro: Place du Clichy or Europe.

7. La Mutinerie:

Is a dedicated co-working space in Paris where young freelancers can collaborate and be more productive and a place where you can host your next workshop.

La Mutinerie: Is a dedicated co-working space in Paris where young freelancers can collaborate and be more productive and a place where you can host your next workshop

‘La Mutinerie’ is was created by a group of young freelancers fed up with the solitude of working from home. Their goal was to create a co-working environment that would improve your productivity and be a space where you could collaborate with other like-minded individuals. Like most co-working  work spaces, it has all the usual amenities including WI-FI, a scanner, a printer and even has lockers and private areas to make phone calls so you don’t disturb other people trying to work. If you need a place to host an even, conference or workshop, you can do that here too. Located on the Rue de Meaux in the 19th arrondissement, subscriptions range from €30-€390 for the month.

Mutinerie coworking website

Address:29 rue de Meaux 19e Paris

Nearest Metro station: Metro: Bolivar or Colonel Fabien sira cha

Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Price: €25 for a day pass or €225 for 10 passes
Monthly memberships:  – €290 / month for full time access, €180 for 10 days access / month, €95 for 5 days access per month.

 

Thanks to wanderlust15.com/ for co-creating this guest post with me here at www.AnnieAndre.com

Photo sourced from the respective co-working websites. Feature Photo source via StockUnlimited

How to change career when you don't know what to do

How To Change Careers When You Don’t Know What To Do

How to change career when you don't know what to do

It’s hard enough making a career change when you know exactly what you’d rather be doing but what if you have no idea what you want to do? Same is true if you want to move abroad but need to make a career change to make it happen- what can you do? Here are some ways and resources to help you discover a fulfilling career path more efficiently and more quickly than if you try to wing it and figure it all out on your own.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I was a kid, I had lofty career goals. First I wanted to be a ballerina, then an airline stewardess, a CIA or FBI agent, an actress and a slew of other romanticized jobs. I never considered the economic consequences of these jobs let alone if they would make me happy.

When it was time to attend University, I took a less romanticized approach to my career planning. I chose to major in Economics-not because I had any particular love for Economics but because I thought it was the prudent thing to do in order to land a good paying corporate job after graduation. It seemed like a good idea at the time based on the information I had about the workforce- which was close to nothing.

8 years into my career, I was making a good living working mainly in corporate finance and accounting but…..I felt unfulfilled. I knew in my gut that if I didn’t change career paths soon, I would eventually begin to loath my job and my life. I didn’t want this regret looming over my head.

My career change mistakes and successes

image.pngFor one of my career changes, I decided to open up my own eCommerce shop selling adorable forest themed sleeping masks which I made by hand. In addition to my online shop, I also sold my sleeping masks on Etsy, small specialty retail stores and at local craft fairs.

It was a lot of hard work but for the most part I enjoyed every aspect of my business until it came time for a little vacation. I realized my handmade business, which requires a sewing machine, bolts of fabric and sleeping mask inventory at all times isn’t exactly the best business to run for someone like me who loves to travel and wants to travel more often.

Although it wasn’t obvious to me at the time, my e-commerce shop was a stepping stone and just part of my zig-zag career path journey that would eventually lead me to my idea career and job in digital marketing.

Digital marketing or web marketing as some like to call it, is perfect for me because it takes many of my skills, my interest and passions and combines them under one umbrella. Things like analytics, HTML coding, web graphics, writing and research. I don’t need a physical inventory and I can do my job from anywhere including remotely from France as long as I have a computer and an internet connection- perfect for wanderlust heart.

shark_domo_sleeping_mask_lenekonoir_008.jpg15 years and a couple of career changes later, I’ve figured a few things about career changes mainly from trial and error.  I’ve made a bunch of career mistakes along the way so I’m no expert by any means but I learned from those mistakes. At the same time, some of the mistakes I made could have been avoided and I probably could have arrived at my idea career choice faster had I done a few things differently.

If I had to do it all over again and time was of the essence, here are some of the tools and resources I would use to find the best career path for me.

5 ways to find your idea career path or the perfect job when you have no idea what to do

Rosie the reveter changed her career path

A career change can take time but you can shorten that length of time considerably by doing a bit of self-reflection. Take it from me- you don’t want to skip this step, especially if you are unsure what new career path you want to take.

It can save you the headache of choosing a new career which you thought you would enjoy only to discover it doesn’t match your lifestyle goals, your interests or your abilities.

1) Take a test to see what jobs will make you the happiest

Depending on which career tests or personality test you take (also known as psychometric tests), certain factors are taken into consideration to determine the best jobs for you including your ambitions, your life goals, your motivations, your self-reported skills, your personality type etc. These all get mashed together and out comes a list of “best potential careers” for you to sift through and choose for further research. These psychometric assessment tests cannot however tell you which single job is THE BEST ONE.  Remember, these are tests which are question and answer based, and you may be well suited for several different careers. It’s up to you to figure out from the list which if any are the best match for you.

There are so many tests you can take but here are a few to get you started.

Personality tests which you can take right now.

Jung Typology Test

Finding Potential

Career tests which you can take right now.

Career Fitter

MAPP™ assessment

2) Work with a career coach / counsellor

In addition to or instead of taking a career assessment or personality test, you could work one-on-one with a career coach. Before you scoff at the idea, think about this.

Even the best golfers like Tiger Woods need an expert coach for continued improvement. Similarly, a career coach can help you improve your efficiency in searching for that perfect career change or job by providing you with expert advice on how to plan your career change.

A career counsellor can also guide you in making an action plan, deal with the emotional side of a career change, boost your confidence, re-define your career goals and recommend courses or training you might need. All things which a career test or personality test can’t do or can’t do as well.

When choosing the best career coach, make sure you choose one that is experienced and trained. Expect to pay anywhere from 100 to 500 dollars per session. Yes it is pricey however when you think of the long term ramifications- happiness in your future job vs staying in a job that you are not well suited for, it might be worth it for some individuals.

3) Research your potential jobs

Once you’ve discovered the best possible career matches, you’ll need to do some practical research about those jobs.

Either way, here are a few things you can do to learn more about the potential jobs which you might want to do.

  • Interview other people who are in the job role which you want to do.
  • Job Shadow someone who is in the role you want to do.
  • Search career websites for more information about the job you are looking into. You can discover things which career tests and coaches might not be able to tell you like salary, job culture, training etc.
  • Take some courses to see if you enjoy the subject matter. For example f you want to become a programmer, take an online programming class. www.lynda.com, now owned by Linkedin has great online training from business and marketing to coding and more. It costs about $19 USD per mont and the courses are all video based and professionally done.
  • Find out what if any further training you will need to do. Discovering you need to get a masters degree might be off putting to you and help you rule out certain careers.
  • Read career change websites. www.careershifters.com is a good place to start. They have an online community where you can talk with other career changers and get moral support. http://www.learnhowtobecome.org/ is another good site for career research. Enter in the desired career and it tells you a little about that career, salary range, education or training needed etc.

4) Training

Through your research, you’ve discovered the best careers for you. You narrowed down that list to a a few possible choices. Now it’s time to figure out if you need any additional training or certification?

If your current skill set is transferable than perhaps you don’t even need any training. If you do need training , you have options for any schedule and any budget. From traditional university degrees, distance learning, online certification or self training. Whicever way works for you, just make sure that any training you take will actually help you get the job you are trying to land.

Other things you need to ask yourself, explore and research are “can you afford it the training program. Will you take time off from work to pursue additional training or will you keep your day job and go to class at night?

You may be able to bypass formal education and get on the job training by taking a lower level job or entry level job and use it as a stepping stone. I found this method to be practical for me when I couldn’t afford to take time off work to get official training. Especially since at the time I was a single mom.  It was hard to take a pay cut but the way I approached it was, I was better off taking a pay cut than quitting my job and earning no salary whatsoever.

5)  Take action

Hopefully after all the self reflection and research, you’ve narrowed down your list to one maybe two careers. Now is the time to take action- any action big or small.

Have you updated your resume? Did you update you social media profile on linkedin? Did you network with your peers and let them know  you are looking for work?

Don’t struggle to find the perfect path or the ideal starting point and don’t let information overload give you analysis paralysis. It’s more important to simply get things moving because your path may not be linear but rather one big zig-zag like mine.

Other things to consider

No one should choose their next career change exclusively from online tests or the advice of others but they are useful tools for discovering if you’re well suited for that career change or not. Not to mention, it can be illuminating to get career suggestions that you might not have thought of yourself.

In the end, you have the final say in how to determine the best career path you want to take for your unique set of circumstances.

Good Luck and stay strong. You can do it!

jobs you can do from anywhere: 10 jobs you can do remotely

Work Anywhere And Support Yourself Abroad: 10 Remote Jobs You Can Do From Anywhere

jobs you can do from anywhere: 10 jobs you can do remotely

If you would love to travel or live overseas for an extended period of time but you’re not independently wealthy, don’t have a tonne of savings or a job lined up overseas, you’re only option to support yourself may be to find a job which you can do remotely. Here are 10 remote jobs which require skills you probably already have.

10 portable careers you can do from anywhere in the world

Thanks to the internet, video conferencing software and other modern technologies, more and more companies are becoming open to the idea of hiring remote workers.

Remote jobs not only benefit moms and dad’s who need to stay home with the kids but also people who want to live abroad or travel but need to keep working to support themselves.

Even if you’ve never considered it, you may already partially or wholly possess the skills necessary for certain remote jobs which you can do from anywhere in the world. Here are 10 remote jobs to get you started. Do you have any of these skills?

1) Do you speak English? -Teach English Online

If your an English teacher or if English is your native language than you already have the skill-set necessary to teach English.

People around the world are clamouring to learn English. Fortunately for you and for those wanting to learn English, video conferencing software like Skype make it extremely easy for teachers and students to connect at a distance – to see, hear and interact with each other.

Getting clients on your own can be a bit tricky. You can set up your own website to attract potential student or search classifieds for people looking for English teachers.

If setting up your own website it not your thing, you could teach at an online language school where teachers and students from all over the world come together to teach and learn through virtual classrooms using Skype.- like in a traditional language school, just online. Here are two online language schools where you can apply to become a language teacher.

Lingoda = 8.50 € / hour or about 8 USD depending on the exchange rate.

italki.com = Charge your own rate. Most teachers charge about $16 to $20 USD / hour

You probably need to get certified to teach English

If you don’t have a teaching or education degree, you will most likely need to get TEFL certified which stands for “Teaching English as a foreign language”. It’s recognized around the world and can open the door to thousands of English speaking jobs worldwide.

A TEFL certificate is not that dificult to get. You can get certified online and need about 120 to 140 hours of online training.

I highly recommend LoveTEFL also known as i-to-i.  They have been around for over 20 years and are very reputable. Their TEFL certification will cost you around 200 to 400 dollars. They have job boards listing English speaking jobs all around the world and even have paid internships you can apply for.  All of their courses can be taken at your own pace. You can get your TEFL certificate in as little as four weeks or you can take all the time you need.

2) Do you play a music instrument? – Teach Music Online

If you know an instrument well enough to teach it than you can join the ranks of other musicians who are teaching music online. Learning and teaching music online has really taken off in the past few years and is still in it’s early years. My friends daughter learned to play the fiddle through online lessons. I am learning guitar through Marty Scwartz Guitar lessons.

Getting clients is again going to require you to use the internet. Many musicians put videos on YouTube by offering free lessons with the goal of attracting students to sign up for either private lessons or an online music course.

Another option is to join or apply to an online music school. For instance, Guitar Tricks is somewhere you could apply to teach music online.

Creating a sustainable career teaching music remotely is going to take time. It’s something that you will need to start building now so you can reap the rewards later.

3) Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant (VA) usually provides professional administrative, technical, creative or social assistance to clients remotely.

For example you can become a real estate virtual assistant and do various things for a real estate broker such as update their listings, respond to their email inquires, manage their calendar and whatever else they need help with.

Many virtual assistants have their own website but many people find work on freelancing sites such Freelancer.com, Upwork and Golance .

4) Can you write? -Copywriter freelance writer

Like teaching English, freelancing as a writer or copywriter is not the best paying job but if you enjoy writing, you can earn around $15 to $20 / hour depending on how fast you can write. A growing number of businesses are hiring freelance writers and content creators to create news articles, blog posts and other web related articles rather than having in-house writers on site.  Look at traditional job boards and on the freelancing sites for work.

5) Can you write and do you know a specific industry? Technical writer

Similar to a copywriter, you can become a technical writer. You have to be somewhat technical in a specific field, whether it be software or science or some other domain. And you need to be able to write clearly about it.

6) Can you type fast? Transcriber

A transcriber listens to dictated recordings and transcribes them into written reports, correspondence and other materials. Many professional transcribers use a foot pedal to pause the recordings but many do not. You’ll need a computer and word processor to transcribe and be able to type fast since you are usually paid either by word or by the length of the recording in terms of minutes.

You can look for online transcription services and apply online like at this site https://www.rev.com/freelancers

 

If you are familiar with medical terminology, you can specialize in a certain type of transcription such as a  Medical transcriptionists. You’ll need to comprehend and accurately transcribe medical recordings and may need to know about anatomy, physiology or legal issues related to healthcare.

Although Medical transcriptionists are not required to have a university degree, many employers prefer to hire those who do. There are vocational schools and community colleges that offer degrees or certification. There are also online schools that offer medical transcription training.

Here are two certifications which you might want to look into- (RMT) Registered medical transcriptionist and (CMT) Certified Medical Transcriptionist which can take you anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to complete. Career-step is a good place to start your search for online medical transcriber certification and will cost about $3,000 USD.

7) Do you have good phone skills? Call-Center Representative

A growing number of businesses are going the route of hiring customer service workers who work remotely from home. This eliminates the need for office space and the need to purchase equipment for workers.

You will be responsible for answering phones- possibly at all hours, assist customers, process orders or deal with returns.

You’ll also need your own computer and may need specific software or equipment in addition to a pleasant phone voice.

There are dozens of sites that list job openings for call-center representatives, including Upwork.com and Freelancer.com however you should also look at traditional job sites including monster.com and even linkedin.com job listings.

8) Do you know your way around a 10 key pad? Data Entry

If you’re fast a data entry than you could try your hand at turning that skill into a job. There are a wide range of businesses that need workers to enter data into their systems.

According to the Bureau of labour statistics, the median salary for a data entry clerk is about 30k / year topping out at 44k per year. You can find many data entry jobs on Upwork.com, Freelancer.com, and SimplyHired.com, as well as dozens of other traditional job boards.

9) Can you speak another language? Translator

If you are bilingual or proficient in English and some other language, you could work as a translator. Many translating jobs are done remotely and also on a freelance basis. Look for translating companies, book publishers that publish books in multiple languages and websites that publish news stories and articles in multiple languages.

According the bureau of labour statistics, the median income for a translator is about $44K per year. If you work for the government, it could be even higher.

10) Do you  have a nursing degree? Telephone Nurse

Health insurers and other health management companies such as Aetna, United Health Group and Humana hire registered nurses remotely to perform duties such as case management, patient education and treatment authorization. Check out Indeed.com for  telephone nurse jobs.

Tips on finding and choosing tellecomuting and remote jobs more easily

There are so many other jobs which you can do remotely just however there are also some pretty scammy “work from home jobs” that just don’t pay a livable wage – remember envelope stuffers? They would get paid pennies for stuffing hundreds of nvelopes?

Always use reputable job sites for your searches or go directly to a companies website and search for the jobs they offer remotely if any. Check Glassdoor to get feedback about a companies work environment from other current and past employees.

Lastly, if you don’t have time to sift through all the job posting sites and just want to see jobs you can do remotely aggregated in one place than you should try FlexJobs. It does cost $50 per year but it’s worth it if you value your time. All the jobs are added in manually so you won’t see any scammy jobs on their site. Just the quality jobs.

5 simple rule to help you find the cheapest airline tickets

What Is The Best Time To Buy Cheap Plane Tickets? 5 Simple Rules Explained!

5 simple rule to help you find the cheapest airline tickets

What is the best time to buy cheap plane tickets?” It’s the classic travellers dilemma. Buy on Wednesday! Don’t fly on a Saturday! Buy last minute! Don’t buy last minute. Who and what do you believe? Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that there is any one way that will guarantee you the cheapest tickets because it just isn’t true. Let me share five general rules of thumb that I follow in order to get the cheapest airline tickets.

Living in France has many benefits except for the fact that it gets pretty damn expensive flying back to north America to see friends and family. I am constantly on the hunt for deals

I have a very simple research method that helps me systematically find the best time to buy airline tickets at or close to the cheapest price point for a given time period.  By the end of this article, you will be able to conduct your own research and find some great travel deals using a variant of my research process. It’s not full proof but it works most of the time.

First the bad news.

Trying to find the cheapest airline tickets is a bit like gambling; there is no ONE SINGLE method that will guarantee you always find the absolute cheapest airline prices.

However, there are certain patterns and rules that savvy travellers can and do follow that help guide them towards cheaper price points. Once you know these general rules, you will also be able to use these rules to help guide you and systematically buy airline tickets below the AVERAGE price or normal ticket prices.

**It is better to try and get ticket prices below the average rather than try to get the cheapest tickets. If you keep waiting for prices to drop to rock bottom prices, you could miss your window by waiting too long before they go shooting back up. Sounds like the stock market doesn’t it?

I always get a feel for the average and then buy below the average. you can’t loose that way.

Once you know the average or have a baseline, you can then try to get a flight that is cheaper than that using some basic rules. Let’s get started

Get Your Research Tools Ready

Before we get started, you should first choose your research tools.

Choose An Airline Consolidator:

An airline consolidator or airline aggregation is simply an airline comparison tool to search for the cheapest flights all at once. Example: I use sites like Expedia.com, sky scanner.com and  OneTravel.com to name a few. If you have your own favorite than use them.

Method to record prices: Next, you will need something to record the prices by date.  I use a spreadsheet but you can use a piece of paper or a word processing document. You will use this over the course of a few days or even weeks depending on how in depth you want to watch and compare prices.

Now that you have your tools, let’s get started.

Choose A Date You Want To Travel

1- Buy your tickets in Advance! How Far In Advance?

There is one simple rule that most experienced travellers agree on and that is….“You will save the most money by buying your tickets in advance”

Just how far in advance is where even the experts tend to disagree or split hairs between 3 to 8 weeks in the future.

8 Week Rule:

An economist named Mr. Watanabe created a formula that he claims can calculate the best time to buy the cheapest advance airline ticket. **source Guardian (UK)

The formula looks like this– Why ∏A = gUG + min(k-g, (1-g)(1-r)). Just in case you don’t speak math, let me interpret for you. The best time to buy cheap airline tickets is about 8 weeks before you intend to fly.

Cheap Air came up with a similar number when they analysed all flights sold in 2013. They discovered that the cheapest flights were bought 54 days, (7 weeks and 5 days) in advance,

21 Days for Domestic, 34 Days for International:

According to Kayak, the best time to buy cheap airline tickets for domestic flights is 21 days in advance and 34 days in advance for international flights.

Do you see how different and far apart these two-time periods are?

In short, you need to buy your ticket at least 3 weeks in advance but not more than 8 weeks in advance.

Price Alerts

I like to sign up for price alerts via email for my given date and destination. These alerts are emailed to me and tell me whenever there is a price hike or drop for my future trip.

2- Fly Out On A Tuesday, Wednesday Or Saturday:

The day you depart can make a hug difference in ticket prices.

Some people claim it is most expensive to fly out on a Sunday probably has something to do with the fact that lots of people are clamoring to get back home or work in time for the beginning of a new work week on Monday.

All those people drive the ticket prices for that particular day.

3- Can You Plan Your Trip During The Shoulder Season?

There are three travel season. High, shoulder and low. High being the most expensive time to travel and low being the cheapest.

  • Shoulder Season: In my opinion, shoulder season is the best time to travel. Not only do you get great deals on cheap flights, you also still benefit from the lingering good weather from the peak season but without all the touristy crowds. Instead of waiting 3 hours to visit the Eiffel tower during peak season, you could wait just 10 minutes or not at all during shoulder season.

Shoulder season falls smack dab in the middle of high and low season.

Generally speaking, shoulder season falls somewhere between April – mid-June, September, and October but be careful because shoulder season can also vary by destination:

For example, Thailand’s shoulder season tends to be short, falling during the month of June right after the rains have cooled the earth and right before the tourists arrive in July.

Paris’s shoulder season is from April to May and November to December.

**shoulder season usually does not fall within January, February, July, and August.

  • Low or Off Peak Season: If you want rock bottom prices, virtually no crowds and a more authentic local experience due to the lack of tourists and crowds than consider low or off peak season. Just one thing, the weather is usually pretty bad during low season. Depending on where you go during low season, you can expect monsoons, hurricanes and cold rains

4-Shop for tickets in the afternoon:

Afternoon: Ticket prices fluctuate throughout the day just like they do in the stock market. According to Watanabe’s formula, ticket prices are generally cheapest in the afternoon.

I don’t personally track at this level of granularity and I can’t imagine that the price difference could be that great in the morning vs the afternoon. If you know differently let me know in the comments below.

5- Shop On A Tuesday Or Wednesday:

Many sources and fellow travellers agree that in general, it’s best to shop for the cheapest airline tickets on Tuesday and Wednesday. I have found that cheaper tickets can also be had on a Thursday. This is why it’s important to do a little research .

Start your research

Now that you know the general rules for when to find the cheapest airline prices, you can start doing your research.

Get your piece of paper or spreadsheet ready.

Choose an airline aggregator like Expedia.com, or OneTravel.com .

Pick a date or period when you want to go and input it into one of the aggregators.

onetravel

Your results page will look something like this depending on what aggregator you use.

Notate the cheapest flight, the dates and the carrier.

record-flight

Record your findings. I like to record the day and day I searched but you could add anything you like time of day you searched too.

Tracking the results like this, helps you see patterns and become familiar with what is a good deal and not a good deal.

excel-record-price

I typically record check prices every day for several weeks or a few days. It just depends.

If I see a trend where prices are declining, I wait until I think the price is well below the average. Or, if I see that prices keep rising, I may decide to buy before they get too high. Once you do this a few times, you will develop a good sense and know when and what is a good deal.

Conclusion

Remember that these tips are here to guide you. Use them as a guide and as a starting point to search for the cheapest airline tickets.

Alternatively, you could just skip all the research and use the 5 tips I mentioned above to book a cheap flight.

They should get you pretty close to the best deal you can find at prices below the average.

I would love it if you could share this with your friends on Facebook and Pinterest.  It helps drive traffic to this site so I can continue to bring you free content.

live abroad or travel the world for a year carouges or stupid

Selfish, Courageous or Stupid? Use Your Savings And Move To France For A Year With Your Family!

live abroad or travel the world for a year carouges or stupid

Do you want to travel around the world or live abroad in with your kids but you’re afraid of the backlash and negativity from others? Been there! Here are 6 responses to 6 things naysayers might say to you. I hope it empowers you to go with your gut and do what is right for you rather than letting others shame you into conforming to their idea of what is the right and wrong way to live your life and raise your children.

You did what?Strolling on a foot path On st Margerite island

I always get a kick out of people’s reaction when they learn we used our savings to move to France with our three children while we were unemployed. “Are you crazy?”, “what about all your stuff and your life here?”, “You’re so lucky I wish I could do that!” or “You’re selfish parents for uprooting your kids and disrupting their routine.” And finally, people wonder if we are rich.

And the list goes on.

Travelling the world or living abroad for a year might seem like something only the rich or frivolous can do but you don’t have to be rich and it’s done more often than you think. 

I don’t blame those negative naysayers for thinking what they do about us folks who choose to leave our conventional lives behind to travel and see the world. What else are they supposed to think?

Most of us are raised to believe that we are supposed to live our life a certain way and when we stray from that way of life that we are taking risks or being bad parents or whatever it is that naysayers say about folks like us.

nice-cheese

Nowhere in the manual of life does it say take a family gap year to travel or live abroad. It just goes against the social grain. But just because it is not a common occurrence does not mean it’s the wrong thing to do. Great things in this world have happened because someone did something different, extraordinary or outside the bell curve.

But travelling the world for a year or taking a year off from life to live abroad is not really all that unique. Every year, thousands of people do it. I will admit that it is easier to do while you are younger with no attachments, no mortgage and before you get married and have kids.

I did it when I was 18- I lived in Japan and travelled throughout Asia for almost 4 years.

But Families do it too. It’s just harder to do as a family with kids. You have so many more obstacles to overcome. More of a financial burden. More lives to consider. Nevertheless, there are other families out there doing it. Here are a just a few Families who travel long term with their kids in tow. (Long term means that they are travelling the world indefinitely or until it no longer suits them.)

These people aren’t rich. They are people who got creative with how they earn a living so that they could lead a location independent life.

Leaving San Francisco

I’ve gotten my fair share of negativity from certain people I know and from complete strangers via email who say moving to France and using our savings to fund it was stupid, irresponsible or bad parenting. I don’t agree with them of course and they are all allowed their opinion.

In fact I agree with them to a certain degree. It is not right for certain people.It’s not right for them so they think it’s not right for me either I suppose. But my life is not their life. What makes them feel safe and happy does not make me feel that way and I want to raise my children differently.

Not everyone I come across are naysayers. Most are actually very positive.

Below are a few snippets from emails I have received from other readers.

  • I admire your courage to live life to the fullest with your kids.
  • Congratulations on your tenacity to live life unconventionally.
  • We would love to do what you and your family are doing but we need  a little advice….

We were even featured on the 500th episode of House Hunters international called Dreaming of Marseille.

However for every 100 positive emails, I receive a handful of emails from people who basically think we are either selfish fools or bad parents. Here is an example of one of the nastier ones I received.

“Just saw your house hunter program. I have never seen a more self-absorbed person in my life as you. You have given no consideration to parenting skills.

Two unemployed parents spending their savings on chasing a dream. You have not taken into consideration your children, especially your two eldest whose body language in the program showed two boys withdrawing from reality.

Your idea is something that should be pursued once your 3 responsibilities have been properly met and achieved their 18th birthday(s). In closing, I feel sorry for you, you are a very self-centred person, one who I hope fails at every turn of the screw.

signed anonymous”

catherine-school

Needless to say,  I am not so thrilled to get these and sometimes they even **piss me off. Not because someone dares to have a different opinion than me, but because selfishness was the furthest thing from our minds when we decided to leave our life behind to live in France for a year. But how would they know that. Most of people negativity comes from their very narrow point of view and life. I grew up living in different countries in a multicultural house so to travel and give this experience to my kids is a gift I wanted to pass on to them.

6 responses to negative feedback you may receive if you want to travel or live abroad with your kids for a year or more

Here are some things you may here from family and friends or even be thinking yourself.

1) You are selfish to impose your dream to travel (to live in France) on your children

swimming-st-tropez

A handful of emails said that we were selfish to impose our dream to live in France with our children. My response is this. Yes my husband and I love to travel and yes it was OUR dream to live in France, but our decision to actually DO IT was not merely based on a selfish desire but a strong belief that spending a year or more abroad would also BENEFIT our children.

That’s right, WE BELIEVE that our children will benefit from living in another country: exposed to another culture, speaking another language and so much more. We could have sent our elder sons to France on a year abroad program, instead we decided to spend a year abroad TOGETHER AS A FAMILY. You don’t have to agree or want to enrich your children’s lives as we have chosen to do. You just have to respect that we have our beliefs on how best to do it and you have yours.

Besides, we didn’t just wake up one day and say ‘oh let’s move to France’. On no mon ami. We carefully weighed our options, listed out the pros and cons, poured over our finances, conducted countless hours of research and went back and forth on our decision for months until we finally decided to JUST DO IT.

2) You are selfish to use your savings to live abroad when you have children.

It is selfish to use your savings to for a gap year in france when you have children?

We are not buying a Porsche or some other luxury item that we can’t afford. We worked hard for years at the expense of valuable family time and now we are choosing to use some of that money for a couple of years of family bonding; experiences and memories abroad.

FYI: We use a combination rental income, freelance work and savings to pay for our family year abroad.

If we really thought we were putting our future at risk, we would never have taken the leap to live abroad and take a family gap year in France. Only you can decide if it is financially viable for you to spend a year or more abroad with your family.

Not Familiar with our story?  Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures

We lived a pretty conventional middle class family life in the San Francisco bay area right up until the point where we were laid off from our high-tech jobs, the economy took a dive and jobs became scarce. Rather than sit around and wait for the economy to improve, we decided leave the bay area and take the road less travelled. We packed our suitcases, rounded up our three kids, ages 4, 13, 14 at the time of our move and moved to France temporarily (for what was supposed to be one year but has since been extended).

3) You are selfish to move the kids to another country far away from relatives and or friends!

la-garde-mira

First, this is your life and you have to do what makes you happy and what you think is best for your kids.  You are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness.

Second, yes your kids will miss their friends and family but with technology being so readily available, there is no reason why you can’t stay in touch with family and friends back home via video calls like we do. In some ways, we stay more in contact now than we ever did before.

Third, you have to do what is best for your family.

Lastly, It’s only temporary. A year or two abroad is not going to kill anyone.  If your move abroad is longer or more permanent, I want you to think about this. The US and Canada are filled with people who left their homeland and their families behind to start a new life they thought would be better so why can’t you?

4) Your kids are too young. They won’t remember or benefit from your time abroad.

The kids are too young. They won’t remember or benefit from your family gap year abroad

I have heard this argument so many times and frankly it’s R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S.

If we follow the logic that we should not do something with our kids just because they won’t remember then we also shouldn’t read to our babies or hold them or even speak to them simply because they won’t remember. Sounds silly doesn’t it?

Some developmental specialists even believe that much of a person’s brain development happens within the first few years of life.  In other words, a child’s experiences during the first few years of their life will become the hardwired connections responsible for better cognitive and emotional functioning, including vision, movements and language.

Want to learn some of the ways my kids have benefited from travelling? Read this article I wrote called 10 Reasons Why You should Travel With Your Kids Even If They Won’t Remember.

5) You should wait until your children are 18 to  pursue your family gap year to travel abroad.

Kieran leaving for the summer

Seriously?  Our time with our children is very precious and relatively short. Whey wait to experience the trip of a lifetime until after the kids have left the nest?  It just does not make sense to me. Yes it’s true there are going to be risks and challenges but I think the pros outweigh the cons by a long shot.

  • We get more time with the kids: Our kids get us full-time before and after school where previously they went to school and then straight to daycare because we worked mad crazy hours and commuted almost 2 hours everyday to work.
  • We are working on creating a portable income through writing and freelancing. We have chosen to use the time that the kids are in school to work on our freelance careers and some writing projects.  Maybe when we return to north America we will have grown our freelance careers to the point where we can make our own hours and continue to be home for the kids.
  • The kids have a chance to be bilingual.
  • Family bonding time: All this time together exploring another country creates the perfect environment to spend more time together..

6) Your kids look withdrawn: They must Hate Living abroad in France.

The kids will love / hate their gap year in France

In one of the emails I received, someone wrote that the body language of my two teenage boys on the episode of House Hunters showed two boys withdrawing from reality. First of all, I find it strange that someone would draw this conclusion about the state of mind of my children from less than a few minutes of footage.

Second, clearly the person who wrote these words does NOT understand what it’s like to have teenagers. My teenage boys can be moody as hell. Add in the fact that they had the stomach flu on the day we were filming and that they were embarrassed to be filmed  in public on the streets of France and voila.

Are my boys always happy in France? No they are not but that is true wherever they are not just because they were living in France.

Will your kids hate living abroad?  Maybe, maybe not. It just depends on your kids and the extent they are able to handle change.

As parents, don’t we make a lot of decisions for our kids that benefit them whether they like it or not? If your kids hate eating broccoli, or doing their math homework or practising the piano or some other thing that you MAKE them do for their own benefit would you stop?  Probably not.

Conclusion: Don’t let other people’s judgmental attitude, limiting beliefs or fears stop you from doing what you think is best

Stop judging people based on your limiting beliefs and fears.

Some parents move to a better, more expensive area because the schools are better. Others parent keep their kids constantly busy with violin lessons, sport camps or private tutors. Some parents home school.

I grew up experiencing the world and I thank my parents everyday for giving me that gift and now I want to give it to my children. You may not agree with our choices but that’s ok. I get it, travelling and spending a year abroad with your family may not be your cup of tea. Just don’t judge us lesser parents or bad parents just because we believe in providing  and enriching our children in a different way than you do.

If you are reading this and still shaking your head that’s OK. Go away and live your life and never come back here again. If you are contemplating spending a year abroad, here are my final thoughts.

nice-bay-of-angels

It is your life.

You have your own unique set of circumstances and obstacles.

Ultimately only you can decide if a family gap year in France is right for you.

Just promise me you wont let the fear of what others think or social norms stop you from doing it

train-nice-dignes

Budget Travel Guide: 13 Creative Money Saving Tactics You Didn't Know About But Should

Useful resources and ideas to help you travel the world on a tight budget

Staying in expensive hotels or flying to popular tourist spots like Paris during the peak summer months can really put a dent in your travel budget- often restricting you to travel less or worse, never at all. Fortunately for you, just because you’re on a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t travel the world. You just need to get creative in how you travel. I’ve put together 13 innovative ways you didn’t know you could travel to save money.

13 budget travel ideas worth trying

Money Is Not Stopping You From Travelling. Usually when I hear someone say they can’t afford to travel, what they really mean is they can’t afford their IDEAL vacation or trip which usually entails staying at some fancy-ish hotel or travelling to some popular and expensive travel getaway during peak travel season. Or what they really mean is that they would rather spend their money on other things over travel.

In reality, anyone can afford to travel and anyone can afford to travel more often. You just need to be willing to do things a little differently and think outside the box a bit.

Some of the methods I mention below will no doubt be new to you or seem unconventional- nevertheless there are gaggles of people that do in fact use these methods to afford travel- myself included. Many of the friends I’ve encountered during my travels also use these methods to travel the world and many of them travel with kids in tow.

With that said, here are 13 methods you can try along with links to the corresponding resources website. Enjoy!

Volunteer Your Way Around The World.

volunteer your way around the worldVolunteering is a good way to travel to places you might not otherwise visit while also helping individuals and communities in need. Here are several examples of volunteer work you can find around the world.

1-Family Volunteering

I have always wanted to volunteer abroad and I still plan on volunteering but the cost can be prohibitive. Did you know it can cost several thousand dollars to volunteer, even for humanitarian purposes?

Although fulfilling and less expensive than a normal 2 week vacation if you amortize the cost over the entire length of your stay which can be anywhere from a week to several months, it’s still out of the price range of many people- especially if you want to go with a second person or as a family.

For instance, to volunteer to teach English in Ghana for an 4 weeks will cost you about $2,900 USD. It gets progressively less epxpensive the longer you stay. Volunteering in Ghana to teach English for 8 weeks will cost you about $4,080 USD and 12 weeks will cost you about $5,200 USD per person. Usually this fee covers food, lodging, insurance, emergency medical evacuation, maybe some language training but you will still responsible for your own visa and airline ticket.

Here is a link to the example I give above www.projects-abroad.org/prices/#volunteer-and-intern-abroad-by-country-ghana

Benefit of paying to volunteer- The benefit of volunteering for an organization like this is that they are usually more organized. They provide you with help or assistance in the procedures. And many organizations even allow your children as young as 4 years old to volunteer with you.  You’re not restricted to just teaching English, you can also volunteer to do other things such as farming, building, marketing etc. It just depends on the location, organization and project.

There are many organizations out there, you just have to find the right one.

If paying to volunteer is still too expensive or you want to find free volunteer opportunities, you still have many  options.

Check out the next section for a bunch of free volunteer opportunities.

2-Volunteer on organic farms worldwide.

Imagine picking grapes in France or olives in Italy. OHHH how cool would that be?

There is an organization called WWOOFing that helps people work as volunteers on organic farms internationally. Usually you work 4 to 6 hours per day helping on the farm and In exchange you get free room, board and food.

There are all kinds of things you can do all over the globe. Many accept families, others don’t.

NOTE: You have to pay for your own transportation to and from the farms and membership on the WWOOFing site costs about 20 to 50 dollars per country where you are searching for opportunities.

3- Stay With Locals For Either Work, Money Or Free

Need more options than just volunteering at organic farms?

No problem. There is a service called www.staydu.com and their motto says it all… “stay with locals for either work, money or free”.

  • Do you like horses? look for horse stables around the world looking for a farm hand.
  • Want to go to Germany and practice your German? You might find a hostel to work at in exchange for lodging.
  • Just want to hang out in Japan? See if a local in Japan will host you for free or in exchange to teach them English.

NOTE: You must provide your own transportation to and from the location and there is a small fee to join the site. It’s less then 25 U.S. Dollars which is a steal if you ask me.

Free Or Really Cheap Accommodations Around The World

After transportation, accommodation is probably going to be one of your biggest expenses for your trip.

It stands to reason that if you can find free or cheap accommodations or eliminate housing costs all together that you don’t need quite as much money as you thought.

Here are several options for you to consider.

4- Couchsurfing: Stay For Free With Awesome Locals

couch-surfingWant to stay completely free some place for a few days and have instant friends?

Try Couchsurfing.com! A web based service that connects travellers like you with people all around the world who are willing to let you stay in their house for FREE.

There are a couple of things you should know. The owners are letting you stay in their home with them in it so you could literally be sleeping on the couch or the floor or all crammed in one room on air mattresses.

The other thing to note is, you should not wear out your welcome. Don’t plan on staying in one place for more than a few days.

The idea sounded weird to me too. To be honest, I didn’t think it would work for us because we are a family of five but we gave it a try anyway and we loved it.

We got to meet local people (our hosts), hang out and get the skinny on things to do in the area.

It’s really easy to find places to stay. Once you signup and create a profile, you can search for places by location and by the number of people they can accommodate.

If Couch-surfing isn’t your thing, totally understandable, than check out the next thing on this list. Hostels, they aren’t free but they’re pretty darn cheap.

5- Hostels: Stay in dorm like rooms; even if you have a family

stay in hostels around the world

Hostel Dorm Room Accommodations

If you are not familiar with hostels, they are hotels with dorm like accommodations.

At one time, only single young people under 25 stayed in hostels but more and more older people including baby boomer’s and families are taking advantage of the low cost hostels.

Most of the time there is a communal kitchen where you can warm up some food and you’ll have to share a bathroom.

Expect to pay around 20 bucks per person per night. Maybe more, maybe less. It just depends where and what country you are in.

To find hostels, you can troll the Internet or you could visit a hostel portal like HostelWorld.comBooking.com and HostelBookers.com

HostelWorld alone has over,20,200 hostels & budget hotels and 200 camp-sites world wide.

6- House-Sit Your Way Around The World

Housesitting cornwall

Photo courtesy: TrustedHouseSitters.com

 

There are people with huge houses in locations you want to visit who are looking for people to watch their house  for them.

What’s the catch?

-Well, you have to buy your own tickets to and from the place.

-You don’t get paid but you get a free place to stay.

-The owners may ask you to feed their pets, water the plants or just keep an eye on things in general.

It really is a win win situation.

Anyone can do House-Sitting including families with kids.

You just need to know where to look for house-sitting gigs .

If you want to skip the learning curve on how to House-Sit your way around the world, I recommend you buy this eBook from Hecktic travels called…

 “How To Become A House-Sitter”.

I’ve read it and highly recommend it. It has literally saved me hours of research and answered every single question I could ever have about house-sitting.

It’s available in PDF format so you can read it right away on your tablet or laptop.

Use Miles & Points To Buy Airline Tickets

7-Use Miles To Buy Tickets

I won’t get into the specifics of which card to use but I will say that you could get one free ticket just signing up for one or two credit cards.

All you have to do is wait for one of those deals where they give you 50,000 miles after you spend 500 dollars or something like that. It a pretty easy way to get a free flight.

I’ve bought many tickets using miles I’ve accumulated with my cards. In fact, back in 2011 when we flew to France, I purchased 4 of our tickets using miles.

That alone saved us almost 4,000 dollars for doing nothing more than spending and buying things like I normally would. Try it and watch the points add up. Easy!

8-Borrow, Get A Loan Or Use Credit

Borrow money to travel: under certain circumstances it may be the right choiceI normally don’t advocate taking out a personal loan for a lifestyle choice like travelling however under certain circumstances, it might be appropriate.

Here are a few examples when borrowing MIGHT be appropriate.

Borrow For A Gap Year: One example of when It may be appropriate to borrow money to travel is if you want to take a few months to a year off to travel before you start college (aka take a gap year) and you come up a little short on your savings goal.  The benefit and fulfillment you get from that gap year may far outweigh the cost in the long term. Besides, you can always get a working holiday visa and work your way around the world to help offset your costs once you hit the road.

Emergency Fund: Another instance when borrowing money might be o.k. is for an emergency fund. Having an emergency fund can eliminate lots of stress and give you peace of mind while travelling in case something unforeseeable happens.

Borrow to travel so you can advance your career or future earning potential: Millions of people invest in their future by borrowing money to pay for college so why not borrow money to travel if it can potentially advance your career and or future earning potential?

Here are a few scenarios.

  • You want to write a book about Africa and you want first hand experience but need money to go their.
  • You want to become a French translator and want to spend some time in France to immerse yourself.
  • You have a research project for school.

Death or illness: Lastly, if a family member dies or is ill and you just need to see them or attend a funeral, a loan may be your only choice. I had to fly to Montreal to bury my fathers ashes in the family plot and I had to do it on credit.

Here are several ways you can go about getting a loan to travel.

Credit Cards: You could use your credit card for the bulk of your purchases but many credit cards have high interest rates which might make paying back your loan really difficult.

Personal travel loan:  Another option is to take out a personal loan for travel which usually have a lower interest rate than credit cards which makes repaying your loan a little easier. Just remember that getting a travel loan could be a little tricky to get. You need to make sure you have good credit and the ability to repay the loan before any bank will even look at lending you money.

Family: Lastly, you could hit up your family and hope they let you borrow money.

Work Your Way Around The World

teach-scuba-diving

Talon taught scuba diving in Central America

If you want to spend more than a couple of months travelling and money is an issue than you should consider working your way around the world.

Many people, including myself have used this method to afford world travel.

Not only is it a great way to fund your travels, it’s a great way to really get to know the local culture, language and make local friendships that will last a lifetime.

With that said, here are several ways you can work your way around the world.

9- Get A Working Holiday.

Many countries have a special visa called a working holiday visa which allows foreigners to work in that country for a short amount of time. 

Most of the jobs are going to be low level, low paying jobs that don’t require a degree or a lot of work experience.

Here are some examples of jobs you can get on a working holiday.

  • Au pair (Many people over-seas want English speaking au pairs to help their kids learn English).
  • Waitress/Waiter ( May require you to speak the language)
  • Scuba Diving instructor: This single dad taught diving in Central America to support him and his son.
  • Tour guide:
  • Bartender
  • Crew on a yacht
  • Cruise ship worker
  • Become a Travelling Webmaster and trade hostel lodging for webmaster work.

If you are interested in finding out  more about working your way around the world, start by doing a search for “working holidays” and “working holiday visas” for a specific country and don’t forget to check out that countries website to learn about visa requirements.  Here is an example on the Australian website.

10- Teach English Overseas

What better way to pay for your travels than teach something you know how to do in your sleep?

I taught English off and on while living in Japan through a program called the Jet Exchange Program and made enough money to fund my travels for several years. I worked six months on and 3 months off travelling and visiting various places around the world.

NOTE: You may need to get certified with something called the TEFL certificate which isn’t that hard to get and does not take that long to get. You may even be able to take the class online within a matter of months for less than $800.

11- Become a digital nomad: Portable Careers That Let You Freelance While Travelling

Become a digital nomad and freelance and work anywhere in the world with just your laptop.If you have some skill that you can do from anywhere in the world from your laptop than you have what is called a portable career and you can become a digital nomad.

Many digital nomads do something called Geo-arbitrage. They command western salaries but live in places where the cost of living is far below what it would cost to live in their home country.

For instance, Victoria is a British girl who decided the 9 to 5 life wasn’t for her so she moved to Bali and figured out a way to make an income online. She ended up starting a travel Blog called Pommie Travels. Now she makes a living by selling advertising on her website, freelance writing and handling the media and PR for individual clients.

Here are a few examples of freelance jobs you can do while travelling.

  • Freelance Writer or copy writer
  • Web designer
  • English Teacher ( teach English via Skype or video call).
  • Consultant: ( what skill do you have that you could use to start consulting people and businesses)
  • Transcribers: Video and medical transcriber
  • Virtual Assistant: (very popular)
  • Data Entry

Freelance Work Portals Where You Can Find Work

Become A Travel Companion

12- Become A Professional Travel Companion

I once had a neighbour who was in her late 80’s. She had money but no one to travel with and she was willing to pay for someone to accompany her on her travels. I didn’t know it at the time but what she needed was a travel companion.

Elder Travel Companion and General Travel Companion

It turns out there is a real need for travel companions for the elderly as well as disabled people, children, hearing impaired, visually-impaired or people who are just nervous about flying alone.

Just remember, you will be working and probably won’t be able to do any skydiving or climbing mount Everest but you will have some time to yourself to explore once in a while so pick and choose your jobs carefully.

To find a company that helps hook up professional travel companions with people looking for travel companions, just do a search on the Internet for professional travel companion or paid air travel escort.

Here is one such service -> 

Get Paid to travel with other people: become a travel companion

13 -Date And Travel The World: Travel Dating

If you are single, attractive, low on cash and looking to meet other travellers, try this travel dating website.

I have not tried this myself nor do I know anybody who has but found it really intriguing.

If you are curious here is the video commercial for the site and service. Let me know if you know of anyone who has tried this.

Conclusion

Although unconventional, if you really want to make travel a priority than budget travel may be your ticket. Good luck.

Find out how much it cost us to live in France for a year with 3 kids.

How Much Does It Cost To Live In France For 1 Year? (Personal Experience)

Find out how much it cost to live in France; based on our family of 5 actual expenses

I bet one of your biggest questions about taking a year or more off to live in France must be “how much does it cost to live in France?” I know because it used to be my biggest questions and it is also one of the most asked questions from my readers. Luckily for you, I tracked all of our expenses during our first year in Marseille France and created this very detailed account so that you can extrapolate what it might cost you to live in France.

De rien!

How Much Did It Cost Us To Live in France for one year?

It cost our family of five just over 3,0000 Euros per month to live in Marseille France. I have no idea if you think $3,000 Euros a month for a family of five is a lot or a little but let me ask you this.

How much did you spend on your last 2 week vacation? Your hotel room alone probably cost you at least $100 a night which will cost you a little ove $3,100 USD alone. In France, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything cheaper than that.  Then, add in the fact and the cost that if you stay in a hotel, you’ll have to eat out most nights which means that you will probably have to add in at least another 50 dollars per day for 2 people.  Then add in all the site seeing costs, transportation costs and more.

My point is this; 3,000 euros which breaks down to about $133 USD per day is actually pretty damn good.

This is what makes extended travel or living abroad so affordable. Staying in a home and living like a local vs going somewhere for 2 to 4 weeks and staying in an expensive hotel.

Let me break down 3,000 Euros which converts to about 3,900 USD per month.

  • It cost us $133 per day for our entire family of five to live in France for one year. 
  • That’s $27 USD per day per person to live in France.
  • $795 USD per month per person to live in France

Now before you go off making plans to move to France, you need to understand how I came to my calculations, what our expenses included and what they did not include.

How I came to my calculations (important please read)

  1. One year time period:

    My calculations are based on the fact that we lived in France temporarily for a year.  Cost of living will look much different if you plan on living in France longer.  i.e. you might have a mortgage, a car, extra taxes to pay and other things that a temporary resident will not have to pay.

  2. Exchange Rate:

    I used an exchange rate of 0,77. At the time of this writing, 1 USD buys 0,76 centime. Put another way 1 Euros will cost you $1.30.

    1 CAD buys 0,78 centime. I split the difference and used .77 centime.

    *updated September 2016:   The dollar is much stronger. 1 dollar now gets you 0.89 centimes. Put another way, 1 Euro will now cost you $1.10 USD. This just means that the USD costs I list in this article will work in your benefit because they will be slightly less than I stated here NOT MORE!

    cost-to-live-in-France exchange rate .77

  3. Averages:

    Prices fluctuate. Some months our expenses were higher than others so for simplicity, I used our 1 year average. First I totalled our expense for the year and divided by person, then per day to arrive at the $27 a day per person average cost and converted each calculation to USD / CAD.
    cost-of-living-france for a family of five per person

  4. Expenses NOT Included:

    My calculation does NOT included airline tickets or extended trips. For instance, we took a cruise but I did not include that cost in my numbers. We bought 2 tablets for reading, 2 bikes and some other things which I did not include in my calculation. I did this so you could get a baseline or a bare minimum of fixed costs or essential expenses needed to live in France. That way all you have to do is add in your own extra expenses and creature comforts to arrive at what it might cost  you.

High Level Look At How Much It cost To Live In France For One Year.

cost-of-living-france for a family of five per person pie chart

The above chart shows a break out of all our expenses by major category. Notice that Rent and Food were our biggest expenses. This is important to know because there is a lot of wiggle room with those two pieces of the pie. We chose to live in more expensive areas and we choose to eat really really well. 🙂

Now that that’s out of the way, let us get down to the dirty details. I’ve included a detailed break out of our expenses in Euros and Dollars for each of the major categories along with a small explanation. Ready?

CATEGORY: How much does it cost to live in France for one year: Detailed look at the cost of living in France for our family.

Below is a detailed description of the major categories of our expenses. Have fun.

HOUSING: (1,100 to 1,300 Euros  =$1,429 to $1,688 / Month)

how much does it cost to rent a house in France

By far one of our biggest expenses was housing.  We paid 1,300 Euros per month for a fully furnished, 100 sq meter house which accounted for 42% of our annual and monthly budget . This year we will pay less rent because we moved out of the big city to a smaller town 1 hour from Marseille and 2 hours from Nice and Cannes.

I HIGHLY ADVISE YOU NOT TO RENT AN UNFURNISHED HOME (if you are planning to stay in France for a year or less.)

Our house was fully furnished and walk-in ready. Now, you’re probably thinking, we could have rented a home for less than 1,300 euros a month if we had not rented a fully furnished home.

You’re right we could have but trust me when I say “you really don’t want to rent an unfurnished place for a year”.

Unfurnished does not mean the same thing in France as it does in the US and Canada.

Most rental properties in France DO NOT come equipped with a fridge, washer, dryer or dishwasher.  This may not shock you but what if a rental did not come with the following?

  • No lights (i.e. you provide your own ceiling lights)
  • No kitchen cabinets. Yes, you heard me right. No kitchen cabinets. I saw it with my own eyes and I still can’t believe it.
  • No stove
  • No oven

Think about it, just furnishing your place with those few things alone could cost you a few thousand dollars not to mention the time, stress and effort it will take you to buy those things then have it installed and do all this in another language.

What Does Fully Furnished Mean:

Fully furnished usually means it has everything you need the minute you walk in the door.

  • A working fridge
  • towels
  • forks
  • dishes
  • beds
  • linens
  • A working kitchen with stove and oven.

Granted, you need to buy some things to make the home more cozy. For instance, I bought a few pans, a chef knife, a pressure cooker and 2 comforters.

Be realistic

Unless you can afford a higher end fully furnished apartment, the condition of your apartment might be a little worn down or have certain things which you would have wished came with the apartment. Our house in Marseille was extremely worn down and we even had to buy an extra bed because it did no have enough for all five of us.

(On the flip side, our new landlords in France pay for anything we need for our house so it just depends). 

Another thing that will effect price of your flat is the location, for example.

Living in a big city will cost more than living in the country side. It is cheaper to rent a home further inland away from the water.

I’ve seen places as big as ours rent for 500 euros but they are in very rural places that usually require you to have a car. We opted for cities and towns with public transportation so we did not have to buy a car.

  • Marseille City: 1,300 Euros
    • 3 Large Bedrooms in 100 Sq Meter (1,100 sq ft) Flat in the center of the city close to metros, shops, amenities, trains etc.
  • La Garde City: 1,100 Euros
    • 4 bedroom 100 sq Meter flat in a rural setting. No metro, but access to good bus system and train which goes all over Europe. Some shopping. 5 minutes from Toulon by Train.

We  found our furnished flat on www.sabbaticalhomes.com .

Utilities-(100 Euros / Month) $130

How much do utilities cost in France

If you find a rental you may have to take care of the utilities and put the bill in your name. We did that for our flat in Marseille but our new landlords in Toulon kept the bill in their name and we pay the landlord for our utilities.

Be prepared, setting up your utilities is a whole other beast. I set up our account on the phone but if you do not speak French, you are going to run into some issues. Instead, you could try wakling into an EDF office  (that’s the utilities company) and hope someone speaks English, or hire an interpreter or get help from your landlord or neighbours.

Side note, to open up a utilities account you HAVE TO HAVE A FRENCH BANK ACCOUNT.. It’s true. I tried to get around this but couldn’t.

  • Electricity & Gas (EDF) ( 60 Euros / month)
  • Telephone & Internet (40 Euros / month)
  • Water (included in rent but yours may not be included)

FOOD : (885 Euros month) $1,117 or ( 177 Euros /person per month) $ 229

how much does food for a family of five cost in france?

Food was our second biggest expense after our rent. It accounted for 28% of our total expenses. Let us be clear on one thing. We are a family of foodies. Meaning, we don’t eat McDonalds, we don’t eat Hamburger Helper or hot dogs. We like to eat the good stuff. We buy a lot of fresh produce and cook in most nights. We also like our wine and spirits. I don’t say that to brag but to qualify our food bill to you. Our food bill fluctuated month to month but for the most part we averaged 885 euros a month for  a year. This amount included 2 kids eating school lunch everyday, booze, all our meat and produce and a few days eating out. VICES: One of the many surprises about France is that Alcohol (especially wine) is very cheap, with a good bottle costing only a few euros. Sure you can buy expensive bottles but you don’t have to. Cigarettes are extremely expensive (5 or 6 euros a pack) and rising all the time. Time for you to quit anyways.

Food: 550 – 650 Euros / month 110 – 130 Euros / person
Beer, wine, spirits 40 Euros / month 20 Euros / person
Eating out 100 – 150 Euros / month 20- 30 euros / person
School lunch for kids 120 Euros / month 2 kids 60 Euros / kid (ony 2 kids ate at school)

Medical & Doctor ( 450 Euros / month) $585

How much does medical and health cost in France?

Medical and health was our third biggest expense. It accounted for about 15% of our total expenses. We could have cut that bill in half if we chose to insure ourselves through a French company instead of using a US insurance company. One of our concerns was losing our continual coverage in the US. There are certain benefits to keeping continual coverage which I won’t go into. Contact an insurance carrier to find out for yourself. This year, we may chose to buy medical insurance from an insurance company in France but we need to understand the ramifications first. This means I have some research to do. So far, we have not made any claims on our insurance because of our deductible. In fact, we pay for doctor visits out of our pocket here in France. Each visit costs us a whopping 23 euros. That’s it. Another thing to note is that medicine and prescriptions are a fraction of what it cost in the US.

  • Medical Insurance: 400 dollars / month paid to US company
  • 6 Doctor visits in France: 140 Euros
  • Medicine, aspirin etc.: 5 Euros

Clothing: (50 Euros / month) $65 or (10 Euros / person) $13

How much does it cost to buy shoes and clothes in France?  

Clothing can be pricey but if you shop at discount stores and buy during the discount season ( After Christmas and then summer), you can get some really good deals of up to 75 percent off. My kids are growing like weeds, so we have to buy clothes every few months. Our biggest expense for clothing were shoes, some jackets and sweaters. My son Andre went from a shoe size of 9 to a shoe size of almost 12 within 2 years. And we walk so much that they wear out the soles within a few months too.

Transportation: ( 50 Euros / month) or ( 14 Euros / person) $65

How much does transportation cost in france

We don’t have a car so to get around we have to take the metro, bus, tram or train. Last year my sons took the metro to school. Each of their monthly metro passes cost around 30 euros. Catherine was under 6 so she was Free. A one way metro ticket was about 1 Euro 45 and so were bus tickets.

  • Metro Passes in Marseille (60 Euros)
  • Bus tickets, train tickets, metro tickets for everyone else. (40 Euros)

Miscellaneous Kid Expenses ( 40 Euros / month per kid)  or ( 160 euros / year per kid) $180

How much do after school sports cost for kids in france?

After School Sports and Activities

If you have kids, you’re going to probably want them to do activities, chat with other kids, play and have friends. We enrolled our three kids in afters school sports. Kieran plays soccer 2 or 3 times a week which is called ‘FOOT’ or FOOTBALL. Not to be confused with American football. Andre plays Judo twice a week (Yellow belt) and Catherine is a budding ballerina. Each activity cost 160 euros for the entire year. That’s a deal compared to what I’m used to paying in the states.

Allowance and pocket money for the kids

Our two teenage sons like to go to movies and hang out with friends and buy little things so I opted to give them an allowance of 40 Euros each.

  • Allowance for kids80 Euros / month
  • School Sports40 Euros / month total for all three kids.

Taxes & Visas:  365 Euros for one year. (but you could pay more) $78 per month

How much taxes and visas cost to live in France?

TAX

If you rent a place for a year than you may have to pay a “Taxe d’Habitation” This tax is to  cover things like street cleaning,  upkeep, garbage removal and other things in your area. This tax is usually paid by the occupiers of a property and you are liable to pay this tax unless you come to some agreement with the landlord. We made an agreement with both our landlords to have them cover this tax which in some cases can be a few hundred euros EACH MONTH. Get it in writing though.

VISA

If you stay in France longer than 3 months than you have to have a special visa called the Long stay visa. Once you arrive in France, to complete your visa process you have to pay another 360 euros per adult. They then paste the visa in your passport and you are free to stay in the country for the entire year. Every year after that, you have to renew the visa but it drops to only 110 euros per adult.  We did not have to pay anything for the kids.

  • Taxe d’habitation: 0 Euros
  • Visas: 365 Euros for first year. Every year after it will be 110 euros.

Extras, Incidentals and Miscellaneous ( 70 Euros / month) $92

How much do misc things cost in france

We had other expenses but many of them were expenses that you probably won’t incur. We bought a new laptop for one of our sons. We bought two tablets, a couple of bikes and some miscellaneous things. I have not included them in any of my cost calculations.

How much do misc things cost in france?

You need to budget for a miscellaneous category. I’m not sure what will go in your budget but here is what went into ours.

  • Haircuts (12 Euros)
  • VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access US sites normally blocked to outsiders.: (7 Euros)
  • Sim Card for phone: (2 Euros) ( we don’t have a plan. We have a prepaid card.
  • Entertainment, site seeing: (50 Euros)

How We Saved 10,000 Dollars on Pre-school in France!!!

How much does pre-school cost in france?

If you have a child between the ages of 3 and 6, you’ll be delectably surprised to learn that pre-school is Free in France. This came as a huge surprise to us. I fully expected to pay anywhere from 900 to 1,00 dollars a month for pre-school since this is how much preschool can cost in the US and some parts of Canada. We estimate that we saved a total of 10K / year in pre-school cost alone. But that’s not all. The best part is that Catherine loves her school and loves having playmates and friends. I volunteer as much as I can at her school and they do countless outings every year. The photo above is on a class trip to the Zoo in Aix-En-Provence. It was amazing and it’s a way for me to meet other parents and people.

Final Thoughts on Cost of Living

Average monthly cost for our family of five to live in france for one year

Life Style: We do not live or spend extravagantly. Having said that, we do like our creature comforts. You need to use your common sense and extrapolate costs based on your situation.

Obviously, cost of living for one year in France is going to depend on your lifestyle and your unique situation.

Other things you may not be able to avoid or skimp on are things like taxes and visas while other things like food, your rent and you site-seeing budget are variable.

You could cut your expenses dramatically if you choose to live further inland or in the countryside but then that would mean you have the added expense of buying a car and lose the amenities of being in a bigger town or city.

So what do you think? Does it cost more or less than you thought to live in France for a family the size of ours?

Don’t forget to please share this article on Facebook for me.

8 Ways To Save Money On Last Minute Airline Travel Deals Today!

8-ways-to-Save Money On Last Minute Airline Travel Deals

The Old Way To Save Money On Travel

For a long time, I used to think the only way to Save Money On Last Minute Airline Travel Deals was to book your tickets months in advance.

It wasn’t until we started travelling full time with the kids on a shoestring budget that I actively sought out ways to save more money on travel.

That’s when I discovered the often overlooked  Last Minute Travel Deal which can save you as much as 80 percent on travel depending on the destination and time of year.

How Do You Take Advantage Of Last Minute Deals?

There’s no secret and it’s not rocket science to find these deals. You just need to know what, where and how to take advantage of these often overlooked last minute travel deals.

I’ve put together 8 easy ways for you to that.

Are you ready?

1- Go To The Deals Section of Travel and Airline Websites.

Save Money On Last Minute Airline Travel Deals

The next time you use a travel comparison website like Orbitz.com or Expedia.com, look for their “DEALS SECTION”.

This is often where they hide, I mean keep their last minute travel deals.

TIP: If you are planning to be in another country, sometimes it’s best to use THEIR travel comparison websites.

Here are other examples of country specific sites and their “DEALS” section.

For example in the UK you could grab a bargain at Thomson in their deal section.

2- Be Flexible:

In order to take full advantage of last minute deals, you need to be flexible with your dates.  Being flexible means that you are fine travelling a few days or weeks before or after certain hot travel days like Thanksgiving or Christmas and New Years Eve.

3- Sign up for alerts:

8-ways-to-Save Money On Last Minute Airline Travel Deals

Airline websites, travel comparison and deal sites often let you sign up to get notified by email when last minute deals are available.

4- Follow Airlines On Twitter For Last Minute Travel Deals:

8-ways-to-Save Money On Last Minute Airline Travel Deals

Did you know that Airlines often use Twitter to announce their last minute deals?

I recently saw a sweet deal tweeted by Virgin America — $75 USD to fly from San Francisco to Washington.

You have to be fast though, sometimes these deals are only available for a few days to a few hours. That’s what’s so great about twitter. It’s real time.

Go Check Out Some On  Twitter Now!

Virgin America:  https://twitter.com/virginamerica

Jet Blue: https://twitter.com/JetBlueCheeps

Airfare Watchdog: https://twitter.com/airfarewatchdog

Why do last minute deals exist? Airlines don’t always sell all of their seats on flights (cruises don’t either). My theory is that airlines would rather sell a seat cheap at the last minute over getting nothing for them at all. What do you think?

5-Don’t Shop For Deals On The Weekend:

In case you didn’t know, the day you shops for your deal can make a huge difference in price.

I once shopped for tickets everyday for two weeks.  I didn’t change any of my search parameters except for the day I was looking up the prices.

The ticket price flights fluctuated daily just like the stock market but I defenitely noticed that certain days were cheaper to search on. As much as a few hundred dollars in some cases.

Guess what Tuesday, Wednesday and Sometimes Thursday is the best day to book flights.

There is a perfectly good explanation for this but I won’t get into that. It is what it is so take advantage of this information and see for yourself.

6- Look For All Inclusive Last Minute Deals:

You can often save even more money if you book a last minute bundled vacation that includes a flight, hotel and sometimes a car too.

7- Check Airlines Directly:

Some airlines don’t get aggregated in the travel search engines like Orbitz or Expedia.  South West, an American airline is one such airline so check these airlines directly just in case.

8- Be Adventurous And Go Where The Deals Take You:

visit dubrovnik Croatia: another way to Save Money On Last Minute Airline Travel Deals

You may find a deal going someplace you’ve never heard of like Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Don’t dismiss a place just because you’ve never heard of it. Often times these places are more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

Cons flying last minute:

Depending on how you look at it, there are some cons to booking last minute  deals.

  1. It may be harder for larger groups and families to fly last minute together. Deals sometimes only consist of a few seats and they may not be together.
  2. You may be choosing flights or holidays that other people don’t want. This can also be a plus to find hidden treasure locations.
  3. The last minute deal may be an unpopular time to travel. For example, it may be the rainy season in Thailand.
  4. There may not be as many last minute deals during the time you want to go. i.e.. during peak travel times like summer vacations or school holidays when the kids are free to travel you may find that the deals aren’t really that great or non-existent.
  5. You may not be able to pick your top destination choice. Don’t expect to find last minute deals to Paris for rock bottom prices.

It’s not always convenient to travel using last minute deals but it’s nice to have one more tool in your toolbox to help you locate those deals and save boat loads of cash.

What do you think?  Have you or would you ever consider booking a last minute deal. Leave me your comments below.

how to start a business and be paid to be you

How To Start A Business When You Have No Idea What To Start

If you have ever wanted to start a business or blog but didn’t know what, where or how to start than you should read this story.

I’ll share with you how after almost a decade of wandering from college to the corporate world, I’m finally getting some clarity and discovering how to turn my natural talents and interests into a viable way to support myself.  I’m still not done but i finally feel i have a purpose and a path to follow that makes more sense.

The good news is there’s a quicker way for you to achieve your goal of sustainable and meaningful entrepreneurship. I’ll share with you how you can get from point A to point B faster and more efficiently.

 

confused

Do You Dream Of Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment?

I have always had this entrepreneurial dream lurking, watching and waiting in the depths of my mind. Every once in a while it would slowly poke it’s fearful head out to stretch it’s legs for a bit but only because my more adventurous side cajoled and rattled the cage a bit.

Inevitably that entrepreneurial side returned back to the recesses of my mind waiting and lurking until another day.

Why?

We all have our own reasons why we want to hold the coveted title of ENTREPRENEUR.

Some reasons are noble, some not so noble. When I was younger, my reasons were simple and somewhat shallow. I wanted two things.

  1. Fame
  2. Fortune

I’m older now and my reasons haven’t changed much but they have grown up a bit.

FORTUNE: I would still love to have the money that a successful business would bring but not for the sake of money itself.

What I really want is the potential freedom money brings. Freedom from worrying about bills. Freedom to control my own work schedule and hire help.  Freedom to spend more time with my family and friends. Freedom to travel and do more activities.

If I could have these things without money than I wouldn’t care about money.

FAME:I still want fame, but I want to be famous for helping other people do something significant in their lives. I’ve learned that helping other people brings me a lot of satisfaction and I want to be known for that.

There are other reasons I want to pursue entrepreneurship such as, setting an example for my children and challenging myself to name a few.

I Have No Ideas: Sound Familiar?

I had the drive, desire and strong work ethics needed to succeed at business but I was missing one thing. It was a big thing too.

I had no idea how or what type of business to start. (SCREECH to a stop).

I did have my moments. I wasn’t completely lacking in ideas. In fact, every once in a while that entrepreneurial side came out and I would get an epiphany.

A BIG IDEA but……. it wasn’t enough.

  • The ideas that I had were jumbled up in my head.
  • I had no clarity.
  • I had no idea how to execute any of my ideas
  • I had no idea how to make my offer compelling to other people

Eventually my ideas died and that entrepreneurial side recoiled back into my head. Wave bye bye.

Lack Of Mentors

It didn’t help that I had no mentors or role models that could guide me on my entrepreneurial quest.

Growing up, everyone around me seemed to be happily working away at their very conventional jobs.  They were all accountants, lawyers, doctors, stock brokers and real estate agents. My own father was an engineer. All good jobs, all sounded very unappealing to me.

Lost In College:

With no plan, no  business idea and no role model to guide me, I decided to do the practical thing. Go to college and let my degree lead me down my eventual career path.

Unfortunately, even going to college was problematic. I still had no idea what I wanted to do which made it impossible to pick a major. I remember feeling lost like I was drifting aimlessly with no purpose. It was a horrible feeling and I was sure that I was the only one in the world who felt like that. I thought i was doomed to a career that would be at best a means to an end.

I was only partially right.

Don’t Ignore You Core Interests

In college, It came as no surprise that I gravitated towards classes and subjects that were centered around my childhood interests. I had a penchant for, linguistics and cultural anthropology which i thoroughly enjoyed and excelled at.

I attribute these interests directly back to my eclectic and somewhat unconventional upbringing.

I also discovered a new interest.  I loved computer sciences, html, cgi and internet marketing.

( I didn’t know it at the time, but these interests would stay with me, they were part of my core being, of who I was and still am ).

eeny, meeny, miney MAJOR

I should have majored in one of those three things that i naturally gravitated towards but I didn’t. Not linguistics and not anthropology. Internet careers were relatively new back in 1992 so I didn’t even consider a career in a web related role.

Instead, I chose to major in economics. It seemed like the practical thing to do because I was good at at the subject matter and the job prospect for economic majors looked good.

I’ve had a good career thanks to my degree and I have a solid understanding of analytics, and business too.  It just never made me completely happy and i always looked towards the horizon for something better.

The Dream Never Dies

A lot of time has passed since I first had that dream of entrepreneurship but one thing has remained the same. My dream of entrepreneurship never died.

To Succeed You Must First Fail

They say every failure takes you one step closer to success. I hope this is true because i have started two separate web based businesses. They didn’t exactly fail but my interest in them eventually fizzled out so i moved on to other things. I think i knew deep down that had i continued they might have failed because my heart was no longer into them.

The Missing Link

After a lot of reflection, I discovered that there was something missing. It wasn’t a small insignificant piece, it was a HUGE PIECE OF THE PUZZLE.. I’m convinced that this one missing piece is the main reason i have drifted with very little purpose in college, in life, in work and in my two web based businesses.

My True Self: My Natural Interests

I have been ignoring or rather neglecting the true person I was inside. I’ve been making decisions based on what I think I’m supposed to be and do and ignoring who I am.

In college I ignored my interests and chose economics.

In work I chose things based on money rather than what interested me.

It was in my web based businesses where I came the closest to finding that perfect balance of doing something that I love so that work hardly seems like work at all.  Each time i try, i seem to to get closer and closer to finding that balance.

What Kind Of Business Can You Start?

So now i have to ask you, do you know the answer to these questions? Do you want to know the answer?

  1. How and what business do you start when you don’t know what that business should be?
  2. How do you keep the fire and momentum going so that you don’t lose interest in that business over time?
  3. How do you craft a compelling message that will make people want to buy form you?

Get Paid To Be You

sweetspotThe answer to those questions are clearer to me now than they ever were.

If you are struggling to answer them you have a choice. You can wait and hope to come up with a good idea someday.

OR,  you could find your  “sweet spot” NOW.

If you are unfamiliar with this term it simply means finding the intersection between your natural gifts (stuff you are good at already), you interests (hobbies, passions or dreams) and intersecting those with whether or not people will pay you for it (through a job or self employment).

Would you rather get paid to do something you love and are good at or something you don’t really enjoy but pays you well.

Most of us would choose the first but settle for the second.

When you are in your sweet spot you are choosing the first. It’s easier to exist. It’s you being who you were meant to be. It’s effortless and easier than trying to be something you are not.

My whole life I was putting less emphasis on what I love and more on what people will pay me because I was good at it.

That was then and this is now. Let me give you an example of how finding your sweet spot can translate into a business.

My Sweet Spot: I’ll show you mine if you show me yours!

WHAT I LOVE: I love to travel, I love linguistics, different cultures, customs. I also love to help people, I love my family and my kids.

WHAT I’M GOOD AT: I have a lot of experience travelling. I’ve lived abroad both as an adult, a child, with kids and without and finally both long term and short term.

I’m good at internet related marketing and analysis. My last 3 jobs were in fact working for internet based companies so i know i can get paid for these skills. If you look around at this site, I created it myself.  It’s something I enjoy and hardly feels like work.

WILL PEOPLE PAY YOU: This is important. If I am creating value, than people should be willing to pay me. Will people pay me to be me? The answer is yes and no.

No one is going to pay me to tell them how i love to travel. But…I did a lot of research and I discovered that there are a lot of people out there, especially families that want to take a break from life to live abroad  for a year or two.

These people are busy with family and work and need help sorting through all the red tape and advice on how to apply for visas, finance their tip abroad and how to deal with the kids. They have a goal and need advice from someone who can help them. Advice from someone who knows what they are talking about.

That would be me.

I never made the connection but now i see that i have something valuable to offer the world and so do you. You just have to doscover it and learn how to craft that compelling message to the world.

How To Find Your Gift

I didn’t just wake up and discover my sweet spot. It took me years to get to this point.

I worked with a coach, read a lot, networked and did a lot of research. The truth is, it could take you years to figure out what you have to offer the world..You may never find it. You may not even get it your first time out of the gates. But as i said earlier, each failure is a step closer towards success. There’s a compound effect of your efforts. Just be patient and don’t give up.

 

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