Living that #freelancelife since 1999.
Location Independent and financially free.
Vagabond Empire Builders choose the size of their empire, and where they want to carpe their diem.
It all started when my boss hung up on me.
My then-husband had been transferred to Corpus Christi, Texas and I made arrangements to “telecommute” for my company. I would now be 7 hours away from my home office. My job was building websites, managing the tech stack, and generally doing whatever thing was needed to wrangle this new cyber thing. It was 1999. Websites were new, and email was still mysterious. But, it was all digital and project-oriented, so it seemed like it could work.
I’m Chelle Honiker, the primary instructor for Vagabond Empires. I’m a freelancer, coach, mentor, serial entrepreneur, and all-around geek-in-heels.
I had to take a pay cut and pay for my own dedicated phone line so my boss could reach me whenever he wanted. Out of sight definitely didn’t mean out of mind. He did not like me being out of his reach, even though my kids were in daycare and I worked “regular hours” and then some.
But I had a particular set of skills… and he needed me.
I hustled hard to make it work and I worked more hours to justify this weird new arrangement. But he wasn’t happy, and he hated that he couldn’t walk down the hall to my cubicle and ask me something. Or assign me something. Or something.
He was frustrated. I was frustrated. I was working more hours, for less money, and getting yelled at nearly every day.
And then one day, after carefully going over my project list with him and showing him that I was accomplishing more by working from home, he yelled at me – nothing new – and then hung up on me.
There are very few things I won’t suffer. Being hung up on is one of them. Hub said, “Quit. You don’t need this. You deserve better. You should start your own company.”
So, I did. I quit and started a business.
And my old boss became my first client. And that led to the next client, and the next and the next. I was able to spend more time with my young daughters and say “no” ro unreasonable requests like the boss I was.
“Freelancing” was a word used on a resume to cover up unemployment. So I called myself a consultant. Now I’m an empire builder. And a vagbond. Which is why the name Vagabond Empires was chosen.
It doesn’t matter what you call yourself. As long as they make the check out right, and it clears.
Freelancer, solopreneur, digital nomad. It’s all good.
I believe that every freelancer has their own reasons for choosing this lifestyle. For some, it’s the aversion to 9-5, being told what to do and where to be. For others, it’s because they want a minimalistic lifestyle. And for some (like me!) it’s about being able to travel. I can work with my clients and teach classes from anywhere in the world.
I’m a vagabond at heart. I have a home office – but I keep a go-bag packed and I keep my tech stack cloud-based as much as possible.
I’ve worked with freelancers as a trainer, mentor, and trusted coach. All of the courses here are reflective of years of learning, and I don’t hold back.
After nearly 20 years, I’ve learned a thing or two or ten. I’m now an international speaker, trainer, and author. I’ve taught other freelancers how to start, grow, and run their business. And I’ve gotten some pretty good feedback. I love to teach. I love to share what works, and what I’ve tried, and what I know. People tell me I do it in a way that doesn’t intimidate them or make them feel stupid. I just say, “If you don’t know it, it’s because I haven’t explained it well enough”
Grab some coffee, and enjoy the journey.