I was teaching English at a world famous school. I was getting paid more than I had ever made in my career, but I was miserable. It sounds like a cliché, but in reality the amount of money you make is completely inconsequential to your happiness.
It took me a while to realise why:
I wasn’t proud of the work I was doing. I cannot accept being unable to reach my potential and help family, friends and my students reach theirs. I knew I had to quit before I got used to the lifestyle that my salary provided. I told myself: “The longer you wait to start working for yourself, the lower the chance that you will actually do it!” So I went part time in 2016 and started freelancing as a Tokyo-based Web Developer and building my online portfolio.
Starting my first business
I began working on my first website, Live Work Play Japan in February 2016. It was to be a success guide for people coming to Japan and wanting to do better than just having a job and getting a stable, if small, paycheck. I wanted to show people that they didn’t have to just “do their time” and wait for their company to hopefully promote them.
With my friend Martin, I built the site and we wrote articles on the strategy of building a career in Japan, not just the how but the why. We have built a following who trust what we say because we always back it up with experience, research and facts.
From this experience I’ve been able to develop my own web design, copywriting and content creation skills, and although the site hasn’t made huge amounts of money by itself, the skills I have learned from building it definitely have.
What I believe
It is important in business to work with people who inspire you. I am inspired by many people and I follow the works of inspiring speakers and writers, both historical and modern. Here are some of them.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
– Nelson Mandela
“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”
– Simon SInek
“Seek first to understand, then be understood.”
– Stephen Covey
If you want to avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.”
– Elbert Hubbard
What I’m working on now
I have been building websites since I was a kid, learning HTML and CSS in my free time. I made so many of my own websites that when I had the opportunity to help other small businesses facing the same challenges as I was, I jumped at the chance. I want to pass on my knowledge to my clients and help them not only to have a professional looking website, but also to be able to use and update it themselves. This way they can learn a new skill and avoid paying an expensive web developer every time they want to change something.
Despite building dozens of websites in the past year, I’m not a programmer.
I work with WordPress and build client websites based on look and feel, rather than taking months and months to put together something that has “efficient code”. I focus on principles of colour theory and material design so that I can use tools that strip away the programming requirements and allow me to build an amazing website without getting slowed down by the coding.
Take a look at what my service can do for your business.
I’ve been writing about topics that I hope will create value for the people who read them. Now I’m writing content for publications like WPMU Dev, the Jobs in Japan blog and for my own websites. Psychology, philosophy, education, technology and entrepreneurship are my favourite things to write about, but as a teacher I find writing anything informative is exciting for me.
With my studies in philosophy and psychology at Warwick university, I aim to focus my work not only on what will be most persuasive and engaging, but what will be most helpful to the reader. I’d rather provide actionable steps for change, not just follow whatever is a trending topic on twitter. We are all sick of the barrage of articles about the 12 different ways something is good/bad for you or 5 things you must do in 2017 if you want to be popular.
Film & Photography
I love the creative process of film. Creating video content requires so many different skills, and the challenge of putting together cinematography, photography, sound, music, acting, scriptwriting and editing into something that is enjoyable to watch is exhilarating.
Take a look at them below, and please get in touch if you are looking for anyone to help with video based projects.
Take a look below at some of my videos about coffee for Sidewalk Coffee Co. YouTube channel.