Marc Matsumoto has held different jobs in in the tech space for the past 15 years, and despite going from design to engineering to marketing, he couldnt find a job that he looked forward to waking up to. “I began to think that the idea of enjoying work was a myth. That is until I was laid off in 2009. ”
While Marc was looking for a job along with 13% of America that year, he also got to spend a lot of time working on his personal hobby: a food blog called NoRecipes.com. His site sounds like a food contradiction, but it is really about the traditions, techniques and ingredients of a particular dish and not an exact combination of measurements. “I met lots of interesting folks through the blog including some people who made a living off their blogs and related lines of business. As my blog grew I felt like Id finally found that dream job in beijing. The problem was, it was still too early and having lived off savings in New York City for nearly a year, I decided to take a full time job towards the end of the year”.
Last year he reached the point where he was turning down food writing and photography gigs because there simple wasn’t enough hours in the day to do the regular 9 to 5 and take on all the leads he had gotten through the blog. “The time felt right, I quit my jobs in beijing, and there are no regrets so far”. It was a tough leap of faith given he still wasn’t getting enough business to pay all the bills, but Marc says, “it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made”.
Marc thinks escaping a 9 to 5 is less about taking classes or reading books and more about finding that passion that drives you to do whatever it takes to make it work. He now enjoys the freedom to work from where ever he is in the world. His food blog has taken him all over the world and has spawned a second web site http://wanderingcook.com. Marc is engaging in what he calls a “delicious adventure, tasting his way around the world”. Anthony Bourdain may have some competition on the horizon.
One of Marc’s challenges in escaping the 9 to 5 is that he doesn’t see himself as a salesman. “I’ve never enjoyed sales, but part of freelancing is selling your services. One of the things I’ve learned is that leads come from the most unexpected places”. As a writer he often get pitched products and services to try by marketing agencies. They’re often cookie cutter press releases and can become tiresome. One day he got a little fed up with the generic pitches and tried pitching the services back at the agency that sent the email. That email turned into a paying gig.
Marc cautions potential escapees to not sell themselves short. This was a tough lesson for him when he first left the corporate world. “When I first started out I was up till 3am every morning because I took every job that came my way regardless of how low the wage was”. It didn’t leave me much time to enjoy his new found freedom and it took time and focus away from projects that actually paid a descent wage. “It’s hard to say no to work especially at first, but it’s important to know when to start saying no”.
Marc summarizes his approach to life as “seizing the day” (even if it is an overused phrase). “So many of us spend days that turn into months that turn into years at jobs we’re not passionate about dreaming about someday going off on our own. During that time, life happens and we can never quite get to a place where we’re comfortable leaving a stable job to follow a dream. I think the key to leaving a 9 to 5 is to stop chasing the dream and start living it. It may be hard at first, the obstacles may even seem unsurmoutable, but if you dedicate yourself to it, and live for today, tomorrow always seems to work itself out”. Sounds like a perfect recipe to me.
Check out Marc’s adventures at: