Fergus Hodgson is The Stateless Man. Not even a year old, his site has developed over 400 followers and 2,000 articles—all while Hodgson was working a full-time job. Offering a weekly live 2-hour radio broadcast every Wednesday, he brings together people who live and work outside of their home countries (like himself), those that want to do the same, and everyone who wants to follow their dreams. A self-proclaimed “economics nerd” and Native of New Zealand, Hodgson has accepted every work opportunity that’s crossed his path, starting in political policy research…and that path has zigzagged the world: He has worked in Canada, Poland, exotic corners of Massachusetts, Louisiana, Chile, and (my favorite city) Raleigh, just to name a few.
Hodgson is also a member of my Raleigh writing group Triangle Writers. However, now that his full-time employment has ended, his work visa will soon expire and he will be moving on once again. For now, he’s a full-time freelancer. Let’s learn how he got here—and where he’s going:
200 Words With Fergus Hodgson
aka The Stateless Man
Write Naked: Where did the idea for your radio show come from?
Fergus Hodgson: The show has evolved from my experiences. I have been a political observer in multiple countries, but I’ll be frustrated when I see a stagnant situation. With the repeated frustration, although my career was going well, I heard about a new online radio network – Overseas Radio Network – looking for new hosts. I also read Harry Browne’s How I Found Freedom in a Unfree World. If you want to live a free life, don’t wait for others to change: Change yourself. Instead of trying to change politics, I changed my own actions, and that’s the idea behind The Stateless Man.
WN: What has been your best moment on radio?
FH: I did one on Couchsurfing. I had couchsurfers on from Chile, New Orleans, and Switzerland, and the founder of Couchsurfing all on the one show, plus someone couchsurfing in Raleigh broadcasted in my office.
WN: How do you reach new listeners?
FH: The network has residual listeners, but I don’t necessarily rely on them. I spend a lot of time on social media. Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. I’m sticking to build a rapport with people. I found my website designer through Twitter; I’ve never met him, but we promote each other and we’ve become buddies. The one I use the most is Reddit. It has a bigger audience and is very targeted. I hope people will come to know and trust me…that takes time.
WN: I’m not a fan of 5-year-plans because life and work evolve so quickly today. Where do you see your business and radio show in one year and how will you get there?
FH: In terms of the show, I’m seeking to acquire more contributors and acquire more listeners and make it financially stable. I’d like to eventually offer scholarships for working abroad. I will be moving to Santiago, Chile soon…I’d like to build a home somewhere to stay for a long period of time. Chile is welcoming to foreigners. I’d like my Spanish to be on a professional level and work on it now—lessons twice per week.
WN: My tribute to James Lipton, and since we’re talking about listening: What sound or noise do you love?
FH: The ocean. I spent a lot of time at New Zealand beaches in childhood. Sounds of the ocean bring back good memories.