Hey, everybody! I finally started my podcast, and in this first episode, I talk about how to survive in Malaysia as a Canadian with no job.
For those of you who don’t have the technology to listen to the podcast, I’ve included the audio transcript below. Enjoy!
Audio Transcript for How To Survive in Malaysia as a Canadian with no job
Yo. Hann Chong here, and I’m going to talk to you this week about how to survive in Malaysia as a Canadian visitor with no traditional job.
So this is my first official podcast entry here on my blog, ChickenBall.com: Geek Blog of Adulting +3. If you’ve read my previous entries, you’ll know that I’ve been living in Malaysia for the past six weeks. Before we begin, I have to apologize for the rough nature of my voice. My immune system has taken a beating the whole time I’ve been here and I came down with a cold three days ago. With that out of the way, let’s move on. If you recall, I quit my job and sold most of my possessions in order to come to Malaysia. Since I’ve been here, I’ve managed to survive without needing to take on a 9-to-5 job.
As I mentioned before, I quit my job and spent a month selling my belongings and finishing up some contract work before I left. I even submitted my income taxes. I know, I’m super late. But this is a judge-free zone. Yeah.
Before I left, I started to work on copywriting, the thing that would be my bread and butter for income. However, there’s a lot of work required in order to actually get started online, and it’s that hurdle I’ve been slowly working on getting over. In the meantime, I wrote some tech evangelism articles for my local newspaper and did some computer work on the side. If that wasn’t enough, I was also trying to finish post production on the last three episodes of my joint documentary series, Project Thompson. This takes up so much of my time, because video production requires many dedicated hours.
So when I got here, I intended to finish Project Thompson while doing some copywriting course work through the Location Rebel program. But December ended up being the month where I met with extended family, got used to the new relationship with my girlfriend and her daughter, and got sick a few times. However, other interesting things happened. I ended up doing a pro photoshoot for my niece’s birthday party, and I met with my girlfriend’s marketing team to discuss some contract copywriting.
As for the money situation, I got paid by some clients for whom I did previous work, so that sustained me for the month of December.
It’s only been a couple weeks into the New Year, and I’ve already completed most of Project Thompson. Once that obligation is out of the way, which I hope will be next week, I can focus most of my attention on copywriting, but I have been dedicating an hour or two in the evenings plus a few hours on the weekends.
I will say that despite the currency being in my favor as a Canadian, Kuala Lumpur is not cheap. KL is a metropolitan centre similar to Toronto. As the capital city of Malaysia, it’s made up of other cities, and the one I’m staying in right now is called Petaling Jaya. PJ is a big enough city by its own right that I hardly ever leave to go to KLCC. With more restaurants and malls than you can shake a stick at, including recognizable brands like The Gap, McDonald’s, and 7-Eleven, there are so many ways for you to spend your hard-earned savings.
I won’t deny it. I was really worried for the first two weeks this month. Money was bleeding out of my account. I didn’t start any new contracts and Project Thompson was still in progress. But, as I spent time diving into the intricacies of online copywriting, I found some resources that would help accelerate my earnings. One of which was the Location Rebel forums. I had known about it, but it was put aside and forgotten during my stay here in PJ. If you are interested in this forum, you have to join Location Rebel, and I highly recommend it, given that it offers many other topics of location independent work aside from copywriting. Another resource I found quite recently is Freelance To Win, a site about hacking the very art of copywriting to get started and paid fast. However, the principles taught can really apply to anything.
For example, I was having a conversation with my cousin last night about business, and he considered himself green and with limited skills. However, I gave him some advice I learned over the years, and that is to sit down and think about what kind of things you like and what things you do that come second nature to you. Ramit Sethi calls this your X-Men Ability. If you can identify a target audience who needs your particular skill to address a burning problem they would desperately pay money to have solved, then you have the basis for starting a business.
The real secret to living abroad, I’ve found, is the ability to run your own business, whether it be freelancing or a full-blown entrepreneurship. Whatever you want to call it, you are providing value to those who need your skills in exchange for money. In fact, people who appreciate your skill set will gladly pay you money. There are many facets to get to that point, such as learning to sell yourself in a way that is ethical and honest.
I was a freelancer for 27 years doing home computer repair and IT consultation for small businesses. I’ve met clients who both appreciated what I did, and bad customers who tried to lowball me or hustle me into doing more work than I was being paid for. Through those years, I learned a lot about how to run a business and what not to do. The hardest thing, I’ve found, isn’t even getting started. It’s building the routine to keep going even on days that I don’t feel like it. I was even discouraged by friends who said I was working too much and didn’t have a life.
But I’m in Malaysia right now, living the dream, while those same people are still in Thompson doing the same thing. All because I sacrificed some of my free time for a few years. If you’re still chomping at the bit, thinking you’ll never achieve your goals, perhaps it’s time to look at what you’re not doing and just do it.
Well, my time is up. Thanks for listening. I hope you got something out of this podcast entry. If you have any questions or feedback, hit me up with a comment below. Until next time. Byeee.