One of Micki McNie’s favourite quotes is “the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you, but yourself.” It’s a mantra the business founder, property investor and digital nomad lives by, by it wasn’t always that way.
Micki told Bushy Martin on the Get Invested podcast that it was decades before she realised what she needed to do to be happy, and took action.
After studying theatre at University in the US, working temp jobs in New Zealand and as a Contiki tour guide across North America, Micki found herself in Colorado after a marriage break down, in need of a new direction.
“I found myself in my mid thirties, suddenly, in charge of my own life again … and I just had this realisation (that) I’m applying for the same jobs I would’ve applied for out of university, and I’m being offered pay that is the same or less, and it’s 15 years later,” she said.
“I thought, first of all, I’m really not excited about any of these jobs. I don’t really want to be somebody’s secretary, and I don’t really want to go somewhere from 8:30am to 5:00pm every day.
“I was living at a friend’s house, and she made a joke about how many home renovation shows I watched on TV, and said that I should get my real estate license … she planted a seed, and so I dove into it a little more, and I realised it was really low hanging fruit.”
Micki eventually found work with a real estate agency she liked and when she learned everything she could on the job, before founding her own agency a few years later.
“I was just determined that my company was going to put our clients first,” she said. “It’s not gonna be about the pay cheque. It’s gonna be what’s right for our clients, especially since we were working primarily with property investors. Those people are making really big decisions with, sometimes, the only money they have and that just puts a lot of responsibility on me and my team to serve them well.”
Micki ran her real estate company for almost a decade while also investing in property herself, before getting to the point again where she felt she needed to shake things up. For Micki, that meant working with a career coach to tease out what the next phase of her life would look like.
That coach introduced Micki to the idea of being a digital nomad with the assistance of an agency that helps business people work effectively on the road. A couple of months later Micki was living and working remotely from South Korea – the first of many stops.
Micki now manages her real estate interests from wherever she happens to be in the world, and is using the creative energy she absorbs from her travels to develop new ideas. She’s making music, developing a new business packaging up and selling online courses, and working with script-writers to improve their screenplays, while writing some of her own.
“I heard myself saying, ‘someday, I’d like to dot, dot, dot’, and realising how many things I had said that about, and just starting to ask myself, ‘well, when exactly Ms? You’re Now Almost 47, when exactly is ‘some day’?’
“I really have just had to let go of a lot of beliefs that I had about myself and about what I should be doing. And I’ve just started to let go a lot more, and say, ‘I’m gonna play’.”
The new perspective has also helped Micki realise what is most important to her.
“I really struggled knowing what my ‘why’ was, and I think I’ve come to the conclusion, so far, that my why is really my family. I just want to be able to take care of them. Both my brothers work hard and have kids, and my parents are getting older, and they just need more care.”
Micki’s nomadic lifestyle means when her parents need her, she can pack up and fly to California to stay with them.
Micki’s ultimate goal is two split her year between two primary locations.
“I think I’m a six month here, six month there kind of person, so I’d love to have my little renovated cottage in the Irish countryside, with a garden and all of that, and then my flat in some bustling metropolis where I go to get my fix of movies and fancy restaurants.
In terms of her next creative and business venture, Micki is developing some new podcast concepts.
“It’s podcasting, but scripted podcasting … So it’s sort of a media industry that is on the cusp of really breaking out. There’s a lot of potential there, but it’s still accessible, and it’s still very much a community, and so it’s all the things I love about creativity with opportunity.”
Listen to the full interview here.
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