Is it possible to run a freelance business from a wooden cabin in the mountains of Colombia? The COVID-19 situation leaves me with no choice. What I thought would be a two-week trip to Colombia turned out to be a two-month stay—and we’re still counting.

From downtown Madrid to a cabin in the Colombian mountains

It all started last year. My partner and I decided to change our lives and move from Madrid to Tenerife. But first, we needed to attend to some family matters in Colombia. My partner travelled there ahead of me. In the meantime, my daughter and I stayed in the Netherlands. Things took longer than expected, so we decided to join my partner in Colombia a couple of months later. On 8 March, we arrived in what turned out to be the second most affected city in Colombia. A few days later, the quarantine started. We decided to pass our time during the lockdown in the mountains. It’s a charming area, but we’re totally back to basics: if there’s lightning, the power shuts off, and if it rains, the internet connection is even poorer than usual.

Colombia

Stuck in quarantine forever?

As a freelancer, life is full of uncertainties. Many things are now on hold. A new client paused our collaboration, simply because his business is shut down. My personal game plans are on hold too. Just before COVID-19, I was working on two new projects: a children’s book and followthekid.nl, an online magazine about alternative parenting. Both projects are paused now. Having my daughter at home is very time-consuming. Even though my partner helps me out a lot, having her around also keeps me from focusing fully on my business.

COVID-19 not only affects my work life, it also changes my personal beliefs and the way I act and live. There are days when I feel we’ll never get out of this, and there are days when I feel confident enough to dream again of the future. But this temporary lockdown (we’re currently in week six) now feels like my new life.

Finding new collaborations and enhancing existing ones

I usually find new clients through social contacts. Going out, discovering new places and meeting new people enables me to find opportunities wherever I go. If I see room for improvement on websites, menu cards or other products with copy, I get in touch with the owner to offer my services and try to start a new collaboration.

Although this way of starting new collaborations is now limited, I found that directly getting in touch with potential clients still works out. I also try to keep up good relations with existing clients. I truly care about their business and their well-being, and notice that they experience that as well. I luckily have enough work and am so thankful to be in this position.

Yes, running a business from the Colombian mounts is possible

So, is it possible to run a freelance business from a wooden cabin in the mountains? Yes, I think so. With a seven-hour time difference between my biggest clients and me, and a three-year old who needs attention, it’s not easy, but it is doable. I believe that if you truly reach for something, you will find your way. Focus on the positive, be grateful and stay strong. Look around and see the beauty. Look for kind gestures, friendly people, butterflies, the stars and the smiles on the faces of your loved ones. COVID-19 is the perfect time to reflect, don’t you think?

Sherita Jager
(pictures by Carlos Galeno)

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