Stepping outside of society’s norms can be discouraging for many. Intrepid Introvert, Hannah Martin, was no exception to this feeling.
After spending four long years studying to become an accountant you could imagine the reaction, from her family and peers, when she decided to give up that dream and travel the world for a living.
Overcoming the immense feeling of guilt that she wasn’t living up to the expectations society had placed on her was the hardest part of her decision and breaking the news to her family was, in her words, “a little nerve-wracking”.
“They were very excited for me to hopefully get a job in one of the ‘big four’ accounting firms (KPMG, PWC, Deloitte’s and Ernst & Young), so when I told them that’s not what I wanted anymore and that I wanted to be able to travel and work for myself, I felt quite guilty that I had let them down in some way.
“The whole concept of traveling and working online was new to them. They wanted what was best for me and when coming out of a degree with a student loan, jumping on a plane to travel indefinitely, probably didn’t seem like the smartest of decisions.”
Thankfully after a year of concern Hannah’s family began to realise that she knew what she was doing.
“I hadn’t come back broke and regretting my decision. Instead I came back happier than ever, much more confident, and able to make payments on my loan and be independent.”
What more could ones’ parents ask for.
Making ends meet
Jumping on a plane and exploring the world’s greatest wonders for the rest of your life sounds like a fairytale, the reality is, you have to be able to fund it.
For Hannah it all began by making a brand for herself. ‘Intrepid Introvert’ seemed fairly self -explanatory and suited her image perfectly.
“Personal branding is essential for bloggers because your brand is what speaks to your audience. If people can connect with you on an emotional level, you will create a loyal, long-term following. Never underestimate the power of branding in the beginning.”
With her brand intact, Hannah began a travel blog.
Being a “classic introvert”, writing a blog came easily, it was making her blog public that was the challenge.
Overcoming her fear of judgement was the only way forward. “I hated the thought of people I know reading it and judging me for whatever reason.”
And initially because of that fear her blog’s consistency was getting her nowhere.
“I wouldn’t even post once a month which is terrible. Now I commit to posting at least twice a week. Since making that commitment and also taking time to focus more on SEO, my viewers increased substantially.”
And with popularity came opportunity.
Through her social media platforms Hannah directs readers back to her website where she promotes a lot of products and services from a range of different companies and takes a commission from the sales.
Be sure to place your eggs in more than one basket
“I’m a big believer in diversification so my partner and I have several things on the go,” Hannah says.
As well as referring the products and services they personally use while travelling, Hannah does some freelance work on the side as well.
“I help with writing or editing people’s writing, and help with setting up the foundations to market online.”
And in January last year along with her partner Nathan Buchan they launched their business Behind Closed Doors.
“We were consistently getting asked everyday how people can work online themselves and do what we do.”
So instead of explaining themselves over and over again, which was extremely time-consuming, they thought ‘why not create a program where we share exactly what we do, with actionable steps for others to implement as well’.
So that’s what they did.
Hannah said for months they had their heads down and tails up, with all the planning and brainstorming, with the aim to jump on the ‘new year new me’ band wagon – hence the January launch.
By March they had more than 200 members and they continue to receive fantastic feedback.
Through Behind Closed Doors they share not only what they do, but the role models they follow, the books they read and the programs or tools that they use. “Every single moving part that contributes to our success,” Hannah says.
“It will keep getting better as we continue to add in more trainings and information for the members too. We are trying to understand what motivates people so we can present the information to them in a way that actually excites them and prompts them to want to take action.”
And to add to the diversity Hannah and Nathan hope to jump on the property ladder as another source of long term income.
Not all fun and games
Hannah and Nate are the epitome of ‘work hard, play hard’. Being able to travel the world while earning a six figure income hasn’t come without hard work.
Marketing and advertising wasn’t something that came naturally to either of them.
“It took a lot of learning and a lot of frustration. Many hair pulling moments and times when I wanted to smash my computer against the wall,” Hannah explains.
“The beginning was like learning a different language with all the jargon. The key is to remember why you want to learn it in the first place. For me it was my ticket to travelling full-time.”
And for their success to continue the learning process will never stop.
The online scene has become extremely competitive and Hannah admits that can be difficult at times.
“Making yourself stand out in a crowd can be challenging but you can overcome that when you know exactly who your target audience is and have a strong brand.”
Which is relatable in any business venture.
Totally worth it
Hannah and Nate continue to surround themselves with like-minded people who help to uplift them and encourage them to keep striving.
Their intrepid seed continues to grow and so do their business opportunities.
This year Hannah wants to cross Greece, Austria and the Netherlands off her travel list and hopes to take her Dad and brother to Norway to discover their roots.
“Norway is beautiful and it will be amazing to meet long lost family members over there.”
Though the intrepid life has not come easy the rewards heavily outweigh the hurdles they’ve jumped.
“All of my fondest memories are based around experiences like zip-lining through the mountains of Costa Rica, learning to snowboard in Whistler, learning to surf in Ecuador, road tripping through the USA, swimming through a pitch-black bat cave in Panama and paragliding in Medellin, I love looking back on all those times,” Hannah says.
“Being able to live the life I do is absolutely rewarding.”
If you are to take anything from Hannah’s story it should be that life is too short to not live it to the fullest, and though it can be daunting changing paths when you’ve already set out on one, it’s never too late and it’s never impossible.