"Whenever you structure life in a non-traditional way, there will be haters. F the haters. That's my advice." [Interview 09 - Alexis Lamb]
Alexis Lamb is a recovering corporate lawyer turned pants-free enthusiast. When the recession dropped her on her ass, as Alexis puts it, and shot her from flying high as a 27-year-old 1-percenter to unemployed in the span of a few months, she decided to create a life more unique to her. Instead of fighting to fit back into the corporate palace, she traded in her Tahari suits for working mostly from home in her undies.
Alexis' blog, The No-Pants Life, shows us that "you can make a nice living, and importantly, architect a great life -- all while working in just your underpants." Since architecting this life outside of office walls, she's visited over 30 countries, ran marathons, became a published writer of both fiction AND non-fiction, spent more precious time with her parents, and has done business around the world as a remote recruiter, just to name a few highlights.
I really enjoy Alexis' posts because of her no-fluff insights on remote work and the ins and outs of life outside the hardcore corporate world. Below, Alexis shares a few straight-to-the-point gems which are helpful for all of us out here chasing a prosperous location-flexible lifestyle:
KW: What led you to this point and where are you headed from here?
AL: I used to be a corporate lawyer. High(ish) salary, brutal hours, and not much freedom. While I always was a hard worker, and ready to work 12-hour days if need be, I never got on board with the idea of working for a large corporation where I felt like a chess piece instead of a chess player. After getting laid off in the Great Recession, I transitioned into a career as an executive headhunter for lawyers. I could do my job from anywhere - while I was based in Hong Kong at the time, I closed my first deal while I was physically located in Buenos Aires. As for where I'm headed: I've got a few creative side hustles going on, including my blog, The No-Pants Life, and a novel in the works about my time abroad.
What's the most rewarding thing about being a digital nomad and/or creating your own brand? What's one mistake you made in the process that someone with similar aspirations can learn from?
The most rewarding aspect of the digital nomad lifestyle is the freedom. I'm probably the least nomadic nomad you'll meet: I'm currently based at my parents' house in Marco Island, Florida (where Hurricane Irma made landfall this September), and have spent much of this year as more or less a homebody - saving money, reconnecting with family after spending so many years abroad. It's actually nice spending time in one place.
As for mistakes - I didn't fully research repatriation when I returned back to the States and how the U.S. markets would differ from the Asia markets. I assumed the same skills that made me successful in Asia would make me successful in New York, and that was a major mistake. Not a knock on my capabilities, but what makes someone succeed in one market - personal/professional network, business style, etc. - may not work in another market. The hardest part of expatriation is repatriation - repeat that a few times in the mirror before attempting to move back home, especially if your client base is international.
What's the biggest step you took to financially prepare for quitting your job and moving abroad?
I was forced out of my job due to the Great Recession and I fell into the digital nomad life in 2009, before the term "digital nomad" became a thing. What helped was that I was coming from a role that was financially remunerative. I made a lot of money (especially for someone in her mid 20s) and managed to save a good deal of it. I guess that's the biggest step - I saved money, and maintained my professional network so that when I found myself out of a job, my old contacts applied to me instead of the other way around.
What's one of your most valuable pieces of advice for someone looking to design a location-independent?
Don't be surprised if people at home don't "get it". I've had to endure many quizzical looks whenever people ask me where I live. Whenever you structure a part of your life in a non-traditional way, there will be haters. And there isn't really any positive frame of reference in popular culture for people who live a location-flexible lifestyle. To "normals", we're the bums who crash on your couch whenever we're in town, or the feather-on-the-breeze sans a real job who spams your Instagram feed with travel photos. F the haters. That's my advice.
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