Today Iva is here to share how she left her job as a diplomat for Republic of Croatia and made The Escape to build a business dedicated to wellness retreats.
Tell us about yourself, what you did pre-escape, and what you do now
Hi all, I used to be a diplomat for Republic of Croatia. Spent many, many years in public service. Learned a lot, but did not like working there. Too many rules, too many bosses caused low productivity and many free riders…I screwed the cubicle, as popularly coined, after having served a 2 year mandate in Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Instead of going back home, or taking another offered post in China, I decided to quit and moved to Bali with my partner. I started working as a consultant for public relations and communications for several clients, mostly in tourism, eco tourism and online marketing.
About a year ago I decided to make a dream come true of starting my own business. I started a company called Gekko Retreats, promoting and helping others build retreats, vacations for mind, body and soul.
How long ago did you make the escape?
It was two years ago, when I moved to Bali from Jakarta.
What roadblocks did you face when preparing to leave your job?
Actually, there were no road blocks, the universe opened the doors and gave me a kick in the butt. My boss at the Embassy, lets call him the ambassador, didn’t like working with a busybody like me and decided not to extend my contract. Which was a sign from above, hehe. I really hated my job, even though it was well paid and was attending cocktail parties and had a private driver on daily basis. Legally, I couldn’t quit my mandate in the middle of the post, so I was getting desperate, but then the ambassador did me a favor and said goodbye without even letting me know. I just received an official letter requesting me to transfer back home. So I went home and quit with so much pleasure, even though the Foreign Service offered me another mandate in China, starting immediately…
How did you know you were ready?
My job was making me so miserable that I couldn’t take it any more. It was a lonely accumulated unhappiness with the Foreign Service, which culminated when I was serving the mandate in Jakarta. I felt so many of my natural talents were wasted in the big administrative system. Besides working hard with thousands of visa clients, etc, I had no support from the house or my boss, or colleagues. Everyone was out there to get me. One of my very smart colleagues said, institutions don’t love you back, which is so true. One can dedicate a lifetime to institutions, but the energy doesn’t get back to you.
I was dreaming of working for good causes like environmental protection and art; it was like a light shining from within. I knew I was ready when I got the letter to return home. That was the sign for me to make the escape. It’s funny, but after I escaped, the first consulting job I got was for Marine foundation, an NGO supporting regeneration of the oceans trough underwater art. Just like I wished for.
What is the best part of being your own boss?
Listening to my own intuition, being the captain of my ship, acting on my own judgment, relying on myself completely. Being creative, employing all my skills, and learning new things, meeting inspiring people, and watching the results of my efforts. Just loving what I do, it’s such a blessing. I enjoy every tedious little assignment.
CLICK TO TWEET: “If you’re not happy with your job & know there is something better out there, listen to yourself – you know best” http://ctt.ec/4F1fb+
What challenges have come up?
Living in Bali and working for the tourist industry gave me a lot of insight into the trends and the potential it has. However, I realized I had to do a lot of research in my new field, wellness tourism promoted online. It was a challenge to learn using WordPress and social media management, but I enjoyed every bit of it. Keeping a tight budget is another challenge I met. I had to work on the side to sustain myself, but had a lot of help from my partner. Without his constant money inflow I wouldn’t have be able to dedicate as much time to developing my own business.
What are your work days like now?
I mostly work from home, also go to meetings all around the island to inspect the properties, meet coaches and therapists, and undergo massages and treatments :) But the pleasure is I make my own schedule, so during my working day I can go to the gym in the morning, or run on the beach or whatever I fancy to break the work sessions and have balance.
Any advice for those working to make the escape as well?
If you are not happy with your job and know there is something better out there, listen to yourself because you know best. Try to define what is it you want to do, what makes you happy and which skills you have that are neglected at your current job. Save some money to sustain you while building your new business. Find various sources of income during the transition. And enjoy yourself, we are meant to be happy!