In 2014, Mike Zima and his wife Irena were vacationing in the Bahamas.
“We were floating like ducks in the warm water, and Chicago was an ice palace we didn’t want to return to,” he told Business Insider. “We wanted to be happy when we come home. To be fair, Chicago has good deep dish pizza, but we weren’t happy coming home when we could have a better life.”
Zima, now 30, and Irena had always known they wanted to move to Europe, and when they returned home, he started seriously looking into how they could make that happen.
“The typical transition is like, ‘Ok, we’re going to move, I’m going to find a job, everything will be all right,'” he said. “But that’s almost working against the grain, because relocating to another country is very difficult.”
Zima started experimenting with Fiverr, a site that lets people pay others for tasks outside their expertise starting at $5 each.
“I knew I would need income to supplement our lifestyle, because in Europe you have to take a pay cut with a traditional job,” he said.
Zima’s day job was in digital marketing, so he used his experience to start consulting in a similar vein. Over the next few years, he gathered expertise in Google Analytics to enhance his side gig, and soon, his web consulting started picking up.
In 2015, his income from Fiverr “went from $50 a month to a couple hundred a week,” he said. “I started getting good reviews, and that’s when I had the day job and the side hustle side by side.”
“All of 2016 was me doing the side hustle on my lunch breaks,” he continued. “On my way to work and on my way home — almost every waking moment was going into this.”
That was the year he and Irena bid Chicago goodbye and headed for Spain. Now, after a stint in Barcelona, he lives in Mallorca, the stunning Mediterranean resort island that hosts the Spanish royal family on their annual summer holiday.
He supports himself through his own company, data analytics and social media agency Zima Media, which operates through the Fiverr Pro platform with cofounder Damien Bouvier, who is based in London. In 2017, he earned six figures.