The reader profile is a weekly series where I attempt to give something back to one of my readers. It typically includes some information about his/her online projects as well as a mini interview.
This week we are featuring Mark Hayward from MyTropicalEscape. If you’re not familiar with MyTropicalEscape, Mark covers a pretty wide range of topics, but as you will read in the interview, he is now focusing primarily on subjects like pursuing personal freedom and escaping from the typical 9 to 5 job. You may want to check out his recent post, Top Ten Signs that You are Ready to Divorce Your Job. Those of you who are bloggers should also read Mark’s interview with Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.
1. Your blog covers a very wide range of topics. What is your approach to covering a broad base of topics and keeping subscribers tuned in?
What a fantastic question to begin with. Recently, I went through a period of major blogging frustration because I think I “out niched” myself and I was having trouble finding a core group of subscribers.
When I originally started mytropicalescape.com it was with the intention of documenting my experience of trying to pursue my dream of living in the Caribbean and owning a small business. I think many people feel trapped in their job or daily existence and I wanted to show people that you can move beyond fear, take a leap of faith, and successfully move toward whatever your particular goal might be.
Somehow along the way I started getting very interested in online entrepreneurship, blogging [about blogging], and pursuing personal freedom all at the same time, so the site became sort of a mixture of all different topics. However, I have learned a valuable lesson. Unless you are an extremely talented writer, or master marketer, it is very difficult to find an audience that will follow your site if its content is all over the map.
So, after a little hiatus from blogging (and coming VERY close to selling the site) I have decided to regain my focus and write about lifestyle design, pursuing personal freedom and trying to assist others who would like to “escape the cube.”
2. What are your goals with your blog?
My number one goal would be to help and possibly motivate people take the initial steps toward pursuing personal freedom or their goals by using my experiences, and the experiences of others, as examples of people who have done it.
I am “everyman” and I do not come from money or a privileged background so if I can somehow show people that I did it, I left the corporate world and followed my dream. Well, maybe some other folks who would like to attempt to pursue a lifestyle that they envision will bring them personal happiness, but have been either too afraid to, or are holding back for some reason, will take those initial steps.
Really I would like to reach that person who absolutely dreads heading to work everyday (because I have been there!) and thinks to him or herself, you know I want to work from home, start my own business, travel the globe, or whatever…
Unfortunately, lately I feel like I have been preaching to the already converted so I would like to improve my reach. [If you have any ideas?] The name “mytropicalescape” is synonymous with my journey, but really it is meant to be symbolic of anyone who is looking to create a life outside of the 9 to 5 norm.
I guess one other goal would be to try and network with creative people and hopefully collaborate on some fulfilling entrepreneurial projects. When I started writing online I was AMAZED at the amount of talented and creative people who are blogging, tremendous individuals really. So, I am always interested in meeting and working with new people.
3. Of the tropical places that you have lived, does any one of them stand out as your favorite?
I grew up in the Northeastern U.S. so anyplace that I have been to that does not have snow stands out as special
Seriously though, I was a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in the Lakekamu Basin rainforest in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and fifteen to twenty years prior they were still practicing cannibalism in the village where I served. That sense of remoteness with no roads, no running water, no electricity, not a single luxury…I don’t think I will ever get to experience that again on such a grand scale, so PNG is special.
4. What would it take to get you to go back to work in a cubicle dealing with things like TPS reports?
Actually, I was thinking about this question while I was out running today and I would NEVER say that I would not go back to a standard office environment. However, it would have to be a forward thinking company that encourages creativity, allows you to work during the hours when you are most productive, and encouraged telecommuting. If that company exists, and if you are reading this, PLEASE email me.
As far as TPS reports go, as long as I could have the red swingline stapler and if I could have Lumberg’s parking spot then count me in!
Thank you for the opportunity to be profiled today Steven. If people are interested they can sign up for my feed and I am always happy to answer questions, or assist people who are trying to remove themselves from the office.
Thanks Mark for answering my questions, and of course for being a reader.