Sometimes you just have to blow up your life to find out what you really want. Vanessa Choot did just that. She quit her nine-to-five corporate marketing job and spent a year travelling twenty-five countries over six continents.
Now she’s back in Vancouver continuing her blog, Modern Mix Vancouver, and moving full speed ahead as a marketing freelancer. She's helping other small businesses, like The Good Stuff, grow. Vanessa is the face behind our Instagram!
We chatted with Vanessa about how taking a break helped her get in balance with herself and gave her the courage and freedom to envision a new path in life.
What led you to leave your life in Vancouver and explore the world?
The nine-to-five was draining on my boyfriend and I and there was so much of the world we wanted to see, which we couldn’t in the three weeks vacation we got off from our jobs.
I was working in corporate marketing and it was really starting to grind on me. I had all these creative ideas to make the business better, but there just wasn’t any flexibility because everything is so regulated.
One of my co-workers told me I was like a pinball machine because I would light up with all these ideas but nothing could be executed on, and eventually, your soul kind of gets sucked out.
Before I left on our travels I was also doing some freelance work and that's when I realized that I really didn't like my nine-to-five job and that freelance was something I eventually wanted the freedom to do. You never know until you put yourself out there and this is the first time ever that I've given myself an actual chance to try this out.
How did travelling give you the freedom to figure out what you want from life?
After about three or four months of travelling and not working in a confining environment, my mind just suddenly opened up to creativity. Literally, everyday ideas would just pour out of me. It was because I was feeling really happy and I guess I was feeling more in tune with myself and back in balance.
My mind just suddenly opened up to creativity. Literally, everyday ideas would just pour out of me.
Now you're back and starting out on your own as a freelancer. How are you going to keep the inspiration going without burning out?
My balance right now is making sure I'm filling my days with actual work and having the time to meet up with people like other small business owners so that we can feed ideas off of each other because that’s really energizing.
If you just work all the time and don't give yourself the time to discover something in your neighbourhood or to talk to other people in similar positions you don't grow and you don't learn.
So for me right now it's about balancing work and discovering new people and staying connected.
It seems like you’ve almost unwittingly set yourself up for the freelance life through your corporate work, but also through your blog.
I always call my blog my creative outlet because it’s something I do on my own and I have full control of the content and who I choose to feature. Over the past 10 years, I've met so many small businesses and I love hearing their stories.
I was really missing that next step to keep in touch with them and to offer them something beyond a feature on my blog that could really help them. I have so many ideas for these people and would chat with them about marketing forever and now I’m actually able to offer them my help and that works for me because I really do love marketing and helping people.
How do you use the Good Stuff?
I was one of the first bloggers to write about The Good Stuff and I’ve been a fan since their launch. I really like having some in the freezer for those mornings that I’m in a rush and I need something quick.
I just blend one up and move on with my day. I also love that they are designed by a dietician and have ingredients I wouldn’t think to put into a smoothie.
I really like having some in the freezer for those mornings that I’m in a rush and I need something quick.
Check out Vanessa’s favourite smoothie, the Madagascar.