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Let’s chat with Aisha Preece and learn about her journey from corporate banking to freedom, first as an online English teacher, then freelance writer, blogger and remote working coach.
NAME: Aisha Preece
COUNTRY OF BIRTH: UK
PROFESSION: English teacher, then freelance writer, blogger, and remote working coach
Aisha has an amazing story to share, a story of determination and achievement, proof that if know what you want and work hard you will eventually reach your goal and live your dream life.
Read more to learn how she ditched the 9 to 5 to pursue her dream to live a nomadic life.
You may also want to know more about the pros and cons of the digital nomad life before taking the leap.
What is your background? your education and your previous job?
I studied Law and then did a Master’s in International Business and fell into Banking. I worked in Wealth Management and Corporate Banking for 8 years before I made the leap to a digital nomad lifestyle. Note- My parents couldn’t afford to fund my education so I paid for my education by myself. While students were out partying in freshers week, I was scrubbing toilets and serving coffee!
I think that the hard work and the stress of juggling work and studies helped me later in life. Hard work and grit take you far. You may be unqualified to do something but you can learn it, the hard work is what is going to help you succeed.
What made you decide to become a digital nomad?
I did all the right things you were supposed to do. Study hard, work hard, sacrifice your lunch breaks and evenings to get promoted but …. one day I caught myself looking out the office window wishing I was somewhere else. I wanted to work from Peru and stroke Llamas on my lunch break! I wanted to shoulder shake to Salsa music after work in Barcelona, but my job didn’t get me that flexibility or freedom. I didn’t want my boss’s job, nor did I want his boss’s job. I felt trapped.
Read also how to become a digital nomad
How did you transition from a regular office job to remote work?
Ok here are the steps I took to quit my job. I am going to mention actual income figures because I was someone that needed to know real facts before I began (I am quite risk-averse).
I know people say talking about money is bad taste but money pays bills and people need to know this stuff.
- Saved up AT LEAST 6 months living expenses
- I Googled all the possible remote jobs available online
- I took a course that upskilled me and trained me to become a proofreader 4- I worked my full-time job and started my side hustle in the evenings and weekends
- I didn’t sleep much, I cried a lot from fatigue and fear
- I continued to upskill and charge more and learned how to find clients
- I took the plunge and quit my banking job
- With all the extra time I had, I hustled hard and eventually replaced my banking income with my freelance job.
Steps I took to become an online teacher
- Took a TEFL course
- Volunteered to teach family and friends in my free time
- Applied to online teaching schools
- Upskilled and niched down
- Set up a private profile on flexible teaching platforms
- Charged a lower rate at the beginning
- Continued to upskill and increase my rate
- Started looking for private students via FB ads and SEO on my website
- Earned a full-time income from online teaching (USD4K-6K a month )
Steps I took to become a freelance writer
- Took a freelance writing course
- Wrote free articles to get some experience and to have a portfolio
- Applied to writing platforms like Problogger
- Charged a lower rate at the beginning to get experience
- Upskilled, learned SEO, Copywriting and charged more
- Learned how to pitch to clients which paid better
- Earned a full-time income with freelance writing clients (USD5,000 a month)
Steps I took to earn money from my blog
- took a blogging course
- took an SEO course
- wrote 50 useful SEO optimized posts
- applied to an advertising network
- included affiliate links into my posts
- started an email list
- started earning from my blog (around $3k a month, for now, I am aiming for$10k a month in the future but this will take time! )
Steps I took to become a remote working coach
- Wrote articles on my blog about remote work jobs
- Shared useful tips on my Instagram
- Replied to my DMS and questions via voice note, faster and more personal Ditched the fake filters and kept things honest and genuine
- Mentioned I offered to coach to my IG followers and email list charged a really low price at the beginning (USD60)
- OVERDELIVERED and made sure I gave valuable quality coaching that helped
- Increased my rate every month
- My rate is now USD149 and I am fully booked till May. (truly humbled and blessed)
What do you think are the main skills needed to do what you do? Personal skills and also professional
- Communication skills – A decent level of English
- Behaviors – A desire to help students
- A decent level of English
- Ability to write in a clear concise manner
- Research skills (you can replace experience with good research skills)
- Behaviors – respect word count and deadlines
- Error-free writing (Use Grammarly, it’s FREE) Flexible and positive (helps with negotiation with clients )
- In-depth knowledge on the area you want to coach
- Behaviors – genuine desire to help students
- Ability to communicate a clear plan to students that will help, no fluffy theory, practical advice only
Courses I took
- Proofread Anywhere course
- Elna Cain – Freelance writing to $1k
- SEO – Stupid Simple SEO by Mike Pearson (life-changing my friends, this helped me increase my traffic to 100,000 readers a month. incredible. )
Can you please explain your creative process and what are the main tasks in your job?
- conduct research
- create article outlines
- write the article
- analyze pre-session questions of the student
- create a coaching document tailored to their needs
- have the coaching session
- conduct SEO keyword research
- create outline
- conduct research
- write the article
- add affiliate links
- create pins for Pinterest and share on Pinterest
How do you stay focused and motivated while working on your own? how do you organize your day? Do you use any apps?
- I create a list the night before
- I focus ONLY on revenue-generating activities in the morning (I do not reply to emails in the morning)
- I listen to ‘Brown noise’ on Spotify to help me focus
- I listen to motivational videos to keep me going like Tony Robbins (free on youtube!), “The goal digger” podcast, “Do you even blog” podcast
- I do not reply to social media messages before 11 am.
How do you find new clients or new jobs? any particular platforms you use?
Freelance writing – ProBlogger, cold pitching
Coaching students – 90% from my Instagram stories (I have a tiny following 3k but very engaged), 10% from my email list
The best platforms can be divided into online schools and flexible teaching platforms. Both are very different (I explain the difference in the article )
For online schools, I worked for DADABC, whales and a few other online Chinese schools. There are so many!
For flexible teaching platforms I used Verbling, Preply and Amazing talker. Everyone has success with difference platforms.
- Italki- I have been told they are on a hiring freeze so you may not hear from them for the next few months. (15% comm)
- Amazing Talker-Between 30% to 0% depending on the number of lessons completed
- Verbling – 15% commission
- Preply 100% commission for the first lesson with a new student and between 33% to 18% depending on the number of completed lessons with students
- Skimatalk- 20% commission
- Savvy- Commission rate not specified
I wrote more about it in my article on how to become an online teacher.
Where have you been traveling as a digital nomad and what is your favorite country (or if you have more than one)? and why?
I have traveled to over 33 countries – it’s been a true privilege. New Zealand as its the most beautiful peaceful place in the world and I LOVE hiking. Bosnia– the people are charming and the natural beauty is raw and wild. I went on a ski trip there while working remotely. I will go back !
How to you balance the traveling and the working duties? doesn’t get stressful? do you stay long time in one place? or you move often?
I like to travel and block out a few days to work. People think that because you travel you treat it like a holiday. Your travel plans and issues – ie no wifi, no table, are not your clients problem.
Keep it professional and over deliver at ALL TIMES!
Due to the pandemic I have been working in Malaysia but if the pandemic wasn’t here, I would be working in Portugal, NZ, and Sicily by now. 3 months in each place 🙂
It does get stressful but you need to have the basics to keep things stable. example -I always book accommodation with good wifi and a table, and I buy a local sim card for a personal hotspot as a backup.
I make my clients aware in advance about time zones – I stick to my exercise routine even when I am traveling (I love running! FREE exercise, no gym, only need to pack running shoes).
Did the present pandemic affect your work/business? How did you face the challenges?
When the pandemic began, all my travel writing clients couldn’t hire me anymore and my income dropped (understandably).
I freaked out but a beautiful amazing opportunity came out of it. I ended up learning how to run workshops on remote work. My first workshop made me USD300, 8 months later, I make USD2,500 per workshop and they sell out within 24 hours.
To me, this is WILD. I would make this in ONE WHOLE WEEK in my bank job pulling late nights and no lunch breaks. Crazy I can make this on my own in one session over 3 hours. I am so humbled and grateful that participants are willing to pay for my knowledge and help. It is not something I take for granted.
How much can somebody earn with your profession approximately? Can you give a range?
Ok remember its OK to start low, get experience and keep increasing your rate. Here is what I earned for my freelance jobs Online teaching – started $18 an hour, ended with $65 an hour
Freelance writing – started- free articles , now $5,000 a month for full time writing
Coaching – start $60 an hour , now $149 Workshops – start $500 for 3 hours , now $2,500.
And last what advice would you give to those who want to follow your path? can you share three tips or as many as you want?
You can spend hours and weeks trying to google free stuff or you can take one course which will upskill and train you in one week. Invest in the most important asset that can make money – YOUR BRAIN
Do it ugly and do it scared. You will feel imposter syndrome and Comparisinitis but it’s normal. We ALL feel like that when we are trying something new. Start even when your work looks ugly and you feel confused and embarrassed. You will learn to improve on the way. But if you don’t START you can’t learn.
If you are stuck in a 9-5 job like I was, looking out the window dreaming of another life, what is ONE YEAR out of a whole life time of working? You could TRY a remote job, give it a real go, worst case scenario, you can go back to a job you are in now.
I wake up every day excited to work and I LOVE Mondays. I want everyone to feel like this. It’s truly liberating!
Anything else you wish to add?
If you want free remote working tips come to hang out with me on my IG stories. I apologize in advance for my questionable dancing and all the love songs I sing to my little cat, Sandy 🙂
Aisha Preece ditched her corporate job in search of a career that allowed her to work remotely. She now LOVES Mondays and is passionate about helping others make and save more money, so they can live life on their terms. Check out Outandbeyond.com for unique money tips, and to learn about all the best location independent jobs you can earn from. Alternatively, follow her Instagram stories to learn how to work remotely but please excuse her questionable dancing and fat cat, Sandy.