The Big Life Story...
Hi, I’m Danny. I am a freelance creative based in Copenhagen, Denmark, and I’m also trying this “entrepreneur” thing.
To understand how we got to this point, we need to go back to when I was a child. I have flexed my creative muscles from an early age, whether that be drawing clock towers or having a poem published in a book as a 9-year-old. But funnily enough, I never viewed myself as creative. And the reason is simple: I thought that other people would view me as stupid. After all, doing something creative isn’t a real job… right?
Wrong. But we’ll talk more about that later.
Throughout my life, I have always enjoyed sharing my interests with the world. I would take coffee table-sized books into primary school with me, along with sharing pictures of my various travels around Europe on Instagram. When you put this and the paragraph about me being creative together, you can kind of see how this entire project spawned.
Let’s Talk About 2016
2016 was a transformative year for me, and I started to realise that a lot of what I was taught by society growing up was a farce. I graduated from university and followed the blueprint of getting a fancy corporate job straight out of uni. While I actually enjoyed working there, I hated living in London, and I detested commuting. Both of these would become recurring themes later.
In October 2016, I booked a trip to Copenhagen and was introduced to a new way of living. This was a place where the locals didn’t constantly look like they were running for a bus, where the air was breathable, and where people worked hard but also enjoyed life. When I was on the train home after my first day back at work, all I could think was:
“There has to be more to life than this.”
Things Get Worse Before They Get Better
After two years of working at my first job, I decided it was time for a change. And despite telling my mum “this job has so many red flags” while I was interviewing, I took a new position at a different company. On a personal level, the next 11 months were hell.
Despite earning more money on paper, I was now commuting even longer than before. And because I hated my life so much, I spent most of my salary on things to numb how I felt inside. Every weekday became a case of getting up with a dead feeling inside, sitting on a train that was often packed and delayed, and trudging into an office to spend eight hours in a place I would rather not be.
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for this to become a problem; the winter of 2018 and 2019 was the worst period of my life. I felt like I was a slave to the system, and I knew that I could not continue living this way. I would not allow my soul to wither for the sake of £29,000 per year. I went to Iceland in December 2018, and on that trip, I made a vow to myself:
I will quit my job in July 2019, regardless of whether I have a plan.
The time leading up to then was a case of preparing, and I’ll be honest with you – setting that timescale was one of the only things that got me through those next seven months. From January to March, I had to physically drag myself out of bed to go to work.
The Way Out and Initial Struggles
My mental health improved gradually over the spring, which was a combination of working from home and knowing that I would be out of my situation soon enough. Eventually, the day of fate – 19th July, 2019 – rolled around. I got on the train to work, knowing that this would be the last time that I ever commuted to a 9-5.
After having some leaving drinks with my team, I was on the train home. I can’t even lie to you – it felt like the entire world had been lifted off my shoulders. Technically, I was unemployed as I hadn’t yet registered my company. But for the first time since I was 9, I felt like I had complete control over the direction I steered my life in.
Two weeks later, I packed my bags and left the UK for the first time. The destination? Stockholm. In short, that move was a total disaster – mainly because I tried to do too much at once.
Very quickly, I spiralled into another episode. September to November were again difficult periods, and I faced the reality that I had a ton of inner work to do. Financially, things were pretty challenging as well; until signing my first retainer client in October, I only earned $300 after quitting my job.
In October 2019, I went to Oslo – and I had another life-changing event. What was that, I hear you ask?
I made £7 writing on Medium.
Obviously, this is a tiny amount of money. But the fact that I made any money online was a huge motivator.
At the end of 2019, I moved back to the UK to take my freelancing more seriously. Those nine months in solitude were tricky, but they set my life up for the next chapter.
Getting Out on the Other Side
In September 2020, I finally achieved my biggest dream. After thinking about the North for the last four years, I moved to Copenhagen – and by that, I mean I *actually* moved.
At this point, I had grown my freelance business to earn around $2,600 per month. That, however, was nowhere near what I needed to survive in one of the world’s most expensive cities. Driven by an insane motivation to not end up with my tail between my legs again, I spent the next six months relentlessly focusing on getting new clients, though I have to admit that I was almost tempted by the comfort of going back to a full-time job. In March 2021, I earned what at the time was an amount I never thought I would be able to:
In 2021, I made just over $66,000. The following year, I earned almost $80,000. But money is only one part of the equation, and I don’t even think those numbers are particularly impressive. I have learned so much about myself as a person, and I also feel like I have enough knowledge about various creative disciplines to share that with the world.
Which is precisely why I’ve started this project. I hope that you’ll stick around, and that I can help you achieve your creative dreams 🙂