/ Work-life balance

Selfie sticks and compromise for the sake of the good life

There are a few things I never imagined I would say in my quest to live the good life. “Hi, I’m Matt, I hawk wristband selfie sticks from the comfort of my home” is one of them. Yet, here I sit at my rickety former school desk, tucked in the corner of a box room, nursing a cup of tepid coffee as my brown spaniel snores in an armchair a meter away. And that is exactly what I’m doing.

To clarify, being able to work from home is a dream and something I take for granted on a regular basis. Having been a remote worker for a few years, it has become a pillar for me in my search for the “good life”.

What’s more, popstick is a pretty cool product too - another thing I never imagined I’d say, though perhaps because I never imagined a wristband selfie stick would ever be a ‘thing’. The idea is simple. Take the functionality of a selfie stick, i.e. extend your reach while holding your smartphone, and wrap it up in a comfy, silicon wristband. Think “90’s slap band, reimagined for the contemporary market”.

Sorry, that’s the hawker talk coming out a little there.

It’s a unique, fun product with a touch of nostalgia. And for travellers, nomads, or anyone wanting a selfie stick without the stigma, this is ideal.

So why am I bringing this up?

Well, I've come to realise happiness, and contentment can be found in the most unlikely of places.

When I started my search for the good life, I left a cushy marketing job, and what I wanted to do was write. That was it. I wanted to write, and to hell with everything else. More to the point, I wanted people to pay me to write. Payment being the accolade of a true professional, after all.

For the better part of a year, I found clients. I was writing and ghostwriting. Most of the time it was business focused, corporate blog posts and occasionally it was thought pieces. Turns out, finding the work was pretty easy, finding enough work to get by was another matter. And finding work that wasn't the same old stuff repackaged was harder still.

I managed it for a little while, albeit by the skin of mine, my partner, and my pooches teeth. After a time though, the inevitable happened. I realised I had become one of those writers saturating the space with regurgitated articles that would make Buzzfeed cringe. I had been forced to compromise my writing, to accommodate the writing jobs I was able to get.

As I write this, heavy rain raps at my window and the wind bellows through cracks in the walls of my small, rented country cottage. On a normal Thursday, I'd walk through the woods to my local cafe half a mile away. I'd spend the morning with a good breakfast, delicious coffee, and field emails while managing ads and tweeting from my iPad. Today though, I’ve settled for instant coffee, a slice of toast, and a few hours of warmth before I take the pooch for his afternoon stroll.

It dawned on me today, what I have found in my search for "the good life" is a unique level of freedom and the ability to control where and when I compromise. A few hours ago I tweeted, wondering if my love for remote work was because I could avoid this kind of weather, or because I get to spend the day with the pup. If I’m honest, it boils down to the freedom and control that being a remote worker brings. All the compromises I make in order to live the good life I aspire to live are made willingly, and with a smile on my face, without feeling like I've really sacrificed anything.

One of those compromises is, without a doubt, the role I have chosen to play with my work. I don't write anymore, at least not the way I used to. Instead, I have taken the challenge of promoting and selling popsticks, under the titular guise of ‘Head of Brand’. It’s a promising role, and if all goes well, come the new year, there is the promise of equity, salary increases, and perhaps even a team for me to manage.

We also have a load of plans to release something awesome on the app side, so it's exciting to be part of such a cool startup.

Selling any product, not just a wristband selfie stick, isn’t a direction I ever thought I would go. Those who know me would attest that I don’t have the constitution to be the pushy salesperson. But somehow I’ve ended up here, through various compromises, poised before what could turn out to be the most rewarding and significant job in my life to date. And with a smile on my face.

Maybe the path to the good life is in having control over where you compromise. For me, compromising less important things like whether or not I write, has led me to value more important things, like snoring spaniels.