This is the full story of how Grasshopper Geography came to be and how it became a family business later on.
Robert used to have an office job in Reading, England, working for the British government studying farmer's parcels from satellite images, aerial photography and Ordnance Survey maps. As you can imagine, after a while it became quite boring and unsatisfying. A soul crushing 9-5 office job, so to say. After he managed to save up some money he decided not to spend it on a car, a better rented room, or whatever earthly things, but go follow his dreams.
He started looking for NGOs all around the world and offered to volunteer his mapmaking skills for them. He spent 3 months working for archaeologists in the Caribbean, two months working with whales in Alaska, each time going back to a different office job in England, to save the budget for the next trip, and by 2016, he found himself working with dolphins in Portugal. This work eventually led to having his business that he named Grasshopper Geography. (Szöcske, the Hungarian word for grasshopper was his childhood nickname.)
In Portugal, he volunteered for 3 months. For various reasons he happened to have more free time than he expected. After some time he decided to start using these idle hours to work on his GIS skills. He learnt new techniques, new software, and started to work on new map styles that he had in his head for months / years, but never had the time to properly work on.
After a few weeks he had three new map styles ready, and was quite happy with them, so shared them on a few forums online, and ... the internet went crazy. There he was, a shy mapmaking nerd, with hundreds of messages. Interview requests. Tens of thousands of shares on articles about his maps. As he always says, the words scary, humbling and exciting do not do justice to October 2016 at all.
So basically he spent all his saved money on working for free for NGOs, but eventually became much richer as a person. Since then, Grasshopper Geography is his life and only source of income.
The next significant change happened in December 2020, when his partner in life also became his partner in business. Eszter flew back home from Norway that year just to start her life anew with Robert. They had worked together before on smaller projects with success, so her helping with Grasshopper Geography was kind of self-evident.
It also meant there was finally time to get started on those things that were impossible for Robert to manage alone: social media content and marketing in the first place, followed by smaller bits and pieces. Being a librarian by profession, she was already familiar with most things she contributes to this business: writing newsletters, website-building, using art software, customer support, content creation, to name a few.
Since then, they both work hard to make the most out of this small business. They know that loving what you do is important for a balanced life, and they sure love working with these maps and bring joy to maplovers all over the world.