My name is Helen or Heleni if you prefer the Greek version.
I live on the beautiful sun-drenched island of Cyprus near the unspoilt north west coastline and I write and mountain bike for a living. My cycling and my internet writing pays all my bills and this page tells you how.
There are many people who would love a place in the sun and a lifestyle free from a 9-5 routine. I'm here right now because after suffering a big setback 10 years ago, I decided to follow my dream and start a new life. So could you. How? Read my story...
I always wanted to run my own fitness orientated business but, like many people, I never had the courage to do it. Job security always seemed to beat taking a big risk like jacking in the day job so I worked hard for nearly 20 years in the retail trade.
I played field hockey for years until a cruciate knee ligament injury forced me to take up cycling as an alternative sport. Shortly after I met my husband-to-be and we dreamed of running a mountain bike business someplace outside of the UK.
But dreams were all they were...until one day, after 8 years hard graft at my last company, my world fell apart.
I should have seen it coming maybe, but being bluntly informed I was being made redundant was a complete shock. It was all the more cruel when I later found out that a replacement was waiting in the wings before I'd even left the building...but that's another story.
Whilst I had some redundancy money to tide me over, the pressure was still on to find another job but the experience had left me empty and sad inside and I just had no enthusiasm for job hunting.
So Al and I sat down one night and did some sums. We only had a tiny mortgage so if we pooled our savings with the redundancy money, paid off the house loan and moved somewhere new where the cost of living was far lower, just maybe we could live our dream?It turned out that losing my job was...
Okay, our decision to move to Cyprus and start a cycling business was pretty much driven by passion rather than solid reason but I honestly believe that sometimes you need a real push to start a new chapter in your life.
We knew Cyprus well having spent many happy holidays on the island, far from the beaches in the beautiful mountain areas, the perfect haven for mountain biking.
We hastily pulled together a business plan and, partly as pressure was on to start earning sooner rather than later, we moved to Cyprus 6 months after I received my redundancy notice.
We worked flat out for 3 months setting up the business and then waited for the customers to come. They came of course but not quite in the numbers we were hoping. Marketing a new business is expensive and we seemed to be spending more and more on trialling different forms of marketing that didn't get us any customers.
Cyprus mountain biking
We absolutely loved the cycling and we didn't need much to live on but making money out of doing what you love wasn't giving us quite enough income.
So I made a new goal...
"I will find a second income that pays half our bills and will fit perfectly alongside our biking business...and it won't involve working for anyone else!"
"I will have the best of both worlds and make a living from doing what I love."
Sounds impossible? No it's not because I've done it and you could too.
Tip: You just need passion, determination and something to excite you along the way...
My passions are mountain biking, hiking, yoga (my most recent passion, so much so that in 2014 I qualified as an RYS registered yoga teacher!) and travel in general and now I write about it through this website and as a freelance writer for several online publications.How I came to start this website is...well...a stroke of luck really. I was surfing the internet looking for ideas on how to make money working from home when I somehow stumbled upon this company called SBI.
I honestly did not have the first clue about website building, html coding or anything remotely technical but I was intrigued by the passionate stories of people who had built successful businesses just by writing about what they love...online via a website.
I took a look and, after several weeks soul searching, decided to have a go. mainly as they offered a 30 day free trial (which, by the way, is now a 90 day free trial!)
What did I have to lose except some of my time?
I will be honest and tell you it was VERY HARD at first. There was so much information to absorb I felt like I was entering brain melt-down! But I stuck with it, read all the help in the forums, followed a step by step action guide and before I knew it, I had gotten the bug...totally.
Just as well it was a quiet time for us on the bikes over the January period ;)
I was so proud of myself when my first page went live and even more pleased when, within a few months, my first pennies rolled in.
From there on, it's been a rollercoaster, I started a second website after the success of the first and, 5 years ago, I started freelance writing to add to my web writing portfolio giving me valuable extra income. I write for a variety of online travel magazines plus, back in July 2010, I started a THIRD website. which is doing amazingly well, now that I have so much experience as a "webmaster" - sounds grand doesn't it :)
Update March 2015: It's been 7 years since I started my "webmaster" journey and the last three years have been tough in the online world. It's now much more difficult to "reach" your customers through a website alone, plus Google and the way people search for information constantly changes (think images and videos) so it can be hard to keep up! I'm pleased to say, however, that my websites continue to grow and earn money and despite the economic gloom of the past few years, I have managed to keep earnings inline with previous years. You just need to stay focussed and have a great hosting company (hint SBI!) that keeps you up to date with important changes as they happen. Plus also keeps you informed of where you should be spending your valuable time.
Well by various means such as revenue from advertising (like the Goooogle ads in various places around the site) or by recommending products from quality companies like great holiday deals or low price car hire. It's so much fun trawling the internet for great value deals, then sharing them with my visitors:) Plus I usually find fantastic offers I can use myself or pass onto friends and family too.
I'm living my dream right now doing several jobs I truly love and I believe that anyone can do the same if they set their minds to it.
"We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about." Charles Kingsley (1819-1875)
Don't just dream. Try SBI. If I can do it, believe me anyone can.
PS - the latest SBI promotion is below...