Following on from my last post about what we are doing for education in rural Portugal, I thought the next thing to talk about was how we plan to make a living in rural Portugal. We don’t come from rich families and we ourselves don’t have a lot of money either, which is actually one of the reasons of moving to Portugal in the first place. Don’t get me wrong we have always wished for an adventure abroad, but it has also come to a time in our lives where we’d like to move on from our current situation and our dream is to live somewhere with some land so that we can become more self-sufficient and learn this together as a family (as Garf and I don’t actually have a clue about how to put this into practice yet!).
Living in the Lake District as we do now is beautiful and we are both so grateful to have been brought up here, but you need a lot of money to buy or even rent somewhere with land around here and even if we both got full time jobs (which we don’t want to do with young kids anyway) we would be stretched to afford this. And also what would be the point in living somewhere with land when we were both working full time and wouldn’t have time to do anything with it?
So after visiting Portugal we quickly realised the cost of living is so much lower and that if I got enough work online we could afford to at least give it a go. I set up my graphic and web design business in 2011, when J was 8 months old and I was desperate not to go back to work 4 days a week and leave him. I took the plunge and left work and with Garf working full time in various jobs too we have made it work. I used to mostly work evenings and weekends and when J was little I often took him to meetings as sometimes clients were people I met locally and they had children also so they understood (plus I now realise he was a very easy toddler in many ways as would just sit near or play – the second does not!). Since F was born I had most of a year not doing any work and since getting back into it my business has slowly, slowly built back up and is now busier than ever. I still only work 2 full days when Garf is off work and I was also working another morning too when J was doing flexi and F was at my friend who is a childminder. Also Garf works from home at the moment (in his parents B&B) I can sneak the odd hour here and there in when he is around to be with the boys, although I do stay up late too!
It feels quite scary taking the plunge and moving to Portugal with only my business to support us financially but that is the plan and I feel quite confident at least for the first 6 months that we will be fine and hopefully be able to save whilst there too. Garf is going to join me in the business doing the boring bits I don’t like and a retired friend over in the UK is going to help spread the word to get some more business for us. I have also worked hard over the past few months to build relationships with new and old customers who would like work in the coming months. I really think if you have a goal in mind and are determind to do something for your family you can make it work. And I have been nicely surprised how supportive my clients have been and are very happy for me to carry on working with them whilst abroad.
To me working online isn’t ideal, I don’t want to sit in front of a screen for more than an hour a day, BUT I am glad to have the skills I can use to move us forward as a family and I love the fact that I can work from anywhere and at any hour of the day. I plan to only work a few hours a day and spend the rest with Garf and the boys working on the land we will be living on. We are just trying to think out of the box at how we can live a life where we are together more as a family, relying less on money and more on the land and working online with skills like design, web design, writing, blogging, consultation etc lend themselves well to this. If you want to do something similar it is possible, you just need to find something you can do online that pays well and then somewhere in the world that is cheap to live and give it a go. If you find somewhere, like we have, where you will have very cheap rent and minimal out-goings, then you might even be able to work less hours but manage to save money too! That is what we are hoping to do.
Although my design biz will be our main source of income we are also planning other interesting creative projects too. We would like to work more on Parent Tribe again hopefully with an online summit, maybe some printed products and hopefully some sort of family gathering in Portugal so watch this space! I have also been working on an illustration project with another mama to help inspire people to do what they love and makes changes in the world so that’s pretty exciting too! We’d also just like to take the time to explore what we enjoy and maybe try some other creative ways to make income by making and selling things or just growing things ourselves and being less reliant on money. It’s such an exciting new adventure to be going on!!
If you have an awesomely inspiring family story then please share it with us at Parent Tribe! Maybe you are doing something different or interesting whilst bringing your children up like travelling, running a creative business or even living a simple natural lifestyle? Email Hatti now if you would like to share your story!