Hi there! We are Elisa, Christian & Aleyda, founders of Remoters.net, a site we’re building to help Digital Nomads & remote teams with their #remoters journey … in English & Spanish (register here to be alerted of the upcoming launch).
We had the amazing opportunity to attend our first digital nomad event, DNX Global in Berlin -the first global conference for digital nomads- last Saturday where we learned more about the vision and trends of Digital Nomads, met (and felt connected) with so many of them, saw how vibrant the community is & learned from actionable tips, to inspiring stories and anecdotes from experienced digital nomads sharing in each of the conference sessions.
Here’s a recap we’ve done based on the notes we took:
Derek Sivers: How I built a rockstar online business and why I gave it to charity for $22M
Derek is a musician and entrepreneur who built one of the first online music stores, CD Baby, that he sold for $22 Million … that he donated to charity! He started it when there were no online stores in the market to sell his own music and other musicians ask him to join. Here are some of the thoughts & advices that Derek shared during his session:
- Always ask why you’re doing what you’re doing because it will give meaning to your life and make all the difference… stop doing whatever you do only because others are doing it, don’t chase the dream of other people, start follow your own.
- Know what is the goal you’re pursuing and what you’re doing to optimize for your goal achievement.
- Beware of the people who are going to tell you that what you’re doing is wrong or you’re doing it in the wrong way.
- Nobody knows the future, your idea will be validated by the customers not by the feedback of others even before it is launched. Once you get your idea out there changes are going to happen so build it and be prepared to change it once the world sees it. For example, CD Baby didn’t started as a store, it became one when someone asked when new music was going to be released on the site to be sold.
- It’s a must to then have a humble mindset: Listen first, instead of preaching. In his case, he found out what would be CD Baby business model by asking the local record store how they earned money.
- A revolution should not necessarily be a mind-blowing idea: The simplest thing can be revolutionary and people call it like that once it is a success.
- If it’s not a hit, switch: Once you have something people like you will “feel it” as people will react differently and will make sure to let you know that they love it. If people aren’t loving what you’re doing, just stop, don’t push it and switch.
- Redefine the meaning of being persistent: Persistence is not doing same thing over and over, success comes from persistency but doing it from different approaches. Some artists for example achieve success with their first song, for some others it comes after writing different songs after many years… but it doesn’t come by pushing one song that didn’t succeed initially again and again.
- Launch fast, a version 0.1 of your idea: Something that you can start right now, that won’t need that you raise any money. Even if it requires that you do it manually. When he started his CD store people was emailing him the credit cards when buying as he didn’t have an automated system.
- If you’re not launching too soon, you’re launching too late. Your first version should be so simple that it should shame you.
- Idea vs. Execution: An idea in itself doesn’t worth anything, ideas are just multipliers of the execution. They worth nothing until you don’t execute them. To make a business you need to multiply the two. Instead of telling your idea… execute it.
- Answer the phone on the 2nd ring: Their service was the most popular characteristics their customers mentioned, with great support, personalized email headers, customer comments sent to musicians, two way communication between customers and musicians, etc.
- Differentiate yourself, even with little details focusing again on the customer service. They agreed with any request coming with their order…. even gum or squid.
Natalie Sisson: How to monetize yourself and build a thriving brand, business and a loyal community
Natalie is an energetic New Zealander, who had different types of corporate jobs in the past and is now the founder of the Suitecase Entrepreneur, her online business where she shares through posts, courses, videos, podcasts, etc. how to create and run a profitable business while traveling. Here are a few of the thoughts and tips she shared to do it:
- It’s true that a corporate job looks beautiful on paper… but they’re not so exciting, that’s why she left her business to start a women entrepreneur blog and learned how to monetize it herself.
- She has many (6 in total) revenue streams: Podcast, affiliates, digital products, ebooks, speaking…
- How to find your own sweetspot (what she calls the “G spot” for freedom)?: Identify what you like to do, people will pay for and you are good for. For this is fundamental that you:
1. Know your fundamentals
2. Know your strengths
3. Listen to others (what other people say about you?)
4. Find the solution.
- She started with personal trainings and bootcamp and then took it online.
- She created the Social Media Club to scale it.
- Start making money right now with the 7 Day challenge:
1. Come up with a topic you can teach in 1-2 hours
2. Pick a date to be online
3. Make an offer to your email list (it’s a must to create one)
4. Promote it with friends and Facebook adverts
5. Take action: Do the training with Gotomeeting
6. Record it and send people the recording
- Always wow your audience: Give your service with a different approach. From training to ebook.
- Start building your community:
1. Be yourself, contribute and share about your world
2. Share where you work
3. Treat your users like you would like to be treated
4. Organize online events and provide free content
5. Develop paid content options: from retreats to workshops.
6. Publish a book
- Remember to “Be yourself, be helpful, be outstanding“.
Pieter Levels: The future of Digital Nomads: How will remote work transform society in the next 10 years
Pieter is the creator of NomadList, the pioneer site listing the best cities to live and work remotely, which he built as he is a digital nomad himself. Pieter shared his views on how remote work and digital nomads will evolve in the next not 10, but 20 years:
- 60% of the population will be freelance, far less people in corporate jobs
- 1 from 3 freelances in the world will be a digital nomad: it will be far more common to find jobs that you can do from wherever you want, meaning that people not only will be able to work from home or while traveling, but also from small towns if they prefer that lifestyle.
- Internet speed will increase up to which become irrelevant.
- There will be less marriages and less house ownerships.
- We will see the increase of cheaper and faster flights.
- Cities are going to need to attract digital nomads with incentives to live there.
- More connected people worldwide who live traveling means also more friends from around the world … more online dating and mixed races relationships.
- Children won’t need to go to school because they can also learn online.
- The digital nomads era is only starting and more will be changed and be available because of them!
Noel Tock: How to run your profitable business from anywhere in the world!
Noel is product lead and partner at Human Made, an enterprise Wordpress design & development agency, that is a WordPress.com VIP service partner with a worldwide distributed team, with perks like unlimited vacation and an open-source focus.
- He has found two constants as a digital nomad:
1. Having the dream: work and living from wherever you want with a lower cost.
2. The downsides: It’s harder to work like this.
- There are also a few challenges:
Challenge 1. “Needs are being blurred” as digital nomads, productivity can become harder. There’s the fear of missing out.
Challenge 2. Going out of your comfort zone, not only professional but also personal with the “constant change” and need to adapt when traveling to new places.
Challenge 3. Introspection: The art of self-reflection by being alone on the road, isolation, disconnection by not having relationships.
- Focus: Not having much help you to focus on what you really want to achieve, your mission.
- Flow: The feeling when you get immersed on your work, when you’re creating something great and are free of distractions, you’re also free of fear.
- There’s also the need to be profitable. In his case, he needs to achieve profitability by empowering his team to develop their best work from anywhere (they’re competing against agencies working in beautiful offices in NY).
- You need to keep operative and to be able to work from anywhere. Use Wikia to buy pre-praid sim cards in any country.
- You need to be comfortable working offline: You can do very creative processes that requires you to be in the flow.
- You should be able to replicate your work environment wherever you are. He carries from a HDMI cable to connect to a second screen, to a mouse he’s comfortable with. He uses tools like Trello, Noizio, Slack, Zoom.us to be able to work comfortably in a distributed environment and be productive from wherever he is, being able to reach out and work along other people.
Thomas Jakel: One hell of a ride: Adventures in Social Entrepreneurship
Thomas is a social entrepreneur for Guts for Change and has cycled thousands of kilometers, from Germany to India to raise awareness for a sanitation project he started, he wanted to inspire us to follow our dreams and help us to feel alive.
- The difference between being rich vs. being wealthy: Being rich is about having money, while being wealthy is about having the money to pay for your needs *and* have the time to enjoy it.
- Growing up and having a job is a trap
- A recommended book to read: The Art of Non-Conformity & Building Social Business
- Review your goals. In his case it was social entrepreneurship & a trans-continental bike ride to India
- Put urgency on the things that might not be necessarily urgent – like reading a book: it could change your life
- Put urgency behind your dreaming
- His top 10 learnings are:
1. Your dreams are meant for you
2. A journey of a 1,000 miles starts with a single step
3. Your life is the adventure
4. Prepare for siren songs: People who will say that is not possible, they can even mean good, to protect you… but is not where you want to go, so you need to ignore them.
5. Know your why: Why you want to start your business
6. Controlling the trajectory today: What you do today has a power to influence where you will be in 5 days
7. Choose your allies: Who you surround yourself, it can be much more fun.
8. The butterfly effect that you have: Small things can have huge effect.
9. Look for leaps: Once in a while you might not be so hungry anymore… where can you go out of your comfort zone and learn something?
10. Don’t take yourself too serious
- Ask yourself what would you do if you could not fail? With no fear or doubts?
- It’s time to take the leap!
- Remember to live your life as an adventure 🙂
Joe Löhrmann: Traveling the world with My Traveling Piano
Joe is a pianist who makes a living by traveling the world with his portable piano (a concept he created himself). He told us his story, how he left his corporate job to follow a dream and how he succeeded.
- He felt really bad for 3 years, trying to follow the typical career in big company, even by got physically sick.
- He knew how to play the piano and loved it but he got the final inspiration to focus on it at a company party: He asked the official party pianist if he could play his piano. He was afraid but he did great, and the pianist even played together with him. It was the first time he felt that people at the company noticed him.
- He backpacked to places where there was a piano, so he could play. He felt like if this was his own life for the first time, his own trip.
- After some time he got tired of having to search for places with a piano and sometimes not finding any.
- He got the idea of building a portable piano and take it anywhere in a van.
- He told the idea to a girl he just met in a restaurant, and she loved it! In that moment he started believing in his own idea, he viewed it as if it was possible.
- He bought the domain mytravellingpiano.com
- He kept studying and traveling, making up excuses to not to start building the piano and testing his idea.
- When he finished his studies, he finally decided to go for it and built the portable piano.
- He has been living and traveling with his piano in a van for the last 3 years. He makes a living with it, sells his CDs, performs concerts. His business is his music.
- At the beginning he only did covers, but now he creates his own music.
- His recommendation is: “Always go for whatever makes you happy”
Mark Manson: Find happiness through struggle: Challenges on the road as a Digital Nomad
Mark got us back to earth talking about the main setbacks of the digital nomad lifestyle. He is an author, blogger and entrepeneur, and writes about personal development.
- He showed us his worst moments in his traveling life.
- One example of this was when he was recommended an idyllic beach, but the beach was far (4 hours away), so he went by motorcycle, across difficult sand roads, and the beach wasn’t so idyllic at the end. During the trip to the beach, he fell off the motorcycle and got hurt, so he end up in a “hospital” that was not in the best conditions, where he had to practically take care of himself. He joked about it. What’s the point? Fuck it, I’ll rather stay at home! … not really 😉 It’s part of the adventure.
- We are happy and become successful at something not because we want it but because we are ok with the associated costs and love to do it anyway.
- Some setbacks of the digital nomad lifestyle:
- Strained relationships, both with people at home and with your partner
- No sense of stability or feeling of home
- Financial insecurity
- Language and cultural barriers
- Personal safety and health concerns
- Remember that life is about solving problems, but good life is about choosing your problems right.
- Digital nomad lifestyle solves some problems well, but not others, as anything in life.
Successes, challenges and learnings: Insights from Digital Nomads on the road
Many digital nomads shared their anecdotes and recommendations based on their own journey, one of them were the “Vegan Brothers“. Their advice was:
- Don’t tell anyone what you plan to do: tell the world what you intend to do but first, show it. Read “Think and Grow Rich“.
- Be different from anyone else in your industry: Make people do a double take or laugh and they will remember you.
- Be controversial. Have an opinion. Take a stand. Have a distinct point to make. You will get haters but also tons of followers. Learn to love your haters, as you have them because of your success.
- Learn from the experts… not posers. Find someone who has done it and follow their advise. “Been there done that”.
- Read everything! Some books to read are: “Start with why”, “Power” “Onward”.
- Make a habit to step out of your comfort zone.
- The obstacle is the way! Remember that each obstacle is an opportunity to improve your condition.
Sabrina Iovino: Redesign your life: How I created my dream job in less than a year
Sabrina is a German travel blogger, she blogs at “Just One Way Ticket” after leaving her job to travel the world. She now has her dream job, created by her and shares tips to be able to do the same.
- Start building a future that will make you proud in a year.
- She loved decoration and used to buy very expensive furniture for her apartment but she realized that “things you own end up owning you“. You get attached to things just because you paid for them. How stupid is that?
- So she sold everything before she left on her trip: “If you have nothing, you have nothing to lose” and then you become free.
- She realized that “waiting all day to go home, waiting all week for the weekend and waiting all year for vacation” is not a happy way of life. She then realized she should quit and start living the life she would really enjoy living.
- She left her job with a one way ticket to Hong Kong, and travelled to a lot of places but ran out of money so she had to go back to her previous job. When she returned to her previous job, everything was the same except her and after 3 months she decided that she wanted to leave the job again and travel. Until that moment she saw those travels as holidays, and suddenly she realized that she wanted that to be her life.
- She established a goal and wrote it on a post-it in the fridge: to earn “750$ per month”, the money she wanted to earn with her travel blog before December.
- Her first travel post went viral! It was 10 reasons why should travel to Philippines. She even got invited to go there and people from the Philippines organized a welcome party for her there.
- After 8 months she got the point where she was traveling for free, paid by companies.
- It was her dream job, it didn’t existed and suddenly, before she even realized, she created it, doing what she loved.
- It was a success as she ended up earning 2,500$ per month with her blog when the deadline came, a lot more that the initial goal.
- How she gets money with her blog?: Advertising, affiliates, branded content, social media, videos and partnerships.
- The most important thing she got, is something that money cannot buy: Freedom.
- Remember that everyday is a day to change your life.
Here’s her presentation in PDF.
Shayna Oliveira: Tactical guide to building, selling and scaling e-books and online courses
Shayna delighted us with an awesome, specific and actionable talk about how to make money by selling courses/e-books online, as she learned by building Espresso English.
She detailed all the process she uses as well as tips to optimize to build, sell and grow your online business. It was by far the most actionable talk of the event and one which we can put easily in practice… remotely.
- With so much information on the internet, there is still a need for guides to filter and lead to the relevant one.
- There are 3 phases for building, selling and scaling courses online:
- Audience building
- It’s important to be aware that people buy from people they trust.
- There are two main strategies:
- To publish and wait (blogging, youtube…)
- To go get them (guest blogging, other podcasts, forums, ads…)
- At the beginning she just did the “publish and wait”. It took her 9 months (6 of them flat) to get 300.000 users per month.
- If she knew at that time, she would have done more the “go get them” ones right from the start.
- It’s really important to build an email list from day one, and to mention the list and the website in any channel you use.
- Use different formats for opt-in, popups, sidebars…
- What to send to your email list? Thoughts, your latest published content, a curation of useful links from other people …
- Send it once or twice per week, be persistent and consistent.
- Try to engage with the list, specially at the beginning when it is small.
- Course creation and launch
- What to teach? Find ideas in popular content, with surveys, or asking people what is the biggest difficulty they have.
- Don’t search for perfection.
- Try to have at least 100 people on the list. Think about the people you engaged to launch the course
- Small numbers != unsuccessful. It’s a start and it lets you test things.
- Free vs Premium: Give away less frequent things, more general or basic topics for free. Charge for specific, regular, more developed formats, anything that requires your interaction.
- Pre-selling: Charge in advance, deliver the courses in iterations afterwards. Communicate it very clearly. Be sure that you are going to be able to deliver everything as you promised.
- Pricing: don’t ask people how much they want to pay; just choose a reasonable price comparing to others in the market. Remember that people associate price with value (cheap = low quality).
- Double your sales with deadlines: you can set a date in which the price raises up, or a date that is the last one to buy the course, or a date in which a discount becomes ineffective.
- Always send a last chance email before that date.
- The course launch sequence is: First a coming soon, then the course launch, publish a free sample/lesson list, send content+invitation, answer common questions about the course, send a last chance email.
- Sell & deliver: You can do it whether with a WordPress and plugins or with 3rd party platforms. The platform is not important, the important thing is to SELL.
- Lessons are your most improtant task, use your creative hours and define a standard process.
- Use video, audio and text and keep lessons short, everything should be highly organized and with a guide.
- Include activities, interaction, ask for feedback.
- After the course: Ask for testimonials & feedback to improve the course.
- Build more products!
- Set an autoresponder: show your best free content, invite people to go deeper by taking a paid course
- Add an appetizer: A small product (10€) inside which you will recommend a larger product in a relevant way.
- Create bundles: Sell them with a discount.
- Raise prices: By improving the course, offering regular and premium versions of it (with something extra)
- Establish monthly subscription: Make users pay for belonging to a community or receiving monthly content. It can be difficult to start but it pays off in the long term.
- Segment your email list: focused mails for concrete courses, use retargeting.
- CRO: Test and improve your content format and copy.
- You can also expand with paid ads when you have reached a profitability point.
- You can do licensing, if schools, universities or companies would benefit from your courses. Seek the help of a lawyer to create an agreement.
- Audience building
You can also take a look at her presentation in Slideshare.
Til H. Gross: Comfort Zone Crushing: How to become more confident and rock your life
Til is a coach, speaker and founder of the startup Comfort Zone Crusher. He gave us a great talk about how to force getting out of our comfort zone and become more confident in all aspects of our life. It was funny because as soon as he started speaking about getting out our comfort zones one spontaneous assistant of the event got up to the stage just to get out of his comfort zone. Here are some of the main thoughts he shared with us:
- Let values and goals direct your life, not your emotions, (fear, anxiety, shame…) as they will brake you.
- Comfort zone challenges: Try to get out of your comfort zone all the time, overcoming fear or any other emotion. Til shows a video of himself shouting in a silent metro. He also asked us to stand and shout to take us out of our own comfort zones during the presentation.
- Fear is caused by anticipating pain.
- Avoid procrastination (don’t procrastinate because of fear). Remember that done is better than perfect.
- When you are about to get out of your comfort zone, emotions and thoughts come to mind: I shouldn’t do it, I can’t do it… you need to overcome those. If you overcome them, you do a leap of faith and you don’t mind, as you are focusing on trying. After that, you go for all and will be relieved.
Remember: “Do one thing every day that scares you“.
And that was all (plus an amazing party at the end)… pretty awesome uh? We would like to thanks to DNX Global for an amazing event… we’re even more excited and inspire as digital nomads than before. Hope to see you around with the launch of Remoters.net very soon! Stat tuned 😀