1: Please introduce yourself and tell us where you are from ?
Born and bred in South Africa.
Andries has always been a restless entrepreneurial, off the beaten track kind of person. His primary background is in IT. He never held a job for more than 3 years and started a variety of businesses and money-making schemes over the years.
Marinda has a master’s degree in research psychology, working primarily in the academic and not-for-profit sector as a social and health behavior researcher. When she met Andries, she had a day job which left her unfulfilled and frustrated.
He quickly encouraged her to swap her day job for location independent consulting and project work. She started off doing freelance consulting work after hours, and then gradually made the move from a full-time employee to a full-time freelancer.
2: What made you take the leap into leaving your home country ?
I (Andries) always knew I had to leave South Africa at some point. I always knew South Africa was a ticking time bomb politically and economically. When I first said this to people, I was considered a doomsayer, but today this view is no longer considered controversial even though it may still be somewhat unpopular.
I remained in South Africa for longer than what I initially intended, because I did not know about countries like Georgia where you can live so cheaply and get in relatively easily as a South African.
Places like Australia, Canada, UK and USA were only really an option for me to get into if I were willing to go to work there, and I am deeply allergic to ever working for anyone else again. I was looking for a country where I could do business as an entrepreneur.
The final move came primarily when the opportunity arose. Some of my high-risk investments paid off, allowing me to enlist the services of the Nomad Capitalist. I reckoned that moving to a country is such an important decision, that I may as well spend a lot of money on getting the best advice.
When I first arrived in Georgia, I thought: “What have I done! How could I have chosen a place with so many rough looking buildings and graffiti.” But by the evening, sitting in a trendy street sipping some Jameson, and running into the most amazing people the whole day long, I was already sold on the place.
The Nomad Capitalist made an excellent recommendation to us in the form of Georgia, which has unique tax benefits in the way of paying zero tax on income derived from other countries.
If you want to build an online (i.e. Internet-based) business, South Africa is definitely not the best country to do it in due to the high data costs and unreliable electricity.
3: Are you a digital nomad, worldschoolers traveling full time or taking many long trips or have you settled in a new country?
We have traveled to numerous countries, and have for now chosen Georgia as our new home base. We will probably do a bit of traveling again soon, as we have time, money and freedom.
4: The big question, how do you sustain yourselves financially?
Marinda started her own business, Kaninzi Research Consulting, through which she does a variety of research, evaluation, data analysis and technical writing and editing contract work remotely.
Andries is coasting off the money he already made while working on a few new internet software business ideas and looking for investments.
5: Looking back, what are the best tips you can give others wanting to do the same?
Marinda’s example could be more relevant for others as she made the leap from a traditional day job to being location independent. As a consultant who works remote-based, I would offer this advice:
· Becoming location-independent requires a mindset shift, looking differently at your skill set – focusing not on what you can offer an employer – but rather how you can leverage your skills in such a way that you do work that you enjoy, in a setting/schedule that suits you.
· Prepare to live off of your savings for at least 6 months to as long as two years. Starting a new business is always challenging, and it may take a while before you derive a livable income from it.
· Get a good grounding in contracting/small business management. Learn as much as you can, especially about how to estimate hourly fees (at least three times the hourly rate that you earned while you were still an employee – at least in my opinion).
· As a freelancer, the best way to market yourself and generate new business is through networking and word-of-mouth (existing/past clients and colleagues referring people to you).
A few years ago I (Andries) built an internet lead generation businesses which allowed me to generate a passive, location independent income. But this kind of thing requires you to master a peculiar set of skills including internet marketing. At one stage I was the largest source of internet referral leads for short term car insurance for OUTsurance. At another time, I built a business around generating enquiries for air-conditioning installation and repairing as well as gate motor automation type work.
I have also built and sold my share in an IT support and networking business in my 20s.
When I did these things, there wasn’t a lot of information around, so I had to learn everything myself, often the hard way. I read a lot of books and just tried a ton of stuff.
My personal success was based around the fact that I started at a young age when I could take a lot of risk, and not be completely devastated by a financial wipeout. Later on, you learn that it is completely unnecessary to gamble with the prospect of bankruptcy in order to become successful you.
You don’t need to TAKE big risks, you need to MANAGE big risks, and find ways to get big upside exposure, or at least to level up in terms of either money or freedom without taking any risk that can really ruin you. Such risks are foolish and not needed.
I would recommend to people to read, to listen to a variety of people, especially people who have done the things that you want to do, and look for aspects of what they’ve done that may be realistic for you, as there exists nearly infinite ways to get what you want, and also what people want can vary a lot.
I have never remained stuck in the same day job for more than 3 years – I am also a naturally restless type of person – so this lifestyle suits me but may not be for everyone. Consider your own temperament, and how badly you want it. Without adequate motivation, you are probably not going to get there.
I quite enjoyed reading (or listening to the audiobook) of Tim Ferriss – The 4-hour work week.
6: How different is your life now and what are the most positive results you can share with us?
I (Marinda) went from the 9 to 5 rat race to living a less stressful life while earning comparable money, for fewer hours, and doing work that is more fulfilling and interesting. I have connected with people across the globe and have had the opportunity to develop my skills in ways that I don’t think would have been possible in a fixed location, permanent job.
7: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers to inspire them to take the leap?
There are many ways to do it. There exists a far more comprehensive menu of life than what most people are aware of. You don’t have to do what “normal” people do. Don’t listen to and take advice from people whose lifestyles you would hate to emulate.
8: Do you have any blogs, websites, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or other social media we can follow you on?
We prefer to live quiet and low profile, but self-motivated individuals are welcome to strike up a chat with us, especially if they are in Tbilisi. You can find us both on Facebook.
Marinda’s research consultancy business: www.kaninzi.com
Andries is putting a couple of Georgian Language learning videos on YouTube