Back in 2015, I was a confident kid who had just graduated from college. My future was brighter than the sun: thanks to my boundless ambition and the entrepreneurial mind I inherited from my father, I’d managed to start my freelancing career with the right foot, months before graduation.
At that point, I was supporting myself completely. I was making enough money to pay for all the things I needed, like groceries and such, and also to buy nice things and eat out several times a week.
I’d been traveling abroad with my family since I was a teenager and I loved it, so my main goal was to have enough money to travel anywhere I wanted so I could make the most of my life as a freelancer.
Less than a year after I got my first client ever, I’d saved enough to buy me a new Dell laptop, the DSLR camera I’d always wanted and to fund a 3-month-trip to Berlin.
After coming back from Germany, I saved money to pay for a nose job, buy my first car (it’s a used car, but still) and go on a 4-month trip to Mexico and Argentina.
I’d been living by myself since I was 16 in a beautiful 62 m2 apartment my dad bought for me. So having my own money was everything I needed to become a fully independent young woman. It was heaven for me. I felt unstoppable. I was kicking some ass, no joke.
Fast forward to June 2019. I’m living in an old, basically crumbled apartment in one of the ugliest neighborhoods in my city. My boyfriend — the sweetest guy on Earth — and I sleep on a mattress on the floor.
Despite our endless efforts to keep this place clean, it’s infested with cockroaches. The whole building is full of them. We can’t keep them from coming in. I’ve had them walking over me more times than I can count. It makes me want to vomit.
There are leaks in the house we can’t afford to repair.
I ran out of savings. My bank account is below the accepted limit of $2000, which means I have to pay a $12 fee each month. We’re living off my credit card. Our washing machine broke down. Repair cost: $180. Our weekly budget: $50, $25 each.
I’ve been trying to find new clients for months with no results.
On April, I received a wonderful opportunity to work on an Airbnb translation project that lasted a little over a month. I worked around 10 hours a day on average during that time and got paid way less than I deserved. But it didn’t matter, as long as I made enough to pay off my credit card debt I was happy.
I have one recurring client who sends me some texts to translate weekly, but it’s not enough to pay the bills. I’ve been working for this agency for more than 3 years. We mainly translate ads about penis enlargement products that promise desperate men to make their penises grow 10 cm in 1 week. Apply once or twice a day, preferably before sex.
Other than that, I get some occasional gigs, but nothing big.
I send countless thoughtful proposals to potential clients but the best I’ve gotten is a handful of friendly replies saying they’ll let me know if something comes up.
I’ve also been sharing posts on LinkedIn lately.
I pour my heart and brain into writing them and people seem to like them which gives me hope and a confidence boost (thank you, guys!).
I wake up every day feeling full of energy. I’m determined to find work today. And I know things are going to get better. How do I know? I just do. This is going to be the day.
I wake up at 5:30 a.m., eat breakfast, work out and by 9 a.m. I’m already home, ready for work.
Then, I dedicate my time to contact potential clients, improve my craft, hone my skills, study, build new connections.
I’m certain that everything I need to do is to get better at what I do and keep knocking on doors until I find someone who wants to give me the chance to prove my worth.
However, this determination usually fades away in the course of the day. When night falls I feel discouraged. I’m stuck. I’m giving it all but I feel like an outright, complete, absolute loser.
Maybe when people tell me they like my work they’re just being polite. Maybe I’m not good enough at this. Maybe after reading everything I could about sending proposals I still have no clue. Maybe I don’t like this career anymore. Maybe I never did. Or maybe I’m just dumb.
Even though I don’t cry often, sometimes I cry myself to sleep like a dumbass. And I hate it.
Every day I dream of leaving this apartment. Of leaving this colorless, depressing neighborhood full of mediocre people and homeless eating from the garbage in every corner. Of having enough money to pay for all the groceries we need. Of having a new car. Of working on something meaningful. Of dedicating my time to impactful projects. I dream of the day I don’t feel so stupid anymore.
But I simply ignore these thoughts and keep going trying to find more translation clients so I can get out of debt.
One day I woke up and looked around me. It hit me like a hurricane. I’m living in misery. And it isn’t just a matter of money, which of course plays a vital role, it’s also this feeling of desperation, hopelessness, desolation.
For the first time in months, I felt wide awake. And I didn’t like it.
Two questions flooded my whole mind…
How the f**k did I end up here???
I started to think about everything I’d done and everything I hadn’t. I wanted to figure out at what exact point things started to go totally wrong. I couldn’t recall how, when and why I stopped seeing myself as a smart person and lost confidence.
In a matter of seconds, a recap of the last three years of my life crossed my brain.
I suddenly realized that a series of not-so-bright choices I made paired with unfortunate events that I didn’t know to handle brought me here.
A stunning blend of lack of self-confidence and long-term vision mixed with anxiety, insomnia, depression and a pinch of conformity built up slowly but surely. And it cost me.
I realized somehow, somewhere in time I’d spiraled out of control into a deep, black misery hole. The spiraling was exponential; it started out slow and almost invisible but in the last couple of months it snowballed.
And the funny thing is… this all happened without me realizing it. As weird as this may sound.
I mean, of course, I KNEW where I was living and that I had no money and no job, but oddly enough I hadn’t acknowledged my situation. I hadn’t embraced it. I was trying hard to change it without being fully aware of it.
Well, that day I finally became entirely conscious.
And how the f**k am I going to get out???
This is MY lowest low.
“Life’s just too short to be a loser, right? I want OUT. I’m sick of feeling pathetic.”
But even though I have the drive, the persistence, the discipline to achieve goals, at that moment I felt so lost I couldn’t see where I had to put all my energies.
I was 100% willing to put in all the work needed but I knew I had to try something different.
Shortly after that day, I’d already managed to get back on my feet and start a burning fire inside me.
I picked up old habits I’d forgotten about and started building new ones, read relevant books and followed every sound advice I could find.
Why I started this blog
A lot has changed ever since I woke up that day. And no, this is not a look-how-I-became-a-millionaire-overnight type of post.
We’re still living in the same place and still have very little money.
But something clicked and today I feel like a completely new person on the inside.
I’ve learned to love and trust my struggle and I’m not letting my surroundings define me anymore. I know I’m capable of greatness. I know I don’t belong here.
And most importantly, I know I’m not alone. I know there are so many people out there who are struggling too.
I figured I have so many insights I could share and so much more to learn.
Plus, thanks to my writing on LinkedIn, I’ve discovered something about myself: I love to write. And I feel passionate about sharing my knowledge and thoughts with the world.
“Why don’t I start some kind of thing where I can tell everybody what I’m doing to get out of this so they get inspired to do it with me?”.
By picking myself up and sharing my process, I’ll be able to help not only myself but others as well. And that’s utterly cool if you ask me.
I started thinking BIG again like I used to. And I started taking baby steps towards something I wanted badly.
That’s how aimlief was born.
I’m here to tell you that you won’t solve all your problems overnight, but there are many things you can start doing TODAY to set you up for success, no matter where you are, who surrounds you or the kind of money you have.
This blog means the world to me. And it serves many purposes in my life:
This blog is an opportunity.
An opportunity for me to share my knowledge and experience with you, so you can learn through me. If I can do something, you probably can do it too.
An opportunity to keep track of everything I’m learning.
And an opportunity to do something I always wanted to do but didn’t know how; help others.
This blog is an experiment.
I’m committed to creating content for this blog and posting once a week.
I believe that having this commitment with myself and others forces me to keep learning all the time. And I want to test that.
This blog is a challenge.
I love a good challenge, so I made a promise to myself: I’m going to blog for 1 year, from today, non-stop.
If I ever feel this is a waste of time, I’m going to have to wait for that whole year to pass so I can quit.
I hope you join me on this journey.
You’ll get to witness a catastrophic failure or an amazing success.
Either way, I’m sure it’ll be spectacular.
If you enjoyed this post, please don’t keep it to yourself. Help me share it with others!
Thanks for reading.