So for the past two weeks I’ve been traveling around Vietnam. Yep, Southeast Asia: home to the beautiful beaches, iconic pagodas, meandering rivers, and bustling cities! (You can read my blog post about it here if you fancy seeing what I got up to!) It’s kind of like stepping into another world and making it your own! But the coolest part? I didn’t have to take this trip as ‘holiday leave’, eating into those all-so precious days. Or be conscious of even how long I stayed away. Because I’ve continued to earn my living over here, running my business as I see stunning new sections of the world. And I guess that’s the real beauty of what I do: I can work from absolutely anywhere. So long as I have my phone and laptop, I am good to go! Sound too good to be true? Well it’s not, trust me. And you can get to the same position surprisingly easier than you may think!
So what kind of work are we talking? And how exactly does it work?
Well for me personally, my main focus is on my business: Blue Monkey Social Media. Digital marketing is our thing- specialising particularly in using social media to generate new leads and sales for businesses. Which is kind of good. The value & return is genuinely there for them (making it easier to sell), there’s a huge demand for it (and probably always will be: even when social media channels change and evolve) but by selling directly to businesses/ coaches/ entrepreneurs- you can charge more premium prices than if you were -for example- to sell a more ‘desirable’ product directly to the public. I have dabbled with other ventures, but it’s a different board game selling B2C rather than B2B. That’s not to say you can’t make good money in that area (because you certainly can!) but for me, I’ve found the B2B world has opened far more doors, far more quickly and it’s definitely more my thing! To put it into perspective, each client is worth between £250- £1500 (depending on the package they go for)- this is charged per business, per month. And with limited expenses other than -primarily – my team’s time: that gives you the potential to earn a HUGE income! Let’s put it this way- you’d have to sell a HELL of a lot of t-shirts in equivalent. But I guess it’s a different market. You definitely just have to find what is your favourite thing to do!
I do still earn a small amount from this blog with affiliate marketing of my favourite products, and by selling my courses. But that’s more for fun and to feed into the travel funds. (Because trust me: although blogging is hard work, it’s so incredibly rewarding helping and inspiring others to fulfil their potential and follow their dreams) Another massive benefit of my blog is using it to acquire free travel/ accommodation/ experiences; which helps to reduce my costs and enables me to travel even more. I then also try to squeeze in time for non-profit projects and initiatives; like you’ll read in my personal story ‘From Broken Teen to Business Woman: How I Turned my Life Around’ and that also wouldn’t be possible if I wasn’t my own boss, so I really can’t stress enough how much this will change your life!
Where To Start:
I guess the first place is to establish what exactly you want to do. Where do you want to travel? When do you want to go? How often do you want to head different places and for how long for? Then it’s more specifically- what kind of work would you be interested in doing? Where do your skills currently lie and where would you like them to be developed? What would you enjoy and what would/ could you be good at? Ideal areas to explore include:
- Virtual Assistant
- Freelance writing
- Marketing/ SEO
- Web design
- Graphic design
- Consulting/ Coaching
Why? Because they don’t make you be dependent on living anywhere in particular and you’re also not tied down when you do move around. (You can simply up your laptop and leave- how about that for freedom!) These are also just a few examples that we’re touching the surface with. You also might want to consider meeting in the middle with businesses in Video Production, Photography, Art – it all depends where your skills & passions lie, plus of course what you aspire for. Whatever you choose, it doesn’t mean that you can’t grow your business locally, build relationships face-to-face and have a place you call home. (I certainly do, and it gives me the perfect balance that way!) But, what it does mean, is if you want to work away for a few weeks, or do a little traveling alongside it -as and when- you have that option. A game changer for sure!
So, what about blogging? Well, it’s certainly a potential income source, and all sounds great in theory, but it’s not an easy ride and I certainly wouldn’t recommend planning to build your income solely from it to begin with. Blogging is incredibly time consuming (think about all the photography, videography & editing even aside from the written content itself!), it also takes time to grow and will not give you the financial security you need when starting out. You might want to work on growing it on the sidelines as it’s good to have different income streams- just be careful not to put all your eggs in one basket with this one initially unless you really know what you’re doing and have something else to fall back on if you need.
NOTE: When considering your income sources, don’t try to over-complicate things or take on too much at once. Learn from my mistakes. You’re only one person and if you spread yourself too thin: it will not work. Sure, you may think of something that’s kind of like an ‘earn whilst you sleep’ income. Maybe you already have the product (an Ebook for example) so then the sales are just an extra income for you. But how are you going to get the sales? It takes time guys. Far more time than you think. Even if you have the social media channels, the audience, the followers, simply shouting about what you’re selling doesn’t actually make the sale. You have to create marketing campaigns, you have to work on clever copy, you have to put on different offers, and you have to keep building, testing & growing until you find what creates the sales. So these side ventures and ideas: hold onto them. But don’t pursue them until you have your main income source coming in steadily. Get them in place if you have time, for sure. But focus on one thing at a time. If you are looking at additional income sources aside from your business, you want things that you can simply leave! They won’t pay back initially most probably but they will accumulate your wealth and help you in the long run. The sorts of things I’m talking about are Stocks & Shares, Property Investment (investment guys, simple investment, not development), Affiliate Marketing and Sponsorship IF you already have a blog/ site you’re utilising and it’s just an add onto that to make the most of what you already have. You see what I mean?
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Hold Up a Sec…
Now before we go any further, I have GOT to stress that although in theory this is easy to replicate: set up a business, start earning more than you ever was before, travel around as you go, maybe start to expand your team, go from strength to strength… bingo! But like all things in life, to achieve high levels of success: it requires a lot of work. You may be desperate to escape that 9-5 but be prepared that initially (especially in the transition phase), you will be working far, far more than that. Even when you ditch your job and totally go it alone- the hours will still be long, the money may not come back quite as quickly and you may find you first earn LESS than what you was before. It can also be super super stressful, and you will undoubtably feel an enormous amount of pressure. But, if you keep the end goal in mind, you work around your challenges calmly and creatively, and you keep on going: it will eventually start to pay off and you will then find yourself in the position that -at one point- you only ever dreamed to be in. Another warning: the more you do and the more you achieve -if you’re anything like me- the more you’ll find you want to push to go on to achieve. You start to realise the huge amount of potential you have, and strive to unlock it! It’s exciting, but don’t think that this is the end goal. Because you’ll soon actually find, it’s only just the start!
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The Next Steps:
Haven’t scared you off? Still think it’s for you? I’m impressed. Nice one! That says a lot about you. So once you’ve decided your first goals, where you want to go, when you want to go there, what kind of business you want to set up, what additional income streams you could develop -and so on and so forth- then my friends, it’s time to start taking action! Now when you do this, DO NOT QUIT YOUR JOB ALL AT ONCE. I mean you can, but it’s a little reckless! And sometimes these risks pay off, but if you have no savings to fall back on, it will only add to the pressure which certainly won’t help. Instead you want to start by putting the time in alongside your current job.
So for example, you may have decided on your online business, but you may not currently have all of the skills (if any!) to really sell your services properly. You’re competing with a massive online world here and you HAVE to be your best to make it a success. Sure, you’ll continue to learn, develop and grow as you go. But you have to have that strong start by truly knowing what you’re doing and knowing you will be doing it to a very high standard. So take the time first to develop in the areas you need to.
Also make sure you have everything you need in place. You don’t want to leave your job only to find your web development takes longer than you think and whilst you wait for it, you have no income! It sounds pretty self-explanatory I know, but you’ll be surprised by how many people spontaneously up their job and leave, without totally thinking everything through and having a proper plan in place. So 1) Get the website ready and LIVE. 2) Have your marketing and sales plan established. I should probably also say now ‘Know Your Business Plan’ but in all honesty, I don’t totally do things by the books! 3) Get started! Now this may be harder if your business can’t really work out of your working hours, but if you can drop down your hours, work in that lunch break, or take a few of those last holiday days before you leave to start selling: do it! You want to try to build at least something before you go it alone. Once you’ve done the above and are as confident as you can be- it’s then time to take the bold move!
Top Tips When Starting Your Business:
- Develop a USP that makes you different or specialist to narrow down the competition.
- Be flexible & adaptable: it’s ok to change your mind or tweak your plan, as your business helps you learn and grow.
- Strive for VALUE: it’s better to over-deliver than under-deliver, especially when you’re finding your feet.
- Be yourself. Sure you have to be professional, but your personality is what makes you unique & people invest in people. Personal branding (especially when working for yourself) works an absolute treat!
- Don’t be afraid to quote. (How do you know whats right?! Research. Evaluate. Try it. Then go from there.) Don’t lose business for fear of getting it wrong. You will start to get the hang of it as you go along.
- Surround yourself with like-minded individuals, who inspire you & lift you up: rather than dampen your enthusiasm and drag you down. Trust me: it makes all the difference!
- Know your target audience, and show that you understand them. What’s their problem areas? Use pain & pleasure.
- Don’t try to do EVERYTHING. When it comes to marketing: find the platforms and approaches that work for you, then do more of that. Be smart with your time and expand into more areas as your business & team grows.
- Prepare to make sacrifices, but always keep the end goal and vision in sight.
- Have fun with it! It’s not just about the end destination, but enjoying the journey to get there. You’re making this change -presumably- for the lifestyle, so if you can enjoy the work you do alongside it: you’re onto a winner!
And as for juggling your work alongside traveling, well- I wrote a whole post all about that for you from the snowy mountains of Chamonix. Here: let me talk you through step by step!
Want an exact guide to creating the ultimate location-independent lifestyle, developing an online business that will push you to greater levels of success? Grab our FREE sample of our Digital Nomad Course here.
Remember: time waits for no-one and there’s no better moment than now…