Rick Carlile actually escaped the 9-to-5 twice. The first time was in Scotland. He had just graduated from college with degrees in music and philosophy, and all his friends were moving down to London to take up corporate jobs. “I’ve never been able to tolerate London; even as big cities go, it’s expensive, filthy and mean. Besides, even though I’d had adventures in Europe – including apparently being followed around Greece by a serial killer – I’d never had that great defining adventure that separates those who live life to the full from those who only dream”.
So, after weighing his options, Rick boarded a plane to the beautiful island of Taiwan. This mountainous jewel in the western Pacific is home to tropical jungles, white sand beaches, and howling typhoons; a US ally the rest of the world pretends doesn’t exist, still playing out the last act of the Cold War against the Chinese Communist Party a few dozen miles away across the Taiwan
Straits. That year, rick worked as a teacher in the remote, east-coast town of Hualien and explored every nook and cranny of the vast mountain jungles along the Pacific coast by motorcycle. “This was the real adventure I’d been looking for – I withstood devastating typhoons, fought feral dog packs, explored the guts of newly-shipwrecked freighters, rode my motorcycle through a pitch-black active lightning cloud in the high mountains, came within spitting distance of death a few times – and by doing so, lived”.
After a year though, it became clear that the work of a language teacher wasn’t going to provide the challenges Rick wanted to take on. Music and philosophy don’t pay the bills – unless you’re Tom Waits. He needed new skills – tech skills. So, Rick took a 9~5 job writing technical manuals across the island in Hsinchu Science Park – often known as Asia’s Silicon Valley. He learned what I could there, quit the 9-to-5 a second time and never looked back. Rick started a tech writing consultancy for smaller Taiwanese firms, then discovered online freelance marketplaces that let him sell work to clients in the US and the UK. Tech writing’s not the most exciting or creative endeavor, so in 2010 he founded a web development consultancy, Creadyne Developments (www.creadyne.com). “I knew nothing about web development, but I knew a bit about management, design and sales so I used online marketplaces to hire all the tech
talent I needed, and to find clients in the US: startups and entrepreneurs who needed my company’s services building web apps for their fledgling businesses”. Pretty soon he knew enough to do most of the
tech work himself, if necessary. Rick had his own company, and he lived and worked from an airy, marble-floored villa in the hills of a tropical paradise. But it still wasn’t quite enough.
“What making the leap from the 9-to-5 to entrepreneurship taught me above all things is that the difference between the two is like night and day. The difference between gray torpor and life in full technicolor. It’s not about the money – it’s the freedom, self-direction and self-ownership that truly liberates the human spirit. Suddenly there is no-one else to blame, and that – counter-intuitively – is an amazing feeling. I loved it and still do. I suspect anyone who has made that leap feels the same. And I wanted to share that feeling with others, to enable as many people as possible to make that leap of faith to liberty. I mentioned online freelance marketplaces before – they’d been a lifeline that let me stay in Asia and reach out to the US and other markets. But they were so hard to use, for freelancers and clients
alike. They were just too cut-throat, too noisy, too commoditizing. The world needed a real alternative to the obsolete corporate structure, but existing marketplaces weren’t providing it for the mass market. I
wondered if I could do better”.
Fast-forward three years – years of blood, sweat and tears – and Rick’s team has just released the marketplace that could, just maybe, bring online entrepreneurship and collaborative working into the mainstream: Aegora.com.
Aegora solves the key three pain points that made hiring and working online so hard before, because of how it’s structured. Rather than being just a jobs board, Aegora.com makes the online business-building experience about human relationships and trust networks – just like the real business world. “We concentrate on trust (getting quality clients working with quality consultants, without the noise and fuss), simplicity (flattening the learning curve), and safeguards (reducing risk for everyone, every step of the way). We have many challenges and time will tell, but here’s hoping Aegora can help thousands more people take that life-changing leap away from cubicle purgatory. Entrepreneurship isn’t for the fainthearted, but we can make it a great deal easier”.